Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The easiest pancake mix ever

My son loves pancakes and will happily eat them every day.  My daughter is one of those 'can't eat more than 3 bites of food before 10 am' kids.  While I don't mind making pancakes every day, the batter gets a little stale in the fridge after a couple of days.  So in comes this fabulous recipe for pancake mix:

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

I throw it all into a plastic storage container, shake it up and leave it on the shelf. To make pancakes:

1 cup of pancake mix
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk

I used buttermilk only because I happen to have some today.  You can use regular milk or buttermilk.  This recipe makes about 4 of these:

So feel free to double it if you need more.  Since I like to sneak healthy into my food I add a little ground flaxseed to my pancake mix.  The kids don't notice the difference and I like the taste of flaxseed.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Our house - part 1

6 years ago my husband and I discovered the home we now own.  I say discovered because the small for sale sign led us down a gravel road, past several homes, and through a wall of trees that opened up to a gorgeous piece of property with a two-story home sitting on it.  We instantly fell in love with the property and knew we had to have it. 

We met a real estate agent the next day for our first peek at the interior.  I was armed with my camera but was so ... eh..... surprised by the decor that I didn't take any pictures.  These pics are from a follow-up visit.

The living room, when you first come in.

Now you're starting to see what I was talking about!

The dining room, across from the living room. 

No need to adjust your monitor - that's really burnt orange.

The stairs, wrapped in red shag.

The master bedroom, also done in red shag (how lucky can a girl get!)

This was the 62 year-old owner's bedroom. 

The great room/kitchen

If I wasn't married to a contractor, I don't think I could have imagined buying this house.  Luckily for us, most people seemed to feel the same way, and we bought it for a steal.  We've done an incredible amount of work on the house, gutting and replacing rooms one by one.  I'll be posting lots of pics of our progress, and, I'm sure, a few rants about what still needs to be done.  It's hard to appreciate how the house looks now though without a view of the before pics. 

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, there is currently no shag carpet in my house, despite my teenager's protests that you just can't buy shag carpet anymore.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tastes like chicken

Last year  I asked my husband if he could throw together some type of pen so I could have a couple of chickens. My husband is a contractor, we've got loads of wood lying around, so I thought it would be easy as pie.  I forget my husband doesn't do anything simple. 

But I did get my coop.

Yes, I know... it looks like Fort Knox.  Lucky for the chickens, since we've got coyotes, foxes, racoons, possums, and other assorted uninvited wildlife living on our property, all of which would love a nice chicken dinner, or at least a few eggs for breakfast.

That fancy looking half moon window was my contribution.  I went to our local Restore in search of a cheap window and scored that one for $6.  Believe it or not it was the cheapest window they had.

My daughter the budding artist designed the interior.

I kinda think it looks like bloody handprints, but hey, the chickens didn't complain.

Very handy feature so I can collect eggs without dodging chicken poop.

And of course, a few chickens.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Homemade pasta

I made homemade pasta for dinner tonight.  It's so fun and easy to make, and makes you feel quite talented.  I have to admit, I pull out my cookbooks constantly, even for things I make all the time. I have a horrible memory, and I just know I'll forget something if I don't follow the recipe.  So.... here's the recipe for homemade pasta.  Are you ready? Take notes!  Ready? ............

1 egg, cup of flour and a pinch of salt.  Yep, that's it.  Double, triple or quadruple as needed.  No cookbook needed.  Some folks talk about making a well in the flour, massaging the egg in, blah blah, blah.... me - I just through it all in my handy dandy Kitchenaid. I love my Kitchenaid ;-)

Let it mix until it looks like dough, then let it rest for 30 minutes or so. 

My mom bought me the pasta rollers for my Kitchenaid a couple of years ago.  They looked a little intimidating at first, but they make it so fun and easy.  Once the pasta has rested, cut it into golfball sized chunks and feed it through the roller a couple of times.  This is the fun part - savor the moment! Feel your chefness kicking in!

After you have nice flat sheets, switch roller attachments and feed it into the fettucini or angel hair attachment to cut it into strips. 

Note:  I've read that it's pretty easy to roll your dough out, fold it up and cut your strips by hand.  I know there are also some nice countertop pasta machines that you can use to make your dough. 

You should end up with this:

That was a double recipe of 2 eggs and 2 cups of flour.  Have a pot of boiling, salted water ready, and be ready to stand by because it only cooks for 3 minutes, 4 minutes tops.  Any more than that and you're rapidly moving towards mush. 

It has such a nice, fresh taste to it that I rarely do a fancy sauce to go with it.  Tonight I just tossed it with shrimp, peas and parmesean cheese. 

Bon appetit!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

About me and mine

Hi! My name is Becky and I am currently living the dream in south Louisiana.  My husband and I purchased a house with 21 acres 5 years ago, and, with the help of our 2 youngest children, are slowly turning it into a farm.

Meet Abby, also known as the lover of anything bird-related. 

Any Taylor, who constantly reminds Abby that he will always be 13 months older than her.

We love animals, and currently have horses, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, a cat, a chinchilla and turtles.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cake class!

I've had an ongoing love affair with cake as long as I could remember.  So of course I couldn't wait to go to cake class at the local Culinary Institute this weekend.  I definitely learned a few new tricks, and enjoyed playing with all the commercial equipment and materials.

Yellow Chiffon Cake

The chrunchy looking stuff on the sides is a type of sweet rice.  It makes up for my lack of frosting talent and makes the cake look fancy ;-)

I got home all inspired to cook and made a dozen pizza crusts so the kids can have pizza throughout the week.

And of course I had to make homemade tomato sauce to go with it.  I read about this neat trick to tomato sauce the other day - putting home grown tomatoes on the grill for a few minutes before cooking them.  I am most definitely hitting the farmers market for more tomatoes this weekend since my tomato plants are refusing to be productive members of my household.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cookie Class

Cookie class was loads of fun – we made 7 different types of cookies in three hours. The best part, in my humble opinion, was getting to use the very cool kitchen, having utensils show up as I needed them, and having them disappear after I dirtied them. There were 10 people in our class and we went through at least 60 cookie sheets.

Food porn....

I can't WAIT to go to cake class in two weeks. We make 5 cakes, all to be taken home :D. We got a nice tour of the culinary school. The regular program is 18 months and $30,000. I think I'll stick with the leisure classes for now.