Saturday, September 30, 2017

Sweet Boy's Diner--A Breakfast To Remember

September 30, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

Friday morning my son went to his dad's for the weekend, so mama has some time off! His birthday is coming up, so this is a treat for him.

I had planned to complete the redo on his room while he was gone, but the weather put the brakes on that idea. We have had rain, rain, and  more rain, so I can't put the furniture to refinish out on the carport. Well, fuddle. But I am going to do as much as I can before he comes home Sunday night. It will just have to be an ongoing project. Persistence, not circumstances, makes for success.

This morning after chores, the Redneck and I decided to go out for breakfast as a treat--a little couple time for us. We picked Sweet Boy's Diner on Mason Street here in Bowie.

Good choice!

We have been thinking about trying this place for a while. I love the exterior.

When you first walk in the door, this cute li'l fella greets you.

The hostess, Tawana, led us to a nice booth. She was very sweet when I asked if I might take a few photos to share with y'all. I love her shirt!

Cristy was our waitress. I hiccupped when I took this photo, so she's a little fuzzy-but cute! 

(the Redneck just pointed out that the date on my photos are wrong. The battery fell out of my camera over the weekend, and I forgot to fix the time and date--OOPS!)

We ordered from the menu, and oh boy, were we amazed when Cristy brought our food out.

The Redneck ordered a Breakfast Burrito and a side of hash browns. LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT THING! It was full of yummy breakfast goodness--sausage, egg, cheese, hash browns. Check out the filling when he cut it open.

It also came with salsa! Then I got my plate...

The hash browns were crisp, the biscuit was fluffy, the sausage patties delicious, and they got the over easy eggs I ordered RIGHT!

Cristy made sure his coffee cup stayed full, and he said it was GOOOOOOOD coffee. Seriously, they just needed to hook up an IV between him an the pot--he would have been happy.

I finished my food, then took photos of the wonderful decor.

This handsome fellow was over the Redneck's head.

I loved the chandeliers, and look at that gorgeous tin ceiling!

When we paid our bill, it was less than $20 for the two of us. We will be going back! Good service, great food, good value and cute decor--what's not to like?

If you are visiting Bowie, stop by and enjoy the food and hospitality of Sweet Boy's Diner!

220 N. Mason Street
Bowie, Texas

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

How To Dismantle An Old Crock Pot--And Why You Should

September 29, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

When I decided to try a different kind of sourdough starter, I realized that I really needed a crock of some sort to contain all that lovely bubbly action. I couldn't afford a new crock, but I recalled that I had three of the early model crock pots (the ones where you couldn't remove the crock for cleaning) in my 'what the heck will I do with it' pile on the carport. I also remembered that in my TIGHTWAD GAZETTE II by Amy Dacyczyn, there was an illustration on how to take one apart. I grabbed one of the pots, the book, and some tools, then set to work.

First, I wiped down the crock pot, getting rid on any dust or debris on it. Then I checked the book for ideas on how to go about it.

There were no specific instructions on how to take it apart, but it did give me ideas on what to do with the stuff I took off. So I studied the pot itself, and saw that there was a seam down one side, and it looked like it was a tab in slot construction. So after removing the temperature knob, I used a small pair of pliers to take off the nut underneath, cut off the electric cord with tin snips, and then I used a large flat head screwdriver to work into the seam and begin prying it apart.

If the seam is too tight to wedge the screwdriver in, hold the pot carefully against your body and firmly tap it with a hammer. That should start the seam to separate. I had to do it with the last one.

Once the cover starts to come off the crock, be careful--it is metal and has sharp edges. I took the tin snips and cut the remaining electrical wires inside the cover, then put it aside for recycling, along with the electrical wiring.

You notice there are tiny copper wires wrapped around the crock--that's what made them heat slowly and evenly. I took the screwdriver and popped them, then unwound them and simply gathered the wire into a ball for recycling. You can then discard the flat piece they were connected to.

Now I had a sturdy ceramic crock...that was NASTY. Remember, you couldn't take them out of the early ones, so all kinds of gunk and dirt got under those covers. When I was done taking all the pots apart, I took them over to the sink and scrubbed them in hot water until they were free of any funk. I wasn't able to get the adhesive off that held the copper wiring, but I wasn't concerned. Just like the men in my life--they ain't gotta be pretty, they just gotta WORK. There were a few stains in one crock, but a little Barkeeper's friend and a green scrubby took care of that.

I still had the lids to two of the crocks, but the third one had lost it's lid before I got it, so I had used a regular pot lid I had found in a 'free' box at another sale. I scrubbed them up also. You can see how old one of the lids is--it's cloudy.

So now I have three gallon sized crocks and lids. All it took was about an hour's worth of work and a couple of tools. 

Now, why did I want these for? Yes, I made sourdough starter in one, but what about the other two?'re just gonna have to check back to see!

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

It's Fall! LET'S BAKE!!!!!!!!!! Day 1

September 28, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

Woke up to rain the past few mornings. The sound of it outside my bedroom window at 5 am makes the perfect excuse to snuggle deeper into the covers for a while longer. It also gives me the urge to experiment in the kitchen, especially in the area of baking. I admit that while fall makes some people dream of pumpkin spice everything, I get the urge to feel the strain of stirring flour into a dough or batter, to feel the sticky dough turn silky in my hands as I knead it, and to smell the delectable aromas of sugar or cinnamon, and especially the gratifying and uplifting scent of yeast. Yes, bread is my enthusiasm. Nothing sets off a meal like a soft, pillowy dinner roll or a dense, chewy peasant loaf made with whole wheat to accompany a hearty stew. Chili and cornbread take the unfriendly rawness  off a cold day, and a hot, flaky buttered biscuit in the mornings takes the rest of a plain breakfast of bacon and eggs above the plebeian and into the celestial.

So into the kitchen I went, and I have experimented and played with the staff of life. I tried a buckwheat bread recipe I found on YouTube, put together a simple sourdough starter of flour and water, and I even concocted a 'fast ferment' sourdough starter that I found on Cowboy Kent Rollins' YouTube channel. I will be doing a series of posts on each of these.

Let's get started, shall we?

First, I think I have mentioned before that a friend gave me several different kinds of flours from her freezer recently. She is moving and didn't want to haul them all the way to her new home in Kansas, especially since she will be in the Amish community where she originally bought all of it. So I have been researching ways to use this gift. One of these flours is an organic buckwheat. After a lot of Binging for recipes, I found an interesting gluten and yeast free bread recipe on Danny McCubbin's YouTube channel. You can watch the video at this link:

The recipe calls for2 cups buckwheat and 1 1/2 cups chickpea, or besan flour. I had both from Eleanor. It also needs 1/2 cup rice flour. That was easy enough--I simply put rice into my Bullet mixer with the grinder blade and whirred it about until voila! Flour!

One tablespoon of grated apple.

1 Teaspoon baking soda, a pinch of salt, and 1 1/2 cup of water.

First, I lined a bread pan with oiled parchment paper and preheated the oven to 180 degrees. Yeah, I thought the same thing--that's an awfully low temperature. But I went with the instructions. 

I combined the dry ingredients, and added the grated apple.

I added the water in slowly, stirring until it reaches a wet batter stage.

(Y'all really need to appreciate how hard taking photos and mixing dough is!)

Poured the batter into the pan and baked it for one hour.

When the hour was up, I checked the bread. It looked good, but it was still soft and 'floppy' when I tried to life it out of the pan. I raised the oven temp to 350 and let it go another 30 minutes.

I checked it again, and there was a tiny section that was still wet, so it went back in for another 10 minutes or so. 

This time it came out just right. 

It has a dense, chewy texture. It's a little crumbly, but that could be from my inexperience with the recipe. It has a nutty, earthy flavor that I think would be excellent with a soup or stew. Yes, it took a bit of work and time, but if you want to eat gluten free, this could well be worth the effort. I will say that it's best warm, and don't expect to make sandwiches with it. But sliced and served with cheese and thin slices of roast beef? Yeah, I gotta try that.

Next post--Plain Sourdough Starter.

Well, I got chores. Later Y'all
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Money Saving Adventures For Last Week

September 26, 2017

Hey ya'll, it's me!

I usually do a money saving post on Mondays, but I wanted to post about the 9th Annual St Jude's Children's Hospital yesterday.

As you can imagine, last week was a whirlwind of preparation for the trail ride, so ordinary activities were minimal. I did manage to save a little here and there though, and that's what really makes the difference in the long run--lots of little choices that add up over time.

I mentioned last week that a woman at the library was giving me a china cabinet. Well, I got a call from her on Tuesday, and she was embarrassed to have to tell me that the person who had given her the cabinet wanted it back, and since they are in her family, she needed to keep peace. I laughed and told her no problem, it's more important to maintain family peace than for me to get a china cabinet. I know there's one out there that I can get, I just need to be patient. In the meantime I will continue to use the big entertainment center a friend gave me when we first moved here.

I'm thinking I might paint it white and change the hardware on the doors and drawer. Maybe put a backing of wood paneling on the open areas. If you have suggestions, please post in the comments below.

As much as our family loves music, a stereo system is not in the budget this year. We use my son's portable CD player/radio in the kitchen. I still have my old cell phone, and I use the radio app to set all our favorite stations. I use a cord to connect it to the player, and when we want a different station, I don't have to turn the knob on the player, trying to get the perfect signal. I just press the station number I want, and voila! Saves wear and tear on the player.

Sorry, the flash blacks out the phone screen. Yes, the screen is cracked, but it works great for this purpose. The little cord that connects them was about $1 over a year ago.

Wednesday I used up some leftover taco fixings and chili from the weekend to make enchiladas. I simply mix together the chili, taco meat, onions, green chilies and cheese that is leftover. 

I spray a casserole dish with cooking spray, then I fill tortillas with the mixture--about a tablespoon each, roll them up and place them in the pan. After the pan is full, I make enchilada sauce from a recipe in my More With Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. It's a wonderful book, with "suggestions by the Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources" (book cover)

As you can see, mine is very old and well used. I got it in 1988, but it's been in print since 1976. 

I use the Chili-Tomato Sauce Recipe on page 145. I adapted the ingredients to use what I always have in my pantry.

The recipe calls for tomato sauce or puree, but I use spiced spaghetti sauce, since most of the seasonings are similar. 

I chop and saute onion in oil.

I add the can of sauce, minced garlic (a LOT, cause we love the stuff), 2 tablespoons of chili powder, a little dried oregano (not much, the sauce already has it), and either a teaspoon of regular or Himalayan pink salt. Stir well, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Spoon over the enchiladas in the pan, and cover with shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. Add a salad and salsa--night mama!

Thursday I put a big pork roast in the crock pot to make supper for that night, and to make sure we had supper for Sunday night when we got back from the trail ride. 

We ended up having to borrow a horse trailer from a friend, since the Redneck found a problem with the trailer's leaf springs that would make it unsafe to transport Fancy. Fixing that problem is being worked into the budget for next month. I'm not complaining, because we paid $800 for the trailer over 10 years ago, and it has been a valuable companion in all our horse activities over the years. It has also helped move us and other folks long distances.

We had planned on buying a new tent for the trail ride, but again the budget just wouldn't stretch enough. Our friends at church had a tent they wouldn't be using, so we got to use it for Obie to sleep in and store our backpacks and sleeping gear. On Sunday morning I took it down and very carefully made sure it was clean and repacked correctly. Always try to return stuff you have to borrow in the best possible condition.

When we got home Sunday night and all the stuff was unpacked and put away, I simply cut up potatoes, bacon and onions, mixed them up on a greased cookie sheet, and sprinkled it all with steak seasoning. I baked it at 375 for an hour--the house smelled great!. I put some of the leftover pork roast in a pan covered with foil on the rack beneath, and everything was ready at the same time. Simple food, tasted good, filled us all up--with leftovers for the Redneck's lunch on Monday, and best of all--we didn't have to go out to eat or order pizza because we were all tired. A little planning goes a long way to save time and money.

Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2017