Friday, March 28, 2014

Sandra Lee Meets Duncan Hines.....faking Baking.

When I first met fellow Blogger
"Flour Power"
Joyce...
We hit it off immediately...both of us
Italians who love to eat and who love to
Bake...
Only one problem....Joyce makes everything
from scratch....while I use the "doctor" theory of
Baking...
Now as you all know I do bake my own bread and
bake many many things from scratch...
From my Jersey Crumb Buns to
my "signature dessert"
Pistachio Cream puffs....
Sometimes using the easy way out comes
out just fine...
All you have to do it put in a little
extra effort...
I use this same method for banana bread
and blueberry muffin mix....
We refer to each other as Betty Crocker...
And of course I'm Sandra Lee minus the blond hair
I was meeting Joyce for lunch this week and we always
bring something for each other...
I had a box of Duncan Hines
Deluxe Carrot Cake in my pantry so I decided
instead of baking it as a cake....I would make it into
a sweet bread loaf....
I think I even fooled Betty....
She took it on the plane with her to Vegas the
next day and sent me an e-mail asking for
the recipe....

This is what I did....
I followed the instructions on the box to the "T"
"Except" for a few minor additions...

The cake mix calls for you to soak the carrot/raisin
pouch in 1 1/4 cups of hot water...Not draining it
before putting it in to the mix...
I wanted to add pineapple to the loaf so using
a small can of pineapple Tid Bits...I used the
juice and added it to the water...
There was about 1/4 cup of juice...so I added 1 cup of water.
heated in the microwave I then soaked the carrot/raisins.
I then added Golden Raisins.....chopped walnuts....
and about 1/4 cup of the Tid Bits that I cut in half...
My mother always taught me to add just a hint
about 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
when using boxed mixes...
because you don't know how long
the box has been on the store shelf...
it gives that extra boost for it to rise nice and high...

Beaten by Hand until fully mixed I poured it into
a large Emile Henry bread pan.....That I sprayed with Pam.
Here is the Good Part that makes it stand out from
just being a regular old cake...
I added the pineapple Tid Bits down the center of the
Loaf...
I then drizzled a good amount of Honey over the
Pineapple....and finished it off with
Coarse Sanding Sugar...
I actually get the sugar right from the bakery at
Publix...I ask and they always gives me a
container for free!!

The box called for you to bake at 375 degrees
for 40-45 minutes for a Bundt Cake...
The Loaf pan was about the same size in height and depth.
But at 45 minutes it was still wet in the center...
So I lowered the temp to 350...when it started to brown
around the edges.... then I checked it about every five minutes..
It probably was in the oven a good hour...
Joyce said it was very moist
and I suggested she eat it with
Whipped Cream Cheese...

So that's my secret...
Wow them next time by going that little extra step
in taking a plain old box mix and
and letting people think
You baked all day!!


I am linking up this evening with our friend
Penny 
at Comforts of Home
For
Tasty Tuesday #5....
go check out more wonderful recipes...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

From Hot Dogs to Hot Rods.....life with the Boss.

I need to Begin this Post by Stating that the only people who aren't going to
Think we have finally Lost our Minds is
John and Ellen Tiene....
Friends and Fellow Blogger from the
Great State of Jersey....
You see her John is as Nutty as my John.....
Where Car's are concerned that is.....
Ellen's John doesn't have a garage....He actually has a
Warehouse to "house" his car's....
So with that Said....


 Let me start Here.....Last Wednesday....
For those of you who missed the Hormone Drama
On Facebook...

I had to run up to Walgreen's  to
pick up my Prempro which I have taken for
Oh....about 12 years....Yes ladies...You can indeed
Have Hot Flashes for 12 looooooong years...
Pulling into the lot....with the Boss at the wheel I
notice and comment on this gorgeous red
sports car that I did not recognize...
Odd...since we are a family of car
enthusiasts and I can usually identify almost anything....



Disregard that you guys can read what this is....

Isn't it a Beauty....
it happens to be the newly designed 2014
Chevy Corvette....
Who knew the Americans could design such a great
looking sports car....

We have been a Family of Corvette Owners since the Boss owned
one back in the 60's......over the years we have owned
Six.....including the one we drove all the way to
Fort Lauderdale when we moved there in 1977 with
Daughter sitting on my lap....
Which could explain why she is only 5 feet tall......
No car seats needed back then....

Back to the hormones.....I went in to Walgreen's and got 
sticker shock when the Co-Pay on my insurance went from
$40.00 a month to $85.00 a month...
Thank you Obama-Care...
Being Frugal I refused the pills figuring after 12 years
of Hot flashes one of these days I am sure to just get used to them..
It was the principle of the thing....
My extra $45.00 was not about to pay for some
college kids birth control pills....

 We left Walgreen's and drove over for a Dog at the Varsity....
An Atlanta institution...
and the Boss' Idea of a Fancy dinner out....

After some Fine Dining he suggested we stop by our local
Chevy dealer just to take a little "Peek" at the new Vettes...
Okay...I'm a sucker for window shopping....
And Shiny Cars.....
BUT.....by now you all know the Boss is a Sucker....
for purchasing Cars......


The Dealer had not a one 2014 to be had.....
They are in the process of remodeling their showroom floor
and had two 2013's left....

Having an un-diagnosed Sinus Infection.....Hot flashes....
And....a stomach full of Chili "Dawgs" as they call them
down here...
I was not totally excited to "Car Shop"....
after all this was just to be a quick stop in and Peek....
I've been married to this man for 43 years....
Who was I kidding....

Well....the moral of the story is the Boss has been wanting
a "427" Corvette since the 1960's.....
The Better question would be is there anything he hasn't wanted???

This car happened to be the 60th Anniversary
Heritage Collection
"427"
Convertible....
Only 2400 made.....only for one year.....
SURELY....to be a collectible and worth money
when we hit about 80......
Or someday when we are long gone Daughter will be
parlaying the Car Collection into a fortune at the Barrett Jackson
Car Auctions....


My Only Question was.....
"Your going to put that where???"
How do you get 8 cars into a three car garage....
You don't.
Another Lift perhaps??
Nope....Sue might run into it trying to pull in her car....
Five in three is our limit....
shown here.....
You can only Stack Um so High....
But this is how you get
five cars in a three car garage....
In case you wondered....
It seems this is a Guy Thing....
I..... on the other hand... feel like I'm at a parking
Garage on the West Side of New York.....
Every time I leave the house I expect to have to Pay for the time
My Car was parked....
That would be my Nazi-Box parked all the way on the
Right....






Industrial Strength Auto Lifts....
They can Hold up to
Nine Thousand Pounds....
"This is the Buy of a Lifetime".....
"Don't worry we will figure out the Logistics at a later time...."
To Make matters worse our car salesman
Was like something out of a Tyler Perry Movie.....
All he did was laugh....He was very nice...
He thought we were some sort of Two Man comedy Team....
No....this is just how we react to each other....
Snarky Comments....Wise remarks....
This is what we do....


So making an Offer the Boss couldn't Refuse.....
"We"
are  now the Proud Owners of.......


He has a New Car....
I have indigestion (from the Hot Dogs) and the Hot flashes are getting worse.....
Still Refusing to fork over $85.00 I was also getting tired of
waking up at night with my head
Inside a Pizza Oven....

So after speaking with our Beloved Dr. H.....
He found two Generic hormones....
That taken together are the exact same dosage as the expensive
Prempro....
Cost.....$7.36 for a month....for both....

SCORE!!
Watch out with saving like that I might just have to go look
next week at the New 2014 V.W.'s
Nah..........I think We Have finally
Reached our Limit....

Saturday, March 1, 2014

BAKING CHALLAH..........

Daughter called a few weekends ago
and They were having a
Saturday of Making Soup and Baking
Bread...
Challah bread to be exact and interested in how they
were going to make soup and have bread ready all at the
same time she told me how easy the bread was to make...
I was fascinated that it had an extremely short rise time...
For years I shied away from bread baking because I
thought it took hours and hours of kneading and
rising...and kneading and rising...
An all day process.....
So I went online and found something called
"EASY CHALLAH BREAD"
a bit different then daughter's version....I liked the
ingredients....and it made just one loaf...
with a Total prep time to
assemble the dough of about 15 minutes....
And a total rise time of about an hour....
I figured I would give it a try...
I had just come off an all day bread baking class at
the Viking School and for all the work we did and the time
it took I was a bit disappointed how quickly the bread went bust...
This recipe sounded way easier....
It came out of the oven looking very professional....
I added a good handful of golden raisins and a healthy
dose of egg wash to give it that great shine....
It's something I will make often to eat Hot out of the Oven...
I am even thinking of using the dough recipe and
adding the ingredients to make
Hot Cross Buns for Easter.....
The next day it makes for great French Toast too!!
Here is the Recipe....
So easy...
So Good...
and if you leave out the raisins it would make
fabulous Grilled Cheese....
Give it a try...
No special equipment needed....

INGREDIENTS

1 PACKAGE OF ACTIVE DRY YEAST
1 CUP OF WARM WATER (100 DEGREES)
2 TABLESPOONS OF HONEY
1 TEASPOON OF SALT
3 BEATEN EGGS
3 1/2 CUPS OF ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
MORE FLOUR FOR KNEADING
1 BEATEN EGG YOLK
OR 
1 TABLESPOON OF MELTED BUTTER FOR
A SOFTER CRUST.

DIRECTIONS....

1.) IN A LARGE BOWL, STIR THE YEAST INTO THE WATER AND LET STAND UNTIL A CREAMY LAYER FORMS ON TOP...ABOUT TEN MINUTES.
STIR IN THE HONEY AND SALT UNTIL DISSOLVED, THEN ADD THE BEATEN EGGS. MIX IN THE FLOUR, A CUPFUL AT A TIME, UNTIL THE DOUGH IS STICKY. SPRINKLE THE DOUGH WITH FLOUR AND KNEAD UNTIL SMOOTH AND ELASTIC...ABOUT 5 MINUTES...
I USED MY KITCHEN AID WITH THE DOUGH HOOK TO MIX THE DOUGH BEFORE KNEADING...

2.)FORM THE DOUGH INTO A COMPACT ROUND SHAPE, AND PLACE IN AN OILED BOWL. TURN THE DOUGH OVER SEVERAL TIMES IN THE BOWL TO OIL THE SURFACE OF THE DOUGH. COVER THE BOWL WITH A DAMP CLOTH AND LET RISE IN A WARM AREA UNTIL DOUBLED IN SIZE...ABOUT 1 HOUR.
I USED A HEAVY DISH TOWEL OVER THE DAMP TOWEL TO KEEP OUT ANY DRAFTS...

3.)PUNCH DOWN THE DOUGH AND CUT INTO 3 EQUAL PIECES. WORKING ON A FLOURED SURFACE ROLL THE SMALL DOUGH PIECES INTO ROPES ABOUT THE THICKNESS OF YOUR THUMB AND ABOUT 12 INCHES LONG. THE ROPES SHOULD BE FATTER IN THE MIDDLE AND THINNER AT THE ENDS. PINCH 3 ROPES TOGETHER AT THE TOP AND BRAID THEM. NOT LOOSELY...I BRAID JUST LIKE YOUR BRAIDING HAIR. TIGHTLY SO YOU GET A LOT OF BRAIDING. 
PINCH THE ENDS TOGETHER AND FOLD THEM UNDERNEATH FOR A NEAT LOOK. USE YOUR HANDS TO MAKE THE LOAF COMPACT.

4.) PLACE THE BRAIDED LOAF ON A  BAKING SHEET LINED WITH PARCHMENT PAPER AND BRUSH THE TOP WITH THE BEATEN EGG YOLK...FOR A SOFTER CRUST YOU CAN BRUSH WITH THE MELTED BUTTER INSTEAD I USE THE EGG WASH AND IT COMES PERFECT.
5.) PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES  6.) BAKE THE CHALLAH IN THE PREHEATED OVEN UNTIL THE TOP BROWNS TO A RICH GOLDEN COLOR AND THE LOAF SOUNDS HOLLOW WHEN TAPPED...ABOUT 30-35 MINUTES, COOL ON A RACK BEFORE SLICING

I ADDED ABOUT A CUP OF GOLDEN RAISINS THAT I SOAKED FIRST IN VERY HOT WATER...I DRAINED THEM AND LIGHTLY FLOURED THEM BEFORE ADDING THEM TO THE DOUGH WHILE IT WAS BEING MIXED IN THE KITCHEN AID.

I LOVE HOT CROSS BUNS AND THIS BREAD HAS THE SAME TASTE SO I WILL TRY ADDING CANDIED FRUIT AND RAISINS AND MAKE THEM BUN SIZE WITH 
THAT CRISS CROSS OF POWDERED SUGAR ICING ON TOP
THE NEXT TIME I BAKE.....I WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW THEY COME...

THIS RECIPE IS SO SIMPLE AND YOU'LL FEEL LIKE A
PROFESSIONAL BAKER WHEN YOU SEE THE RESULTS....
HAVE FUN AND TRY IT!!





Wednesday, February 19, 2014

With a Little Help From IKEA!

How perfect is this Rug for a little Girls
Room.....Ikea.... of course... for a mere
$39.99
Purchased for Miss B awhile back
for her NYC Bedroom....
with space at a premium....

and a minimum...
it was a bit overwhelmed in this bedroom
of a typical 6 year old...
So with Grandma in town for the week..
We decided it was time to
Re-Decorate!
"Translation"
she has too much crap and it was time for a
Major Overhaul....
Major is an understatement....
This Kid owns more toys and "stuff" then
FAO Schwartz...
so it was time to purge while Miss B
was with her Dad....
Our Plan was to re-do the whole room before
She came home on Monday.....
Working last evening until 12:30
We were pleased with the results...
Kids... it seems... love to collect
tiny doo-dads...McDonald's toys..
Gumball toys....little plastic things..
Just general junk...
And we...the parents...and
Grandparents contribute to this
Mess...

If she never got another toy or
Stuffed animal...I don't think she
would even notice..
It was time to get rid of the Pee Wee Herman
Playhouse plastic furniture...
The metal tiered rack which at one time
was thought to be a good idea for
the sake of organizing..
Dis-regard the luggage....That is mine..
We tried to get the Cat to read the Ikea
instructions....after all there are no words to read
Just pictures to follow...
We figure it was something the Cat was
capable of doing....
Here she is asking...
"I see all the screws...where's the Allen wrench?"
Her attempt at pretending she's asleep...
and ignore us...
Only she forgot to shut her
Left Eye....
So the Mom stepped in and assembled
everything...
From her new desk chair...
To a brand new girlie pink desk...
To an 8 sectioned Cubby unit...
Daughter has been building
Ikea furniture for years now
and is really an expert.....


But it's grandma who has the eye for
furniture placement....so first up....
After removing all the crap from the room
Was to move the bed against the window..
This opened up the entire space...
 
Next came the Cubby Unit....meant to stand tall...
For safety reasons we decided to have it lay
horizontally...two rows of four cubby holes...
We went with orange fabric containers for
Four of the spots...
We added the infamous "Dead Bears" because they
are so colorful and a few family photo's...
The Bears were daughter's....
Next up was new bedding......
Ikea also....$29.99 for the Duvet Cover
and striped pillow case...
We decided to keep the book rack...
and with so many stuffed animals...
We piled them in the corners...
But neatly inside of large laundry
like containers....
The pink chair was all of $12.00
The pink and White desk was $79.99
Above the desk is Sophie's Name
made with advertising letters
from signs in Europe...I showed you all the ones
daughter made us a few posts back...
She photographs interesting single letters off of
signs and then turns them into names..
The letters came from France and Amsterdam...
The large picture with all the faces also
came from Ikea...It's actually a fabric remnant
That daughter stretched over canvas..
We picked up the desk lamp...the shade is also
pink and orange dots...
About $20 for both...the base and the shade..
The top of the existing dresser was cleared off
(all the junk was thrown out)
making a spot for some more animals...
Our whole basic theme was...
Color...Color...and more Color...
We fit more stuff in this unit then you can
Imagine..

One of her favorite things when she first
saw the room was the big "B" bookend....
After all she is "Miss B"...
The room was not big enough to fit two of the Button
Rugs...
We found this very cool looking hooked rug
at TJMaxx....another $39.99 Buy...

I said we were going for a Color Theme!!
B loves having pictures of herself in her room....
Ikea mouse...

$7.99

She spent the whole day sitting at the desk...
And yes...that's an I-Pad you see...
A gift from Grandpa...

The Whole Gang
What a difference
A little
organization
Makes...
Miss B approved!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How to Detect Early Alzheimer's.......It's all about a Horse.

I need to paint a picture for you of where we
Live so you can decide for yourself in which
direction my life is headed....
You have to drive by two horse farms to get to
our house....
Oh it's lovely....especially in the Spring and Fall.
I Fell in Love with the Road the day we went to look
at the house with our Realtor...
I had Grand Plans to get a cute bike with a little horn
and a wicker basket on the handle bar....
of course a big straw hat....
I've been told I have a face for hats...
And then....
The county decided this beautiful iconic setting needed...
Speed Bumps....or as they call them here in the
South...
"Speed Humps"....
So the bike idea went out the window when the Boss
said I would have to wear a helmet....

That wasn't happening....
Big floppy straw hat or Nothing!!
I drive down this road every single day.....
Over those 9 freakin speed bumps...

(embellished for effect there are only 6)
The only thing that keeps me sane is looking
at those beautiful horses in the
pasture....
Aren't they Handsome....
See the white and tan one...
Some days he's standing...some days
He's sitting down....some days he's actually
lying on his back....You know like the Dead
Horse in Animal House....
I like to think of him as the "Boss" of
Horses...Because.....the Boss always says...
"Why stand when you can sit...why sit when you
can lie down...."
But....I do realize the horse is Alive and Well
and certainly not Dead....
even though he may look that way on
Occasion....
I have the common sense to realize this....
Or so I thought.....
Here is the other horse pasture....
Actually just some one's large back yard...
One Lone horse...
For argument Sake let's call him
"Mr Ed"....
Mr. Ed has been here as long as we have....
I see him every single day just like the
other horses only he has no one to play with.
He normally wanders the large fenced in
area and that is normally what I see him doing...
 
Until this past week...
Doesn't matter what time of Day or Night...
there he is.. standing in that same spot...
Staring....
He looks like he's put himself in
"Time Out"...
I have seen him there when I'm going and when
I'm coming home...
10:30 in the morning or
6:00 at night....doesn't matter...
Never moves....
You do know where this story is going
Don't You??

Yesterday I passed by...and there he was..

Same spot....not moving.... my first
Thought Was....

OMG....it can't be that the horse finally died and
the people had him Taxidermied...
Hey....don't laugh....we are in the South
where there is a taxidermist on every corner...
This actually went through my mind....
And here I am admitting it...
Second thought popped into my head....
The Horse did Die but they missed him out in the yard
So they went and bought a phony Horse
To take his place....
I thought perhaps the people really loved this
horse Or they thought it would just be fun
to see what the neighbors

would do...
This thought was warranted
because....
After All we are "those people"
With the Dummy Board of our dead Golden Retriever
On our Front Porch...

A fake horse is exactly what we 
would do...
The damn horse didn't move a hair for a whole week!!
What would you have thought....
This Horse Looks Fake....Does he not???
And...
If you have ever seen my house you 

know
Taxidermy animals are not unusual....
We Have seen in Person

Napoleon's Dead Horse...
And...
This is what a Taxidermied Horse 

Looks Like..

So I Finally got out of the car 

And I took his picture..
still no movement...

Until I got up close...
He blinked his eyes...
Must have been the flash :)
I sent it right off to the daughter

She confirmed
that it does indeed look like a Fake horse..

Nope......
He's Alive....I figure he is standing 

There hoping for
an invite from the horses down 

The Street...
Like a bad kid that no one
wants to play with..
I felt better that perhaps it was just a moment
Of excitement With the Thought that we too could have
our own Stuffed horse to go along
with the Buffalo head and yes...your seeing that
right....
Killed and stuffed right there in Aisle 5 at
FAO Schwarz on Fifth Ave....
Our new Leopard head...
Only temporary until I find a real head
to replace it....I hung it as a joke....But on
second thought I better take it down before
Daughter visits next or she will be having me
committed for sure...

I am hoping that it was just one of those
"Brain Cloud"
Moments and that at 63 years old my mind is
Not starting to stray....
So you make the call....
Early Alzheimer's.....or
"Just Plain Nutz".....

At least I didn't hear him talk!!



Disclaimer.....
this post although 100% true was meant to be lighthearted
No disrespect for people with Alzheimer's or friends who
have family members with this awful disease...
I was talking to the "Big Boss" a few years ago
when he called to say he was afraid the snow fall during the
night was going to kill his tomato plants...
It was August....
shortly after that Daughter went to visit and his
Home was sweltering hot and his fridge was filled with
food that had gone bad...
I contacted his primary care doctor and told him
our concerns....I knew something was very wrong..
The doctor said...
"It's none of your business....he's a grown man and if
this is the lifestyle he wants there is nothing
you can do about it"....
I couldn't believe his words......
Less then 2 years later....He woke one night
seeing dead people on the ceiling in his bedroom....
He died one month later...

From....
Alzheimer's/Dementia
And nobody ever diagnosed it.....
At 89 he was still driving every day...

So watch out for friends and family who make odd
comments...or do strange things...
Except for me of course.......
Hopefully if my mind goes I hope I get to keep
my sense of humor...

Me and My Dog...
 Can always entertain at the Old Age Home....