Monthly Archives: November 2009

Dagmar is Stylin’ Now…

I guess it’s a rite of passage, but I still wasn’t ready for it.

Dagmar has been asking for weeks now to get her hair cut and styled by a real beautician – not Mom who has cut her hair her entire life.  I drug my feet because I wasn’t ready to lose the little girl with the pony pulled back.  I’m not sure I was ready to lose the simplicity of one length for the complexity of layers and <gasp> product.

But when she asked specifically to get it done this week so she would have a new cut for our Christmas pictures and even offered to pay for it herself….

Daddy said yes.

So she called for an appointment and Shelly graciously worked her in right away.

I resigned myself to the inevitable and got Dagmar into town by the 11:00 appointment.

And Shelly  was amazing!

She’s a neighbor and a friend, but most importantly, she’s a mom who understood what a big deal this hair cut was. She took so much time with Dagmar – looking through magazines and finding out just what she wanted – then talking through the options.

She washed, cut, and styled Dagmar hair, and then took several minutes to show her how to do it herself.

In the space of an hour my pony-tailed girl turned into quite the styling young lady.

Just one more step in the process of growing up….

…and it’s going by way too fast.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread This is one of my favorite recipes to make! It looks so fancy and tastes wonderful – but the recipe is so simple – especially when I mix it up in my Bosch mixer!

Since it makes 3 loaves, I slice the bread when it’s cool and freeze it. Then I can grab out however many slices I need for a delicious and simple breakfast treat.

I like to lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them for a few minutes in a moderate oven. (Do not put them in the toaster! The cinnamon filing melts and runs down making a big mess!)

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1 package (or 1 Tablespoon) active dry yeast
1/4 cups warm water
2 cups milk, warm
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons salt
7-1/2 to 8 cups flour
2 slightly-beaten eggs

Mix yeast and water together and let set to proof the yeast.

Combine next four ingredients; cool to lukewarm. Add 3 cups of the flour; mix well. Stir in yeast and eggs; mix well. Add enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn out on lightly floured surface. Knead till smooth (8 to 10 minutes), or if you have a mixer with a dough hook, let it do the kneading for you for 8 to 10 minutes.

Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and it rise in warm place till double (1-1/2 to 2 hours). Punch down and divide dough in thirds. Cover and let rest 1o minutes.

Roll each third in 15×7-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Spread softened butter over the dough and sprinkle one third of the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top. Carefully roll each rectangle up beginning on the narrow side (like a cinnamon roll). Seal long edge. Place sealed edge down in 3 greased loaf pans. Let rise till almost double. (45 to 60 minutes).

Bake at moderate over (375 degrees) 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Turn out of pans and let cool on rack.


Chocolate Pots de Creme

Chocolate Pots de CremeIt was one year ago last weekend that we finally moved into our newly remodeled farmhouse – after over 8 years of working on it.

This was definitely something that needed to be celebrated!

And there’s nothing that says celebration quite like something creamy, rich and chocolate!

I had been saving this recipe for a special occasion – and they were well worth the wait!

After the initial “oohh and ahh’s” a few of my children commented that they sure seemed like really small servings! But they were extremely rich and several had trouble finishing it!

Chocolate Pots de Creme

2 cups chocolate chips (milk, semi- sweet, or dark – I used semi-sweet)

1/2 cup light cream (I used half-in-half)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place the chocolate chips and light cream in the top of a double boiler over hot water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and mixed with the cream.

Remove from the heat and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Pour into very small dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate until set.

Serve cold with whipped cream.

Makes 6-8 servings.


Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes With the Holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about comfort foods!

And what’s more comforting than a bowl of  mashed potatoes, just dripping with butter or gravy?

As much as I love them, I will admit that I don’t enjoy all the last minute fuss they call for – or the messy kitchen they leave behind.

But then I discovered how easy it was to make them ahead in the crock pot! Now I can make a batch on Saturday, put it in the crock pot liner in the refrigerator, and pull it out Sunday morning before I leave for church.  It cooks in the crock pot on low all morning and we have hot and tasty mashed potatoes for lunch!

I’ll do the same for our Thanksgiving meal and even our Christmas Eve supper.

Don’t want to use the crock pot? No problem! They can be baked in a casserole pan at 350 degrees until they are heated through.

My mother-in-law even makes them weeks ahead and freezes them in 9 x 13 aluminum foil pans. She just sets them out the day before to thaw and bakes them normally.

The recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled, just add some extra cooking time.

Follow the recipe carefully and don’t add milk or the end product will be too runny!

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
6 cups warm mashed potatoes (prepared without milk or butter)

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and butter. Stir in potatoes. Transfer to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2-4 hours. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Or put in a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.

If frozen, allow to thaw before baking.


Happy Anniversary!

It’s been exactly one year.

It was just 12 months ago that we finally moved into our newly remodeled farmhouse after years of working on it.

And I do mean years.

It was eight years ago that we spotted this house for sale at an auction. My husband wasn’t interested – he was at the auction for the other stuff.

But I was in love.   It was the big beautiful farm house I had pictured in my dreams. Every side was unique. I cried when I walked through.

This was my house.

The house had to moved – so there weren’t many bidders. It was just my husband and a guy who wanted to tear it apart for the pieces.

It was the pine floors in the second story and the pine trim throughout the house that ultimately saved it.  There wasn’t enough oak to make it worth the junk guys time.

So we bought it.

Then we  moved it,  put it on a new foundation, gutted it, reroofed it, replaced the windows, replumbed, rewired, insulated, drywalled, painted and moved in.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?!

It wasn’t.

Each task took longer and cost more than we expected. Nothing was easy.

For years it seemed impossible, the forever project that would never be finished.  It took more patience than I imagined as entire years went by with little progress. But God is faithful, and my husband is amazing.

And as for our friends and family – they were a blessing! There was Mike and Kim who gave up their vacation, drove hundreds of miles and spent a week dry walling, then came back to help with refinishing the floors.

All through the house you can see my dad’s handiwork! My parents put in thousands of hours over the years helping. My father-in-law spent hours on his knees working on the floors and the stairs. My brother roughed in our electrical, and my brother-in-law handcrafted my one -of -a-kind kitchen cabinets.

And it all came together one year ago! My dreams became a reality and my “dream house” became our home.

I feel incredibly blessed.

Proverbs 13:12 “A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life!”