Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

These are very good cookies. The best part is, unlike regular sugar cookies, these do NOT lose their shape when they cook. They are great for detail work if you like to do icing.

1 c. sugar
3 1/2 c. flour
2 sticks REAL butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 T. Karo syrup

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, Karo and vanilla, then add sugar. Mix well. Place into a tight container and chill for 2-3 hours. When you are ready to use, on a floured surface, roll out to the desired thickness. Cut and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Cook for 18 inutes at 350 degrees.

Pumpkin Bread

Just in time for Thanksgiving. This will make three full size loaves. It is probably the best recipe I have ever tried for pumpkin bread. It is also a good recipe for zucchini - just replace the pumpkin for zucchini - same amout - 6 cups.

Preheat oven to 350 deg.

6 c. pumpkin OR shredded zucchini
3 1/3 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. vegetable oil (I use canola)
4 tsp. vanilla
8 eggs
6. c. flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. pecans
1 c. raisins (boiled to plump, then drained)

Mix all dry ingredients and all wet ingredients. Blend well. Add nuts and raisins last. Spray 3 bread pans w/PAM. Pour into pans. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes if your pans are 9" and 1 hour if your pans are 8".

Can also make mini loaves - will make 16 mini loaves - bake for 45 minutes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zucchini and Chocolate Chip Cake

I got this recipe from someone at our local farmer's market. He gave me a piece of this cake and it was wonderful - that was when he told me it had zucchini in it. I told him I HAD to have the recipe because we sold produce at the market and I could use that recipe for my customers. Everyone who has tried it has loved it. Just a word of advise - if you use frozen zucchini, make sure that you use whatever liquid is in the bag with the zucchini - the cake definitely needs that moisture and if you do not use it, the cake is very dry and crumbly. Been there, done that.

1/4 c. butter AND 1/4 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. oil
1 egg
1/2 c. sour milk
1/4 c. cocoa
2 c. shredded zucchini
12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 deg.

Cream together butter, shortening, oil and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla, egg and sour milk (sour milk: 1/2 c. milk less 1 T. of milk. Replace that one T. milk with 1 T. white vinegar). Mix well. Add all dry ingredients and mix well again. Add all but about 1/2 a cup of the chocolate chips. Add the zucchini last. Stir until all is well mixed. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. The batter will be very thick, so you will need to spread it out with a spoon. Bake at 325 for 45 - 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Icing ideas: Dark chocolate or peanut butter icing. Personally, tho, I like Cool Whip.

Zucchini Lasagna

I came up with this recipe on my own. I can't say it's perfect and I am constantly working on making it better, but I really do like it and so does my family. Just a word of advise - it's so much better the day after. I guess letting all the flavors blend together is why. I hope you like it and please be forgiving if it isn't perfect. It's kind of like me - God's not finished with me, yet and I'm not quite finished with my lasagna - we're both a "work in progress".

1/2 c. chopped onions
1 large can tomato sauce
1 c. frozen broccoli, cut up
2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained, or 1 lb. fresh mushrooms washed and sliced
1 small can tomato paste
3/4 c. TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
1 c. frozen, chopped spinach
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. water
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. red wine
salt, pepper and garlic to taste
1 pkg. no boil lasagna noodles
grated mozarella, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 deg

Saute onions in olive oil until clear. Add tomato sauce, seasonings, wine, water and tomato paste. Stir well. Cook until heated well. Add all vegetables and the TVP. Cook until the sauce is thickened - approximately 30 minutes. If it gets too thick, add more water.

Spray a 9x13 pan with PAM. Layer the sauce, noodles and cheese in the pan until you run out of the sauce. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the lasagna is bubbly.

My Mom, my life and my God.

It's been a while since I have posted on my blog - not that I haven't wanted to, but rather, I just didn't know what to write and when I thought of something, I didn't know how to put it into words.

In case you can't tell by my page, I am a Christian. I became a Christian in 1990, but never knew what it really meant. Yes, I realized that Christ died for my sins and I knew that I had turned my life over to him and that I accepted Him into my life, but I never really knew the extent of what that meant. That is, until last year when my mom passed away. I have always felt that God has been in my life, but that I just kind of kept Him on the sidelines, calling on Him only when I needed Him. Not anymore.

I spent a lot of hours by my mom's bedside the week she died. I read my bible out loud to her, not knowing if she heard me or not, but I felt that I was supposed to do that. The day before my mom died, I was sitting in her room alone with her. She hadn't been awake for well over 12 hours and we had asked the staff to give her morphine for the pain she was in. I was sitting there holding her hand and she started talking about Jesus and the lights. I started shaking. My mom never opened her eyes and nothing moved, except for her lips. I was scared and excited at the same time. I called my Pastor to come down right away and talk to my mom, but after he got there she never said another word. After he left, I told her I loved her and I was shocked when she opened her eyes and told me that she loved me too. I asked her then if she loved Jesus and the answer I got floored me - she responded in a language I did not understand. I tried again. I told her I loved her and I had a very important question for her. She opened up her eyes and told me she loved me very much and said ok when I told her about needing to ask her a question. So, I asked her if she loved Jesus, again. Again, I got the same response - a language I didn't understand. I was shaking. I talked to my husband and a Christian friend and they both said the same thing - my mom wasn't talking to me, but rather to God.

Up until that point I was very worried about my mom and where she would be after she died. I am still worried, but not like I was. I believe that my mom is with God. Being human, however, I struggle with the worry that maybe God didn't want her, but I can't, in my heart, believe that.

When my mom passed away, it was the worst experience in my life. It's one of those times that you wish someone would have sat you down and told you what to expect. Now, whenever I hear someone has cancer, I think of how my mom died.

Throughout this experience, the one thing that kept me going was my Bible and my faith in God. I know He was with me during that time. He had to be because I couldn't have done everything during that time without knowing He was there to carry me thru the pain and struggles of losing my mom.

One of the things that got me thru was a song by the Christian group Selah. The song is "You Lift Me Up". I listened to that song throughout the night during that week to get myself to sleep and keep me asleep. It was my life line. I wrote in a journal everything I could think of about my mom and what she taught me and what people didn't know about her. She was a wonderful lady.

Since my mom's passing, I have gotten more involved in reading my bible, getting involved in a ladies bible study and helping some of the seniors in our church with things they need. I feel that God is leading me towards this ministry and I absolutely love doing it. Do I wish my mom was back with me? All the time. She has been gone almost a year and I miss her so much = more on some days than others, but I think about her constantly. On the other hand, I'm so grateful to God for allowing her to be with us as long was she was. My daughter got to know her Nana and has wonderful memories of her and for that I thank God every day.

Mom's anniversary is coming up and I am already stressing about it and I really don't know why. I realize, finally, that something a dear friend told me is very true. This is not the anniversary of my mom's death, but the anniversary of celebrating that fact that she is in heaven with God and happy. Nothing could possibly make that day seem special, except for that. So, thank you Leslie for that thought to hold on to. You are a special lady and I know that God put you in my life just when I needed you.

I love you mom and I can't wait for the day I get to see you.

I love you,

LaDonna

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Uncle Johnny's Vegetables

This recipe is more of a "to your taste" recipe. Below are the ingredients and quantity I use, but you can vary the quantity and add or take away something you like or dislike. It is really great cooked out on the grill in an aluminum pan (covered w/foil) or you can cook it in the oven at 350 deg. for several hours. It's faster out on the grill. Can also be cooked in a roaster at 300 deg. Stir often!

3-4 large onions, chunked, or 8-10 small ones - whole
4 head of broccoli - cut up
5-6 small zucchini - chunked
2 bell pepper - chunked
1 head cauliflower - cut up
3-4 c. carrots - chunked
3-4 large tomatoes - chunked
2 lbs. Italian mushrooms - quartered or halved
1/2 to 3/4 of large bottle of Worchestershire sauce
1/2 to 1 stick real butter - sliced
1 1/2 c. red wine
salt and garlic to taste

Cover and cook until tender - there will be lots of juice. Great warmed up the next day if you have any left.

Sourdough Bread

Well, I finally made my first loaf of sourdough bread. I must say I am so excited. I've never made sourdough and I was really surprised when I came home and it had risen so beautifully. I'm thinking I may have to continue to make this bread on a regular basis.

DSCF3869

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seasoned Brisket

Another family recipe received from my uncle. Don't know where he got it, but it's another keeper.


Combine the following five ingredients:

2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. celery salt
2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper

brisket, trimmed
1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 bottle liquid smoke

Place brisket in large roaster, or casserole dish. Or if you're really brave, place it in heavy foil and wrap well after adding all the liquid and dry mix.

Prick both sides of the brisket with a fork. Pour on 1/2 of the liquid and then 1/2 of the dry mix. Turn over and repeat. Refrigerate overnight (if you can, if not, that's ok, it just enhances the flavor). Cook with fat side UP. Cook at 250 deg. for 5 hours. Slice and put back in the juices. Serve with grilled veggies.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

This is such an easy recipe. I got it from my aunt during the reception after my grandma's funeral. Once you make these, you'll find out they are addictive, beware!

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

1 can (2 c.) chicken
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped water chestnuts
1 c. grapes OR mandarin oranges, cut up
1 tsp. Jane;s Mixed-Up Salt

Mix altogether and serve on croissants! Yummy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chocolate Upside Down Cake

For years as a child, my mom would make this dessert for my dad. It was one of his favorites. I totally forgot about it until one day I was looking thru a cookbook I had put together as a Christmas gift years ago. I made it and yes, it tastes as good as it did back then. I don't know where she got the recipe from, but it's a definite keeper.

Chocolate Upside-Down Cake

2 c. Miniature marshmallows
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
2 c. hot water
1 pkg. Devil's Food Cake Mix
Chopped nuts, to taste

Place marshmallows in the bottom of a greased 13x9x2 pan. Combine sugar, cocoa and hot water. Pour over the marshmallows. Make cake mix according to directions on box. SLOWLY pour OVER the marshmallow mixture. Try and cover them - don't let them go to the top of the batter. Top with nuts. Bake at 375 deg. 45-50 minutes. Adjust for altitute according to cake directions on box.

When serving this cake, cut it and flip it upside down. Your "icing" is now on the top of the cake!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Excellent Pizza Crust from WalnutSpinney

















I got this recipe from a wonderful lady on Ravelry. Below is the link to her blog for the recipe.


Easy and Quick Homemade Bread



I am bread challenged, but a friend gave me this recipe last year and I've played with it several times and changed it each time and it still comes out great. Be forewarned - it will fill up your mixer.

White/Wheat Bread

In mixing bowl:

5 c. warm water

3 T. Yeast, sprinkled over top with a little sugar (yes, Tablespoons)

Mix well. From this point, do not turn off your mixer.

Add in order:

2/3 c. oil

2 T. salt

3/4 c. sugar (can add up to 1 1/2 c. if you want - the bread will just be sweeter)

2 T. gluten or dough enhancer

11 - 13.5 cups flour. I use all white, but a good combo is 2 c. wheat and 11 c. white. The original recipe called for 5 c. wheat and 6-8.5 c. white.

Mix well. It will literally climb out of the mixer. Dump out onto a well floured area. Knead 20 to 25 times. Divide into four equal parts (I actually weigh it and divide by 4). Knead each individual piece until "smooth". Place in four greased pans. Cover with wax paper and put in oven turned off at 200 deg. Let rise. Approximately 20 minutes +/-. Remove from oven. Heat to 350 deg. Return to oven. Bake for 30 minutes. When done, remove from oven, butter the tops of the bread. Remove from pan after 10 minutes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Is that Arizona in my backyard?


Yes, it's the windy season and from the looks of our hoop house, Arizona is definitely passing by. We dread the months of Feb - May when our winds can hit up to 70 mph. So far this year, we haven't lost our hoop house (one of two).

Where do I begin??

So, this is my first blog and we'll see how it goes. I am an avid crafter and baker. Hopefully, I'll be able to post a few of the things I make and bake as time goes by.
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