Showing posts from December, 2012

Nature Walk, Blog Plans and A Happy New Year!

The Beauty Of Nature I took a walk through my neighborhood with my camera... to practice some different skills. You know, different from the ones I use in the kitchen. I enjoyed it immensely! I've been thinking of using my blog for more of a personal space about life in general and not about food alone. Although food will still be a part of it. :) I would love to hone some photography skills and concentrate on a few other things that feel more important just now but still would love to stay in touch with all of you. I promise, I'll bake something yummy for you now and then :) So I'm hoping you'll stick around and come "see" me when you have a spare moment. I would like to spend more time noticing things, no matter how small, that remind me of who I am and why I'm here.
May your New Year be filled with Blessings and meaningful encounters with God that will fill you with Wonder and Joy and Peace and make you thirsty for more.
♥♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥ 

Wintery Afternoon & Homemade Doughnuts

Yesterday we had a perfect winter day. It snowed. It was COLD. My work was done, well at least nothing wasscreaming for attention.We were still enjoying a few leftovers from Christmas night so no major cooking was called for. The boys and Lin were in and out of the house, working, hunting, and cutting wood. Serena was out with her pony 'Lightening' for a while. So I decided to treat them with a few Homemade, made-from-scratch doughnuts. The boys have been reminding me that I used to do this when they were little. I remembered how much fun it was when I was young and my Mom made this treat for us, so I set to work. I kept it at a fairly small batch because I didn't want to have them lurking and they are always best fresh anyway. The recipe I used was from All Recipes. To which I made a few slight changes to fit my preference. ½ cup warm water 2 Tablespoons instant yeast 1 teaspoon white sugar ¾ cup milk 5½ Tablespoons butter ¼ cup white sugar 1 teaspoon sea salt 2 eggs 4 …

Oatmeal Peppermint Crunch Cookies

I made almost no extra goodies for the holiday season this year and really liked it that way. But these have been burning a hole in my mind for a while and I figured the kids would be happy if I'd treat them at least a little with something seasonal so I set out to make these today. Yum! I took a basic Oatmeal Cookie recipe that I use a lot and changed it up a bit. The end result is a cookie with crunch but also a bit of chewy goodness. And who can resist a little white chocolate and peppermint? Here it is: 1½ cups Organic Vegetable Shortening ½ cup Butter, softened 1½ cups White Sugar 1 cup Brown Sugar 3 Eggs 1½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract 1½ teaspoons Baking Powder 1½ teaspoons Baking Soda ¾ teaspoon Salt 4½ cups Quick Oats 3 cups All Purpose Flour 1 cup Peppermint Crunch Candies

½ cup White Chocolate Chips
Vegetable Oil
additional Peppermint Crunch Candies,
 optional In a mixer combine the first five ingredients and beat well with paddle attachment. Add the baking powder, soda,…

Bird Suet Repost

Back in January 2011 I posted a recipe for suet that the birds always "look forward to". I know this because when it's out there they can't seem to get enough of it. :) It is also the only way the bluebirds stay around in the winter. So today I made some of this and am looking forward to seeing those beautiful blue jewels adorning our deck again. Oh and here's the recipe... again... in case you would like to lure the birds to your house too!

2 cups lard
2 cups chunky peanut butter
2/3 cup white sugar
4 cups rolled oats
4 cups cornmeal
2 cups flour
Birds Seed (optional)

Melt the Lard and Chunky Peanut Butter over medium heat (in a large kettle). Add the White Sugar, Oats, Corn Meal, and Flour. I normally feed the birds a mixture with nuts and/or fruits in it and sometimes I add some of that to the suet. Stir well. Line a large cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper and pour the suet mixture in and smooth it out. Cut according to your suet feeder size and allow to set/h…

Green Smoothie

Right now I have lots of Kale, Spinach and other green things in my fridge along with fruits galore so for breakfast this morning I decided to mix a bunch of these together for a great start. Still fairly new at this but actually enjoyed this one without a lot of mind-over-matter drama. ☺ First off I put this through the juicer: 1 handful Kale 1 handful Spinach 1 handful Italian Parsley 1 Apple 3 small Kiwi 4 large Strawberries ½ cup Fresh Pineapple ½ cup Red Seedless Grapes I then put the juice into the blender and added 1 small Avocado Blend until smooth. The Avocado thickened it to smoothie consistency. With a few Almonds I was on track for the day. ☺ For a girl that made friends with flour and sugar a long time ago a green breakfast that I enjoy is really saying something! haha Hope you try it, and enjoy it too! Have a wonderful day! The snow is falling and the kids are happy. What more could I ask for?! ♥Blessings!♥ 

Christmas Blessings...

from my house to yours!
Wishing for all of you Peace and Joy! Tonight... just in time for Christmas Eve the beautiful snow began to fall! We were so excited!
♥♥♥ Merry Christmas!! 

Healthy Options and Randomness

I'm enjoying my simple healthier lunches right now. They often look like this or slight variations of this. Lots of spinach, sometimes lettuce, a bit of onion, blueberries or craisins, feta cheese, almonds or pecans, and sometimes the crunchy ramen noodles. The Dressing is a simple, equal amounts mixture of Red Wine Vinegar and Olive Oil with a bit of Stevia Powder to sweeten it up a bit.

Sometimes they look like this:

I've had a juicer for several years but would only juice sporadically. I've been juicing more regularly and I'm hoping somehow I can turn the kids on to this. Wish me luck? haha  I'm still learning what it is that my taste buds will accept and I'm not planning to abandon my love for baking cheesecakes any time soon :) but for now this has me intrigued and I'm enjoying experimenting of a different kind. I juiced: 1 small red beet 4-5 carrots 1 lemon a handful of spinach I wasn't brave enough to just chug it down so I mixed it with an equ…

White Chocolate Peppermint Butter Cream Icing

m-m-mminty ☺

I was asked to bake a cake for someone recently and decided on a simple chocolate cake with icing that fits the season. Butter Cream is my current favorite, I'm a bit obsessed with White Chocolate at present and Peppermint seems to be the theme everywhere so I combined the three for a sugary treat.

One word. Yum!

I was recently introduced to Andes Peppermint Crunch. Perfect. And so yummy in cheesecakes and icing, etc. Perfect also as a special little after dinner treat.

1 cup Butter
1 cup Crisco
½-¾ cup White Chocolate Chips, melted
4 cups Powdered Sugar
Peppermint Extract
Andes Peppermint Crunch Candies, chopped

Cream butter and Crisco until smooth. melt white chocolate chips and allow to cool a bit. The butter, Crisco, and chocolate should be about the same temperature so the chocolate doesn't harden when it touches the other ingredients. Beat well. Add extract until it suits your taste and then add powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency. If it …

Bacon Horseradish and Cheddar Cheeseball

Ever since this summer when I discovered the bacon horseradish spread at the local grocery store I've had in mind to make this cheese ball for the holidays. It's a very simple concoction with just a few ingredients that is best made at least 3 days ahead of time so the flavors have time to "marry". It can be rolled in whatever you choose like nuts, finely shredded cheddar, or parsley etc. I chose the cheddar because I knew I would have help to eat it if that is what I used. My husband and I have been enjoying little bits of it for a snack or as part of a light meal. 12 oz. Cream Cheese, softened ½ cup Bacon Bits ½ teaspoon Smoked Sea Salt ½ c. finely shredded Cheddar Cheese 2 Tablespoons Horseradish, drained ½ Tablespoon sugar Mix together well. Form into a ball and roll into whatever you choose.(nuts, parsley, or cheese)Refrigerate. Best if made 3-4 days in advance. Serve with crackers of your choice.
Have a wonderful day! ♥Blessings!♥

White Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake with Almond Shortbread Crust

Decadent Deliciousness
Recently while eating a Lindor White Chocolate Truffle I got to thinking that I should recreate the decadent experience in cheesecake form. White Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake is nothing new but I had not tasted one before this.
It. Is. A.m.a.z.i.n.g!

I wanted it to be white from the bottom up and had some Almond Meal Flour in the cupboard waiting for a purpose so I decided on Almond Shortbread for a crust. I think it goes very well with the cake. I also eliminated some of the egg yolks to keep the cake white.

For the Crust:
¾ cup All Purpose Flour
6 Tablespoons Almond Meal
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
6 Tablespoons White Sugar
¼ teaspoon Salt
Mix together in a food processor or by hand until small crumbs form. Press into the bottom of a 6 inch Spring Form Pan (lined with parchment paper and sprayed). Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Place a small pan of hot water onto the bottom oven rack.

For the Cheesecak…

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Broccoli & Cheddar Gruyere Toasts

Winter's Perfect Comfort Food

If you like broccoli and cauliflower and bacon and delicious cheeses melted on little bites of chewy baguettes, you my friend are in for a treat! I thought I was getting company for lunch yesterday but she was needed elsewhere at the last minute so she didn't come. This is what she missed. :)  It. Was. Super. Yummy. I've always enjoyed soup and at the restaurant where I used to work they served both broccoli and cauliflower soups with the cheese melted into the soup. Yummy! But I've grown away from the Velveeta cheese that they used and I have trouble with cheddar not performing well for me IN a soup. I like this recipe because the cheese is NOT in the soup and it doesn't use flour for thickening.

4 Tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped onion
2-3 garlic cloves, fresh pressed
12 oz. cauliflower
10 oz. broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
1 medium Yukon Gold Potato,
peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup heavy cream

Caramel Peanut Butter Snickers Cheesecake

I love to bake cheesecakes! I love to experiment with different flavors and dream of baking and selling them someday. Oh! Did I just admit that?! That kind of makes me panic. But fear is a bad thing,  conquering them is good!

Okay that was a sappy way to introduce a really, really good cheesecake! But anyway...

I discovered the Peanut Butter Snickers Squared candy bars. I will never be the same! I thought I loved regular Snickers but these surpass those if you are peanut butter lovers like we are here.!

I got to thinking about a cheesecake with those flavors and decided this was the perfect weekend to bake one because we had a fellowship dinner planned after/at church and we would have plenty of help to eat it. I think our church family kind of enjoys my experiments because the plate is usually empty. :) Today was no exception. The cheesecake is delicious! or so they said :)

Preheat Oven to 300°.

With the Spring Form pan apart, lay a piece of parchment paper across the bottom flat p…