Thursday, November 29, 2012

Caramel Popcorn to Share!

I was thrilled to find O.R.'s original
Gourmet Popping Corn recently at Costco.
Usually they just have the Microwave Popping corn
and we definitely prefer the regular, 
pop on the stove, in the old Popcorn pot, popped corn!
This was a typical Costco gynormous size - 3.6 kg. 
I've never seen one that large!
No problem though - I know we'll use it up in no time.

Tomorrow we are having a staff decorating
party during coffee break so I decided 
to make a roast pan of Caramel Pop Corn to share.

This is the recipe my Mom always used
 to make
this Christmas time treat:

Caramel Popcorn

2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Cup Butter      
½ Cup Corn Syrup
Boil the above ingredients for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
Add:  1 tsp. baking soda
          1 tsp. vanilla
Pour over large roasting pan of popped corn.  Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

There you have it - easy peasy!
I admit that it's not low-cal or lite or any of those things
but it sure is yummy and reminds me of 
Christmases of long ago!

Maybe this is the "medicine" I needed to get me into the Christmas mood?

Till next time ............ what snack food reminds you of Christmas as a child?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Old-time Beef Stew

Time for a nourishing pot of stew.
It's cold outside and this makes me
so hungry for comfort food!

I always go back to my old recipe.
It's from a 1971 edition of Better Homes and Gardens
book called "So-Good Meals"
and falls under the title of "Meals Men Like"!!!
Can you imagine using that language today?
It goes further to say "Fix any of these delicious meals
for your man and you'll be the Best Cook he knows"
Hmmmm.......that is so funny cheesey.

The Menu listed is:
Old-time Beef Stew
Crisp Cabbage Slaw
Bread and Butter
Apple Betty Pie
Coffee, Cream and Sugar

Well - I think I'll stick to the Old-Time Beef Stew
No matter what - it really is my favourite stew recipe.
I think it's because of the seasoning that makes it unique
and it always is good....and the farmer likes it too!
I might add a broccoli salad to this for
supper tonight.
Hmmm the Apple Betty Pie sounds good too.
Maybe this isn't so old fashioned after-all???

What are you making tonight?

Old-Time Beef Stew

2 Tbsp. fat - I used Grape Seed oil
2 lbs. beef stew cut into cubes
1 medium onion - sliced
1 clove garlic - I used three
2 Cups Boiling water
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 or 2 Bay leaves
Dash of all spice or cloves
Brown the meat chunks in a dutch oven.  It's the browning that gives the rich colour
and flavour!  Add the seasoning, onions and garlic.  Stir and in the boiling water and 
simmer for about 1 1/2 hours - stirring on occasion.
Prepare the vegetables in the meantime:
6 carrots - sliced
6 potatoes - diced
I like to add 1-2 cups of corn as well
1 lb. small white onions - I didn't add these
Once the meat is tender and has simmered for some time, add in the vegetables.  Simmer another 30 minutes till vegetables are tender.
If desired, thicken the liquid for gravy by pushing aside the meat and vegetables and stirring in 1/4 Cup cold water mixed with 2 Tbsp. flour.

Till next time ............ happy Monday to you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mark it with a "B"

B - is for Becky

B - is for Birthday (it's her 29th one today!)

B - is for Boston Cream Pie

B - is for Blog  and exactly 1 year since I published my very first post!!

B - is for Blessings - we have so many!

Becky - we wish you were here
to enjoy the cake
We'll light a few candles for you
and then we'll share it with Dad's office.
I'll make you another one when you are
home at Christmas!!!!

This was just a practice one anyways .......
the cake turned out kind of flat
and when I split it in half  - it wasn't even!
Maybe that's another B for Botch??

Love you lots and lots!!
Have a super B - DAY

Boston Cream Pie

I used the Country Living Recipe as follows:
1/2 Cup butter - softened
1 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Large Egg Yolks
*have eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 Cups Cake Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup Milk
Heat oven to 350F.  Line the bottom of an 8 inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
Butter and flour the pan.  
Beat the butter and sugar till fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and yolks, one at a time.  Add the vanilla.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.  Mix the flour mixture alternately with the milk into the butter, sugar mixture at medium speed.  Beat gently until the batter is smooth.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack.
Split cake in half with a sharp knife (easier said then done), fill with Vanilla Bean Pudding, and top with Ganache (I love saying that word!).

Vanilla Bean Pudding:
3/4 Cup milk
1 Cup cream
1 vanilla bean - I used one of the beans that we brought home from Mexico!
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 Cup Sugar 
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. butter
Heat the milk, cream and vanilla bean until just simmering.  Whisk the yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Stream the hot milk/cream into the egg mixture - whisking continuously.  Return to the pan and cook while whisking till mixture thickens and just begins to boil.  Immediately transfer to a clean bowl, remove, split and scrape the vanilla bean - whisk vanilla seeds back into the pudding.  Stir in the vanilla extract and butter.  Press plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to cover.  Cool.

1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
4 oz. dark chocolate - chopped (4 oz. = 4 squares of bakers dark chocolate)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter - I used salted because that's all I had on hand
3 Tbsp. corn syrup
Heat cream just until boiling and pour over the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup.  Let sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth.  Cool slightly before pouring over cake.

Till next some candles for my girl!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ducks in a Row

Life-like Bronze ducks in a row in the Public Garden

We just returned from a mini vacay to Boston!
Well, it was actually a business trip for the Farmer/Advisor
(aka "my financial suggester as he likes to call it")
but a nice break for me.

Boston is a very impressive and friendly city
which is proud of its history and amazing "hawbah".
I just love their accent.....

We were impressed with the Boston Common - a beautiful park
which was right outside our hotel window!

The city is "steeped" in tea and much more, History, that is!
We saw the Granary Burial Grounds where
Paul Revere, John Hancock, Sam Adams,
and many other history makers are buried!

A walking tour brought these events to life
and told the gruesome stories of the
witch hunts, Mary Dyer, the wars, the fight for freedom,
and the hardships of
the early settlers.

The food was a highlight as we
feasted on lobster rolls at James Hook & Co.,
clam "chowdah" at The Black Rose,
the famous pizza at Regina's,
Italian food in the North End, and of course
a drink where everybody knows your name - Cheers!

Me and Tecumseh at Cheers

On the last day we visited the Quincy Market Place
where a giant Christmas Tree was lit that evening.
It was absolutely beautiful and the lights twinkled in time
to music - this really started to put me into the Christmas spirit.

Giant Christmas Tree in Quincy Market as viewed from atop the US Custom House

At the market we shared a small Boston Cream Pie - so, so good!

All in all - it was worth the long drive to and from Boston!!!

Till next time ........... might attempt to make a Boston Cream Pie!  Have you ever made one?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2 Month Anniversary!

Two months ago today,
our wee Becky married the love of her life, Patrick
It was a most wonderful time
and I can't wait to see their 
sweet faces again soon - at Christmas!

Here are a few pictures taken by friends and
family on that 
lovely day.... 
oh and three that
were released as a sneak preview from
the photographer!
I can't wait to see the rest!!

Photo by Red Umbrella Photography

Photo by Red Umbrella Photography

Photo credit - Red Umbrella Photography

Till next time ...... blessings to this happy couple.  You are in our prayers each and every day!!!
Can you believe that 2 months has already passed????

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Health Cookies

Yummy old fashioned "Health Cookies"
for the road.

We're taking a quick road trip down to Boston this week
and some of these cookies are coming along
to sustain us on the way!
The farmer has a two day conference
and I'm looking forward to the sights and sounds
of this lovely coastal city and a 5 star hotel!

I don't know exactly how healthy these cookies
really are,
but they have lots and lots of healthy ingredients
(except for the sugars course)   ;)

This recipe makes 4 dozen 2 3/4" cookies,
at least if you don't eat too much of the raw cookie batter while making them, that is!

Health Cookie Recipe:

These taste very similar to the ones we can buy from our local Guenther’s Bakery.  If you use real butter and fresh eggs you will not be dissappointed!

1 C. Butter
¾ C. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
¾ C. White Sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
Cream together and add:
2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. Salt
Mix into butter mixture and add:
1 C. rolled oats
1 C. raisons
½ C. sunflower seeds (unsalted)
¼ C. chopped walnuts
1 C. coconut
¼ C. sesame seeds
¼ C. flax seeds
Mix well with wooden spoon.

Drop onto baking sheet - I used a cookie dough scoop which helps keep the cookies uniform in size. Bake at 325F for 12-18 minutes.  Adjust baking time according to thickness of batter.

Make sure you have lots of milk on hand 'cause these will be gobbled up quickly!

Till next time ................... thankful for a full cookie jar once again!

Monday, November 12, 2012

"www.weekend waffles"

“www.weekend waffles”

Found these on a wonderful Saturday morning – on the internet!  Thus the “www.” They’re lemony, light and delicious!
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg whites – beaten till foamy in a separate bowl
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest – I used the zest of a whole lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Cups milk
6 Tbsp. butter - melted

Preheat a waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl; set aside. Beat egg whites until foamy in a separate mixing bowl. Whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl or large glass measuring cup; whisk in the milk. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Fold in the melted butter and then the beaten egg whites until just incorporated.
Cook the waffles until golden brown.

Slather on some butter, a sprinkle of icing sugar, a squirt of lemon juice and a splash of maple syrup, grab a mug of coffee and enjoy this with the one you love!  It actually makes enough for 4 people if you care to share J.

Till next time .................... try some waffles next time for a weekend breakfast!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Peace Prayer

This beautiful prayer was written by Carol Penner who writes on her "Leading in Worship" blog.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Grandma's Pumpkin Cookies

For a few years now, I've been gathering
favourite family recipes 
to someday make a family cookbook.
I've got all the recipes now and just need to
buckle down and finish the stories and
get some pictures together!!!
Might need a few more years......

My niece Heidi sent me this recipe that
she remembers from Grandma's house and
wants it to be in the cookbook.
Heidi is a fabulous cook and took a real interest in my
Mom's recipes and cooking methods.
When I met with her to consult about the cookbook
last fall, she served these very yummy cookies with tea
as we looked over the recipe submissions.

These are a soft and delicious cookie,
just how I like them!


1 Egg
1 Cup Sugar
½ Cup Shortening
1 Cup pumpkin
1 tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
1 sm. pkg. Butterscotch Chips
2 Cups Flour
½ tsp. vanilla
Chopped pecans, raisins and dates - optional
Beat egg with sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Form into small balls and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 10 minutes.  Let cool and ice with Maple Icing or Brown Sugar Icing.

½ Cup Butter – softened
1 Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Milk
1 tsp. Maple Extract
1 ¾ Cups Icing Sugar
a tsp. or so of cream
Beat together and ice cookies

Mom used this icing on many things such as cookies, cakes and cupcakes. 
1 Cup of brown sugar
½ Cup of cream
Butter the size of a small egg. Boil till soft ball stage, let cool a little if it is not thick enough I just add some icing sugar. The icing should be a little warm so it sets nice on the cookies.

Till next time ................. still working on the family cookbook.

Monday's Mood

  Today my mood matches the weather! Might it be because it is Monday, dreary, rainy and cold? Is it because the "naked lady'' ...