Posts Tagged ‘giveaway’





How to Offend A Coffee Aficionado And A Giveaway!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013







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Two For Tea?


When I was young, it didn’t take me long to figure out that Europeans were first introduced to coffee by the tribes in South America in order to stunt their growth and make them less of a threat to said tribes. I mean, really, if you coffee drinkers were honest, you would admit that you would have been at least six inches taller with better muscle tone, if you had not daily ingested multiple cups of that horrible stuff.


Yes, I hate coffee. For something that smells so good in the morning as it perks, how in the world can it taste so close to burnt and bitter dirt? I can’t really say that I’ve ever tasted burnt and bitter dirt, but I can imagine what it tastes like and that is exactly how coffee strikes my taste buds.


I’ve had quite a number of people tell me, “Well, it is an acquired taste.” Why? Why would I want to try over and over to choke down a hot liquid in order to acquire a taste for burnt and bitter dirt? I mean, I won’t eat raw oysters, either, and the only difference there is that they don’t taste burnt or bitter – just dirty.


I can’t even stand coffee IN anything. Put it in a cake and call it Tiramisu? Are you kidding? Why ruin perfectly good pound cake? And coffee toffee? Bleh. If I’m going to pull my teeth out on candy, give me a caramel any day!!


I suppose that you have figured out that I don’t order any Caramel Toffee Pumpkin Spice Mocha Macchiato Vanilla Frappucino Vinte Lattes at any of those hoity toity Dobie Gillis Coffee House wannabes. (For those of you not older than the dirt that coffee tastes like, that would be the Dobie Gillis 1950’s television show.) No. I am a tea drinker and I am a persnickety tea drinker. I don’t like just any ol’ tea. My favorite two teas are our Irish Breakfast Tea and our ultimate Oklahoma Prairie Wedding Tea. The first one is a rich, dark, full-bodied organic tea with just a hint of natural sweetness and the latter is a light black tea infused with Kiwi, Raspberry, Strawberry and Mango flavors. Yum. They so totally beat dirt three times over.


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So, the other evening I got a little crazy. I’ve seen what you coffee drinkers do to your coffees with the whipped cream and gently sprinkled spices or cinnamon sticks. I’ve always assumed that it is to keep from having to taste how really awful the stuff is. But as I was reaching for some cream to put into my cup of tea the other night, my eye fell onto a can of Real Whip hanging out on a tray in the door of the refrigerator. I grabbed that can and contemplated my next move. A pretty swirl of whipped cream wrapped around the surface of my tea and I lightly sprinkled cinnamon and nutmeg over the swirls. Oh my gosh. That was the most incredible tea I’ve ever had. Yummy. It could have been dessert!


So there you go. If you want to try something tasty, just relax one night with a lovely cup of tea and gild the lily. Who knows? Start drinking tea instead of coffee and you might catch up to the height you should have been in the first place!!


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And while you’re at it, leave a comment below to enter our October Giveaway. On October 18th we’ll draw a name out of the hat and the lucky winner will receive our luscious New England Cupboard blueberry scones mix (with a can of real, wild Maine blueberries!) and a package of our new frybread mix. Two treats from two cultures! And you can enjoy them with a cup of spiffed up tea – or – if you really, really feel you have to do it, with a cup of coffee. Good luck!!



Happy Sipping!



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A Winner, A New Give Away and A New Recipe for Your Canned Meats!

Thursday, August 8th, 2013







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Quick and Tasty

Enchiladas From Your

Pantry


On August 1st, we drew a name out of the hat and Frankie, from Silver Spring, Maryland, won the gift certificate to the Grangeville Rose Tea Room and Emporium. The gift certificate has been mailed to her sister, who lives right here in Oklahoma City, as an early birthday present. Lucky her!! And so, another Okie will get to experience the lovely atmosphere of our newest tea room. Congratulations Frankie and sister, Liz. And thank you to all who entered the drawing.


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Now, we have a new giveaway. Red Gold Tomatoes, the best canned tomatoes in the world (if you can’t do your own!!) has sent me a couple of items that I thought I would give away to a lucky reader. On August 21st, we will be giving away this Red Gold Apron and a bottle of their Mama Selita’s Jalopeno Ketchup. Just comment at the blog and you will be entered. Plus, Red Gold Tomatoes is having their own celebration. I will post here exactly what my letter from them says:


“Come join our Red Gold Summer Grillin’ Party that will run from July 24th through August 30th on Facebook — #RGParty. During this period, we will share our new RG Tomato Grillers Recipes. They are tomato-licious!…As part of this promotion, we will be giving away 1,000 Red Gold “Summertime Tomatoes All Year Long” Aprons every week via a random drawing – that’s 5,000 total winners! There will also be one grand prize winner who will win a large Big Green Egg Grill – that’s a $1,000 value. Anyone who registers for our promotion is automatically entered into both the weekly drawing and grand prize drawing. Here’sthe twist – anyone can earn additional entries into ourgrand prize drawing! For each person they refer, who opts to participate in our promotion they will earn additional entries int the grand prize drawing. Our goal is to have 150K Red Gold Facebook Fans by the end of the summer. Each week we will be releasing new recipe videos, as well as sharing summer grilling tips.”


You can also find them on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/RedGoldTomatoes
And by the way, Red Gold is an Indiana based, 3rd generation Family-Owned company that has been making premium quality tomato products since 1942!! We need to support small businesses!! :-)


Now, on to cooking….in the past, I have shown how to can meats like chicken breasts, ground beef, sausage and etc. I even can my own chili, a recipe that I am not at liberty to share because it is not my own. However, my point is that meat is an easy staple to put up for long-term storage much longer than freezer times. Many of these meats can be bought as well, canned, off of the grocery shelf, but sometimes we are at a loss what to do with them. Here, I am going to show you a quick way to make enchiladas with your canned chicken breasts, canned chili or canned roast beef. You can even use your canned cheeses and dehydrated onions, rehydrated with water.


Easy Restaurant Style Enchiladas



You will need for 4 people:
8 – 10 White corn tortillas (yellow corn are fine but I like the lighter texture of the white corn tortillas)
Olive Oil
1 pint canned, boneless chicken breasts
1 pint canned chili or canned roast beef
1 package taco seasoning mix (I prefer Taco Bell)
1 8 oz sour cream (light is fine)
Buttermilk
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese (you can use your canned cheddar)
2 slices American Cheese (You can use your canned Velveeta)
1 small onion chopped
2 tbsp. chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt
1 jar salsa verde
1 can red enchilada sauce (not picante sauce)





Printable Recipe



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Place canned chicken breast with broth into a small sauce pan and add 1/2 pkg of taco seasoning. Stir until chicken is shredded and mixed with seasoning. Add a little water or broth if the meat is too dry. Simmer until liquid is reduced to a thick sauce. Set aside. Put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet and heat. Place one tortilla at a time into the hot oil and sear lightly. Turn and lift out to a paper towel to drain. Do each tortilla, placing a paper towel between each one.


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Place a line of hot, seasoned chicken mix down the center of each tortilla. Roll tightly and place on a microwaveable platter, seam side down. Repeat until desired number of chicken enchiladas is achieved.


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In a bowl, add sour cream, chopped onions, chopped green peppers, garlic powder, 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese and salt to taste. Stir and add just enough buttermilk to make a nice, thick sauce. Spread the sour cream sauce over the chicken enchiladas, evenly.


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Spoon salsa verde down the center of the enchiladas.


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Now, with remaining tortillas, (here I am just making two for the two of us but you can make more) we will make beef enchiladas. If using canned beef, do the same as with the chicken breasts and place into a pan with the broth and 1/2 pkg of taco seasoning, simmering until hot and liquid is reduced. If using your canned chili, heat it first, cooking it down to very thick and then spoon onto the tortillas. Roll the tortillas tightly and place onto the platter with seam side down.


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Slice the American cheese into strips and lay the strips down the tops of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with a mixture of the cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses and then spoon red enchilada sauce over the top of the cheese.


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Microwave the enchiladas a length of time according to your microwave’s power level (you can carefully cover these with foil, making the foil stand up away from the enchiladas and heat in the oven) I usually microwave about 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and sour cream sauce is hot. Remove from the microwave and sprinkle a mixture of cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses over the chicken enchiladas.


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Serve with Mexican rice and refried beans and you’ll think you are at a restaurant!



Happy Cooking!



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Getting Down To Business: A New Give Away!

Monday, April 1st, 2013







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Nasty Ol’ Shipping

But There’s a Giveaway!



Everything is back to normal. We’re back to work and all WAS going well until the big press died. Now, it is lying in pieces, looking like a destroyed robot from Star Wars. Mr. Fix-It is doing the surgery but a thermonuclear discombobulator is needed and the only one that could be found must be ordered from…where else?…China. Actually, it is called a heat resistor thingy. Evidently, it’s an important thingy, too. Ah, technology!


We have had a number of emails just recently, dealing with the subject of shipping. Personally, shipping is the bane of my existence. I wish that we could ship everything to everyone for free. But alas, I don’t do the lottery and haven’t won any millions so we can’t afford to give away the farm. Shipping expense is a reality with which Creating Concepts, Enterprises must deal. And on top of everything, unfortunately for all of us, shipping costs have gone up. We do not use UPS or FedEx because their charges for the size shipments we send out are ridiculous. In fact, their charge can be as much as $15 over what the US Postal Service charges us. And so, we use the US Postal Service Priority method almost exclusively. For international orders, First Class is used. First Class packaging is not available for the states. Everything is done by weight and for online orders, PayPal does its best to estimate as close as possible to accurate shipping charges. Sometimes, it misses the boat and nearly always it goes against us rather than the customer. In fact, we were rather sick awhile back when an order to Australia was estimated at $11 by PayPal and the actual shipping cost us $22.50. Not good. The fact is, shipping is high. Phone orders are more of an exact science for us because as soon as an order is processed and ready to ship, the customer credit card is charged with the exact amount on the shipping label. If you plan to order, doing so with a credit card by phone at 405-275-5639 will be the most accurate route.


I, personally, feel badly when someone is unhappy with a shipping cost that they perceive is too high. A larger Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ or multiple pastry cloths can be heavy and so cost more to ship. The mixes add up in weight as well. It doesn’t matter what box or bubble mailer is used, the weight is still the same, the location is assessed and the price goes up accordingly. Our Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ is made of a heavy weight cotton, unlike the cheaper, lighter brands, so that it will last for years and years. It is not meant to be a throw away item but is meant to be a family treasure.


So hopefully, this will better explain our shipping policy. I understand the groan of financial agony when a customer sees that shipping charge. It seems too high. But in order to use the US Postal Service, we have to pay the price – their price. We appreciate your understanding.


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It’s time for another giveaway! And this is no April Fools joke. Since canning season is just around the corner, we are giving away a nice set of canning tools ready to be used! Starting today, leave a comment on any of the blog posts and you will be entered. If you have never posted at the blog before, don’t worry if your comment does not show up immediately. New posts must be approved by the moderator and then your post can be seen. The drawing will be two weeks from now on April the 15th – TAX DAY! Yayyyy. Good luck to everybody!!



Happy Entering!



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We Have A Winner!

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013







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Congratulations!!!


The evening of February 11th saw the fanfare of our drawing for the February Valentine’s Day Giveaway. And….drum roll please…we have a winner. Say “Congratulations” to reader Micheala Johanson of Ohio. She has won the basket of our handmade, Castile, goat milk soaps and has made her choice of our two minty ones: Eucalyptus/Tea Tree and Peppermint (with hand rolled oatmeal) and also a bar of Rosemary/Peppermint with real, rubbed sage grown right here at the Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ gardens. A scrubby is included and all is wrapped in shrink wrap packaging with a big, gingham bow. Micheala’s gift is already winging its way to Ohio and she will be soaking in a tub with lucious soaps soon! Thanks to all of you for entering and watch for the next giveaway coming up in March, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!!


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Happy Valentine’s Day!



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Enter The Valentine’s Day Giveaway!!

Thursday, January 31st, 2013







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Good, Clean Fun!


It’s nearly February and time to start thinking about hearts and flowers and smelling good because you took a bath. It’s hard to have a Valentine if you aren’t clean and you don’t smell good. So I am going to help you out in that department. For our Valentine’s Day Giveaway, the winner will receive a heart decorated basket with a shower scrubby and choice of two 4oz Prairie Blessings soaps. Yep. The winner gets to choose whichever soaps desired. Of course, the winner can use this as a gift for his or her Valentine to make THEM smell good!!


Our soaps are made right here by our hands (and with stainless pots and stuff) of hand rendered pure tallow, olive oil, coconut oil and infused with pure, steam-distilled essential oils, organic herbs and spices, fragrance oils and flower petals. Just leave a comment below and at any following posts until February 11th when the winner will be chosen. Good luck to everybody! (And if you don’t win, you can still purchase the soaps so you can smell good too.)


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Happy Entering!



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Christmas Giveaway!!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012







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It’s Cookie Time!!


OK!!! Time for a giveaway. Yes, it is. Tis the season to be jolly and that time to give stuff, right? Well, I think that you are going to really like this “stuff”! Leave a comment below or on any posts until December 19th and you will be entered to win a lovely set of cookie cutters that you can use to create the coolest cookie Christmas tree. But on top of that, you will also win a bag of our Aberdeen Shortbread Cookie Mix, which makes the most lucious and buttery shortbread and can be found at the shopping page. The drawing will be held on the 19th. So get to commenting and maybe you will be our lucky winner!!! Ho, ho, ho!!


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Happy Entering!



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Fall Giveaway

Monday, October 15th, 2012







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Enter Often!!


It’s time for a new giveaway and since it is Fall, I guess we’ll call it our 2012 Fall Giveaway! And since Fall means cool nights, football games and food, I’m thinkin’ fresh, hot bread is the order of the day. So, comment here or on any other post until Novemeber 1 and you will be entered for two large packages of our Frontier Fixin’s bread mixes. These savory breads are great with spicy cheese spreads, meats or pestos or just plain ol’ butter. So enter as many times as you wish by commenting!! Good luck.


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Our Frontier Fixin’s Yeast Breads are savory and moist.




Happy Entering!



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Cooking from the 1930′s IV

Monday, April 16th, 2012





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Refrigerator Cookies


First order of business: It’s time for another Giveaway, don’t you think? Mother’s Day is coming soon and I’m thinkin’ some mother should get a tea package to celebrate her special day!! And so, starting today and through May 4th, leave a comment and your name will be thrown into the hat for a drawing on May 5th. The winner will receive the package pictured below: A Tea-For-Two teapot, a cute tin of one of our signature teas with tea infuser and a package of our wonderful Victorian House Scones. Sound good? Great! Start commenting on posts and enter early and often.


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Second order of business: Patrice Lewis over at the Rural Revolution, who has so kindly linked to this blog, has produced a series of E-books on canning and country living that are handy indeed. Since they are only $1.50 each, they are so affordable and since they are around 20 pages each, are easy to print off to keep at your fingertips. You can order Patrice’s booklets here.

~~~~~

OK, so for a past number of posts, I have been sharing handwritten recipes, from my grandmother, that are recorded in a 1931 edition of the Rumford Cookbook which was put out by the Rumford Baking Powder company. This week, I tried another one of those recipes and Mr. Fix-It gave a big thumbs up. As usual, my grandmother only wrote down the ingredients with a few mixing instructions, but this time she did give a baking time and the instructions to use a “moderate” oven. I figured that would be around 350º. My figuring was correct!


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I have also been including some exerpts from a book that my father wrote, called Sailing Down The River Of Memories which is about his growing up years in the 1930′s and 1940′s. The following exerpt, I thought, would be fun for those of you with children. It seems that in today’s fast-paced, technology-permeated world, we’ve forgotten some of the simple games of the last century. And I will say that some of those games were pretty rough!


Flying Dutchman – Players held hands in a circle while one couple who was IT walked counterclockwise outside the circle. When they hit the joined hands of two players, both IT an the other couple then ran in opposite directions around the circle trying to be the first back to the opening in the circle. The losers became IT. When I was about seven, Treva Scott, who was older than I, and I were tagged. She got ahead of me as we ran and the heel of her shoe hit me in the mouth, knocking four front teeth loose. Fortunately, they were baby teeth. I’ve heard of a person “putting his foot in his mouth” but never of someone else doing it.
Mumble Peg – A knife with a long and a short blade opened on one end was needed. The knife was opened with the short blade out straight and the long blade at a 90-degree angle. The player put the long blade touching the ground and fipped the knife into the air. The game was played two ways. In one, points were given when the short blade stuck into the ground, the long blade stuck or both blades stuck. In the other, the winner had to stick the knife all three ways – long blade into the ground, long and short blade into the ground and the short blade in with the base of the knife resting on the ground making a triangle. Sometimes, we flipped the knife off of our wrist or hand.
Leap Frog-One boy leaned over with his hands on his knees while a second boy ran up and putting his hands on the bent back, vaulted over him. Sometimes several boys would line up about three feet apart and the jumper tried to jump all without stopping or breaking rhythm. The real challenge was to vault over two or three boys who leaned over one another.
Indoor Games-We played many indoor party games such as “poor pussy”, “heavy, heavy hangs over your head,” “odd or even,” “I see something you don’t see” and “hot or cold”…
Dropping Clothes Pins into the Milk Bottle-Milk came in long-necked quart milk bottles with the opening about one inch in diameter. We took three straight clothes pins, stood above the milk bottle and tried to drop the pins into the bottle.
Just like Me-This game was popular with adults who liked to pull it on a young child. Interesting enough, some children liked to play it over and over again.
Leader: You have to say, “Just like me” after anything I say. Ready?
I went upstairs.
Child: Just like me
Leader: I walked down the hall
Child: Just like me
Leader: I came to a door
Child: Just like me
Leader: I went in the room
Child: Just like me
Leader: I looked in the mirror
Child: Just like me
Leader: I saw a monkey
Child: Just like me
No adults needed-I guess one thing that made our play “ours” was that it was something WE did. No adult was needed. We made a lot of the things we played with such as kites, boats, stilts, balls. When we wanted to play baseball, we got enough boys together, found a ball and bat and played. We didn’t need a coach to teach us how to hit or pitch. We learned by playing. No adult stood on the sideline shouting at us for making an error or for not hitting a home run. Playing with friends was the main thing.



Update:I have to add a note that was sent to me from my cousin – daughter of my father’s sister. It was just too neat not to share:
“I’ve enjoyed reading your take on Grandmother’s cookbook. I remember the recipe on back of the letter, but I never even thought of trying it-or the red devil’s food, even though I know Mom made it bunches of times. She said she started making it at age 12 and that became her specialty for Hightower family gatherings. Last night she said sometimes she would make it and a white cake, then marble the two batters in a tube pan. She said it was always a hit when she did that and that it made a very large cake!

Your mention of the letter with the recipe on the back reminds me Mom said that when Granddad was self-employed or looking for employment, Grandmother would type his letters. She taught herself to type with an instruction book like Mom used in high school that she got from Aunt Helen. She always kept a dictionary handy because she was so concerned that she would misspell something. Our grandmother was a hard worker! I don’t know how old she was when the was cashier at Aunt Ruth’s store in Pittsburg but I know she wasn’t young. Mom said Grandmother worked wherever they moved. I do remember her working in a candy store in Indianapolis. That would be the one I would remember!! Also from your dad’s writing, the Just Like Me rhyme reminds me of her. I can still hear us laughing when she did it with me. Just last week, I was reading a nursery rhyme book to Ben and that was in there. So I played it with him the way our grandparents did with us, and we laughed ourselves silly. He wanted to do it over and over.”

So, on to making cookies that would have satisfied that crew of busy boys! Grandmother T. only has “Refrigerator Cookies” written in the corner of the paper on which she recorded this recipe. The fun part is that it is on the back of a letter that my grandfather had written to some company, applying for a construction foreman’s postition. Back then, a resume was just a list of past postitions in a one page letter! I think that you will like these cookies and the only addition I can see making is chocolate chips! I know. With me, it’s always chocolate! But they really would be good in the cookies.


Old-Fashioned Refrigerator Cookies



1 cup shortening (I used 1/2 cup shortening and 1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 well-beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
3 cus quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup choped nuts


Printable Recipe

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Add shortening or shortening and butter to a large mixing bowl.


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Add brown sugar


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And the granulated sugar


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Thoroughly cream shortening and sugars. Add beaten eggs.


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And vanilla and mix well


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Add flour and mix


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Add oatmeal. We roll our own oats so I used that even though it calls for “quick cooking” oats. It worked great.


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Add nuts. Of course, I had to use my grandmother’s nut chopper from her vintage kitchen!


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Shape the dough into rolls. I made the dough into two rolls, but I suggest making three. The cookies were really, really big with the two rolls.


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Wrap the rolls in wax paper and chill thoroughly or overnight.


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Slice cookies about 1/4″ thick and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes.


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Just a note: Leave LOTS of space between your cookies. Otherwise, you get a sheet of cookies!!


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The second batch worked much better!! I used parchment paper on my cookie sheet and put plenty of space between the cookies. They came out perfect. Yummy! I’ll be adding the chocolate chips next time!



Happy Baking!



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A Bread For Everything

Friday, March 2nd, 2012





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It’s Quick And

It’s Easy!!


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Don’t forget to comment below to enter the drawing for these wonderful and unique bread pans!!


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Quick and easy is good, right?! Well, I guess taste has to come in there somewhere! Reader and FB fan, Penny, shared a wonderful recipe that’s quick AND tastes good, located at the lovely blog The Italian Dish. It looked so interesting that I had to try it. Since there is a giveaway going on right now for bread pans that require a good, crusty recipe, I figured this was a great time to post one. Though this recipe works best on a baking stone, I can see it working equally as well in the bread pans for the drawing.


I’m going to digress a bit first. You know me and my memories…well, I’m going back there again. And I’m going wayyyy back! I’m remembering my childhood when, I believe, I was in the fourth grade. I thought I was a big dog back then and because I was the oldest child, I guess I was!


My family was in Quebec’s Gaspé, at Bonaventure Island, staying in a tiny cabin warmed with a potbelly wood stove. My mom had put a pot of beans on the stove, to cook, and we kids had ventured out to watch the sea smash against the rocks below the cliff on which we stood. Oh yes, and I had this hat. It was one of those tourist hats that looked like a sailor cap, but that had embroidered across the front, turned-up rim, “Bonaventure Island”. I thought I looked cool, but what does a fourth grader know?


Earlier that day, while driving the countryside, we had been amazed to see women in front of their homes, taking hot bread out of large, brick ovens that had been built alongside the road. These French-speaking ladies offered their breads for sale and we had stopped at one such oven to purchase a large, hot and crusty loaf. I can still remember the smell enveloping us inside our trusty Rambler station wagon as we headed toward the cabin. The day was finally made even more special for me because my mother gave me money and let me walk, all by myself, down to the little town to purchase a pound chunk of butter to slather on the bread. I don’t think beans and French bread have ever tasted so good since.


And so, it was as I was baking the round loaf that is the result of the recipe following, and then tasted the first slice with its chewy, crusty exterior and soft, yummy center that those memories came flooding back. It tasted just like that bread so many years ago! So I have found a new favorite bread that is as good with a turkey sandwich, bistro style, as it is with a huge plate of ravioli. And talk about easy. It just doesn’t get any easier than this! So give it a try! And by the way, I showed you how to make Sourdough Bread in a past post. This bread takes on the same qualities without all the work.


Easy Artisan Bread


  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated fast acting yeast (two packets) I used SAF yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt (I actually used sea salt because that was all I had…worked great)
  • 6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached all purpose white flour (I used a combination of King Arthur bread flour and home-ground whole wheat flour)
  • Aluminum foil pie tin or cake pan filled with a cup of water


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    Your water should be around 100º. In a large bowl (this one is 8 quarts and a 4 or 5 quart one would be easier to handle) or a large plastic container with a lid, add the salt to the water and sprinkle the yeast over the surface.


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    Add the flour. You don’t even have to proof the yeast. Of course, as I thought about this, you are in a world of hurt (and out some flour) if your yeast is no good, so I may go ahead and proof the yeast from now on.


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    Stir the dough with a wooden spoon until everything is evenly moistened. The original baker noted that she went ahead and used her Kitchenaid mixer to do this step. I will too, next time! Note: You do not knead the dough


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    If the dough is in a plastic tub, cover with the lid, but do not snap down all the way around to allow the gasses to escape. I put plastic wrap loosely around the top of my bowl. Allow to rise in a nice warm place for at least 2 hours.


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    The dough should be nice and bubbly and starting to smooth on the top. You can use the dough anytime after this step, but refrigerating the dough until it is cooled down makes it less sticky and easier to work with. I refrigerated mine overnight and even waited until the next afternoon to make the bread. And any dough not used remains refrigerated.


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    When you are ready to make the bread, pull some of the dough up and cut it off with a pair of scissors. Choose the amount you need for the type of loaf you will make. Here, I am making boules, but you can make a French loaf or baguettes too.


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    Shape the loaves by pulling the sides down and under to make the top as smooth as possible. It doesn’t matter what the underside looks like.


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    Place the loaves on parchment paper, either on a cookie sheet that has no sides or turn a cookie sheet upside down and place the parchment paper and the loaves on the bottom. The purpose of this is so you can slide the parchment paper and loaves onto a baking stone later. Allow the loaves to rise for 40 minutes. It said that there is no need to cover them with a damp cloth, but here in Oklahoma, we are so dry that I felt a damp cloth was a must. It worked great.


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    About 20 minutes into the rising, turn your oven on to 450º and place a baking stone on the middle rack to heat for 20 minutes. As you can tell, my baking stone is well-used!! The bottom rack will be used to hold a pan with a cup of water in it to steam the bread loaves. If you don’t have two racks, use a pan that can sit in the bottom of the oven without disturbing the heating elements.


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    When the bread has risen, sprinkle flour on the top surface of the risen loaves and score the tops to release some of the trapped gas so the loaves will hold their shape. You can do parallel slashes, cross-cuts or whatever you like to make the bread loaves look pretty. Now here is where I did it a little different from the instructions. I opened the oven door and placed the pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven and closed the door to let the oven heat back up to 450º. At that point, I opened the oven again and slid the parchment paper with the loaves of bread, gently onto the baking stone. Closing the door, quickly, the bread bakes for 30-35 minutes depending on the size of the loaf.


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    Remove the loaves and let them cool before slicing. They really are better after they have cooled, but I couldn’t wait and got a slice anyway. Oh yes. It’s good hot too!


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    After the loaves have cooled slice and serve. You can store your leftover dough up to 14 days and as it sits, the flavor will improve like sourdough. When you use up your dough, don’t clean out the container, but just mix right in with the leftover pieces to add to the flavor. I have decided to use one of my gallon crocks with a loose plastic lid over it to store my dough. It should get really tasty in there!



    Happy Baking!



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    Bread Makers’ Giveaway and Other Cool Stuff

    Tuesday, February 28th, 2012





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    All Kinds Of News!


    Sunday was beautiful this past weekend and the sun was shining, providing warm temps and a soft breeze. I heard the garden calling my name about 2:00 – well, actually, it was Mr. Fix-It beckoning me to the leaf removal/weed pulling – and so, I trundled to the rows of beds with hoe, rake and shovel in hand. I tackled the first bed (asparagus, blueberries and raspberries).


    Did you know that gardening is the best way to tell that you are totally out of shape and have been eating bon-bons in front of the tv all winter? OK, so I don’t eat bon-bons, but I dream about eating them and that is just as bad. Now I have sore thighs, achey joints and a twinge in my back and I only have three more beds to go! I should be in traction by the middle of March and I will be sure to let you know where to send the cards and flowers!!


    But in the meantime, I think we’ll have a new giveaway which will go through St. Patrick’s Day with a name being drawn that evening. This time, a winner will receive a set of awesome bread pans that are very unusual. One is a stainless steel number specifically for baking two loaves of French or Italian bread and the other is a perforated, non-stick pan for baking bagettes. Every bread-maker should have one!! So enter as many times as you like by commenting on this post and all following posts through the 17th.


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    Unique bread pans for the giveaway



    Also, I’d like to ask you to take a trip over to the shopping page to see some of the new things that have been added. I’ll give you a taste here, but you’ll have to run over there to see the rest.


    First, our Kierston has graduated with a degree in art from the University of Oklahoma and has put up a few of her paintings to be purchased. She is presently doing album covers for a variety of musicians and has been nominated for “Best Album Cover” at one of the country music awards celebrations. You can see her work by clicking on the “original artwork” tab.


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    “Oklahoma Hills”



    Next, a spectacular monogramming and seamstress company called Stitching Designs has created the most gorgeous tea cozies you ever saw. Heavy-weight, they keep tea hot in the tea pot for a really long time. The vibrant colors just make a tea service stand out. What a lovely addition to tea time!! There are two sizes available. Hop over to see the whole collection!


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    And finally, another addition to the tea gifts section is an exquisite, porcelain tea cup complete with porcelain tea infuser that fits inside the cup and a matching porcelain lid for steeping and keeping tea hot for a single serving. Embossed with a floral motif, each cup is edged in gold and nestled in the satin bed of a beautiful, decorative box. Each cup comes with a free tin of one of our signature teas and is the perfect and unusual gift for your special person.


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    These items will make great Mother’s Day gifts or birthday or graduation gifts. So take a look at the shopping page and don’t forget to comment below to enter the giveaway!! And join the blog at the right to follow and keep up with all of the giveaways coming up!



    Happy Shopping!



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    MB
    Please join us on FaceBook!!


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