A Birthday Tradition Revisited

In this day and age, it seems that traditions are receiving a bad press.  Many traditions provide a sense of comfort and stability in a world that is filled with chaos. The tradition I started for my wife’s birthday is now over a decade old, and it is a tradition that is now rooted in our family.  Hopefully, this is a tradition our son will carry with him into his marriage, and it will become generational.  What traditions have you started in your family? What have you been doing for years?  What stability have you brought to you and your family’s lives through your traditions?

The following video… I filmed last year, but I was finally able to edit it the way I envisioned these past few weeks.  I hope you enjoy our continued tradition to celebrate the most important person in our household.  After the video, I included the first post I made about this birthday tradition 3 years ago.  Enjoy the flashback.

For the past eight or so years, I started a tradition for my wife’s birthday.  Before this epiphany, I would ask my wife what she would like for her birthday cake?  I would then, like most husbands, go hunt down the desired cake and purchase it from a bakery or sometimes an ice cream parlor.  One year my wife said, she didn’t feel like having a cake or anything.  She was reading about how unhealthy processed cakes were due to all the additives and processed ingredients.  I don’t blame her; I am not a fan of food coloring in my food either.  But, I didn’t have a problem;  she always made my cake from scratch.

My wife knew I was not a good baker, but I felt the gauntlet had been cast down, the challenge had been made, and I needed to step up as a husband and respond in the only dignified way I could and that was to don an apron and start a bake’n. Thus, a new tradition was born.

It is a Woman's World... I love this cook book from 1939.

It is a Woman’s World… I love this cook book from 1939.

I found a book with the most natural ingredients I could find at a Robert’s Bookshop selling used books in Lincoln City, Oregon.  The cook book is pre-WWII, and I figured the war was a definite trigger for over processed foods in our diet as the military rations found commercial labels and entered our grocery stores soon after.

I began searching through the cake recipes and I tried several for my wife over the years.  The first cake I made  was almost a brick, and from then on I got much better.  The cakes from this cook book are not fluffy, light cakes.  They are dense, rich, thick cakes that stick to the roof of your mouth and to your ribs.  They truly are good.  However, three years ago I made Krista the Zesty, Orange Cake, and now I am not allowed to bake a different type of cake or change recipes.  This is the birthday cake that has won my wife’s heart, and so  I have dedicated the past few years to perfecting the recipe and the cake’s presentation.

Icing, filling, whatever it is; it's all good... Here is the page I reference for the orange icing. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation that only a true baker would know. I left the other two recipes in the shot since Prune filling sounds so interesting.

Icing, filling, whatever it is; it’s all good… Here is the page I reference for the orange icing. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation that only a true baker would know. I left the other two recipes in the shot since Prune filling sounds so interesting.

When it rains, it pours… The week of my wife’s birthday this year; I had meetings scheduled every night after school, the snow plow truck broke down, and the propane stove and oven quit working.  At least the wood cook stove, was available to make the cake without any problems.  In fact, I prefer the wood cook stove to the propane one when baking.

The icing on the cake... I usually create the icing for the cake the night before I make the cake so it has time to chill.

The icing on the cake… I usually create the icing for the cake the night before I make the cake, so it has time to chill.

I usually make Krista’s zesty, orange cake in stages.  On the eve before making the cake, I make the orange icing.  After I grated the peel for the orange flavor, I squeeze the fresh orange for the half cup of orange juice needed.  I also grate a lemon for the icing and add the juice of the freshly squeezed lemon for a little more zing.  Once the icing is cooked and thickened, I set it out to cool before placing it in the fridge overnight.

The apprentice... My son and apprentice is adding his eggs to the cake batter and doing a fine job. He has been a great help in the creation of this birthday cake.

The apprentice… My son and apprentice is adding his eggs to the cake batter and doing a fine job. He has been a great help in the creation of this birthday cake.

The next day,  which was luckily the weekend, I began making Krista’s cake.  This year I had help from my son.  He did an excellent job cracking the eggs and adding the ingredients to the mixer to make the cake batter.  He also learned how to juice the oranges and lemon for the batter as well.

In this next shot is our Juice King, which is our citrus juice squeezer.  Krista found it at an antique sale, and it has worked great ever since we brought it home.  I require the use the juicer three different times.  Once for the icing, then for the cake batter, and last for the frosting.

Roll up your sleeves and squeeze... Here we work together to squeeze the 1/2 cup of orange juice required for the recipe.

Roll up your sleeves and squeeze… Here we work together to squeeze the 1/2 cup of orange juice required for the recipe.

When the batter is ready for the cake pans, I have the wood cook stove revving up to cooking temperature.  The key is to not overheat the oven because waiting for it to cool is time consuming.  I close the flue and open the oven vent.  I also open up the ash tray drawer below the fire box and when it approaches the 350 degrees required, I shut everything down except the oven vent.  I tend the firebox making sure it has enough fuel to cover the baking time of 25 – 35 minutes.  Once I have the fuel and the temperature needed, I place the cake pans into the oven on the same rack.  The oven temperature was so even and the cook time so short, I didn’t need to re-position the cake pans once they were in the oven.

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man... I could not help but to feel rush a little by the hungry eyes behind me and the next line, "Bake me a cake as fast as you can."

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man… I could not help but to feel rushed a little by the hungry eyes behind me and the next line, “Bake me a cake as fast as you can.”

The finished product this year was great, except I hate to waste anything, so I added way to much orange icing to the center between the layers of the cake.  I must remember when it comes to presentation, less is more.  However, when it comes to flavor and taste, I still tend to get carried away and put as much frosting and icing on the cake beyond surface allowance.  Good thing I’m not an architect.

Almost finished... All that is left is to add the orange icing and candles on top.

Almost finished… All that is left is to add the orange icing and candles on top.  The toothpicks held the top layer in place to add the frosting.  I placed way too much icing in between the 2 layers, but it was worth it.

Here is Krista’s beautiful, zesty, orange, double layer cake made with orange, lemon zest icing between the layers and drizzled on top of the orange and vanilla butter cream frosting.  Now, my wife has to wait another 366 days for her birthday cake; it’s a leap year.  Unless, our son or I request it as well.



A View to a Quiche

What inspired me to even attempt making a quiche happened many years ago.  My wife was out for the evening, and I was having a guy’s night in celebrating with a James Bond Marathon.  During the film A View to A Kill 1985 starring Roger Moore as James Bond and Christopher Walken as the villain, James Bond makes a damsel in distress a quiche out of the left overs in her kitchen.  I figured if James Bond could do it, so could I, and I grabbed a cook book and began making quiche out of what I could find in the fridge. We didn’t have any bacon, but plenty of chicken, so in a Bond like fashion, I made a quiche, which I proudly gave to my wife when she returned.  My wife loved it.  Mostly, for the romantic gesture, but also because she had a wonderful meal without the concern of preparing, cooking, or cleaning up after.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say baking a quiche saved my marriage, but I can honestly say the gesture did improve my ability to continually woo my wife’s affections.  Making dinner for my wife on her birthday has become our tradition.  I love doing it, but sometimes I catch her off guard and create a meal on a whim, which goes a long way in lifting my wife’s morale and stature as the love of my life.

A Quick Review of A View to a Kill

After creating this post, I decided to watch the movie “A View to a Kill” again.  I was amazed by the plot, which seemed to touch upon some present day concerns.  In the movie, a computer chip was developed by the antagonist, Zorin, which could survive an EMP attack, and this chip was intentionally leaked to Russia.  A computer chip was implanted into a racehorse to increase the horse’s speed at the push of a button, this is known as biohacking. Also, there was an inference that the antagonist was the by-product of biohacking himself to circumvent natural human development to increase intelligence, but the unfortunate side-effect was the creation of a raving sociopath. Next, Silicon Valley in California was stated to controlled 80% of the world’s computer chips in 1985 and was the target of the antagonist.  Once Silicon Valley was destroyed, he would control the world’s computer chip supply. If he could have waited for NAFTA, the WTO, and other trade deals with China, it would have been done for him within the next 15 years.

Sometimes I wonder if our movies are a script in which humanity watches, buries in the human subconscious, only to create the very path humanity chooses out of false implanted destiny.  Maybe, I give our media too much credit, and it is really a mirror reflection of what our culture is becoming and any quality think tank group could follow a similar path of development through a causal effect relationship.

I’ll I know is even though this movie was a typical Bond film of innuendo after innuendo to create coy shock and humor, it touched on issues that are now current media and even conspiracy topics of choice from the fall of Silicon Valley, biohacking, and an eminent EMP threat from possibly Russia.

Want to support our blog?  Consider purchasing a Pauper’s Candle from our company.  Another romantic gesture for the one you love without the need to cook a meal.  Shop our store for https://paupers-candles.ecwid.com/

Thanks to the Fair Use Act for allowing this brief segment of the movie “A View to a Kill” to be used as an educational purpose in making quiche and the importance it has played into our family’s tradition.  I encourage everyone who is a 007 fan to choose their favorite Bond movie and enjoy an evening.

Chicken Quiche Recipe (See Better Home and Gardens: New Cook Book 1990 or newer to create an adaptation of your own.)

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese, pre-mix cheese with 1 Tablespoon of flour
  • 1 Chicken breast chopped and cooked into bite size pieces season chicken breast with pepper, rosemary, whatever sounds and will taste good.
  • ¼ cup green onions
  • ¼ cup of olives
  • ¼ cup of mushrooms

Directions: Whip eggs and mix in large bowl milk with cheese/flour mixture.  Add dash of salt to ¼ teaspoon for taste.  Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Dump into precooked piecrust that is still hot out of the oven and place a complete quiche in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees F.


Breakfast a labor of love

Our wood cook stove is truly the heart of the home during the winter.  It heats the home, cooks our food, and heats the home’s domestic hot water.  Thanks for joining us on this quick video on us cooking breakfast on the wood cook stove, a true labor of love.

If you have never cooked on a wood cook stove before there really is nothing to it. The firebox is on the left side of the stove under the bacon pan. The egg pan is in the middle of the stove, but cozied up to the area in which the stove pipe leaves the stove for more heat.  The french press coffee is keeping warm on the right side of stove over the oven box.  The surface of the wood cook stove top is like an electrical stove burner for a conventional electric stove, except for the entire surface is hot to some degree.  The electric burner has a high, medium, and low temp setting.  The wood cook stove also has these settings. The difference with a wood stove is the high setting is over the firebox. The medium setting is in the middle of the stove and the low or simmer setting is above the oven on the far right side of the stove.

If you have a wood stove and not a wood cook stove, you could easily cook on the top of it during a power outage.  The only differences between a wood cook stove and a regular wood stove for heating the home is the top surface does not have a medium and low setting for heat.  Ways to adjust cooking heat on a wood cook stove is to damper the wood stove down or you could place fire bricks on top or use a medal trivet with legs to remove pans or pots from the surface to create a lower or warmer setting for cooking.  Wood stoves are great during a power outage because it could be used for heat as well as cooking and boiling water for tea, coffee, or sterilization.

When we lived on the Oregon coast, we had many power outages.  During these days of no electricity, we would cook on the top of our wood stove often.  Anything you cook on the top of an electric burner can be done on a regular wood stove with just a little more effort and planning.

Snow Throwing the Roof & Wife’s Surprise

Our derelict cabin left by the original owners of our property has been slowly disintegrating with each winter.  One section almost collapsed, and in the past, I did a video in which I hand shoveled the roof to prevent the cabins creaking demise.  It was hard work, and I couldn’t physically do it again without wreaking havoc to my body.  We bought the smallest and cheapest snow thrower to get the job done.

I cannot emphasize the importance on knowing how to create the correct pitch roof for the trusses and the span that the home is designed.  We had our trusses for our home professionally engineered and delivered to our home site.  The company used a crane to place them on top of the walls, and we walked them to the correct location and nailed them in place.  We designed a 6/12 roof pitch to easily shed snow during the winter and give us the most peace of mind.  What I will do for the barn shop this summer is still in the air.  I have not decided as of yet if I will build the trusses myself or if I will hire it out.

When I finished snow throwing the roof of the derelict cabin.  My body was still pretty beat, but to my surprise my wife had been baking a special dish for me.  The  surprise my wife made for us is located at time index 06:22 in the video.

To learn how to start a stalled snow thrower without pulling the starter cord to the point of feeling your arm fall off, See time index: 04:30

Thanks for following our journey as we battle the elements in snow country.  We are still many inches of white slushy snow before we will see dirt again, but from what I hear, spring is just around the corner, somewhere.

Cooking with My Wood Cook Stove- Pioneer Pumpkin Pie from Scratch: 4/4

Welcome to Part 4/4, the final video/blog in my video mini series, Cooking with a Wood Cook Stove – Pioneer Pumpkin Pie from Scratch. My final video will show how I maintained my wood cook stove while cooking my pumpkin pie and will show you my Pumpkin Pie all cooked and ready to eat!

I hope these videos encouraged you that you can cook in your wood cook stove and that it is not that difficult. It is like anything new, you just need to use it and practice.

From talking with others, each wood cook stove is a little different. It is my hope that these videos will give you an idea of how to use a wood cook stove and then you can modify as you need for your specific stove.

One tip: Check the wood in your stove and make sure your fire box has the right amount of wood in it to create the temperatures you need. Typically, I keep the wood in my fire box pretty full with a good wood ember base. This keep the temperatures up and for the Kitchen Queen Wood Cook Stove this works great.

Enjoy and Happy Wood Stove Cooking!!!

Krista and Pie_Background

An up close shot of my Pumpkin Pie.  It tasted awesome!

Behind the Scenes:  While I was filing the last part of this video I was running out of time.  My husband and I were needing to pick up our son.  So While I was off camera, I was cleaning up the kitchen and praying that the pumpkin pie would cook in time.  To my delight the pie cooked in time and we were able to pick up our son.

Thank you readers for your interest and may you have a wonderful day.

Cooking with My Wood Cook Stove – Pioneer Pumpkin Pie from Scratch: 3/4

Welcome to Part 3 in my series, Cooking with a Wood Cook Stove – Pioneer Pumpkin Pie from Scratch. In this video you will see how I make pumpkin puree from a sugar pumpkin and how I make my pumpkin pie filling using the pumpkin puree. Also you will see how I maintain and use my wood cook stove to do this. How fun is that? May you enjoy part 3!!!  Part 4 will be coming soon!

part 3A Krista

Homemade pumpkin puree!

Behind the Scenes:  While I was filming this section of the video, the background noise you hear is from our plow truck. My husband was working on it out in our meadow and he finally was able to fix it and moved it to the front of our house, where he finished prepping it to be ready for when the snow falls here at our homestead.  As an extra tid bit;  As I am writing this we still have no snow on the ground, which is very unusual.  We may not have a white Christmas, which would be very unusual.

To all our readers:  Here is a sneak peek at my finished Pumpkin Pie from my final video, Part 4.

Krista and Pie_Background

My finished Pumpkin Pie! Mmmm!!!

Thank you for watching and may you have a wonderful day!


Cooking with My Wood Cook Stove- Pioneer Pumpkin Pie from Scratch : 2/4

Hello and welcome to Part 2 of my video / blog series, Cooking with a Wood Cook Stove – Pioneer Pumpkin Pie. In the video you will see how I make a pumpkin pie crust from scratch. Additionally, I pull out my sugar pumpkin from my wood cook stove and show what it should look like and what you do to test it to make sure it is done. Enjoy and Part 3 will be coming soon!

vlcsnap-2017-12-08-15h52m03s178Behind the Scenes:  When I was making the pie crust, I sure had a difficult time with the crust.  That seems to be the way when I am wanting to put something on video.  What do we call that, Murphy’s Law?  The amount of “patches” I had to do with this crust was starting to make me laugh.  Anyway, the crust turned out great and tasted awesome!

Also, I really like to use coconut oil in my pie crusts.  It gives a nice little flavor to the crust.  And I love using the pumpkin spices individually versus using “pumpkin pie spice”.  I think this adds a better flavor as well.

In part three of my video series you will see how to make the pumpkin puree for the pumpkin pie filling.

Enjoy the video and thank you for reading and watching!!!