School Birthday Treats

February 4, 2011

It sure is hard to believe Girlie is as old as she is.  Time sure does go by fast anymore!!!  But at any rate…aren’t they cute???   Don’t they look like an ice cream sundae? Got the idea from bakerella.  She does some really cute things, but most are too complicated for me…but they are fun to look at.

You start with the cupcake part.  Any flavor.  I was going to use strawberry, but none at the store.  I got a white cake mix and added strawberry flavoring and a bit of red food coloring.  Fill the cups about half full instead of the usual 2/3.  You gotta have room to hold the rest.

Then you make ganache ….chocolate of course while you are wating for the cakes to cool a bit.  I am getting really lazy any more.  I heat up the cream in my 8 cup glass measuring cup in the microwave.  Stir in the chocolate chips and there ya go.  It also makes it easy to fill the cupcakes.  The more the better.  After all it is chocolate.

Then make basic buttercream frosting.  Pipe it on so it looks like whipped cream.  I used a 2C tip, but any flower tip will do.  Sprinkle the sprinkles on after you frost each one, or they won’t stick!!

Then plunk a round red candy on top.  They didn’t have any jawbreakers or fire balls at the store, so I used some kind of sour something or other.  That ought to pucker them kids up….LOL

You do end up with a ton, so be prepared for that.  Of course I had tooooo much frosting and ganache.  Oh well, I am sure I can find a use for it.

They all got delivered to the Mrs. Hess’ fourth grade class this morning in one piece.  Along with the gob of frosting on my shoe that I didn’t notice I slopped.  Big Sigh………..


Yes…..It’s Been Cold Here

February 3, 2011

Boy, the way the weather has been this winter I was beginning to think that we might have just missed the below zero weather, but alas, it found us.

How cold has it been???

The hens have all but quit laying.  Two eggs a day is all the ole girls will give up and I can’t say as I blame them.  The cats refuse to go out.  It’s much nicer to lounge on the back of the couch in the sunshine.  Everytime the door opens, the dogs have their noses in the door wanting in, or they are curled up on the patio chair pads.  The kids and I have added insulated coveralls to our wardrobe for doing chores.  And my Explorer, which has to sit outside because there is no room in the garage, will start, but doesn’t really want to.  When it does there is the loudest screeching noise as the belt slips around until it warms up.  In other words…………

So we need a good hot breakfast.  How about home made chorizo, potatoes, eggs a bit of cheese??  Works for me.

Fry up some spuds, add chorizo and fry till done, throw in some scrambled eggs and when they are about done, add cheese.  Simple enough.


5 lbs ground pork

3 medium yellow onions

1 poblano pepper

8 cloves garlic chopped

3 Tbsp paprika

5 tsp salt

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp oregano

2 tsp cayenne pepper

3 Tbsp dried crushed red peppers

1/2 tsp cinnamon

I ran the onions and pepper through the grating blade on the food processor.  I had plenty of juice from that mixture and the pre-chopped garlic, but if you think you need a little more liquid use a tad bit of dry red wine.   I put it all in Layla with the dough hook and let it mix away.  Every once in awhile I brought up any unmixed sausage from the bottom with a spatula.  No raw meat under my fingernails or in my rings!!!!

My tablespoons measurements are heaping and all of them are to taste.  To try yours out and make sure you are happy with it, fry a little patty and taste test.  This recipe is NOT that greasy red stuff that you buy in the casings at the grocery store that turns everything red.


The 4BT is here!!!!!!!


When Panic Sets In….

February 2, 2011

This is the remains of when a crazed woman, over 50, in her jammies, at 10 o’clock at night,with two very stinky dogs,  gets stuck in the mudroom/laundry room.  It was getting below zero…temp wise…so went out to let the dogs in.  I always shut the door into the house so I don’t have to coax them out.  After the normal hub bub and good night loves I turned around to go in the house.  OMG….the door knob didn’t work.  We had had trouble earlier in the day, but did I think about that….oh, no.  So I flicked the light on.  Ok…the screws for the door knob on on this side, so will just take the door knob off….there are a few tools under the bathroom sink that is out there.  Piece of cake….not so much.  When I unscrewed the knob and the part that turns the latch promptly fell out….on the otherside of the door.   Leaving me with the latch still firmly embedded on the door jam and the useless knob in my hand.  So……ok, I can get the latch to release by pushing in the right spot with the screw driver and just pulling the door open.  With a little pressure and I mean very little…snap the latch breaks.  At least now the mystery to why the door wasn’t working earlier in the day is solved.  After pushing this and that to no avail, I began to panic.  I could here the ending theme for Hawaii Five O…damn…missed the end and it was good.  2 1/2 hours at least till my Honey got home from work.  OK…think Toni think.  I know the front door is locked and so is the French door onto the back deck.  Well, the hinge pins are on this side too.  If I just get them out, maybe the door would just fall out.  It always does when you are painting.  Usually falls out on your head.  Damn…no hammer in the house, so out the back door to the shop I go.  (this is an important fact..please remember it)    With hammer and straight screwdriver in hand (right tools for the job, Toni) I remove the hinge pins.  The door stubbornly stands in place.  No amount of pushing pulling or prying will budge it.  Back to the latch side.  Push on every thing movable in the cheap thing…well after all it broke after 14 years…gotta be cheap.  Pry at the latch by the striker plate nothing, but to put pry marks in the door.  Well, now what??  Maybe if I take off the frame I can get in there and do some good.  More prying.  Off comes the side frame, along with the top frame which after a few coats of paint is not so conveniently stuck together.  Thats not going to way to get to the latch with out major demolition.  Back to the latch….maybe it need a smaller screwdriver to find some hidden  lever or button or whatever makes it work.  Push..push….push.  Suddenly something new moves.  Very carefully I pull on it and hooray, it opens.  Then just as suddenly the door falls on my head.  Oh, yes the hinge pins are still out.  I prop the door up, so the stinky dogs can’t come in and rush into the kitchen and grab my very warm beer  (it was only my second, so no remarks on that thank you very much) and begin to calm down.  Then I start to giggle and then move on to a full blown laugh.

There on the key rack by the back door, hang my car keys.  On my key ring is a key that would unlock any door on this house.  All I would have had to do is walk around and unlock the front door.

I hung the door back on its hinges and banged the trim back up so it wasn’t flapping and went to bed.  The next morning my Honey got up…after getting home at 3:30….glad I didn’t wait for him…and his first words…..”ya wanna tell me about the door”.  I started laughing and relayed the story.  “Glad you think its so funny…You destroyed the door”.   Well, wisely I kept my mouth shut thinking….put the trim back up, a new handle (needed one of those anyway) and paint the pry marks on the door (Lord knows you can’t break into the house that way) and it will be fine.  Then was not a good time to remind him that HIS dog had chewed some holes in the drywall out there when she was a puppy.

I think I feel some fixin up coming on this Spring.


February 1, 2011


The beers has been moved to the carboys for secondary fermentation.  It will be 2 to 4 weeks before bottling.

And yes, that’s the bathtub in my back bathroom.  My Honey moved them before I got a pic.  And believe me, those glass jugs are heavy!!!

This is the gopher pale ale.  It’s really cloudy now, but will clear up as time goes along.


It’s starting to get some color.  Still smells rather vodka-ey, but with an essence of vanilla.

Also had a wreck the other day while mixing pies.

Made me laugh…funny stuff.

Gotta clean out pantry…gotta…gotta…gotta.  Maybe I will find something fun…and useful.

A Couple of Pies

January 31, 2011

Okay….so it’s 2 pecan pies…we’ve been here done this….big deal.  Oh, but I beg to differ.  The one closest to you is a regular pecan pie from a previous post.  It’s going to Oregon with Rex’s brother Dean.  As I was about the slam the trusty Betty Crocker cook book shut, out popped a different recipe.  A yummy nummy recipe.  A crunchy chocolatey delight.

Chocolate Brownie Pie

2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 tbsp butter, melted

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup corn syrup (original recipe says dark, I used white)

1 cup pecans

Mix all together and pour into unbaked pie shell.  Bake at 375 for 40 to 50 minutes or until set.  This pie is enjoyable warm or cold.  Two kinds of pie, right??

Told ya it was yummy!!!!

Pickup, Pieces, Parts and Pickled Beans

January 30, 2011

Meet Peebles…My Honey’s pride and joy.  She will be with us forever.  We are done with the new stuff and now have vehicles a person can actually work on.  She is about the third one like this that I have had and I lost count at how many of these my Honey has had of this body style.  It’s a bit like going home when you jump in and drive.

My honey had decided to put a 4BT and new tranny in her.  A 4BT is a baby Cummins diesel engine.  Supposedly she will get 20MPG, but who knows.  He will have to drive her for the rest of his life to make up for the cost of this “little” project, but who cares.  It makes him happy.  Having and working on older vehicles is a disease……a very costly disease and I don’t think there is a cure.  I have a tad bit of the same disease my self, but I really think there are alot worse things in the world to keep one occupied.  If you or someone you know is interested here is the link to his thread on a Ford forum.  I will continue with updates once in awhile, but he keeps his thread up to date and alot more involved.×4-swb-cummins-4bt-build.html

At any rate, took a road trip in the fog to Idaho Falls and got him an engine.  We stopped at Michaels.  I was looking for some texture paint for a project for WyoNella, but apparently Duncan ceramic paints are not to be found in this part of the country.  One more place to check in Twin Falls and then…oh gee, a road trip to Portland.  We also stopped at a junk store in Shelley.  I found a matching tiki glass from Harrahs in South Lake Tahoe that was in my Mother’s things.  More on that later.

By the time we got home it was time to start thinking about dinner.  Sliders would work and I grabbed a jar of pickles beans that I had made at sometime this summer when I had “the over abundant garden stare” going on.  I had frozen all the green and yellow beans we could use, given alot away and still had plenty.  I was glancing through an old Ball canning book and found a recipe I could adapt with what I had on hand.

Pickled Beans

2 lbs. trimmed green beans

1 tsp dill weed

1 tsp dill seed

1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

2 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup sea salt

2 or more cloves of garlic

Trim beans lengthwise to fit in your jars.  Bring water, vinegar and salt to a boil.  Add garlic and 1/4 tsp of each spice to each jar.  Cover with hot liquid, seal and process in boiling water bath for 10 mins.  Makes 4 pints.

These were a BIG hit with family and friends.  We like them all the time.  They have found their way into Leon’s Famous Bloody Marys, the juice gets drank straight and fights have nearly erupted over the garlic cloves.  So I solved that problem by grabbing a bag of already peeled and cleaned garlic cloves at COSTCO and pickling them in the same juice.  Hope you try these and enjoy.

Oh no….more green beans to be planted this spring…I can feel it coming.

French Baquettes

January 26, 2011

This recipe from and was posted on Facebook.    It sounded quick and easy for a yeast bread.  I read the reviews and they all sounded promising.  Although this recipe is originally written for a bread machine, it works just great without.  I used my KichenAid…..Layla, I love you….almost as much as my Honey.


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Proof the yeast in water with sugar.  Add to flour in mixer and knead.  When just about finished kneading, add the salt.  Lightly grease and place in a bowl to rise until double.  Punch down then roll to 16X12 rectangle and then cut in half.  Roll each half starting on the 12 side, pounding out air bubbles as you go.  Place side by side and cut slits in each loaf.  Let rise until double then brush egg and water over and bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes with some water in the oven in another pan.

This bread is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Yum!!!  It wil make great sandwich rolls or dipping/dunking bread.  I admit that I forgot to brush the egg on the top to aid in browning, but they turned out ok anyway.  I need to work on my shaping too, but sure tastes good.

I was poking around some of my favorite blogs.  I found the cutest parkas made by finnskimo.  She is Finish and Eskimo and lives above the Arctic Circle in Kotzebue AK.  She is always making things for her kids and with her kids and just having a great time and enjoying almost every minute of life.  If ya get a chance check it out.


January 25, 2011

I seemed to have an over abundance of canned applesauce.  The kids get it with commodities every month and being in a can…just tastes toooo tinny.    So I was digging through the old old recipe box in hopes of finding some thing to make.  Ah Ha….The kids great grandmother”s recipe jumped out.

Grandma Tugman’s recipe uses fresh apples and you make it in a big roaster in the oven.  Well, I am feeling better, but not THAT much better.  So decided to come up with one just as yummy but not so much.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

8 15oz cans applesauce

2 cups brown sugar (sugar to taste.  We like ours on the tart side)

1 lemon  juice and zest

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp allspice

1 tsp nutmeg

Throw it all in the crock pot for about 24hrs.

Then bottle it like always.  You end up with the prettiest brown and yummy concoction.

We got an unexpected 6…count em 6 inches of snow last night.  What a pleasant surprise.  When my Honey got home at midnite thirty or so, he said we had a couple.  Even the Idaho boy was surprised.  Buses and school were running two hours late and that put a cramp in things, but all in all, good to see.

But the birdies aren’t happy.  Have a great day everyone!!!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Cheaters

January 23, 2011

Well, at least I know now why I have felt “out-of-sorts” most of this week.  The dreaded flu.  Hope it only last today.  I really don’t feel like blogging today, but I have already missed too many days.

Earlier in the week, as I put the last of the brownies in my Honey’s lunch, I knew I had to whip up some kind of cookies for the next day.  It was late in the afternoon and I didn’t feel like it.  Something easy and quick.  Well, here it is… from….


2 1/3 c. sifted cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. soft butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 c. walnuts, chopped
Sift together flour, soda and salt; set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Stir in chocolate pieces and walnuts. Spread mixture in greased 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch jelly roll pan. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until done. Cool in pan. Cut into 2 inch squares. Makes about 35.
Now please understand that I have always been chocolate chip cookies challenged.  No recipe…nothing I have tried has ever prevented flat spread out ugly cookies.  These are nice and flakey.  I will use this anytime the family or I have a craving for chocolate chip cookies.  My only tip or suggestion is to dampen whatever you are going to use to spread out the dough..fingers or spatula.  The dough is really sticky.

A Little Early, but…..

January 19, 2011

Snowed again last night….not much, but at least it covered up the ugly.  It started as rain so it’s kinda crunchy now.  Even delayed school for 2 hours, so the whole day has been off schedule.

I know it’s early, but I promised myself I would make at least one thing a month toward Christmas.  Started out easy.


These are soooo easy.  You use 2 beveled holly leaves…the even have pre-drilled holes in them.  Line up the holes so you like the way the leaves fall.  Glue them together.  I use E6000….it works great on glass.  Glue 2 red glass globs (you know, those glass things at the bottom of your fish tank or  “faux” flower arrangement) as the berries.  Let dry and string cord through the hole.  It took me all of 20 minutes to make 6 of them.  Hardest part is getting the cord through the hole.

Now on to some gifts.  Vanilla Extract.  Hhmmmm….  I have read a few different recipes, but they all are basically alike.  Vanilla beans and Vodka.  So if you happen to give some to someone who doesn’t cook, they can always drink it.

I cut up 3 vanilla beans, put them in the bottles and filled them with cheap ass Vodka….after all, we aren’t sipping it here.  Seal them up and they sit for a month and the longer the better.  I will  show the finished product in a month.  And as a bonus, as your vanilla disappears, you can refill with more Vodka until the color doesn’t darken anymore.

I really thought the bottles where going to be tall and skinny and I would have just split the beans…would have looked prettier, but no they were short and fat…like me…LOL.  Got the beans and bottles from Beanilla on line.  They have all sorts of beans from all over the world and buying them in bulk you can save a bunch.  They are shrink wrapped when you get them and very very fresh.  They also carry vanilla paste and lots of other vanillaey things.

Wonder who’s getting Vanilla for Christmas???