Lazy J Bar C

Lazy J Bar C

Friday, November 30, 2012

Photo Art Friday - 11/30/2012

For Photo Art Friday this week, Bonnie asked us to showcase one of our favorite or best pieces of photo art. I featured these spurs on my blog back in March but decided to re-do the picture for today's post and use some of the techniques that I have learned since then. This is one of my favorite pieces of photo art mostly because of the subject matter and I also like the vintage photo look with the sepia tone. I used Bonnie's new Golden Chaff texture for this edit. Also linking up with Weekly Top Shot and Tones on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bread Making Tips

For something a little different today, I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks I've learned baking bread for the last several years for the Farmer's Market. If my loyal, repeat customers are any indication, I must be doing something right! :)
I do have to admit to another reason for doing this. Last week, I was checking some settings on my blog for a fellow blogger and happened to look at my blog's stats. It isn't something I normally do but it is sometimes interesting to see where people are "coming from" when they visit my blog. One of the traffic sources was Pinterest. I don't do Pinterest because I have a hard enough time keeping up with all the blogs I follow and, yeah, I know there is a LOT of really good "stuff" on there that I'm probably missing out on! Anyway, someone made a comment on a "Pin" of my Buttermilk Wheat Dinner Rolls that the dry/wet ratio seemed a little off. That got me to thinking of all the variables encountered when making bread: quality of ingredients, moisture content in butter, type of liquid used, humidity, altitude, temperature in the house, etc., so I thought I would do a post.

I use King Arthur Flour for all my baking. I have found it to be high quality and it produces consistent results. I also believe it helps make my baked goods just a little better than the competition so it's worth the extra money to me. If I was baking just for Jerry and I, I would use organic King Arthur flour or grind my own but that is cost/time prohibitive for my little business. The brand, and consequently the protein content, of the flour used can make a huge difference in how your bread turns out. Even something as simple as the moisture content in the brand of butter used or whole milk versus skim milk will make a difference. One thing that a bread baker has to learn is what the dough should look and feel like. I personally like my dough a little on the soft side, especially for rolls.

Sweet Potato Rolls

You can see in the above picture that the dough is very soft. I find that this makes for lighter, fluffier rolls. I also check the consistency of my dough a few minutes into the mixing/kneading cycle Every. Single. Time. I don't care if I just made a batch of Oatmeal Wheat Bread an hour ago and am starting another, I still check the consistency of the dough. If it seems a little dry, I add a tablespoon or so of water. If it is too wet and sticky, I add a little flour, one tablespoon at a time. I have found that I will need to adjust the amount of liquid (usually whole milk) in my recipes by almost 1/4 cup from summer to winter. The dough below is a little dry.

Black Pepper Parmesan Rolls

After adding about a tablespoon of water, it comes together and is nice and soft.
Black Pepper Parmesan Rolls
I have also learned that the recipes that use water instead of milk are stickier. When I go to shape a dough that is a little on the sticky side into rolls or bread, rather than adding more flour, I grease my hands and the counter just a tiny bit to prevent sticking and that way, the rolls or bread is still nice and light. My Pumpernickel Rye Bread dough always comes out sticky.

Another thing I have learned is to not let the dough overproof after shaping. It should only rise about one inch above the top of the pan.

Honey Wheat Bread

If it rises too much, it will collapse as it cools after baking and you will be left with a "wrinkly" top, like the one below. ;) It doesn't affect the taste and it usually doesn't affect how it sells but it just isn't as pretty. (sigh)

Onion Dill Rye Bread

Almost all of my bread recipes I have developed myself by taking other recipes and tweaking them to suit my needs, the ingredients I use and my altitude and humidity (mostly lack thereof!). So, the next time you are making bread, I hope you can use some of these tips to make the recipe your own and don't hesitate to adjust the amount of liquid and/or flour to make it work for you! Oh, and don't forget to take notes on any changes you make, they will come in handy later; you should see all the scribbles on some of my recipe cards! LOL!! Okay, gotta run, it's time to get back to the Onion Cheddar Rolls. It's cheese bread day here at The Home Bakery.
Linking up with The Country Homemaker Hop, Rural Thursday and Farmgirl Friday. I'm also featured on Dolly Is Cooking, thanks Dolly!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Texture Tuesday - 11/27/2012

Another lovely scene from the Holy Trinity Monastery. Linking up with Texture Tuesday and Watery Wednesday.
Kim Klassen paperandpaste texture Soft Light 100%, duplicate layer Multiply 80%, remove texture from statue.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Photo - 11/25/2012

We got a new horse last week so that Paco would have some company. Her name is Mysti and she is kind of a flea-bit gray, kind of a dapple gray, kind of a paint...

Shoot, she's just purty!! :) That isn't dirt, honest, just her paint "spots" showing through.
Jerry has been working with her and riding her almost every day and he really likes her. She is really sweet and her and Paco are getting along famously!
I call her my little freckle faced girl.

Linking up with Weekly Top Shot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Barn Charm - 11/20/2012

This very much "lived in" barn was right beside the highway in Lincoln county, New Mexico.
I suspect the folks who live there (and were outside working) were wondering what the crazy lady with the camera was up to! :)
Here is the picture before editing with Pixlr and adding Kim Klassen's Kristin texture.

Linking up with Barn CharmTexture Tuesday and Tones On Tuesday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday's Fences - 11/16/2012

It's silly, I know, but I'm always excited when I can find a cool fence to share with Friday's Fences! :)
This very rustic fence was along a walking path at the Holy Trinity Monastery. I can just imagine how labor intensive it was to build this!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Super Simple Cottage Cheese

I love cottage cheese! It is one of my favorite lunches, whether with whole-berry cranberry sauce (homemade of course!), pineapple or a beautiful home-grown tomato. By the way, this tomato is from my friend's garden...bartering milk for vegetables is good! ;)
I used to buy a lot of cottage cheese before I got my dairy goats and even afterwards for awhile because all the cottage cheese recipes I tried never turned out all that great and, honestly, they were kind of a pain in the, well you know, to make!! It bothered me though to have to buy a dairy product that I ought to be able to make myself so I pretty much quit buying cottage cheese, that and the fact that I didn't like some of the "stuff" that was in most of the commercial cottage cheese.
Then, awhile back, I had one of those ah-ha moments while making a batch of Queso Blanco. After draining the whey from the curds and before putting it in the cheese press, I thought to myself "Self, this sure looks like cottage cheese to me!" So, I made sure it was drained really well, added a little salt, broke the curds up pretty finely and stirred in some heavy cream. Voila, cottage cheese! It is a little different than commercial cottage cheese but it tastes pretty good to us. :)
Now, I'm sure some of my fellow cheese-making blogging friends have been doing this for years but I thought I would share anyway, just in case there is anyone else out there who hasn't yet had the light bulb go off.
Sharing with The Country Homemaker Hop, Rural ThursdayFarmgirl Friday and the Farm Girl Blog Fest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Texture Tuesday - 11/13/2012

This lovely angel was at one of the graves at the Holy Trinity Monastery.
Joining up with Texture Tuesday where this week's theme is Dream.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Photo - 11/11/2012

I went to the fall Festival of the Arts at the Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David, Arizona today with some of the girls, including my blogging friend Marie at A Colorful World! It's always so nice to get to spend time with just the girls! :)
We had a great time, there were a lot of neat craft vendors, we spent money, had lunch, wandered the beautiful grounds of the monastery and spent some reflective time in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. This lovely statue was in the church. I was really moved by her Hispanic/Native American style and I just couldn't resist taking her picture to share with you all.
Linking to Weekly Top Shot and Your Sunday Best.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Photo Art Friday - 11/09/2012

During our recent trip to New Mexico, our lovely hostess had a beautiful centerpiece of flowers and I just couldn't resist snapping a few pictures!

Linking up with Bonnie for Photo Art Friday where the prompt this week is lines. I figured the lines of text in Bonnie's Vintage Manuscript #2 texture oughta count! ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cowgirl Cookies

I have been trying to come up with a new cookie recipe for the Farmer's Market and I wanted to create a Cowgirl cookie to complement the popular Cowboy Cookies. I made a variation of oatmeal cookies using Chai Spice and adding coconut, dried cranberries and vanilla chips. It was okay but didn't have the Wow! I was looking for.

Then, the other day, Tammy at Our Neck of the Woods posted a recipe for Maple Brown Sugar Granola Cookies that got my creativity going. If you haven't visited Tammy's blog yet, you really should, it's great! Oh, and I admit to totally stealing her idea of tying a ribbon around the cookies for their photo shoot. (blush) I'm always on the lookout for food styling ideas, thanks Tammy!!

These cookies have the Wow! with the addition of the granola and the Chai Spice and what Cowgirl can resist dark chocolate and dried cranberries? I know a certain Cowboy who even gave them a thumbs up! ;)

Cowgirl Cookies                **Click here to print this recipe**

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups Baking Mix
4 cups granola, homemade or store bought (I used homemade)
1 1/2 teaspoons Chai Spice
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add Baking Mix, granola and Chai Spice; mix well. Stir in cranberries and dark chocolate chips; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for one minute on cookie sheet then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookes. I flattened each cookie slightly so they would spread out a little more.

Sharing with The Country Homemaker Hop, Rural ThursdayFarmgirl Friday and the Farm Girl Blog Fest.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Texture Tuesday - 11/06/2012

I'm joining Kim Klassen for Texture Tuesday this week for the first time. This picture is from earlier this year and I edited it with Nancy's free texture called Candy! ;-) Thanks Nancy!!

If you are interested in learning how to add textures to your photos, check out Kim's free Learn Textures In Ten Minutes class. It's geared to Photoshop but it works just fine using Pixlr too. A few things are different but not much.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Macro Monday - 11/05/2012

There were two of these moths hanging out on the screen this morning. I thought they were pretty funky looking with their "bald" heads! :)

Linking up with Macro Monday.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Photo - 11/04/2012

This beautiful, antique thread box was in one of the museums in Lincoln, New Mexico. Wouldn't you just love to have this to store your thread or other treasures in? Things like this just speak to my soul. :)
Linking to Weekly Top Shot and Your Sunday Best.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Photo Art Friday - Ancient Paths

When Bonnie suggested using her new, free, Cobblestone Road texture to create a piece of photo art this week for Photo Art Friday, I immediately thought of the picture of the little Buddha statue I took out at Sleeping Frog Farms last month. He was sitting just inside the barn and his topknot was broken off but I could tell that he was still very much loved! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012