Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recipes, Phones and Wind...Oh My!

Hold tight and both recipes for Baked French Toast and the Artisan Bread are at the bottom...

My cell service was up for an update and despite absolutely loving my G'Zone Rock - the indestructible cell phone that spent time in a ditch, water tank and falling continually to a variety of ground surfaces - I decided to try something new. I figure if the new phone can't handle my life then I'll just turn the old one back on even though it's missing pieces from it's body. Trying a new phone was free afterall!

So after much debate I decided on the Samsung Reality. It's a touchscreen with a slide up querty keyboard. I've been extremely sceptical (as I usually am with new technology), but I've had it a few days now and so far, so good! I had some initial concerns with it's usage...and then I read through some tutorial material and made life easier for myself. I suggest reading through user manuals if you've never had a touch screen before. I have scratched it already (surprised?) but have a screen cover on it and went ahead and bought a skin to help protect it. I read a billion reviews as well and there weren't any negatives other than battery life - but mine just took 4 days to die after it's initial charge so I certainly don't have a problem with that!

So if I had to give it an initial review:

Fun, not any more expensive despite having to change my plan a little and having a Data package, good sound, has handled a little rough treatment (and feels sturdy), and a perfect size for a gal's pocket...Not sure I would recommend it for a guy as it is small. The keyboard keys stick up a little so that's cool also.

The wind won't stop blowing here. It's making me crazy. My landlady is a lawn freak also and is getting pissed we can't keep the lawn as green as she'd like, but I hate to tell her I'm trying to run sprinklers all night, but between the constant wind all day and night, and the hot sun all day it just dries it right out. That and we can only run one sprinkler at a time or we totally lose water pressure. The good thing is it's enough to keep the lawn alive, the bad thing is it doesn't look very healthy. Nate and came up with some solutions today. For starters we're going to fertilize the crap out of it. And we bought this so we can cover the whole lawn rather than just bits and pieces at a time (we have a really large lawn):

Meet the new addition - The Rain Train!!! Can't wait to see our electric bill from running the water so much.

Notice the broken swing in the background, and the dust and sand in the air. That's what the wind is doing to us here. It's like living through the dust bowl a few months at a time each spring. Though this year seems way worse than it's been in a long time.

Alrighty - as promised - Recipes!

Baked French Toast:

I got this recipe off The Pioneer Woman (link on left). I love the fact that you can change a lot up - such as substituting a sweet bread, adding fruit, and adding Cinnamon to the liquid mixture. Skim milk works great and cutting the butter also works if you are more health conscience. It was sweet enough that butter and syrup really didn't need to be added. What I TRULY loved was that it tasted awesome as leftovers also! If you have fresh eggs I strongly suggest you use them! It really raised it up and gave it a light texture. Store bought eggs gave it a more dense texture (I had to try and brag about my fresh eggs - I think everyone should have a backyard chicken or two, or three).

1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
8 whole Eggs
2 cups Whole Milk
½ cups Whipping (heavy) Cream
¾ cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
½ cups All-purpose Flour
½ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
Fresh Fruit (optional)

Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.

Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and but into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.

When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. (If you’re using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture.) Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.

Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

Simple Artisan Crust Bread

You're going to die when you see how easy this is. Adding honey, spices, cheese, for taste also works well. Those of you at high elevations: I live at 8,000 feet and didn't have to change a thing. It wasn't a very dense bread, but if you want it a little lighter add a little flour and take away some yeast. Yeast rises much faster at a high elevation. You can also punch it down once and let it rise again or add a little salt. But like I said I didn't have any problems. That could also be due to baking it with water on a stone.

1 1/2 Tablespoons Yeast

1 1/2 Tablespoons Salt

6 1/2 Cups Flour

3 Cups Lukewarm Water (~100 degrees)

Mix Yeast, Salt and Water. Stir in flour. Knead lightly (should be combined but not too much, not crumbly either) and then Cover (but let breathe) and let rise for 2 hours.

Cut into grapefruit sized pieces with a serrated knife and shape into a round loaf (can sprinkle with cornmeal) and Let rest for 40 min.

Heat stone for 20 minutes in oven at 450 degrees

Dust with flour and slash - put 1 cup water in broiling pan

Bake ~30 min. or until lightly brown on top.



BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Thanks for the recipes!!

I hear ya on the wind. Arggghhhh!

It has blown miserably here for the last three days. According to the weather, it wasn't even supposed to blow today...but I woke up to howling wind.

I cannot even hay my horses when it is like this. Poor things have to wait until it goes down, at least enough that they have a chance to get some of their hay in their stomach.

Andrea said...

Girl I am on a diet, why do you post such yummy recipes while I am trying to loose some weight!! It's been crazy dry and windy here too!!! We are on a hay shortage!! Nobody is cutting and if they are...they are keeping it all for themselves...ugh...I have been buying up alfalfa cubes from the feed store like it's nobodies business!! My fillies are in a dirt log....used to be full of grass!! Anyway, thanks for the recipe, and I love your lawn tractor!! cute!