Thursday, July 19

Post the One Hundredth! Plus, More Owl Corner and Some Good Cookin'

Well, it's taken almost two years and many unposted entries, but I've finally made it to one hundred entries!  Hard to believe.  Also hard to believe is that I'll have been at this for two years on July 25!  Time really passes quickly anymore.  I can't tell you how many times my husband and I have expressed disbelief about being married eight years, or living in Ohio for four years, or this or that--just because it doesn't feel like that long!  Some things change; some things stay the same.  But above it all, it's been a mostly happy journey, and that's what matters.  Thanks for being a reader over the past two years!  I appreciate it! 

This Week's Owl Corner
This week we feature the Barn Owl in our Owl corner.  Aptly named, the Barn Owl is usually found in and around barns, and are a wonderful addition to life on the farm.  Barn Owls are great hunters and excel at keeping the rodent population under control, usually successfully hunting in total darkness.  They are known to hunt small mammals, including mice, voles, and shrews. They are able to sneak up on prey in the dark because their wings make almost no noise while flying, due to unique feathers and larger-than-normal wings in proportion to their body size.  This species of owl is middle-of-the-road in size, measuring between 1'and 1'-6" in height and a wing span of 3'-4" to 4' in length.  It has a distinctive heart-shaped white area on its face, which is found on no other owls.

Information taken from The Cincinnati Zoo website and

Chicken rice casserole with dill French bread
Delicious Casserole
While up in Michigan last week, my mom fixed a delicious casserole of chicken and wild rice.  She found it in a Betty Crocker cookbook, and made some adjustments.  To see the recipe, click this link: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole.  It's good and extremely hardy--a perfect meal for winter--but also good in the summer too.  I would like to make it again and see how it freezes.

Breadmaking 101
Well, maybe this should be "Breadmaking 100".  I know I'm a bit late to the bread machine craze, but I finally have the bread machine that I've wanted for quite a while.  I have had fun with it the past few days!  I've made yeast doughs by hand before, for pizza crusts and rolls and such, but have never had the time to experiment with bread making, so this is almost as fun for me, and without all of the elbow grease!  I chose a Cuisinart breadmaker, on sale at Elder-Beerman here in the mall, over a month ago.  With everything that has happened over the last month, the machine has been sitting in its box in our living room, sad and unused, until this past Sunday, when I was finally able to pull it out, wash the insides, and experiment!  After a trip to the grocery store to get some fresh yeast and bread flour, I was ready to try out my machine.  My first attempt at bread was a dill French bread loaf.  It turned out good, and so next I tried the plain ol' white bread loaf.  That turned out good too!  So tonight, I decided that because we were having lasagna, I was going to make a recipe for garlic cheese knot dough, to try out the dough-only function.  The function worked great, but took an hour and a half.  The recipe itself was just eh, so when I make them again I'll tweak it a bit.  I baked up half and froze the other half (the recipe makes a dozen).  I also decided that, since the dill French bread was three days old and beginning to go stale, I would make what was left into croutons for hubby's lunch salads.  Here is the simple recipe for the croutons I made:

6 slices of day-old bread, cut into cubes
4 tbsp. butter, melted
Garlic powder, salt, basil, oregano, and Parmesan cheese, to taste (start small and add as needed-I added the flavors, then dipped a piece of bread in the butter to taste it, adjusting as necessary)

Here are the instructions.  Are you ready?  Here we go!
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  
Cut bread into cubes.  Put the cubed bread into a medium-sized bowl.  
Such cute little cubes!
Mix the butter and seasonings until smooth in a small bowl, then pour into the bowl with bread cubes.  Toss bread cubes and butter mix to coat evenly.

Spread the bread cubes in a single row on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or so, checking and stirring the bread every 15 minutes, until the bread is crunchy and golden brown.  Yum!
Delicious on salad, but I think I could sit and eat the whole pan by themselves.  You can play around with the ingredients in the butter mix, and you could sub olive oil for the butter, if you wanted.  So easy and tasty!  Makes a great snack, too!

Milestones are great.  They can show an accomplishment, or progress, or an end to a lot of hard work.  I love milestones--they give me something to look forward to and work hard to accomplish.  Milestones are a great time to give God the glory and praise for all He has done, because we accomplish nothing on our own, but only by God's grace.  The Bible is full of Scripture that tell us to rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4-"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"), so why not give Him praise and glory for all things, big and small?  I will praise the Lord for this milestone, and everything else in my life, both good and bad.  Will you?

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