Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve, the Year, and Another Cracker Recipe

I can't believe we are already at the end of 2011! 

We had a quiet Christmas - just the four of us and my parents.  Husband has been ill for most of the holidays and is just beginning to be up on his feet and moving around again.  The kids have both been working at their jobs over the holidays and really haven't been home much.  Son works at McDonalds which is funny since he hasn't eaten at a McDonalds for about 6 years... and still doesn't.  Daughter is working at a gift store and worked 11 days straight before Christmas and then right back again on Boxing Day.

2011 seems to have been a year where no matter what we did we couldn't seem to get ahead.  With the terrible winter and summer we didn't manage to get the barn finished, many crops in the garden didn't produce and it was just a downer in general for our moods.  Financially the year was also a strain due to the renovations on the rental house (after being left in very rough shape by the last tenants). And now it has been sitting empty for the past 6 months for the renos and listing.  Hopefully it will sell quickly in the new year - it is in a good neighbourhood and is looking nice now, so I'm optimistic.

Over the past few days I have been working on getting some year end paperwork completed, and Husband has been working on a new budget for 2012.

Tonight will be a quiet one as well, as both kids are working (Son on a midnight shift and Daughter babysitting for the neighbour).  I have been baking crackers for this evening snacks.  I've tried a new recipe from 50's Gal blog, but something was missing from the ingredients she listed so I adapted it somewhat...

Cheese Crackers
1/2 c butter
2 cups cheddar cheese (I used medium but sharp would be better)
1 1/2 c Flour
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t paprika
1/3 c milk

Put dry ingredients into a bowl and cut in the butter. 
Add milk and combine and form dough into a ball
Roll out dough on a floured surface until 1/8" thick and cut out
Place crackers onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Bake at 325F for 15 minutes
Remove and place on rack until cooled

I wish you all a very wonderful New Years Eve - be safe and if you are going out make sure you have a designated driver who is not drinking.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Lately I have been focusing on baking crackers.  In an effort to save some money (though purchased crackers are not expensive) and, more importantly, continue to eat healthy I decided to try out some cracker recipes.  They are so easy to bake with ingredients everyone has on hand, I don't know why people even bother to buy them.

These were made with rye flour and should be like a swedish crisp bread, but the recipe  needs some tweeking as it was too sweet tasting for my family and didn't get very crisp.  They were definiately not to our taste, but the chickens enjoyed them very much (nothing is going to waste here!)

Herb Crackers mmmm buttery and yummy. The recipe was found here when I did a google search for recipes.

1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of margarine or butter
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, basil, and thyme. Mix in the butter or margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Add the milk and stir until it forms a solid ball.
Knead dough on a lighlty floured surface.
Roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut into cracker sized pieces. Makes about 24 crackers.
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes turn them over and bake for another 5 minutes.

The best crackers EVER!!!!  This recipe comes from Mrs Lyle and was posted the Mother Earth News website with their cracker recipes.

Delicious Homemade Crackers

makes about 50-60 crackers

2 c. all purpose flour (I prefer unbleached)
3/4 c. whole wheat
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp (or more) cracked black or freshly ground black pepper (opt.)
1 c. seeds (flax, sesame, poppy, sunflower combo is fantastic)
1/2 c. butter (unsalted is best, imo)
3/4 c. milk (more or less)
1/2 c. to 2 c. finely shredded cheese (opt.), parmesean is delish

Mix dry ingredients except seeds, cut in butter. Mix in seeds and cheese (if using). Add milk, squeezing with hands, to form into ball.
(Add flour if too wet, more milk if too dry.) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled. Divide into thirds and roll out with rolling pin on floured
surface of wax paper to about 1/16 of an inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and roll to press onto dough. Prick with fork all over
to reduce uneven bubbling during cooking. Use pizza cutter to cut into shapes (diagonals are good) or tear into rough-edged pieces the sizes you
desire. Bake in pre-heated oven, 325 degrees on lightly greased baking sheets/pans or, preferably, parchment paper.
Turn crackers over after 10-15 minutes and bake another 5-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Photos 1951

When my mother-in-law passed away we were left with boxes of photographs.  Husband's sister said we should take the photos home, pull out what we wanted and she would go through the leftovers at a later time.

Last night instead of watching television we decided it would be fun to go through one of the boxes.  Many photos were of our wedding, the kids, sister-in-laws wedding and pictures of modern time, but there were also a stack of pictures ranging from the late 1920s into the 50s.  I though I would share 2 photos that I liked.

Husband grew up in a small village in the interior of British Columbia called Little Fort (previously called Mount Olie).  His family came to the village in the 1920's and his sister still resides there.  I find it interesting that he and his sister attended the same one room school house that his grandmother and mother attended.  The school closed a few years ago and I have to wonder how many small one or two room schools there are nowadays.

These photos are stamped Feb 2 1951 and that winter must have been quite severe for someone wanting to capture them on film.

This first photo shows a snowplow on the street in front of the community hall.  Husband said the hall burnt down and another built in its place, which was also consumed by fire shortly after being buit.  The third community hall built on the property is further back from the road and still stands.

I love this photo of a woman hanging laundry in the snow.  I assume this photo is of Husband's grandmother, but I'm not sure as it is difficult to see her face.  I guess this picture gets me thinking that I have a clothes line that I use in summer, but I never hang out laundry in the winter and always use the dryer... I think I should try it sometime!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vintage Finds of the Week

I love to look for vintage items by browsing through the thrift stores.  I think it is so much fun because one never knows what will be found.  Usually I walk away with nothing, but today several items found their way home with me.

With Christmas fast approaching I am always on the lookout for a tablecloth large enough to fit my dining table.  I found this vintage print one which is 80x58 and just fits!  I quickly placed it on the table for size when I snapped the photo hence the fold lines.  I'm very happy that there are no stains or holes!

On Wednesday we are hosting a Christmas party for Husband's office executives.  I've been wondering what to make for appies and this will help.  A box of Bridge Set cookie and sandwich cutters.  I have no idea the age of this set but am really happy that they are in the original box which I keep and make sure it remains in good condition (if you happen to know the era of this item please let me know!).  Later today I will be looking for some fancy sandwich/canape recipes

I have been looking for a serving tray for a long time and have never came across one that I particularly liked, but this lovely mid-century modern teak tray fit the bill.

And last but not least, another vintage cookbook to add to my collection (copyright 1970, this edition 1974)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Great Kitchen Design

I am in need of reorganizing my kitchen.  I have a huge kitchen with lots of counter space, but sensible organization of my cupboards is lacking and I have been wanting to do some sorting/reorganizing for quite some time.

Yesterday I came across this great video from 1949 which has really gotten me inspired.  There are some wonderful ideas here.  I wish I would have seen this before we designed the kitchen as I really want that hole in the counter top for scrap depositing for compost and chickens.  Somehow I don't think Husband will allow me to cut a hole in the counter top now :(

I have some things to think about and a project for the weekend.  I know I can get the kitchen to work better than it currently does.