To add a special flare to a holiday it is fun to have special Sugar Cookies Recipe to highlight the day, especially if you have children. I missed February with red hearts Sugar Cookies, so I tried for March with the green Shamrocks.
A perfectly cut shamrock for coloring.
Since my children are out of state and my grand-girls do not live nearby, I am not as prone to make the rolled cookies. We are kids at heart, so my husband and I enjoyed every Shamrock Sugar Cookie.
St. Patrick’s Cookie Celebration Ready for eating.
Frosted sugar cookies are popular at holiday time. You see red hearts for St. Valentine’s Day, Christmas trees and candy canes at Christmas, chicks and bunnies for Easter, and green shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Cookie Celebration. The Sugar Cookie Recipe enclosed is from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, 1971. Here is a short How-To in photos for St. Patrick’s Shamrock Cookie Celebration, Rolled Sugar Cookies.
How-To for Rolled Sugar Cookies
Rolling out the sugar cookie dough
Rolling the sugar cookie dough on a cloth prevent it from sticking as it would on a bread board.
Cutting the Shamrocks.
Keeping the cookie cutter in a bowl of sugar keeps it from collecting cookie dough. This technique for making shaped sugar cookies is the same for other rolled cookies. Use this as a guide for those valentine hearts, candy cane or Easter bunnies.
A perfectly cut shamrock, ready for baking.
Bake the rolled sugar cookie at 375°F for 7 to 8 minutes.
Using Easy Creamy Icing
This is an easy confectioners’ sugar icing with green food coloring and flavored with vanilla. Consider using red food coloring and cinnamon oil for valentines, or peppermint for red and white candy canes.
Meatless Navy Bean Soup and Corn Bread”Back in the olden days” it was said that Monday was wash day and Meatless Navy Bean Soup was the day’s meal.
Meatless Navy Bean Soup
Pressure cooker speeds up the cooking.
A pot of beans on a busy day is a good day’s meal . I like to cook the dried navy beans in the pressure cooker then store in pint jars ready for use in soups, stews, with vegetables or baked beans. I do not put meat in bean soup, mainly for health reasons there is no ham. Though wouldn’t ham, bacon, pork or even chicken be a good addition? That gets to be your choice.
Canned Navy Beans
A good use for the pressure cooker:
Presto Pressure Cooker
This was 1 1/2 cups of dried navy beans, soaked in 4 cups of water for 4 to 8 hours. After they are drained, I put them in the pressure cooker add enough water to cover about 1/2 inch, no salt or seasonings at this time. They are cooked for 11 minutes under 15 lbs. of pressure. I turn off the heat and let the pressure come down slowly before opening. I like a softer bean for soup, the reasons for the longer cooking. This makes 2 pints of beans and the broth. Best to follow your pressure cookers instructions. OR simply buy 2-3 cans of navy or great northern beans.
Cooked mixed vegetables for soup
Mixed vegetables for soup
I like to add onion, garlic, jalapeno pepper, carrots, one small potato and fresh grated ginger to soup. These I cook in a little water in the microwave on high until almost tender. Now I am ready assemble the Meatless Navy Bean Soup. The final addition to the soup seasoning is a natural mesquite liquid smoke.
Benefits of making home-made Meatless Navy Bean Soup
The great benefit of making any soup is the freedom to substitute or make changes as you prepare. Now of course there are times when making a specific recipe is the goal. That is the fun and challenge of cooking.
Pears are a favorite fruit at our home. We like the Red Anjou Pear used in salads or fresh slices, though rarely cook with them. Cinnamon spiced apple sauce is a favorite too, so decided why not make Spicy Red Anjou Pear Sauce. I have several old cookbooks, 1940s, and 50s, they did not have recipes for pear sauce. There was pear jam, preserves, jelly or pears mixed with other fruits for chutneys. So, I made the pear sauce as I do spicy apple sauce.
How-to for making Spicy Red Anjou Pear Sauce
Red Anjou Pears
The Anjou pears are sweet and juicy as well nutritious. One fresh medium size pear has 100 calories. They are fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free and provides soluble fiber. Pears are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.
These pears were from the local grocery, I don’t know where they are grown locally. Wash them good to get any pesticides off the peel even before peeling them.
Peeled Anjou Pears
After peeling each, I put them in a pan of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent the pears browning. I find it easiest to use the vegetable peeler. When all peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces before cooking.
While placing them in the sauce pan, water and seasons, a picture was forgotten. I added enough water to cover and added another tablespoon of lemon juice to the water, again to prevent the browning, also adds a little extra flavor. Recently made another 2 pints of the Spicy Red Anjou Pear Sauce and added about 2 tablespoons of orange juice when cooking.
After the pears were boiling for about 5 minutes, I added the ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. They were on the hard side, needed to ripen a little more, so I simmered them about 30 minutes or more until tender and softened. Cooking will vary to the ripeness and your preference.
Cooking Spicy Red Anjou Pears
When they were cooked tender, I added a teaspoon of vanilla. They were cooked more than in the above photo. While still hot, put 1/2 to 1 cup pears in the blender to puree. I pureed them more than I had preferred for this first time. Having some lumps of pear in the sauce is more to my liking. Again that is your preference.
The 4 pears actually made about 2 1/2 pints or 5 cups of sauce. The sauce had to be sampled to see if it was sweet, spicy, good and edible. It was! The jars were refrigerated until used. The sauce did not last long, it was more pears and another batch of Spicy Red Anjou Pear Sauce.
Spicy Red Anjou Pear Sauce
Consider these dishes for the menu:
Italian Chili soup
Macaroni, Chicken and Cheese Casserole, the ultimate comfort food.
The large pasta shells were stuffed with canned salmon, a blend of vegetables topped with creamy lemon sauce and shredded mild cheddar cheese before putting into the oven. The lemon sauce adds a slight tart flavor to the stuffed salmon shells.
The evolution of Stuffed Salmon Shells in Lemon Sauce
I am sure we all have a menu to resort to at the end of pay period. Mine was making tuna casserole, using noodles, peas and a can of tuna, maybe with a can of mushroom soup. After about 3 months of that recipe, my husband informed me he did not like tuna. So I switched to salmon patties for awhile. Well, 50 year later, tried salmon patties again. After a couple of meals, decided best to look for another recipe to use canned salmon. It was the development of Stuffed Salmon Shells in Lemon Sauce with cheese.
Stuffed Salmon Shells in Lemon Sauce
Tomato, avocado and black olive salad.
Fresh kale for steamed kale.
Blueberry Upside Down Cake
Julia Ann and cookbookinabox® in partnership with Netta Belle’s Choice® Spices, bring you great recipes, outstanding herbs and spices for your cooking experience.
Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions with Sesame Seeds
Brussel Sprouts and Pearl Onions
Brussel Sprouts and Pearl Onions are not one of the first side dishes served, unless at winter holiday times The Brussel sprouts are fresh as the growing time is autumn to early spring. A good Brussel sprout has vivid green leaves and a solid firm head, much like cabbage, only smaller. Leaves that have perforations in them are to be discarded as it indicates aphids within.
Brussel sprouts will keep 10 days in the refrigerator if kept unwashed and untrimmed in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer. To cook, steam Brussel sprouts between 3 to 5 minutes before freezing. Frozen they will keep up to 1 year. Overcooked Brussel sprouts will lose their taste and nutrient value, and also emit an unpleasant smell of sulfur. Overcooked crucierous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli will also have an unpleasant smell.
Benefits of Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions with Sesame Seed
The nutritional profile of Brussel sprouts is excellent for vitamins K and C. Folate, manganese, vitamin B6, B1, copper are also very good nutrients in sprouts. They have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and cancer and cardiovascular health.
The pearl onion is a relative to the leek. They are used mostly for pickling, relishes or with other vegetables giving a sweeter taste than the common onion. The nutrient benefits are in helping cardiovascular health, stablize blood sugar levels and acting as an antioxidant and anti-iflammatory.
The tiny sesame seed is chocked full of nutrients: copper, manganese, calcium, iron magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. The special lignans fibers in the sesame seed have benefits of cholesterol-lowering effectn in human and prevent high blood pressure.
Enjoy a side dish which is rich in beneficial vitamins and minerals.
This recipe is great for those evenings you are running behind in the schedule. There is the entree of chicken breasts with a mushroom her b sauce to put over rice, pasta or potatoes. Just add a green veggie such as green beans and a salad of cabbage apple slaw, and ending with the family’s favorite dessert. May I suggesr peach up-side down cake for the dessert.
The Beef-Barley Soup the plan forf the day using some left over roast beef. I like to “re-purpose” meat into soups. better known as left-overs The seasoning on the meat is additional seasoning and flavor for the soup. We like our soups thick and chunky, rather than pureed. There are many delicious soups when using variety in the grains, pasta, and vegetables with or without meats/poultry.
This beef had a rub of thyme, onion powder, course pepper and kosher salt when it was roasted. Two cups of the cooked roast beef was cut into 1/2 inch thin pieces for the soup. Onion, celery and mushrooms provided the vegetables to the grain of barley. In this soup, rice or vegetables could be used instead of the barley or stew meat
There is healing power in eating barley providing vitamin E, the trace mineral selenium and compounds that have antioxidant benefits to increase disease protection. Eating barley can help lower cholesterol, reduce the formation of blood clots, improve digestion, and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. (Selene Yeager and Editors of Prevention, The Doctors Book® of Food Remedies, Rodale Inc., 2007 p.73 ff.
Two Menu Suggestions……. to serve with Beef-Barley Soup
Carrot, Pineapple, Mandarin Orange Gelatin Salad
Serving of Apple Cobbler
Cabbage Apple Slaw-Netta Belle’s Choice
Loaf of Classic French Bread
Julia Ann and cookbookinabox® in partnership with Netta Belle’s Choice® Spices, bring you great recipes, outstanding herbs and spices for your cooking experience.
I like to make bread, better yet, eating a slice of hot homemade bread fresh from the oven. There are so many recipes available for breads of all flavors, it is hard to adapt or change. However, I am always inspired to try again.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
This recipe was adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1996, Whole Wheat Bread. The first recipe made one loaf. It was small and did not last long, it was too good to last. The recipe was for bread pan of 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches. All the bread pans I have are 9 x 5 x 3 inches. Using those pans, I doubled the recipe and got 3 large loaves of bread.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread dough kneaded and resting.
That is a mixture of 4 cups of whole wheat flour and 7-8 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour. This has the salt, yeast, milk, water, honey and olive oil added and has been kneaded. Now it is resting 10 minutes after the first kneading. Then it will be kneaded another 10 minutes.
I can hear the “WHAT? 20 minutes of kneading and then it has to rise two time for hours!” That is why I am baking bread since I retired. I didn’t have time and energy back then either. So next….
After it has been thoroughly kneaded to smooth and elastic and rolled in a ball, I put it in a large oiled pan, oil the dough and let it set in a warm spot for 1 hour. A dish towel is used to cover the dough.
Oiling the dough before first rise.
This is now doubled in size. You can see gas bubbles near the top of the dough. The yeast produces gas bubbles to stretch the gluten in the flour to make the dough rise. Now to test if ready, take a finger and punch the dough down. If ready, the dent will stay. Then you literally “punch it down with your fist.” (My apologies to those who need gluten free.)
Honey Wheat Bread dough double in size.
Pour the dough out on a floured bread board , cut dough into 3 pieces, make balls of each to shape into 3 loaves of bread. Shaping of loaves is explained in the recipe below. Put dough in greased bread pans butter top with melted butter if you prefer a soft crust. Set pans in warm place, cover and let rise about 45 minutes. They will not be doubled in size.
Honey Whole Wheat dough ready to rise into loaves.
Put into a preheated 375 F oven. My oven sometimes get too hot, watch your thermometer closely. (You do use a thermometer in your oven to check the temperature. Don’t you?)
I bake it for about 45 minutes. If they brown too much on top, I cover with aluminum foil. The bread will have pulled away from the sides when done. After taking the bread out of the pans, tap on the bottom, it should sound hollow. I like to set the loaves directly on the oven-grate shelf for additional 5-8 minutes. This gives it a final crisping. The oven can be turned off at this step.
Baked loaves of Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Our preference is for soft bread crusts. After the bread has been removed to the racks to cool, I brush melted butter over the tops and sides of the loaves. While they are cooling, the loaves of bread are covered with a dish towel to cool completely. Now they are ready for cutting and tasting!
One loaf makes 16 slices of Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Unless you can eat your bread within a day, it is best to freeze the excess. I cut the bread with an electric knife into 16 slices. I wrap 8 slices, half loaves, in aluminum foil and in a plastic bag or freezer paper and freeze. When ready for another half loaf, I set the oven at 350 F, put the loaf in the oven while frozen for 30 minutes. This makes soft bread and if kept in the foil and plastic bag will last 2 days, if you haven’t eaten it.
Almonds, pecans or mixed nuts can be added to stir in with the syrup. After the caramel corn has cooled, pretzels, cereal or dried cranberries are novel additions. That is, if you have any Caramel Corn left over.
I recommend Julia Ann’s Caramel Corn to eat and give, enjoy with hot cocoa in front of the fireplace. C-o-z-y!
Mitchell, Indiana has a yearly Persimmon Festival in September, a week of activities, parades, rides, music and the grand contest of the Best Persimmon Pudding.
Although I have not entered the contest, I have a good recipe from my Aunt-in-Law. It has to be good as she has lots of practice; she is now 99 years old. She likes the ripe persimmons fresh off the tree. Her tree is the source of our persimmons as it has been for the family through the years. There has been Indiana Persimmon Pudding from that tree about 70 years.
American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
4 year Persimmon Tree, 2016
Beginning 2016 Persimmon crop
We have a little tree it is now 4 years old grown from a seed. To get fruit, there must be a female tree and a male tree. We don’t know what gender our tree is. We have an even small tree in the yard. So maybe we will have our own persimmons someday.
I freeze 1 cup bags to use throughout the year. So this week I made the first pudding of this fall. Also while at her house my husband checked out the persimmon tree which is loaded with 1 inch size persimmons. The anticipation of ripe persimmons to come this fall in mid to late October.
A fall fruit popular in the Midwest. Southern Indiana even has a Fall Persimmon Festival in Mitchell, Indiana with Persimmon Pudding contests. It is small and different fruit from the Japanese persimmon.
Author: Julia Ann
Recipe type: Dessert
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1½ cups sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 cups persimmon pulp
2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat over to 325 F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beat after each addition.
Add the persimmon pulp and blend.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients and sour milk, beat after each addition.
Add the vanilla and mix.
Pour into prepared 9 x 13 inch pan.
Bake 45 minutes or when cake tester comes out clean.
Eggplant, a vegetable from Asia and now identified most often with Mediterranean recipes, such as Eggplant Parmigiana, Ratatouille, Moussaka or eating fried eggplant dipped in a batter or egg and flour and fried in a skillet.
The eggplants are readily available in the farmer’s markets at this time, late August and September. The deep purple globes are hard to resist, and are in all sizes. The larger the eggplant the more seeds and tendency to more bitterness. Small eggplants have smaller and fewer seeds.
Buy firm deep purple eggplants, store in the refrigerator until ready to use within a day to two. Cut it with stainless steel knife to help prevent the slices turning black. It does not have to be peeled. Eggplant has a lot of moisture therefore sprinkle with salt to draw out the moisture. Also sprinkling with lemon juice will prevent the flesh from blackening. Put pieces into a colander, let set for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow the juice be drawn out. Rinse the eggplant pieces and dry on paper toweling before proceeding with the recipes.
Lower weight, increased energy, healthy hair and skin are benefits from eating eggplant and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eggplant studies has indicated a decrease in diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and fiber are important for cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds protect the body from cancer. Because eggplant is low in calories, it provides another source of a low-calorie diet.
I am trying to get a jump start on comfort foods for fall and winter. Rice, potatoes, and pasta are creamy foods that lead my list. I actually try to balance menus with one of these carbohydrates. Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole is also an excellent entree for a vegetarian meal.
Steamed Broccoli and Vegetable Blend
Using canned soup and frozen broccoli speeds up the cooking process. I have started to steam vegetables in the microwave. I put the chopped or diced vegetables in a small bowl, add 1-2 teaspoons water, depending on the amount of vegetables, cover with plastic wrap and steam for 1 minute. Occasionally I will have to add a minute. They are ready to be combined with other vegetables or meats and sauces. I do not add salt or oil to saute.
Peas and cauliflower are not vegetables often served. Peas get added to soups or rice, rarely used in salad or as a side dish as buttered peas. Cauliflower is in almost every vegetable tray set up at the grocery or buffet. It is a once-in-awhile vegetable on my table. After eating the , Peas, Cauliflower and Cashew Salad, raw cauliflower is becoming a salad stable.
Cauliflower protects against cancer and packed with vitamin C and vitamin B folate helping your immune system. To get the most benefit of the nutrients, it is best to steam, cook in a wok or microwave. Boiling the cauliflower in water causes it to lose those nutrients.
Early summer we begin to looking forward to eating corn on the cob. When available at the Farmer’s Market, we made sure we had plenty of fresh corn, green beans and tomatoes. For a change of taste, I made Fried Corn with Peppers. It was delicious, the corn was filled out with milk in the kernels.
Removing husks and silk from the fresh corn.
Cutting corn off cob, also called roasting ear.
It takes 3 large ears of corn to yield 2 cups. This is also the same amount of Savory Baked Corn and also the quantity for creamed corn. Fresh corn is much tastier when you cut off the kernels of corn and scrape the ear to press out the milky liquid. When making the Fried Corn, the corn was cut off and scraped before frying.
Summer time for picnics and favorite foods: Potato Salad
Summer is the time to bring out the salads and serve food we do not cook all winter when we are hungry for comfort foods. Let’s call potato salad as the summer time comfort food. What else goes with hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwursts, and barbecues and picnic?
I usually use Russet potatoes for potato salad, however, while at the Farmer’s Market there were fresh Yukon Gold Potatoes. I had to try them; successfully using the same recipe, I marinated the cooked hot peeled potatoes with the sweet pickle relish to add more sweet and distinctive flavor.
Summer time meals are so easy to fix without getting into sandwiches and chips. We are having plenty of green beans, , sauteed yellow squash, zucchinis, fried corn and tomatoes with our potato salad. Next comes the fresh fruits of fall.
Always ready for a cookie to have and share. Sesame Cookies were a surprising good crisp and crunchy cookie, great for dunking in coffee, cocoa and tea. They are perfect for dipping because the cookie absorbs the liquid, softens and holds together to be eaten without falling into your cup.
Sesame Cookies, The Dipping Cookie
Sesame Cooking, The Dipping Cookies
This is not my recipe, it is from Cooking Light’s Quick Baking Special. I had not tried them until I realized I had some tahini left over from making hummus and also some roasted sesame oil. When cooking I want to use all ingredients completely and not discard the littlest left over. Sesame Cookies did not sound appealing – no chocolate – though looked very tasty. And they were very tasty! Soon called for another batch of cookies.
Disappearing Sesame Cookies
Sesame Cookies, cookies with roasted sesame seed paste and oil.
While I followed the recipe exactly, or meant to, I inadvertently added 2 tablespoons of vanilla instead of 2 teaspoons. Interruptions can be a disaster, however I was not going to stop at that; so with 2 tablespoons of vanilla, I finished and baked the cookies. They were such tasty, nutty flavored cookies, almost like a hint of peanut butter. As quoted from Cooking Light, “A touch of corn syrup and cornstarch ensures crispness.” The tahini gives the Sesame Cookies a subtle nutty flavor.