Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas Bread

 I tried this bread the other day and it turned out great.  It really was not difficult, it just required a little time to let it rise.  I pretty much followed the recipe and only came up with minor changes I might do next time. I did not get out my big stand mixer, but I did start off with my little hand mixer to get the basics blended good. Actually a mixer probably is not necessary.  What I might change is the raspberry jelly.  I love raspberry jelly, but apparently I should have found a thicker jam as mine did not look as crisp red as the picture.  The jelly seemed to run out more than I thought it should have, which also meant I had some jelly that leaked into my oven.

I will definitely make this again.  Even if it was not as picture perfect as the recipe showed, it still turned out pretty impressive.  By the way, there is a link below the recipe to the website where I found the original recipe.

Christmas Star Twisted Bread

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 3/4 cup warm whole milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Confectioners' sugar
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water until foamy. In another bowl, combine milk, egg, butter, sugar and salt; add yeast mixture and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four portions. Roll one portion into a 12-in. circle. Place on a greased 14-in. pizza pan. Spread with one-third of the jam to within 1/2 in. from edge. Repeat twice, layering dough and jam, and ending with final portion of dough.
  4. Place a 2-1/2-in. round cutter on top of the dough in center of circle (do not press down). With a sharp knife, make 16 evenly spaced cuts from round cutter to edge of dough, forming a starburst. Remove cutter; grasp two strips and rotate twice outward. Pinch ends together. Repeat with remaining strips.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake until golden brown, 18-22 minutes. (Watch during final 5 minutes for any dripping.) Remove from oven; brush with melted butter, avoiding areas where jam is visible. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Yield: 16 servings.
Editor’s Note: Kickstart the flavor by trying blueberry jam and 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, or blackberry jam and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom.
Originally published as ChristmasStar Twisted Bread in Taste of Home November 2016, p46

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Best Banana Bread Ever

Below is my "Recipe of the day".  This is a recipe that I almost forgot about.  I collect many recipes that I want to try some day.  I have tried this one... numerous times already... and I have made modifications to make it a real "Sallie recipe".

If I have buttermilk on hand, that is what I use, but more often than not, I do not... which never gets in the way of a good recipe for me.  I put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the cup before I measure my milk... so in this recipe that calls for 1/2 cup of buttermilk, I put 1 tablespoon of ACV in the cup first then fill the milk to the 1/2 cup mark.  Instantly I have 1/2 cup of buttermilk.

I increased the nuts to a full cup and I use a full 2 cups of blueberries.  I typically use frozen blueberries so I make sure that I take them out of the freezer just before I add them as I do not want my batter to turn blue when I am folding them in.  Because I have maxed out the quantity of nuts and blueberries, this recipe makes 2 very full loaf pans of bread.  A couple times I have used a third mini pan for the extra batter.

Blueberry Banana Bread
  • 14 lb butter softened
  • 34 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 12 cup buttermilk
  • 3 bananas, large overripe and mashed
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 12 teaspoons baking soda
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 -2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
In a large bowl cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, buttermilk and bananas.
Sift dry ingredients together and mix into wet mixture. Do not overbeat.
Stir in nuts and blueberries.
Divide the mixture into 2 greased and floured loaf pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for 65-70 minute (test before removing from over) should be nicely browned.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Peach pie

I learned something new when I decided to make a peach pie a couple weeks ago.  Peaches usually are for making a cobbler in my kitchen, and fresh peaches make the best cobblers.  Of course this is not the time of year for fresh peaches... at least not that I have access to, but last year I bought a couple cases of peaches that I froze. I was looking for something else in the freezer and lifted a freezer basket to find I had peaches left that I did not know were still in there.  I had frozen the peaches whole unpeeled.
That isn't what I learned though. I did not have a recipe for a peach pie so I searched for a recipe online and came up with what looked like a good one.  I let the peaches thaw first, then slipped the peels off and sliced them.  The recipe said to put the peaches in a bowl with the sugar and let them sit for a whole hour.  At the end of the hour I was to drain the juice into a pan with the cornstarch and other ingredients and bring the juice to a boil until it was thickened.  Once this was done, pour the sauce over the peaches and toss to coat then turn into the pie crust. I had never heard of doing a pie this way... letting the sugar draw out the juice first... and I am not sure how well it would work with other fruit, like apples or blueberries, but I want to tell you this peach pie was absolutely awesome.  Best pie I have made and/or eaten in a long time.

Sugie is quality control this week.  He approves of the latest project.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Moon Flowers Galore

Not so long ago I didn't even know what a moon flower looked like.  A friend gave me a single plant a couple years ago that I planted out by the patio in the back yard.  I think I may have had a single blossom a few times that summer, but never more than one at a time.  Of course, a moon flower blossom only opens once for maybe 14 or 15 hours, but one plant can have several blossoms.  Last year I discovered a whole bush of moon flowers that were volunteers down by the road in front of our house.  I saved some of the seeds from that plant and when I expanded the flowerbed in front of the new ramp, I planted a few of the seeds.  This was in January, so I wasn't expecting them to take hold... boy was I in for a surprise.  They cover the front and are taking over.  For right now I am letting them stay.  When the blossoms come out like this last batch, it is hard to think of them as being invasive, but that is what I am told.  Meanwhile, I am enjoying their beauty... and the bees are too.  There were so many bees this morning, you could hear the buzzing before you got very close.

We finally went to get a load of mushroom compost.  This stuff is amazing.  With our sandy soil it helps tremendously.  I bought some tomato and pepper plants a couple weeks ago, but waited to put them in the beds because they needed the compost.  I bought good size plants because I knew I would not have the compost right away as my source for the compost is not nearby.  Early this morning I was out there working at getting the soil in the beds amended with the compost and then successfully got all my plants in the ground and even got shade cloth in place over them.  I am posting this picture in the hopes that I will be able to post a new picture of their growth in a few weeks to see how well they are doing. In this bed I have a cherry tomato, roma, and two Tycoon.  I would plant more tomatoes, but I am the only one that will eat them at my house.  In another bed I planted some sweet banana peppers.  The nursery did not have any bell peppers when I was there. 

I have not been doing much quilting the last couple of weeks, but I got a new baker's rack earlier this week and was trying to find something to embellish it with.  The sewing machine stand was intended to display a quilt block... for quite a while this block was pinned to this stand without being quilted.  I sat down the other evening and did the quilting by hand, then turned the backing to the front for the binding and clipped it to the stand to make a nicer display.  Still playing around with what I want to display on this new baker's rack.  I do know that it already looks much nicer there than the old book shelf that used to sit under the window.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CW Moment anyone?

I know it has been a long time since I have posted anything new.  I guess there are various reasons why such long gaps exist between my posts.  First of course is a busy schedule... I have no one but myself to blame, but things do stack up sometimes.  It seems too often I turn over a new page, and lose my momentum before I get going.

I recently came up with a new challenge... in an attempt to inspire myself to be more motivated to get things done, I thought I would share... The challenge I am referring to as my CW Moments. I need to see how many CW moments I can accomplish. 

OK, CW can be a variety of tasks or accomplishments.  Clean What, Cook What or better... Culinary Wonder, Create What, Call Who, Charity (help) Who.  I know there are other Cs that could go with Who, What, When, Where, and Why, but I will come up with them as they are encountered.

Now this CW thing came about when I was trying to figure a new way to inspire my daily journal.  This journal has become more important as a reference to know when I last did something.  Age does have a way of getting in the way of a good memory.  A written journal is good, but things can get buried and hard to find when I am looking back to see when I had my last haircut, or took the cat to the vet, among so many other things.  This led me to look into what a bullet journal is... lots of info out there. There are good things that can be accomplished using a bullet journal... way over the top for what I was looking for, but I have started my own version of a bullet journal.  I have adapted some of the techniques, but mainly I have included ways to focus on the highlights of each day to make it easier to spot when something has been accomplished.

My version of a "bullet journal" includes what time I got up, my weight, what bible verses I read, the weather and temp high and low, what I ate and then the list of tasks I know I have to do, and I add new ones as they occur. Appointments and events too. I have not come up with any hard and fast rules... I am still in the creation stage... coming up with new ideas as I go.  My latest add-on is to be sure that I have at least one CW moment every day. I can envision a day having several CW moments, but I want to be sure I can include at least one.

So my challenge to you is... How many CW moments can you come up with today? What new CWs can you add to my list?  Now I am not asking you to share what the task or accomplishment actually was... unless you want to, but rather if you came up with a new C to go with the 5 Ws.

If there is an interest, I can include a quick glance of the format of "my bullet journal" layout in a later post.  You are welcome to join my challenge, or you can make a suggestion.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

Hard to believe so much time has gone by since my last post.  I think of posting, but something always seems to get in the way. I won't begin to suggest that anything will change, but one never knows.

One of my recent quilt finishes was an antique quilt that I repaired for a friend.  It was in my possession for quite some time... I almost forgot about it.  When I would come across it in the closet, I would look in the bag and shudder to think what it might take to get it done.  Well a few weeks ago I determined it was time to take the bull by the horns and tackle the task at hand.  I was not close to being knowledgeable about the best way to go about repairing an old quilt, but I gave it my best shot. This quilt was originally all done by hand.  I had to remove all the quilting to dispose of all the wadded batting.  The edge of the backing was pretty much threadbare, as well as many of the pieces on the front.  I replaced the pieces on the front that had big holes. I tried to find fabric scraps from my stash that would not stand out too much, and reinforced the back of some other pieces with a fusible stabilizer to try to retain as much of the original as possible.   I could not use any of the original border, but I was able to use the good spots of the backing to make the new border for the front.  The quilt has a new backing to make it possible to display this quilt instead of wasting away hidden in a bag.

My new longarm has a much bigger quilting space than my previous machine did, but my old side clamps that I had made worked fine, so I decided it was fine to continue using them.  Main thing I did not like about these clamps is it required pinning the fabric to the backing... that is 7 big hat pins on each end that often left me with a pricked finger. In a forum for my Innova there was talk about side clamps with a couple suggestions.  I took the info and came up with my version.  The main item I needed to purchase was this Quilt 'n Go lap frame that I bought at JoAnn's. This kit would not make a clamp that was long enough, so I bought a longer CPVC pipe to cut into two - 21" pieces. 
The key part is the snap-on clamp that holds the fabric to the pipe. These snap-on clamps are only 9.5" long, so two on each pipe works great.  I ran bungee cord through the pipe and attached it to the side of the frame.  The picture shows elbows on the end of the pipe, but I'm thinking they really are not necessary.  They can easily be removed.  Also, once I have some experience with these, I may determine that the pipe does not need to be quite as long.  Easier to make something shorter than longer.  I have not actually loaded a quilt to try these out, but the backing appears to be nice and snug.  You can see my previous fabric side clamp with the pins on the table.  I will hold onto them... for a little while anyhow.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Quilts on Thursday

Quilting has been in the forefront the last few weeks.  I have finished three quilts that would not have been possible on my previous machine.  Now I am not saying that machine did not serve me well.  It was a great machine... it is just that this new amazing Innova with a 26" throat is simply the best I could have dreamed about having.  I have also finished several smaller quilts.  I am having fun getting used to this new adventure in quilting.  

This quilt was sent to me without the backing because I have lots of fabric in my stash, and I just knew that I could find one that would work. 

What I didn't know was how perfectly this fabric would work.  The next question I got when she saw the finished pictures was... "what will I use to bind it?"  The very same day I was reading an article about alternative binding techniques.  I sewed up a sample then sent the link along with the sample.  My suggestion to her was to use the scraps from the backing, which I sent also.  I think it will work very nicely.

This is a facing binding.  I never would have thought of doing it this way.  Of course this binding would have to be hand sewn down, unless you didn't care if a line of stitching showed on the front side.  The beauty of this technique is nothing takes the focus away from the quilt.  So often the binding pulls your attention to the edge of the quilt.  It does not provide as much reinforcement to the edge... your seam is right there.  It may not be the best choice on many quilts, but it is definitely one that I will use now and then.