Friday, June 29, 2007

Red, White and Blue Berry Pie -- Favorite Ingredients Friday


Here's my contribution to this week's Favorite Ingredients Friday!

RED, WHITE, AND BLUE BERRY PIE

9” baked pie crust
BERRY LAYER:
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 1/2 Tblsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. water
4 1/2 Tblsp. dry raspberry jello powder
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 pint fresh or frozen whole unsweetened raspberries
CREAM LAYER:
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 c. confectioners sugar
4 oz. cool whip

For berry layers, combine sugar, cornstarch and water in medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve. Cook until thick and clear. Add jello powder; stir until dissolved. Divide mixture in half. Stir blueberries and lemon juice into half of the mixture; spread over bottom of pie shell. Refrigerate. Fold raspberries gently into remaining half of mixture; set aside. For cream layer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the cool whip. Spread cream cheese mixture over blueberry layer. Refrigerate until set. Carefully spread raspberry layer over cream layer. Chill at least 4 hours before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

This beautiful pie is very easy to make and is just delicious. It’s perfect for patriotic holidays or any other special summer occasion.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday for June 28


Here's a favorite sandwich recipe at our house. These yummy sandwiches would be good with french fries and coleslaw on the side, or with potato salad and baby carrots for a more summery meal. Hope others enjoy this as much as we have!

FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES

1 3-lb. beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
2 c. water
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. garlic powder
3-4 whole peppercorns
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8 French rolls, split

Place the roast in a slow cooker; add water, soy sauce, and seasonings. Cover and cook on High for 5 to 6 hours or until beef is tender.
Remove the meat from the slow cooker to a bowl; shred the meat with 2 forks. Cover the bowl and keep warm.
Strain the broth and skim off as much fat as possible. Pour the broth into small cups for dipping. Serve the beef on the rolls along with a cup of broth for each person.

This great recipe is a big favorite in our family. It came from a Taste of Home magazine some years ago.

Picnic by the River for June 27



We had a lovely evening for our picnic by the river yesterday. Thunder was rumbling in the distance, but the lightning and rain held off as we enjoyed our tranquil picnic spot.

This week I made turkey subs with lettuce and cranberry sauce. I had intended to use bulkie rolls, but I found wheat sub rolls on Walmart's reduced bakery rack so used those instead. The sandwiches are simple: Just spread mayonnaise on the cut rolls, then layer on deli turkey with some lettuce and slices of jellied cranberry sauce. Of course it would be even tastier with your own sliced roast turkey or chicken.


For a salad, I made an old favorite from an early Quick Cooking magazine. Here it is:

EASY VEGGIE SALAD

1 16-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 16-ounce can cut green beans, drained
1 small cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup sliced radishes
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar (can use brown sugar)
2 Tblsp. olive or canola oil
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper

In a large bowl, combine all of the vegetables. Combine the remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake jar to mix dressing ingredients well. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Yield: 6-8 servings

I left out the radishes because I didn't have any, but the salad is good either way. I also found I was running low on sugar and didn't want to take time to run down to the pantry for more. So I just substituted brown sugar in the dressing and it worked just fine. Another time I may cut the oil down to 1 T. or leave it out completely for a fat-free salad.

How thankful we are that Mr. T had the idea last summer to picnic by the river on the way to church on Wednesday evenings! It is a bright spot in the week for us. I have fun planning what to take along for a meal, and he enjoys anticipating what we'll have. As we eat, we can sit and enjoy the peaceful view of the river and, for just a few minutes, feel as if we are 'on vacation'.

As we headed toward church after our picnic last evening, we watched jagged lightning bolts in the sky ahead of us, and before too long the rain came down in torrents. We were thankful God held off the storm until we had finished our picnic and were safely on our way!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

From the summer devotional book...


Here's another page from this year's kids' devotional book, Riding a Mountain Railway. Today's page is the one for May 25 and is from the section called "In the Dining Car."

"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."

Today we are going to learn about a real breakfast recipe from the dining cars of a real train! The railroad was the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, which is also called the C&O Railroad. This is a recipe that was served in the dining cars of the C&O Railroad during the 1950s. The recipe may sound a little bit strange to us, but train passengers in the 1950s enjoyed it. The complete recipe is on this week’s Fun Page if you would like to try making it.

The recipe is called C&O Railroad Jelly Omelette. Have you ever tasted an omelette (also spelled “omelet”)? Probably you have. An omelette is made with beaten eggs, similar to scrambled eggs. The difference is that when making an omelette, you do not stir the eggs as you do when making scrambled eggs. Instead, you lift up the sides of the omelette with a spatula as it cooks. That way, the uncooked eggs flow under the omelette and continue to cook.

For the C&O Jelly Omelette, when the omelette is almost cooked you spread jelly or jam over the top. Then you fold the omelette over. The jam or jelly adds a sweet touch to the omelette.

Our verse talks about something else that can add a sweet touch to life. That something is our words. If our words are kind and nice, they will make life sweeter for those whom we speak with. Mean, angry words are not sweet. But the Bible tells us that kind, pleasant words are an encouragement to others. Not only that, but words that are kind and nice are also pleasing to God. The Bible has much to say about our words. What we say, and how we say it, is very important to God.

* Thank God for His Word which tells us how He wants us to live. Ask Him to help you always speak kind, pleasant words. Ask Him to help you encourage other people with your words.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Edging back toward what passes for normalcy...




Whew! The great Vacation Bible School Craft Caper is over!

Due to other responsibilities, I didn't feel that I could take a hands-on, everyday part in VBS this year. So instead, I volunteered to plan and coordinate all of the craft projects for the entire week, including purchasing and preparing the craft components and materials.

I've done this before, but in those years I also taught the craft portion of each day as well. So just the behind-the-scenes stuff would, I thought, be relatively easy. I was wrong.

In other years I've tried to use some recycled materials which people in the church could save for me. I tried that this year -- I asked for baby food jars ( or votive candle holders), 12-oz. juice cans (without the lids), unwanted CDs, and assorted colors of yarn and ribbon. I got no jars (but did eventually get some votive holders)and only one juice can and a few CDs. Over the weekend I received a bunch more CDs, but by then it was nearly too late. (I did scrounge up enough CDs at home to do the project.) I had to scrap the juice can project, but fortunately the Lord pointed me to the materials right in my craft closet for another craft that would be easy and quick to pull together.

What a busy couple of weeks it has been! I've had to do lots of planning and prep work -- since there is only a limited time slot allowed for the craft each day, much of the work for the little kids' crafts has to be done ahead of time. For instance, they are making turtles out of foam bowls turned upside down. I painted the outside of each "turtle shell" green, then when that was dry sponged it with brown. The kids will add pre-cut feet, heads, and tails made from yellow cardstock. They'll also glue on googly eyes and stick a verse sticker on the top of the shell. I was very blessed that another lady in the church, who works full time, volunteered to cut out stuff for me. I may have given her more work than she bargained for, but oh, what a help it was to me!

In addition, I had to figure out and write up directions for each of these crafts!

You should have seen my living room on Saturday night! The coffee table was covered with glued-together CDs laid out to dry, and another table was filled with drying turtle shells. Every other available surface seemed to be laden with some sort of craft component. But I went to bed at a decent hour, and by 8 or so on Sunday morning, it was all sorted into bags, one for each day, to take to the lady who is actually teaching the crafts.

And so -- unless I receive a desperate cry for help! -- the great craft caper is over. I said to Mr. T last night, "Now I can begin to get the house back to normal." But you know what? It's not going to happen in a day. Babysteps! Today so far I've changed the sheets, washed and hung out 2 loads of laundry, put away a sinkful of dishes, planned my menus for the week, put away a few craft items, and made a pitcher of iced tea. I've also ordered the books for the next study our ladies' Sunday School class will do, and made plans to order a few more study books (for my own research) from Amazon or CBD. So I have accomplished a lot, and hope to do a lot more before the sun sets.

But what is normalcy, anyway? This summer, it is not particularly normal around here. I don't see us taking a vacation or getting away for a weekend to go camping, or even going out to breakfast. Mr. T. is heading up a building project at church which takes every Saturday and some evenings as well. He projects that will probably take 2 to 3 months.

In addition, I have some writing tasks (rewriting some of my older devotional books for kids) that will take a lot of my time. We have 3 wedding gifts to think about, and I hope to make a personalized cookbook for each couple. I haven't done a craft or sewing project just for fun in eons. But I'm edging back toward normalcy -- I hope!

Cookies, cookies everywhere!


Cookies, cookies everywhere!

That pretty much describes my kitchen yesterday afternoon. I had a plan to bake 9 dozen cookies for Vacation Bible School which is being held by our church this week. (Most people buy cookies for this to serve as snacks for the kids each day -- and, in fact, I would buy cookies myself if I actually had to be physically present at VBS this week.) I wanted to bake homemade cookies, but also wanted to bake a bunch of them as quickly and easily as possible. So I turned to a recipe I hadn't used in years -- Angel Cookies, from an old Farm Journal Cookie Cookbook. This is a big recipe that is supposed to make 9 dozen, and you can divide the dough up to flavor it in different ways to make several different-tasting cookies all from the same batch of dough. I haven't a clue as to why these are called Angel Cookies, but I imagine it may have something to do with their light, melt-in-the-mouth texture -- which, I think, is a hallmark of cookies made with cream of tartar.

ANGEL COOKIES

1 cup butter or real margarine, softened
1 cup butter-flavor crisco
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. salt
Optional ingredients/techniques*
Sugar for dipping tops

Cream together the butter, crisco, and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time, to mix thoroughly. Add vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add to creamed mixture to blend well. If you like, divide the dough up and add some optional ingredients to each section to make different flavors of cookies. Chill dough for 1 hour or until it is easy to handle, if necessary.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and dip tops in sugar. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 or 2 drops of water on each cookie (to make them crackle nicely). Bake at 350º for 15 minutes.

Remove cookies and cool on racks. Makes 8 to 9 dozen cookies.

(Recipe may easily be divided in half to make fewer cookies.)


* Optional ingredients: chopped peanuts, coconut, toffee bits, chocolate or butterscotch chips, etc. Optional technique: Dip tops of cookies in cinnamon-sugar for a Snickerdoodle effect.

I really didn't want to mess around with dividing the dough into separate bowls, etc. So here's what I did:

1) Made 3 dozen of the cookies to approximate Snickerdoodles by simply dipping the tops into cinnamon-sugar.

2) Added 1 cup toffee bits to the remaining dough and made 2 dozen toffee cookies

. 3) Added 1/2 cup butterscotch chips and 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the remaining toffee dough and made about 3 dozen chip-filled cookies.

As you can see, the recipe let me down and did not produce the 9 dozen cookies I needed. So I turned to another old favorite, Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, which I remembered as being easy and good. Here's that recipe:

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or real margarine, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350º. Mix sugar, margarine, egg, water, and vanilla to blend well. (Mixture will appear curdled; don’t panic.) Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir into sugar mixture to blend well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips to blend thoroughly.

(At this point you have a choice. These are a drop cookie, but I don’t like the messy look of most drop cookies. If you choose to drop them, use a cookie scoop and drop by rounded teaspoons, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

OR, for molded cookies, chill the dough for an hour or so [or place in the freezer for 15 minutes] and then form the dough into 1-inch balls and place, 2 inches apart, on the parchment-lined baking sheets.)

Bake the cookies at 350º for 10 to 13 minutes. Remove immediately to cooling racks. Yield: 5 1/2 dozen cookies.

I must hasten to add that neither of these recipes are "to-die-for" cookies. They are good, sort of old-fashioned, family-style, cookie-jar cookies. Kids usually like them quite a lot.

So that was my cookie-baking adventure for yesterday! Today I'm heading back toward "normalcy" and hope to post more about that later.

Menu Plan Monday for June 25


Another Monday! They seem to come around so fast!


Here's my menu plan for the week. A few of these are repeat meals that didn't get used last week for one reason or another.

MONDAY: Eggplant-Tomato Bake, Tossed Salad, Ranch French Bread

TUESDAY: Crab & Shrimp Salad, Potato Salad, Green Beans

WEDNESDAY: (picnic) Turkey/Cranberry Sandwiches on Bulkie Rolls, Easy Veggie Salad

THURSDAY: Pork Chops with Cider & Apples, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus Stir-fry Veggies

FRIDAY: Sloppy Joe under a Bun, Mixed Vegetables, Coleslaw

SATURDAY: Garlic Lime Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries, Coleslaw

SUNDAY: (potluck at church) Spinach Tortellini Salad, Ranch French Bread, Red, White & Blue Berry Pie

Friday, June 22, 2007

Favorite Ingredients Friday for June 22


For my favorite ingredients post this week I am going to focus on a somewhat seasonally available ingredient -- Vidalia onions. You could, of course, use any sweet onions in these recipes, but Vidalias are wonderful. Here are my two favorite recipes for these onions:

BAKED VIDALIA ONION FLOWERS

6 Vidalia onions (you can use fewer onions if you prefer)
1/3 c. melted butter -- maybe less
1/4 c. chopped pecans, optional
Salt & pepper

Line a baking dish, large enough to hold all the onions, with foil.

Next, prepare the onions. With a sharp knife, trim the root end of each onion carefully. Stand each onion on its root end on a cutting board. Cut parallel, vertical slices at 1/4” intervals into, but not all the way through the onion, almost to the bottom. Rotate each onion 90º and cut again in the same way to form a cross-hatch pattern on the top of the onion.

Place onions in the baking dish and drizzle with the melted butter. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake at 350º for 1 hour, then sprinkle with the pecans if you are using them. Bake 30 more minutes.

These onions are absolutely delicious. They are not as high-fat as the “onion blossoms” you can buy at fairs. I believe I got the recipe -- many years ago -- from the radio cooking show “Yankee Kitchen”. These onions have been a big favorite in our family.

MICROWAVE VIDALIA ONIONS

1 large onion per person (may use any sweet or yellow onions)
1/2 tsp. butter or olive oil per onion
1 tsp. beef bouillon granules (or 1 cube) per onion

Peel onions and cut a 1” hole in the root end. Place the butter or oil and the bouillon in the hole. Put the onions in a microwave-safe dish and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave for 15 minutes on High or until onions are soft.

This is a great quick and easy way to cook and enjoy Vidalia onions.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Picnic by the River for June 20


The Lord gave us a beautiful evening for our picnic by the river this week. It was warm and sunny, but so breezy that I needed a sweater down by the water. We were able to get to our picnic spot about 10 minutes earlier than usual, too, which gave us time for a walk along the riverbank after we ate.

For this week’s picnic, I made hot ham & cheese sandwiches, sweet potato oven fries (an experiment that turned out well!) and also brought along 3-bean salad. I’ve discovered the 3-bean salad in a can, and it’s really very good. I believe Del Monte makes this, but I haven’t been able to find that in the stores here. I buy the Read brand at our local Super Walmart. It’s around 90¢ per can and we find that one can is just enough for the two of us. For the picnic, I transferred it to a covered plastic bowl and just brought along a slotted spoon.

For the sandwiches and fries, I didn’t really use a recipe, so I’ll just tell you what I did.

HOT HAM & CHEESE SANDWICHES

The amount of ingredients really depends on how many people you want to serve. These are the ingredients I used for 4 sandwiches:

1 1/2 Tblsp. light butter spread
1 Tblsp. horseradish mustard (I used the kind containing whole mustard seeds)
1 tsp. dried instant minced or chopped onion
6 slices deli ham (8 slices would be better, but 6 is what I had)
Approximately 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
4 hamburger buns

In a custard cup, stir together the butter, mustard and onion. Divide this equally among the cut sides of the hamburger buns. On one side of each bun, layer 1 1/2 slices of ham, folding slices if necessary to better fit the bun. On the other side, sprinkle about 2 Tblsp. of shredded Swiss. Put the 2 halves of the bun together and wrap in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes at 350º.

SWEET POTATO OVEN FRIES

Again, this is what I did to serve the 2 of us. You could surely double, triple or quadruple the ingredients to serve your group.

1 large sweet potato
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup flavored dry bread crumbs
1 Tblsp. Parmesan cheese
Dash or two of salt
Dash of cayenne pepper

Peel the sweet potato and cut into wedges. The sweet potato I had was quite large, so I cut it into thirds horizontally and then cut each third into 8 wedges. Place the wedges in a ziplock bag -- I recommend the gallon size -- with the olive oil; seal the bag and shake well to coat the wedges with oil. Then add the remaining ingredients to the bag; seal and shake again so the wedges are coated lightly with the crumb mixture. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350º for 50 to 60 minutes.

For the picnic, I wrapped up the finished fries in their foil, and placed them and the foil-wrapped sandwiches in a small insulated bag. It kept them nice and hot.

So that is this week’s picnic. What a breath of fresh air it was in the midst of a busy week to just sit by the river and take in the beauty of God’s creation!

Slow Cooking Thursday for June 21


TORTILLA ENCHILADA SOUP

4 cups chicken broth
2 cans chicken with rice soup
1 small boneless skinless chicken breast (frozen is fine)
1 cup salsa or picante sauce
1 can red enchilada sauce

Flour tortillas
Shredded cheddar cheese OR cubes of velveeta-type cheese

In crock pot combine the broth, soup, chicken breast, salsa, and
enchilada sauce. Cook on low for about 4 hours.

Remove chicken breast from soup; shred it or cut in small pieces. Return to soup.

When ready to eat, cut flour tortillas into strips (scissors work best
for this). Put tortilla strips in each bowl and ladle the hot soup on
top. Top with shredded cheddar or cubed velveeta.

About 6 servings.

This is another favorite in our “rotation” of crockpot meals. It is just delicious and soooo easy. Great with cornbread!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Some of God's greatest blessings are little ones...



I imagine most of us have seen or read that saying somewhere. I was reminded of its accuracy today. Arriving home after a difficult morning, I was happy to see that my husband was still here on his lunch hour. True, he was on the phone with his mom, but he was here!

After finishing his conversation, he motioned me over to the kitchen wall phone where the answering machine is. "There's a message here you just have to listen to," he announced, pushing buttons until he reached the message he wanted.

And out of the machine came the sweetest little childish voice, singing "Jesus Loves Me"! It was 3-year-old Sam, who had wanted to call and sing Grammy a song. What a special blessing for both Grampa and me! It sure lifted my spirits and pointed me back to what's really important.

It's so true... some of God's greatest blessings are little ones!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Another refreshing summer beverage!


It's that time of year when we just crave something cold and filled with ice cubes! Of course plain old water is the best thirst-quencher of all, but I try to keep a pitcher of something else in the fridge as well as a pitcher of water. Here's my favorite, very adaptable, ice tea recipe!

CARRIE’S ICED TEA

12 cups boiling water
12 green tea bags
1 cup sugar
4 Tblsp. orange juice
4 Tblsp. lemon juice

Pour the boiling water over the tea bags in a large bowl. Let steep 5 to 7 minutes only. Stir in sugar and juices. Stir well; let cool. Transfer to a pitcher and let chill in refrigerator. Serve over ice.

This recipe may easily be halved and is very adaptable. I often add in some lime juice along with the other citrus juices, and usually when I halve the recipe I still use the full amount of fruit juice. Sometimes I use regular tea in place of the green tea -- just as tasty! Sometimes I use 11 regular tea bags and 1 flavored one such as mint, raspberry, or peach. Gives a nice, different flavor.

Another devotional page...


Here is another page from my railroad-themed summer devotional book for kids:

May 23

Riding a Mountain Railway


“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough , and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Last week we talked a bit about the song “Life’s Railway to Heaven”. Today we want to think about that song some more. The first verse goes like this:

"Life is like a mountain railway,
With an engineer that’s brave;
We must make the run successful,
From the cradle to the grave;
Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels;
Never falter, never fail;
Keep your hands upon the throttle,
And your eyes upon the rail."

Almost every verse of this song ends with those words, “Keep your hands upon the throttle, and your eyes upon the rail.” What does it mean? The throttle is the lever that controls the flow of fuel or power to an engine. So the engineer has to keep his hand on the throttle if he wants the train to keep going.

“Keeping our hands upon the throttle” in our Christian life means to keep on keeping on, to keep walking with the Lord and obeying His Word, and not to give up. We should not turn back to our old way of life, to the way we used to be before we were saved. Today’s verse reminds us of that. Jesus wants His followers to be faithful servants of His. If we are going to be faithful servants, we must walk in His ways and obey His Word. We must not give up when hard things come into our lives. What if we are tempted to give up? Will we still be saved? Yes! We can never lose our salvation. But we will not be really happy unless we are walking close to the Lord and serving Him.

* Thank God for your salvation. Ask Him to help you be faithful in obeying His Word and walking with Him each day. Ask Him to show you ways He would like you to serve Him.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Menu Plan Monday for June 18


Another Monday! Here's my plan for the week:

MONDAY: Pepperoni Pizza Chili, Cornbread

TUESDAY: Sweet & Hot Potato Sausage Salad, Multigrain Ciabatta Rolls

WEDNESDAY (picnic): Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Easy Veggie Salad

THURSDAY: Chicken Pineapple Lo Mein, Tossed Salad with Oranges

FRIDAY: Crab & Shrimp Salad, Potato Salad, Green Beans

SATURDAY:
Garlic Lime Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries, Coleslaw

SUNDAY: Crockpot Ribs, Potato Salad, Coleslaw

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Quote for today


I found this quote in an old booklet from the Bible Memory Association:

"The godly English preacher, F.B. Meyer, whose ministry was blessed... on both sides of the Atlantic, said, 'I have no special gifts, I am no scholar, no profound thinker. If I have done anything for Christ and my generation, it is because I have given myself entirely to Christ Jesus, and then tried to do whatever He wanted me to do.'

"This secret awaits all who can throw aside convention and insincerity, who will yield completely and throw themselves utterly and fearlessly into the hands of God."
~ N.A. Woychuk

Friday, June 15, 2007

Favorite Ingredients Friday for June 15



This is my first time to participate in Favorite Ingredients Friday and I'm enthused about it! This week's edition features refreshing drinks, so here's my nomination for the most refreshing summer drink I know of:

CRANBERRY LEMONADE

3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
3 cups cold water
1 cup cranberry juice

Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cold water and the cranberry juice. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve over ice.

Yield: approximately 1 quart

One quart of this is just not enough! I usually triple the recipe and keep it in a gallon-size jar with a spigot in the fridge. We just pour it over ice as needed.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday for June 14


Okay, it's still Thursday -- but I am very late getting this posted! Sorry about that -- it's been a busy day.

CROCK POT RIBS

3 to 4 pounds of country-style pork ribs
Steak seasoning, lemon pepper or other favorite seasoning to taste
1 cup barbecue sauce

Place ribs in crock pot. Sprinkle liberally with the seasoning of your choice. Lemon pepper is good; Montreal-style steak seasoning is outstanding. Or try one of your own favorites. Cover crock pot. Cook ribs all day on Low, or 4 to 5 hours on High.

30 minutes before you are ready to eat, drain off all the liquid from the crock pot. Spread the barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cover crock pot again and continue to cook for 30 minutes.

This easy recipe produces some of the tastiest ribs you will ever eat. If you use bone-in ribs, the meat will fall off them. Boneless ribs are even better. This has become a favorite meal in our family! Great with potato salad and raw veggies in summer, or with mashed potatoes and coleslaw for a warming winter meal.

Quote for the day




From my 'quote notebook', here's another inspiring quote, this one on prayer.

"I give myself unto prayer." (Psalm 109:4)

"The instruction to ourselves from these words is most comforting and precious. Are we bowed down with sorrow and distress? 'I give myself unto prayer.' Are we persecuted, and reviled, and compassed about with words of hatred? 'I give myself unto prayer.' Has death entered our dwellings? ... 'I give myself unto prayer.' God... gives prayer as the balm of human trial."
~ Barton Bouchier ~

Picnic by the River for June 13



Well, this week's Picnic by the River ended up being a picnic for one at the kitchen table. After a stressful couple of days, I came home from a busy afternoon and set about preparing our picnic supper. The more I worked, the worse I felt -- my stomach felt literally "tied up in knots". I did get things ready -- Cashew Chicken Wraps and, instead of the salad I'd originally planned, Spicy Tomato Soup, since it was cool and breezy outside. (Both of these recipes can be found here in my blog, somewhere in the 2006 archives. Just type the name of the recipe into the search box, click on "Search Blog", and it should lead you to the recipe.)

After getting the food all packed up, I realized I needed to lie down for awhile and hope to feel better if I was going to make it to church. Mr. T agreed that a rest was in order, so off he went to the kitchen table for his picnic. After a 20-minute rest, I felt much better and was able to join him.

So we did make it to church, but unfortunately missed out on our picnic. We were somewhat disappointed, because we do look forward to this bit of relaxing time so much. It had been overcast and threatening rain all day, but by evening had cleared up beautifully. It would have been nice by the river. But God knows best, and I'm just thankful not to have missed the Bible study and prayer time at church... which, after all, is the most important thing!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another neat quote...



Here's another quote I'd scribbled on a scrap of paper, this one taken from Streams in the Desert, Volume 2, by Mrs. Charles Cowman. The author of the verse is unknown.

"I want to make a quiet place
Where those I love can see God's face,
Can stretch their hearts across the earth,
Can understand what spring is worth,
Can count the stars,
Watch violets grow,
And learn what birds and children know."

The first two lines speak to me especially. I want my home, and my life, to be "a quiet place/where those I love can see God's face."

Monday, June 11, 2007

A thought-provoking quote...


I've been doing a 27-fling boogie in my computer room... part of Kelly's Mission for today at FlyLady.net. Several more items need to be flung -- bits of paper I've saved with quotes on them. But first, I need to get them down on paper, and into my blog. Here's the first one.

"God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6)

"How we love to prance into the limelight and live there! This is the opposite of biblical humility.... It turns out that it is the humble, dutiful person who finds uncluttered joy in giving full attention to life's demands. Proper foundations enable a creative, satisfying, and interesting personal life." -- Susan Schaeffer Macauley

Isn't that challenging? I am so thankful for those moments of "uncluttered joy"! May I seek to live each day this way!

Menu Plan Monday for June 11


Here it is Monday again! Is it just me or are the weeks flying by more quickly than they used to? Here's my menu for this week -- and I'm using lots of leftovers from yesterday's Crock-Pot chicken. I seem to be in a coleslaw mood this week too, for some reason!

MONDAY: Seafood Melts, Oven Potato Wedges, Coleslaw

TUESDAY: Pasta Salad with Chicken, Tossed Salad with Oranges & Dried Cranberries, Cranberry Sauce

WEDNESDAY: (picnic) Cashew Chicken Wraps, 3-Bean Salad

THURSDAY: Macaroni & Cheese, Broccoli/Cauliflower Blend, Apple Salad

FRIDAY: Overnight Spinach Manicotti, Salad, Bread

SATURDAY: Garlic Lime Chicken, Lime-Thyme Potato Wedges, Coleslaw

SUNDAY: Crock-Pot Ribs, Potato Salad, Coleslaw

Friday, June 08, 2007

Another page from the summer devotional


This is from the category called "Down at the Station."

May 24

"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power: not one faileth." (Isaiah 40:26)


Today we are going to visit a very famous train station in New York City. Most people call it Grand Central Station, but its name has been Grand Central Terminal since 1913. There are many, many interesting things about Grand Central Terminal, but today we are going to think about just one thing -- a ceiling!

The center of Grand Central Terminal, where many people come and go each day, is called the Main Concourse. This is where the ticket booths and machines are, as well as an information booth with a four-sided clock on top. But the ceiling of the Main Concourse is something special. It was painted to look like the night sky. This was done in 1912 by a French artist named Paul Helleu. The painting covers the whole ceiling and is said to show 2500 stars, including constellations like Orion. Strangely, the sky and the constellations look backward. A lot of people think that the artist made a mistake as he painted them.

Our verse reminds us that God is the One who made the real stars and constellations, and that He is all-powerful. He created the stars, and He is the One who brings them out each night. He is the One who gave the stars their names. When He calls them to come out, they all come. None of them are missing. On the ceiling in Grand Central Terminal, the stars and constellations do not look just right. But in the real night sky, they will always look perfect, because God is the One who put them there. And He never makes mistakes!

* Praise God for His mighty power in creation. Praise Him for making the stars and constellations. Thank Him that He never makes mistakes, and that everything He does is perfect.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Slow Cooking Thursday for June 7


CROCKPOT “ROTISSERIE” CHICKEN

1 roasting chicken or 2 smaller chickens (I have also done this with bone-in chicken breasts)
Seasoning of your choice

Remove the bag full of “innards” from the chicken and discard it. Rinse the chicken with cold water. Place the chicken in the crock pot. Sprinkle liberally with the seasoning of your choice. I prefer the Montreal Chicken ™ seasoning blend, but Greek seasoning or lemon pepper are two other tasty possibilities. That’s it -- you don’t need to add anything else.

Cover the crock pot and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high. You will have falling-off-the bone, beautifully seasoned chicken and a lot of good broth. You can freeze the broth to use later for another purpose, or use it as a start on a soup with leftover chicken later in the week.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad


Here, for Joan and anyone else who might be interested, is the salad I made for last night's picnic by the river. It's very good. I adapted this recipe from the Low-Fat Living Cookbook, by Leslie L. Cooper.

BLACK-EYED PEA SALAD

2 16-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 sweet red pepper. chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley*
2 Tblsp. chopped fresh basil or cilantro**
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbslp. olive oil
1 or 2 tsp. dried minced onion***
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. cumin
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the black-eyed peas, rep pepper, carrot, chili peppers, and basil or cilantro. Toss to mix.

In a jar, place the lime juice, olive oil, minced onion, garlic, and cumin. Cover jar; shake vigorously. Pour dressing over salad and toss again to mix. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Yield: 6 servings

* I didn’t have this so left it out. It would probably be great, though.

** Didn’t have fresh herbs so substituted 2 tsp. dried basil.

*** Recipe calls for 1 red onion, sliced, to be tossed with the other veggies. I don’t care for raw onion in salads, so chose to do it this way.

This is a tasty salad with a definite Southwestern edge to the flavor from the chiles, cumin and lime juice. And, an added advantage -- it has over 7 grams of fiber per serving!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Picnic by the River for June 6


Last summer and fall, Mr. T and I started a fun tradition of bringing our supper to a nearby picnic spot near a river on the way to church on Wednesday nights. It was really a lot of fun to plan what to bring and to enjoy a few minutes relaxing at a picnic table by the river. Tonight we had our first Wednesday night picnic of 2007!

It was cool and breezy, so I was glad I'd chosen to make sausage subs for our picnic supper. I wrapped them in foil right out of the oven and brought them in an insulated container. They stayed nice and hot. I also made a salad with black-eyed peas -- really good! I'll share the recipe for the salad tomorrow.

Here's the sub recipe -- I used turkey Italian sausage for these and it worked out fine.

ITALIAN SAUSAGE SUBS

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage links
1 c. water, more if needed
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large green pepper, thinly sliced
2 c. spaghetti sauce
4 crusty sub rolls
4 oz. shredded mozzarella

Prick the sausages in several places. Place in large skillet and add water. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered,turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until nearly cooked through. (If water begins to boil away, add a little more to keep sausages simmering.) Remove to a cutting board and slice 1/2” thick.

Pour off any liquid and add the olive oil to the skillet. Return the sausages to the skillet, and add the onion and green pepper. Saute´over medium heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or so.

Preheat the broiler. Put the spaghetti sauce in a small saucepan and heat it to a simmer. (Or place it in a microwave-safe bowl and warm it in the microwave.)

Cut the rolls in half and place, cut side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Divide the sausage mixture among the roll bottoms, then top with sauce and cheese. Broil for about 30 seconds.
Replace the tops on the rolls, cut in half, and serve at once.

Yield: 4 servings.

These sausage subs are so easy to make! They taste like those you might purchase at a country fair and are a favorite in our home.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Some favorite rhubarb recipes



While rhubarb is still in season, I thought it would be fun to share these favorites of mine. Perhaps someone else would like to try these for their own families. I know I've shared the Four-Fruit Crumble before, but it's one of those recipes that bears repeating!

RHUBARB STREUSEL CAKE

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 egg
4 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin powder
Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup quick or old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup butter or real margarine, melted

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, milk and egg; beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well combined. Spread the batter in a greased 13X9” baking pan. Arrange rhubarb evenly over batter; sprinkle with gelatin powder. For Streusel Topping, combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl until crumbly; sprinkle evenly over rhubarb. Bake at 375º for 35 to 40 minutes, until topping is golden brown and cake tests done. May be served warm or cool. Yield: 1 13X9” cake

I have been making this cake for my entire married life! It's one of the first dessert recipes I turn to when the rhubarb is ready every spring. The strawberry gelatin is the touch that makes this cake
especially mouth-watering.


RHUBARB CRISP

3 cups diced fresh rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour, divided
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup butter or real margarine

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and 3 tablespoons flour. Place in a greased 13X9X2" baking pan. In large bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups flour, the brown sugar, and oats. Cut in the butter until medium crumbs are formed. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the rhubarb mixture in the pan. Bake at 375º for 40 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender and bubbly and topping is golden brown. Serve warm or cold, with vanilla ice cream if desired. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

I found this rhubarb crisp recipe nearly 30 years ago in a wonderful dessert cookbook given me by an aunt. It is easy and delicious -- a real taste of springtime in new England!


RHUBARB PUDDING CAKE

4 cups diced rhubarb
1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter or real margarine, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

In medium saucepan, cook rhubarb, 3/4 cup sugar, orange juice, and water over medium heat until tender. Keep mixture warm while preparing cake batter.

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; add alternately with milk to the creamed mixture. Pour batter into a greased 9-inch square baking dish. Spoon the hot rhubarb sauce over the batter. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

My family just loves rhubarb desserts and eagerly awaits the
appearance of rhubarb every spring. This tangy pudding cake is one of our favorites.


Here's a very different rhubarb pie which my family really loves.  The recipe came from Karyl Bannister's Cook & Tell many years ago.  It's sort of a variation on rhubarb custard pie and is fabulous.

LETITIA'S RHUBARB PIE

First, bake this Pat-in-Pan Crust.

1 cup flour
2 Tblsp. confectioners sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 cup butter

Sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter with pastry blender. Press this crumbly mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated 350º oven. If pastry seems to get too puffy, press it down lightly with the back of a spoon.

For the filling,
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup sugar
2 Tblsp. flour
Dash of salt
2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb

Beat egg yolks lightly. Add cream, sugar, flour & salt. Beat just until blended and thickened. Fold in rhubarb. Pour into baked Pat-in-Pan crust. Bake in preheated 325º oven for 40-50 minutes, until set. Serve at room temperature.


I used to make this one all the time and had sort of forgotten about it. It's so quick and easy and very, very good.

FRANK'S RHUBARB COBBLER

4 cups sliced rhubarb (sliced 1/2 to 1 inch thick)
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tblsp. flour
-------------------
1 cup flour
3 Tblsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 Tblsp. chilled butter
1/2 cup cream or milk

Heat oven to 400º. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Put the first 3 ingredients in the prepared plate and toss them together lightly. Place the pie plate into the oven for 7 minutes (or longer) while you prepare the dough.

For dough, sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the particles are the size of tiny peas. Make a well in the mixture and add the cream. Stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll or pat it out to a diameter slightly smaller than the pie plate. Remove the rhubarb from the oven and place the rolled-out dough on top of it. Make several slits in the dough with a sharp knife.

Return the cobbler to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the dough is a rich golden brown and the rhubarb is tender and juicy. Serve warm.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


And one more....

FABULOUS FOUR-FRUIT CRUMBLE

3 cups diced rhubarb
2 medium apples, chopped
1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour

TOPPING:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup canola oil

Combine fruit, sugar and flour; place in greased 13x9x2” baking dish. Combine brown sugar, oats, and flour; mix in oil until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit mixture. Bake at 375º for 40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.
Yield: 10-12 servings.

Hope your family enjoys these rhubarb recipes if you give one or more of them a try!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Menu Plan Monday for June 4


Happy Monday, everyone. Looks like a busy week ahead here! Here's this week's plan:

MONDAY: (guests for supper) Vegetable Lasagna, Lemon Artichoke Romaine Salad, Ranch French Bread, Rhubarb Crisp

TUESDAY: Baked Ham & Cheddar Sandwiches, Breakfast Potatoes, Baby Carrots

WEDNESDAY: (Picnic) Turkey Sausage Sandwiches, Black-Eyed Pea Salad

THURSDAY: Pepper Steak, Bow Tie Pasta, Green Beans

FRIDAY: Seafood Melts, Oven Potato Wedges, Coleslaw

SATURDAY: Overnight Spinach Manicotti, Salad, Ciabatta Rolls

SUNDAY: Crockpot "Rotisserie" Chicken, Potato Salad, Tossed Salad with Oranges and Dried Cranberries, Cranberry Sauce

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Oven Potato Wedges


Here's a neat recipe I hadn't made for quite some time. I fixed these tonight to serve with veggie burgers (just the frozen ones from Morningstar Farms). I'd forgotten how good and easy they are -- reminiscent of seasoned steak fries.

OVEN POTATO WEDGES

4 large baking potatoes, unpeeled, each cut in 8 wedges the long way
2 Tblsp. olive oil
3 Tblsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
Garlic powder to taste

Put the oil in a gallon size ziplock bag and add the potato wedges. Shake well to coat with oil. Add the remaining ingredients to the bag and shake well again to coat with the cheese and spices. Place the wedges, skin side down, in a single layer in a foil-lined shallow pan. Bake at 350º-375º for 45-55 minutes or until cooked through, brown, and beginning to blister.

This potato recipe is good with egg dishes as well as to serve instead of french fries or chips with burgers, sandwiches, etc. It’s easy but delicious and quite low in fat.

Another page from the summer devotional


Here's another page from this year's summer devotional -- written for kids, but I know some of you are enjoying reading these from time to time. One of the weekly sections is called "In the Dome Car". This page is from that section. It's the devotional for May 19.

"Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord." (Psalm 107:43)

Today we are going to begin learning about a special type of railroad car called a dome car. This type of car has seats and often has tables as well. But the most interesting thing about a dome car is its windows. There may be a special dome-shaped section on the top of the car that is made all of glass. The passengers can sit here and they are able to see all of the scenery that the train is passing through. The Amtrak train California Zephyr has a car called the Sightseer Lounge which is much the same as a dome car. This car has huge windows that wrap around most of the ceiling. These windows make it easy to see all of the beautiful mountain scenery, and even the sky. There is so much to see in this amazing country of ours. Traveling by train in a dome car means people can see places they could never drive to in a car.


We can observe, or see, much from a dome car. Over the next few weeks we will “see” many sights from the windows of the California Zephyr. But our Bible verse today talks about observing some things, too. Psalm 107 is a psalm that tells us we must give thanks to the Lord. It gives us two reasons for thanking Him: 1) The Lord is good; and 2) His mercy endures forever. Then the psalmist goes on to give many examples of God’s goodness and mercy which He has showed to His people. Four times in the psalm, the psalmist says, “Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” In the very last verse, the psalmist tells us that if we are wise, and observe all that God has done, we will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord. How true that is! When we observe all that God does for His children, we begin to understand what a kind and loving God He is!


* Thank God for His goodness and mercy. Thank Him for the loving kindness He shows as He cares for you and your family.