Showing posts from 2013

Festive Nut and Berry Biscotti

Biscotti is one of my favorite types of cookies to make...mostly because the recipe makes a lot, looks quite impressive, but really requires little of my time and attention.  And this particular biscotti recipe combines the red of dried cranberries and the green of pistachios to make a very festive cookie for Christmas.

Here is what you will need to make these delicious treats:
7 eggs1 cup SUCANAT1 1/2 cup peanut butter2 cups pistachios2/3 cup dried cranberries5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour1 teaspoon salt2 teaspoons baking powder
Then for the frosting:
1 cup powdered SUCANAT (just run 1 cup of regular SUCANAT through a coffee grinder)1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring2 Tablespoons milk
Mix together the peanut butter and SUCANAT.

Add in the eggs, flour, salt and baking powder.

Finally mix in the cranberries and nuts.  (You may have to do the final mixing by kneading the mixture with your hands unless you have a really powerful mixer...a newer Kitchen Aid mixer will not be able to handle this dough.…

Molasses Popcorn Balls

Making popcorn balls is a Christmas tradition in my husband's family and so this molasses popcorn ball recipe has now become a way our family has been able to carry on that tradition without adding the more popular corn syrup to the traditional treat.

Here is what you need to make this recipe:
1 1/2 cups unpopped yellow popcorn (about 24 cups when it is popped) 2 cups peanuts (optional) 2 cups molasses3 Tablespoons butter and extra to coat hands
If using peanuts, place them in a large oven-proof bowl and place in the oven on warm.  If you skip this step you will not get popcorn balls, but rather candied nuts and plain popcorn as the nuts act like a heat sink and harden the molasses candy on contact.

Pop the popcorn and place the popped corn into a bowl in a warm oven (with the peanuts if you are using them).  Again, don't skip this step because the bowl will act like a heat sink too.

Next, in a pan, warm the molasses and butter and heat the entire mixture until it reaches 250 degre…

Staying Awake When It Matters the Most

Last week I was working on chapter 26 in the book of Matthew and a couple of verses within that text pressed on me the need to share a past lesson the Lord taught me about staying awake when it matters the most...when I am praying. 

"Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, 'What?  Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'"  Matthew 26: 40 and 41
I have to admit, for the longest time I could never stay awake or focus when I prayed.  Not that I did not understand the great privilege I had in conversing face to face with my Lord and Savior.  Nor, that I found this time boring or dull.  It just seemed to me that my human nature was very weak and vulnerable during my dedicated time with the Lord and the enemy was hard at work to make sure I did not succeed in my pursuit.

Praying for the Lord to protect that time and to protect my mind from straying…

Add-in Your Own Ingredients...Creole Beef Stew

Earlier this fall I decided to take a new approach in how I serve stew and soup this winter season in our house.  In the past I have met much opposition when putting a soup (or casserole) on the table that contained ingredients the whole family didn't find appetizing...and boy can they be opinionated!  And since making different meals for everyone is not something I will not concede to, I had to find another way to get my family eating a good soup each week...and thus the "Add-in Your Own Ingredients" idea was born.

Here is what I did to make this week's stew...Creole Beef:
2 pounds of stew meat (still frozen is fine)8 cups homemade broth (still frozen is fine)1 cup spaghetti sauce, homemade is best1 Tablespoon paprika1 1/2 teaspoons salt1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder1 1/2 teaspoons onion powderSweet corn to add at the tableBeans to add at the table - I cooked up some black beans for this
Put everything, minus the corn and beans, in a crock pot and cook on low for at lea…

Gingerbread Houses - Dough & Construction

As a family tradition, we take an evening during the Christmas season to hold a friendly competition making gingerbread houses.  This year it was decided that the guys would get one house and the girls would get the other.  But before we get into the decorating details I will share the recipe I have used year after year to make the structure of this sturdy houses.  Please note:  If you are looking for a gingerbread recipe to eat, this is not it.  The cookies get as hard as rocks...which is a good thing when you are using them for construction.

Here is what you will need to make enough dough for 2 houses, some extra house pieces (just in case any break in the building process) and extra complementary cutouts (people, trees, animals, etc.) PLUS 2 large bags of construction frosting:
1 cup plain yogurt8 Tbsp butter1 cup SUCANAT3/4 cup molasses2 medium eggs1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon salt1 1/2 teaspoons ginger1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon8 cups hard wheat flour4 pounds (approximately)…

Festive Baked Cheese

Last night the ladies from our church held their annual Christmas party.  And, as tradition, each woman was to bring an appetizer to share with the group.  As this is the 5th year of my attendance, so I was certain this was the event to showcase my newest cheese in all its glory.  Thus, I made a sweet nut and fruit topping to offset the pungent warm cheese that was to be baked underneath...and it was a huge hit.

To make this wonderful cheese, first you need to make one recipe of the French Neufchatel from my previous post and have the following ingredients on hand:
 One, room temperature, large French Neufchatel cheese3/4 cup SUCANAT1 cup shelled pistachios, after measured chopped roughly1 1/4 cups sweetened cranberriesNext, you need to put 3/4 cup SUCANAT and 3/4 cup water into a pan and whisk while heating over medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Boil then for 2 more minutes, while continuing to stir.

Next, add the pistachios and cook them in the sugar sauce for another minute.

Then …

Homemade French Neufchatel Cheese

Using the last gallons of milk I got out of my cow before selling her, I decided to make one more cheese I could add to the recipe index on this site.  (If you want to catch up on the reasoning behind my cow sale and this being my last batch of cheese for a while, you can read my post entitled Focusing On Heaven While Still Here on Earth)  This cheese I must start out by saying, if made with raw milk, is rather pungent.  And so, if you don't like a cheese that punches you back when you eat it, this may not be a recipe to try.  But if you are looking for an easy way to get into the mold variety of cheese, this is a simple recipe that won't steer you is basically a soft mold ripened cheese you can make completely at refrigerator temperatures.

To start out you need 2 gallons of partially skimmed milk.

Then in a sterilized pot, heat the milk to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sprinkle 1/2 a teaspoon on mesophilic culture on top of the heated milk as well as 1/16 teaspoon of Penicill…