Saturday, January 31, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Cheezy Snack Mix

You don't need to wait for the next big holiday to make a batch of this.
You don't need the GB Packers playing in the Super Bowl to make a batch of this. Sorry. Bad example.
This is an anytime treat.

I start with Corn Chex.

Add pretzels,

dry roasted peanuts,

and some cashews for good measure.

Oil and seasonings,

including the all-important ingredient, popcorn seasoning.

Mix it all together. It'll be thick, but that's ok.

Stir into the mix,

and spread it on a pan.

In a mere 30minutes, you'll have a tasty treat that's hard to beat.
Trust me on this.
Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday

Cheezy Snack Mix

2 C corn squares cereal
1 C pretzel sticks or small knots
1/2 C cashew pieces
1/2 C dry-roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 Tsp dried parsley
3/4 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 Tsp dried dill weed
1/2 Tsp onion powder
1/8 Tsp ground black pepper
1/4 Tsp salt
2 Tsp white cheddar popcorn seasoning

Preheat oven to 250°. Combine cereal, pretzels and nuts in bowl. In small bowl combine oil with remaining ingredients. add to cereal mixture and gently stir to coat. Place mixture on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Store in air-tight container. 4 cups

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review

The Walk
Our church library recently received a set of books written by Richard Paul Evans.
He's well known for his books and movies, such as 'The Christmas Box', 'The Locket', and numerous others. If he has a new book at Christmas time, I'll pick up a copy for myself.

Product DetailsOur church library had the good fortune to receive copies of the first four books of the series.
Because I'm the librarian, so to speak, of the church library, and I check in the new books, I have to good fortune to read the books before they reach the shelves.
Which I did. All four of the books. Read in two weeks time.
Which is why I'm blogging about them. The series is wonderful, and I highly recommend them. It's hard to put them down, once you get started. The chapters are short, the characters are, well, characters in most respects.
The fifth book is out in hard cover, but will be available in paperback in a few months. I can't wait.
I add this author, and this series, to my favorite things list.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Skillet Peach Crumble

Today I'm making dessert. In my cast iron skillet. In the oven. 
I'm also cleaning out my freezer. Lurking in one corner was a handful of sliced peaches. I wanted to make something, well, comforting.
You could say this is a comfort food recipe.

First, I start with the crust. I borrowed the crust from my Rhubarb Crunch recipe. You'll find that one in my Empty Nest Cookbook. 

Step 1. Brown sugar. As usual, I make mine by adding molasses to granulated sugar and mixing it up.

Step 2. Add the flour , cinnamon and rolled oats.

Step 3. Add melted butter. Why, yes I do use butter. It's the best for this crust.

Step 4. Place a pat of butter in the skillet, place in oven until it's all nice and melted.

Step 5. Add peaches and sugar.

Step 6.Top with crust and bake until golden.

Step 7. Find that lose piece of crumb topping and sample it, being very careful not to burn your mouth.

Step 8. When it's cooled for a bit, take a spoon and sample it. This is very important. Quality Control.

Step 9. Enjoy it while it's warm and the topping is crisp.

Hmm, the 6 inch skillet should have produced 4 servings. Perhaps the quality control got a little out of hand.
Regardless of how may servings you get,
is it ever good.
Happy Saturday

Skillet Peach Crumble

1-1/2 C sliced frozen peaches
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 C + 1 Tbsp butter, divided
1/2 C packed brown sugar
6 Tbsp old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°. Thaw peaches, discard any juice. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Melt 1/4 C butter in microwave safe cup. In separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, rolled oats, flour and cinnamon. Mix with fork until large crumbs form. Place 1 Tbsp butter in 6 inch cast iron skillet, set in oven until butter melts. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Add peaches and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Top with crumb mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and peaches are bubbling, remove from oven, being very careful as skillet will be very hot. Serve warm. 4 servings

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Memorial

Lutherans For Life
Right to Life

There are a number of chapters, groups, concerned, for the unborn children who have been denied the right to take their first breath.
Out in the countryside, near where I live, is a small berg,  or spot-in-the-road, called Leapolis.
Leapolis has several bars and a church.
The church sits atop a hill. Just down the road from the church is a cemetery.

A memorial stone has been placed in that cemetery, and the inscription reads as follows:
"In loving memory of God's unborn, denied the precious right to life." At the bottom it reads: "God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end."
A friend and I took a road trip to visit this memorial last fall. The stone reminds me of a giant tear drop, shed for the lives that never were.
I thought it fitting to share this today, as our local Lutherans For Life recently posted a listing of signatures in the local newspaper. Those who added their names believe in the preservation of  human life, which includes being against abortion.
If you're ever in the area, stop and take a look at this beautiful memorial.
I guarantee that it will touch you.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Peanut Butter Granola

This will put a little extra crunch in your life. Or at least on your yogurt, in your oatmeal, on your ice cream, any way you like it.
It'll add a little giddy in your giddyup.
This is a simple recipe, 5 ingredients in all, found on most cupboard shelves. And yes, another recipe using peanut butter and honey. 

First the honey. Cooking Tip: spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring the honey. It'll drizzle right out.

Add the peanut butter, microwave just until warm and you can mix it easily.



oats. Give it a stir.

I use a silicone mat on my baking sheet. Parchment paper works just as well, or the pan can be sprayed with cooking spray. 15 minutes in the oven.

Don't be fooled if you snitch a sample when you first remove it from the oven. It may seem chewy. After it cools, it crisps right up. Store in a covered container,

sprinkle some on your morning yogurt. I prefer it on strawberry.
Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday

Peanut Butter Granola

1/4 C Honey
1/4 C Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
2 C Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Preheat oven to 325°. Line baking sheet with silicone mat, parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray. In microwave safe bowl, combine honey and peanut butter, microwave 20 seconds, stir to combine. Add cinnamon and vanilla, stir. Add oats and mix to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet and gently break up clumps. Bake 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Store in covered container. 2 Cups

Saturday, January 10, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn

Do you know what time it is?
It's time to make a snack to munch on during the Packers game. For those who will be watching the Packers vs. the Cowboys. Of which I'm not one. So I made this way long before the game, and ate it in celebration of, well, nothing.

Jump right in here, it's a winning bet for sure.

I start with popcorn made in my hot air popper. Other popcorn works as well. Just don't use the heavy buttered kind. Stir in the dry roasted peanuts.

Next, sugar and honey. That's right, we're making caramel corn without the corn syrup. Trust me on this.

Salt. Measure carefully. Or, do like I do, pour it into the palm of your hand and eyeball it. Yup, just right.

Cook and let it bubble a bit, but not too long. It doesn't take much to get it beyond the crack stage we want. If you're familiar with the crack stages. Which require either a cup of cold water, or a thermometer. Neither of which are required here.

Quickly add the vanilla and peanut butter, stir,

pour and mix. Quickly. This can set up fast. I use a spatula, which is gentler on the popcorn.
I will admit that I cooked mine a bit to long. I had a hardened mess in the bottom of the pan. Which is why I say, don't cook too long.

Then it gets baked, baked, baked, and baked.

Let it cool, commence to munching.
Try it in a little bowl(you'll get more servings that way).

Try it in a big bowl. (You'll get very few servings that way, and you'll have to quadruple the recipe).
Any amount you make, I'll bet you'll say:
Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday, and good luck GBP's.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

8 C plain popped popcorn
1/2 C dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 C honey
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C peanut butter

Preheat oven to 200°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine popcorn and peanuts, set aside. Combine honey, granulated sugar and salt in saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off heat. Add vanilla and peanut butter and mix. Working quickly, pour over popcorn and stir with rubber spatula until most of the popcorn is covered. Spread on baking sheet. Bake 1 hour, stirring gently every 15 minutes. Cool on rack. While cooling, gently stir to break up any large clumps. When completely cool, store in tightly covered container. 6-8 servings

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Favorite Things

A New Gadget
So I'm sitting in the dentist chair, waiting for the second dose of freezing to take hold, which I needed after the dentist scraped me off the ceiling when he started drilling.
The assistant and I were talking. Well, ok, she was doing most of the talking. You know how it is in the dentist chair.
We were discussing living in small nests, and getting rid of our plastic cooking, serving, and storage containers, and using glass.
Except, she said, for one thing.

Her vegetable steamer. Which she uses in the microwave. For fresh or frozen vegetables.
I needed to hear more, and she obliged. No more shriveled carrots. No more boiling over and having all the moisture that I added in the beginning sitting on the bottom of the microwave.
This particular model is sold by Pampers Chef.* I wonder, do they still do parties?
She told me, it was the best.
I found one. A new one. Without going to a party. I found it on Amazon. I love Amazon.

So I dumped in my frozen Okra. Why yes, that is a strange vegetable, but I've found that I like it. Prepared my way. A little water, put it in the micro, push the frozen vegetable button, and let it go.

Easy to drain. No puddles in the micro. No loss of nutrients as if I had boiled it to pieces in a kettle of water on top of the stove.

A pat of butter, a sprinkle of Chickadee Cottage Savory Seasoning,

a few crumbles of Tomato Basil Feta.
As Grandpa B used to say, is it ever good.
Although, I'm not sure he would have appreciated this concoction.
This is by far the best gadget that I've picked up in a long time. I use it almost daily.
And that, folks, is the newest of my favorite things.
*Pampered Chef does not support this blog. Neither does Amazon.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Cherry Vanilla Bread Pudding

It was time to clean out the refrigerator.
There were 3 lonely, mini bagels lurking about. I won't admit to how long. They were still good, a testament to the preservatives that are added to what I fondly call manufactured food. What to do, what to make. I couldn't just throw them away. But, I am my mother's daughter. She was a fan of taking stale bread and making bread pudding.
I didn't care for her recipe. This recipe has changed my mind.

So, I cut the bagels into bite size pieces and placed them in a pan.

I had a handful of dried cherries, so I threw them in.

Slivered almonds go well with the cherries.

Next, the vanilla almond milk, sugar, vanilla,

and egg. Yup, liquid egg product, but regular eggs work just fine. By the way, Eggbeaters is not a sponsor of this blog. I just happen to have that brand on hand.

Pour it over the bagels, drizzle with melted butter,

and bake. It puffs way up, but deflates as it cools.

Speaking of cool, I topped it off with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yes, ice cream on bread pudding.
Take my word for it. Is it ever good, especially when it melts and trickles into all the crevasses. As a matter of fact, it was so good that I might have to go out and buy more bagels and dried cherries.
Happy Saturday.

Cherry Vanilla Bread Pudding

3 plain mini bagels (2-1/2 C)
2 Tbsp dried cherries
2 Tbsp slivered almonds
1 egg, or 1/4 C liquid egg product
3/4 C + 2 Tbsp sweetened vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 4x8 inch glass baking pan with cooking spray. Cut bagels into 1/2 inch pieces, place in the pan. Add  the cherries and almonds and mix them in. Combine egg, milk and sugar, pour over bagel mixture. Gently mix and press down lightly. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake 45-50 minutes, until top is puffed and center is almost set. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve warm. Yield 3-4 servings.