Fall Menu: Apple Crisp, Peppered Pork, Family Hash Browned Potatoes, Veggies and Dip, & Flat Breads

As you can see from the almost empty dish this is the BEST Apple Crisp recipe ever!
We had a near calamity this week when the spare refrigerator in the garage froze some of the items stored there.  Be it because I had not opened the door enough, as the manufacturer averages, or it just hiccuped I will never know.  The end result is I need to use up some Johnathan apples stored there.  I am making my late Mother-in-law, Mary Lou's apple Crisp for dessert to be topped with vanilla ice cream today.  It is the best Apple Crisp I have ever eaten.

This is about a 4 pound pork shoulder roasted and ready to slice.
I saved a good bit of money on the purchase of a bag of pork shoulder roasts this week and have all but one tucked away in the freezer.  (Our butcher buys bags of 2, 7-8 pounds each and cuts to size and wraps at no additional charge.)  Happily the purchase netted out to just under $2.00 a pound on the total purchase!  This peppered pork shoulder roast will be delicious served today and also in flat bread sandwiches later in the week.

Crusty and delicious family hash brown's.
Always a winner my Mother's hash brown potatoes are never left over!  They are munched to the last bite without fail!  Plus they are oh so easy and are not of shredded potatoes but chunks of crusty bits instead!  Just peel and boil until tender quartered potatoes, drain, season, and brown in hot oil using an iron skillet.

The Peppered Pork Shoulder and Flat Breads are my adaptations of recipes from Amy Theilen from the Food Network.  I have enjoyed her recipes on the Midwestern Table.

Ingredients for Apple Crisp:

10-12 apples peeled and sliced, I like Jonathan's or Golden Delicious
1/2 C. water
pinch of salt
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. flour
2 t. cinnamon*
12 T. cold butter

Peel and slice the apples into a 9" x 12" baking dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Sprinkle with salt and toss.  Pour the water over the apples.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut the cold butter into dice sized pieces and toss into the flour mixture.  Work the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.  Distribute the "crumble" evenly across the top of the apples and bake 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.  Yield 12 servings. 

*Recently I was contacted by a reader extolling the virtues of "real" Ceylon cinnamon.  I have long used Vietnamese cinnamon but am always willing to try new things.  I was running low on cinnamon and needed to reorder so today I am trying this new product in the apple crisp for the first time. This was not given to me, there was no discount, I am not being paid or given any consideration for trying this product and will be reporting my families reaction truthfully, as well as my own!  We all liked the cinnamon.  It has a softer aroma and I am glad I purchased it.  However, I do not prefer it to the Vietnamese cinnamon.  I do like it as well though, just not better!

These turned out beautifully and were delicious.
Ingredients for Flat Breads:

3/4 t. active dry yeast
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 C. bread flour

Combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 C. lukewarm water in a small bowl and let the yeast bubble up and proof.

Pour the yeast mixture into a large bowl and add 1 C. lukewarm water, the oil, and the salt.  Add 1 C. of the flour and whisk until smooth.  About like pancake batter!  Switch to a wooden spoon and add the rest of the flour beating as you go until you have a soft dough.  Rub the dough with a little more oil and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it rise at room temperature until doubled, about an hour.

Punch down the dough, transfer it to an oiled plastic bag and let it proof in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Heat the grill or griddle over high heat.  Generously oil a baling sheet.  Divide the flat bread into 8 portions on the baking sheet.  Press the dough into thin rounds, about 8" in diameter.

Grill the breads over medium-high heat,  closing the lid after putting them on or covering with a lid.  The flat breads should take about 2 minutes to cook turning once.   I kept them on wire racks in a half sheet pan covered with a tea towel on the back of the stove until serving time.  Yield 8 flat breads.

Boneless Roast Peppered Pork Shoulder.
Peppered Pork Shoulder Roast:

1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
3 1/2-4 pound pork shoulder roast
2 T. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 stick melted butter
5-6 cloves garlic chopped
3 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. chopped fresh thyme
2 T. bacon drippings or oil

To give the pork roast a quick cure mix 1 t. sugar and 1 t. salt together and and rub all over the roast.  Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Blot the roast dry.  Rub the crushed peppercorns into the meat.  Reserve what does not stick to the meat for the marinade.

Heat a small saucepan and melt the butter over med-low heat.  Add the garlic cooking until the butter begins to bubble.   Add the vinegar, thyme, and remaining pepper and remove fro the heat.

Heat an oven proof skillet large enough for the meat over high heat.  Add the drippings or oil and brown the meat on all sides.  Turn off the heat.

Drizzle the meat with the marinade rolling it to coat all sides.  Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.  Remove and baste.  Then roll the roast to it's side and roast another 10 minutes before repeating this process at 10 minute intervals for about 50 minutes.  Then insert a meat thermometer.  The meat is done at 145 degrees on an instant read thermometer is placed at the center of the roast.  We prefer our pork a bit more well done so I leave it until 160 degrees.

The roast was lovely eaten in folded warm flat breads.
Remove the roast to a platter and let it rest at least 10 minutes before slicing thinly.  Yield 10-12 generous servings.

Many times we round off our meals with raw vegetables and homemade ranch dip.  Again a family favorite.  Here is the link for the dressing mix.


Fried Onion and Chive Dip

There is deliciousness in frying an onion in butter!
There is a good possibility we are going to dinner with friends this week and it is always handy to have something made up to nibble on with say a glass of wine. There is a big pot of fresh green chives that has wintered over several seasons on my patio that encourages me to adapt this Fried Onion Dip recipe from Amy Thielen's, "The Midwestern Table, the source of this recipe.  I saw she also is appearing on a cooking show and I think she really has a flair for putting things together.

Fired onions are almost magic in my book and from an early age I have loved the smell and flavor of them.  Even the gnarled black crusty look of them invokes thoughts of a charred sweetness to be found within.

Ingredients for Fried Onion and Chive Dip:

1/2 stick salted butter (4 T.)
1 large sweet onion peeled and sliced in 1/2" rings
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1 t. honey
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 C. dry vermouth or dry white wine
3/4 C. sour cream
2 ounces softened cream cheese
2 T. sliced finely fresh chives + more for garnish
1-2 dashes hot sauce

Clarify the butter by heating in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until it foams and browns.  Skim off all of the foam leaving only the clear golden ghee. Discard the foam.

Add onions, salt, and pepper to the clarified butter.
Heat the clarified butter over medium  high heat adding the separated onions rings.  Add the salt and pepper to the onions and cook turning often until very very brown and crusty!  About 10 minutes. 

Fresh ingredients are the best ingredients.
Add the honey and garlic and cook 1 more minute.

This is the treasure that makes this dip recipe!
Add the vermouth and simmer for about 3 minutes until the liquid thickens.  Remove from the heat and cool.

Put the sour cream and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until smooth.  Finely chop the cooked onions and add them along with all of their pan juices.   Stir on the chives and hot sauce.

This is good with any chip or crisp vegetable.  I have been sampling dippers!
Transfer into a small serving bowl and garnish with more of the fresh chives.    This can be made ahead and refrigerated.   

Serve with chips, crackers, or crisp vegetables.  Yield almost 2 cups of dip.


Knockoff Swig Sugar Cookie Recipe

These make nice BIG cookies.
There seems to be a lot of racket around some recipes.  I tend to think most of it is self promotion.  Having said that I thought this recipe interesting more than anything as I don't have a clue about the significance of a Swig Sugar Cookie?  Is that some body's name,  a bakery, a town?  Who knows?

The batter looks and feels similar to a Snicker doodle dough.  The gal giving this recipe, Mandi, says she does not cook.....or bake, and has never posted a recipe in 3 years blogging.......not a good sign, but this she says is a "life changing cookie."  I don't know if I would go so far as to say life changing???  BUT IT IS REALLY A GOOD COOKIE.  It is sort of between a shortcake and a snicker doodle texture with crispy edges, a soft center, and killer frosting.  They are knock out served cold....yup you store them sealed up in the refrigerator and frost them as you serve them.

So anyway they looked good in the photo.   Anything close to a Snicker doodle is a good thing too!

If you would like to visit her commentary and recipe here is the link.

I did do a bit of adapting because she said the dough would be a little crumbly and after following her instructions precisely mine was wet and slack.  Perhaps she used medium eggs and I use large?  So I added a good 1/2 cup more flour resulting an a stiffer but not sticky dough.  Not a bit crumbly though.  More again along the line of Snicker doodle dough!

Frost as you serve these.
Ingredients for Knockoff Swig Sugar Cookies:

1 C. room temperature butter
3/4 C. vegetable oil
1 1/4 C. sugar + additional 1/4 C. sugar for pressing cookies
3/4 C. powdered sugar
2 T. water
2 eggs ( I used large)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. Cream of Tarter
1 t. salt + additional pinch of salt for sugar/salt mixture for pressing the cookies
5 1/2 C. flour (I used 6 C. flour)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place parchment paper or sil-pat baking mattes on cookie sheets and set them aside.

Cream together the butter, oil, sugars, water, and eggs.

The dough is not a bit sticky and works easily.
Combine the dry ingredients and add slowly to the butter mixture.
Mix until well combined.  Dough should be a little crumbly and not at all sticky.

Roll a golf sized ball of dough and place on baking sheets.

Little juice glasses were just right for this.
Place an additional 1/4 cup of sugar and a big pinch of salt in a small bowl.  Using a small glass wet the bottom and dip it in the sugar.  Use this as a press and flatten the ball of dough squishing to leave  craggy edges.

Bake 8 minutes and cool on pan a few minutes before removing.  Cool completely and then refrigerate.  According to the author these are best served cold with the frosting at room temperature.

Ingredients for Frosting:

1/2 C. room temperature butter
3/4 c. sour cream
approx. 1, 2 lb. pkg. powdered sugar.  (You will not need it all.)
1 t. salt
3-4 T. milk
1 drop red food coloring

Cream butter, sour cream, and salt.  Add powdered sugar.  When it becomes thick add a tablespoon of milk.  Alternate this process until you reach the desired consistency.  Add 1  drop red food coloring.  Whip on high 1 minute.

Keep cookies in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  The magic of these is the cookies are served cold and the frosting is room temperature.  Frost right before serving.  If you make in advance and need to refrigerate make sure you give it time to warm up before serving.

This yielded 4 1/2 dozen cookies and I plan on freezing half of them for another time.

Molly will be 3 on Monday!
And yes....I gave Molly her bath but I couldn't truly say who came out on top!  When finished I was as wet as she was.  It was a nice day to give a dog a bath.  She thinks she is a cat and relaxes at the front window!


"HUMP DAY" is the day I do all of the stuff I hate to do before I do want I want! Or, Skip breakfast clean like heck, enjoy late brunch then sew.....

I love mitered corners.
I love that commercial where the big old floppy camel runs around asking "Do you know what day it is?"  Well yes, I do.   Every week on Wednesday I force myself to do what I most hate, dread, and procrastinate doing.  Sometimes it even spills over onto Thursdays too!  At any rate this weeks dread list starts with moping the upstairs bathroom floors and all that goes with that.  Next dreaded task is vacuuming the whole stairwell.  So like a true mid western gal I just knuckled down and blew through it all......

Eventually I made myself a late brunch of fried eggs and ham with tomatoes.  Delicious!

So let the fun begin.  After hoarding this lovely piece of snowman fleece I decided I don't want to cut it because it would make a great winter blanket for one of my grandsons.  I will buy another piece and make two so they both have a cuddly warm blanket from Grandma this fall.  To make them oh so special I am going to finish them with satin binding.  I have known so many little kids to drag around a blanket until only a piece of the ribbon was left.  What bigger joy than to have them be warm and snug in a blanket I made for them? 

A nice project for fall.
Tomorrow I will give Molly our dog a bath.  I didn't want to have all the fun today!


Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread

For a while now I have periodically read a site called Homesteading Today.  There is everything you ever conceived of having to do with "self sufficiency" and "how to" discussed there in various forums.  I happened to look at bread making recently and fell head over heels in love with a site I wound up on.

My holes could have been a little bigger. It went a little long in the triple stage I think  But still excellent!
From further reading there I found this recipe for Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread.  I could not wait to get it made!  Today has been the day and it has turned out beautifully.  Craggy, crusty, holey a chewy delight for our dinner tonight!

Evidently the original formula was posted on usenet in the great alt. bread recipes group by Jason Molina.  All credit to him!  This takes 4-5 hours to go through the process so plan accordingly on a day you can keep an eye on it!  It does not use the traditional stretch and fold method for ciabatta because it is too slack (wet) a dough.  The only stretch is in the final shaping.

Ingredients for Coccodrillo Ciabatta:

500g. bread flour (1 C. bread flour= 136g=3.67 C., I used a scant 4 cups)
475g. water (1.9 C., I used a scant 2 cups)
2 t. yeast
15g. salt (5.69g salt=1t., I used a slightly rounded 2 teaspoons)

Using a Kitchen Aid style stand mixer:  Mix all the ingredients until roughly combined with the paddle.  Stop.  Let it rest for 10 minutes.

Note:  This did not call for 110 degree F. water so I used just water a little warm from the tap.

With the paddle or hook, beat the mixture hard!  It will start a bit like pancake batter but will in from 10-30 minutes set up and work like a very sticky dough.  If the dough starts climbing up the paddle switch to the hook.  The dough will have beaten enough when it separates from  the side of the bowl and starts to climb coming off the bottom of the bowl.

Place the dough into a well oiled container and let it TRIPLE, yes it must triple.  This took 2.5 hours.  I brought 2 C. of water to a boil in the microwave in a big mug.  Next I set it and the dough, oiled, and covered by a clean tea towel in my oven and closed the door.  The little bit of warmth and humidity just did the trick.

Proofing for 45 minutes.
Now empty the bubbly dough onto a floured board scrapping to get every last bit out!  Cut into 3 or 4 pieces.  Spray with oil and dust with lots of flour.   Cover with a tea towel and proof for 45 minutes.

About 20 minutes into the 45 minutes proofing crank your oven up to 500 degrees F. 

At the end of 46 minutes or so the loaves should be puffed and wobbly.  Pick up and stretch into the final ciabatta shape (about 10" oblong rectangle) and flip them upside down onto parchment paper or a well floured peel!  This redistributes the bubbles.  Be gentle it may look like you have ruined them but the oven spring is immense on these!

Love this recipe and will make it a regular in my bread basket.
Bake at 500 degrees F until they are 205 degrees in the center. (About 15-20 minutes.)  Rotate 180 degrees half-way through.  Cool on racks and enjoy.  Yield 3-4 loaves.


Salisbury Steaks 'n Brown Gravy and Boiled Red Potatoes

These just s-l-o-w simmer away until serving time!
My husband loves Salisbury steaks so every once in a while I whip them up.  It is one of those meat and potatoes things he loves so well.....I seldom do anything the same way exactly twice.  My last posting of this dish was made with rice so this is a variation and a little different twist.

Wash and cut in half 6-7  medium red potatoes.  Place in salted water to cover.  Bring to a boil and cover with a lid.  Cook until tender then drain well.

Ingredients for Salisbury Steaks:

2 pounds ground chuck
1 slice of bread
1/4 C. ketchup
2 t. dry English Mustard powder (I use Coleman's)
1 t. seasoned salt  (I use Lawry's)
1 t. salt (I use salt substitute)
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. beef stock soup base or granules crumbled
oil for frying plus a dab of butter

Tear the bread into small pieces or process into crumbs in the processor or blender.  Add to the mixing bowl with all of the other ingredients except the oil and butter for browning the meat.

Using you hands combine all of the ingredients until well mixed.  Pat into 6 oval patties and fry on both sides until nicely browned and a bit crusty in the heated oil and butter over medium heat.  Remove from the pan and set aside to make the gravy.

Ingredients for Brown Onion Gravy:

1 large onion sliced
2 1/2 C. hot water
2 1/2 t. beef stock base or granules dissolved in the hot water
1/4 C. ketchup
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 C. of the cooled beef stock base
1/2 t. black pepper

After removing the beef patties from the pan add the sliced onions and stir.   Cook 3-4 minutes until softened.  Add 2 cups of the stock and all of the remaining ingredients stirring until thickened.

Return the beef to the pan of gravy and baste the patties well.  Reduce the heat to simmer.  Cover and simmer on lowest heat 10-15 minutes.  Serve with boiled red potatoes.

Yield 4-6 servings.

Seasoned Tender & Crispy Chicken Strips at Home

Um Um Good and I am not talking about soup here!
Did you ever wonder how the extra crispy got that way?  Those yummy crumbles adorning the tasty chicken or fish?  Well I did.  Low and behold Ree Drummond demonstrated her technique and this old dog learned a new trick.  It was just like the light bulb turning on when I saw it and then I thought, "Why hadn't I thought of that?"

Yes that saucy Ree Drummond, "The Pioneer Woman" out on the prairie with her tousled hair children and her hunky hubby has out witted me again!  It sure makes life fun to learn a new trick or two now and then!  So I have adapted her recipe and emulated her procedure here and we enjoyed these tasty chicken pieces last night at supper.  They met with great reviews and the licking of chops!

The key is to pour an appropriate drizzle of buttermilk into the seasoned flour and whisk just enough to make it a bit clumpy.....thus the extra crispy effect! Then after a short soak in buttermilk the chicken pieces take a bit of a roll into the clumpy bumpy breading!  Next they are fried to golden perfection.

There is nothing like cast iron when it comes to frying chicken.
Ingredients for Seasoned Tender Crispy Chicken Strips:

3-4 pounds chicken breasts skin and bone removed and cut into serving sized strips across the grain of the meat
1 1/2 C. fresh buttermilk
3-3 1/2 C. regular all purpose flour
3-4 t. seasoned salt  (I use Lawry's but whatever you like.)
2-3 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. black pepper
vegetable oil for frying
optional dipping sauces for serving

Place the chicken strips in a flat dish with at least a 2" rim and pour 1 cup of the buttermilk over the pieces stirring them about to coat the pieces.  This can be done the night before and left refrigerated or 15-20  minutes prior to frying. 

Dust off your cast iron skillet or chicken fryer if you are fortunate enough to have one and pour 3/4"-1" vegetable oil in the bottom of the pan.  If you don't have cast iron choose something with a heavy broad bottom.  Leave this just sitting on the stove at the ready for now but do NOT turn on the heat yet.

Using a large deep platter or a 9" x 13" pan, combine the flour and seasonings and whisk all together until well blended.  Gradually drizzle in 1/4-1/2 cup of buttermilk and stir lightly using a fork to achieve the "clumps".

Heat the oil over medium high heat.

Start removing the chicken from it's liquid and one at a time place the strips into the flour mixture turning to coat well.  Place 'em onto a platter.  Continue coating the chicken until they are all ready to be cooked.

Prepare a rack on which to drain the cooked chicken pieces.  I use cooling racks in a half sheet pan and leave it resting in the oven turned at it's lowest heat setting.  I place the pieces on this as I fry and remove them when done. They stay warm and crisp.  Any excess oil drips onto the pan below the racks!

When the oil is hot begin cooking a few strips at a time.  I do 4 per batch. It should take 1 1/2-2 minutes or so on each side.   When golden and crisped remove to the oven rack and continue until all of the batches have been cooked.  Do not allow them to burn!

Serve with BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch dressing, or any dipping sauce you like!  Yield 6 servings.


"Bonnie's Favorite" Cherry "Coffee Cake"

This was so nice with a cup of hot coffee!
This is another one of those recipes I keep in my "JUST GOTTA TRY" file!  It is adapted from one given on that I have been going to try for quite a while now!  Bonnie is a sister-in-law and shared her recipe.  It can be made as any flavor of coffee cake you would like simply by varying the fruit pie filling used.

I can tell you true it smells just wonderful as it is baking just now.  It makes a big 9" x 13" coffee cake and since we only have 5 for dinner tonight there will be plenty to share and enjoy with coffee next week.

This will be great to serve with coffee next week!

Ingredients for Bonnie's Favorite Coffee Cake:

1 C. soft butter + 1 T. for frosting
1 3/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2  t. salt
3 C. flour
4 large eggs
1 t. vanilla + 1/2 t. for frosting
1,  21 ounce can of peach, apple, or cherry pie filling (Or 2 Cups home canned pie filling, do NOT double the filling amount it gets too doughy!)
1-2 t. lemon juice
dash fresh grated nutmeg
dash of cinnamon
1 C. powdered sugar for frosting
2 T. cream or evaporated milk for frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9" x 13' baking dish and set it aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar using the electric mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time beating after each addition.  Add the vanilla.

Measure the flour, baking powder and salt together and whisk to combine.  Add to the batter and beat until just combined.

Spread 2/3 of the batter into the buttered baking dish.  Mix lemon juice and fruit filling then spread it over the batter.  Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon.

Drop the remaining batter by teaspoon full dollops atop the fruit.  Do NOT spread!  Bake 45 minutes and remove from the oven to cool.

When cool make the frosting by combining 1 T. soft butter, 1/2 t. vanilla, 1 C. powdered sugar, and 2 T. cream or evaporated milk.  Stir until smooth and creamy adding additional cream 1 drop at a time to thin if needed.  Place a sandwich bag over a drinking glass folding the top back over the rim of the glass to support the bag.  Spoon in the frosting.  Clip a corner and pipe the frosting across the cake.  If preferred you may instead dust the coffee cake with powdered sugar.

This works end of day or beginning!
Yield 12 servings.


Today the Crazy Quilt Ida Bell and Ellen started a hundred years ago has been finished as a cozy comforter using a blanket stitched Alpaca yarn to complete the edges.

I am fascinated by these fabrics. Not faded with time, not made in China, but old heavy prints like nothing seen today.
Today I just sat down and finished it.  It feels good to have done so!  After it's being stored in boxes and trunks and passed through 4 generations the bright colors and batting have been bound to flannel.  It looks just like it belongs on that big old oak sleigh bed in the south bedroom. 

Not mass produced coordinating prints but this is probably pieced from their clothing, maybe feed sacks too?
It isn't that I did anything special.  It is that something special is done by 3 women of different generations.  It is that an heirloom has been resurrected from scraps that will go to a child or grandchild.  I am pleased.

I love the look of a hand sewn blanket stitch and it works to my liking on this comforter.
Yesterday I stopped at the new yarn shop that has opened in out town.  It is large, and well appointed.  I sought Alpaca yarn for the edging and the owner Jennifer Wahle took very good care to help me find the perfect skein.  She calls her shop, Sheep Skeins, now isn't that a clever name?

This stitch serves a very good purpose both decorative and sturdy to hold the edges beautifully secure.
The yarn is soft and perfect and will never itch or cause anything except sweet dreams, I pray. The finished piece is quite large, big enough to cover over the pillows at the top and hang down over the edges of the bed!

If the edges do come into contact with my beautiful dreamers (grandchildren), there is nothing I can think of any softer than Alpaca.
It hangs nicely against the eyelet bed skirt and gives the room a bright and happy feel!

All of these ladies resided in Hamilton county north of Indianapolis.
You may recall that I have been entrusted with 4 unfinished pieces so this is one down and three to go!  Plus it took a year to get this far!  Hopefully I will do better as time goes


Finally....I've finished the label for the vintage comforter today! Next time I will plan better!

Luella is my Grand Children's GREAT x's 3 Grandmother, and Ida Bell is their GREAT x's 2 Grandmother and I am just the plain old Grandma.  Grandma Powell is the GREAT x's 1 but she did none of the stitching but was the keeper until she gave them to me.
This has been so frustrating for me.  I want to sit and work on my sewing projects of which there are many!  But there too is life and it does not seem I can get to these projects I want to do so I carry them and then feel great relief when I finally finish even a part of something! Thus today between all of the this and that I sat and embroidered the names and some of the known dates of the ladies who will have stitched this comforter.

I had to take it partly apart to get back into it to do this but given a little time and luck I can finish it up soon.  I would like to use it in one of the bedrooms this winter.  It looks so warm and cozy.  Bright and cheery too.

Granddaughter says, "If I had 3 thumbs I'd give them all THUMBS UP for this snack!" Now I'd call this Peanut Butter Fruit Dip a HIT.

Self contained snack to go works great for young and old to eat now, take along, travel or just sit on a bench and enjoy!
This day has been a slower day and I got to finish up some things I have wanted to do so I got busy and made a trial batch of this dip to take as a snack for Kate when I picked her up from the school today.  She just loved it so I thought I would share!

I keep 6 ounce paper cups to place a few tablespoons of dip into and drop it down into a plastic sandwich bag with a freshly peeled and sliced apple and a folded napkin for a tidy and complete take along snack,

It would also be great with any other fruits, salty pretzels, or graham crackers!

Makes a light and fluffy dip that does not stick to the roof of you mouth as does plain peanut butter.
Ingredients for Peanut Fluff Dip:

4 ounces soft cream cheese
6 ounce jar marshmallow fluff or cream
1/2 C. peanut butter

Beat all together with an electric mixer until fluffy and well combined.  Serve as a dip or spread.  Yield about 1 1/2 cups of dip.  Can easily be doubled! Store covered in the refrigerator until time to serve.  It will not last long I predict!

Deep, Dark, & Crisp Kale Chips with Sesame and Salt

The next time I will sprinkle with the sesame seeds a few minutes before I stop the toasting of the leaves for added flavor
I have had several people tell me these are good and encourage us to try them and I am certain as well that many of you have perhaps seen or heard about them on TV.  Last week my best friend Diane confided to me that her husband Doc Dave had made them and they really thought them off I went on a mission for kale!  They also sent me a recipe they used from written by Kirstin Uhrenholdt from which my version had been adapted.

Using scissors made short work of removing the heavy veins.
After washing and drying the leaves thoroughly I used a pair of scissors to cut out the tough stems starting at the top of the leaf and cutting down toward the thickest part.  After reading some of the comments from a nutritionist who had massaged coconut oil into the leaves rather than using olive oil I decided that would be my course.  I love coconut oil and the benefits I see from it.

Ingredients for Kale Chips:

2 bunches of kale washed, dried, and stems removed

2-3 T. olive, grape seed, or coconut oil

a sprinkle of coarse salt, of salt substitute, garlic powder, black pepper, sesame seeds, wasabi,  crushed red pepper, etc. (all optional to your  liking and tastes.)

cooking spray for pans

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. and spray cooking spray across 2 sheet pans with rims.  Tear the kale into desired pieces.  Place them into a large bowl and massage the oil into the kale.  It is important that every bit gets covered.  Happy kale is crisper!

Kale dressed and ready for the oven!
Place kale in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.  Flip with tongs part way through the time.  The kale will turn a very deep and dark green and crisp.  Do NOT let it get brown!  When the kale is done sprinkle with desired seasonings and munch away.

My Commentary or 2 cents worth:

While these are not potato chips!  They are not bad at all and I will make them again.  They are crisp and light and have a not too green taste complemented by the sesame and salt.  I did use salt substitute on half and sea salt on the other half for comparison.  This is for my hubby.  Yesterday was his one year anniversary from heart surgery and I am feeling very Blessed to have him. The heart folks have told us salt is the #1 factor in high blood pressure so I try to reduce where it is feasible.

A couple of weeks ago I underwent my first stress test and while the results were fine they did stress diet and exercise.  The doctor was most happy when I told him we eat home made fresh made and almost nothing "prepared" out of a box.  His comment was he believed prepared foods play a large part in the ills of the day!  I agree along with the contamination of our air and water.

We live in a part of the country with a much higher than the normal cancer rate so we try to do better than the norm by having a reverse osmosis water system as well as filters on the shower to remove chemicals from being absorbed through the skin.

Sorry if I am on my soap box again!