Archive for December, 2011





Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011





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Merry Christmas!!!


It’s a little nippy in Okie Land and the wood stove is keeping us toasty warm….actually, it’s running us out of the house…the tree is decorated, stockings are hung and the tables are swathed in red damask. I love this time of year. It has been so gratifying to see the smiling faces and hear the laughter, this year, that I have experienced while shopping. Everyone has been so pleasant. No grinching or growling. It’s been good.


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And so, from our house to yours, “Merry Christmas and may this next year be blessed for you and your loved ones.” Love on your family and friends and cook like there’s no tomorrow!! You know that cold temps make you lose all those calories anyway, right?! Yeah, I thought so. Stay safe all!!


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May Your Christmas Time

Be Blessed!



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Povitica

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011





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A Croation/Polish Sweet

Bread


Continuing with the theme of what customers are doing with their Oklahoma Pasty Cloths™, we have some great pictures to share. Facebook fan, Kathleen Szewc, ordered one of our very large Oklahoma Pastry Cloths™, sized 48″ x 48″ and my curiosity got the best of me. I had to know what in the world she was making that required such a large pastry cloth. She cheerfully informed me that she and a group of ladies would be making Povitica, a traditional bread of Croation and Polish origin. Families have their recipes that have been handed down for generations and understandingly, Kathleen’s recipe is top secret! She was very kind to send pictures and so I found a recipe to go with the pictures, posted by Roberta and Krystal Dent of Salina, KS, which won second place at the Kansas State Fair! I am itching to try my hand at this bread because it looks and sounds absolutely scrumptious – and sinfully good!!!


Sweet Dough:
•1-1/2 cup lukewarm milk
•1/2 cup sugar
•2 teaspoons salt
•2 eggs
•1/4 cup soft butter
•2 packages Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast
•1/2 cup warm water
•7-1/2 to 8 cups flour

Filling
•1 can evaporated milk
•1 heaping cup sugar
•2 sticks margarine
•1-1/2 pounds pecans or walnuts (ground fine)
•4 eggs
•Pinch salt
•1 teaspoon cocoa
•1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
Sweet Dough preparation:
Combine warm milk, sugar, salt, softened butter, and beaten eggs. Dissolvyeast in warm water and add to other ingredients. Add half of flour, mix well until smooth. Add flour to handle easily. Knead dough on lightly floured board. Put dough in greased bowl, cover and place in warm, draft free place until doubled in size. Punch down and let double again. Divide dough in three parts. Roll each part until very thin in rectangular shape. Spread filling, roll and twist in circular shape like a snail or cinnamon roll. Place in greased 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans. Cover, put in warm place and let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.


Filling preparation:
In a heavy pan, over medium heat, combine sugar, evaporated milk, and margarine and heat. Add pecans, then beaten eggs, and mix well. Boil one minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add pinch of salt, cocoa, and cinnamon and mix well. Let cool till just warm enough to spread.


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The dough was kneaded and divided. It appears the ladies used a counter top, but the pastry cloth can be great for this part of the process too. I noticed in the recipes that the less flour used in the dough the better, especially during kneading and rolling, because the dough must be light. The pastry cloth makes that easy.


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They rolled the dough on the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ and then stretched the dough using their fists to make a really thin dough.


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Rolling the dough really thin is easy on the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ because it doesn’t stick. Kathleen said that they stretched the dough and then laid it back onto the pastry cloth, added the filling and then, by lifting the edge of the cloth easily rolled the dough onto itself like a jelly roll. See? No sticking!!





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The long “jelly roll” is snaked into a loaf pan to rise. Isn’t that cool? Then it is baked


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Aren’t those spectacular? I want to dive right in. Thank you so much, Kathleen, for sharing this unique experience and for giving me a new challenge!



Happy Baking!



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Reader Contributions

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011





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See What Others

Are Doing!


On FaceBook, I put out a request for those who are ordering the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ to send me pictures of what they are doing for their Christmas baking on their cloth. Ruth Yarbrough jumped right in and shared her beautiful project.


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Aren’t these Gingerbread Men perfect? Good job, Ruth! And thanks for sharing.


Update: And another Reader, Candy from Lazy J Bar C Farm Blog, has sent in her latest project on her Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ – Yule Goat Cookies.


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She says she loooooves her Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ in those very terms!! Thank you, Candy!! Wish I could try some of those cookies.



Happy Baking!



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Laughter IS The Best Medicine

Monday, December 12th, 2011





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Laughter IS The

Best Medicine


Well, it’s Monday and I can sure tell you that I’m glad it is today and not last Monday. A whole lot can happen in just 7 days!! As you know, the spectre of Toxic Shock Syndrome in our daughter overshadowed the bliss of having a first grandchild. All of a sudden, marveling over perfect, tiny toes and fingers of the baby turned into a fearful dread over a sunburn-like rash, high fever and excruciating joint pain in Momma.


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The rash of Toxic Shock Syndrome is very distinct because it is so bright and is slightly raised



I don’t know about you, but Toxic Shock Syndrome is something I had only read about in boxes of feminine products. I’d never heard of anyone having it and I wasn’t really sure that it wasn’t made up by some pharmaceutical company to promote a drug and give us something else to worry about besides restless legs or dry eyes. But it is real and it is bad. It is deadly. It can be caused by staph or strep bacteria (in this case it was staph caught at the hospital) and within a matter of a couple of days, can be fatal to its victim. General flu-like symptoms with fever are the initial signs, but the tell-tale bright, bright red rash over the entire body (that looks like the victim has been blow-torched) is the warning that a hospital admission had better be in the very, very immediate future.


We feel very fortunate that dear daughter’s case was caught early and that the worst thing she had to experience was lots of drawn blood and IV megadoses of antibiotics that nipped it in the budding staph rampage. The pseudo-HAZMAT suited personnel were a little disconcerting, but heh, it was staph!


I have to say, though, as for me, a battle with a recliner and the ensuing laugher healed my angst and stress I was feeling, better than any medicine could do. The nurses were very generous in trying to find a comfortable way for me to stay with my daughter each night so that Daddy could take Baby home away from all germs. When they mentioned a recliner would be more comfortable than a cot, I envisioned overstuffed and soft and readily agreed. I was not prepared for the ’70′s era, straightbacked, minimalist black monster that appeared while I was in the cafeteria.


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That evening, after making sure that daughter was as comfortable as one can be with tubes attached from arm to a stand of hanging bags with the inability to move freely, I fluffed pillows and a blanket into the recliner and positioned it to leave a pathway for the nurses whom I knew would be appearing every hour on the hour. I sat down, leaned slightly for the foot rest to pop up and then used every ounce of my upper body strength to force the back of the chair into a reclining position. It was then that I realized that it was the kind of recliner that makes an “ab buster” passe. The only way that this piece of furniture would stay reclined was for me to remain rigid, using stomach and thigh muscles as springs. I figured I could do it.


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I turned my head on the pillow, closed my eyes and was hit with a beam of light that flashed through my closed eyelids and made it impossible to sleep. A square light was positioned on the opposite wall and I think it was illuminated with a 200 watt bulb.


I sat up and removed blankets, slipped on shoes since we were told not to touch the floor or put anything onto the floor, found the light switch, turned it off, squirted sanitizer on my hands and trotted back to the chair. I sighed with pleasure as I reclined again and fell asleep with tight stomach muscles holding the recliner in place. As soon as I fell asleep, I relaxed, and as soon as I relaxed the chair shot back into position and I was rudely awaken to sitting straight up in the chair that was about two feet back from where I had started. It was on rollers and my abrupt upright snap sent it backwards a few feet. I slipped shoes back on and instead of getting out and postitioning the recliner, I placed both feet to either side of the foot rest and walked the chair, ala Fred Flinstone, into place. I reclined again and settled myself to sleep and did fall asleep, only to be awakened again in an upright position and further back toward the door. The nurse walked in and I greeted her as if the chair and I were best buds. She said nothing about my blocking the doorway or about my tennis shoes sticking out from under the sheet. She did her blood-letting and disappeared. I made an effort at getting some sleep and again woke up, sitting up and had to walk the chair back into place. It was then that I started to giggle. I didn’t want to wake my daughter but my situation was feeling pretty hillarious. I finally figured out that sleep was not an option, trundled back to the light switch for the wall light, switched it on, slapped some sanitizer on my hands and read a book until the sun peeked through the blinds at the window.


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The next day, I requested a cot which was comfortable as all get out for each hour that I was allowed to sleep between nurses’ visits. As it turned out, my daughter had the most positive outlook of us all and pointed out to me on her final night there, that we were at a 5 star hotel in a room with a view. She had me open the shades and I was astounded at what I saw. It was just breathtaking. Lights glittered over the city of Oklahoma City and the Devon Tower rose above everything with glistening lights like a nighttime ride at an amusement park. The view made me so thankful to be an Oklahoman with praying friends and family. Life is good!!


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So thank you again for your prayers, thoughts and notes. God has blessed my family with His healing hand and we are all very grateful.



Happy Blessings!



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Update

Thursday, December 8th, 2011





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Update


The good news is that the CAT scan that they did on my daughter yesterday showed no abscesses which means no surgery. The bad news is that it appears that she has pneumonia to top everything. She is on 4 different antibiotics intravenously and on fluid, still has a horrible rash that is indicating Toxic Shock Syndrome, but she is much more chipper, is better able to get around and is even joking. That’s a definite improvement!! So thank you, thank you all for your treasured prayers and thoughts. It looks like it will be awhile before she gets to go home but I think she is improving.



Staying Faithful



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Prayers Would Be Appreciated

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011





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A Setback


Having the new baby in our lives has been wonderful, but there has been a hitch in our giddy-up. Momma has been taken to the hospital with a systemic staph infection and I am heading that way now. I would just appreciate your prayers for our dear daughter. She is quite sick and I am struggling not to worry. God is in control, I know. Thank you dear readers for your thoughts. I’ll let you know what happens.



You All Are Precious!



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Repopulating the Earth

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011





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“There’s No Baby

Like MY Baby!”


Boy has this been a wild, wild week. No sleep has been the order of the days with the accompanying red, weepy eyes that feel like sandpaper, but it has been worth it because my very first grandbaby entered the world to take it by storm! I got to be a present during the whole time, sticking around in the birthing room until things got too painful for me to stand by objectively!! I found out that I can’t abide hearing my children in pain. And so, we two grandmothers-to-be twiddled our thumbs, paced and solved all of the problems of the universe until Daddy came out to present his jewel to family on both sides and we all immediately fell in love with Claire Margaret.


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OK – so I’d been up for 35 hours!!



Isn’t it amazing how a little baby makes things all right with the world? The dollar could crash, the Fed could decide to close shop and hand out monopoly money (oh wait – they already are doing that) or Oklahoma could have another earthquake (did I mention that we had one on Thanksgiving Day? Ok – another story) and I’d just be grinning from ear to ear looking at a head of hair that rivals our long-haired miniature dachshund and little rosebud lips. At that moment, I know that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made because God’s works are wonderful” (Psalm 139) and that we are a miracle.


Baby’s incredible parents opted for Natural Childbirth using the Bradley Method. I knew all about Lamaze, but had never heard of this old-new way of doing things. Absolutely unbelieveable how amazing this program is. Yes, there was pain but oh my how Mommy handled the pain. It was something to behold. Daddy had been instructed for 12 weeks on every single little detail about what to expect and how to deal with it. He had a book that he had practically memorized with pages to fill out as labor progressed. At one point during transition , Mommy made a typical, textbook statement, “Who thought that doing it this way was a good idea????? This was stupid!!! I can’t do it anymore. I quit.” whereupon Daddy massaged her back and calmly assured, “You’re doing great!! You are amazing. You are right at page 78!” The doctor and the nurse were very impressed.


Most amazing of all was that the doctor stayed with them through most of the long labor. I had never known a doctor to do that. There were no drugs, no epidurals and no episiotomy – just soft, kind and encouraging words and true excitement at the results. The end product was a very alert and active baby and a mom who looked fresh as flowers. Truly a testimony to a simpler form of delivery.


And so, I am back home with all my pictures and memories that will be with me forever. The other grandmother and I had such a bonding experience and things will never be the same again. There just simply isn’t anything more miraculous than a newborn baby.


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The proud parents texted me this photo and it is so beautiful I’m thinking of doing a painting!!



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Their terrier is just dying of curiosity at what in the world has invaded his home!




Happy Life Experiences!



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MB
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