Thursday, March 17, 2011

blog #454 >> Irish Soda Bread

Today during my lunch break, I walked up to the local bakery to pick up a loaf of their Irish soda bread. I got one last year and it was FANTASTIC! It was nice and biscuity, with whiskey soaked golden raisins and caraway seeds. I was looking forward to it all day. But when I got up there, they didn't have any this year. They made shamrock cookies instead. I'm sure they would have been delicious cookies, but I was all excited about Irish soda bread. So when I got home from work I decided to make some myself.
I found this terrific recipe from and I think I like it even better than the bakery's Irish soda bread! I pretty much followed the recipe, except I added some heavy cream to the milk and let it sit for a couple of minutes after I added the vinegar. I also boiled the currents in orange juice before I added them, and I would have used whiskey instead of the orange juice, but I didn't have any. Anyhow it's an excellent recipe, like a giant scone with crispy edges... mmmmm...
It would be perfect with a cup of Irish breakfast tea. Enjoy!

blog #453 >> Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May "The Shamrock Blimp" fill your year with luck and joy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

blog #452 >> Muddy Creek

Although most people who read this blog are probably getting a bit tired of creek pictures... I love them, and I think they're pretty, so I'm going to continue to post them. This week the water was extra high due to the heavy rains we've been getting. It is also the muddiest I've ever seen that water. It looked like chocolate milk.

We also lost a large tree limb that fell across the path going down.

And there's a new cupboard in the sheltered area, I can't wait for another reading day down at the creek. It was just too wet and rainy this week. Maybe next week...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

blog #451 >> Simply Awesome Award

Last week I was so very honored to win The Simply Awesome Award! This little dainty was graciously bestowed upon me by the very sweet Miss. Grace over at Puddles of Memories. This could be where I go on and on about how I don't deserve it, and I'm not actually very awesome, but I'm not that humble... I'm totally awesome, and I know it! Anyhow here are the official rules:

1. Accept this award graciously because you (and your blog) are simply awesome.
2. Pass it on to five other bloggers who have simply awesome blogs, and tell them about it- either by commenting on their blog, emailing them, etc.
3. List five things that you find simply awesome.
4. Pass these rules on.

Well, there are so many awesome blogs and awesome things I don't know where to start.... um... 5 simply awesome things...

1. tea - I really love tea... a lot. Nothing beats a nice hot cup of tea when you first get up.... unless it's a nice hot cup of tea before you go to bed.

2. books - Books are wonderful! I really hope books never go out of style, but even if they do, I'll become like the crazy cat lady, but instead of a cat refuge, I'll have a book refuge. I'll pile them up in every room to the ceiling with little arched book tunnels to get around in. Oh, and they'll be organized, because what's the sense of having all those books and not knowing where anything is. See more lovely bookcases at Bookshelf Porn... don't worry there's no actual porn on the site... just very modest bookshelves.

This image is from Apartment Therapy.

3. Beirut - Still one of my all time favorite bands.

4. Sirius - Such a pretty little star. I don't care how cold it is outside, I'll be fine just as long as I get a quick look at this lovely silvery-twinkling star in my telescope.

Image found here at Weather Underground.

5. pie - I know cupcakes are in their prime, but I'd take pie over cake any day... mmmm... PIE! Sweet fruity pastry goodness!

And now the hardest part of all... trying to pick just five awesome blogs. I've got sooo many loaded into my reader, it's been really hard to pick just five. It's taken me all week!
But I think these are going to be my final five. (Grace, I would have picked you, but since you picked me you've already won, so I'm passing it on.)
So here they are:

Lolly-Tots Crafty Goodness by Mary the maker of fine furry hats.

Inadvertent Farmer by Kim grower of organic veggies and camel lover.

Food in Jars, lovely pictures and delicious recipes of food in jars.

Flapper Girl Creations, by Christine, collector of antique yearbooks and creator of retro aprons.

Backyard Farm Wife, by Carrie raiser of chickens and collector of vintage delights.


blog #450 >> Mochi

At last, I finally tried making mochi! I bought ingredients for these way back in January. They turned out fantastic, but the recipe made waaaay more than I thought it would. (Over three dozen.) All I can think is, "This would be the perfect opportunity to have a fund raiser for Japan!" If I sold these little buggers for $1 each, I'd have $40 to send over there in no time! Personally, I wouldn't think twice about making a nice sign and just walking across the street and selling them in front of the Safeway. But since I don't have a food handlers permit, or a quality controlled kitchen, or a peddlers license, I can't even count all the city ordinances I'd probably be breaking. It's times like this I wish I had a good church I was attending... that would be the perfect place to sell these! Anyhow, hopefully someone reading this will make these and create an awesome fund raiser out of them. They're not hard to make, just a little time consuming. I got all the ingredients at Uwajimaya, and the recipe is from JustJENN. I don't normally say this, but that recipe is perfect as is so, DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING. And when it says, stir like crazy... JustJENN is not just joking, you need to stir it really really fast and well. Also, don't skimp on the potato starch, it's super sticky so you can't have too much. Meanwhile, I'll keep on trying to think of who I can legally exploit for donations.

Here are the ingredients for mochi, there's really not much in them. You'll need water, food coloring, 1 box of mochiko sweet rice flour, 1 bag of sweet red bean, potato starch (lots of potato starch) and sugar. I know I took a picture of granulated sugar, but I changed my mind last minute and used super-fine baking sugar instead. It usually works better for anything involving dissolving sugar in water, but I'm sure granulated would have been fine too.

Generously sprinkle your cutting board with potato starch. This was not nearly generous enough.

Wrap red bean in mochi. If I had been smarter I would have pre-rolled out little red bean balls.

And the lovely finished mochi!

This morning I was reading this blog post over at The Food Librarian (who also makes excellent mochi) and I couldn't help but wonder... why is it I can watch houses (on fire!) floating away with cars and airplanes piled on top of them practically unmoved, but I cry when I think of the little kids in emergency shelters eating rice balls. Suddenly there's a link of relation... I like rice balls too! And it all becomes real. ...Needless to say, I just pulled a nice pot of sushi rice out of the oven. I know what I'm eating for lunch!
If you would like to donate money to Japan, you can donate to the International Red Cross (Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami Fund) online here. (I've been trying to get it to work all morning without success. I think it's overloaded at the moment.)


Sunday, March 6, 2011

blog #449 >> Sister Day

When my sisters and I found out that my brother was going to go pick up his new baby pigs, we dropped everything for the day and we all decided to go visit the baby pigs. But first we had some other stops to make.

My oldest sister Carrie needed a place to stay in town Friday night, so she stayed over at my place and slept on the couch. We ended up staying up until midnight watching Coal House at War. It's my latest favorite historical reality show produced by BBC Wales. It's about 3 modern families who go and live in a Welsh coal mining community in 1944. The families of today need to cook on a wood stove, raise rabbits, pigs and tend a "victory garden" for food, take in evacuee children from the London bombing, and deal with black outs and air raids. The wives work sewing ammunition bags in a factory on treadle sewing machines. The kids go to a 1944 one room school house where they need to take cod liver oil and malt syrup everyday. And the men need to walk 4 miles to and from their work at the coal mine each day... well sometimes they take the original 1940's bus, but it's broken down a lot. It's really made me realize how lazy I am. It's a great show.
In the morning I made us a mostly English breakfast of tea, cooled toast, soft boiled eggs, cheese, and the last of my homemade sauerkraut that I've been telling her about for weeks. ...and yes, we watched more Coal House too.

After breakfast my other sister Amy and her daughter Maggie stopped by, and we all went to "The Wall of Herbs," Edelweiss German market, Cool Cottons on Hawthorne, (which had some amazing fabrics, I'd definitely go back.) The Monticello Antique Mall, and then we had some lunch. After that we picked up the rest of the kids and stopped by Mike's in Estacada before we went to see the pigs. Everybody loves Mike's! I also noticed he had some new cautionary signs, and apparently if you get caught switching the lids on the pots, he'll now prosecute you for shoplifting... and we all know what happens to shoplifters at Mike's... so don't mess with his pots and pans!

And here are the new baby pigs. We named ours Chester, (he's the one with the spotted bum.) and the other is named Bacon. I know you're not suppose to name them, but since we see them so seldom, I doubt we'll get too attached. The kids really liked them, but they're not too tame yet, and were more than a little bit timid. They'll be more fun in a few months after they've learned that people bring food. This year's pigs are really cute, but overall I think last year's were cuter.

blog #448 >> New Skirt

I'm trying to get caught up on my sewing projects. I keep on buying more fabric to start more projects, but I haven't even started the projects I already have fabric for. So no more! It's time to start sewing! This is the skirt I made from some pretty lace curtains. I bought the curtains at "The Bins" the same time I bought the bedspread that I turned into a robe, and the ties for the tie skirt. I love how this one turned out, but I'm realizing that it runs really easily, so I'm not sure how long it will last.