Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘homemade’

Baking for some of us is an expression of creativity, a passion, or a simple pleasure. Personally I wish I had more time to bake, but when I do, I am reminded of the numerous perks of baking besides the obvious. Here are a few:

AppleMuffins-GettingReady2

5. Baking is a license to make a mess. We sometimes need permission to let that super-neat side go, (or that hyper-critical side that’s always complaining that we’re not being neat enough.) There’s nothing like poufs of flour and drooling egg whites on the counter to remind us that messy can often serve the higher power of creativity.

AppleMuffins-BatterInTin2

4. It ends up being a great time to give our prep counters a thorough cleaning, a corollary to #5 above.

3. Baking is also an ideal opportunity to take stock of our pantry and insure that we don’t run out of the staples we need when our next baking impulse strikes.

2. Baking makes the house smell fabulous.

AppleMuffins-1Muffin2

1. The most obvious reason why baking is cool:

AppleMuffins-Buttered2

Yum! We get to enjoy something truly delicious that came from our own two hands which is wholesome and free of all the extra and unnecessary additives of store-bought.

AppleMuffins-5MuffinsInCakePan2

Pictured here are Apple Buttermilk Muffins. I made 6 large muffins rather than 12 small, used pecans instead of walnuts, and I used the Macoun apples I already had in the house. It all added up to a treat worth savoring.

Read Full Post »

It seems almost everything I start to write about lately is so serious, (and I have the drafts to prove it), so I decided to write instead about my latest baking experience. Or should I say (unintended) baking experiment.

Each year I volunteer at, and bake for, the annual Open House at the equine rescue I help. Last weekend I pored over recipes looking for something fabulous and Fall-ish to bake, and settled on a gorgeous cranberry-orange cake with orange glaze. I usually bake a Bundt cake of some kind, and then wrap individual slices for them to sell at the bake sale. I make a sign that says “From Scratch” and “All Butter” and between the two, my cake goes pretty quickly. I’d thought about making something vegan, but I’m not practiced enough, so I’ll stick with what I know best, traditional baking.

Cake-Ingredients2

Well, it started with the food shopping. I’d gotten almost all the week’s groceries on my list and went to get the butter. Crap. I’d looked at so many recipes, I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to use salted or unsalted. I decided on the latter. After I’d loaded up on my own fruits and veggies, I searched for the cranberries. No fresh to be found — not organic or otherwise. Hmmmm. I headed over to the frozen section — no organic, looked for regular. Nothing. I asked the fellow in the frozen fruit section and inquired. He says, “We used to have the frozen all year `round, now they come in the same time as the fresh.”

Cake-Batter2Really? REALLY? My whole cake idea is now shot. I decided to go with blueberries, because they’ll be good with orange, but because I’d already been in the store so long, I grabbed the frozen in front of me instead of schlepping yet again to the fresh section. (And I just heard all you bakers groan.)

Saturday morning I got out all the ingredients, including those that needed to come to room temperature. Oh yeah, another recipe with frozen blueberries tells me to thaw them and drain well. So they’re in a strainer over a nice deep bowl.

Okay, now I’m starting to bake. I put Loreena on my CD player, (Mask and Mirror), and happily begin mixing my dry ingredients. I can already see the blueberries may be a problem. But what can I do? Cake-DoneInPan2I proceed with the recipe, make a little salt adjustment because it was salted butter it called for, (of course it was), and everything else goes smoothly. I try some extra gentle blotting of the blueberries before adding them, but it makes no difference. My batter is turning blue. At best, marbled blue. The great cake I had such high hopes for has officially turned into a science project.

Well, I know it will taste good, because a sampling of the batter tells me so, and into the oven it goes. I now find myself hoping that some kids at Open House will see the blue cake and think it’s real cool and beg Mom to buy it. After 50 minutes, I test with a toothpick. It says it’s OK; I don’t believe it, and put it back in for another 10 minutes. And below, when I went to turn it out, is what I got. * Sigh* Pretty depressing, eh?

Cake-TurnedOut2I feel badly as now I’ll have nothing to bring, and badly because I just wasted a lot of time and money. I must say, in all my years of baking, that never happened! Guess there’s a first time for everything.

If you’d like to make the cake I’d planned, and see a photo of what it should look like, here’s the recipe. No substitutions, please.

Read Full Post »

The weather is still crisp and perfect for making the most of enjoying the Fall colors and seasonal fare. A friend and I decided to take a short journey to Oldwick, a town in the eastern part of our county.
Our first stop was breakfast at the Oldwick General Store.

OldwickGeneralStore2

Unassuming from the outside and simply furnished within, this converted house offers a variety of delicious home-style foods. You order your meal off the blackboard behind the counter where staff takes your order, gather your utensils, fetch your beverage, and find a table. They’ll give you a shout when your food is ready.

The selection of hot food is always delicious and cooked right there in plain view. Adjacent to this is a deli counter with standard delicatessen fare and a host of delicious made-on-premises salads. And right next to that, a bakery case of rich homemade  treats that is hard to resist. (But I did.) Tasty food, hot coffee, pleasant surroundings and a good friend start the day off right.

Melick'sFarm-AppleBaskets2

Our next stop was right down the road at Melick’s Town Farm, a family owned farm that has been growing fine produce for several generations. Their apple cider can be found almost anywhere in the county, and their main farm stand, where we stopped, carries a great variety of their own fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers, home-baked breads and sweets, and more.

 MelicksFarm-PumpkinsMums2

MelicksFarm-AppleBags2

Melick’s has many varieties of apples, and if you don’t want to buy by the bushel or pound, you can buy in 1/2 peck bags.

MelicksFarm-Breads2

Only when we were on the way home, did I remember that I’d wanted to buy one of their breads!

MelicksFarm-Muffin2

What I didn’t photograph at Melick’s Farm, but did succumb to, were a couple of their delicious apple cider doughnuts and one fabulous coffee cake muffin, above. It’s hard to resist homemade.

Walk-Beginning2

Once we’d gotten home, we still felt like doing something else, so decided upon a walk. The sky had become a bit overcast, so the autumn hues were not as incandescent as they had been earlier in the sunshine.

Walk-AlongThe-Way2

Even so, the feel of Fall was in the air.

Walk-OpenPod2

Along our walk, we passed all kinds of weeds … tiny magenta thistles, miniature daisies of some kind, vines. However, this pod, one of many to be found along the path, was fascinating. Closed, they are soft green, hard-shelled pods, but when open, they push out something akin to cotton. At one point along the way, there was a stand of them, looking to my eye not unlike a landing spot for so many aliens.

Walk-WeedsTrees2

They may just be weeds, but even in their texture, they have an interest all their own. Sugar maples are on fire around the next corner.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.  ~Rachel Carson

 

Read Full Post »

CinnamonSugarMuffinBatter2It’s a sad comment on how often I (don’t) bake that when I go into the kitchen and start getting out bowls and baking pans the cats show up to be fed. I mean … why else would I be coming into the kitchen at this odd hour, right? Sad, indeed.

However, much to their surprise, it was to bake something … muffins, in fact. I had pulled a page out of Parade Magazine’s monthly dash insert, (which is all about food), because it had a basic muffin recipe and a bunch of variations. Yes, it’s true – I am suckered in even by pictures of food. Figured I’d try them. By the way, the recipes featured in dash all come from bon appetit, Gourmet and epicurious.

What I liked about them was the low amount of sugar in the batch – only 1/4 cup – and they recommended canola oil, of which I have organic onhand. Made-from-scratch muffins really are incredibly easy to make and these were no exception. I decided to go simple and top them with a mix of cinnamon and the neat sanding sugar I’ve been waiting to use. You can see it best in the batter photo.

CinnamonSugarMuffins2

How did they come out? Beautiful, of course, but oddly enough, they could have done with a wee  bit more sweetness. Want to try them? Find the recipe here with a link to the variations.

Read Full Post »

roughwighting

Life in a flash - a weekly blog on daily living

TheBookOwl

Mainly non-fiction book reviews. Science, nature, memoirs, history etc. Also fiction

JEANNE BALSAM GRAPHICS

BRINGING YOUR DREAMS TO LIFE

Life Sentences

Random, positive, life-affirming musings on various topics and experiences

Salmon Brook Farms

Official Home of Lavinia and Rick Ross

Harvesting Hecate

Thoughts on life, writing, creativity and magic

Ron Writes Stuff

Textbook Libra, potentially snarky, always writing.

Cynthia Reyes

The blog of Canadian author Cynthia Reyes

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

Professions for PEACE

Peace-filled affirmations & statements

47whitebuffalo's Blog

exploring connections among all things

A Leaf in Springtime

"Be a dew to the soil of the human heart."

home, garden, life

home, garden, life ~ sharing a sustainable lifestyle

%d bloggers like this: