Becka's blog rotating header image loading ... please wait....

A recent adventure

We have been passing the flu around here since Christmas. Our granddaughter had it just before she and her family arrived on Christmas day. Our daughter came down with it during the drive from Michigan. Rob got it the week after they went home and I came down with it this weekend. Hopefully this saga will end soon. Daughter Nora brought by some Corn Chowder which we enjoyed for lunch and let us wish (from a distance) Happy Birthday to little Della who turned one today.

We had "one brief shining moment" when both of us were feeling pretty well and decided to go on a little adventure. Our first stop was in Lexington, SC at The Farmers Shed Restaurant. We almost went to the wrong place. The Farmer's Shed shares a parking lot with a restaurant called Belly's Barbecue. After inquiring we realized we were in the wrong place. The Farmer's Shed looks like an old weathered building with lots of flower pots and garden supplies outside. You pass through an area where they sell produce, baked goods, jams, etc., go down a breezeway and enter the door to The Farmer's Shed Restaurant. We were delighted that we found the right place.


The tables and chairs are all old dinette sets and there is a rotating menu every day of about five main choices and several sides.




The service was quick and our food was delicious! The restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and a map on the wall with stickpins proves that it has brought the restaurant visitors from virtually every state!

I got a pork chop, green beans, and corn souffle. Rob chose Shrimp and Grits, coleslaw and a squash casserole.



After lunch we headed to downtown Columbia to the Columbia Museum of Art where there was a special exhibit by Norman Rockwell. It runs through January 18, 2015. The exhibit consists of photographs that Rockwell used to make drawings which eventually became the paintings used for the covers of the Saturday Evening Post. It was very interesting to see all the stages he went through to come up with the completed picture.


Our final stop along the way was at Cromer's which advertises itself as having peanuts that are "Guaranteed Worst In Town."


We didn't buy any peanuts but Rob did get some coffee and I tried some of their popcorn. All in all it was a very good day and we were thankful for the chance to do a little exploring in the Columbia area.


A light in the window


For years we have put candles in our windows at Christmas time. For most of those years we used electric candles. We had to attach them to the windows with masking tape to help them stay in place. A couple of years ago we ordered some of these battery operated flickering candles from Lehman's store in Ohio and we have been very pleased with them. The name in their catalog is Cordless Window Candles. They have a little bar that fits into the window and holds the candles in place. They are light activated so they automatically switch themselves on and off. (They also have a manual switch.) Right now they are on sale for a great price so I thought I would mention it in case any of you readers might be interested. You can check out the details here (as long as the link is good). I am not being compensated for this, I just really like this product (and many others that they sell.)

We are keeping busy with family here visiting for a few days. Unfortunately one of our guests developed Influenza type A and had to go to the doctor this morning. Since taking Tamiflu and some other medications she is feeling somewhat better already. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.


Grandmother Pizza

The days are flying by quickly and soon Christmas will be here. This recipe is not "Christmasy" but might be something new for you to try after Christmas when you are ready for a change from your Christmas ham or turkey. If you look in the cloud list on the right side of my blog you will see that there are already quite a few recipes for pizza. When I first heard of this recipe I was intrigued because it sounded different from other pizza recipes. It contains very simple ingredients but makes a delicious pizza. It is a very easy dough to work with so it would be a good recipe for people who are intimidated by yeast dough.


Grandmother Pizza

3 Tbsps. olive oil, divided
3/4 cup warm water
1 1 /2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

1 16 oz. can tomatoes, drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan

To make dough:
Coat a large rimmed cookie sheet with 2 Tbsps. of the olive oil then set aside. In mixing bowl combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, 1 Tbsp. oil, and water. Knead about 5 minutes. Stretch the dough to a 10" x 6" rectangle on the prepared cookie sheet. (Do not try to stretch to fit the cookie sheet at this stage.) Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours. After this rise stretch to fit the pan and then let rise an additional 45 mins.
Heat oven to 450-500 degrees.

Combine drained tomatoes, oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt. Combine cheeses and then sprinkle them onto the crust. Dot with the tomato mixture. Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown.

Here are some pictures of the two stages of the dough rising:

First rising:


Second rising:


Here are a couple of pictures of some Christmas elves who were here this week:




We are looking forward to celebrating Christmas next week with special services at church and times with friends and family. I pray that you and your families will have a blessed Christmas and look forward to posting again in the new year.


Some really good yeast rolls and how to make them ahead of time

Have you ever found yourself wanting to serve warm yeast rolls with a meal but feeling pinched for time or oven space? This has often been my dilemma. I have been experimenting with this recipe and have found a method that works for me and hopefully will work for you as well. I have tried making this dough, shaping it, and then freezing the unbaked rolls. They were O.K. when prepared this way, but I have found something that works even better and that is making the rolls Brown and Serve.


To make Brown and Serve rolls you bake the rolls at a low temperature so they cook through but do not brown. Then, right before serving you bake them at a higher temperature and brown them off. We have found them to be very light and delicious. Here is the recipe I have been experimenting with and the method for making them brown and serve:

Good Yeast Rolls
2 cups warm water
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (in dry powder form)
2 Tbsps. yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps. salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
5-6 cups bread flour (I used about half whole wheat flour)

In mixer bowl combine warm water, 2 cups flour, dry milk, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, and egg. Mix for 2 minutes.

Add an additional 2 cups flour and mix 2 minutes more. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough and knead for a few more minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for about 1/2 hour. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a large circle. Brush with melted butter and cut each circle into 16 wedges. Roll each wedge into a crescent. Place on parchment lined pans. Let rise about 15 minutes and then start preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Let dough continue to rise while oven preheats and then bake them for 15-20 minutes. Brush with melted butter after baking.

To make the rolls Bake and Serve:

Bake the risen rolls at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for no more than a month. If frozen, allow the rolls to thaw for several hours or overnight. To bake off bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Here are pictures of the process:

Shaping the dough into crescents:


Rolls after first baking at low temperature:


I have been very pleased with this method. The rolls have turned out nice and light and have a delicious, freshly baked taste. I hope you will try this the next time you plan to make rolls.


We’ve been away

A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving our plans changed and we decided to make a quick trip up to Ohio and Michigan. I had sort of dreaded the actual travel because you just never know what kind of weather or traffic you might run into on a busy holiday weekend, but the Lord worked it all out beautifully and we had nearly all good weather and our travel days went very well.

We spent some enjoyable days with Megan and Jim and the children and got to go to the Christian school where Jim is the principal and Drew is a student and to see the recent changes there. Drew also sang for us the part that he was going to sing in the school Christmas program since we wouldn't be able to attend it.Below is a screen shot from a video Jim posted of the song during the program. Drew is the one with the microphone in front of his face.

Drew Sheep Song

While we were in Michigan Rob's cousin Jody and her family from St. Louis happened to be in the Detroit area for her son's hockey tournament (which his team later won). We got to attend one of his games and then went out to supper afterwards. We dawdled over the meal since we see them so rarely and when we left the restaurant we were very surprised to find a layer of snow on the ground with a layer of ice underneath. We cautiously drove to where we were staying and were relieved that most of it had melted away by the next morning.

This was one of the few pictures we took on our trip:


While we were in Ohio the Lord also worked out the timing so we were able to visit quite a few people there. We visited Rob's mother in her nursing home on two different days. The first day she was alert and talked quite a bit. The second day she was quite sleepy but said she was listening to the conversation. She is still on hospice care and can do very little for herself now. She also has some bedsores and is on pain medication pretty much whenever she requests it.

We also visited a family friend that we have known for many, many years. She was like a spiritual mother to Rob when he was growing up. It had been quite a while since we had seen her. We visited her with her son Scott and daughter-in-law Cathy and enjoyed spending a short time with the three of them

Visit Kay

We also were able to visit with Rob's Aunt Sarah who is seriously ill. We had not seen her for several years and were very thankful that we were able to visit with her on this trip. She is able to sit up in bed and can get in a wheelchair with help so we were able to share a meal with her.

We had a quick early morning visit with my 90 year old Aunt Nana (pronounced Nay-nuh) one morning before we headed to the nursing home. She graciously welcomed us and even put on a fresh pot of coffee. She's the one who convinced Rob he needed to get email initially. The rest is history. 🙂

On our last visit with Rob's mom we met up with Rob's sister Deb and her husband Dan and afterwards went out for lunch. We ate at Culvers and when we walked in we saw our friends Scott and Cathy. We were glad to get to spend a bit more time with them before heading back home.

Since we have returned home we have continued socializing. We went to two plays on campus. The first was a musical version of A Christmas Carol. This was the third year we have attended this production and we have enjoyed it each time. This past weekend we went to a production of It's A Wonderful Life which was produced as though the actors were in a radio drama. The students who were in both plays did a great job.

With all our gadding about we are just now getting a few Christmas decorations put up. Hopefully in a day or two everything will be in place and I can get busy wrapping a few gifts.

I hope to post again soon because I have a couple of recipes that might come in handy for Christmas.