Sunday, September 29, 2013
I have to start by saying that I love having people over for dinner I just hate the prep work it takes to get to that point. Getting the house cleaned and all the fussing to make it presentable is no easy feat. The work started on Friday with scrubbing the bathroom, sweeping floors, dusting nooks and crannies and ended Saturday about an hour and half before guests arrived with the putting away of the last of the freshly washed dishes and a quick once over in the kitchen wiping down the counters. The only thing I can compare this frenzied preparation to is getting ready to have your in-laws come to Thanksgiving dinner. Once the food is on the table, and I hear the sighs of appreciation I am golden. Braised Beef Cheeks It is a once a year treat for us and well worth the added effort of making them two days ahead before reheating and serving. This is one of the simplest recipes I have ever made and the results are pure perfection. I have made it and served it the same day and it is really good, and I have made it and let it rest in the refrigerator for two days and re heated and served it, and for whatever reason that really good dish becomes something otherworldly (don't believe me ask the bf). This dish has been known to cause people to lose the ability to speak, but as delicious as this dish is it looks like a hot mess in the pan, so no photos. dessert made fresh that morning Mr. & Mrs. T headed out into monsoon type weather content and very full. I guess that is what it comes down to your satisfaction comes at the end when you are waving goodbye at the door ready to drop in your tracks. Special thanks goes out to the bf for knowing and understanding my love/hate relationship with dinner parties and all three of the fur kids (Pixel, Willow and stepchild Lu) for not launching yourselves into anyone's dinner plate.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Honestly, I used to make the world's worst biscuits. Hard little hockey pucks with no flavor no flakiness even the local birds didn't want them because they were so horrible. It was really breaking my heart because I love biscuits so I decided to re evaluate what I was doing and how I could improve them. In the past, I had always just followed a basic biscuit recipe. Today I combine flavor options to make a beautiful, buttery biscuit that the bf raves over. Making a better biscuit is easy my only suggestion here is use fresh ingredients. The recipe I follow is the Better Homes and Gardens Biscuits recipe with a a couple of options added.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Whether good or bad everyone has an opinion about meatloaf. You either love it or hate it. I can honestly say that I have converted a naysayer to someone who loves meatloaf...well at least my meatloaf. I have heard meatloaf recipes that have everything from breadcrumbs to rice in them. Some recipes too complicated and others simple. I do not know how I came to my meatloaf recipe, but I have been told it is worth keeping and it makes for great leftover meatloaf sandwiches for the next day's lunch. I guess what I am trying to say is meatloaf is what you make of it or out of it rather, and what your family likes and loves should go into it.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Yesterday the BF and I took our annual trip south to this quaint little town just 35 minutes drive from Myrtle Creek, OR to pick up are annual side of beef. Now I know many people think that is just plain crazy when you could just by your beef at the grocery store...obviously, you have never had beef raised right.
Friday, September 20, 2013
I do not know what it is about this time of year that I just cannot get enough of it. I cannot think of one thing about autumn that I dislike. The clear crisp mornings, starry nights, geese flying over head and the many, many smells of the season will draw a deep contented sigh from me every time.
I feel myself following in the footsteps of my ancestors with the fall harvest by storing and preparing food for my family and readying the home and hearth for the long winter ahead. Just the smell of apples and cinnamon alone can invoke wonderful memories of family gatherings long past.
This is by far one of my family’s favorite recipes:
Apple Bread w/ Crumb Topping
4 Cu. peeled, cored and chopped apples (I like Granny Smith, or any other tart apple)
4 large eggs slightly beaten
1 Cu. vegetable oil (canola works)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 Cu. all purpose flour
2 Cu. granulated white sugar
¾ Cu. all purpose flour
¼ Cu. granulated white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ Cu. room temperature butter (1 stick)
Directions for bread:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour two standard loaf pans and set aside. Peel, core and slice or chop the apples. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the oil, vanilla, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and beat until completely combined. Next, add the flour and sugar mix on low until combined then on high until smooth. The batter will be thick. Fold in the apples mixing by hand. Divide the batter between the two prepared bread pans.
Directions for topping:
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture with a fork or a pastry blender if you have one. Sprinkle equal amounts of the topping on each pan of bread batter. Bake for about 1 hour on the center oven rack. The loaf should be firm to the touch when done if it is not bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remember all ovens are different. Remove the pans from the oven when done and let them cool on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before removing the bread from the pans. Wait for the bread to cool completely before slicing into slices…if you can.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Well folks it is that time of year again all across Portland urban raccoons are relocating and coming to a neighborhood near you… that’s right soon they will be looking for shared housing with you and your family. Through the years I have had my run in’s with these furry, bandit faced, nocturnal mammals and I am here to tell you it is not fun. My first encounter with a raccoon was some years back. I was leaving for work one morning, before the rooster crows, I went out to my car and behind me in the driveway was a large raccoon just sitting there looking at me. It was obvious from his disheveled appearance that he was either very ill, or had spent one hell of a night out on the town. I slowly walked towards him, hoping he would leave, he did not move, hiss or show any kind of objection to me invading his space. I backed away slowly, got in my car and left for work hoping that he would be gone when I returned. However, that was not to be the case. I came home from work early fearing the worst and getting exactly that. The raccoon was still in driveway and very near deaths door. I called the local animal shelter, Fish and Wildlife, Audubon Society, Zoo, Police, State Patrol everyone I could think of and was told repeatedly that “we don’t handle that” and that the only way to rid myself of this dying raccoon was 80.00 and a company called ---------- to come out and take care of it. Eighty dollars to a single mom with two teenagers is a lot of money. In the end, I had a neighbor dispatch the raccoon and we buried it in the back yard. Not at all something, I wanted to do but completely necessary.