Friday, February 28, 2014

Tuxedo Strawberries

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Tuxedo Strawberries

An easy snack for any occasion.

I used those melty little disks and "nuked" them for a few seconds in a shallow dish, 
stirred and gave them a few more seconds.

The strawberries I rinsed and let dry on a towel.
I used red hot candies for the buttons.

First I dipped the "shirt fronts" with white or vanilla melty.
Immediately add the red hot to let it stick in the melted white candy.
By the time I did about a dozen, the first ones were hard enough to add
the brown part. I melted the candy in the microwave for a few seconds
not melting the wafers totally. Stirring them made them smooth.

On my first one, I ended up with chocolate all over my fingers,
so I came up with stabbing the stem end with a toothpick and then
rotating the berry for each side.

"Quality control" had to test the last one because my dish was full.

Taking them to our "sing" tonight.

Sharing At:
JAQS Studios Made By Me Wednesday      

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Passing Down Heritage

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My sis and I were reminiscing the other day about the places we lived in our childhoods.

One was on a "dead end" street. We were the last house and our house had a freeway exit ramp in our front yard. Just a cyclone fence with a few vines separated us from cars that whizzed by morning, noon and night. I drove by the house the other day, it now has a high, sound proof barrier between it and the highway.

OK, then, our neighborhood was a safe place. We knew all the neighbors down the street. Next door were the S*****. They were on the same side of our cul-de-sac with an older couple next. Now started the houses on both sides. As you walked along, the left house had a family that had 10 children. You pick an age, they had it. Across the street from them was were "The Sherriff" lived. Nobody, not nobody, messed with his yard, trees, etc. You might go to jail (in our child's minds). Next to their home was my introduction to an outdoor pool. It was probably 10 feet across, but it was huge in my mind. A loving couple opened it up to all the neighborhood kids, too. I could go on about the neighbors, but...

Now, on the heritage part. My mother, bless her soul, was deathly afraid of water. That is swimming water. I don't know why, but she ingrained in me that I needed to be afraid also. Perhaps she was thrown into a body of water as a child with the old saying "sink or swim". Anyway, she did not like it. Read more about this on The Ditch post.

As a matter of fact, she heard that you could get a cramp if you went into water too soon after eating, so we were not allowed to "run through the sprinkler" (our form of cooling off in the summer) until we had waited a while.

So, as I recognized this fear in myself, I resolved that I would NOT pass this along to my children. As far as I know, they are all very comfortable in any water and swim wonderfully.

Are there things in our lives that we pass along without thinking about the impact they will have on others around us? Does your lack of submissiveness in your marriage shows your daughter "you don't have to be under his thumb". (contrary to scripture) Does my shyness translate to "uncaring".  Does my distrust of an individual make it harder for my children to trust?

Positive side, do your children see you pray about a situation and then see the peace it brings? Do they see the love you have for the Lord? Do you let them into the places of your heart that you have given over to the Lord?
A few years after we moved from the "freeway house" about 1960's.

These are things I wish I had thought out more as I was raising my family. Just something to think about.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Cakes on a Miniature Scale

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Only in muffins...

I was casting around in my head for a dessert for the weekend and pineapple cake sounded so good.

So, good ole' Betty Crocker called me from the cupboard and I doubled the recipe that makes a 10" pan.
Spooned in the butter and brown sugar into the little cups and over sized muffin tin and added
a half maraschino cherry and some pineapple.

Ooo, that photo above makes me a little dizzy when I look at it. I hope you are OK.

Then the batter, they were pretty shallow in the cake department, but they rose to the occasion.

All that bubbly brown sugar goodness just has to have somewhere to go.
 Loosen the edges with a knife and turn upside down on a plate.

A tip from a recipe user, cut down paper muffin liners for just the bottom of your tin.
Spray the pan first, put in the paper, spray again.
This one stuck until I gently peeled it off.

Look out mouth!

One of these days, I want to try it with rice flour - to make them gluten free.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Focaccia Bread

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Our small fellowship gets together on the weekends for Bible study and eating.
Yes, eating.
We have pot-lucks that make a cruise ship's layout look sad.
And, as in everything in life, you need to make good choices, even when going through a pot-luck line.

It gives us opportunity to break out the old favorite recipes and also to try some new ones.
This particular weekend, we are having soup and bread.
That is loosely interpreted, as there will be soups and chili. Uh, I'm making the chili.

One of our ladies makes fantastic homemade bread and we regularly buy
a loaf or two to enjoy. So, when it was decided to have chili, I mean soup,
I hesitated to make my focaccia bread, but then I thought, well, someone will like it.
After all, I like it...
What is there not to like about focaccia bread?
So, the story behind this recipe is this:

We have a restaurant called Macaroni Grill. Perhaps you have it in your area.
Years ago, I saw the recipe in the local newspaper. I don't usually read that section,
but, for some reason, I did that day, and there it was.

This recipe was given by the chef there and since then, they have changed it somewhat.
I still like this one.

The recipe uses the "cool rise" method and if you have never tried it, then please do.
If you have a busy day planned and time is of the essence, 
a little planning ahead makes this method a winner.
You basically make the bread, put it in the refrigerator and let it sit...
for at least 3 hours and up to 48!
Can you imagine? All the fuss is done, all you do is bake it.

Go to that soccer game and come home and bake up the bread or rolls.
I have used it to make other breads, and they turn out fantastic.

Well, on to the recipe, did you think it wasn't going to happen?

I have taken a picture of the recipe as it is in my favorite recipe book,
but I will walk you through it too.

 First off, notice that is says you are going to use 2 Cups of water, divided.
That means that the total amount is 2 Cups.
I take a 2 cup measure, run the water in the sink until it is hot and then measure out 2 cups.
Then I pour about a 1/4 cup into a little bowl for the yeast.

Sprinkle the yeast in and stir it around.
Now, a little secret about yeast, as it "works" it will get bubbly,
like this if it is "good". If it doesn't, then two things, it could be old,
or your water was too hot and killed it. But I think you will do just fine.

 Yeast keeps a long time in the refrigerator.
A little packet that you buy at the store will keep in there too.
I have bought in bulk and the yeast I have, in an airtight container, is probably several years old.
Yep, just can't seem to use it up. And, it is still "working".

OK, now measure your flour into your mixing bowl.
It calls for 4 1/2 cups, you will need more, just saying,
but go for the original amount now.

Add in the olive oil, if you don't have olive oil, then use regular oil.
Mix it up and it will look like cornmeal.

Now add the water which you have added sugar, it will be soupy,
Add the yeast water, and then the vinegar and don't forget the rosemary and salt.
Now, you have all the ingredients in. But...

Doesn't look like bread dough, huh?
Well, keep mixing and add in about a 1/4 Cup of flour at a time.
About a cup later, it will start to leave the edges of the bowl.
At first it will be kinda stringy, but keep on going.
Sometimes more flour is needed. I don't know where they came up with 4 1/2 Cups!

Here it left the sides of the bowl, just like it said it would, I did not scrape it down.

 Now transfer it to a floured board, or as I hate the clean-up, a floured wax paper.
Put a little more flour on it, and cover it with plastic wrap and a towel.
Let it rest for 20 minutes.

Now, you can go have a cup of coffee, make a phone call, take a short nap,
or clean up the mess you have made in the kitchen.
You have the choice!

OK, now take that clump and kinda roll the sides into the center and either
make one large ball, or divide it up.
Here I have four. They look sorta little, but they will rise to the occasion.
I have used cake tins, I think three, and when it cooks, it has a delicious outer rim
and makes a great large sandwich when sliced across.

I put my hand here to give you an idea of the size.

Cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
At least 3 hours, as long as 48.
That means you can make them ahead and cook some tonight,
one tomorrow and one the next day if you like.

After they have risen in the refrigerator,
take them out and while the oven is heating to 350',
punch them down with your fingers.

Let it bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, get ready the olive oil, rosemary and I used kosher salt here.

After they bake for 20 minutes take them out and brush on olive oil and sprinkle on the salt and rosemary.
It is not finished baking, though, put it back in and let it bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is brown.

I took the liberty of separating the loaves, as they were getting pretty chummy.

A few more minutes, and yes, you will have to sweep after all. The rosemary and salt just want to coat everything, including the floor.

Ready to share at our lunch.

After I reread this post, I realized that I didn't tell you about how wonderful
this tastes dipped in olive oil, with maybe a tad (or more for my taste) of balsamic
vinegar. Pour the oil in a shallow dish and add the vinegar on the side. It makes my
mouth explode with wonderful sensations.

Also, after you have enjoyed this straight from the oven,
you will want to slice and toast it later. Smear on the butter.
The rosemary will "revive" and you will remind yourself that you have to make this again.

If you have any questions, successes and such, be sure to comment and let me know how it turned out.

Shared on "Made By Me Wednesday"

Also: Adorned From Above

Adorned From Above

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fresh Fruit Cobbler

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There's nothing like the taste of fresh fruit.

In season it can be rather overwhelming, though.

We have many apple trees and when it is apple time,
we are hard pressed to use up all the fruit.
The same holds true with berries,
and other fruits.

Here is a recipe that can be used with fresh or frozen
or even canned fruit.

It is very simple.
1 Cup flour
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup milk
1 stick butter
4 Tbsp baking powder

My local grocery store carries freshly frozen fruit in 1 lb bags.
It is simply fruit, with nothing added.
Here is a bag of frozen peaches.
It makes roughly about 4 cups.
I added about 1/4 cup sugar and let it sit for a few minutes while I prepared the other ingredients.

Melt 1 stick of butter (margarine can be used if you like)

In a bowl, mix 1 Cup all purpose flour,
1 cup granulated sugar,
and 4 Tbsp baking powder

Kinda mix it up a little and then

Add 1 cup milk.
A tiny splash of vanilla extract makes this taste and smell even more wonderful.
Mix it up, it will be kinda thin, about like pancake batter.

Pour it over the melted butter. Don't mix.
That's right, batter on the bottom, don't worry it will turn out right.

Take your sweetened fruit and place it over the top of the batter/butter
Arrange it so that the fruit is evenly distributed, so that everyone gets a bite or two.

Sprinkle on a little cinnamon and bake.
This is a before it baked picture, sorry I just seem to forget
to take the after, I am so eager to jump in and sample.

The batter will surround the fruit like a down comforter surrounds you.
It will come up over the fruit and the fruit will disappear in fluffy goodness.

Bake it at 350' for around 45 min to a hour, depending on if the batter is still gooey in the center.
if so, let it cook a little longer.

Easy, so much so, you can allow you 10 year old to experiment with
cooking, if you are really adventuresome.

I have used peaches, apples and berries for this recipe.
They have all been awesome.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Old Fashioned Scalloped Potatoes

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I guess everyone has what is called a favorite recipe.

This is one that my mother made.
It is one that has been passed down, by word of mouth for a long time.

 Old Fashioned Scalloped Potatoes

Just to let you know, this does take a little work
but the rewards are great.
These are a sure winner with 
Pork Roast
(what's left?)

I don't personally make this for Mr and I as a side dish,
probably because if I am going to go to the effort,
I make enough to feed a small army.

Let me give you the cast of characters

We have potatoes in the background - for this size dish I used probably about 5 lbs
(notice the precise measurement? Sorry, it's like that throughout)

You need shredded cheese, here is mild cheddar and some leftover pepper jack
Salt and Pepper
Sliced onion
And, flour - I used rice flour today to make this gluten - free.
But, "normally" I would use regular flour.
Your choice.
I get mine in the bulk section of my favorite grocery store.
Gotta love the bulk sections, right?

There is a scientific explanation as to why you use flour, butter and milk.
All I know is that they work together to make a sauce.
It bathes the potatoes and onions, to make your mouth sing,
add cheddar cheese and you will be joining the choir.

My little work horse of a peeler.
It not only peels apples, but also potatoes.
If you run across one in a yard sale, thrift shop, I consider this worth
more than a handful of silver coins. 
Mine is well over 20 years old and it keeps on giving.
A little like the Energizer Bunny
Poor box, it has seen lots of years.

Another beauty shot

You do need to unscrew the corer part and drop it down,
but even if you didn't, the potatoes would turn out OK.
The main idea is to get them into slices.

And, sure, they have some funny ridges and the ends need to be 
trimmed, but overall, it is worth it to me.
Not everyone is perfect.
You could leave them unpeeled, if that is your thing.

OK, now, slice those potatoes and layer them in your dish.
(Some graters have a side that slices, I don't use mine because
I am deathly afraid that I will slice off a digit or two)
It is a good idea to spray the dish before so that you don't have to
dump out what you put in it and spray it and then reassemble.

Here are potatoes, salt and pepper, onions, rice flour sprinkled on,
"dots" of butter and ready for a layer of cheese.

Now after everything is layered in,

carefully pour in milk on the corner.
You don't want to mess up your creation.

Pour, pour, pour until you just see the milk peeking around the sliced potatoes.

Not over the top, because that is too much, but just enough...

I have made these in shallow dishes and deep bowls.
It is always the same as to the milk, just when you see it, stop.
I prefer the shallow bake pans, because then there is more of the
cheese baked to a dark brown to eat.

Bake, bake, bake. It will seem like forever, so allow that much time.
At 350'.

A word to the wise, put a baking sheet under
the pan. There have been more times than I want to
remember of having these bubble over and splash onto the floor of my
oven and make smoke... not a good sign for your guests...

If you have ham going, put them in with it.
Meatloafs take around an hour and half to bake, so bake these too, if it is a smaller dish.
Turkeys, chickens, the idea is to use the same oven temperature and save
a little energy in the making of these.

Mine, in this dish were finally finished about 2 hours later.
And, that is a long time to smell those onions baking, nothing better.

A word, as they are "nearing" the end, they will show a watery
bubbling around the edges, let them cook more.
Even if your fork or knife tester shows that the potatoes are
done, Let them cook more til the water is absorbed.
You will thank me for that.
No one wants watery scalloped potatoes.

I'm sorry that I don't have a picture of the finished product.
That alone would sell you on these.
The same my mother made, perhaps she got the recipe from her mother...

Just old fashioned cooking.

P.S. they are great left-over