Friday, January 28, 2011

Johnny Appleseed Bars

Way back when, shortly after I started this blog, I came across Forgotten Bookmarks, a unique blog written by Mr. Popek, proprietor of a used and rare bookstore.  His blog shares the items that he finds between the pages of the books that come through his shop.  I suspect that this is the kind of shop where one could easily become lost in the stacks.  Glorious.  I'm going there some day.  Sans kids.

Amongst the notes, photos, postcards, and other bits and pieces are handwritten recipes.  The thought had crossed my mind that it might be fun to make them, but I was in the middle of my 365 project and one thing led to another and I never did.  Right now, though, I'm in a bit of a blogging slump, so it seems the time to give some of them a try.  I sent Mr. Popek an email, and he graciously agreed to have me recreate these recipes.  Don't know that I'll have one everyday, but occasionally I'll try one out and see how it turns out.

Today I gave the kids the choice between three recipes for which I had the ingredients, and they chose Johnny Appleseed Bars, because Johnny Appleseed was a character that they had read about, and Adam knew he wore a pot on his head, a necessary accoutrement to any cooking expedition.

So Johnny Appleseed Bars it is.  You can see the original post here.  It was found in a copy of one of my favorite books, a 1943 edition of Charlotte Bronte.  I changed the order of the ingredients for the recipe to make sense.  Here we go:

Peel and slice 2 cups of apples.  I did this first coz I didn't want the dough to get dry while I was doing it.  So.  Peel first.  Plop in water.  Set aside.

Julia took this one, and it shows my weird thumbs in all their glory, so it had to be posted.

You know those doors where you push down the latch with your thumb?  I saw a cartoon the other day, can't think of what it was (Wild Kratts?  Word Girl?), and the bad character, a woman, had one short thumb and couldn't open the door in a moment of crisis. 

I found it sadly amusing.

Beat together 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup oil. 

Then you measure the brown sugar, afterwhich you put the brown sugar down and grab your camera.  After you take the above photo, you reach for the brown sugar to find that it's not there.  You look all over the counter.  You ask the kids what they did with it.  You look again.  You send everyone out of the kitchen so you can look unimpeded.  You want to scream and throw things, but restrain yourself because it just wouldn't be mature.

Then you see, out of the corner of your eye, metal.  And find, to your chagrin, that the brown sugar was...

Still in the bag. 

You ponder the notion that you're gradually losing your mind.

Then you put 2/3 cup sugar in with the egg and such and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda.  Add to the wet ingredients.  Then stir in 1-1/2 cup oats.

Spread half the dough in a 9" square pan.  It doesn't look like there's enough to cover, but there is.  You just have to smoosh it it well.  I greased the pan, even though the recipe doesn't say to, and I'm glad I did.  I don't think they would have come out of the pan very well if I hadn't.

Sprinkle with 1 cup nuts and 2 cup thinly sliced apples.  I used pecans, 'coz that's what I had.

Then put the rest of the dough on top.  The recipe says to smooth with a pancake turner, but I don't think that would work, because it's quite thick and doesn't look smoothable.  I took sections of the dough and flattened it in my hand before placing on top.  Even so, it barely covered.  But it did!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Cool.  Sift some confectioner's sugar over top.  If you have a 4-year-old Adam in your house and allow him to sift, you'll end up with what looks like a winter snowstorm all over the top.  Cut into bars. 

They're yummy.

At first, I thought they'd taste just like apple crisp.  They're similar, yes, but not the same.  They so remind me of something my grandmother would make.  Full of hearty goodness.  The kids want to make them again, and both had two pieces.  I think a little bit of whipped cream would be nice on top.

So there you have it.  Who knows when this was written up, but probably not yesterday.  Not that it matters, because good recipes stand the test of time.

So.  Make these. They're a great, wintertime, comfort square.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A blog post about nothing

Realized I hadn't posted in a bit.  So...

Here's a photo of the dog chasing her tail.

Other than that, I've got nuttin'.  Nuttin' at all.  Oh.  News.

Lost my engagement ring.  Not only an engagement ring, but my great-grandmother's diamond in the setting.  I've been checking dog poop, but I'm suspecting Adam had it. He admitted to it, actually, but he also admitted to putting it on the roof, behind the radiator, and in assorted other impossible places.  The good news is the house is getting cleaner than it has in months upstairs.  The bad news is that I still haven't found it.  So if you have the time for a prayer, please maybe add a bit of help to find the ring?  Thanks.

Still dealing with TriCare insurance.  It's getting old.  After being told today that they still hadn't received my application, when I had emails to prove it, including their replies, I finally forwarded everything over to them again, at which point I was told I needed to re-date everything.  So I did.  A checkup would be nice.  Not having to pay $65 whenever my kid has to go see the doctor would be even nicer.

We made a snowman down at the bottom of "our" sledding hill yesterday, Adam and I.  He's quite stylin' in his bark buttons.  Did I take a photo?  Nope.  Still no point-and-shoot, and hauling the DSLR and the toboggans and the dog was just a bit much.  Camera stayed home.

I like chocolate chip pancakes.  Don't you?

Corner View today is favorite artist.  I don't know that I have one.  But I heard John Rutter's Suite Antique on the radio yesterday, and loved it.  I think it bears finding and loading onto ipod.  Beautiful.

Here's the Prelude:

I've been trying to think of a piece of his, which I had on cassette an age ago...OH!  I just remembered!  The Banquet Fugue.  I did it with my choir years ago.  Here's a recording of it, audio only.  Not the one that I have on cassette--can't find that one anywhere!  But you get the idea:

Not sure if I can say that Rutter is my favorite artist, but I like some of his stuff, and it has been on my mind.  So there.

I know it's past Christmas, but here's my favorite Christmas Choral piece.  John Rutter.  Some day I want to direct a choir that can sing this.  The sopranos need to be stratospheric, though.

OK. I'm done. Have a good day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snow Ball

Didn't know what to title this one.  It didn't turn out as I had hoped, but in a strange and unexpected way, I kinda like it.  Not sure why, because technically it is all wrong.  And yet...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Online Baby!

A link for you to comment about today.  Ideas would be appreciated, and if I'm techno savvy enough to incorporate them, I'll try.

It definitely needs work--need to register a domain so the address is easier to locate, fix how it loads onto facebook (puts up the wrong information, so I'm waiting for tech help), add links and things, but generally the site is done.  I'm kind of proud of it! 

I'm not sure where it'll take me, but if I can start doing a few more shoots, I'd be a happy woman.

Julia last summer.  Ah, those warm, sleeveless days.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow Day

There's something about perfect snow days, crispy clean air, snow gently falling down and tasting (as my daughter says) like outdoors, wood, and sunshine all rolled into one when it falls on your tongue.

We spent three days outside, sledding, wandering around in the woods exploring the logs and crannies made all the more mysterious and inviting covered with snow, dog romping at our side.

Here are a few shots one day when the snow wasn't quite as heavy as it had been and I got brave enough to take out my camera for a bit.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

toasty much?

Cinnamon raisin bread.  In the toaster.  Set on the lowest possible setting.


I think I have a toaster gremlin, because when I put in the next two pieces they barely got brown on low and I had to stick them back in THREE times to get that beautiful, golden color.

Just thought I'd share.  My life is THIS exciting!  :oD

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bushes in the snow

One of a few photos I took yesterday in the snow.  Yes, I finally got brave and brought my camera out in it. 

Liked the contrast.  Not sure about the rest of it.  Ah well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Corner View: Snow

Corner View yesterday was snow, and although I took this photo, I didn't take the time to post it.

I'm too nervous about taking my good camera out into the snow, and I think my point and shoot is being held hostage!  LOL  I think it's waiting for a treat before coming home. I being paranoid about taking the camera in the snow?  I'm still waiting for the camera rain cover to make its way here.  Might need a certain someone?  Or else just bite the bullet and buy one.

Anyway, we have been hit by the big storm on the east coast.  The snow is the beautiful, fluffy kind.  Makes big piles in a short time!  Julia said it looked like someone is breaking apart tissue paper.  Maybe someone up above forgot to take a piece out of their pocket before doing the laundry?

Anyway, these photos don't do it justice, since I'm such a chicken.  But here are a couple shot from inside or under cover.

I don't remember ever having this many snow days in one season.  The kids are playing dress up today, and the dog has come downstairs in a scarf, then a tutu, and now is proudly sporting cat ears.  She's just HAS to be confident in her doghood to pull that off!

So between the catdog, the bumblebee with one sock on , and the shnazzy witch-lady with gold heels, purse, and styling scarf (both of which I don't have photos of...sorry), it's a bit of an adventure in our house on this snow day!

I think we'll go sledding today, if the snow slows down a bit.  I want to bring my camera. WAH!

In other news.  I've been shovelling the walk about three times a day, the third time being late at night when I bring Belle out, so there won't be quite so much to do in the morning.  The snow has been kind of fun to shovel, since it is so fluffy.  Kind of like shovelling cotton.  This morning I woke up and went out to shovel to find that our fairly new neighbors (they just moved in this past Spring) had done my walk for me!  I had to look twice in case I was dreaming!  So, feeling grateful but also somewhat gyped (HA!) I went and shovelled a path around the house and to the bird feeders. And it was DEEEEEEP!  I should have told someone what I was doing, so that if I didn't come back they could put a flask on the dog and send out a rescue party.

OK.  Off to bake or something equally worthy of a snow day!

(Just don't tell my waistline what I'm doing, OK?  Thanks.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shell game

So, Belle was spayed last Tuesday and has to take it easy for a few days.  Fearing that all the inaction would make her loopy, we've been playing some indoor games with her.

This is one of our favorites.

The kids love it, because it's something they can do.

So, a few photos from a couple of goes with this game.

Is the treat under this one?

Nope.  This one.

Maybe this one? 

Yes!  I know it's this one!

Am I right?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Join the Klub Club

In our family, there's a tradition of making Norwegian Klub on some special---and not so special---occasions. It has become somewhat of a joke, because we appear to be the only ones that like this stuff! So, documenting for posterity and anyone else brave (or foolish) enough to try it out.

Ready?  So clear a good portion of counter space, roll up your sleeves, and let's get going!

Put your biggest pot of water on to boil. Put some salt in it. Then add some cutlery. I love this part! Grandma Helen used to do this, insisting that it keeps the dumpling dealies from sticking to the bottom. I just like cooking cutlery. 

It doesn't burn. 

Cut up a block of salt pork into smallish pieces and put them in a small pot of water to boil.

Peel a wack load of potatoes.

Amazing how figuring out how to adjust the focal points actually makes an in focus photo.  Duh.

Throw them in a food processor and process until they're somewhat smoothish. They'll almost immediately turn a lovely pink. Isn't this appetizing?

Then add some salt and enough flour to make a dough. My great-aunt Florence said that you should only add enough flour to make it hold together, which is somewhat true, but don't be too stingy with it, or everything will fall apart when you put it in the water later.

Put some flour on the counter and put a spoonful of the batter in the flour. Add more flour and smoosh it around in your hands to make a dumpling type thing, adding flour until it feels right.

Don't ask me what that means. For me, it's a gamble every time.  For the record, this batch tasted a bit floury, because I didn't mix the flour in enough at this stage.

This is what your hands will look like. Kind of like play dough for grown ups!

Or not.

Flatten it a bit in your hand and add a couple pieces of the salt pork. By the way, when you're ready for the salt pork part, drain the salt pork out of the pot, pouring the water into the larger pot.

Waste not, want not.

Put the dumpling in a slotted spoon and gently put it in the water, holding it gently in the water for a few seconds to get it used to the idea. Then allow it to fall off the spoon into its relaxing spa.

Boil the heck out of it. 45 minutes or so?

Then you have these.

Aren't they tasty looking?

White balance all thrown off here, but I'm not feeling like bringing everything into editing. 

So there.

True, stout hearted, Norwegians eat the stuff with butter, salt and pepper and maybe some mustard, if they're feeling particularly hoity-hoity.

Those with a less advanced palate plop sour cream and bacon bits on top, as my kids do.

For the first time, Julia ate all of hers--although giving this face first.

Adam wouldn't touch his.

The joke is that any potential family members have to pass the klub test before acceptance into the family, so just before I made these, I phoned Mom and asked her how Vic enjoyed klub during the holidays.

He didn't, although he probably was pretty good natured about it all.

I don't know how mom will live this down, but I suppose we'll forgive her--and Vic! The question is whether Vic will forgive us for foisting such a thing on him! :oD

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Construction Zone

So, we (read, I) decided that the kids had outgrown their megablocks.  They had outgrown them, and they only made towers with them anyway.  I thought that maybe their imaginations would be stimulated a bit more with something a bit more flexible.  Fortuitously, a friend of mine (Thanks Michelle!) was also going through her kids' things before Christmas and offered their duplo table.  "YAY!"  I thought, "Maybe they'll build...a house or something!"

Guess what has been under construction:

But they were having so much fun and were so proud of their tower that I was able to take this:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


This is Belle yesterday after she overheard me on the phone confirming her appointment at the vets to be spayed today.

Can you really blame her for this face, after all?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Punica granatum

Julia saw a pomegranate in the store and wondered what it was, so Charlotte bought her one. 

And I took photos of it.

And now it's still sitting in the fridge, because the kids didn't really like it, and the only thing I can find to do with the seeds is put them in a salad, and the thought doesn't really appeal. 

Looks pretty, though.