Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Cool Fix

This weekend one of my projects has been to go through my 6 years of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazines (I recently let my subscription run out) and tear out the pages featuring recipes I would like to make at some point. The magazines are taking up a whole shelf of my bookcase above my desk, and since I am not in the habit of going through them, I figured it would be more time and space saving if I had just the recipes stored in a binder.
So as I'm going through the magazines this afternoon, I came upon a great tip for fixing makeup that's broken up in its compact.
I recently bought a compact of pressed powder, and upon getting home and opening it, I noticed the powder had become loose (the compact was otherwise intact). I just shoved it in the cabinet and forgot about it.
The tip I discovered today told me to drip rubbing alcohol into the powder until it's softened, and smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Leave it open overnight, and the alcohol will evaporate. Voila! Pressed powder as it should be!
I tried it. It took a lot (several medicine droppers full) of rubbing alcohol, but I was able to smooth the powder out with the spoon. It's now sitting out on my kitchen cupboard, drying.
What a great tip!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Strawberries & Lemon Custard in Meringue

This is one of my very favorite desserts.

Meringue Crust
4 egg whites (reserve the yolks)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until frothy. Slowly add sugar in a slow stream, beating constantly, and continue beating until stiff and glossy. Spread in pie pan over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake 1 hour until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

4 reserved egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
2 cups sliced strawberries, sweetened to taste

Place yolks in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat, until the mixture is very thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Stir occasionally as it cools. Gently stir in half the whipped cream. Spoon into the meringue crust. Refrigerate at least 6 hours.

Spread half of the strawberries over the filling. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the berries. Top with the remaining berries. This pie is best eaten the day it is made.

Serves 8.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Armory

The former administrator of my school (who is also the brother-in-law of one of my high school girlfriends) has started a blog of his own, called The Armory. It features daily devotions (he just went online last night, so there's only one devotion so far) and information about his first book The Hero and the Dragon: Building Christian Character through Fantasy Fiction.
Andrew has asked me to help spread the word about his blog and his book, so click the link and help spread the word yourself!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Baking Today

Today's a baking day. We're making Grandma Schumacher's White Bread and Rolls (not my grandma; it's from a restaurant cookbook) and Irresistable Peanut Butter Cookies from Favorites of the Little Red Hen (a cookbook by my parents' former AAL lady).

White Bread and Rolls
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 cups cold water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
10-11 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten slightly

1. In a large saucepan, heat butter, salt, sugar, and milk over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups cold water.
2. In a small bowl, combine yeast and 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit 1 minute.
3. In a large bowl, combine butter mixture and 3 cups flour. Add yeast mixture and eggs, mixing well. Add remaining flour 2 cups at a time, mixing for 1 minute after each addition. Place dough on pastry cloth or floured surface and allow to rest 5 minutes. Knead until smooth, elastic, and small bubbles appear, about 10 minutes.
4. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Punch down dough; let rise again. Divide into thirds. Shape dough into 3 equal portions. Place in greased 9x5 loaf pans and allow to rise another hour, or until doubled.
5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on racks.

To make into cinnamon rolls:
Take one of the portions of dough. Roll out into a large rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough. Cut evenly into rolls (I made 16). Place in a greased baking pan and allow to rise until double. Bake at 375 until golden, about 20 minutes. Glaze while warm and enjoy!

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl, and beat until well-blended. Add eggs. Beat just until blended. Add dry ingredients and mix until blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake 8 minutes until set and just beginning to brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 5-6 dozen.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Soundbytes by Natalie

Recently heard in our house, by my younger daughter...

"Mama, I wanna Skeep (Skype) Daddy"

"Uno, dos, watcho, cinco, joes."

"Mama, I need a yidda help."

"Mama, I thirsty." "Well, we're having supper shortly, and you can have some milk then." "But my foots are freezing!"

The girls watch Dora and Diego when they're visiting their father, and they like to show off their Spanish speaking. This morning, they were arguing over which of them was "arriba" and which was "abajo." (Forgive me my terrible Spanish, if those are wrong. The extent of my Spanish ability, despite 3 years in high school and college, consists of being able to count and the word "peligro" which anyone who watched Sesame Street in the early 80s can tell you means "danger.")