Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Tastes - No-Knead Peasant Bread, part 2.

As promised, here is the recipe for the peasant bread.  So easy and delicious!!

Basic Peasant Bread

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees), divided
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour***
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar
  • Add the yeast mixture and remaining water; stir until combined.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Stir dough down.  Divide in half.  Place each half in a greased 1-quart casserole or ovenproof bowl.
  • Brush tops with butter.
  • Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from pans.  Serve warm if desired.

***I used 2 cups all-purpose flour and 2 cups of whole wheat flour.

For one loaf I mixed in two tablespoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings, and about 1 cup of mixed cheeses (parmesan, mozzarella and cheddar).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday - a kitchen gadget I love

Lately I've been eating a lot of hard boiled eggs.  Easy to make, they are a great snack at work.  Early in the week I boil up six or so eggs, which last me the week.

Several years ago I came across this gadget in a cooking store.  It was fairly inexpensive, so I bought one to try.  I hated the guesswork of how long to cook the eggs so they were at  the perfect stage, so was hopeful this would do the trick.  

About the size of a large egg, this gadget is placed in the pan along with the eggs and water.  As the eggs cook, the egg timer changes to a darker color.  Ever since I started using this, my hard-boiled eggs are always perfectly cooked.  Most definitely worth the $5 cost!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Frugal Friday - Stockpiling 101, part 2

As I mentioned in a previous post, this summer we remodeled our kitchen.  This project included adding a dishwasher.  Oh, how happy that has made me.  Washing dishes by hand is one of my least favorite household chores…not that I have a favorite household chore.  The addition of a dishwasher has changed my stockpile needs.  All of those bottles of dish soap and packages of sponges I accumulated at a great price will now last me a few years – not just a few months.  Now, however, I need to boost my stock of dishwasher detergent and rinsing agents.

What can you do when your stockpile demands change, but you have a bunch of the now unnecessary items? There are a few different options. 
  • Depending on the type of items, you may be able to donate the extras.  Food pantries, homeless or women’s shelters, and other organizations are often in need of supplies.  If possible, contact the organization to see if there is anything specific they are looking for or if there are items that you cannot donate.
  • If you will still use the items and they will last a long time – such as my excess dish soap and sponges – you can hang on to them to use over the next few years.
  • Have a stock swap.  Perhaps a friend has too many of an item that you will use, but not enough of something you have in excess. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday

One week ago my grandfather passed away.  It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it was still a shock.  But today’s post is about being thankful, not being sad.

When he died, my PapPap was 91 years and eleven months old.  As he slipped into his eternal rest, he was surrounded by all of his children and most of his grandchildren.  We were not ready for him to leave, but his body was tired and he was ready to go.

I am thankful that PapPap lived a long, full life.  Until eight weeks ago, he was still living on his own.  

I’m thankful that I was able to see him when he was still mentally alert.  He knew who I was – and was worried about me driving home that night.

I’m thankful for the wonderful memories I have.  Twice in my life I lived with my grandfather.  After he had a quintuple bypass during my junior year of high school and again while I was in college.  While we might have disagreed on things, I don’t recall us ever really arguing.  I have many recollections of my time with Pap:  Hearing his stories, complaining about the changes to Mass, “stealing” Fudgecicles from the freezer, going to church on Sundays and stopping at Dairy Queen afterwards, Pap doing the crossword puzzle at the kitchen table, and Pap ironing my school uniforms (my method of tossing them in the dryer to release the wrinkles wasn’t acceptable to him).   I realize how very fortunate I am to have these memories.

I’m thankful that I know how proud PapPap was of me.  He might not have explicitly said so, but I knew by the way he would excitedly comment about the travel I have done in my career and through the stories I would hear from other family members about PapPap showing off the cards, postcards and news articles I sent him.  If my name was in the paper, I made sure I had a copy of the article to mail to PapPap! 

So today I am thankful.  Not for the loss of my grandfather’s life, but for the life I shared with him. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Tastes - No Knead Peasant Bread

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com.  Unfortunately, within a couple of weeks of trying out the recipe, it disappeared!   I had pinned the link to Pinterest, but it now goes to another peasant bread recipe.  le'sigh.

Luckily, I printed a copy for a coworker, so I can share the recipe (and make the bread again)...once she relocates the recipe! She's in the process of packing and moving to a new home, so it may take a little while.

One batch made two loaves.  I put mine into casserole dishes.

The bread on the left (and the 1st whole loaf photo) is a three-cheese and garlic whole wheat bread.  The one on the right (and 2nd whole loaf photo) is a plain whole wheat bread.  Both were fantastic!  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Frugal Friday - Stockpiling 101

Over the past year I have started couponing. I'm not one of those extreme couponers. That takes more time and dedication than I have available. However, if I can save some money on those items I already use, then I want to do it! Last December I started stockpiling some items. Non-perishables such as food storage containers, dish soap, toilet paper, sponges, paper towels and laundry soap and perishables such as tomato soup, canned tomatoes (various types), pastas, kidney beans and jelly. I had wanted to have about a six month (or more) supply of the paper and cleaning products, and succeeded. Now it is time to stockpile many items again. Except dish soap and sponges. I've enough of those to last me quite some time! 

 In May we began a remodeling project in our kitchen. For most of the summer I didn't have a place to cook or wash dishes. Now that the project is complete (YAY!!), I have been working on organizing the kitchen and making a list of what food I have stockpiled, like kidney beans, and what I want to have filling my cupboards, like navy beans. Now that I have a dishwasher (another YAY!!), some of my stockpiling needs have changed. 

Everyone's stockpile list will look different. My husband is a truck driver, and likes to eat a lot of PB&Js while on the road. Therefore I need to keep a lot of large jars of peanut butter (must be Jif) and squeezable bottles of jelly in the house. He can go through a few of those a month. There are some items, though, that most people will have on their lists. 

How can you decide what to stockpile? Here are a few tips: 
  • Sit down with a pen and paper (or an open Word document) and make a list of the items your family uses the most. You can split the list into smaller categories, such as paper products, canned goods, cleaning supplies, etc. 
  • Look through your cupboards. Perhaps you have already been stockpiling some items without even knowing it! 
  • Look online for others’ lists. If you do a search for stockpile or stockpiling, you are sure to end up with many results for great resources. 
  • Look at your storage options. Your stockpile may be limited due to available space in your home.

Have a great tip for starting a stockpile? Share it in the comments!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday

Hi.  Remember me?  I’m going to attempt this blog again. Here’s hoping I can keep it up!

I’m still blogging about books and libraries at Ama Reads.  I’m still selling Gold Canyon.  Over the past twenty months I traveled to New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, and Texas (Dallas and Austin).  The hubby is still trucking away and the puppyboy is still as crazy as ever.