Family · Family Favorites

Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodles have always been a family favorite.  What do you do when you want a Snickerdoodle but too lazy to make individual cookies?  You find a Snickerdoodle Bar recipe.  I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper.  This recipe is easy and uses ingredients that are in most pantries.  Another recipe that will be made over and over again.

SNICKERDOODLE BARS

  • 1/2 c. Butter, room temp. (can use Vegan butter)
  • 1 Egg room temp.
  • 3/4 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. Flour
  • 3/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Allow butter and egg to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined.
  • Add vanilla and egg and stir until fully mixed.
  • Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Fold into the butter mixture until combined. Evenly spread the batter into the baking dish.
  • In a small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle on top of the cookie batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and cutting into 16 squares.

Recipe from Mylifeafterdairy

Garden · My Roots · Vegan · Vegetarian

Wild Plum Jam

Wild Plums are a new discovery for me. A few weeks ago,  I was on a walk with my granddaughter when we saw these pretty purple, red and yellow fruit growing in the open space.  I brought a few back to house and identified them.  Wild Plums!  My daughter and her family walked to open space to pick several pounds of fruit. We were cautiously optimistic and decided to make a trial batch from the few ripe plums.  We left the skins on for the trial. It was delicious but and we did not like the texture of the cooked skins.

A week later, the rest of the plums were ripe and we decided to make and can the jam, using a food strainer to remove the skins.  My Mom’s trusty food strainer did the trick!

Vintage Sieve and Pistle

The jam is pretty and tart.  I can’t wait to try it on  breakfast toast, pancakes, or perhaps with a mild cheese.

Finding these little gems caused interest in the history of the wild plum and how Native Americans and our ancestors may have used them.  Wild Plums appear to grow in many states. The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer published an interesting history.

WILD PLUM JAM

5 pounds Wild Plums
5 cups sugar (the original recipe called for 10 cups of sugar)
4.5 tablespoons lemon juice

  • Pit the plums and place them into a thick bottomed pot.
  • Add in the lemon juice and cook for a few minutes, until the plums begin to release their juices.
  • Add in sugar and stir.  Simmer, stirring often for about 10 minutes.1/2 to compensate for the naturally sweeter fruit.
  • When the jam thickens, pour the hot jam into a food sieve.  Press to remove the juice and pulp.  Discard the remaining skins.  Put back on heat to assure the jam returns to temperature.
  • Pour the hot jam into prepared canning jars.  At this point, the jam can either be stored in the refrigerator or processed for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
  • After a 10 minute process, turn off the heat, wait 5 more minutes and then remove the jars from the canner.
  • Allow the jars to cool, and after 24 hours place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.

Recipe adapted from Earthfoodandfire.com

Family Favorites

Low Country Boil

Many years ago my husband’s family had a large family reunion on the North Carolina Beach.  Each family took turns cooking dinner.  My brother-in-law, Ron, and his wife, Cathy treated us to a Low Country Boil.  It was wonderful and something our family still loves.  While we are landlocked, we can still enjoy a good Low Country Boil.

LOW COUNTRY BOIL

5 quarts water
2 pounds Kielbasa or hot smoked link sausage, cut in 1″ pieces
4 pounds small new red potatoes
6 ears fresh sweet corn, husked and cleaned
4 pounds fresh shrimp in the shell
1 red onion
Old Bay Seafood seasoning
Cocktail Sauce

Optional:  Add fresh, cleaned mussels or crab at the same time as the shrimp.

  • Bring 5 quarts water and 1/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning to a rolling boil in a large covered stockpot.
  • Add potatoes and onion; bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.
  • Add sausage and corn, and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or
    until potatoes are tender.
  • Add shrimp to stockpot; cook 3-4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain. Serve with Old Bay Seasoning and cocktail sauce.
  • Serve all on large serving platters. Dig in!
Family · Home

My Favorite Things … What’s Keeping Me Sane

Living through a Pandemic was certain not on my wish list but here we are. While I try to keep an upbeat attitude, my first inclination is go dark but I’ve learned that doesn’t accomplish a thing.

Keeping busy with things that interest me is key. I have a long list of ‘to-dos’ that I have been ignoring so … get on it, Cathy! There is yardwork and garden preparation, closets to be cleaned, Shutterfly books to finish, genealogy research to be done, etc. I try to accomplish a little of this each day but self-care and personal connection is most important.

This is day 13 of self isolation except for a very protected trip to get my allergy shot (extreme tree pollen allergies) and porch delivery of my Mom’s chicken and noodles to my girls and their families.

Each day the weather cooperates, I try to go on a long walk. Seeing neighbors outside playing with their children, sitting on their front porch or simply waving to neighbors warms my heart.  The two best experiences while walking were 1) encountering a family of dinosaurs with Mom and little daughter in full dinosaur costumes and Dad in a mask; 2) completing a chalk lava field drawn by a child on their sidewalk.  I love to see such creativity!

Talking with my girls and my grandchildren is saving me, too.  My grandchildren are ages 6, 4, 3 and 1.  The opportunity to read books, have dance parties, and just play via video chat is a wonderful capability that we all can enjoy.  Talking with friends, Virtual yoga with my Hot Flash yoga pals, virtual happy hour with our local winery, and family Zoom sessions also help to keep me connected.

I’ve not been to the store since Friday, March 13 but I have plenty to eat.  My Mother taught us to always have a full pantry and freezer and now is the time to use it!  To conserve on eggs, I’ve shifted my daily egg to a breakfast cake I’m loving with a dollop or yogurt!



BREAKFAST CAKE


2 mashed bananas
1.4 cups oatmeal
2 beaten eggs
3 cups berries (fresh, frozen or canned/drained–even less works just fine)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

  • Mix together and placed in greased pan (about 8×10″) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut in squares.
  • I heat a square of breakfast cake in the microwave for 20 seconds and then add a dollop of Greek Yogurt. So yummy!

This experience causes me to think back to the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and the hardship of those times.  What did our ancestors do in quarantine, usually with a multitude of children and no chance of grocery delivery or the care of today’s modern medicine.  My Grandma Susie would be slaving over a hot wood cookestove in a very tiny house, with 4 little kids running underfoot.  To my knowledge, no one in our family died during that time but I do not know who may have contracted the disease, either.  

A friend shared with me that her Grandmother had written a journal during the time of the Spanish Flu and she has been reading it.  It prompted her to start a journal for her grandchildren.  What a great idea! I am not a journal kind of person, but this is such a unique time in our lives, that I think it is important to document what this experience has been like.  Perhaps we can actually learn from our mistakes in the future.

In closing let me thank everyone who is sacrificing their own safety to care for the people of the United States. You are our true heroes!

God Bless and Stay Well!

 

Family · Family Favorites · Holidays · Home

Thanksgiving Family Favorites

And these are a few of my favorite things!  Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

CRANBERRY RELISH

CRANBERRY BREAD

PUMPKIN PIE

The Best Ever Pumpkin Pie

PUMPKIN BREAD

PUMPKIN BARS

QUINOA WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PINE NUTS, FETA

ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS, CINNAMON SQUASH, PECANS & DRIED CHERRIES

TURKEY AND DRESSING

TURKEY VEGETABLE SOUP

Family Favorites · Holidays · New Traditions

Sugar Cookies for Valentine’s Day

Sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day is such a treat. I’m usually not a big fan of actually making them (but always a fan of eating them) because of the work involved.  This year, however, I was motivated and found the process fun…walk down memory lane. The cookie recipe came from my sister, Carolyn.  She made these when her kids were younger and I loved them.

 

My kids and I started a tradition last year of gathering around Valentine’s Day for a group dinner and, this year, the cookies will be our dessert.  I loved cutting out the smaller hearts for the little ones.  We need to enjoy it because who knows when I’ll be motivated once again!

SUGAR COOKIES

3 cup sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup shortening (butter, Crisco, etc.)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg in a bowl.  Cut in shortening.
  • In a separate bowl beat eggs.  Add sugar, milk and vanilla.  Beat well.
  • Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and mix well.
  • Chill dough for at least one hour (I chilled overnight).
  • Roll out 1/2 dough on floured surface and return remaining dough to refrigerator until ready to roll out.  (I found the dough a bit sticky so used quite a bit of flour while rolling out).  Cut into desired shapes.
  • Optional:  At this point you can sprinkle with decorative colored sugar if you don’t want to ice the cookies. I did this for half of the recipe.
  • Bake cookies on ungreased baking sheet at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes or until a light brown on the edges.

CREAMY ICING:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4-6 tablespoons cream (or half and half)
drop or two of red food coloring (to reach the desired color of pink or red)

  • Blend ingredients together to make an icing with a thin consistency.  This will be enough icing for the entire cookie recipe.  I made half of the icing recipe and iced half of the batch.

 

Czech Heritage · Family Favorites · Holidays · Home · My Roots

Cherry Kolaches, our Christmas Day Tradition

The gifts are wrapped, the house is decorated, and the baking is done. This year I thought I’d take a break from making Kolaches for Christmas Day until I mentioned this to my family. WHAT? BREAKING FROM TRADITION? So, I will not break the tradition and made them today.  The truth is I love them as much as my daughters and their families.

This year I used my Mother’s Foundation sweet dough which she used for cinnamon rolls and Kolaches. My KitchenAid mixer makes easy work of making bread instead of taxing my arthritic wrists. The past several batches of bread I’ve made from standard flour have been too dense, so I decided to try King Arthur’s unbleached bread flour. I loved the result with a very light sweet dough that melts in your mouth.

The cherry filling started with a bucket of frozen sour cherries I purchased at the Farmer’s Market last summer. img_8562

There is nothing better than the taste of those cherries. Truly, I could eat a bowl of the cherry filling and forget the bread dough!

I also make a dozen chocolate kolaches which started as a request by one of son-in-laws, now a family favorite as well.  I simply put chocolate chips (or this year a dove milk chocolate square) in the middle of the dough ball and then pinch it closed.  Let it rise to double in size then bake. When you remove from the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

img_8552

Another tradition for our Christmas Day celebration is the Nordic Kringla.  Turns out Kringla is a big hit with my 3 year old grandson and 1 year old granddaughter.  My 6 week old grandson has yet to weigh in…but next year…

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year!

CHERRY KOLACHES, our Christmas Day Tradition

Mom’s Foundation Sweet Dough

2 cakes (Packages) yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons shortening (I used unsalted butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6-7 cups flour (I used 6 cups King Arthur Bread Flour)
3 eggs, beaten

  • Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in lukewarm water. Set aside to soften and rise.
  • Scald milk.  Add shortening, sugar and salt; cool to lukewarm. Add 2 cups flour to make a batter.  Add the yeast mixture and beaten eggs, and beat well.
  • Add remaining flour or enough to make a soft dough. Knead lightly and place in greased bowl. Cover and let set in warm place, free from draft.  Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
  • When light, punch dough down and shape in balls about the size of a walnut and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise for 10 minutes
  • When risen, push the centers of balls down and fill with cherry filling (or filling of your choice).  Let rise again.
  • Bake at preheated 400 degree oven (375 degrees for convectional oven) for about 7 minutes or until golden brown.

Cherry Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup juice from cherries
3 cups pitted tart red cherries (water pack)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

Combine 3/4 cup sugar with cornstarch.  Stir in cherry juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, till mixture thickens and bubbles; cook 1 minute longer.  Add remaining sugar, cherries, butter, and food coloring and cook until thickened. (Mixture will be very thick.)  Let stand while preparing bread dough for Kolaches.

Reference:

KOLACHE … Bohemian Heritage and Christmas Tradition

New Favorite

OMG Scrambled Eggs…with Pesto, Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes & Peppers

OMG Scrambled Eggs were an experiment, a gamble that paid off.  ‘OMG’ was the first thought that came into my head when I took the first bite. Adding the coincidentally roasted fresh tomatoes and peppers was a fantastic addition.
I also made this recipe combining the tomatoes and peppers into the egg cups and loved them as well.
The recipe could be adapted easily to add more bacon, cheese, pesto or whatever floats your boat. Worth trying!  I may be dreaming of this tonight.

OMG SCRAMBLED EGGS

3 slices bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 bunch swiss chard (or kale) stemmed and chopped
1 dozen eggs, whisked
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
roasted tomatoes and peppers (optional)
  • Sauté the bacon in a non-stick skillet until cooked about half way.
  • Add onions and cook through.  Drain most of the bacon fat off.
  • Add Swiss chard and cook until it wilts.
  • Add the eggs, salt and pepper, and pesto.
  • Stir the eggs often to assure they cook through.
  • Add cheese when eggs are about half way cooked.
Serve with warm roasted tomatoes and peppers.
MUFFIN EGG CUPS: Mix all ingredients together, including the chopped roasted tomatoes and peppers. Grease muffin tins and bake egg cups at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until done in the center and golden brown.
Family · Holidays

‘Thanksgiving Song’ by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Thanksgiving Song by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.
From far and near we travel home,
Blessed that we are able.

Grateful for this sheltered place
With light in every window,
Saying welcome, welcome, share this feast
Come in away from sorrow.

Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend and friendless;
All together everyone in the gift of loving-kindness.

Grateful for whats understood,
And all that is forgiven;
We try so hard to be good,
To lead a life worth living.

Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend, and friendless;
All together everyone, let grateful days be endless.

Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.

Mary Chapin Carpenter – Thanksgiving Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

Family · Family Favorites · Holidays · Home · Kitchen

Kitchen Memories

Kitchen Memories started to flood back to me as I looked at my kitchen for the last time before the cabinets were removed.  So many conversations took place in my kitchen with our girls from babyhood to teenage years to adult years.  Meals were prepared for many loved ones, some of which are now gone.

IMG_6246
Kitchen 2015 after the cabinets over the island were removed.

When we first moved into our Smurf blue house in 1988, the kitchen had brown, patterned kitchen carpet, one of the worst ideas on the planet. The Cherry Cabinets were quite nice and the Columbine (Colorado’s State Flower) tile was fitting of the ‘country’ craze at the time.

This kitchen became the heart of our home. Weekday mornings were frantic as Karl and I prepared for work so the girls would often gather on the floor of the kitchen as I prepared breakfast and our lunches.

As I look at the kitchen for the last time, a stream of memorable movies play in my head, including:

  • Homework, Science experiments, crafting
  • Holiday meal preparations
  • Meal preparation while the kids often sat on the counter to chat and share
  • My mother, when visiting, making homemade egg noodles on my kitchen counter to freeze for later use
  • Making our Christmas favorite Kringla for the holidays
  • Birthday Celebrations
  • Christmas parties & Mother’s Day Coffee
  • Dying Easter Eggs

Sarah and Megan dye Easter Eggs 1991

  • Teaching the girls to bake

Megan and Sarah bake a cake 1991

  • Rescuing animals or playing with our own pets

Daddy has a bird

  • Running Circle through the house (Gamma Stout and Sarah)

1992 003

  • Preparing flowers for the Megan (top) and Sarah’s (second) weddings

megan and cathy do flowers 1580

  • Evan’s 2nd birthday, the last event in the old kitchen.

IMG_6407

So here we go…out with the old and in with the new! I’m soooo ready…