Thursday, January 11, 2018

Homemade Bread, Etsy Purchases and Grandchildren

Hello my friends.  I'm sitting here on a bright, sunny afternoon, enjoying the freshness after our rainstorm on Tuesday.  When it rains, it can pour down here in southern California.  Our pool is filled to the top but luckily it didn't overflow.  I feel so sad for all those people who have lost life or home from the ravages of the floods due to the Thomas Fire (which is about 100 miles north of where I live).  Sometimes, we can take things for granted.  I'm so thankful every day.


Being thankful, I'm so thankful for the many blog friends I have met.  I get so many great ideas from all of you.  It can be books, fiber arts, recipes, gardening or just some great advice now and then.  The other day I was reading Morning's Minion's blog and she had shared her recipe for some wonderful homemade bread.  She's an expert bread baker! I used to bake bread regularly but for the past few years, my yeast baking has consisted of rolls.  Today, I made the bread pictured above.  You can find my recipe at the bottom of this post if you wish to try it.  (I think it didn't proof enough hence the crack in the loaf).


The title of this post today mentions Etsy purchases.  I've finished my latest  needlepoint and I found this much needed little thread catcher on Etsy.  Isn't this just an adorable little fabric bag?  And, it was like $5.00!

I think I shared with you that I joined The Handmade Sock Society and I'm anxiously awaiting for the first pattern release.  I wanted (but didn't need :)) a new sock project bag.  I found this adorable little project bag from this seller on Etsy.  It was a great buy, too!  I used to sew back in the old days.  But, my sewing skills are circa 1970's and it makes me nervous with clipping all those threads, etc.  Hence, my love of knitting/crochet/needlepoint.

 
For the past few months, my dear husband has been having some medical tests are still inconclusive.  On our way home from the doctor on Tuesday, during a torrential downpour, we stopped at Trader Joe's and I just had to buy this colorful cyclamen complete with the flower pot.  I'm wondering if this is a plant and I can keep and have it bloom again?

 
My little granddaughter is here for a couple of nights.  Here she is at her home helping her Mom set the table.  Her older brother (my first grandchild), will join her tomorrow for a fun time with Grandma and Grandpa.  The joys of being a grandparent!

I hope that the New Year is being good to you.  Lilly is doing well and wanted me to send her "meows" to everyone, too!  Until next time . . .

My best wishes,

Pat
Pat's Whole Wheat Bread
2 cups lukewarm water
1 package dry yeast
scant 1/3 cup honey/molasses mixture (you can use all honey if you wish or brown sugar)
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 Tablespoon salt
3 cups Trader Joe's pastry whole wheat flour*
2 cups all purpose flour*

I used my Kitchenaid mixture to make/knead this dough.  I placed the water in the warmed bowl and added the yeast.  Let it sit about 5 minutes.  Add in honey/molasses mixture, oil, salt and 3 cups of the whole wheat flour.  Start mixer to begin combining the ingredients.  You can give it a good stir with a large wooden spoon.  Add in all purpose flour, gradually, until mixture becomes a ball.  Don't add too much as you want a soft dough.  Knead a few minutes in the machine and then remove beater and cover dough and let it rise for at least one hour.

Punch down dough and divide into four balls of equal size.  Let the balls rest for about 10 minutes.  Grease well two 9 x 5 bread pans.  Shape each ball into a nice ball and place two balls in each pan.  Let rise for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place bread pans in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until they sound "hollow".  Place a clean tea towel on the counter and put a cooling rack on top.  Remove bread from pans onto cooling rack.  Brush tops with butter.  Let cool and then slice or freeze them as you wish.

* I keep my whole wheat flour in the frig to prolong it's life.  But, when I looked at it today, it wasn't fresh so I used instead this Trader Joe's pastry flour.  It worked great as it's just a finer ground whole wheat flour.  In you use regular whole wheat flour, I would use two cups whole wheat to 3 cups of all purpose flour.  It's up to you whether you enjoy a fine textured bread versus a coarse textured bread.

 

  

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Great Start to the New Year

 Happy New Year dear friends.  I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and a great start to the New Year.  I've had a wonderful holiday season with my family.
 
 Yesterday afternoon all the family ventured to the Montage Resort where we sat outside on the veranda and enjoyed coffee.  It was a perfect afternoon to watch the ocean and do a little people watching, too!  It was my daughter's idea (photo above) and we all agreed that this was a great way to start the New Year's Eve celebrations.

 
 Christmas at my home has been all boxed up until next year (although I hope the true meaning of Christmas is in my heart throughout the coming year).  My home is slowly coming back to it's normal, eclectic decor.  My dear son bought me these lovely pink carnations.  They brighten up the family room.

My beloved knitting needles have made a reappearance, too this season.  I'm knitting a pair of socks from the very talented Helen Stewart.  They're called Vintage Fairy Lights socks and you can find the info here on my Ravelry page. (Lilly insists on sitting my my lap when I'm knitting!)

I love to knit socks.  I taught myself how to knit them; unbeknownst to me that they can be a bit of a challenge. Luckily, I and my four DPN's get along very well.  I love the yarn I found on Etsy.  It's from Southern Skeins; she is an indie dyer from Florida.  Her yarn creations are so lovely and best of all, her prices are very reasonable!  My yarn is called "frosted berries"  which I thought was so appropriate for this project.

Speaking of the very talented Helen, she will be hosting The Handmade Sock Society.  There will be six sock patterns included in this KAL.  I can hardly wait until it begins in February.  Fun times ahead!

I received some beautiful and useful things for Christmas.  I love the perfume tray that my dear daughter and her family gave to me.  It sits on top of my Grandma's antique bird's eye maple chest which is in my closet.  It was fun to clean and rearrange the top of this much loved chest.

Lilly wanted to say "hello" to everyone.  She had a great holiday and is enjoying her catnip toys.  I hope everyone out there who has furry family loved ones, to wish them all the best for the New Year, too.

Thank you dear friends for being my friend and visiting my blog.  I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

With my best wishes,

Pat

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The #stitchingsanta Reveal

 Hello dear readers.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday.  Back in October, I signed up for the #stitchingsanta over at SewChat.  I thought it would be a fun holiday activity.

 There were two different categories; sewing or crochet/knitting.  As you might guess, I signed up for crochet/knitting.

 
 My lovely package from Jessica, arrived in plenty of time before Christmas.  I could hardly wait to open these goodies. . .


As you can see, I received two lovely skeins of alpaca yarn (I already have a scarf pattern picked out for this yarn), along with a journal, darling little heart, a wonderful book on lace knitting (it has a treasure trove of exciting patterns), a lovely little necklace, a real live Christmas tree seed, teas and Jessica even included some holiday catnip treats for Lilly!  THANK you dear Jessica for everything as you really spoiled me!

The way the swap works, you send to a different person than whom you receive from.  So, I sent the goodies above to Autumn over at Entrophy Creations.  Sorry you can't see the "candy cane" pink yarn since I had already wrapped it up before snapping this photo.  
Autumn makes the cutest little crocheted creature and she also knits, too!

That about wraps it up for me in regard to the #stitchingsanta swap.  It will be fun to see what everyone received!

Have fun dear readers during this last week of 2017!

With my best wishes,

Pat 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas from Lilly My Cat!

 Hello my dear readers. I hope that wherever you are this holiday season, you are safe and warm.  At my home the festivities will soon be starting. . .

Our family Christmas traditions kick off on Christmas Eve with
~ Attending Christmas Eve church services
~ Returning home to enjoy appetizers
~ Followed by our traditional Danish meatball dinner with red cabbage
~ Then the fun begins with opening gifts

Christmas Day will dawn bright and merry since all the family will be staying with us.  We will continue the celebration with
~ Christmas breakfast
~ Then we open our Christmas stockings
~ The turkey will be roasted along with all the trimming
~And, then the family will sit down again to enjoy our Christmas dinner

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and I will be back again after the holidays.

Merry Christmas,

Pat

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Egyptian Christmas Cookies Along With Danish!

Are you getting ready for my favorite time of Year?  I've had a great couple of days spending time in my kitchen and baking my favorite Christmas cookies.

First on the list were my Egyptian petit fours.  I tweeked the recipe a bit and made them in single cookies without any filling.  And, I just had to add some green Christmas trees.  Every year my Danish grandma would make "spritz" cookies in the shape of green Christmas trees.  I have kept the same tradition for my family. If you want the recipe, you can find it here on my blog from a few years ago.  Remember, the key to this recipe is using clarified butter and powdered sugar which gives this cookie it's unique texture :)

Another popular Egyptian holiday cookie is Uraybee* or Ghorayebah* or as it's known in turkey, Kurabiyesi.  I bought this mix in Turkey and brought it home with me.  Luckily, it had only two ingredients I had to "translate" and again I used clarified butter and oil. (My oil looks green because it's grapeseed oil!)  The cookies came out perfect!  I'm sold on this cookie mix and plan to buy it again.  Kurabiyesi is a rich, buttery, shortbread type cookie with a very fine texture.  My favorite - yum!

Now, we're going to head back to Denmark and here's my pebernodder (peppernuts) that I made this year.  Again, this is one of my Grandma's recipes and I just had to make them since my brother will be joining us for the holidays and he loves these as much as I do!  You can find the recipe here from a previous blog post.  Remember, you need to prepare the dough the night before so that it can ripen  the wonderful, spicy flavor. I love to pop them in my mouth, savor the flavor a minute or two before I bite into this delicious crunchiness.

 
Today I made my Danish Kleiner.  It seems that every culture has their own favorite fried cookie and this is our family's tradition from Denmark.  Again, it's my Grandma's recipe that I treasure.  Hopefully, I can pass this onto my little granddaughter so that she can make them one day.  They will be put away in an air tight tin and wait the arrival of my son since this is his favorite cookie.

Four down and one more cookie to make.  Tomorrow I hope to make some plain, old, much loved, chocolate chip cookies but with a twist using Nestle's Holiday Baking Chips.  Don't you just love how colorful these are?  I'm using my dear friend Elizabeth's recipe which you can find here.

What are you baking?  If you would like to share, please feel free in the comments below.  That's  about all that is happening here at Lilly My Cat.  I hope to share another post soon.

Blessings to everyone,

Pat 

PS *the Arabic language can be hard sometimes to translate into the Latin alphabet since there is no standardized translation.  But, you can google this cookie and see what you come up with since it's a popular cookie for all the countries in the Middle East. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

~~~ A Norwegian Christmas Luncheon ~~~

Hello my dear friends.  Here I am writing about Christmas and we're having temps in the high 80's today!  I'm still not used to being in  California for Christmas.  Last week my beloved Daughters of Norway lodge held their Christmas luncheon.

Our dear member, Gerd, opened up her home to host the luncheon for us.  The tables were beautifully decorated with the holiday theme.

The tree was aptly decorated and we placed our exchange gifts under the tree.

Our hostess had many beautiful Christmas scenes throughout her home but I loved seeing these Nissemen in their holiday finery.

Some of our members wore their Bunads, the national dress of Norway.  Pictured above is Berit on the left along with Carla.  Berit brought Carla her bunad from Norway this past year and it fits her perfect.  I love the embroidered designs and the bag.  The style of the bunad is based on what part of Norway you come from. 

There were more tables set up in the kitchen where all the food and activity was taking place.  We had pickled herring on brown bread for appetizers and it was yummy.

It was soon time to take our place at our assigned table.  Pictured in the glass dish is lingonberry sauce from Scandinavia.  It went so well with the entree.

We sang table grace in Norwegian before beginning our meal.

Speaking of food, here is what we feasted on; Norwegian meatballs with brown gravy, pork sausage, boiled red potatoes, browned cabbage, red cabbage, and a lovely Christmas colored salad with fresh vegetables.  It was delicious.

After our main course, we had dessert and coffee and then departed to the living room to have our gift exchange. 

It was such a lovely afternoon, spent together with dear friends and to continue the experience of Scandinavian customs.  Being Danish, I'm going to have this same menu for my family on Christmas Eve.  It's a tradition that we have had for many years, dating from the time when I was young and my Danish grandma would be in charge of our Christmas Eve meal.  I warms my heart to be able to carry on this tradition for my family and my grandchildren.

If you are of Scandinavian descent and are interested in joining a lodge, please take a look at Daughters of Norway or the  Danish Sisterhood of America.  They have lodges throughout the United States and are most welcoming to new members.

Do you realize that Christmas Eve is two weeks from today?  My home is decorated, the presents wrapped and now I will start my Christmas baking - my favorite part! Have a blessed week everyone and I will be back again to share some more happenings.  And, Lilly, my cat is doing very well.

With my best wishes,

Pat

PS Thank you dear Heidi for my new blog design.  The header photo is from my beloved Gig Harbor, Washington. 






Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Lilly Update and Fires in SoCal

Thank you everyone for your get well wishes for my kitty, Lilly.  She has been doing well and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she is over this bout of illness.  She has her appetite back and being 17 pounds little, that's a good sign for sure.


Like many of you pet parents out there, when she became ill, I was so devastated as I've had her for over 10 years and during that time, she has never been sick.  Of course, she goes once a year for her annual vaccinations which cost a minimum.

So, the trip to the veterinarian was an eye opener for sure. She was a lovely, young doctor who was so kind.  She didn't have an answer right away but suggested a plan of treatment and then told me she'd give me the estimate.  I was perplexed but I waited and the assistant brought in the estimate which had a total price of $713.00!  Wow, a bit costly for sure.  The blood work was approximately $250.00 and the x-ray was $250.00.  Luckily, after a little discussion with the assistant, she suggested I give Lilly the medicine treatment (which was $201.00) and see how it goes.  Lilly received two medicines; one for acid reflux and one an antiobiotic, for one week.  So far, so good.  But, she's my baby and  if the symptoms return, of course I'm going to proceed with further testing.  It broke my heart to see her ill.


 
Many parts of our  beautiful, tranquil setting here in Southern California are up in flames at the moment.  Yesterday, a fire broke out which they named the Thomas Fire.  It started at 50 acres and this afternoon is has grown to more than 50,000 acres!  It's northwest of Los Angeles in Ventura County and many structures have burned to the ground.  It's heartbreaking to see it on the TV.  There are a couple of more fires that broke out today.  The culprit is the Santa Ana Winds which started yesterday.  They are very strong, warm winds that wreck havoc with our dry, parched land.  They're expected to blow until early Friday morning.  Luckily, I haven't heard of any fires here in Orange County where I live.  Although, we have taken precaution and put away things outside and shut off the pool filter since it's filled with leaf debris. We are in a wait and see mode.  There are dry, parched hills which border both sides of the area where I live.   

I hope you are safe and warm wherever you may be.  I had a fun post ready to publish today but it's going to wait until another time.  

With my best wishes to you,

Pat