Some of you will think I do nothing but travel. It is not true, but I know it seems that way. (Some of my friends think I travel ALL the time.) The past two years have had a little more than usual, I will admit.

Anyway, we are heading out for Thanksgiving. And at our destination, internet access is quite limited. I can see my e-mail periodically, but no blog visiting unless I go someplace that has wireless, which I usually do not have time for. We will be visiting Grandpa M and Grandma D. A year ago Grandma D was very sick, and she has not fully recovered. I will be cooking and such while we are there.

Chic and Chicklet are excited beyond belief. They LOVE visiting there. Grandpa M’s yard is 3 acres. That’s just the part he mows. They are not used to so much space and revel in it. (So do I.) They also get to see friends they love more than anyone. It will be a nice time.

I am slowly working through all the very heartfelt and nice comments from my two “tolerance” posts. But if I do not reply to your comment right away, know that I appreciate it. I was hoping to have more on this series by now, but life is busy, and the story has many facets. I do want to say that those posts were more of a background. The tolerance issue has bothered me for a long time, but how it applies to our family is the background for the much bigger story. I promise to get to it; it consumes my mind a lot these days.

So I will not be here for My World Tuesday or SkyWatch Friday, so I’ll leave you a couple of pictures and a recipe.

What I saw when feeding the birds a couple of chilly mornings ago.

A new bread I tried last week. I think it was called Armenian Peda bread. I have no idea if it is authentic, but it was really good, and actually quicker than most yeast breads I make.

I apologize I do not have a picture of the following recipe. I only make it on Thanksgiving, and last year I got sick that day so did not care much about taking pictures. It is my very favorite Thanksgiving food. (I turned it into Thanksgiving food.) Prince Charming does not like it (he has a few vegetable hang-ups), so I triple the recipe and eat the leftovers for a few days.

Company Brussels Sprouts

4 bacon strips, diced (I use soy “bacon”)
1 dozen Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons snipped, fresh chives,
1 carrot, thinly sliced
10 stuffed green olives, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt

In a skillet fry bacon until just cooked. Drain, reserving 2 tablesppons of drippings. Add remaining ingredients; cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender. Yield: 4 servings.

That’s the official version. Since I do not use “real” bacon, and I try to be healthy when it does not impair flavor, I do the soy bacon in the microwave, then saute everything in the wine for a while (leaving out the olive oil), then add the bacon at the end.  I LOVE this stuff!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving if you live where it is celebrated. If not, just have a wonderful two weekends and a terrific week in between!

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2009-04-03sliced

A couple of weeks ago I made a bread for our Friday-Night-Soup-and-Bread Tradition (cold months only) called “Onion Lover’s Twist.”

Since mid-March our church has been having a Revelation Seminar which meets on Friday nights (among other times). Since we always have extra bread, we have been taking the extra loaf or extra whatever to church and giving it away. That week we gave half of the giant loaf (as big as a regular loaf) to the organist and music director (who are married).

They were elated.  My cooking is somewhat famous in circles I frequent, so they could not have been happier; what had made them worthy of such a blessing? (This is honestly how people treat me about my food.)

The next morning they both sought out me as well as Prince  Charming and anyone else they could find to tell their story…

They were driving home, and the smell of the bread was making them hungry. They got home and heated up a couple of slices (the slices are huge), and ate. They were in heaven it was so good. (I am learning that a lot of the population does not have homemade bread often… more than I realized.) Now let it be understood that I am not saying I did anything to make this bread so wonderful. I followed a recipe.  When people compliment my cooking, I always tell them my talent is to pick good recipes and follow them well. I am a cook, not a chef. (More on that in some other post.)

Anyway, they went to bed soon after that, and apparently all. night. long. they woke up time after time after having “the strangest dreams.” They could not emphasize enough how “strange” these dreams were. They did not seem to be nightmares, but dreams. I have no idea the content. Maybe they did not share because dreams always seem strange and unimportant when we wake up and think about them, or maybe they were just too exciting to repeat to others. I do not know, but it made me smile.

This bread has never given me extra dreams, strange or otherwise. It was more likely that they are in their 60’s and are not used to eating so late.  But whether or not it affects you with the dreams, it is great bread. Here is the recipe which I got from a cookbook called Colorado Cache. It was put together by the Junior League of Denver in 1978. We got our copy as a wedding gift 20 years later, so it must have been updated/reprinted. It is an excellent cookbook.  I think it must be a trend for this type of cookbook because the one from my hometown is  also excellent. So without further ado, here is the recipe and maybe a comment or two (or too many) of my own.

Onion Lover’s Twist

1 pkg dry yeast

1/4 c warm water (I always use 115 degrees F because it works better at my altitude which is 5000 feet AND my cold house.)

4 c  flour

1/4 c sugar

1-1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c hot water (120-130 degrees F)

1/2 c milk

1/4 c softened butter

1 egg

Filling:

1/4 c butter

1 c finely chopped onion

1 T grated Parmesan cheese (I always use fresh)

1 T sesame or poppy seeds (I use sesame seeds. I can only imagine what their dreams might have been had I used poppy!)

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp paprika

Grease cookie sheet (I always use a baking stone that is well seasoned and does not need to be greased). In a large bowl dissolve yeast in water. Add 2 c. flour, sugar, salt, hot water, milk, butter and egg. With electric mixer, blend at low speed until moistened. (If using a heavy duty mixer, do whatever you usually do for bread. I would not even bother with bread if I did not have a heavy duty mixer.) Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough. (Again, I leave it in the mixer and let it do the work.) Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size–45-60 minutes.

2009-04-03fillingonstripsTo prepare filling, melt butter in saucepan and add remaining ingredients. (I think this is important to do right away so the ingredients can have a little time to saute, and then it can cool and solidify a little. If you do this at the last minute and the butter is liquid, it is much harder to fill the bread.)

2009-04-03rollingstrips

When dough has doubled in size, punch down and place on floured surface. Knead until no longer sticky. Roll into and 18″ x 12″ rectangle. Cut three strips lengthwise (18″ x 4″ –I sometimes forget and do it the wrong way–like this time–and it turns out fine.) Place 1/3 of the filling in the middle of each strip. Roll up each strip and seal the edges and ends. On the prepared cookie sheet (or stone which is always so much better in my opinion), braid the three rolls together. Cover and allow to rise until doubled–45-60 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm (best) or cool.

2009-04-03sealedrolls

If you would prefer two smaller loafs, just cut the filled rolls in half and braid separately. (I personally find it easier just to make one big one and give half of the loaf away.

2009-04-03braided

This bread is great for a couple of days when heated in the microwave.

Enjoy, and let me know if it gives you interesting dreams!

2009-04-03baked

This has been a crazy week. If you read my blog regularly, you might be getting the idea that my life is crazy all of the time anyway. This week was no different, but added into the mix was an unexpected stamping project.

On Monday the school secretary called me and said, “The principal talked to you about invitations for the Thanksgiving program, right?”

The definitive answer there would be, “No.”

Now I will admit to having conversations with people all the time about some stamping project or another and forgetting it until the last minute, but just the sight of the person will jog my memory. This time there was no memory to jog. It did not happen.

We chatted a few minutes to come up with some kind of idea. One of my questions was, “How many?” The secretary replied to me that there were “about 30.” That was no big deal. Thirty of any design is nothing to pull off. They needed to be sent out Wednesday.

I could not even begin to work on it until the evening because I was catching up on something else all day. So I came up with this card (based on the secretary’s specifications).

2008-11-06card

The coloring and cutting would take a little time, but there were only 30. I prepared enough stuff for 36 to be on the safe side and took it all to school Tuesday morning because the secretary was going to work on them as she could. When I got there, she said the number had increased to 46. I did not panic. I could easily do ten by myself to be ready for the next day. (Glad I had done the six extra.)

When I picked up Chic in the afternoon, there had been 30 new invitations added. (If you are keeping track, we are up to 76 now. Remember we started at 30?) The secretary had gotten most of the stamped images colored and was working on cutting them out, but nothing else was done. I took home the brown cardstock and stamped the leaves on it that night and assembled everything except the people (including the wording inside.) She finished the coloring and cutting at home.

Wednesday, the day the invitations were supposed to go out, I showed up with the “original” 46 mostly finished and supplies to do the next 30. It was “art day.” I managed to do the rest of the 30 between art classes. (I am fast at stamping.) When I took them back, they needed 14 more. (90 total. I started with 30 and now it was 90!) The secretary was feeling bad about all of this so decided to do a computer invitation for the final 14. Bless her.

I have to tell you things like this pop up once or twice a week every week of my life. It is no wonder I cannot get anything accomplished!

But for something wonderful…

smooth and creamy!

smooth and creamy!

When the weather is cool, we have soup and  homemade bread every Friday night. I love this about cooler weather. I have lots of wonderful soup recipes because I am the type that gets, ummmm… bored with making the same food all of the time. I am always willing to try something new that sounds good. Tonight I tried a brand new recipe that I saw on Madge’sblog. I HIGHLY recommend you go check it out. I was going to show you start-to-finish pictures, but you might remember I only have a 55-200 mm lens. I did not have time to make sure every picture was perfect, and several were not, so all you get is a somewhat fair picture of the finished product in the pot. The whole family loved it. It is perfect for a chilly evening. I just made simple whole wheat bread to go with it, and it was perfect. The soup is very creamy; I modified it slightly, but not enough to even talk about, really. Anyway, go get the recipe and make it. I can’t imagine not loving it!

One last note: Many of you know I have joined the SkyWatch Friday and My World Tuesday team. This means I am not getting to my comments as quickly as I would like, but know that I will.