Perfectly Easy Dinner Rolls

This is a no fail recipe. If you have never tried making bread, this is a great recipe to try! It makes delicious yeast rolls that are a perfect accomaniment for any meal, whether it's a special dinner or a simple soup.

1 cup warm water
2 pkgs. yeast
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. salt
4-4 1/2 cups flour

Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl.  Let the mixture stand until yeast becomes foamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. 
Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix. Some flour may not be needed. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days.
Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide into 24 equal-size pieces.  Roll each piece into a smooth round ball, and place evenly in the baking dish. Cover and let rise until double, about 1-1/2 hours. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake until rolls are golden brown, 15-20 minutes.  Brush warm rolls with melted butter, if desired. Break apart to serve.

I use my stand mixer to mix this recipe but you can mix it by hand. I usually use all of the 4 1/2 cups of flour. The dough will still be a bit sticky when you are done adding the flour, but that's okay. These are yeasty, sweet tasting rolls. Yield 2 dozen



We are having our family Christmas meal the day after Christmas this year.  Our one traditional food for Christmas day is shrimp cocktail, so tonight we plan to have that with some wine, imported cheeses, and crackers. I'll cook a ham and all the trimmings for tomorrow's meal so I decided to try this new recipe that I've been saving, for our Christmas day meal. We all liked it a lot. Every bite is a discovery of a new flavor, from the slightly fishy taste of the oyster sauce, to the crunchy freshness of the bok choy, and the nutty sweetness of exotic mushrooms. I did add some dried hot peppers from our garden to give it a bit of a kick, as well as one carrot  sliced diagonally.  The carrot adds much needed color as well as crunch.  

Most of the work involved in making this dish is in the preparation. Once all the ingredients are prepped the actual cooking time is relatively short. The dish has a very authentic taste, which I attribute to the oyster sauce.  Yes, it has a slightly fishy taste, but it's not off-putting at all. This is a low-calorie dish with only 303 calories per serving.

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup oyster sauce
2 TBS cornstarch
2 TBS peanut oil ( I used olive oil)
6 scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
8 thin slices peeled ginger
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
8-10 ounces sliced mushrooms, such as cremini, shitake or a mix
12 ounces baby bok choy, cut crosswies into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil (again I used olive oil)
Cooked rice, for serving
1. Toss chicken with oyster sauce in a bowl.  Mix cornstarch with 3 TBS cold water in another bowl.
2. Heat a wok or deep skillet over high heat until hot.  Add the peanut oil, then scallions, ginger and garlic, and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink on outside, 2-3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and bok choy.
3. Add broth and sesame oil to skillet and bring to boil over high heat.  Add cornstarch mixture, and return to boil, cooking and tossing until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick and glossy, 2-3 minutes.  Serve over rice




I don't know where the time goes. It's been almost a month since I last posted, which is unacceptable! I love reading blogs, and have quite a list of favorites that I go to on a regular basis. It's always a sad day to find that nothing new has been posted! I'm not sure why I like reading blogs as much as I do. It might be the same reason that I enjoy reading memoirs so much.  They are one of my favorite genres.

Today I had quite the excitment here in our little corner of the world. Whoever thinks that living in the country is boring is very wrong, although, this story could have happened in a big city as much as here in a rural setting.

Before Richard and I got married we got a puppy. He was part sheepdog..a mutt..of the most delightful kind. He was adorable and a very good dog. Richard was an avid reader and named him after a literary character: Reepicheep. I wonder if any of my followers will know what book that is from??

Over the years, we had dogs and cats. We had indoor and outdoor pets. One time we had a dog that got pregnant without our knowing and we only found out after it came from the barn with a puppy dangling from it!!! Oh my GOSH! That was quite the experience!

When you live in the country you usually are able to find FREE pets when you want them.  There are always signs out for free kittens or puppies. Of course, you can't be choosy, but you usually can pick the one you want. From time to time, you also find animals on your doorstep. It does seem cruel and thoughtless, but people still drop off unwanted pets near a country house in the hopes that someone will adopt, feed, and give it a place to sleep.  We've been the lucky recipients of numerous cats by this drop-off method. One cat, who we named Dan, was near death when he was abandoned.

I was outdoors and heard a weak 'mewing' sound and there he was sitting in the middle of the road. It's a narrow, country road with little traffic, but still a dangerous place for a cat who wasn't able to move very fast.  I think he was sitting there waiting for his owners to come back and get him. It was VERY pitiful. He was starving and emaciated. Richard didn't want to take him in, but Cole and I insisted, and as it turned out, he was one of our best cats ever.  I truly believe he realized we snatched him from death's door and returned the favor by being a really sweet cat.

Dan was an indoor cat, but one day he got out and didn't return. After several days we had lost hope of his returning, and since we didn't find him in the road, we thought it was possible that a coyote or even our neighborhood Bald Eagle had snatched him for food. We were all quite devestated, and Richard would go out and call for him for weeks without fail, hoping against hope, that he would return.

Meanwhile, we got our current cat, Buster, who was also a dark tiger cat and looked a lot like Dan. Several months passed, when one day Richard came home from work and walked in the door carrying a cat and said "didn't you guys know Buster was outdoors???"...and we looked at him, and then we looked at BUSTER who just walked into the room, and realized that DAN was back!! He was in the garage when Richard drove in. He called to him and he came right to him so he brought him in the house. It was six months since Dan had run away!! We always considered him our little miracle cat!

We like to keep cats both outdoors and inside as well because we live in the country.  We have corn and soy bean fields all around us, and when the crops are harvested, the little critters-mice-have to have somewhere to go and they sometimes get into the house. It's cool out by then, and they are looking for a place to be warm. Dan was a good 'mouser'. He would catch the mice, kill them, then bring them to us to dispose of! PROPER cat ettiquette!

Buster is another story. He is such a wuss. He may know there is a mouse about, and he lurks waiting for it to appear, but he prefers chasing, tormenting, and playing with it. So, if he actually does happen to get it in his teeth, he doesn't kill it, he shakes it a bit, then drops it and runs after it, over and over again! It's very frustrating, and as you can imagine, makes for a lot of screaming (me), laughing (the guys), and running about (Buster).  I do NOT like mice in the house, least of as as a plaything for the cat!

Well, a few days ago I heard a mouse behind or inside the stove. I think they come up from the basement under the stove. We set a trap and placed it behind the kick plate at the bottom of the oven...out of sight. We kept checking but not mouse! I have a fail safe way to catch mice if you are interested! If you take a nut..I usually use a walnut, and place it on the trap, and use thread to tie it securly to the trap, when the mouse attempts to eat the nut he is a goner! We've tried lots of different things, and this works the best by far!

This morning I was in the middle of sleep and wakefulness when I heard the familiar 'snap' of the trap! I was so excited I called Richard at work to tell him. He said he would expect it to be out of the house by the time he got home. I told him that would be fine as long as Cole cooperated and removed it, but he shouldn't expect that I would go anywhere near it!!

At the time, Cole was sleeping so I waited to tell him until he woke up. While I was on the phone an hour or so later, I heard sound and looked into the kitchen and saw Buster with the trap on the floor-mouse attached-batting it around with his paw!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!! I yelled "NO! BUSTER! NO!" and he immediately picked up the trap in his mouth and ran down the hall and up the stairs!!

I ran into the bathroom-because all the excitement made it necessary to visit that room-and called as loudly as I could (because I wasn't going near the stairway) "COLE! COLE! COLE!" and when he responded I said -very emphatically and alarmingly-"I NEED YOU NOW!!!!". Well, he probably thought I was in need of emergency help, because he came running. I told him what happened and said "you need to go upstairs and get the mouse", to whiche he said "well, Buster doesn't have the mouse anymore, cause I just saw him"!  I told him to go back upstairs and look until he found it!

He soon came down with the trap and mouse and said it was just laying in the hallway and he could have stepped on it on his way down!!

The mouse is now in the cold snow somewhere, and I'm sure one of the ferral cats in the area will find it a tasty treat! Lest you should read this story and think I am indifferent to mice, let me tell you, I am NOT. I do not like them at all. They are dirty, nasty, creepy creatures. I'm just glad we don't have them often. Usually one or two in the fall or spring and that's it.  I have to admit that it makes for excitment in an otherwise uneventful day!

Just a few days and Christmas will be here. We are looking forward to having our precious little granddaughters come for a few days this week and again next week. I realize this is a 'food' blog, but during Christmas we don't focus as much on food as we do on being with family and people we love. I'll have some pictures of our get-togethers and food we ate at some point. We have a 'soup night' party planned in which each couple brings a soup and at the end of the evening of sampling we vote on our favorites! It's always a fun night.

Merry Christmas!!!