Fantastic Bake Along

Thanks to Emma from Emma Crafts Design for the recipe for this month’s Fantastic Bake Along—Quiche. I had to make a trip to the grocery store, so we had our quiche tonight for dinner. There is a definite advantage to being one of the last to post; you can see everyone’s modifications, and change your recipe accordingly!

I stuck with Emma’s basic pastry recipe, using my Betty Crocker cook book to find some American measures in the same proportion. I did decide to try the olive oil instead of butter, so added a bit more flour as advised by Betty Crocker. However, I thought my crust was a bit on the dry side and a little difficult to work with. I ended up rolling it between waxed paper.


For the quiche, the big experiment was trying some of our dehydrated eggs instead of all fresh. I added the requisite water to them early this afternoon, so they would have plenty of time to reconstitute (about 3 hours).  My plan was to try half dehydrated and half fresh, and see how that affected the taste and texture. I also added some spinach and kale, (Girl #2’s influence) because I didn’t have lots of bacon. Finally, we went with our favorite, cheddar cheese.

35 minutes in the oven, and we were ready to enjoy!

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I am happy to report that no one could discern that the eggs were different from fresh! I was a little worried, because the reconstituted eggs do seem a little bit grainy, so I really wondered it that would be the case after baking, but happily the texture was identical to quiches where I have use all fresh eggs. A good thing to know if we ever end up having to use emergency rations for a period of time. 🙂

Check out the other participants at these sites:

Splendid C is a Wrap!

I spent two afternoons during our camp out tying knots on Splendid C. There were so many…not my favorite part, but I couldn’t believe how much nicer the quilt looked with all the threads taken care of! That nasty task finished, I was ready to do the binding, with some very cool fabric I picked up at the Quilt Connection in Rapid City. 

I opted not to do bias binding, hoping that some of the words would show around the finished quilt. With a little forethought I managed to get the sides positioned in a way that the words that showed were easily read.


I added a few buttons to some blocks that seemed to need them, and added a little more quilting here and there. An evening of hand stitching finished the binding, and this one is ready to ship off to my State Fair hosts of 22 years, Jim and Brenda! Enjoy!

  

Pattern Testing

This past week I had the honor of being a tester for Bella of Created by Bella. She has designed a windmill quilt block and is hoping to sell the pattern in her Etsy shop. My job was to follow the instructions and note anything that seemed confusing, etc. and to photograph the completed block. 

I am excited for Bella, because she has a sweet design, and it will make some very nice blocks for a baby quilt or table runner! She did a great job on her instructions, and did a fine job on her illustrations. With a few final tweaks, she was soon ready to publish.

I found this experience to be so interesting! I was motivated to sew the perfect quilt block (does that ever happen?) and because of the notes at the beginning I was especially careful to measure each and every seam. There were a lot of them, because this is an intermediate level block, but I only had a question on one step, and she quickly solved that. I was tickled with my finished block, and while I work through my queue, will be considering what I want to do with this unique block…..a pillow,  a table runner, an entire quilt? It will be fun to ponder!

Mountain Vistas

Mountain Vistas

The Big Horn Mountains contain wonderful high meadows, forests and snow at the tops of the highest peaks. During our camping trip we enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the wonderful vistas. I especially loved the variety of the mountain flora. Click any photo for a larger picture.

We did some hiking, and enjoyed some gorgeous views, especially during the hike into the Cloud Peak Wilderness.

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There were some incredible trout fishing areas here, though neither of us fish. We just enjoyed the gorgeous scenery!

We were also treated to some interesting wildlife. The chipmunks and squirrels enjoyed teasing Max, driving him to distraction at times. I was able to capture one cheeky squirrel who had no fear.

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But the best was seeing Mama Moose and her baby one afternoon. They were just across the road from our campsite, browsing along the river.

It was a welcome respite from the hot days in Rapid City, where temperatures have been in the mid to upper 90’s (35-37 Celsius) for a week, and are expected to continue indefinitely, with no rain.

We camped at two different places, one very near a bubbling creek, which Max the dog LOVED. He kept hopping in and laying in it, then chasing squirrels, hopping in again, etc. We finally had to put him on his chain so that he would dry off before bed time! The second was at a Forest Service campsite, which had the standard picnic table, trash, bathrooms and potable water. We have a Berkey water filter, so we have the option of camping anywhere there is a water source. (We use it at home too, to remove many of the chemicals from the city water.)

We have a great time cooking while we camp; here’s what we ate:

Friday supper: Red beans and rice with Andouille sausage, which was made ahead at home, and warmed up over the Coleman propane stove, which we use to prepare the morning coffee while the fire is readied for cooking breakfast.

Saturday: Sausage patties and pancakes made over the campfire for breakfast and roast beef with mixed vegetables made over the coals for supper.

Sunday:  Bacon, eggs and biscuits for breakfast, and green chili beef burritos with refried beans for supper (from the leftover roast beef, and peach pie for dessert. (I should have taken a picture!)

Monday: Sausage patties with fried potatoes and onions for breakfast, and pepperoni pizza for supper. DSCN1137

We have a cast iron griddle, skillet and Dutch oven, which really expands what you can do with a campfire! If anyone is really interested, I will do a post on how I prep for these types of camping meals. They are a fun challenge, and really yummy!

We had a great time cooling off, and just enjoying creation, but it was good to get back today and get everything cleaned up. I am going to enjoy a very long shower here in a bit!

Gone Camping!

Every summer we try to take at least one weekend and camp in the Big Horn mountains in northern Wyoming. We are leaving this morning and will return on Tuesday.

We will be taking an Internet holiday, so I’ll be out of touch for a bit, but hope to have some gorgeous photos of my beloved Rocky Mountains when I return.

Until then, I’ll leave you with this photo, which I hope to copy on one of our hikes!

Orchard Update

It’s been a while, and we have some new additions to our indoor orchard. 

The lemon trees are doing well, and the grapefruit trees have been moved into new pots. 

 
 
Our newest addition is an apricot, a single  sprout from 8 pits we found in the big freezer! 


We came home with some Valencia orange seeds and some mango pits to try. The oranges are in little starter pots, and we planted several mangos in one large pot, and have the last two soaking in water. There are also two avocado pits soaking, but no sign of a crack yet.

  
Finally, while it isn’t a tree, I was thrilled to find a bud on one of the African violets when we returned home! This makes me sooo happy, because I bought it on clearance from Walmart to use it in the 4-H Horticulture judging class last August. I kept it alive for a year and it even bloomed! That is not the usual for me!


So, I wonder which of these will sprout? Have you ever had any luck with mangos? Avocados? Pineapples?

Book Review-Circling the Sun

Another semi-biographical fiction read by Paula McLain, this one explores the very unusual life of Beryl Markham, the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo, flying from England to Nova Scotia. 

I was reading this during a very busy time, and it took me longer than usual to get through it. It isn’t a thrilling page turner, but chronicles real life, which has its moments of drama, but  is often just the daily routine. Some people would find that boring, but I am intrigued to learn about how others lived, even during the ordinary times. Maybe because I grew up in a dairy farm, where the goal is to keep every day the same…calm cows are happy cows, you see.

What kept me reading? I had never read about colonial Africa, and most of the book is set in colonial Kenya in the 10’s through 30’s. Having little knowledge about this part of the world or this portion of it’s history, my brain just filled up with the descriptions of the life and the countryside. It sounds like scandal followed this woman everywhere, though the author kept the details to a low roar. Considering the era, this lady had some trouble with propriety, or maybe her childhood rendered her immune, it’s hard to say, but sometimes I caught myself wondering what could she be thinking?!!??

This book is probably not for anyone looking for a light, fun read. It chronicles real life, and this life was quite human. However, if you are interested in learning about a different time, a very different world, or a lady that breaks the mold society expected, it is an intriguing read.