Tuesday, December 27, 2005

In Winter, I Cook

When the last of the garden has died and the snow begins to cover the ground, I turn to the kitchen and bake like I'm sending every last Girl Scout to Europe.

One winter I found a great deal on graham cracker crusts at Sam's Club and bought like 100 of them, give or take. I was making a few cheesecakes a week for the rest of the winter. What I couldn't eat I brought to work and pawned off on my coworkers. They all thought that I was being especially nice to them, like I really liked them or something. No, actually, I was compulsed to bake them even if I didn't want to eat them, and I just couldn't see them go to waste.

I get that baking obsession every year the temperature drops. I think it is an instinctual thing. I actually think my body is preparing for hibernation.

This year is no different. I have been baking dozens of cookies. I'm making cookies even though there are still plenty left over from the last baking session. I have two dozen cookies sitting on the table right now, and I still made mango cobbler tonight for a snack. And now that I have the clay pot cooker, well, I have two chickens in the fridge right now cooked and needing to be eaten.

I think I have a problem. What I need is to go find me a nice bunch of homeless people that I can drop off food for.

So, as you have guessed, my blog will be morphing into a cooking blog for the winter.

Now I will leave you with my latest baking compulsion - dog biscuits.

This is my own recipe. I usually look at a bunch of different recipes trying to decide which one I will make, and in the end I just wing it.

1/4 cup bulghur wheat
2 1/2 cups flour (or more as needed)
2 eggs
1/3-2/3 cup rolled oats
1/8 cup flax seed
1/8 cup vegetable protein
1/8 cup wheat germ
1/2-3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Mix all this together. It should resemble bread dough. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Roll out onto floured area and cut the dough into desired sizes and shapes. I had bone shaped cookie cutters, but your dog really isn't going to care what they look like. You could just cut them into strips.

They should be baked in a 325 degree oven for about 40-60 minutes. They will be dry and hard when done. Cool and store in a non-airtight container.

My dogs highly approved!! Four paws!


Blogger jac said...

Wow ! Dog crackers !!
One more feather on your cap, Syl !

12/29/2005 3:03 AM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

What's vegetable protein? By the way, I agree with you. When the temps drop, I head into the kitchen. Wish I had a fireplace too. My idea of heaven in the winter is a fire in the fireplace and good smells coming from the kitchen.

12/29/2005 4:15 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

You go girl!

12/29/2005 12:13 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Sometimes I bake just to warm up. I know it isn't energy effecient, but the toasty kitchen feels so good when the rest of the house is at 62 degrees!

12/29/2005 6:29 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Jac, I like to be a well-rounded person. And the way that my dogs are chowing down the biscuits, looks like they would like to well rounded too!

OldRoses, vegetable protein is a dry good. They have some that is a mix of different vegetable proteins and then they have some that are pure soy proteins. If it is a big grocery store they would have it in the baking or specialty/organic section. Otherwise you can get it at any healthfood/organic store. You don't need to add this if you don't want to buy it. I did so that they would give the dogs a little extra protein and I had it laying around anyway.

Sandy, I feel like a squirrel.

Kasmira, we keep our house at about 58-62 depending on how wussy we are any given day and the oven does make the otherwise frigid, uninsulated kitchen nice and toasty. But even when we actually heated the house (70-75 degrees)I baked like a mad woman.

12/30/2005 10:29 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

58-62 degrees! Why? Is is super expensive to heat homes there? We keep ours at 70-72 and most nights light the fireplace!

12/31/2005 12:04 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

P.S. Happy New Year Sylvana! Cheers!

12/31/2005 6:14 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Sandy, heat is pretty expensive. If we had our heat up to 70-72 it could be $150-$200 per month to heat our modest home.

Happy New Year to you too!

12/31/2005 7:42 PM  
Blogger jac said...

If it is wishes that makes you to dream
If it is wishes that makes you to hope
Happy new year with dreams all around
Happy new year with hopes all around
Here is my wish to dream and to hope.

1/01/2006 2:17 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Sylvana what do you use to heat your home? We have a natural gas forced air furnace and we have a fireplace that we use on chilly nights.

1/01/2006 4:33 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Jac, thanks for the new year well wishes. I hope that your year is a good one too!!

Sandy, we have a natural gas forced air furnace. This year though we bought a portable oil radiator to heat our living room and have all but shut off the heat to the rest of the house to save money. Our temps here are often below 0 degrees F. from the beginning of November to the end of March and we have an older leaky home. And when they aren't below 0 they are usually not more than 20 degrees. We did get housewrap put on when our siding was done a few years back, along with new caulk on all the windows, and that has helped some. But in the end it is still freakin' COLD!!

1/01/2006 7:55 PM  

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