Friday, August 31, 2012

DIY All Natural Deodorant


Is this a recipe? Yes.  Should you serve it with a side veggies? No.  But you could confidently wear it to a special dinner feeling fresh and dry. You can even count on it to eliminate odors.  After my husband became allergic to one deodorant after another, we gave up and decided to search out a more natural alternative.  My friend Cindy introduced us to this recipe.  For us, it literally works--ALL DAY.  And the most important benefit is that you get to miss out on all of the harmful ingredients that you find in store-bought Antiperspirants.  You can find a list of those HERE.  And it's simple to make:

Ingredients:
1/3 C Coconut Oil (in it's soft solid stage, room temp. Somewhat resembling Crisco)

1/4 C Baking Soda (You know...the greatest--all-time--odor absorber!??)
1/4 C Arrowroot Powder* (found in the whole food section or baking aisle or a whole foods store)
    *I've recently researched that you could substitute Corn Starch for the Arrowroot Powder, but I haven't personally tried it.

Measure and mix all ingredients in a small or medium size bowl until smooth and looking a bit like this:
For a container, I used a small freezer jam jar. They're plastic with a nice tight-fitting lid...and just the right size!  I made the mistake of trying to stir it all together in the jar.  What a mess!  Eventually we got it...but please, learn from my mistake.
Now you're ready to use it!  All you need is a small amount on the end of your finger tip for each application (I was going to say "for each pit" but that didn't sound very lady-like...lol).  When you're applying the deodorant in a paste, like this, just rub it in until you feel the coconut oil softening or melting. Then you're good to go!

I've always wondered if I could somehow maneuver this mixture into an empty deodorant container. Hmm....Maybe I'll try it sometime.

*Make sure to store in a cool area.
*If your Coconut Oil does liquify after you've made the mixture (like...you forgot and left it in the bathroom while you took a steamy shower), just stir it well and return to a cooler area.
*If you don't over apply, this stuff will last you a long, long time!

--Jamie



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lime Pepper Grilled Chicken




Today I am going to share with you a quick, easy, healthy, tasty chicken recipe.  Not only that, I am going to give you the whole meal so that you will have a yummy addition to your 30-Minute Meal Arsenal.  And you know why?  'Cuz that's how I roll....

The chicken part of this recipe is original, the other components of the meal are straight out of the can, already seasoned, tried and tested in the Jenkins Family Test Kitchen--two thumbs up!!


Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Olive oil
Lime Pepper seasoning
1 can Margaret Holmes Southern Style Seasoned Mixed Greens
1 can La Costena Frijoles Charros




1.  Place chicken breasts in a gallon-size zippered freezer bag.  Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and about a teaspoon of Lime Pepper seasoning (to taste). Close the bag and kind of "moosh" things around until the chicken is evenly coated with oil and seasoning.

2.  Grill chicken on a counter-top nonstick grill (I used my George Foreman grill) for approximately 8 minutes, checking for done-ness.

3.  Meanwhile, open the cans of beans and greens and heat each over medium heat until ready to serve.

4.  That's it.  Really.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sweet and Salty Roasted Chick Peas



Cheap, easy and addictive!

Ingredients:
  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or your spice(s) of choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
  1. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Bake at 450 F for 30 minutes. (You didn't miss anything here.  You don't oil or season them until after they are done.  In fact, for an extra healthy treat, try them when they get out of the oven before even adding the oil.  They are enjoyable all on their own.)
  3. Transfer chickpeas to a bowl and mix thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Enjoy hot, or bring to room temperature and store in an air-tight container.  Like popped corn, the chickpeas are never as good the next day.  However, they are still quite enjoyable 3-4 days after making them.  
Source:  Cupcake Project

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mormon Morsels: Wet Pants

I want to share a story with you that I received in one of those forwarded emails that I don't always read, but this one was really good.  I don't know the origin of the story, but all credit goes to whoever they are!!


"Come with me to a third grade classroom..... There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.


The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, 'Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I'm dead meat.'

He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered. As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy's lap..

The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, 'Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!'

Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful. But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else - Susie. She tries to help, but they tell her to get out. 'You've done enough, you klutz!'

Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, 'You did that on purpose, didn't you?' Susie whispers back, 'I wet my pants once too.' "



This is one of the best illustrations that I have seen to show how so many times in our crazy lives God answers our prayers through someone else.  I hope you will think of this story the next time you are praying desperately for something, but don't quite know where the answer is going to come from.




Images courtesy of Free Digital Photos --Photographers: David Castillo Dominici, digitalart and Microsoft Office Images.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sprinkles Cupcake's Strawberry Cupcakes

I love cupcakes. I really do. When I saw this recipe for Strawberry Cupcakes from Sprinkles Cupcakes (the original Cupcake bakery!) I had to try it. I've never liked Strawberry cupcakes from a box. These.... well, these are divine.


Sprinkle's Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing
Servings: Makes 1 dozen

Strawberry Cupcakes

Ingredients
2/3 cup fresh or frozen whole strawberries (thawed if frozen)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk , room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg whites , room temperature

Directions
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
- Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree. - Add a few more strawberries if necessary, or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla and strawberry puree; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended.
- Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
-  Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes.
- Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Strawberry Icing

Ingredients
1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
- Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined.
- Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended.
- Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Source for cupcakes. Source for icing.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chocolate Chip Strawberry Shortcake


I'll start with the disclaimer: this isn't really shortcake. It's a gussied-up white cake. BUT...

...It's MOIST. It's easy. And it will tantalize your taste buds. Oh, yes, my friends. It will.

I usually make this cake using Devil's Food Cake mix and chocolate pudding, but today I couldn't decide between Strawberry Shortcake or chocolate cake. So I mixed it up a little and it turned out so fabulously I thought I'd share it with you! The chocolate chips are the perfect complements to the strawberries.

You're Welcome. :)

Ingredients:
1 White (not yellow) Cake Mix (I use Betty Crocker)
1 (5.1 oz) Vanilla Instant Pudding mix
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 eggs
1/2 C Warm Water
1.5 C Mini-Chocolate Chips (I suppose you could use regular, but in my experience the bigger chips sink to the bottom while cooking)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the cake and pudding mixes. Add the wet ingredients, one at a time, ending with the chocolate chips.

3. Pour into a well-greased 12 Cup bundt pan.

4. *Bake for 50 - 55 mins, or until the top is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in the pan, at least an hour and a half, and invert onto a plate if desired.

5. Top with whipped cream and strawberries.

*I use a 10 Cup Sunflower-shaped Cake Pan with no fluting and it fits, but just barely. I bake this in a preheated 335 degree oven for 80 mins.

You can also bake this in a 9x13" pan, at 350 for 25 - 30 mins.

Source: My own variations on Too Much Chocolate Cake from allrecipes.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"I Love You" Cookies


School starts here on August 27th!  We are all excited! I have two kiddos that don't enjoy school lunches at all,  and the other two pack a lunch when there is something yummy from home they would rather have!  I always send love notes, and special treats but,this year I wanted to do something special for the first day of school. These are soo yummy!  Peanut butter cookies and a dove heart ontop!  Easy peasy!  You can make the cookie from scratch or buy the cookie mix for an even easier time of it!

1 package of peanut butter cookie mix
1 package of Dove milk chocolate hearts
white granulated sugar

Follow the peanut butter cookie instructions. After you have formed the cookie roll it in some sugar and place on the cookie sheet or stone...whatever you have for baking.  Then bake according to directions. It will take about 8 -10 minutes. Don't let them get to brown. 
When the cookies come out, press the chocolate hearts into the center and the cookie will spread out a bit.  Let them stay on the cookie sheet for a while cooling off. The heart will melt a bit, as you can see in the picture, but it will cool and stick to the cookie just fine.
 After they have cooled completly, remove them from the pan and place them on a rack to let the chocolate set a bit more.  It should be comepletly back to normal before you pack them up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

French Breakfast Puffs

I remember making a version of these delicious morsels as a teenager.  Back then I think I pulled the recipe from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  But recently I noticed that The Pioneer Woman had a version in her first cookbook.  My daughter decided to give them a try and they were even more delicious than I remember.

Truly, they just melt in your mouth.  I dare you to eat just one.


Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup milk
--------
Coating:
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.
2.  In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; stir to combine and set aside.
3.  In another large bowl, cream the sugar and shortening together.  Add in the eggs and mix well to combine.
4.  To the creamed mixture add:  one-third of the flour mix, one-third of the milk.  Beat well.  Repeat until all the flour and milk have been added.
5.  Fill your muffin cups two-thirds full and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.  Remove the muffins from the pan and set them aside.
6.  Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a bowl (P-dub uses loaf pans and these work great!).  In another bowl (or loaf pan) combine the sugar and cinnamon.  Dip the warm muffins into the butter, completely coating each one.  Then roll the muffin in the cinnamon-sugar.


According to P-dub, these freeze well.

Source:  The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Moni's Quinoa Mac and Cheese


Let it be known to all that I have finally tried Quinoa.  Yes it is true.  I tried this recipe that I found on Pinterest and I must say it is quite tasty.




Ingredients:
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium leek white and green parts halved and sliced (1 cup)
1/2 cup diced tomato or red/green pepper
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
pinch of salt
a few grinds of seasoning salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water (or stock)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese plus more for topping
Panko Bread Crumbs for topping, optional

1.  Heat oil in medium pan over medium heat.  Add leek and tomatoes; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 minutes, or until grains start to turn opaque (they will not be fully cooked at this point).



2.  Add 3 cups chicken stock and season with the salt and Seasoning Salt.  Cover and reduce to medium-low and simmer 15-20 minutes or more,  or until most liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat 13 x 9 dish with cooking spray.  Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl.  Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese (add more cheese here if you need it).  Stir well and let some of the cheese melt.  It will be a little "soupy" but that's okay,  It will firm up.

4. Transfer to prepared baking dish and top with Panko Crumbs.  Bake 25-35 minutes, or until browned around the edges.

TIPS:  The original author of this recipe suggests using salsa, scallions, sour cream or hot sauce as toppings.

SOURCE:  A Pinterest Re-Pin from Monica Nelson



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cool Avocado Soup



I love, love, love cold soups in the summer!

Ingredients:

2 avocados
1/2 English cucumber
4 scallions, green parts only, coarsely chopped
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup packed cilantro or parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/8 t. cumin
1/8 t. paprika
1/2 t. salt

Directions:

1.  Puree everything in a blender until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice.  Cover tightly with the blender lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours.

2.  Puree again just before serving, adding a little cold water if necessary to thin the soup.

TIP:  Serve as shooters for a party!

Source:  My Panera

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reduce the Drag

Photo Source: Microsoft Office Clip Art
I was listening to an audio recording recently about streamlining household chores.  The speaker's intent was to share ways to make everyday chores flow more smoothly and she used the phrase "reduce the drag" in describing this process.  This made me thing of airplanes, aerodynamic cars, and....swimming.

The Olympics are just closing down shop in beautiful London town.  One of my very favorite summer Olympic events to watch is swimming.  I know that swimmers do whatever they can to make their bodies flow more smoothly through water.  Certain swimsuits "reduce the drag" that a swimmer's body has in the water.

This made me think of other things in life beyond household chores and swimming.  It made me wonder what things are producing a drag in my life.  A drag on my energy, patience, charity, motivation, intellect, happiness.

In a media world filled with nonstop images that tell us we are not enough, it can be difficult and challenging to fight off feelings of inadequacy.  We may be our own worst critic in nearly any and every part of our lives.  Finding a way to avoid this false humility can reduce a lot of drag.  How heavy life and it's many responsibilities and challenges can feel to one who never quite feels good enough! President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
“Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves. May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. … Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential.”
Learning to see ourselves through the eyes of Heavenly Father.  That's a tall order, but an essential one.  Prayer, pondering the messages of the scriptures, exercising faith in the Lord and in ourselves....all these things and many more can begin to give us a glimpse of our true selves.  Once we begin to see this, the drag begins to get smaller and smaller and smaller.

What are some ways that you have been successful in overcoming this particular glitch in spiritual aerodynamics?  Or perhaps this is not a challenge for you....what, then, do you feel is creating a drag in your daily swim through life?






Friday, August 10, 2012

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes

I've had a great time lately trying out some new cupcake recipes. This one did not disappoint! I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so when I spotted this one online - I knew I had to make it.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes
(makes 2 dozen)

Ingredients 
Cinnamon Cake:
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
¾ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use the real stuff!)
¾ cup sour cream
1 boxed Vanilla Cake Mix (not white cake mix)
1/2 cup crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Buttercream:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder (Crush the cereal in a bag and then sift out 2/3 cup)

Directions 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, gently combine eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
3. Mix in sour cream.
4. Add cake mix and cinnamon and mix until smooth.
5. Stir in lightly crushed cereal.
6. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
7. Buttercream: Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Adjust the consistency using milk if it is too thick.
8. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with cinnamon sugar and Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chicken and Pineapple Kebabs


I love to grill in the summer time! Who wants to bake in a kitchen when you can cook in the open air?? AND when you're in the heat of summer, who wants a heavy meal? Not me, friend!

These hit the spot with their fresh, light mix of fruit, vegetables, and meat.

Ingredients:

20 oz can of Pineapple Chunks in juice (fresh pineapple is awesome if you can get it)
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp plain yogurt*
1 Tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro
few drops of orange food coloring (opt) --I didn't use it.

1.5 lbs skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts (or tenderloins) -- about 2 cups
1 Red Bell Pepper**
1 yellow Bell Pepper
1 green Bell Pepper
1 Onion
Cherry Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

12 Kebab Skewers

1. Drain the canned pineapple into a large bowl and reserve the chunks, covered, in the fridge. If you use fresh, you should juice enough to get about 1 Cup and chunk the rest.

2. In pineapple juice, blend together the cumin, coriander, garlic, chili powder, salt, yogurt, and food coloring (if you use it, I really don't know why you would, but hey. To each his own, right?) The actual recipe says that you should mix all the spices together separately and then add them to the pineapple juice, but I really hate doing dishes and mixed them all together in one bowl. It worked just fine.

3. Cut the chicken into cubes and add to the yogurt spice mixture. Marinate it in the fridge for 1.5 hours.

4. Cut your veggies into chunks.

5. Arrange the chicken, peppers, onion, tomatoes, and pineapple on your kebabs.

6. Brush the kebabs with oil and cook on a preheated, Medium heat, grill, turning every 4 minutes or so,  until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tenderish. I like mine a little crispy and it took around 10 - 15 minutes.

Serve with rice and salad.

*I don't cook with plain yogurt regularly and wasn't about to go buy some for 2 Tbsp worth, so I used sour cream and they tasted fabulous! I like sour cream anyway!

**I imagine that since this is squash season, this would taste GREAT with a variety of squashes on the kebab. Mix it up and let me know how it turns out!

Source: The Ultimate Barbecue Cookbook, Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Beef Pot Pie




This is one of those oh, so, yummy, homestyle fully delectable goodness dishes.  It is actually my oldest daughter's recipe and I only acted as a "Sous Chef" :)   

Ingredients:
1/4 cup (4 TBSP) Butter
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 tsp garlic powder
6 stalks celery chopped
1 cup chopped carrots or more to your taste
4 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (we like Red Skin Golden Potoatoes)
1 15oz can corn or 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh
--Add 1 cup peas or broccoli with other veggies if desired--
1# leftover pot roast, (we used flank steak cooked in the crockpot) chopped or shredded
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 - 3 cups Beef Stock
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Pie Crust - recipe below or use pre-made, refrigerated crust -  enough for a two crust pie

1.  Heat Olive Oil Medium - Medium high and saute onion, celey, and carrots for 5 minutests
2.  Add garlic and potatoes and cook for another 5-10 minutes
3.  Add corn and butter - stir until butter is melted
4.  Add roast and stir until blended
5.  Stir in flour and cook for a few minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
6.  Add Beef Stock and milk -- bring to a boil until the sauce has thickened.
7.  Taste now add salt and pepper as needed
8.  Pour into a 13x9 pan and top with pie crust.  "Poke" a few holes into the crust for steam to escape.
9.  Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes.

Pie Crust Recipe
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup (4 TBSP) butter
6-8 tsp ice water (more if needed to make a soft ball of dough)

1. In medium bowl mix flour and salt together
2. Cut in shortening and butter
3. Add ice water and stir with hands or wooden spoon until a soft dough forms
4. Roll out on floured surface into desired shape

Enjoy!

Source:  Jessica

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Peach Preserves


We moved two weeks ago into a new home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  The previous owner was an outdoor lover and put lots of time and care into her beautiful yard.  When we were moving into the home I glanced out the kitchen window and saw our new peach tree was OVERLOADED with peaches! Into my wanna be domestic mind came one thought, "Oh! I get to make peach preserves!"  Well, two weeks later as the peaches started to fall off the tree and the neighbors started coming over and asking if they could have some, I remembered I wanted to try my hand at making some preserves.  So, I stopped unpacking and arranging the house and set to making preserves.  Which, I have NEVER done before! Long story short, it wasn't hard!  It went really great!  (Aside from the fact that I had the heat turned up too high at one point and it popped all over my arm while I tried to stir the concoction! That burned like crazy! But, I'm okay now.) This recipe is scrumptious!  And we have probably gained a few lbs this week because we can't stop eating it! That probably has something to do with all the sugar in this, but I keep telling myself its the fresh peaches...they are so healthy for you!  This is my recipe. Its a combination of at least 3 or 4 I have read in preparation for this. And believe it or not, I didn't add as much sugar as some of the recipes suggested! 

12 cups peaches, fresh whole peaches, peeled and chopped, about 20 peaches size of tennis ball
3 TBSP. lemon juice, freshly squeezed, no seeds please
8 cups white granulated sugar, for every 3 lbs of peaches use 3-4 cups of sugar
1 box of pectin
12- 1/2 pint sterilized canning jars and lids, and I also used 2 pint sized jars for immediate use.
tongs, to remove the jars from the canning process in the hot pot of water
wide mouth funnel, but I didn't have one and all went well

     The first thing I did was set a big pot of water on the stove to boil.  Sterilize everything! Then set to dry on a sterile rack.
    Then boil some more water and get all the peaches washed while waiting for the water to boil.  I filled the sink with the peaches and then filled it with water. Washed them off really well again as I was draining the sink and rinsing it out.  Place all the peaches in a huge bowl and then one by one cut an "x" across the bottom of the peaches and placed them into the pot.  Add about 6-8 peaches at a time and let them boil for about 1-2 minutes.  Then take them out and place them into another large bowl. Add more peaches to the pot of boiling water.
     The purpose of this is to loosen the peach skin so you can peel it right off!  It works pretty well. Although, you might not find it necessary if you just want to dig in and start peeling away with your knife. But, I think the boiling method helps you save more of the peach flesh when peeling.
     After you have seeded and peeled and chopped all the peaches,you should do a bit of clean up and get out the sugar. Add 8 cups of white granulated sugar to the peaches in the bowl and stir really well. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour.  Stir periodically to get the settled sugar off the bottom.
     Add the peach and sugar mixture to a big stock pot and stir in the pectin. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower it as needed to keep yourself from getting burned as you stir constantly to keep it from sticking. Boil and reduce this while stirring for about 30 minutes, maybe longer if it needs to thicken more. Cut off the heat. Funnel the peach preserves into the jars and tighten the lids.
     Bring another pot of water to boil that will be deep enough for your jars to sit in. Water should reach the lids. Add about 5 jars at a time and boil for about 10 min per group.  You should hear the lids popping.  That is the suction being created!  Remove and set aside on a rack to cool.  I even heard the popping after the jars had been removed!  It was like an applause for  a job well done!!!!
    We immediately spooned some hot peach preserves over ice cream and thought we had died and gone to heaven.  This stuff is divine!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Baked Buffalo Wings

One of my favorite appetizers to order at a restaurant is Buffalo Wings.  A good plate of Buffalo Wings makes me a happy girl.  But I usually ONLY have them on a night out because they are kind of indulgent.  Baking instead of frying makes these wings a dish you can eat a little more often.  Without the side order of guilt.

Ingredients:
cooking spray
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt (divided)
about 20 chicken wings (you know, appetizer size)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce (or Texas Pete or Texas Pete Wing Sauce)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Then set a cooling rack in the baking sheet.  Spray this with cooking spray and set aside.  Rinse the wings and then dry them well with paper towels.
2.  Combine the flour, cayenne, garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp. of the salt in a gallon-size zip-top bag and shake well to combine.  Drop the wings into the bag, zip closed, and shake to coat.  Remove wings one at a time, shake off any extra flour, and place on the sprayed cooling rack.
3.  Place the wings in the fridge, uncovered, for one hour at least.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the wings from the fridge and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove sheet from the oven, turn each wing over, and return to the oven for another 25 minutes.
4.  Combine the butter, wing sauce, honey, soy sauce, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl.  Whisk until well blended.  When wings have finished their second trip to the oven, dip 3 or 4 at a time into the sauce mixture, making sure the wings are completely coated.  Return wings to baking sheet/rack and bake  for 7-9 minutes.
5.  Remove wings from oven, place on a serving platter, and pour any remaining sauce over them.  Serve with the traditional celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.

Yum!

Source:  Lana's Cooking via Pinterest

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Faith

 


"DOUBT IS A PAIN TOO LONELY TO KNOW THAT FAITH IS HIS TWIN BROTHER"............Khalil Gibran

Stop a moment and really ponder this simple phrase.

We know that lightness and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

 "Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that 'leap of faith,' as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and stepped into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two."—Boyd K. Packer

Faith IS an exercise.  Though my faith "muscles" have atrophied as of late, I will get up each new day and have the goal to exercise them, to bring those muscles to a state of being chiseled and honed, a spiritual 6 pack if you will.  I've got to "go for the burn"; no pain - no gain.  You get the picture!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nutty Apple Salad

A cool summer salad for hot summer days. Think of things you like with Peanut Butter and it might be in this salad!  

Ingredients:  
2 Granny Smith Apples
3 stalks of Celery, diced
2 C seedless grapes, halved
1 C mini marshmallows (I omitted these in a valiant effort to use less sugar, but by all means...toss 'em in!) 

1/3 C cold Evaporated Milk
1/2 tsp sugar (I used a squirt of Agave Nectar)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3T Mayo (I used Vanilla Yogurt because I despise mayo!) 
3T (heaping Tablespoons) creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 C mixed nuts (or nuts of your choice), chopped

Prep:  Before you even think about getting your celery and fruit chopped up, put a medium sized glass or metal bowl in the freezer and a can of evaporated milk in the fridge. You'll want them both nice and cold. Ok...now you can chop the apples, dice the celery, half the grapes and set them aside. And if you're using marshmallows, add them in with this stuff.
After your bowl is nice and COLD, take it out of the freezer--maybe with an oven mitt so it doesn't stick to your hands...and don't lick it ;)  You know I'm thinking of the Christmas Story, right? Ok...moving on:
Next, pour the cold evaporated milk into the cold bowl and beat it on high with a mixer until it's nice and frothy (I love that word).  Beat in the yogurt and PB, take a little taste, then pour the mixture over the solids.
Stir it all together and chill until serving.  Yum!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cynthia's Fried Okra




Does anyone else out there just love the Mitford Series of books by Jan Karon?  I have enjoyed every one of the books that I have read and they are so uplifting, funny, clean--just really good reads.  Anyway, one Christmas my sister gave me the Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader--bunches of recipes contributed by the "characters" in Ms. Karon's books.  What a fun concept.  So, we had some fresh okra that needed to be cooked and I wasn't about to boil the slimy things so I decided to fry them up.  I have never really fried a good batch of okra, so I thought if anyone has a good recipe for southern fried okra it would be somebody in Mitford.  So here you go...




Ingredients:
1 pound fresh okra
2-3 cups milk
2 1/2 cups White Lily Self-Rising Cornmeal
2 tablespoons self-rising flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
      Vegetable oil for frying


1.  Cut off tips and stems of okra.  Cut into 1/2 inch slices and place in a large bowl.  Pour milk over the okra and let them soak for at least 10 minutes, or longer up to 30 minutes.



2.  In a separate large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.  I didn't have any, so I found this recipe by Emeril Lagasse on line.  Use a slotted spoon to lift the okra out of the milk, allowing  the okra to drain.  Place small batches of okra in the cornmeal mixture, tossing to coat.

3.  Heat the oil in a deep cast iron skillet.  Lift the okra from the bowl in batches, allowing the excess cornmeal to fall back in bowl.  Fry okra in the hot oil until browned.  Don't overcrowd the skillet.  Remove the okra from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.

4.  You can adjust the salt and pepper to taste while it is still hot.



Source: Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader