Butternut Squash Salad in a Jar

I’m always looking for a “silver lining” when I’m inconvenienced or when things just don’t seem to be going my way.  Recently, I found that silver lining in a major road construction project that closed a through-fare  that I frequented on my daily jaunt back and forth to work.  Because of the construction, a detour took me down a winding country road that was quite scenic as the fall landscape was beautiful.  Tucked in among the oak trees and farm land sat a roadside farm stand that was bursting at the seams with an abundance of cool weather vegetables, plump ripe tomatoes, and an assortment of peppers.  The entire front yard displayed a sea of beautiful orange pumpkins where families strolled to pick out a few of their favorites.  I had my eyes on the butternut squash as I pulled my vehicle to the side of the road. Hand written prices were scrawled on a mini chalkboard that was propped up against the old wooden flat bed wagon. A tin can was laid out for patrons to square up their bill and honestly leave the amount due.  It was like a blast from the past.  I was thrilled to have found this quiet piece of paradise alongside the road construction and the hectic traffic of the day. 

Arriving home, I searched the web for a delicious looking recipe where I could use my butternut squash.  I stumbled on this salad in a jar recipe and immediately gathered the ingredients I would need for the colorful dish. I chose this recipe because of the maple syrup in the dressing.  We tapped our trees this past spring and I wanted to use our own maple syrup with the other dressing ingredients.  I made a few slight changes to the recipe…  Instead of pepitas, I used sunflower seeds and instead of the quinoa, I used couscous. I used a container of field greens for the salad mix.  This is a delicious recipe that I will be sure to make again.  Here’s the link for this “Fall Mason Jar Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing”…

https://www.spoonfulofflavor.com/2015/09/14/fall-mason-jar-salad-with-maple-balsamic-dressing/

Advertisements

Lemony Strawberry Jam

I was recently asked to do a food demonstration at a local county fair.  I thought it might be fun to showcase some of the new home food preservation products and make some lemon and strawberry jam.  I bought a bag of lemons, some sugar, pectin and fresh strawberries for the occasion.  A few portable appliances were easy to load into the back of my car and plug into the electrical outlet at the Home and Family Arts Building.  I had a blast making jam for all of the folks visiting the fairgrounds.  I was happy to answer questions and drum up some new found interest in canning.  If you have never preserved food or if you’re looking for a fresh new way to can fruit with ease, check out some of the new items on the market and get busy canning nature’s bounty!



Sprinkle in the pectin…

Add the crushed strawberries…

A fresh additon… lemon zest

Time to give this a stir…

Add sugar and bring to a rolling boil…    This is an amazing little appliance.  Portable, electric, and easy to clean…  Small batch canning is highlighted with this jam and jelly maker.

Getting ready to process…

Set to “canning mode”…

Simply delicious!

Lemony Strawberry Jam

Strawberries

Lemons

Sugar

Pectin

Check out the recipe at the link below.  Follow the recipe exactly as written.  This is a must when preserving foods.  No substitutions, unless directed.  Always use reputable, tested recipes for home food preservation.

https://www.freshpreserving.com/lemony-strawberry-jam—ball-auto-canner-recipes-br1393.html

Back To School Blueberry Bread

It’s that time of year again… Back to school!   This is a great quick bread loaf to bake in quantity and pop in the freezer for lunchbox treats throughout the year.  We recently visited our daughter who has started her clinical year at a hospital in Illinois.  I brought along an assortment of quick breads that I carefully sliced and individually wrapped for the freezer.  This way, she can take out one slice at a time and pack it into her lunch bag for a morning snack or a lunchtime treat. As I think back to all of the blueberry recipes I’ve made for the family, this one is surely a winner!



Back to School Blueberry Bread

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon peel

GLAZE:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar or 1 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk, beating well. Fold in the blueberries, nuts and lemon peel.

Transfer to a greased 9X5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Continue to cool on a wire rack.  

Combine the glaze ingredients and drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely before slicing.



M’s Triple Chippers

 
This is a great basic cookie recipe that is truly scrumptious as the mix of chips adds a special taste to the batter.  Have you ever started a recipe only to find that you didn’t have all of the ingredients needed? 

Well, resourceful M found herself in this situation and took a simple recipe and added a mixture of chips that we had available on the baking shelf, turning this into an absolutely delicious treat.
M’s Triple Chippers

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons hot water

3 cups all-purpose flour 

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup peanut butter chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter; stir completely.  Stir in flour, salt, and chips.  Use large ice cream scoop to drop onto cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

Crispy Ginger Snaps

There’s nothing like a quiet weekend morning when all in the house are still asleep.  I so enjoy tiptoeing through the kitchen to watch  the sun come up while sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee.  I use this time to plan weekly meals and search my “kitchen file” for clipped recipes from years past that I’ve been wanting to try again.  This “kitchen file” holds recipes from my college days, the early years of marriage, the harried years of raising young children, and the middle aged years of managing a busy work schedule.  My recipe interests seem to morph depending on my stage of life.  During my college years, my favorite recipes were quick and inexpensive.  During the early ears of marriage, my favorite recipes showcased new and interesting ingredients.  While raising my young children, as I had three children within one year, it was mandatory that my recipes be quick and easy!  Now, in my middle aged years, I’m all about prepping for a week’s worth of meals so I don’t have to fuss too much after a long day of work.

I think you’ll enjoy this recipe as my family seems to grab these cookies for any occasion.  An “on the go” breakfast with a cup of tea, an afternoon snack, or a quick evening dessert…   Delicious!

This is the version I make most often but I have also posted a link for a low sugar version that is delicious as well.

 

Crispy Ginger Snaps

 

1 cup oat bran flour

1 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 large egg

1/4 cup turbinando sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat bran,flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, allspice and cloves. Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the margarine, butter, and brown sugar and coconut sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Next, add the molasses and egg, beat until fully combined.  Add the flour/oat bran mixture to the wet ingredients; mix until combined.

In a small bowl, pour in the turbinado sugar.  Roll the dough into 1″ balls, then roll in the sugar. Place on a baking sheet roughly 2″ apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Slightly cool before removing from baking sheets to cool completely.

For a healthier version of this recipe try this website…

http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2014/12/11/soft-baked-ginger-cookies/

 

 

Homestyle Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

This post goes out to all the folks that might be suffering from the effects of this year’s harsh cold and flu season…

My week began with a trip to urgent care as I woke on Monday with the symptoms of a bad flu. My chest felt heavy and I had a low hacking cough that shook my core every time it took a hold of me. After being diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, I headed home with a supply of medication to help ease my discomfort.  I knew that a bit of rest and a pot of piping hot chicken noodle soup would certainly help me find relief.  

This is a quick and easy recipe that has become a family favorite over the years.  Chunks of onion, carrot, celery and chicken make for a hearty base while the steaming hot broth warms the throat and nestles down into the tummy.  Comfort food at its best. To save a bit of time, I often purchase a rotisserie chicken from the local grocer and shred up the juicy, well seasoned chicken before adding it to the broth.  My favorite stock base to use is L.B. Jamison’s.  I follow the directions on the back of the jar.  Perfect every time…  What a welcome recipe when you’re feeling under the weather.

Homestyle Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

8- 10 cups water

8 teaspoons chicken flavored soup base (or adjust to taste)

3 medium carrot, peeled and sliced

3 stalk celery, sliced

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

2 cup cooked noodles

Heat water to boiling, add soup base.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Add carrots, celery, onions, pepper, garlic, and parsley.  Simmer vegetables until tender.  Add chicken and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Keep cooked noodles separate and add a small handful to each bowl of soup before serving.  This keeps noodles al dente.

Melt in Your Mouth Christmas Cutouts

The holiday season is upon us and it’s just about time to start our Christmas baking.  We had a great time this weekend as we welcomed a few young guests to share in the fun.  I was happy to have found some package labels (last year’s clearance aisle) to wrap up our tasty treats for gift giving.  As one of my favorite cookie recipes, I posted it several years ago… You can find it here.  These tasty morsels truly do “melt in your mouth” and they are relatively simple to make.  Great little gifts for those that we share our lives with… Coworkers, colleagues, the mail carrier, our anyone else that you care to share a heartfelt gift with.  

Wishing you the blessings of the season as you celebrate the holidays with your family and friends.