Monday, October 26, 2009

Sausage, Potato and Cabbage Stew

This recipe creates more of a "stoup" - a cross between a soup and a stew.

1 lb kielbasa, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes
3 cups (1/2 pkg) store-bought coleslaw mix
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, cook the kielbasa and onion over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the mustard and vinegar; then add chicken broth.

Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and add to pot, along with the coleslaw mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

This recipe serves 5. Serve with fresh bread. Yummy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cinnamon Nut Coffee Cake

Our adult small group meets on Sunday mornings at church while our kids have their own small groups. When I wake up early on Sundays (which doesn't happen as often as I would like!!) I get up and make something to bake for our small group. I had been thinking about it this week and how I would like to take something - and what do you know - at 6 am I was wide awake. I decided to try a new recipe - here goes....

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl whisk the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla.
Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened; set aside. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients.

Spread half of batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Sprinkle with half of the topping. Carefully spread the remaining batter over top; sprinkle batter with the remaining topping.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm.

Serves 12 - 15 pieces.
Home from Church and the coffee cake was yummy. This will go in the keep pile :0>

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I grew up in a very strict Christian home. There were a lot of things we were not allowed to do as kids, no television, homework or sports on Sunday. We reserved Sunday for Church, family and friends. I saw my first every theater movie at the age of 18. My boyfriend (now my husband) took me - Raiders of the Lost Ark- wow what an amazing first movie! I didn't tell him til afterwards that it was the first time I had been to the "show". He was appalled - figured my parents wouldn't be impressed. I don't think they ever knew. Anyway, something we DID do was celebrate Halloween. My parents hosted Halloween parties in our home for their friends. My husband grew up in Africa on the mission field...and they celebrated Halloween. Somewhere along the way...Halloween for Christian's become a bad thing. Somehow we lost the "fun" part of just being able to let our kids use their "imagination" and have fun. Dressing up and visiting friends. It seems a shame that we as Christian's "give" our holidays away - allow satan or evil to take over something that could be innocent - and even an opportunity to share Christ - wow, your church has a Halloween Party?
I did a lot of sewing when my kids were young and made all of my kids Halloween costumes - the first ever was a bee costume - he was just a year old - so sweet. From there I continued until about 4 years ago. Every year - a new costume - it become quite a tradition - the kids and I would go and pour over the pattern books and decide "who" they wanted to be that year. We have had Zorro (my absolute favorite), a mermaid, Rapunzel, Robin Hood, a dinosaur, the kids loved those times.

Over the years I have had many conversations with many people about this subject. I lose the battle when I don't have information to back it up - my memory isn't great for dates, etc... But I still feel strongly that we have to look at this differently. This post was brought on by the fact that we did pumpkin carving last night. Another think I love is doing neat designs - yes I use patterns and special tools - i guess it is that jigsaw puzzle lover in me :)

We have a friend - she is the same age as my oldest - and we have "adopted" her as part of our family. She goes to church with us and is usually at the house several times a week - for a quiet (?) place to study, join us for a meal, hang out with my daughter, or just to chat with me. We love Erin...she has never carved a pumpkin before and was looking forward to it. So yesterday we went to the grocery store and picked out our pumpkins, came home and decided on a design and started cleaning out pumpkins.
This is Erin cleaning out her Pumpkin

My 16 year old daughter, Sadie - making faces while she cleans out her pumpkin.

Look at all those pumpkin guts. Almost done cleaning.

Erin working on her design - laughing at something Sadie said - these two laugh a lot.

Sadie "posing" for me - she is "poking" her way around her design.

There are restrictions to our Halloween - no witches, warlocks, skulls, etc... nothing that depicts evil - just good clean fun.

Here are the finished designs, all lit and ready to go :0) Mine is the first one, a cute little
Boo Ghost". The second is Erin's - a "Cross-Eyed Happy Face". Erin did an amazing job for her first ever pumpkin carving. The 3rd one is Sadie's - he was called "Bugaboo" .
This morning I was sitting here thinking of posting the pictures of us carving pumpkins and got thinking more about the concept of Halloween being a secular holiday. I did a quick search on google and what did I find - wow - some fascinating information.

Halloween DID begin as a Christian Holy Day! No matter what you have heard before the truth of history and the understanding of the word Halloween is quite Christian. Halloween broken down is the eve (evening) before the Holy (Hallow) day. It was first called All Saints Day or Hallows Day in 610AD and was celebrated on May 13. So the very first step is to understand the meaning of the word. Halloween means the Holy Eve. Happy Halloween means Happy Evening before Holy Day!

The church moved Hallows Day from May 13 to Nov 1 on 741AD to place it on the same day as the Pagan (unbelievers) Festival of Death. This was very common in the early church because they moved
Christmas and Easter already to coincide with Pagan celebrations so that Christians had something Christian to celebrate when everyone else was celebrating.

Hallows Day was a day to honor all the martyrs that died from Christ's death and resurrection until 311 AD when Constantine made it against the law to persecute Christians. The church picked one date to celebrate all the people who willingly and often joyfully followed Jesus and refused to deny their faith.

Recognize that we have been ignorant of our Christian history and did not understand that the Pagans took their celebration known as Samhain (festival of death) to be one with Halloween. Instead of continuing to call their day Samhain over the years it got mixed into being called Halloween for both celebrations.

As a Christian we don't need to run from Halloween, but to redeem it and embrace it as a Holy Eve Celebration to remember all the martyrs that have died and that continue to die in our generation for their faith. We really have something to celebrate because our faith could not be destroyed or mowed down because Christians are not afraid of death but embrace it..."For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." The sting of death was taken away after Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected.

Now the choice is yours. Be creative! Find a way to celebrate your Holy Day! And be set free by the truth and know your can really cheerfully say, "Happy Halloween!" guilt-free!

This article came from when I searched "How to Celebrate Halloween as a Christian"

So...what is your take on this holiday that we celebrate? Would love your feedback.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chicken in a Cashew Nut Sauce

Our family likes to try different foods from different cultures. Something we enjoy is curry. I have a recipe book - Best Ever Curry Book (over 150 great curries from India and Asia). The author is Mridula Baljekar. I have been trying to get in the habit of taking pictures of the meal as it progresses...but last night I got so into the cooking that I didn't remember until I was sitting at the table enjoying the food...oops. I did manage to remember to take a picture of the finished dish. I also cooked Basmati rice to go along with the rest.

2 onions
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup cashew nuts
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp plain yogurt (I used a Greek yogurt - it has a nice texture)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp sultana (golden) raisins
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed
6 oz mushrooms
1 1/4 cup water
Cut the onions into quarts, then place in a food processor or blender. Process for 1 minute.
Add the tomato puree, cashew nuts, garam masala, crushed garlic, chili powder, lemon juice, turmeric, salt and yogurt to the onions and process for a further 1 1/2 minutes.
In a wok or large pan, heat the oil, lower the heat to medium and pour in the onion and spice mixture from the food processor or blender. Fry gently, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary.
Add the fresh coriander, raisins and chicken to the pan and continue to cook for a further minute.
Add the mushrooms, pour in the measured water and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes.
After this time, check that the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick. Continue to cook for a little longer if necessary.
Served over rice.
Serves 4
This was a big hit. Everyone enjoyed. It is not a hot curry. Nice flavor with just a little bite. We will definitely try this again. Well worth the time of spending with the food processor/blender to make the sauce. What do you think? Was it worth it?


This is my two year old dog, Scooter. He is a labradoodle - but a mini - so smaller than most people expect. Scooter has two favorite toys. Both are stuffed animals from my 16 year old daughter that Scooter has "stolen" and adopted for his own. One is a black cat and the other is this dog. One or both join Scooter in bed along with our other dog, Abby. When Scooter is in bed he lays his head on the dog or cat. Last night he was laying on the ottoman (that he has called his own also) and gently chewed/played with his dog/puppy friend. I couldn't resist getting photos. So, indulge me and take a look at my sweet Scooter.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mushroom Barley Soup

I love soup. I can - and often do - eat soup every day. I love creamy, brothy, about the only kind I don't love is cold soup - to me the whole point of eating soup is it warms me up. Next to my love of soup - is mushrooms - sorry JD :) Today I tried a new recipe - it turned out yummy - give it a try - did you love it?

8 cups (2 quarts) beef broth
1/2 cup raw pearl barley
2 large carrots, sliced or diced
1/4 tsp dried sage
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
10 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the broth, barley, carrot and sage in a pot. Bring to a quick boil; reduce the heat and simmer slowly for 40 minutes.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until wilted. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 5 minutes more.

Stir the mushroom mixture into the broth. Simmer partially covered 10 minutes longer.
Taste for seasoning and add the pepper and salt. Serves 4.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beef Jerky

Just a note regarding the Beef Jerky recipes. I would suggest not adding the salt in the New Recipe. Mine was a tad salty. I also noticed that because the jerky cooked quickly - maybe more salt was absorbed in the meat?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Classic Meat Loaf, Rice Dressing, Asian Salad & Apple Crisp

Tuesday afternoon I got a call from Julie (one of my best friends), she had gotten word that one of the ladies in our small group at church was in hospital - we decided to go visit that evening. God was in the moment. She had been alone all day due to them having 6 children, her husband trying to keep it all together and his Dad also being in the hospital. It was a good visit with lots of laughter. Something our small group does it try to help each other during these times, so I am coordinating meals for the family. My day was today and I am posting about the meal that I took them. My family??? they ate leftovers - lol -but they know that reaching out to others is more important than having a home cooked meal. Here are the recipes of the meal I took:

Classic Meat Loaf:

1 large egg
3/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup minced onion (or 1 tbsp dried minced onion)
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup ketchup
Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl. Add ground beef. Mix well. Press into greased loaf pan. I put the mix into two smaller pans. Spread ketchup on top of loaf. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours. Serves 6 (I adjusted the recipe a small amount to serve 8)

Rice Dressing:

4 cups chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup butter
2 cups chopped mushrooms [sorry JD :0) ]
3 tsp parsley
1 1/2 - 2 tsp poultry seasoning
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme

In saucepan, bring 3 1/2 cups broth and rice to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or til tender.

In a saucepan, saute onion and celery in butter until tender.

Stir in mushrooms and continue to saute til softened.

Stir in rice, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and the remaining broth. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 350 degree for 30 minutes. Serves 10
Asian Salad:
2 pkg oriental Ramen noodles, crushed (or whatever flavor you prefer)
2 seasoning pkgs from Ramen noodles
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil (olive oil will work - but the sesame adds good flavor)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds (pine nuts, sunflower seeds or pecans also work)

Put everything in a saucepan and toast over medium heat. Stir often til browned. Set aside to cool.
I use a spring mix of greens and Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing. Put them in a bowl and mix well. Add enough of the above mixture to coat greens. Soooo yummy. I make several recipes at once and store in either a Ziploc bag or container so I always have it on hand. It is a nice quick tasty salad to add to a meal.
Apple Crisp:
5 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup softened butter
In 11 x 17 baking dish arrange apple slices in an even layer.
In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using pastry blender or with fingertips, rub in til mixture is crumbly.
Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over apples.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes til topping is lightly browned and apples are tender and bubbly. Serve warm.
I used all disposable containers so that the family could just toss things when they were done and didn't have to worry about trying to return things. This is one of those "comfort meals" that I like on these cool fall days. Let me know what you think? Did you try any of these?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beef Jerky

I purchased a new preserves book this fall. It is called "Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, and other cooking projects" the author is Karen Solomon. It is an interesting book with recipes for some basics and other things like, bacon, cheese, marshmallows. There was a recipe for Beef Jerky. I have a recipe that I use regularly but decided it would be fun to do two recipes - our old stand by and this new one and let my kids decide which they prefer. Here is the beef. I found a small beef roast and it was BOGO so I asked the meat department to slice it for jerky. They did this while I shopped. It was awesome. Below is a picture of the how the meat looks before I get it ready for marinating.

New Recipe :
1 lb. lean top sirloin or flank steak
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried chile flakes (optional)
1 tsp black pepper (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and put both meat and marinate in a large Ziploc bag. Put in fridge and let sit for 24 hours. Occasionally push meat around in Ziploc bag to make sure all meat comes in contact with marinade. Below is a picture of the meat and marinade in Ziploc bag.

My Regular Beef Jerky Recipe
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and place both marinade and meat in Ziploc. Close bag and massage the meat so that all meat comes in contact with the marinade. Place in fridge and occasionally move the meat around to keep meat marinated.

Below is a picture of my new dehydrator. My original machine had no thermostat control or fan. The bottom of the machine had the heater coil so could not be washed. I tried making sun dried tomatoes this summer with it and because it was not hot enough my tomatoes went moldy before they were dried out. So I decided to splurge and get a new machine. It has a fan that circulates the heat better. There are several temperature settings and on the top it shows what temperature to set for what you are drying. The fan and motor are in the lid of the machine so that the racks and base can all be washed. I have done sun dried tomatoes in the new dehydrator and love it. This is the first I made jerky and it was quick. Maybe too quick so I tried the second batch at a lower temperature.
After meat has marinaded for a minimum of 24 hours take out and place on racks of dehydrator. Here is a picture of the meat when it starts out.

When meat has dried out take off rack. Some pieces will dry faster than others depending on size and thickness. You may find that you need to rearrange the meat on less racks as meat dries. When meat is dried I store it all in a Ziploc bag. Be aware - it won't last long once the family members find it - and that is a good thing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

White Mac & Cheese and Greek Style Chicken Salad

Mac & Cheese Recipe:

1-1 lb box penne pasta
2-12 oz. cans evaporated milk
2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
3 - 8 oz. pkg shredded italian blend cheese
2 - 5 oz. pkg. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Cook Pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

In a large mixing bowl combine evaporated milk, salt, pepper, cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Stir in cooked pasta until well combined. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
In a medium bowl, stir together reserved parmesan and panko. Spread evenly over top of pasta and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
Below is the finished product. It was cheesy, ooey, gooey goodness - oh so yummy. This makes 8 - 10 servings.

Salad Recipe:
1/2 red onion, diced fine
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt (in my store this is called "Fage")
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried)
Grated peel of 1 lemon
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 romaine hearts, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

In a bowl combine, onion, yogurt, dill, lemon peel, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and put in fridge til ready to serve.
In a large bowl toss the romaine, cucumber and tomatoes, set aside til chicken is ready.

Preheat a grill (I have a small indoor grill that I used). Brush the chicken with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook on grill - about 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice.

Combine dressing with salad and mix well - this is a rather thick dressing but quite easy to mix - be patient. I decided not to combine the chicken and salad so that both would keep if there were leftovers. We served the salad and topped it with the chicken individually. Below is the salad with the dressing combined.

This was a yummy meal - we got our starch, our dairy, lots of veggies and some protein as well. The salad was a nice change. For anyone that enjoys Greek food - especially Tzaziki sauce - this dressing is a similar flavor along with a fresh splash of lemon. Hope you give it a try and enjoy.