Better than canned bread or sliced beer

Evaporated milk

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I like turning old sayings around just to see what happens.  The other day when I was thinking about something the thought came across; this is better than canned bread or sliced beer.  Don’t know much about the beer, but, I do have a recipe for canned bread.  It’s one I’ve had for so many years, I don’t even remember when I first found it and tried it.  Just remember, its excellent bread.

The recipe comes from Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes, Lane Books, Menlo Park, CA, 1973.  It’s called Rich Batter Bread

Dissolve the yeast in water with the ginger and one TBSP of sugar in a large bowl, stir and set aside until foamy. (about 10-15 minutes) Stir in remaining sugar, milk, salt and salad oil.  Using a mixer on medium speed add flour, one cup at a time until too thick for mixer Beat in last cup of flour with a heavy spoon; and flour until dough is heavy but too tacky to knead.   Prepare lidded metal coffee can by removing lid and greasing generously with butter.  If using a 2lb can place dough within, snap on cover and let rise in warm place until cover pops. Place in oven preheated to 350 for one hour. Crust will be very brown, brush lightly with butter.  Allow to cool on rack 5-10 minutes.  Loosen crust around edge of can and slide out loaf.  Allow to cool standing upright.  Enjoy.  Baked bread can be stored in can.

If you are using 1lb cans, divide raw dough into two equal portions and place in well greased cans covered with snap on lids.  Bake 45 minutes, then follow cooling directions.

Once the dough is made and placed in covered coffee  cans it can be frozen and baked at a later time.  Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw and rise, bake and cool as above.  Allow 6-8 hours for a 2lb can and 4-5 for a 1lb can.

This is delicious bread and is great toasted, goes well with soups and stews and I like it for tuna salad sandwiches.

They listed alternatives I haven’t tried, but, you might like.

Light wheat bread, in base recipe replace 1 1/2 cups of regular flour with whole wheat flour and use honey instead of sugar.

Corn-Herb Batter Bread, to yeast mixture add 2 teaspoons celery seed, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage and 1/8 teaspoon marjoram.  Substitute 1/2 cup corn meal for 1/2 cup flour.

Raisin-Nut Batter Bread, to yeast mixture add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.  Stir 1/2 cup each raisins and chopped walnuts with final flour addition.

Wonder why I never tried the alternatives, they sound tasty enough!

There are other examples of canned bread, I’m just not familiar with them.  I used to see Boston Brown Bread in cans at the grocery store.  I understand it’s great with baked beans.  I haven’t looked lately, but, probably will, now that I’ve thought of it again.

Took a day off yesterday and enjoyed it, now back on the task as NaNoWriMo builds steam.  Onward and Upward!  Better than canned bread and sliced beer!


Hey, this writing thing is like…!

The inside of an MSI Wind PC (netbook).

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Until yesterday, I hadn’t noticed the amount of energy involved in writing. After two days in a row of , more or less, staying on topic for 1600+/- words I was wiped out! I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced that before. Can’t even say it’s a real eye opener cause mine kept closing.
Looks like I’ll need to adjust for that. The NaNoWriMo challenge is too enticing to drop. It is a good kind of tired, all things considered. I’ve been thinking about it and talking about it since the first time I read the challenge. A fiction Novel of 50,000 words written in 30 days! The more I thought about it the more interesting it sounded. It’s funny to think of myself as a pantser. I have a very limited idea of what I’m going to be writing, I’ll be doing it all by the seat of my pants! Which is what I do anyway! Evidently my muse has been patiently waiting for me to sit down with this handy-dandy Netbook and get busy. Most of the time, I don’t know what I’ve written until I read it..Scouts honor!
Today’s post is just meant to meet the postaday2011 challenge. I hated missing yesterday, but, even muses seem to have a union. Or something. Holiday time or training day schedule. I got enough inspiration to write out 3 pages long hand yesterday and that was it! I was actually grateful for that cause it’s part of something else I’m doing that has some long-term implications. All good stuff!
I believe I’ll be posting a little earlier in the day Wednesday and Thursday, God willing and the creeks don’t rise. I love keeping some momentum cause it brings some logic and order with it. I like that.
So, have a good night, see you tomorrow!

Life is a series of choices ?!

I woke up this morning thinking about choices,open-ended questions and surveys.  I fell somewhat short of the goal of 1657 words yesterday because I just couldn’t think of anymore to say.  It’s true!   Rode that horse as far as it would go and didn’t quite reach the barn.  Over 500 words short, as a matter of fact.  Poor thing would have been left out in the cold, if it had been a real horse.

So, i woke up thinking about choices, etc., as I said.  It presented itself as: if you don’t see the choices….do you really HAVE choices?  How many times have you said, or, heard someone else say “I had no choice” ?Do you believe it?  Whether you are saying it yourself or hearing it said, do you believe it?

Next thought, similar vein; have you ever noticed when people are saying they had no choice, it’s usually in reference to something bad happening?  I can not recall, say, a lottery winner saying, gee, I really had no choice.  Or the bride or groom at a wedding (shotgun weddings excluded).  You might hear it during the divorce proceedings, at some point.  How about getting hired at a new job?  It could happen there, I guess.  Still, more likely to be heard when someone is being let go, regardless of the reason for termination.

I think heroic people have said it; although I couldn’t cite any specific example with names and places.  Just seems I’ve heard it in connection with people running into burning buildings, or pulling someone from an auto wreck.  They were there, saw what needed to be done and did it.  They had no choice.  If they did, they never let it stop them from doing what needed to get done.

Most of the time it sounds like an excuse, to me anyway.  Like, I was just following orders, just doing my job or, the ever popular, it’s just company policy.

Notice, I said “sounds like” an excuse.  Sometimes it’s the short version of: i considered a number of other possibilities and this turned out to be the best.  And how often is that more like the truth?  The short version  is  something like the difference between having your throat cut and being drawn and quartered.  The first is quick and merciful (?) while the second tends to be long and drawn out.  Just guessing here, have no first-hand experience with either.

Sign outside the Hung, Drawn and Quartered pub...

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And, there are people who at times and in situations really do believe they have no choice.  It happens a lot with people who have been beaten down by life, sometimes even when They are the ones beating on themselves.  The more stress a person feels, the fewer choices s/he is likely to recognize.  There are folks walking around with either very strong spiritual muscles and/or great intestinal fortitude and intellectual presence under any circumstances.  These are rare persons, indeed, who can see any number of choices and make wise decisions under fire.  The rest of us mere mortals trudge along , making decent choices most of the time and only occasionally running into an “I had no choice” situation.  When you look back at those situations, from the comfort of your favorite chair, do you still think the same thing?  I can finally say no to that, but it’s a long story, for another day.  This is the blog, not the novel.

The second branch in the river of thoughts was about open-ended questions and how I usually prefer them.  I’m careful to say usually because “why” is an open-ended question that can drive me right around the bend.  And I’m quite comfortable at the moment, thank you.  I also don’t like it when the questions are leading…are they still open-ended, if they are leading?  I am not a parrot or a tape recorder.   I have loathed rehearsed, specific responses to questions for a long time.  Puts me too much in mind of catechism and not being allowed to question the programmed responses.  I won’t say I can’t be programmed, just that it won’t be easy.  Unless you cheat.  As long as I’m allowed use of my full faculties, there isn’t much I take at face value.  Almost nothing I don’t question.  Yes, I was one of those kids.  Although I hold an actual, legitimate four-year degree, most of my education, such as it is, is from the school of hard knocks .  At this point I’m claiming PhDs.   The advantage of typing this stuff is that it’s easier to follow the trail of crumbs back to my point.  I was saying how I prefer open-ended questions.   I have some thoughts on closed ended questions and will get to them when surveys is the topic.

And I think that’s right now, cause whatever else I was planning to say has just fled the scene.

I am not a good person to survey when responses are limited to yes and no.  Doesn’t seem to matter how the question is phrased, I have a multitude of reasons why either answer would be substantially true, or, substantially false and so tend to choose neither.  If caught in a cooperative mood, I might play along, but, don’t bet your paycheck on it.  If the question is both closed and leading it’s quite likely I’ll just decide Bulls___ and stop playing altogether.  Which is how I read most survey questions.  If the surveyors have already decided the results they want it is really insulting to ask questions in the first place.

Ever hear, “there are liars, damned liars and statisticians”?  Mark Twain said that. Thank you Google.  Surveys aren’t the only source of statistics , just a pretty big one.  4 out of 5 doctors recommend_________________.  Have you ever been to a doctor that recommended _____________?  I haven’t.  Not a huge fan of doctors anyway. (another long story for another day)  Point is, I have had occasion to ask doctors about _____________ and they either had no opinion or suggested other alternatives.  Consistently.  All you statisticians out there, what is the probability that I only found doctor #5 each time?  Or, doctor #10 when the range was 9 out of 10.  Yes, I’ve led a very sheltered life.  I believe there ought to be at least a small measure of truth in advertising.  Not naive or innocent enough to believe that there is, just a wishful thinker, idealist.  Wouldn’t it be nice to read or listen to an ad and know what they were saying was mostly true?  Yes, I jumped the divide from naiveté to cynicism too many years ago to count.  bet I’m not the only one!

This line actually led into a sequence of thoughts about reality tv.  The only thing accurate or true about that is tv.  According to me anyway.  And came to mind when thinking about closed questions because they lead to inaccuracy at best and lying at worst.  Most of my cynicism is based on the belief that a majority of publicly broadcast “information” is somewhere on that scale.  From the little I’ve seen of the genre I equate it with American cheese, or, processed, pasteurized , cheese food!!!  Not fit for human consumption.  I was stunned at how rapidly and thoroughly the genre caught fire.  It is my fervent hope that it dies out soon.  Disco came and finally went, didn’t it?  I actually didn’t totally hate disco. I was younger then.

As I briefly peruse what I’ve written so far, what it all seems to come back to is learning to tell the truth.  To myself most of all.  I’ve lied to myself often enough about not having any choice.  I now realize what I really meant, more often than not , was I didn’t really like any of the options I saw.  And I’ve been getting better,  recently, about talking to a live, other person and getting a more balanced view of things.  Often, people outside can see one or two positive options that never occurred to me.  I really do like having choices. Just don’t go crazy with them.  Too many and my head explodes, so, just as bad as none.

I knew there was one more thing. Dichotomies!  Either/Or , right/wrong, good/bad….you get the idea. Only two sides to the coin.  Two major political parties.  When I was a kid, i used to think there were only Catholics and”Publics”  Do they still tell kids in grammar school that there is only one true religion?  I’ve gotten so far away from all that, I honestly don’t know.  There is the theory that kids should receive consistent messages about most things in life.   My cynical mind insists I add, it doesn’t need to be true, it helps if you believe.  What I was leading up to is that there  is so much in life that just isn’t that clear-cut.  There are, in fact, shades of gray, middle of the road choices and ideas and ideals that bear consideration and even follow through.

It is my contention that “the great unwashed” is beginning to bathe regularly.  And why I find Occupy Wall Street such a fascinating phenomenon.  I think people are understanding that change cannot and will not come about through our political system.  There are too many with a vested interest in the status quo.  Money talks!  And parks it’s keister right square in the middle of things, leaving very little wiggle room for those without.  OWS is about choice. About having REAL choices.  And if the money supply and old boy network can be brought to task, if not eliminated, maybe we can get back to a level of prosperity and more full employment.  It just occurred to me, I’ve been saying for years that a revolution is coming.  It’s here!  And, for the most part, not radical, off with their heads rhetoric.  Of course there are trouble makers and rabble rousers.  I’m not sure there’s a way to avoid them entirely.  I am encouraged to see the Occupy movement grow and spread.   I think they know what the Tea Party still doesn’t seem to grasp.  When legislation is for sale, go to the money source!  Just like any good mystery writer says “follow the money”.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved and exceeded the word count goal!  Wahoo!

Preparing for the challenge!


How many NaNoWriMo participants do we have here?  November first is sneaking up, rather more quickly than I expected.  I’m feeling some chills that have nothing to do with current weather.  What HAVE I done?  What was I thinking? WAS I thinking?  It’s a crazy blend of excitement and fear.  I dread 11/01/11 and I can hardly wait for 11/01/11.  This might be even more fun than blogging!

A fiction novel of 50k words in thirty days!  They even did the math for me.  If I can write at least 1657 words a day, it’s possible.  And they don’t insist that the words make sense!  Seems to be a challenge I’ve given myself.  And those are the challenges that give me the most trouble.

The staff at the site suggest turning off spell check and other machine installed editors and also……………the internal editor!  It will be interesting to see if that happens.  I mean, who do you know that corrects a journal?  It is written specifically for private use.  No One else is going to read it.  Who cares if words are misspelled, punctuation is misplaced or missing altogether?  That would be me.  It only bothers me when I compose on computer.  I just CANNOT leave those squiggly red lines unattended to.  When I’m writing in pen and ink, that’s another story altogether.  Total abandon, seriously.  There is no little red squiggly nagging at me so, I just write on.

Has anyone ever disabled spell check?  How do you go about it? Is it easy to enable again?  Things I have to look into in the next couple of weeks.  Bet I can Google search it!  A friend of mine does it all the time, often her first thought when she comes across something for the first time.   The day may come when I do that as well.  It could happen!

When I went to the web site for the first time I momentarily considered just dropping the idea right then.  They were asking for a title!  In October!  And the request for that information followed me and posted itself at the top of every page I visited.  I’d swear it got there before me!  Like the light in the refrigerator.  Which I’m fairly certain is off when the door is closed, I’ve seen and played with the gizmo that controls it!

I gave my novel a title and a couple of opening lines, phew, that was easier than expected.  The synopsis, however WILL have to wait.  I have a whisper of an idea and a potential second character.  Not too bad.  I won’t be starting totally clueless.

I have been writing three pages long hand each day and have been fairly consistent with Postaday2011 throughout October.  That is encouraging.  Don’t know if it amounts to the daily word requirement, although I suspect it’s a good beginning.

There was a questionnaire on the site and one of the things asked was, musical preference when writing.  Huh?  people play music when they write?  I’m not sure I’ve ever tried that.  I can block out routine noise and activity, but, somehow I think I’d be paying more attention to the music than to words on the page.   Seems I’ll have to try it and find out for sure.  It probably doesn’t matter unless I go to a write in.  Right?

The other matter to run through the mill is a novel isn’t going to be as freewheeling as a blog.  And I haven’t yet needed to consider character development here.  Okay, plot lines  probably shouldn’t be all loosey-goosey either.   Well, we won’t know until we try; will we?

I’m thinking the story will be at least a little bit autobiographical. ( Must be a word, spell check didn’t even blink.)  Obviously, haven’t disabled it, yet.  I promise to any friends reading this, names will be changed, among other things.  This will not be a new century Peyton Place.  I like a good soap opera as much as anyone, if there were such a thing. As a good one.  Really, staging, acting, directing, wardrobe can all be superb, if the characters don’t learn from one day to the next, week to the next, month to the next…….it’s a guilty pleasure at best.  Almost as much fun as watching revenge movies.  There’s a word I’m looking for here and it escapes me at the moment.  Cathartic might apply, but, it’s not the one I’m thinking of.  We’ll come back to it.  Possibly MUCH later.

I seem to have run out of steam on this topic.  For now.  For the next couple of weeks, practice, practice, practice.  Subjects will most likely vary, as the have in the past.  The goals are word count and post. TTFN

Staring at a blank screen

Must have gotten up too early this morning cause I’m sitting here staring at a blank screen with no idea  what comes next.  Obviously, not entirely true or this would still be blank.  Tempted to say something smart alecky here (about country music).  Mostly resisting, not entirely.

I’ve heard that a good way to bust through a writer’s block is to write a sentence, any sentence.  Aren’t you glad I didn’t go for : now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country, or, the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog?  oops.  I’m committed to the page a day and this seems to be one of those days where, perhaps, committed can have more than one meaning.  Oh well.  The deed is done!  And I put the hyper link in yesterday’s post as well.  Progress!