Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Couple Recipes

No sketches today. Just a couple bread machine recipes as requested. My usual bread is a standard recipe with either bread flour or a mix of bread flour with whole wheat flour. I usually throw in some wheat germ and ground flax seed. I think every bread machine comes with a recipe list that includes a basic bread recipe that works fine. Of all four machines I've used, the basic recipe always performs well.

Here are two recipes I make when I want something that's not the standard loaf:

CREAM OF WHEAT BREAD (I don't make it all the time, it's a treat. Makes the best toast with butter and honey! I make this when our grown daughter visits, too. It's her favorite. I cut off the rounded top in a really thick slice that JUST fits in the toaster for her. She's putty in my hands.)

milk   1C
butter   1/4 C
eggs   1
sugar   2 Tbs
salt   2 tsp
bread flour   2 C
cream of wheat (uncooked)   1 C
yeast   1 1/2 tsp

This is a medium size (3 cups flour size). If you want small or large, let me know.

BRANDIED PUMPKIN BREAD (From Gold Medal Bread Machine Recipes book. Just made this last night and I'm in LOVE. Soft. Semi-sweet. Moist. Plus I'm a pumpkin nut.) Use the Sweet or Basic/White cycle.

canned pumpkin    3/4 C  (plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie can)
water   1/2 C
brandy extract or vanilla   1/2 tsp
butter   2 Tbs
bread flour    3 C
sugar   1/4 C
salt   1 1/4 tsp
pumpkin pie spice   1/2 tsp
yeast   2 1/4 tsp

Spicy Glaze (drizzle over loaf after it cools)
powdered sugar   1/2 C
milk   1 to 2 Tbs milk
pumpkin pie spice   dash

This is a medium size (3 cups flour size). My new machine can handle a larger loaf, so the one I used is large (4 cups flour size):

canned pumpkin    1 C  (plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie can)
water   1/2 C plus 2 Tbs
brandy extract or vanilla   3/4 tsp
butter   2 Tbs
bread flour    4 C
sugar   1/3 C
salt   1 1/4 tsp
pumpkin pie spice   1/2 tsp
yeast   1 3/4 tsp (yes, it's less than the medium size)

I come from a German bloodline and Wilma's bloodline is even more-so. Breads are a big thing. The carb-free movement is of no interest to me. Those are almost fighting words. Hope you try these recipes and share my joy.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Junk Is Junk

I haven't had much luck buying a bread machine that is built well. I just purchased my fourth one. They wear out if you use them on a regular basis like I do. Two electric knives have worn out, too. They're junk!

My fourth machine is a Panasonic and I can tell the design is better than my prior models. The on-line reviews are great, too. We'll see how it holds up.

I'll be going back to a plain bread knife, too. Nobody makes a more durable electric knife that I can find on-line. I give up. It can't be that hard to make a better knife! The trigger switches have all worn out. I suspect they are not designed for the high vibrations of the reciprocating blades.

I think the problem is that I'm not the statistically average consumer that the designers consider. I use these products on a regular basis. They design for the occasional user, and probably prefer the user that simply stores the gear away and never uses them. It's a sad state of affairs.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

One Season Down

It's that time of year. Need to winterize the travel trailer. We had our last trailer for sixteen years and a windstorm totaled it out. This Spring we bought a replacement, and we just finished our first summer of camping with it. Love that trailer! This is our first time for a slide-out and we're enjoying it.

For the old trailer we could blow the lines out with compressed air and all was fine. This trailer has a more complicated plumbing system, and no drawings to show how anything works and the Owners Manual has a minimal explanation of how to winterize.

So, I had to draw the plumbing out to see how it worked. Then I cruised some YouTube how-to videos. Once I understood how these things are done, the cryptic directions in the Owner's Manual made sense. The rest is history. The winterizing process worked fine. Then, all that was left to do was sketch it.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lake Superior Vacation

We took a short vacation to see some big lake country. We already have seen Duluth and the North Shore. We like Ely, MN and the Boundary Waters. This time I chose Isle Royale National Park, which is an island on Lake Superior. I sketched some but not as much as I would have liked. The trip was almost two months ago so you can tell it took me a while to finish the sketchbook entries.

Before we could drive up there we stopped my Minneapolis and St. Paul. We like this area, too. I learned my bookbinding at Minnesota Book Arts with Roz a few years ago so I like to stop by the store when we are in the area. Then we (I) had to check out Wet Paint art supply store after hearing so much about it. The next day way drive through Duluth on our way to Copper Harbor.

Then a ferry ride to Isle Royale. It's postponed by one day due to bad weather. That cuts our two night stay on the island down to one night. I manage to get motion sickness on the ferry because the waves are still 10'-15'. I survive. On Isle Royale we get in some hiking and eat at the restaurant. We could spend a lot more time here! I get some nice quiet sketch time in the morning as we wait for our ferry ride back to Copper Harbor. Quiet little harbor. I sit on a quiet dock and can sketch the marina and ferry before we board. The ride home was smooth and sunny. I was all over the decks watching the view.

Next stop is Bayfield for a couple nights. We had time to check out Madeline Island and eat out a lot. Found some great coffee. Had a glass bottom boat tour of some ship wrecks around the Apostle Islands. Did some sketching on the docks. I like all the boats. Again, could have spent a lot more time here. The sailing and boating culture is very strong here. I had one acquaintance assume I boated, and simply asked "motor boat or sail boat?". We're not in Kansas.

Then it's a drive back home. Time flies. Glad I brought my sketch gear, even if I didn't have much time to use it. The time I did grab sure felt nice.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Oct. Lawrence Sketch Crawl

This month's sketch crawl gave me an excuse to explore a Lawrence park we've never been to. Wells Overlook Park. Gail organized it. Attendance was small, with just Gail, John and I, but it was a beautiful day for it.
It's a small park with just an observation tower and a covered picnic shelter, but such a view! I couldn't sketch the 360 degree panoramic, but I could handle smaller parts. A sketch crawl in a city park lends itself to drawing maps, too.

I did the map last night, before the crawl. Recently bought the book "How to Draw Fantasy Art & RPG Maps, Step by Step Cartography". I have a thing for cartography and it's on my "To Learn" list. When I saw the book I HAD to buy it, and it's a good one. I used a few of the concepts. To do it right would take HOURS of work, so I did a sketchbook short cut version.

While I was sketching, I struck a conversation with the father of a family out to walk around the park. The family dog was a Great Pyrenees, and she was beautiful! Once the ice was broken she was a push-over and ate up all the petting I could give her. The dad said the park has a trail system, too, so I need to get back to check it out.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Found New Coffeehouse

Friday was a good day. First, I pulled the day as vacation. I had pulled our camper down to the lake and set up camp for the Labor Day holiday. Wilma will join me in the evening after her workday is over. On my own for the day I decide to check out a coffeehouse I heard about at a recent Lawrence sketch crawl. Wilma gets tired of my coffeehouses so I grab the chance to go stag when I can.

A web search tells me of a coffeeshop called  Decade. It intrigues me. One review bashed it because, even though the coffee is great, they don't have WiFi and predicted they won't be able to compete with the other shops. Well, the owner said he doesn't allow WiFi because you come to a local coffeeshop to talk with your neighbors, not stick you head in your digital device and surf the web. I like him.

I tried to find the store a few weeks ago and failed. The east part of Lawrence is a quiet and very old part of town. Parts are run down. The businesses are mostly commercial, not retail. One review explained the area is undergoing gentrification. I found one old warehouse that has been restored beautifully for apartments. More web searching and I find the address of Decade. They don't have a large gaudy sign, probably by choice. I go in and fall in love. It's very clean yet eclectic. The furniture is all original, usually using nice wood with artistic vision.

So I order my latte and have a seat to sketch for a while. People in and out with foot traffic increasing as noon approaches. College students. Families. Singles. It's a real mix, like any neighborhood would be. I finish up to get back to camp. I'll be back.

I had my Pilot Falcon fountain pen fired up with Noodler's Lexington Gray. Love that pen. Then follow up with watercolor pencils and waterbrush.
I want a fast sketch so I don't use pencil for layout.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fall River Lake Camping

Last year a wind storm totaled out our travel trailer. We replaced it early this year and have been camping out more this year that in recent years. It's been nice.

We had our fourth outing this past weekend.  Packed our tandem kayak, too. We spent Friday scouting out the Fall River as it comes into the Lake. Our Kansas kayaking book tells us of the various put-in points. We scouted out where to go when Amy and Cody come out to visit us on Saturday with their kayaks.

Had a nice chat with a Wildlife & Parks field guy. He verified the book's information. The names for the access points are all correct. Water conditions are low right now so the flow is down. Several riffles would be present, but that was OK. It's an excuse to walk through cool clear flowing shallow water on a hot day. Felt like a little kid again!