Good morning! It is beautiful this morning with all of the white snow, blue skies, sunshine and the promise of forty degree temperatures this afternoon. The only thing more beautiful, would be anything to do with spring!
In the interest of that, this is a day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice, be happy and not waste it, I will be going outside later.
Going outside this time of year, not freezing and actually seeing the sun shine is a great gift. Between the flu epidemic and all of the winter slipperiness, except for an occasional rare trip to the store for groceries and doctor appointments, I have not left the house since Christmas. For a woman who loves being with people and outdoors, winters can become very long.
So, what do I do everyday?
Well, I set aside time to read from the Bible. I have read the whole Bible and have just started re-reading the New Testament. I keep on tackling reading books from my “unread” pile. I have read several historical slave diaries, women’s diaries and works written by former President Theodore Roosevelt. He is a great author. I have read biographies of the Rothschild and Medici. I just finished reading a book on western historical figure fallacies and am currently reading a book written in 1859 that was the actual handbook pioneers used to plan their prairie expeditions. “The Best-Selling Handbook for America’s Pioneers, The Prairie Traveler”, was written by Randolph B. Marcy, Captain, U.S. Army.
All I can say about the handbook is, wow! Who would have thought that for trip in a covered wagon, that would take months, all you need to pack is two pairs of woolen socks and a change of woolen underwear. And, I am now well versed in the care, control and feeding of mules. Information that would have been greatly helpful during my many years of working in politics.
In addition to reading, I work on my artwork. I have completed several paintings this winter. I have shown paintings in several art shows and even though, my paintings are like my children and I really hate the idea of them not being in my home, it is time to let them go. I need to start selling some artwork.
When I physically have to rest my much damaged spine to relieve pain, which means lying down. I watch YouTube videos.
Pecos Hank Channel. Hank has great storm chasing videos and plays in a band. Great storms and music. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAQpSHsgUcNt6uCOjpgD8kw
Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI53-aKqHjw
Madeira Canyon, Tucson, AZ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhF7qqs8Ovw
Glacier Park, MT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRhI3Z7xCOo
Abandoned Mine Exploration,
Exploring Abandoned Mines Channel. Frank is good-natured, happy, real piece of work. He is Canadian. This guy knows absolutely no fear, rarely seems well-washed, and has no common sense whatsoever. He had a dog for a while, but let’s just say that he didn’t believe in leashes and the dog got the shaft. In his last video he was exploring mines in Mexico with two young Mexican boys who spoke no English, and Frank, of course, speaks no Spanish. Oh, the boys brought along their three-legged dog. I can’t make this stuff up.
Hell On Earth Channel. These boys, well they just remind me of cousins. These lads hail from England and have some unique adventures.
Bros of Decay Channel. Leslie and his brother Jordy are…adorable, very polite and from Belgium. They explore really neat abandoned places.
Travel Troll Channel with Deep Digger Dan. Deep Digger Dan is traveling through every county in Great Britain. You get to see the out of the way places with a creative perspective.
Aquachigger Channel. Beau metal detects on land and under water for historical artifacts. Lots of Civil War artifacts. He doesn’t like poison ivy.
Nuggetnoggin Channel. Nuggetnoggin is a young man that knows Jesus and his historical artifacts. I love the bible verses he posts. He gold mines, metal detects, and magnet fishes. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm_Fbx0tAqAOB3cA4d1GnXw
Gigmaster Channel. The Gig is a former Navy Seal. He metal detects, skin dives and pans for gold. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG4NUVdXsueqs5Ftvn8p0NA
Chill Bill Channel. Chill Bill metal detects and mud-larks mostly in Europe. The coins he finds are very old…very old indeed!
Oh, I know that some of these things I watch on Youtube, I will never do or do again, but at least for a short time I can escape winter, the house and my cancer battle.
I play a lot with my dogs, because I love them and they love me.
The same applies to my husband.
And, I have spent a considerable amount of time experimenting with new recipes.
I have perfected how to make crisp fluffy hash browns from real potatoes. The secret is rinsing all the starch off of the grated potatoes with very cold water. This usually takes about four rinses. Drain after each rinse. When the water in the bowl remains clear, drain again. Then dry them thoroughly with a cheese cloth towel or paper towels. Fry in hot oil with two tablespoons of butter on medium high heat covered for 5 minutes, or until browned. Uncover, turn and fry other side until browned. Do not put the cover on again. Having them covered at first, steams the potatoes so that they cook through while remaining fluffy in the middle. Putting it back on will soften your crust. Nobody want that.
My greatest culinary discovery so far this winter is a baked cake donut. My husband loves donuts. I hate deep frying. So, I have been trying to find a baked recipe for cake donuts that would meet my husband’s high standards. It has taken me awhile, but this recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donut Muffins meets and beats all expectations.
I will warn you that they are easy to make, delicious, addicting and definitely a waistline expansion threat. However, they freeze perfectly and when reheated in the microwave taste like they are fresh out of the oven or from a bakery.
The recipe only yields about nine regularly-sized muffins. So, if you have a large family, tall husband or are taking them to share at the office, I would recommend making more than one batch.
Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donut Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Thoroughly, grease muffin tins with soft butter. Do not use paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl combine:
1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
With a mixing spoon, stir the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add:
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir until just combined. Do not over beat.
Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full and bake for 20 minutes. The muffins will be very slightly browned. Do not over bake. A toothpick inserted in middle of the muffin will come out clean when they are done.
Remove from oven. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.
In a small bowl. Melt five tablespoons of butter. Lightly coat muffins with the butter. I just roll them in the bowl.
Place butter coated muffins, three at a time, into a gallon-sized zip lock plastic bag that contains: 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Seal bag and shake until muffins are coated with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Remove and repeat with remaining muffins. Serve immediately.