Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to Make Elliston Flour Biscuits

My days at the pool are being spent more like this and less like "Coach Rachael" freezing her tukus off in the shallow end at 8:00 in the morning.  We still like to head to the pool in the afternoon, and tomorrow, I might just pack us a picnic lunch and we'll spend the day there.  :o)  Summer is a wonderful thing!

Today was NOT one of those lovely pool days, it started out cold and stormy (did you hear about the tornado that hit a campground on the Eastern Shore?) and has been pretty overcast and gross for the rest of the day.  The girls (all four of 'em) and I headed out to kill some time at TJ's and then the 'Jay, and then spent much of the afternoon vegging. 

Today is the kind of day you want comfort food, a good book and a cup of hot tea.  I made some biscuits last week and decided to document the process for the girls for when they are older. 
 Begin with this flour.  This is the best biscuit flour, and Daddy has found a local source for it.  Otherwise, you'll just have to get it when you go visit Lissie.

I found this recipe on the bag the other day.  Who knew it was there?  It's pretty much exactly what I do.

Dump flour in a big bowl.

Cut in shortening.

Use a pastry blender.  Spend the money and get one--you'll get a lot of use out of it if you bake like your mama does!

If your flour and shortening don't look like this when you're finished, you need to add a bit more of either one or the other.

Pour in the milk.

Lissie uses a wooden fork, but I don't have one.  I use the big serving fork.  It gets the job done.  The trick is to not overwork the dough.  Biscuits are lighter and fluffier when you just barely work the dough.

If it's too dry, just add a bit more milk.  It's always easier to add more milk than more flour.  Add the milk slowly.

When it looks like this, it's time to stop.

Throw some flour down on your work surface so the dough won't stick.

 Dump it out, and sort of gently shape it into a mound.  Really, don't work it too much.

 Then, pat it down to about an inch thick.

Dip your cutter (if y'all are really nice to your mama, I'll make sure you each have a set of these glasses and bowls and whatnot) into the flour.

 Then, cut out the biscuit.  Try and be more careful than I was here, and cut as close to the edge as you can.

Place your cut bikkies on a baking stone (again, a worthwhile investment if you take after your mama with all the cooking and baking) as close together or far apart as you like. 

When you've cut out all you can, do NOT--I repeat, DO NOT--gather up the dough and roll another ball.

You just sort of roll it up and scootch it together to from another 1" thick mass of dough.

Yes, the first ones cut are the prettiest, but really, does it matter if they're not so pretty?  Isn't it all about taste and fluffiness?  The last bikkie is typically just rolled up like a pinwheel...

Another tools you girlies are gonna want to pick up is a bench scraper.  Trust me on this one.

You clean up your mess and kitchen (and make your sausage gravy and eggs) while the biscuits bake.  450 for 15 minutes or so.

Here ya go.  They should look like this.

Split one apart and smother with gravy.

Or, simply add butter or preserves, apple butter, our whatever catches your fancy.

Look at how light and fluffy they are! 

Remember, don't overwork the dough

Yes, you girls will be making biscuits with me in the kitchen for years to come before you move out on your own, but it doesn't hurt to have a tutorial for visual reference when you're out on your own years from now.  Don't tell me you won't be wanting biscuits, and you know these are so much better than the can.  :oP

Sorry there are no amounts, it's strictly an eyeballing it sort of thing.  I truly believe you ladies can handle this.  :o)

****************************
Sparklies:

1.  My beautiful, sun-kissed Beanie.

2.  Her equally beautiful, sun-kissed sister. 

3.  Sweet, glorious garden candy!

 4.  Some people find them terrifying.  
I find them fascinating!

5. So beautiful!

6. The rain meant I didn't have to water the gardens today!


No milestones.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Photo Heavy Post of HHD 2014

My hummingbirds are guzzling the hummingbird juice these days.  I'm making about two batches a week.
Since today is our first "official" day of summer--no more morning swim practice or swim team...I might begin to go through withdrawl...;o)--I'm sitting here sorting through photos to share, culling down to these mere 59 or so.

So, yes, proceed with caution.

I had never noticed the rudders on the pixie boats before. 

They have them on both ends.

The field we parked in for the triple P fest was littered with teeny weeny grasshoppers.  This big one landed on Bitty and only freaked her out a tiny bit.

The first thing we encountered was the Teeny Tiny Farm.  How cute is this little llama? Alpaca...?

Lil started petting this little guy.  He was standing at first. 

And this was how he ended up. :o)



I love his face and ears!

This little guy was grazing and I gave him a scritch.  It was only to be a quick scritch.  He leaned into me and I couldn't stop!

B took over for me.

Next up was the "parade".  I use the quotes because they called it a parade, but it wasn't your typical idea of a parade.  Beanie and I headed over to watch with N&P while B stayed with Lil in line at the climbing wall.




The lady in this car leaned out the window and back to tell Beanie how much she loooooved Bean's pink cowboy boots. :oP









The parade ended and we met back up with B and Lil who was just getting ready to climb the wall.



This is about as high as she got--probably higher than I could ;oP. 

Those toe and hand holds were fairly far apart for my teeny one.

We walked off in search of food and I found this lovely lady.

Her name is "Granny", see?

This guy was parked next to her.

While Pop waited in the miles long line (it was seriously LONG), we went off to explore a little more.  Sweet Pop! :o)

We found the chainsaw artists.  Interesting.  They were all wearing the safest of clothing... yeah.  Shorts and Crocs, anyone?

Some of their work.  This piggie had a sweet face.

There was something about this raccoon's face.

Another happy piggie. :o)

After lunch I took in the views along the back side of the farm.

What with it being the Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival, there were piggies about.  These are Berkshires, raised for their meat.  It's hard to think about that when faced with such cuteness. 
They were all clean and tidy and, apparently, sleepy. We left them to snooze and headed out to the vendors.

We found this lovely butterfly bench.

As we walked off, I smelled something divine and followed my nose to locate it.  I'm so glad I did.  There were butterflies, bees and more swarming all over.



Lil captured a couple.  But, after looking at all the scales left behind on her hands, we decided maybe it wasn't such a good idea to try and capture any more. 

(If you're interested in more about butterfly scales and such, check out this YouTube channel.  Destin is the creator and it's called "Smarter Everyday".  We love his explorations and his joy and enthusiasm for all things science.  He's a rocket scientist in Huntsville, and shares his love of science with his children and viewers.)

I explored the crepe myrtle cove and enjoyed the beauty of such large and old trees (shrubs?) surrounding me.

What southern event is complete without the requisite list of fried foods?


We decided to take one more peek at the piggies before we left to see if they were up and about. 

Look at those tails!

They decided they were quite ready for a snack and mama obliged them.


Mama decided shew as done and rolled back over, but this guy just didn't care.  He was quite determined! ;o)

I was fascinated to learn that past a certain age, any sow will nurse any piglet, hers or not. 

We left, and as I wrote Sunday, we headed over to GG and Bill's to launch Hannah's balloons.  As always, there was that one stinker balloon that just wanted to do its own thing. :o)

I was another wonderful HHD spent with family, exploring the beauty of the world around us. :o)