Saturday, March 22, 2014

English muffins

I like to bake bread. Not just plain old white bread, which I have been forced to use my bread machine for this winter because my kitchen has been too cold for anything to rise. But lots of breads, in different shapes and sizes. Yeast is my friend (except when the kitchen is too cold!), and kneading is good for the soul.  And I don't shy away from trying something new.


So yeah, I went there. This recipe has been taunting me as long as I've had this cookbook. It was a gift at my wedding shower, so that tells you how long I've been thinking about this. But who makes their own english muffins? When you have Thomas' sitting on the shelf at the grocery store, so easy.


The recipe itself is pretty basic. Milk, yeast, salt, sugar, some shortening, and then throw in the flour. It's a sticky dough, so go ahead and throw in some more flour. Then let it rise. Throw in some more flour and let it rise again. Cut out your circles, and yes, let them rise again.

That's three times, rising. And if you think you've just spent all morning making your english muffins, then wait, there's more ...


Cook them on the griddle, on the stove top. Since my griddle basically holds four, at 15 minutes per side (my gas stove actually cooked them in 12, but still), a whole batch of these will take not only all morning, but definitely past lunch time.


These are my first four. Yep, I already ate two, I was hungry.

After cooking on the grill, then cooling, then gently splitting them with a fork (yes, you really do split them with a fork, it works), and then toasting them in the toaster ... butter melting into the nooks and crannies ... yum, yum ...

My kids, both of them, just shrugged their shoulders. Nope, nobody wanted to even try one.

So I still have a dozen or so left. All to myself. Once I finish grilling them all. And since I technically did not shell out any money for these, all the ingredients are always in my pantry, I consider them to be free. Time consuming, but still free. And free is good.

So that's how I spend a carefree Saturday morning - into-afternoon. Oh, and they taste good, too. I'd say just as good as the store bought ones, but since there's nothing I can't pronounce in the ingredients, they're definitely better. And free, did I say free?


Monday, January 06, 2014

How cold is it?

After being snowed in all weekend, now we're "cold- in". All the snow that was blowing around for the last couple of days has turned into giant blocks of ice.

I had to explain to my boys that they have NEVER IN THEIR LIFETIMES seen it this cold. And hopefully, we will never see this again, because when they grow up I will retire to someplace warmer, and with less snow.

We used to have a saying around here, "too cold to snow". Because when it gets anywhere near this cold, it usually is too dry for snow to even form, let alone make it to the ground. So the worst of winter in the Midwest is usually pretty dry, and driveable. But nooooooo ... old man winter had to go and give us both. Record-breaking, death-bringing cold on top of a couple of days of blizzard conditions and oh, a bunch of snow to try and shovel out of the way so we can get on with our daily activities.

No daily activities here.

I did get my car started. And I did get out to see that sometimes, even the experts at road clearing can be overcome in the face of the deepest depths of cold.

So back inside I go, thankful that we only have a few days of this, instead of weeks, or months. Thankful I have working heat and hot water, that my pipes haven't frozen (yet!), and that I have the right winter gear if I should need to go back out, for any reason. Thankful we are warm.

Friday, October 04, 2013

This boot was not made for walkin'


It's been a week.

A week of sitting on my butt. Should be relaxing, don't ya think? I've got my 'puter, my phone (unless someone walks off with it and forgets to bring it back), my tablet, an assortment of books and notebooks (but never a pen where I can reach it!) and the TV remote, some of the time. And even a cup of coffee, most of the time. Sounds like a mother's dream.

Or a nightmare.

But really, more like a HUGE inconvenience. I guess I'm not the lazy slob I thought I was. I really do prefer the house to be reasonably neat and clean, and I guess I really do prefer to do it myself, rather than sit around all day asking the almost-teenager to do it. Even though he needs the practice.

Because I am BORED! I can't believe the crap they put on TV, my selection of books fails to interest me (since I seem to fall asleep after only a few minutes of reading) and one can only spend so much time on Facebook before going absolutely insane. I'm getting close. And where's my pen?!

So four more weeks of this boot cast. I'm told I'll get used to it, like anyone can get used to walking around with one leg 4 inches shorter than the other. That would be difficult for a normal person, but with my history of falling off a sidewalk curb while wearing athletic shoes, the odds are not in my favor.

That's what I did, really and truly. Fell. Off the curb. And broke my foot (proof that if you take enough x-rays, the dr will find the teeny tiny fracture that's causing inordinate amounts of pain and swelling and a gorgeous shade of purple). And sprained my wrist/thumb. And bruised my knee (more purple, my favorite color). Forgot to tuck and roll.

At least I didn't bump my head. This time.

So, I've got to have a challenge to my day, but this is ridiculous. And I need to exercise. Hobbling around Target does not count.

Must. Walk. The Dog.

Time for meds. If it doesn't rain I may just attempt grocery shopping. Maybe I'll get to drive one of those scooters around and terrorize other shoppers.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

It all happened so quickly ...


I still love the heat. Nothing better than a hot summer day, I say. So on any hot summer afternoon, you can find me outside, enjoying the weather, maybe playing with my dog.

And that's what we were doing yesterday ... afternoon, maybe eveningish (that is so a word!). The sky was cloudy, maybe darkening a little. But that was in the east, and the sun was setting in the west, so that made sense, at the time. I wasn't expecting any storms, and if I was I'd be looking southwest, as that is where most of them come from. But not east, definitely not east. Not from the front yard.

But the sky continued to darken. Then the wind picked up. The neighbor's tree, on my right, nearly bent over, and suddenly the table umbrella, behind me, started to rise and float away. It took a moment for that to register, that my 9-foot umbrella was actually floating up and away from the table stand, before I grabbed it and proceeded to wrestle it to the ground, trying to fold it in as I brought it down, looking for my little toto-ish dog running around (hopefully not floating away!) so as not to bury him under it.

Yeah, that's what I did. I wrestled a 9-foot umbrella in the wind. Where's the video camera when you need one?

I paused and looked at the clouds. They fascinate me, how beautiful and mysterious, floating and swirling in the sky. One in particular, off to the east, intrigued me for a moment. Long and sinewy, stretching out of the sky, swirling and coming toward me and OHSHITGETINTHEHOUSE!!!

For some people, it takes a flash of lightning, a sudden downpour, or even the emergency siren to get them to stop appreciating the beauty of a coming storm and take shelter. A funnel cloud works for me.

Almost as soon as I got in the house and ran to a front window where I could see from a sheltered distance, the cloud was being swallowed up into the sky. Gone. As fast as it came, it went. No harm done.


(photo by Brandy Carrelli, http://compassionatefamily.weebly.com/ )

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Whoa! Just almost got run down by a runaway hornline! Well that's what they look like when they're headed right for you.

Anyway,  just sitting here on the curb inhaling the aromas of  snack time. Parked here in the street, both sides, leaving room only for pedestrians and golf carts, members of various corps all hanging out, greeting each other, and enjoying fourth meal. Pretty soon we'll pack up and head for DeKalb, where we'll meet up with many of the same corps  tomorrow night.

And do it again. Same show, different city, practice, practice, practice until it's better than perfect.

And tomorrow, after a good night's sleep in my bus seat, I will carve out time to take in a uniform, maybe sew on some patches for a jacket,. And maybe there will be yet another unusual project to do. Because there's nothing like rushing to finish a bunch of pleather sandbags, beacuse it's windy and we need to stabilize our props.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The adventure continues

We've spent two days in one place, enjoying the hospitality, hot showers and reliable internet connections at UCM. Showtime will be late this evening, and then on to our next destination even later. I better learn to sleep on the bus  tonight, because tomorrow is laundry day. And yes, that is as much fun as it sounds.

We finally had a full day of sewing, only most of our intended refits didn't show up for their fittings last night. Oh yes, another incidence of drum corps time: fittings can and often do take place well after midnight. But somehow I still managed to get up at my normal hour and be ready to work by 7 am. So we had plenty of time to get everyone ready for tonight's show.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tour, day one

File this under living a little: I am writing this on a bus, traveling from Metamora, IL to Warrenville, MO, in the middle of the night. Ok, so it's not exactly midnight yet, but this is definitely late for me. This is what we call "drum corps time". Sleep when you can, on the bus if possible, as a convoy of buses and trucks transports the entire production toward their next city, which is often in the middle of nowhere.

There are 155 (give or take) kids in the corps, plus an ever-increasing staff of instructors and volunteers. Just pulling into a rest area for a bathroom break is going to be a major production. So far this has been the easy part. Sometime tomorrow we will arrive at our next housing site, unload our stuff and wander inside to find a space to make a bed and catch some more sleep, if possible. Then we get up and get to work.

(Yaaawwn) It's been the first of many long days ahead. Time for bed, or some facsimile thereof.