Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

First of all, happy Memorial Day. We are so lucky to have brave citizens who have sacrificed their lives for the country. 

Besides that, I'm back with my grandparents, in the happiest place I know. I mean, just look at the splendid breakfast I was treated to yesterday! We have already bicycled to the beach, attended a wonderful Memorial Day picnic, and fixed the mast on my Grandfather's boat. I am pushing for a little sailing this afternoon, and tomorrow, when we expect rain, some board games and baking!

 We walked out on a little jetty. This used to be train track. A steamer from Baltimore would arrive to drop off vacationers, and the train would take them to their resorts.

Now, wandering walkers have to walk over several yards of wiggly rip-rap  to get to where the train used to be.

Almost to the end...

Wow.



 Some fishermen heading out.



 We have always called this particular beach the Seaglass Beach for the copious amounts of nice seaglass that we normally find here. I have some really lovely pieces at home, but today, the beach was pretty well picked over.

You can see why. 

I spent a good deal of time with my feet in the water. It felt cool and delicious: just wonderful. I am really enjoying this weather: it is warm enough to wear shorts, but I can still feel delightfully cool in them (it's about 65*F at midday--perfect!)

Peonies in a silver urn: always beautiful.

Some fresh eggs. My grandmother's large flock of chickens is so prolific that we have run out of egg cartons. I do believe soufflé is for dinner, followed by angel food cake and custard! (Not really, but those are just some very egg-y dishes!)


I hope that everyone else has enjoyed the weekend as much as I have so far!


-The Old Fashioned Girl

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Baked Oatmeal

Can I just remark on how lovely it is to finally have dry feet? Is it possible to convey that sensation (with which some of you will be accustomed) of having perpetually damp feet?  Imagine, for a moment that you are wearing wool stockings (but not itchy), thin leather shoes, and a long, linen, water-retaining skirt. Now, walk through grass. In the rain. Go inside (a damp historical cottage--you are reenacting, after all), but be sure to walk through said grass every so often, just to make sure that your feet NEVER dry and that the bottom foot and a half of skirt is heavy and irritatingly clingy. If you want, you can spill a bucket of water over your feet, but this step of our little pretend game is optional.

Wet feet aside, I had a thoroughly satisfying day.

On to the recipe: warming, and perfect for wet feet.


Baked oatmeal has quickly become a family favourite.  It is incredibly adaptable, quite forgiving, and stores well in the refrigerator. 

Actually, I might or might not be guilty of eating it cold, in squares, out of the refrigerator, like a granola bar.

Everyone knows that oatmeal makes a good, filling breakfast,  but this oatmeal is fancied up a bit, baked in the oven, and tastes quite different from the ordinary eat-it-in-a-bowl type.  Perhaps, drizzling cream and honey butter over it helps, but I prefer to think that the method of baking it in a milk and yoghurt mixture does the trick.

Believe me when I say that this is adaptable and forgiving. Add any fruit (fresh or dried) or nuts that you want.  Use apple sauce instead of yoghurt. Use some orange juice instead of some of the milk. Hey, why not use an alternative nut milk (I'm fond of almond). Change the spices.  Use less sugar. Use more sugar. Replace sugar with honey. I have made this for family, for company, for birthdays, and for brunch with my friends.  It suits any occasion, and is adaptable to any palate. Enjoy!

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk
1 t. vanilla (if desired)
1/2 cup yogurt
3 T butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup nuts (if desired)
1/3 cup dried fruit (if desired)
1 cup blueberries (if desired)


 Preheat oven to 375*.

Stir together oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.


Add nuts, if using.

Add: yogurt,

butter,


Beat the milk and egg together (vanilla, if you're using it), and add it, too!



Stir it all up. Add the fruit. If it doesn't look like soup at this point, you have misread the ingredients list, and need to add more liquid. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan.


Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until set.


Serve with milk or cream, and melted honey butter (1 part melted, salted butter to 1 part honey).

-The Old Fashioned Girl

Friday, April 26, 2013

Blueberry Muffins: An Old Recipe

One of my favourite feelings comes after I have had a nice little exercise, whether it be ballet, yoga, a walk, or a run, have come home for a nice cool shower and a citrusy scented scrub, and am clean and wearing some sort of clean, breezy (baggy) clothing. I just feel fresh and clean and delicious, and ready to face whatever the rest of the day throws at me...

                                                                  ...unless the day decides that I should put on shoes, in which case I'll need a little moral support.


Another, equally lovely feeling, is eating a freshly baked blueberry muffin! Now, I have this wonderful cookbook called  The New England Cook Book. Anyone who remotely knows me is aware that I love to a) bake and b) wallow in history and historical anything. Therefore, a cookbook from 1905 is bound to appeal, especially in a modern edition, so that I don't have to constantly worry about destroying it.
From The New England Cook Book. found here on Amazon.

It makes a wonderful read, and contains all sort of useful recipes...like for toast water (good for invalids, apparently!) and for mock turtle soup (clean a calf's head well...).

I adapted these muffins ligtly, adding a little sugar, blueberries, and some spices, and the result was quite lovely.  They are really a cross between muffin and bread texture, even though there is no yeast involved.  They make a nice breakfast or snack on school mornings because they aren't too sweet. 

The recipe reads: Muffins: two eggs lightly beaten, one quart of flour, one teaspoonful of salt, three teaspoonfuls of Plume [yes, the brand is in bold in the book--I'm not advertising anything] baking powder, one tablespoonful of melted butter, one pint of milk, and two teaspoonfuls of vanilla extract, if liked. Beat up quickly to the consistency of a cake batter; bake in buttered gem-pans in a hot oven.

And here is mine:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoons cinammon
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2- 2 1/2 cups of milk 
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • about 1 1/2 cups blueberries (frozen totally works)

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease 24 muffin tins.

 

Add the flour and sugar to a BIG bowl.


Add cinnamon and nutmeg...


...I had to add more nutmeg, because I LOVE nutmeg, and I wanted to be able to taste it in the muffin: the guideline I followed was: add nutmeg until I can smell it once it has been completely mixed in, then add a little more.

Stir everything.


Add 2 cups of milk and the vanilla.




Add eggs and butter.


Mix all together. It should be a pretty thick batter, but add a little milk if you think it is needed.


Then, stir in the blueberries.  


Dollop into greased tins.



Recommended: Admire the pretty swirling of light batter and purple.

Please excuse the grody tins: I use them so often that they have become disgusting.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the biggest one comes out clean.



Adapted from The New England Cook Book. found here on Amazon.

Particularly good with salted butter or thick smears of almond  butter.


Enjoy!

-The Old Fashioned Girl

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Priorities




Everyone has a set of priorities, right?  The things that you write at the very top of your to-do list so that you can check them off first. Those most important items that need to be done and rank far more highly on the list than the inconsequential items towards the bottom (which you will cross off all the same).

You know, laundry over nail-painting, or eating a real breakfast over making rice pudding and eating copious amounts of it and calling it breakfast because it is a "hot cereal."



Having set my priorities for this evening, I decided to go out into the beautiful, greenish-grey rain and play with my camera.  This totally ranks above studying for my Calculus exam tomorrow, right?


Maybe?

Anyone?

This photograph should be lighter, methinks.


Well, no matter how askew my priorities, (or maybe I just tossed them briefly aside) the dogwood in the drizzly gloom was too compelling to resist. I tromped out in my pajamas, got my freshly cleaned and scrubbed feet muddy, and alarmed my poor cat, who was hoping that I was ready to feed her.



She has food you know, my poor little cat. Don't believe her when she says that the dry kibbles are inedible: she is plenty fond of them.


I can hardly believe that I have yet to introduce you to my kitties.  Another oversight to remedy.


The Azalea were pretty too.


And this sad little limp dandelion. I got a great picture of the moss below it...


...a cool picture shot from underneath it looking up at the sky (and the eaves of the house)...

...and one sad little picture of it's feeble existence between the cracks of the path.

Wait, feeble? We don't mow there. This dandelion will NEVER die. If it's lucky.

Priorities...an important thing in life, but I suppose that it is also important to occasionally deviate from them, but I'm getting back on track, now. To Calculus!

-The Old Fashioned Girl