Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Baking endeavors

I have been in rather a baking mood this week. On Monday morning, I sleepily offered Dan some warm soda bread with lunch, only to realize that my recipe called for buttermilk. I don't as a habit keep buttermilk in the house, and I certainly did not want to go to the grocery store (which, along with cleaning the tub, is one of my least favorite household chores). So, instead I altered the recipe. I knew one could substitute plain yogurt for buttermilk, but I had only vanilla, so I put that in and left out the sugar. It is a steamed bread, so for the first 30 minutes of baking it is sealed up in two round baking dishes, one on top the other. The top dish is removed for the final 15 minutes, and it gets nice and brown and beautiful. I love that first picture, it's like a glamor shot for my bread!Here, my bread is cooling on the colander. I keep reminding myself to get a wire rack, but alas! I also keep forgetting. This morning Dan woke me up saying how delicious pumpkin pancakes sounded! So, like the dutiful wife I am, I made him some pancakes! I good friend of mine taught me that you can substitute pumpkin for eggs in pancakes, which is what I did. They turned out really well too.Viola! There you have my culinary adventures for the week. I would be happy to share recipes with anyone interested!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas stuff!

Well, I've had my first non-payment in my etsy shop. Etsy has an odd check-out process, in which you may click on the "commit to buy" button and purchase an item without actually paying for it. This causes some problems, particularly if the buyer is new and doesn't understand how etsy check-out works. So, I had someone buy an ornament, and not pay for it. It's only been a day, but this person hasn't responded to either of my messages and still hasn't paid. I'll give her another day or two, and if she doesn't pay by then, I'll start the process of cancelling the sale. I've been very happy with my customers so far, they've all been great and their positive feedback has been very encouraging. Here is one of my favorites: "Wow! They look even better in person! Thank you so much, I can't wait to see everyone's smiles when they get them for x-mas. Thanks again for the custom order!" I've been working on another custom request, a poinsettia ornament. I think it will turn out really nice. I'll post pics when it's finished. In the mean time, I love my new Christmas tree, and I have some little gifties underneath, all wrapped up and beautiful! Enjoy the season, and remember to have fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving! I certainly did. I made two apple pies as my contribution to the family repast, and also created lots of ornaments. My sales on etsy are now up to 20, which pleases me. But, I must say, I have been spending so much time on ornaments that I haven't had time to draw or paint anything else! So, I've decided to dedicate some time today to painting another landscape. I don't know what yet, but it will be something to do with trees, since that seems to be the one obsession in my life that remains constant.
On another note, back in October I blogged about learning to make yogurt. I have since made it twice, and it turned out spectacularly both times! It is creamy and delicious and mild, not too tart. I like to eat it with a drizzle of maple syrup to sweeten it, although I'm sure it would be good with fruit or jam or some other such thing. My elder brother, upon his first taste of plain yogurt (which, incidentally, he thought was vanilla) exclaimed vehemently his dislike. Then he tasted mine, which had maple syrup in it, and said, "That's not so bad." I will take that as a compliment, and a recommendation for everyone to try it. Here is my recipe for yogurt:

Make sure all containers and utensils are sanitized in the dishwasher or with boiling water.
Heat 2 cups of milk on the stove to 170 degrees. Pour into a bell jar and allow to cool to 120 degrees. Add 1/4 cup of dry milk powder and 1/4 cup Stonyfield Farm plain yogurt. Put into a small cooler with two other jars filled with boiling water, and allow to set for several hours, not more than twelve. You can use other plain yogurt as the starter, but make sure it doesn't contain gelatin. After you start making yogurt, you can use your own as the starter. The measurements are approximate, since I don't really measure. Milk is much cheaper than yogurt, so it makes sense to me that this would be cost effective.