Peanut Butter Cookies From a Mix

Nearly every Tuesday my cousin hosts a tea party with dominoes after. Seeing as she is nearly 77 years old and has a hard time standing for long periods and I am a much younger nearly 58 year old I was elected to bake weekly for the party. Today I chose a Walmart GREAT VALUE brand peanut butter cookie mix. It makes two batches of 3 dozen each. I was skeptical but I mixed the egg with the 3 TB of veg. oil and 2 tsp water. I ended up using my hands to break up the lumps and mix it better. Well the dough tastes just like my homemade! How about that. I have it in the fridge getting cold, since I chill all of my cookie dough before baking on my two lightly oil sprayed airbake pans. I can only bake one tray at a time since my old hand me down oven only has one rack. But that’s fine I would do the same in my old gas oven. I usually remove the cookies from the hot pan about 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven and place them on my large cooling rack and then I place the next tray in the oven and set the timer. Then after removing the cookies from the tray I take it to the sink and wash it with cold water, dry it well and add another light coasting of oil spray. I prefer to bake on cold cookie sheets so the cookies don’t start pre-baking on the bottom. I hope these turn out well.

Reheating a Piece of Pie

I made a couple of apple pies over the weekend. I prefer to eat the leftovers warmed up but the microwave sogs up the crust. So today I placed the piece of pie on a small stainless steel baking tray, lightly sprayed with oil and heated it up in my counter top Oster Toaster/Convection/Broiler oven.  This was set at 400 degrees and I didn’t preheat it I baked it for about 10 minutes and let me say it crisped up the crust and warmed the filling perfectly. It tasted like the pie fresh out of the oven!

NOTE: I tried doing it again and I had to heat it longer. Next time it’s 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Crock Pot Soup with Nutmeg?

I make nearly all my soups in my big 6 quart crock pot. Today I made Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup and I added nutmeg- just 1/4 tsp to the recipe especially after watching the video I mention in this post.  Of course I added other spices such as SEASON ALL, NATURE’S SEASONS,  and salt and pepper. I have an old used electric coil burner stove and long cooking foods burn with it so I continue to use the crock pot. I first switched to heavier crock pot cooking when I did without a stove or oven for almost 2 years. Back then I survived with an very old portable coil single burner, my crock pots and my Oster Toaster/Convection/Broiler oven. I used to bake everything in that oven! Often homemade chicken nuggets, garlic smashed and garlic cubed potatoes. Why I even baked bread and pies in it on occasion..

Now getting back to the crock pot… I have been watching James Townsend & Sons on YouTube lately and one of the questions his viewers asked was; “Why is nutmeg added to all 18th century cooking?” Then I was remembering when I was a Home Health Aid my favorite client who was Polish had me add allspice to her chicken soup and as you know it smells nutmeggy, so I decided to add nutmeg to my soup in her honor (I haven’t forgotten you Sophia ! God rest your soul!). I have 5 good quarts of soup and I already froze 2. Of course I’ll share with my dad as I always do. Here’s that video. I love his cooking videos, maybe you will too!

  and someone wrote in on a Q & A video

Bread on the Rise!

I just finished kneading my second batch of bread. I’m using a different kind of yeast this time. In the past I’ve had 1 LB packages of Fleishman’s Instant Yeast, bought at SAM’S Club. I take out 8 Oz and double bag and freeze the rest, taking some out as I need it. Recently I sent my son the the local Maine’s Food and Party Warehouse. http://www.mainesfood.net/locations/forty-fort-18704/  I LOVE this store. I don’t go very often but I do save a lot of money on certain food items. I sent my son to pick up my familiar gold and red package of freeze dried yeast, but he came home with a two pound package of Fleishman’s Active Dry yeast in a white and black vacuumed packed brick.Imagine my surprise when I opened it up and got a whiff and looked at the larger darker yeast granules. Hey! They smell and are the color of the rectangular cornstarch cake yeast grandma used when she taught me how to make bread 42 years ago at age 16. Back then I would crumble the soft yeast into some very warm water and stir in a tsp of sugar to proof it. As time passed and the yeast bricks were harder to find I switched over to Fleishman’s dried yeast. I used 3 of those connected packages for 4-5 loaves of bread. That adds up to 6 and 3/4 tsp of yeast. Today I used 3 and 1/2 tsp of the new yeast to make 2 loaves of bread, then I repeated myself because I usually make two batches and bake all four at the same time. Then I allowed the dough to rise in the fridge for several hours while I catch up on my laundry and get a shower. I swear the slower cold rise bread is better tasting than room temperature raised bread although grandma never put her dough in the fridge! This dough even smells yeastier than the instant yeast, it smells like the old cake yeast.

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Grandma gave me a huge white, enamel flat-bottomed bowl to mix and raise my bread in, but it got a chip in the bottom which turned to rust. Since then I use a few smaller stainless steel bowls and divide up the recipe.

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The old star burst OvenEx pan on the left was bought at an estate sale. Grandma bought me 6 of the plain tin ones for a gift long before I was even married the first time at age 20.

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Grandma taught me to poke the loaf of dough with a fork in three rows, clear to the bottom of the pan. I assume to get rid of air pockets.

Our Love/Hate Relationship

I have a sister two years older than me.  My sister turns 60 and I turn 58 next month.  We also have two sisters who are younger than us. When I was born my older sister began to hate me, probably because I got all the attention and we all know how a two-year old can have temper tantrums for attention! As we got older she did mean things to me. I remember her sitting on my stomach and hitting my head on the floor as a preschooler! When we were teenagers she was even meaner, calling me names and making me cry in front of her friends, she even did it in the halls at high school! Then she’s call me “Ruder Yips”  and then laugh at me because my bottom lip stuck out a lot when she made me upset or I’d cry. We had cat fights at home when I got older, I was so sick of her crap! and when I tried to kick her in self-defense she’d call me a Jack Ass! She was one tough cookie and had cat fights with our cousin who was her best friend in high school right out in the street when they got off the school bus once. Okay, she was a bully!  Alright I admit it!  I was so happy when she got married at age 18 and moved out! NO I was NOT in the wedding party, HIS sisters were but not her own! And she wasn’t in mine either. For decades we weren’t very close until we were in our 30’s and started visiting our parents once a week. All four girls had children and didn’t have to work, so we made sure to visit with the kids all years round. Eventually I forgave my sister and we even love each other, but she can be a real ASS sometimes especially since we got on Facebook where she tries to prove me wrong when I post something on my timeline. Now I never do that to her! Out of respect for her, knowing her husband’s family and her friends read her timeline posts. So why the hell does she do it me? Bitch! So I had to privately tell her off this morning. She’ll apologize, she always does, but still and all maybe I need to  block her from seeing my posts before I post them? I know she had the PMS thing in the past but she’s post menopausal now. She must have had it!,  where it makes you super touchy and angry all the time as a hormonal woman. Anyway here I am complaining about her. I LOVE MY SISTER, I do! We sisters all know she’s a little crazy! Her husband drives her crazy, but I’m the one person she takes it out on the most. Sometimes she takes offense at what our younger sisters say but not often.

Almost Time to Go…

Today is my last full day visiting my daughter and her family. Tomorrow I leave bright and early back to my hometown up north of the state. I have been here 2 weeks even though I prefer a one week stay, but I do help them a lot while I’m here so I guess they didn’t mind. I have yet to finish that artwork for my daughter. I was painting in the ink lined drawings yesterday. As usual I can see one glaring mistake I made, but I won’t mention it, it IS Folk Arty after all! It still needs more detail work with the pen and the vivid colors need to be darkened. I wanted to frame it also if I have the time. I forgot to bring my cutting mat with me so I’ll have to use the back of my old wooden drawing board to cut the mat board. You see watercolor artwork cannot touch the glass in the frame. The matting keeps the glass from touching the paper.

On Making Mistakes

Have you made some horrible, embarrassing mistakes in your life? The kind you would rather forget?  I’ve made plenty of them in my 57 years on earth. Many times I’ve been judgemental, maybe I am still at times, I am an impulsive speaker, often saying things I regret and have a quick temper although I don’t stay angry very long, it’s pointless to hold a grudge when that negative energy ruins your whole day. I have learned to forgive myself for my mistakes, you can only move on in the present moment, forget the past and try to do better, to be a better person.