‘Tis the season for grapefruit!   I bought one at Kroger for a whopping    $ .77,  then saw them at Aldi for $ .25.   GAH!    I’ll be honest, I originally ate grapefruit as a diet food.  Come on ladies, who hasn’t?   But I actually grew to like it!   Then I saw this little recipe in Everyday Food and had to give it a shot.  It’s really, really good!

Grapefruit with Pistachios

2 grapefruits
2 tbsp brown sugar
pistachios, chopped

Cut one grapefruit in half and squeeze ¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice into a small bowl.  Stir in brown sugar.  With a sharp knife, slice away peel and pith of the remaining 1 ½ grapefruits, then slice into thin rounds.  If you’re sharing, divide the slices into separate bowls and pour the sweetened juice over top.  Sprinkle with pistachios.   Any extra will keep in the fridge.

 

(Peeling – A lot easier than cutting it in half and scooping it out in little segments…)

 

 

We’re really lucky that Tennessee has Sundrop.   No Cheerwine here, but I think I’ll live.   I would have really missed Sundrop though.  It reminds me of summertime as a kid, eating those way-too-orange peanut butter snack crackers.

Anyway – this Sundrop pound cake is a great recipe from Donna Knight (I love facebook!).  Its the only pound cake I’ve ever made that didn’t flatten into a dense dry slab.  The texture was just right, with a tiny sad streak in the middle (some people don’t like it when that happens, but thats my favorite part!).  I also came up with a lemony glaze to go on top, although I could just as easily eat this plain!

Sundrop Pound Cake

3 cups all purpose (plain) flour
3 cups sugar
½ cup Crisco
2 sticks butter or margarine
5 eggs
1 cup Sundrop
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 tsp lemon flavoring

Grease and flour tube cake pan, or spray with cooking spray with flour.  (I used two loaf pans, I think my tube pan is somewhere in storage…)

Add sugar, Crisco, butter and blend well. Add eggs one at time. Alternate flour and Sundrop, making sure the flour is well blended before adding Sundrop, if not, this will cause lumps. Add flavoring.

Put cake in a cold oven. Bake at 325° for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp milk
1 tbsp lemon zest

Whisk everything together, adding milk a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

I’ve waited for years to get a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  Mostly so I could have a dough hook.

Now my darling and I will make many beautiful breads together.

For the past few years, I’ve been making the switch from white foods to whole grains.  BUT – when it comes to making bread, the wheat and other whole grain flours tend to weigh down the dough.  It keeps the yeast from being able to rise like it should, and makes a much more dense bread.  So, most bread recipes contain a mix of whole grain and white all-purpose flour.

These whole wheat rolls are a step in the right direction.  They are about 60% wheat flour/40% white flour.   You use the wheat flour by itself to start the dough, then add in the white flour as needed to take the dough from sticky to soft and kneadable.

This recipe is intended to make dinner rolls, but I thought I could make them larger and use them as sandwich rolls for Corey’s lunch.   Even in larger form, and made with yeast that expired in ’09, they still rose pretty well (probably should’ve put yeast on the grocery list as soon as I got the mixer).    They are a little too sweet for sandwiches, but they are DELICIOUS as yeasty dinner rolls.  This batch was a little more dense than I would have liked (probably due to the ancient yeast), but I still had to put most of them in the freezer so I wouldn’t double fist ’em.  Like I said,  DELICIOUS…

This recipe is from Kristen – aka – The Frugal Girl.  Her recipes are accessible, and always work for me.  For beautiful step-by-step pictures of the baking process, visit her site here.

 

Whole Wheat Rolls

3.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 pkg. (4.5 teaspoons) yeast
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
3-3.5 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixer bowl, combine whole wheat flour and yeast. Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt together just till warm (115-120 F). Add to dry mixture; add eggs. Beat at low speed until combined, then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. By hand, stir in as much of the all-purpose flour as necessary to make a soft, but kneadable dough.

Turn out onto a floured counter and knead for 3-5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a wet tea towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Punch dough down. Divide into 36 pieces.

To make cloverleaves, divide each piece into 3 pieces, shape each into a ball, and place three balls into each section of a muffin tin.

To make rosettes, roll each piece into a long strand, about 8 inches long. Tie into a loose knot and tuck one end into the top of the roll and one end under the roll.

To make swirls, roll each piece into a long strand, about 8 inches long. Coil the strand into a snail-like shape.

Cover rolls, let them rise for 30-40 minutes, or until doubled, and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

 

Here’s a good way to use up old t-shirts or tank tops.  I got this tank top at a thrift store to wear to the gym, but its so wide that I felt like an Oompa Loompa every time I wore it.  I like the pattern though, and I feel bad about just getting rid of it, so I’m turning it into some cleaning towels.

Cut the top off the shirt under the arm holes.

Cut off the side seams, and trim the shirt to a square or rectangle shape.

Cut off a 1″ x 8″ strip, then pull on both ends til the edges curve in on each other.

Cut a 1″ slit in the shirt (either in the middle, or at one of the corners, depending on how you want it to hang).

Tie the strip into a loop, and slip it through the hole from the back to the front.  Put the plain end of the loop under the knotted end of the loop, and pull tight (or Google Cow’s Hitch or Lark’s Head knot…)

Now you can hang it up!

I made a little pile of these, and I’ve really liked using them.  They’re good for dusting, wiping off countertops, and especially dirty jobs because you don’t feel like you’re messing up a towel you payed good money for (maybe thats just me…).  I also like being able to hang them to dry before throwing them in the laundry basket.  Anything that makes my cleaning easier is always welcome!

 

Mom:  “What the crap is that?”

Me:  “Its cottage cheese with ranch dressing seasoning mixed in.”

Mom:  “You are really weird.”

Me:  “Well.  Thanks Mom.”

So, yeah.  I’ve somehow managed to live 28 years without eating cottage cheese.   It just wasn’t something we had in the house as kids, and I have never seen anyone eat any!   Now, I always see it in menus  for diet and nutrition plans, but it just didn’t seem like anything I could deal with eating.  Then I read more about it, and how it has lots of protein and calcium, so I decided it was time to give it a try.

My first instinct is always to google recipes online, and this time I stumbled across a forum when people had posted all the different ways they eat cottage cheese.  From plain, to fruited to doused with hot sauce, I got lots of good ideas.  I personally thought it might be good stirred up with ranch dressing mix and used as a dip.

MSG makes me crazy, so those packets from the grocery store don’t really work for me.  Here’s my best approximation of a “Hidden Valley” type ranch dressing mix:

Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup dry buttermilk
    • 1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend at high speed until smooth.
  3. If you want to use this to make salad dressing combine 1 tablespoon mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup milk.
  4. Otherwise use 1 tablespoon in any recipe calling for an envelope of ranch dressing mix.

For this particular dip, I used 1 tbsp ranch mix with 1 cup of cottage cheese.  Then I topped it with shredded cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds, and grape tomatoes and used sliced cucumbers to scoop it all up.  This really worked for me!  I left the cottage cheese chunky, but it would be more dip-like for veggies if you threw it in a blender with some milk or buttermilk to smooth it out.  It’s also really good to dip Goldfish crackers in  (thats actually what I was doing when Mom told me I was weird…)

 

It’s been a good long while since I made myself a purse.  I’ve made a lot of other random things, but I think my last purse was the hobo bag of ‘09.  Wow.

This time I followed the Simplicity pattern #2551, wanting a compact black bag that I couldn’t load up with too much crap.  I got this pattern on sale for $1.99 at Hancock Fabrics, so already I’m feeling good about this!

Its supposed to be made with a quilted fabric, similar in looks to a Vera Bradley bag, but instead I used this awesome Saralisa fabric from Ikea.  Most of Ikea’s fabrics are home decor weight, so I knew it would make a sturdy bag, and at $8.99 a yard, its a pretty good deal.

Cutting out the pieces probably took about an hour and a half, and I know I had some unnecessary fabric waste from cutting out the patterned areas I wanted.  The actual assembly took about 4 hours from start to finish, and there were some tricky areas, but it actually came together pretty easily.

There are two little pockets on each side.  One side is a little too snug for my phone, but at least the other side works, and I don’t have to worry about it falling out.  If you have an iPhone or larger screen phone, it probably wouldn’t fit.

The inside isn’t lined, but all the raw edges are covered with bias-tape so it has a nice finished look.  I would prefer a lining and some interfacing, mostly because I’ve been used to Amy Butler’s awesome patterns.  BUT – those extra materials definitely add up cost-wise, and her patterns take a lot longer than this purse did.

AND – it has some nice interior pockets.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out.  I went back and did some touch up sewing by hand so the handle would hang better, but otherwise, the instructions were clear and easy to follow.  This was my first time making a purse with a zipper (Victory!  I usually avoid patterns that have zippers…), and the first time I had used the technique of covering raw edges with bias tape.  Plus, the price was right:

Pattern:  $1.99
Fabric:  1 yd @ $8.99
Zipper:  Inherited from G-ma (it was actually too big, but I cut it down to size)
Bias Tape:  2 packs @ $1.76 each = $3.52
TOTAL:  $14.50

Pretty cool!

Ok.  So.

I had this awesome, home cooked, all-from-scratch dinner planned.  I was gonna try a new recipe, and was feeling supremely righteous.  That should be your first clue as to how this all turned out.

The plan was to make these salmon turnovers, with a side of homemade rice-a-roni and green beans.  Then, I was gonna match up some leftover apples with the extra cresent rolls from the salmon recipe to make apple turnovers for dessert.

Well.

I made the rice-a-roni ahead of time and it turned out pretty well.  Gotta few tweaks I want to try, but Corey gave the first draft a thumbs up, so this one will definitely stick around.  However, when I pulled the salmon turnovers out of the oven and got a whiff of them, I thought I was gonna puke!   Something about the smell just didn’t work for me, and when I pulled one apart to look at the inside, it was over.  The recipe sounded so good, and I imagine some people would love it, but it was not for me and Corey agreed!

So without any other meat thawed out, dinner became really random.  Corey had the rice-a-roni and his favorite fall-back of grilled provolone cheese sandwiches.  I was so turned off by the salmon mess, that I wanted something completely different.  So, I came up with this new creation, all from the fridge and pantry:

(Pardon the poorly-lit pictures,  the sun had already gone down!)


Kashi cereal flakes and a tbsp of wheat germ* go in the bottom of the bowl.


Top with light/fat free vanilla flavored yogurt.


Add sauteed diced apples.  (Heat a tbsp of butter in a small pan, add diced apples, apple pie spice, and a dash of ground ginger**.  Saute for 10 or so minutes until the apples soften.)


Top with more yogurt and chopped pecans.

This was SO good!  It tasted like dessert, but without the usual dessert guilt.  I will definitely make this again!

 

*The heart of the wheat grain.  Its packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and trace minerals.  I don’t think it has much of a flavor, maybe a little nutty.  I add it to almost everything, especially smoothies, yogurt, applesauce and oatmeal, because I like a little crunchiness.
**Super secret ingredient.  Makes apples taste awesome, and is also anti-inflammatory.