Sunday, October 31, 2010

my annual halloween rant

We live in a destination neighborhood for the trick-or-treaters.
They start coming in droves, in carpools. I can never understand the people who bring sleeping babies in strollers--with no older siblings in sight to explain why they are out. Then, there are those don't want to climb the steps up our porch and want me to come down to give them candy. Go home; stop by the Jewel and buy your own bag of candy. Or, at least climb my steps. And, make the effort to say "Trick or Treat!"

I think I have turned into that crabby old lady who yells at you to stay off her lawn.

At least I have a cute kid. The cat irritates me, though.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

potato and corn chowder

Over at Pioneer Woman she has an enticing recipe for corn chowder that looked like it could help me on my quest to clean out the freezer. We are in a no-buy frozen stuff mode and have to use something out of it every day. This recipe used frozen home made chicken broth and a bag of corn Andy used to ice his knee last night. And a bit of bacon.
I made a lighter version than hers and added potatoes and substituted with what I had on hand--I'll save her version with cream for another day. Her version used fresh corn that would be wonderful. It wouldn't have helped Andy's knee though.
I made it all without leaving the house to visit the Jewel. A good day.


1/3 lb bacon, diced
3 medium onions, diced
In soup pot brown bacon slightly, stir in onions and saute until soft.
1 small can diced green chilies
1 lb cut corn
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
4 potatoes, cut into a tiny dice
2 quarts chicken broth
Cook until potatoes are done.

Stir in 1/3 cup corn meal mixed with 1/2 cup water
Simmer until slightly thickened.
Add 2 cups milk and heat through.
Top each bowl with freshly ground black pepper.

And the freezer is now down to a couple of boxes of my mom's applesauce, sausage, a box of phyllo dough and cheese. And the cardamom. Plug those into a recipe search engine and see what I can make!
(The can is holding up that side of the shelf because the support broke.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

chocolate chip cookies

My mother and sisters and I call these Peggy Vis' cookies, because we got the recipe from her, but you can call them Lynn Dykstra's cookies since you are getting it from me, and I did tweak the recipe a bit. (unless you know Peggy--then, keep her name on it!)
What makes these cookies good:
--the creaming step is extended to where air is incorporated and the dough takes on a foam consistency. Makes a wonderful sandy texture.
--the home made baking powder eliminates the metallic taste that sometimes comes with regular baking powder. This also makes the dough a bit unstable, so you need to bake the cookies right after making the dough, not freeze to bake later.
--they are a good cookie that freezes well. They must be kept in an air-tight container as the weather will get in them quickly.
--it is not a chewy cookie. Seth once complained I did not make soft chewy cookies like his friends' mothers. I said Dutch people like a hard cookie we can dunk in our tea. and he should consider himself lucky to have a mother and friends' mothers who bake and quit whining right now. There.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (two sticks) room temperature butter (no margarine)
1 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar

Beat in mixer at medium-high speed for 5 minutes. (I use a Kitchenaid.)

In a small bowl mix
1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add to mixer bowl.

Add 4 cups of flour.

Add 1 1/2 cups of walnuts and one 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips.

I use a small scoop and make all the balls of dough at once and put them on a plate. I usually get 110 cookies unless there is someone in the house eating cookie dough.

Bake on parchment paper on cookie sheet; they spread a bit but not too much. I can fit 20 on a half sheet baking pan.
If baking two sheets at once, switch the location of the pan half way through the baking time.

350 degrees for 14-17 minutes. We like them on the darker side. Well, I like them on the darker side and I'm making them, so that is what my family gets.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

home made gifts

Judy over at Patchworktimes has asked for posts about home made gifts.
My sisters and I have been exchanging such for a while:
--Pin cushions made from a blanket my parents had been given as a wedding present 55 years previously.
--Recipe book of home and current recipies, printed over scanned old photographs in watermark mode.
--Pieces of my mother's Christmas cactus started in new pots.
--Enlarged and framed photographs of our grandparents at work with their chickens, pigs, and tractor.
--They get my hand knit dish cloths so they will think of me every day as they wipe up.
--I framed my parents' and grandparents' wedding invitations.

We also are great at giving consumables:
--I give my dad a big jug of real maple syrup every Christmas. It runs out in late October so the new one is a treat each year!
--Our neighbor gifts are a jar of good mustard or other condiment that will be enjoyed.
--Brothers-in-law get a case of a Chicago craft beer or rootbeer.
--A friend one year told me she'd make a cake for a potluck I was going to--a gift of time and talent.
--We give my mother-in-law a year's worth of hair appointments.
--For teachers, I give a sheet of Christmas stamps.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

progress on the H quilts

I have the bodies of the H quilts put together and will think a bit about borders.
I am grateful for the high birth rate on this block that continues to provide me with quilt holders. Here are my adorable neighbor girls who did not whine a bit when I asked for their help.

Monday, October 04, 2010

wandering foot

This lovely quilt was given to me by my friend Evert Martin. He writes, "I'm so grateful to give this quilt to you! You asked about some history. I believe it to be as follows: I believe it was made by Ida Martin of Riverside and Coloma Michigan, my great-grandmother. She died at age 94 in the early 1950's in Coloma...Do enjoy it."
I will.