Friday, July 31, 2009

Coming to the end of the day....

I know this is the last day of July and I am a bit late sharing this calender, but it's raining and it's cute and I wanted to share it with you.

Time to turn the computer off for the night. Another fast week, where on earth does the time go? It truly seems like time is flying by even faster these days. I met up with a friend today for coffee and it is always great to get together and catch up. We shared photos, chatted about our kids, told each other what had been going on since the last time we had seen each other and there went the morning.

I was thinking that I haven't posted a recipe in a donkey's age, but with all this hot weather all meals have been fast and easy, and doesn't involve turning the oven on to heat up the house. We've been eating a lot of salads and tonight I fixed our favorite chicken salad recipe which I posted here a while back. Tonight I used my bread machine and made the basic white bread recipe. When Gregg gets home and smells the aroma of fresh baked bread in the air he comes into the kitchen with a big smile on his face and rubs his hands with glee, but this loaf I actually made yesterday as we were running out of bread.

I got up extra early - around 5.45 a.m. - and strange for me I had lots of energy, so I decided to make the loaf. It takes exactly 3 hours and 20 minutes to bake. I set the timer, did some housework and then started getting very sleepy. Before I knew it I had nodded off on the sofa and three hours later I woke up. It took me a while to realize that I had gone past the time when I should have taken the bread out of the machine by about an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half. Fortunately the machine turns itself off but you're supposed to take it out right away, and I wasn't sure by this time if it would fall out or stick to the container like glue. Here's me breathing a sigh of relief when it came out easily and apart from looking a little browner than it usually does, it was okay I thought and I could use it for tonight's supper. Once it cooled I put it in a ziploc bag to use today.

Gregg usually calls home just before he leaves the office and it gives me a chance to start putting things together as he only works fifteen minutes away. I cut the loaf and noticed it looked a bit more denser than usual - uh-oh - and the crust was thicker too - double uh-oh! What the heck I get the chicken salad out of the fridge and fix us a sandwich without any further uh-oh's.

Gregg comes home and he pours us each a glass of Pelegrino with lime. Since we gave up drinking soda's in the house he came up with this idea of the carbonated water, and the lime juice gives it that extra zip. It's a very refreshing drink and I can honestly say I prefer it to a soda any day but I know it's not everybody's cup of tea, but I love it. Gregg bites into his sandwich and says, "This bread is the best you've ever made, it's really great!" I laughed and told him what I had done and I said that I would try and fall asleep again next time I make a loaf. The last but one time I made the bread I used regular flour instead of bread flour and while still in the container and while it was rising, it blew up like a balloon, hit the top of the lid and then sank like a rock, and when it baked for the regular time it came out looking like a cracker on the outside and REALLY heavy on the inside. I made the best of it as I truly hate to throw anything away, so toasted it. Gregg once again not knowing that I had made a complete 'bomb' said, "This bread is really great, you can make this again!" So basically if I mess up my bread recipe I am okay and "Can you please mess up again next time?"

I have had my run-in's with bread dough before. When we first got married and we were living in our little apartment in Alexandria, I tried to make Bread Doughnuts. Gregg's Mom used to make the best and every time we visited she knew we loved them so she would always fix them for us. Well, silly me, I got the bright idea that I would make them for our breakfast one morning.

I have this phobia about frying food with hot oil. Goes back to when my sister and I tried to make a batch of chips (french fries) when our parents were out and well, that's a story for another day. Suffice to say it still makes me uncomfortable to use deep oil for frying but here I was ready to give it a go.

Now I had watched my Mother-in-Law make them several times by now and I thought "No problem". So went to the store and bought 1 lb. bag of frozen bread dough, put it in a bowl, threw a damp cloth over the top and let it rise overnight. What you do next morning is you pinch off a piece, shape it just like a doughnut with the hole in it, place it gently into deep oil and fry it until golden brown, take it out, blot it on a piece of paper towel and sprinkle sugar all over. Easy right? Right!!!

As a young bride I didn't really know much about cooking, so I grabbed the bread dough, split it in two and made two doughnuts out of that one pound blob of bread dough, not realizing in my ignorance that they would blow up like a balloon and completely overtake the deep fry pan. All the old fears came back as I watched it getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and my eyes got wider and wider and wider, and it went from bad to worse. I managed to get those two gigantic bread doughnuts out of the oil, blot them on paper towel and sprinkled half a pound of sugar all over them, put one on Gregg's plate - it filled the dinner plate - smiled sweetly and I expected the poor dear to eat it anyhow. It was very crispy on the outside and on the inside, well it looked like an explosion of uncooked dough, kind of like when you cut into a warm brie and the cheese oozes out so yummily, except that this was very far from yummy.

Not to give up I tried refrying it. I was a stubborn, not to be done in, English lass! I placed it back on the plate which practically broke in two under the weight. Gregg tried to cut into it and did I see that knife bend? You betcha! That is when I realized the saint I had married. He tried to eat it, he really did but I couldn't be so cruel as to watch him try to consume this horrible mess. I ended up throwing chunks out for the birds and as we saw the sparrows come down from the trees in droves, we watched as each one tried to take off with those chunks, and the poor little beggers couldn't even get off the ground. I think I gave all of those little birdies a hernia that day and I do believe they avoided me after that.

To prove a point even the other critters wouldn't touch my delectible non-delight and we ended up picking up the pieces and throwing them away in the trash. And that day I swore I would never make them again. But guess what? Gregg said I ought to give them one more go as he really has a hankering for bread doughnuts? I think I hear the flapping of wings as the sparrows head south a little early this year.


  1. What a progress in technology and modern life ! you can make your own bread now while you sleep, lol !

  2. hahaha...oh oh Denise! Truly delightful. I believe it best to let all the skeletons out in the closet and the cats out of the bag while there is still memory. Once the faculty starts deteriorating those funny anecdotes that no else knows could never be told. I am so entertained!

    Meanwhile, I reread your profile About Me and it did strike me once to list all my blog writings in one special diary, with my username and password just in case, God forbid, that one day, my posterity will be able to get a glimpse about me, their Grandma... and would know what she's been up to in her lifetime.

    That is so sweet of you to share us the new happening in the technical world... with yummy bread turning even yummier.

    Keep blogging Denise. Am waiting to read some more.

    Kudos to your lifetime Sweetheart too. How many men do give understanding and encouragement to their wives even if the things they do are not so their mothers?

    Blessings be multiplied on you. Take care. :)

  3. where did you find such a cute graphic I love it

  4. Oh Denise-- first I love the turtle. He's adorable. I laughed my way through this post. I should be sleeping, but your story made my lack of sleep entirely bearable. Thank you. I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Keep baking!

  5. Very amusing Denise. Your cooking adventures certainly struck a chord here!Perhaps it's no coincidence that my husband is a great cook and so are my children and grandchildren - I'm slowly catching up!

  6. Wonderful post.
    Love the calender, also home made bread.
    Time goes faster as we get older, so it seems.

  7. Wonderful post Denise and your story of the bread doughnuts really made me laugh, especially with the little cartoon. A x

  8. Love that calendar photo. Nice.

    This has been the coldest July ever recorded here in Ohio where we live. And it was only 59 F here this morning. So August is starting out OK but I fear a climate change is on the way and each year it will disrupt the lives of more birds and butterflies.

    I really liked your post and enjoyed reading it.

  9. What a greaat story, Denise! Thanks for sharing it!

  10. Oh Denise! You know that I really adore turtles!This is a kind of passion since I was a kid!This calendar is fabulous and what a story!!!!
    Have a great weekend dear friend
    Bonjour Luxembourg

  11. Hi Denise. Just saw your post on my blog. Welcome. I'm happy to have you join me. I checked out your flower photos and they are beautiful.


  12. I just love your writing. You had me laughing so hard. I blog for prosperity too. My kids and grandkids are far away, and it gives them a chance to check in once a day and see how the old gal is doing. The turtle calender is just adorable.

  13. Have you ever tired the simple way? You buy a can of the refrigerated biscuits. Open the can, have your oil already hot, take one biscuit, and putting your index finger in the center, gently pull with finger and thumb to make a hole the size you would like. Drop into the hot oil, only a few at a time, sometimes they will flip over themselves, but you watch and gently flip with a fork to brown the other side, then when that side is also browned, lay on paper towels. We use to cover them three different ways, a little graulated sugar sprinkle over them, also made a little glaze and ran over some of them, and also the powdered sugar for some of them. When the kids were all living at home, I would have to fix about three or four cans of biscuits. Probably not quite as good as the frozen dough, but non the less, the kids and Abe liked them.

    Have you ever used the frozen dough, buy the bag of frozen small balls of dough. I use the Rhoades dough, I think that's how it's spelled.

    You will need 16, frozen dinner rolls dough balls
    1 small package Butterscoth Pudding mix (DO NOT USE INSTANT)
    3/4 C brown sugar
    1 C pecans
    1 stick butter.

    Spray a bundt pan with Pam
    Pour half of the nuts into the pan, if they are large nuts, you might want to break them up or chop them a little.
    Place the 16 pieces of dough on top of the nuts.
    Sprinkle the pudding mix over the dough
    Melt the butter and mix the brown sugar with the butter then pour over the top of the dough. Then sprinkle on the remaining nuts.
    Place the coffee ring in the oven, (OVER NIGHT) BUT do not turn on the oven
    Next morning turn on the oven (DO NOT REMOVE BUNDT PAN) set oven at 325, bake for 30 mins.

    Best to bake about 30 mins before you want to eat, so it will still be warm. After baking, let it cool a few minutes then put a large plate over the top of the pan, and flip it over. It's so good, everyone eating it will think you spent hours preparing it.

  14. Another great read and what a cute 'July' picture. Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

  15. What a great tale! Please try it again, you know the ins and outs of dough a little better now, it will be just fine, I predict awesome! And those silly birds will be sorry they didn't stick around to snach some from your Saint.

    Dirt learned early on to not ask me to repeat my culinary delights as I rarely followed a recipe and if I did try I always forgot something.

  16. Thanks for the delightful account here and the link to Calendars by Dusty. I'll need to check that out but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed catching up with you reading this post ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,

  17. That was hilarious! I'm so glad you shared it. Haven't we all made messes in the kitchen? That's how we learn.