Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Frugal Kitchen: Easy Flatbread

While this is an easy recipe I would not call it a fast recipe.  However, it can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.


1 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. yeast
unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In water dissolve sugar and stir in yeast.  Wait ten minutes for it to proof.  It should be foamy, but if it isn't stop here, discard and buy some fresh yeast.

Add yeast mixture to the mixing bowl.  Add salt and oil and mix together for a second.  I used my Kitchen Aide mixer with a dough hook, but you can do this all buy hand.

Start adding the flour one heaping mixing spoon at a time.  Mixing it thoroughly until the dough is no longer sticky.  Knead until a smooth ball forms.

Add an additional teaspoon of oil to a gallon plastic bag and smear to thoroughly cover inside of bag or oil a bowl.  Add dough to the bag and seal.  If using a bowl turn dough to ensure it is covered with a light coat of oil, then cover securely.  The dough can now be refrigerated until it is to be used.

To bake, first heat a cast iron pan or griddle on medium heat and turn on the broiler in the oven.  Move oven rack to a high middle position.  Flour a flat surface and roll out a handful of dough to make a round the size of a commercial pita bread.

Lightly oil the pan with an oil saturated paper towel.  Place bread on pan and cook until it begins to brown on the bottom and small bubbles form.

Then transfer pan to the oven, under the broiler.

The dough will puff up.  When it is lightly golden brown with darker spots remove and place on a heated plate.

Melt some butter and lightly brush on both sides of bread.

Here is the finished product:

This flatbread dough can be cooked in other ways.  You can cook both sides on the stove (will not puff as much) or on the grill.  Place 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet and fry both sides of the dough to make a Navaho fry bread.  Use as a pizza dough or place a filling inside two rounds of dough and bake.  The options are as endless as your imagination.  Enjoy.

God bless,

Monday, September 23, 2013

Good Reads: Nearest Thing To Heaven

Nearest Thing to Heaven (Maverick Junction, #2)Nearest Thing to Heaven by Lynnette Austin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nearest Thing To Heaven is a simple, endearing, well written love story with a small touch of suspense. It is the second novel in the Maverick Junction series.

The romance takes place between a big city girl and a widowed rancher with triplet boys. The location is a small town in Texas filled with delightful secondary characters.

This is a perfect book for a weekend read, especially with the Christmas holidays coming. It is an easy, uncomplicated read.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The OTC Dosage Scam

Manufacturers have become so creative with their attempts to get more money from consumers.  We all know about the Amazing Shrinking Volume/Weight.  Just look at the small size of dish washing detergent.  The bottles are the same size, but instead of the 13 ounces of two years ago they are now 9 ounces.

Recently, I have noticed the OTC (over the counter medicine) Dosage Scam becoming more common.  It works like this:  You buy a package of 24 tablets and when you get home and read the instructions you see that you need to take two tablets to equal one dose.  So the package actually only contains 12 doses of medication and you have paid twice as much for the medicine than you originally thought.

Of course the manufacturer will argue that all the information is on the back of the box for anyone to read.  This is true, but they are depending on buyers being too busy, too sick, too elderly and too distracted to read the fine print.

It all comes down to consumers beware, but I am just fed up with that attitude.  We should start pushing manufacturers to be transparent with their packaging.  Put your money where your mouth is and only buy products that are clearly and honestly labeled.  Send an email to manufacturers whose products you decide not to buy and let them know why.

Frankly I'm tired of needing to be Sherlock Holmes when I go shopping, just to make sure I don't get ripped off.

God bless,

Monday, September 16, 2013

Good Reads: Play By Play

Play by Play (A Play Makers Novella 1)Play by Play by Kate Donovan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This well written and well edited novella is the first in the A Play Makers series. Despite the steamy looking cover, it is a light, G rated romance.

The Hero is a humorous sports blogger and much of the story is told through his blog posts and his POV. He is just an all around nice guy that loves sports.

The heroine was raised in a professional sports family and is convinced that she doesn't want to have a relationship with someone in the business. As a result the H hides his involvement in the sports world while dating her. This results in "the big misunderstanding", which isn't really that big and is resolved pretty quickly.

A HEA and non challenging plot makes this an easy light read.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Living Life Fully and Other Musings

Yesterday I was watching a slideshow on my husband's computer of photographs taken of our DD when she was a young child.  In every photo her exuberance and obvious love of life had grins on our faces.  My favorites were of her dancing on the beach at the edge of the water.  Her feet seemed to be barely touching the ground.

The majority of adults lose this ability to love the moment.  We live for some day in the future when we will fulfill our life's dream of life on a farm, traveling the highways or whatever retirement plan we have nurtured.  I wonder how many people work for a retirement goal only to find themselves facing illness or financial loss after they reach retirement age?  Their dream unfulfilled because it was delayed.

Are you waiting to lose ten pounds before you treat yourself to a new dress?  Dreaming of hiking in Montana next summer?  Do you work all year to enjoy two weeks of vacation time?  It's time to buy the dress in a larger size, walk today with a loved one in a local park and schedule a date night every week with your spouse.  Let's enjoy ourselves.

I remember a quilting friend of mine.  We used to tease her that she was always ecstatic each day that the sun had risen again.  She was happy with the little joys God had given her and trusted that He would help her face her problems.  We loved her and she brought joy into the lives of all she touched.

Let's get living shall we?

God bless,

Monday, September 9, 2013

Good Reads: The Spirit Keeper

The Spirit Keeper: A NovelThe Spirit Keeper: A Novel by K.B. Laugheed
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Spirit Keeper is a well written, thought and emotion evoking read. Frankly, it started out slowly for me, but began to weave me into it's spell a quarter of the way into the book.

This is the story of a journey made by two American Indians, a spiritual man and his friend, searching for the woman one of them has dreamed of. She ends up being a young Irish immigrant living in Colonial America with her dysfunctional family. An unlikely alliance is formed between her and her two captors when she and her family are kidnapped by a local tribe. They begin to travel west to return to her captors' home and the journey becomes not just a physical one, but is a journey of spiritual and emotional growth and awareness.

This is also a romance between two people that originally have little in common. It is fascinating to watch the personal growth they go through as their relationship evolves.

The author has managed to avoid the trap of overemphasizing the heroine's Irish Colonial language. It could have been distracting, but was handled with subtlety.

This is not a mainstream book, but well worth reading.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Good Reads: Wyoming Bold

Wyoming BoldWyoming Bold by Diana Palmer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wyoming Bold is the third book in the Wyoming Men series and continues telling the story of the Kirk brothers, focusing on the youngest brother Tank. The mystery is centered around the rogue DEA agent that attempted to kill Tank when he was serving in the U.S. Border Patrol. The agent/assassin is trying to tie up some loose ends and Tank is one of those ends.

The heroine in this book is a psychic neighbor of the Kirks that shows up one night during a snowstorm to warn Tank that his life is in danger. She is the standard Palmer heroine, virginal and a bit of an outcast. The usual conflict between the Hero and heroine are missing in this book.

Diana Palmer is an accomplished writer with a good editor which is evident in Wyoming Bold, but she is a formulaic writer. Her books tend to have similar plots and characters. Fortunately, for me, her formula is like a familiar old robe; comfortable and reassuring. I found this to be an enjoyable, easy book.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Due to be released on October 29, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Good Reads: Hijack In Abstract

Hijack in Abstract (A Cherry Tucker Mystery, #3)Hijack in Abstract by Larissa Reinhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hijack In Abstract, the third book in the Cherry Tucker Mystery series, is another hilarious romp through southern, small town America. Cherry has two murders to solve, plus a variety of people to "help" whether they want her help or not. This is the type of well written and well edited novel that I have come to expect from Henery Press and their writers.

This is not a stand alone book. I recommend reading the first two books in the series in order to fully understand the action and character relationships in this one.

I would like to see the characters' personal relationships evolve in upcoming books. They have remained static in the last two books with the same conflicts appearing and reappearing.

If you enjoy fast moving, humorous mysteries you will love Hijack In Abstract.

ARC provided by Henery Press via Netgalley.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Frugal Kitchen: Basic Vanilla Cake

This is a simple, basic cake that is very versatile.  The recipe makes one layer, but it can be doubled to make a traditional layer cake.  Add a crumble to the top and it is a coffee cake.  Cover with macerated strawberries and it is strawberry shortcake.  It is moist enough that we eat it plain or with a light glaze.


1 1/2 cups cake flour or cake flour substitute (see previous post)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan.  Sift the first three ingredients together into a large bowl.  Beat in the butter a little at a time at low speed on your mixer, then beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and milk, then beat on medium speed until it is blended.  Do not over beat.  This will not look as smooth as a packaged cake mix.  Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool.


God bless,