Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Garden Party - All Alliterations

This week we can see....

Slow-to-start Seedlings:

Pretty Pink Petals:


 Red Rose:

Pile of Peas:

Lovely Lilies:

Stray Strawberries (somehow growing at the top of my hanging hot peppers!):


Black Berries:

Weekend Work (this is in my driveway, waiting for Friday's yard waste pick-up - when I was taking this picture early this morning, my neighbor snuck up behind me and said "boo!", scaring the wits right out of me... holy cow):

Mouse-free Mousetrap (you will note, however, that it is also bait-free - a never ending battle):

I sure hope that our seeds start growing soon, and that we can get a handle on those darned mice. Check back next week to see what another week brings - in the meantime, check out An Oregon Cottage for her weekly Garden Party.


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Monday, April 23, 2012

Chain Bread

About a week and a half ago, a co-worker of mine brought in a loaf of Amish Friendship Bread (which was delicious) and a bag of Amish Friendship Bread Starter, which he gave to me.

I'd never heard of Amish Friendship Bread, so I looked up the story behind it.   This is what Wikipedia had to say:  “Amish Friendship Bread is a type of bread or cake made from a sourdough starter that is often shared in a manner similar to a chain letter. The starter is a substitute for baking yeast and can be used to make many kinds of yeast-based breads, shared with friends, or frozen for future use."

The starter is a sourdough starter, a yeast-based starter with a lactobacillus culture. Because there’s so much sugar in most Amish Friendship Bread recipes, the result is sweet, rather than sour, but if you have a discriminating palate you may be able to pick up a tangy twist. Like most sourdough starters, Amish Friendship Bread can literally be passed around indefinitely; in fact, the longer its been around, the better.

How it works?  Someone gives you a bag of starter, you take care of it for 10 days, divide it into 4 portions, give 3 away and keep one for yourself, baking some delicious Amish Friendship Bread.  When I showed it the The Mr, he said: "It's Chain Bread!"

This is the starter care instructions that I received with my starter.

Amish Friendship Bread

Day 1:  Do nothing. This is the date on which you receive the bag. Squish-squash-mush the bag.
Day 2:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 3:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 4:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 5:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 6:   Add to the bag 1 C. flour, 1 C. sugar, 1 C. milk. Squish-squash-mush the bag.
Day 7:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 8:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 9:   Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 10: BAKING DAY! Mix and divide the starter as follows:

Pour entire contents of bag into large non-metal bowl and add: 1½ cup flour, 1½ cup sugar, 1½ cup milk. 

Measure out 4 separate batches of the starter batter, 1 cup each, into 4 separate Ziplock bags (one gallon size). Keep one for yourself and give the other 3 to friends along with a copy of the recipe/instructions.




And then it was time to bake!  I enlisted The Boy to help me.  We decided to make variations of the traditional recipe - he made Lemon Poppy Seed and I made Chocolate.



And the results?

Um, yum!!

Here are the recipes for both varieties:

Lemon Poppy Seed Amish Friendship Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup poppy seeds
2 (3 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. In a large mixing bowl blend together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, poppy seeds, and lemon pudding mix. Make a well in the center of the bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the Amish starter, eggs, milk, applesauce, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Add to dry ingredients and blend until just combined. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans.
3. Bake in a preheated 325 degree F(165 degrees C) oven for one hour. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan.

Amish Friendship Chocolate Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chocolate pudding. Make a well in the center of this mixture. Add Amish friendship bread starter, vegetable oil, milk, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Both varieties were  wonderful.  We are "growing" more starter and I am thinking about some savory versions for our next round.  What would you add?



Food Network Loaf Pan
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Look at Katy!

Our sweet niece Katy came to visit not long ago.  Her mama came too.

I'm not sure there is anything sweeter than a little one napping.  She came into our room one morning and, not quite ready to get up, we popped her into bed.  Apparently, she wasn't quite ready to get up either, and went back to sleep.  Good thing she has Roger and Hammerstein to keep her company.

We had a party and she made a new friend!

We went to the zoo.  She wasn't too sure about sitting on the turtle...

... but it was OK  with her auntie behind her.

She got her first view of the ocean, and a chance to get her feet wet.  She wanted NO part of that.  Not with Papa....

... not with her uncle....

... and not even with her Mama.  She was NOT happy!

Don't make my feet touch that mean old sand.

She managed to get into the spirit for our feet picture though.

And walking in dry sand wasn't so bad.  With hands to hold anyway.

She's a big fan of her Uncle!

Then it was dinner, and she is all smiles.

Our sweet girlie.  She's changed so much since the first time we met her.  She's had a lot of change in her short little life, but she takes it in stride and with that adorable smile.  She's a charmer and we can't wait until she visits again!

Ni Hao Yall


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What We Ate

Sheepy would like to give you a glimpse at some of the places we ate while in London.

Our first morning in the City, we had breakfast at Starbucks after services at St. Paul's Cathedral.  Sheepy likes St. Arbucks.  

Salaam Namaste - delicious Indian food, and had the bonus of being just around the corner from our flat.

Breakfast at The George Inn in Lacock.  This pub dates back to 1361!

The original Hard Rock Cafe.  Though this only dates back to 1971, this Hard Rock is the one that started it all.

Another cup of coffee, though this time we opted for somewhere other than Starbucks.

Lunch and an ale at The Edgar Wallace near Temple and Fleet Street.

Starbucks.  See?  I told you that Sheepy likes Starbucks.

A pub dinner near our flat at Calthorpe Arms.  Good gravy.  ;-)

Late but lovely dinner at the Mug House under London Bridge.

And a dessert of treacle tart.  Divine!

We always have lunch at  Pizza Express when we tour Shakespeare's Globe Theatre!

A tasty pub dinner at the Friend At Hand, near Russell Square Station.

High Tea at The Orangery.  Very fancy.  Sheepy loved it!

Another visit to Starbucks.

Dinner at our favorite restaurant in London, Santorini.

With our favorite dessert, the galactic burrito!  (OK, galaktobouriko, but the very first time the waiter told us about it, it really sounded like galactic burrito to me)

Dinner at The Old Garage just outside of Wimbledon.  Fabulous food, and good prices.

We ate twice at L ulivo, a really great Italian restaurant in Baker street.

Dinner at the foot of The Monument (after climbing all 311 steps to the top) at The Brittania.

Lunch at the Kitchen Front Cafe in Churchill's War Rooms Museum.

One of the few places we saw Shepard's Pie - yum!

Another meal at L ulivo!

Breakfast at The Old Brewery Cafe in Greenwich.  A lot of our time in restaurants was spent planning our next route, just like this!

Sheepy, Sheepy, Sheepy and Sheepy all enjoyed lunch at the British Museum!

One last dinner in London.  Fish and chips in Trafalgar Square, at The Silver Cross.

Judging by the food we ate, I think it is a good thing that we walked more than 12 miles each day we were in London!

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