Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Day for Cinnamon Rolls

It was extremely cold here in west-central Minnesota last night and throughout today. I decided to stay home from church, because I just didn't think it was worth venturing out that early in the morning. Maybe there was a little selfishness in my decision too. Appreciated the extra hour in bed. I did catch the Catholic mass later on TV, and although I'm not well-versed in it, I appreciated the sermon (homily?) and the music from a small choir in the St Cloud area. It made my day feel a little fuller, as I usually feel I'm missing something in the week when I don't attend.

Along with my bottomless cup of coffee throughout a cold day, I wanted to make something good to go along with it. I decided on cinnamon rolls. I'm out of raisins, so tried a mixture of dried apricots from the freezer and cherries. I mixed in a little bit of ground cloves with the cinnamon, and I think it was a good result.

It was so chilly in the house this morning, so both raises were very slow.

For the glaze, I used powdered sugar, juice from the cherries, and a bit of vanilla. It was worth the wait, and will be good heated up again tomorrow morning. 

Yesterday, one of my friends who visit often, stopped by and had a good snack of Scotch pine. I didn't have the heart to shoo him away (I'm pretty sure this is a male by the wider shape of the head), and I need to trim this tree up anyway soon. I get whacked in the face every time I try mowing past this tree. At least he hasn't touched the bark.

A few of the geraniums I overwinter in the house are budding and blooming. This is my favorite red one. It is a true red, not orange-red or burgundy, although I like them all. 

This blue jay was a part of the entertainment this afternoon as he pecked out the raisins and citron out of a stale chunk of the Christmas cake. The squirrels will have the rest.

Have a good week, and stay warm.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

A Return to Everyday Life

Christmas has passed once again, and with the arrival of Epiphany, all the decorations and tree are down. Now I am back to the rural northerner's life of winter...quiet nights, observing nature, planning for the Spring to come, working on small projects, and enjoying the preparation and flavors of plain food. No more endless varieties of cookies, cakes, snacks, dips, and appetizers. Now it's time for some old-fashioned farm meals. Yesterday I made one of Mom's recipes, a hamburger pie.

It's basically everything you like in a pie crust. I'm sure you've all made one, and it is a meal in itself. Hamburger, peas, carrots, allspice, sage and some marjoram and oregano. I modified it a little bit by adding mushrooms and dried cranberries. I find something like dried cranberries or raisins enhance the hamburger or whatever meat you use in a pie. 

I made the crust from scratch that I usually do, it makes two double crusts. If you're lacking in time, get a Pillsbury two-crust pack from your local dairy section. I've learned never to let your lack of ingredients or time stop you from making something nice. So if you don't do crust, buy one of these. I find them to be pretty good quality. I'm retired now, so I figure I have the time to make my own from scratch. 

Try one of these or something else you really like now that the pressure is off and we can enjoy some plain food.

Enjoy your winter wherever you live, even in the sunny south.

Peace be with you. Phil