So this is how the year started.  The first substantial snowfall of the year, and actually, of the season.  We’ve had very little snow.

Fortunately, David was home to run the snowblower.  I can do it (and I have my pictured diagram to help me remember how to start it) but it’s always nicer for me when he’s home to do it.  Shortly after he finished, he sent me to town to get some new tires for my truck.  I had slick ol’ summer tires and a couple days earlier had spun out on a snowy road and nearly ended up in a ditch.  We also loaded some tree trunk rounds into the bed of the truck and that combined with new tires makes spinning out much less likely.

The UPS guy came three times this week (yay!).  First one was on the 3rd, to deliver our big Christmas present from my mom.  The dogs heard the van turn the corner down the street and started barking.  I went out and danced in the driveway when I saw him, because I knew it had to be this!  I decided it would be fun to be the UPS driver if my appearance made everyone that happy.  I also got a delivery of hatching eggs (BBS Orpingtons!).  I wasn’t expecting either delivery, so it was a very happy mail day.

Feather detail of one of the Brahmas.  The lady I got her from said she was a strangely marked Buff.  Turns out, she’s a Partridge Brahma.  The laced feathers are the telling detail.  So I have 6 Buffs, a Dark and a Partridge (in a pear tree) Brahma.  They are amazingly sweet little chickens, quite fearless.  They like to run up to my feet when I go in their pen to feed them.  I also offer them food in my hand, so they keep thinking I’m great.  🙂  I need to learn about Brahmas now.

January 4th, I finally finished my orange fish hat.  I started it way back on November 1, to be my orange hat for Firearm Deer Season.  It got worked on off and on and finally I sat down to finish the detailing of fins and big dead eyes, as well as weaving all the ends in.  It makes me laugh when I wear it.

It’s hard to take a picture of a hat on…I have many outtakes.  But this one works.

First thing I made with my shiny new mixer is some bagels.  I simply had to try out the dough hook and see if it could handle it.  I foresee much more bread and bagels in my future.  The old Sunbeam stand mixer couldn’t do bagels.  It could do wet doughs, but not stiff ones.  The Kitchen Aid whipped them right up and barely moved.  It certainly didn’t get the motor hot.

My bagel recipe was requested, so here it is.  I adapted it from one I found online somewhere.

Cinnamon Raisin (or Jalapeno Cheddar) Bagels

Ingredients:

1 c raisins (soaked in hot water for 5 minutes – I use this water as the yeast proofing water)
1 1/2 cups warm water (the water from the raisins – just make sure it isn’t so hot it will kill the yeast…normally soaking the raisins cools it right down)
1/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 T honey
4 tsp yeast
1 T oil
4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 c wheat flour
1 T kosher salt
3-4 c bread flour

Mix water, brown sugar, honey, yeast and oil.  Proof til bubbly.

Add wheat flour, cinnamon, salt and raisins.

Stir in 2 1/2 cups bread flour.  Add additional bread flour 1/4 c at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Knead 10 minutes or so, until dough is soft and elastic.  (when using a mixer, I found the raisins all congregated at the bottom of the bowl, so when I took it out, I kneaded it a few times by hand to mix the raisins in better).

Let dough rest 10 minutes.

Make a big huge bagel of the dough by pushing a hole in the middle and gently stretching the dough out.  Divide this into 12 pieces and turn each of the pieces into a bagel the same way – pushing a hole in the middle and stretching it out.  Set these aside, uncovered, to rise 20 minutes.

While they are rising, bring a big pot of water to boil.  Put a couple tablespoons of brown sugar in the water.

Put the bagels in the boiling water and boil 45 seconds each side.  3 or 4 should fit in the pot at once.  Lift them out with a slotted spoon and put on a towel to dry a bit.  I found that a waffle weave dish towel works much better than paper towels.

Put the bagels on parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 425° for 15 minutes.  The recipe suggested turning them over at this point and cooking for another 5 minutes, but mine are always done and don’t need the extra time.  They should be a nice golden brown.  They freeze very well.

To make Jalapeno Cheddar, use Jalapeno slices for the raisins (I think a cup, maybe less if you don’t want them so spicy) and onion powder for the cinnamon.  When you put them on the baking sheet, sprinkle with shredded cheddar (or pepper-jack) cheese.  Don’t flip them over at the end.

Bagels and breads and home-canned stews are all in the interest of trying to keep David from eating too much truck stop food.  I also came up with this idea, which he is raving about.  Bag O’ Salad.  I hand tear a head of romaine lettuce (the heart of romaine) and put it in the big bag.  In the small bags go the dressing, the crunchy bits, the chicken.  Here is a Chicken Caesar Salad (grilled chicken breast, dressing, croutons, lettuce) and a Mandarin Chicken Salad, like those Wendy’s used to offer.  The dressing for it is in a half-pint jar, as it needs to be shaken up well.  That dressing is 2 T of both vegetable oil and sesame oil, 3 T rice vinegar and 2 T honey.  I also add a shake of garlic salt and some sesame seeds.  Shake well and dress the salad, which has lettuce, mandarin orange slices, sliced almonds and rice noodles (the crispy ones in a can – chow mein noodles, but rice, not wheat.  The wheat works, but rice is better).  Since I just thought this up, I don’t have little containers to use for the components, so I did use an awful lot of wee baggies.  I’m hoping to change that.  The big baggie will probably stay, because he can dump everything into it and shake it up.  He repeatedly told me how much he enjoyed having a good salad.

Jan 6 and the UPS delivery included this new field watercolor box.  The one I’ve had for 20+ years has gone missing (it’ll probably show up now) and I wanted to paint now.  So with my Amazon credit for the returned book, I got this.  And I love it.  The colors are much more vibrant that my Windsor & Newton paints.  I believe that one is more landscape oriented, based on the colors.  Also, it only has 12 colors and this has 24.  I painted 5 postcards this afternoon!  Now to find my other Birds & Blooms magazines for inspiration…lots of pretty birds to practice on there.

Jan 7 – David took this picture of me after a lazy day.  He was playing Skyrim all day (his favorite way to relax right now) while I was reading V is for Vengeance, Sue Grafton’s latest Kinsey Millhone novel (which I really enjoyed, btw).  He liked the sweep of my hair my hair and asked for the camera.

I think I’m going to try the Amazon affiliate program, so you may see links on some things, like when I mention books and video games and the like.

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