And these are a few of my favorite things! Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.
And these are a few of my favorite things! Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.
The gifts are wrapped, the house is decorated, and the baking is done. This year I thought I’d take a break from making Kolaches for Christmas Day until I mentioned this to my family. WHAT? BREAKING FROM TRADITION? So, I will not break the tradition and made them today. The truth is I love them as much as my daughters and their families.
This year I used my Mother’s Foundation sweet dough which she used for cinnamon rolls and Kolaches. My KitchenAid mixer makes easy work of making bread instead of taxing my arthritic wrists. The past several batches of bread I’ve made from standard flour have been too dense, so I decided to try King Arthur’s unbleached bread flour. I loved the result with a very light sweet dough that melts in your mouth.
There is nothing better than the taste of those cherries. Truly, I could eat a bowl of the cherry filling and forget the bread dough!
I also make a dozen chocolate kolaches which started as a request by one of son-in-laws, now a family favorite as well. I simply put chocolate chips (or this year a dove milk chocolate square) in the middle of the dough ball and then pinch it closed. Let it rise to double in size then bake. When you remove from the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Another tradition for our Christmas Day celebration is the Nordic Kringla. Turns out Kringla is a big hit with my 3 year old grandson and 1 year old granddaughter. My 6 week old grandson has yet to weigh in…but next year…
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year!
2 cakes (Packages) yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons shortening (I used unsalted butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6-7 cups flour (I used 6 cups King Arthur Bread Flour)
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup juice from cherries
3 cups pitted tart red cherries (water pack)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
Combine 3/4 cup sugar with cornstarch. Stir in cherry juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, till mixture thickens and bubbles; cook 1 minute longer. Add remaining sugar, cherries, butter, and food coloring and cook until thickened. (Mixture will be very thick.) Let stand while preparing bread dough for Kolaches.
Fall brings the bounty of tomatoes, basil and much more. Older daughter, Megan, told me about a roasted tomato and pesto sauce she made. I tweaked it a bit to serve my tastes. I love the idea of adding pesto to a rich, red tomato sauce. It was delicious and definitely a new recipe for my collection.
1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and drained
3 cups roasted tomatoes and peppers, cooled and blended (recipe below)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
Cube of pesto (about 1/3 cup)
26.5 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped or blended
1 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped basil
1 pound cooked pasta (I used bow tie pasta) and 1 cup of pasta water
Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Halloween on the farm was a far different experience than my current city experience. Childhood costumes were simple, always with a hot plastic or rubber mask. Note our fancy trick or treat bags! We couldn’t run from house to house but instead our parents drove us to our neighbors farms. We collected wonderful home-made goodies while our parents visited for a while. At the end of the night, we visited 6 to 8 houses but came home with luscious home-made popcorn balls, cookies, caramel apples, and full size candy bars.
My children never experienced the wonders of home-made goodies, ruined by the scare of Halloween candy tampering. None-the-less, they had a wonderful time running from house to house in our suburban neighborhood yelling ‘trick or treat’ and collecting their Halloween bounty. Masks were not a favorite (thank goodness) but costumes were pretty traditional and fun. Our AT&T office hosted a family Halloween party letting the kids gather treats at each office and cubicle. Good times!
Fast forward to 2015 and grandson, Evan’s, Halloween experience. His favorite character today is from the movie FROZEN and we were fortunate enough to find the darling OLAF costume on Amazon.com.
Evan has been to his first corn maze and is in awe of the amazing (and sometimes scary) Halloween decorations. He’ll be out gathering treats in the neighborhood and celebrating with his little friends. As his little 3 year old girlfriend says, they’ll be out ‘Candy Tricking’. Love this age!
Next Halloween we’ll have a baby girl in our family joining the Halloween fun. We’ll anxiously await the arrival of ‘lil pumpkin in November.
Wishing you all a safe and wonderful Halloween!
This was a long process, but well worth the wait. I LOVE the open space and the flow of the kitchen, inspiring me to cook even more (good thing with all of the CSA fruits and vegetables I get each week).
Initially I was worried that I would lose storage by removing the cabinets over the peninsula, but found that I have plenty of storage with more efficient, pull-out drawers in the lower cabinets and taller cabinets as a result of popping the ceiling.
I had the good fortune of working with a wonderful contractor and his team and absolutely love the results!
The photo above was taken in 2008 and shows how the cabinets over the peninsula blocked the view and light. You also have a peak into the formal dining room.
This photo was taken right before the kitchen demo began in May 2015. We had already removed the cabinets over the peninsula. which opened up the kitchen a great deal but not to the extent it would when we removed the wall into the dining room.
The open view into the kitchen is a dramatic change, opening up the house more than I could ever imagine.
The kitchen sink remained in the same place under the window to the sun room and the backyard.
This photo is taken from the peninsula toward the cooktop and the opening to the formal living room. Lala the Chihuahua took advantage of the photo op!
The cooktop moved from the former wall between the kitchen and dining room to the wall along with the refrigerator. We closed the opening into the formal living room about 12 inches to accommodate the cooktop and the extra cabinets. The change had no significant impact on the opening to the living room and provides for great flow in the kitchen.
This photo shows the sliding barn door that we installed into the sun room. I LOVE this door and admit it is open 90% of the time. The sliding barn door is far more efficient that the previous, traditional door.
The Kitchen Remodel has turned the corner. It’s beginning to look like like a real kitchen. Or, as my brother says, ‘the taking out is over and now you’re putting things in.’ Good way to look at it.
So where are we?
AND YET TO COMPLETE:
Once all of the work is done, I will post the before and after shots. Stay tuned!
Kitchen Memories started to flood back to me as I looked at my kitchen for the last time before the cabinets were removed. So many conversations took place in my kitchen with our girls from babyhood to teenage years to adult years. Meals were prepared for many loved ones, some of which are now gone.
When we first moved into our Smurf blue house in 1988, the kitchen had brown, patterned kitchen carpet, one of the worst ideas on the planet. The Cherry Cabinets were quite nice and the Columbine (Colorado’s State Flower) tile was fitting of the ‘country’ craze at the time.
This kitchen became the heart of our home. Weekday mornings were frantic as Karl and I prepared for work so the girls would often gather on the floor of the kitchen as I prepared breakfast and our lunches.
As I look at the kitchen for the last time, a stream of memorable movies play in my head, including:
So here we go…out with the old and in with the new! I’m soooo ready…
Kitchen Remodel…something I’ve dreamed of for the past 15 years when my current kitchen began to literally fall apart. Doors and drawers would not close, cabinet doors were breaking off and I contributed to the kitchen’s demise through a series of mishaps.
A few years ago, I noticed a large branch growing from the middle of one of my lilac bushes. I’d pass it now and again and wonder what it was, but let it grow. I was sure the squirrels left a seed that eventually sprouted into something new.
Eventually small fruit began to form from the blossom and revealed itself as peaches.
The peaches continued to grow and would soon be ripe. I couldn’t wait to pick a peach fresh from my yard and enjoy every drippy, lucious bite.
UNTIL…the squirrels came back to claim their bounty. Most of the peaches ended up on the ground, partially eaten by the squirrels. The least they could do is the eat the whole thing!
The squirrels were kind enough to leave a couple of peaches for me.
It’s a new year and the squirrels and I are plotting our strategies. If peaches form, who will get there first? The tale of the Peach Battle between Team Squirrel and Team Cathy continues.
Mother’s Day holds a special place in our hearts that grows each and every year. This Mother’s Day I ventured down Memory Lane reading sentiments shared through the generations and, again, realized the love we hold for Mother’s is so very dear. How I miss my Mother and wish I could hug her and talk with her one more time.
My Mother often expressed her feelings in poetry and I found a poem she wrote in 1956 about her sweet Mother, Susie:
How well I do remember
My Mother sweet and fair,
Who was the first to hold me
And utter a thanks in prayer.
She taught me first to sit up straight
Then baby words to talk,
She gently led me around the room
Until I learned to walk.
She sat me down upon her knee
And taught me how to say,
‘Now I lay me down to sleep’
So I’d know how to pray.
She also taught me how to love
My sisters and my brothers,
To share my toys and not complain
Twas a trying time for Mother.
She proudly sent me off to school
With a smile upon her face,
And assured us all twas well
As off to school we’d race.
She could look at me and always smile
With a twinkle in her eyes,
She loved me in a clean starched dress
Or knee deep in mud pies.
As years passed by and I left home
Mother silently shed some tears,
For she wanted just my happiness
For the many coming years.
But now I am a Mother
With children of my own,
But ‘Mother’s Day’ is special
For that dear sweet Mom back home.
Most of my childhood drawings and cards are long gone, but one card survived. I only wish I had inherited my Mother’s poetry gene.
There is nothing more precious that the hand-made cards from the girls through the years. I’ve saved many of their cards and drawings and want to share two of my favorites.
To Mother’s everywhere, have a wonderful Mother’s Day this weekend!