11.22.2014

Everything Butter

A recipe for Everything Butter, like an everything bagel but it doesn't explode when you bite into it and you can eat it on everything. 






The best/worst part of an everything bagel? The massive crazy amount of seeds and spice piled on it, it's what makes it an everything bagel and at the same time completely impossible to eat neatly. The taste of all the little bits of flavor working together make it quite a delectable bagel, the absolute explosion of seeds, dried garlic and minced onion that cover you, and anything you happen to be standing next to or above, makes for an annoying eating situation. Ever eat one while wearing a scarf? You've got to take it off and shake that thing out afterwards. And I think we're all in agreement that you should never eat one in your car or you'll be cleaning everything out of everywhere. Seriously tasty, seriously annoying. 






Enter Everything Butter.






Everything Butter brings all the toasty, tasty goodness of an everything bagel to any tidy piece of toast, with nary a flying seedy mess in sight. And that grumpy fit one child had over the last everything bagel being eaten will never, ever happen again, suddenly Everything Butter makes everything taste like an Everything Bagel. 





Everything Butter is packed with the best of everything bagels: sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, dill seeds, caraway seeds, poppy seeds and pinch of salt. Use it to top potatoes, dinner rolls, cooked vegetables, squash and even grilled meats. And it's easy to make, you only need to plan ahead so the flavor has time to mature, one day is good, two is better. And use it up within a week. I think you could make this and give it for a present too, it really is that tasty. 










Everything Butter

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 TBPS dill seeds
1 TBSP dried minced onion
1 TBSP poppy seeds
2 tsp dried minced garlic
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp of salt, optional 
1/2 cup of room temperature salted butter

using a heavy skillet over medium/low heat toast the sesame seeds
you don't need oil just pour them in the pan and set over the heat
give the pan a shake every few minutes while you gather up the rest of the ingredients
once they begin to brown add the rest of the ingredients except the butter and salt
continue toasting over low heat until the mixture is fragrant and most of the sesame seeds are various shades of brown 
once they get to this stage it's time to let them cool, honestly this is as hard as it gets, trying not to nibble the seeds mix while they cool
put the butter in a mixing bowl and give it an initial mix
once the seeds are cooled take a TBSP of the mix and set it aside
add the rest of the mix to the butter and gentle use the mixer to incorporate them into the butter
once the seeds are mixed in and no pure yellow butter remains you're done mixing, you may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice before this happens
when you're done scrape the butter out onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a rough stick of butter, or a disk shape
wrap it in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill for 20 minutes
then take it out, unwrap it, roll it in the extra seeds to cover the outside
rewrap in fresh wax paper or plastic wrap
chill for two days for best flavor although it is ready to use right away














Ok I need a piece of toast, how about you??







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11.21.2014

Through the Cat Door


We have two normal size cats and one mega sized dog, somehow the cats are more work than one dog. How can this be? I mean the dog is big and she lays around the house about 98% of the time, and when I say she lays around the house I mean she really lays around the house, ba-da-bump! Thank you thank you I'll be here all week. Anyway 2 cats weighing 8 pounds each make more trouble than one very large dog. 

Something crashes over in the middle of the night? Cats. Something is running up and down the stairs and waking everyone up? Cats. Someone is pushing open bedroom doors and bothering kids? Cats. Someone barfed? Cats. Someone left something dead on the doorstep? Cats. Someone brought in something not quite dead and played with it in front of company? Cats. Someone doesn't have a full  food bowl and yowls because the bottom is showing? Cats. The dog sleeps, eats, does her business and occasionally runs through the flock of chickens just to see if they're paying attention. She also scares the grunt out of people who tarry at the end of our driveway, in fact now that I mention no one seems to stroll by anymore. Hmm wonder if this face has anything to do with that?






But this post isn't about the dog, it's about the cats, and their nighttime habits. Both were rescues, unwanted if you will, and we welcomed them into our home as kittens. One came from the pound and one was smuggled in by our oldest son after he took her away from some kids who were hurting her at a party. We keep livestock so cats seem like a good idea, and really they are, I'm sure we'd have a huge vermin problem if we didn't have cats. 



One draw back to these cats is their personal night time style, one loves to be in at night but refuses to come in until the lights go off and then she absolutely insists on getting in. She will hang off window sills, check every door to see if she can squeeze in. She will hang spread eagle over the window of the room you are in if she thinks it will get her in. When you do open the door she refuses to come in and lingers as if the outdoors is so much more alluring than a safe warm house. Shut her out and it's back to terrorizing windows and door's weather strips, shredding anything that attempts to keep her out. 

The other charm boat waits unit two in the morning and then strolls out of wherever she's been snoozing and yowls long and loud to go out. It never stops until she's out. And I am here to tell you that even if you promise yourself "this time I'm going to be strong and not get up and let her out" once the yowling starts it will never end until she gets out. 







I got the brilliant idea to get a cat door. I buy one and it sits unused for months until we figure out how to install the dang thing, we have steel doors but ground level basement windows, somehow we'll make it work. It's finally installed and the cats have finally figured it out, which actually takes a lot longer than you would think. "Oh you want me to use that to go outside rather than chewing my way in through this heavy steel exterior door?" It's pure bliss not to have a cat stuck outside attempting to break and enter the residence, and the other cat can go out and nary a yowl do we hear. 

One week of awesome peace in our house. 


One week. 


And then they start to show up. Dead things. In the house. Voles, rotund mice-ish like animals with short tails. Shrews, scrawny mice-ish animals with long noses. And a very suspicious real mouse looking animal. All dead. All left strategically for us to find in our early morning routines. By the dog dish, lucky dog! On the rug by the washer. And in our mudroom. I believe we're up to 17 at this point and it's been six days. When we installed this cat door I was worried about what else might make itself welcome in our house, I never thought it would be something the brought in through the cat door. 

I'm just going to go ahead and assume they're thank you gifts because the cats love their new door so much. BUT I personally think it's STILL completely worth it because I never have to deal with a cat who wants to be on the other side of the door. If I have to pick up a few dead things every morning in exchange for a full nights sleep, I can live with that. 







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11.20.2014

Meal Plan Time

When it gets closer to a "food holiday" I feel like I need a meal plan, more than any other time of the year. Except if we're broke then I think that's the ultimate time for a meal plan. But food centric holidays, when the food is wedged in the fridge like a master tetris player stacked the blocks just right for maximum drop, come in a close second or maybe even an equal tie. For us I guess I'm talking mainly about Thanksgiving, Christmas and probably Fourth of July too, days when we're having specific food made for a gathering of friends or family.

The Scenario:

Thanksgiving. Any Year. Anytown USA.

You do the shopping, get everything home, put it all away and feel like an olympic athlete who completed a grueling 4 hour workout complete with screaming children who don't belong to you and grocery bags that fail while holding a 20 pound turkey.  You're getting ready for company coming over, oh you know just doing those insane tasks like cleaning THAT closet that never gets used 'but just might get used so I better straighten it out', you're 2 hours into a 15 minute spot clean, suddenly one of your children, that one that's always hungry groans out a "what's for dinner?" Your head spins, eyes cross, you see red but then, then your eyes come to rest on that scribbled slip of a meal plan and you see "crispy baked burritos" and the night is saved. You set the hungry one to starting dinner, the other child can set the table while you finish whatever crazy task you set for yourself and life is good. Disaster averted, children being helpful, things getting done, life is good. 

 Lives have been saved by this scribbled meal plan. 

So I'm writing this now and going oh yeah I need a meal plan, not some vague I think I'll do _____ or ______ but a real meal plan so what I make on Monday doesn't actually use something I need for Thursday because if there is one place I never want to be is the grocery store, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, in a small town. There's no way I want to use up a special ingredient just because I didn't have a plan, so a plan I must have. And while I'm planning I'll add in those things I need to make beforehand so not only are we not eating any of the specialty items but I'm actually making a plan to get major food prep done too. 



Friday-pizza night, fresh veggies, green salad 

Saturday-pierogies, homemade second attempt post coming soon-(get out your stretch pants!)--retrieve turkey from the freezer and set to thawing

Sunday-Roast-probably actually a pot roast which will give us dinner Monday as well, roasted fall vegetables, green salad--make pie crusts, flatten and freeze for pie making 

Monday-Beef vegetable soup with rice OR Beef Shepherds Pie, green salad, roasted green beans--bake pumpkin roll

Tuesday-Crispy Baked Burritos, Mexi Tots(!!!), salad with salsa--make cheese sauce, make mashed potatoes

Wednesday-Pesto Glazed Salmon, rice, steamed veggies, green salad--roast cabbage, make pies

Thursday-Turkey and so much food! pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie, pie,  

Friday-leftovers

Saturday-leftovers

Sunday-leftovers

Monday--leftovers





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11.18.2014

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0

I was sent a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 to give it a trial run. Originally I was going to use it during my trip to PMA last month but a shipping snafu had it leaving my state when it should have been in my hot little hands. So I met it in LA at the hotel the night before PMA started.







I wasn't sure using it during PMA would make a lot of sense because I really didn't know how to use it at all. I gave it a whirl though because I really thought it might be the best way to get to know it. So I spent about 15 minutes setting up my social media accounts and email, the set up was smooth. I played around a bit added a few apps but the one I wanted to use the most kept crashing, totally NOT Samsung's fault in the least. 




I found myself consistently reaching for my phone during PMA, I guess I wasn't used to working with a tablet yet. But what I did do with it was grab a few samples of magazines via the Kindle app for the flight home. I'd finished my book and was left without reading material for the flight home. Problem solved with a bigger than a phone screen tablet and some fresh cooking magazines to dig in to. The size of the tablet means easy viewing, no squinting at tiny screens and the photos are a wonderful size. 


I brought it home and found myself working with it whenever I had a moment, not too many but a there were a couple of free moments in there. Then my husband picked it up and started using the drawing app and that one blew him away. You see the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 has a built in stylus/pen for drawing and sketching and my artist husband said it was hands down the best he'd used. And we've bought quit a few lame drawing computers for him to work with in the past. Now he wants one of these, and he's quite sorry to see this handy little tablet go back to it's owner. 

I finally found my favorite use for it, cooking in the kitchen, you'll need a reliable stand to make really hands free though, we used a little keyboard and stand like this one. Pull up a recipe, grab your ingredients and get to cooking. It's so small it can sit anywhere, you can tap around with the stylus while keeping the screen clean too! 


And I must say the intuitiveness of the entire things was amazing, where I THOUGHT a button or control should be, well that's where I found it. Either I'm well trained or Samsung is.


I was sent a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 to try out, my opinions are entirely my own.







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11.17.2014

Kitchen Gadget Gift List

I know it seems early and it is, but I think if you're ordering any gifts online now is the time to think about it. Getting a head start on gift buying can keep you from running into problems the I've had in the past like: it WAS a great price but that was LAST week, now it's twice as much and no free shipping or whoops we sent that to the wrong address and now it's being sent back to us or the worst one ever we sent it parcel select to Alaska. WHAT? So many times I've ordered in early December only to be chewing my nails to the quick come mid December. So I thought I'd share my list of kitchen must haves just in case you've got a cook to buy for. 


These are affiliate links just so you know, if you click one and buy something I'll earn a little cash, even if you don't click and buy something at least take the suggestions to heart, each of these are things I know and love to use. 



Silpat-where would I be without it? Do you have one, do you love it? Seriously you can make a gazillion cookies on this, they'll never ever stick and boom wash it up, dry it and use it the next time too. Again and again and again. I have actually used one to death, it took about 5 years.






KitchenAid Cutting Board-I have and love this board, the non stick grip on the corners keep it from slipping, important when you have kids in the kitchen. I recommend having at least 2 cutting boards one for meat and one for produce, I keep at least three, then I can put kids to work on vegetables for dinner or apples for snacks.


 
                                                                    



Rice Cooker-Why have one? Well it can cook rice, brown rice, polenta, oatmeal, cream of wheat, quinoa and it will steam vegetables over the rice too. Mine is about 3 years old and is no longer available, this one is very close to the one I have. The best part about a rice cooker is setting it up to start cooking when you're not home and having rice ready to roll when you need it. 



                                                                      



Julienne Peeler-If you have kids helping in the kitchen OR you want them to eat more vegetables I highly recommend this little tool, maybe one for each kid? It produces mounds of julienned carrots, great for salads, stir fries, snacking or spring rolls. YUM.




                                                                     



Vanilla Beans-Why? because they're a unique gift that will keep a foodie endlessly entertained making vanilla extract, vanilla sugar and vanilla everything. I've tried 3 of 4 of these, they are lovely and fun to play with. You might even score some cookies from the recipient.



                  



Jerky Gun-Yup, if you know and love anyone following the Paleo diet a jerky gun might be just the thing for them. They can make their own meaty snack from ground meat so they control the ingredients and can cater it to their preference be it paleo or primal or whole 30. 




                



French Press-if you know me you know I love coffee. And I love my French Press. We've had this press for nearly 10 years and we use it every single day, we did have a coffee maker for a while but it just didn't hold a candle to this sweet little press. 






Wustoff Knife Sharpener--I like to keep my knives nice and sharp and this handy Wustoff Sharpener does the trick, seriously. We fillet our salmon, butcher chickens, turkeys and pigs and this is one handy tool we couldn't live without. Well my husband probably could but I'd be out of luck. I like it so much I pack it in my dry box for camping and fishing you just never know when you'll need to sharpen up.






Norpro Ice Pop Maker--Fun for anyone with kids. Make flavored yogurt pops, pudding pops or juice pops, you control the ingredients! Great for school lunches, summer time, well heck anytime.



Le Creuset Tea Kettle-Because if you know me at all you know I love Le Creuset Flame! But I also love this tea kettle, I've had it for almost 2 years now and it's going strong. Best part about Le Creuset is the lifetime warranty and the way they honor it. I'd rather buy one nice piece than buy something cheap again and again. 



Ten things I love from my kitchen and wouldn't want to live without. I had so much fun looking these up I might just do another list about the things I WANT rather than the ones I own! 
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11.16.2014

Thrifter Share

A post to share your thrifted finds, whether you plan to sell them, keep them or give them, share them here first. 

It sounds like we have a few people interested in hosting a group blog hop for "Have Yourself a Kitschy Little Christmas" who else is interested? let me know and we can get to planning, I'll email everyone who wants to join in next weekend. It's going to be fun to see what hasn't gone to the landfill and what everyone else treasures. I'm thinking we'll run it from the 14th through the 20th or somewhere in there. Yeah fun!

My find isn't a find at all this week, it's an I've had this forever and I just realized I wanted it hung up in the house. This old shelf hung downstairs over the utility sink for the 20 years my parents owned this old house. It hung there for the next 18 years after I bought this house, in fact until we remodeled and hung our old cabinets downstairs it was quite happy hanging over the utility sink. Then it got bumped from it's spot and became a piece without a home, I didn't want to throw it out because that seemed a terrible end for an old handmade piece, but then again where would it hang? 





I've been getting rid of so much stuff in our basement that this shelf just stuck out, it wasn't hiding under or behind stuff anymore it was just in my face, use it our lose has been my minimalistic battle cry. So I washed it down three times and it's still grungy so I think I need to give it a fresh coat of paint but I kind of like the patina, in spots anyway. I think I could do without the old cigarette burn mark on the shelf, I bet my dad did that, ew and dangerous at the same time.






I hung it up to see if I even liked it in our kitchen and I do like it. It will give me a space for the mortar and pestle, a jar of tea and something seasonal to look at. The bar is going to be great for hanging vintage towels up although I think it's meant for paper towels which we don't use anymore (boo and yeah!) 

Link em up and share the vintage love and remember if you want to be a part of a multi-blog blog hop celebrating everything vintage Christmas leave a comment and I'll be emailing next weekend!




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