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Peter Piper….


If you completed that phrase in your mind you have discovered the theme of this post--pickled peppers. I saw the recipe for these pickled peppers a few months ago on the Iowa Housewife blog and was intrigued by it. My dad used to can very hot peppers which he adored but they are not something either Rob nor I care for. This recipe is for a sweet refrigerator pickle rather than a pickle that has to be brined and canned. You do need to be patient for a couple of weeks to allow the flavors to develop a bit before you dig into them. We like them on sandwiches and they would also work well in things like Three Bean or Potato Salad for a little zing or color. I would not advise substituting them in savory dishes such as Chicken a la King as I think they would be too sweet, but if you try them you can see what you think.

To make the pickles you can use large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers or you can use some of the smaller colored peppers which are often sold quite inexpensively by the bagful these days. I have tried this recipe with both kinds. I found that I needed more brine to cover the peppers completely in the jars so have adapted the recipe accordingly.

Pickled Peppers

2 large red bell peppers (or yellow or orange)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt

Sterilize a couple of jars. Pints work well for this. Wash peppers, remove most of the seeds and membranes and then slice into strips. Cover with boiling water and then let them soak for about 5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile combine the vinegar, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and then remove from heat. Add garlic, olive oil, and salt. Place the peppers in the prepared jars and then pour the vinegar mixture over them to cover. Store in the refrigerator for two weeks before using. These will keep for several months in the refrigerator. They are very tasty and easy to make.

One of our favorite ways to use them is making these sandwiches:


There is not a real "recipe" for these. Here are some general directions for making them.

Briefly heat tortillas in the microwave. Cover with a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out. For just two tortillas I would microwave for 20 seconds on high.


Spread a layer of vegetable dip down the middle of the tortilla. If you do not have vegetable dip you could use ranch dressing or a combination of ranch dressing and cream cheese. Add some grated cheese and thinly sliced lunch meat. I generally use ham or turkey.


Top with a lettuce leaf, some sliced cucumbers, and some fresh or pickled peppers.


Roll up and fasten with a toothpick. I like to wrap these in plastic wrap. They work well for school lunches or when we are travelling. If you just unwrap the top these are easy to eat without creating a mess in the car. You can also make these with other types of wraps such as the Flat Out brand, but I normally keep tortillas on hand and they are less expensive.


A recent adventure

We have been passing the flu around here since Christmas. Our granddaughter had it just before she and her family arrived on Christmas day. Our daughter came down with it during the drive from Michigan. Rob got it the week after they went home and I came down with it this weekend. Hopefully this saga will end soon. Daughter Nora brought by some Corn Chowder which we enjoyed for lunch and let us wish (from a distance) Happy Birthday to little Della who turned one today.

We had "one brief shining moment" when both of us were feeling pretty well and decided to go on a little adventure. Our first stop was in Lexington, SC at The Farmers Shed Restaurant. We almost went to the wrong place. The Farmer's Shed shares a parking lot with a restaurant called Belly's Barbecue. After inquiring we realized we were in the wrong place. The Farmer's Shed looks like an old weathered building with lots of flower pots and garden supplies outside. You pass through an area where they sell produce, baked goods, jams, etc., go down a breezeway and enter the door to The Farmer's Shed Restaurant. We were delighted that we found the right place.


The tables and chairs are all old dinette sets and there is a rotating menu every day of about five main choices and several sides.




The service was quick and our food was delicious! The restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and a map on the wall with stickpins proves that it has brought the restaurant visitors from virtually every state!

I got a pork chop, green beans, and corn souffle. Rob chose Shrimp and Grits, coleslaw and a squash casserole.



After lunch we headed to downtown Columbia to the Columbia Museum of Art where there was a special exhibit by Norman Rockwell. It runs through January 18, 2015. The exhibit consists of photographs that Rockwell used to make drawings which eventually became the paintings used for the covers of the Saturday Evening Post. It was very interesting to see all the stages he went through to come up with the completed picture.


Our final stop along the way was at Cromer's which advertises itself as having peanuts that are "Guaranteed Worst In Town."


We didn't buy any peanuts but Rob did get some coffee and I tried some of their popcorn. All in all it was a very good day and we were thankful for the chance to do a little exploring in the Columbia area.


A light in the window


For years we have put candles in our windows at Christmas time. For most of those years we used electric candles. We had to attach them to the windows with masking tape to help them stay in place. A couple of years ago we ordered some of these battery operated flickering candles from Lehman's store in Ohio and we have been very pleased with them. The name in their catalog is Cordless Window Candles. They have a little bar that fits into the window and holds the candles in place. They are light activated so they automatically switch themselves on and off. (They also have a manual switch.) Right now they are on sale for a great price so I thought I would mention it in case any of you readers might be interested. You can check out the details here (as long as the link is good). I am not being compensated for this, I just really like this product (and many others that they sell.)

We are keeping busy with family here visiting for a few days. Unfortunately one of our guests developed Influenza type A and had to go to the doctor this morning. Since taking Tamiflu and some other medications she is feeling somewhat better already. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.


Grandmother Pizza

The days are flying by quickly and soon Christmas will be here. This recipe is not "Christmasy" but might be something new for you to try after Christmas when you are ready for a change from your Christmas ham or turkey. If you look in the cloud list on the right side of my blog you will see that there are already quite a few recipes for pizza. When I first heard of this recipe I was intrigued because it sounded different from other pizza recipes. It contains very simple ingredients but makes a delicious pizza. It is a very easy dough to work with so it would be a good recipe for people who are intimidated by yeast dough.


Grandmother Pizza

3 Tbsps. olive oil, divided
3/4 cup warm water
1 1 /2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

1 16 oz. can tomatoes, drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan

To make dough:
Coat a large rimmed cookie sheet with 2 Tbsps. of the olive oil then set aside. In mixing bowl combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, 1 Tbsp. oil, and water. Knead about 5 minutes. Stretch the dough to a 10" x 6" rectangle on the prepared cookie sheet. (Do not try to stretch to fit the cookie sheet at this stage.) Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours. After this rise stretch to fit the pan and then let rise an additional 45 mins.
Heat oven to 450-500 degrees.

Combine drained tomatoes, oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt. Combine cheeses and then sprinkle them onto the crust. Dot with the tomato mixture. Bake about 15 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown.

Here are some pictures of the two stages of the dough rising:

First rising:


Second rising:


Here are a couple of pictures of some Christmas elves who were here this week:




We are looking forward to celebrating Christmas next week with special services at church and times with friends and family. I pray that you and your families will have a blessed Christmas and look forward to posting again in the new year.


Some really good yeast rolls and how to make them ahead of time

Have you ever found yourself wanting to serve warm yeast rolls with a meal but feeling pinched for time or oven space? This has often been my dilemma. I have been experimenting with this recipe and have found a method that works for me and hopefully will work for you as well. I have tried making this dough, shaping it, and then freezing the unbaked rolls. They were O.K. when prepared this way, but I have found something that works even better and that is making the rolls Brown and Serve.


To make Brown and Serve rolls you bake the rolls at a low temperature so they cook through but do not brown. Then, right before serving you bake them at a higher temperature and brown them off. We have found them to be very light and delicious. Here is the recipe I have been experimenting with and the method for making them brown and serve:

Good Yeast Rolls
2 cups warm water
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (in dry powder form)
2 Tbsps. yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps. salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
5-6 cups bread flour (I used about half whole wheat flour)

In mixer bowl combine warm water, 2 cups flour, dry milk, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, and egg. Mix for 2 minutes.

Add an additional 2 cups flour and mix 2 minutes more. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough and knead for a few more minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for about 1/2 hour. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a large circle. Brush with melted butter and cut each circle into 16 wedges. Roll each wedge into a crescent. Place on parchment lined pans. Let rise about 15 minutes and then start preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Let dough continue to rise while oven preheats and then bake them for 15-20 minutes. Brush with melted butter after baking.

To make the rolls Bake and Serve:

Bake the risen rolls at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for no more than a month. If frozen, allow the rolls to thaw for several hours or overnight. To bake off bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Here are pictures of the process:

Shaping the dough into crescents:


Rolls after first baking at low temperature:


I have been very pleased with this method. The rolls have turned out nice and light and have a delicious, freshly baked taste. I hope you will try this the next time you plan to make rolls.