Deal Gently With Thy Servants, Lord

It’s been a weird week.  All over, not just here. And yet, it’s ok.  Big Boss still has to feed the cattle.  Once that’s done, he climbs into his truck and hauls cow manure out of pens.  And while I haven’t cleaned out that closet yet or worked out in the garden as planned, I’ve been plenty busy.  Mainly, cutting out fabric, marking, notching, pleating, ironing…and last step…slapping those babies into a new fangled, fancy schmancy embroidery machine that spit out face masks.  Well, at that point, they have to be trimmed, turned and ironed but once you finish with the machine, you’re all done but the singing!  And just 100 or so to go…

But…the Good News is that God is in control!

Which brings me to one of my favorite spirituals that I mentioned earlier

It’s from the album, “The American Vocalist” and is titled, “Deal Gently With They Servants, Lord”.  Click on the grey cloud to the left, which will take you to the Sound Cloud site.  Then click on the grey sound waves to play the song. OR click on the orange circle with the arrow.  🙂 I find the song comforting.  I hope you do too!

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Muffins Rock!

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Years and years ago, a friend made me some marvelous muffins. And also gave me her recipe. It was one of those recipes that you can mix up, cook a batch for breakfast, store the leftover batter in the fridge, then bake a fresh batch the next morning.

In theory, it works great. For this bunch, I baked the entire batch and they were standing around waiting for MORE in about 15 minutes. Or less.

But, in our Empty Nest period, I find this works now. Oh wait. There are 11 grandkids now standing around.  Waiting for food.

Anyway. This is probably my favorite muffin. Why? It’s jam-packed with all kinds of wonderful healthy goodness…wheat bran, wheat germ, oat bran, pecans, dates…and I sneak in flax seed (milled) sometimes. You can sub walnuts for pecans…you can sub in raisins or any dried fruit for dates.

And, as usual, these are FANTASTIC with a fresh cup of coffee!!!!

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Date Nut Muffins

5 cups flour
2 cups wheat germ
2 cups All Bran cereal
2 cups 40% Bran Flakes (I’ve used Total in a pinch)
2 cups chopped dates (you can buy them already chopped…do it!)
2 cups chopped pecans
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 quart buttermilk
2 cups water

Pre-heat oven to 400. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well by hand.

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Fill each muffin cup full. Bake 20 minutes. But…watch them carefully as 15 may be all they need. You can also bake these in the microwave using a Pyrex cup/bowl. You’ll have to experiment on the timing as it’s been a loooong time since I used this method and microwave ovens cooking strength has changed. Use baking spray to coat the dish.

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Recipe Saturday is HERE!!!

Finished product! Yep, that’s a TX hot pad.

Cornbread is easy and fast.  Also cheap and very filling. And really good!  We practically lived on it during the kid raising years.  Big Boss loved (and still does), my cornbread. Years ago, his grandparents came down to visit us in Texas, so I made cornbread for supper one night.  Oh man did it smell good! It was passed around and everyone was digging in except for Gramps.  Big Boss asked him if he didn’t want any cornbread.  Gramps smiled and said, “When I was growing up with 11 brothers and sisters, we had cornbread for breakfast, lunch and supper.  Every day.  I swore I’d never eat cornbread again and I haven’t.”  I didn’t make cornbread for him again!!

One of my oldest and dearest recipes is my cornbread recipe! Can’t remember for sure where I got it though…maybe   I cannot survive without it!  I’ve had panic attacks in the past when I’m frantically searching for it, so now, it’s written in about 4 different places!  Most often used is the index card copy that I made years ago and taped on the inside of a cabinet door.

 

Anyway…iron skillets are required for cornbread.  Do you hear me Jr. in CA?!!!  REQUIRED!  They’re not expensive and chances are you have one in your kitchen now.  I prefer the divided kind.  The ones that say “Cornbread Skillet”.  I know.  Snarky.  The blacker, the better.  The older, the better.

A hot oven is the other MUST.  HOT, I tell you.  Now that you know what’s required, we can begin.

All ready to go and yes, I have a Texas skillet. Also a TX casserole dish,

Cornbread
1 egg
1 cup +2 Tablespoons milk (whole, 2%, whatever and mixing up some powdered milk works too)
1/2 cup flour, all purpose (sometimes I use half whole wheat, half all purpose)
1 cup YELLOW cornmeal not white… YELLOW (store it in the fridge..goes rancid FAST!)
1-2 Tablespoons sugar (honey works too, just use 1 cup milk)3 teaspoons baking powder…not soda, POWDER
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons oil (corn, canola but not olive, por favor) or you can melt some shortening or butter
Heat oven to 450°. Pour a cap (from the oil bottle) full or about 1/2 Tablespoon oil in each section, if you’re lucky enough to have a divided cornbread skillet.  If you’re using a 10″ skillet, make that around 4 Tablespoons of oil. Once the oven is heated, put the skillet in the oven.  While that heats:Flour, YELLOW cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt…funky pic huh? Clear mixing bowl makes you dizzy!

Mix the flour and cornmeal in to a large bowl along with salt, sugar, baking powder. Mix all wet ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl and stir in the egg. Pour into the flour mixture and mix well with a large spoon, whisk or electric hand mixer until the batter is fairly smooth.

The batter should be somewhat smooth…like this?!

Mixing the cornbread should take you about 2 mins. or less.  Your skillet should be hot and ready by the time you get the batter ready.  CAREFULLY, with a hot pad/mitt, take the skillet out of the over and set on a hot pad.  Pour the batter in.  The sides and bottom of the skillet will sizzle as the oil is hot enough to start the cooking process right then!

 

 

 

Carefully, put the filled skillet back into the oven, close the door and set your timer for 15-20 mins.  Personally, I like my cornbread good and browned.  The skillet oil you poured the batter into  will make the cornbread crunchy on the outside.  Trust me, this IS a good thing!!!  Have butter out and softened, and maybe some honey to go with.  A skillet of hot cornbread is a meal in itself.  Add a pot of red beans and meatloaf/meatballs….perfection!

Pass the butter!

Store leftovers in plastic bag in the fridge as it molds quickly.  You can also freeze it. While we’re at it, this is an opportune time to throw in some flax-seed or maybe some oat bran or even wheat bran for extra fiber and nutrients.  I sneak in this stuff all the time and nobody knows.  My boys would’ve had a fit if they had known that when they were kids!  But that’s another post.  Later gater.

 

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Repost for Christmas Breakfast: German Baked Eggs

Ready to pop one of these into the oven! So for those who have asked…

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I asked…a while back…what types of recipes you’d like to see. You asked for easy…tasty…breakfast…one dish…and I panicked! Was it possible to find a dish that was “All Those Things”?

And then I remembered this wonderful egg dish that was served to us at the Glick Mansion in Atchison, KS. last year…a wonderful Bed and Breakfast in eastern Kansas that serves the most delicious breakfasts. In fact, the owner and chef there was the one who tuned me in to Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls! Bless her heart!

This recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, then baked the next morning. But so far, I haven’t taken that route as it takes all of 5 minutes to stir up…accelerated if your cheese is already grated! Spiced Bacon and Cinnamon Rolls were served with it and Big Boss and I loved it!!! This is great dish for brunches, lunches and a light dinner. Just throw some fruit on the plate or a maybe some grilled asparagus to make a complete meal. The egg dish covers the protein, dairy and veggie groups…if you count the jalapeños in the cheese as a veggie!!!

German Baked Eggs from the Glick Mansion

6 eggs (beat first then add remaining ingredients)

8 oz Pepper Jack cheese..or Monterey Jack or cheddar or whatever strikes your fancy, or more importantly, is in the fridge!

1 cup cottage cheese

2 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 Tablespoons melted butter

Combine all ingredients and pour into a buttered (doesn’t include the above butter. In the microwave, I melt about 3 Tablespoons in the 9″ pie dish that you will bake the eggs in and swirl it around to coat the sides. Then dump the excess butter into the egg mixture.)

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Ready for the oven!

Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

When done, let cool a few minutes before slicing and serving.

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Next time, I will bake this in a muffin tins for slightly less time…I’m guessing maybe 15-20 minutes. And will also try pouring the batter into one muffin…hole?…and then freeze it for future use.

Theoretically, I could freeze 6-8 of these and then take one out at a time to bake individually… or 2 at a time for BB and me. Or bake a full muffin tin at once and freeze half of them. Then zap them in the microwave.

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Fort Griffin: A Frontier Oasis

I’ve been on a “fort” jag lately.  I’m pretty sure that the subject has been with me for long time though.  First there was our house, built in 1979-80.  The architecture and layout were similar to a doctor’s house in my hometown. Ours, however, was built with rocks from our pastures instead of bricks.   Basically, we wanted our new home to look old.  Really, really old.  Like it had always been here. Like it had just risen up from the dirt and rocks.  Like it…belonged.

Our home ended up looking like a fort , we discovered, on a visit 20 some odd years later, to Fort Fisher in Waco, Texas.  Fort Fisher, in fact, was not the usual fort as it was more of a gathering place for Texas Rangers.  We thought that was pretty cool!

In the meantime here in Kansas, the museum for Fort Larned was built and lo and behold, it resembled our home heavily…along with the officer’s quarters that had been restored nearby.  Actually, Fort Larned is a federal fort and is an outstanding example of historical restoration.  We’ve visited it several times and have 5 more grandkids to take in the future.

After  discovering Fort Chadbourne back in January, I decided it was high time I visited other forts. With several of these forts following the highway we’ve driven for the last 45 years between Kansas and Texas, it wasn’t far off my usual route to find Fort Griffin.  I’ve probably driven right past it many times, blissfully unaware and driving on a schedule with 3 kids in the backseat.

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Now…think West Texas…mesquite trees…cattle…cactus…tanks aka ponds…throw in some hills and a river.   And that lands you right off US 283, halfway between Throckmorton and Albany, at Fort Griffin State Park.

US 283

US 283

While the Visitor’s Center doesn’t exactly blend in with the landscape, it’s a treasure trove on the prairie!

Photo courtesy of "Texas Sketchbook", artist E. M. Schiwetz, 1955.

Photo courtesy of “Texas Sketchbook”, artist E. M. Schiwetz, 1955.

I was met by Jane, the center’s administrator/greeter and I suspect any other job that needs to be done at the fort!  She was beyond helpful and knew her subject well. I shared the sketch of Fort Griffin from my Texas Sketchbook by E. M. Schiwetz as we browsed her book collection.  As usual, I walked out with three new books.  I cannot resist an interesting book.  It’s my one weakness…

The actual fort buildings/ruins are stone with reconstructed replicas of the wood frame buildings spread out like a quilt over the vast West Texas prairie.  I would imagine that about right now, the wild flowers are beginning to make their grand entrance to perk things up a tad!!

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Fort Griffin, built in 1867 and one of Texas’ nine western frontier forts, was an important part of area cattlemen’s lives and their families. It served as protection from Indian attacks and was a social gathering spot for the locals who came 30-50 miles for dance or political meeting. The sutler’s building sold supplies to ranchers and travellers and housed travellers of all sorts, schools were held within the fort for soldiers’ and rancher’s children…in other words, this particular fort, for a short period of time, was integral to the survival of West Texas settlers, migrants and wagon trains.

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The Fort itself is mentioned over and over throughout the book Interwoven by Sallie Reynolds Matthews. Mrs. Matthews mentions Fort Griffin nearly as often as she does the several ranch homes she lived in through her life.  Fort Griffin was essentially a life saver for ranchers who lived so far out in the sticks, they’d have to wait two weeks beyond the rest of the world for Christmas.  Almost. 🙂 The remoteness those early ranchers and settlers felt must have been overwhelming at times!

Looking up from the highway to the bluff

Looking up from the highway to the bluff

The fort itself sits on a rugged bluff that overlooks the Clear Fork Brazos river and the ghost town of Griffin aka The Flats, which now serves as an outstanding state campground and park.

Do yourself a favor and plan a trip to this fort and perhaps the other eight in the area! I’ve only hit highlights of the rich history of these outposts but take my word for it…they are all bursting with stories, legends and information.

 

 

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After a long…cold…wet…endless winter, we are almost nearing SPRING!  But don’t hold your breath!

First order of the day, after cleaning out flower beds, was to get birthday cakes planned, designed and made.  One down…several to go!

This birthday girl had a hard time deciding what exactly she wanted and then there was the problem of finding a time for a party in the midst of track meets, scholar’s bowls, etc. So we improvised .

purple birthday cake, rosettes

I baked the cake and decided to go with her signature color…purple.  And found a cake design I really liked and went with it. Figured out a couple of things as I went, mainly doing those giant rosettes is NOT as simple as it looks!!  I think I know what I’ll do next time and am still contemplating on the getting the rosettes uniform.

crumb coat, cake

8″, 3 layered and torted cake filled with hazelnut filling

The birthday girl was pleased as were her Sunday School compadres.  We were missing several with a couple coming in a little late but they gave the hazelnut filling and chocolate cake a thumbs up.  A win for Meemaw!!

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Gallery of Ointments: #4

Yep another repost..from 2013.
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Since I was one post behind, I’ll get 2 in today and will sleep well tonight!

I hope. Last night was hopeless. The entire night found me chasing around in my dreamworld trying to find a piece of music. Couldn’t find it anywhere. It seemed like I spent the night hunting music and then found what I thought I needed but all of the notes weren’t there. Bummer. It was a really tough piece too. “Jesus Loves Me”. Duh.

I guess I dreamt this because I had been searching through my music for the complete “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. The one I had in hand was just the chorus…meaning…there was not the “good tidings” part. Arghh. I finally headed to the basement to look through my really, really old music, filed away neatly in a file box. And there it was! Whew.

So today was the Big Day…I played around a dozen different songs, did a vocal duet with our pastor’s wife and accompanied the two oldest granddaughters for a 6 handed version of “Away in the Manger”…and accompanied youngest son in “O Holy Night” and may I just say that he did a stellar job!! And yes, I AM being objective!! The kid has a voice!!!!!!

All that to say…I’m just now sitting down to blog. I did get some Texas Trash aka Chex Mix and my millionaire candy made earlier, but that’s all cooling and the football game is pounding me in the face!

So this ornament was made by my aunt…who is a master crocheter/crochet person! This is the one who can look at stuff and crochet it. Which baffles me.

That reminds me…remember the cute little crochet snowman I posted a while back? I have one now sitting in my living room as cute as a bug. I’ll put him up later…

But she did the angel this past spring and gave her to me for my birthday. Actually, she made my mother and my other aunt one too. And I suspect all of her grandkids have angels too.

I love my angel! And when she’s not on the Christmas tree, she hangs around my kitchen on a cabinet pull. She’s good company and pretty to boot!!

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