Monday, November 17, 2014

Celebrating a Certain Someone

A favorite cake in our house.

Piper Sonoma and Papa Murphy Pizza – It’s a guy’s party.

Our neighbor gave my husband Piper Sonoma Brut Champagne. Reviews for this champagne (sparkling wine) say it has a clean, fresh, green apple aroma, tasting of green apple, citrus, a note of peach and strawberry, which makes this champagne elegant. I say that it tastes like fancy beer – it’s a man’s champagne.
My sweetheart only likes a thin layer of frosting on his cake. My frosting is a blend of about ½ cup butter, most of a bag of powdered sugar, a drop of vanilla, and a spot of milk.
“Sparkling wine” vs. “Champagne” 
A question that we are often asked is, “What is the difference between “Sparkling Wine” and “Champagne”? The easy and short answer is that sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France, which is just outside of Paris…
To clarify, all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne. We really should think of Champagne in terms of a geographical place as opposed to a winemaking style. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Pumpkin Spice Would Have Been Nice 

Today, my daughter and I went on our early morning walk in hopes of enjoying the special holiday blend of Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino at AmPm, only to find that our local shop no longer has the frothy, sweet drink available! I have been looking forward to it all year - it is only available during November and sometimes, December. I never even had one cup of it this year! The friendly girl who often works there told me they were all out of it for the year. What? How can that be! I so want my Pumpkin Spice Coffee. I guess I will have to settle for the Pumpkin Spice black coffee and add some Pumpkin Spice flavored  creamer. Better luck next year, eh?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Rainy Days and Cozy Nights

The last day of October - it's a rainy day, and possibly we shall have a gusty, windy evening. In a celebration of autumn, tonight we'll watch a family movie, away from all the hustle and bustle, enjoy pizza, Pepsi, and sweets. I might even start a fire in the wood stove and snuggle up on the couch, watching the flames dance and flicker as I drift off to sleep. ☺

Friday, September 12, 2014

Time for a Glass of Iced Tea

It’s Friday, and I am so glad. It has been a long and difficult week. I am going to put my feet up...and have that glass of iced tea.

I hope you all are able to have a few moments to enjoy life's simple pleasures together.

I will leave you with some photos from a visit to the California State Railroad Museum taken may 2013

~ A wealthy man's private car ~

Happy Weekend!

Monday, September 8, 2014

English Muffin Loaf

To Make these muffins, I used the English muffin loaf recipe (below) and cut out a couple of rounds from the dough before putting the dough into bread pans. They turned out no worse than the actual English Muffin recipe.


I have been making this delicious recipe since 1987.

I love crunchy toasted English muffins spread with butter melting into the nooks and crannies, topped with honey or jam.

You can have the wonderful aroma a freshly baked English Muffin Loaf fill your kitchen while your coffee brews and you set your table for a pleasant weekend breakfast. Maybe you want just the fresh muffin loaf with your morning coffee or tea, or perhaps you would like an egg and maybe tater tots on the side.

However you like it, you can have it baked in a jiffy, with this easy no kneed recipe. Bread making has never been easier. If you start at 7:00 a.m. you can have fresh muffin loaf on the table by 8:20, and you really only spend the first 15 minutes mixing it up and setting it aside to rise.

English Muffin Loaf

2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
6 cups unsifted flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
½ cup water
Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Heat liquids until very warm (120˚-130˚F) Add to flour mixture. Beat well. Stir in rest of flour to make a stiff batter. Spoon into 2 loaf pans (greased and sprinkled with cornmeal). Sprinkle the top of each loaf with cornmeal Cover and let rise in warm place for 45 minutes. Bake at 400˚ for 25 minutes. Remove immediately from pans and cool. Slice and toast or just eat it warm.

A couple of notes: I tend to let the milk get too hot, so I add my ½ cup of water after heating the milk. The dough is very sticky, so I let it set at least 5 minutes, which makes it easier to handle. I then use a large knife to cut the dough down the middle and I scoop it up by hand and plop it into the prepared pans. I warm my oven for 1 minute, turn oven off and place the bread to rise inside the warmed oven. Remove the loaves from the oven in about 35 minutes to heat oven to baking temperature.

Enjoy this delicious English muffin loaf right out of the oven, or bake it and toast it up later...perhaps for afternoon tea (Could you detect my English accent?).
♥ Hope

September Morning

~ Morning sky ~
Such lovely clouds
Alas, that nasty looking telephone pole truly disrupts the beauty of a photo.

I made Stromboli on the weekend...
made it on the cheep using salami lunch meat and a shredded blend of bagged cheese.
Truthfully, it did not thrill me; however, Stephen assured me that it was super delicious. 

Another attempt made this morning -
Still trying to perfect the English muffins and still not happy with the results; 
although, I must say...they did taste quite yummy.

Birthday Special

My birthday boy requested  scrambled eggs with biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

Lizzy decorated.

Lisa and Adam came over for pizza and cheese cake.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Homemade English Muffins

I just love English muffins but seldom buy them because of the price.

This was my first try at making English muffins. I did not achieve the nooks and crannies that I had hoped for; however, if you us a fork to split the muffins, instead of a knife, they will have more texture. I am going to keep trying a few more things to see if I can find a solution to my problem.
Homemade English Muffins
(Roll and Cut Method)

Yields 12 to 14 three inch muffins
Prep: 45 minutes, total time about 2 hours

* 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
* 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
* 1/8 teaspoon sugar
Combine the active dry yeast, water, and sugar in a small bowl and allow it to stand until foamy, about 7 to 10 minutes.

* 2 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/4 cups warm milk (around 95° to 100°)
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Combine 2 cups of flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Pour in the egg, milk, butter and yeast mixture. Stir with a spoon to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading on medium-low speed as you make the additions. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes after the last flour addition.

Place the dough inside a large greased bowl and turn the dough over so that the entire surface is coated. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

* Plain yellow corn meal for dusting

Sprinkle a work surface with cornmeal. Pour the dough out of the bowl onto the surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with cornmeal and roll into a rectangle, slightly less than 1/2-inch thick. Cut muffins with a large round cutter, or with the mouth of a drinking glass.

Lightly oil a skillet and place it over medium heat. Place the muffins in the pan and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, 5-7 minutes per side. (I had to cook mine on low so that they did not get too dark.)

Serve warm or split and toasted with jam and butter, or cool before placing them in an air-tight container. They will keep for 3 days air-tight or up to 1 month in the freezer.

You may use pastry rings or English muffin molds to help the muffins keep their round shape, but I tried the recipe both ways and found they did fine without the rings/molds.