Monday, December 27, 2010

Thanks Paul! It’s just what I needed.


I am meated out! It is like Paul McCartney just knew I would need a meatless day after the long holiday weekend. I guess it is his gift to me. This weekend my family ate a prime rib roast that seemed questionably raw on Christmas Eve, several pounds of bacon, ham, and sausage for Christmas breakfast (see above photo of my goofy son), and then more ham and a roast for Christmas dinner. I am not sure how many animals were slaughtered for our celebration, but it was way too many for my taste. After spending many hours in the kitchen over the past month, I am not excited about cooking dinner, but I have the perfect solution. Veggie Quesadillas will be on the menu tonight. They are quick, easy, tasty, and most importantly meat free.

Veggie Quesadillas

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can green chiles
shredded colby/jack cheese
8 tortillas 

Mix beans, corn, and chiles. Place about 2 tablespoons of cheese on half of the tortilla, 1/3 cup bean mixture, and then more cheese. Fold tortilla over. Place on cookie sheet and cook under broiler until toasted and browned. About one minute. Flip and cook other side. Serve this with a yummy green salad for an easy and tasty meal.

Another Cranberry Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 6 oz can mandarin oranges
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cranberries and oranges. In a blender combine first six dressing ingredients and process until blended. While processing, gradually add oil. Add sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with almonds.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What makes you tired?

Turkey and pumpkin are usually on the list of things people are tired of come December. I don’t think my family could ever get tired of pumpkin desserts. I am tired of the dishes that come with making desserts, but not the pumpkin itself. Along with scrubbing pots and pans, I have two things that have grown weary with me lately - The Kardashians and Jersey Shore. I don’t have cable and have never watched an episode of either of these reality shows, and yet I am sick of hearing about them. I am rather confused as to why these people are fascinating. I happily left the TV off this evening and made this scrumptious dessert, and my family was thrilled.

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cp canola oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup hard white wheat flour
1 cup barley flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffly. Sift together dry ingredients and stir into the pumpkin mixture until combined. Spread the batter into a 10X15 inch jelly roll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese. Stir in vanilla. Add sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread on cooled cake.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What’s for dinner?

I hate that question! You would think that since I have been cooking for my family for over 25 years that I would let that one just roll off my back. The problem is that even when I have an answer there will always be a critic. And when I don’t have an answer, and I fire back, “What would you like?” I usually don’t like the response. I don’t even know what I would like them to ask instead. I guess I just want them to stand happily by the oven and see what comes out at 6:00PM, and eat without any complaints. Well, I guess if I was really going to get a miracle at my house, I wouldn’t waste it on that silly idea, so I guess we will stick to our same old routine. Child asks. Mother gets irritated. Child learns not to ask for a few days. Mother makes a plan. In case I don’t have a plan, I like to have a few meals that work with things mostly from my food storage. And being since it is Monday, no meat is required!

                      Southwest Vegetarian Bake

               1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
               1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
               1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
               1 (4 ounce) can green chiles
               1 pint salsa
               1 cup sour cream
               2 cups cheese, divided, preferably colby/jack but cheddar will work
               1/4 teaspoon pepper
               1/2 cup chopped onions, red, green, or yellow will work
               1 small can olives, sliced and drained

In a large bowl, combine rice, beans, corn, chiles, salsa, sour cream, 1 cup of cheese, and pepper. Transfer to a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with onions and olives over top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Serve with chips and salsa or guacamole. This is seriously good and easy. I usually don't have any whiners when I serve this!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I love Thanksgiving. I love eating all the good food. I love being with family. I love pies. This year I played host to 24 family members for Thanksgiving dinner. It seems as if I spent the week before preparing for the big day, and the week after recuperating. With so much to do, it left little time to contemplate the abundance of blessings in my life.

 I just recently finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. My favorite part of the book focuses on finding gratitude in everything God gives us. Betsie who is Corrie’s older sister tells her the Bible instructs us to thank the Lord in all things. As Betsie encourages her, she begins to express gratitude for all things, but stops short with thanking God for flees that infest their barracks. She doesn’t believe there is any reason she could ever be grateful for flees. Weeks later Betsie and Corrie learn the reason why there is almost no patrolling by the guards in their new barracks which enables them to conduct worship services with little fear of being caught. It seems as if the guards are afraid of getting flees. Often times it is hard to recognize the blessings in all things especially during difficult times. I began to think about the things in my life that cause me frustration, heartache, or just seem to be an annoyance. Could I find the reason to be grateful for these things?

Road construction, taxes, a wayward child, the death of a loved one, a bad hair day, the flu, dishes, and a broken washer are all on my list of things that would test my ability to be grateful in all things. As my heart aches for a child, I draw closer to the Lord in prayer. I enjoy the blessings of policeman and fireman because I am a tax paying citizen. When my washer died, I did my part to help the economy get back on track. As I mourn the death of a loved one, I find greater love and appreciation for my family. As for road construction, I think I will just be grateful when it comes to an end.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Almost as good as glue

Everyone has their favorite traditions during the Christmas season. One of my favorites happens to be building ginger bread houses with my family. My children have been very creative through the years. We have had a nativity scene with marshmallow sheep and camels, a candy land board game, an Aztec pyramid, a three story castle, and a Viking boat. It is amazing what can be made from graham crackers and candy. I think the trick is the right frosting and a wide assortment of candy. Before I found this frosting recipe, frustration would easily become part of our tradition as houses would easily collapse. This stuff is almost like glue.

Snow Icing

6 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 2-pound package powdered sugar

Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add cream of tartar and mix well. Slowly add powdered sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks. Keep covered until use so it doesn't dry out.