Thursday, October 25, 2012

VISITING IN NEW YORK


This is the scenic view from the south side of my daughter's home.
I left southern Alberta just in time to miss the first fierce
blast of winter with blowing snow and icy cold.
Here in upstate New York it is balmy and warm ...
perfect fall-like weather.


Even though the trees are past their prime,
it is a thrill for this prairie grami to marvel at the glorious
colors and falling leaves. 


My grandsons led me on a tour of the yard, past the large garden
they helped to harvest and on into the woods.
One of them pointed out a golden yellow leaf stuck on the trunk.


Working with my daughter in her kitchen is a wonderful experience
in food preparation.  A family of six needs large servings of everything!
We plan on trying some new recipes which I will blog in the future.
I will keep you posted.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, HOPE


The needlepoint picture above is named 'Pinkie'.
I thought it was appropriate as October is the month to
support breast cancer research and the chosen color is pink.


Many of us have had first hand experience with this disease.
Ironically, I lost my sister to cancer in the month of October
some years back.  She was only 42.
When I was very young, I lost a favorite aunt to the same disease
during the month of October.  She was only 38.
This 'tea' is reminiscent of the joyous times we had together.


I hope for a cure for cancer ..
but my hope does not stop there.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ,
we are to be pitied more than all men.

Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Cor. 15: 19, 55, 56 NIV


Thursday, October 11, 2012

MAKE-AHEAD POTATO ROLL DOUGH


To make holiday meal preparations less busy, I like to
do as much ahead as possible.  For our Thanksgiving meal
I made a light wheat dough the night before. 


The dough rises slowly throughout the night and is cold
and pliable when it comes out of the fridge.


Cold dough responds very differently than a warm-rising
dough. You can form the shapes with a minimum of
effort as the dough doesn't move or want to shrink.
It felt like I had the mastery over it ...


My kitchen was cool, the dough was cold and on this day
it took 2½ to 3 hours for the rolls to rise.
That freed me up to do other things.
Cover the pans with a sheet of plastic to aid in the rising.


A fancy shape adds a tempting appearance to any
celebration table.


If you like to share with friends, you can make a small
round to give away.

MAKE-AHEAD POTATO ROLL DOUGH

1 pkg. dry yeast (1 tbsp.)
½ cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.

1 cup warm milk
1 cup lukewarm mashed potatoes, unseasoned
(OR stir 2/3 cup instant mashed potato flakes
into 3/4 cup hot water, cool to lukewarm)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
4½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, potatoes, sugar, butter,
eggs and salt.  Add whole wheat flour and 2 cups all-purpose flour;
beat until smooth.  Mix in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.
Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to oil surface.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
About 3 hours before baking, shape dough into rolls.
Cover and let rise until doubled, 2½ to 3 hours.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or
until lightly browned.
Yield: about 3 dozen medium rolls



Sunday, October 7, 2012

A FOREVER FEAST, EMBRACE YOUR GIFTS


'Embrace your gifts and run with them'.
This is a memo to self .. I invite you to listen in.
 No, it is not about my giftedness but rather
  God's gracious gifts to me.
I stood out in a field last evening as the sun dipped behind
the Rockies. Bold splashes of color swept across the canvas
of sky.  Was I on holy ground?  Did I sense a bestowal
within my soul, 'be still and know that I am God?


Running with my gifts doesn't mean escaping adversities.
                              Difficult times, upward climbs, insurmountable obstacles meet me
on the path of life.  Where do I go .. what do I do?
Dare I cross valleys and scale mountains on my own?
I have no need to.  I face my fears and run to my Father.
He lets me know which gifts I'll have to use.


I planted the tree. Each Spring I wait and watch expectantly.
I know what is coming ... without fail. 
I am so excited as the gift unwraps and dormancy is
replaced with a life revival.
A feast from the hand of God!


I watched this little rascal roam the town site at Waterton
without a qualm.  The residents know him and he appears
to feel right at home as he wanders from yard to yard.
Experience has taught him that he is safe.
When I am fearful, I claim this promise.
For God did not give us a spirit of fear,
but a spirit of power, of love and
of self-discipline.


I want to reach out my hand and have another chance to
indulge in this perfectly formed macaron.  One of the guests at the
wedding had made them.  I sought her out and we talked about
the making of them, step by step.
Bless you for sharing your expertise! 
God is the master of sharing.
'If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously without finding fault,
and it will be given him'.


In the yard, on the walk, in the trees, on the branches,
every day, I behold the hand of God caring
for his creatures. 
His provisions for me are abundant.
I am blessed!


Can I count the gifts that come to me as as numerous
as the flowers on this plant?
It will take a lifetime.


Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

SOFT BUTTER COOKIES


On a nippy afternoon in October, it is pleasant to sit down
to a hot cup of tea and a small butter cookie.


These are drop cookies ... no rolling needed.
I iced some with plain butter icing and others got a
coating of caramel butter icing ... yummy!



SOFT BUTTER COOKIES

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
Add eggs and continue beating until light and fluffy.
Add sour cream and vanilla: mix well.

4½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda

Blend flour and baking soda; add to mixture beating until
combined.  Chill for several hours.
Drop by teaspoonful onto a parchment-lined or ungreased
baking sheet.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Cookies will be light on top and slightly browned on bottom.
Cool and ice with butter icing or caramel icing.

CARAMEL BUTTER ICING

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup caramel topping
2 to 2½ cups powdered sugar

Beat butter, caramel and 2 cups powdered sugar until smooth
and creamy.  Add enough remaining powdered sugar to make
icing stiff enough to spread.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

BLUEBERRY LEMON CRUMBLE BARS


There is so much old-fashioned oats and fruit in these
bars that they could almost pass for breakfast ...
almost but not quite.  Because of the sugar, I'll have them
with my afternoon tea.


The recipe appeared in the Fall issue of a local
grocery publication.  I thought I would give it a try
with a prairie variation ... saskatoons in place of blueberries.


They are very very good and when I make them again
I will add even more fruit.

BLUEBERRY LEMON CRUMBLE BARS

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or saskatoons
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, stir sugar and cornstarch together until blended.
Add water, lemon juice and half of the berries.
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.  Stir in remaining berries.
Refrigerate to cool completely.

2½ cups large flake oats
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
zest of one medium lemon
¼ tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

In a bowl, stir together, oats, flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt.
Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until crumbly.
Press 2/3 of the mixture into a parchment lined, 9 x 9-inch baking pan.
Spread cooled berry filling overtop.
Sprinkle with remaining crumble mixture.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until
golden brown.  Cool in pan before cutting into bars.
Yield: 16 bars





Wednesday, October 3, 2012

PIZZA CUPS


My girls and I used to make these pizza cups frequently if we
were expecting company for a light lunch or night lunch. 
We did it the easy way using 2 tubes refrigerated biscuits
but I wanted to make a from-scratch version. 
It is more work but in my opinion, well worth the extra time. 
They looked so appetizing and tasted fabulous!
  Great to have in the freezer!


I used my pizza dough recipe to form the shells or cups.
Be careful not to stretch the dough or it will bunch up
in the muffin cup.


Even without stretching, I had to re-form some of the
cups before adding the meat filling.  It is not hard to
do and once the filling is added, the shell stays in place.


In this instance I made 12 pizza cups and had dough left over.


With the remaining dough I made little individual shells which
I prebaked for a few minutes before cooling and freezing.
So convenient to have on hand for a later time.


It is really hard to beat a homemade crust.  And using my
marinara sauce instead of canned pizza sauce, added
another down home flavor that was delicious.
You can find the marinara recipe here



PIZZA CUPS

1 pkg. dry yeast (1 Tbsp.)
½ cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water until bubbly.

1 cup warm milk
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. garlic salt
3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour

In mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, milk, oil, sugar, salt and garlic salt.
Add 2 cups flour and beat together.  Add enough remaining flour to make a
dough that is easy to handle.  Knead until smooth.  Cover and let rise
in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.

1 1b. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup marinara sauce or pizza sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. salt
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook and stir ground beef and onion until meat is brown and onion
is tender.  Drain off fat.  Stir in marinara sauce and seasonings.
Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Cool slightly and stir in half of shredded cheese.

Spray or grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
After dough is risen, divide in half.  Roll one half out on lightly floured
surface to 3/8 inch thickness.  With a 4-inch round cookie cutter,
cut 12 rounds.  Place into prepared muffin pan, pressing to cover
bottom and sides.  Spoon about ¼ cup meat mixture into
dough-lined cups; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or
until golden brown.
Roll remaining dough into a 14-inch circle and place on a
pizza pan, pressing up sides to form and edge.
Prick dough with a fork and let rise for 20 minutes.
Partially bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes
or until crust just begins to brown.  Use immediately with your
favorite toppings or freeze for later use.  You can also use the same
method to make small individual sized pizza crusts.