Sunday, February 21, 2010

Farm Doin's

As usual there were all kind of doin's at the farm, and I knew many of you would be highly upset if I didn't chronicle every single happenin' right here.

I mean some of you just don't have this much excitement in your lives, so feel free to live the big time with us!


There were, of course the regular farm doin's like hay haulin'...




And this was followed by your really important hay stackin'...



And lucky for The Chief, I was there to do the really strategic job of placing the pallets ever so carefully so the hay can be stacked up and off of the damp ground.

You don't want just anybody doin' this job. No siree, it takes a sharp mind and impressive strength.

I'm your girl.


On with the hay stackin'...



These bales are really big and heavy, and you must move them with the hay hook on the tractor, or break them apart into smaller pieces to move by hand.

Occasionally one of the bales breaks apart when it is being moved, and in that case you just have to move it in bits in pieces. It's messy, but The Chief can handle it...




I, on the other hand, immediately aspirated a large amount of the dust and particles flying out of the hay and began wheezing like a weazel.

Seriously people, it was all I could do to hold the camera.


The Chief, as usual, was really glad I was there to lend a hand.



The Old Sick Cow and her calf really appreciated the extra hay.




This is their appreciative look.



Lookin' good Old Sick Cow! Hang in there girlfriend!



While all this was happenin', Weegie was busy with some big doin's of his own...


There was the ever important cow irritatin'...




The highly intimidating cow starin'...





And let's not forget the creek swimmin'...







There was all manner of Mule sittin'...





Mule guardin'...












And Mule sleepin'...









And even a little bit of Mule impersonatin'...









The Chief got to do one of his very favorite things. Brush burnin'...










These are some big piles of brush that were recently bulldozed, and The Chief has been anxiously waiting for a weekend when the piles weren't soaked with rainwater to add all kind of flammables, climb dangerously around amidst the gasoline saturated trees and brush, and start a roaring fire...























And I was only mad at him for a few minutes for practically destroying my hearing when the whole gasoline soaked thing decided to ignite...







I'm just forgivin' that way.



And while the Chief and Weegie were laborin', I did have a chance to wander through the woods for a while, which happens to be a favorite thing of mine...







And with the exception of the World's Largest Spider Web which I decided walk through, getting it's incredible stickiness inextricably tangled in my eyelashes, up my nose, and who knows where else, a rousin' time was had by all.

And that's pretty much the extent of the farm doin's!

Glad you could join us!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Something Sweet for The Chief

I need to fess up.

I'm doing this whole 100 days of fitness thing.

I've really been pretty good.

Not perfect, just good.

But The Chief needed something sweet for Valentine's Day.

And I just felt obligated. Well, not obligated, I WANTED to give him something sweet. And I really missed sugar...

The Chief, he loves Tres Leches Cake.

His favorite dessert ever is from Gaucho Grill in London - Bananas Tres Leches.

Let us please observe a moment of silence for this decadent confection.




Thank You.



Now, I'm not crazy enough (yet) to try to reproduce the perfection that is the Bananas Tres Leche, but I was really hoping to come up with something along the same line.

Something with a similar texture and mouth feel (foodie talk for yumminess).

And when I started this little experiment, my intention was to come up with a Tres Leches Cupcake. And while I didn't exactly hit that nail directly on the head, I definitely hit on something.

The Chief really liked them and I did too...

I had to taste them.

It is my obligation, my calling, I daresay my beholden duty to taste the product of my labors before serving it to others.

Lame. I know.

Anyhoo. Hope you enjoy!



Here's how it all went down.

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

I started with these...



First, grate the zest from the orange. And I'm sure you noticed that I forgot to take the above picture until after I had zested the orange, but I was excited - I hadn't been around sugar in a while!






Next, cream 2 sticks (Yikes!) of butter and 1 cup sugar in a mixing bowl.



After it's creamed together, it should look like this...



Be sure to occasionally scrape down the goodness from the sides of the bowl.

Next, add 2 eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.



Add 2 cups flour, then mix slowly and gently, just until the flour is incorporated.


If you mix it too much at this point, you risk making the batter tough, and will get an odd-looking peak on your cupcakes.

Restrain yourself! Do not manhandle the batter!

Now, in a small bowl add 1 tsp. baking soda to 1 cup buttermilk. I LOVE BUTTERMILK!




Stir it around a bit, then add the buttermilk mixture to the batter. And while you're at it, throw in the orange zest.



Mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.



The batter will be quite stiff.

I have to admit that this is where I began tasting the batter.

I couldn't resist the orange zest.

Forgive me.

Line 18 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.



And if you are repulsed by the worn condition of my bakeware, please turn away.


Next fill each two-thirds full with batter. I use a cookie scoop.


Make sure not to fill them too full. You won't get a pretty round top.





Bake for 15-17 minutes, just until very light brown. Be careful, don't let them get too brown!

Now, while they are baking, let's make the syrup that we'll soak them in.


Gather up this stuff.



Mix together 1 cup evaporated milk , 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, and 3 T. frozen limeade concentrate.



Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool about 10 minutes.



With a fork, pokes holes all in the tops of the cupcakes.



Now, spoon the milk mixture over the cupcakes.



You must do this while they are still warm.

Now whip about 1 c. heavy whipping cream with 3 T. powdered sugar, and 1 T. of the limeade concentrate.

I have no pictures of this step because I used this funky little hand-held blender for this which (and I am not making this up) threw whipped cream all over me and every surface of the kitchen.

This really irritated me, and I forgot about the camera.

The Chief got something like this...





Oh, and I forgot! I got these earlier in the day!! Enjoy!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Askew

I feel askew.

Is that possible? I mean grammatically or otherwise?

I want to be able to concentrate on one thing but can't.

And yet concentrating a little bit on a million things doesn't work either.

Why is there no happy medium?

Am I the only one askew?



And since this is beginning to sound suspiciously like a Dr. Suess ditty, I should probably switch gears here and just tell you what's what.

1. It's cold.

2. It's damp.

3. I look awful in bright pink.

4. I hate to use the word "hate", but I hate February. Because of 1 and 2 above, and because the sun disappears. Tell me, where does it go and can I go there?

5. I've now dreamt twice in one week that I discovered Weegie was driving my car during the day when I wasn't using it.

6. Weegie's legs are extremely short (a symptom of Corgi "ness") and therefore, the logistics of this feat have me puzzled. Real puzzled. You see, I like to try to decipher my dreams...

7. I can never decipher my dreams.

8. I've learned a lesson. Don't eat 2 cups of caramel icing. Ever. Especially if you haven't had any refined sugar for over 3 weeks. You'll be sorry.

9. My high school reunion is coming up in April. I cannot bring myself at this time to divulge the "number" of this reunion. I feel old.

10. I absolutely, positively cannot make it through a meal without getting dribbles of food somewhere on my clothes. Usually red food on white clothes.



I'm just basically a mess wrapped up in discombobulation going askew.

Lu

Thursday, February 4, 2010

BEER BREAD

It's time for Beer Bread.

And I've decided that we're going to focus on the food, not the unusual circumstances that caused me to find beer in my house the first time I made this.

No, I need some secrets.

Without my mysterious aura what do I have?

So just suffice it to say that I came across beer one day and made this bread.

And it was good.

And as much as I dislike the taste of beer alone, I was so happy that the beer made this bread taste the way it did, that I decided to allow beer to appear in my home occasionally so I could turn it and a few other simple ingredients into this glorious stuff.

Honestly, I feel the same way about coffee.

Hate the taste, but love what you can do with it...

But surprisingly, I have to admit that I LOVE the smell of both beer and coffee.

Just not the taste.

Hmmmm.....

OK, enough dawdling - lets get brewing, er... baking!!

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees.




You will need flour, sugar, beer, salt, baking powder, and butter.



Okie Dokie.

In a bowl measure out 3 c. flour, 1T baking powder, 1t. salt, and 3 T. sugar.



Don't forget to level off your measurements so they are precise.



And don't be confused.

I'm making two recipes in two different bowls.



I guess I should have mentioned that the measurements I'm giving you make
one loaf
.

This is probably a good time to melt a stick of butter (remember I'm doubling up)


Not melted.



Melted.



Also, go ahead and spray your pan with cooking spray.



And you eagle-eye readers may have noticed that my font keeps changing back and forth, and I am such a technological goober that I can't figure out why. But, I'm just going to choose not to stress about it.

Which is, of course, what any self-respecting technological goober would do.

Back to the batter.

Pour in the 12 oz. bottle of beer.




Try not to keep staring at the bubbles.


I really like the bubbles.

Now stir it up.

But not too much. You'll make it tough.



The batter will be quite stiff. But do not be tempted to add more beer.

That's naughty.

Now pour 1/2 of the melted butter into the pan (that would be 1/2 of one stick)




Now, dump in the batter. It will look lumpy.


Now, do the unthinkable.

Pour the other half of the melted butter over the top of the batter.




Immediately drop to your knees in prayer and politely ask that not all of that butter ends up directly on your hips.

Put the pan in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.




The finished product...



Yum.



And double Yum.


Now, repeat the following with me,

I promise I will not eat the whole loaf.

I PROMISE I will not eat the WHOLE loaf.