Monday, February 17, 2014

Recipe Update

A couple of posts ago I discussed some recipes I was trying so I thought I would update.

Brownies -- the recipe I tried with three different chocolates was just too chewy -- in fact, it didn't taste done even though I cooked it longer than it called for.  So, I finally tried the one bowl recipe on the inside of the Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate Box and that is exactly what I was looking for.  After taste testing it was about as close to a box mix as I think I will get so it is going to be my go-to brownie recipe.
Cornbread -- I haven't made this recipe again but will this week.  I had tweaked the original recipe myself so I am going back to the original recipe only I am going to cut the sugar in half.  I will revisit when I have done that.

Squash Salad -- I recently read the book French Women Don't Get Facelifts and was surprised that there were some recipes included.  One caught my eye and I tried it yesterday.  It is a squash salad and it was surprisingly good -- I wasn't sure what to expect.  The ingredients are yellow squash, thinly sliced , zucchini sliced into thin ribbons and cherry tomatoes.  A light dressing of olive oil, sherry vinegar and lemon juice is added along with chopped fresh mint and feta cheese.  I had to change the recipe in a bit because I didn't have the correct ingredients.  I substituted lime juice for the lemon juice because I was out of lemon juice.  I also substituted white wine vinegar for the sherry vinegar and I had to chop up a tomato as I forgot to buy cherry tomatoes.  I don't think the tomatoes made a big difference but I am not sure about the lime juice and the different vinegar.  With all that changing, though, it was really good.  I had never thought about a squash salad but it will become part of my regular rotation.

For anybody who thinks I have taken all leave of my senses in my old age let me explain.  I am trying to get all the toxins and negative things out of my diet and my house so I have resorted to scratch cooking which is actually proving to be more fun that I thought it would be.  I am not a stranger to the concept but we have gotten to the point that we are either eating out or take-out or convenience foods and I am trying to change that.  I used to spend my time quilting or cross stitching or internet surfing -- now I find I am spending my time cooking.  I have been dabbling in the creation of a greener life and also becoming more minimalist in our lifestyle and I like the idea of buying raw ingredients and putting them together to actually make something rather than just opening a box or a can and worrying about the ingredients that I can't pronounce or what is lining the can.  After a weekend pantry overhaul, I am standing back looking at my lovely, retro glass jars full of flours, sugars and cornmeal -- my turntables with my baking supplies organized where I can actually find something and all my bottles there in one place -- and it is peaceful.  It is somehow relaxing and reassuring to know that I can actually create what I want from these simple ingredients and don't have to rely on a box of something that I might or might not have.  I know that sounds really crazy but it takes me back to what I consider a better time -- my youth -- when everybody lived this way.  It makes me happy.

So, now that I have found the perfect brownie recipe and the perfect cornbread recipe I am off to find the perfect biscuit recipe.  I grew up eating biscuits made from Pioneer Biscuit Mix -- local to San Antonio -- and it makes lovely biscuits.  My goal is to find a recipe to make equally as good biscuits as those from scratch.  I will review when I do.

Musing Mondays -- February 17, 2014

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  To participate you need to answer one of several questions.  Today I will be discussing what I am reading currently and my opinion of the book.

I am currently reading The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini.  It is the fifth book in the Elm Creek Creek series.  While you wouldn't have to read these books in order, it is helpful because there is a serial aspect to them.

I have only just begun this book but I am totally into it.  Even though I am more than twenty years younger than the main character -- Sylvia Bergstrom -- I identify with her.  I don't think I am necessarily like her because, in the first book, she is quite gruff but I think I admire her.  In any event, for an octogenarian, she has serious spunk.

I especially love the setting of these books.  Elm Creek Manor is a place I could see myself visiting and probably never wanting to leave.  The thought of having inherited a mansion and then turning it into something like a quilt camp just sounds like a lot of fun. 

Then, there is the quilting.  When I began this series of books, I thought they would be heavy with all things quilting but they aren't.  There is just enough to get me over my "quilting block" and inspire me to get back into it.  I am the sort of person that has to be in the mood to do something and sometimes I need a little push.

The history aspect of these books is very appealing.  If you like history or do genealogy these books will appeal to you.  There is a little of all of it. These books also have a bit of mystery to them so if you like mysteries, there is some of that for you, as well.

All in all, I have enjoyed this series thus far and I am sure my current read will be no different.