Friday, October 12, 2012

The best thing since sliced bread!

I'm looking at a bread proofer I'd like to have for Christmas.  Basically a folding unit that unfolds into a large box one can use to proof loaves of bread much faster.  As luck would have it, it's also good for making yogurt and creme fraiche, both things I like and use, and, gee, wouldn't it be nice if I didn't have to pay so much money for them?!

In my search for the best price on the proofer (so I could pass the link along to 'Santa'), I found someone who made mention of an electric slicer they found, and use for slicing bread.  The post was rather gushing, and curious mind that I have, I had to check it out.

For me, the only real trouble with homemade bread is getting even slices for toast, sandwiches, etc.  Well, an electric bread slicer would do the trick, so I opened up the link, and when I looked at the picture, I saw what appeared to be a meat/cheese slicer.  I immediately remembered something I have, tucked way back, in one of my upper cabinets, that looked *very* familiar to the photo; my own meat/cheese slicer, that I almost never use, but have had for going on 15 years.

I pulled it down, gave it a try, and viola!  Perfect sliced bread.

This brings a tear to my eye.  No more fighting with the clunky slicer we bought a few months ago that has already broken, and required repair!  Finish baking a loaf, run it through the slicer, bag it, and I'm good for the week!

Now, back to that proofer...Santa, are you listening?  Yes, I want one!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

For the love of Bun, October 10, 2012

Boy, Bun, some days I just really miss much, it takes me right back to the very moment you took your last breath.

I can go a day, or even two, and, while you are always present in my thoughts, I can feel sort of normal, then something happens, and it just takes me back, overwhelming me with sadness, and I hear myself say, "I miss you so much, Bun."  Then the tears.

I just miss you, darn it.  Everything about you.  I want to pet you again.  Smell your fur.  I want to hear your beautiful voice, watch you wag your tail.  I want to walk through the door, to those large and special greetings that were your signature.  I want to hear your soulful howl, the one we could hear when we pulled into the garage, as you trumpeted our arrival.  Yet, I know, even if I could experience all that, just one more day, it would still not be enough.  It would never be enough.

I sit here, tears falling down my cheeks, and my heart aches for you.  If time will heal my pain, I will need a lot of it...a very 'large' amount.

I know, wherever you are, light shines brighter than the brightest star.  It just feels a little dim here today...

I love you, baby.  With all my heart...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Maple and apple breakfast sausage

Yesterday we picked up 20 lbs. of pork butt for $1.46/lb., which is a pretty good price.  We have a commercial grinder we use to grind up whole chicken for the dogs, bones, and all, so boneless pork butt was no problem.

We seasoned the ground pork with maple syrup, sage, thyme, apples and onions, and it turned out really well.  We wrapped it up in one pound portions, and put it in the freezer...we're set for a while.

Of course, we had to cook some up, and give it a test run.  It turned out well, and with a few small adjustments, we have another winner.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.  (Located at Google docs).


2 crisp apples, cored and quartered
1/2 white onion, trimmed, outer skin removed and quartered
2-1/2 lbs. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground bacon pieces, or pork belly
2 tablespoon dried sage
2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 tablespoons maple syrup


In the bowl of a food processor, add the apple and onion quarters, and pulse until you have an even mince.  Set aside.

To the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the ground pork, ground bacon, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, cloves, maple syrup and the apple and onion mince.  Mix on speed 2 for 2-3 minutes, or until all ingredients are well blended.

Shape into patties, and over medium heat, cook until well charred and cooked through.  Serve with any combination of your favorite breakfast foods.

You can also wrap uncooked sausage in butcher paper, label and freeze for later use.  Whatever suits you!'s a good one.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fall and Bun

In my last post, I talked about fall.  With low temperatures in the low 20s this week, there is really no question summer has taken leave, and with it, one of the most difficult periods of my life: losing Ty, or as we prefer to call him, "Bun".

I took my journey with him to my blog, and made it extremely public, including his physical pain, and my emotional pain.  In doing so, I learned a lot about myself, and I learned a lot about the people I know, as well.  There are no judgments here, just a period of learning.  It was a gift born of horrible tragedy.

I know I'm not the first person to love and lose a dog, and I never pretend to be.  What I am is a girl compelled to give purpose to a loss so profound, by giving that loss some purpose, I gave myself a life line, a way to hold on...a way to move from one day to the next, freeing myself of anger.

I learned that I'm far stronger than I think I am.  I learned that I have a support system outside the one I thought I had.  I learned (more deeply) that there is no such thing as "just a dog".

I want to make my dog proud.  I want him to look at me, smile, and know that his work is complete here, that he accomplished the goal he came to accomplish, and he did so completely.

I'm sure I will fall, and make mistakes, and I accept that.  What I do know for certain is I am no longer without awareness of myself.

I'm grateful to you, Bun...things are, well, different, in a good way, because of you.  Thank you for coming.  Thank you for all your gifts.  Thank you for always being here for me, to support me, to love me, and to remind me that I can do better, and do so because I am aware...because of you.

I love you...more than anyone will ever know, but you know.  You always knew, and now I do, too.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall is in the air

It's hard to deny fall is in the air around here.  Low temps this week are forecast at, or below freezing.  It may warm up a bit, again, but for now, there is a real crispy feel to the air.  I really don't know that I'm ready, but ready or not, I don't think I have much say...this one is all Mother Nature's show.  She does as she wishes.

This weekend was not as productive for us as usual.  Cliff wasn't feeling on top of his game, fighting off an emerging cold, and I was coming off of several days of feeling a little off my game, too.  None the less, we did get a few things done.

We got the dogs bathed, which was nice.  We also cleared out one of the garden boxes.  It was on its last legs.  We turned the soil, added some of our compost, and tamped it down.  Two more boxes are still productive, as are the two tomato plants in the greenhouse, and the pepper plant, though the pepper plant appears to be winding down, as well.

I think it's time to look at some 'winter-hardy' plants to start in the greenhouse, and see what we can do over the winter, if anything.

Fall cleaning needs to commence inside the house now, though I have really been rather hesitant about doing that.  I think my heart is just not quite there yet.  Outside still beckons, at least for a while.  We still have a few things to tidy up on the side of the house, and I'd like to get that taken care of sooner vs. later.  Just random stuff that sort of accumulates over the summer as we work on our outdoor projects - mostly scrap materials.  I'm thinking of moving it to the end of the driveway, and putting a 'free' sign on all of it.  An ad on CL might accelerate its removal from our property.

My composting tumbler, and bin sure could use a little carbon.  It's time for those leaves to fall.  I could use a little 'woody' debris.

All in all, a good weekend.