Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A few of my favorite things....

This is my cooling rack.  I have had it for a lot of came out of an old refrigerator when we lived up in Crowheart.  It holds many loaves of bread and double batches of cookies.  It works great!

Can you guess what this is?  It is a jar opener.  I got it at a garage sale a few years ago, it works great on hard to open lids.  You can use both sides for different sized lids. 
 This is a great tool!  I use it a lot..for scooping cookies, making meatballs, and of course dipping ice cream.  Fabulous!
 These are simply the best.  I have 6 sets of measuring cups.  These are for don't have to bend down to see how much you look from the top!  4 cup, 2 cup, 1 cup and 1/4 cup with tbsp measurements.  I got these from Pampered Chef,  spendy but well worth it!  Well..everything Pampered Chef has is spendy. 
 This is another one of my sets of measuring spoons..rather scoops!  The sizes are, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 3/4, 1,1 1/2 and 2 cups.  How great are these!  I am lazy...hence the numerous sets of measuring cups..and spoons.  If you have several sets you don't have to stop and wash...ugh..Not me!  I got these and the set of measuring spoons below from the food truck.  The food truck, I have called it that since Jeri DeVries did it years ago!  It is actually Allison's pantry and we have a lady here in town you can order from...Billie Kellogg,if you want her number let me know.   They have all kinds of stuff, food, frozen food, spices which are priced great, cleaning stuff and cooking things.  Bad news is...they don't carry these cups and spoons anymore.  They come from Sweden or Switzerland and I guess they had a hard time getting them...lucky me!  Lucky child of mine who I will them too!!!
 These are 2 of my several sets of measuring spoons.  The silver ones are the ones I use the most..the narrow shape gets into most bottles.  I got them in Lander at Cabin Fever book store.  The black ones are good too, I don't use them much but I like them!  They are sizes 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 tsp, 2 tsp, 1 tbsp, 1 1/2 tbsp, 2 tbsp.  Again..the lazy factor comes in here..measure once for a recipe calling for 2 tsp!  I also don't like to take them apart.  I like them all together in their little set..the Chief on the other hand takes them apart...that annoys me to no end!  I think he does it on purpose!
 This is a bench scraper.  John and I have had this for over 25 years.  We were in Seattle WA one summer and went into a kitchen store...we were poor but splurged on this.  It is the best scraper. It has scraped goop off the table for years!
And this...well it is a cool jar.  I got it at a garage sale and it was filled with pot pourrie and Christmas lights with a tacky bow glued around it.  I yanked all that crap out of it and scraped the glue off the outside and tada!  Cool jar.  I know..doesn't take much to thrill me.  It is filled with double bubble gumballs.  I got a box of 850 at Sams in Casper!  I bought the gumballs for the soul purpose of filling my jar!  The gumballs are good for about a 5 minute chew..after that the gum is so tough your jaws ache!  This is the last of my gumballs..I will have to find some other tasty treat to fill it with.  
Oh..the red and white thing next to it..that is a recipe box that was Pootsies moms.  It has a ton of recipes in it that she made and my mom and aunts made.  I am a little pissy over another recipe box that I didn't get and someone else did who didn't even know the owner..can't mention names but I am NOT above stealing it if I ever find out where she lives and am invited over!  Ok, a lot pissy...I may hire someone to steal it for me!  For that reason, among others...I am going to hell. 
What are your favorite kitchen items? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gluten Free

Gluten Free...that phrase has scared me.  My daughter-in-law Maja has Celiacs Disease and so she cannot eat wheat.  Well everything I cook/bake/eat has wheat in it!  My quest became to learn how to cook and bake gluten free.  The cooking part was easy, I would just get her gluten free noodles, make her rice and read the labels on bases and things.  You would be amazed where you find wheat!  I was so proud one day, there was a bottle of Pepto Bismal sitting on the counter and ta da!  It is gluten free!!  Maja was not as impressed as I was.  It is the little things that thrill me! 
Kathy Finlayson posted on Facebook that she made gluten free cookies..I quickly sent her a message asking how.  She was so kind and good, she packed up some cookies for me and brought the bags of flour she used to show me.  The cookies were fabulous!  This is the flour I use and I get it at Grahams downtown.  The lady there, I think her name is Shirley is wonderful and very helpful!  I wish I knew how to put a link to her store, if she has one.  Its on main street, you can't miss it. 
You can use this cup for cup, no mixing of different flours.  Wonderful stuff!  It doesn't make a great crust though, like for Lemon Bars.  Too crumbly. 

I decided to run away last week after I had made Gluten free chocolate chip cookies and Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I had to deliver them to Maja!  I told her what an amazing mother-in-law she had!
The cupcakes were very moist and the cookies were most delicious too.  I use the Toll House recipe for the cookies.  The big test on gluten free baked goods is the Chief and Kyle.  They both ate some cookies and didn't notice any difference...and if you know the Chief, he thinks he can tell the difference on lots of things.  Little does he know how often I pull the wool over his eyes! 
Here is Maja and if you look under the pocket on her sweatshirt, well that is my sweet granddaughter Alivia.  I haven't met her yet...but just thinking about her brings tears to my eyes.  I have two wonderful grandsons and can't wait to add Alivia to the mix!
Nope, she didn't eat the whole banana split! 

I used a cream cheese frosting for the cupcakes, I was in a rush to get them done so didn't get a pic of the finished product.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Grandson and Buttermilk

 See this face?  It is an awful face!  This is his reaction to a sip of buttermilk, he makes me laugh!  When I asked him if he wanted another drink he politely replied "No thank you."  That was also my face when offered buttermilk.  Eewww.  Old people drink buttermilk and love it.   In fact they can tell you that homemade buttermilk is far better then the stuff you buy in the store.  How do I know?  I happen to know 2 buttermilk experts, Evelyn and Marvin. They both can  tell you how you  churn the cream into butter and the liquid that is leftover is the buttermilk.   Evelyn and I work in the Family History Library up to the church, Marvin is this old cowboy who comes in to work on his family history.  He would always bring me a Coke and he and Evelyn and small carton of buttermilk and usually some frosted sugar cookies from Smith's.  He would always offer me his buttermilk and the face of my grandson would be on my face.  Then Evelyn would say "She doesn't know what she is missing does she Marvin?"  She was right..sort of.  I would tell them both that I liked my buttermilk in Red Velvet Cake and in Ice Cream/Pancake Syrup.  Then one day while I was making Red Velvet Cake, I decided to give it an honest taste test.  Ya know what?  It really isn't that bad.  Then when you combine a small glass of buttermilk with a toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich, well that my friends,  is a slice of most delicious heaven! 
This is the strawberry shortcake that Peyton and I made.  It went quite well except for when he dumped the egg into the wrong section of the food processor!    This shortcake recipe of from a cookbook I have called Baking by James Peterson.  It is a great big  cookbook and boasts '350 recipes and techniques, 1500 photographs, one baking education'...It does not however, come with a certificate of accomplishment if you read the whole thing!  Here is the shortcake recipe and also the buttermilk syrup recipe.  Enjoy!
Strawberry Shortcakes
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup col butter, thinly sliced
I whirl this together in the food processor til crumbly, the book says use a pastry blender. 
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
Mix well.  Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead two or three times and pat out 3/4 inch thick.  Cut with a round cutter, brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake 375 for 20 minutes.  Slice, fill with strawberries, whipped cream and enjoy!

Buttermilk Syrup
In a large heavey pan combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup butter and 2 tbsp of corn syrup.  Boil for 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 2 tsp of vanilla.  Oh my gosh...this is truely most delicious!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Egg Sugar Cookies! I like to make sugar cookies and I have a huge collection of cookie cutters. I have some for every holiday..well maybe not Hannakuh but all the other ones! I have a moose, cowboy hat, flowers, numerous gingerbread boys and girls. Tiny ones, huge ones. Ones that all stack together. And the tips and whatnots to ice them with..I have a ton of that stuff too. Most of the time all I lack is ambition! Have a great day friends...

Kid Friendly Dinner

My friend Alyce asked for a kid friendly dinner. Here is one that my whole family likes. It is actually called something Asian Beefy something but we call it Top Ramen Dinner. It is quick and easy. Here is the recipe: 1 thing of hamburger, a pound or whatever you have. 4 packages of Top Ramen noodles...I usually use chicken but today all I had was beef. I don't think it really matters what flavor you use. Ginger, and here is the part that I tweaked to get my kids to eat it: 1 can of corn. The original recipe called for package of frozen asiany type vegetables. I think it would be most delicious if made with those..but it would all get picked out here. Brown the hamburger and drain, stir in the 4 seasoning packets and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. I break the noodles in half and add them along with 4 cups of water. Cover and let cook til noodles are done and water is absorbed. To give it the asian flair here...I use a wok! See the piles of cookies in the background..they are Easter Egg sugar cookies. I iced them after dinner...but I will have to post a picture of that in another post as I can't seem to figure out how to add more then one picture. Anybody wanna give me a few hints??
Go check out this cool blog,
I am loving it!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Wheat Bread 3 tbsp yeast, 5 1/2 cups hot water, 7 cups whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup honey or molasses ( I use molasses), 2/3 cup oil, 2 tbsp salt, 6 cups wheat or white flour. Mix first 6 ingredients well and let set 15 minutes. Add rest of flour and mix well. Cover and let rise til doubled. Punch down and put into bread pans, let rise again. Bake 350 for 35 minutes. Brush tops of hot loaves with butter. Makes 4-6 loaves of bread depending on pan sizes. I love my new mixer for this reason! I can mix the whole recipe and not have to hand knead at all! My old Kitchenaid was not this big and the dough would wind clear up to the top of the dough hook make a good mess, then I would have to hand knead the last few cups of flour in. To make Great Grandma Johnsons bread, you would need an industrial size mixer! This is her recipe, all ingredients are approximate as she didn't use measuring cups or spoons. You can adjust the amount of dough you end up with by how much water you use to boil the potatoes. I have made huge batches where I have ended up with 10 loaves of bread, 2 pans of rolls and a pan of cinnamon rolls. That is a lot of kneading! Grandma Johnsons Bread 2 medium potatos, boil and mash in the water. Use enough water to cover the potatoes. Add enough cold water to make the temp. just right. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 big spoon yeast, 1/4 cup salt and enough flour to make thick and pastey. Let rise. After it has risen and hopefully not overflowed the pan, which I have let it do, add more flour til it doesn't stick to your fingers. Dump onto the table and knead 20 minutes or so, smear 2 tbsp of lard onto the dough and knead in. Let rise, punch down, let rise again, punch down and put into pans. Let rise and bake 400 for 55 minutes. The spoons she used to measure the lard and other ingredients were serving spoons. She was a great lady and a great cook. The table in the picture came from Johns folks in Spokane. They had it for years and gave it to us a long time ago. As you can tell there is blue paint on it...I use it for crafty things too! The paint would scrub off but I am too lazy to scrub it off and I don't really care that there is blue paint on it. This table has seated 10 or more people at a time, the ends pull out to make it about half again bigger. I love to have my whole family at the dinner table. We just pull in more chairs and a stool and squeeze in. Lots of good conversation and laughter has been had at this table.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

No Bake Cookies

Quite a few years ago I got this recipe from a friend, Kemper. She made it clear that in order for them to turn out you had to boil the butter, sugar and milk exactly 1 1/2 minutes. I have followed her council and they have turned out perfect every time.

No Bake Cookies

1 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

Boil this exactly 1 1/2 mintues then remove from heat and stir in:

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 cups oatmeal

Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let set til cool.

This whole blog thing is much harder then it seems. On the homepage of blogspot it says nothing about it being easy, it does say it is fun. To me fun is easy! I have lost this blog thing, refound it, discovered I have 2 of them. Oh my...I am sure it will get easier. I have wanted to do a cooking blog for a long time, I have seen others and have loved them. So here goes. It is a bit scarey, putting your stuff 'out' there. Am I going to offend anyone? Is it going to be stupid? I get that from the Grinch...'what will the neighbors think' she would say. Truely I don't care what the neighbors think, so maybe that is the trait I should have here. I am who I am and sometimes it ain't pretty. Most of the time it's not! If this is going to be a cooking blog, I best get cooking!