Salads with Ranch and Thousand Island made at home.

Fresh Herbs in Flower Pots.
This little blog needs subtitles as it was much too busy a day to leave out that Molly had her first bath.  As luck would have it I got two, the first one was with her!! 

I harvested homegrown herbs that lasted over the winter and are lovely this spring.
Brian got after the weed eater....since there is WAY more to do now three years after our disaster with the towns sewer department.

And he BBQ ed chicken for dinner over charcoal and I made up personal diner salads as side dishes for the great summer supper.

Brian loves radishes and me, not so much. I like avocado and Brian not so much. Brian is a black pepper freak, I like it but I am not nearly as over the top as he is. This explains the personal salads and there is no sense in making a huge bowl of salad that is not going to be as good left over than it is if made up fresh!!

Speaking of fresh, I was inspired by the fresh herbs and not wanting to make a trip to the store to make our dressings and they were way better than the bottled variety. It is easier to just open a bottle but it is more flavorful and CHEAPER in these times of $4.00 gas to just whip up things.

My version of homemade Ranch dressing:

5 t. parsley
2 t. chives
1 t. tarragon
2 t. lemon pepper
1/2 t salt
1/2 t. oregano
1 1/2 t. garlic powder

If you are using all dried herbs just combine them all and store them in an airtight container. I used partially fresh combined with dried so I store them in a jar in the freezer.

Attach these instructions:

Makes 1 pint.

1 C. Hellman's Mayonnaise
1 C. buttermilk
2 T. homemade Ranch mix
Combine and whisk together about an hour before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

* Note for dip substitute 1 C. sour cream, yogurt, or creme fresh for the buttermilk.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing:

1/2 C. Hellman's Mayonnaise
1 T. ketchup or chili sauce
1 T. chopped pimiento stuffed olives
1 t. snipped chives
1 hard cooked egg, chopped fine
1/4 t. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
(optional thin with a bit of cream)

Stir everything together and store in the refrigerator until needed.


Dill Rye Bread and Tuna Salad

Dill Rye and Tuna Salad Plate

I don't remember a three day weekend where Brian and I haven't either had company or gone someplace, this might be a first in our lives. Currently he is out riding around on the lawn mower and I just finished making the dough for a loaf of Dill Rye Bread.
Dough sticking to the bottom of the bowl, add flour.
I was thinking if I just made up a big bowl of tuna salad and a loaf of rye bread it would take care of our lunches for the next few days. So, the tuna is made up and chilling in the refrigerator and the bread is about 15 minutes into it's first rise.
Dough is correct, not sticking to bowl.
The recipe is quite like the one for Onion Rye Bread, posted on 5/22/11, but I took much better photos this time!! Actually I just added 2 T. dill weed to the same recipe to make the dough.

I am a bit concerned though and I wanted to be sure to show you a good photo of how the dough should pull completely away from the bowl during the kneading time. It is important to either add water or flour until it reaches this point. Then your dough is right and after the kneading time is complete you are good to start the first rise.
Prep the bowl for the first rise.
The bread has really had good success by my filling a large old Yellow Ware Crock with really hot tap water, emptying, then drying it, and lastly oiling it well before placing the dough in for the first rise.

Tuna salad:

3 pkg. light tuna in foil packet
2 T. minced sweet onion
4 T. diced bread and butter pickles
pinch of black pepper
1/2 C. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (I like both)
enough pickle juice to slightly moisten the salad
optional 1-2 had cooked eggs
2-3 T. finely sliced celery

Mix all ingredients together well and refrigerate until serving time.

Enjoy alone, with other fillings or toasted for a real treat. bread bread salad


Double Chocolate Bread Pudding

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding
Today has been a bit of a crazy day. I have been finishing up things left undone and re purposing things. It becomes almost a game with myself not to let anything go to waste and it's always been that way. That is not to say I am a pack rat. Don't think so....things get pitched but only after it's been determined there isn't another chapter to be written.

Let's take today for example. There were about 6 slices of chocolate pound (recipe on 5/15/11) cake left under the cake dome. It had been a 16-18 serving tube cake and I decided to wrap each piece in waxed paper and then drop the slices in a freezer bag and freeze them for a later go as a chocolate raspberry, or maybe chocolate cherry trifle! It is still quite good but it's time to move it on.

Then there was about a 3" end piece of the Raised Chocolate Coffee Cake (recipe on 5/19/11). I carefully removed the wrapper and sliced it into 6, 1/2" slices and laid them out on a pizza stone. Then they went into a preheated 250 degree F oven for a couple of hours to dry while I did laundry and vacuumed the stairway. 

The original recipe was from a Martha Stewart episode but I have adapted it as follows:

1 1/2 T. butter softened plus additional to prepare the baking dish, Martha's version used 1 T.
6 slices Raised Chocolate Coffee Cake or 8 slices packaged cinnamon raisin bread toasted or dried
2 C. whole milk
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate or Martha's version used 3 oz.
2 large eggs
1/2 C. sugar
1 t. vanilla, original version used 1/2 t.
2 T. powdered sugar
optional ice cream or sweetened whipped cream

Butter a 11" x 7" glass baking dish and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If you have not done so toast the bread using a toaster or in the oven is fine. 

Using a medium saucepan combine milk, chocolate, and butter over medium heat stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted. 

Tear the bread into pieces and scatter it in the bottom of the buttered dish. 

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. After the chocolate is totally melted temper the egg mixture by pouring about a 1/4 of a cup of the hot milk in and whisk to temper. Add a little more hot liquid continuing to whisk until it is all combined well. When the liquids are one pour altogether over the bread. 

Push the bread under the custard to soak all of the pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until puffed. Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar.

This may be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled. It is also quite good with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream.


Make a Scented Rice Bag as a Compress or Bed Warmer.

This heart shaped rice bag is made of pink checked flannel with lace trim and is perfect for a Valentine's Day gift.  It is COLD in February and this is a terrific bed/foot warmer!
Today I read a message from my sister-in-law Darla who I adore, asking me to give directions for a rice bag. I tried to put it on Face book as she requested but it was too long even after I cut as much as I could. then I scanned it and sent it to her e-mail hoping that would do the job.  We love these heated in the microwave for about 5-7 minutes then used as a warm compress or as a BED WARMER!  (Heavenly, just heavenly.)
Scented Rice Bag of Red Cotton Pillow Ticking.

Now it occurs to me since I have invested the time to take it from "just what I do" to "here is how to do it" maybe I should just go ahead and share the method. 

So here you method of making a rice bag.

I usually make them about 16-18" w by 26-28" long to start when I cut them out. SO, you would cut 2 pieces the exact same size OR, if I can double one end or the other to save having to sew a seam I will cut it for example in one piece. Either 32" by 26" or 16" by 52". You then could either fold at the end or along the long side and save sewing one seam. I also have made a lot of these out of scrap fabric and it works just to make it fit sometimes.

Always use 100% cotton of a medium to medium heavy soft fabric. Wash and dry it before you even cut it and press it flat. If you want to be able to wash it you can make the bag out of plain cotton muslin then make a cover for it like a sham. Then just wash the sham. I usually just pitch the bag after a couple of years and make new ones. 

I buy the rice at Sam's club in 25 pound bags but you just want to use plain old cheap rice.

After you have cut the fabric to the size you desire PLACE THE RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER matching the raw edges and pin with straight pins. I always back stitch with my sewing machine to start then sew the seams about 3/8". On one end LEAVE AN OPENING OF ABOUT  5" to use to fill with the rice. BE sure to back stitch either side so you don't unravel. When you have finished stitching turn the bag right side and press it, ironing the 5" opening smoothly under. 

Next I cut a slice to the center of a paper plate and at the center cut a circle about the size of a nickel and fold it to form a funnel and use it to direct the rice into the bag. I staple the paper plate when I get it to where it works for me to direct the rice down into the bag balancing it on my lap. 

It takes 3 1/2 to 4 pounds of rice for the bag. You want to be able to fold and wrap it around where ever you are using it so don't pack it so tight you can't manage it. 

Add lavender flowers, or droplets of essential oils onto the rice and massage in into the rice now if desired. I would use a heaping cup of flowers or 4-5 drops of essential oil. Fold the 5" raw edges under to form a smooth edge and pin the whole end down flat. Shake all of the rice to the other end and then machine top stitch across the entire end of the bag.

Note: I double stitch all of the lines I sew and by that I mean I go back and sew a second line on top of the first one. I do this because the rice is heavy and small and I don't want to take a chance it will work an opening and leak out.

I microwave 5-6 minutes and have warmth for hours, especially under a blanket. If it is a little too warm just wrap it in a towel until it is cooler to the touch. 


I have probably made a hundred of these by now.

Doggy Bed for Molly

Molly in her new bed.
Bless Brian's heart. He bought a terrific dog bed for Molly last weekend. He was really tickled she liked it as only a "guy" and his "bird dog" can be....if you know what I mean.

Lo and behold he was not so amused when she chewed the zipper into and ate a good portion of the stuffing after chewing through the end of the pillow portion. Yes it was waterproof and washable and had a lovely fleece topper. we learned with our little grandsons who chewed right through the zippers of their sleepers, little ones will be little ones.

So my theory is you can't get mad at a kid or a pup for being what they are. Kids and pups.

I set about to solve another harrowing incident here at the little house on the hill!!

Molly in repose.
We have a terrific striped blanket that has served us well for years and was beloved by Duchess and Suzie to the point they chewed a couple of holes in it while it was on our bed and so were they!!

The bed Brian bought was 28" x 38" and I could piece a cover to work. My thinking is to just put together a large fitted sham with an overlap in the back and no zippers or buttons to temp Molly.

Overlap closing needs no zipper or buttons.
With scissors in hand I set about to cut 3 pieces adding an extra inch for seams and using 2 pieces for the back and just turning each under 6" and overlapping them in the back as in a sham. I did double stitch all of the seams using a zigzag for stretch.

She loves it and it fits her "just right."


Peanut Butter Bones for Molly

Molly the Brittany pup tries a Peanut Butter Bone.
Puppy's just chew and chew and eat and eat. I don't believe they chew because they are hungry....they just chew because the do!!!! So 2 huge raw hide bones a rubber squeaky toy, a cloth squeaky squirrel, an area rug, and a couple of electrical cords (not plugged in) later. Not to mention a batch of dog treats last week....We are into this 8 days now and we needed another bag of goodies.

We did share last week equally with Oreo and Daisy who reported they loved their treats!!

So, I hear a lot of pups like peanut butter so we gave these a whirl.

1 C. plus 2 T. chicken broth
1/4 C. peanut butter
2 T. canola oil
1 1/2 T. honey
1/4 C. strawberry jam or jelly
1 t. salt
3 1/4 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. cornmeal
1/3 C. whole wheat flour
2 T. potato flakes
1/4 C. dry milk powder

2 t. yeast

Add all of the ingredients in the order given and stir together with a large wooden spoon until everything is moistened using the largest mixer stand bowl. Then scrape off the spoon and attach the dough hook and process for 15 minutes. Check the dough and add additional drops of water or teaspoons of whole wheat flour as needed to form a smooth elastic ball that does NOT cling to the sides of the bowl.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Use silpat mats, parchment paper or nonstick baking sheets.

Lightly flour the work surface and roll the dough to just slightly over 1/4 " thick. Cut in shapes of your choice and place on the prepared pans. 

Molly loved these
Bake for 40-50 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the treats in the oven for 2-4 hours before storing in an air tight container. Note: I baked 2 pans at once so I switched racks and turned the pans half way through the baking time.
*Adapted from, Gourmet Dog Biscuits From your Bread Machine by Sondra Macdonald. 

NOTE:  On 2/10/12 I changed the recipe and omitted the 1/4 C. raisins called for because a reader "Dogmom" brought to my attention raisins are not good for your dog.  I have verified this with our vet.  Thanks to Dogmom for sharing her information.


Onion Rye Bread and a birthday party!!

Onion Rye Bread
Last night I was mulling over what to take to Washington today for the 80th birthday celebration for Brian's Uncle Don Cosby. It is too far away to keep something hot and too far away to take something with mayonnaise and be sure it would stay cold enough to be safe without having to lug a cooler and ice along. That was my dilemma.

Don Cosby and his daughter Lynn as she presents his 80th birthday cake.
The meat and cake was to be furnished so there was no need for a desert.

After some deliberation I decided to make a loaf of onion rye bread on the off chance there was no bread and rye as for sure if there was bread it would not be rye!! Also the pasta salad with a vinegar and oil Italian dressing would keep beautifully and I won't have to worry about a thing!!

The pasta salad was posted on 7/9/10 and titled "Cool and Refreshing Pasta Salad with Options."

Today's version used black olives, green onions, and cherry tomatoes.

We love homemade bread and this is an especially good one and I have made it for many years. You can mix it up in a bread maker using the "dough" setting if it is a 2 pound machine BUT DO NOT BAKE IT in the bread machine as it makes TOO LARGE a loaf and will probably OVER SPILL in the machine.
I often use my stand mixer and the dough hook and it does fine too. I have done it both ways successfully. The way I bake it is either on a pizza stone or on a heavy cookie sheet. Either way you strew a good portion of cornmeal on the baking surface and place your formed loaf atop the cornmeal to do the final rise and bake.

So here is what you need:

2 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/3 C. warm water ( about 100 degrees F.)
2 T. olive or vegetable oil
1/4 C. honey
3 T. powdered milk or powdered coffee creamer (not the flavored variety)
2 t. salt
2 1/4 C. bread flour
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. rye flower
4 T. rye bread enhancer* OPTIONAL
3 T. caraway seeds
1/4 C. dehydrated onion
1 T. active dry yeast

If you are using a bread machine break the egg yolks and stir them into the water. Place all of the liquid ingredients in the bottom of the bread maker's pan. Add the dry ingredients in the order listed without mixing or stirring. When you are down to the yeast make a slight ditch with a spoon running across the pan but NOT very deep. Do not get down to the moisture. Sprinkle the yeast into the ditch, close the machine and push the button to start the dough cycle.

If you are using a stand mixer with dough hooks put the warm water and eggs in the bottom of the mixer bowl and stir them together, add the honey and oil. Sprinkle the yeast across the top of the liquids and leave them set to bubble for 5 or 10 minutes.

Add all of the dry ingredients and stir them up a bit with a wooden spoon until moistened. Scrape the spoon off and proceed to install the dough hooks and let the machine knead the dough for 10 minutes. Check the dough, if it is too dry sprinkle a tiny bit of water in until it rights its self. If it is too slack and does not draw up into a smooth and elastic ball sprinkle flour a teaspoon at a time down the sides of the bowl until is it the correct texture.

The same measures should be applied if necessary to bread made in the bread machine.

When the bread dough has been formed and is smooth and elastic from either method it is time for the first rise. Select a large heavy crockery or glass bowl and fill it with very hot tap water. Empty the water and dry the bowl, them oil it generously. Place the ball of dough in the warm bowl turning it once to coat it. (The heavier the crock is the longer it will retain it's warmth.) Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm draft free area to rise for 1 1/2 -2 hours until double in bulk.

Prepare the baking pan by strewing cornmeal generously onto the surface. A pizza baking stone is ideal if you have one, but a heavy cookie sheet will do fine.

After the dough has risen gently punch it down to deflate using oiled fingers. Then form it into a ball or oval and place it in the center of the cornmeal you have prepared to bake the bread on.

Dough formed into a ball for second rise.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise a second time, 30-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Dark golden brown loaf from the oven.
When the dough has risen bake for 30-35 minutes until it is deep golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet until totally cold. Store in a large plastic bag and cut with a serrated knife.

Note: Rye bread enhancer can be purchased online from the King Arthur Flour Company.


Potato Cakes

Potato Cakes 'n Eggs Over Easy
This is REALLY old. Maybe it comes from our German heritage or not??? Don't know but I remember both of my Grandmothers as well as my own Mother making these and all of the men just love them. My husband loves them, to the point we had them for supper last night and he wanted them again this morning with eggs!! Which I must say turned out nicely.

I haven't in the past included just everyday menus but then maybe I should..... It seems so nothing to me but then it is what we grew up with. Unlike now when people in a lot of circumstances appear not to cook but to dive thru window......

So last night for supper I used about 4 cups of left over from the weekend mashed potatoes to make potato cakes and with it we had sauerkraut and wieners and cottage cheese with sliced tomatoes.
The tomato's I bought at the Newburgh Farmers Market Saturday morning were just OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD. And with the rest of this old farmers supper Brian was one happy camper.

Here is how I make potato cakes:

4 C. cold mashed potato (usually left over)
1 large egg
4 green onions sliced thinly with the green tops
3 T. all purpose flour
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
Beat all of these ingredients together until a smooth thick but creamy consistency results.

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet, cast iron is ideal, with about 3 T. vegetable oil until hot. Form potato mixture into cakes and place them in the hot oil about 4 at a time and fry until golden. Remove when browned on both sides to a paper towel lined plate to drain. I keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while I finish frying the balance. 

Today to reheat I placed the leftover cakes on a small baking sheet and placed them in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 15 minutes prior to stating the eggs. 

Serve with over easy fried eggs and fresh sliced tomato for a lovely breakfast.


Flowers blooming today in our yard and our garden day 1.

Pink Rose Bush Chris got me one year.
Well last night Brian hurried home and set about to get the tomato sets we had driven to Washington, Indiana last Saturday to pick up planted in the ground!! Fast and furious he worked to get them in and it was great to have finally gotten something planted. I cannot believe I don't have the first annual planted yet. It has been this crazy weather!!

Then my neighbor came by today and we were talking about the things that have already bloomed and are gone. The lilac bush, the Burkewoody Viburnum and the rhododendron.
Brian loves Peonies
She said how much she enjoys the nature photos I post and that let to a further discussion of things she enjoyed in my postings.

So I am trying to include more of what I see on a day to day basis. The things I appreciate and am grateful for.  I may even include a prayer or two of thanksgiving as I am wholly Blessed.

I really love to see these little Alpine strawberries that grow in my flower beds. The birds love them too.

This is the stepping stone Katie and Emily made for Suzie in the front flower bed next to the rabbit with one broken ear!!
The smell of these roses called Don Juan is sweet hanging in this evenings air.
I love Iris' we had yellow Iris at home under two big old black walnut trees. Dad cut down and young tree and ran it between the two walnut trees and hung a porch swing. I spent many hours out on that swing.

This crazy Clementius is blooming all over a young dogwood tree. The Clementius has been there for years and not done much. Not till now anyway!!
We have big girls, big boys, and something else I don't recall.....a couple of cherry tomato vines too I expect. 

There are a couple of varieties of cabbage too.
I am hopeful.  I still have 3 or 4 bags of tomatoes in the freezer from last years crop. Maybe they will last us till these come on!! OH OH........I see bunnies.....


I love old thing and have collected odd pieces and odds and ends for years. None of it is necessarily worth anything to anyone but me. Many of the items have a story behind them so I have thought I might start showing some of the pieces and telling the story of how I happened to come by it so down the road if it goes to someone else when I am gone they will know about it. The first picture a large French plater in the very back that I fell in love with and purchased at a shop in Newburgh. The gravy boat was a gift from Brian's Mother and the white terrain a gift from Grandma Powell. All of the other pieces were Mary Lou's.
I also think it is an important part of a families history to know about the folks who passed before them and that a little dish you have may have been in the family for generations. The second photo pictures a childs cup hanging ans well as a platter and terrain, all from Mary Lou. The smaller oval platter at the end was given to me by my Mother, Joan Neukam Burress.
Old pieces of white Ironstone were collected by my late Mother-in-law Mary Lou Ruble Cosby. Many of my pieces are from her and some I found at shops here in Newburgh. Some of them are in use in the kitchen and some are in the cabinet in the living room and are mostly to enjoy as it is lovely just to see them on display.
The next photo shows a treasured cake plate given to me by my best friend of many many years, Diane Begley Goss. There is also a beautiful blue and white lidded dish from Grandma Powell.
Lastly are pictured two wash basins. Actually I have three. The two pictured were given to me by Grandma Powell and the third one, all white is from Mary Lou. I enjoy these old things. They comfort me and are like old friends. The people from whence they came share our home with us because when we see them their memory is with us.
I may share more of my "stuff" as time goes along. Right now I am downstairs where I keep a wall of family photos and enjoy them as I type away this morning. I encourage people to collect things and enjoy the history behind them.
Some of the photos are very old, other not so much. I love them all.