February 20, 2014

…were supposed to be crostinis…

but I was too forgetful lazy rushed famished to take the time to toast my baguette slices!  breadnbutterFebruary’s Improv Cooking Challenge theme chosen by our leader Kristen was “Bread and Butter.” Sounds like a simple task, unless bread is your most favorite food group in all the world but now you’re gluten free and you haven’t found a bread recipe you can accept as a favorable substitute for your most favorite food group in all the world…BRMbreadmixI’ve long been a fan of Bob’s Red Mill products. Most of the flours and starches I buy are from his extensive line. I even use the many gluten free recipes on the site. I decided this was the time to try his bread mix.samplersliceSo glad I did! The bread was quite delicious & had a very nice texture. (thought I had taken a pic of the 2 baguettes, sorry… was in too much of a hurry to taste before dark!)beurre composéSo… that brings us to the recipe part of this post – my Sweet Red Wine Compound Butter. You will love me, forever! It is soooooo simple, but it tastes like a million dollars. It’s so easy a cave man could do it (if he knew how to milk a cow or stomp grapes) but makes the carnivore’s dream steak taste even dreamier! Beurre composé is what the French call this “finishing butter”.sweetredwineSerendipitously, I found this most delicious sweet red on sale at my local Sprouts. I poured a cup of it into my saucepan. (I might or might not have had a glass while cooking to ensure the flavor appropriate…)pepperngarlicI stirred in a tablespoon each of freshly cracked pepper and minced garlic. Then I left the saucepan on a very low simmer for about an hour. It. smelled. incredible. the. entire. time.redwinereductionAfter the reduction cooled completely, it was scraped into the mixing bowl of room temperature butter. (You may use unsalted butter, but then you’d have to add a pinch of salt.) I beat the mixture until everybody was all happy together.fromfreezerI divided it and made two rolls. I wrapped them with plastic cling and stuck them in the freezer.elisabethjeanREDWINEYou should stop reading here if you’re hungry. Just take my recipe and go your way.
But if you wish to see how I served up my bread & butter, keep reading to the end…carnivoresBread & butter might be a meal for some, but not for my household of carnivores!readyforlove
Here are my baguette slices – fresh from the oven…onionsnshrooms
We top that with a bit of sliced mushrooms & onions, sautéed with a touch of our compound butter.steaknbutterDo you see what I did there?allmeltyYes, that is grilled and thinly sliced New York strip!And yes, I am going to eat it right before your eyes…closeupclose-up!readyforquickbroilerPlaying with the camera means the steak is now too cool to melt the butter; so this platter gets a quick flash under the broiler.
We loved this butter! So far we’ve tried it out on baked potatoes and then on scrambled eggs. No disappointments so far…
If you’d like to see some more bread & butter recipes, check out these links:

February 19, 2014

another play… another costuming frenzy…

Yup – I’ve been stitching, again. Our youngest son’s spring play, “The Elves and the Shoemaker” opens tomorrow night. The past few weeks have been the usual frenzy of planning costumes, frequenting thrift shops, spending a morning pawing through fabrics at SAS, and sitting behind the machines constructing a few costumes.patternsMy first task was to make a tailcoat for the cowardly, yet dapper (foppish, even) character “Trescott”.DSCN9802We couldn’t find the perfect fabric, but we came the closest with a quilt-weight cotton print. We decided to fully line it to “bulk it up” a bit.DSCN9768The pattern uses facings for the inside front collar and back shoulders. I simply cut the outer and lining fabric from the same pattern pieces. (I cheated by stacking the cloths so I would only have half as much to cut out!)DSCN9776My mom’s serger sure comes in handy!buttonsI made three covered buttons.DSCN9790I cut and ironed a huge strip of bias fabric since the directions call for that to trim all the outer edge. I chose to just apply it to the cuffs.handsewThere was quite a bit of hand stitching to be done for the sleeve lining and waist.DSCN9794I can not wait to show you pictures of the finished Trescott in tomorrow’s performance!

I’ll also bring you pictures of a special “transformation” dress and the elves’ raggedy outfits.


God Moves in a Mysterious Way

“Hymns breathe the praise of the saints, the vision of the prophets,
The prayers of the penitent and the spirit of the martyrs.
They bring solace to the sad, assurance to the perplexed,
Faith to the doubter and comfort to the oppressed.

They span the centuries of history,
And bridge the barriers of denominations.
Study them to be pure in heart; sing them to be joyful in spirit,
Store them in the mind to possess a treasury of worship.”


My heart has turned to hymns many times these past few weeks. Most times I can get through at least one verse without crying.

We live in such a hurting world; and I try to make sense of all the pain. Sometimes I feel as if God doesn’t really care about my loved ones’ suffering through cancer. Where’s His concern for a tiny boy born with a broken heart? Too many questions…

In 1773, a very depressed man named William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”) tried to end his life by drowning. He had attempted suicide at least three times previously; and had been in and out of mental asylums. On this occasion, however, his intended place of death was the Thames River. There was a thick fog and the driver of the cab became lost. Evidently they wandered for a time; then somehow the carriage ended up back in front of Cowper’s lodging. It was then that he wrote:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

These verses speak to my heart during this time. The Creator of the universe does have a plan. Those clouds I am dreading are huge with mercy, and will break and spill blessing over my

Thank you Jesus!

February 4, 2014

his “kurse”

Dear hubs got himself a Kindle for Christmas. He researched cases and bought a nice leather-like one with an electronic clasp that switches the device on when opened.DSCN9730It looks pretty nice, but might be a little hard to handle if you’re trying to get out the door while juggling a laptop bag, lunch box, truck keys and mug of coffee… Well - - I just figured a guy might need some help.

Reen of Embroidery Garden created a design that was my ultimate solution. Her “hipster” is the perfect size for the Kindle.DSCN9702I rummaged through my stash to find a manly fabric and came up with a blue soft flannel plaid, and masculine striped suit lining.DSCN9703The bag flew together like nothing (if you subtract the time spent cutting fabric, standing in line at Lowe’s to buy D-rings, taxiing boys to school, play practice & karate…)DSCN9706My model is 6’ 7” and the bag crosses to ride nicely on his hip.DSCN9732One of his sons remarked, “Hey Dad, nice purse!”

To which he replied, “It’s a murse. It’s for my Kindle.”

“Oh, so it’s a Kurse?”

Serendipitously, my feller found another use for the Kurse:DSCN9705