March 31

How many of you like coffee cake?

How many of you like lots of crumb topping?

Growing up, we didn’t get coffee cake much. Mom and dad thought that ‘healthy’ was the way to go.  So, coffee cake, pancakes, boxed cereal, Little Debbies, desserts, donuts  and soda pop were few and far between.

It was always the best treat to get a bisquick coffee cake. Sadly, it never had enough crumb topping. Not for me anyway. There is never enough topping, and whenever I make coffee cake, I always end up doubling the topping.

Never again!

I found a recipe called Big Crumb Coffee Cake. The title really caught my attention. I mean, Big and Crumb. Together. In one package. I just had to try it.

It has tons of crumb topping with just a hint of ginger. I didn’t think the ginger would taste good in this, but let me just say that it makes this recipe. This recipe also calls for rhubarb, (coughgagcough) I had the boy use blueberries instead.

You can get a copy of the recipe here .

In case you are wondering where the finished product pictures are, I am embarrassed to say that it didn’t last long enough to take any pictures.

Maybe you can make it, and take pictures of the finished product. Although, I doubt if it lasts long in your house either.

March 30

I took my camera walking with me the other day.

I so desperately wanted to see some signs of spring.

D.e.s.p.e.r.a.t.e.l.y.

Black capped chickadees are kind of spring like, but they have mucked through this monstrous winter with the rest of us. So that just isn’t gonna cut it.

I stood around waiting for a Robin to take a picture of walked a bit further and saw a Robin.

Robins mean spring around here. I have been hearing them for several weeks, so I knew I was getting warmer, but it snowed the other day and we all know that Snow + Robins ≠ Spring.

But this,this is what I have been longing to see.

Hello beautiful!!!

Mud brown, gray sky, and yellow grass will soon be a distant memory.

March 29

Last week, the chips and I went to register the boy for college.

The boy asked me to go along, because he just wasn’t sure what to do, where to go, etc. So I drug the girl along too.

To say that she was less than happy about the situation would be a gross understatement.

The registration process went by very quickly, and my checkbook is considerably lighter. Ca-ching~~Ca-ching!!

Yep…a great time was had by all.

March 28

It’s Friday and I am nosy.

Given the choice, would you live in the city or the country?  and why?

I have lived in Houston, Oklahoma City, a tiny place called Doe Run, way out in the boonies with Amish as neighbors, and towns of all different sizes.

I much prefer the country.   It is quieter.   I don’t have to listen to the neighbors scream at each other, or their kids ride their scooters up and down my street for 3 hours after I have gone to bed, (hellllooooo it is dark outside, where is your mother???)  or have the neighbor’s dogs use my yard for their litter box. (just because your owner hasn’t cleaned the poopables out of your yard doesn’t mean I want some in mine!)

March 25

Bagels. There is just something about a bagel. Chewy, crispy, tangy and oh. so. nonfattening.

A couple weeks ago, the boy and I made some, and we both were totally surprised at just how easy it was.

First you want to make sure you have flour, water, sugar, salt and yeast.

Yep, that is it.

You are going to combine all your ingredients in your mixing bowl and turn it on to ‘knead’ or in our case 2. You can knead this by hand, but we are lazy, and why should the boy not use his wonderful machine?

The boy and I argued over this dough, as the recipe says “The dough will be quite stiff; if you are using a machine the dough will ‘thwap’ the sides of the bowl and hold it’s shape when you stop the mixer.”

I made him add more flour. This still wasn’t stiff enough, and I told him so.

He was a bit put out.

He was so upset with me that he kneaded it by hand too.

Put the dough in a greased bowl, and set aside to rise until noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1-1½ hours.

It was right after putting the dough in the bowl, that the boy left to go hang out with someone he wasn’t frustrated with, and left me to deal with the rest.

I sat down to the computer and set the timer for 60 90 minutes.

Let me just say that this is a whole lot more than ‘puffy and not necessarily doubled in bulk’.

This dough needed to be tons stiffer. To make sure that bagels attain their typically dense, close-grained, chewy texture, you don’t want them rising very much, and a dry (stiff) dough naturally rises much less than a wetter one. oopsie-poopsie!

The dough really needed a whole lot more flour.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, roll them into smooth round balls.

It was at this point in the process that a knock sounded at the door. 2 Mormon missionaries were standing there. I always invite them in and give them some hot chocolate, tell them to forget about trying to evangelize me, and send them on their way. This time, I gave them hot chocolate and made them watch me make bagels.

Cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff slightly, unless your dough needs tons more flour, then they will puff greatly!

While your dough is resting, you need to prepare a water bath.

Get yourself the widest pan you have and put 2 quarts of water in it.

Heat the water, and add sugar

Here in Pothole, Ohio, I couldn’t find non-diastatic malt or barley malt syrup, so I used some brown sugar as a substitute.

Preheat your oven to 425º.

By this time, the Morman’s will have drank all their hot chocolate and be bored stiff, as you have not given them a single reason to try and evangelize you. So go to your resting dough,

stick your finger in the middle and twirl it around your finger till the hole is 2 inches in diameter.

Then 3 or 4 at a time, put them in the simmering water. 2 minutes on the first side, then flip them over for another minute.

They are ugly after bathing.

Bake them for 20-25 minutes or until they’re as deep a brown as you like. The Mormon’s will leave around this time, and you will be glad to see them go, so you don’t have to share.

Even though the dough wasn’t nearly stiff enough, they were wonderfully chewy and perfectly bagely.

Here is the recipe.

Make them yourself. You will be so happy with the result, you will never purchase another bagel again.