Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Sunday Project

I've been thinking about making one of these for awhile. I just hadn't gotten around to it. It's almost done. All I need to do is put a pair of hinges on the top. Do you know what it is??? Let me show you what it looks like inside, as if the top were open with the hinges.....that I don't have yet! Of course, there's nothing inside. That will come later. Do you know what it is yet????

This picture will give you a feeling of size. Not that I really know the size of it, you know, like in inches or anything like that, but behind it is Dozer, nosing around. He's my sidekick. My buddy. My shadow. Anyway, here's the box. I've put in some shredded paper. Normally, I would put in either wood shavings, or straw, but the straw I have is wet, and the shavings I have are the mulch stuff for pathways, and I thought that wouldn't be as nice as the shredded paper. If it ends up all over, I'll take it out and put in the shaving/mulch. Well? Have you guessed yet?

Ok, I'll give you a really big hint. Look at this next picture!

This little greenish thing in the middle is a glass egg. Now do you know what it is??? If you guessed a nest box for my chickens, you are right!!! Tomorrow, on my way home, I'll pick up a package of piano hinges, and zip them on. Then I can raise the lid to get the eggs or clean it out, but the hens will be happy to have a little hidey hole to lay their eggs in. They love hidey holes. Pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Most Wonderful Cake Ever

My mom used to make angel food cakes. They were a little piece of heaven on a plate, light as a feather, and so, so good. She would make them from scratch, just like everything else that came out of her kitchen. Right before she passed away, she talked me through what she did. I am grateful that I thought to ask, and she was able to help me. Now each time I make an angel food cake, I always think of her. It makes me feel good, sort of like she's still here, standing with me in the kitchen and we're making it together.
This past Tuesday was my oldest son's birthday. I made two cakes, one to cut into after dinner, and a whole one for him to take home.

Anybody that's made this cake knows that it takes bunches of egg whites! Since it's winter, and my chickens are taking a break from laying eggs, I needed to get store bought eggs. That's why they're white. I look at this picture, and think of all the chickens that grunted for me to make this cake!

Here it is, in all its glory, ready to go into the oven.

I always go quickly from the oven to hanging upside down. It's what my mom taught me, and it never failed her, so that's the way I do it.

Here's a piece, all ready to be eaten! Beautiful, huh? Thanks, Mom.

Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 cups egg whites (12 extra large)
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sifted softasilk cake flour
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

Heat oven to 375. Measure into large mixing bowl the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat with electric mixer until foamy, gradually add granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. Beat until meringue holds stiff peaks. Fold in flavoring. Sift flour-sugar mixture gradually over meringue. Fold in gently just until mixture disappears. Push batter into ungreased 10" tube pan. Gently cut through batter with knife. Bake 30-35 minutes until top springs back when lightly toughed. Invert on funnel. Hang upside down until cold.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ganache-ish Frosting

When I made David's birthday cake yesterday, I decided to make a new, special frosting for him. He loves chocolate, and I made a plain, 2 layer chocolate cake. My sister gave me the recipe for a smooth chocolate frosting, and I decided to make that to put in between the layers, and on the top. I like seeing the frosting start to fall over the top of the cake, so I didn't frost the sides.

See, it's not a true ganache. Sort of a cross between a frosting and a ganache. It was great, and tasted even better with ice cream! This is David's piece. I prefer mint ice cream.

Want the recipe?

Linda's Chocolate Icing

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat first 3 ingredients over medium high heat, stir until boiling, 3-4 minutes. Continue stirring until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat, stir in chocolate chips, keep stirring until smooth. Makes 1 1/2 cups icing.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Solving The World's Problems

It's David's birthday today. It's also my dad's birthday today. Nice of them to share, huh? So for the occasion, I made a really good chocolate cake. Hubby stopped by the store and got some ice cream to go with it. Uhhh, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.
It was a dark and stormy night, and,,, ooops! Wrong story.
I was in the kitchen making this really great chocolate birthday cake, and I got the hiccups. Really bad. All through mixing and stirring, I kept hiccuping! I popped it into the oven, and decided to make sure the ice cream was good enough to go with a birthday cake. Mint chocolate chip. It's the best. Especially in one of my brown Marcrest bowls. Anyway, I sat down to the computer, eating my mint chocolate chip ice cream, checking emails, blogs, and playing some minesweeper. The dinger on the oven dings, I take the cake out, start the frosting on the stove, and frost the cake. Hubby walks into the kitchen, and notices........No More Hiccups! It was the mint ice cream. It had to be. What else could it have been??? Mint ice cream solves the world's problems, one bowl at a time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back From My Weekend!

Oh, my! Where should I start? Everybody should be able to have a girly, three day weekend. It's good for the soul. We had a great time! We sewed, we ate, we took a field trip to a quilt store and a yarn shop, we ate, we watched movies and stayed up too late, and we ate! All with the beautiful view from a house on the lake. We brought enough stuff to keep us busy for weeks. This is what we packed.... this is Jerilyn's stuff. She's a great packer. Most of her stuff is in the very back, and only a few things in the back seat. Hi Jerilyn! Nice quilt!

This is Linda's car. The six sewing machines we brought are hidden behind these pillows, quilts, tubs, and a few clothes bags. In the back seat we stuffed more tubs and clothes bags. On the way home, we had enough room to stop at the store and get 5 gallons of bottled water. The dorm has terrible water, so Patricia stocked up while she had the chance!

Doesn't really look exciting here in the car, does it? Check this out! This is our cutting station. Well, this is our big cutting station. Our small cutting station is in the kitchen. I didn't think to get a picture of that.

More really important stuff! That's the back of Linda's head. She's ignoring me. Sisters sometimes do that!

Everybody brought their own stash of thread. Here's a few that Joanne brought.

Here's a few from Linda's stash, organized in a zipper case.

More of Linda's. She has this thread organized in two hot wheels carrying cases. She's looking for another case just like these, but hasn't found one yet.

Know of anybody that takes their own iron and ironing board on a three day weekend??? (Yeah, we're raising our hands!) Oh, funny story! Jerilyn has this incredible iron that holds about a gallon of water. We only have to fill it twice during the whole weekend of sewing. She brought the part that holds the water, but forgot to bring the iron! Luckily, we were able to use the iron they have there.

Oh, my, would you look at this?? Perfect sewing weather. It rained and rained and rained.

We got so much done. Here's Jerilyn, Linda, and Patricia sitting at the table sewing.

And here's Joanne sewing at the couch. This is her first quilt, and she has done it all by hand. She is almost finished with it, and has done a wonderful job.

Linda makes smocked baby rompers. She smocks them by hand. As in, each stitch, one at a time! This is one that she had started a long time ago. Aren't they cute?

Ahhh, here's Patricia. She worked on a reversible quilt. It had two fronts, so when she gets tired of one side, she can turn it over, and it's just as pretty on the other side.

Here's the first side with borders, and all sewn together. I think this is the third quilt she has done. She was able to sew both tops (one front and one back) with all borders, ready to go to the quilter to be machine quilted. It will probably be ready the next time she comes home!
Monday was the day to pack up our stuff. We were lucky enough to get a few breaks in between rain storms, and so got our stuff stuffed into the cars without getting drenched! Such luck!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Girly Weekend!

I am taking advantage of the three day weekend to go on a girly retreat. We are sewing, eating chocolate, and staying in our jammie pants all day. I am going with my sister and niece to meet two friends at a "cabin" on a lake. It's not really a cabin, but a very nice house. As we speak (ok, as I type) I am at my Dad's house, waiting for my sister to get off work. Of course, I forgot to pack my camera, but I will see if Linda has hers available so I can show you what we accomplished, and some pictures of the lake and stuff. I'm making Saturday night's dinner. I packed stuff for beef and barley soup, with rosemary rolls. They're yummy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm Feeling Spoiled

A little over a year ago, I had my thyroid removed. I had my thyroid removed, and then I quit taking my thyroid replacement medication for about 6 weeks, because the docs said I needed to get the hormone levels whacked to get rid of the rest of it. Have you ever had whacked thyroid levels?? The couch and I became really, really good friends. So this year, when my doc told me she wanted my levels to get all wonky again, I was excited when she told me ....get this.... I could have 2 shots instead of going off my thyroid meds for 6 weeks. Believe me, I was a happy girl! So the first one was today, the second one is tomorrow, then on Friday I will have a bloodtest, and that will be that! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! And guess what?? I used the Valet service. Today I gave my keys to the nice young man, and walked away. And tomorrow I will do the same. Where I am going, the parking is a few blocks away, so there's complimentary valet service. How cool is that??? I also decided to take these 2 days off, and play on the way home. Today I went to the biggest thrift store imaginable, and bought a little trampoline for the classroom. The kids will love it. I can't wait to show it to them.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing New Year's Day today. We did. The day started out with a whole lot of nothing going on!

We had a multitude of furry creatures inside all day. They would get booted out of one spot, to take up residence in another. They weren't particular where they were, so long as it was inside where it was warm.

There wasn't much of anything on the schedule for today, just kicking back and doing lots of relaxing. I always take down the tree the first day of the year, and I had help, so it didn't really take that long. David helped me get the stuff off the tree, and he and his dad got the tubs down from the attic to put everything back into. I washed the tree skirt for my kitchen tree, folded it, and put it in its appropriate tub. David decided to take a nap, so Hubby waited until he made his appearance to go back up to the attic. All the stuff was up, and Hubby was on his way to the ladder, when I heard a big crash. David came out to say that we now had a new hole in the bedroom ceiling!

Uhh, I guess this is what happens when a number ten slips off the joist! Well, we had been talking about painting! Now we can patch first, then paint. Tomorrow's list of things to do? Start moving the stuff on this side of the room, and emptying the bookcase. Looks like it's time for a new project.