Try it Thursday: Gingerbread Loaf

One of the things I remember about my childhood was when my momma would make a gingerbread cake with fresh whipped cream, it was a treat for sure. Every year, I promise myself I would try to make a gingerbread house: that hasn’t happened yet. In fact, they intimidate me. So I decided I wanted to make some gingerbread. Didn’t want to do cookies, too much like the houses. A decorated cake, nah…too much work; not enough energy. A loaf!! That’s it! So off to Pinterest I went! They have to have at least one easy gingerbread loaf.
Found one! A gingerbread loaf with cream cheese frosting, OK I can live with that. Gathered and shopped for my ingredients then  found I had forgotten applesauce at the store. Not a fan of the less calorie thing anyway: so…back to Pinterest I went. New recipe should include; No applesauce, no long list of ingredients and some yummy frosting. I came up with a Spiced Gingerbread Loaf; it had a different frosting, but I think I will stick to the cream cheese frosting.
 done
yield: 1 LOAF prep time: 10 MINUTES total time: 1 HOUR, 10 MINUTES (PLUS COOLING)
Ingredients:
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup (180ml) unsulphured or dark molasses
3/4 cup (180ml) hot water (about 100°F (38°C))
1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Orange Icing (I didn’t use this one)
1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted 
2-3 Tablespoons (30-45ml) orange juice
Frosting
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (I used fresh orange juice and a touch of orange peel)
  • 4-6 tablespoons milk
Directions:
1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper together until combined. Set aside. In a separate bowl or dish, whisk the molasses and hot water together.
3. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed for 1 minute until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the hot water/molasses and mixing each addition just until incorporated.
Avoid over-mixing. Batter will be thin. Whisk out any big lumps. 
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for around 50-60 minutes or until the gingerbread loaf is baked through. All ovens are different and your loaf could take a little more or less time. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the gingerbread loaf. If it comes out clean with only a couple moist (not wet) crumbs, it is done. Allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack before removing from pan.
5a. Make the icing: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice together. Drizzle over cooled loaf. 
5b. For the frosting, in a medium bowl cream together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth and spreadable. Spread over cooled gingerbread loaf. Allow to set up for 1 hour (or if you can’t wait you can serve it immediately, but I like it best when the frosting has a chance to set up a bit!). Store in airtight container
Finished Gingerbread Loaf
6. Leftover loaf keeps well covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavor gets even better after a day or two!
Make ahead tip: The loaf can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Loaf can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving
Recipe says it takes 10 minutes to prepare, it took me a bit longer. Didn’t help that I flung the water and molasses all over the kitchen floor. I really enjoyed baking this, really miss my baking days. The smell of this loaf is just amazing!! Little bit stuck to the bottom of the pan and I had three people fighting for the crumbs!
Well. That’s helpful. We’ll put an APB out on the Gingerbread Man. I’m not hopeful it’ll do us much good, though. Word on the street is you can’t catch him.
Joe Hill
DK
**this recipe is not all mine, no copy write infringement meant**
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Try it Thursday: Knitting

Have you ever tried to knit? Have you ever wanted to learn to knit?
I love to knit; however, I can only knit one blanket pattern. It’s so easy and just as easy to change sizes. When I first started making them, I was making them for the babies of coworkers; I had one mom tell me she called it her daughters “crack” blankie, as she absolutely loved the blanket and wouldn’t give it up. I was absolutely addicted to the blankets, I found any reason to make them and they were great to work on when there was down time on the job, and it’s always made me happy to give these blankets.
Then I ran out of babies. So, I tried bigger ones for adults; LOTS of work with those and very heavy to carry into work; and it seemed, they were not as appreciated for the big people as they were by the little people. I was sad. I continued to make them though, running to every yarn sale at the craft stores, changing colors, sizes, yarn types:  just making them makes me happy. I ended up with about 25 I sent to the victims advocacy program and then 25 went to a church ministry. NOW, I have a boat load of partial yarn skeins, so I just use them up. Start with these two colors, one ends, change colors and move on.  Are the blankets perfect? Absolutely not! They aren’t meant to be. But, they are always made with love and I  pray the person getting the blanket can feel that love that’s tucked into each knit and purl stitch.
I have been lagging on knitting, instead always finding something else to do. Then, I got a new baby to knit for. My granddaughter. She’s not here yet, so I have time to make (try to make) a new pattern.
A New Beginning
Granddaughters Blanket Don’t tell her mom about it.
Besides working on the granddaughters blanket; I have challenged myself to start making scarves to leave in the parks for those in need. Yes, I am still making the blankets too, I always feel better after I’ve taken some time to knit, think and pray.
What is this amazing knit pattern? It’s all over Pinterest sometimes in this color or that color, but it’s like the most popular easy blanket to do.  I do make mine just a bit differently; instead of just one color of yarn, I use two complimenting colored yarns of the same weight. If you make it with a larger and smaller weight, it becomes wonky, and you don’t want wonky. It does cost a bit more to do it that way, but I believe, it’s a bit warmer with the two strands instead of just one.
Try it out, let me see yours. If you knit, show me some of your knitting.
Knitting not only relaxes me, it also brings a feeling of being at home.
Magdalena Neuner
DK

Try it Thursday: Quick Breads

One of the things I like to do most is bake. It’s been awhile, but I am getting back into the swing of things. This week we indulged in two separate breads; one savory, one sweet; both quick breads. (Not so sure why it’s called quick bread when it needs to bake for an hour)
The definition of quick bread according to Dictionary.com is
“quick bread
noun
bread, muffins, etc., made with a leavening agent, as baking powder or soda, that permits immediate baking”
First up
 Cheddar and Dill Buttermilk Quick Bread
        Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (didn’t have fresh dill, so I used dried dill weed)

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350° degrees.
  • In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg.
  • Whisk the melted butter into the buttermilk mixture.
  • Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mix, and gently combine until just combined. Don’t over mix the batter.
  • Stir in the shredded cheese and dill.
  • Line a 9 x 5 baking tin with parchment paper and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

I am the baker (cook) who needs to use every pot, pan, mixing bowl and spoons on every project. I have gotten better through time; However, I have 3 sets of measuring spoons and cups just so I can keep dry dry and wet wet.
Next up is Banana Bread. I have to say, I would love to eat Banana Bread every day! I just love it. I want to try a chocolate Banana Bread soon!
    Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 ripe bananas
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  •   (I used 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon rum extract)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. With a large spoon and bowl, mix butter into the mashed bananas. then mix the sugar egg and vanilla into the bananas. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last and mix. Pour batter into a buttered 4 X 8-inch loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.
Cool on a rack, slice and serve!
Best served hot with a slather of butter on it!
Well, it looks like I didn’t take a picture of the banana bread. Whoops
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Adjustment for 5000 feet:
  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.
  • Increase oven temperature by 25° degrees F.
On both recipes I should have adjusted for high altitude. The bread came out good, but not the big fluffy bread, more like a brick (but not too heavy we couldn’t eat it).
Cooking and baking is both physical and mental therapy.
Mary Berry
DK

Try it Thursday: Painting Rocks

Well, since I thought it would be more fun to spend Thursday in bed all day with a migraine, I will share Try it Thursday today.
I really like the idea of Kindness Rocks. So, I’ve been painting and hoarding them lately, instead of leaving them around the town, I get attached to them.  Today, I had my niece’s Littles over for some painting fun; I decided, painting may be just a bit more messy for a 3 and 5 year old, so I broke out the markers. Little Miss O and I had found a rock downtown one time and I told her we should do that too. She thought that would be cool and time went on. I found a day where she was free and I was free and we invited Grammy and Little Miss A to have some rockin fun!
If you haven’t heard of the new craze check out the Kindness Rocks Project.
What will you need (to start out)
~Rocks…
many people like to get flat rocks
round rocks, heart shaped
whatever speaks to you
If you get rough rocks and want a smooth surface, most people use a type of wood filler. I like the cracks and crevices in my rocks, so I work them into my piece of “art”.
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~Paint…
You can use water or acrylic paints, I prefer acrylic. I can get a 2 oz bottle of Apple Barrel for just .50¢ at a big box store and an 8 oz bottle of the more commonly used colors for about $2.50.
The craft stores have lots to choose from too, but they are just about double the cost.
Paint Brushes
You can also use markers. They are a little harder to seal, they tend to run if not totally dry.
~ Sealer…
I use Modge Podge. It’s easy to use, not too expensive and can be found in most stores. This will help seal in the paint and not let it run. However, MP is water soluble, so you will also need another sealer. I use a clear acrylic sealer spray. I’m sure there are paint on, but I like the spray better. You also have the choice of matte (“dull” or flat color) or glossy (shiny) sealer. What you choose to use is up to you and your designs. I have the glossy right now, but will be getting the matte soon.
**Your first step is to collect your rocks. You can also purchase them on line or at craft stores, I’m all about saving money, I get them out of my back yard.
**Next, you want to make sure to wash them as paint won’t stick to the dirt on the rocks. I wash them in really hot water and soap. I let them soak for a bit and then rinse them off really good to get all the soap and dirt off then I put them back outside in the sun to dry.
**Painting is next. There are so many ways to do this, this is my way. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just my way. Depending on my design, I will either paint the entire rock or I will paint one area at a time. Make sure you let it dry between coats.
**Once you have your design complete and it’s dry (I suggest letting it dry for at least 24 hours), then you coat the design and rock with the Modge Podge. I do 2-3 coats, just to make sure everything is sticking and covered.
**Time to spray the sealer. This should be done outside or in a well vented area, cause it stinks!! Do a couple of coats on one side, make sure it’s dry and then spray the back or other side.
**When they are completely dry, you can take them out and leave them to inspire others. They have been left at churches, schools, hospitals, parks, mostly outside areas.
Just a few notes I’ve learned.
…Don’t leave or take rocks from National Parks, Wilderness areas or Forest. They consider this littering and live by the motto “Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints”.
…don’t be hard on yourself. I am not an artist at all. I’m not trying to impress anyone, I’m trying to lift spirits. and….we all have to start somewhere
…get the kids involved. it’s nothing but paint, rocks, words, random acts of kindness, but mostly it’s making memories with the kiddos.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Aesop
DK

Try it Thursday: #KindnessMatters T-Shirts

I gotta say, this summer has flown by so very quickly, sometimes I don’t know if I am coming or going. Today we have the Sisters Craft Day.
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Awhile back I saw a photo of a #KindnessMatters t-shirt on Pinterest I wanted to get, however, it was just a bit outside of my price range, so I resorted to the most resourceful person I know, my sister. She has a Cricut, not the bug type, but the craft thing. We had discussed making my t-shirts awhile back but like I said, the summer and the days flew by. Finally, she had time, I had time and it was girls day out. First we went out to lunch at a neighborhood restaurant, it’s the diner type of food, you know, the large portions, the great food, the cheap prices? Sister got a grilled cheese and french fries and I got two eggs, two pieces of bacon and one (HEAVENLY) biscuit with gravy! Food was marvelous, however, the waitress scared us both a time or two. But, we talked, ate and had some girl fun.
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Off to the Dollar Store after we checked out the Estate Sale shop. I have to say, it’s a good thing I have no room and on a budget, I found so many items in the Estate Sale shop!! Sister and her hubby remodeled their house over the past few months and decided to add chickens to the mix, so she was on the lookout for a decorative chicken, not a real one. Sadly, we went home without a chicken.
Off to the Craft Store. We had COOPNS! Good coupons along with some pretty good sale prices too! Found me a couple of t-shirts in colors I love and found some glittery vinyl to compliment the t’s with the hashtag #KindnessMatters on them. While she’s checking those out, I’m checking out paint for painted rocks. Truth be told, I love going to the craft store and love to look at lots of stuff and therefore, hard to keep track of.
Back to the story!
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Sister being crafty and working hard.
Who knew there were so many fonts to choose from! We found a couple of different ones we thought would look good and away she went. Setting up the system, creating the wording, printing them off, then she did something called weeding (you will notice, there are no weeds in the house and it was 95* outside, I was so glad she didn’t mean we had to actually go outside and weed). Center the wording. Measure twice, cut once, wait! we aren’t cutting anything. She did trust me with the chore to keep the iron on and hot, she must not have heard about my fights with the glue gun.
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No worries though, I didn’t let it turn off, fall off or burn me. I had a successful day!  

Once the transfer was on the back, we decided we should also add the #bekind to the sleeve. However, #bekind looked a bit off so it was changed to #BeKind.

So the T-Shirts turned out awesome! Huge thank you to my Sister for helping me! Who knows what Girls Craft day will be next time!

 

“You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you…”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

 

DK

Try it Thursday: Lazy Peach Pie

In case you have missed it, Peaches are a pretty big deal around these parts. I mean, Palisade is known as the Peach Capitol of Colorado. I would say the world, but I don’t know that I’ve had fresh Georgia Peaches.

 

One of my most favorite desserts EVER!!! Is Lazy Peach Pie. I got this recipe from a friend back in the early 90’s (1990’s not, 1890) as it was so darn delicious, the recipe is so stinking easy, there really is no reason not to have it every day of the week. I love it best when it comes out of the oven, but WARNING! It’s HOT! And I have such a time waiting for it to cool enough, 90% of the time, I burn my tongue and it doesn’t even upset me. It makes for great left overs too! However, most times, there are no left overs. I may have to start making them in secret! 
Lazy Peach Pie
Ingredients:
1 stick of butter (can use margarine, but why?)
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of All Purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 quart peaches or other fruit, undrained
***I used my freshly picked peaches from the trip to Palisade the day before. 
I used 5 large peaches, skinned and sliced
1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar (brown or white, I used brown this time)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice 
Mix all together and let set for at least 2 hours. 
(should have taken a photo of these, but I didn’t..whoops)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop up butter stick into smaller cubes and put in 9″ x 13″ baking dish, then into the oven. (**This will melt while the oven is heating up. If you forget to throw it in the oven, no worries, just melt it in the microwave.)
Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and milk in a bowl, until everything is blended.
Remove baking dish from oven and pour the batter into the pan.
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Place peaches on top (I like to arrange them nicely) of batter
Pour juice from the fruit on top of the peaches.
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Bake 1 hour or until golden brown.
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Let cool at least 30 minutes before digging in otherwise, blow on it!! It’s HOT!!!
Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or by itself
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August brings into sharp focus and a furious boil everything I’ve been listening to in the late spring and summer.
Henry Rollins
DK

Try it Thursday: Christmas in July

OK, I know it’s not July still, but I thought about doing Christmas in July too late. So, I will be doing some more random ones through the rest of the holiday season.
Today we do another tree. I already had the form so I was saving money. Right?
I found several different instructions and since I am working with a budget, I found I really liked the one with buttons. I LOVE to collect buttons, I have some of my grandfathers, some new ones, some from the store, but I had to purchase some gold(ish) ones for the look I wanted. I didn’t use any of the fancy buttons of my grandfathers, saving those for something else.
Off to the hobby store to find some gold or Christmasy buttons. B was in the car with me, in fact he was driving, so he also got the pleasure of taking me to the hobby store. I have to say, he is not one for the hobby stores, but he does make times fun. I’ve learned  to play WITH the shenanigans instead of against them. Usually we end up with lots of people laughing with us, which is better than laughing AT us…which that happens too.
Bruce
Yes, I LOVE going to the hobby store
Anywho Back on track.
I had my tree form, buttons, stick pins and glue gun.
Glue gun wasn’t in the project, however, when I got to pinning, there were gaps and instead of the pin heads on the teeny tiny buttons, I just glued them on.
Start from the bottom of the form and work your way up, I found it easier to use bigger buttons on the bottom and then different sizes on the way up. Make sure you secure the button with a stick pin (and maybe even a splash of hot glue). I choose the pin heads with a white pearl color instead of just a white; I wanted red, but didn’t find any. I found a small box of the pins for just $4.99 for 150, my buttons were on sale for 50% off (regular price was $5.99 for 32) for just $3.00; the cost of the tree, just about $10.
Randomly add your buttons all the way up, took me about 45 minutes to complete. May have taken just a little less if I hadn’t decided to hot glue a button to my finger. Yes, it stuck, yes it burned and yes, it blistered. I know, I know, I gave the PSA about using HOT glue guns, which makes this even worse to tell. Once I started, I thought of all kinds of other things I could do to this, but I just didn’t have the buttons I really wanted.
Since I had a Christmas back drop, I took a “family” photo of the trees
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Hope you enjoyed the Tree Series. Next week, Peaches!!! It’s harvest time!
“The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort towards wholeness.”
― Madeleine L’Engle,
DK