Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cheese Twists

 Let me preface by saying that this is an easy-peasy recipe.
My sister-in-love, Jody, taught it to me many moons ago.
It's very adaptable to your taste preferences.

You can use any herbs/spices you want--or not.

You can use just butter or just olive oil or margarine----just do NOT use the buttery stuff in a tub that's mostly water.  
They will not turn out if you do!

Also, this recipe is for 36 rolls.  You can make far more or far less, depending on your need.

3 Loaves of Frozen Bread dough, completely thawed.
1 stick of Butter, room temperature
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder (not garlic salt!)
You can also use fresh garlic if you like, minced.
2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning

1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese per loaf
(4.5 cups TOTAL)

3 cookie sheets, well oiled.
One sharp knife and one rolling pin.

How to:

Mix butter, olive oil, garlic powder and Italian seasoning well.
Set aside.

Roll one bread dough into long, rectangular shape.
This is easiest done on a counter that has NOT been dusted with flour.

Spread 1/3 butter mixture evenly on bread dough.

Put half the cheese in the middle of the dough.

Fold right half of dough completely over the top of cheese.

Add rest of cheese on top of the folded portion.

Fold left portion over the top.
Use hands/rolling pin to gently push the layers together.
Your aim here is to the the bread to be thinner and bigger.
I can fit both of my hands, side by side and flat, on top of this when it is ready to cut.

photo credit:

Cut along open end of bread.

You should be able to get 11 or 12 slices.

Take a slice and twist.
I do this by twisting my left hand away from me and my right hand toward me.

Pull one end over the other.
If you'd like, you can stop here and place the twist on a baking sheet.

If you'd like a knot twist, simply tuck the ends under and place the tucked ends down on the cookie sheet.

Let rise in cold oven with the oven light on.  
That way you have your counter space back and they'll stay relatively moist.
When they have doubled in size (about an hour, maybe 1.5 hours), take them out of the oven and turn it on.

I've added this picture again, because it will tell which temperature to use.
If you are using a dark pan, set the oven to 350*
Light pan, 375*

Something I learned from my years of baking-----
Just because your oven beeps and says it's 375*, does not mean it's really 375*.
I find I have much better results with baked goods if I wait 10 minutes after the "Oven is ready" beep.

Bake until golden brown on the tops.
Generally that takes about 18-20 minutes in my oven.
Set your oven timer for 15 minutes and stay nearby to watch them after that.
Once out of the oven, brush with any remaining butter mixture.
Let cool for 10 minutes on pan before serving.

This may seem very involved at first glance, but it really isn't.
It is so easy and folks LOVE these cheese twists.
They seem fancy, but they really aren't.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Asleep, Awake, Eat, Repeat

Ah, the life of a tiny baby.

Winter has come early to Central Texas.
Much snuggle-to-stay-warm time for Preston and Katie and Evie.
Quiet time.

Preston and Katie moved about 45 minutes north of us to be much closer to Preston's job with Dell.
Traffic has gotten so maddening that their move was necessary.

We don't get to see Evie (and her parents) as much as we would like.
Tomorrow, Katie is going to be at her mom's house after Evie's visit to the pediatrician.

I have been invited to crash their party and kiss those chubby cheeks.  
I might even take off a little sock and nibble tiny baby toes.

Toes are the best part of a baby in my opinion.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Truth in Advertising

Truth in Advertising is an oxymoron at best.
Recipes very often fall in this category.

This yummy little creation is what I set out to make.

It was advertised in a circular from my local grocery store.
It is actually a reprint from a recipe on the Libby's/Carnation website.
Look back up at that top picture.
100 calories for that tiny piece of pumpkin pie perfection.
I could have my pie and diet too!!
Thanksgiving is saved!!

 Or not!

I made a practice batch before the big day.
I wanted to make sure they were wonderful and beautiful and perfect.

I followed the directions to the letter.

I even went on a search for all foil baking cups.
My grocery store now carries fancy baking cups and no longer carries plain old aluminum ones.

Good thing I did, too!!
What a nasty, ugly mess!
The coloring isn't even the same, let alone that the "tartlet" didn't even begin to come out of the cup.
There's a suspicion on my part that the little pie in their picture was made with ingredients that are a far cry from the ingredients in the recipe.
Maybe some cream cheese and whole eggs?
Maybe some full fat evaporated milk?
I would guess that would take the calories up from 100 to about 500.

My biggest question is "WHY?"
It's not like they're making big money on evaporated milk or canned pumpkin.
Why mislead me and other dieters this way?
Maybe no one else makes a test batch.
Maybe other bakers/dieters would just go on faith that their little pies would be beautiful and perfect and bake them on Thanksgiving morning?

Oh well.
It didn't cost me much to learn this lesson.
I think Thanksgiving dinner will be filled with all the common savory and sweet goodies, I'll just eat less of them.
Or I'll eat two pieces of pie and then take a nice long walk.
Either way, don't believe every picture you see.
A picture, in this case, truly is worth a thousand words.
Or three words.
Big. Fat. Lie.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sheila the Big Fat Pig Needs Your Help!

One of my favorite blogs is The Kitchens Garden.
It is based in Illinois and is beautifully written by Cecilia Gunther. 
Celi for short.
She has a cast of characters on her farm that fall right in line with the bucolic farm of yesteryear.
She has one or two or three (or more) of just about every farm animal from my childhood books about farm animals.

all photo credits: of Cecila Gunther at
All her animals have delightful names and each has a job.
Milk, eggs, wool, honey, and the youngsters produced from breeding.
Everyone contributes.
Unfortunately, her beloved pig, Sheila cannot contribute.
She had a bad experience with a boar pig and has not come into heat since then.
No baby piggies for Sheila.
In order for Sheila to earn her keep on the farm, she has taken to selling t-shirts and calendars to pay for feed for the winter.
Celi was nice enough to help her with this venture by setting up the accounts and taking all the pictures. 
As you can see above, she finds plenty of food for herself during the warmer months.

If you'd like to help Sheila earn her keep this winter, consider buying a t-shirt or calendar.
The links for both are below.

If you cannot help Sheila, no worries.
Do find time to visit Celi's blog.
She has a way of writing that makes you never want to close your computer.
She is so talented and so humble about it all.
You'll soon have her bookmarked, I promise!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What 5 Hours on a Riding Mower Looks Like

This was my first time taking a "panoramic" photo on my phone.
Doesn't show the way I'd like it to here on my blog.

 It was, however, not my first time mowing one of my pastures.
The grasses had gotten hip high.
I mowed it for two reasons.

Reason 1--the barn.
Won't be too long and it'll be time to work on the barn!
Contracts were signed on September 12th.
Their maximum wait time is 12 weeks.
That puts us at December 2nd.
Prep work (road base, electricity and water) will begin before that.

photo credit:
Reason 2--Mr. and (possibly) Mrs. Gray Fox.

If you go back up to the 2nd pasture picture, you'll see a red dot (gas can) in the upper right area of the photo.
Just to the right of that is a very large, very old Oak tree that fell during a storm in July.
Most folks would just have it removed, but the old thing is still very much alive.
We have two other Oaks on our place that were obviously "blown over" trees from some time before we lived here.  They are interesting to look at and both alive and doing well.

This, being such a large tree and root system, has become home to at least one fox, if not two.
Gray fox are tiny, but not so tiny that they wouldn't eat a chicken if given the opportunity.
They are normally quite nocturnal, but I saw them out at 3 in the afternoon.
My chickens are out at 3 in afternoon!
My favorite chickens, the Buttercup sisters Amelia and Marie have a tendency to wander off by themselves.  
They are the perfect tiny chicken for a tiny fox to grab and eat.
It would break my heart.

My solution was to mow the tall grass, giving the fox no cover to hide in.  
My hope is that they will move on and find a more suitable place to overwinter.
I love all wildlife, but I love my chickens more.