Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Weather Quotes

I got these quotes from the Farmer's Almanac in my morning email:

  1. Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat.
  2. One kind word can warm three winter months.
  3. Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail.
  4. Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.
  5. Snowflakes are kisses from heaven.
  6. Snowmen fall from heaven…unassembled.
  7. When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels.
  8. Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough. ~Earl Wilson
  9. The snow is sparkling like a million little suns. ~Lama Willa Miller
  10. Whether the weather be fine, Whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, Whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather, Whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not ~Author Unknown
  11. There’s one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor’s. ~Clyde Moore  
  12.  My quote is: Winter without snow sucks!  It's actually trying to give us a bit today but it's doing a rather lame job.  Come on mother nature!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Raspberry Apricot Vanilla Cakes

Since the kids are on a wedding diet, I like to make them a treat on the weekends.  Last weekend I made these cakes for them.  These are individual cakes which I made in my small springform pans.
 I used this recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1  1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

 Cut them in half and brush them with almond flavored simple syrup, then brush with apricot jam.  I made a basic buttercream frosting to which I added 1/3 cup of raspberry jam. This flavors it and adds color.  Add a layer of frosting on top of the apricot jam.

 I made a double recipe of the frosting and piped the tops of four cakes and I still ran out of frosting.  It takes a lot more frosting to make these small cakes.

 These cakes stay moist for days.  I gave one to my daughter 4 days after I made them and she said she thought it tasted very fresh.  I refrigerate these in warm weather.

My husband didn't mind eating the plain ones.  The fancy ones went to the kids.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Korentovenja Festival

 Once again we traveled to Cleveland to the Slovenian Hall to attend the Korentovenja Festival.  Sadly, this year there was no snow for the Kurents to chase away.

 This is the only festival of this sort held outside of Slovenia.

 The band was ready to play.

 Pierogis and halushki as well as kielbasa was on the menu.

 Vendors were selling their wares and this woman made Korent heads into pins.  I bought one.

 Children were dressed in traditional Slovenian costumes.

 The local dance corp marched in the parade.

 This neighborhood is working hard to keep their traditions alive.

 The head Korent dresses in brown yack skins.

 This was a surprise this year.  Though the parade is still small, there were more participants than ever before.

 The parade band and the queen and king of the festival.

 Here they come down the main street.

 Who knew....a Slovenian school.

 This year there was an Asian faction in the parade.  There were only four women but I bet next year we will see more.


 And here come the Korents, led by the Poles no less!

 The Korents wear huge bells which they shake to ward off winter.

 These costumes are made in Slovenia and cost over 2000.00 each.

 They carry big poles to beat away winter. Unfortunately, someone beat it to them this year and scared winter away long ago.

 At least it was cold because I think these costumes must be very hot.


 Oh look...a friendly Kurent.

 Uh oh, he's all over Thais.....where is the blog tech?

 After the Korent kiss.  Wow....look at that tongue!

Seeing the Korents makes this trip totally worthwhile though the festival needs to improve.  I am quite sure they have big plans for this in the future because they have a lot invested in the costumes!  Of course, if you are inclined, you can spent the rest of the day partying at the Slovenian Hall and dancing to the band.  At dinner time, it moves to a local Slovenian restaurant where the event really gets rolling.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

More to Come

I was gone all day yesterday.  We went to the Korentovenja Festival.  I have about a gazillion photos to sort through and I'll post some tomorrow. Today I am busy cooking for the Super Bowl.  Go Denver!!! For today I will leave you with a pic of The Blog Tech going full Slovenian.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Braided Italian Bread

I made this for my family yesterday.  There's nothing like a good fresh loaf of Italian bread.  The aroma alone makes it worth making.
 The day before you are ready to bake it, you make the sponge (a biga).

Sponge:
1 cup (8 ounces) cool water, about 65F
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
Mix this together, cover with a piece of plastic wrap and set it aside for 24 hours.

 The next day it will look like this.  Scrape this into the bowl of your mixer.

 Dough:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cool water, about 65F
2 to 2 1/2 cups (8 1/2 to 10 5/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

The Dough: Add the water to the sponge, and mix till smooth. Add the flour, yeast and salt, and knead the dough till it’s fairly smooth but not necessarily elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.

 Divide dough in thirds, and roll each third into a 20-inch-long rope. Braid ropes.

Set the braid on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until just puffy.

Preheat oven to 425F. Gently brush the braid with an egg white mixture made of 1 egg white and 1 tsp. water. Sprinkle the loaf generously with sea salt. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.
Remove it from the oven and place it on a cooling rack.


Let it cool before slicing.

This bread freezes really well.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

My CSA

 I mention my CSA box often so I thought you might like to see what it is.  CSA stands for community supported agriculture. I am fortunate to be offered this option in my area where my local group gathers items from farms in our region and I get a box from them every two weeks from January through June.  It costs me around 25.00 per month.  It's wonderful to get organic lettuce like this in early February. 

 This time of year I usually get a bag of apples.  The box is different each time.

 This week's box gave me two acorn squash.  I like that I never know what I will get and then I have to figure out how to use it.

 I can never have enough potatoes.

 And I love parsnips. Yay!

 They include canned items too.  This week's is tomatillo salsa.

 And a jar of mild shoestring peppers.

I almost always get cheese.  This is a wedge of Cowbelle.
There is always a bag of stone ground oats or organic beans or flour.  This time I got stone ground cornmeal.  Often I will get apple cider, maple syrup or fresh eggs.  I now subscribe to this CSA for six months each year.