Wordless Wednesday: The Rising Sun

The rising sun illuminating clouds and contrails. 


-Joshua

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Bathroom Remodel: Excavating the Past

The next phase of the bathroom remodel is to remove the tile and fix the floor underneath. I have been holding off on removing the tile because I knew there was rot in the subfloor around the toilet. 

To get to the subfloor I had to peal back the layers of time. So far as I could tell nothing had ever been taken off the floor before. Everyone in the past had just added another layer to the top. 

Many layers makes for a tall floor.

The first step was to smash the tile so I could remove it. Surprisingly, there was actually concrete backer board under the tile. I didn’t think that the tiling had been done correctly in the past. 

Under the tile and concrete board were 3 layers of linoleum. Removing linoleum isn’t difficult, but no one had ever felt the need before I guess. 

Wood look linoleum with yellow underneath

Beneath all that was the original layer. I am not exactly sure if it was linoleum or something different. It didn’t look quite like linoleum to me, but I don’t know much about the stuff.  This layer looked somewhat like parquet I think. 

Original floor covering

Lastly I had to remove a layer of 1/4th inch plywood that was attached directly to the subfloor. 


While it was a lot of work to remove all these layers it was interesting to see how people had decorated in the past. None of these floor coverings appeal to me, but somebody thought they were great at some time. 

-Joshua

Spelt and Cornmeal Biscuits

The Internet is great for finding recipes, but sometimes, there is nothing like getting a cooking magazine in the mail. I don’t remember how, but I ordered a subscription to Cooking Light magazine, and a few days ago, we got the latest issue. I decided to make use of it and look through it for dinner ideas. I came across the toasted quinoa soup that I mentioned in my quiche post and also came across two recipes that I decided to try together: whole-grain spelt and cornmeal biscuits and beef and barley stew. The beef and barley stew was amazing; I think this was mostly due to Josh’s fresh veggies from the garden and my dad’s grilled tri-tip that I used. The spelt and cornmeal biscuits were a big hit with my whole family… except for me!

Josh and I love cooking and baking with alternative flours. We think it’s fun, even when the results aren’t to our liking. So when I happened across spelt flour, I had to get it, even if it did sit in our cabinet for a while before I found a way to use it!

The biscuits were very, very crumbly! In fact, my daughter enjoyed smashing her biscuit into crumbs and eating the crumbs. Silly girl!

I don’t think this was the fault of the recipe though. At some point in the past, I ordered cornmeal through Amazon Pantry. The problem is, somehow I ordered MEDIUM grain cornmeal, four 12 ounce bags of them. At first, when I saw the bags, I thought that it was great I would have cornmeal to last me awhile. Then, I tried baking with the cornmeal, and the cornmeal was so coarse that I was gritting my teeth on it! I use the cornmeal now just because I need to, but I certainly don’t like baking with it very much.

I’ve tried “chopping” it to a finer grain using a food chopper, but it didn’t help.

Anyway, that cornmeal is what I used in these biscuits. And that is most likely why I didn’t like them. And probably also why they were so crumbly. So these biscuits would turn out great with a different cornmeal. Then again, my family loved these. My oldest even said he liked these better than the plain drop biscuits I had made two days ago!  So as Josh told me, maybe I’m just weird!

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Spelt and cornmeal biscuit with butter smeared on top

-Lynn

Back to the Drawing Board: Pumpkin Scones

I mentioned in a post last week that I was going to experiment with pumpkin scones again this week. I did actually get to it this time! Unfortunately, I was not happy with how these turned out.

I made two changes to the previous recipe. I reduced the pumpkin puree from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup, and then I increased the heavy cream from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. I guess this wasn’t the right way to go! The scones were a little bit dry, and they didn’t taste pumpkin-y enough!

This didn’t seem to matter to my kids. They ate them all up at breakfast the day after I made them.

But, they aren’t good enough to sell, so I’m going to go back to the 3/4 cup pumpkin puree and the 1/4 cup heavy cream and work from there. With my next batch, I will keep the 3/4 cup pumpkin and increase the heavy cream, since it seems like the dough is too dry.

I know that there are great recipes out on the Internet for pumpkin scones (I keep seeing the copycat pumpkin scone recipe for Starbucks!), but it seems like most scone recipes use eggs! I don’t want to use eggs, just because I love the original recipe so much that I want to keep that texture.

I did drizzle some maple icing on the scones, but even that was too sweet. I think I might need to temper it with some butter.

I also cut these scones the wrong way. Oops! I should have used the rectangle method instead of the circle method. These scones definitely need to be bigger and fatter!

So basically, I liked my first attempt better than my second attempt. But that is why this section of the blog is called Kitchen Experiments. I get to make mistakes and try to correct them! Thanks for reading!

-Lynn

 

 

Sausage and Veggie Crustless Quiche

I’m trying to be better about blogging regularly, and I think I’ve finally found the right time to write blog posts. At night, after everyone else has gone to bed! Before my macaron post last week, it had been about two weeks since I had written a post. That doesn’t mean I didn’t bake or cook anything interesting. I just didn’t have time  or didn’t feel it was worth documenting. The past week has been just crazy with dentist appointments for all the kids one day and annual physicals for all my kids which took about 3 days total. So I haven’t been cooking all that much really. We just finished with the physicals today. Phew!

Today’s bake was Josh’s idea. He asked me if I could make a quiche using kale. I had not thought of anything for dinner yet (I am a horrible, horrible dinner planner), so of course, I jumped on board and said I could make that for dinner. I’m so glad we were planning on being out and about already, so I was able to pick up a few things to go in and with the quiche. Once I got home though, I realized that I probably wouldn’t have time to make pie crust, so I decided to go with a crustless quiche instead.

As a base recipe, I used Summer Garden Crustless Quiche from Allrecipes.com. We didn’t want it to be just veggies though because of picky eaters, so I added 4 links of crumbled, cooked Italian sausage to the veggie mixture. I also doubled most of the recipe since one quiche no longer feeds all of us. I have a feeling this is something I will be doing a lot: doubling recipes to feed all seven of us!

I also added about half of a red bell pepper and half of an Anaheim pepper diced into small pieces. These I cooked with the mixture after adding the kale. Once the veggie/sausage mixture was cooked, I spread it evenly into a pie plate and a 9″ round cake tin (I wanted one of the quiches to be a little larger than the other, since I was adding hot sauce to the smaller one for Josh and me).

Then, I whisked together 10 eggs and 1 and a half cups of milk. After adding in about 3 handfuls of cheddar cheese, I poured the egg mixture into the pie plate and cake tin and into the 350 degree oven they both went for about an hour.

The above pics are of the quiches before baking. The one on the right has Cholula drizzled over the top. Josh and I like spicy, but our kids do not.

Here are the quiches after baking. They might have been in the oven a little too long; I’m not too sure. The edges were browned a little bit too much. Looks like I might need to practice!

My kids didn’t ask for seconds, which didn’t surprise me, but they did finish their food without too much complaining. Josh and I did get seconds of our quiche though. Josh’s kale is fresh from the garden so it never tastes bitter and I hardly noticed it in the quiche.

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I did attempt a plating picture. I cooked some asparagus to go with the quiche (yes, more veggies!). Surprisingly, my youngest boy loved the asparagus and asked for more! I also had bought a loaf of french bread, and of course, all my other kids loved the bread.

I think I liked using a cake pan better than the pie plate, because I didn’t have to worry about overflow as much with the pan. I also would have liked the quiche to be a little higher, but that is probably due to the splitting of the mixture between two pans.

Tomorrow, I plan on making toasted quinoa soup. I’m sure that will go over really well with the kiddos!

-Lynn

 

Pumpkin Scones

At the end of August, I decided to bake pumpkin scones. Now, that probably isn’t the most appropriate time to do a fall bake, but we have a bunch of pumpkin puree in the freezer, and I wanted to start using some of it. Yes, we still have pumpkin puree in the freezer.

If you can make your own pumpkin puree, I’d highly recommend it. Yes, it makes a huge mess and takes all day (see the linked post: Pumpkins in July!), but canned pumpkin doesn’t quite match the color and taste of the homemade kind.

Once again, I fell back to my favorite scone recipe that uses heavy whipping cream as the liquid and just adjusted as needed for the flavor.

Pumpkin Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, all spices. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat pieces with flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.

Mix together the heavy cream, vanilla, and the pumpkin puree in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the heavy cream and pumpkin puree mixture.  Fold everything together just to incorporate.

On a lightly floured surface, press dough out into a large circle. Cut the circle into 8 to 12 wedges and place each wedge on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush each wedge with heavy cream and sprinkle some coarse sugar on each wedge if desired.

Bake 15-20 minutes until brown.

These scones could have used some glaze, since scones always look prettier with glaze! But I think I had made a maple butter to go with these, so I didn’t make the glaze to go with them.

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The pumpkin scones before baking, brushed with heavy cream
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The pumpkin scones after baking

Since this bake was a while ago, I don’t quite remember if I was completely satisfied with how these turned out. I do know that whenever I make scones, whether or not I consider them a fail, they always disappear quickly. And these did.

I apologize in advance if you make these and they don’t turn out quite right. One thing that may not be correctly proportioned is the pumpkin puree and heavy cream. It seems like that should be 1/2 cup pumpkin and 1/2 cup cream, not 1/4 cup cream and 3/4 cup pumpkin. Since it is fall now, I will probably make these again very soon and change those proportions!

-Lynn

Chocolate Apple Pops

What? Lynn, another post about chocolate? Yes, yes it is.

Delish recipes will often show up on my Facebook feed. A recipe for Chocolate Apple Pops popped up and a friend asked me if I could make them. I said I probably could. Now, before I make them for my friend, I wanted to make sure I could actually make them! So I did a test run of the recipe on the Delish website.

This recipe isn’t very hard to make, but there are a few things I wanted to mention about what I will change for my next batch of these.

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Number one: Use Granny Smith apples.

I used Honeycrisp apples. I adore Honeycrisp apples. They are my all-time favorite apple. My kids love them too. We all win. But I think my favorite way to eat them is just plain sliced with nothing on them.

They worked okay in this recipe, but I really think Granny Smith is the way to go.

Number two: Try to slice the apples so that you miss the core.

I kept the core in this batch and later realized that I probably should try to slice on either side of it. No one wants to bite into an apple seed unintentionally! And… what happens to all the chocolate covering that part… I guess you have to eat it off the core!  I know this is probably a little thing, but I just think it’d be more enjoyable to eat if you don’t have to worry about biting into the core of the apple, even if it is supposed to be a little like eating a caramel apple.

Number two and a half: I’m considering making more of a chocolate hard shell coating (like the ice cream topping) for these, but I am not sure about that yet.

Number three: There is no number three!  Just… boy, these are yummy and we pretended they are healthy even though they are covered in chocolate, white chocolate, caramel, and sprinkles! Did I mention they are covered in sprinkles… twice?

Definitely kid-approved, 4 out of 5 of my kids liked them (Gwen ate all the “good parts” off her apple and left the “healthy part.” lol) A little messy to eat but hey, that’s part of the fun! We went out to eat after my kids tried these apple pops. Most of them had chocolate smears somewhere on their clothing. Oops!

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-Lynn