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!

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The Blending Experience

Just a few suggestions for making essential oil blends.

Lavender flowers
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Evidently I must do this without pictures!  Okay, here goes!

Last Wednesday my friend Denise and I pooled our resources and spent a fun afternoon working and playing with essential oils.  Not quite a mad scientists‘ lab, much more fun.  Doubt that we were ever in any danger of blowing ourselves up or gassing ourselves.  We had plenty of raw ingredients and containers to put them in.  Plus, we had recipes we were curious to try, not to mention our own imagination, creativity and curiosity.

Set up took a little time.  Denise already had her act together, impressively organized and ready for blending.  You think I’m kidding, maybe.  She had her oils all in alphabetical order, carrier oils grouped together and bottles with stoppers; all ready to go.  Books and recipes were also close at hand.  Did I forget to mention tags?  She had ’em.  We have talked about doing this since last May, I think.  It was easy to see she was ready to work/play.

All my materials were more or less neatly transported in this cool wooden box that looks like a treasure chest.  My first task was to make an alphabetical list of my collection.  I was amazed how quickly that was done, I’d put it off for so long… can’t say why anymore.  Doesn’t matter now, does it?  When the list was finished, next was carrier oils and other blending ingredients.  As we didn’t plan specifically, I came prepared to blend cosmetic, perfumes or cleaning solutions.  The only thing I was sure of was we were going to blend something.  Last from the chest were my books and recipes, or, and some containers for finished product.  Denise definitely had the better choices, she has been doing this much longer.

The excitement of Finally! doing this was harnessed and we went to work.  We both made a kitchen cleaner deodorizer using lavender, eucalyptus, bergamot and tuber rose in distilled water.  The proportions of oils are determined by the amount of water.   Goes like this:

2 oz distilled water

8 drops lavender

10 drops bergamot

5 drops eucalyptus

3 drops palma rosa

I believe we each did a double batch.  We’re coming into cold and flu season and it’s a good idea to clean the kitchen well.

I made something called Insomnia Buster and neither one of us was sure, just exactly how it is supposed to be used.   A good lesson in gathering info.  It’s a really good idea to gather complete info, or at least note the source in a handy place to ask questions later.  The plan at the moment is to use it diffused.  Could be added to a carrier and applied to bottoms of feet or ear lobes.  Perhaps added to a hot bath.  It smells great!!!

6 drops Clary sage

12 drops lavender

4 drops roman chamomile

12 drops geranium

It is currently in a tightly capped blue-bottle and I think the blending process will have reached peak in the next couple of days.  Once you decide what you are going to blend and then do it, remember to roll or shake the bottle at least once a day for the next week.  The scent alters.  I’m pretty sure it remains the same after that.  I’m learning as I go.

Denise made a blend for trigger finger and, sorry, forgot to get it.  I can if anyone wants to know it.

My third blend was a perfume.  Perfumes are something of a mystery to me and I thought it would be a hoot to try making my own.  Just this once.  If it turns out well, I’ll let you know what is in it.  Too iffy right now and there are still a few weeks before the aging process is finished.  I like it so far.  You do the same with a perfume that you would do with other blends, store in dark glass tightly capped bottle and roll or shake up at least once a day.  Mine is oil based, did I mention that.  I could have use vodka or I think, brandy.  I’m sure the results would be different.  Since I was anxious to try making a perfume and didn’t have alcohol handy, I went with the oil option.  Time will tell.

I am embarrassed to say I’ve forgotten what Denise’s  third blend is!!!!  I took some pictures and was all excited to get this blog written and posted.  Got the pictures to the media library and thought I was all set!  There I go thinking again.  I WILL figure out what I’m doing wrong, until then… As if that wasn’t enough, my handy-dandy little Netbook has been balking at some things lately, or it was a full moon, or Mercury was retrograde, or_____________; end result, I could get to my blog page, just couldn’t do anything but admire it and say, yup, that’s my blog page!  Hurray, today I can do stuff!!!  Not everything I was hoping to, like include the photos from Wednesday.  Oh well, the writing is done!

“When you eat something, how good should it taste” Mama Celeste

Do you remember that commercial, or, am I giving away my age again?  This question crosses my mind whenever I come across stuff that totally ruins what could be good food.  And there are a few things, currently rather popular, that ruin what could be good food.  Sometimes it’s the ingredients, sometimes it’s just the packaging and sometimes it’s an interesting combination of things, but, made to be microwaved.

When the ingredient list reads like a chemistry experiment it just can’t possibly taste good.  And it’s surprising, to me anyway, some of these things actually sell.  Boxed macaroni and cheese.  Who’s kidding who here?  Have you Never had macaroni and cheese!  I think it’s sad so many children probably don’t even know they are eating a facsimile.  And I wonder how many of them would turn down the “real thing” convinced that it was the imposter.

Anything made with High Fructose Corn Syrup seems just slightly off to me.  Off enough that when I see it listed as an ingredient, I won’t buy it.  Two examples for taste test come to mind.  Pepsi has a throwback version, compare it with their current blend. Make mine throwback.  And graham crackers.  I LOVE graham crackers.  Have to get them at Trader Joe’s or an organic grocery anymore.  I got some at a regular grocery a while back, to use for one of my favorite recipes.  The outcome had me in tears.   I had gotten so accustomed to these cookies being mouthwateringly delicious that I just wasn’t prepared for the bland.  When I next made them with crackers from Trader Joe’s they were everything I expected.

To all the folks out there who insist that artificial sweeteners have no aftertaste, I would like to add two words to your proclamation: to you.  And since I don’t like proselytizing on any subject, I won’t.

When it comes to packaging, might I inform the advertising geniuses and whoever else puts their two cents in to the final development:  if you have to tell me it’s food I automatically assume that it is NOT!  Processed, pastuerized cheese food…….the cellophane tastes better. And when you melt the actual product…eewww!  I should probably thank you for describing your offerings as Fat Free and Sugar Free, it saves me time.  As a matter of fact, could you start labelling that kind of thing in big red letters?  I hate picking that stuff up by mistake.  I try not to hurry through grocery shopping, but, this isn’t a perfect world.  If you would do the same with the Low Fat and whatever other adjectives you like to add, that would be real nice, thanks.  And I might start believing that your product is “Natural” if you stopped putting a freaking chem lab of flavor enhancers, preservatives and God only knows what else in them.  Do it yourself is becoming the order of the day for more and more people.  I’m thinking that’s a good thing, given the choices available.

I tried a breakfast bowl once.  It was made to be microwaved.  I took the stuff out of the bowl and put it into an oven safe container to heat.  Kept an eye on it to be sure it didn’t burn, yet heated all the way through.  Notice, I tried it once.  It was enough to convince me the experiment did not bear repeating.  If you’re wondering why I didn’t just throw it in the microwave, the answer is simple:  I don’t like microwaved anything, at all.  This is not new. From the very first microwaved meal I ever tried  I have been convinced that it is the worst possible way to prepare food.  Bar none!  And it was all about taste, or, lack thereof.

When you eat something, how good should it taste?  Like you’ve died and gone to heaven!  That might be a bit much for every day fare, or, not.  Have you ever noticed feeling full from even a small portion of something really good!?  It’s almost magical how that works.