Sunday, September 28, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, HARVEST & BOUNTY


Fall is here with spectacular landscapes and lovely harvest weather.


This is the time to bring in the grain .. later than usual ..
but bountiful and beautiful.


I am grateful to have part in a tradition that I have loved for so long.


One day this week the telling sign of a fire on the reservation
rose in a billow of smoke.  It can become frightening if it roars out of control but
this one was contained in a short time.


Taking meals to the field crew is part of my harvest celebration.
It gives me a chance to try new recipes like Apple Danish, pictured here.


Harvest meals are just the right opportunity to make foods that I
crave, such a vegetable pizza, but can't possibly eat by myself.
Along with that I introduced one of the combine drivers to deviled eggs.
He loved them instantly and for that I was happy.


Meatballs in pasta shells was another dish that I put together.


It may seem that an Upside-down Apple pie is too fussy for 
a supper out in the open .. the guys were enthused and would not agree!


 Spring was cold,  June was wet, and then came the heat of July and August.
One never knows what farming will yield on the prairies.
This year was good!


This picture is testimony to the goodness of God for another year of plenty.
For yet another opportunity to express gratitude.




But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long, 
though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, 
O Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteousness.
yours alone.
Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day 
I declare your marvelous deeds.

Psalm 71: 14 - 17


Sunday, September 21, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST. SECRETS


From a distance it appeared some stucco had fallen off the old building.
But soon I saw the unmistaken outline of one of Alberta's most formidable raptors.
My little friend and I turned around and slowly walked back for my camera
hoping it would keep it's perch until we returned.


Surprisingly it allowed us to get quite close.  
I am reminded of losing myself in the haunting tales of Thornton Burgess
and his animal world, in the very building Mr Owl found refuge on.
The master storyteller weaving for us children, sights and sounds of 
the secret lives of the animal kingdom.
No wonder I love to ponder the secretive world of birds.


The large eyes fixed in place seem to pierce right through me.
What is it thinking?  Is there a secret only known to owls?


Why does he seem so wise?  Story tellers have crafted an image of
'the wise old owl'.  Is it because those staring eyes appear to be evaluating and judging?


To look up or down, or to the side, he moves his entire head.
He will swivel his neck 180 degrees.


Tonight I saw his silhouette against the nighttime sky,
as he perched atop an electrical wire.
Glory and praise to the Creator who made this striking bird
and who knows all of the secrets.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place
Ween I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139: 14 - 16



Friday, September 19, 2014

ALMOND PEAR TART


It is early evening and the sun is dipping throwing the most lovely
rays on the pear tart I just pulled from the oven.


I confess to tossing moderation aside and snapping a spectrum of pictures
just because I could not get enough of this show-stopping creation.


Looks rather difficult to make, does it not?
I have seen many photos of this pear-wonder and because it looks a
bit on the involving side, this is the first time I have made one.
Happily, I found that it comes together in only three easy steps!


Prepare and line a pie plate or tart pan with pastry.
Spread with a thin coating of apricot jam ... that is step one.


Step two is stirring together the filling and spreading it over the jam.


Step three is arranging sliced ripe pears over filling in a pretty spiral pattern.
For an enhanced fruit flavor be generous with the amount of pears.


Pop into the oven and 45 minutes later, you have this colorful
celebration tart.  
Celebration because it was made by hand .. and because the first bite
delivers every tasty sensation you anticipated.


I love this tart!


ALMOND PEAR TART

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
1 tbsp. shortening
4 to 5 tbsp. ice water
½ tsp. vinegar
apricot jam, warmed to spreading consistency

Blend dry ingredients; cut in butter and shortening until mixture is crumbly using 
your fingers or a food processor.  Combine water and vinegar; sprinkle half the water
over flour mixture.  Toss gently with a fork.  Add enough water until all flour mixture is 
moistened and dough holds together.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle.  Line a 9-inch tart pan or pie plate
with dough; trim and flute edge. Spread thin layer of jam, about 2 tbsp., on bottom of tart shell.
Refrigerate while preparing filling.

½ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 cup almond meal (also known as almond flour)
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt

Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy; add eggs and flavoring and beat until
thoroughly combined.  Stir in almond meal, flour and salt. 
Spread evenly over apricot jam in tart shell.

3 large ripe, peeled and cored Bartlett pears
Thinly slice pears and arrange in a spiral pattern over the filling.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and brush with apricot jam while still warm.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings






Thursday, September 18, 2014

ITALIAN MEATBALL SOUP



We have been enjoying warm sunny days but the evenings tend to
get cooler so soup is what I like to make for harvest meals.
Flavorful and filling, this soup lends itself to lots of variation 
and personal preference.  Here is my version.


ITALIAN MEATBALL SOUP

For the meatballs:
1½ lbs. lean ground beef
1 cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 eggs

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs; stir in bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese
and spices.  Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.  Shape into small meatballs.
Place on a foil or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Bake in 350 degree oven
for 15 to 20 minutes; discard drippings and set aside.

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced

Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven; add carrots, onion and garlic.
Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes until vegetables are fragrant.

8 cups beef broth
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (5 oz.) tomato sauce
1 tsp. dry parsley flakes (or 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley)
1 tsp. dry basil flakes (or 1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. salt
Add broth, tomatoes, sauce, seasonings and meatballs to saucepan.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer over low heat until vegetables
are tender and meatballs are heated through, about 20 minutes.

Cook ½ lb. pasta, fucilli or macaroni according to directions.
Drain and stir into to soup. 
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings










Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CINNAMON ROLL SUGAR COOKIES


Faced with the forecast of snow .. yes, snow!  ..on September 10 ...
I was not exactly jubilant.  Armed with old sheets and squares of plastic I
faced the mist and chill to protect my favorite flowers from the 
predicted freeze overnight.
If the promised change in weather holds true this is a just a blip
and some lovely Indian summer days are coming on the weekend.
With that settled, the warmth of my kitchen was what I needed to compensate
for the change of scene on the outside.
A cookie and a cup of tea can gladden the heart of most any day.
I tried a new cookie concept and it will be a keeper!


Here is how it is done.
After the dough is made and chilled, roll out a 1/3 portion.
Spread with butter, then brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon.


Roll up as you would a cinnamon roll.


Moisten the last ½ inch with water and press lightly to adhere.
Cut into ½ - inch slices.


After placing the spirals on the parchment, I left them as is, not
knowing how they would look after baking.
Would they spread or stay in a clump?


On the next sheet, I pressed the dough down slightly to make a flatter cookie.


The cookies on the foreground are the ones I left without pressing down.
They baked into a larger cookie because they spread more.
To the back are the ones I pressed down and even though the exact amount
of dough is in both, the second tray stayed in tighter pinwheels.
So there you have it ... a choice .. with no change in flavor or goodness...
....   just a preference.


I am thinking my grandchildren will love these!

CINNAMON ROLL SUGAR COOKIES

½ butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup sour cream

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; 
beat until combined.  Add sour cream beating until incorporated.

2 3/4 cups flour plus ¼ cup
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

Blend 2 3/4 cups flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add to creamed mixture just until combined.  Add enough of remaining flour,
 a tablespoon at a time, to obtain the right consistency for rolling.
Divide dough into thirds; flatten each 1/3 into a square about an inch thick;
  wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

6 tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
cinnamon

After dough is chilled roll one portion into a rectangle, approx. 12" x 8",
on a floured surface.  Spread with butter, about 2 tbsp.  Spread about
¼ cup brown sugar evenly over top.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Roll up beginning at the long end; moisten edge with water and press lightly to seal.
Cut into ½ slices. ( a serrated-edged knife worked well for me)
Place on parchment-lined baking pan.  Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for
7 to 9 minutes or until  lightly browned.
Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire rack
to cool completely.  Spread with frosting.
Yield: about 36 cookies
Freezing: excellent

FROSTING

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ - 2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth; add milk and vanilla.
Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency.  Frost cookies and refrigerate
or freeze.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, LIFT UP YOUR HANDS


Let us lift up our hearts and our  hands
to God in heaven.
Lam. 3:41


Who is like unto the Lord our God,
the one who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look on the heavens ...


and the earth!
Psalm 113: 5, 6  NIV


To you , O Lord,  I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Psalm 25:1, 2


__ I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
Psalm 143;6


Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Psalm 143: 8


Show me the way I should go;


for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143: 8


Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63: 3, 4

Saturday, September 6, 2014

NUTELLA S'MORES


Looking for a quick snack?
Perhaps for a school treat or a hike or picnic?
I have noticed if children are present, the Rice Krispie bars will
be the first to disappear.


This is not really a recipe, just some directions for how I made these.
First I made a pan of Rice Krispie treats with the recipe that is on the box.
While they were chilling in the fridge, I spread some graham crackers with Nutella,
which is a hazel nut spread.


Cut the Rice Krispie treats into the same size as the graham cracker square.
Place them on the Nutella spread and press down slightly so they adhere.
All done .. ready to eat in a very short time.


For some added appeal, I drizzled melted chocolate over top.


Even though I am not a child, I do enjoy this snack!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

BANANA CUPCAKES with PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING


Today my little neighbor skipped off to her first day in grade one.
What memories does the first day of school have for you?


After-school-snacks would rate high on my 'favorite' list
as it probably does for most children.
I suggest these cupcakes with a glass of milk.


Not only are they pretty to look at, but they are yummy from
the inside out ... a very tender crumb with a peanut butter frosting.
Simply delicious!



BANANA CUPCAKES with PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING

1¼ cups flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

Blend dry ingredients together; set aside

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1½ tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg, yolk and vanilla;
continue beating until smooth.

1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium)
½ cup plain yogurt

Mix mashed banana and yogurt together; add to creamed mixture alternately with
dry ingredients in two additions. Beat just until blended.

Spoon into 12 large greased or paper-lined muffin cups.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 24 minutes or until wooden pick
inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.
When cool frost with Peanut Butter Frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

4 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ - 2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy; add peanut butter and
vanilla and beat until blended.  Gradually beat in 1½ cups powdered sugar until
smooth.  If necessary add more powdered sugar for spreading or piping consistency.