Friday, April 24, 2015

What Does a Loaf of Bread Mean to a Person

 Why do I feed these kids that I am always cooking for?  This is a question I am seriously rethinking this morning.  Sometime around the holidays, someone mentioned this after school program that was held in this small town for underprivileged children. It stuck with me and one day I sent some cookies over.  After that, I would send a treat over once a week. Soon it turned into twice a week and then every weekday.  I did it because I thought it would be fun for them to have treats after school.  I remembered how hungry my kids and their friends were at that age and I just felt the need to provide them with a snack.  I really didn't think it through too much because let's face it...they were a captive food audience for me.  I'm always looking for food guinea pigs to feed.  It was a win/win because I got to cook and they got to eat.  That all changed for me yesterday.

I baked 6 loaves of bread.
Months ago when The Blog Tech  and I were going to maple festivals, I bought a bunch of maple cream spread with the kids in mind.  I planned on baking them bread so they could spread the maple cream on it.  Believe me, this is a huge treat.  You don't find things as delicious as this.  It has always been one of my kids favorites treats.

 As the bread was baking, I made a big cheese tray and made a couple meat platters.  I had some ham in the fridge and I spread it with cheese and rolled dill pickles in the middle.  I thought the kids might get a kick out of having appetizers after school.



On one platter I cut up some smoked sausages that I had on hand, on another, I added some slices of salami along with the cutup ham rolls.
 I figured the kids would devour the bread with the maple cream as dessert after they ate the ham and cheese and crackers. I was sure the 4 containers of maple cream would be gone.

So, I wrapped it up and sent it off assuming my ideas for the food would work out.  I woke up this morning to find 3-1/2 containers of the maple cream returned to me, 3 of which were unopened.  I was shocked.  Did the kids not like it?  No, that is not the answer.  The kids were so hungry that they used the bread to make sandwiches with the food on the cheese and meat platters.  Forget fancy, forget treats, these kids just wanted real food.  Plus, not one of them had ever eaten homemade bread before so some of them were just eating plain pieces of bread.  I've been walking around all morning shaking my head. Here I am making "fancy" things for them when all they want is regular food because they are simply HUNGRY! Good god, I am going to rethink how I have been feeding them and start giving them really good food.  I assumed that what I was feeding them was supplemental to what they are eating at home.  My food is basically their main meal.  wow wow wow. I bake bread almost everyday and never think about someone not having something so basic.  Lesson learned! I can hardly think of how many kids there are in the world that are even hungrier than my little group. There is something to laugh about though.  One of the kids is a notoriously picky eater.  He picked up a piece of the bread that was spread with the maple cream and eyeballed it, sniffed it, took a bite and then asked if he could have 4 more. Another kid was spreading it on chive flavored crackers and insisted it was really good that way.  I need to remember to be a lot more thankful for what I have.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Korean Beef and Rice Bowl

If you have a craving for Asian food but are not thrilled with your local takeout, here is a meal you can make in no time at all and it is better than any of the bad American Asian food we have all eaten before.

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil 
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 minced jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced 
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • Cooked rice, for serving
Mix the sugar and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside.  Saute the diced onion in the sesame oil.

 Add the jalapenos, ginger and garlic and cook until the onion begins to soften, it won't take more than a couple minutes.

 Add the red pepper flakes, if you like them. If not, leave them out. Pour in the sugar/soy mixture and stir over medium heat until the sauce bubbles and thickens a bit.

 Stir in the green onions.

 Serve it over rice.  I made white rice and purple sticky rice.  Sprinkle with the fresh cilantro.  I served it with leaves of butter lettuce for wrapping.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Honey Butter Buttermilk Rolls

This is what the kids got for their after school snack yesterday.....honey butter buttermilk rolls.
They were served alongside of bowls of creamy dill potato salad.

I quadrupled the recipe but here is the recipe for 1 dozen:

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Mix all of the ingredients and knead  until you have a smooth ball of dough. Place the dough in a buttered bowl and let it rise until doubled.

Form the dough into a dozen balls, place them in a buttered pan, cover and let them rise until doubled.

Brush them with the butter/honey glaze and bake them at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Serve while warm.

These smelled wonderful.

I am guessing that they were good.  I never tasted them since they all went to the kids.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lehman's Haul

One of the reasons I drove all the way to Lehman's was to pick out a sauerkraut crock.  It seems that I have a sauerkraut problem. Everywhere I go I buy fresh sauerkraut and my refrigerator is loaded with the stuff.  I figure if I make my own, I can save some money.  I bought this 5L crock and now I am afraid I should have bought a larger one.  I must say, shopping at Lehman's is such a wonderful experience that it becomes a bit overwhelming.  I had shopping anxiety which is really rare for me.  I should have figured out the size I wanted before I set foot in the place.

* I just noticed that Lehman's has 86 hours of free shipping in case you want to buy something. 15JBDAY is the code.

 I bought a case of these tulip glass canning jars.  Even if you can't visit this place, google them and sign up for their catalog.  They have everything you could possibly want for canning.  My husband sat and read the catalog cover to cover when I came home.  It's a fun read!

 This soap is one of their best sellers. It's a bit stinky when you smell the bar but not when you shower with it. Customers swear by this stuff.

 I'll try anything these days to clean Teddy.

 And the famous Fels-Naptha.  We always had a bar of this on the back of our stationary tub when I was a kid. As I was writing this I wondered where the name came from so I looked it up.  This was originally made by Fels & Co. in 1893.  It was the first soap to include naptha (who knew?) which is a flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture.  Doesn't sound too healthy but it also mentions that it was used to treat poison ivy.  So, I guess my brother knew what he was doing when he used this way back then.

 I bought some wonderful flour sack towels.

They have quite the candy selection and I picked up some of these old time candy bars.                                           
 I got a bunch of these nicely shaped jars in different sizes.  This concludes my Lehman's purchases, I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted.  I need to go back at some point and slow myself down

 I did, however, hit the Fiesta Ware outlet while I was there.  I love their seconds store.  I bought these oval bowls.  Notice the color?  Pumpkin!!!  At least that is what I call it.

 Some small prep bowls in PUMPKIN.

 And they had these (new to me) work bowls with stripes around the sides.

I got a bit carried away but won't these be perfect dough bowls.  And they are, after all,  PUMPKIN! And Halloween is only 192 days away.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lehman's

  'Simple Products for a Simpler Life'. 

 This was our destination.

 What a perfect place for me.  You literally could spend hours here.  I shop fast so I was not there for long but my gosh, what a fascinating place.

 If you can't find it here, I don't know where you can find it.

 This place carries things I haven't seen since I was a child.

 Anything you would want or could imagine for canning is here.

 Fels-Naptha soap!  My brother used to get poison ivy worse than anyone I have ever known and he swore by scrubbing it with Fels-Naptha. That was 50+ years ago.

 Amish baskets.

 Everything for the home.

 I fell in love with these copper pots but oh boy...the prices.  I guess you only ever have to buy one though.

 Water bowls for dogs.

 And stoves.

 Coal stoves.

 Wood stoves.

 Cook Stoves.

 Notice the refrigerators and freezers in this room?  They run on gas so the Amish can use them.

 And in case you need to oil your hog....a hog oiler.  These were used to keep hogs skin subtle and keep bugs away.  I might need one for myself.

It is quite the place and so much fun to visit.

One man's tractor and one man's car.  Tomorrow I will show you what I bought.