Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sour Cream Swiss Steak and Cookbook #61


Cookbook #61

The Handyman figured it out while we were eating this supper...that if I made a recipe out of each of my cookbooks every week, I could finish my goal  in 3  more years. But he was calculating on me owning 219 cookbooks, 60 which I've already blogged about.   Shhhh....don't tell him, but I've bought more, so it might be closer to 4 years before I am caught up.

I enjoyed reading thru this cookbook by Jane Watson Hopping. The stories and recipes are older,  things that I would have at my grandma's dinner table on a Sunday afternoon, although it was published in 1992, most of the recipes are reminiscent of the 40's and 50's.
Hopping also follows a seasonal flow of cooking... and making things from her very own garden.
Her chapters are broken down into early summer, mid-summer and late summer foods that ripen during that time of the season.
I love the name:
The Lazy Days of Summer Cookbook
The celebration of summers bounty.

I have to admit that the Handyman really liked the steak and potatoes... cuz he's that kinda guy; a steak and potatoes kinda guy.

And I really liked the pea salad.




Sour Cream Swiss Steak

2 pounds round steak, cut about 1-inch thick
salt
ground pepper
1 cup flour, more or less as needed
1/3 cup lard or shortening, just enough for browning steak
1 cup sour cream

Set out a large heavy skillet.  Wipe the meat with a damp cloth, then salt and pepper both sides.  On a hard surface, pound all the flour possible into it.
Heat the fat in the skillet and sear both sides of the steak.  Turn the heat down. Add 1/2 cup or more of boiling water.  Cover. simmer until meat is becoming tender, about 30 minutes, during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking time, add the sour cream. Continue cooking until the meat feels tender when poked with a fork.  
Serve piping hot.

**I used 1 cup of boiling water, added some sliced onions to the frying pan and a couple cloves of smashed garlic.
To the sour cream, I added a little brown sugar and soy sauce.



English Pea Salad

2 cups fresh peas, boiled to tender, drained and set aside to cool
2 tart early summer apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup pimento (2oz jar), finely sliced
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1 small sweet pickle, finely chopped
1/3 cup nutmeats (walnuts preferred), finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Into a large bowl put peas, apples, pimentos, celery, pickle and nutmeats;  do not stir.  Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar  and salt. With two forks, toss gently until ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.  Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce.

(as you can tell by the photos, nothing was finely chopped)




I am linking up with  Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend



I'm also linking up with  Cook-Your-Books at Kitchen Flavours.

Cook-Your-Books is all about cooking or baking from your many cookbooks or magazines that you have collected over the years. If you love collecting cookbooks, read them like novels and trying out new recipes, then this is the perfect place to share. It's time to get those books (or magazines) out of the shelves, and start using them.



And adding this to my own, my very own Cookbook Countdown.
Like I mentioned above, I have an overabundance of cookbooks and I would really like to justify their purchase by cooking from them.  I really need to quit purchasing them tho, otherwise, I'll never catch up.  

Saturday Snaptshot


I love to go where no man has gone before---seeking out the little, the lost, the lonely---the branch library.




Beowawe is a small, small Nevada ranching community. Not a town, just a gathering place with a volunteer fire dept, a branch library and a community hall.   In rural Nevada there are small ranching communities all over....every few hundred miles or so.
The Handyman and I went on a drive last weekend and stopped in Beowawe.  We pass by it all the time, but this time we stopped to snap some pictures. 
These little community branch libraries serve such a good purpose.  They even have summer reading programs and ranch kids will ride their horses in to be able to participate.

(I'm not sure what that is in front --- it looks like a small cannon. Well, I guess, we are the Battle Born state, so.... ? ?   I didn't notice it when I stopped to take the photo, I was just so excited to see a library in the middle of nowhere)

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then link up with West Metro Mommy Reads. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.



Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Monday


It's Monday!  What are you reading is a weekly meme hosted by  Sheila of Book Journey, where we share what we've been reading all week, or what we are planning on reading in the coming week.



This is what I've been reading..... 


I really liked this book.  I really admired the author, Cheryl Strayed, for sticking to something so hard when she really didn't have the preparation, nor had she done much research on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. 

She used her hike as a contemplative prayer.  To get over her grief, from the passing of her mother and her divorce from her husband.

I think you can have contemplative prayer in the great outdoors. What better place?  You can  commune with nature and contemplate the meaning of life, your life, your place in it, the things that happened to you, process life events, come to terms with your life.
Which is exactly what Cheryl Strayed did during her 4-5 month hike on the PCT.

Plus---I fancy myself a hiker  (but I'm really a walker), so I felt a kinship with her.  IF ONLY!   Like I said, I am a walker.  I want to be a hiker, but I don't want feet like that,  bruises like that, scrapes like that.  Plus I usually have two cameras and binoculars strapped around my neck--hard to hike, really hike--like that. 
Day hikes are fine, picnics are fine, long walks in the woods are fine.  
I can read a book doing all those things.   Cheryl Strayed burned each page she read every night to lighten her backpack load on the trail.
Nope, not a true hiker/backpacker am I.
But I loved the book.

I finished it this morning and started this one this afternoon:




It's good too.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Butterfinger Brownies and Movie Night





Every  Summer, towards the end of the season, my friend April has a 'movie night' in her back yard.   I have blogged about them...previous movie nights here and here and in keeping with tradition, I will do so again.
But first, before I go there, I have to share these great brownies that I made to take to movie night.  
I found the recipe in a cookbook of mine,  The Recipe girl by Lori Lange.




Some of you might know her blog.  I really like this cookbook---it's full of recipes that you can imagine doing at home, not complicated and not with odd/hard-to-find  ingredients.  Just stuff you'd make for your family and friends.
The brownies were all gone by the time movie night was over.  Luckily I had snagged a few to take some pictures of.   Everyone loved them, but how could they not--they are choc full of Butterfinger candy bars.  One of my favorites.

I noticed, after looking at Lori's blog, that I chopped my candy bars finer than she did.  I am definitely making these again, but might not chop the candy so fine.  Other than that, these were pure heaven.


I am going to link this to Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads and of course to my own Cookbook Countdown.  This cookbook makes #60 in my countdown.




Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.




I am also linking to  Cook-Your-Books, hosted by  Joyce at Kitchen Flavours.



Cook-Your-Books is all about cooking or baking from your many cookbooks or magazines that you have collected over the years. If you love collecting cookbooks, read them like novels and trying out new recipes, then this is the perfect place to share. It's time to get those books (or magazines) out of the shelves, and start using them.




Butterfinger brownies

Yield: 25 brownies
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Butterfinger lovers... I give you your favorite brownie recipe ever!

Ingredients:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
16 (.65 ounce) Butterfinger candy bars, chopped (or just use 10.4 ounces total)

Directions:


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil; grease the foil.
2. Melt chocolate in glass bowl in the microwave- short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk those in too. Stir in the melted chocolate. Stir in the flour. Stir in chopped butterfingers (reserving about 3/4 cup for the top).
4. Spread batter into prepared pan. Top with reserved butterfinger chunks.
5. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
6. Refrigerate until brownies are well-chilled- if overnight, cover with plastic wrap. When ready to cut, remove from the refrigerator and turn onto a cutting board. Carefully peel off the foil and use another cutting board to flip the brownies back upright. Use a large, sharp knife to cut into squares.



And now some photos of MOVIE NIGHT!  It's fun, fun, fun.    We get to see friends we haven't seen in a while and visit and eat good food, drink good drinks and then we all get very, very sleepy while watching the movie.  Only because our tummys are full of good food and good drink.
Last year we got rained out, but this year the evening was perfect.      Just a few photos for my friends:




A boy after my own heart!  Can read a book anywhere.









Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Snapshot

My dream is to have "cousin camp",  where I would get all my grandchildren together, at my house, for a week.

Am I crazy?
They live all over the place:
Bay area of CA
Phoenix, AZ area
Virginia
Washington State

and we live in a town with no airport.  The logistics for doing this cousin camp of mine are a nightmare---but someday, it'll happen.

2 more granddaughters to share for Saturday Snapshot. 
 Evalynn and Cassandra.





To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken.   Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see.   How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Then you link up at  West Metro Mommy's blog and check out all the other Saturday Snapshots.

Julia's Chocolates



My book-club "The Lit Wits" met last night.

And....we had a great time.

We read and discussed " Julia's Chocolates by  Cathy Lamb".

If anyone has read this book, you will understand why I can't show too many photos of book club last night, as there was a 'theme' involved.
(we just got some funny chocolates, that were mentioned in the book)

It was a wonderful evening, with lots of laughs and good food, good friends and some great book discussion. 

Everyone at book-club LOVED the book.   except me.

 I liked the book very much, but I didn't love it.  It was a fun read but it also dealt with some very serious subjects, and the author did it with good hard facts and added some quick wit to soften the subject, but---there wasn't enough story development for me.  Everything happened quickly and ended quickly and was just too tidy for me.

My book-club friends said, "it's a book!!!"   "Enjoy it for what it is"

And I did.  And you might too.
I would read another of Lamb's books, because they are enjoyable.... I just wish she'd leave one untidy thing at the end.  Because life is untidy.
But maybe that's why everyone loved it so much.   We all wish for a happy ending, right?

It was a lovely evening for a book-club.  
We had Cincinnati Chili!   (it had some chocolate or cocoa powder in it for the chocolate theme)
and some great Mississippi Mud Cake.  Mmmmm...... 







and then....
we had some chocolate lollipops.  Just like Julia made in the book.
yes, I did take a picture, but....  I don't think I can post it.   
You can see it in your mind's eye, I'm sure.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Booking Through Thursday

The question for this week's Booking Thru Thursday is:


We all know the beauty of reading a really wonderful book for the first time—when everything about the story and the writing and the timing click to make a reader’s perfect storm … but it’s fleeting, because you can never read that book for the first time again.

So … if you could magically reset things so that you had the chance to read a favorite book/series again for the first time … which would you choose? And why?


What series would I like to be able to begin again given the chance?

No question that for me it would be Margaret Maron's "Deborah Knott Mystery series".
There are a lot of series that I love, but I am really in love with this one.

Ahhhh.....to lie around on a rainy day and have the chance to read them from the beginning, and not have to wait around for the sequel to be written. The whole stack would be there,as well as a plate of warm homemade cookies.

I love these stories I think because it's a little bit about lots of things I love: family, religion, the south (I've never been to the south, but I just think I would love it!), mystery, romance.

I think of these books as 'cozy' mysteries and not hard core thrillers and I love a good cozy mystery---it's like comfort food.

the second part of the BTT question is:

And then, since tastes change … Do you think it would have the same affect on you, reading it now, as it did when you read it the first time? Would you love it just as much? Would you risk it?

and my answer is:
I think the Deborah Knott Series would have the same affect on me. Especially since in this fantasy I don't have to wait for sequels. I would love them just as much.

I've read a few 'stand-alone' books more than once, so yes, I have risked it, and I love them just as much the second time around. It's funny, because, even tho, I know the outcome, as in the Godfather, when I'm reading a second time, I still think "don't go Sonny, don't go. They will massacre you!"
and he also goes.

So, yes, even tho I know what will happen---my emotions are all caught up in it again and hoping against hope that certain things might change.

I wish there were more time for me to re-read some of my favorites. I rarely do, as there is not time.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Outdoor Wednesday





Outdoor Wednesday and a 2fer  (where you get 2 for 1).
My Outdoor Wednesday pics and a recipe for granola bars.  You are so lucky.

But you are going to have to go thru a lot of photos of the High Desert of Northern Nevada before you get to the granola bars.  But by then you'll be hungry, so it will be worth it, I'm sure.
The granola bars will be at the bottom---we ate them while we were hiking and everyone seemed to love them.   I took pics of the granola bars that were left after our hike.  They were an afterthought. But everyone loved them, so why not?
They are the Pioneer  Woman's granola bars, but please don't leave my blog for her's just yet, now that you know the secret of how to get to the recipe faster. Please stay and enjoy my pictures.

Nevada is my home and I love it.  Sometimes when I look around, I think, why?
It's hard to explain wide open spaces to someone who doesn't 'get' them. It's kinda brown, and there are no trees to be had, but it has its own desert beauty.
(having said that,  I love everywhere I go.  we've moved around a lot in our 35 married years with the Handyman's job, and we've really loved everywhere we've lived.  I think its just our personalities. There's that old saying "Bloom where you are planted", and we've kind of taken that to heart.)

We hiked this canyon, Thousand Creek Gorge,  over Memorial Day weekend. We camped with friends at some hot springs close by: Dufferena Ponds.  I don't have a good picture of the ponds, but I do of the canyon.  This was the weekend I declared to everyone I was a hiker!  Ehh...I did hike, but I am more of a walker.  A nice manicured path is good! This was not that.

It's hard to tell how tall/deep it is.  I can never get the perspective right in my pictures. but it was very tall, or deep, depending on if you were looking up from it, or down into it.
We hiked into it and then we went to the top and looked down into it.  We threw rocks---big rocks--but we were the only people there, so we knew no one was down there.

Notice how the weather changed from the start of our hike to when we got to the top.

This is walking in....





















My, or rather, the Pioneer Woman's Granola Bars are good for a hike.  Click on the her name and it will take you straight to her page with the recipe. 
They are very good.  Everyone said so!
and her pics are better than mine....these had been in a backpack and a hike! (and slipped down a mountain side with me---I told you, I'm really a walker, not so much of a hiker)