Tuesday, December 25, 2012


All of us at TwoFarmsOne wish you a safe, healthy, blessing filled and very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Don't Toss Those Iddy Biddy Pumpkins!

 Many of us get them each year, then toss them out right after Thanksgiving, sometimes even sooner.... those tiny little orange pumpkins that we use to adorn our tables and scatter amongst our Fall decorations and displays. They are so pretty and adorable. And kids love to paint faces on them for Halloween. But did you know that they are edible?!

Yes, they are just as edible as any Pie Pumpkin. Not only are they edible, but they are delicious!!! Inside, these pumpkins have a nice, thick wall. The seeds can be pulled out, cleaned, then saved for roasting or planting. But the pumpkins can be baked for a very tasty and nutritious meal. Bake several and scoop the soft meat out to make a delicious pie. They can be used for anything you would normally use pumpkins for.... they are pumpkins! It just might take a few of them. When baked, the meat of these wonderful little pumpkins is surprisingly sweet and very smooth and creamy. The texture is not at all stringy, just sweet and smooth. In fact, I find them to be even smoother and sweeter than many pie pumpkins.

There are many ways you can cook these pumpkins. You can even stuff the inside with your favorite meatloaf recipe and bake for adorable individual servings, but my favorite way is to just bake them as I do my Acorn Squash. Simply cut the tops off (much easier than you would think, but be careful that knife doesn't slip), remove the seeds (comes out easily and quickly), add a couple of your favorite ingredients, place the cut top back on, place in a shallow pan of water and bake. The following instructions is a little better detailed.

Baked Jack Be Little Pumpkins 

  • A few Jack Be Little Pumpkins (those iddy biddy orange or white pumpkins)
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Water
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wash pumpkins thoroughly.

Slice tops off of pumpkins. I like to make the cut at a slight downward slant. 

Remove seeds from pumpkin and set aside for whatever later use you choose for them.

Place pumpkins in a shallow baking pan, leaving a little space between each pumpkin.

Inside each pumpkin, add a pat of butter, a spoon of sugar, and a small sprinkle of cinnamon. (I like to use the True Cinnamon). The amounts of each ingredient are strictly up to personal taste.

Place top back on each pumpkin.

Pour water into your baking pan, around the pumpkins, until water is about 1/2-inch deep in pan.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until pumpkins are tender and sugar filling has turned to syrup. Cook time will vary according to the size and number of your pumpkins. 

Serve hot with your favorite meal. I even like to eat them cold! These are so yummy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Cranberry Nut Bread

When I was growing up, I adored the Christmas season. With typical child-like impatience, I eagerly anticipated each and every event of the season's progression. And one thing I anticipated the most was Christmas morning breakfast! As with most parents, ours were up late putting gifts under the tree for "Santa" because we were so excited  anticipating his coming that we took forever to go to sleep. Naturally, that was the one day of the year that we popped up out of bed early, usually before the sun even came up! But Mom and Dad wanted to SLEEP!

We were allowed to open our stockings, but were weren't to touch anything else before they got up... not even TOUCH anything. But there was always something extra good waiting for us to eat for breakfast while they snoozed as long as we possibly let them snooze. Usually, it was an assortment of quick breads and fruits. My favorite, one of the things I looked of forward to Christmas morning for, was, you guessed it.... CRANBERRY NUT BREAD! I could hardly sleep not only knowing that Santa was coming, but that when I got up, that wonderful, tangy-sweet, moist bread would be waiting for me. Mmmmmm..... I can smell it even now just thinking about it.

And now, I would like to share with you the recipe for that wonderful Cranberry Nut Bread that I so looked forward to with impatient anticipation each and every Christmas season:

Cranberry Nut Bread

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecan or walnut)
  • 1 T. grated orange peel (fresh)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 T. shortening
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease and lightly flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and soda; cut in shortening.

 Stir in orange juice, egg and orange peel, mixing just until moistened.

Fold in cranberries and nuts. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful not to overcook, as it will make bread dry.

Cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

When completely cool, wrap and store overnight before cutting to increase moistness. Makes 1 loaf. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

SOUP ON SATURDAY - Turkey Carcass Soup

 I am sure most of you have tossed your turkey bones out by now, but while thoughts of Thanksgiving and leftover turkeys still lingers on my mind, I wanted to share with you my recipe for Turkey Carcass soup. Before you think, "yuck!", look the recipe over and really consider giving it a try. It is absolutely wonderful! I missed out on getting to make it this year, as the person that brought the turkey to our Thanksgiving dinner, threw the bones out in the trash before I could intercept them. That just killed me! That lost pot of tasty soup has been on my mind so much this past week that I think I am going to have to cook me a small turkey just so I can get a good pot of soup. This works well with either a baked or smoked turkey (or fried, for that matter). So go ahead, give it a try, you will be surprised at how wonderful it is!

Turkey Carcass Soup

  • 1 fresh turkey carcass (from a cooked turkey), all meat removed
  • 1 cup drippings from turkey (or more to taste)
  • water to fill cooking pot
  • 3 fresh carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup chopped onions
  • 2-3 cups finely chopped, cooked turkey
  • 1 1/2 T. dry parsley flakes (fresh is also good but use a little more)
  • 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 (12-ounce) pkg. small noodles, cooked according to package
Pull apart the turkey carcass bones and place in a large pot with pan drippings. Cover with water. 

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and hard simmer for about an hour. 

Remove all bones with slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, remove any remaining meat that you may still find on the bones and set aside; discard bones where pets won't be able to get them.

Add all of the turkey, carrots, celery, onion, parsley flakes, salt and pepper to the pot of now wonderful broth. 

Return to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender.

Add cooked noodles; heat through and serve. Mmmmm..... good!

Note: This recipe is very flexible. The amounts of the vegetables is easily alterable. You can also add other vegetables that you like to the pot. This is the blend that my family likes, although I sometimes like to also add canned tomatoes and corn. Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cooking Tip #1 - Wash Those Pumpkins!

 Many people, at this time, are canning and freezing up their bountiful harvest of pumpkins, putting up the ones they found on that wonderful super sale after Halloween and Thanksgiving were over, or just plain making up some delicious pumpkin pies. Pumpkins are so versatile and packed with nutrition, they are well worth the effort of putting them up for use all year long.

But before you begin to cut into one of those pumpkins, be sure and wash the entire outside off thoroughly with a naturally antibacterial soap. Give it a good scrubbing. Make extra sure you get into all of those creases and crevices. Weather you purchase your pumpkin at the grocer, from your local farmer's market, or grow it yourself, there is always the risk that odd, unusual and even dangerous germs could be lurking on the skin of those pumpkins. The cooler, damper climate of Fall, with fluctuating warmer days just before pumpkins are harvested, can lend to a faster growth/spread of some germs and fungi. A good scrubbing should easily take care of anything that might pose a danger and is very easy to do.

Then let your pumpkin(s) air dry. Don't get in a hurry and be tempted to dry them off with that dish towel that is setting right there at your fingertips. You will just put germs right back on your pumpkin! Especially for long term storage, you want every germ possible off of your pumpkin before you cut into it. If you don't wash them, and any unsafe germs are on the skin of your pumpkin, the moment you stick your knife into it, you push the germs right inside, where they quickly absorb into the softer flesh.

Have a happy and tasty holiday season, and watch for more great cooking tips to come!

Monday, November 26, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Puffy Dumplings

 Throughout the winter, I love to make a lot of soups and stews. Sometimes I like cornbread with them, and sometimes hot rolls, bread, or just plain crackers. But often times I especially like to mix up a batch of my Puffy Dumplings and drop on top of a steaming hot pot of soup/stew. They puff up nice and fluffy, while a just a little of the soup adheres to the bottom of the dumpling. Mmmmm..... are they good! They are also great in Chicken and Dumplings or, as many are making right now with their leftover turkey... Turkey and Dumplings. Here is my recipe.  Make sure your soup is boiling/simmering, or nearly there, before beginning. This recipe easily doubles if you are cooking a large kettle of soup.  Picture to be posted soon.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I prefer unbleached)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Stir in milk and mix well.

Drop large, rounded tablespoonfuls into hot, boiling/hard simmering, stew, soup, or chicken and dumplings. Give a quick, gentle stir to make sure all dumplings are coated with the hot liquid and are separated.

Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes. . . . Cover and cook for about 10 minutes more, or until dumplings do not appear doughy in center. This time could vary according to the size of your dumplings. Sometimes I like to make mine a little bigger than this (larger spoonfuls of dough).

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you do NOT open the lid during the second half of the cooking time or dumplings could become very soggy. Also do not stir during any of the cooking time.

If you want to add a little additional flavor to your dumplings you can add a little powdered seasoning (such as poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.) to your dry ingredients before mixing in the milk.

Serve hot, but be careful! These dumplings stay hot in the center for a very long time. Be especially careful when serving to small children. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012










Monday, November 19, 2012

Bread on Monday - Homemade Biscuits

As the chilly mornings of Fall begin to move towards the downright cold mornings of Winter, nothing beats a fresh, piping hot pan of homemade biscuits for breakfast. On a really ambitious day, I like to make up an extra big batch of biscuits, then warm the remaining biscuits up to eat with a big bowl of homemade soup or stew for dinner. Then, on this particular week (Thanksgiving week), any extras you might have (I know, leftover biscuits are rare), are great crumbled up and tossed into your Thanksgiving Dressing pot. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about this recipe, in the comments. If you are wondering something, chances are, someone else is too.

Anna's Homemade Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer to use unbleached)
  • 1 T. baking powder (I use aluminum free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use natural sea salt - processed without chemicals)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (I use evaporated cane juice, but any sugar is fine)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • a little extra flour

Preheat oven to 450° F. Grease and have ready a biscuit pan or baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well.

With a pastry cutter/blender (or fork or knives), cut shortening into flour mixture until evenly crumbly.

Add milk to flour mixture. Mix together well, finishing mixing with the hands, as it becomes very thick. Knead dough a few times, adding in a little more flour, if necessary, so that dough is no longer sticky. Careful not to get too much flour as this will make biscuits tough.
On a floured board or pastry cloth, roll dough out to 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Cut with round biscuit cutter and place biscuits on greased baking pan.  If you want soft-sided biscuits, place biscuits on pan so that they are just touching each other. If you want your biscuits to be crispy on all sides, place them so that there is just a little space between them.

Knead and re-roll remaining dough from first rolling only once. Shape remaining dough from this rolling by hand. Rolling dough out a third time will toughen biscuits.

Bake in pre-heated oven about 10 to 12 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned. Serve hot.

A Birthday Breakfast

NOTE: Before you consider omitting the sugar, the sugar is what makes the biscuits brown nicely. They will taste just as delicious without the sugar, but may not brown as nicely. 
*Also, if you use one of those non-stick mats on your baking sheet, there is no need to grease your pan.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Scalloped Corn

 It is the season for holiday festivities. And at all of those BIG holiday meals, there is always so many wonderful, delicious and rich foods. But sometimes, all of those fancy and rich foods can get to be a little overwhelming, not to mention setting heavy in our tummies.

But there is one vegetable dish that, amidst all of those rich foods, really hits the spot with me during the holidays (or any time of year for that matter). That is my Scalloped Corn recipe. It is always a hit at every dinner I take it to. It is just fancy enough to be a little 'exciting' at a special meal, but simple enough that it is still enjoyable even when you just can't face another bite of fancy, rich food. Best of all, it is simple and quick to make.

Scalloped Corn 

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 5 T. butter or margarine (I prefer butter)
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans cream-style corn
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten 
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 1-quart casserole dish and have ready.

Melt butter in skillet and add onion and pepper. Amount of onion and bell pepper you use is adjustable to your own taste. Saute until tender; remove from heat.

Stir in corn and bread crumbs; mix well.

Add eggs and mix well.

Pour into casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.

Note: If you have any dry, stale bread, you can crumble that up and use it in place of the seasoned bread crumbs... then just season to taste.
If you have any questions on how to prepare this recipe, please feel free to ask them in the comments. Someone else may be wondering the same thing.

Monday, November 12, 2012


This week, people all over the US are bustling around brushing the dust off of their favorite holiday recipes, making their lists, and shopping for all of their special ingredients to begin making their family's favorite Thanksgiving dishes. At my family holiday gatherings, the one thing that I am always asked to make is my Hot Rolls. Everyone seems to think they are the BEST! So this week, I would like to share my recipe with you so that, if you would like to try it for your Thanksgiving gathering, you will have time to play around with it and try it out a time or two before your big holiday gathering. I would like to also add that this recipe easily doubles, or even halves (but trust me, you won't want to make just half a recipe).
Oddly enough, in all the years I have been baking my Hot Rolls, I can't think of one picture I have of them. So as soon as I make some this holiday season, I will add a pic to this post. Feel free to post any questions you might have in the comments.

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. salt (I use unrefined sea salt, but regular is fine)
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 T. sugar (I use evaporated cane juice, but white is fine)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. rapid rise, instant yeast
  • 3 - 4 cups bread flour -the presifted kind (all-purpose will work fine, but not as light of a texture)
  • melted butter
Before you decide to eliminate any or all of the sugar, keep in mind that it serves two purposes. 1) The sugar is what makes the rolls brown to a nice golden color.  2) The sugar is also what assists with activating the yeast and without it, the rolls will not rise nearly so well, nor be nearly so light and fluffy. I have substituted fructose with fairly good results. 

In large mixing bowl, combine water, salt, oil, egg, and sugar; mix well, using a hand mixer or a wire whisk.

In a separate bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the yeast. Add this dry mixture to the liquid mixture and  beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until well-blended and smooth.

Stir in enough additional flour to form a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding in more flour as needed.

Gently press dough ball down into a lightly oiled bowl; turn dough over, cover bowl with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Punch dough down. Have ready a lightly greased baking sheet. Oil hands. Grab dough in the palm of your hand; squeeze a ball of dough the size of a golf ball up through your thumb and index finger. Pinch off and place on baking sheet.

Repeat until all dough is used, placing rolls close together, but not quite touching. Set in a warm,draft-free place and let rise until doubled in size,about 40 to 45 minutes.

Bake in a pre-heated 350° F. oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown and rolls sound 'hollow' when tapped on with a fingernail.

Remove from oven and immediately brush tops of rolls with melted butter. Sometimes I get lazy and just rub a stick of butter around over the top of the rolls. Serve rolls while hot/warm.

I get about 12 rolls from this recipe, but the number greatly depends upon the size you make them. If you alter the size, make sure you alter the cooking time as well. The last couple of years I have begun making them much smaller for the big holiday meals (about 15-16 per recipe) and people like it much better that way. Those that want just a little bit of bread with their piled high holiday plate don't waste half a roll that way, it is a great size for the kids, and those that want to go back for just a little bit more roll stuffed with some cranberry sauce or gravy to top off their meal, appreciate the smaller size. They can also be made larger and flattened out before baking to use as hamburger buns.
However you make them.... ENJOY!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We're Not Really Lost

Wow! I didn't realize it had been over four months since our last post on here! I also didn't realize I hadn't made a post on this blog telling everyone why I wouldn't be on here for awhile. I do apologize.

Several months back, my main computer (desktop) went on the fritz. It will be awhile before I can save up and get it fixed (or take a whole day off to try a fix that was suggested to me - Thank you!), so until then, I am plugging along on my very old, dinosaur age, but faithfully reliable laptop. I hadn't used it in forever so it has taken a LOT of updates to bring it up to speed (lol, I don't think it will ever be up to speed, really) and it is awkward to use, but it IS working and for that I am ultra thankful!

Then, during all of this, we went into an extreme drought with a record breaking HOT summer. I couldn't use this old laptop in the heat, as it would overheat too quickly, plus every spare minute was occupied keeping gardens watered and trying to keep critters as cool and comfortable as possible. It was a pretty devastating summer and took up all of our time and energy.We spent little to no time cooking, especially in all that heat.

The fall rains came and I had a bit of a break from all that watering, but the weather was so nice, that I took the gamble and replanted a few veggies. I have really missed my fresh cooked okra and squash this year, and wilted lettuce. Well, we finally got a little of the wilted lettuce, and have been thoroughly enjoying some fresh green salads. (I must post a 'recipe' for one of my much loved chef salads, soon.) The summer squash were just beginning to come into production when it got a little dry again. I will, once again have to spend some time watering tomorrow. Then, I will have to bring in my herbs and cover as many plants as possible.

You see, yesterday, we had a near record high temperature, It was suppose to rain today, but I only got a drizzle. Now for the next few nights, we are suppose to experience near record lows! My pumpkins and winter squash have been growing so beautifully since the drought broke, and I couldn't wait for them to get ripe and share my recipes for them with you, but now they may have to be picked early. I may be creating some recipes with 'green' pumpkins. If any of you have such a recipe, I would love it if you shared! We did slice, batter, and fry some young, tender, unpeeled acorn squash, just as we would for fried zucchini and they were amazingly WONDERFUL!  Not sure that would work with the pumpkins, nor the Pink Banana Squash, though. We will see, though, one day at a time, as we get through this unseasonably cold weekend.

That is about all for now. I hope life has found you all happy, healthy, and comfortably filled with good cooking. Have a great weekend and we, along with the Bread on Monday series, will be back very shortly because soon it will freeze, there will be no more garden to tend to for the winter, and I will have lots of indoor cooking and blog posting time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Our New Bread Box

I hope you aren't disappointed that this week's Bread on Monday post isn't a bread recipe. I found this wonderful bread box this weekend at the flea market. First, I absolutely fell in love with it and was trying to decide whether or not to pinch out the money for it ($5) when money needs to go so many other places, but then I heard a bit of the story behind it and I had to give this beautiful treasure a home in our kitchen.

You can tell just by looking at the wood (and other materials) used that this bread box is VERY old, yet it has been taken very good care of. It has a tiny little ding here and there, and the inset is slightly warped, but still in far better shape than you would expect. And although most items you find at the flea market you have no idea where they came from (but often wish you did, or wish they could talk), I purchased this from a vendor that had gotten it straight from its owner.

The owner is a 98-year old woman that is devotedly taking care of her older and ailing husband! That is definitely an amazing kind of love, and one that I admire. She is also taking care of their beloved, long-time pet .... a blind dog. But sadly, she is planning on having the little dog put to sleep because it can't see where it is going and has become a tripping hazard for her. Although they love the dog very much, she fears that if she trips and falls over the dog, she might get hurt and not be able to care for her husband. I can understand it, but that is SO SAD! And I can't imagine having to make a decision like that. That dog would be a great companion and comfort for her right now. But I also can't imagine how difficult it must be, at 98, to care for both. I can't tell you how much I admire this woman, and I haven't even met her in person.

Back to the bread box .... once upon a time, they used it a LOT. Taking a moment to imagine all the wonderful homemade breads she must have lovingly placed in it over the years makes for a great mental image that makes me smile. Even at nearly 100 (and her husband is probably is at least that or more), they are obviously still deeply in love. I can envision her, in years past, lovingly standing over the kitchen table, flour and other ingredients everywhere, as she eagerly works, with a warm and caring smile on her face, to bake wonderful breads that she is sure will please her husband. I can then picture him coming in from a hard day in the field, opening up the bread box, and taking out a still warm biscuit, donut, or hunk of yeast bread, beaming ear to ear because his wife loves him so much that she worked hard in a hot kitchen to make such a wonderful treat for him, then eagerly gobbling it up! What a beautiful picture this bread box, and the little story behind it, conjures up, and I have no doubt but that it was that way.

But because the woman loves her husband so much, she is now sadly letting go of, and giving away all of their treasured things that they no longer use much. She is doing this to make their home much easier to move about in. I understand this, it makes since in a very loving way, but it is still very sad. As people age, they should not have to give up the things they cherish, the things that gave them pleasure throughout their long life. So even though we had gotten a smaller, handmade bread box just a few weeks ago, I decided that this one definitely had to find a home in our kitchen, too. You may think this sounds weird, but when I hold this box, or run my hand across it, I can literally feel the love coming from it. The kind of love this couple has is a rarity these days, and I truly admire them. Although I have no doubt that it will, I hope that when I am 98, mine and Dave's love will be that unconditional and strong as well. And although I know that ingredients used have greatly changed over the years since this woman began cooking for her husband, I look forward to proudly carrying on this woman's tradition and baking many, many wonderful breads to fill it with and have ready for Dave when he comes in famished from a hard day of work. Even those ingredients, we are striving to go back to the older, healthier style of. (Well, just don't try and take my instant yeast away from me though).

I will display this wonderful bread box PROUDLY in our kitchen, and hope that even a little bit of their rare and admiral love that comes with it, rubs off into, and gives our home a little blessing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Special Occasions Pancakes

Oh, my.... we have had such a busy couple of weeks that we have neglected to get anything posted on here since last Monday! This past week, I have been working on a bread recipe that had been brewing in my mind, and I was hoping to post it here today, but it is still coming out too heavy. It is very tasty, and Dave has been a sport and enjoyed eating the 'flops' (poor chickens, lol), but I want to get the kinks out of the recipe before I post the it here. So since I don't have a new bread recipe ready for this week, I am going to post a recipe for the other thing in the bread family that I have been enjoying this week . . . . PANCAKES. For some reason, I just really got into a pancake mood this week.

I have two good pancake recipes that I have developed and used over the years. One is my very tasty, yet very economical recipe (remember, I raised 6 kids), and the other is my even lighter and tastier, 'for special occasions' recipe. It is the latter recipe that I will share with you today.

Special Occasions Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (I use aluminum free)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I use Zulka)
  • 1/4 tsp. (scant) salt (I use unrefined)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • your favorite oil or fat for frying
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt; set aside.

In a smaller bowl, lightly whisk together milk, egg and oil.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until all is moistened.

Cook pancakes on a heated, lightly oiled skillet or griddle until covered with bubbles. 

Flip pancakes over and continue cooking until the other side is golden brown. DO NOT 'smash' pancakes with turner, as it will toughen them.
Serve hot with your favorite pancake topping.  Makes about 6 average sized pancakes. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Using a Bread Machine

   So many people purchase a Bread Machine with great excitement and anticipation of many, delicious, homemade breads to come, only to be discouraged and disappointed when their first loaf or two doesn't turn out. They then usually give up, pack it away, and eventually give that bread machine they had had such high hopes for away or put it in a garage sale.  But . . . . . . DON'T GIVE UP!!!

There is such a variety of variables that goes into making bread, even in a bread machine.

First of all, every bread machine, from one brand to another, can be a little (or a lot) different. For even a BASIC loaf of bread, there could be a 10 to 20 minute baking variance from one brand of machine to another. The mixing times and the rise times may also greatly vary, too. As a result, recipes will need to be adjusted accordingly. For example, if you are using a recipe that was created for one machine, but the machine you are using has a shorter rise time, then you would need to add a sprinkle more yeast than the recipe calls for to account for the shortened rise time.

Even with identical brands and identical models of Bread Machines, there can be some differences. When the machines are manufactured, they try to produce them as identical as possible, but they ARE manufactured by humans and slight differences are a given. Even though the timers may be set the same, there could still be slight variations in the speed of mixing/kneading and/or in the temperature of the machine (rising temp and/or cooking temp). It may take a few loaves of bread to get the 'feel' of your machine before you turn out that perfect loaf. I have had some bread machines where the first loaf, and every loaf thereafter, turned out perfectly. But then I have also had bread machines that got very frustrating when it took 6 or 7 loaves to turn out a loaf that was 'acceptable' and a couple more to finally get it right. (chickens sure were happy, though). But once I got the 'feel' of that darned machine, it was smooth sailing.

Then there are the CRUST settings on the bread machines. One machine's DARK setting might be much darker than another's. One bread machine set to medium may be equivalent to another bread machine set on dark. One bread machine set on light might be absolutely perfect for you, while another one set to light might be way too light for you.

Your ingredients make a HUGE difference, too.  The moisture content of your ingredients not only will vary from brand to brand, but can also greatly vary from one shipment to another, or even change while it is setting in your cabinet (it can dry out or absorb moisture, depending on your weather, climate and  humidity levels in the air).  Thicker liquids (such as juices and pulp) used in your recipe may also have a great variance as to the amount of moisture in them, along with egg size. A larger egg will add more moisture than a smaller egg, and even a tablespoon of moisture can make a huge difference. I absolutely cannot express how much difference the moisture content of your ingredients can affect the outcome of your finished loaf of bread! This is a variable that is usually completely beyond your control, but completely within your control to be able to make necessary adjustments for a great finished product. Most bread still comes out pretty tasty, regardless of the resulting texture.

Because there can be so many variables to a great loaf of bread in a bread machine, recipes ARE NOT set in stone. Don't be afraid to play around with them and adjust them to what you like! Each time you make a loaf of bread, check your dough after it has mixed for a bit. Check it's appearance and give it a poke to see how it 'feels' (very carefully so as not to get your fingers in the paddle - DO NOT let kids do this!) Make sharp mental notes of this and, after a time, you will know exactly what your dough for a great loaf of bread is suppose to look and feel like so that you can make adjustments as necessary.

Make adjustments? Yes, you can make adjustments, even after all ingredients are in and it has begun mixing. On most bread machines, there is a 'bell' (okay, mine beeps) that goes off part way into the cycle to let you know it is time to add other ingredients, such as nuts, raisins, and any other things that you didn't want beat to death during the entire mixing process. All the way up to and including when this little bell goes off, you can add/adjust your ingredients. After you have learned what to watch for, if you think your dough is too dry, you can add a sprinkle more water (or liquid ingredient used). But be careful! A little bit of moisture will go a looooong way! The same holds true for your flour (dry ingredients). If your dough is looking to soft, or sticky, you can, during this same time frame, add a bit more flour (or dry ingredient). But once again, a little goes a long way. And even if it looks a bit sticky at this point, it will usually smooth out a bit after it mixes a little longer.

It really isn't complicated, though. It's just that, when you purchase a bread machine, you also need to add into your initial costs a big round of ingredients for testing purposes, understand that that is part of the process for beginning to learn to use a bread machine, and don't worry about a few lost loaves. Now, I said that, at times, I had some pretty happy chickens, but I wasn't always allowed to give those 'failed' loaves to the chickens. You see, even though I sometimes got (and still do when I get a new machine) frustrated because those first few loaves weren't coming out right, my family and friends around me WOULD NOT let me toss them out!!! They said that they were still MUCH BETTER than the store bought stuff and gobbled it all up, thoroughly enjoying it!!!

Don't be afraid of your machine, take notes each time you use it for awhile (and keep them handy for future use), and by all means, don't be afraid to experiment. Don't be too hard on yourself. And don't be afraid to deviate from, or play around with, your bread recipes. It's just bread. Regardless of how it turns out, your home is still going to be filled with the scrumptious aroma of baking bread, and that alone is worth the try! Even if the end result isn't what you were trying to achieve, chances are, it is still going to be pretty darned good bread!  Stay tuned for future Bread Machine Tips.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


 Years ago, when I worked in a grade school cafeteria, the green beans we were instructed to make were TERRIBLE! Upon seeing so many of them thrown in the trash, my co-worker, C, and I decided that we would create our own green bean recipe that the kids would like.

C and I compared how we each cooked green beans for our families, then combined our recipes together to create a Seasoned Green Bean recipe that the kids at school not only liked, but came back for seconds on! Not even the juice off of the was dumped.

After I eventually left for a different job, I continued to cook the C & A Green Beans for my own little brood at home..... they would have them no other way. And I still cook them this way for even just me. Here is our recipe:

Seasoned Green Beans
  •  9 slices (thin) bacon
  • 3/4 c. chopped onions (1 medium)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 (14.5-oz) cans cut or French Style green beans
  • 1/4 rounded tsp black pepper (or to taste - optional)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic (can also use garlic powder)
  • 1 T. butter
  • potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (optional)
 In a large cooking pot, fry bacon until nearly crisp.
 Remove bacon, crumble and set aside. Add onions and garlic to bacon grease and saute just until onions are tender.
Add green beans, pepper, salt, granulated garlic (or powdered), butter,  and crumbled bacon.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about one hour.
If desired, add in large, raw potato chunks during the last 20 minutes of cooking; continue cooking until potatoes are tender.
Serve as a side dish with your favorite entree, or on its own with a side of Fried Cornbread. Even finicky green bean eaters will come back for more! 

Note: this is definitely a dish where any of your ingredient amounts can vary to your own taste without harming the recipe.
For my own personal tastes, I use much more fresh garlic. 
This recipe can also be easily adapted for use with Fresh Green Beans.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bread On Monday - Blueberry Muffins

It has been a very hectic week. The flea market where I have my little shop at had it's HUGE annual Spring Fling sale this weekend. I am happy to say that it was a great success! I did not; however, get any baking done, although I have been dreaming all week of baking some fresh, hot, blueberry muffins. Since I am still just dreaming of them and haven't gotten to bake them yet, I thought I would at least share my recipe with you in case your are craving them, too, and have an hour or so free to get a batch made. Here is the recipe I came up with over the years, a recipe that has become my family's favorite!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • melted butter, optional
  • cinnamon, optional
  • extra granulated sugar, optional

In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside.  Beat together egg, oil and milk.  Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Fold in blueberries.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full with batter.  Bake in a pre-heated 400°F oven about 20 minutes or until lightly brown on top, but still moist.  Serve as is or, while warm, brush tops with melted butter and roll in granulated sugar.

Actually, our FAVORITE way is to stir a spoonful of cinnamon into half a cup to a cup of granulated sugar (amount of cinnamon is up to the personal taste), then roll the buttered muffin tops around in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.Oh, and if you like LOADS of blueberries in your muffins, it works just fine to add extras into the batter. This recipe also doubles well. I have even gotten lazy and baked it in a regular cake pan (as a quick bread) with great results.

I am determined to get some baked this week. When I do, I will post a pic of them with this recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wild Salad

   I love fresh, green salads! Often times I can make a whole meal off of them. When my body gets in its 'craving salad mode' (and it often does), I pretty much live on salads for days... even weeks .... at a time. Usually, this means that your body is needing something that is in the salads and you should go with your craving (so long as it is healthy stuff).

The other day I got in a MAJOR salad mood, didn't have any salad fixin's here at home, the salad items in the garden aren't ready yet, and I didn't want to drive in to town just to buy salad makings, so I decided to take a stroll in my yard to see what I could throw together. The picture you see on the left was the end result of my Wild Salad walk. Drizzled with a little "juice" I had saved from a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, I had a very tasty salad for the cost of nothing.

The wild greens that are available for a fresh salad vary greatly as the seasons change. But from late winter, all the way up until the weather really begins to get hot, you can almost always find a readily available supply of fresh greens for a very tasty fresh salad. But be sure and pick only greens that have not been touched by any chemicals, such as insecticides or fertilizers. Here is what this salad included:


  • Lambsquarters (wild spinach, goosefoot)
  • Asiatic Day Flowers (blue flowers and leaves)
  • Wood Sorrel (Sheep Showers - a very lemony flavor)
  • Wild Garlic Chives (from first year wild garlic)
  • Honeysuckle flowers
  • Mulberries (wild black)
  • Redbud Tree Leaves
  • Yellow Dock Leaves
  • Perilla Mint (Shiso)
  • Plantain (the green, leafy plant, NOT the bananas)
  • Chick Weed (a little difficult to find this time of year, but I found one in the deep shade)
Wash your salad ingredients thoroughly in cool water and pat dry with toweling. Although it is important to wash the dust, dirt and possible critter pee off of your fresh greens, I did not wash the delicate flowers, as they just seemed too delicate. 

The amounts of each green used are strictly up to the individual and their taste preferences. I used very little Perilla Mint because I don't care for its licorice flavor, but a little did lend a lot to the overall flavor blend of the salad. Some people, though, might like much more of the licorice-like flavor in their salad. Make sure you pick only the young, tender leaves of your greens for your raw salad, otherwise, they might be tough and/or too strong (overpowering other items in the salad mix). 

The mulberries are actually black mulberries (as you can see by the one on the upper right), but Dave and I recently ate all the ones we could reach on my tree as we stood and chatted one evening, so we are having to wait for some more to ripen. But the reddish ones were still very good in this salad.The flavors of them, the honeysuckle and the garlic... all in the same bite .... blend especially well. 

Serve with your favorite salad dressing and a slice of homemade bread or crackers. Mmmm..... it just doesn't get much better! 

 Note: The larger Redbud lambsquarters leaves were more for decoration. The younger, more tender ones in the salad were the ones for eating. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Sour Dough Starter

Many years ago, when my kids were small, I got started making Sour Dough French Bread. I made most of our regular bread but, since we loved garlic bread often, I still bought a lot of French bread. I finally got the courage to try making my own from scratch, beginning with the starter. We loved it so much that it became a regular staple in our home, along with many other breads that I experimented with making from that same starter.

My kids are all grown and moved out, now, so I haven't made any Sour Dough breads in a long while. But I have been thinking about it a lot lately, seems I have been craving it for some reason .... I guess deep down I have been missing it. I looked at it at the store but, besides the fact that it didn't even begin to compare to my homemade, the price was outrageous! So I have decided to brush the dust off of my old Sour Dough Starter recipe, mix up a batch, and enjoy a few loaves again. Only this time, I will have to make sure I keep a damper on the "sharing."

What do I mean by 'keeping a damper on the sharing?"  Well, besides the kids growing up and moving out, one of the biggest reasons I quit making it was that EVERYONE in the family loved it. They quickly learned when my baking days were and begged for me to bring them a loaf. First it was one, then two, then the list of bread hungry family and friends grew and grew. And of course, if I tried to make any excuses to any one of them, they would manage to somehow guilt-trip me into making them a loaf. So before you knew it, I had at least 3 batches of starter going at a time to keep up with the demand, and was having to purchase flour in VERY LARGE quantities. As you can guess, what I started out doing to have better quality and less expensive bread for my family, soon became very expensive and stressful. So I just quit making it. Now I am older, wiser, and can stand my ground a bit better. So if the list of family and friends that 'wants a loaf' of one of my Sour Dough breads shows any signs of, once again, beginning to grow, I think I will simply (and politely) remind them of my Market days and where I am set up.

Here is the recipe for my BASIC Sour Dough Starter:


  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm water (preferably spring or filtered, not municipal tap)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast (rapid rise yeast)

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly stir dry yeast into flour.  Add water and beat until mixture is well blended.  Cover with clean cloth and leave in a warm, draft free place about 20 to 48 hours.  Stir 2 to 3 times during that time.  Look for it to ferment, bubble and develop a sour smell.  Then it is ready to use.  Makes about 3 cups.

To replenish starter:   add equal parts flour and water to remaining starter.  Stir and let stand a few hours (8 to 10 hours) at room temperature until it bubbles again before covering and refrigerating.  Replenish starter about every 2 weeks. If you need a larger amount of starter, simply replenish again during that time before you have used any more out of it.

But I warn you, once you get started, and you turn out your first successful loaf, you will be hooked and addicted! I will be updating this post with pictures as my starter progresses. I will also be posting great bread recipes that utilize the starter in future posts, so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


From all of us here at TwoFarmsOne (Dave, Anna, and Critters).... we want to wish all of you mothers out there, and all of you who lovingly filled the role of a mother (weather you are a man or woman) the most BLESSED AND HAPPIEST OF Mother's Days!!!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fried Potatoes & Onions with a Twist

I love Fried Potatoes and Onions. Sometimes I get in the mood for them and practically live on them for days. Although there is a lot of health benefits to them, eating them for dinner several days in a row can leave you lacking in protein and green vegetables.

This week, once again, found me in a Fried Potatoes and Onions mood, but I decided I really needed to do something to make it a more well rounded meal. As I got the potatoes to cooking, I pondered what else I could toss in with them. The following is what I came up with. No, the ingredients are not in exact measurements. Every ingredient in this recipe is easily varied according to the individual taste bud. There are no right and wrong amounts of any one ingredient. So have fun with it and enjoy... it is REALLY GOOD!

Fried Potatoes & Onions with a Twist
  • 1 small to medium onion (variety is your choice, I used a strong yellow one)
  •  a few potatoes (I used 4 russets, but I especially like to use red for frying)
  • about a quart of fresh, cleaned lambsquarters (can also use fresh or frozen spinach or other greens, such as turnip or mustard)
  • fresh farm eggs (I used 4, a ratio of about 1 per potato)
  • salt to taste (and pepper if you wish)
  • cooking oil (I used peanut oil)
 In a large skillet, add just enough cooking oil to pool a little on the bottom of the skillet. I especially like to use a good, well-seasoned iron skillet for this.

While the skillet of oil is beginning to heat up, peel the onion, wash and chop it up into the skillet into medium-sized, uniform pieces. The size and shape of the onion pieces is strictly personal choice.

Next, peel, wash and slice up the potatoes, then add them into the skillet with the onions. Give a little stir to coat the potatoes with oil and move the cooking onions around a bit. I like to use a heavy spatula for this.

Continue to 'fry' the potatoes and onions, turning over occasionally, just until the potatoes begin to have a little 'give', but are still a little firm. At this point, place the fresh greens on top of all and spread out evenly in the skillet. Loosely place a lid over all so that the greens can begin to steam and wilt.

In a few minutes, after the greens have begun to really wilt, and using your spatula, turn everything over, spreading the greens around well. Loosely return the lid and continue this process every few minutes until the potatoes and the greens are done to your desired tenderness. But just before they hit the desired tenderness, add in a little salt (and other desired seasonings) to taste, keeping in mind that the lambsquarters are naturally salty tasting.

 Just as everything appears done to your liking, before you turn the heat off, break the eggs and drop them in on top of all (can pre-scramble the eggs if desired, but not necessary). Break the yokes and let the eggs begin to cook. Gently stir and fold everything in the skillet a few times as you allow the eggs to cook. They will cook very quickly!  Remove from heat and serve immediately, adding more salt if desired. Serve as is or topped with salsa, ketchup or Sweet Vidalia Onion salad dressing. An added side dish of fruit also goes great with it and helps to further balance out the meal. Not only is this meal highly nutritious, but ultra thrifty as well. I think that next time, I am going to try also adding in some fresh sliced mushrooms as I add in the greens. Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Lambsquarters Bread

Call it what you want.... Goosefoot, Goose Foot, Lambsquarters, Lambs Quarters, Wild Spinach, Pig Weed, Fat Hen, Poor Man's Spinach, and the list goes on and on. But whatever you want to call it, I call it DELICIOUS!!! It is one of the most versatile and nutritious vegetables that I know of. And I am thankful that I have been so very blessed to have it growing so abundantly on my front acre, so in the coming months, you will probably be seeing lots of recipes making good use of this wonderful green veggie.

This time I used it to make a great loaf of bread in my bread machine. It came out so good that I want to share it with you. Although I did write down how I did it as I went (in case it came out good and I wanted to make it again), I will warn you, all measurements are approximate. Although most are exact (as I used) in this recipe, I usually cook on the "dab of this, dash of that" method. Add in to the mix, there are many factors that can vary from batch to batch...such as - moisture content of your flour, amount of liquid in your soft ingredients, age of your yeast, type of sugar used, room temperature, atmospheric conditions, and the list goes on. So if it doesn't work out as well as you would like the first time, don't give up... try again, making adjustments accordingly! A bread recipe may come out somewhat differently from one person to the next, but all results are usually very good.

WILD SPINACH BREAD - For the Bread Machine

   3/4 cup wild spinach puree (fresh lambsquarter cooked tender, then pureed in a food processor)
   3/4 cup warm (not hot) filtered or spring water
   4 tsp. sunflower oil
   1 tsp. natural, unprocessed salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
   1 1/2 tsp. evaporated cane juice (granulated)
   3 1/2 cups bread flour (approximately)
   1 3/4 tsp instant yeast

Make sure the paddle is securely in place in the bucket of your bread machine. Nothing is much more upsetting on a loaf of bread machine bread than to anxiously have anticipated that finished loaf of bread, only to learn that you had forgotten to put the paddle in!

In the bottom of your bread machine bucket, place the spinach puree, warm water, sunflower oil, salt, and sugar (evaporated cane juice). Give it all a little mix. It doesn't have to be very thorough.

Add in the flour, making sure it spreads out to cover the liquid ingredients.

Make a small well in the flour and add in the yeast. Secure the bucket of ingredients into your bread machine, set it to White Bread - Medium Crust - and turn on according to your Bread Machine instructions.

After your bread dough has mixed for a few minutes, check it for proper moisture content. While you still have plenty of mixing time, decide if the dough texture is 'just right' or if it is too stiff (needs a sprinkle more water) or too soft (needs a sprinkle more flour). But KEEP YOUR FINGERS OUT OF THE RUNNING BREAD MACHINE!

When the cycle has completed and your bread is done, carefully remove (Carefully, it will be hot!) and lightly brush the entire outside of the loaf with melted butter. (I cheat and simply rub the stick of butter around all over the loaf. If the bread is hot, the butter melts as you rub it around over the bread.)  Let cool just a few minutes for easier slicing. Serve warm or slice cold for sandwiches. Would also make good croutons for salads.

This bread provides a great nutritional punch. It may also be a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies! For me, it made absolutely wonderful Grilled Cheese Sandwiches! I do hope you enjoy!

NOTE: Spinach or other greens can be used in place of the lambsquarters/wild spinach. It is measured AFTER it is pureed.
Also, this bread recipe is NOT restricted to just a bread machine. It works just as well mixed and kneaded by hand, then baked in your oven, as you would an average loaf of bread.  We loved this bread so much, I plan to put up small packages of cooked Lambsquarters in the freezer so that I can make it throughout the cold winter months to go with hot soups.

Monday, April 30, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Dave's Bread Creation

It is hard to remember when I became fascinated with cooking, but I know I was very young.  I grew up in the midst of home cooking and always enjoyed it.  Bread was something which, in my mind at least, bordered on true magic.  It seemed so difficult, yet so wonderful, and from my early childhood I can remember how precisely my mother followed the recipes (and there were many, in the search for one that would turn out right), and how carefully she measured ingredients.  Her bread, though I thought it was great, always turned out to be a disappointment to her.  It was always dense and heavy, never the light fluffy bread she strove for.

It was not until I was an adult that I finally mustered the courage to try making bread.  I looked over the recipe and couldn't see anything so difficult about it.  Then I asked a few older ladies in the community what their secret was, and got a variety of answers ranging from weather conditions to phases of the moon and everything in between.  I was even told that you have to hold your mouth just right when kneading.  The only thing the varied advice had in common was that the yeast had to be allowed to proof (bear in mind that they were not talking about instant yeast which does not have to proof), and that it took a lot of kneading.  Suddenly it was obvious to me that what my mother had always done wrong had nothing to do with ingredients, she was simply too impatient to allow the yeast to proof, and kneading took far to long for something that made no sense to her.  Later, experience showed me that she also made her dough far too dry.

With these thoughts in mind, I broke out the ingredients and proceeded to experiment.  I loosely followed the recipe this first time, but have not used a bread recipe (or measurement for that matter) since.  The ingredients are added until it "looks right", and though not totally consistent, is always edible.  Frustration, however, abounds when someone likes my bread and I can't give them the recipe.  Some have gotten angry over the years, believing that I was just being secretive even though I would have gladly given them a recipe if there had been one to give.  Fact is, that every batch is different simply because not only do I just throw some ingredients in a bowl and start kneading, the ingredients vary widely as well, depending on what I just happen to throw in that day.  A few days ago, was no exception, but this time (at Anna's urging) I measured what I threw in and wrote it down.  Anna was shocked at how much yeast I used and the fact that I let it proof, even though it is instant yeast (letting instant yeast proof is not necessary but a habit of mine and also makes the dough rise a bit faster).  Please keep in mind that the measures in the following recipe are approximate, and that nothing of this is graven in stone.  I have never found a precise formula that makes bread turn out perfect, but in my mind it is still a magical process, it just takes practice to make it YOUR magical process.

Not Sure What To Call It Bread:

51/2 - 6 cups unbleached flour      (5 cups in the bowl and the rest for working in later)
4 large, fresh eggs
2 tablespoons yeast (I used instant but any good yeast will do- remember, though, the measurements will be different)
3 tablespoons natural sugar (you can also use honey, molasses or any other natural sweetener)
1/2 cup warm water for yeast
1/4 cup milk (I used raw goat milk but any milk will do)
1 teaspoon unrefined salt
cooking oil or butter as needed   (I prefer olive oil or butter but any cooking oil will work)

Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water and set aside.  Keep in mind that yeast is a living thing and will crawl out of the cup and make a terrible mess if left unattended, so put it where you can watch it and make sure the cup is large enough for grow room.

Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, then add eggs, milk, and just before it comes out of the cup, yeast/sugar mixture.

Mix ingredients, adding a little water at a time until you have something of the consistency of thick, gooey batter.  Actually, you could think of it somewhere between batter and dough.

Lightly cover the dough with flour and start working it in between dough and bowl.  Work in enough flour so you can keep the dough from sticking to your hands but not too much to knead.  You will have to keep your hands floured during this process.  Careful not to work in too much flour, the end result should be a pretty soft dough.

Coat the top of the dough lightly with cooking oil, turn the dough over and coat what was the bottom and place in a bowl.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and put it in a warm place to rise.

When the dough has at least doubled in size, knead the dough thoroughly (you will need to flour your hands more for this.  Oil the inside of two loaf pans, divide the dough and place it in the pan, and oil the top.

Let rise again until almost double in size.

Place in the oven set at about 350° F.   NOTE:  Though it is against everything I have ever been taught, I do not pre-heat the oven for bread.  As the oven heats, the dough will get a little boost on the rise, so don't let it rise above the edge of the pans before putting in the oven unless you have pre-heated.  I can't give you an amount of time to leave it in the oven simply because I forgot to look at the clock, so leave it in until golden brown and the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped with your fingernail.

From the pics, you can see that it made full firm loaves.  What you can't see is how fast it disappeared and the satisfied looks on people's faces.  I hope you will enjoy, and above all, experiment a little and make it your own.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fried Cornbread

As do most people, I often get 'in the mood' for certain foods. Lately, it has been cornbread that I have been craving. Add in to that, Dave and I have had some conversations lately about how each of us makes cornbread (which is slightly different from each others) and that has made me even more hungry for cornbread.  But what I have REALLY been hungry for was some Fried Cornbread.

When I was little, my mom made Fried Cornbread on occasion. I absolutely loved it and could never get enough of it. I loved it hot, right out of the pan (I had a hard time waiting that long for it to get done) ... I loved it warm, just as it had cooled a little ... I even loved it cold the next day ( on the rare occasion there was any leftover) ... and I even loved it made into grape jelly sandwiches.  Just the minute I was old enough to make it myself, I did! (well before I was a teen)

Once I started making it myself, I often changed the recipe to suit my mood and/or the meal I was making it to go with. To serve with a bowl of Pinto beans, I used very little sugar in it (but just a little makes it brown nicely), and if I was making it for breakfast or just a snack, I added a little more sugar. If I wanted it more cake-like, I used an extra egg. But they were always good no matter how I made them.

Over the years I have played with the recipe and changed it so much (especially now since I use as many natural ingredients as possible) that my own recipe has evolved. Here is my recipe that I now use:


1 Cup yellow Cornmeal (NOT mix)
½ Cup unbleached flour
1/3 tsp salt (unrefined - I use pink Himalayan)
1 tsp. unrefined sugar (evaporated cane juice - can add more or less to taste)
2 tsp aluminum free Baking Powder
1 whole egg (mine is kind of large)
1 Cup fresh whole milk (more or less for proper consistency)
1½ tsp corn oil
1 T. minced onion (optional and/or to taste)
Your favorite fat/oil/grease for frying

 In a heavy frying pan (I prefer cast iron for this) add just enough cooking grease to completely cover the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. I use peanut oil or lard for these. Preheat while you are mixing the batter.

In medium mixing bowl, add cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Stir until well mixed; set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, place egg, cornmeal and milk. Lightly whisk together. 
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, along with the minced onion, and stir just until completely blended. If necessary, add a little more milk to get the consistency you like. Thicker batter makes taller cakes ... thinner batter makes bigger, thinner cakes.

Drop batter by spoonfuls into the hot skillet. Using the back of your spoon, slightly spread each cake out. Cook until bubbly all across and browned on the bottom. Flip over and finish cooking until done inside and browned on other side. Serve hot or let cool and store away for later use.  Enjoy!

Also good with your favorite Mexican cornbread ingredients added in.