Sunday, October 14, 2018

Chocolate Covered Cherries

It's almost that time of year again, when the store shelves are covered with boxes of all sorts of sweet delights. As a young child chocolate covered cherries always caught my eye, and was one of my favorite treats, even for my birthday.

I stumbled across a small pamphlet of chocolate treats from Nestle that I picked up waaaay back in 1982 and still have. The rest of the recipes I may get to some day, but I've never tried them, because my family loves these so much. It's time to share this recipe with you.

Chocolate Covered Cherries
60 maraschino cherries with stems (are about 30 cherries in a 10-ounce jar)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 cup each milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 T. vegetable shortening

Drain cherries thoroughly on sheets of paper toweling (several hours or preferably overnight). In a small bowl, combine softened butter and corn syrup. Stir in sifted confectioners' sugar, salt, vanilla. Sometimes I add just a touch of the marachino cherry juice as well. Knead mixture until smooth. If mixture is too soft to handle, put it in the refrigerator to chill well. On a surface dusted with confectioners sugar roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick with a small round cutter, about 1" in diameter, cut the dough into circles. Shape around each cherry. Place the coated cherries upright on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment paper. Chill until firm. Melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler over low heat. Holding cherries by the stem, dip one at a time into the chocolate. Spoon chocolate over the cherries to coat. Be sure to completely seal the cherries, otherwise the cherry juice may leak out after the chocolate has set. Let excess chocolate drip off cherries. Place the dipped cherries stem side up on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Chill until chocolate is firm. I sometimes double dip. Don't skip the shortening, it makes the chocolate smooth and keeps it from "blooming" when hardened. Enjoy!



Sunday, October 7, 2018

Gala Apple, Celery & Pecan Salad with Figs

I discovered a version of this salad last winter when I was looking for a nice crispy salad for a linger longer at church. It's a perfect blend of sweet, tart, and savory, which is a big hit around here, well except for with Nature Guy, but that just leaves more for the rest of us!

Enough chatter, let's get to the fixings!

Gala Apple, Celery and Pecan Salad with Figs

SALAD
 
4 c. thinly sliced Gala apples, (cored)

2 cups thinly cut on the bias celery

1/2 c. chopped dried figs

1/2 c. chopped toasted pecans or walnuts

DRESSING
 
2 T. lemon juice

2 T. Dijon or yellow mustard, either is great

1 T. each honey and real maple syrup, or just use all honey or all syrup

I/3 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all dressing ingredients in a medium size bowl. Core, slice and add to dressing the apples, mixing to coat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to coat. Whalaa! Fresh and crisp, deliciousness in the middle of winter, or anytime. Enjoy!



Friday, January 26, 2018

Orange Cranberry Caramel Rolls Quick & Easy!


What to do when the man of the house is craving cinnamon rolls and you don't want the thick gooey frosting? Compromise and create a yummy caramel roll infused with orange, and slathered with cranberry sauce in the center. 




 
 We bought a bag of oranges that are hit and miss. Some are flavorful and juicy, others are rather dry. Thus the reason I usually don't by bagged anything in the way of fruit. All is not a loss though, because I juiced a couple of the oranges and grated the peel on one to make the most amazingly flavorful rolls, if I do say so myself, and I just did!

These rolls are soft, with a nice caramel topping, buttery and sweet, with a touch of sunshine and Autumn all rolled into one. Yes, I know it's officially winter, but I had leftover cranberry sauce that was crying to be used, and I associate cranberries with Autumn mostly. The plus side is that these are relatively quick and easy. Enough of this chatter though, lets get cooking!


ORANGE CRANBERRY CARAMEL ROLLS

TOPPING

1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted in a 9" x 12" baking pan
2 T honey
1 T. grated orange rind

ROLLS

3-3 1/2 c.  flour
1/4 c. oats
2 T. flaxseed meal
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/c each orange juice, and water
1 T. each butter and oil
1 egg
1 T. grated orange rind

FILLING

2 T.  cinnamon sugar + 1/4 cup brown sugar
 brush rolled out dough with some of the melted butter in the baking pan
1/4 - 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1 T. grated orange rind

Grease 13 x 9 inch pan. melt one cube of butter in the pan by placing in the oven heated to 250. Check after five minutes. Combine all dry ingredients listed under ROLLS in your mixer bowl. Heat to very warm the orange juice and water. Add the liquid, orange rind and egg to the dry ingredients and mix on low using the dough hook,  until combined, turn up to medium low and continue to mix until a nice soft dough forms and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 3 minutes.

On a  clean, floured, dishcloth roll out the dough to a 15x7 inch rectangle  Brush the dough with some of the melted butter in the baking pan. Using a wide spatula spread a very thin layer of the cranberry sauce on the buttered dough. Sprinkle the combined sugar over the cranberry sauce, the orange rind, and then roll the dough up starting on a long side.

Add the orange rind, 1/2 cup brown sugar and two tablespoons of honey to the baking pan and mix with the melted butter. Cut the dough into twelve slices. Place them in the baking pan and cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a dishtowel. Let rise until doubled in size, in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes.

Taking off the plastic wrap or towel, place the rolls in the oven on an upper rack, and turn the oven on to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and let sit for 1 minute, then turn out onto tinfoil. Whaalaa! Pure heaven for breakfast! Enjoy!





Saturday, January 20, 2018

Bearers of Heavenly Light - Women of Strength Who March Quietly In the Path of Service and Love


On a day when women are taking to the streets to protest perceived injustices, I want to take a moment to pay honor to those quiet bearers of heavenly light, who go about their days in humble service. These angels of mercy are a strength and example to me, and those who know and love them.

I won't mention names, because there are so many good women I know that I fear I may forget someone and cause hurt feelings. There is a dear lady who wanted to have something to do to help others in our congregation, so we called her to be one of our compassionate service leaders. She will be organizing women to help take a meal in, or care for children, or whatever the need was in any emergency or care need situation. She was so excited when she found out what we wanted her to do, she hugged me, and got tears in her eyes.

I recently put a text out to give this same lady a ride to a doctor's appointment 7 hours away, on the other side of the state. Within 3 hours, I had a response from someone who needed to go to Portland anyway, so they left the day before the appointment, and this dear lady got a hotel room for them both along with driving and paying for gas, and I think some of the food.

Today, after having surgery three days ago, the first lady is being driven home by another angel of mercy, who came down from Washington, where she cares for her ailing mother, to bring the patient home. When this recovering woman gets home, her visiting teacher will be there to provide the proper diet she will need to recover and heal, and help organize any other need such as cleaning, tending to the dog and such.

I know of another woman who has an elderly woman staying in their home, to care for her. They aren't related, but the need was there, and she and her husband (when he's home), take turns seeing to her needs. This takes a lot of sacrifice of time to do things she would probably rather be doing at times, to care for someone who needs long term care.

Recently we had a huge cultural event in Idaho for a temple dedication. Our youth were asked to learn a dance, and we were given the task of sewing their costumes. Several women participated in the sewing project, but we had 19 flapper style dresses to make, so this was a huge undertaking. One woman spent several all nighters sewing seven of the dresses all by herself, and they turned out gorgeous. Considering the slippery fabric that tended to snag and fray , the pattern issues and multiple sizes, plus lack of time to get these done, these women did an amazing job, and our girls looked awesome!
I wish I had a picture of them in costume, but these are some of the finished dresses.

I also know of women who have volunteered for years on our local Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts committee. Their dedication to the arts here in our little neck of the woods has been amazing, some serving on the committee for 10 years or more. They are a positive force for good in bringing the arts and culture here, as well as helping support local businesses and galleries.

One of my friends is a genealogist, and helps people on a weekly basis to organize and build their family trees online.

There are countless women I can think of who will take time out of their days to lift another through a visit, or phone call, or ride to wherever they need to go. Many of these women donate money as well to help the poor and needy in our valley and elsewhere. Their good deeds are many, and make our world a better place to be. They lighten and brighten the days of so many, and are bearers of heavenly light.

These are just some of the most recent stories I can share that come to mind. I hope you will share your stories here in the comments so we can perhaps lift each other, and realize just how much good is being done in our world today.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Holiday Beef Brisket




HOLIDAY BEEF BRISKET

There's something to be said for quick and easy during the holiday season. All the baking, running around shopping, attending parties, more baking, wrapping gifts, visiting friends, and family, MORE baking, decorating, whew! Who has time to get too elaborate during Christmas?! 

We recently had a unique for me at least Christmas party called a night in Bethlehem, at our church. The premise was that people would come "to be taxed and counted" to "Bethlehem". After traveling so far, of course they would want to eat and rest, so we had market stalls where food could be "purchased". 

As I looked into middle eastern, and specifically Jewish recipes, I had a very hard time finding any truly traditional recipes for the time period of when the Savior, Jesus Christ, was born. I did find modern recipes that came from some of the many cultures that have come and gone in the middle east, as well as dishes picked up and embraced by the scattered tribes of Israel. 

I found several recipes for beef brisket so I plucked a recipe off the internet, and made it my own with a change in an ingredient or two. It was a super hit, as the beef was served shredded in pitas, rolls or bagels, whatever they chose, and the sandwich could be layered with cucumber, salad greens and such. We also had classic Jewish deli chicken salad for those who aren't as big into beef, and to provide variety. There were plenty of sides and delicious treats, so we had a great feast, a delightful and spiritually uplifting program, and everyone left with full tummies and touched hearts. Since then he requests have come in for the beef recipe so here it is!

HOLIDAY BEEF BRISKET

A melt in your mouth beef that’s perfect for slicing and serving with traditional potatoes and veggies, or shredding and layering with onion and creamy horseradish on a sourdough roll, depending on how you want to serve it.

1 5-8 lb beef brisket, back fat trimmed

1 1/2 c. ketchup

1 1/2 c. fruit preserves or jam such as peach, apricot, apple, fruit based mincemeat, or a combo of those

1 package Lipton’s Onion soup mix

1 c. water

Place the brisket in a baking dish or pan large enough to hold it. in a bowl combine the liquid ingredients with the soup mix and pour over the meat. Turn the brisket to coat both sides. cover tightly with foil and place in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

Place directly in an oven set at 275 degrees and let cook for 6-8 hours, flipping once about half way through. You can also cook this in a slow cooker, but a lot of people like the crispy edges you get on the meat when it’s roasted in the oven.

The meat should pull apart easily when using two forks to test for doneness.

Once sliced or shredded put back in the pan it was roasted in to soak up more of the delicious juices, and keep warm until serving.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sisters Forever!

 I can'e even begin to tell you how happy it has made me to be able to meet at least two of my new found siblings! Estelle, her daughter Jessica and partner, and two of Estelle's grandchildren flew over from Guam to go to Disneyland, shop and see family and friends. I thought I was good at shopping but these ladies are professionals! They have to be, because their choices are somewhat limited on Guam, and shipping is double what we pay so ordering online is rather pointless.
Jessica was the "ringleader" on their shopping forays, and she runs a tight ship let me tell you! She's sweet as can be, as they all are, and super smart.
 We went to Joe's Crab Shack in Vancouver for dinner the first night we met, and had a blast.  Madison and Michael are the best children! Well okay, Michael is a young teen., but they both are so sweet, polite and aren't afraid of adults. You can tell they are loved and well cared for.
Jocelyn is Jessica's partner, and very sweet as well. 
I wish we would have had more time with all of them, as the chances of seeing them again any time soon is low. I get so ill when I fly, it sends me into panic attacks. We will have to figure this all out as I have two more siblings on Guam I want to meet. I believe I found my younger brothers and sisters for  a reason, and I don't want to drop the ball on getting to know them all better. 


So almost a month ago now Nature Guy and I took off to Colorado to meet my sister Josie and her family. She and her husband spoiled us so much I didn't want to leave!

They both work so hard, but also like to play, so they took us to Estes Park for browsing through the shops since it was drizzling out. Josie and I have similar taste in some things, so that was fun to find out. We look forward to seeing them next summer. 
Again, the dilemma of living so far away from everyone, and I don't fly. Ugh! I pray this can be resolved somehow, as I also don't get to see my oldest daughter much, and she could use my visits for moral support and help. I'm forever grateful to know that whatever happens in this life, families can be together forever. I may come back and edit this later. I'm having a hard time expressing my thoughts, but let's just say I'm happy to have met all the family I have so far, and hope to meet the rest soon.

Monday, July 31, 2017

They Shall Rise Up and Call Her Blessed







 I sit here typing with berry stained hands, loving that I can even do that. We have had a bumper crop of raspberries and found an amazing blackberry patch, so I'm in seventh heaven. We get to snack on berries all day long, and I'm gathering gallon bags full in the freezer.

I pulled out one of my favorite antique Ball Blue Book canning books from 1932, and noticed this saying on the inside first page.








 "They shall call her blessed - this woman, who - loving and thoughtful of future joy and health - secures the goodness of Nature at her best, and cans against the barren sameness of the Winter months. Well does she look to the ways of her household. "

I love that paragraph as it speaks to my inner heart and soul. For me, gardening, canning, and preserving are a way to show my love and support our family in being healthy, staying out of debt, and enjoying the good things God blesses us with.

Tomorrow we go out for more blackberries because I've challenged my husband to try and eat what we have on hand, so we need plenty to go to.  He's very good about that sort of thing, so we are going to see how far we get into the winter without having to buy anything but dairy, meat and perhaps snack things like crackers. It will be fun to see how creative we can get. I will keep in touch.