Monday, March 25, 2013

Maple Sunday

Life is full of new experiences... a new one for me this past weekend was Maine Maple Sunday.
Sugar Shacks around Maine open their doors to sell their Maple syrup and other maple treats and allow everyone a peak into how the syrup is made.
The sweet smell is intoxicating and to have a dish of ice cream with Maple syrup poured over handed to you right as you walk in isn't bad too. The sap was being cooked down over wood burning stove and I was warned not to stand to close for long or I could walk out feeling sticky from the steam (would that be a bad thing?). There were so many wonderful items to pick from starting with the main attraction Maple Syrup along with Maple Fudge, Maple Sugar, Maple Whoopies, Maple Candy, Maple Cotton Candy, Maple Cream ... I kinda sound like the  shrimp guy from "Forest Gump". 
My treats of chose was the Maple Candy and the Maple Cotton Candy and if you have never had Maple Cotton Candy, boy are you missing out.... It has a wonderful sweet taste (not like the pink stuff from the carnivals) a lovely Maple flavor and I always have to stop myself from eating the whole bag at once, only half was gone by the time I got home today and I was sharing. 
 
It was another wonderful weekend in Maine, including being with that great guy, what more could this girl ask for ? 



Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring?Fever!

Wednesday, March 20th is officially the first day of Spring. Most of the snow is gone and we've had lovely weather this past week. Even with a bit chill in the air the past few days a warm sun has been out which has been soooo nice. Moose is like a cat, he follows the sun around the house and loves to lay in the warm light streaming through the windows. Daylight savings time has brought a longer day to us and it's so nice to have it light till close to 6:30 pm everyday and Spring Fever is in full bloom for me.

Sunday was St. Patrick's Day, which I found since I'm dating someone who is of Irish descent, is considered a holiday. I started my day by getting the CornedBeef in the slow cooker....a few spices, some brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and of course a beer (for the corned beef not me).

 I decided to try my hand at making  Irish Soda Bread. I found a few recipes on Pintrest (I'm addicted to this site) and choose the one that both looked good and easy to follow. I mixed all the ingredients and buttered my oval Gold Butterfly Pyrex casserole and off to the oven the bread went. After about 50 minuets of baking out of the oven it came and the smell of that wonderful slightly sweet bread filled the house. Once the bread cooled I placed it on my burgundy oval Pyrex resturantware plate,this was a nice find at a GoodWill by Bangor. Dinner turned out great, CornedBeef, potatoes, carrots and of course the cabbage ... a bit of the soda bread on the side. 
                                                                                 









And just think , in 2 weeks it will be Easter dinner

 OH, and did I mention Spring here in Maine will begin with upwards of 10 to 16 inches of snow ...... UGH

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Nose Knows

I have 2 cats and a dog,that being said .... I think I have a mouse in the house.
My cute little crazy dachshund Moose has taken to sitting in the bathroom for hours sniffing , eyes locked on the open space between the tub and sink.  I have seen no evidence of a mouse .... no pitter patter of little mouse feet....no food being broken into no droppings left behind. Yet Moose sits and waits, at times evens whines and whimpers.
So I have to question mouse or crazy Moose????? Is it possible that I have 2 cats who couldn't care less about a mouse? Could it be that they are at and age where they have no interest in hunting for their food and are just content to be feed by me. Are they hoping I catch the mouse and serve it up as Sunday suppa??
A few years back at my house in Illinois I did have a mouse, this was pre dog, and the cats did their cat job.
One evening I noticed that my cat Fudge was sitting on the kitchen counter staring at a basket that was holding a bag of chips. I picked up the bag and there it was a little mouse running in circles in the basket. As I lifted the basket the mouse jumped, I screamed and the cats went flying...... the mouse hit the floor and took off across the kitchen.

*My  2 cats
Oreo (on the right) - fluffy, loving, sweet, active, fit always wants to be out and around everyone. Fudge (on the left) - so sweet, very shy with the shape of a pretty good sized meatloaf.

And now back to our program in process : The mouse is on the floor... the cats are scrambling to get him.... next thing I know, Fudge is sitting under the kitchen table with the mouse in his mouth. WHAT, Fudge???? Who would have ever thought? Next step... how do I get the mouse away from him? Now the cats are in the family room, somehow I get the mouse who is still alive, away from Fudge, I put a large clear glass Pyrex bowl over the mouse and lock up the cats. With them away I'm now able to pull the rug the mouse under glass over to the patio and push him out the door.  
So I sit here and wonder mouse or no mouse??? I'm sure something is there, and all I can do it hope it's no bigger than a mouse. I trust the Moose nose, he did sniff out a mouse in the mud room at Tom's house and tossed it around like a rag doll ... Thank goodness Tom was there and took care of everything while I just stood back and let out a few girly screams ... guess I need to toughen up

Stay tuned for more on the Moose vs mouse ........

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

So much bread

One of the most used pieces of Pyrex I have is the Bake A Round. I stumbled on this one day at the GoodWill, it was mixed in with all the glass ware for $1.99. For some reason I knew what it was and laughed to myself thinking how many people may have looked at it and thought"what in the heck is this?".













On the drive home I stopped and bought some frozen bread to give the baker a try. I sprayed the inside of the tube and placed the frozen bread in the center and let it sit out to rise and poking out each end of the tube. About 30 minutes in the oven and oh yeah, can you smell that.....warm fresh bread .

I bought a bread maker another time while shopping with my friend Carla. She spotted it, it looked like new or rarely used. And a pretty good price at $10.99 but lucky me that day, it has a blue sticker and that week blue was half price.
     
            The current favorite is cinnamon raisin.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Sunday morning bagel

Sunday Morning turned out to be a bagel making kind of morning. In my quest for that simpler life I have done this once before and they tuned out pretty good, so I decided to give it another go .... and I have to say I did good again. I have a love for Montreal style bagels , if you've never had one you're missing out .....  A Montreal Bagel is a thinner, crispy outside with a slight sweetness, covered in sesame seeds (my favorite) or poppy seeds. I find with bagels bought at Panera, Mr. Bagel any of those, have too much inside they are too doughy and I end up tearing out some for the bagel guts (for lack of a better description).

I found a great recipe on Pintrest (I am so hooked on that site) and off I went. They are pretty easy to make , I think the hardest part is waiting for them to be done so I can eat one. After you mix the dough and kneed it for 10 minutes you have to let it sit under a bowl for another 10 minutes. Next its time to roll the bagels, I had Ryan help me (my boyfriends son), he's 14 and said it reminded him of when his was little and would play with Playdough. So we rolled them out into that shape, not round like a bagel you see here but that oblong shape a Montreal bagel has. Now we wait... this time for 30 minutes. Next step is to boil the bagels in honey water for about 45 seconds each side. After you sprinkle on a topping, today I left a few plain, a few had sesame seeds and thanks to gift from my friend Tracy , I had a couple that  I also call my favorite an "everything" bagel. Off to the oven they go... about 8 to 10 minutes each side and they are done.

http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/169529/montreal-bagel

Nothing beats that smell , that tempting smell, that I can't wait to smother one in cream cheese and gobble it up, and so I did. We all enjoyed a warm crispy bagel on this not too cold Maine morning. And of course  this was a perfect excuse to use the few new Pyrex plates I had found at the Goodwill a few days ago.
I've stumbled on a plate here and there, restaurant ware , I love the weight of them. My recent find is this pretty teal color , I also have a few in burgundy and I have also found a solid white.

And so the day went on,  a ride to a flea market in Thopsom, a quick peak at the Goodwill shop and off to Freeport for a walk around LL Beans.
   
          Another great day in Maine


Friday, March 1, 2013

A Maine & Pyrex beginning

 It all started with a #404 yellow nesting bowl I received from my friends mother, I've had it for years and never thought much of it , but it was always one of my favorites , it had become my "go to" bowl.
I moved to Maine about 7 months ago from Chicago in search of a simpler life .... not so rushed , a slower pace, more easy going . So I now find myself in a small town in south/western Maine in the foot hills of the White Mountains and loving it.

 I started baking.... finding the joy in making things rather than buying them off the grocery store shelves. I've always enjoyed cooking/baking , just never felt I had the time, and back in the Chicago suburbs I could get everything and anything I could want at a number of stores I drove by every day.
But now, in peaceful Maine I have found myself  wanting to have things fresh from the farm stands and many of them state "on your honor" for payment ........  I'd never seem such a thing. I have found a love for baking and sharing the treats I make.

I made fast friends with the lady who owns the antique shop next door to me and I enjoy bringing over baked goods to share along with chatting and updating her on my Pyrex finds.

I started to roam through the Goodwill store, antique shops and thrift stores. I kept running across these treasures, PYREX..... and every few trips I would find a piece that I'd never seen before...or something that brought me back to memories of my moms kitchen. And so it began... the hunt , the need to find more....  and then came the books, the internet searches and the desire for more knowledge and information on Pyrex. 

So now I search , loving every time I log a new piece into the spread sheet I created and sharing the thrill of my PYREX finds with my  wonderful new boyfriend , which I also acquired in Maine.