Friday, December 12, 2008

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Amish Friendship Bread Starter

A couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of mine and I met for dinner and she brought me a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter. Most of you know what this is, but for those who don't - its so much fun and a cute "gift" for a friend. I plan on making a few starters up, pairing them with a Christmas dish towel and a wooden spoon - a little Christmas ribbon, or red and green rafia and wa-lah - a cute little hostess gift, or something fun for a neighbor. Here is the recipe for the starter:
Amish Friendship Bread Starter
Ingredients: 1 package active dry yeast 1/4 cup warm water 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided 3 cups white sugar, divided 3 cups milk Directions: Step 1: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container (anything but metal), combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature. Step 2: On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a wooden spoon. Step 3: Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Step 4: Days 6 thru 9; stir only. Step 5: Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2). **Tip**: Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day One, skip step 1 and proceed with step 2. Enjoy!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Cookie Edition!

Christmas time = Gingerbread people and houses and snaps, etc. My husband loves gingerbread in all of the previous mentioned forms. Me - not so much. Why, you ask? Because most of the time they are neither moist nor chewy - the way that I like my desserts. They are crisp and crunchy and just not the delectible goodness I like in a cookie. But, being the "good wife" that I am - I want to bake some for my husband. But I just hate getting in the kitchen and making something that I don't even like - that I don't even get to enjoy when I am done. Thus, the search began for a soft and chewy ginger snap recipe began. And...wah la! I found one! I altered it just slightly and let me tell you - they have the great taste that he loves and the the moistness I crave. So, before you read - beware! Once you make these - you might not be able to stop (eating them)! :) Enjoy!
Soft & Chewy Gingersnaps
  • ¾ cup margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ cup cinnamon sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and molasses until well blended.
  • Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda and salt; stir into the molasses mixture to form dough.
  • Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
  • Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.
Tip: You can place the balls on wax paper, get a cinnamon sugar shaker and sprinkle them with the mixture, move them onto a cookie sheet, and then fold up the wax paper and put the extra mixture back into the canister. Very easy and inexpensive!

Congrats on your New Baby Boy!

A very dear friend of mine, had her third child last night at 9:24pm. Her first baby boy! He weighed in at 9lbs 2oz. and was 21 ½" long! I just wanted to take a minute to Congratulate my friends on their newest miracle! Congratulations glitters Images and Pictures for your Website, blog or Forum Congratulations and Best Wishes!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

She's Not Spoiled - She's "Well Taken Care Of"

Darren and I don't have any children (yet), but wanted an addition to our family, so we decided to start with a puppy! I have had dogs all of my life, so when our family dog died a few years ago, I wanted another. Darren had just moved to Houston, and we were looking for an apartment together so we decided to wait. And since then - we have waited, and waited and waited! I told him a few months ago that I didn't want to wait any longer, that I was asking for a puppy for Christmas!
We found a breeder in Bonham, TX and we bought a black female Miniature Schanuzer. She was born on October 4th and we get to pick her up this weekend!! I am ecstatic! I can't wait. I have gotten a few things to prepare for her arrival. Everyone keeps teasing me that she is already so spoiled, but I like to think of her as being "well taken care of".
This is a picture from the breeder. She is 4 weeks and 1 day old.
We went and had a nametag made for her, with rhinestones, of course! My favorite color is red, so I am sure she will love it too. And, a girl has to have some bling!
I bought this toy to take with us when we pick her up! A girl has needs - even from a young age! Memaw bought her this cute pet bed, when she wants to lounge around in the living room.
Last night, I made her this fleece houndstooth blanket - after all, it's getting cold outside!
Memaw bought her, her first stocking! A little elf boot (with sequins, of course)!
Memaw also bought her a Gingerbread squeaky toy. (Memaw is excited about her, too). I bought her the green and red one, because it's cute - and it's Christmas!
And then I got her some stuff for her stocking! Those are gourmet yogurt-dipped canine cookies! How cute are they? So she got a couple of toys and a few goodies!
We are driving up (to North Texas) to pick her up, on Saturday and we are going to attempt to take Christmas pictures, with her, on Sunday - so I will try to post some more pictures of our little one next week!

Favorite Ingredient Friday - In the Aftermath of Thanksgiving

I was out of town, for Overwhelmed with Joy’s Favorite Ingredient Friday, so I am posting mine now! After a few days, or more spent in the kitchen preparing for Thanksgiving the last thing that I want to do when it is over, is get back in there to cook again. I need a break, but my family needs to eat, so - we compromise - and have leftover turkey soup. Normally, it’s pretty cool around Thanksgiving so a pot of soup is nice and it gives me a way to use up all of the leftover turkey and veggies crowding my fridge. I don’t get fussy over it – I just throw everything in to one big pot – if you injected your turkey with something, no worries – it will give your soup flavor too, and when I wind up with leftover soup? I freeze it! Your Christmas baking and shopping is coming up, so your time in the kitchen is probably limited. Just pop this in the microwave to thaw out, and heat it back up on the stove and wah-lah – many meals off just that one turkey!
Not sure how to go about freezing soup - no worries - just visit The Gracious Bowl.
Leftover Turkey Soup
  • Leftover Stock from Thanksgiving
  • Leftover Turkey, broken into pieces
  • 2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 2 Cans of Cream of Celery Soup
  • 1 family size bag of boil-in-bag rice (this is approx. 3 cups of rice)
  • 1 bunch of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • Sliced carrots (canned, or fresh - whatever you have)
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste


  • In a medium skillet, sauté the diced celery and onions in the butter, until tender.
  • In a small pot, boil water and cook boil in bag rice (according to directions on package).
  • In a large stock pot, bring the stock to a low boil. Add all the cans of soup and stir to incorporate.
  • Add shredded turkey, carrots, celery, onion and rice.
  • Stir all together and serve hot.

If you don't have any stock leftover - shame on you. Kidding - just throw some water in your pot and a few chicken bouillon cubes, or chicken stock from the can or box.

You can add corn, or hominy or noodles - whatever you have in your pantry. Again, this is not something I get fussy about - if you don't have an ingredient - don't worry about it - use something else, or just leave it out.

Tom Never Had A Chance Against These Two!

Darren and his dad (I call him Pops) are such great people, and really stand-up guys. Besides all of that - they make me laugh. They think a lot alike, which is scary sometimes when it comes to their "good ideas". Nonetheless, they really pulled off two great Thanksgiving turkeys. They decided to move farther way from the house, because of the oil "mess", and decided to fry the turkeys out by Pops' shop. I stood out there for awhile, in between chopping onions and making pies - just so you can see them at their best! The poor bird, never had a chance! You can already see them - its not even 11 in the morning, and they are already up to no good. Putting the first bird in. - Look at Darren "supervising". Almost there! Its in - you can see their feet - they just stood there, all proud of themselves. :)
Notice Reba's - I mean Darren's outfit change! Also - look at how many propane bottles they have!! Count them - there are FIVE! Yes, FIVE - they could have fried Sasquatch with all that propane!
45 minutes later - it's time to come out. (That's Darren taking it out and Pops supervising this time).
Golden brown!
Almost there!
Teamwork! One holds the pan, the other puts the bird in it! And its done, and no one got hurt! :)
Honestly though - they made a Cajun butter fried turkey and a jalapeno butter fried turkey and they were beyond delicious! So, I got some entertainment watching them and a great meal. - it made for a great Thanksgiving.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Darren and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on November 17th. It's hard to believe that its already been a year! Our anniversary fell on a Monday, so we decided to take trip the weekend before. We left on Saturday, and drove to Brenham where we stayed in a hand-hewn pre-civil war cabin until Monday afternoon. It was in the country, which was nice and it was so peaceful, and quiet - no phones, cable, internet, etc. We just spent a lot of time together - talking, and laughing and really enjoying each others company! We hope to get a chance to "get away" again soon. Until then, there are pictures of the cabin we stayed in to remind us of our trip. Back of the Cabin, from the entrance. Front of the cabin
Description Plate Hot tub on the front porch!
View from the front porch.
Desk when you walk in.
View from the front door.
King size pillow top bed. Mini-kitchen.
In the kitchen - you can see the original axe marks.
Bathroom - a new addition to the cabin.
Stairs to the loft.
The Loft An original pre-civil war trunk. View from the loft.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Lots of things have been going on lately, but I haven't felt like blogging about them. Mainly, because most of them are negative. I have been frustrated beyond belief. I don't know if I will vent on here or not. I try to keep this upbeat. On a good note, Darren and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on November 17th. We went on a short weekend trip and stayed in a pre-civil war cabin. I took some pictures of the cabin but have been too lazy to load them. Hopefully, I will get those up soon. Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fun Facts from Infection Control

Fun facts from Infection Control
I just got this e-mail and although I wanted to throw up - I thought I would share it. During an hour's swimming at a municipal pool you will ingest 1/12 liter of urine.

In an average day your hands will have come into indirect contact with 15 penises (touching door handles, etc.)

An average person's yearly fast food intake will contain 12 pubic hairs.

In a year you will have swallowed 14 insects - while you slept!

Annually you will shake hands with 6 women who have recently masturbated and failed to wash their hands.

Annually you will shake hands with 11 men who have recently masturbated and failed to wash their hands.

In a lifetime 22 workmen will have examined the contents of your dirty linen basket.

At an average wedding reception you have a 1/100 chance of getting a cold sore from one of the guests.

Daily you will breath in 1 liter of other peoples' anal gases.

... and wash your damn hands!

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Soup Edition

Ok, so we all know - it doesn't get too cold in Houston. My husband and I went away for the weekend - last weekend, and it got down into the 30s and we both swore up and down that we would freeze to death. We don't "do" cold. Although, I love when it actually feels like fall and winter - I like to be inside enjoying it - in the warmth. Part of that enjoyment comes from a nice big fire, the other part is from a heaping bowl of steaming hot soup. I can't help you with the fire, but I have got a great soup recipe that I think you will just love. We sure do! Baked Potato Soup Ingredients: 4 bacon strips, diced 1 small white onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon dried basil ¼ teaspoon dried thyme ½ teaspoon pepper 3 cups chicken broth 2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 cup half-and-half ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce Shredded Cheddar cheese Directions: 1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. 2. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. 3. Set bacon aside. 4. Sauté onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. 5. Stir in flour, salt, basil, thyme and pepper; mix well. 6. Gradually add broth. 7. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. 8. Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. 9. Garnish with bacon and cheese.

Looks delicious, doesn't it?!?