Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Off the Shelf - September

I know - we are almost at the end of October. But here is the list of books that we enjoyed last month.

Children's Picture Books



When I was Young in the Mountains- Cynthia Rylant
A favorite book with lovely illustrations sharing life that is mostly unknown today.

Which Hat is That - Anna Hines
A cute story with flaps loved by my three year old.

Eliza and the Dragonfly - Susie Caldwell Rinehart
Learn facts about the dragonfly lifecycle along with Eliza and her aunt.



The King of Prussia and a Peanut Butter Sandwich - Alice Fleming
A longer picture book covering several centuries and several continents. Follows the travels of Mennonites from Prussia to Russia to Kansas and how they introduced Turkey Red wheat to the US. Excellent story.

Children's Chapter Books 

Just David - Eleanor H. Porter
From the author of Pollyanna, a tale of an unusual boy and how he changed a community. We listened to this book on audio and I was snuffling by the end.



Mary Jones and Her Bible - Mary Ropes
A young girl and the true story of her sacrifice to own a copy of the Bible. A great book to introduce to my children the fact that many people in the world do not own their own Bible.

Elin's Amerika - Marguerite de Angeli
Another excellent book by de Angeli sharing the story of the first settlers to Pennsylvania - the Swedish.

Hidden_riches
Hidden Riches  - Romaine Stauffer
Learn of the sacrifices made for the Mennonites to come to Pennslvania in the 1750's through the story of Christian Brubaker. My children loved this story- and even I learned a lot about the time period.

Adult Books



On the Other Side of the Garden - Virginia Ruth Fugate
I think this wins the honor of the best book on women and marriage. Fugate doesn't hold back in sharing what the Lord requires for a wife. Excellent.




The Homemade Pantry - Alana Chernila
This cookbook is just the kind I like with basic recipes, great photos, it was even fun to read, though I didn't appreciate some of her language. And the recipes I tried were winners!

(This post contains affiliate links.)






Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Angel Food Cake

Many fall desserts are heavy, but here is a unique light dessert.

When I saw Pumpkin Angel Food Cake in Around Grandma's Table (Have you figured out that this is my favorite cookbook right now?) I honestly thought that the combination of pumpkin and angel food cake wouldn't mesh.

But I have tried it - and found a new family favorite! The recipe calls for a cake mix, but since I am overloaded with eggs right now, I made the angel food cake from scratch. I didn't get the pumpkin mixed in perfectly which resulted in a cake that looked marbled. I liked the affect!


Pumpkin Angel Food Cake
from Around Grandma's Table

16 oz. angel food cake mix (or from-scratch angel food cake batter)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ginger

In bowl, combine pumpkin, vanilla, and spices. Prepare cake mix according to directions. Fold a forth of the batter into pumpkin mixture; gently fold in remaining batter. Gently spoon into an ungreased 10" tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake on lowest oven rack at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool. If desired, garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cabbage Salad

This time of year I get hungry for cabbage salad. My friend, Jeanne gave me this recipe several years ago and  it has become a favorite. When I serve it to guests I can usually expect to be asked for the recipe. 

I don't always make the salad exactly as written. The last time I threw in some peanuts since I had no other nuts - and it was still good. And I used some chives instead of the green onions. So use what you have!



Cabbage Salad

1/2 head of cabbage, cut finely
4 green onions, diced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 T. sesame seeds
1/2 cup almonds or pecans
2 T. sugar (or honey)
1/2 cup oil
1 T. vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pack Ramen noodles, crumbled

Mix together cabbage, onions, and pepper. Toast sesame seeds and nuts at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool. Mix sugar, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and seasoning packet from the Ramen noodles. Mix all salad ingredients together two hours before serving. Save a few noodles out to sprinkle on top for garnish.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sourdough Grissini

Sourdough what?

Sourdough Grissini.


And don't dare call these bread sticks or someone will think they are soft and chewy. Grissini is a long crisp, almost cracker-like bread - the kind served with some great pasta at those cute little Italian restaurants.

I've been following along with the sourdough challenges at Sourdough Surprises. Each month they choose a recipe to make with their sourdough. These gals get creative - danish, donuts, pie crust are among the recipes they tackled. I wanted to join in the fun but life was too crazy over summer to try anything new.

But this month, I jumped into the challenge - which happened to be grissini!

And I'm so glad I did! It was SO simple. And good!

Part of the challenge was to twist something into the grissini. Since I had lots of basil, I chose pesto. Wow! Good could actually become even better! I also made some with sesame and poppy seeds.

If you have a sourdough starter lurking in the corner of your kitchen, try these. Today.

Not that you have to obey me or anything. But surely someone will thank you.



Sourdough Grissini - with a Twist

1 cup white flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
1 cup sourdough starter
pesto, sesame seed, poppy seed - or whatever you want to twist into your bread

Combine all ingredients except the pesto or toppings. Mix well. Add more flour as needed but the dough should be soft. Allow to rest ten minutes. Knead five minutes. Place in greased bowl and allow to rise for 3 hours. Once an hour, gently fold and turn the dough to stretch the gluten.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease to baking sheets (or cover with parchment paper.) Divide the dough into three pieces. Flatten each piece into a 6x4 inch rectangle.



Spread pesto liberally on dough. Or you can sprinkle heavily with sesame and poppy seed. Or get creative with another topping.



With pizza cutter, cut rectangle into 8 long strips.



Pull each strip gently to stretch to length of the cookie sheet and twist dough into a coil. Repeat until all three dough pieces are flattened, topped, cut, and twisted. Bake grissini until lightly browned about 25 minutes. Depending on thickness of your grissini, you may need more or less oven time. Cool completely before serving.

And go check out what the others are making at Sourdough Surprises.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

There are times that I wish I could send taste and aroma online. Photos just can't do justice.

It hardly seems right to talk about what is sitting on my counter without asking you to pull up a chair and grab a plate.

But maybe I can share the recipe so you can experience the flavor yourself.



Because these are just too good to keep all for myself.

My sister-in-law told me about these pumpkin cinnamon rolls last week and I knew they would be appearing in my kitchen soon. The dough is light and delicious. I think they would make lovely dinner roll as well. Give them a try. I think you'll understand why this recipe is worth sharing.



Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
(Makes 16 large rolls)

1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup soft butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 T. yeast
7 cups flour (I used half whole wheat.)

Heat milk to hot, but not boiling. Mix with butter, honey, and salt. Mix water and yeast together. When milk has cooled to warm, add yeast, pumpkin, eggs, and half of the flour. Mix well. Add the rest of the flour as needed to make a soft dough. Knead dough for five minutes. Place in a greased bowl and allow to rise.



Roll out dough, spread with butter, and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up and cut into 16 rolls. Place in pan and allow to rise again. (I used two 9x13 pans and 1 round cake pan.) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. While warm, drizzle on glaze or allow to cool and spread on your favorite frosting.

I used a maple glaze made with 2 T melted butter, 1 tsp maple flavoring, 1 cup confectionery sugar, and 1 T milk.



Call the children and watch the rolls disappear into gaping smiles.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Children's Books for Fall

I love seasonal books. It is fun to raid the library's shelves to find books on the season.

Nice fall books are particularly hard to find since so many refer to Halloween. In case you are looking for some good picture books to celebrate the autumn season, here is a few that made it to our favorites list.



Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf -Lois Ehlert
Fascinating information about a tree shared in beautiful collage.

Raccoons and Ripe Corn - Jim Arnosky
It is worth your time to search for the books by this author and illustrator.

This Way Home - Lisa Westberg Peters
Beautiful illustrations accompany the story of a song sparrow's migration.




Fall- Ron Hirschi
Nature photographs accompanied this book about autumn.

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves - Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
This book follows all the seasonal changes of a tree. My children loved the riddles.




Leaf Man - Lois Ehlert
Read this book and go take a walk with your children and look at leaves with new eyes.

Every Autumn Comes the Bear - Jim Arnosky
Another favorite by Jim Arnosky




The Apple Pie Tree - Zoe Hall
Follow an apple tree through the seasons.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Julia Rawlinson
A silly story of a fox who was desperate to keep the leaves on the tree. My children loved it!

Why Do Leaves Change Color - Chris Arvetis
A simple explanation of why leaves change color.




How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin- Margaret McNamara
Did you know how to tell how many seeds are in a pumpkin? Me neither. Another of my children's favorite books.

Do you have any autumn book favorites?

This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Out of the Breakfast Rut - Dutch Babies

What an odd name for a pancake!

I've heard this recipe called Puff Pancake, German Pancakes, and Dutch Blanket, but when I was a child, we always called these Dutch Babies.

I had nearly forgotten about Dutch Babies. But a couple months ago, I pulled out my mom's old recipe and tried it one morning. It was love at first sight for my children, who were weary of the same old scrambled eggs.

I think I've served this cross between a popover, a crepe, and a pancake every week since then. I love the simplicity and my children love the taste. It gives them a good serving of protein and uses up my egg surplus. And nothing beats pulling Dutch Babies out of the oven high and puffy, almost spilling out over the pan and watch it sink. No wonder children love it. What other breakfast dish performs stunts!

We usually serve this with cinnamon sugar. You can add cinnamon and sugar directly to the batter, but we like to just sprinkle it on top after it is baked. I like to toss a few fresh berries on top. There is just enough time to run out to the raspberry patch and pick a handful of berries while the Dutch Babies bake in the oven.

My mom's recipe includes four amounts depending upon how many eggs you wanted to use. My family can eat the six egg version and asks for more. Use a 9x9 pan for 3-4 eggs and a 9x13 pan for 5-6 eggs. You can also use a cast iron pan in which case you will have a round pancake!

Note: I decrease the butter by a tablespoon or two but I am sharing the recipe here as the original.


Dutch Babies

Choose amount you wish:

3 eggs
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
salt to taste

4 eggs
1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
salt to taste

5 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups flour
salt to taste


6 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
salt to taste

Place butter in casserole dish or cast iron pan. Set in 425 degree oven to melt the butter while mixing up batter.

Place eggs in blender and blend at high speed for 1 minute. Add milk, flour, and salt. Continue to blend for 30 seconds. Pour batter slowly in pan with melted butter.

Bake until puffy and brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, fruit, or syrup.


Did any of you grow up with Dutch Babies? Or did you call them something else?








Thursday, October 11, 2012

Honey Cornbread

Life continues...

Whether I have time to blog about it or not.

Last weekend we were down in North Carolina visiting Ed's sister Jean. (And thanks to those who continue to pray for their family. They are doing well, but they do miss Jason.) We spent a fun day at Jamestown - an extra special treat since we studied Jamestown recently in our history studies.



This week, my brothers put in replacements windows in our house.  I've been putting off any deep cleaning for months, especially window washing, since I knew this was planned. It is wonderful to have sparkling clean windows - that actually close securely!



Now I have no excuse not to clean. We are diving deep under furniture and in closets and finding a healthy crop of dust bunnies and stink bugs. I love how children are thrilled at simple things like reorganizing their bedroom furniture.

But somehow, even on busy days, everyone still expects to eat! Cornbread is a favorite at our house and the perfect addition to a pot of soup or chili. It is easy enough that my eight year old made it herself last night.



Honey Cornbread

1 1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix all dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mix all wet ingredients together. Mix all together until barely moistened. Pour into greased 9x13 pan or cast iron skillet. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Apple Cider Making

Another annual family event - apple cider making.


 A couple of my brothers had gleaned about 40 bushels of apples from a friend's orchard.



This week my whole family got together to make cider.



First the apples are washed and cut in half.




The apples are dumped into a hopper and chopped into a coarse mash.




Our cider press has two baskets. One can be filling with apple mash while the other is pressed into cider.




Nothing beats a drink of fresh cold cider.



The cider is strained and poured into jars and containers. Frozen cider keeps the fresh cider flavor, but because of freezer space, I can most of our portion of the cider. Canned cider tastes more like apple juice.



Do any of you make cider?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Bars

I didn't expect these bars to be that great since they contain no butter or oil but they were light and delicious!

Spiced Pumpkin Bars
another great find from Kay's Country Cookin'

2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
4 eggs
1 3/4 cup mashed pumpkin
1 cup applesauce

Combine dry ingredients. Combine egg, pumpkin, and applesauce; stir well. Stir in dry ingredients. Spread in greased 10x15 baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Do not over bake. Dust with powdered sugar when cooled, if desired.

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