Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Monkey Bread in Copper Chef

This morning my sister and I woke up before everyone else and made Monkey Bread. She cooks/bakes like me. These measurements are estimates.
Monkey Bread
2 1/2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups vanilla ice cream 
1 cup sugar with cinnamon
2 to 3 pop open biscuits  (12-20 ea)
1 tsp vanilla 
Cooking in the Copper Chef Square pan
We had two stations going. One for the caramel topping and one for the bread processing. (You can also use frozen bread.)
Starting at the Bread Station
I cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. If you use (thawed) frozen bread the pieces aren't quite as consistent.

Cut biscuits in quarters
1 stick of butter was melted for dipping. (I melted 1/2 stick later because there wasn't quite enough.)
Butter for dipping
Then we prepared sugar and cinnamon. We mixed about a cup at a time.
Cinnamon Sugar
Ready for a roll in the butter then 
Moisten bread with butter
A dip in the cinnamon sugar.  To me this is the puttsy part. It is a good thing that I like doing puttsy things.
Roll in Cinnamon Sugar
While I was preparing the rolls, Tabatha was making the caramel. She put the brown sugar on top of the butter.
Topping station: adding the brown sugar
Then she added the ice cream and started cooking it.  I'm not sure how long.  
Don't forget the ice cream!
She said that she heats it until it hits the right consistency. 
Start melting to make caramel.
Once it is all liquid, she adds a teaspoon of vanilla. 
A pure flavor
Then she brings it to a boil. By this time, it is turning the color of caramel.
It is caramel!
We turned off the heat and put the bread on the top. Gently we scooped the caramel over the top.
Add the bread and mix it around..,
We covered the bread up getting ready to bake it. We baked it between 35 and 45 minutes.
Cover and bake
We tested it by pulling out a center piece to make sure that it was cooked through. Then we carefully flipped it onto a plate.
Monkey bread fresh out of the oven (before it is flipped)
This was hobbit breakfast one. My stepmother rinsed out the pan and made hobbit breakfast two (ham and eggs with cheese.)
The hobbits 2nd breakfast
You can make Monkey bread when you are too tired....

Friday, December 30, 2016

Travel day

In order for us to travel we have a couple of prerequisites. First we need to find somebody to stay with the dogs. Secondly we need to find somebody to take care of the rest of the farm animals. So with both of those taken care of and a house-sitter who is a dog sitter, we headed out onto the road.
Who is in the trunk?
I know it looks a little bit like somebody is shoved into the trunk. And I am sure at different times during the day both Dale and I wanted to put the other person in the trunk. But it's just luggage.
We are at wool not Cotton....
 We are going up to Dad's for the weekend.  My brother and sister are going up too. We were texting and sending pictures all the way up. My sister told me she was at Cotton. So I took a picture of my drop spindle and told her I was at wool.
...really we are here.
Then I took a picture of where we really were.
The long road up North
Northern Minnesota is a beautiful place to drive. I wish I could have taken a few more pictures. But it's too difficult for me to hold my cell phone still with my left hand and get a good photo.
...getting into Evergreen territory
Dale was driving which was nice because then I could enjoy the scenery. It was a traumatic drive but we made it.
Dale was driving - not me  :^)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reheating leftovers

The problem with making soups that have rice and potatoes in them is that the moisture absorbs into the starch. I added chicken broth to add moisture as I reheated the soup. 
I have reheated soups in other pans and they are difficult to wash. Dried on and cooked on food as well as sometimes scorched onto the bottom of the pan. This time I was using my copper chef square pan.
Re-heating in the original pan
It heated up well. It cleaned up well and with the chicken broth instead of water we were able to maintain the flavor.
Better after a few days

Monday, December 26, 2016


When weather changed everyone's plans on Christmas day, I made the best of it and painted a gift for a friend.
She is close to Sonjia so I decided to paint her a watercolor of Sonjia. I started by doing a rough draft sketch on watercolor paper with charcoal pencil.
Sketch of Sonjia
Then I started working on the painting. I enjoyed doing it. And I know Doberman eyes our little bit goofy but in this painting the more I work the right eye the worse it got. So I decided to stop and just leave it.
Completed Watercolor

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone! The weather this year is not cooperating with family celebrations. There was mist and freezing rain this morning. With more expected this afternoon. The temperature is teetering on freezing so family has decided to all stay put. As my sister said we don't want any of the family to die on Christmas Day.
Last night we saw Misty Blue trying to nibble on the bottom of the "I am on the nice list" stocking.
A Christmas Stocking is down!
This morning we woke up to Misty Blue pulling down the "Define naughty" stocking. She had a chew bone in her mouth. She didn't want to eat it but she did want to be the first one to have a treat!
Misty Blue
Dale was standing up by the stockings so I asked him to pass the same treats that Misty took out to all the other dogs. Duchess just wasn't quite ready to eat hers either. But she definitely protected it!
Skyler was all into it! The treat Misty chose was a challenge to eat. But he took on that challenge with gusto.
Sonjia ran and hid so I didn't get a picture of her eating her treat. I am not sure if you can tell in the photo below but there's a shadow line and Misty is hiding inside of the shadow line. My flash lit her up but in reality she is in a very dark place (hiding and protecting her treat.)
Misty Blue hiding in the shade
I had to laugh when I realized that Sonjia is sitting just a few feet behind her. She's not challenging her for the treat. But she is secretly hoping that Misty Blue will get up and forget the treat is there.
Sonjia patiently waiting

Saturday, December 24, 2016

We need a Revival

Last night we went to a beautiful Live Nativity.
Live Nativity 12/23/16
This evening at Christmas Eve service the pastor talked about Jesus being born without sin but from a sinful line.

But the same thought kept coming through my mind. "We need a revival in the land! " Not a revival in the denominations but across the denominations. All denominations each in their own way, need to bring their flocks back to God. Just look at the news and it's obvious that we've strayed too far away.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Me and morning

I don't function well in the mornings.  So I am not sure why I decided to plan the overnight version of baking bread.  
Bread raised and ready to bake
The pan itself is light enough.  But flipping it to dump out two loaves of bread with my dominant arm taped to my body was too much.  I was afraid that it was going to get crushed.
OOOops the bread got crushed
Dale came to the rescue but I didn't have thing setup right.  By the time we realized it, the bread was upside down on his hand and not near the cooling rack. We ended up with two smashed loaves.  They were being cooked as gifts.  I guess that isn't going to happen.
Smashed bread

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Yummy Meatloaf

Here is another recipe that I'm trying in my copper chef kettle. I decided to make meatloaf. 
1 pound hamburger
Small chopped onion
2 eggs
Heaping teaspoon of horseradish
mix everything together
Sorry, I didn't measure well today.  I just worked at getting it mixed together.  I started out with everything except the oatmeal.  Then I added the oatmeal.

This is where my fingers got dirty!
I formed the mixed product together into a loaf.  I could have fit two of these in the pan.  That meant there was plenty of pan to burn.  A good test.
In the pan and ready to go
I had the ketchup on after 50 minutes of baking.  It didn't brown or burn.  It only started settling after I took the lid off.  I guess if I had one complaint it would be that it slid all over the bottom of the pan as I tried to get it out.
Delicious meatloaf!
I've scrubbed meatloaf pans before.  There is nothing to scrub!  This was amazing!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Birthday memory

Watching the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean my birthday weekend was amazing.  I wrote a short poem to commemorate the occasion:
Sunset sweet
Sunset was neat
My imagination do you keep
My breath you take away
Changing colors as you end the day
The sun just could not stay
Beautiful Memories Santa Monica Pier

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I thought Tuesday turned around!

Work went well. No major system issues. Dale got a lot of work done outside while I was working inside. I love my home office. We had a light supper and then we noticed the house was chilly.
Oh yes once again the furnace was not taking in. By the time we noticed it was about 9 p.m. I called the furnace Tech to see if it paid for them to come out tonight. I can save $50 if they come out in the morning. I did get it running again the question is for how long?

I set the thermostat at a ridiculously high 78 degrees. Just in case I can't get it started again if it's at 78 degrees when it stops I might be able to make it through till morning without freezing the water lines.
For now I'm just going to close my eyes and imagine I'm in Hawaii!
Sunset 12/20/12016

Monday, December 19, 2016

What a day!

...and not in a pleasant way. We woke up to a 66 degree house and the temperature dropping.  I  like to find something positive so I took a few minutes to appreciate the sunrise.
Sunrise 12/19/2016
My gas is scheduled to automatically be filled by the gas company. They were behind. My tank went empty. They got out to the place by 8 a.m. it still took an hour and a half to heat the house up again.

My special assignment at work is creating training videos for cost accounting. Everything went wrong with the software that I'm using. When it did go right, the dogs started barking or somebody would drive in.

My sister almost forgot to pick me up for my therapy. They added another series of exercises and they were very painful.

A friend of Dale's came out to locate the corner stakes of our property. By this point I had accumulated 2 hours with a break instead of my 1 hour as scheduled. I went back inside cold. To my dismay the furnace once again was not working. I called and the furnace man. He talked me through a reboot. But the furnace would not start;  that is until he went downstairs and did the same exact reboot.

There are just those days that you want over quick and never want to repeat. Today was one of those days!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

An experiment gone...

RIGHT! In my opinion.
Creamed Pork Chops and Rice
This fall for my birthday I purchased a copper chef set of pans at Sam's Club but they also available at I haven't taken much time to experiment with them. So tonight I made rice and pork chops with cream of soup.
Oven ready
The instructions said to warm the pan on medium for 3 minutes. Then the pan will be warm enough to sear the chops. I seasoned them with Lawry's seasoning salt.
seared pork chops
My package of pork chops had 5 in it. I set them in the bottom in a pinwheel form.
meat in a pinwheel
Then I put 1 cup of raw brown rice in the pan.
adding rice
Because this is long cooking rice with other food. I added just under 3 cups of water.
adding water and seasoning
Then I added garlic and herb salt. I topped it with cream of mushroom soup, covered the pan and put it in a preheated  (350 degree) oven.
I heated the water to a boil
Out of the oven the rice was starting to get a bit crusty. But despite that it scooped out quickly and easily.  I would tell you how long that it took to cook but I had a bit of an oven issue.
Fresh out of the oven!