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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Experimental soup recipe

My favorite part of winter is being able to eat soups, drink hot tea and cocoa. I enjoy these foods all year, but it's just not the same when you are cold and need something to warm you up.

Normally, when a recipe calls for onions, I use half the amount and throw out the leftover pieces, Gasp! I know. What a waste! It's just that when I try to save onions, they taste all bitter, so I end up throwing them out later. Which by the way hasn't happened recently. Better storing methods? I don't know.

I love using small onions and the only way to get them is to buy a bag. I hate having to pick through the ones in the store and be stuck with humongous onions. I know that people think that bigger is better, but I like them small.

But the other day, I took the onion leftovers and stuck them in a tupperware container and froze them. Then later that week, I made some eggrolls and had leftover cabbage. Huge pieces that got chopped and diced but were too tough to save for the eggrolls. I stashed them in the container with the onions. Then, I made some peanut butter and celery and chopped off the leaves and the white parts. Yes, I normally toss those out too. Gasp, again! This time I stuck them with the onions and cabbage.

By the end of the week, I had a lot of frozen veggies. And I was getting hungry for some soup. I wanted to make this thai soup that has rice in it and reminds me of a thai version of chicken noodle soup, (rice instead of noodles) but I didn't have any of the ingredients needed so I just sort of threw some stuff in a pot. I took the veggies I was saving, added some chopped carrots, a can of chicken broth, and some chopped ginger. I threw in some leftover rice and a dash of garlic powder. That was the best soup I have ever thrown together without a recipe! I added lots and lots of black pepper to it too. It was so spicy. It was great because I had a cold and my head was all stopped up. A few days of this soup and I was feeling a lot better, not too mention I was no longer stuffed up.

Now, I look forward to storing extra veggies and it's no longer a chore to decide what to do with all the leftover "waste". Each time I make the soup, it's a bit different, but still good. It reminds me of the weight watcher's recipe called Garden Vegetable Soup. That is so tasty too!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Recipe for refrigerator rolls

I recently tried a new recipe called Refrigerator Rolls. I've heard of it before, where you make the dough up at the beginning of the week and then pull off pieces as you need it. For some reason, I never would try it. I have no idea why. This recipe is the greatest! I only have to mix and knead the dough once and all week long I can have tasty delicious rolls. You have to remember though to punch down the dough every day until you use it. Also, sometimes when I don't have the two hours it needs to rise, I just roll it into balls anyways, let it sit for the time I do have and bake it. They still turn out good. Ready for the recipe? Here it is:

Refrigerator Rolls- from Farm Journal's Country Cookbook.

2 pkg's active dry yeast
1 3/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
5 1/2-6 c. flour (all purpose)
1 egg
1/4 c. shortening, butter, or margarine. (tastes best with margarine or butter)

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl; stir to dissolve. Add sugar salt and about half the flour. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes or by hand until mixture is smooth.

Add egg and shortening, (I like to soften butter first, not too hot to cook the egg though). Beat to mix. Mix in remaining flour with hands or a spoon until dough is easy to handle. Shape into a ball and place in lightly greased bowl; turn greased side of dough up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, or place bowl in a plastic bag.

Put dough in refrigerator and let rise at least 2 hours, or until doubled before using. Punch down dough every day until you use it. Two hours before you want to serve hot rolls, punch down dough and shape. Brush tops with melted butter; cover and let rise in warm place until nearly doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 12-15 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen average size rolls.

Dough may be kept up to 5 days in refrigerator with 45 degrees or lower temperature.

I've left it in the refrigerator up to 7 days and it was fine

P.S. I'm so glad I posted the recipe here because I gave away this cookbook and would have missed making this recipe!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Living more with less

My favorite kind of books have always been how-to's. Normally, I scan through the book and read bits and pieces reading from right to left. This past week, I read from cover to cover from left to right, volumes one and three Tightwad Gazette. I really enjoyed reading them. Most of the information presented I have either already been practicing for years, or have no interest in doing. However, I did find a few new good tips which I will share at a later date.

The book I am reading now is called Living more with less by Doris Janzen Longacre. I have read bits and pieces of it three times, and now I am reading it all the way through. It was written a long time ago but it is still becoming my favorite book. I am hoping to find it used somewhere.

I have been learning more in it than I have any other simplicity living book. I will be sharing some things that I have been learning later as well as thoughts on the book.

Voluntary Simplicity

What is voluntary simplicity? How is it different than frugal living? The best explanation I know of can be found here.