Life on Regal-Hill: Feb. 24, 2010

Well, we finally got a real snowstorm here at Regal-Hill that amounted to six or seven inches. Except for the winds afterward it wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed watching it snow, from inside of course. I was glad to get some snow so that when it gets cold again, the ground will have a nice ground cover to protect it and keep it from freezing so hard. Hopefully we won’t lose any flowers or bushes that are in the ground. George now has snow to bank the house with. Banking the house does help to keep it warmer inside.
Spunky just came in from outside. Yesterday he spent most of the day and night in here.
Apparently he didn’t want to deal with the snow and cold anymore than the rest of us. Sometimes he is in most of the time and then some days isn’t in here much at all. When he isn’t in here George usually sees him in the stable sleeping on a bale of hay in front of the heifers or we see him walking over to the upper barn floor to the haymow. Quite a life!
Buster is about as bad, although he likes to be where George is so when George goes to the barn he usually wakes up, climbs off the couch and goes with him. Then after he tries to eat the cat food, he finds a pile of bedding hay to sleep on until George is done in the barn. At night he doesn’t care much for TV, so he sleeps through that too. However he does make a number of trips down to the basement to eat or drink, but rarely to sleep. Apparently it is too warm for him. He would like to sleep in our bedroom but we put a stop to that. Even though he is a guest in our house, I can’t have him taking over. After all, who does he think does the cleaning?
It is pretty quiet around here now. George, Buster and Spunky have gone to the barn. Oh, and the TV is off.
If you are trying to spend more time in the kitchen this time of year, perhaps you are thinking of making bread to serve with your homemade soup, chili or stew you have also made from scratch. Have fun and surprise your family with your efforts tonight.

Mom’s Italian Bread
1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
2 cups warm water )110 to 115 degrees)
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat in medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface, divide in half. Shape each portion into a loaf. Place each loaf seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across top of each loaf.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each)
Taste of Home December & January 2010

French Loaves
2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
4-1/2 to 5 cups bread flour
1 tsp. cornmeal
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the salt, sugar and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into 12-in. long loaves.
Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cornmeal. With a sharp knife make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each)
Taste of Home February/March 2010