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Monday, April 7, 2014

Breakfast Burrito


My son Andrew has taught me a few lessons over the years.   He is not interested in cooking, but he is interested in eating on a regular basis.  I have watched him throw almost any kind of meat and cheese together in a tortilla, nuke it for a minute in the microwave, and dunk this quesadilla into Ranch dressing or Hot wing sauce and make a meal of it.

If he adds some fruit and veges to the mix, it makes for a fairly well balanced meal.  It gave me an idea this week to make a breakfast burrito using what I had leftover from Sunday dinner. 

I had roasted a chicken, baked some potatoes, and made a chef salad.  There were ham chunks left over from the salad, a quarter of an onion, eggs, grated cheese, and those baked potatoes in the fridge.

  I heated an iron skillet with some vegetable oil and cut up a potato in small pieces.  I even left the skin on.  I chopped up the onion in small pieces and tossed it into the skillet with the potatoes and ham chunks.  I did add a little butter to the mix, too.  It adds great flavor.

As the potatoes browned, I beat together a couple of eggs.  I added the eggs to the skillet, turned the heat way down and allowed them to cook through.  I added some cheese, then seasoned to taste with salt and pepper.  Cheese can be very salty, so I wait to season until I’ve tasted the dish.

A flour tortilla heated briefly for 30-40 seconds in the microwave and a generous spoonful of the skillet mixture, and some salsa from the pantry made for a quick and filling breakfast.  I enjoyed it with a cup of coffee while listening to Circle of Friends on WEEC.


What a great way to start the day!! 

Confectionately  Yours,

Sue



Monday, March 17, 2014

Butter My Biscuit

Today's Segment is a repeat....read on....


When I move to a new place, I often take a day to wander at will.  I discover antique stores & farmer's markets I would not normally know about.  It is fun to see what might lie ahead.

Several months ago I found a Country Primitive Store on a lazy afternoon out.  The simplistic style of country appeals to me.  I love crocks, jars, & candles.  Country decorating is so cozy, it just seems to invite one’s guests to relax and be themselves.

My friend Penny owns the store I just mentioned.  She is a believer in Christ that just seems to exude His peace in her life.  It was never more evident to me than when I touched base with her during my last visit to her store.

She & her husband had begun care-taking her elderly father-in-law with Alzheimer’s disease.  This pervasive illness robs one of cognitive memory and physical ability over time.  Penny gave no indication that these present circumstances were in any way a burden to her, even though her father-in-law needed constant supervision.  God’s peace seems to flow from her.

When I inquired as to the level of memory loss, she simply smiled & said that they had not realized the extent of his decline until they moved him into their home.  Often this is the case for Alzheimer’s. She related that sometimes he looks at his plate, but doesn’t know what to do with the food. 

As she put it, “As soon as I butter his biscuit & hand it to him, he knows what to do .” 

As I thought this out later, I was reminded that I am sometimes like Penny’s dear father-in-law.  As I seek God’s will for my life, I look at my full plate of responsibility & wonder what to do with it all.  In my daily quiet time, the Lord speaks & directs.  He “butters my biscuit”, so to speak, & hands it back to me so I can feast at His table.

When my husband died unexpectedly, I became the head of my household.  My children depend on me as a stable influence in their life.  My employer expects a hard worker with a good attitude.  My friends, while gracious & understanding, want a friend that isn’t always whining about the circumstances in her life.  I don’t want to be around that kind of person myself.  :-)

There is beauty in every day & blessings abound even in the midst of difficulty.   I know God has a plan & purpose for me AND for you.

Here are a couple of good biscuit recipes.

ANGEL BISCUITS
2-1/2 tsp. dry yeast 
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. shortening
5 c. all purpose flour
2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
 1 T. baking powder

Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder,
and salt. Cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Add yeast mixture and
buttermilk to dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are incorporated, but don't over
beat. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead for 1 minute. Roll out dough to 3/4 inch
high and cut with biscuit cutter. Place onto cookie sheet and brush top with melted
butter. Bake in 400° preheated oven for 15 minutes or until brown. Yield: 12-16
biscuits
Note: These are light and fluffy-somewhere between a roll and a true biscuit. Freeze
on a silicone lined cookie sheet until hard, then place in labeled Ziploc's. Fresh
biscuits are minutes away. Baking time increases a bit for frozen biscuits. A word
about silicone cookie sheet liners-they are great!! Get one...or two.

HIGH RISE BISCUITS
(a good basic biscuit)
4 c. all purpose flour
4 tsp. sugar
2 T. baking powder
2/3 c. unsalted butter, chilled
1 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
butter, melted
Preheat oven to 450°. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and
sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a knife. Blend with a pastry blender until
the texture of coarse crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough. Knead
briefly on a lightly floured board. Roll dough out 1-1/4 inches thick. Cut into 3 inch
rounds and arrange with sides touching. Brush the tops with melted butter. Bake until
golden, about 20-25 minutes. Makes 8-9 large biscuits.

Note: The more you handle biscuit dough, the tougher it gets. A soft dough yields a
moister product. Freeze buttermilk for up to 3 months. It will separate as it thaws. Stir
well to remix the buttermilk, then measure for the recipe. It is perfectly good for
baking. I know you can sour milk with lemon juice as a buttermilk substitute, but I
like the real thing better.

                                         Confectionately  Yours,

Sue

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Keys to the Kingdom


Recently the Lord answered a fervent prayer with a ‘yes.’  The result was a sense of well- being that I still carry with me every time I look at my extra set of keys.  Yes, you heard it right. Keys!!!

You see, since my husband’s death, I have been carrying 2 sets of keys with me at all times.  It’s one of those quirky things widows do as a coping mechanism.  In the past, if I locked my keys in the car, I simply called my husband, and he bailed me out of trouble.  It’s not like it has happened often in my life, but knowing he was my go-to guy and protector was a secure thing for me.

My keys had been missing for 5 days.  I knew the last time I had them, but simply could not remember where I mislaid them.  I prayed, I made phone calls to places where I had been, and searched my pockets, purse and work bag numerous times to no avail.

I still had one set, so life continued on, BUT that sense of anxiety came back every time I saw my single set of keys. Prayers continued.  I talk to the Lord throughout the day.  I knew He knew where my keys were.  HE knows everything!!

Honestly, it was literally minutes after that last prayer when I walked into my workplace and saw my keys sitting on a counter.  I just felt relief flood my being that the Creator of this world cared enough for this absent-minded speck of dust, the HE would lead me to those keys.  He cares for the very minute details of our lives.

I was reminded of the verse, “I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

I baked cookies for my co-workers that day.  Here is the recipe...


GERMAN CHOCOLATE
THUMBPRINT COOKIES


Topping
1 c. sugar 
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 c. evaporated milk 
1-1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. margarine 
1-1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, combine milk, margarine, vanilla, and egg yolks; blend well. 
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 10 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut.
Reserve 1 & 1/2 cups topping and set aside for adding to the cookie batter.


Cookies
1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix 
1-1/2 c. topping 
1/3 c. margarine
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, margarine, and the reserved topping. 
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes for easier handling. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Shape dough into 1 inch balls; place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. 
Make indentation in center of ball; fill indentation with 1/2 tsp. of topping. 
Bake @ 350° for 10 minutes or until set. Cookies will spread a bit. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet. Yield: 4 dozen cookies.
Note: This is like a mini German chocolate cake. Feel free to use the topping as the frosting for German chocolate cake, because that is exactly what it is.


Confectionately  Yours,

Sue

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Cord Not Easily Broken



A $10 label maker has become my best friend in this process of organizing my life a little better. I highly recommend them.  I actually bought 2-one for upstairs and one for downstairs.  Organization is an ongoing process & I needed tools at hand and easily accessible if I was to make headway.
There was a particular incident that precipitated this ongoing to desire to get organized.

About 4 weeks after the death of my husband, I began the daunting task of going through his things.  I was so overwhelmed with all that had to be done, but I had to start SOMEWHERE.

I got 3 large snap top plastic boxes and labeled them “Keep” “Donate” and “Toss.”  The “Keep” pile I would divide and conquer another day.  However, I began finding black cords to electronic gizmos.  There were electronic devices, too, but I had no idea what went with what.  Many of the cords were a tangled MESS.

I started a new box & all cords and electronics  went into it.  One night while watching a movie, I tackled THAT box.   Each individual cord was painstakingly untangled and placed in a plastic bag.  I do not exaggerate when I say there were over 60 cords!!
 
As I worked on that project, I was reminded of Ecc 4:12 that speaks of a three fold cord not easily broken.

There were friends in my life that stood in the gap for me during this time of crisis were like this three-fold cord. Their simple presence showed me cared & I was not alone. They hugged, they listened, they prayed for me.  There is strength in numbers. :-)

When life is disorganized and chaotic, if you feel alone in your hurt today, turn to that Three-fold cord that cannot be broken-the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit.   I am confident of comfort, provision, and a peace that passes understanding.  God’s Word promises!! & our God always delivers.

Confectionately  Yours,

Sue



Monday, February 24, 2014

Grandkids...& Pizza Crust


Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are a crown of the aged.

My friend Hank told me his 9 year old grandson was having a pizza party for his birthday.  Hank asked John Curtis what kind of pizza he was having at this celebration.  The child replied, “Pepperoni for the kids and…. vegetable pizza for the old people.”

I use my trusty bread machine for a pizza crust that’s ready in about 80 minutes start to finish.  You don’t have to have a bread machine.  It can also be done by hand. 

Set your machine on the dough cycle.  This will mix, knead, and allow your dough to rise. Layer in this order for the bread machine:
I cup warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 c. all purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast

Toss in a T. of parmesan, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, or some garlic opposite the place where you put the yeast if you wish. These ingredients can inhibit the yeast.

When the machine finishes its cycle, grease a 9x13 pan with olive oil and spread the pizza crust to the edges. 

Top with pizza sauce, pepperoni for the kids or vegetables for the old people and some mozzarella, of course.  :-)

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 min. until the crust is golden brown. 


Confectionately  Yours,

Sue

Cookie Mix in a Jar


I have a friend that shares my love of cookies.  His slender wife, one of my dearest friends, appreciates sweets, but not like her husband.  He consistently exercises and keeps his weight to a healthy level, but definitely looks forward to a warm cookie on occasion.

Carolyn, his wife, recently shared with me a Sunday afternoon habit.  They are both busy people and empty nesters.  Ken, her husband, has driven a church bus for years.  As a result, he doesn’t get home from his route on Sundays until mid afternoon. 

After lunch, they settle in for a quiet afternoon together, sometimes alone, sometimes with a rambunctious grandson.  Part of their Sunday routine is for Ken to get one of those rolls of packaged cookie dough and bake cookies for them to enjoy together.

Doesn’t this give you a sense of a cozy family time?  It does for me. 

Ken has decided to forgo cookies for a time to get back to his pre-Christmas weight.  I had planned to give them cookie dough as a Christmas gift so they could bypass the packaged kind for a time, but I decided to take a different route. I made up cookie mixes in canning jars layering the ingredients so that they look attractive.  I add the recipe for making them up using fresh ingredients like butter, vanilla and an egg.  

The mixes make anywhere from 18 to 24 cookies depending on the size.  This is perfect for a small group of people without having a lot of leftovers to tempt the sweet tooth later.

I actually used my CC cookie recipe that I have shared on a previous segment, cutting the ingredients in half.  As long as you keep your dry ingredients under 4 cups total, they will fit in a 1 qt canning jar.  You can take your own favorite recipes and transform them into mixes that are shelf stable for 6 months. They can be made up in minutes.


I love to decorate the jars with fabric & paper labels that coordinate to the season.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE
MIX IN A JAR
1/4 c. sugar                                                 1/2 tsp. baking powder and baking soda
3/4 c. brown sugar                                      6 oz. chocolate chips
1-1/4 c. all purpose flour                             nuts(opt.)

Layer ingredients in 1 quart jar as follows: sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder
and soda, chocolate chips, nuts.

To make cookies

1/4 c. butter                             1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. margarine                      1 egg
Melt butter and margarine. Add contents of jar, the egg and vanilla. Mix well. Preheat
oven to 350°. Form dough into balls about the size of walnuts. Bake 9-11 minutes
until lightly browned. Yield:1-1/2 to 2 dozen.

Note: Make a cute jar garter by tearing a strip of cotton fabric into 4" strips. Cut
length to 16 ". Sew ends together. Fold in half, press, then sew a casing in fold edge a
little wider than 1/4", leaving an opening to thread 1/4" elastic through. Cut a 9" piece
elastic, thread through casing, then pull to gather and make double knot to secure.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Covering Your Sins


I’m currently in a rearranging frenzy at my home.  This tendency seems to have a domino effect.  One project leads to another, with my mind focused on the finished goal.  I get rid of things I do not need, put things I DO need where I can find them, & simply enjoy an organized usable space when it is all said & done.

Sometimes when I am knee deep in a reorganizing project, packing up the house for what seems like the hundredth time, & simply poop out in the middle of it all, I throw a sheet or blanket over the whole mess & walk away for a time.  If I throw a BLACK sheet over the mess, it is surprising how that pile of stuff seems to fade into the background.

While this might temporarily prevent me from becoming distracted by the clutter, it is NOT a permanent solution.  Clutter must be dealt with sooner rather than later, or the house would be overtaken by black cloth covered lumpy piles of stuff every which way.

The bible tells us if we cover our sins we will not prosper.  It seems the Enemy uses our personal “stuff” against us bringing it to mind to steal our joy in serving the Lord & paralyzing our service to our Redeemer.

I have to remind myself that as a believer in Christ, I am forgiven of my sin, past, present, & future.  I must confess my daily sin of course, so that it does not hinder the work Jesus wants to do in me.  As I enjoy my quiet moments early in the morning with a cup of coffee & my Lord, & Savior, the “black cloth” I have thrown over my “stuff” is uncovered to reveal the clutter of my life.  His Word helps me sift through the mess I have made, allowing the Lord to restore order & peace in my troubled heart.


I'm sharing a recipe for Cranberry Coffeecake.  It uses up that bit of leftover cranberry sauce from a meal, & goes perfectly with that cup of coffee I mentioned earlier in this post. 

CRANBERRY SWIRL COFFEE
CAKE
1/4 c. butter                                  1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar                                      1 c. sour cream
2 eggs, well beaten                      1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. all purpose flour                    8 oz. whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tsp. baking soda                        1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, beat well. Mix together the dry
ingredients and add alternately with sour cream. Add almond extract.

Place 1/2 of the batter on the bottom of a well greased and floured tube pan. Spoon 1/2 of the
cranberry sauce over batter, keeping it away from the inner and outer edges. Sprinkle
with 1/2 of the nuts. Spoon 1/2 of the remaining batter on top of the fruit; then spoon
the rest of the cranberry sauce and nuts on top. Finish by spooning the rest of the
batter over the fruit.

Bake in a 350° oven for 45-60 minutes. Test for doneness at the 45 minutes point by sticking a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it's done.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes in pan, then gently shake pan to loosen cake. Remove to a
rack and cool completely. Drizzle with glaze.

Glaze
1-2 T. milk                                    1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. butter                                  1/2 T. almond extract

Heat milk and butter briefly in microwave. Stir in powdered sugar and extracts. If too

thick to drizzle, add enough milk to reach desire consistency.


                                      Confectionately  Yours,

Sue