Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SPINACH AND TOMATO PASTA TOSS


This is a quick and easy salad with substance ...



I made a few substitutions in the original recipe and still
enjoyed the results.  The grape tomatoes didn't split as the cherry ones
would have but that was alright.  I didn't have any bocconcini cheese
so I substituted mozzarella. 


SPINACH AND TOMATO PASTA TOSS

5 cups tri-color rotini vegetable pasta
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups cherry tomatoes
¼ tsp. hot pepper flakes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup cubed (½-inch) bocconcini cheese
(or mozzarella cheese)

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta
according to package directions.  Drain, reserving ½ cup of the
cooking liquid.  Return pasta to pot.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion and
garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 6 minutes.
Add tomatoes and spices; cook until tomatoes start to split,
about 5 minutes.
Add to pasta along with spinach, cheese and ¼ cup of reserved
cooking liquid.
Cook, stirring and adding more of the cooking liquid as needed
to coat, until spinach is wilted and cheese begins to melt.
I used fresh chopped basil and parsley to garnish.
Yield: 4 servings


Sunday, July 29, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, HOW GLORIOUS IS MY GOD


How glorious is my God!


This week a vicious hailstorm passed through a town to the southwest
of here.  My relatives were waiting in the Dairy Queen when the first
ice ball hit the glass.  Someone thought it was a shot but then there was
another and another ... windows broke ... glass shattered.
Tennis ball-size hail pounded the town.
An unplanned circumstance prevented my niece from being at that
very place and spared her vehicle from the terrible damage done
to all the others.  It was the hand of God.


Something happened to me this week as I sat in my car waiting for an
opportunity to make a left turn.  Not until it was over did the
realization hit me that I was spared the possibility of serious
consequences.  At such a time there are sobering moments of
reflection.  God, I praise and thank you for looking out for me
when it seems I cannot look out for myself.
I know about this inident ... I am sure there are many others where
God intervenes and I am blissfully unaware.


This morning I worshiped as I heard an awe-filled and inspiring exhortation on
the glory of God. My heart was blessed and filled with hope as my mind
was drawn to many scriptures that point to a power that is greater than anything
we have imagined.  Nothing reminds me more of this majesty than
the wondrous signs of God in the clouds and the heavens.

I am the Lord:
that is my name:
and my glory will I not give to another,
neither my praise to graven images.
Isaiah 42: 8

Thursday, July 26, 2012

WATERMELON LIME DRINK


Watermelon do not grow in this part of the country so
finding a ripe one in the grocery store is a thump, thump
process.  I hardly ever find one that is just the perfect
ripeness as well as sweet.  That is less of a concern now
that I've discovered the overly ripe ones can become a delicious drink.
Half of the last one I bought was fine to eat but the rest was the perfect
candidate for the blender.  My frugal sense was rewarded and the
drink did not seem at all like a recyled product.
The color is amazing ... the taste so refreshing on a hot afternoon!

WATERMELON LIME DRINK

4 cups watermelon chunks.
juice of one lime
simple syrup*

Chunk or scoop out pieces of watermelon.
In a blender, process watermelon pieces in batches until
smooth.  Strain through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids.
Add lime juice and enough simple syrup to sweeten to
your liking.  Pour into a glass jar with lid and refrigerate until
thoroughly chilled.  Serve over ice.

*simple syrup : heat ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar
to boiling.  Cook until sugar is dissolved.
Store in refrigerator and use to sweeten fruit drinks or ice tea.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NUTELLA CARAMEL PECAN BARS


I saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and since it has so many of
my favorite addicting ingredients I had to give them a try.
They are very yummy and quite rich so I cut them in small pieces
to savor sparingly and to freeze.


A tender shortbread forms the base and is all mixed by hand
after the butter is beaten.


Tap the crumbs onto a parchment-lined baking pan.


The crust is pre-baked and spread with Nutella while it
is still warm.


The recipe calls for a generous 3/4 cups of nutella which I used.
However I plan to reduce that to 2/3 cup next time to
cut back on the sweetness. 


A mixture of pecans, coconut, caramel and eggs make up the
topping.  And back into the oven it goes.


After cooling, lift out of the pan and peel back the sides.
At this point I scraped the sides and had my first taste.
I hurried with the pictures so I could have a real
sample ... so yummy.  I couldn't stop with one.


They are very good warm but I liked them even better
when they were cold from the fridge.


NUTELLA CARAMEL PECAN BARS

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. salt

Sift dry ingredients together; set aside.
A sieve works fine if you don't have a sifter.

½ cup butter, softened

In a mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add half of the flour
mixture and stir until almost combined.  Add remaining flour and
stir just until combined.  Press crumbs into a parchment-lined
8 x 8-inch baking pan.  Bake in preheated 300° oven for
20 minutes until dry on top but not golden or browned.

1 egg
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup caramel sauce*
(*use salted caramel sauce if desired)
2/3 cup flaked coconut
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
3/4 cup Nutella

Beat egg, brown sugar and caramel sauce together.
Stir in coconut and pecans.
After crust is baked, remove from oven and carefully spread
with Nutella while it is still hot.  Pour pecan mixture
over top.  Return to oven and continue to bake for
20 to 25 minutes until set and golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.  Remove from pan and peel back
parchment.  Cut into bars and enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, A COVENANT


And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant
I am making between me and you ....


and every living creature with you,
a covenant for all generations to come:


I have set my rainbow in the clouds,
and it will be the sign of the covenant between
me and the earth.


Whenever I bring clouds over the earth
and the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will remember my covenant between you and
all living creatures of every kind.


Never again will the waters become a flood
to destroy all life.


Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant
between God and all living creatures
of every kind on the earth.'


So God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant
I have established between me and
all life on the earth.' 
Genesis 9 : 12 - 17  NIV

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

RASPBERRY POPPY SEED DRESSING


When I posted my recipe for raspberry vinegar, a friend, Susan P,
gave me a dressing recipe that originates from a local eating establishment.
Recently, I was asked to make a dressing for a spinach and raspberry salad.
I decided to give this one a try and the result was a new favorite.
'This dressing is really nice', was the response I heard over and over.


RASPBERRY POPPY SEED DRESSING

1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp. finely chopped red onion
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1½ tsp. poppy seeds

In a blender, combine all ingredients except oil and poppy seeds.
Cover and process until blended.  While processing, gradually add oil
in a steady stream.  Blend until thick and creamy.
Pour into container; stir in poppy seeds.
Store tightly covered in refrigerator.
Yield: about 1½ cups

Monday, July 16, 2012

FARMER'S MARKET SOUP


On Saturday I loaded up with fresh produce at the local
farmer's market with specific intentions of making soup.
All the veggies are young and tender and that taste comes
through beautifully in the soup.


The market tables are laden with vegetables all cleaned and washed
so there is not much work to the preparation ...
some rinsing and scraping and chopping.


Basil and parsley are growing nicely in my own pots ..
that is as fresh as it gets!


Cut up 6 to 7 cups of bite sized-chunks of your favorites.


Cooking time is short when the veggies are fresh and in small pieces.


It's not that I like extra work ... but I love the flavor of
sauteed onions so I saute them before adding to the soup.
They can be cooked along with the vegetables if you are
in a hurry.

Cook and thicken the broth and milk.  Add the veggies
and enjoy the delightful taste of summer's garden.



FARMER'S MARKET SOUP

6 to 7 cups chopped  fresh vegetables
( carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and potatoes)
2 cups water
½ tsp. salt

Cook vegetables in water and salt until tender-crisp,
 7 to 10 minutes. Do not drain.

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1½ cups milk
½ cup cream or half and half
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp. ground thyme
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in butter
until tender. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly.
Gradually add chicken broth and milk; cook and stir until thickened.
Stir in the cream, basil, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
Add the vegetables and cook gently until heated through.
Adjust seasonings.
Yield: about 8 servings

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, RID OF THE RUBBISH


Nature's way of getting rid of the rubbish is to wash it up on
the shore.  I'm not sure what happens to these logs and branches
on the edge of Waterton lake.  Will they decay ... will they be swept
out on the lake again if the water rises?
Some 'rubbish' can get in the way of a sandy beach and the
chance to wade in the clear cold water on a hot day.


The apostle Paul talked about all the things in life that he had
lost .... he considered them all 'rubbish'.
Today's sermon was titled, 'God's Call - Getting Rid of the Rubbish'.
People were invited to listen to the voice of God.
When God calls our response needs to be ...
'Father, what would you have me to do?'


What are the blocks or the 'rubbish' in my life that
are hindering the Spirit from leading me?
Am I too busy to spend time with God?
Do I become irritable if my to-do list doesn't shrink?
Am I too concerned about my image or what others may think?
Do I worry?  What are my priorities?
Am I allowing God to search my heart?


Rubbish must go ...  loveliness restored ...
 the beauty that God desires in us.
Beauty of Spirit and character that comes if we seek
to cleanse our hearts of the unwanted and ugly.

What is more, I consider everything a loss
compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whose sake I have lost all things.
I consider them rubbish,
that I may gain Christ
and be found in him,
not having a righteousness of my own
that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ -
the righteousness that comes from God
and is by faith.
Phil. 3:8-9 NI

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CHOCOLATE SYRUP


When I was a child I was not restricted as far as sugar goes.
We ate lots of vegetables and fruit as well as meat but we also had
 a serving of dessert several times a week.
I remember my favorite Cadbury Caramilk chocolate bar that I
had now and again except for Christmas time when I had more than
enough.  So with that in mind, I don't know why there were
restrictions on icings.  Perhaps it was because there was just
enough icing for the cake with none to spare.
I wanted to eat icing ... or at least sample enough to make
it worthwhile.  The remainders on a spoon or inside the
bowl were never enough.
On Sunday afternoons when noon meal was over and the adults
had retired to their homes for naps,
some of us would sneak in to the farm kitchen and cook up some of our
very own icing to enjoy with no limits
Even though we cleaned up after ourselves and left not a trace of
evidence .. the smell lingered and gave it all away.


One day I was telling my little niece the story of the Sunday afternoon
candy ritual.  Along with the story I did a live presentation
as best as I could remember the event.
A little sugar and a bit of cocoa ... stir in some cream ...boil on the stove ..
 cool .. and we had ourselves some candy to lick.  It was so good that
I did some actual measurements and came up with
an excellent chocolate syrup that is delicious on ice cream.
To begin sift cocoa through a sieve to remove tiny lumps.


Stir the sugar, cocoa and cream together in a saucepan.
Stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.


After it is boiled,  place pan into a container of cold water.
Add vanilla and stir until the syrup is thick.
This is so simple it sounds too good to be true. 
 The fact that I can make a small amount
instead of having to purchase a big bottle is a plus.
However, the biggest plus is the pure taste with no additives!
It is very delicious on its own but one could get carried away
with a spoon.  Instead just drizzle some onto vanilla ice cream
with fresh raspberries ... yum!

CHOCOLATE SYRUP

½ sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa
½ cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, cocoa and cream in a small saucepan.
Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.
Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes.
Transfer saucepan into a shallow container of cold water.
Add vanilla and stir unil cool and thickened.
Refrigerate until needed.
Enjoy with ice cream or as a topping for brownies.




Monday, July 9, 2012

COPYCAT CHICK-FUH-LAY NUGGETS


If you want to copycat a food, it usually means that you find it
very good.  I love chicken in most any form and when I saw this
chicken nugget recipe in the crazycookingchallenge, I knew I had to try it.
As the name suggests, it is a copy cat recipe and I am a third one
 to copy it as far as I know.


Without needing to turn on an oven, these nuggets were perfect to make
on this hot and muggy day.
 The finished product looked just like they were made in a fast food
place like Chick-Fuh-Lay.  It has been many years since I ate
at one of those and I honestly don't remember what they tasted like.
I do know these were scrumptious ... I could hardly stop sampling.
I can't forget to endorse the sauce as the perfect accompaniment
to this tasty chicken which I will be making often.



COPYCAT CHICK-FUH-LAY NUGGETS
with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.

¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
1½ tsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
 ¼ - ½ tsp. kosher salt
pepper to taste

For the dipping sauce:
In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise together with remaining ingredients
until well blended.  Refrigerate while preparing chicken.

1 large chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. paprika
Vegetable or Canola oil for frying

Measure dry ingredients and pour into a freezer bag; shake to blend.
Add chicken pieces; seal and shake to coat chicken pieces.
Remove chicken pieces with a slotted spoon, shaking off excess
flour.  Place on a plate.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil (about 2 inches) to 375° using
a thermometer. Deep-fry in batches for 3 to 5 minutes until
golden brown.  With slotted spoon remove chicken
nuggets onto paper towels to drain.
Serve with honey mustard dipping sauce.
Yield: 2 servings


Friday, July 6, 2012

BEEF IN A CROCKPOT


On a hot day when fussing in the kitchen is not on the favorite
list of things to do, I like to pull out the crockpot.


The beef was baked on Low for 5 hours and it was tender
enough to pull apart with a fork as I did on this picture.


Add boiled new potatoes and a garden salad for a tasty feast.
on the deck.

BEEF IN A CROCK POT

This is how I prepared the beef.
Brown 6 portions, eye of the round, marinating steak in a large
skillet coated with oil.  Place in the slow cooker.
Stir together 1 can (10 ½ oz.) cream of mushroom soup
1 envelopedry onion soup mix
3/4 cup water
  2 tsp. prepared mustard
½ tsp. Montreal Steak spice
Microwave or cook until hot.
Pour over beef and cook on Low for 5 hours.
Beef will have a lovely thick gravy.
Serve with potatoes and a garden salad.
Serves 6


Thursday, July 5, 2012

COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY


Thanks to all of you that left a comment
on my blog for the cookbook giveaway.
Your kind words are an important
encouragement for me.  I try to
post recipes that will appeal to my
readers because the food will turn out to
be appetizing .... practical ... and pretty.
I am so happy to hear that many of you
are using my cookbook already and
are visiting the blog for new ideas.
I do post recipes that are in the cookbook
because sometimes I think they
may be overlooked.
A picture is worth a thousand words.

A cookbook will go out to 'Jane'
as soon as she sends me her address.

Next day

Jane sent me her address and much to my surprise she
lives north of my city on a dairy farm.
We arranged to meet this morning at Costco and  I presented
her with my cookbook.
I was so happy to meet Jane and one day I am invited
to come see her flower garden ... can't wait!
My cookbook has put me in contact with the nicest people!