A little food Inspiration

I’ve gotten a little food inspiration recently on Pinterest and have decided to share a few with you.

One thing that I make now – several times a week – is No Knead Bread. Most of you know that I although I love to cook, I’m not that great of a baker. Doughs that I have to knead or roll out into pie crusts are not my cup of tea. And, my lack of having the knack for it shows in my final results, ergo, I’ve quit trying. So, when I saw a Pin of a pretty loaf of bread with a caption underneath that read, “No Knead Bread” I figured it was worth taking a look.  The instructions seemed easy enough – as a matter of fact – the author demonstrated with photos of her four-year old making a loaf, just how incredibly easy it is. How hard could this be, I wondered?

After a trip to the grocery store to buy yeast (I had a package in my cupboard that was at least 50 gazillion years old, so thought better of using it) I tried my hand at it. My first loaf, although very tasty, didn’t rise as much as the one in the photo I had seen, and I guessed it was because I used rapid-rise yeast and not instant as the recipe had called for. No store in my little town had the instant in stock, and since I don’t know that much about baking with yeasts, I guessed there wasn’t such a thing, anyway. Turns out, there is a product called instant yeast, and the trick for using rapid-rise instead is to use more in your recipe. I doubled the amount in the next loaf, and voila, it turned out perfect!

Another recipe I tried was for crack-tastic crackers.  Saltine crackers, canola oil, red pepper flakes and a packet of dry ranch dressing. Simple! I use Keebler Town House crackers since I don’t normally keep saltines in the house. These are yum to eat as snack, but I also envision making them to use for canapes for guests, too.

Another wonderfully good find is the chicken and dumplings recipe, I found recently. I already have several recipes for this dish in  my recipe book. One calls for using one of those tubular cans of biscuits for the dumplings and another calls for making a quick dough out of Bisquick and dropping by spoonfuls on top near the end of the cooking process. My recipes are okay, but not great. My new recipe for chicken and dumplings  is FANTASTIC!  This recipe calls for making dumpling noodles, requiring rolling out dough and cutting into strips. Easy! I thought I took a picture of this completed dish, but cannot find one. Trust me when I tell you mine looked just like the picture here.

And, this broccoli dish brags that it is the best broccoli ever. I agree! I can’t find my photo of this dish, so I borrowed this one from the author.

I’ve also been inspired to made pumpkin cupcakes, Thai ribs, roasted green beans, and stuffed pasta shells.  I’ve “pinned” lots of other recipes to try, too – for soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, side dishes, desserts.

It’s so much fun to try new dishes!


Keep moving forward

I guess I have to say that I do have a New Year’s Resolution for 2012 after all.

Keep Moving Forward.

Everyday. No matter how large or small the steps.

That’s it.

I think it came to me because of my current employment situation. If you don’t know, the company I worked for closed on June 30, 2011.  So, I am unemployed. In the past six months, I’ve had two potential positions that, in the end, didn’t work out for me. Funny thing is, I’m pretty cool with that. At this stage of my life, I really don’t want to find another job working for someone else. I’d much rather spend my time and effort working for myself. So, for the first few months of unemployment bliss, I tried to come up with an action plan that would lead to self-employment, while looking for potential outside employment. I stumbled, floundered, pretended to be working on a plan, vegetated, worked on a few house projects, played on the computer, read, planted a fall vegetable garden and found myself not moving forward in any productive way.

It was getting to me. I knew I should be more productive, but just couldn’t find my way. So, after a lethargic few months the heavens of inspiration finally parted and I find myself with so very much to do!

One, is my gourd art. (I grew several hundred gourds on our back forty a few years ago and have kept them for some future projects.) The next step is to add a page to Cindy’s Country Corner and offer them for sale! I need to set up a ‘shopping cart’ and my paypal account on my website to make it easy for gourd lovers to buy them. That will happen in the next couple of days. In the meantime, if you are interested in having a gourd of your very own (they will go fast and make great gifts, btw), comment on this post and I’ll reserve the one you want! Prices range from $10 to $25, plus shipping.

Here are some photos.

These are the solids. Cleaned, primed, two coats of paint and two coats of varnish, they sell for $10 each.
(L to R) hand painted folk art ($25), decoupage sunflowers ($20), striped ($20 sold), leaf imprint ($15).
Ladybugs ($20)
Flower Power ($25)


Obviously, I can’t make a living at this. I’m no artist extraordinaire. But, I really like flexing my creative muscles! What do you think?