Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happy Birthday Stephanie!



Today is our daughter Stephanie's birthday and she may be feeling like, "How can I possibly be 45?" I can't help but give a little motherly advice, after all I can see the big picture now! Somewhere in my 40's was when the insecurities of my youth began to melt away. I wasn't a perfect size 10 but I realized that being a good person made me far more happy than how I looked in my jeans. I grew up.

I had a new found confidence from the things that I had learned, experience is a valuable thing in life. I could draw from a bank of wisdom to help me with the problems that came with  raising kids and facing the daily grind. My coping skills improved.

It's hard to imagine that there will ever be a day when you can do what you want to do, but with each decade there is more "me time." One day it will just happen and you can go for a pedicure... and not feel a bit guilty!


Your 40's are when you realize that there is going to be a time when it's just the two of you again. Not exactly like when you were in your 20's, but even better! Ahead of you are sunrises and sunsets, whole days with nothing to do but read or nap! Hang on, it's comin'....




Monday, July 4, 2016

Nutty Monkey Memories

Happy 4th.... hope you are celebrating the day with something that sparkles, whether it's the people in your life or some fireworks! I can't imagine any bans this year on the poppers with all the rain we've had across the U.S.


I don't remember ever not having fireworks on the 4th when I was growing up in Springfield. We'd hit the firework stands on the way to Grandma's, my brother choosing Black Cats and bottle rockets and me... sparklers, smoke bombs and the little chicken that layed the fire eggs! You know the one, it's on everyone's "must have list." Well, maybe it's not...


Our GRANDsons make their selection and there's not a single Hen Laying Eggs or Ground Bloom Flower or Nutty Monkey. No sparklers, no Cascading Fountain. Only firecrackers and bombs. Maybe one fountain, but it's called Death Bomb Fountain or something like that. We're invited over for fireworks so I'll be nice and try my best not to complain.... I don't think anyone could hear me anyway!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Grunt, Slump or Buckle?


Arkansas strawberries and rhubarb are showing up now in the local Farmer's Markets. May will bring on peaches followed by blueberries then raspberries. My heart is beating faster just writing this! If you love fresh fruit like I do, you can't wait to bake something yummy for dessert that requires a topping of ice cream! Ozark women have been making cobblers since pioneer days. All it takes is a little fruit... fresh, dried or canned and in two shakes of a lambs tail you have a hot bubbly, dessert on the table!

Simmer sweetened dumplings in with juicy berries and you've made a Grunt.

Blueberry Grunt
4 cups blueberries, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup light molasses
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup milk
About 1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
1. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, frequently stir blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar, molasses, lemon peel, lemon juice, nutmeg, cloves, and 1/2 cup water until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until the berries have released their juices and the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. With your fingers or a pastry blender, rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Add the milk and stir just until mixture forms a soft dough (do not overmix).
3. Drop 1/4-cup portions of the dough into the simmering fruit mixture. Cover the frying pan and simmer until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the dumplings comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Spoon the warm dumplings and fruit equally into four bowls and drizzle the portions with cream if desired.
Makes 4 servings

Make a cake with fruit mixed into the batter or spooned on top, finished with a crumble topping and you've made a Buckle!

Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries
Crumb Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine -- softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons hot water (1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons)
Heat oven to 375º. Grease square pan, 9×9×2 inches, or round pan, 9×1-1/2". Blend flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortening, milk and egg; beat 30 seconds. Carefully stir in blueberries. Spread batter in pan; sprinkle with Crumb Topping.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle with Glaze. Serve warm.
CRUMB TOPPING:
Mix all ingredients until crumbly.
GLAZE:
Mix all ingredients until of drizzling consistency.
Printable Recipe

A Crisp is a baked dessert, the fruit filling covered with a crunchy topping crumbled over the top.

Basic Fruit Crisp
6 cups fruit, peeled and sliced such as Peaches, Apples, Pears, Plumcots, Berries
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 tablespoon Meyer Lemons juice freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon Meyer Lemons zest
1 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/3 cup Brown Sugar firmly packed
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
4 tablespoons Butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square or rectangular pan.
In a large bowl, toss fruit with sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.
Lay fruit into pan and set aside.
Mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas.
Sprinkle over fruit mixture and bake approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly and crisp. Serves 6
Printable Recipe

To make a Slump, drop the dough over the fruit and cook on the stove top!

Stone Fruit Slump
Filling
4-1/2 pounds mixed plums, nectarines, or peaches, fresh or frozen, pitted
(8 to 9 cups or 3 pounds prepped), see cook's notes
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Dumplings
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsifted (2 1/2 ounces) cake flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup cold buttermilk
To peel peaches, drop in boiling water for 30 seconds, then pull off peel. They may need a little more time in the boiling water if they aren't good-and-ripe. Or instead of peeling peaches, try washing them well and then piercing them gently with a fork. Once they are slices and baked, the peel will fall apart into the fruit and add a rosy color to the dessert.
1. Prepare fruit filling: Slice fruit over bowl so you can collect all juices. Slice each fruit into 10 or 12 pieces, depending on size of the fruit and drop the slices into the bowl. Separately, rub sugar, cornstarch and salt together in small bowl, then add to the fruit and gently toss to coat. Gently stir in lemon juice, then scrape the fruit and juices into a 10- to 12-inch nonreactive, deep skillet or a wide 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven. Whatever pan you choose, it must have a tight-fitting lid. Let stand for 15 minutes. During this time, the fruit will release some of its juices and the sugar will begin to dissolve.
2. Bring fruit mixture to a low simmer over medium-low heat. You will need to stir occasionally to prevent the juice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but do so gently to avoid breaking down the pieces of fruit. Simmer for about 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
3. Prepare dumplings: Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom together in a bowl. Add butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or pastry blender, cut in the butter (until butter is the size of peas). Add buttermilk and stir just until mixture comes together; it will be a slightly wet dough.
4. In eight portions, place dough atop fruit, distributing the dumplings evenly over the surface. Return to the stovetop and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and continue simmering for 18 to 22 minutes or until dumplings are puffy and cooked through to the center. Remove cover and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Sadly, slumps do not keep well. Serve immediately.
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

These are from an old War Eagle Mill Cookbook...

Apricot Patty Cake Cobbler
3/4 to 1 1/4 cups packed powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. ground mace or nutmeg
3/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
6 cups apricot quarters (about 2 lb. whole fruit)
Patty cake crust (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, combine sugar, mace, almond extract and orange peel. Add apricots and mix. If the apricots are firm and underripe, they will require the maximum amount of sugar. If the apricots are ripe and sweet, start with 3/4 cup sugar. Scrape mixture into a buttered shallow 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole and spread level.
With lightly floured hands, tear off lumps (3 to 4 T. size) of the patty cake crust and pat into cakes about 1/4 inch thick; lay them as shaped over the fruit, covering fairly evenly (a few gaps are fine). When all the dough is in place, press down lightly to join portions.
Bake cobbler in a 375 degree oven until fruit is bubbling and crust is well browned, 50 to 60 minutes. If using a 1 1/2 quart casserole, set on a large sheet of foil in case mixture boils over. Let stand at least 10 minutes or until cool. Scoop fruit and crust into bowls, adding more sugar to taste if needed.
Patty Cake Crust
In a food processor or bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 6 t. butter cut into thin slices, 1/4 cup cream cheese (2 oz.), cut into small pieces; 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel; and 1/4 tsp. ground mace. Whirl or rub with your fingers until mixture forms fine crumbs. Add 1 large egg yolk and whirl or stir until dough holds together. Press into a ball.
Printable Recipe


Creeping Apple Cobbler
5 lg. apples, peeled and cored
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teas. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled to room temp.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teas. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
Adjust oven rack to middle and preheat overn to 375º.
Fit processor with slicing disk. Cut apples in half; fit them in the feed tube and slice. Remove apples to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon and toss until well blended.
With a pastry brush, coat the sides of 9 x 12 shallow baking dish with some of the melted butter. Pour the remaining butter into the dish and tilt it back and forth until its bottom is completely covered with the butter.
Sift together the flour, 1 cup sugar and baking powder into a medium. size bowl. With a wooden spoon beat in the milk until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the butter coated dish. Sprinkle the apples, as well as the juice that will have accumulated, evenly over the batter.
Bake the cobbler 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is deep golden brown.
Yield: serves 6-8
As the cobbler bakes, the batter rises and literally creeps up through the apple slices.
Printable Recipe

Peach Crumb Cobbler
5 cup sliced peaches
1/3 cup pack brown sugar
3 tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten.
Combine brown sugar flour & cinnamon.
Toss with peaches & arrange in 7x11 pan (9x9 works just fine too)
Take topping dry ingredients, sift... add egg & mix until crumbly.
Sprinkle over filling. Drizzle butter over top.
Bake at 375 for 55 minutes.
Serves 6 big servings
Printable Recipe

Have a good weekend and make some memories!
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