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Grammy’s Super Soft Sugar Cookies

Most of us love sugar cookies.  Me included… I am particularly fond of soft cookies.

47500364_10209882770504256_2737900106257793024_oWhat is the secret to soft sugar cookies??? Normally I would say lard… but in this case it is actually sour cream.   (okay- maybe a combination of the two)

These are made with my Grammy M’s recipe. *note* I make a very simple frosting that is so much faster and easier than making a traditional Royal Icing  (in case you were wondering, yes, it’s the very same as the  Hog Heaven Sugar Cookies I was selling in Buffalo Gals Mercantile)

Ingredients

1 1/2 C  Butter (or 3/4 lard (or Crisco) & 3/4 margarine)                                                                1 1/2 C  Sugar                       3 Eggs                                                                                                         2 tsp Vanilla (or Almond/lemon or whatever else sounds good at the time)                            4 1/2 C Flour                         4 1/2 tsp baking powder                                                                       1 tsp Salt                                A heaping spoonful of Sour Cream

~Cream well butter and sugar in large bowl. Beat in eggs. Beat in vanilla and sour cream. Add in baking powder and salt, mix well. Add in flour 1 cp at a time.  ** mixture will be very soft!** Refrigerate for about an hour. Roll and cut into desired shapes. (a 1/4″ or more is perfect.

Bake at 350 on parchment lined cookie sheets about 7-8 minutes. The bottoms will be just turning color and they will be soft to touch. Let cool a couple minutes, remove to rack to finish cooling.

Frosting- I cheat- I simply mix powdered sugar with a smidge of milk and then add in Karo. ***For this many cookies, 2 c powdered sugar, about 1/4 +/- c milk and 1 TBS Karo ought to do the job.*** It should be pretty thick. *Super easy to color with liquid or gel coloring.  **Super easy to ‘paint’ on with cheap paintbrush                                                                                                If you want a real Royal Icing check it out here.

***NOTES*** Bear with me- these notes are  geared towards my kiddo’s!

*Yes. Mom cheats and does not mix the dry goods together first.. I just do it all in the one bowl.                                                                                                                                                  *NO– you do NOT have to sift the dry goods.. You can, but I have not noticed a difference.  *Eggs– If you have fresh eggs from the farm, “3” is open to interpretation.. usually moms eggs are smaller than ‘jumbo’ store bought, in which case use 4.                                          *Rolling them out-  Don’t forget to flour the counter when rolling! (keeps it from sticking. if you don’t have a rolling pin, don’t worry.. I know you have at least a beer bottle or something similar. **No cookie cutter? Use a glass or whatever you have handy.

Enjoy!

~Katy~

 

 

 

 

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Mama’s Mini Focaccia Buns

My little Focaccia buns are a snap to make! NO KNEADING required.

IMG_7265“Foo-Kah” bread as we all still call it (the Boyz couldn’t say Focaccia when they were little) has it’s origins in Ancient Rome. Panis focasius was a flat bread baked on a hearth. Over the years as cooking style have evolved, it has become the focaccia of today.

All you need is few simple ingredients and then whatever you want on top.

 

3Cups flour                        1 1/2 Cups warm water      2 1/4 tsp yeast (or 1 package)

2+ TBS Olive Oil (or canola or whatever you have)  2 TBS minced rosemary

1tsp salt                1TBS sugar

~That’s it! Those are the basic ingredients.~

In large bowl mix together the flour, sugar,  salt , yeast and rosemary. Add the water and

IMG_7261

divide into muffin pans

olive oil and mix with spoon. Dough will be very sticky.  Divide up into greased muffin tins (or just use cupcake papers) Cover and let rise about 20-30 minutes. *I make a dozen with this recipe, but it will stretch to 18 for smaller buns*

 

Heat oven to 375   gather up whatever you want on top. We like tomatoes, and seasonings and cheese,  olives, onions and stuff.  Dice up whatever you are using into little pieces and brush buns with some olive oil and put your toppings on.

IMG_7263

toppings added. ready to bake

(we like to add extra diced tomatoes right into the dough itself.)

Bake for about 15 minutes. You’ll know. They will be firm on top.

Gobble up. Dip in sauces, olive oil, gravies or just east them as is.

If you like a sweeter or a dessert bread : skip the rosemary and use like candied fruits or raisins or dates and sprinkle with sugar. Focaccia dolce or sweet focaccia.

*Boyz tips*  diced pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms, Feta cheese, olives.. all great toppings! For seasonings just use generic Italian seasoning, or herb or whatever is in your cupboard. Rosemary is Not a must. we just like it. and Yes- this will still turn out if you have no measuring cups or spoons… a coffee cup, soup spoon and teaspoon will work for measuring. Poor boy style 😉  yes.. you can used canned tomatoes.  ***If you don’t have muffin pans, grease your cookie sheet and press out the dough onto it all the way to the corners. use your finger and poke ‘indents’ all around. Let rise… finish as above***

Manga!

~Katy~

Mama’s Ukrainian Lokshyna Recipe

What the heck is Lokshyna??IMG_5019

Lokshyna is a Ukrainian “tasteless” egg noodle casserole. And it’s easy to make! (And cheap.)

All you need is:  1 pkg  egg noodles (cooked)                                      2 eggs -beaten

2 Tbs butter                        1/2 C heavy cream

1/2 tsp salt               (Or Sour cream or milk)

*and whatever you want  that sounds tasty.

Traditional Lokshyna  is just the base recipe with a little  cloves and sometimes 1 C cottage cheese thrown in-

WE happen to LOVE it with some cooked diced bacon (and the fat.. or at least some) and sometimes Ham and onions. It is also good with 1/2 C cheese and some spinach.

~In large bowl -Combine the cooked noodles with melted butter. Add in the eggs, salt and sour cream. Mix well. Pour into a greased cake pan.

You can also make this in a bunt pan. Some of the old timers do this and fill the center with ‘stuff’. Usually something like Deviled Ham or some such craziness.

Also if you melt some butter and mix it with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top before baking, it gives the Lokshyna a crunchy top.

Bake 350 for 45 minutes.  *doubles and triples easily*

shchaslyva yizha

(Happy Eating in Ukrainian)

~Katy~

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brother, a mother & some Chef-Boyardee

Once upon a time in a far off land (California), my mother decided to go to work. Until this point she was like most moms, a ‘stay-at-home’. Pretty much a slave to my brother and I.

Each year she and Grammy would cook a special dinner for us of all things homemade Italian.  We usually had friends over for this event.

Well, when mom went back to work, we were teenagers. And mom said “Feed yourselves after school”.  Sighhhhhhhhhhhh.

chefMy brother developed a love for Chef Boyardee raviolis. He ate them every chance he got.

Now fast forward to our favorite big Italian dinner…

Mom and Grammy go all out. The table is groaning under the weight of the food.  We all pile it on. And before the rest of us can really get going on it… my brother says to my mother:

“This is ALMOST as good as Chef Boyardee!!”

My mother didn’t say a word. She just gave him The Look. (most of us know exactly what The Look is) and took his plate away. 10154406_10200976135483947_550699380467426684_n

I was busy protecting mine… all the time wailing “I didn’t say it!!”

She dared us to even try to eat one bite. And she cheerfully informed us that we EVER wanted a hot meal again, then we had “better damn well fix it our own damn selves” because we sure as heck-o wouldn’t be getting one out of her ever again. Period. End of discussion.

To this day, we have NEVER had a meal cooked by her. If wanted a ‘cooked’ meal, we either fixed it ourselves, went to Grandmas or took mom out.

My “Mutha” wasn’t messing around.

~Katy~

 

Mama’s easy Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Bread (Italian pronunciation is Fo-Katt-Ah) is a simple to make, hearty staple. You can top it with nearly anything. Focaccia is considered a flat-bread even though it has yeast.

Originally cooked on an open flame hearth or on heated disks, Focaccia is native to the Northern Mediterranean area of Italy. My maternal side of the family is from Filiatterra, Italy. (N of Tuscany) IMG_4406

Mine is a super simple recipe I’ve used for years.

3 C flour  /   1 envelope quick rise yeast (I just use a Tablespoon of loose)   3/4 Tsp salt   /     3 +/- Tbs Olive Oil  /   1 C water.

*** Seasonings and toppings of choice***

We generally mix some (like a couple tsp each  of Garlic, Rosemary, Basil, Thyme… or a couple TBS of our favorite Italian seasoning…. or whatever else is on hand at the time) right into the flour before putting it all together. ~ Good with spinach or beet leaves too!~

Directions: In a large bowl, mix together 1 Cup of the flour, seasonings of choice, salt and yeast. Add in 1 C xtra warm (nearly HOT tap water) water and 2 TBS  Olive Oil. Stir well. IMG_4401Add in remaining flour. Stir/mix . Turn out onto counter dusted with flour. Knead about 5 min or so until smooth and elastic-y. Cover and let ‘rest’ 10 minutes.

Roll out to about cookie sheet size and put in a greased (Note: Do NOT use Bakers Joy!! It will scorch the bottom!)  Or you can roll it out round… whatever makes you happy.IMG_4403

Use your fingers to make dimples. Cover let rise about 20 minutes.

Top with whatever you want. Today we happened to have a leftover tomato, some onion and a little Mozzarella & Parmesan cheeses. So that’s what we topped with.

Bake at 400 degrees. Check at 15 Min. I will be golden brown… you may need a few more minutes depending on your oven.

Gobble it up!  We like to dip ours in Olive Oil. Our good friend Celebrity Chef June Pagan  loves Nuvo Olive Oils..and Spirito Italiano Oils. I would LOVE to try some…

june

June Pagan

Sigh….. where we live there’s no such thing as fancy Olive oils. We have to wait for a trip to Fargo or Denver to get them! So today we made do Bertrolli’s. Sometimes we flavor our own oils here on the farm.

 

IMG_4408Mangia! Mangia!

~Katy~

June is the author of Purple Pizza and Other Flavors and founder of Urban Survival Kitchen.

 

 

Mama’s super soft Cinnamon Rolls

IMG_3450Cinnamon rolls remind me of Grandma’s house. They always smell soooooo good!

And they’re soft and gooey too.

Here’s my recipe based off my Grandma Bessie’s  recipe. Pretty much “No Fail!”  This doubles easily, and used for sticky buns, monkey bread, caramel rolls too.

You will need:

Yeast: (Either 1 pkg or  1 tablespoon)         1/2 Cup warm wate

1/2 Cup warm moo. Note: You can scald the milk f you want a sweeter dough.

1/4 Cup sugar                                1/3 Cup melted Butter

1 tsp Kosher salt (regular will do just fine too)      1 Egg- beaten

3- 3 1/2 ish cups flour.    1 Tbs Baking Powder (Optional)

Directions

~Heat oven to 350

~ mix (lightly) Yeast and warm water in small bowl and set aside to “proof”. -about 15 min-ish

~In a large bowl mix  warm milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and beaten egg.

~Add in about 2 cups flour and stir well.

monkey bread2~Add Yeast mixture.

~Add another cup of flour to make a soft dough. If it’s still ‘runny’ add some more flour.

~ turn out and knead a bit. . (I  do it about twenty times)

~put back in bowl and cover to raise until double in size.

~turn out and punch down. Roll into a rectangle about 1/4 +/- inch thick.

~Brush with melted or soft butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it. (I use Brown sugar and lay it on pretty heavy and then sprinkle cinnamon on top)

~Roll up. Cut into rounds and place  Cut side down on greased pan or cookie sheet. (makes 12-16)

~Bake  20- 25 min until golden brown. Remove. Cool. EAT.  (I always start checking at 15 min- every oven is different)

Notes to my kids who don’t cook:  *No rolling pin? Use a wine bottle or mini rollssimilar. *  Simple frosting: about a cup of powdered sugar, mix in 1 tablespoon moo and pour over.  *Add raisins or cranberries for more flavor * Scalded milk makes it more of an Italian Sweet Dough. * Yes-you Can use Margarine. * BakingPowder is NOT same as the Baking Soda you use in the fridge! * Want them to taste like Johnsons Corners rolls??? add Vanilla pudding to the mix. ~ Either a snack pak or 1/2 package dry mix. **if you use the snackpak you will need to add a bit more flour.  ***Monkey Bread~ instead of rolling out, tear into pieces and pile in a bread pan (pie pan, whatever) .  Mix 1 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup melted butter and pour over top. Bake 350 for about 20 min.  *Make Minis by cutting dough in 1/2 and then rolling out to make baby rolls and use a muffin pan.

~~Other useless information:  Where I grew up there is a huge difference between Sweet rolls, cinnamon rolls, caramel rolls and sticky buns!!!!  ~~ Cinn Rolls are just plain, Sweet has the white or cream cheese frosting, Caramel has the Carmel frosting ON TOP. and sticky buns are bakes with the gooey and nuts in the pan.

~Katy~

 

 

 

 

I am “Country Woman” ~ hear me roar!

Every year Farm and Ranch Guide puts on a Country Woman of the Year contest.

People are supposed to write in why they think their woman should win…. But there are guidelines… Community involvement, Special deeds, Involvement with the daily operations etc.  ~  This implies all manner of things.DSCN5883

Most of the women nominated log long hours in real production in crops and livestock, they are active in church and volunteer for nearly everything, blah- blah- blah. All without a hair out of place. You know the types.

Don’t get me wrong~I am not disparaging them in any way. Many of the nominated women are my neighbors. Some of them have won. I admire these women.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I asked Hubby once WHY he didn’t nominate me. He said because I am none of those things, but am Everything to him. (and that he sucks at writing)

That being said- I AM a Country Woman of the Year… Day in and day out. Year after year.

I don’t need a contest to tell me so. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“I can bring home the Bacon…. Fry it up in a pan…….”  Remember that commercial? That about sums it up.

In my little world, I am the one who raises the kids and attends school functions, nurses the bottle babies (Calves and Kitties alike), bakes fresh bread every couple days, Cooks from scratch every meal, minds the garden, cans more goods than a grocery store, gate girl when it’s blizzarding and -30 out, sews and mends, shuffles hubby and vehicles from field to field, watches the markets, tracks the weather, brings him lunch in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe field, never ever calls him when he’s out with the guys, works from home, goes to church, does the parts running, beer fairy,  handles correspondence and the usual round of maid chores too. I  put a good spin on things when they go awry and make hubby feel better about it.  I  am20140906_173647 constantly championing small business in rural communities, attend Downtowners Conferences on my own dime and time so I can better myself and my community, make a quilt every year to donate for raffle at charity, finds the humor in the dark times, mend broken hearts and bruised egos, teach the kids to dream, keeper of the memories and family stories, teaches others how to bake and sew, butchers chickens with the best of them, run a small business of my own, don’t complain when our plans are cancelled yet again 20141128_101658(1)because ‘We have to go to the field, NOW’, I know that  boots DO go with everything, and more. ~ I know that there are 3 big social functions (4 in a good year!) … Two farm shows and a Pheasants  4ever banquet (you can sub- cattlemans, DU or whatever)  If it’s a good year- a trip the fair gets tossed in. Otherwise my social engagements are solo.

Things I won’t or don’t do? I refuse to ever again “Hold that panel, damnit!” when the BULL is making a break for it nor do I drive his big boy toys.

I am proud to support my Hubby- an American Farmer-  behind the scenes in all these little ways.

~Katy~

Cottage Food Laws in North Dakota need a serious update!

Cottage food laws in North Dakota need to be updated. – Oh wait… ND doesn’t have a bonafide Cottage Food Law~

Ours are not the most restrictive, but they don’t help much in a predominately rural state.

~Currently we can sell baked goods, jams and jellies, lefse, candies and similar items at Farmers Markets, Country Fairs and Non-profit or charitable events. ~

Jams from Mare's Creations

Jams from Mare’s Creations

We cannot (not supposed to) sell at Craft shows, at for profit events, food festivals, online or out of our homes. (interesting- we make it at home, but can’t sell it from our home!)

~I propose the following changes:  Allow us to sell from home, sell at shows, sell to retail establishments- as long as they are labeled as such, allow in-state online sales (not to exceed 50,000$ a year) ~

Also I would suggest mandatory insurance of some amount, and have to register as a business (can be done online for a very nominal fee that way you can at least be tracked down if need be)

Why? you ask….

#1 Because North Dakota is a predominately rural state.  In spite of big oil and big money, the rest of the state is still the same. It is still mainly small towns and sparse population. Not every one can drive to ‘town’ (meaning the big 8) for a job,  and not every small town can employ everybody.  And not everybody even lives near a town! (we’re 17 to the nearest village)

#2 It will make a difference. It would bring in  more tax money to rural,small and outlying  communities. A much needed income stream!  It will help us, help ourselves. It can get people off assistance. It can make a difference between keeping a roof over your head, or not. It can help an entrepreneur take those first steps. It can spark hope in a town that may think it’s days are done. It can promote tourism and Agri-tourism. It can do many things for us.

Buffalo Baking Co. -Morada, CA

Buffalo Baking Co. -Morada, CA

** I can actually give a hundred good reasons, but for sake of space, I won’t**

I also don’t think we need an inspection either. Standard food service rules should be applied and followed along with common sense.  Most people who sell at farmers markets, bazaar’s etc have cleaner homes than most restaurants you eat in. Really. 

~What about the Nay Sayers? and the “It’s not Fair!” people?…. What about them?  No is just a word. And Life isn’t fair.  I totally understand where the lady who busted her chops to open a traditional bakery,and spent tons of time and money to do so may be miffed. But realistically it’s apples and oranges. Cookies and Jams are not Kuchen, Cream Puffs or other premium egg or custard based delicacies.  The home baker is not a threat to commercial businesses. We are an option.

Arizona allows resale of Home Baked Goods to coffee shops, cafe’s etc as long as they are properly labeled.  They also allow for in state internet sales.

Texas has created over ONE THOUSAND NEW JOBS this year through cottage food laws! Think about the tax revenue that brings in! And… in all 25 counties, Not 1 complaint has been filed against any home baker!

California and Utah have very generous CFL’s.

So- start shouting it from your roof tops! Tell your friends, pester your local legislators and city governments to get on the band wagon.

~Katy~

Helpful links: http://www.ndhealth.gov/foodlodging/PDF/PROOF_farmers_market_ruling.pdf

http://forrager.com/2014/09/texas-law-created-thousand-local-businesses/#comment-69561

The Old Boys Club- a funny entrepreneur story

Once upon a time in a far off land… Ok, more like a in a little town nobody has ever heard of..

We (the ex) owned a little café.   We wound up with this place sight unseen on a handshake with a stranger. That in its self is a whole nother story. (A pretty dang funny one at that! )

TOASTIES CAFE

We won the BEST BUSINESS award for Washington County. I almost wasn’t ALLOWED to accept it.

This little café was smack in the center of town. A tiny town. 96 people. A town where time stood still. Literally.  The home of the ‘old boys club’. A staunch old school German community.  130 miles from Denver and another 60 or so to St. Francis, KS.                                                ~If you wanted food, you were getting it here. ~

cope5 001   cope4 001

We worked our rumps off to make this place a success. We had regular customers that would drive 50 miles just for our fried chicken! We tons of truck traffic and catered far and wide. Tony had been a well known chef in Denver before we made the move.  I worked extra hours so we’d have the money to employ the teenagers an moms that came looking for work.  We had a wonderful friend, also an award-winning chef from California come join us, as well as the Mom-in-law.

In our neck of the woods, there were many organizations one could join. However… MEN were the end all-be all of the area. If a woman showed up for say, an economic development meeting, it was “Understood” that it was by Proxy as a stand in for her husbanOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAd. And that everything would be rehashed with HIM the following morning over coffee.


We were awarded Best Business of the Year by Washington County. This was  for our efforts to attract business and for being the main employer after the rural school. (The elevator had shut down)

Hubby couldn’t make it. He had to mind the café. So I asked my friend Shannon Lewellen to come with me to the dinncope3 001er to accept the award.  Shannon was also the photographer for the Akron Newspaper.

So, we dress up. And we go. Dinner was good. The company was interesting. I think many of them were a little uncomfortable. It was mostly men, all patting themselves on the back.

They announce the award. I stand up. Shannon is clapping wildly. And…… SILENCE. Utter and complete silence.  The very nice fellow looks around asks when is your Husband going to get here?  I said that he was unable to attend. And he said that if They Had Known , they would have waited until another date. newspaper cope 001

I popped a cork. And let the Old Boys Club know in no uncertain terms what I thought about that.

I got the award.

Just goes to show… sometimes you have to blaze new trails!

Katy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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