Sunday, January 30, 2011

Homemade Cake Donuts

  • 2.5-3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
Sift together 2.5 cups of flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add in the melted butter and mix until crumbly. Stir in milk and egg until smooth. Add remaining flour if needed until dough is slightly sticky but able to be kneaded. Knead lightly on well floured surface. Roll out dough to 1/2" thick. Use donut cutter or 2 biscuit cutters to cut into donut shape. Fry in 375* oil, flipping once, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve plain, or roll in cinnamon-sugar or powdered sugar.

These donuts were very easy to make! I ended up making twisted donuts and donut holes along with the regular round shaped donuts.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snowy Thursday

I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland. We got about 7" of snow last night. The weather was strange yesterday. It snowed in the morning, then rained most of the day. When I got home in the afternoon it was still raining and there was thunder and lightning! Then it sleeted for a few minutes, then last night it turned back to snow. That's the first time I've witnessed thunder snow!

I love how the snow looks first thing in the morning, when the branches are still covered and there are not dog/cat/chicken/sheep/goat/kid/adult foot prints making it look all a mess.

The sheep were hungry for their breakfast.

I just love Purl's face.

Well, I really just love all their faces. Especially my big wooly bear of a Southdown, Darla.

The place sure looks pretty.

I do miss green grass and leaves on trees though! I'm trying to enjoy winter as much as possible though. Remember how awfully hot last summer was?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hot Tamales!

Last night I made tamales for the first time. I had high hopes for them, and luckily I wasn't disappointed! I am not Hispanic, but sometimes I really wish I was because I love Mexican food and I'd love to be a whiz at cooking it.

So, in order to find a recipe, I did what any person would do. I looked it up on Youtube! I found this nice video explaining how to make the tamales. It really got me in the mood with those crazy skeletons and peppy music! :-) Of course I tweaked their recipe in order to use what I already had in the pantry.

I'll show how I made them, then post the recipe below. I got all the ingredients together and set up a little assembly line.

First, the masa dough gets spread on the soaked corn husk. In the Youtube video, the sisters do an awesome job spreading the dough perfectly with the backs of spoons. I found it was easier for me to dip my fingertips in water, then push the dough into place like Play-Doh.

Then I put the filling inside.

Wrapped the sides...

Folded the bottom up...

And put them in the steamer pot.

Then I did it again until I ran out of ingredients!

Then I steamed them for an hour and ten minutes.

I served them with a little sour cream and a sauce I made. The sauce was simply a can of diced tomatoes, half an onion, salt, a splash of lime juice, cilantro, and garlic and onion powder to taste. Sort-of like a very smooth salsa, only cooked.

I brought leftovers to eat at work today and they were even better since they really got a chance to firm up. I'm definitely going to make these again!

Here are the details:

Masa Dough:

2 c Masa Harina
2/3 cup lard
1/2 tsp salt
garlic powder to taste
onion powder to taste
~1 1/4 c beef broth (I used the broth from my jar of venison)

Whip lard until smooth, then add the masa and seasonings. Slowly add the broth until the right consistency is reached. I'm not exactly sure what the perfect consistency is, but you should know. It'll just feel right. Soft, but not runny, and able to be spread. You may want slightly more broth. Let the dough sit for about 20 minutes to absorb and soften.

Filling: (here's what I used, you can tweak it to your liking)

1 jar of canned venison (probably 2 lbs of meat before cooking)
1 can of Rotel (tomatoes with chiles)
1 onion
1 clove garlic

Put Rotel, garlic, onion, and cilantro in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Put meat in a pot on the stove (medium heat) and add blended mixture. Stir and cook until heated through. If you don't have canned meat or don't want to use it, just do some method of cooking the meat low and slow so it's nice and tender, like in a crock pot.

The nice thing about this recipe is it can be tweaked depending on personal preferences. But I'm not pretending to be an expert...because like I said, this was the first time I've made them. :-)


Light Up the Night

David and I got headlamps for Christmas and I think it's one of my favorite gifts. It is so nice to be able to go outside after dark (or before sunrise) and be able to see what you're doing without having to hold a flashlight! Having your hands free means you can do chores much easier.

This one I have has an option for the bright yellow light or a soft red light. If you don't have one of these, go get one!

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Stash

Between this past MLK weekend and last year's MLK weekend, plus what I've collected on my own, I've managed to collect quite the stash of yarn. Most of it is from my generous Aunt Linda and her two generous friends, Joanne and Debbie. It was stuffed in storage totes and bags until today. I found three wonderful Ikea bookshelves on Freecycle and we picked them up yesterday. One went in Kylee's room, and the other two went in my craft corner in the basement.

First I laid out all the yarn on a queen sized quilt on the basement floor. It hardly fit on the quilt. I tried organizing it best I could by weight of yarn.

This wasn't quite everything. There was still a little yarn not pictured.

I managed to squeeze it all into the shelves. It looks so much better now, and I can actually see most of the yarn. I do plan on putting the yarn in ziploc bags soon though, just in case moths think it'd make a good snack.

Here's the rest of my craft stuff. The cabinets hold painting supplies, fabric, wool for felting, and sweaters for felting.

One day I'd love to have a craft room, but for now I have to keep it contained in the corner of the basement!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Round Bale in a Square Shed

I was getting low on hay last week and called around to a few hay people. The going rate in our area for mixed grass/alfalfa square bales is between $5-$6 per bale. The bales usually weigh anywhere from 45-60 lbs, with most of them being closer to 45 lbs. I lucked out last year and earlier this summer by getting hay from a former employer for $3 per bale. That's incredibly cheap and I should have bought more when I had the chance this summer.

I decided to go with a round bale this time, because it was cheaper than getting small squares. I got this bale from my former employer. They usually round bale their hay and only do enough square bales to feed any cows they need to bring up to the barn to calve. They aim to do all the calving out in the fields, so they don't square bale much. They do usually have plenty of round bales though. This round bale cost $40 and it weighs about 1400-1500 lbs. That makes this hay incredibly cheap compared to buying small squares!

The only thing I don't like about round bales is the inconvenience of feeding them since we don't have a tractor capable of moving them around. I debated putting the bale directly out in the pasture, on pallets, so the animals could just eat directly off the bale. I knew there would be a ton of waste if I did that though, and I didn't want to deal with the mess. Instead, I wanted to try to put the bale in the metal hay shed. The shed is 8'X10', and the bale is about 6'x6'. We knew it would be a tight fit.

We backed the trailer up to the front of the shed. It was pretty obvious that the bale wouldn't fit through the door, so we decided to flip the shed back like it was hinged to the ground. A few weeks ago the shed blew over due to high winds, so we weren't worried about denting the shed since it was already dented.

It just barely fit!! David's dad was standing at the base of the trailer holding the shed and keeping it from flipping all the way back. I pictured the bale rolling off the trailer and wiping him out, but he assured me he could jump out of the way in time. Luckily, the big bale was rather sluggish when it rolled down the trailer ramp, and kinda just stopped right in the perfect spot. I'm glad poor [Big] David didn't get smooshed! You'll notice the right side of the shed has 2 blocks under it instead of 1 like the other corners. That's because the bale is so big the shed supports were resting on the top, so we had to prop the corner up higher.

For now I've been peeling hay from the front of the bale to feed. I can't really reach the top yet. Hopefully once I dig into it we'll be able to rotate it or something so I can reach the other parts. Round bales of hay are made by rolling layers of the hay together, so they unpeel fairly easily. I just take a couple pitchfork fulls of hay to the sheep instead of carrying several flakes out to them. It's a little more work, but I don't mind since it saved us so much money!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

MLK Weekend

Last weekend was the second annual MLK weekend. MLK as in Must Love Knitting! My sister and I met at my Aunt Linda's house for a weekend full of yarn, food, and conversation. You can read about our first MLK weekend here.

When we got to Aunt Linda's house on Saturday we went to visit my Grandma in the nursing home. It was a nice visit. I was glad to see her and I was also able to hang the mobile in her room.

Then we came back home and got ready for the Steelers vs. Ravens game. My sister is a huge Steelers fan, and luckily I don't watch football because I'm from MD and most folks here are Ravens fans. We got set up on the couch with our knitting and settled in for the game. My sister lent me an extra Steelers t-shirt she had so I could help support her team.

Here's Becky with her Steelers paraphanalia, including terrible towels and a miniature Troy Polamalu.

My Aunt Linda was set with her yellow knitting and her black lab puppy (she's a puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind) so technically she was supporting the Steelers too!

Mini Troy couldn't help it and got really excited about knitting while watching the real Troy on the field. He couldn't wait to wear his knitted cap.

We also made pizza for dinner. Becky brought some absolutely delicious sausage from her local meat guy back home. Meat guy... as in the farmer who raises the meat she buys.

Then on Sunday we had knitgating. It's sort of like tailgating, only we wear PJ's, eat good food, and knit instead of wearing jerseys, drinking beer, and eating good food. Linda's friends Joanne and Debbie came over to hang out and knit with us. Becky and I are incredibly lucky because all three ladies gave us yarn they no longer wanted after they cleaned out their stashes! Once again we went home with a LOT of gorgeous yarn!

See how much I love it?

We had a really nice afternoon just chatting and knitting.

And poor little Joe the puppy was wiped out after such a fun weekend!

Now I need to sort through all that great yarn I brought home so I can get busy knitting up some projects!!! I'm already looking forward to MLK III.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Felted Pincushion

My mom is an avid quilter. She started a quilt group in her area, and recently asked me if I could felt a pincushion for her group, to be given away in a raffle (if I remember correctly).

Here's what I came up with. The inside is raw, unwashed wool from Purl. The lanolin in the fleece should be good for the needles and help it glide through fabric. Because raw wool smells like sheep (which I like, but others might not) and is greasy, I wrapped it with clean white roving.

Then I felted a 9-patch quilt pattern on it with other roving I had in my stash. The center square is wool from a Cheviot ewe I sheared and dyed with Kool-Aid (the wool, not the ewe).

I hope the quilt ladies like it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grandma's Mobile

My grandma is in a nursing home and I wanted to make her something. I thought I'd make her something pretty to look at, because pretty things usually make people happy. I figured I'd make a mobile because they're easy to hang and they look neat. I made this one using an embroidery hoop covered with ribbon. Then I used one of those fake flower leis and took it apart and strung the flowers on fishing line. I love how it turned out. The flowers float around on the smallest breeze. I think I'll be making myself one of these too.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Toasty Toes!

Finally! My slippers are finished! I felted them on Sunday and had to wait for them to dry, which seemed to take forever. They're so warm and comfortable, and even Elmer loves them! The only thing I wanted to change about them is the sole. See, we have lots of pets and hard floors. Pets + hardwood floors= pet hair floating around

I wanted to put a sole on them. When I was in NC over New Year's visiting Becky, I found this polyester shirt at the Mega Thrift store, and it was half off. I think it ended up costing around $1.50 or something. It's polyester, but feels like suede on the outside. I figured for that price, it would be worth it to try to make soles for the slippers! So last night I sat down and cut out soles and sewed them on to the slippers. It was easy.

The result?

I LOVE them! I need to make a few more pairs...eventually. They're great slippers, and they keep my feet so warm!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who needs pigs?

Who needs porcine pigs when you have these types of pigs? The girls (and ram) love food scraps. They have to share with the chickens though, so nobody feels left out!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Darn Anticipation!

I just finished my own pair of felted slippers. They're felting in the washer now. I can't wait to wear them!

Here's the "before":

Chilli likes them!

I'll post the after pics as soon as they're done!

Pattern: Patons Felted Slipper
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool yarn -Woodrose for the cuff and Regency for the main color

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The White Stuff

It's snowing today. We were only supposed to get snow showers, but we have almost 3". Some of the animals like it, and some don't.

Chickens hate it.

Dogs love it!

I love this holly tree in the snow.

Now I feel the need to bake something. Or cook something warm and delicious.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Calendar Girls

June and Darla are famous! Ok, well maybe not famous but they made it into a calendar! I submitted a few of my grazing pictures for the Maryland Grazers Network 2011 Calendar, and one was used! I was hoping it'd be chosen for the large picture, but I'm still thrilled it got used at all!

Now my girls will forever be in print. :-) Pretty neat.

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