Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘baking

First Ever

with 6 comments

This is the first time I ever tried to do this. In honor of Mother’s Day today, I have given Cyndie the day off and I have taken over the job of making her classic caramel rolls for the family brunch this morning.

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What an adventure. Just melt too much butter, a lot of Karo syrup, and way more brown sugar than can possibly be healthy, on the stove and then pour it in the pan(s). I lined one with nuts, first.

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Using a pre-made sweet dough cuts the job down to size, but what a challenge it was getting that sticky blob to roll flat and then stay formed for the cutting.

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Arranging the rolls in the pan is a guessing game of wondering how much the dough will rise before baking.

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With a little creative arranging, I got everything to fit.

I’ll be a nervous wreck in front of the oven, but the hard part is done.

Best wishes to all you mothers out there! I have great respect for all that you do.

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Written by johnwhays

May 13, 2018 at 6:00 am

April Fooling

with 3 comments

We get the joke. Today starts the fourth month of 2018, and despite the general trend of average warmth climbing around the globe, we woke to teeth-chattering cold. The clear sky overnight was wonderful for viewing the blue moon, but it also contributed to the drop in temperature.

We had a reading of 10°(F) before the sun came up. With the fresh coating of snow on the ground from Friday night’s storm, there is cold in the air, as well as radiating from the ground.

We’re not laughing.

It seems like the forest animals weren’t much interested in facing the cold, either. In a search for tracks around the full perimeter of our property, there were surprisingly few foot prints revealing activity. Based on the evidence we collected, a rabbit was the only critter moving around.

At least we know that it didn’t have any problems with dodging predators.

The cougar that growled near Cyndie and Delilah last week is likely long gone after its journey past our home. We did a search in the neighboring woods where the eery sounds came from last week, but did not find any hint of a foot print or disturbed snow where the drama played out.

In a long shot reaction, I mounted our trail camera to observe the trail closest to the area, but it only provided added evidence that nothing was moving around after the snow, except Delilah and me.

Yesterday, Cyndie unleashed a great weapon against cold and snow. She filled the house with the smells of fresh-baked buns and whipped together a couple of egg bakes for a family brunch today.

No foolin’.

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Written by johnwhays

April 1, 2018 at 9:27 am

Advance Warning

with 11 comments

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*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM THE WINTERVALE DIET OBSERVATION ADMINISTRATION ***

The WDOA has issued the following High Level Alert:

 

000
WDOA26 WRLC 171120
WSWMQT

URGENT - DANGEROUS CONSUMPTION ADVISORY
Wintervale Alerts Service Beldenville WI
529 AM CST Tue Nov 21 2017

EAT001-004-160100-
/O.NEW.WRLC.WW.Y.0030.161008U3031Y-171119T0200Z/
Pierce-
Including the city of Beldenville
529 AM CST Tue Nov 21 2017

...DANGEROUS CONSUMPTION ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CST JANUARY
3, 2018...

* WHAT...High calories occurring. Plan on incredible food conditions,
  including during the evening meals. Additional treat
  accumulations of 2 to 3 batches per hour are expected. Quantities will
  fluctuate with periods of heavy servings throughout the alert duration.

* WHERE...Pierce County, especially in the areas of Cyndie's kitchen.

* WHEN...Until 9 PM CST on January 3, 2018.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The most delectable treats will appear whenever
  Cyndie is in the vicinity of her kitchen. Be prepared for irresistible
  aromas and disappearing room in stomachs at times of intense baking.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Dangerous Consumption Advisory for seasonal foodstuffs means periods of 
high calorie appetizers, entrees, and desserts may lead to self-control difficulties.
Be prepared for off-the-charts satisfaction, and use caution while chewing.

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Written by johnwhays

November 21, 2017 at 7:00 am

Berries Galore

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When the fruit matures on all the wild raspberry bushes around our property, you can’t pick fast enough to keep up with the supply. It becomes a full-time job for about a week or so.

Too bad neither of us are able to give it that kind of attention.

Cyndie does a more than adequate job to collect a reasonable amount.

Last night the berries were turned into a few miniature pies and a batch of homemade pop-tarts.

I’m going to be picking tiny seeds from my teeth on a regular basis for a week or two based on her ambitious efforts to put the berries to good use.

One of my strong favorites is spreading her black-cap jam over cream cheese spread on a good piece of heavy grain toasted bread.

It’s a taste and texture extravaganza!

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Written by johnwhays

July 7, 2017 at 6:00 am

Some Days

with 4 comments

Yesterday at work I found myself a little short of feeling like my best. Was it simply a result of it being a Monday? Possibly. More likely, it had something to do with a sub-par night’s sleep. I couldn’t get myself to turn off the Cubbies Sunday night as they eked out a victory in game 5 of the World Series. That kept me up past my bedtime.

In addition, my days of having the whole bed to myself came to an end when Cyndie arrived home from visiting the Morales family in Guatemala in the wee hours of oh-dark-thirty. That’s about the worst time of night to have a sleep cycle interrupted.

As I sat at my desk trying to shake out the cobwebs, the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should have just stayed home for the day. It wasn’t anything physical. I felt fine, I just didn’t feel all that… fine.

Then an issue needed to be addressed, and another, and another. Good thing I didn’t stay home. I may not have been my best, but I was present and available to at least contribute in the moment. Some days we need to allow ourselves to accept this as good enough. Half-speed is better than no speed at all when there is work to be done.

So, Cyndie got home in the middle of the night and I left for work in the dark of morning. She was back, but I hadn’t seen her yet, so I was getting excited to get home. I had no idea I would find this:

dscn5382eShe had a fire in the fireplace and the kitchen filled with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies, there were scones she’d baked for breakfast, and that bread was rising on the stove. Oh, and it was nice to be able to see her, too.

As it was, a day that started out less than fine, turned out pretty darn good in the end.

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Written by johnwhays

November 1, 2016 at 6:00 am

Try Imagining

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Try imagining that you are daily striving to tightly control the percentage of sugar in your total caloric intake, despite the onslaught of incoming treats at work from a number of generous, well-meaning sources, and yesterday, when you arrived home from work and opened the door to your house, you were met by an overwhelming aroma of fresh-baked goodies that practically lifted you off your feet.

For some reason, as soon as I am home from work, I want to eat something. It is one of the trickier parts of my day, in terms of managing my choices in avoidance of unnecessary sugars. I’m happy to eat anything, as long as it doesn’t take any time to prepare. Crunchy, salty, and sweet tend to be cravings that most strongly nag me.

Yesterday, at my weakest moment, Cyndie was moving fresh-baked cookies off a tray, onto the cooling rack. I don’t think there is any better time to test a cookie than when it is still warm from the oven. I hadn’t even finished setting down things I had carried in the door when I sank my teeth into the irresistible goodness of a cookie that tasted like a cinnamon bun.

Cyndie mentioned that she hadn’t put the icing on yet, which helped to calm some of my angst. Knowing that I was eating less sugar than the cookies would ultimately have helped me justify my choice. See how that works?

Really, try to imagine walking in the door to this:

DSCN4211eI wish I could provide a smell-o-vision feature, to give you the full effect.

Next Sunday afternoon we are hosting a “neighborhood cookie social” for folks living around us, most of whom we’ve yet to meet in the three years we’ve been here. Cyndie printed out an invitation and then drove a loop of the immediate roads surrounding us to the west, where we know a handful of folks, including our good friend and trusty farrier, George Walker.

Multiple locations have mailboxes grouped, and she wasn’t sure about which mailbox went with which house, so she just put an invite in every box. Roughly 30, she said. We have no idea how many may show up, and we likely won’t recognize but a few.

Imagine that. It should be fun!

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Written by johnwhays

December 16, 2015 at 7:00 am

Exponentially Homey

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When I arrived home from work yesterday and stepped in the door, I was met by a very happy dog and the smell of deliciousness baking in the kitchen. Cyndie was making good use of leftover sweet potatoes to create delectable taste bud treats.

IMG_iP1052eIt was almost time to feed the horses, so I was offered a chance to pay the herd a visit and allow Cyndie to remain focused on her artistry. I was glad to have the opportunity, because I was rewarded with a bountiful spread of things to test when I returned.

I rated her efforts a smashing success.

My visit to the barn was also rewarding for me. Each of our four horses gave me a good few minutes of personal attention, after I had cleaned up around them and served up their feed.

The setting sun was putting on quite a show for us at the time.

IMG_iP1044eI felt extraordinarily lucky to have all this waiting to greet me at home after work.

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Written by johnwhays

December 4, 2015 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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