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Posts from ‘January, 2011’

An ordinary week


We have had an ordinary week around here, which is nice from time to time. Classes are in full swing over at school and we have been plugging away at some projects here at home.

I'm making good progress on the wedding sewing. I have the flower girl dress and two of the bridesmaids dresses ready for their final fittings and have started in on another of the dresses. Three of the four bridesmaids are from out of town. One girl is local but has just had a new baby so I am doing her dress last.

Nora has been busy trying to tie up some loose ends. The biggest problem seems to be regarding the reception area. It's apparently not large enough for the expected number of guests so she is seeking a creative alternative--perhaps a tent? We would appreciate your prayers. I'm sure it will all work out, but these are busy days.

At work we are just starting to implement a new computer program, so that too is adding some stress. In the end it should be very helpful, but there's quite a distance to go in the meantime. 🙂

We recently celebrated DS Mark's birthday. We had a small celebration at our house the day before his actual birthday. This should be a very exciting year for him and Katie as they anticipate the birth of a son in early April. The baby is due the same week as Nora's wedding. 🙂

picture of Mark's 28th birthday

Last night I tried a new recipe that I saw in last Sunday's newspaper. It was really delicious, so I will post the link for you. I had a couple of sweet potatoes that I needed to use so that is the main reason I decided to try it. I did brine the chicken, but I don't really think that that step was necessary. When I make it again I plan to put the chicken in with the vegetables at the beginning of the cooking time and then add the cream and cheese halfway through. We like our chicken very tender and I didn't think 35 mins. was quite long enough. The vegetable mixture was extremely tasty--it would be a great side dish on its own.

Have a blessed weekend!

Becka


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A new favorite


Sometime during the past year I discovered a new blog that I have really enjoyed. It is called Southern Plate and is written by an Alabama girl named Christy Jordan. If you live south of the Mason-Dixon line you may have heard of her, but some of my readers live far to the north or even out of the country, so you may not have had the opportunity. Christy states that she loves to feed people and her blog has lots of recipes as well as many lovely stories about her immediate and extended family. Although she has only been blogging for a few years her blog has become hugely successful and she had the opportunity to publish a cookbook which just came out last fall, shortly before Christmas.

picture of Southern Plate

Guess what? I asked for the book and DH bought it for me for a Christmas present. I know that I really don't need another cookbook, but I have enjoyed her blog so much that I wanted to support her endeavor.

I have tried a number of her recipes and will link to two of them here today. After you read them you might just want to sign up for her blog.

One of our new favorites is this Chicken and wild rice casserole that you cook in the crockpot. While it is not particularly interesting to look at, it is very easy and very tasty. I have made it at least three times. It works great for Sunday dinner.

Another one that I tried recently is this Frozen Cranberry Banana salad. I cut the recipe in half and found that it made twelve servings. It made a nice fruit salad to serve with Sunday dinner.

picture of Cranberry Banana Salad

I hope you will visit the Southern Plate site and enjoy it as much as I have.

Becka


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Busy Week


This has been a busy week around our house. We were snowed in on Monday and Tuesday. We got several inches of snow Sunday night and then some rain which turned into ice. Travel was quite treacherous and nearly everything in town was shut down for a couple of days. Nora and I spent some time working on things for her wedding. She made great strides in her planning and I finished up one bridesmaid dress and started on the second. Fortunately our power remained on and we stayed toasty and warm and were able to do some cooking and baking as well.

Here lately just about every time I sit down at the computer my faithful assistant does this:

picture of Kitten on the keys

Have you ever read through a recipe and thought that you probably wouldn't care for it? Well, today I'm going to post a couple of salad recipes that I probably would not have tried if I had just read the recipe. Fortunately I was served both of these unusual salads and discovered that I really liked both of them.

Nora made this Roasted Cauliflower Salad for us a few weeks ago for the first time. She and I made it again last weekend and changed the recipe a little, so I'll post it how we actually made it.

picture of Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
olive oil
salt
small jar of capers, drained and patted dry
2 radicchio, cut into chiffonade (just slice it crosswise into small shreds) (I couldn't find radicchio after looking at two stores, so I used about 1 cup of finely shredded red cabbage--the radicchio was good though)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 green onions, sliced
juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)

Toss cauliflower with olive oil and salt. Roast at 375 degrees for 30-40 mins. or until well-browned. In the meantime heat a small amount of oil in a skillet and fry the capers for 3-4 mins. Drain on paper towels. After the cauliflower is roasted combine with the capers, radicchio (or red cabbage), parmesan cheese, and green onion. Add lemon juice and more oil and salt if needed to season. This is very tangy and would be good with fish or chicken.

I had a salad similar to this next one at a restaurant recently. I found a recipe on-line and adapted it a bit to make this version.

picture of Macaroni Coleslaw

Macaroni Coleslaw

1 cup dry ditalini pasta (these are small tube-shapes) (you could also use elbow macaroni)
14 oz. coleslaw mix
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
about 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
about 1/2 cup finely chopped green, red, yellow, or orange pepper (I used orange)

Dressing
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsps. sugar
2 Tbsps. vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
dash white pepper

Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Drain and rinse with cold water. While the pasta is cooking combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Clean and chop the vegetables and then add them to the dressing along with the pasta. Stir well to combine and chill for at least an hour before serving. Makes about eight servings.

The ditalini is often used in soups.

picture of Ditalini

This makes a very colorful and flavorful salad. We had it tonight with some Easy Beans and Rice.

picture of Mac Slaw Beans

So, if you are looking for a new winter salad recipe you might want to try one of these.

Becka


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Strawberry Meringue Torte


Nora's future in-laws visited last week from Iowa, Kansas, and Georgia and I made this dessert. It is a recipe that I got nearly thirty years ago from our pastor's wife. It is delicious and has become one of our family favorites over the years. It is made from simple ingredients that you may already have on hand in your pantry and refrigerator/freezer.

picture of Strawberry Meringue Torte

Strawberry Meringue Torte

1 package yellow cake mix
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
2 cups of sweetened whipped cream or Cool Whip
10 oz. frozen strawberries, partially thawed and drained

Make cake as directed on the package, but use just the four egg yolks instead of whole eggs. (My cake mix called for 1 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup oil.) Pour the batter into three 9" cake pans that have been greased and floured and then lined with waxed paper. In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites until foamy and then gradually add the sugar. Beat until the egg whites are almost stiff. Divide the egg white mixture into three parts and carefully spread on top of the cake batter in the pans. Don't be overly concerned if the batter gets a bit mixed into the meringue, it will be fine. Sprinkle nuts on top of the meringue and then press down gently with your hand to help keep them from falling off later. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and then carefully turn out onto a cloth lined cooling rack. Immediately turn over so the meringue is right side up. Cool completely. Shortly before serving place one layer on a serving plate and then top with about a cup of Cool Whip and half of the strawberries. Add another layer and then repeat the layering of the Cool Whip and berries. Top with the final layer of cake. Serve and enjoy your beautiful creation!

Here's a picture of the meringue being divided up on the cakes:

picture of Meringue Batter

Here I'm spreading the meringue on top of the batter:

picture of Spreading Meringue

This shows the batter/meringue/pecans all layered and ready to bake:

picture of Meringue Pecans

Here is the bottom layer of the torte with one layer of whipped topping and berries:

picture of Layering Meringue

This cake is best when baked and served the same day so that the meringue stays crisp. Serves 10-12.
I hope you will try this -- you won't be disappointed!

Becka


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