Sunday, October 31, 2010

Preparation for Hard Times~Warplanes

 Michael had a very nice birthday yesterday! I only got 2 pictures because I need a new battery for my camera. As you can see in the picture, Michael wanted a pumpkin pie for his "cake." I made some blueberry muffins and we had pizza from Papa John's. The evening was very enjoyable with good food and lots of gifts!

Each with his sword at his side, prepared for the terrors of the night. Song of Songs 3:8

Because it's Sunday, I'm going to give you the lesson I've put on my Bible blog. I hope you'll read it with thoughtfulness and make application to your life. This is Chapter 9 of Meeting God in Quiet Places by F. LaGard Smith. The title of this chapter is Preparation: Warplanes. It's about dealing with hard times.

Kelly, my granddaughter, is married to Eric, a Harrier pilot. He just got back from a tour in Afganistan. His life on the job is training in his Harrier jet with his squadron. You're probably wondering: What does this have to do with my spiritual life?

In this parable, LaGard talks about his walks into the beautiful Cotswold hills, where he can look down on life below, almost Godlike. But it seems that the hills and valleys of this area are perfect for practicing wartime manuevers for the Royal Air Force. So one day, when he was deep in reverie, war planes came swooping down at him, which was not only jarring, but shook his body and nerves to the bone. It felt like an invasion!

Life is like that, isn't it? Our lives resemble a war zone, because life is about conflict. You may be going along very well, when suddenly--out of nowhere--comes bad news! From peace and security, you're thrown into catastrophe! The bad news may be unbelievably bad...your husband has cancer, your teenager is pregnant, your child is very sick and may die. Or even less life-threatening news, but still disastrous--you've lost your job, or your child has failed a year in school...and so on and so on. From a position of control and security, you suddenly feel adrift. Like a Harrier jet, catastrophe just swooped down and shattered your life into bits and pieces. And there is no escape.

Remember how Job lost everything? Flocks and herds, servants, and even his sons and piece of bad news after another. What had he done to deserve it? it turns out...nothing! It can happen to any of us: death and disease, alienation, fear, loneliness, and many other kinds of disaster are part of this world. And since you're in it, you may experience more than your share of bad news.

And yet, you may have managed to get along with all your problems, with nothing being really catastrophic. You may simply experience sneak attacks of depression or loneliness or anger. And just when you thought you were doing so well! Here I want to quote LaGard directly:

"Nothing is more terrifying than those spiritual intruders--those secret thoughts, forbidden relationships, and fleshly desires that drag us down. Those moments of weakness that attack us just at the point when we think we are strong. Even those times when we get so tired of fighting off temptation that we are tempted to let the intruders win, hoping in vain that we can find some peace in compromise."

I know that Eric would never allow intruders into our territory. He knows who he is: a Marine who understands why he's fighting. He knows that he's a Christian fighting an Islamic threat to the security of our country. And I feel safer and more secure knowing that he's on our side. But I'm really talking about your own personal invaders. Will you fight, or will you compromise to have some peace? Tomorrow I'll give you some ways to deal with those spiritual invaders that are destroying your peace and happiness.

Think about what your own spiritual invaders might be and have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Michael!

 Today is my grandson Michael's 9th birthday and I want to wish him a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! He is very excited and we're going to have a family birthday supper with gifts. Michael is a very sweet boy and very lovable. He likes to snuggle while we're watching television. He's also cheerful and funny, which is very much needed in this world. Eventually he plans to invent something to help mankind! Go Michael!!! This morning I'm just going to put on a few pics so you can see him. Please help me wish him a happy day.
For Michael, I'm putting on a psalm that I memorized as a child. Every time I hear it, I remember how much I enjoyed knowing it. You probably heard it or learned it too. 

Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all
you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we
We are His people and the sheep of
His pasture.
Enter into His gates with
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to Michael...Happy Birthday to you!!! I love you, Michael. Blessings on this special day from Mimi!

For Halloween~

Friday, October 29, 2010

Doll Bonnet to Match Doll Skirt

Well, I've been busy this, not cleaning...sewing. It looks as though I'm going to have to get through Michael's birthday tomorrow and Halloween before any real cleaning gets done. This morning I decided that Quinlyn's doll had to have a bonnet to match her skirt. I don't think Quinlyn feels this way because--as she rightly says--the women's bonnets didn't match their skirts. But it is a costume after all for Halloween, so I made the bonnet to match the skirt, and Quinlyn's costume as well. So here are some pictures of my Life of Faith doll Millie that I took a few minutes ago. Quinlyn hasn't seen it yet and doesn't even know that I've made it, but I'll see if I can get her on Windows Live Messenger so she can.

I'm ready to relax for a while, so I'll wish you a very good Friday!


P.S. Quinlyn just saw the pictures and she loves it! She said she just didn't want me to go to too much trouble. So all's well that end's well!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Drop Biscuits for Supper

Well, I had forgotten for a while about making drop biscuits when you're tired or in a hurry. It's very take a regular biscuit recipe and drop the dough into a muffin tin. As you can see in the picture that I made last night, the biscuits are irregular and a little crispier--especially on top, but I like them very much.  And I find that less cleanup from not having to roll them out is worth it to me. Let me say that some children don't like the harder outside--Michael didn't when he was much younger--so be sure that your children will eat them. I'm going to give you a recipe for a regular biscuit with the instructions for making them into drop biscuits. I wouldn't have given you a second recipe so soon, except that I made this for supper last night and decided to share it with you. This is another recipe from the King Arthur Flour Cookbook.

All-American Baking Powder Biscuits
12 large biscuits

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 to 4 tablespoons sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons (1/2 to 3/4 stick) butter or shortening
1 cup milk (or buttermilk)

First: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Making the dough: Mix together the dry ingredients. With two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter or shortening in until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.

Add the milk, all at once, mixing quickly and gently for about 20 seconds until you have a soft dough.

Shaping: There are three ways to shape these biscuits.
  • Drop them by the spoonful onto a lightly floured baking sheet.
  • For tidier shapes, fill the cups of a greased muffin tin about two-thirds full.
  • After kneading the dough gently on a floured surface 8 or 10 times, roll or pat it out until it's about 3/4 inch thick and cut the biscuits with a round cookie cutter dipped in flour. You can also use a spatula or bowl scraper to cut out diamonds or squares so you don't have any dough scraps left over.
Baking: Bake the biscuits for 15 to 20 minutes or until they're lightly browned.

Now I didn't actually follow this recipe completely. I melted butter in a pan and put in the milk to warm just a bit. It's a good idea to make a well in the flour mixture before adding the liquid. And I added more milk than is called for because one cup wasn't enough to make them wet. But however you make them, just suit yourself.
~                                                                                                    Mariquita Road in Corrales
I'm going to lunch with Alice today, but we're meeting at Hannah & Nate's in Corrales--a small village just outside of Albuquerque proper on the Rio Grande. The first time I was driven down Corrales Road, I was looking around and said, "It looks just like the old West." And Lisa said, "Mom, it IS the old West!" Corrales has beautiful land and lots of trees, unlike much of Albuquerque. There are ranches and buildings made out of adobe that have been there for a long time. But no matter how much I enjoy the dry air and beautiful, sunny weather here, most of my family prefers the green, green grass of Tennessee.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Making A Bonnet to Match Quinlyn's Skirt

 Quinlyn's Bonnet for Halloween

This morning I decided to make a bonnet to go with Quinlyn's skirt for Halloween. So I've been busy getting that finished! It wasn't easy to come up with material that would match, but I found some that isn't historically correct as far as I know, but it matches the skirt and I think it will be really pretty. I hope I can get some pictures of the bonnet and skirt on Quinlyn Halloween night. But for now, I put it on a pillow for you to see how it looks--at least I hope you can tell.  The pictures don't really show the material very well, but it is a very pretty pink cotton. And I put a piece of lace where the brim and bonnet meet on the inside. I hope you enjoy seeing how I spent my morning.

Have a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Making A Doll Skirt to Match Quinlyn's

This is one of my beautiful dolls, Elsie, and she's wearing a skirt that I made last night.

I recently  made Quinlyn a skirt to wear  on Halloween because she wanted to dress up without being scary. I put pics on here so you could see the result. Last night I made the doll's skirt and I'm showing you how that came out. Not bad, I think. I simply gathered the material and put it on a band that ties in the back. Then I added some lace and it was done. Well...almost. The band was much too big, so I had to pleat the front to make it fit! I like the look of it better than before though, so sometimes mistakes work out for the best.

I'm beginning to feel the pressure of company coming--especially company that is moving in for months--so I'm going to spend time getting ready for them today. Wish me well and have a good Tuesday! And you might want to take a look at my other blog site: 
Today I gave you an excerpt from The Screwtape Letters...interesting stuff.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Bert's Buttermilk Biscuits

Need I say it? It's MONDAY! And besides my cream biscuit recipe, I have a favorite buttermilk biscuit recipe  to give you from the King Arthur Flour Cookbook. You may already know that the buttermilk and baking soda give these biscuits more height and fluffiness than other biscuits. Southerners are famous for them. You can stir these up in just a very few minutes and add a fresh bread touch to any meal. I hope you'll try them.

The cookbook has this to say about this recipe: This recipe comes from Bert Porter who was King Arthur Flour's most excellent spokesman during the 1960's and '70's. While he has retired to bake just for the fun of it, he still appears from time to time to cheer us on. Bert's biscuits are an old cream of tartar variation. They can be made with vegetable shortening, which means they're  cholesterol free. Instructions in Bert's own words are included. 

Bert's Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/3 cup shortening (I use oil or butter)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Cut in the shortening with the side of a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk, stirring lightly with your fork until all the flour has been absorbed. Do NOT overmix and do NOT knead because you do not want to strengthen the gluten in the flour.

Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour on your board, and gently roll the dough in it. With your fingertips, press out the dough into an oblong, approximately 4 X 10 inches. Cut this into 10 pieces, about 2 inches square, and gently round the corners of each piece.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet (to prevent sticking you can sprinkle a bit of flour on it) for 12 to 14 minutes. These biscuits are done when the bottoms are a light golden brown.

Note: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, combine 7/8 cup milk with 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar and let stand a half hour.

For many of my breads, I very often melt the butter and add the milk to it to warm a little making yeast rolls. You have to mix quickly when you add the warm liquid to the flour mixture.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Parable of Snowfall & Grace~

Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.   Roman 5:20

Is there anything more thoroughly satisfying than a snowfall? There is nothing which compares to the way it soothes and calms you, and changes the world you live in into a wonderland. In Chapter 6 of Meeting God in Quiet places, F. LaGard Smith compares a winter snowfall to the grace of God. The characteristics they share may surprise you.
For one thing, both snow and grace are so much more than anything in our "normal" world. Snow seems magical as it softly falls, turning everything in sight to a perfection unknown before. Grace also feels magical, because it covers your sin--which is so dark and staining that you feel guilty and lost. Yes, you can be free of your guilty stain, because of God's promise: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, the shall be like wool." The stark whiteness and cleanness of snow and wool represent God's grace.

David knew that only God's grace could help him, as he pleaded with God for forgiveness: "Wash me and I will be whiter than snow." He had his sin always before him, for he was guilty of not only adultery, but murder. How does one wash THAT sin away? Only God could make him as white as snow.

"Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation." This is a prophecy from Isaiah that's repeated in the Gospels. It's telling you what happens because of God's grace: His love fills your emptiness and makes rough times smoother. Isn't that what we're all searching for...some way to make our lives easier?

You may be thinking of a sin you can't undo...a sin that still haunts you after months or years of regret. But that's what God's love is about...covering sins of the past...sins that can't be undone. That's what God's grace is covers. No, not a cover-up, but true forgiveness. And it doesn't end there.

Amazingly, grace covers the brokenness your heart is feeling. In it's gentle caring way, grace protects you from more harm. And as if that isn't enough, grace gives you hope that you can walk with Christ on those snow-covered fields, while remaining as white as snow. With God's grace, you can stay out of the muck and mud that you were in and walk in a cleaner, smoother way.

And before you start worrying about how you're going to do that, you realize that grace has another side. It not only provides. You may have forgotten that we're talking about the Good Shepherd! Now you can say with David: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Now you are both covered and nourished!
These are beautiful word pictures of the way God's love and grace operate for your good. You only have to believe in His word: that he loves you so much He sent His only Son to die for you! It is the death of His Son which shows His love and provides His grace. 

What blessings we have in Christ!
Best to you all...Mimi 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fly Lady & Organization

The subject of and organization has come about because I'm expecting company in early November. My youngest daughter, Donna, and her husband, Ron, along with one of my grandchildren, Abbie, are coming for a couple of months! Yes...MONTHS...maybe even 3 months! Donna's husband is going to train to take out dents with my son-in-law, Steve. It's a new vocation for Ron, but he's been working with cars in some capacity all his life, so this should be a good fit. That will be the first order of business--to see if Ron and Steve think this will suit both of them. But, naturally, I'm thinking of all the things that need to be done before November 10. A little overwhelming, but I'm going to think of it as a good thing to have the house more organized. And after all, if I don't get everything done, it won't matter.

I thought I'd give you Flylady's 11 Commandments first, with a little explanation. You can go to her website or find her whole history on Wikipedia. By giving you this information, I get some incentive to get started on the house, and you learn a little bit about Flylady.

FlyLady's Eleven Commandments

1. Keep your sink clean and shiny.
Your first task is to "Go shine your sink!" By keeping your sink clear of dishes and keeping it shiny, the entire kitchen looks more appealing. Each room has its own "shiny sink" making the bed in your bedroom or clearing the desk in your office will have the same effect. Encouragement galore!

2. Get dressed every morning, even if you don't feel like it. Don't forget your lace-up shoes.
This is to get your ready for the day and has an effect on your mental attitude about getting busy. Do your hair and make-up and you're ready for anything!

3. Do your morning and before bedtime routine every day.
Basically laying out your clothes for the next day, along with preparations for bed.

4. Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked by the computer.
Hmmm...a tough one.

5. Pick up after yourself. If you get it out, put it away.

6. Don't try to do two projects at once. ONE JOB AT A TIME.

7. Don't pull out more than you can put back in one hour.
FlyLady says you can do anything for 15 minutes, so be careful about your enthusiasm.

8. Do something for yourself every day, maybe every morning and night.
Flylady has a list of suggestions that are simple and doable: soaking in the tub, chocolate...

9. Work as fast as you can to get the job done. This will give you more time to play later.
Focus, focus, focus!

10. Smile even when you don't feel like it. It is contagious. Make your mind up to be happy and you will be. Now that's a happy thought.

11. Don't forget to laugh every day. Pamper yourself, you deserve it.
Another happy thought.

These 11 commandments won't give you the information you need to declutter and get your house and yourself organized, but it's a start toward having a better life. And if you go to, you simply start with Baby Steps--one new thing at a time--which are a series of 31 small daily tasks which introduce and reinforce aspects of cleaning and decluttering, which then build into a daily routine. Tasks are split into morning, after-work and bedtime routines. It helps me to read through some of the information to allow it to come to the surface when I need it. At just the right time, you'll remember such adages as "Clutter cannot be organized"...or..."You can do anything for 15 minutes"...or even "Shine your sink!"

I almost forgot a very important point: Perfectionism leads to Procrastination. I know this may not sound like you, but it could be true. Think about won't start a task if you think you don't have time or ability to do it perfectly. But if you give that idea up and tell yourself that your family will be happier if you get things done imperfectly rather than not at all, the whole organizational theme will begin to work for you in more ways than you could have imagined!  

It sounds involved, and in a way, it is. But that's because FlyLady has broken down all the chores and responsibilities you have in your life into manageable parts. But you begin slowly. Now as I was looking for a picture of FlyLady to put on my blog, I saw a link to someone who wanted a gentler way to deal with housework. And if that's you, there are other sites which offer help...I just happened to find this one and like it. I signed up for an email each day to remind me what we're all doing, and if you prefer, there is a toolbar you can download and click on every day. I struggle with all of this, which is why I looked up an organizational site in the first place. But there's always hope for a better way to get things done and a good attitude goes a long way!

Have a wonderful weekend and thank your Creator for the blessings of a family and home to take care of by doing it well.


Friday, October 22, 2010

A Few Thoughts About Mind-Mapping


I enjoy Mind-Mapping at times when I want to separate all the different parts of a problem, I'm planning a new project, or I'm simply contemplating all the different areas of my life. You can also use Mind Mapping to remember the facts for an exam, or to separate the plot & characters  in a book. It gives you a way to look objectively, but thoroughly, at almost any problem or situation you're considering. And if you're so inclined, a colorful way. I've been promising you this little tutorial, so here it is. I've put an example at the top, but it's style may not appeal to you; you can choose your own style to create one. Here is How To Create A Mind Map from Head Start by Tony Buzan:

1. Use a large sheet of paper. (I use an 18 X 24 piece of art paper.)
2. Gather together a selection of colored pens, ranging from fine nibbed ones to highlighters.
3. Select the topic, problem or subject you want to Mind Map.
4. Get any information you will need together.
5. Start in the center of the paper with a large, unframed image which can symbolize the topic.
6. Use dimension, expression and at least three colors when drawing the central image, in order to attract attention and aid memory.
7. From the central image, radiate out key words and th emost important ideas you have about the topic, each on a separate, thick line.
8. Branch thinner lines off the ends of the appropriate main lines, to show supporting data (the more important the data, the closer it should be to the central image or idea).
9. Use images whenever possible.
10. Use colors freely in your own special code to show people, topics, themes, associations or dates, and to make the Mind Map more beautiful and more memorable.

Mind-Mapping can be used for creative thinking, and can be used to help memory, review facts, general note-taking, planning and communication. If you're interested in this kind of problem solving, give it a try. And even though you're told to use a large sheet of paper, you can begin smaller with an 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper, then move to a larger sheet if it works for you.

Have a great weekend! Be thankful and appreciative for all God's gifts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Strawberry Scones from Barefoot Contessa

I actually got out of the house today and had lunch with my friend, Alice, at Cracker Barrel. Then I went to Lisa's for a while, taking Michael his Webkinz doggie that had popped some stitches and I'd repaired, and taking Quinlyn the skirt I made Tuesday, and having her try on a dress I made about 12 years ago while taking French machine sewing. She loved them both. I'm going to get the dress ready for her to wear on her birthday November 15. I'll take pics & do a blog then about French machine sewing.
For now, I decided to give you another scone recipe from Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Here's what Ina has to say about this recipe:
I  made scones for a week before I came up with a recipe that would get customers out of their beds in the morning and into the store. This is it. In a world where most scones are like hockey pucks, this is light and moist. We use all kinds of fruit fillings, including raisins, fresh cranberries, and dried cherries. Dried strawberries are available in specialty stores or by mail order. The key to flaky scones is to NOT overblend the butter.

Strawberry Scones
Makes 14 to 16 large scones

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
3/4 cup small-diced dried strawberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, add them to the dough, and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well-combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch plain or fluted cutter, and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it. If you don't have dried strawberries, use some other fruit. They are luxurious, but worth it occasionally.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brioche Loaves from Barefoot Contessa

                                                                                                                                                                    I admit it! I need a change from sitting and sewing yesterday to  more invigorating work today!
So I'm going to give you another bread recipe that you might find a little challenging, but it's so delicious. This recipe is found in Ina Garten's cookbook Barefoot in Paris. As usual, Ina's recipes are spot on, and she gives you so much information to help you do it right. She says: to make sure the butter is room temperature, leave it out overnight. And sugar feeds the yeast, so you want to add the sugar directly to the yeast, but add the salt only after you've mixed in some flour.

This recipe is made in a mixer, but if you enjoy kneading, there are brioche recipes that are perfect for you. From my experience, the loaves in the picture will be your result when making this bread. But you can make brioche dough into many kinds of beautiful bread: regular brioche rolls, or cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, a lovely braid, or you can even use it for pizza dough. And don't forget delicious, scrumptious French toast.  

Brioche Loaves
Makes 2 loaves

1/2 cup warm water (110-120 degrees F)
1 package dried yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
4 1/4 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If the bowl is cold, start with armer water so it's at least 110 degrees when you add the yeast.) Mix with your hands and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 cups more flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Still on low speed, add the soft butter in chunks and mix for 2 minutes, scraping down the beater, until well blended. With the mixer still running, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Grease two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 1/2 inch loaf pans. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and cut in half. Pat each portion into a 6 X 8 inch rectangle, then roll up each rectangle into a cylindrical loaf. Place each loaf, seam side up, into a greased pan. Cover the pans with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the loaves have risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool.

Or for mini brioche rolls, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When you finish preparing the dough, scrape it into a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, allow the dough to sit at room tempterature for 1 hour. Grease 2 sheet pans. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide into 20 balls or rolls (1 3/4 ounce each). Place on sheet pans. Cover the pans with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When rolls have risen, brush tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops spring back or sound hollow when tapped.

Once you make this recipe, it will be a special treat that you can count on when you want to serve an especially tasty and beautiful bread with a holiday meal or a brunch with friends. Go forth and conquer!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Magic of Sewing~

                        Halloween is coming!

And Michael's birthday is coming October 30th!

Tuesday is a good day for sewing, don't you agree? I can't even think of much to say, because I'm now focused on making Quinlyn and her doll a skirt out of this fabric to wear on Halloween. And because I may have company soon, Lisa didn't want me to spend a lot of time on making Q a costume. But I remembered making an apron when I was young that was so simple, it might work for a skirt. You tear a strip for a waistband and it extends to create a tie, then gather the skirt onto that band. So I'm going to begin that now and see how it turns out. I'm adding pictures to this blog tonight because I'm done with Q's skirt, but haven't done any more than get the pieces ready for the doll's skirt. Of course, the lighting was pretty bad, so I may make more tomorrow in the sunlight.

I got an email from Jill this morning talking about the costumes she's making for herself, for Ray, and for Luke and Lizzy...Medieval Maid Marion dresses and Robin Hood outfits. Sounds really fun and fabulous! I'm guessing that Kate is too young for a costume. To me, sewing has a magical quality because you pick out fabric--an activity that is lots of fun--and turn it into something both beautiful and useful. That's hard to beat!  

Did you have popovers for supper last night? Simple and delicious! 

Bye for now...more later...Mimi 

Monday, October 18, 2010

BLT Prime Popovers with Gruyere Cheese

Good Monday morning! I'm not sure if you're ready to make these wonderful popovers, but I thought I'd give you the recipe, and you can think about it. Popovers are kin to Yorkshire pudding, and I'll bet there are many of you who've never tasted them. This recipe is from the restaurant BLT Prime, so named for the kind of restaurant, and the chef and partner: Bistro Laurent Tourondel. I believe they have parted company now, but I saw him on Martha Stewart's show, making dishes from his new cookbook Fresh From the Market. There are several BLT restaurants...this one is in Manhattan. Since this recipe seems to have gone viral, you may already have it. But undaunted, I'll give it again!

Popovers with  Gruyere Cheese
Makes 12 popovers or 24 muffins

4 cups milk, warmed
8 eggs
4 cups flour
1 1/2 heaping teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese

Place the popover pan or muffin pans in the oven. Heat the oven and pan to 350 degrees. Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not to cook the eggs). Set the mixture aside. Sift the flour with the salt. Slowly add the dry mixture and gently combine until mostly smooth.

Once combined, remove the popover pan or muffin tins from the oven and grease liberally, including the top. While the batter is still slightly warm or at least room temperature (definitely not cool), fill each popover cup 3/4 full. Top each popover with approximately 2 1/2 tablespoons of the grated Gruyere. I saw recipes using other kinds of cheese, so choose your favorite.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, rotating pan half a turn after 15 minutes of baking. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

The raves about these popovers are everywhere! So whether you use a popover pan or your regular muffin tins, give them a try. It's the kind of bread that can take your meal up a notch without very much extra work from you. And think how impressed your family or guests will be! 

Have a good Monday and remember to count your blessings.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Getting It All Done~

Jennie Chancey & Family 2010

I found Jennie Chancey's web site last night while looking through some searches for patterns. She designs patterns and makes clothes for her family...not just any kind of clothes, but lovely, old-fashioned dresses. I wanted to show her to you as an example of someone who not only gets a whole lot done in a day, but handles the added duties of a family. I say this as encouragement--to you and to myself!

I know that I've talked about doing many things in a day: a new vocabulary word, a foreign language, becoming more spiritual, and all that these entail. I realize that it's difficult for many of you to incorporate another thing into your day. But I want to say that if you can organize your life, it will be easier, and you'll feel more satisfied with what you can accomplish. And I should also say that you don't have to do every single thing every day! But my feeling is that as you grow older, you feel less needed and more invisible. Only you can change that into being needed and being visible!

As I said, I did some searching last night and found a features a fairly young woman who seems to do it all. I think I counted 10 children in the picture of her and her family! She has been asked many times how she gets so much done. And her answer--which she put on her web site--is that her mother taught her to do everything from a very young age, and she has taught her children, so that they help her. She also gets some help from friends and church members. And sometimes, she just has to let something go. I suppose I'm trying to say that no matter how old you are, you can learn to be more organized in your life. The point of doing this is to have a fuller, more fulfilling life that ends each day with accomplishment.

I've often wandered into books and programs for becoming more organized. And I believe they all gave me more insight into that process. However, when I found, I knew that if I really want to be organized and decluttered, she's the one to get me there. You see, I'm not a BO. I wasn't Born Organized. And those who are don't grasp the mentality of those who struggle with being organized. But not to worry, Flylady will help all of us to get life going in a positive direction in regard to making life less frustrating and confusing and getting more done. You have to go to her web site to get started, but she makes each step easy and doable. When you sign up, you'll receive an email every day to help you with organizing your day. I've just downloaded a free "Flylady's Holiday Control Journal: Your Guide to Cruising Through the Holidays."

Now I don't do all the decorating and baking that I used to do, but this Control Journal will help me get all the gifts ready to go to Tennessee, and will allow me to look at the holiday objectively. I have a tendency to get spacey when there's a lot to be done. With Flylady, you really don't feel behind, and you can see that there's a light at the end of the tunnel from day one. So see what you think!

As Flylady says: You're not behind! Just let each day be a new start for you and your family. And have a great weekend.