Monday, January 31, 2011

What's in a Tree?

Ted's mom and dad's house was recently featured in Lawrence Magazine.  The gist of the article is that they used all native lumber off of our own farm in the finishing process.  The floors, the woodwork, the cabinets, etc., were all made using what we had on hand.  If you remember from a previous blog that we fell our own trees and then we hire a portable saw mill to come in and saw up the logs.  The boards then get stacked for drying and when we feel the need to make something pretty, it's there.  
If you'd like to see the article and get a glimpse of the house and see what logs like these can become,
click here.  You'll have to scroll to page 12 where the article begins
(or 15 if you go by the toolbar at the top.). 
It's called "Farming Elegance."  For those of you wondering, we don't just cut down trees.  Ted's dad, Jim, plants lots of trees, acorns, and seeds.  (Acres of them!) 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Super Easy Baked Mac n Cheese

This Mac n Cheese could not be any simpler!  You just throw the ingredients in a pan and stick it in the oven.  It's the ultimate in comfort food.

 You will need:
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
12 ounces grated cheddar cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese
5 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350*F.
Mix the macaroni and the cheeses up in a sprayed 9 X 13 inch baking dish.  Cut the butter up into small pieces and scatter over the top.  Pour in the milk and add salt and pepper to your liking.

 Bake for 1 hour.

How easy was that? 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baked Cake Doughnuts

Because sometimes, you just have to have a doughnut.
You see, I do not live "in town." Not that driving to town on a doughnut run would be a huge deal, but I'm a very impatient person when I'm hungry. If I'm going to wait, I'd rather be doing something constructive, and I can whip up these doughnuts faster than I can get presentable (that means throwing on a pair of sweats with no holes, locating a baseball cap to cover up my bead head, and wiping the mascara out from under my eyes), driving to town, buying doughnuts (and whatever else I think I need because I have to somehow justify driving to town for more than just doughnuts), and getting back home just to realize that I forgot to make a pot of coffee...and now I have cold doughnuts. So, a country girl has to do what she has to do!
Here's my recipe for doughnuts:
Baked Doughnuts:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup "sour" milk*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons melted shortening
(I use butter flavor Crisco...I think the butter flavor is essential so if you don't have it, use margarine or butter.)
*to make "sour milk," simply add a teaspoon of vinegar to your milk, stir, and let it sit for about ten minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400*F.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix the sour milk, eggs, vanilla, and melted shortening. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Spray a doughnut pan (or two depending on the size of your doughnuts) and fill the cavities 3/4 full with the batter. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
When done, pop doughnuts out of the pans and then dunk each in butter, and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
For topping:
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
The topping is not an exact science, you could glaze them if you like, but the cinnamon/sugar is a real pleaser. Also, I have some fancy doughnut pans (and this recipe makes 9 regular sized doughnuts), but you could easily make these in muffin tins. Just fill the cups half full, and you will get smaller "doughnuts" but you will have more portions. Just remember to adjust cooking time depending on your pan.