Sunday, October 29, 2017

Money Saving Adventures For Last Week

October 29, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

These days the weather is changing so fast, I dunno whether to wear short sleeves or a sweatshirt. We went from nice warm breezes to a cold front overnight this week, and then after church it was nice enough to open the windows again. Yep, I live in Texas!

This week I got ready for our church fall festival party by putting together a costume for very little money, using elements I already had in my closet and a few pieces I found inexpensively. I decided I wanted to be a Victorian Widow, and it was really easy to put together.

Fraidy Cat was not part of the costume, but I think for the photo she upped the creepy factor! I am wearing the lace up shoes from the costume I wore in the movie we shot this summer (still waiting on the final editing so we can see it), my yoga leggings, a black skirt I got from a friend who was purging her closet, a black tunic that I bought over ten years ago for 50 cents at a Catholic jumble sale, and the gloves I made with hot glue and some 'creepy cloth' I bought at DollarTree. I also bought another piece of the cloth to put over my hair to hide the blonde under the veil, which was made from a sheer curtain I found for $5 at Walmart, folded over and stapled together, then hot glued to a hair band from DollarTree. You can't see it, but I am also wearing a small silver dagger at my waist--I got it from a friend about ten years ago. The veil is over a small black cowboy hat a friend gave me recently--I just clipped the hair band around the crown so the veil wouldn't lay on my face. Total cost--$8.00. And it was a hit at the party. I would forget that folks couldn't see my face, and if I just stood still for a bit as I was listening to them talk, they would forget that I wasn't a prop. I scared quite a few people accidentally--it was funny. I also took second place in the costume contest (first place was a teen girl dressed as Wednesday Addams--she looked GREAT).

I also made a big pot of chili for the party--I used the recipe from Kent Rollins' YouTube channel; It was easy, and tasted amazing. I had some of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce leftover, so I used them in a batch of chipotle/cheese cornbread--now THAT was some good eating. I will post the how to for the chili later this week.

We are trying to cut out all eating out for a while, and so Friday night I made two pizzas for supper. I made a thin crust hamburger pizza for the Redneck and Obie, and I popped a cast iron pan pizza with mushrooms and onions in for me. I will also post the recipe for the crusts and toppings this week. It is so easy and cheap to make your own crusts for pizza, and if you have a food processor, it's even easier.

When I got to church this morning, I was gifted with a real treat--two big canning jars full of home pickled beets! My friend Suzy, who cans a lot, learned that I like beets, so she brought me these beautiful gems of color to enjoy. I opened them with lunch, and they are MARVELOUS. They are not gonna last long with me and Obie on the job. The Redneck is not a fan, so we don't have to share!

We had some of the chili from the party left over, so today for our lunch I heated it up. and while the Redneck had a plain old 'bowl o red', I made chili cheese quesadillas for Obie and me. I simply spread shredded cheddar cheese over a tortilla, spooned a nice bit of chili over that, and covered it with another tortilla, and zapped it for about a minute in the microwave. Not bad at all.

I cleaned out the 'man cave' this week, after living here for almost two years. It was finally time to clear out everything that wasn't supposed to be in there, so the Redneck can finally have his space. There is an alcove off to one side, and I am setting up our exercise equipment in there. It will be nice to have a place to use the weight training machine again.

One final money saving goodie--we got two more tickets to the Texas Motor Speedway for this coming weekend! Yes, we will get to see a NASCAR race this time, thanks to the generosity of our friends. You can bet I will have my trusty camera with me, documenting the fun for a post next week.

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

It's Fall! LET'S BAKE!!! Day 4

October 25, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

One of the easiest, most versatile, filling and cheapest things I can bake are muffins. Back when I got the TIGHTWAD GAZETTE newsletters, I tried Amy Dacyzyn's Universal Muffin Recipe, and once I found out just how easy it was to make muffins from ALMOST anything (trust me, there are a few things you don't wanna try), I put this page from the newsletter into a plastic page protector, and it has traveled everywhere with me ever since. It is the one staple in my cookbook binder. I may change how I roast a chicken or glaze a pie crust, but Amy's muffin recipe is a constant in my life.

Here is Amy's breakdown of basic ingredient and measurement information:

"The quantities listed are for a single batch of 12 muffins.

Grain: Use 2 to 2 1/2 cups of white flour. Or substitute oatmeal, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, rye flour, or flake cereal for 1 cup of the white flour. Or substitute 1 cup cooked oatmeal, rice, or cornmeal for 1/2 cup of the white flour and decrease liquid to 1/2 cup.
Milk: Use 1 cup. Or substitute buttermilk or sour milk (add a tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup milk). Or substitute fruit juice for part or all of the milk.
Fat: Use 1/4 cup vegetable oil or 4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Or substitute crunchy or regular peanut butter for part or all of the fat. The fat can be reduced or omitted with fair results if using a "wet addition."
Egg: Use 1 egg. Or substitute 1 heaping tablespoon of soy flour and 1 tablespoon of water. If using a cooked grain, separate the egg, add the yolk to the batter, beat the white until stiff, and fold into the batter (Amy later gives a better method for fluffing up batter with cooked grain, which I will give a little later).
Sweetener: Use between 2 tablespoons and 1/2 cup sugar. Or substitute up to 3/4 cup brown sugar. Or substitute up to 1/2 cup honey or molasses, and decrease milk to 3/4 cup.
Baking Powder: Use 2 teaspoons. If using whole or cooked grains or more than 1 cup of additions, increase to 3 teaspoons. If using buttermilk or sour milk, decrease to 1 teaspoon and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Salt: Use 1/2 teaspoon, or omit if you have a salt-restricted diet.
The following ingredients are optional. Additions can be used in any combination, up to 1 1/2 cups total. If using more than 1 cup of wet additions, decrease the milk to 1/2 cup.
Dry Additions: Nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut, and so on.
Moist Additions: Blueberries, chopped apple, freshly shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, and so on.
Wet Additions: Pumpkin puree, applesauce, mashed cooked sweet potato, mashed banana, mashed cooked carrot, and so on. If using 1/2 cup drained, canned fruit or thawed shredded zucchini, substitute the syrup or zucchini liquid for all or part of the milk.
Spices: Use spices that compliment the additions, such as 1 teaspoon cinnamon with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or cloves. Try 2 teaspoons grated orange or lemon peel.
Jellies and Jams: Fill cups half full with a plain batter. Add 1 teaspoon jam or jelly and top with 2 more tablespoons batter.
Topping: Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the batter in the tins.
Non sweet Combinations: Use only 2 tablespoons sugar and no fruit. Add combinations of the following: 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 3 strips fried-and-crumbled bacon, 2 tablespoons grated onion, 1/2 cup shredded zucchini, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Spices could include a teaspoon of parsley and a pinch of marjoram.
To make muffins, combine dry ingredients, and then mix in wet ingredients until just combined; the batter should be lumpy. Grease muffin tin and fill cups two thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (give or take 5 minutes)."

Now, to make it even easier, Amy gives a basic recipe to get you started.

2 to 2 1/2 cups grain
1 cup milk
Up to 1/4 cup fat
1 egg
Up to 1/2 cup sweetener
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Up to 1 1/2 cups additions

(All text in italics are from The Tightwad Gazette)

Seriously, could it get any easier? 

I have been baking muffins for breakfast this week, and I thought I would share the process with you.

I had a bunch of pumpkin I had processed last year when friends from church gave me their holiday decorations after Thanksgiving (I always let folks know I will take them, because, hey, they're FOOD and FREE). I had let a jar thaw over the weekend, and decided to use them in my muffins.

Here are the basic ingredients. I decided to use canned milk today, because my regular milk is getting low. I also will mix up powdered milk, use sour cream, cottage cheese, buttermilk or yogurt. They all work and taste good. I prefer to use either butter or oil for my fats. Today I thought brown sugar and nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves would go well with the pumpkin. 

One ingredient I hadn't tried before was millet. Since Eleanor had given me a bag of it, and I can use up to 1/2 cup of grain other than flour, I thought, oh why not? 

(Since it's almost Halloween, I will toss in this bit of folklore. If you are ever attacked by a vampire, throw a handful of millet on the ground. A vampire will immediately be compelled to stop everything and get down on the ground to count every single grain of millet. Then you can escape while it is busy counting. If you have thrown down enough millet, the vampire will be distracted until the sun rises, and he will become a crispy critter. The first time I saw the Count on Sesame Street, I thought about this folklore)

Oooooookaaaaaayyyyy.....moving on.

I mix all of my dry ingredients first, including the spices.

I add in the melted butter, then the egg. Be sure to whisk the eggs a bit before adding, they incorporate better.

I added the pumpkin and milk, and stir it all together well. Don't worry--there will be lumps.

I use an ice cream scoop to put the batter into a greased muffin tin (you can also use cupcake liners).

Make sure that if you drip any batter outside of the cups you wipe it up. It saves you from having to get baked on batter off when you wash the pan later.

I had just a bit of the batter left, so I poured it into a greased mini loaf pan.

I baked them for 20 minutes in a 400 degree preheated oven. I always go for the 20 minutes first then check to see if they are done. Remember--you can always cook it a bit longer, but you can't uncook it. These needed about 5 more minutes, then they were perfect.

I ran a knife around the edges to make sure they were loosened, then put them on a wire rack to cool. Any leftovers will be stored in a plastic container with a lid. They will keep a couple of days--if they last that long!

These turned out really nice. Not too sweet, good flavor, and the the little bit of added millet gave them a nice crunch. I will be adding millet to a few other baked goods to see how they turn out.

There you have it. A recipe that allows you to play and experiment and in most cases, you can't mess up. I have made sweet muffins, and savory for different meals. If you begin with the basic information that Amy has provided, you can make inexpensive muffins that help feed your family and avoid waste.

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

Money Saving Adventures For Last Week

October 23, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

As you know, last week's posts were mostly about asking for prayer for my friend Josh, who was in ICU after being shot. Thank you all so much for your prayers. I am still waiting for more updates, will keep you posted.

It was also one of those weeks where I just couldn't keep up with anything--you know, 'the faster you go, the behinder you get' weeks. I'm hoping to get back on track with everything starting today. We'll see....

Okay, on to saving money last week. While during the weekdays I just did my usual things (using the clothesline instead of the dryer, baking cookies for the Redneck's lunch instead of buying snacks, etc), on Saturday I got to be a bit more active in my quest to save money.

That morning our church was having a horse clinic, and the Redneck went to help. Obie and I dropped him off and headed out to do a few errands, including checking out a 'bent can' store in Springtown.

The Yellow Rose Discount Grocery at 1240 E. Hwy 199 in Springtown, Texas. Their motto is 'Savings You Can See'. And yes, they do have a lot of good bargains. They carry a decent variety of goods. Their hours are Monday 9:30 am to 3:00 pm, Tuesday-Friday 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. They are closed on Sundays. They have a Facebook page, Following this page will give you information on the latest deals and promotions.

Afterward, we went to the Azle Public Library, where I picked up the 4th season of Sons Of Anarchy. I have seasons 1-3 and 5, but I haven't found a good enough deal on 4, so I will watch this copy so I can move on to season 5.  I also picked up several cookbooks to look for a few new ideas to add to my meal planning arsenal.

My real excitement was what I found at the few yard sales we went to. The first one was a family who was really just wanting to get rid of stuff more than make money. The mom told me that if there was any clothing I wanted--just take it, because it would all be donated at noon. I didn't see anything we really needed, so I was about to leave...and then...I spotted them...

"Um, what size are the cowboy boots?" I asked.

"9 1/2 women's."

"Oh, may I take them?"

"Sure, go ahead. I just don't want to put them back in the house."

I picked them up and got back in the truck. I couldn't believe it--they were my size, in good shape, AND FREE! They need cleaning and polishing, and I will pick up new insoles. Just LOOK at them!

They are FULL QUILL OSTRICH! NOCONA BRAND! I looked them up online--$359.00!  I have needed cowboy boots for over a year, but I just couldn't justify the money from the budget for a new pair, and any used boots were never the right size, in really bad shape, or just plain UGLY. I will be cleaning these up and putting a bit darker polish on them, but they fit perfect, and the soles are fine for at least another year. I hate to ride Fancypants in tennis shoes--I don't feel as sure as I need to, and she can tell it, which makes both of us unhappy on a trail ride or in the arena. But now I am ready to saddle up and do some riding again. That they were free only makes the ride sweeter.

We stopped at a couple more sales on the way back to the church, and I got a new 'do rag' for the Redneck to wear at work (50 cents), a yoga practice DVD (50 cents), a new ladle to replace the one that is about to fall apart (10 cents), a paperback for the Redneck about Seal Team 10 (25 cents), and my favorite--a decorative plate and stand still in the box ($1,00). That will be put in one of the Christmas party gift exchanges we go to each year. Not bad for $2.35!

Almost forgot this. In one of the FREE boxes I found this Calvin Kline top. It's got little sparkly bits all over it, and not a thing wrong with it. It's not my taste, and far too small for me, but I felt I should take it with me. At church yesterday, I showed it to a friend, and said I thought it might make a cute 'flapper' costume for a girl. Well, just GUESS whose niece wants to be a FLAPPER for Halloween, but couldn't figure out how to make the dress? I am always amazed at how God answers even the smallest prayers, even the ones that most folks would consider trivial. I handed the top over with my blessing.

Now, these two knives weren't part of last week's savings, but I wanted to share them with you. Many times when Obie and I walk down the road, we see stuff that folks have lost, and we found these two pocket knives at two different times. They are both good quality BUCK knives. They both needed sharpening, so my buddy Craig at church took them and gave them nice edges, even correcting a roll in the green one's blade. I now have good knives that I carry for different needs. The green camo gut skinner is around $107.00 on the website, and the orange pocket knife was $25.00 to $35.00. Not bad for just looking where I step!

So, I think I did pretty good for last week--especially the boots. It's not getting huge bargains that make a week successful--it's being persistent and paying attention to details that add up that creates a frugal lifestyle and gives me joy.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

More Updates

October 19, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me.

Here is the latest update from Josh's mom--

"Update on Josh. He is doing good this morning going to work on moving around so he's not in so much pain. Josh doesn't want anybody mad at him but he has asked not to have any visitors today so he can concentrate on his mobility and getting rest. He is exhausted. Thank you for your understanding love and lots of prayers. Please keep the prayers coming he really needs them we are not out of the woods yet."

Thank you all who are praying from my young friend--it means the world to me.

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Prayer Request Update

October 18, 2017

Hey y'all, it' me.

A quick update on the young man Josh who was shot. Josh is considered stable. He does have blood and fluid in his pelvic cavity but still hoping his body will take care of it. If not he will have to go back in for surgery. Watching very closely for any infection. Josh is very much in pain. His mom sends her thanks to everyone who is praying.

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Urgent Prayer Request

October 17, 2017

Hey y'all, it' me.

I have a prayer request that has weighed on my heart all day, ever since I learned that a young man I am friends with was shot last night. His name is Josh, he's in his early 20s. He was shot on one side of his stomach, and the bullet went down and out his back, breaking his hip bone in the process. He lost some of his intestines during the surgery to save his life. Later today he had more surgery to clean out bone fragments from the hip bone.

I don't know anything about the circumstances that led to this happening. I do know that Josh is my friend, and I am pleading with anyone who reads this to pray, then please pass this post on to others to increase the petitions to heaven for him. I will keep y'all updated as I learn more.

Thank you all in advance,
© Evelyn Edgett 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Money Saving Adventures For Last Week

October 15, 2017

Hey y'all, it's {{{YAWN}}} me!

Yep, it's Sunday night and I am tired--but I wanted to get this post done before I went to bed, so here I am.

This week hasn't been a blockbuster of money saving genius, but I did get a few licks in. With illness and schedules thrown off due to the holiday on Monday, it was a miracle that I kept the dishes, laundry, and cooking from spiraling down into chaos. Anything over that is gravy.

Since our 21st anniversary was this weekend (thank you, thank you, hold the applause), I wanted to get the Redneck something he would like. With limited funds I was stymied until Saturday afternoon when, as we were driving to check out a new gun range (more on that later), and we got to talking about Ted Nugent the rock star, or as we refer to him at our house, 'Uncle Ted'. We agreed that we wish we had been able to find his 2014 tour album, Shut Up And Jam. I looked it up on Amazon, and realized that with the gift cards that I recently earned through i-say, the survey site I told y'all about, I could afford to get it shipped to him for a gift! Within seconds I had ordered it, and it will arrive around the end of the month. I am not getting rich off surveys, but I can make a little money for a few extras. Here's the link again so you can check them out.

Speaking of my little survey hobby--look what else came in this week!

My very own copy of the Kent Rollins book, A Taste Of Cowboy! I found it for a great price used, and my gift cards paid for it. The recipes are scrumptious, the stories are spellbinding (My favorite is The Red Velvet Cake Massacre), and the photos are gorgeous. I can't wait to start trying out the recipes. I think a couple might even make the Redneck like chicken!

One of the strategies I use to save money on groceries is to purchase poblano, hatch, or other mild peppers instead of bell peppers. Right now, bells are 69 cents apiece, but poblanos are $1.68 a pound. You get more peppers per pound for a better price than if you buy the bells per individual sale. Poblanos and hatch peppers can be chopped up for salads just like bells, and yes, they do have a spicier flavor. I saute them for omelettes, add them to meatloaf, and even make stuffed peppers by filling them with the meat mixture and baking them in a muffin tin to hold them up. Don't go whole hog the first time you try them--just get one, cut it up and taste to see if you like them. And make certain you get the MILD hatch peppers.

I finally began to put the new handles on Obie's dresser, and found out that the screws I bought were too short to go through the drawer fronts. I forgot--it's an OLD dresser, and therefore better made with thicker wood. So I took the screws and the receipt back to the hardware store, and when I told the clerk what was wrong, he went back, found the right sized screw, bagged them up--and didn't charge me the additional cost of a longer screw! That was so nice of him. It was only a few cents, but we all know how every penny saved adds up, right?

I made a big pork roast in the crock pot for Friday night, and we were able to have it for lunch on Saturday, so we avoided having to eat out. I also brought out all the little 'piddly' containers of leftover veggies in the fridge to go with it. Plus there is a bit left for Obie and I to have for lunch this week.

We managed to stay UNDER budget on the grocery shopping, which included dishwasher detergent. Always a reason to celebrate!

I tried out Swagbucks, because all these other bloggers were talking about it, but after about an hour I deleted the account. I don't think it's worth my time, and it just seemed like there was an awful lot of pressure to buy stuff. I dunno, maybe I need a Swagbucks mentor, someone who does this all the time and who can guide me through the process. Have any of y'all done this? Have you had good results? If you have suggestions, please comment below.

Our church had Grub Sunday today, and so we 'ate out' for our anniversary! I made 2 pans of Beef and Biscuits, and it was pretty popular. I did bring home enough to have for lunch later this week. While there, a lady brought in 4 throw pillows and asked me if I wanted them, since they didn't fit the decor in the room anymore. I was happy to take them, and I will be covering them with new fabric for different spots in my house. She also gave me a couple of rocking chair cushions, and they will go on the bench on my front porch.

This evening after supper, I gave Obie a haircut, using Wahl clippers. He can't stand his hair to get very long, so I give  him a 'buzz cutt' every few weeks. I save money by not having to take him to a barber.

One more thing. You remember that I got the Redneck the CD for our anniversary? Well, when we checked out the new gun range, *I* got a gift too!

AMMO! Here is the Redneck presenting me with a box of ammo for my pistol! I was thrilled, because I love to go shooting, and I was getting low on 'pow pows'!

Like I said, not a huge amount of money saving adventures, but I think the ones I had were pretty good.

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

It's Fall! LET'S BAKE!!! Day 3

October 12, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

I am happy to report that after a few days of touch and go with Alfonse, my plain sourdough starter, the little guy is healthy and thriving. So yesterday we got together and began the process of creating a loaf of bread.

I had started with a cup of Rye Graham Flour, because it was one of the flours that Eleanor had given me, but you can use just about any flour you have on hand. The first starter I ever created was with plain Rye Flour, because a lady giving a class at the time used it. Once I get a starter established, I use plain white flour from my pantry to feed it--works fine. 

I added a cup of unchlorinated water to the flour in a large jar (use either glass or plastic containers--metal can mess you up). Chlorinated water will kill any natural yeasts. Use bottled water, or if you have a filter like this on your faucet, you can use tap water. I have a well, so no chlorine, but there are minerals in it that make it taste a tad harsh.

Mix the two well, eliminating lumps. You might have to use a metal whisk for this, but if you are simply mixing it up quickly, you can get away with it. Place a clean dishtowel or cheesecloth over the top, and secure it with a rubber band. Now, set it over on the counter for 48 hours (some say 24, but I think sourdough starter is like working with beehives--when in doubt, don't). 

After the waiting time, uncover the jar and check it. You might start to see a little bubbling action, but if not, don't worry. Like Alfonso, you may have a late bloomer. Just add a half cup of flour and water, mix it well, recover, and wait another 48 hours (no, you are not going to 'whip up' a loaf of bread for supper with sourdough, but the end result is worth the wait).

After the time, check again. If your starter smells a little sour or 'beery', you're good. If you see mold, or pinkish tinge to it--toss it out and start over. There may be a layer of brownish liquid on top--that's okay, that's called the 'hooch'. Just mix it back in as you add another half cup of flour and water, then set it aside for another 48 hours.

When you check it this last time, if it is as I described above--congratulations, you have a starter! Now you can either make bread right now, or you can feed it and put it into the fridge, where you will keep it from now on, feeding it once a week, or each time you use it to bake.

This was Alfonse after a week of sitting on the counter. I got busy with a lot of errands, a sick Redneck, etc. Even being a bit neglected, he has been quietly bubbling away, and the layer of hooch is about an inch thick. I simply poured it all into a clean ice cream container and placed the lid on loosely (if you keep it in a jar in the fridge, either just set the lid on top, or use a cloth with a rubber band to seal it--gasses build up and can shatter the jar. Believe me when I say you DO NOT want to have to clean that up!). Now all you have to do is feed the starter once a week, adding equal amounts of flour and water and stirring it up. If you bake at least once a week, just feed it after taking out what you need to bake with.

I mixed it all back together, then began preparing my dough. 

Using a large non metal bowl, mix together well 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup starter. Don't forget to feed the starter and put in the fridge.

Begin adding flour, between 3 to 6 cups, a little at a time, stirring it in well each time. Keep an eye on the mixture, watching for a loose, stringy dough. It's better to have it a bit loose, than to have it too stiff at this point. Set a timer for 15 minutes.

Pour it onto a clean, lightly floured counter, sprinkle a little four over the top and begin kneading. I use a scraper to get it started, then quickly move on to getting my hands involved.

No, I didn't do it all one handed while I photographed. Using both hands, I grabbed, punched, pushed, beat and wrung the dough for 15 minutes, adding a little flour only when the dough would start to stick to the counter or my hands too much. When I was done, there sat a lovely little smooth ball of dough.

Butter a loaf pan well, and pat the dough into it. You can also make a simple round or french style loaf on a cookie sheet. Either way it tastes good. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for at least 12 hours, checking it after 6 hours. I usually let a loaf rise for 24 hours, but I have had a loaf rise really fast, due to a very warm kitchen. 

I checked the loaf around 8 pm last night, and it had risen nicely, but I thought it could go until morning, because the temperature in my kitchen was pretty cool. So I waited and checked it this morning.

Yeah, I was glad that I had decided to put the pan into a large bowl--look at the mess. I had also forgotten to re dampen the covering cloth. The top of the loaf had dried out some, but it was still worth baking. 

I preheated the oven to 425 degrees, and placed the pan on the center rack. I let it bake at this for 15 minutes, then lowered the temperature to 325 degrees, and let it continue to bake for another 30 minutes.

Sourdough doesn't smell like yeast bread. When I took it out of the oven and removed it from the pan to cool, the aroma was stu-freaking-PENDOUS. It's a lovely, rich sour scent. 

Here is the finished product--a nicely browned, crusty loaf. Even with a slightly dried out top before baking, it turned out well. I let it cool completely before slicing.

I like this bread slicing guide, since it has a little extension that joins on to make it easier to slice a long loaf. 

The crumb is much denser than a yeast bread will be. The loaf doesn't rise quite as high, and it is a chewy, rich loaf, perfect for soups and stews. I like to toast a slice and slather it with butter for a quick snack. 

So, grab some flour and water, a big jar, and create your own starter. While you are waiting for it to come to life, look up some of the history of this wonderful gift of fermentation on the following websites:

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Delay In The Baking Series, And I Experiment For Lunch

October 10, 2017

Hey y'all, it's me!

The Redneck was off for Columbus Day, and we had a few things planned for the day, including a batch of Puerco Pibil ready for roasting in the oven (it's a slow roasted pork dish from Mexico. We learned about it years ago while watching the special features on the Once Upon A Time In Mexico DVD). It was looking good for the day.

The Redneck was sitting at the table around 7:30, sipping his coffee, when he suddenly stood up and rushed for the bathroom. Yeah, thing went downhill rapidly from there.

The poor guy had some kind of stomach glitch that laid him low for the rest of the day. He was either in the bathroom or on the bed asleep. He couldn't even eat a bowl of chicken noodle soup. He managed to drink a few glasses of orange juice now and then. I spent the rest of the day quietly cleaning and checking on him from time to time. Around 5 pm he got down a cup of the soup, and went right back to bed. Miraculously, he was up this morning and went to work. Apparently there is something going around, and he picked it up.

So while things are back to normal around here, I am behind on a few things due to my nursing duties yesterday. So my Day 3 of IT'S FALL! Let's Bake post will be a little late this week. However, I do have a little post about an experiment for our lunch today.

Sometimes folks buy stuff for their pantry, then decide they don't like it. I am often the happy recipient of these products, and I am always in the mood to see what I can do with something I haven't tried before.

I have had tempura in oriental restaurants many times, but I had never tried making it at home. A lady had given me a box of the batter mix a while back, and since I had a chicken breast set aside for lunch today, I was in the mood to try it out.

This is the brand. I read the instructions, which looked simple and easy.

I mixed up the powder with cold water and whisked it until there were no lumps.

I thinly sliced the chicken breast, and then added in a sliced poblano pepper and onion rings.

I set up an assembly line, with a couple of plates at the far right to drain the cooked food. I heated my oil to the right temperature, and here we go!

I began with the onion rings, dipping them in the batter and then slipping them into the oil.

I fried them until they were light golden brown, then placed them on the draining plate.

I followed them with the poblanos and then the chicken.

I even poured the leftover batter into the oil and allowed it to fry up. Not bad--it makes a light puffy...'whatsit'. Nothing goes to waste!

Everything turned out with a light crispy crust. I am always amazed at how much food one little chicken breast can provide when sliced and prepared right. We each had three pieces of the chicken, a big serving of the veggies, along with a chunk of the fried batter. We ate well, and there is chicken left over for lunch tomorrow and Thursday!

My finished plate with a glass of ginger ale. We used a little sweet and sour sauce on the side. I am impressed at how easy this was to fix, and I will be picking up a few boxes of the batter mix to keep in the pantry for quick lunch ideas. I am planning to try a few other veggies, like squash. Anyone else ever tried this? What vegetables do you like to use in this? Please comment below.

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