Friday, November 30, 2007

Super Easy, No Knead, Crusty Bread

This week my copy of Mother Earth News came and yesterday I finally got a chance to skim through it. I don't agree with most of MEN, but I enjoy all the Do It Yourself articles as well as the living simply attitude.

This month's recipe featured a crusty bread recipe that I highly recommend. This is a European-style bread. What do the Europeans do differently than we Americans? We use lots of yeast and make our bread within a few hours. In Europe, the average recipe calls for 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon yeast and overnight rising. It takes a little bit of forethought to bake this way, but the results are worth it! Click on the above for the actual recipe.

The key to making this crusty bread is the cast iron dutch oven. The loaf you see in the picture contains 2 cups freshly ground, whole wheat flour and 1 cup white flour. It was delicious and made enough for everyone in our family to get one slice. So tonight I started two batches, one like today's batch, and a batch with all white flour. I know the white loaf will be worth nothing nutritionally, but I'm curious to see how much higher the dough rises.

I am also anxious to try baking this loaf in two different ways. Tomorrow I hope to bake one loaf in our wood-fired bake oven, and maybe one outside in some coals. It depends on the breeze/wind. So come back for pictures of tomorrow's experiment!Doesn't it look yummy, even with my poor picture?

I have great hopes for getting a lot of sewing accomplished tomorrow. Have an enjoyable Saturday.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baltimore Mandolin Concert

One of my favorite internet radio stations is called Old Fashioned Christian Music Radio. It is played out of Texas. The man who runs the station is very discerning and I have never heard anything offensive on this station. That doesn't mean everything would be appropriate for a Sunday morning worship service, but there has never been anything played that I had to turn off the volume. What a treasure in this day and age!

So last year I was listening and I heard a beautiful song played by the Chicago Mandolin Orchestra. Click on their name to hear their music.
I had never heard of a mandolin orchestra before! So I googled "Maryland+mandolin+orchestra" and sure enough, I found the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra! Click here to hear their wonderful music. So for the past year I have been waiting for the BMO to have a free concert that fit into our schedule. It finally happened last night. We drove 2 hours to Goucher College in Towson. Wow, was it ever worth it!
We learned all about the mandolin. From the 1880s to about the late 1920s, was the Golden Age of the Mandolin, which came from Italy. Here in our country, in the early 1900s, mandolin orchestras were very popular and could be found in most towns and cities, and on practically every college campus. Indeed, the director looked it up, and sure enough, Goucher College had a mandolin club in 1907!
The orchestra played a delightful mix of music last night. A John Philip Sousa march, a Scott Joplin rag, the traditional Italian song, Santa Lucia, a blues song, a variation of the William Tell Overture, and two Italian songs that were accompanied by an Italian Opera Soprano singer. There was no boredom here! Five of our children went and they all thoroughly enjoyed it and asked if we could go again.The BMO was founded in 1924 and the man who started it bought a bunch of instruments to get started. Some of those same instruments are being used by the orchestra today! The conductor/director pointed out all of the different instruments.

The pictures above show a man playing the typical bowlback mandolin. The second man is standing beside a mandobass. (The mandocello looks like a weird guitar.) And to add a deeper, mellow sound, the orchestra has 3 classical guitarists.

The orchestra draws from far. Several people drive an hour or more for practice once a week. I read on the website that people can join the orchestra after just a few lessons. Sure is tempting!

So for now I will keep an eye on their concert series and see when the next freebie comes up. Hope you are driving safely. We saw 3 dead deer along the road last night.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, November 26, 2007

Susie comes to visit

My cousin, Susie (far right), surprised us with a visit this weekend. My children love it when Sue visits. She always has the time to sit and listen to their endless stories and jokes. Susie's children are grown and gone, so I guess she misses the noise occasionally. Of course, I enjoy catching up with Sue. All it takes is a minute and it feels like old times!

Susie and I are 2 months apart in age. We grew up on the same street and went to the same high school. Sue went with me to drop off my children at Mom's home for piano lessons, so we hiked down to the pond. Dad had my nephew make this log cabin out of logs that came from a demolition job he did. It isn't quite finished yet, but we already love it. Doesn't it look nice!
The cabin is at a fork in the woods. Each path leads to a pier. I took this picture from the porch of the cabin.This is the second pier. Until today, I hadn't realized how low the pond is from the drought. There are many stumps showing that have been underwater. Dad is hoping to dig the stumps out before the water rises.

Susie will be here until Tuesday. She helped us put together a quilt kit tonight. She works in a sewing store and feels right at home with fabric.

Have a good week. Hope you have recovered from your Thanksgiving Holiday.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

Yesterday's Thanksgiving celebration was fun. All my brothers and their families eventually showed up. Dad came, but Mom stayed home with a headache that wouldn't go away.
We had fun playing games with Dad all afternoon.
Allen and Cody enjoyed several rounds of checkers and chess.
Floyd and Cecilia always find relief from the noisy crowd in the living room. When I took this picture I thought Cecilia was sleeping. But she yelled, "Hey, you didn't give me a chance to suck in my stomach!" As if she even has a stomach!
Dad spent the evening in his usual fireside spot, but we didn't have a fire for him. The day was quite warm, but once the storm passed through quickly, the temps dropped dramatically. No one had brought their coats in, and it was pretty cold when they ran to their cars afterwards.

Just as my family was leaving, Anna, Drew and Ted came. So we put on another pot of coffee and had fun catching up on their lives. Anna brought these flowers ~ aren't they beautiful and cheery?
I couldn't resist taking a picture of my hubby's breakfast plate this morning. Usually Mike eats a bowl of oats and nuts. Not so today! Two slices of scrapple (a rare treat here) and a slice of both pecan and blueberry pies!

This afternoon Mike took the five youngest children to the "back forty" and let them target shoot with ole Betsy, a 22.
Doesn't Allen look happy? Allen is such a man's man ~ he loves hunting and fishing, and all the things that men love.
Lizzie looks like a pro!
Even Anna looks like she's been shooting daily.
And Ruthie got some help from Daddy. But she sure enjoyed it!
This poor shot-up pumpkin was one of three targets. Looks like they have good aim!

This evening is quiet. Sarah, Maggie and Anna went to a youth get-together for prayer and fellowship. Ruthie fell asleep at dinner. The remaining four of us are going to watch a video called "Rodeo Bloopers." I expect the girls to be home early since Sarah spent the night at Walmart, and Anna went shopping with her Daddy at 4:30 am. They said it was worth it since they got the great deals they wanted.

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 100:3-5 "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."

Artwork by Ruthie

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

St. Mary's County Stuffed Ham (northern county style)

Today we made the northern style (boiled as apposed to southern style that is baked) Stuffed Ham. My family moved to this county in 1978 when there were mostly large, Catholic farm families. Every Thanksgiving, our local newspaper would feature a large family sitting around the kitchen table, chopping cabbage, kale and onions with knives. It was a big event.

Well, it took us an hour today to make ours, thanks to our Cuisinart 14-cup food processor! Here's my recipe:

20-25 lb corned ham
5 med heads cabbage
1 bag onions
40 oz kale
3 tblp salt
4 tblp mustard seed
2 tblp celery seed
2 tblp crushed red pepper
2 tblp black pepper
3 yards cheesecloth
Run the kale, onions and cabbage through the processor and mix in large bowls.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Don't worry about the occasional big piece of cabbage or kale.

We have two rules about making stuffed ham: First, you gotta make a mess; and secondly, your eyes gotta burn from the onions. Otherwise you're doing something wrong!
Do yourself a favor and buy your ham at McKays and let them debone it for you. Much faster and they do a better job. Lay your cheesecloth in a long strip on the counter. Then lay the ham out flat and with a good knife, make slits every inch or two. Stuff with filling. Pack it in tightly.
Pack all the filling in the middle. Then take one end and start rolling it up. You will need two or three dishtowels to collect all the juices. Since Mike is the ham expert, I just stand back and take pictures.
Pull the cheesecloth as tightly as possible to make the ham snug. It should look something like this:
Tie tightly with cotton string or twine. If you skimp here, you will pay dearly! Place ham in a 40 quart pot.

We made ours this afternoon and then put it in the refrigerator. Tonight when we get ready to go to bed, we will cover the ham with water and boil it overnight. In the morning we will turn off the flame and let the ham cool in the pot for 3 hours. Slice and eat. Yummy!

This afternoon when we finished cleaning up the ham mess, we drove down to SAYSF Bible Church to help my Dad cook for evening service. I took a pot of oyster stew. Dad made five soups: tomato, chicken noodle, ham and beans, crab, and veggie beef. They were delicious.

Dad also served a ham, a huge beef roast, and a turkey. Since we had just over 100 people, there was very little leftover. He also took pies for dessert. We really thought there wouldn't be many people, but we were wrong. Many folks brought all their company for tomorrow!

There were many hands in the kitchen today! Mike took the afternoon off and helped. We put him to work cutting all the meats.

This is Mom, Dad, and my brother Simba who always helps.

Here we are resting before the crowds came. I meant to get a picture of everyone eating, but once the first people came, it was busy time!

By the time we cleaned up the church kitchen and came home, I was exhausted. I hope I get a good night's sleep because my extended family is coming here for dinner tomorrow ~ but you wouldn't know it to see how dirty my home is!

Have a good Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. Many blessings ~ Kathie

PS ~ Today's high reached 78 degrees!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Since the cat IS away...!

This is my pastor, Ralph Nevin. Since many of the people who read my blog are from my church, I thought I'd have fun and do a post about my pastor, BGH (before grey hair). All the pictures below are from my yearbooks at Arlington Baptist High School (years 1974-1978).

This the earliest picture that would come out on my scanner. This is 1975. Looks like a young Brian Nevin!

This is his 1977 faculty picture:
This is Pastor in 1977 trying to look cool with a mustache:

And one last picture from 1977 showing Pastor giving Jay Potter a haircut. Jay probably couldn't afford a haircut. It's a small world ~ Jay now lives on the same street as my roomie from BJU!
From 1978 yearbook:

And this is 1978. You can see Pastor's method of teaching hasn't changed much!
My final picture from 1978. One can only imagine why Pastor is standing on his head:
I remember Pastor as an extremely conservative "Bob Jonesie" who was probably the most well-liked teacher at our school. I hope you enjoyed these pictures. I was surprised that I couldn't find any yearbook pictures of Debie since I remember her being at school a lot with their babies.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Cat's Away!

When our Pastor goes out of town for vacation, he usually warns the congregation that "While the Cat's away, the mice will not play!" The good thing is that our Cat has a great substitute Cat. Dick and Doris (pictured above) retired from the ministry five years ago and they moved onto a hill next to their daughter's family who are also members of our church. We are so thankful that Dick is able to fill in for Pastor.

Yesterday was one such Sunday. Pastor is in PA hunting while Debie recovers from radiation treatments for thyroid cancer. So Dick preached.

Dick is my kind of preacher. He always has one or two profound statements that you remember and meditate on throughout the week. Preachers call these, "if you remember nothing else that I say, remember this." Well, Dick's "medititorial moment" yesterday was when he was reading from Isaiah 40:22. "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth...." Dick brought to our attention that more than 2000 years ago, Isaiah spoke of the earth being a round planet, almost as if he had the same opportunity as our astronauts, to see the earth from a distance. No one can ever accuse the Bible of being outdated!

Last night after evening services, the youth (and my hubby who thinks he's a youth) played a great game of indoor soccer in the gym. The adults had fun fellowshipping on the sidelines.

The drama portion of the Christmas Cantata was practicing up in the sanctuary. The thrill of the holidays is in the air!

Our high temp for today will be 46 degrees, so Allen built a fire in the fireplace. Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. Take a moment to pray for the Native Americans from whom we took this land. Many of them will be gathering on Plymouth Rock this Thursday to mourn for what was taken from them. Our way of life that we enjoy today came at a great sacrifice to the first nations.

For any of our local friends, if you are in town on Thanksgiving Day, please feel free to stop by for dinner and/or dessert. Dinner starts at 1 pm. Since my brothers all have local inlaws, they will come at different times during the there will be food available all day. Some of our friends are only coming for dessert, and that will be served whenever you get here. Lots of hot coffee and hot tea too. I will be serving traditional Southern Maryland stuffed ham, so if you've never tried it, you're in for a treat!

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kosher Symbols

UPDATE: I have updated this post here to reflect the new laws.

It seems that once a week someone asks me to explain kosher symbols, or to explain how to eat dairyfree. So this post is going to be a really quick lesson in kosher symbols.

If you are on a dairyfree diet, please do not think that the ingredients list is all that you need to read. The law allows foods that are less than 1% of the total weight, to be undeclared on the ingredients list. Most people do not know this. Hopefully the law will one day require all foods to be listed, but until then, your best source of information is the kosher rating.

Jewish law forbids Jews from eating milk with meat, so they came up with a certification system that is used by Rabbis to let the buyer know if there is any dairy content. I will show you some examples here:

This is your typical container of Cool Whip. If you look to the bottom left, you will see the symbol for kosher:

The K stands for a particular Rabbinical Union and the D stands for dairy. Sometimes you will see the Dairy written out. Sometimes you will see DE which means dairy is used on the equipment and they can't vouch for the equipment being cleaned. An example of this is the deli. If they slice cheese and then lunchmeat on the same slicer, you are bound to get cheese on your lunchmeat. That would be disastrous for my family.

This box of grits show another example. The U in a circle is the most common kosher symbol:

I will show you one more symbol, pareve/parve. During passover time, the Dairy rating changes and some dairy is allowed. However, pareve means there is absolutely no dairy whatsoever.

I know it all sounds confusing, and it is! To learn more about Kosher ratings, or to see the list of all the kosher symbols, go here.

FYI, the two most dangerous things you can eat if you are dairy intolerant, are Nondairy Cool Whip and Nondairy creamer. Both contain a lot of casein which is a concentrated milk protein. It would be better for you to drink a glass of milk than to eat one of these two products. Why are they allowed to call it Nondairy? If you ever find out, please let me know!

Some of the products that people least think about containing dairy are: medicines, lunchmeats, gum (recaldent is the ingredient), tums (only get the white flavor, not fruit), popsicles, pepperoni (lactic acid starter is the culprit), sausage, breads, and fast food. Last year when the doctor thought Ruthie had asthma, we found that all three medications contained high doses of lactose, which is milk sugar. No wonder she was hurting!

Hope this has been a help. We're off to evening church.

Many blessings ~ Kathie