MY FAVORITE SPRINGTIME DESSERT

DSCN3006Almost Spring and today I’m sharing my most favorite Spring dessert. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  I have already made two in one week!

You will need:

3 cups fresh strawberries

3/4 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

  1.  Wash, remove caps, and slice strawberries (in that order). Crush 1 cup strawberries and cook with 1 cup water on medium heat about 2 minutes.
  2.  Sieve, draining the juice from the pulp. Let a small amount of juice cool slightly (but still warm) and dissolve the cornstarch in this. You want to avoid having cornstarch lumps in the thickened filling.
  3. Mix this with the remaining juice. You can add a little red food coloring to this if you like to have a bright red color glaze, but I leave it out.
  4. Cook and stir until thickened and  bubbly.
  5. Pour this over 2 cups strawberries and put it all in a baked, cooled pie shell.
  6. Chill and top with whipped cream.

If you want to bypass the pieshell for some reason, put the berries and filling in a cute shebert glass and top with whipped cream.

desktop strawberry pie

 

TIP: When buying fresh strawberries it’s always disappointing to see them begin to spoil the next day. To keep them fresh longer, mix one cup of vinegar with 8 cups water and wash them. I swoosh them around in the water about 2 minutes. Often there will be debris around and under the stems, but do not take the stems off before you wash them. You want to preserve all the juice/flavor in each berry.

The vinegar should kill the bacteria that cause the berries to spoil. Rinse throughly, let them drain a few minutes in a colander, then put them on paper towels to dry. You can put them in a sealed container in the refrigerator to enjoy for a few more days.

The container that I have found to be a life-saver (or I should say, fruit/vegetable saver) is this Tupperware container. It has two small tabs that can be opened or closed, depending on the type of fruit or vegetable that you have inside. There is also a listing on the side of the container that tells you which foods require one tab open, two tabs open, or none open. In the case of ripe berries, leave both tabs closed to prevent any refrigerator air from getting to them. This container also works great for lettuce, celery, spinach, watermelon, you name it, whatever fruit or vegetable you need to keep fresh.

I have two of these and use them daily.

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Easy Honey Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes cooked

We had these with our supper (dinner for many of you) tonight.  They are so so easy and delicious.  We often eat them for dessert.

  1.   Wash and peel a couple of big sweet potatoes.  Cut in slices/chunks as shown.
  2.  Heat an iron skillet over medium heat, add a couple Tablespoonfuls of coconut oil or olive oil.
  3.  Add potaotes and drizzle honey on top.  I may use 1/4 cup honey.  Adjust this amount for the sweetness you like.
  4.  Pour about 1/2 cup water over the honey.
  5. Cover and cook about 15 minutes or until potaotes are soft as you like and liquid is absorbed.

We had these potatoes with meatloaf (which was frozen earlier and baked a short while before starting the remainder of the meal), cornbread, beans (canned ones tonight), and roasted cabbage.  cabbage cooked plate I like the slight burned taste when I cook this cabbage under the broiler.

Roasted Cabbage—-

  1.  Cut 1/2 cabbage head in small pieces.  See photo.  Toss with a couple tablespoonfuls of sesmae oil.  You can also use olive oil, but I think the sesmae oil gives it a nice taste.
  2. Put cabbage in a single layer and put under the broiler.  Broil about 5 minutes.  Turn/toss the cabbage with a spatula and broil about 4 or 5 more minutes.
  3. Watch closely, however, I like a little charring around the edges.dabbage raw in bowl        .cabbage raw on sheet

 

Peanut Chicken

I am not good with titles, so for want of a better one, this dish is peanut chicken. This is another quick throw-together for a busy church night.

I am taking culinary classes online, and the chef has been encouraging us to cook wihtout recipes.  He is teaching methods of cooking and says that cooking is an art not a rigid set of directions. So here goes.

  1. Preheat a large saute pan on medium.  Salt chicken lightly and pepper it generously.  Put about 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil in the pan and saute chicken briefly until it looses its color and is tender.  One could use olive oil, but the sesame oil gives it a different flavor. Chicken breast is not very flavorful on its own.

2.  Remove chicken from pan and add 2 or 3 chopped garlic cloves.  Cook about 1                       minute or until fragrant.

3.  Add some brocolli florets and green peppers and saute a couple of minutes.                          Add some spinach and continue cooking until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.                Use whatever veggies you like. I just happened to have spinach that needed to be                used before it went bad.  Add chicken back  to the pan. Cover and set aside while                you prepare the peanuts.

4.    Put a spoonful of coconut oil in a small preheated skillet, add raw peanuts                            (cashews  would work here also) and cook a few minutes until peanuts                                  are slightly brown, stirring constantly.  Salt to taste.

5.  Serve chicken mixture with peanuts on top.  After I made this tonight, I had a                       suggestion that the peanuts be chopped slightly so that it would be easier to scoop             them up with a fork. We thought the peanuts gave the chicken a nicer flavor and I             loved the crunch!

peanut chicken

 

Toasted Almonds and That’s All

I had almost forgotten how good plain toasted almonds were-no salt, no oil, nothing else.  In fact, I am munching on some and drinking my herb tea as I type this post.  Of course, I like the raw ones also, but there is something special about the taste and crunch of toasted ones.

almondsalmonds 2almonds 3

1,  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2.  Spread the almonds out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

3.  Toast until golden brown and aromatic, about 15-20 minutes.

4.  I then store mine in a jar with a tight-fitting lid on the countertop for quick snacking.

I don’t know if you are able to tell clearly or not, but the second picture is after the almonds are toasted.  Also, you can always dip them in melted chocolate and let cool for a sweet treat.

 

Pesto from Basil

I want to be specific that this pesto is made from basil, after discovering that one can make pesto from so many different things. I had a bumper crop of basil in my raised bed this year and decided to use most of it to make pesto. This is a recipe a good friend shared with me five years ago.
I also dried some basil by hanging the stems upside down in the attic (see picture).

PESTO
4 cups coarsely chopped sweet basil leaves
1 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a dash of salt and pepper

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
Use immediately, freeze or put the pesto in a glass jar and put in the refrigerator. If you put in in the refrigerator, pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto in the jar and screw the lid on. This will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
This recipe makes about 1 1/2-2 cups.
basil and noodlesbasil plantsdried basil

Orange Spice Waffles

waffles
These are great to serve fresh for breakfast or freeze and do a quick warm up in the toaster.  I have also had them as a quick snack or dessert.   You will need:
2 cups SIFTED all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 cups whole milk
2  large eggs
Juice and zest of one large orange
Olive oil
  1. Preheat waffle iron and mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl

waffles 1              waffles 2

Orange zest is the top layer of an oranges’ peel.  Take off only the rind and not the white pith.  The rind contains the fruit’s oils and adds a bright citrus flavor.  I think it is easier to leave the orange whole and rotate slightly after each scrape.  Don’t scrape any section of the orange more than once.  From a large orange you can get about 1 Tbsp. zest.
2.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients except the olive oil.  You will use the olive oil to brush or spray on the waffle iron.  You will notice that I put nuts in this batch.  I think nuts makes anything taste better, but these are optional.
These freeze well for up to 6 months.  To reheat: pop in the toaster and toast lightly until warmed through and serve with a pat of butter and pure maple syrup or honey.

waffles 3            waffles 4

I hope you enjoy these and that directly out of the freezer, they will make your rushed mornings a little less hectic!

Try “Parched Peanuts”

Finding raw peanuts might be the hardest part of this little snack.  I get raw peanuts at a local country grocery store close to my house.  Preheat the oven to 450, and when it reaches that temperature turn it off and put the peanuts in.  Peanuts can be in a single layer or more.  When they get cool, they will be ready to shell and eat.  Growing up we called these “parched peanut.”  Hope you enjoy them.

What to do with left over ham. . .

2017 Ham in pot         2017 ham corn chowder

If you cooked ham for the weekend you probably had some left over.  I did, and today I made HAM CORN CHOWDER. This dish is so simple and a very very tasty use of the ham.    

            Ham Corn Chowder

1 can cream of chicken

2 cups chopped ham

1 can whole kernel corn, drained (11 oz., no liquid)

8 oz. Sour cream

5 medium potatoes

2-2 ½ cups chicken broth

1 pat butter (optional)

 

 

  1.  Peel and cube potatoes.
  2. Cover with chicken broth.
  3. Cook about 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  4. Add other ingredients and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.  Simple and Delicious!!!!

 

 

The Most Dangerous Dessert

SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE!!!

MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

This little recipe can be dangerous. Why? Because now you are only five minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

 * 4 Tbsp. S.R. flour

* 3 Tbsp. sugar

* 1 Tbsp. cocoa

* 1 egg

* 3 Tbsp. milk

* 3 Tbsp. oil

* 2 Tbsp. chocolate chips (optional)

* A small splash of vanilla extract

  1. Add dry ingredients to a large coffee mug and mix well.
  2. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
  4. Add the chocolate chips (if using them) and vanilla extract, mix again.
  5. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 2 ½ -3 minutes on high. Microwave temps vary.

The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed.  Allow it to cool a little, then tip out onto a plate.  It’s great served warm with ice cream or cool whip.

This can serve 2 if you feel like sharing.  Oh so good!chomugcake