Our House

Our House

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dairy Free Hamburger Buns

I haven't posted a Tuesday recipe for a long time.  I used to post recipes every week, but Facebook has become so full of delicious recipes, it seemed everyone was flooded with new things to make.  However, today I thought I could share a hamburger bun recipe I made.  In October we had some friends visit.  She is very lactose intolerant so it was important not to feed her anything with dairy.  Her allergy includes butter so that made it even more interesting to come up with something.  I had made bread for a family friend who had thyroid surgery and for a couple weeks couldn't eat anything that contained iodine.  I came up with a recipe for bread she could eat using only water, oil, flour, yeast and non-iodized salt.  I thought I could convert that recipe into hamburger buns.  It worked out well.  So well, in fact, that I made the recipe into dinner rolls for Thanksgiving.  Easy, fast and no unusual ingredients or additives.

Loaf of bread made without dairy or iodized salt.

Hamburger Buns or Dinner Rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour

I used the kitchen aid mixer first using the flat beater.

In the mixing bowl combine warm water (not too hot), yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour.  Start mixing gradually adding another cup of flour.  At this point, I change to the dough hook and mix in another cup of flour.  I set the timer and let the mixer with the dough hook knead the dough for 5 minutes.  If the dough is a little sticky you can add a little more flour until the dough doesn't stick to the side of the bowl.  Then cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and let it rise for about an hour or more until it has doubled in size.

I then punched down the dough and poured it out on a slightly greased surface.  I flattened out the dough and cut into equal pieces.  Each piece gets rolled into a ball and placed on a greased baking sheet.  I actually got out the food scale and weighed the rolled ball so each was the same size.  For the hamburger buns I made them 3 oz. and dinner rolls I made them 1 oz.

Cover the dough and let them rise again on the baking sheet.  The picture shows them all on one sheet, but I actually raised them on two baking sheets.  It takes another hour until they get to the size you want.  Bake in a preheated oven (400 degrees) for 14 minutes.

The Thanksgiving dinner rolls.  The batch made 30 rolls.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Do You Always Get What You Pay For?

Many people believe you get what you pay for.  In many ways this is true.  A million dollar house is going to have more amenities than a one hundred thousand dollar home.  A Mercedes-Benz will probably have more features and power than a Ford Fiesta.  I don't know that for sure because I have never owned either.  I do know my MacBook Pro is still going strong after having it for nine years and my husbands Asus computer only lasted two years plus he had to pay for anti virus protection which I haven't had to do.  My Dyson vacuum cleaner has by far outlasted any Hoover I have ever owned.  That being said there are several things you don't have to waste your money on.  I can't think of anything at the moment, but I am sure there are several.  Oh wait, I can think of something.  Recently I organized all of our old photos.  I had inherited photos from many family members.  As sad as it is, there were many old photos of people I couldn't recognize.  It is very important to label photos of people so future generations can identify them.  As I was going through photos, I found some other paperwork.  One thing I found was a warranty certificate.  As I was reading it, I realized it was for a casket.  My dad had an aunt who died in 1971,  Either her husband or the funeral home thought it was a good idea to buy this insurance.  It claimed that the casket was made according to the highest standards.  It was supposed to be resistant to air and water.  Then at any time within 25 years, the casket would be replaced if it failed to be waterproof, airtight or if the seal failed.  My question is how would anyone know?  It is six feet underground and unless you're a grave robber, you wouldn't be digging it up to see if the seal is holding.  I know on rare occasion, a body needs to be exhumed.  This doesn't happen too often.  I know from experience that the medical examiner has to determine if someone died under strange circumstances.  If there is doubt, they look into the matter before burial.  It just seems like a scam to me.  Go to a cemetery sometime and let me know if someone is buried in a fancy expensive casket that is under warranty or if the person is in a pine box.  Betcha can't tell.

More than 25 years have passed, so we can breath easy.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Let's Make A Pair Of Mittens

As most of you know, I am a knitter.  I taught myself to knit from a Learn To Knit book when I was in sixth grade.

I did need some help learning to purl from my long time friend's mom.  Wendy, I still remember the light bulb moment when she showed me.  It took thirty seconds, but made everything click for me.  My first project was mittens on four double pointed needles.  I remember they were blue, and I was very proud.  Now I am seeing on Facebook and through other knitting sites they offer instructional videos for $39.99.  I find it hard to believe people will pay that much for something I could learn by myself as a child.

There are two schools of thought for knitters.  One type I call knitting purists.  They will only use super valuable yarn, buy designer patterns and spend tons of money on a project.  I guess they think their time is worth so much more than I do.  I agree that money can be invested in a classic sweater that will remain in style and last a lifetime.  I also believe if you are a hard to fit person, perhaps making an item that is custom fit is necessary.  For the most part, I belong to the other school.  I believe knitting is therapeutic and fun.  It should be made for the least amount of money possible.  I buy yarn on sale,  at thrift stores and garage sales from people who buy expensive yarn and then donate it when the project doesn't work out.  Why make a pair of kids mittens (which will most likely get lost) for $12 when you can buy a pair for 99 cents or make them for 50 cents.

For those who don't want to spend $40 on a video on how to make mittens, I am posting this little tutorial for free.  I hope you can follow my instructions.  Any type of knitting worsted weight yarn will work.  Recently at Joann fabrics I found a bag of mill end yarn.  Some of the colors were  NFL football team colors.  I found some orange and black self striping yarn which happens to be our grandson's school colors.  It did cost $7.98 but with some store discounts, I did get a couple dollars off.  There is 14 oz. in the bag which is quite a lot of yardage.   I have made two pair of mittens and a hat and only used half the yarn.

This is the packaging for the yarn and the 9" circular needles
 plus the double pointed needles I used. 

Classic Knitted Mittens for a Child

These mittens will fit a child about 8 to 10 years old.  Adjustments can be made for other sizes using the same general instructions.  There are a lot of patterns on the web.  For this pattern I used a size 3 and a size 5 needle.  I like using 9 inch stainless steel circular needles but using double pointed needles will also work.  In fact, you will need double pointed needles for the thumb and finishing off the top of the mitten.

I cast on with the larger needle (size 5) and then knit the stitches for the cuff with the smaller needle (size 3).  This gives the cast on some stretch and the cuff made with a smaller needle makes a snug fit around the wrist.

Begin by casting on 36 stitches.  Place a stitch marker and begin knitting Knit 2, Purl 2 around the row.  Continue placing the knit stitches over the knits and purl stitches over the purls.  This will make the ribbed cuff.  Knit in this manner for three inches or longer if you want the cuff to come up higher on the wrist so it fits under the coat cuff.

This is the knit 2, purl 2 ribbing, but knit 1, purl 1 would also work.

Switch to the larger needle (size 5 in this case) and begin knitting every stitch around.  Transfer marker on each row.  Knit even for three rows.  On row 4, slip the marker and increase on the first stitch of the row, then knit 1 stitch and increase in the next stitch.  Place another marker and finish knitting the row.  The stitches between the markers will be your thumb stitches.  Knit even around for rows 5 and 6.  On row 7, slip marker and increase on the first stitch of the row, then knit 3 and increase in the stitch before the next marker.  Continue in this manner of knitting two rows even and increasing every third row until you have 11 stitches between the markers.  Knit two more rows even.  You will have 44 stitches on your needle.

The thumb gore with the 11 stitches between the markers.

At this point the stitches between the markers are put on a holder to be worked later.  I use a piece of yarn because it's flexible.  A small safety pin or stitch holder would work but I like using the yarn.

Yellow yarn serving as a stitch holder.

Now place a marker, cast on two stitches and begin knitting around again on 35 stitches until the measurement from the top of cuff is 5 inches plus 3 inches for the cuff for a total of 8 inches.   The size of the mitten can be adjusted at this point.

Completed hand ready to be decreased and finished.

When the length of the hand is where you want it, it's time to decrease for the top of the mitten.  At this point I change to double pointed needles to accommodate the lesser number of stitches.

Finish using double pointed needles.

Row 1 of decrease:  (Knit 2 together, knit 2), knit 2 together, knit 2  repeat around.
Row 2 of decrease:  (Knit 2 together, knit 1), knit 2 together, knit 1 repeat around.
Row 3 of decrease:  Knit 2 together in succession around row.

Break off yarn and draw through remaining 9 stitches.  I usually run the yarn through two times and fasten off to the inside.

All that is left is finishing the thumb by using the double pointed needles again.  Tie on a new piece of yarn and put the stitches onto your double pointed needles that are being held on the yarn (11 stitches) plus 2 to 4 stitches from the area where you cast on stitches for the hand.  You may have a small hole which can be closed by pulling the yarn tighter or worse case sew it closed when finished.  I usually manage to knit those extra stitches tight enough to avoid a hole but either way works fine.

11 stitches on needle plus the picked up stitches.

Knit around the thumb until it is 1 1/2 inches long.  Rather than deal with knitting stitches on three needles, I just put them on two needles and knit around with the third.

Finishing the thumb.

To finish the mitten, decrease the stitches on the thumb by knitting 2 stitches together, knit 1, around the row.  Next knit 2 together in succession ending with 3 to 5 stitches.  Cut the yarn and draw through the stitches in the same manner as the top of the mitten.  Secure the yarn and fasten off.

Weave all the loose ends and you have a mitten.  Now do it all again to make a pair.  There isn't a right or left.  Both mittens are made the same.  I have a suggestion for the striping yarn.  Try to start your cast on at the same color point in the yarn.  That way both mittens will somewhat match.  If you don't mind that your stripes don't match, then start the cast on anywhere.   Good Luck.

Monday, November 16, 2015

High School Musical "My Fair Lady"

Who would think my two oldest grandchildren had such a flair for musical drama?  Both of them have the acting bug.  I blogged about Dylan playing Oliver a couple years ago.  http://www.thecabincountess.com/2014/03/oliver-twist.html

Last weekend it was Melissa's turn.  She was part of the Berlin High School performance of "My Fair Lady".  Tryouts for the play were near the beginning of the school year which is a little overwhelming for a freshman in high school.  She tried out and had a few lines.  She was actually on stage quite a lot.  She loved the whole process and made a lot of new friends.  The talent these young people have is amazing.  I have been attending high school plays for many years in many different schools.  It is always the same.  Fantastic!

Melissa and her friend who played the lead role of Eliza.

Melissa with her proud mom.

It was a great weekend for all.  I have been humming, whistling or singing the songs ever since.  I can't wait for the next one.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Papa Has A Brand New Toy

By the title of this blog you would think we got a big new truck or a gigantic television.  No, but we did get a very useful yard gadget.  For those who know our property, we live on top of a hill that connects with a steep incline into a marsh area.  The hill gets overgrown with berry bushes, buckthorn, locusts and grapevines.  Although I like the natural look, it get very unsightly and blocks our view especially from the lower level living area.  So, a couple weeks ago my husband saw a gadget for sale on our local Buy, Sell and Give Away site.  He thought we could make good use of it, so we made an offer that was accepted.  It was a Black and Decker Alligator Garden Lopper.  It is a chain saw with jaws. You open the contraption like a scissors.  The jaws grab the branches up to 4 inches thick and then when you pull the trigger the chainsaw saws the branch.

The same day we got it, we started clearing the hill.  It was fun at first.  We took turns and started working our way across and down the hill. 

Then an hour or so passed, and we could hardly see any progress.  We slipped and slid on the soft dirt and my arms and legs were getting tired.  At my age, I don't like to be uncomfortable.  

We saw no end to the berry bushes and brush.

I was getting all scratched up.

Pretty soon I was ready to call it a day.  It didn't take very much convincing to have my husband agree.  He used to be able to work outside for hours on end, but this job looked like it would take a year.  I always quit when the going gets tough so it was a no brainer for me.  That night I went back to the Buy and Sell site.  I found a local guy who was advertising to do odd jobs.  The next morning my husband called and the man came over to give us an estimate.  It was reasonable and we hired him.  Later that week he came, used our little Alligator Loppers and finished the job in six hours.  Lesson learned from this was that sometimes, especially as a person gets older, it is smarter to hire someone else to do the job.  It wasn't brain surgery and all it took was a younger body with good balance, strong arms and gumption.  Something we lack at our age.  It was a very good decision.  The hill looks great, and our bodies are still somewhat intact. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Happy Birthday To Dad In Heaven

Today's blog is going to short and sweet.  My Dad passed away four months ago.  Today it would have been his 91st birthday.  It is hard to believe that only a year ago we had a wonderful 90th birthday party for him.  http://www.thecabincountess.com/2014/11/dads-90th-birthday-party.html  He enjoyed it so much.  He loved seeing and greeting every person who was there.  He gave out a lot of hugs and kisses that day.  As I mentioned last year, Dad was a kisser and whether or not you wanted one, you got one.  I was so happy he got to enjoy seeing everyone while he was still alive and well.  So many people only meet this way at funerals.  So Happy Birthday in heaven Dad.  We miss you but you gave us a lot of memories and taught us a lot of lessons.  Most importantly you gave us the ability to Love and Forgive.  The greatest gifts of all.  He never held grudges and treated everyone with respect.  Life is a lot Sweeter living that way and when you leave, there is peace and no regrets.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lost Hero In Our Family

Today is November 11, 2015.  It is Veteran's Day.  I have blogged about my dad many times and his service in World War II.  I will post the links below to the blogs I wrote about him.  We were very proud of all he did and near the end of his life, he was very proud as well.  What I didn't realize is that my grandpa (Dad's father) enlisted in the National Guard of the United States and of the State of Wisconsin on November 24, 1919.   He enlisted ten days before his 18th birthday.

Mixed in with my parents papers, I found some odds and ends.  It appears my grandpa, while in the National Guard, enlisted in the regular Army in July of 1920 and was honorably discharged one year later in 1921.   They spelled his name wrong and he signed it with "Dukes" instead of "Dux".  I'm not sure why except that it is always mispronounced, and he probably wasn't going to correct his military superiors. 

Discharge Paper from the Army for my grandpa.

I also found some documents stating he went back into the guard until May of 1924.  He was married at that time and either left because of family commitments or because there were rules against such thing.  Maybe someone in the family knows the story or knows more about Wisconsin military history from 1919 to 1924.  Teachers in the early days couldn't be married, maybe National Guard members couldn't either, I just don't know.

There are so many questions that could have been asked of him, but I'm not sure who even knew of his military service.  All we can do now is thank him for his service ninety six years after he enlisted.

Here are the links about my dad service.  I didn't realize I wrote so many.