Thursday, June 14, 2007

Baking Powder Biscuits

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Until recently I have avoided biscuits like the plaque-making them 'from scratch' out of a jiffy box. All because of two bad (BAD!) experiences. Then I found this recipe and it is the best I have ever seen/tested, bar none.

The BEST part about these light and fluffy biscuits? They can be cut out and frozen, then baked just before using! The convenience of Pillsbury without the cost! WA-HOO!!!

6 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. instant nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 c. baking powder
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
1 c. cold lard, cut into chuncks
1 c. (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into chunks
1 3/4 c. buttermilk, approx.

Preheat oven to 400. In a VERY large bowl (I actually use a stock pot), combine alldry ingredients. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. With a fork, quickly and lightly combine the ingredients. Not all of the flour will be incorporated at this point.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured pastry cloth (or counter) and with floured hands, knead it 8-10 turns until smooth.

Roll out until about 3/4 inch thick. Cut out using biscuit cutter, glass or (what I often use) the ring to a canning jar. Prick the tops of each biscuit with a fork-3 times.

Bake or freeze.

Bake: 13-15 minutes until LIGHTLY browned.

Freeze: place unbaked biscuits on a cookie sheet without touching one another. Freeze until hard. Then transfer to freezer bags.

To serve: remove as many biscuits as needed and bake frozen on oiled cookie sheet for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Easy peasy and OH SO GOOD!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Creamy Lemonade Pie

1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
1 pkg. (3.4 oz) instant lemon pudding mix
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup lemonade concentrate
1 graham cracker crust

In mixing bowl, combine milk and pudding mix-beat on low speed for two minutes (mixture will be thick...)
In another mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Gradually beat in lemonade concentrate, then add pudding mixture. Pour into crust. Cover and refridgerate atleast four hours.

Garnish as you like. I garnished with pineapple mint from my herbie garden.

Can also be frozen

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Apple Butter Spice Muffins

1/2 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. allspice
1/2 c. pecans (or walnuts), chopped
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. milk
1/4 c. veg. oil
1 egg
1/4 c. apple butter

~Preheat oven to 400
~Combine spices and sugar in large bowl. Toss 2 T. sugar mixture with pecans in small bowl, set aside.
~Add flour, BP and salt to remaining sugar mixture
~Combine 'wet ingredients' and add to flour mixture, mixing just until moistened.
~Spoon 1 T. batter into each prepared muffin cup. Spoon 1 heaping tsp. apple butter into each cup. Spoon remaining batter evenly over apple butter layers.
~Sprinkle reserved pecan mixture over each muffin.
~Bake 20-25 mins or until golden brown and wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan-cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
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Crackerspread Cheesecake

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Make 2 cups of crackercrumbs and mix with 1/4 c. butter. Spread on the bottom of a pie plate or springboard pan. Put in freezer to harden while you work.

Mix with mixer 2 8oz containers of cream cheese
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Garlic powder, onion flakes, Italian seasoning, basil, etc. (Or you could just throw in a pack of Italian dressing mix...)

Spoon and smooth mixture over cracker crust.

Spoon about 1/2 c. sour cream on top of cream cheese layer then add

Diced tomatos
Diced pepper
Fresh Chives or Green Onion

It is GREAT served with the great variety of Triscut flavors. I bought Cheddar, Rosemary and Olive Oil and Cracked peppercorn and olive oil. I used some of them for the crust and the rest were for dipping.

Jumbo Molasses Cookies

These are my favorite Molasses cookies ever. They are so SO delicious, they stay soft, they smell up your home as you bake them better than ANY candle, and they make a TON-so you can freeze them (or the dough) for later use.

I made these the day that the Browns were expected and ran out of time. So I used 1/3 of the dough and then rolled up the rest into a log and then froze it. Using only 1/3 of the recipe gave me about 2 dozen HUGE cookies.

Of course, you CAN make them smaller and then get even MORE!

Jumbo Molasses Cookies

3 cups butter-flavored shortening
4 cups sugar
1 cup molasses
4 eggs
8 cups all purpose flour
2 T. plus 2 t. baking soda
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. each: salt, ground cloves, ground ginger

Additional sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and eggs, mix well. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refridgerate for 1-2 hours. Shape 1/4 cupfuls of dough into balls; roll in additional sugar. Place several inches from each other on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until sides are set and have gotten a molasses coloring.

NOTE: I made this all at once and dough shot EVERYWHERE which made me clean my kitchen-again-before my company. You CAN prepare half the recipe at a time to avoid that problem. Unless of course, you LIKE to clean kitchens several times a day... :-)

I put all the dry ingredients together and then suddenly saw how pretty the spices all looked together. So of course, I had to snap a picture. Don't the different shades of spices look so rich?

Dandelion Wine

Here is the recipe for Dandelion wine-sorry it has taken this long to post. It is pretty straightforward but if you have any questions, let me know.

Dandelion wine does not require any special equipment to make. Just dandelions, some sugar and yeast, oranges and lemons, and pots to boil water in. This recipe uses cloves, which I think give it a nice touch. If you have dandelions around, give it a try!

* 1 package dried yeast
* 1/4 cup warm water
* 2 quarts dandelion blossoms
* 4 quarts water
* 1 cup orange juice
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 8 whole cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
* 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped orange peel
* 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped lemon peel
* 6 cups sugar

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Set aside.

Wash the dandelion blossoms well. Put them in the water with the orange, lemon and lime juices. Add the cloves, ginger, orange and lemon peel, and sugar. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for an hour. Strain through filter paper (coffee filters work great). Cool. While still warm (but not hot), stir in the yeast.

Let stand overnight and pour into bottles. Allow uncorked bottles to set in a darkened place for three weeks. Then cork and store bottles in a cool place. Makes about 4 quarts.

White Trash

This is a SUPER easy and SUPER yummy snack to fix for anytime. I can tell you though, it is especially appreciated by people who have been traveling a ways to be welcomed by this delicious mix.

I used:

Crispix (or Chex)
Broken up pretzels
Chocolate chips
a bit of Heath brittle
and then added Rainbow Sprinkles for color

2 T. shortening or oil
1 bag of white chocolate chips or equivalent bars

Melt the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler (or microwave).
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Don't measure out-just fill the large bowl 3/4 up or so with your favorite ingredients-add more later if necessary.

When chocolate is melted, pour over dry ingredients and mix until well coated. Layer onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and allow to harden. When chocolate is hardened, break into pieces and enjoy.

Note: DO NOT let this recipe BOX YOU IN! Use what you have on hand or what you LOVE to make this delicious. Use M&M's instead of chocolate chips, use Frosted flakes instead of cheerios. Use what you have and what you love. The idea is that it is covered in white chocolate. Trust me, with chocolate involved-it CAN'T taste anything but delicious! :-)
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Mexican Roll-Ups

I loved messing around with garnishing for this one!

These are super duper easy to make. Simply mix:

1 8oz cream cheese
1 pkg. Ranch dip/dresing envelope

Then spread on torillas.

Then sprinkle (finely chopped):

green chilis (one small can)
1/4 yellow pepper
a few black olives

Roll up, slice~ and THERE YA HAVE IT! Garnish as you like. I made a tomato skin rose for the center with oregano leaves, and then used slices of red and yellow pepper to decorate around the treats!
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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Blueberry Recipes

Lemony Blueberry-Nectarine Freezer Jam

Freezer jams are PERFECT, considering the weather. No bending over a hot water bath in a hot kitchen, in a hot home, in HOT Pennsylvania. At least not when I don't have to...

3 cups chopped, pitted and peeled nectarines (about 4 medium)
1 c. crushed blueberries (about 1 pint)
1 T. grated lemon peel
1 ½ c. sugar
1 t. lemon juice
1 pouch freezer jam pectin

Combine all ingredients (except pectin) in a medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Gradually stir in pectin. Stir three minutes then let stand for five. Ladle jam into jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Cap, Label and Freeze.

About 5 half-pints

Blueberry Lime Jam

(Note: I made this last year and everyone who I have shared it with have raved about it! I usually cut the zest in half but that is just my taste...)

4 ½ cups blueberries
6 cups sugar
2 T. lime juice
Grated zest of 2 large limes
3 3oz pkgs. Liquid pectin

Remove stalks from blueberries, rinse and drain well. Crush berries with a masher and put in a saucepan. Stir in sugar, lime juice and zest-bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep stirring to avoid burning. When mix reaches a boil, cook for one minute then stir in pectin. Return to a full boil for another minute. Place in sterilized jars and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: about 6 cups

Blueberry Spice Jam
(Note: This is the first year I made this one but it smelled SO GOOD while I was making it!
And the taste: Matt definately prefers it over the lime and I think I might too!!!)

2 ½ pints ripe blueberries
1 T. lemon juice
½ t. ground nutmeg or cinnamon
5 ½ sugar
¾ c. water
1 box (1.75oz) powdered pectin

Wash and thoroughly crush blueberries, one layer at a time, in a saucepan. Add lemon juice, spice, and water. Stir in pectin and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar and return to a full boil. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim off foam and fill sterile jars. Process 10 minutes in hater water bath.

Yield: about 5 half-pints

Blueberry Syrup

Yield: about 3 pints
2 Quarts blueberries
6 cups water, divided
1 T. grated lemon peel
3 c. sugar
2 T. lemon juice

Wash, drain, and crush blueberries. Add berries, 2 c. water and lemon peel in a medium saucepan. Simmer five minutes. Strain through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Combine sugar and four c. water in a medium saucepot; boil to 230degrees (Adjust for altitude) Add blueberry juice to sugar syrup. Boil five minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Ladle hot syrup into hot jars. Process 10 minutes in hot water canner.
Note:Fruit syrups are usually thin. If a thicker syrup is desired for serving, combine 1 c. syrup and 1 T. cornstarch in a small saucepan. Boil until thickened. Do NOT add cornstarch before canning…

Blueberry Cake with Streusel Topping

¼ c. gran. Sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
1/3 c. all purpose flour
½ t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. ground mace
¼ c. butter, cold

6 T. butter, softened
¾ c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 c. flour
3 T. cornstarch
2 t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1 t. vanilla
½ c. milk
2 cups blueberries

Mix dry streusel ingredients together, cut in butter. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, cream softened butter. Add sugar a bit at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg. Sift together dry ingredients and mix with butter mixture, alternating with milk and vanilla. Stir in blue berries by hand. Spread batter in an oiled 8x8pan. Sppon streusel topping on top of batter and bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cake cool for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Homemade Waffles to dress up

Yesterday I made some lovely blueberry waffles hot of the iron. DEEEEE-LISH with our own maple syrup! I doubled the recipe so as to stock some up in the freezer as well. Waffles are fantastic because you toss them in the freezer and then, when you are ready to eat them-pop them in the toaster. They will come out warm and toasty-just like those Leggo Eggo's from the store (except more filling AND flavorful!

Needless to say...I have a few popped in the toaster as we speak...

Homemade Waffles
(this you will need a waffle iron for, though. Would you believe bachelor Matt had this before we got married? was definately a perk...)

2 eggs
2 c. milk
2 c. flour
6 T. veggie oil
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
2 t. baking powder

Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat. Beat eggs and milk together. Add dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour batter into iron and spread a bit with a knife. Make sure you RE-GREASE before each new batch! Cook for 5-7 minutes per waffle (though most waffle irons have a light that turns off when waffles are done)

Note 1: If waffle batter is stored overnight in the fridge, add another t. of baking powder before cooking.

Note 2: If you double the recipe-you can freeze what is leftover for future use. Make sure to flash freeze first so they don't stick together!

Note 3: This is a BASIC, plain Jane waffle. You can add fruits to your liking, chocolate chips, cinnamon (I added about a t. with my blueberries), or whatever floats your boat. You can top with mapley syrup-or be bold and try FRUIT syrups, compote, fresh fruit, whipped cream...and the list goes on. YUM!

Note 4: Think outside the box. These would be delicious to make a quick and easy version of strawberry shortcake-without the shortcake that is...
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Zucchini Relish

Zucchini relish in the works!

The Recipe:
10 c. zucchine (about 3 large)
2 Lg. onions
2 red peppers
2 green peppers
5-7 baby carrots
3 stalks celery

~Chop and then grate in blender or food processor.
~Add 1/2 c. salt and let set overnight.
~Next day-drain and rinse VERY well (may require a second time!) in cold water.
~Mix together:
2 1/2 c. vinegar
4 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 t. turmeric
1 t. nutmeg
2 t. celery seed
1/4 t. pepper

~Bring to a boil in a large kettle.
~Add vegetables and simmer for 30 minutes
~Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Yeild: about 7 pints
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Lemony Angel Food Cake

As light as air. Better yet-as helium. hehehe

1 cup heaving whipping cream
Whip with electric mixer until it starts to thicken
1 T. confectioners sugar
Mix until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1 15 oz can of lemon pie filling into the mixture.

You can make your own angel food cake, use a boxed mix or buy it prepared. Cut angel food cake into two layers-frost, then add top layer and frost the entire cake.

To make Homemade Angel Food cake:


* 1 1/4 cups cake flour
* 1 3/4 cups white sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups egg whites
* 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


1. Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and then add cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
2. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Repeat five times.
3. Gently combine the egg whites with the dry ingredients, and then pour into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan.
4. Place cake pan in a cold oven. Turn the oven on; set it to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Cook for about one hour, or until cake is golden brown.
5. Invert cake, and allow it to cool in the pan. When thoroughly cooled, remove from pan.

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Sausage Gravy

Today is Matt's day off since he has to work this weekend. So the morning-off sausage gravy ritual began. Because my camera just HAPPENED to be in the kitchen, I decided now is as good a time as any to share the know-how for those who might like it. And thus-the recipe for this week was born.

When we were first married, I KNEW I needed to hone in on my gravy skills so I went online (who knows where!) and got a recipe for it. For the first year or so, I followed it meticulously, as I did ALL my recipes. I was not confident enough in my capabilities, to believe that variation could produce just-as-delicious (if not more so) results.

Now-five years later: somewhere between the first years end and the second years beginning, a light bulb went off in my head (or maybe just laziness when I couldn't find the written recipe) and I scratched the recipe and fudged my way through. I think it is even better now (and several people-have said mine is the best sausage gravy around. Well, okay. One of them was my husband, but still....) After that first year, I have adopted the 'that looks like enough' method versus measuring cups so I will write down the recipe that I first began with. I will also include *my* way to do it. I know I say this all the time but, please don't let recipes confine you. I still struggle with this at times, but when I just let it go and try my hand at it, I am rarely disappointed. The same will be true for you.

What makes my sausage gravy stand out from the crowd is a *little* something that ANYONE can do, even without changing their prized family heirloom recipe that they can't live without. It is simply to replace the regular sausage with maple sausage. That simple switch creates a bit of sweet that makes the gravy stand out from the rest. Marry that with freshly ground black peppercorns, and you will get a bit of sweet and a bit of spice, giving your gravy a distinction of its own. Of course, for different flavors, try the sage sausage or HOT sausage, if those flavors you would prefer...

If you will look at MY version, you will see some very important changes...namely, dirtying only ONE dish instead of two and ommitting some of the bad-for-you things. Personally, if you are brave enough...follow MY version. Of course, maybe I am just partial. ;-)

So without further ado...

The Written Recipe

1# (pound) ground sausage
3 T. bacon grease ( you don't need this at all-I rarely use it)
1/4 c. all purpose flour
3 c. milk
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper

1) Brown sausage in large skillet over medium high heat. Set aside, leaving drippings in the skillet.
2) Mix bacon grease into the sausage drippings. Reduce heat to medium, combine with flour and stir constantly until mixture turns goldbrown. Gradually whisk milk into skillet. When mixture is smooth, thickened and begins to bubble, return sausage to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.


Now MY turn!!!

Brown in a large skillet, 1 pound of maple sausage (-or-you could use a bit of maple syrup or extract for flavoring). When sausage is fully browned, dust the top with a healthy dose of flour and mix until it coats the meat. (If the meat does not produce much in the drippings department, then you can add some bacon grease. I usually don't have to...) Allow the meat, drippings and flour to meld for a minute or so and then pour milk in. Turn heat down to medium. I usually add milk as far as I can go while still avoiding a mess when stirring or boiling. Grind fresh peppercorns on top. (I usually omit the salt only because I figure sausage has enough salt in it!) Then, just let simmer until thickened.

Serve EITHER version with biscuits or toast.

There you have it!!!

This recipe is perfectly timed-try it out this weekend for a special treat! And if you do, let me know how you like it!
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Oat Pan Rolls

2 c. quick cooking oats
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1 T. salt
2 1/2 c. boiling water
4 1/2 t. active dry yeast (or two packages 1/4 ounce, each)
1/2 c. warm water (110-115 degrees)
5 1/2 to six cups all purpose flour
Additional melted butter

In a bowl combine 1st four ingredients. Stir in boiling water. Cool to 110-115 degrees
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand for 5 minutes.
Add oat mixture and 2 c. flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 20 pieces. Place in a greased 13x9 in pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack and brush with melted butter. Yield: 20 rolls Posted by Picasa

Moist Poultry Stuffing

This is the first time I have made sutffing from scratch and I will not go back. It was so easy and delicious! I just experimented so amounts are not exact.

Cut up bread in cubes (I used about 1 1/2 loaves) and let rest on counter for a few days (OR) put in oven at 300 until crisp. Put in a bowl. Add to bowl...
Garlic powder
Minced and rubbed fresh sage (or dried)-Six leaves
Lemon & Pepper Seasoning

...and toss with bread crumbs to coat. (I started with about 1/2 t. of each and then I just kept adding spices until all the bread looked spiced up...)


Sautee 1-2 onions, chopped
3-4 stalks of celery, sliced
1 or 2 cans mushrooms, sliced
2-4 T. butter

When onions are translucent, add to bread bowl.
Then add 2-4 c. broth (you can use turkey broth, chicken, vegetable, or even just water... I used 1 14 1/2 oz. can vegetable broth and an additional 1 1/2 c. water all mixed with chicken bouillion-but the same affect can be had by using cans of chicken broth.

Transfer mixture to a greased pan and bake, covered, for 45mins to an hour at 350. Posted by Picasa

Volcano Pickles

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Wash your cucumbers and slice 1/16th off the blossom end. Pack into clean quart jars.

Then place into each jar:
1 head of dill
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
1 TBS pickling salt
1 tsp pickling spice
1 TBS of dried red hot pepper.

Make a brine of 8 cups vinegar and 8 cups water (this is enough for 7 quart jars). Bring to a boil and pour over into jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Place lids on jars and can for 15 min in a water bath canner.

My husband's new favorite, received from Kim at Homestead Acres

Apple Crisp

8 lg. apples, peeled and sliced
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. flour
1 egg
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. melted butter

Put apples in greased 13x9 inch pan. Mix cinnamon and brown sugar. Sprinkle half of mixture over apples. Combine granulated sugar, flour, egg, salt and baking powder until crumbly. Spread over apples. Top that with leftover cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour melted butter over top and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until top is crisp. Posted by Picasa

Spiced Peach Butter

4-41/2 pounds peaches (about 18 medium)
4 cups sugar
1/4 t. each of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon

Wash and blanch peaches. Put peaches in cold water;peel, pit and slice peaches.

Combine peaches and 1/2 c. water in a large saucepot. Simmer until peaches are soft. Puree in a food processor, food mill, or blender being careful not to liquify. Measure 2 quarts peach pulp.

Combine peach pulp and sugar and spices in a large saucepot. Cook until thick enough to round up in a spoon. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust caps and process for 10 minutes in boiling water canner.

To make butter WITHOUT spices-just exclude.

This recipe is adapted from the Ball Blue Book of Canning.

*This was my first time making peach butter so I underestimated the cooking time. It is more like a peach compote/jam. It needed to cook much longer to make the consistency I like. To make my apple butter, which turned out perfectly, I used my roaster oven-and cooked the applesauce down for HOURS. I will try that next year with peach butter too.
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