Monday, July 3, 2023

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies


This is a down-home, just right, sort of cookie. The recipe comes from the Women of the Farm Bureau 25 Years cookbook. Great for packing in a picnic lunch or for taking to a potluck this summer. Happy 4th of July! For more potluck ideas for The Glorious 4th, click here,

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. quick cooking rolled oats
2 c. flaked coconut

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda together.  Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add flour mixture in 4 parts, beating just until smooth after each addition. Stir in rolled oats and coconut. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. If desired, you can sprinkle with more coconut. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10 min. Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

Notes: I didn't sprinkle with extra coconut.


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Small Batch Preserving


I arrived home from our family reunion to find that the produce in my fridge needed some attention. We all have times when what we purchased at the grocery store begins to languish and the plan for it being eaten has changed.  This week we are unexpectedly down a few family members to help eat the fresh produce, so rather than have it spoil, I spent a few minutes to process it.

It really was a few minutes.  I had a head of cauliflower, a 1/2 pound of bacon, a bunch of asparagus and a red pepper to process. With just a little effort, all of those things are in my freezer, saved for another day's use. We always think of canning, drying or freezing when the harvest is on and the abundance flows in, but this can be done throughout the year. If you try it, you will be surprised at how easy it is.

To freeze the cauliflower and the asparagus (and most other vegetables), you need to blanch it.  Set a pot of water boiling while you wash and  cut your veggies, then pop them into the boiling water for a minute or two. You are not cooking it, you blanch to kill bacteria that deteriorate your produce while in the freezer. After the couple of minutes are up, you plunge the veggies into a cold water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain well, pack into freezer bags, label and freeze. I used my saucepan for this, since it was such a small batch. (When I have large batches--although it sounds kooky--my favorite tool for blanching is my wok; with the large surface area you can get a lot of peaches or tomatoes done quickly.) Different vegetables are blanched for different amounts of time. There are online tables for blanching times, or you can refer to a Ball Blue Book.

To freeze the bacon, Brown and drain on a paper towel, let it cool, then crumble and put it into a freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air. It is super handy having cooked bacon in the freezer! This same method is used for most meats. You can read more on this here.

To freeze the pepper: Wash, slice, put them in a freezer bag and place in the freezer. Peppers and onions don't need blanching before freezing. I slice mine for ease of use. It allows me to take out the amount I want, and further dicing is really easy when they are frozen, you can even break them into cubes for cooking. Use these from a frozen state.

General guidelines: berries can be frozen like the pepper, wash and freeze. Here is a how-to for freezing zucchini and one for winter squash. There are a some other small batch preservation recipes on the blog, here are a few: 

Refrigerator PicklesFreezing Tomato PasteFamily Spaghetti

Once you start thinking this way, you could even have a double-preserve situation, like stashing a bag of cranberries in the freezer, and later using them to make Cranberry Orange Butter! So smart and yummy!


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Orange Chocolate Chip Scones


Growing up in the west, scones were a fried bread affair, but as an adult, I've found several English type scones that I love as well. These are a scrumptious way to start any day! Orange and chocolate are a yummy pairing, but you could also substitute dried cranberries for the chocolate chips to enjoy a different experience. 

Orange Chocolate Chip Scones
3 c. flour (you can use part white, part wheat)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. orange zest
1/2 c. cold butter or margarine, cut into pieces
3/4 c. chocolate chips
3/4 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients in a bowl.  Add pieces of butter and cut in with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Stir in chocolate chips, add buttermilk; stir until evenly moistened.  Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead about 10 turns. Divide in 1/2, and form 2 6-inch rounds, placing them on a greased baking sheet. Using a knife, cut through the dough forming 6 wedges. Do not separate them. Bake in preheated oven for 20 min. until golden brown. Remove from oven and glaze while warm. Dust with additional powdered sugar if desired.

1 c. powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. orange juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix together until smooth, adding orange juice to desired consistency. Drizzle over scones.

Notes: These puff up quite a bit, so make sure they have space to do that on your baking sheet. 

Some of my favorite fried scone recipes are also on this blog, you can find them at these links: Ever-ready Scones; Quick Scones and Sour Dough Quick Scones.


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Oven Tin Foil Dinner


I enjoy tin-foil dinners when I'm out camping; but I don't camp all that often, so this is one you can make at home any time of year. It isn't seasoned with the fire smoke, but it's pretty good.

Oven Tin Foil Dinner

7 potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin
1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and chunked
1 lb. ground beef
onion powder
garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 tsp. beef bouillon powder

Spray a 9x13 with cooking spray and layer sliced potatoes, onions and carrots. Crumble beef over the top, sprinkle with all seasonings. (You can stir it if you like to distribute everything, or leave it in layers.) Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with ketchup.

Notes: While living in Michigan, some friends we met spoon cream of mushroom soup over their tin foil dinners before cooking. I think you can assemble whatever ingredients you like, then bake as directed.


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Diane's Potato Salad


Spring and sunshine always put me in the mood for potato salad. I'm an Idaho girl, my seasons can all revolve around potatoes; I'm fine with that.  I have my own potato salad recipe packed with dill pickles, but I have met many fine potato salads that make me happy.  This is one of them. My sister-in-law, Diane makes this one, and so did her mom, and maybe her grandma...a family heirloom that is so yummy! Made with red potatoes and eggs, with sour cream in the dressing, I think you will enjoy it too.

Diane's Potato Salad
12 medium red potatoes, diced and cooked 
1 c. diced onion
1 c. chopped parsley (can substitute 1/2 c. dried parsley)
6 hardboiled eggs, diced

1 1/2 c. Mayonnaise
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. vinegar
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 1/2 tsp. salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together dressing ingredients, then pour over potatoes and gently stir all together.  Refrigerate until serving.

Notes: This makes a big salad for sharing, perfect for a family gathering or potluck.


Sunday, March 26, 2023

Rocky Mountain Apple Bread

Happily apples store well and this quick bread can be made even in the spring. I love the flavor of this with the loaded goodness of the walnuts and raisins. The recipe is from an old Sunset Breads cookbook.

Rocky Mountain Apple Bread

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped; use tart apples
1 c. raisins (I use 1/2 c. each raisins and dried cranberries)
1 c. walnuts, chopped

Beat eggs, sugar, buttermilk, mayonnaise, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.  Add flour, salt, soda, baking powder and cinnamon and stir until just mixed. Add apples, raisins and walnuts and stir to combine. Spread batter into 2 greased 9x5 loaf pans. Bake in a 375 degree oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 min. Let cool in pans for 10 min., then turn out to finish cooling on a rack. Makes 2 loaves.

Notes: Only use real mayonnaise, not salad dressing for this, also low fat mayo breaks down in the oven and shouldn't be used. You can use this trick for getting quick breads out of the pan nicely. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Super Soft Peanut Butter Cookies


I was travelling with my husband last summer from Bozeman to Salt Lake. Since our road took us right past my daughter's home, we arranged to make a quick stop there. She put one of these warm, perfect cookies into my hand as we were driving away; making it a very pleasant trip indeed. If you are a peanut butter fan (like me) this is the best homemade peanut butter cookie I have come across. 

Super Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar

Cream together, then add:
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Stir in:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Drop onto greased baking sheet; flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 min. Take them out while still doughy looking. Cool, store in an airtight container.

Variation: decrease flour to 1 c. add 1 c. oats and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Yummy and hearty.

Notes: I haven't tried the variation yet.



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If you are visiting, welcome! I am in the process of a Vulcan Mind Meld with my computer to put all of my right hand recipes for feeding my family on here as fast as possible. Please come back often and stay awhile. There are so many exciting things to come!

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A clearing house for all my favorite recipes. All my food musings. All my favorite cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. If you enjoy it here, and find it useful, welcome!