Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Cooking Kind Of Day

By morning, most of the rain had passed, but it was very windy and cold here in our parts.  I braved the wet sloshy grove and went out with a bucket to gather some fresh oranges for breakfast. 

I made fresh squeezed juice with the oranges, along with a fruit salad, and Toad In The Hole.  I set the table with some of my favorite dishes.  I have collected Homer Laughlin for many years.  I happened upon these dishes at an antique store a very long time ago.  I think I got 16 dinner plates, and a variety of other odd pieces to this set. 
I just love the soft pink and yellow rosebuds in this pattern.
The fruit is also in a Homer Laughlin bowl.  But a different pattern.  This bowl was given to me by my much loved neighbors, Carl and Sue.  Sue's mother had lots of antique china, and lovely ceramic birds and things.  Sue gives me something every year from her Mother's collection. 
I have a few other pieces that match this pattern as well.  And it mixes easily with the rosebud plates.  
I think it is nice to set the table, even if only for two.  In fact, I set it for one, if it is just me eating.  I am not a fan of paper plates.  I almost always prefer dishes.  It makes meals so much nicer to sit down to,  and

it really doesn't take a lot of effort to do. 
I feel lucky that I grew up in a home where we always sat together as a family to eat our evening meal.  My Mom always set the table.   Not fancy, but with placemats and plates, and napkins, with silverware placed in the proper order.  I am so grateful to have learned these things from my mother.  Family meals should be a place to gather where our daily news is shared along with our meal.   I remember when my daughters were old enough to begin having meals in friends homes and they would report back to me that so and so didn't eat at the table, or so and so's Mom doesn't put dishes on placemats.   The niceties of life.  They are important. 
We had a rather late breakfast, so there was no lunch for us today.  After cleaning the breakfast dishes, I started a couple of loaves of bread in the machines.  I have had a Welbilt machine for over 20 years.  It was a gift from my parents.  I use it often, and it has never failed me.  A couple of years ago, we got pretty big into making bread, and I wanted to have another machine to make multiple loaves at a time.  My Mom generously offered me hers since she rarely used it.  It is a Williams Sonoma brand, and has a lot more bells and whistles.  Today I got both machines going.  One with our favorite standby, English Muffin Bread, and the other with a new one, Lemon Poppy Seed Bread.
The only ingredient that I added, which was not in the recipe, was culinary lavender.   My friend and neighbor brought this to me from Washington where much lavender is grown.  I have not ever used it in cooking before, and I wanted to try it.  I thought this recipe would be perfect for it. 
It has a very subtle flavor, and it did go nicely with the lemon bread.  I pinched about a 1/2 a teaspoon into my palm and crushed it up before adding it to the bread. 
The bread is delicious, with a slightly sweet taste, and a little flavor from the lemon, and a slight hint of the lavender.   A great combination!  The English Muffin Bread is always a winner! 
Being a cook who loves gadgets can sometimes be a problem in a house where the kitchen is, oh shall we say.....old.  There isn't a thing fancy or special about my kitchen.  Basic, basic, basic...but it gets the job done.  Storage is a problem too.  Especially for those larger appliances like bread machines.  I don't have a cupboard to store them in, since my cupboard space is all used up with other things.  I keep my two bread machines and crock pot in m laundry room, stored underneath a cart that holds my microwave and Keurig coffee machine.  I use a baby crib sheet to cover the larger machine.  Simply knotting it up on either side, using the elasticized corners to grip the machine, keeping it perfectly covered and dust free.
For the other machine, which is slightly smaller, I used a king sized pillowcase.  I just slip it on over the top, and roll up the bottom portion.  These can be tossed into the wash as often as needed, and they work great at keeping them clean.  I also cover my crock pot with a king sized pillowcase. 
I wish I had a nice big pantry that these could be put inside, but I don't, so this works great in keeping them clean. 
This afternoon, I put a pot of potato cheese soup on in the Dutch Oven. 
I just love the beautiful shade of green of this Dutch Oven, made my Lodge.  We purchased it up in Big Bear at The Copper Q culinary store. 
Today was a perfect day for soup.  Erika and Noah came over to eat with us too. 
It was a nice weekend.  A cozy weekend.  A stay inside with your socks on kind of weekend.   We enjoyed it.   Geeps finished up his big file transfer project.  I can't say that I got a lot done, but it was relaxing.  And sometimes that is just what we need! 
Hope you had a great weekend too.
XO  Kris


Jann Olson said...

Hi Kris, I love those dishes! The pink and yellow together are so sweet! The fruit salad looks so fresh and yummy. I love fruit also. I too do not like eating on paper plates. Only once in a while. Kids all came over today and we had a wonderful St. Patty's dinner. I have made cookies with lavender in them, but never bread. Looks yum!

~Niki~ said...

I want to be adopted Kris! LOL
Glad it was relaxing for you.
I did a lot of crochet, which I'm not supposed to be doing with my carpal tunnel. Didn't seem to bother it too much. I'm working on a big dc afghan. That's the only stitch. Simple. :)

Holly said...

Seems I spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen yesterday while it poured outside too. Made a big pot of chicken stock from leftover carcasses. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes for Brian. A big spinach salad with hot bacon dressing, yes, Pioneer Woman inspired me once again. Love the idea of the cribs sheet and pillow cases. I have to keep some of my appliances in the garage on shelves so it gets pretty dusty. Going to go to Goodwill today to look for some big ol pillow cases.

Kerri said...

As you don't need a big fancy shmancy kitchen to cook with love in. I love that you always set the table...on most evenings, I do too. Dinner is the one meal a day that we can come together and enjoy. You have reminded me that I need to get my great grandma's china out and use it more.
I love your green pot!

Anonymous said...

O, would you adopt me please? I could get used to having breakfast your way and all that homemade bread. wink*wink

I adore china dishes, just about any dishes, and love to putter in antique shops looking for special pieces. At one time I had way too many sets and joked that if I bought all that I wanted, I'd have a set for each day of the week. And have to join dishaholics.

I can't imagine going out to pick oranges. We just don't get to do that here in the midwest.

Heather - The Good Life said...

Your soup looks delicious and your bread sounds so good. Never tried cooking with lavender. We eat most of our meals at the table as a family. We do have the occasional casual meals on Friday and Sat. evenings that we watch a movie and eat watching a show. Your weekend sounds perfectly relaxing. Hope you have a great week. Heather

❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀ said...

Love the toad in a hole it brings back memories. The color of the Dutch oven is a great color, I think I have the same one in the oval shape. I see you are still getting rain in your neck of the woods and cooler temps. We are having above normal temps, 80 today, but normally would still be snowing:)

DaCraftyLady Debb said...

Love the dishes and I so agree that about setting the table. A few years ago I realized that DH and I were sitting on the chairs in front of the TV eating out of convienience and decided to change that and now eat at the table whether it is just me or the two of us. And always use plates. Your fruit salad made my mouth water. Windy here too, better today

corners of my life said...

Sounds like a perfect day to me!

Mereknits said...

You are making me so hungry. I think you should have a weekend where all your blogging friends come to visit and we can sample all your yummy food. To answer your question my son is a senior in high school, going to Ohio State to swim next year. How exciting to have been a swimmer/diver. Greg Louganis was magic off the diving board. I wish I could have seen him dive in person.
hugs to you,

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, I love seeing your breakfast table laid out in finery. Some days hubby and I sit down together for breakfast but it depends on whether I'm off to yoga or not. My dad worked in a market so often wasn't home at night to eat dinner with, so I don't have the fond recollections you do.
We've got your storm coming our way; it is sunny out but cold and windy-so I'll stay inside this afternoon and read. Have a great afternoon and evening my friend.
Hug, Noreen

NanaNor's said...

Kris, BTW, we call the toast & egg dish a port-a-potty. Too funny but I think I like your name better.

Debbie said...

The dishes are really pretty. I love your oranges too. Sitting down to dinner (or any meal for that matter) has become such a lost art in this BUSY world we are all in these days. When I grew up it was just the way it was....but when my kids got older and sports, and jobs, and busyness got in the way it was hard to do. So we had "family dinner night" at our house on Sunday nights. No one ever had practice or games and rarely worked so it usually always happened. Now that's not to say it was the only night we all sat down together, but it was the most consistent. You know it's funny now. Every once in a while one of my boys will say, "Mom, we need a family dinner night." haha....Just goes to show, the kids love it as much as we do. I love that you set the table for you and your hubby. While we always use dishes (I hate paper plates too) we don't always sit at the table. We get in our comfy chairs across from each other though and chat away. Your bread looks delish. Sorry I wrote a book. Hope you had a good day!

Lauri said...

I came home from work today and started a pot of potato cheese soup too. The weather was chilly and soup seemed just perfect.

I completely agree with you about setting the table and eating together. Unfortunately, it is becoming a thing of the past. Not at my house though!!!

Cheryl said...

OK, adopt me too!!!!! Love your dishes! Such a wonderfully yummy post.

Nicolle said...

We started getting that rain that you had, yesterday. It is flooded around here. I love the rain, but it sure has caused a mess in Texas. YUM on that lavender in the bread. I once had lavender chocolate ice cream, and I LOVED it. Your bowl of fruit looks heavenly. I wish we were neighbors.


Jen said...

Such sweet dishes...and that little bunny on the table. I love a beautiful table setting too!

The Garden Bell - Kate said...

Lovely to finally be settled in my bungalow and be able to try and get caught up in blogland. Hoping Pammy gets out of DFW tomorrow, with all the storms they had last night and today. Hey, I saw your new pattern, get pick. I can't wait to hear about what you think of the yarn. Colors great aren't they, but I did find it a wee bit thin. Have to run, the morning pool is calling.....


Pam said...

I love sitting together with my family for dinner too.

The shot of the oranges is excellent! I am also loving the soup - it looks comforting and delicious.

Maryrose said...

Sounds like a fun day and now I'm hungry with all that great looking food. Don't oranges photograph so pretty...yours look yummy.
What kind of soup was that...I will go back, I probably missed it.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I have a small and old kitchen, too, Kris. We remodeled it when our children were small -- in the early 80's, and except for appliances which broke and had to be replaced, everything is the same. I still love it, however. I have to store rarely used items in a basement closet, but that's ok -- less clutter that way.

I love your dishes and you breads sound wonderful! I grow lavendar in flowers pots in my yard just so I can harvest flowers to dry for use in cookies and sweet is so fragrant.

by Teresa said...

I love your dishes! I have a set of Johnson Brothers floral vintage dishes that I also love. I think you may have seen them on my blog. We also ate at a table and I was taught how to set a table - but ours had no tablecloth or fancy things. It's funny how we were all raised so different. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Grammy Staffy said...

I love your dishes. What a pretty pattern. You make all the food look so delicious. I need to go out to our orchard and pick oranges for orange juice for us. Yours looks so good.... and I would love some of that soup with warm bread!!!!

We got home safe and sound but I am worthless today. I don't know why I am so tired????

Have a good week. I hear more rain in coming this weekend. I look forward to it. It surely beats snow. Hugs, Lura

Katie said...

Those oranges remind me what that entire part of the city once smelled like in the spring/summer!! How wonderful to still have groves right there in your backyard! They look delicious, & so does your bread! Looks like you are enjoying some spring weather!!
It snowed here yesterday ;) I'm not complaining though!

Val said...

You dishes are beautiful......the last pic is making me hungry.

★ JASMINE ★ {BarbieBombshell} said...

hey miss i just found your blog and i love it! you've got some seriously delicious looking items on here! like that bread for starters....yummmy

newest follower <3 say hi back sometime?

hugs, xo!
* *

Jill said...

Looking for the recipe for the potato cheese soup? Looks so good!

I love your antique plates! I collect them and teacups/sets. The older the better I say! that's a beautiful pattern!

Love the green lodge dutch oven too, I've been wanting one of those for awhile! They have wonderful products!

Hope you have a great afternoon!


Linda said...

What a nice weekend! We have always used proper plates and cloth napkins...even when family all comes over...people say why do I bother...and then you hear someone else say how special the meal feels when it is on a dish! The soup and bread look wonderful...I can almost smell them!!

Jann Olson said...

Kris, I just started my first link party. I am such a dork, I accidently deleted the post right at link time. It's back up and I would love you to come link up.

Robyn said...

I absolutely love the dishes, style and pattern.. My mom was the same way when I was growing up. We always sat down to dinner as a family, table was always set just so..I do the same thing in my home now an it's just me and my husband.. We rarely if ever eat off paper plates..The breads look delicious!

my4lilgirls said...

Hi there I've visited your blog before, but I don't think I've ever left a comment, just had to now though. Its such a lovely family post, warm & inviting. Love all your beautiful dishes.....& I'm off to make some pretty placemats today. We always sit for meals also, but placemats were missing, def need to make me some of those, so pretty.
Karen x