Cookies, Cookies and …..did I say {COOKIES!!!!}

Oh yes, it’s happening. Busy baking, but not too busy to stop and snap while I’m at it. I’ve cut way back on what is typically going through my kitchen at this time of year. Mostly because I’m not having anyone in and there’s no need for me to eat it all! But we still have concerts and teachers in need of a little something yummy. Plus my kids and friends who are begging for a treat or two! So, here’s where we’re at as of today:

MMMMM...shortbread

You can almost smell them through this photo!

I still like mincemeat!!

 

I call them minty snowballs

Cream cheese, icing sugar and coconut topped with a Misty Mint. Yum Yum

My girls have mastered the art of decorating sugar cookies!

 

My great great grandmother's soft ginger cookies~so good.

 

Have I inspired you?? It smells wonderful and brings a smile and all it takes is a little effort and a bit of mess!

 

 

 

Day 5~ Homesickness and Family Dinner

These are the hard days of parenting. It’s not supposed to be this way: me here and them there.  NO, we’re supposed to be messing up the kitchen together, tripping over each others’ stuff in the hallway, fighting over who gets the shower next.

But reality and wants sometimes do not go hand in hand.  What I need and what I have may be two different things. Half of my family~ 5 hours away~ needing home and safety, Mom and comfort.  It doesn’t really matter that we’re trying to get out of here~ trying to move.  It only matters that wherever we ALL are, that’s home. And right now the thought of that is making some sick. We call it homesickness. It bites us when we least expect it.  “Oh I can handle this”~ a 16 year old son says to his mom.  But , can he? Does he want to? No.   I called the school to let them know that he will not be present in class today.  He will rest and hopefully get himself pulled together by later today and then..we try again.  Try to make the best of a rotten situation.

It didn’t help~ me watching Parenthood last night. Oh I love that show. But it sure does tug at the heartstrings.  Don’t we all just want that same unconditional safe place to land? When things go wrong outside our four walls, isn’t it just nice to know that you can come home and sit down with your family? Sit down, feast and linger.  That’s what I love about family dinners. Laughter, chatting, companionship and most of all….love.

What does your family do to keep the home fires burning? Do you gather once a week? Turn off all the TV’s, electronics, gadgets and just…..linger? Do you? Maybe it’s time to start.  This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. My kids are so excited for cream pies and turkey and stuffing.  I’m just excited to have us all sit at one table and be thankful.…thankful for us.

And don’t you just love this? … from https://www.facebook.com/foodily

Roll-Kuchen….{For the First Day of Summer}

Roll-kuchen……or ‘rolled cookie’ .  A family tradition~ ethnic food~ deep fried fritter…definitely not low calorie or low fat but who cares?! No child should grow up without having roll-kuchen and watermelon for at least ONE supper in the summer. Yes, it’s a supper tradition for Mennonites in the dog days of summer.  When I was a kid we could hardly wait for that one time we would visit Grandma in her tiny house in Manitoba….because we were sure to be spoiled with this oh so yummy treat.  My aunt was the only other one who ever made it for us and therefore I thought it must be difficult. But it’s not! Oh my, it’s the easiest thing ever!   And so, I’ve decided to share this with all of you~ Mennonite or not, there’s nothing as refreshing or tasty on a hot summer’s eve!

First of all, I use an electric fry pan with about 1.5 inches of vegetable oil.  Heat at 350*.  One drop of water that sizzles will tell you it’s ready to go.  No kids should be around during this time and make sure your counter area is clear of anything that could potentially bump or catch the pan~ hot oil must be monitored at all times .

Next, you’ll want a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon to mix, a clear counter top for rolling out the dough and you’re set.

Ingredients are: 6 cups flour , 2 tsps baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup heavy cream or sour cream, milk(up to 2 cups)

So, basically you’re going to mix all ingredients and add enough milk to make a soft dough.  Spread some flour on counter and split dough in 2 pieces to make it manageable.

Roll out to about 1/4″ thick.  The thicker you roll it the softer your kuchen will be. The thinner-the crisper.  I like mine soft and chewy.

Once you’ve rolled it out, take a butter knife and slice into 1.5 inch strips and then across to make each strip about 3-4 inches long.

Then you’ll slice the center of each piece and pull one end through to make a “knot”.  Drop into the oil and flip after about 2 minutes. They will be light golden when they’re done.  I use a large fork or tongs  to flip and pull them out of the oil. Place them on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet and paper towel below.

After they have cooled for a bit you can choose to dredge in white sugar(really yummy). Don’t do this right out of the hot oil because they will be WAY too sugary which isn’t as good. Some people do this with icing sugar too but I prefer just white sugar.

And for an extra special treat, try filling some “pockets” with fresh berries….I love Saskatoons. No sugar added~ it’s perfect.

So there you go….serve with juicy watermelon and you’ll have a hit!

Things that take time..

I recently visited a Value Village store.  Don’t get there very often and I really had very little time. I was looking for a specific piece of clothing and never did find it but I did quickly pass through the bedding section.  I was shocked by what I saw~ hanger after hanger of afgahns hung and waiting to be purchased. I don’t know if people see the value in them and so they may stay there a long time.  There were the brown/orange/yellow combination colours from the 60′s and 70′s, there were peach, green, pinks and blues reminiscent of the 80′s.  There were even baby afgahns, barely used, perfectly crafted, soft and ready for cuddling a new infant.   Why would people toss these out?
I have so few afgahns but each one I have I know the source.  I also know the time involved in making one.   I’m working on one right now and I have no intention of ever getting rid of it~ if I made it , it is worthy to be kept and passed down to my kids and their kids if need be.  Do people no longer appreciate the value of time and the care taken by the person creating this gift?  I don’t understand it.

Then there’s meals.  I am so guilty of falling into the bad habits of buying pre-made, pre-packaged, preserved foods and snacks.  I used to bake and cook everything from scratch but busy days and on-the-run schedules have caused me to settle for inferior foods.  I am trying to reverse the trend in our house but I admit it is so hard.   But even worse than saving time is the fact that the food is just not as good, especially baked goods.  What could be better than a fresh cinnamon bun , warm from the oven, smothered in melting butter?  You can’t buy that sort of thing.  And yes, start to finish, it probably does take several hours to make .

Last week there was a radio talk show host talking about how Generation                 ” Y”ers(born after 1977) know very little about cooking, baking, sewing and ironing.  One woman called in and made a flippant comment about how these things take too much time and when she can pay someone else to do them, why would she do it herself.  I thought of how sad that statement is.  We have lost the value of well-spent time.

We justify hours of TV watching as “down time”.  We spend loads of money on take-out , dining out and coffee times~ all of which take time out of our schedules whether we admit it or not.  Yes, it is definitely a priority issue.  And sure enough, some people will agree that it simply isn’t worth it.  But I would like to make the case for learning to do these seemingly mundane tasks once again.  If for no other reason than to appreciate the fact that quality takes time.

And when you stop and take the time to make something from scratch you will also stop time from passing by so quickly.  Consider  being so busy that you pick up clothes from the cleaner, rush to pick up some supper, rush to take the kids to their clubs and sports and rush to get homework done…..and then what?  What is gained by the rushing?  Fatigue, crankiness, ungratefulness, and the thought of doing it all over again tomorrow?  When you stop to make a meal from scratch, bread from scratch and perhaps even a quilt or afgahn, nothing else will get done in those moments, hours, days.  This is true.  Once you get past that fact though, you will see that because nothing else is getting done, you have the time to focus on one thing.  One very important thing for you or for your family.  In those moments, you suspend time.  You cannot drive and run and play and rush while crocheting.  It simply can’t be done.  And so, if it takes you 40 hours to complete your masterpiece, it is 40 hours well spent~ sitting, listening, soaking in the moments.    40 hours to think, to relax, to focus, to meditate.    Some things take time~ growing a baby, growing a garden, raising a child, perfecting a marriage, memorizing scripture, writing a book, learning a language, painting a house, refinishing an antique, rebuilding a car…………sounds like some pretty good things to take time for.

Warm Corn Chowder on a cool fall day.

So, it was rather cool out today and dreary.   Gloomy weather in September always makes me want to bake. 

What better food can there be to warm you from the inside out than corn chowder?  Here’s my recipe, from my head, so tweak away and make it your own.

3 cans of creamed corn

2 cans of milk(fill your cream corn cans to measure)

diced bacon and onion sauted and added to the rest

cubed red potatoes, boiled and with skin on(my preference)

- put it all in crock pot on high for 2 hours, stir a couple times

- add pepper, salt and Epicure’s Cheddar Jalepeno Dip mix(about 1.5 tsp) for extra kick

When you serve, put some sour cream out for those guests who need to cool off the heat from the seasoning or just the temperature.  It’s a really yummy addition to the flavour!

 

 

Oh the smell is so heavenly!

 

 

 

Everything into the crock, walk away and let it simmer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serve with some scones:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

cut in 1/2 cup butter or margerine(make sure it’s cold)

add 1` egg beaten and 2/3 c cold milk

form into two round patties on a baking sheet and then brush on milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425*F for approx. 12 minutes or until nicely browned.

Cut into 6 wedges each and serve warm with butter!

 

 

The smell!! The taste!!

Does it get any better than this?

 

Happy Fall to you!