Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stuff at the Cottage

We finished off our sunporch!

mudroom side

den side

A cat decided to join the family last year, she showed up in our yard in October and adopted us.

The Old House

I never posted pics of The Old House outside.  It's been sold to the tenants now.

Here's the befores:

And after, had to use the onfile image for it, it is really cuter in person

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cottage Pie

That's really what it's called. We made it for dinner tonight. It's easy and yummy. When we make it, we use an older enameled cast iron casserole. You can adjust to your size pan.

1LB ground beef. We used 90/10 organic
1/2 bag frozen peas
1/2 bag frozen corn
3 medium potatoes
1 onion
Parmesan and romano cheese, grated

Chop the onion. Put in frying pan with beef and cook, season to taste (tonight I used: salt, pepper, onion powder, a pinch of ginger, turmeric, cayenne, dill and marjoram). Boil the frozen veggies until hot, strain. Cook the potatoes, mash. Layer into the pan-meat, veggies then mashed potatoes. Sprinkle top with cheeses. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 (in our oven, that's 350ish). Done. Yum.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I can't believe I didn't know this

So I found this on Pinterest Growing Luffas blog post and I still can't believe it. How did I not know that Luffas are grown on vines, and that I could grow them?! For some reason I thought they came from the ocean, like some type of sponge. Well, now I will have to find some seeds to start and try to grow them this year. Because who WOULDNT want to grow a luffa? Amazing.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Heating with wood...oops.

So, one of the biggest adjustments to heating with wood is a lack of a thermostat.  While for the most part it means you need to do some work to have heat (the stove doesn't have a gas or oil line feeding it like a furnace, YOU have to feed it), it also means that you have to control the temperature by controlling the amount of wood and air.  It's been pretty cold here lately.  Single digits, negative digits.  Like -10.  Air temp.  We got pretty used to that.  However, recently we had a little break (it's over.  It's -3 right now) and hit 20's.  Great, right?  Except we got a little too used to 2 instead of 22.  And it was 83 in here.  Oops. 

Well, it's better than being cold, right?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy late Valentines!

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day! We ate at our favorite place…the Cottage. We do go out on occasion but the more we cook the more we find we are less impressed with the food we get when doing so. Dessert was fantastic, so I’ll share a photo and the super easy recipe:

Fried dough with strawberries and ice cream Yes, you can make fried dough at home and it’s easy. You might be wishing I hadn’t told you that. It’s pizza dough that you fry. Simple as that.

Here’s the recipe we use for the dough:

http://www.pizzacrustyeast.com/Detail.aspx?id=8abc6c42-6877-4d25-9254-99ada3ddf285 (buy the pizza yeast if you can find it.  Much less yeasty)

1-3/4 to 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Fleischmann's® Pizza Crust Yeast
OR Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very warm water (120 to 130°F)*                     

Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Add very warm water and oil; mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky. Knead** on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes.  (If using RapidRise Yeast, let dough rest at this point for 10 minutes.)

*If you don't have a thermometer, water should feel very warm to the touch.

**To knead the dough, add just enough flour to the dough and your hands to keep the dough from sticking.  Flatten dough and fold it toward you.Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion.  Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat the "fold, push and turn" steps.  Keep kneading dough until it is smooth and elastic.  Use a little more flour if dough becomes too sticky, always working the flour into the ball of dough.

The strawberry topping is equally easy:
Cut strawberries into small pieces. We used frozen organic since our garden didn’t give us enough to keep this past summer. We’re moving them this coming spring, it seems like they get too much shade.
Sprinkle with sugar to taste. You don’t need a lot. I used about a ½ teaspoon for 5-6 berries. Microwave for 1-2 minutes (I was close to 2 minutes because ours were frozen)
You can add a little corn starch to thicken the juice, but you don’t need to. I didn’t.

We bought the ice cream. We’ll be venturing into the realm of homemade ice cream soon. Too many “natural flavors” in everything anymore. I imagine whatever they are, they aren’t good or they would listed as what they actually are.

Once your dough has proofed and risen, roll it out. You can leave it in a single big piece (size to fit your fryer so that it is all in the oil at once) or cut into smaller pieces. Heat your fryer oil to frying temperature. We don’t have a thermometer so I can’t say how hot it is. If you don’t have a fryer, you can use a pan-we use a deep cast iron pan as a fryer. Drop the dough into the oil carefully-don’t splash yourself with the oil, it’s hot! Let it cook to medium brown on each side-it doesn’t take long to cook so watch carefully. We use a pair of tongs to flip it. It only takes about a minute total to cook so you aren’t going to want to walk away from it!

Remove the fried dough from the heat and put on a plate. We sprinkled a little powdered sugar on ours, then poured on the strawberries and added a couple scoops of ice cream. YUM!

We only used half of the dough for fried dough. You can store it for a few days in the fridge, but we made a pizza with the other half of the dough. We made it in a standard size cast iron frying pan.

 Here’s the pizza:

As you might have noticed, we’ve been cooking a lot lately. Well, it’s cold. Still. Sunday AM it was -4 air temp. Right now as I type this at about 9:30 pm on Monday it's -7. AIR temp.  I don't want to look at wind chill.  -7 is cold enough.  That pretty much puts a damper on anything outdoors. About all that’s been happening outside is plowing snow and bringing in wood. I should post some pics of that. We have a little Ford 120 tractor to plow the snow. I’ve also been using a flying saucer (sled) to bring the wood to the house. There’s enough snow that it’s easier than tramping through it carrying it. Plus I can bring more per trip!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Goings on about the Cottage

It's been rather cold out around here for the past week. As of right this moment, it's 18 and I just actually said out loud "hey, it got warm out-it's 18". Yeah, it's been cold. That means it's a perfect time to cook and bake! Right now there is fresh bread in the oven and we're softening up some kidney and great northern beans for chili. We just pulled some hamburger soup off of the stove and we're soaking some dried lima beans for vegetable soup. The hamburger soup was pretty easy to make, and it was pretty good. We might add a little more spices or garlic and onion powder next time.

Here's the recipe:
a dash of olive oil
a pad of butter
(those two are to taste)
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 1/2 pound ground beef
32 oz tomato soup
32 oz beef broth
1 1/2 cup of ditalini pasta
1 1/2 cups of corn (we'll probably add a little more next time)

In a skillet (we use cast iron), warm the oil and butter, the add the chopped onion and garlic, cook down until soft. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. In a soup pot, add the tomato soup and broth, bring to a simmer. Add the onion, garlic and beef. In another pot, cook the pasta. Add the cooked (and drained) pasta and corn (we used frozen) to the soup pot and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Done. Easy peasy and yummy!!

Here's the soup. Sorry, I didn't do a whole photo shoot set up but you get the idea!

The bread (I'll have to get the recipe from Mr Eclectic, he is the baker here) This is an enameled cast iron pan. We also have a regular cast iron bread pan that's from Lodge. The enameled one came from a yard sale for $10, and also has a lid. It's Klafrestrom. We have a smaller version as well, that we picked up at an antique shop for $5. What a deal! It has risen:

And it's in the oven:

So here's an illustration of just how cold it is. This is the storm window in the kitchen. Nice view, huh?

Despite the cold temps we don't have much snow-the grass is visible pretty much anywhere the wind could blow the snow away. I'd like to see a few more inches so that the gardens have a "blanket" to help insulate against the freezing temps. The ice has grown on the lake from pretty much a tiny bit on the shoreline to quite a bit floating about. I've got to recharge the batteries on my little camera, then I'll take a photo of that to add.

And now...the finally food tally of the day!  Bread is out and done, chili is cooking in the slow cooker.  We made roast beef and roast a whole chicken.  That is one of our favorite meals.  So easy.  One whole chicken in a cast iron dutch oven for an hour and a half at 350. Tomorrow the rest of the chicken will become chicken pot pies and or chicken soup (after I boil the bones for stock).  We'll also make the vegetable soup and maybe some chicken nuggets to freeze (also easy-bread some cut breast or thigh meat and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, then cool and freeze for quick meals later).