Friday, October 24, 2014

Update on Book Five of The Alexis Stanton Chronicles #2


Guess what!

If you follow me on Facebook, you have probably already seen the cover.  I received my cover before I'd finished writing the book and I couldn't sit on it.  I HAD to show it off.

Something I've mentioned in a few replies to posts, but haven't officially announced until now - The book is done - well, it's written. It's at the editors right now and I hope to release before too long!

Yeah, we have to wait a little bit longer.  I'm just hoping it's not too long!

As soon as I have a release date I'll send out a newsletter and then a couple days later, I'll announce it on Facebook.

If you'd like to sign up for the newsletter, you can find it at www.msgrey.com


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baking and Dehydrating in the Fall

I haven't been doing very many personal posts and it's about time to insert one.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it's fall and sometimes feels like winter.  Around here, our weather is the oddest of the odd.
This was a particularly gray and drizzly day in October of this year. (2014)

We've already had one hard freeze and a fairly significant snow.  But, the week after all that cold happened, our temperatures went over 90 degrees.  So, my garden was frozen before I was ready for it to freeze.  The result is a lot less produce to process.  I still have brussel sprouts in the garden, waiting to be picked, but that's it.  By the time this post becomes live, I may have already picked them.

My kids had a four day weekend last week, so we got busy on the apples.  I found so many different recipes I wanted to try.  But, I still have apples in the freezer from last year, and until I am able to upgrade to a larger freezer, I'll be dehydrating all of my apples.

I've tried two methods to cut the apples, this time.  I have an apple peeler/corer.  It peels, cores and cuts the apples into pretty spirals.  The other method was to just cut the entire apple with my food slicer.  These make really pretty rounds.  When you get to the core, you can see star shapes and the finished product looks more like chips.

You can see both methods of cutting the apples in this picture.
Fall is always a great time to bake. I don't do a lot of baking in the summer because it's just too dang hot.  But now, the temperatures are cooler (most of the time), so I've been making bread.  I LOVE bread.

Here is a recipe for my last batch of bread.  It made two loaves and the first loaf was almost gone at dinner the night it was baked.

White Bread

This recipe is made for the KitchenAid mixer because all of the kneading is done by the mixer.

Mix together 2 cups of warm water, 2/3 cups of white sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast.  I don't have 1/2 a tablespoon so I had to figure it out.  1/2 tablespoon is equal to 1 1/2 teaspoons).  Stir the ingredients together and let sit for about five minutes. Your yeast mixture should be slightly foamy when you add it to the mixer.

Add the yeast mixture (yeast, sugar, water) to the mixer.  Add 5 to 5 1/2 cups of white flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup olive oil to the mixing bowl.  Turn the mixer on the slowest speed until a dough forms.  Once all the flour is incorporated you can turn the mixer to a higher setting to knead the dough.

Let the mixer knead the dough for seven to ten minutes.  When the dough has become elastic, remove from the bowl and divide in half.  Put each loaf into a buttered bread pan, cover with a kitchen towel and place in an area free of drafts.  Let the bread rise for about half an hour, then cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Your bread will probably look different than this.  I screwed up my recipe. I read the yeast measurement as teaspoons and not Tablespoons - so this batch didn't have enough yeast.  Ooops.  It was still good, and even pretty.