Home-Made Hamburger Buns

Saturday, April 27, 2013

We often combine meals with our daughter, son-in-law and those precious grand-daughters and last night was one of those occasions. Hamburgers sounded so good to me so I told my daughter that I'd bring the buns, burgers and fixins and she said she'd make the sides.   You can read her blog post on what she brought here
If you've never had a hamburger with home-made hamburger buns you are missing out on something really special!  Think its too difficult to do?  You are in for a big surprise on how easy it is.  I'll help you.
Gather your ingredients: 
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup hot water
Throw all your dry ingredients in your mixer equipped with dough hooks (see note below), add your wet ingredients and mix on low till all ingredients are incorporated.  Then knead on medium setting for about 3 - 5 minutes.  You've kneaded your dough long enough when it is smooth and has a nice shiny gleam to it! 
 Note:  I would recommend a mixer with dough hooks; however, you can certainly mix this up and knead it by hand.  My mother always did!  As far as mixers go, my personal preference is the Bosch Universal Mixer.  I'm on my second Bosch mixer in 25 years and I use it practically on a daily basis, so that tells you how wonderful they are.  Some people prefer a Kitchenaid and I've heard they are just as wonderful.  It simply comes down to preference.
Remove the dough from your mixer and place into large bowl that has been slightly oiled with olive oil. Cover with a clean tea towel and set it aside to rise to double size. Depending on the temperatures, it could get to this point in 20 minutes or an hour so keep a watch on it. (We are living in a travel trailer right now while building our house, and my camper was warm and toasty and my dough was double in size in about 20 minutes.)
When your dough has risen sufficiently, separate it into 9 pieces and form them into nice little balls. Pour a little olive oil on a cookie sheet (I love my jelly roll pan for this) and place your dough balls a few inches apart. I kind of roll them in the olive oil on the pan so the top sides are oiled as well as the bottoms. Cover with a tea towel and let them rise about 15 minutes. 
Then, with the palm of your hand, squish the balls into flat disks the size of hamburger buns! Cover with your tea towel again and let them rise til nice and puffy - it was about 30 minutes in my warm camper, but could be as long as an hour.
Place in pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake until they are a beautiful golden color. Brush the tops with butter, let cool slightly and then with a serrated knife cut them in half horizontally. 
Grill your hamburger patties and assemble your burger ingredients.  I used butter lettuce leafs, sliced tomatoes, sliced purple onions, home-made pickles, and sliced avacado. 
I would also recommend using the very best of  ingredients.  From King Arthur flour, butter from grass fed cattle, cage free egg, organic sugar and sea salt for your buns to the best meat you can buy for your patties.  My husband and I are lucky to have a farm where we raise grass fed beef, so I feel the hamburger meat is the finest quality.  My pickles are ones that I canned last summer, and soon I'll have fresh tomatoes from my garden.  All those ingredients make for a hamburger that is better than anything you can find anywhere! 
These home-made hamburger buns come with a warning:  You will never want another hamburger with store bought buns and neither will your family!  So, once you make them, you will always be making them!
For your convenience you can click here for a printable recipe.  Enjoy! 

Pretty In Pink (alicious)!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My darling grand-daughter turned five this weekend.   She is the most precious five year old there ever was (of course)!  She told me many months ago that her birthday this year was going to be a Pinkalicious birthday and would I make her a Pinkalicious skirt for her party?  So, in the back of my mind as I'm working and working on our house, I've been thinking about Pinkalicious.  What does she wear?  So I did what every smart person does - I googled it.  I looked at every Pinkalicious outfit on Pinterest, I read every blog I could find about Pinkalicious and nothing seemed quite right.  What I had in my mind was pink satin and ribbons.  So...

I pulled out some ribbon scraps, bought a small bit of pink satin and looked at it until I had an idea in my mind.   The light bulb came on and I thought "circle skirt".  
 This is a link to the best circle skirt tutorial I have ever seen. 

She makes is so completely clear on how to measure and cut for the perfect circle and all without a single side seam!   After cutting, I simply sewed all my ribbon scraps to the waist and then made a satin waistband, pulled my elastic through, sewed a simple rolled hem, attached a silk flower and it was done! 
There it is!  The perfect Pinkalicious skirt. 
The ribbons really made it a super fun skirt to twirl in!
And even more perfect for practicing those ballet moves!
Paired with a pink leotard and some leggings is was completely adorable.
I had left over satin and I purchased a bit more pink ribbon and made a Pinkalicious Bunting. It was very simple to make.   
I made a pattern out of cardboard and cut all my satin diamonds, then folded over the top inch and pressed it down lightly with the iron. 
 Then I folded that over a long pink ribbon and sewed each diamond in place. 
When that was done, I tied all the ribbon pieces between the diamonds. Perfectly Pinkalicious bunting.
Its pretty amazing what a little pink satin and ribbon can do when it comes to a Pinkalicous Birthday! 
It was a perfectly beautiful spring day with all kinds of fun and games outside.  And the funnest thing of all was watching a darling little blonde five year old with braids and ribbons running around smiling and twirling everywhere she went.  I think the skirt was a success!
Hope you are having a lovely week.
This week I am linking up to the Inspiration Gallery at Crafty Scrappy Happy!

House On The Hilltop - Part Eleven

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Do you SEE this?   Its my temporary, thrown together sewing spot in our upstairs craft room!!  My husband took pity on me and let me move in our old kitchen table and I  set up my machine so I could feel at least a tiny bit of normalcy.   Eldon is not the type to move anything in until we can just about call it done... so that tells you how close we are to finishing in our upstairs. 
I love the room, it makes me really happy to be in it!  There is a lot of nice light from the dormers and we have two overhead can lights, a fan with a light, and then the lights that will be on the back wall.  It should make for a great crafting area.  I painted all the walls and trim Simply White by Benjamin Moore.  I know it is a lot of white and I am a huge color person so I intend to bring in color in lots of other ways in this room. 
What do you think about the flooring?  We are positively in love with it.  It is Dunes Bay Driftwood by Lumber Liquidators.  It looks a lot like driftwood that was made into planks.  It is just perfect for this room.  Eldon will be building a barn look door for the little trap door on the back wall that leads into the no mans land of space that we didn't want to waste.  We've been calling our upstairs "The Barn Room" and it seems to have stuck.

This is looking up at the Barn Room from the kitchen area downstairs. 

I've had a few people write and ask for an update on the pendant light cords.   The update is this:  one of my readers who is married to an electrician wrote and told me that her husband says they use these heavy plastic sleeves that are split on one side so they can be sort of opened up and placed around the cords.  They hold them stiff and help to straighten them, then you can remove and discard them when the cords straighten.  I had several conversations with Barn Light Electric and they offered to send us new cords; however, we decided to go this route first and see if we can get them to straighten.  We plan to keep them on til we move in! 

We hung another Barn Light Electric pendant over the stairs and it also is a little kinky, but the cord is much shorter so not as noticeable and it does appear to be straightening.  (Positive thinking!)  I love the lights though, kinky cords and all.

The focus has now shifted to the downstairs living room where we are installing bead board on all the walls under the eight foot line.  It is looking beautiful and I love how it breaks up that huge cathedral wall so that you see something besides dry wall. 

For whatever reason, the bead board tongue in groove has been a two person job and rather slow to install.  In between helping Eldon with that I've been filling nail holes, sanding, and caulking trim.  (I've used about five rolls of Frog Tape.  That stuff is awesome.) 

The bead board will also go on that wall next to the stairs (up to the white trim board already in place).  The actual wall below the stairs is unfinished (as is the room under the stairs) as we are designing and building a steel tornado shelter that will be bolted in.  That framed wall that you see is actual only temporarily attached and will slide out so Eldon can build the shelter and slide it in.  Then we will sheet rock and install bead board on that wall also.  That is a big job ahead of us and we will tackle it soon.

This is the flooring we picked up last week from Lumber Liquidators for the entire downstairs (except for bathrooms).  We had a hard time choosing what we wanted but we found one we're really excited about.   My kitchen cabinets are being built right now and should be installed the first part of May so we need to get our flooring installed there first. 

So, what have I been sewing?  My grand-daughter is turning five this weekend and has requested a Pinkalicious party.  I told her I would make her a Pinkalicious skirt.  There are no patterns to be found on internet that were what I had in mind, so I was sort of winging it.  I pulled together all different types of pink ribbon and satin and went at it.  The end result was a perfect Pinkalicious skirt to go over her leotard.  I'll have more on that next week. 

Its beautiful here in Middle Tennessee with the grass growing, the dogwoods in bloom, and our baby calves running and chasing each other down the hills.  I hope you are having a good week.

The Story Of A Garden

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I think that most of my readers know that almost exactly two years ago my husband and I moved from the Southwest desert where practically nothing but tumbleweed grows to the lush, green grass of the Southeast.   (You can read about our move here.)   Quite a number of years prior to moving, we purchased our farm and waited with bated breath for the day we would make the move. 

Because we were moving in the Spring, all I could think about was, for the first time in my adult life, being able to have a garden without watering day and night to get a few cucumbers and tomatoes.  So...  I sweetly asked begged, pleaded, bribed my son and son-in-law to please put my garden fence up for me before we moved.  They agreed and when asked where I wanted it I said, "The hilltop, of course.  I want to be able to look at the view and get that great cool hilltop breeze while I'm gardening".  They spent hours putting in the posts, the wire, the gates and a few times they mentioned to me on the phone, "It sure is rocky on the hilltop".   How could it possibly be rocky - the grass on that hill is just about the most lush stuff you've ever seen. 

We moved, we bought a tiller, we started tilling.  And there were rocks EVERYWHERE.  Big rocks, huge rocks, and some tiny rocks that grew overnight into boulders.  We tilled, carried buckets and buckets of rocks to the tractor loader where we filled it up and hauled them off.  Over and over and over.  How could that fertile hilltop soil be so rocky?  Finally Eldon said, "You've just got to plant the garden and hope for the best".  So, I did. 

Every morning, Jillian (my little three year old grand-daughter) and I drove up to the hilltop where we bonded working in the garden. 

And the garden grew and grew.

I had bushels of squash and cucumbers every single day.  Who knew you could get so many vegetables from a garden that didn't even need to be watered?

The end of the season came and Spring rolled around again and the rocks had multiplied times ten.  Eldon said, "We have to move the garden.  There is a perfect spot at the bottom of the hill by the pond."   So we pulled the wire off, dug up fence posts, and started over the next Spring at the bottom of the hill.

I thought the soil was fertile and the garden did great on the hilltop, but the bottom land was like nothing I'd ever experienced before.  I went a little overboard with tomato plants... and they grew and produced like crazy.  My okra plants grew to the size of small trees.  Before I knew it I was almost sick with dread at the massive amounts of produce.  And living in a travel trailer isn't very conducive to canning! 

I took some zinnias and bags of produce to the little cafe down the country road and they happily took them off my hands.  I gave produce to everybody I could think of.  I said the words I never thought I would hear myself say, "I am really sick of this garden."  Well, guess what?
Its spring here in the South and we tilled the garden this weekend and I'm excited to plant again!  I say that I'm not going to plant as much this year, that I'm not going to overdo it again.  But, I know it will happen again and I'm excited!  (I'm even very tentatively holding my breath that by harvest time I'll have a nice, new kitchen to can in!)  My daughter and I bought heirloom seeds and I have darling little tomato plants that seem to be growing nicely in the window of the house.  The owner of the little local cafe has expressed a desire to have me provide her with produce and flowers this year.  What a great reason to plant all those beautiful packets of seeds right? 
I am thankful for Spring, thankful for the desire to dig in the dirt and plant again.  
And now...  meet McKinley - the newest addition to our farm.  Our beautiful new Angus Bull!
I hope you have a wonderful week and that wherever you live Spring has arrived for you too!