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Sunday dinner insurance

Have you ever rushed out of the house on a Sunday morning without putting your casserole in the oven or turning on your crockpot? Or, have you sat there during the church service wondering if you had turned the oven or crockpot on? Unfortunately, I have done both.

I am going to show you my foolproof method for reminding yourself to turn on the oven or crockpot before you leave the house. My family teases me for doing this, but it really does work. Are you ready for this foolproof tip? Here it is:

picture of chair

Just put a chair in front of the door that you normally walk out of when you leave the house. When you have to move the chair it will remind you to check the oven or crockpot. It works for me!

Check out other kitchen tips at Tammy's Recipes each Tuesday.


My favorite muffins

Believe it or not, this is what we saw outside our window early Sunday morning. It was pretty well gone by the time church was over and then this afternoon turned out to be beautiful and sunny. It was quite a day of contrasting weather.

picture of snow

You probably do not know that every Sunday morning my DH, IV man, bakes something for our breakfast. Rob was a baker all four years while he was in college, so he has plenty of baking experience.

One of my favorite things that he bakes are these apricot muffins. I found the recipe at a site for recipes from Bed and Breakfasts several years ago. You can find the recipe here

Don't leave the orange rind out - it really adds great flavor to the muffins. We like to grate the rind off of each orange we eat and keep it in the freezer for the next batch of muffins.

picture of Orange rind

Rob does not generally soak the apricots in the boiling water if they are soft to begin with. If the apricots you are using are sort of dried out, you might want to soak them, but otherwise it's not really necessary. He just snips them into pieces with scissors.

picture of snipping apricots

He also usually makes 18 muffins from this amount of batter rather than just twelve like the recipe states. Here he is using Pan spread to grease the muffin tin.

picture of greasing pan

I hope that you will give them a try when you want something really good for breakfast. Here's a picture of the finished muffins.

picture of Apricot muffins

How about you - do any of the men in your family do any cooking or baking?

Easy Winter Fruit Salad

Sometimes you just need a little something to round out a meal. This salad is one of my favorites for fall and winter when there aren't a lot of good fruits available for a pretty fruit salad.

picture of fruit salad

Winter Fruit Salad
2 medium red apples (my favorite is Gala)
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup vanilla yogurt

Core and chop apples into bite-size pieces. Combine with the grapes, mandarin oranges, and yogurt. Stir gently. Makes 5-6 servings.

All the amounts are approximate. Just use what you have. If I'm serving this on Sunday I often prepare the grapes and oranges ahead of time and then add the apple and yogurt just before the meal. Leftovers do hold up pretty well for a day or two - just stir to recombine the yogurt.



Have you heard of Spry?

I'm not asking if you are spry.

picture of Spry cookbooks

Spry was a brand of shortening that is no longer sold, but I do remember my mom using it when I was a child. I'm pretty sure that one of these little booklets was hers and I purchased the other one at an estate sale. I love to find these old recipe booklets.

I got an idea from one of these booklets to make this pan spread years and years ago. It is something that I keep on hand and that we use all the time. Pan spread is the fore-runner of pan spray that most of us use in some form or another today. Pan spread is used to grease and flour baking pans all in one step.

picture of pan spread

To make pan spread all you have to do is mix together equal amounts of vegetable oil, solid shortening (such as Crisco), and flour. I generally use 1/2 cup of each. I mix it up in my mixer to get it nice and smooth, but you could use a wire whisk if you desire. I usually mix up a batch right before I bake a cake or something and then just scrape out the bowl and reuse it to mix the cake. I store the pan spread in this little Tupperware container in the refrigerator where it waits all ready for the next time I need it. It works great for any baked product that you would normally grease and flour the pan before adding the batter. I use the commercial sprays for other things when the pan just needs greasing.

Don't you just love the little label that DH made me with his label maker?

By the way, did you know that shortening got its name because it "shortens" gluten strands in baking and helps tenderize cakes and quick breads?

This is one of my favorite kitchen tips. You can find more tips like this on Tuesdays over at Tammy's Recipes.


A Look at Another Book

Not much cooking went on around our house this weekend since Rob and I were at our churches' annual deacons' retreat up at the Wilds Christian Camp in Rosman, NC. We did eat very well while we were up there, however. The Staff did their very best to see that no one languished from hunger.

At the retreat we had two general sessions and two sessions geared toward the ladies to encourage us in our role as wife of a deacon. The meetings were excellent and I think we all came away encouraged to do more to meet the needs of others in our church.

Since I don't have a new recipe to share, I thought I would do a post about another one of my new books, Mice on Main. It's the little skinny book on the top of the stack that I forgot to turn so you could read the spine. (Bear with me - I'm new to this!) Here's a picture of the book:

picture of Mice on Main book

This one is a children's book that I got from my son Mark and his wife Katie. I had mentioned this fall that I would have to get the book sometime to have on hand for when our grandson, Drew, is a bit older. So, thanks to them I am all set. Here's a picture of Mark and Katie from this Christmas:

picture of Mark and Katie

The book tells about the nine bronze mice which inhabit Main Street here in Greenville. Here is a picture of all nine of them:

picture of nine mice on Main

The city has written out directions that are available in many locations so that you can have a scavenger hunt up and down Main Street trying to find them. It's a fun activity and I would encourage any of you to try it sometime.

I will close with a quotation from our retreat:

The crown of the home is Godliness.
The beauty of the home is order.
The glory of the home is hospitality.
The blessing of the home is contentment.