Anne Miller

master steward
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since Mar 19, 2016
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We manage a 40 acre wildlife area of the Texas Hill Country in the Edwards Plateau at about 3030 ft above sea level. The region is notable for its karst topography and tall rugged hills of limestone. The terrain throughout the region is punctuated by a thin layer of topsoil and a large number of exposed rocks and boulders, making the region very dry and prone to flash flooding. Native vegetation in the region includes various yucca, prickly pear cactus, native grasses and wildflowers. The predominant trees in the region are Ashe Juniper, Shin Oak and Texas Live Oak. Soil is alkaline consisting of caliche and clay.
USDA Zone 8a
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Recent posts by Anne Miller

Have a piece of Boston Cream Pie! Today is National Boston Cream Pie Day!



16 hours ago


I have been buying several items from King Arthur Flour recently so they send me their beautiful catalog.

It has a recipe for Boston Cream Pie that I want to share.  I have not made this yet so I can't wait for the weather to get cooler so I can try this.

I have never had Boston Cream Pie so I looked for some recipes for it also.  It turns out that it is not a pie at all but a cake.

The original Boston Cream Pie, created at Boston's Parker House hotel in the 19th century, featured sponge cake layered with cream and iced with vanilla and chocolate fondant.



   2 cups (397g) sugar
   4 large eggs
   1/3 cup (67g) vegetable oil
   2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
   1 1/4 teaspoons salt
   2 teaspoons baking powder
   4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, 65°F to 68°F
   1 cup (227g) whole milk
   2 teaspoons vanilla extract


   2 1/2 cups (567g) whole milk
   1/2 cup (99g) sugar
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   1/3 cup (39g) cornstarch
   3 large egg yolks
   1 large whole egg
   2 teaspoons vanilla extract


   1/4 cup (57g) heavy or whipping cream
   1/3 cup (57g) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips or wafers
   1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



To make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease two 9" round pans.

Beat the sugar and eggs together until they're light and fluffy, about 2 minutes at medium-high speed using an electric or stand mixer. Slowly beat in the vegetable oil.

Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the egg mixture in the bowl, beating just enough to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat again, to fully incorporate any sticky bits.

In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the butter and milk just to a boil. Add the vanilla. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir the mixture until the butter is completely melted.

Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the cake batter, mixing until everything is well combined. Scrape the bowl and mix briefly, just until smooth. The batter will be very thin.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the top feels set. Remove the cakes from the oven, cool them in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.

To make the filling: In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and the salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, egg yolks, and whole egg with the remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Whisk some of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks/cornstarch to temper the yolks. This keeps them from turning to scrambled eggs when you add them to the simmering milk.

Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk in the pan, pouring it through a strainer to capture any bits of egg.

Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat (this may happen very quickly), stirring constantly with a whisk, and cook for 2 minutes; the mixture will thicken significantly.

Remove the filling from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Transfer the filling to a heatproof bowl, and top it with a piece of buttered plastic wrap (make sure it touches the top of the filling so it doesn't develop a skin). Refrigerate until cool.

When the cakes and pastry cream are completely cool, spread the filling in an even layer over one layer then stack the second layer on top. Set aside.

To make the glaze: Melt the chocolate and cream together until smooth and lump-free. Add the vanilla and stir well. Let the glaze sit for about 10 minutes to cool a bit and to thicken just a touch. Pour the glaze over the filled cake. Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Store any leftovers in the fridge.

The reason for this Topic is that today is National Boston Cream Pie Day!

17 hours ago
Here are some other members ideas for making a solar clothes drier that might help:

I built a 14' tall A- frame that is a lever to tension 4, 35' long lines to hang clothes on. The other end is a cross bar, attached with a ratchet strap to a huge oak. It will hang 5 loads of laundry with about a foot of sag. Solar clothes dryer.

Another great Idea I had was to take the Solar Dehydrator from the 3 of Diamonds in the permaculture deck and make it a water-proof solar clothes dryer.

Put laundry out overnight, wait 24 hours, take it down again, any sunny day will completely dry your clothes from both sides, from the morning sun and the afternoon sun, winter or summer.
18 hours ago
Why not break it down so that you mix it as you add it to a load of clothes?

How much is required for 1 load?

Lets use 1/4 cup to make this simple. So you have a washer full of water so you don't need to add water.  Add 1/8 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1/8 cup washing soda.  Or maybe mix the two together then add to the washer. Does this make sense?

Even if these protions are a lot more than you would of oxiclean, you could make smaller portions.
23 hours ago
Congratulations! Great to have you all on board.

I made covers for all my appliances out of towels with the same design.  

When I was into a mushroom design for the kitchen, I had mushroom potholders and I found towels with mushrooms.

Depending on the size of the appliance, though all I had to do was fold the towel wrong side out and stitch the sides together.  It made a perfect appliance "cozy".

Every so often all I had to do was throw them in the washer and they were good as new!
2 days ago
When you say no access, I am assuming the pipes are inside a wall.  

Some things I feel might be an option:  

A electric space heater pointed towards the inside wall though not too close.

A heating pad attached to the inside wall.

Keeping the room temperture a little warmer than normal 24 hours a day.

2 days ago

Morfydd St. Clair said And my primitive French says that it's pronounced kla-FOO-tee

Thanks for telling me how to pronounce it. Since I have never heard anyone say it and don't know French ... I was saying kla-Foo-tis so I was close and now I will say tee instead of tis.
4 days ago
Skandi mentions Clafoutis.  I did not add it to the thread since to me this is not a cobbler-type dish, like the Bettie or the crisp.  I read that it is a french tart and I consider it an egg dish.  I thought it looks a lot like the Buckle.  I don't know since I never really had either in real life.

At Wheaton Lab they make a Clafoutis which sounded so yummy that I went out and found a recipe, then adapted that recipe so it was easy to remember.

Here is my recipe for Clafoutis:

5 days ago
I would plant what I want and see if it will adapt to my location.

And a soil test might tell you what is good to grow where you live.

We love to grow our own corn because it is so much better than what we get at the grocery store.

I can understand about wheat and rice though there are many other grains that you could try.