Friday, June 27, 2008

Country Cookin'

I like ham-n-beans. It is comfort food for me. We usually serve it with hot cornbread, dripping with butter and some honey, home-fried potatoes and onions, some pickled peppers (we drizzle a little of the vinegar in the beans) and perhaps a piece of sharp cheddar cheese. A big glass of milk or sweet tea - now you're eatin' country style! Maybe some greens in there as well? A real stick-to-your ribs meal.

Some folks put ketchup on their beans . . . or mayonnaise. However you want to eat them, beans are a great source of fiber. We usually soak ours all night and simmer them slow the next day. As for myself, I prefer navy beas. My oldest brother likes Pintos. My Dad likes Great Northern. The rest of the family I really don't know that they have a preference. We found a great buy on some Anasazi beans the other day and they are really good.


1 pound dried beans (about 2 cups)
Ham hocks

The night before cooking them, before you go to bed, wash and sort your beans. (Sometimes you find small rocks.) Put them in a big pot with water to cover them and let them soak. The next morning they will have swelled some. Pour any water off and cover them with fresh water. (Water amount is your preference, we use at least a quart, maybe 2) Throw in some diced carrot, celery and onion - how much is up to you. I usually use 1 carrot, 2 stalks of celery and at least 1/2 of a medium sized onion. Throw in a couple of cloves of garlic, minced. Let this simmer over a low heat.

Now for the ham hocks. You can use a ham bone from a baked ham the same, or if you are crunched for time, used some diced ham. What we do is cook the hocks separately from the beans. Just put them in a pan and cover with water and simmer for a good while. Then take them out, pour off the water (they usually have a lot of preservatives) take the skin off and the bones out and chunk up the ham. Use as much or as little as you like.

Put the ham in with your beans and taste for seasoning - take it easy on the salt, as the ham is salty. DO NOT put the ham in until the beans are most of the way done, as the salt will prevent the beans from softening. We use lots of fresh cracked pepper and a little thyme is good, too. If you want your beans a little thicker, take some and puree them in a blender and add back in.

Cook at a slow simmer until you can't stand it any more (make sure your beans are good and soft - after the overnight soaking, they should simmer at least 2 hours). You can cook them longer after you put the ham in, just make sure they are not boiling.

Pour you a big glass of cold tea, butter your cornbread and EAT!

Sorry for no picture, but this didn't stay around long enough!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

School Colors

I have been to 4 different schools in my lifetime. For kindergarten I attended Palmer Elementary in Anchorage, AK. I think (don't quote me on this) the school colors were purple and black. For the rest of grade school I attended Ord Elementary in Ord, NE. Colors - Red and white. For 7th and 8th grade, I attended Weableau Jr.-Sr. High School. Colors - black and gold. For 9-12 I attended Windsor Jr.-Sr. High school. Colors - black and gold.

We are planning on going to Ord for a family reunion next week. (Possibly) I usually try to go and see the old elementary school whenever I go there, just to see how it has changed.

I remember when my grandfather died, I was about 15. My 2 cousins, Gerald and Galen and I did not want to go to family night. We were very upset, as we all loved Grandpa dearly. Also, Grandpa had always told us he wanted to be buried in his overalls, which is what he always wore, and they put him in a suit. So we went walking around town and ended up at the grade school. We had all went to school there at one time or another. I remember climbing up the cyclone slide - you climbed up spiral stairs in the center and went either left or right and it was a slide that was in a spiral. We usually waited until we had about 8 people and then all went at once, that way you went faster! Anyway, we climbed up inside and scratched our initials in it with a key. Then we put BURSON in big letters. I am sure that the slide is long gone now, but I would like to go see anyway!

In honor of this, I am posting this cookie recipe today.

Mind you, I have shamelessly lifted this recipe from Dianne Mott Davidson. She writes the Goldy Schultz murder mystery series. Her characters are endearing, but what I love is that Goldy is a caterer and the stories always involve food! She gives several recipes as well in each book.

These cookies are like a miniature strawberry cheesecake. They are best eaten on the day they are made, as after a few days they get a bit wilty-looking. Great for a tea party! Make sure you have smallish strawberries for this recipe, the big huge ones will not do at all.

Makes 5 dozen.

1 cup butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
36 small, ripe strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with the cream cheese until well blended. Beat in sugar and vanilla, then stir in flour until well mixed. Using a 1-2 tablespoon measure, shape the mixture into small balls and place 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a small indentation on top of each cookie with your thumb. Carefully place a strawberry half, cut side down, in each indentation. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until very slightly browned. Cool on racks.

You can dip the strawberries in sugar before putting them on the cookies if you like.


On your way to strawberry heaven! Gotta watch it with these dudes, because one is just a bite and before you know it, you have scarfed half a dozen!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Old-fashioned. Homey. Buttery. Crumbly. No matter how you want to describe it, cornbread is good stuff. My mother's family were country folks, old-fashioned. They ate a lot of corn bread.

There is a lot of controversy, still to this day, about how cornbread should be made. White versus yellow cornmeal. Buttermilk versus sweet milk. Sugar versus no sugar. Fried versus baked. I have eaten it several different ways, I like mine cooked in a cast iron skillet in the oven, yellow cornmeal, buttermilk and, depending on what I am eating it with, sweet or not. With beans, I prefer not sweet. With anything else, I like it a little sweet. Of course, you should always have it slathered (while still hot) with real butter and drizzled with honey.

The one way I DO NOT like cornbread is crumbled in a glass of milk. Might as well eat wet sand. Ick!

A lot of folks will put their cornbread in their bowl and then spoon their beans on top. Not me! I want them separate, thank you!

We had cornbread last night, crusty and hot, dripping with melted butter and drizzled with honey. I am sure that there will be cornbread served just this way at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Makes about 12 servings (yeah, right!)

2 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix together dry ingredients. Add milk, eggs, and oil. Mix well. Turn into well-greased 10-inch cast iron skillet (or 13 x 9 pan). Bake at 425 degrees F for 35 minutes. We usually add a little sugar, 2 Tablespoons or so.

We buy our cornmeal from the Amish and Mennonite folks, they sell coarse-ground and fine. We buy a bag of each and mix it.


And photobucket is being unmanageable this morning, sorry!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Luna Moth Jelly

No, not really. But it has the same color as a luna moth. There are some things in this world that the color is just kind of indefinable. So this recipe has been dubbed luna moth jelly. For the color, I assure you, not the ingredients.

I would imagine that you could put this in all sorts of things.

Lime Jelly
Makes about 5-6 half-pint jars

2 1/2 cups prepared lime juice (6 to 8 limes)
4 cups sugar
1 drop green food coloring
1 (3 ounce) envelope liquid pectin

Grate the peel of 5 of the limes; set aside. Squeeze enough juice from 6 to 8 of the limes to measure 3/4 cup; pour juice into medium bowl. Add lime peel and 1-3/4 cups water; mix well. Place three layers of damp cheesecloth over a medium bowl. Pour juice mixture into cheesecloth. Tie it closed and let drip into bowl until dripping stops, about 10-15 minutes. Press gently. Measure exactly 2-1/2 cups prepared juice into a 6-quart pan.

Stir sugar into the juice in the pan. Add food coloring if desired (this is what gives it that color - but only 1 drop).

Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute. Skim off any foam.

Ladle into jars, seal and process 8 minutes in boiling water bath.

This recipe was originally posted by Kathy228 on Recipezaar.

Voila - you have beautiful jelly!


This picture really does not do it justice, it kind of, I don't know, glows!

Sorry for the short post today, I am rushing!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Good ol' Mater Soup

I like tomato soup. I do not, however, care for cream of tomato soup. Oh, I will eat it, it just isn't my favorite. Now what is weird is that when I was pregnant with my son, I craved cream of tomato soup. I could make it and eat the whole can all by myself. Usually with Sour Cream and Onion Pringles or buttered Ritz crackers. So guess what DS's favorite food is? Cream of tomato soup. Now, I would not even touch it up until I was pregnant with him and although I will eat it now, it is not my favorite. A spoon or two will do me.

I do like just plain ol' tomato soup. Usually with rice. I like it with chunks of tomatoes in it. Now DS will eat a ton of cream of tomato soup, but he does not want any chunks of tomato (or any other veggies) and he does not like just plain tomato soup. Except for my homemade. This is the one soup that we can agree on.

This soup is great to make, very easy, and will warm you up on a rainy day. Or have a cup on a sunny day. It is made mainly with staples, the one thing that you might not have around would be the fresh tomato but you can do as I do sometimes and sub part of a can of diced tomatoes for that.

Tomato Rice Soup
Serves 4-6

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 (14-1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth (I used a 32 ounce box and it worked fine)
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce (can use 2 (8 ounce) cans)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 cup rice, uncooked
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the celery, onion, garlic and tomato in the butter, which you have melted in a saucepan. Let it cook for about 10 minutes or so over a lowish heat. Add the broth, tomato sauce, sugar, basil, oregano and parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Strain out the vegetables and discard. Add the rice to the remaining tomato liquid. Add salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, until rice is cooked.


The original recipe comes from The Cat Who . . . Cookbook by Julie Murphy and Sally Abney Stempinski. I have given it my slant, just a tidge.

Now, if you are cooking this for picky folks (like DS) you strain the vegs out as stated. If doing this, I recommend chopping them into large chunks to make it easier to fish out. If not doing it for picky folks, leave the vegs in, but chop them smaller. You can also throw in a can of diced tomatoes or some fresh chopped ones if you like.

The best thing to serve this with is a grilled cheese sandwich, which I will be posting later on this week! (My special version, of course) Also this week, be on the look out for lime jelly, red-n-white cookies, old-fashioned beans and ham and cornbread.

Simple Woman's Day Book


FOR TODAY June 23, 2008...

Outside My Window... There is weak sunshine and it is cloudy again. Rather cool this morning. There are beautiful geraniums, all colors of pink, red and white.

I am thinking... That I am really glad I was able to get off for vacation the week of July 4th. I need a vacation, and this will give me 5 days off in a row!

I am thankful for... The bounty that God gives us every day. We have tomatoes that are starting to ripen, our fig tree is loaded with baby figs, we have blue berries ripening and I picked the last of the strawberries this morning.

From the kitchen... Roast pork with French Herb Rub, potato salad and steamed broccoli. Red-n-white cookies for dessert.

I am wearing... A blue jean skirt with hot pink T-shirt and my houseslippers - of course.

I am creating... A cross stitch book mark for a sick friend. Honey lives in Oregon and has cancer. I met her on Recipezaar on the Great Britain and Ireland Meet and Greet. she is a sweetheart.

I am going... shopping on Wednesday!

I am reading... Country Wit and Wisdom. Lots of preserve recipes, recipes for home-made lotions and the like, very fun.

I am hoping... that the man who came to church yesterday morning will come back. He seemed like a lot of fun!

I am hearing...The neighbors from down the street heading to work. They have a ditching business and drive past most days in their big truck.

Around the house... I am doing laundry today. That, and some weeding tonight will be about it for today.

One of my favorite things... cookbooks. I LOVE cookbooks!!! I am currently looking thru my The Cat Who . . . Cookbook. So many possibilities.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Copying off some recipes to use for making preserves, organizing the kitchen cupboards, making vacation plans, sending a package to my friend in Scotland.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Photobucket Ain't she beau-ti-fool? Our very first tomato, will be ripe in no time! Look out BLT's.

PS: For those of you interested (Thank you muchly) I have posted my rosewater recipe! Just scroll down and take a look. Also, I will be posting the lime jelly recipe tomorrow.

Hop op over to The Simple Woman and fill out your own daybook! It is quite easy and one of these days, I promise I will figure out the button at the top!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


This is my very first tag! I was tagged by Marie of A Year From Oak Cottage.

What was I doing 10 years ago?

Hmmmm . . . 10 years ago I was 27. I was newly married for the second time(June 13) and was working at Golden Valley Memorial Hospital. I was a much different person then than I am now. I have matured a lot since then.

5 Things On My To Do List for today:
1. Make some scones. I have some fresh strawberries (picked off of our vines!)that are just dying to be made into strawbee scones. Served with more sliced berries and whipped cream - instant strawberry shortcake.
2. Get my Sunday School lesson together. I teach the 7, 8 and 9 year olds. We have a lot of fun. Right now, we are learning about Abraham.
3. Shake my rugs. We have hardwood floors, which I love. But you have to have rugs, which means shaking them.
4. Work a couple of hours overtime. Not really wanting to do this, but I can use the money!
5. Make some lime jelly. With all best intentions, I was going to do this Thursday. But . . . with one thing and another, it did not happen.

5 Snacks I Enjoy:
1. Scones and tea. I just love scones and really enjoy trying all different kinds. I usually have 3 varieties or so of dough frozen in the freezer. Toasty scones, slathered with butter! Look out diet!
2. Apples and salt. I like a good Granny Smith apple, or a Fuji, sprinkled lightly with salt. I'm weird, I know!
3. Chocolate. I am a chocolate afficionado (sp.) from the get-go. I love really good dark chocolate, which many times is hard to find around here.
4. Toasted cheese sandwich. But not just any cheese - a mixture of whatever we have in the fridge. I usually mix mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar (especially smoked!), gouda or edam, muenster and I like to season it with grilled onions and crumbled bacon mixed in. I shred the cheese and mix it all up. Then to fry, I use mayonnaise instead of butter - works perfectly every time! Ok, so this is really bad for you, but it tastes great!
5. Now, this is embarrasing, but I like Pizza Rolls. Yes, those over-processed bits of dough with pizza filling. But done in the oven, not the microwave. I try NOT to buy these at all.

Five Things I Would Do If I Were A Millionaire:
1. Of course I would pay off all of my debts and my family's too.
2. Travel. I would pay for some of my friends to accompany me and we would go. Wherever. We. Wanted. To.
3. I would endow an orphan or two in another country. I would love to do this now, but money is tight for me, so I do support them in prayer.
4. I would set up a scholarship at our local highschool.
5. I would of course go on a wild shopping spree and buy all the things that I want, but do not have money for now. And Christmas? Wowsa, Christmas would be great for so many people!

Five places I have lived:
1. Weissbaden, Germany. I was born here and lived here for the first 3 years of my life. Don't remember a whole lot about it, but a little. We have some great pics.
2. New Bedford, Mass. We lived here after Germany. What I remember about this is the fish market - ewwww! My grandma on Mom's side came to stay with us when Mom had surgery and got to see the ocean for the first time. That and doobie bears! (A groundhog)
3. Anchorage, Alaska. I started kindergarten here. Loved it! Would go back if not for the high price of living. We experienced record snowfall, volcanic ashfall and an earthquake here.
4. Ord, Nebraska. In the middle of nowhere, but my Father's folks were here. I still know my way around the town here pretty good. I went up through 6th grade here.
5. Collins, Missouri. Sleepy little town on the highway of about 125 people. I went to 7th and 8th grade here. Had a very best friend and we were nearly inseprable.

Five jobs I have had:
1. Secretary at the hometown newspaper. Right out of highschool, I got this job because I went to complain to them about misspelling my name in the paper. He offered me a job and I took it. Only kept it for about 4 months or so.
2. Clerk at Casey's General Store. I worked here for about 2 years, started when my son was 6 months old. I really enjoyed working here for the most part, except for my last boss. She was one of the reasons I quit. About 3 months or so after I quit, the store closed anyway!
3. One summer when I was in high school, I was hired to take care of an old lady with Alzheimer's. Her husband did not want to put her in the nursing home, so he hired me to stay with her during the day while he was working. It was sad. She scared me to death tho, she didn't like me there and used to ask me what I was doing in her house. She would try to put pillows on the stove and turn it on - I quit after 2 weeks.
4. Medical Transcriptionist at Golden Valley Memorial Hospital. I liked this job for the most part. I worked here for 12-1/2 years.
5. My current job, medical transcriptionist again, but from home. I really like this. No, it does not pay as well as my other job, but it is way less stressful.

Now, I get to tag 5 other folks. These are in no particular order, mind!

Sue, from Back to the Table
Angela, from Stressed Out Mum Seeks Inspiration
Sylvie, from A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit
Jan, from Range Warfare
Tasty Meals at Home

Tag, Y'all are IT!

Beauty without virtue is like a rose without scent.

First of all, I would like to thank so many of you for inquiring about/commenting on my making rosewater. Actually it is quite easy to do, providing you have access to some fragrant roses that are not sprayed with pesticide. All of the rain we have gotten this year has been bad for somethings, such as the farmers not being able to get crops in, but for the flowers it has been a blessing. Never have our flowers been as pretty as they were this year. We have 3 big pink rosebushes, and they have went crazy this year. There are new shoots almost as high as the house! They had an abundance of blossoms, so to make good use of them, I made some things. Yes, we made some bouquets and such, but I also made some rose petal jam and made some rosewater.


True friendship is like a rose. We can't realize it's beauty until it fades.”

Roses are amazing flowers. I have an allergy to a lot of fresh flowers, but roses do not seem to bother me as much. I do not know if the tradition still exists, but I was born in Germany, and back then anyway, when a baby girl was born, you got pink rosebuds. Some neighbors brought my Mom some and we of course have pictures and I still have the vase. Now and then I will buy pink roses at Aldi's - they have beautiful roses there very cheap - and enjoy them for a bit. Maybe that has influenced me to the point that pink roses are my favorite flowers?? Hmmm . . . probably just a bit!



1 liter mineral water (I could not find this, so I used distilled water. I think the basic idea here is to not have any other tastes that would come thru)
3 large handfuls of fresh, organic rose petals - as for this I had the colander in the picture above FULL of roses - I probably used 1/2 to 3/4 of the roses. Just pluck the petals off

Place the petals in a large sauce pan. Pour the water over. You want your water steaming, but not boiling. Let cook until water is reduced by about half. Strain off petals. Place rosewater in a sterile jar and store in the refrigerator.

It is that easy, Angie!! You all were close when you were kids, just needed to cook it a bit!

Rosewater can be used as a flavoring for baklava, cookies, many different things.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

There are some things in life which go together hand-in-hand. Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly. Strawberries and rhubarb. Now, personally I like the tastes of rhubarb all by itself. But a lot of people do not, so they think you have to have strawberries with it.

When I was looking to make a dessert for Father's day, I needed something quick and easy. So I rooted around and found this recipe for a strawberry-rhubarb pie on allrecipes. It is quick, easy and delicious.

Now we all know that I have troubles making pie crust. Oh, it tastes fine, flaky and all that, but it looks pretty rough. So, courtesy of Cooks Illustrated, I found a recipe on the web for a pat-in-the-pan piecrust. You can make it look just like a regular crust, although it is not as flaky. Tastes great. I was crunched for time, tho, so I did not take the time to make it look like the regular ones. And it turned out fine, no one cared.

We had fresh strawberries from our tubs and I had bought some frozen rhubarb from the Mennonite store in Versailles. If you have a Mennonite or Amish store near you, I urge you to go. We buy spices of all kinds at fantastic prices. Their flour can't be beat either.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Pie
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie - serves 8

2 ounces cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1-1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until creamy. Add flour, sugar and salt. Beat until it starts to clump together. Spray your pie pan with cooking spray. Dump your dough in the pan and pat it out with the heel of your hand until it is approximately the same thickness all over.

1 egg
1 cup sugar (I thought this a little excessive and used 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 pound fresh rhubarb, diced
1 pint fresh strawberries, halved or quartered if very large

Mix egg, sugar, vanilla and flour in medium bowl. Stir in rhubarb and strawberries. Pour into pie shell.

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup butter (I thought this a bit excessive, used 6 tablespoons)

Mix flour, sugar and oats in bowl. Cut in butter. Sprinkle over top of filling.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 35 minutes. Best served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Using frozen rhubarb, I baked my pie a bit longer. I also used a deep dish pie pan as I have a morbid fear of pie bubbling over in the oven.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reese Cookies

Okay, so blogger is being irritating and so is photobucket! On my last post, almanac recipes, I do apologize.

On to the cookies. How many of us here like chocolate?? All of us - that is good. Now, how many like peanut butter?? All of us again - wonderful! Now how many of us like chocolate with peanut butter? Once again, unanimous! (sorry if I misspelled that word, I am not awake yet) I think it is a universal given that chocolate and peanut butter are made for each other. From since I can remember, my Mom's favorite candy bar has been a Reese's. they are so fun to eat, too, because you can share easily without getting messy! That love of chocolate and peanut butter has been passed down to me. Although I would have to say that Heath bars run a close second and I have recently discovered Twix Java and they are really good. Let's don't forget Mounds, they are in there too.

ANY way . . . . these cookies are great. Just the thing to whip up if you have a bit of time, kids love them, adults love them, I can only think of one person who did not like them, because he is allergic to peanuts.

REESE'S Chewy Chocolate Cookies
4-1/2 dozen cookies.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips

Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 9 minutes. (Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.) Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.


As you can see, the cookie monsters around here have already gotten into them!

This dough also holds well in the refrigerator.

Stay tuned tomorrow for . . . Strawberry-Rhubarb pie!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day

I know, a day late and a dollar short. But I just thought that I would share with you about my Dad. My Dad is wonderful! He is old-fashioned and kinda grouchy sometimes, but he is great. I am a lot like him. We are both pretty laid-back, not real excitable. He helps me out and I cook for him and tease him. He likes plain, old-fashioned cooking, meat and potatoes. I like exotic things, different things all the time. But for Father's Day, I cook meat and potatoes.

Actually, this year Father's Day kinda snuck up on me, I had forgotten when it was. We usually have company, my brothers and some of my nieces or nephews. Sooooo. . . when I went to the freezer (thinking I was going to cook roast beef) we only had a very small roast. Hmmmm . . . what can I do (mind you this is at 6 AM on Sunday morning, I have until 9 to get the meal ready, as we are headed off to church) Then I spied a package of hamburger patties. Ok, that was good. Now, I know what I can do, what to go with it? Mashed potatoes, of course. Frozen green beans - check. and for dessert? Strawberry-rhubarb pie. I also made a fresh vegetable plate, some marinated tomatoes and a fresh fruit plate (well, melon and cherries anyway).


Now, the recipe I am going to give you today is nothing more than gussied-up hamburgers. But men love it and it goes together quick.

Salisbury Steak
6 servings

1 package of 6 frozen hamburger patties
1 can condensed french onion soup
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 can mushrooms

Brown hamburgers in large non-stick skillet. Remove from skillet and drain off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings. Sprinkle flour over the drippings and cook to make your roux. Meanwhile, combine ketchup, water, soup, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Stir into roux and cook for 2 minutes or until thickened. Return hamburgers to skillet. Add mushrooms. I usually add in a little coarsely cracked pepper.


Now, I have adapted this recipe from TOH, just streamlined it a bit. You can make your own hamburger patties, using some bread crumbs and the like. If that is your inclination:

Use 1-1/2 lb. hamburger, 1 egg, 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs and use 1/3 cup of the soup in the patties, reduce the flour to 1 tablespoon. Just combine these ingredients, brown the hamburgers and otherwise make as above. Also the original recipe does not call for the mushrooms, so that is your call, too.

As for the fruit plate, I chunked up some cantaloupe and put it in a ring around some fresh Bing cherries. Simple, but pretty.

The fresh veg tray I lined a plate with fresh leaf lettuce. I then raided the refrigerator (good thing I had went to Farmer's Market on Saturday!) We had cauliflower, snow peas, celery, carrots, radishes, cucumber, spring onions, green pepper and I threw some black olives on for good color contrast. That was good for the guys to munch on while we were doing last minute fixins.

The marinated tomatoes? A fresh ripe tomato, sliced in thin wedges, then just squirt on some bottled italian dressing and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Quick and pretty. Did not taste bad, either.

Just plain mashed potatoes and cooked green beans.

I try to go the extra mile to make everyone's day special. It does not take a lot, just a little extra effort.

I will be sharing the recipe for the strawberry-rhubarb pie later. It was really good, even my brother who does not like sweets wanted another piece! Made with some lovely frozen rhubarb I had and fresh strawberries from our tubs.

Almanac Recipes

Okay, so this is Wednesday's post, started on Tuesday, posted on Thursday!

We like the farmer's almanac. They are so interesting to read and a lot of times the weather predictions are spot on. There are some puzzles and interesting articles. They usually have a few recipes and some of them are quite good. Best of all, the almanac is free!

Some folks around here swear by the almanac and they will not plant or cut hair or do anything unless the almanac says so.

This recipe is from the 2008 Farmer's Almanac. It was submitted by Scooter O'Cain from Chapin, South Carolina. It really turned out to be a winner!

This is basically a shrimp scampi mixture on top of baked potatoes.

Scooter's Sea Spuds
Serves 4

4 baking potatoes
1/2 cup butter (1 stick or 1/4 lb.) (I thought this was just a tidge excessive, would use maybe 5 tablespoons)
4 scallions/spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 lb fresh shrimp (again I thought this was excessive, I used 1-1/4 lbs and it worked nicely) peeled
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used a little less)
garlic powder
coarse black pepper
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup choppped chives

Bake your potatoes in the oven, wrapped in foil.

Melt butter in skillet. Saute scallions and mushrooms. Add shrimp and saute until pink. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients well in skillet.

Fluff potatoes (cut slit in top and then squish it from both ways). Spoon the saute on top of the potatoes, making sure to get some of the pan juices. Top with grated cheese and chives. Serve with crusty bread and a nice salad.


This is a fantastic recipe and a great way to eat shrimp.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

simple-woman-daybook-small.jpg (image)

FOR TODAY June 16, 2008...

Outside My Window... A weak sun is finally starting to shine through the gray clouds. There is water standing on my front patio. The birds are busily chirping and there is an occasional rumble of thunder.

I am thinking... that I wish I had about 3 more hours to do things in the mornings!

I am thankful for... Rainbows. They are there to remind us of God's covenant that he will never again destroy the earth with water. Even if it seems like it sometimes.

From the kitchen... I am making some lemon-poppyseed scones later. Also, I am making Scooter's Sea Spuds for supper. New recipe, liked the name.

I am wearing... A navy skirt, my princess kitty socks with pink houseslippers, a pink t-shirt with embroidered flowers and a blue sweater. My hair is in an octopus clip. Ain't I just loverly?

I am creating... A cross-stitch picture of a teacup-stack. Been working on it for a while and I am about half done!

I am going... to my auntie's on Saturday! My mother is one of 9 girls, 2 of whom are dead now. They take turns every month or so having a tea party at one of their houses. They are so much fun!

I am reading... The Historical Book of Mysteries. Wow, I am glad I did not live in some of those times. Poison, daggers, arrows . . .

I am hoping... that I will be off for vacation the week of the 4th!

I am hearing... Not much, as it has quieted down around here.

Around the house... I need to finish weeding the garden path. Right now, I would just be pulling up mudballs.

One of my favorite things... is roses. I made some rosewater on Saturday - the house smelt like roses all day!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: If it ever stays dry, finish weeding that garden path. Making scones today, tomorrow making some lime jelly. Then Thursday making some cookies, I think some Pizzelles. Friday night making some goodies to take with me Saturday morning to my aunties.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...Photobucket

If you would like to do the Simple Woman's Daybook, just hop on over to: The Simple Woman and check it out. Loads of fun, even though I know I did not get the links done right.

Better Late than Never!

Sorry I was MIA, I did enjoy the day Saturday, went to Farmer's Market and got some very nice fresh dill, some green onions, tomatoes!!, a plant for my mother and some very hot radishes. It has been so wet and rainy here that it is a wonder that anyone has any crops at all.

Last night, though, coming out of church, God reaffirmed his covenat with us. There was the most beautiful full rainbow in the sky. I tried to get a picture, but it faded too quickly.

So now, onto the recipe! I made homemade pizza Friday night. MMMMMMmmmmm, good. Homemade crust, homemade sauce. We have recently discovered whole-wheat crust. It gives the pizza an undefinable flavor boost. It is crispy-chewy, just like I like it. Made in the bread machine, it is a snap. So without further ado . . .

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Makes 2 (12 inch) thin crusts (1 lb.)

1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Bung it all in your bread maker (in order given) and turn it on for dough cycle. Then go prop your feet up and read a book while it does all the hard work.

Divide the dough in half and place on 12-inch pizza pans, raising edges. I sprinkle each pan with some cornmeal first. Generously prick dough with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to turn light golden brown. Remove from oven, add toppings and return to oven to bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Voila, you are done, homemade pizza! I think it is the pre-baking that I love. I think that you could take it out after the prebaking, cool it and freeze it, then pull it out, top it and bake it for about 25 minutes.

Sorry no picture, the horde of ravenous locusts descended before I could get the camera going!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And, I'm finally back

Ok, sorry again! I promise next week my life will be more on track! I did have a very enjoyable day yesterday, had the day off of work so DS and Dad and I went shopping. We are fortunate to have Mennonite stores about 50 miles away, so we make trips to go down there and shop about every 2-3 months or so. One is a broken-box goods store, so you never know what you may find. This time around I found some golden curry sauce packets, some frozen breaded mushrooms and some frozen breaded spicy chicken chunks. They had a wonderful selection of Pepperidge Farm breads and I stocked up on those. Also had a great deal on Swanson's Organic chicken and beef broth. At the regular store, I got some nice Swiss cheese, some cinnamon tea, vanilla bean crush, cinnamon gummi bears and some really nice frozen rhubarb.

I am really enjoying this blogging thing, it is so much fun!! I would like to thank my friend Marie for being my biggest inspiration to begin my blog.

Now, as promised . . . a tropical paradise. Soft sand beneath your feet, cool ocean water lapping at your toes, the swish of the water sounding in your ears. A light breeze plays around you, bringing scents of tropical flowers. The rays of the setting sun gild your body with golden warmth. You have a coconut and a pineapple -so what do you do?? . . . you make

Pina Colada Cookies
Makes about 6 dozen

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut, lightly toasted
4 cups white chocolate chips
2 cups chopped and toasted macadamia nuts
3 drops pina colada candy oil

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs, pina colada oil, and rum extract, mix well. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Using a large wooden spoon, stir in the drained pineapple, coconut, white chocolate chips, and nuts. Cover bowl, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough into golf ball-sized balls, place 2 1/2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

I forgot the nuts in mine (old age, I think) and they were just fine. I baked mine about 16 minutes on air-bake pans.


Tomorrow I will be posting homemade pizza dough!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Apology Chops

I am supremely sorry that I have been MIA for a few days. We have had a lot of company, very busy, and I have not been feeling well. I have a migraine today, in fact. We have had rain, rain and more rain. Yickky weather. Humid as all get out. In fact, since last night, we have gotten 2-1/4 inches of rain. On top of whatever we got last week, which I know was in excess of 3 inches. Ah well, enough of my grousing.

My mother and I have a running arguement. She says that fruit does not belong in the same bite with meat. I disagree. I love trying new tastes. I like chutney. I like ham with cherry sauce. Or raisin sauce. In fact, chicken and pork both seem to have a special affinity for fruit sauces.

Today, therefore, I am giving you a recipe for orange pork chops!

I promise that I will have pics up later, just too bleh feeling right now.

Orange Pork Chops

4 bone-in pork chops
black pepper
3/4 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
6 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup water

Sprinkle chops on each side with paprika and pepper. Brown on both sides in non-stick skillet. Combine juice, sugar, cloves and zest and pour over chops. Simmer over low heat for 18-22 minutes. Remove chops from skillet. Remove cloves. Mix flour and water and stir into juice mixture in skillet. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. It will thicken a bit, but not a lot.

Serve sauce over chops. This is very nice with long-grain and wild rice and broccoli. Or with some snow peas sauteed with mushrooms.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Elephants would love these

Sorry I missed yesterday, camera was again absconded with. Back on track now! We have been having storms also, nothing bad thru here thankfully. But we have had almost 3-1/4 inches of rain in the last 3 days.

Peanuts. A much loved treat. Not actually a nut, but a legume. But what other legume has ever been so loved? Peanut butter. Peanuts. They are everywhere! In the shell, in Cracker Jacks, in your sandwiches, in salads, salted, unsalted, honey-roasted . . . the list is nearly endless!

This is a recipe from taste of home and if I were to make it again, I would not cook it as long in the oven. Either that or I think maybe we need to re-set our oven temp, it seems to get hotter. Rather fun to make, if kinda sticky. These are a great kid pleaser.

Sugared Peanuts
Makes 5 cups.

5 cups unsalted peanuts (I had a difficult time finding these, but they come in the can just like the salted ones)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Put peanuts, sugar and water in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and let cook until liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes or so.


Spread on greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 300 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to dry. (Note: You must work quickly after taking them out of the oven, they harden up very fast)


That is it! Let them dry and you are snackin' big time!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Spicing up an old-fashioned favorite

I love old-fashioned lemonade. Not the powdered stuff that you mix with water. Not the stuff you buy in a 2-liter. No, I am talking the stuff that you mix yourself, made from simple syrup flavored with lemon zest, lemon juice and water. The pucker-you-up stuff.

Imagine this: In Victorian days, no air conditioning. No electric fans, even. You have on a long skirt, bloomers, and a long-sleeved blouse, buttoned to the neck. Boots on your feet. It is HOT! Scorching. 90+ in the shade. Dry, dusty. The air shimmers with heat. Suddenly - Clip-clop, clip-clop down the street comes the ice man. Now, there is no soda and I don't believe most victorians drank iced tea, maybe they did, but this is my story. So what do you make? Lemonade!! You put some ice in it and sip away and are transported (mentally at least) to a shady tropical beach, with big breakers rolling in and crashing. A cool breeze blows. Relief!

Ok, so lemonade syrup is simple easy to make. But let's spice it up a bit! Make it a bit different. Give it a Zing!

Spiced Lemonade
This is enough for 4 drinks, 6 if you add more club soda

1 lemon
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 whole allspice
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
1 cup club soda OR seltzer water, chilled
Mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Remove rind in pieces from lemon with swivel-bladed vegetable peeler; avoid any bitter white pith.

Combine water, sugar, lemon rind, allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick, crystallized ginger and nutmeg in small saucepan. Bring to simmering; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.


Strain into pitcher and chill; discard solids.

To serve, stir in lemon juice and club soda. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprigs, if you wish.

You can just make the syrup, add the lemon juice and keep that in the fridge. Then to serve, just mix it with club soda to taste.

I do have to thank DS for this recipe! He made some last night and it is very nice!