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An easy dessert


Some Saturdays I putter around in the kitchen for most of the day, alternating between cooking, laundry, and cleaning chores in preparation for Sunday. I love these Saturdays at home since I am at work Monday through Friday. Some Saturdays (such as this past Saturday) I have an outside obligation which means I need to streamline my cooking for Sunday. This means I need to pull out some recipes which go together quickly. The following is such a recipe.

If you need a quick, easy dessert, this is the one for you. It can be made with light cream cheese and light whipped topping if you desire. It takes just five ingredients.

picture of Cheesecake Ingredients

Karen's Cheesecake

1 prepared graham cracker crust
1/2 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. cool whip, thawed
Fruit topping of your choice

Cream together the cream cheese and the powdered sugar. Add the cool whip and combine thoroughly. Put in the pie shell. Chill for several hours or overnight. Top with fresh fruit or canned pie filling, if desired.
Enjoy!

The finished cheesecake:

picture of Cheesecake

Topped with blueberry pie filling:

picture of Blueberry Cheesecake

Becka

Zucchini Garden Chowder


Got more zucchini?

I bought some at a good price while we were up in the mountains last week and wished I had bought more as I contemplated all my favorite zucchini recipes. A number of years ago when I was recuperating from surgery a friend made me this soup. Rob and I both like soups and this is one of our favorites. I have never made it from frozen zucchini, but I think that would work as long as it was well drained.

Zucchini Garden Chowder

2 medium zucchini, shredded or thinly sliced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 Tbsps. oil
2 Tbsps. flour
dash pepper
1 tsp. sugar
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. chicken soup base
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated skim milk
1 can corn, drained (can use frozen)
2 cups shredded yellow cheese
Fresh parsley for garnish, if desired

In a large soup kettle heat oil and saute zucchini and onion until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour, pepper, Italian Seasoning, and sugar. Gradually stir in water, chicken soup base, tomatoes, and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 mins. Add evaporated milk and then heat another minute before stirring in the cheese. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Makes 8-10 servings or about 2 1/2 quarts.

Here's a picture of the shredded zucchini:

picture of Shredded Zucchini

This is what the finished chowder looks like. A picture of soup does not always convey how delicious it actually is. This one is quite tasty.

picture of Zucchini Chowder

Becka

A favorite fall treat


Someone in our house is having a birthday this week (on the 30th) and has requested apple dumplings rather than a birthday cake. Several years ago I found this recipe and it has become a family favorite. Let me tell you a little story.

I first came to know the Lord while I was in high school through the witness of a friend from school. Soon after I was saved I met a woman, Norma, from my church who was about my mother's age. I came to find out that Norma and my mother had known each other many years earlier when they had worked together in a munitions plant during WWII. My mother had even been a bridesmaid in Norma's wedding. In the intervening years Norma had come to know the Lord and started attending the little church that I attended.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Norma and my mom became reacquainted and Norma very faithfully ministered to my mom and witnessed to her over the years until one day mom professed her faith and trust in the Lord as her personal saviour too. Norma did not have an easy life as her husband was not a believer and was very unkind to her. In spite of her own trials Norma was a faithful witness and the Lord used her greatly to bless my life.

Often when I was home from college Norma would invite Mom and me over for a meal. It was at one of these meals that I first tasted apple dumplings. Norma's dumplings were absolutely delicious! From the first time I ate them I hoped that she would serve them every time we would visit.

Being the diligent home economics student that I was I also asked her how she made them. She gave me some very sketchy directions which I eventually tried, but my dumplings were nothing like Norma's.

After Rob and I were married I continued my quest for a good dumpling recipe and finally found success when I found this recipe in the book Hospitality with Confidence by Grace Pittman. It is a book that I used for several years in teaching a class on Christian hospitality.

picture of Hospitality With Confidence

These dumplings are very rich, so save them for a special treat. Grace has aptly named them:

World's Greatest Apple Dumplings
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients above in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 3 minutes. Set aside.

6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking powder
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the shortening as if you were making biscuits. Stir in the milk to make a soft dough. Roll out to 1/4" thickness. (For 6 dumplings I roll it out to a 15" x 10" rectangle. For 12 dumplings 16" x 12".) Cut the dough into the number of squares desired. Place apple slices in each square. Fold the corners in to make an envelope shape. Don't worry if these look messy. Place the filled dumplings in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Pour the syrup over the dumplings making sure every bit of the dough is moistened by the syrup. You might want to use a spoon as you do this. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with cream, whipped cream, or ice cream. You can reheat any leftovers.

Here are the raw dumplings being spooned with syrup:

picture of SpooningSyrup

Here are the baked dumplings, right out of the oven:

picture of Baked Dumplings

Here is a dumpling topped with ice cream, ready to be enjoyed:

picture of Dumpling with Ice Cream

These are delectable and I hope you will try them sometime. It's amazing that such simple ingredients can be combined to make such a delicious dish. It's also amazing that that a simple friendship can change the course of a life for all eternity.

Becka

P.S. Here is a picture of my faithful assistant blogger, Adelaide. She hops up beside me on the desk whenever I am at the computer.

picture of Wanda Simone

A belated Christmas gift


Sometime last year I saw a picture of this shawl and found the directions for making it. I asked Rob if he would make it for me for Christmas. He agreed to do so and has been working on it ever since. We picked out the yarn together and he began working on it. He started at the narrow end, so each row became progressively longer. I especially like the picot edging. He finished it recently, so now I am all set to hunker down in my warm shawl on chilly fall and winter days.

picture of Shawl

Becka

A good apple cake recipe


We love apples here at our house. I always start getting excited about driving up to NC to look for apples about mid-August. Not many of the apple barns are open that early, but you can usually find some. We like to eat the apples raw, in salads, and in a variety of desserts. We generally buy more than we actually need and when they start to shrivel I make applesauce. One of my first blog posts was about canning applesauce. I get carried away when I find apples for $10 a bushel and just can't resist buying them.

I saw a recipe for an Upside Down Apple Cake recently and it sounded really good to me. That recipe had quite a bit of butter in it, so I did a little research and found one that was a bit more reasonable. I tried it this week and it made a very attractive and delicious cake. We ate ours with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Here's the link - http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/apple_upside_down_cake I wish I could have baked one for DD Megan who is celebrating her birthday today. Maybe I can make her a belated cake when I visit next month.

If you enjoy cooking you should peruse the Simply Recipes site. I have tried several of the recipes there and have enjoyed them. Her site is very well organized and there is a picture of each recipe.

Some tips about the cake recipe: I cooked the apples in the caramel sauce until the caramel was reduced quite a bit. It had small bubbles throughout. The time probably depends a great deal on how juicy your apples are.The apples I used were called Honey Crisp. I also recommend putting the cake pan on a baking sheet. My pan was pretty full with the apples and the cake batter. It didn't run over in the oven, but a drop of caramel did bubble out. I was a bit concerned about the cornmeal in the cake batter, but you wouldn't know it was there unless someone told you.

picture of Upside Down Apple Cake

Do you have any favorite apple memories or recipes?

Becka