Nothing I like better is a quilt order that leaves it up to my discretion as how it will turn out! In this case, my daughter asked for a new quilt for her birthday in March. She said she wanted it to be varied in subject with rainbows, colors, and . . . and . . . and. My cue to dig through my scraps and find fabric so I could make one of my ‘world vision’ quilts. Translation: Every square has some kind of picture/scene in it and anything goes. I also have tentative plans for the back of the quilt but haven’t finalized them yet. Someone told me that the backs of my quilts are almost as elaborate as the front. Yesterday, i finished the 30 preliminary squares for the quilt and hope to have time to start putting on the borders. As usual, I have a quilt on the shelf that needs a few more hand stitches, one that is pieced and awaiting some backing fabric, and now this current creation.
Yes, I’m already working on things that need planning for Christmas. Sure, it is two months away BUT, It is ONLY two months away! I’ve been lining up my recipes and making sure to slowly accumulate the necessary supplies needed for the holiday baking. This is a good recipe for a festive addition to breakfast or giving as a homemade gift.
Merry Christmas Cranberry Bread
2 cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup orange juice
1 well-beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup diced green maraschino cherries
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening until it is roughly broken up into the dry ingredients. Blend together the orange juice, egg, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to moisten. Fold in the cranberries, cherries, and nuts. Bake in vegetable oil sprayed 9×5-inch bread pan for 45-60 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the middle of the loaf. If there is still wet dough, bake longer. Cool for 15 minutes and then remove from pan to finish cooling on a rack. A lemon glaze wouldn’t be frowned upon!
You can also bake the batter in cupcake tins for individual portions. Just remember to reduce the baking time.
Decided to take a different approach to Lent this year and get an afghan a week done for Comfort Covers Ministry. Actually ended up with thirteen of them completed by Easter Sunday! A side benefit of my effort was that I finally made a substantial dent in my hoard of yarn leftover from other projects. Unfortunately, in order to finish the above, I ended up having to purchase more yarn here and there and still maintain a leftover yarn ‘collection’!
There is food enough in the cupboards to last until payday but anything extra or special will have to wait . . . unless you happen to have six cups of flour, a packet of yeast, salt and water available. Although it seems an unlikely combination to evolve into something of any particular palate-pleasing result, there are possibilities.
First you have to mix up the basis of your future inspirations! Dissolve the yeast in a quarter cup of cool water. Put in the flour, salt and enough water to form into a pliable dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. The time you spend kneading give you moments to start creating possibilities! Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to double in bulk. Go on with your life as this can take a couple of hours depending on the weather.
You come back later to find a delightful, great batch of dough pushing against the plastic film. Pull back the wrap, take a deep breath of the smell of developing bread dough and. . .punch it down! I know! It hurts to seemingly destroy that beautiful puff of dough but this procedure helps develop the flavor of the final outcome and it will rise again.
Now you come to the creative part of your day. What do you need to round out your family’s snack time or meal? Do you need sweet, savory or plain? The following are some suggestions but remember almost anything works and with a little thought you can come up with that secret, family recipe.
Rolls are always nice with a meal. They stretch the calories and everyone loves them. You can take half your dough and divide into roll size bits. Carefully curve them into smooth rolls, place them on a lightly-greased cookie sheet, let rise and bake at 425 degrees for about ten minutes. In fact, with a little forethought, the rolls can exit the oven as your family enters the kitchen for dinner. A brush with beaten egg before baking and a pinch of poppy seeds on the top, will make them even more spectacular.
The other half of your dough can be placed in a loaf pan and when it has risen, baked at 425 degrees until you have a golden loaf to be put aside for breakfast the next morning.
Now if bread is not what you sweet tooth wants, you can pinch off tablespoons of dough, roll them into pencil-thin lengths and deep-fry them until brown. Drain them on paper towel, pile them on a platter and dust with confectioners’ sugar. This makes a good dessert during the hiatus between paydays. You can also shake them in cinnamon and sugar for a donut-like treat.
You aren’t in the mood for sweet or plain? Take a portion of the dough, roll it out into a rectangular (or as near as possible!). Sprinkle a generous handful of grated cheese (your choice) over the dough. Fold the dough together, roll out again and repeat with the cheese. Do this three or four times, depending on how much you like cheese. With the final rolling, cut dough into narrow strips,, place about an inch apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees about ten to fifteen minutes.
If you take the time to figure out the price of flour, your investment in time will make the days between payday so easy, you may forget to watch for payday. . .but I doubt it!