8 Christmas Cookie/Candy Gift Recipes

 

Cookie lead photo

A memorable Christmas tradition in our family is to bring goodies to the homes of hurting people on Christmas Eve. Notice I didn’t say our favorite Christmas tradition but a memorable one. The kids didn’t actually like this tradition when they were little. Just this week I got a call from one of our grown daughters, Hannah and she said even though it wasn’t one of her favorite traditions as a child, it is as an adult. She wants to carry the tradition on in her family. Throughout the year we would make a mental note of those who had lost loved ones, endured cancer, lost their jobs or husbands. Then on Christmas Eve we would deliver goodies to their homes and pray for them.

I’ll never forget one year in particular. We went into the home of a family who had lost their only teenage son. We didn’t call before we came. it was a surprise visit. The dad was drunk and he wasn’t a drinker.  The mom was crying.  The kids were sitting by the Christmas tree with no gifts. Sadness consumed the house. We gathered them into a circle, held hands and prayed. They didn’t want us to leave, we brought not just food- but the joy of the Lord. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Bringing good tidings of great joy to the poor and brokenhearted; Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and open prison to those who are bound…To comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  We are His ambassadors carrying His anointing to the lost and hurting ones, He loves. Let’s be His hands and feet and bring joy where there is none.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes  to make for your goodie deliveries.

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Prepare your goodie containers. Save oatmeal, cocoa and coffee canisters throughout year. Wrap cans with paper you’ve saved  and have fun decorating with supplies on hand. The point is to spend the least amount of money and make it look better than anything you could buy.

Soft Baked Oreo Cookies

Soft Baked Oreo Cookies-GF

1 box of chocolate cake mix (we used a gluten free mix, any cake mix works)

1/3 cup water (depending on how many ounces the mix -you may need as much as ¾ cup)

3 tablespoons shortening or butter, softened

Mix all ingredients. It will be a little dry. If you can’t form it into a ball, you need more water. Add extra slowly. Dust the counter with a little cocoa powder, roll out dough and use cookie cutter to form circles.  If your dough is too sticky, form into silver dollar size patties by hand and flatten.

Bake on greased baking sheet for 6 minutes on 325 degrees.

Filling

3 ½ cups powdered sugar (organic)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup shortening or butter

3 tablespoons hot water

Mix well. After cookies have cooled squish a heaping wallop of frosting between two cookies! YUM

 

Candied Oranges

Candied Orange

6 thick sliced organic oranges (non-organic orange peel shouldn’t be eaten, chemicals are heavy)

4 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

Wash oranges. Quarter and peel the skin and pith off. Slice peel into thin strips. Put orange peel into a pot of cold water, bring to boil over high heat. Pour water off and repeat 1-2 more times. This helps take  bitterness away. Remove orange peels from water.

Empty pot and now add your sugar and 1 ½ cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes, bringing the temperature up slowly to 234. Add the peels and simmer for 40 minutes. DON’T stir, it can make sugar crystals in your syrup. Drain the peels and roll in a little sugar if you desire. Let sit for several hours.

I actually used fermented oranges on one batch- OH MY GOODNESS—it was better than anything I’ve ever eaten. The oranges were soft inside and the outside was hardened candy. It was like eating heaven.

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Maple Walnut Fudge

2 cups organic brown sugar (all sugar not organic is genetically modified)

5 ounces whole milk (I used raw goat milk for my lactose sensitive family)

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups organic powdered sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (don’t use artificial, it cheats you of perfection)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Butter a 9×9 inch square pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat sugar, milk, butter and maple syrup. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Take off heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour into mixing bowl and beat on medium until thick—about 3 minutes. Fold in nuts and pour into greased pan.

Let cool overnight. Slice into 1-inch squares.

 

Pecan Toffee

Pecan Toffee- GF Not hard but a soft crunch- YUM

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

1 cup butter (don’t use margarine)

1 cup organic sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup or maple syrup (if you can’t find organic corn syrup use maple syrup)

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup crushed toasted pecans

Line a 9 X 13ish baking pan with foil and grease. Sprinkle ½ cup chopped nuts into bottom of pan evenly. In pot add butter, sugar and corn syrup or maple syrup. Cook over medium high heat to boiling.

Clip a candy thermometer onto side of pot. Cook and stir over medium heat. Stop stirring after sugar melts.  Cook until candy thermometer reaches 290 degree. Watch carefully, it can burn after 280. If it starts to turn too dark after 280 turn off heat. Pour mixture evenly over chopped nuts in greased pan.

Let stand for a few minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top. Let melt on top for a couple of minutes.  Spread chocolate over whole mixture. Sprinkle crushed nuts on top. Cool, when firm lift out of pan and break into pieces. Store in tightly covered container.

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Banana Bread Muffins- GF

1 ¾ cups self-rising flour (I use GF Pamela’s Baking Mix or dairy free Cherry

1 cup mashed bananas

½ cup milk ( you can substitute with yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup butter

1 cup organic sugar

2 eggs

1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

If you use non-self-rising flour you’ll need 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda and ¾ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients. Pour into muffin pan or loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees  for 25 minutes.

Muffin topping

½ cup sugar

½ finely chopping nuts

4 tablespoons melted butter

Mix sugar and nuts together in a bowl. Melted butter in another small bowl.

Dip cooled muffin top into melted butter, then dip into sugar and nut mixture.

Enjoy!

 Flourless Decadent Brownie- GF

24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (dairy free if you’re lactose intolerant)

1 ½ sticks butter

5 beaten eggs

½ cup organic sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

1 cup pecans

Melt chocolate chips and butter in bowl and stir. Add all other ingredients and pour into 9X9 pan. Bake on 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until done.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

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No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

½ cup butter

2 cups organic sugar

½ cup milk (lactose sensitive people most often can tolerate goat milk)

1/8 tsp salt

3 cups quick cooking oats

½ cup crunch peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, sugar, milk and salt in pot. Stir and bring to rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Stir in oatmeal, peanut butter and vanilla.

Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Work quickly it will start to harden!

Homemade Marshmallows dipped in chocolate are GREAT to giveaway.

Blondie’s -Gluten free and DELICIOUS!

Caramel Pecan Pie Cake muffins

FlourlessPeanut Butter Chocolate Chip- Gluten Free and Dairy Free

How to Cook a Perfect Turkey

 

Turkey was locally raised organic 30 pounder

Turkey was locally raised organic 30 pounder-Whiffletree Farm

Cooking a perfect turkey is simple if you follow all the steps below. Every step from thawing, brining, long slow roast to letting it rest is critical for perfection! The turkey will fall off the bones when you take it out of the oven! We had to prop the legs up for the photo because it fell apart.

1. What size turkey should you buy: How many people are you feeding? The general rule is one pound per person. This gives enough for leftovers.

2. How to thaw a turkey– Keep in the original packaging.  The guidelines for refrigerator thawing are as follows;

Turkey Weight Thawing Time
Up to 12 lbs 1-3 days
12 to 16 lbs 3-4 days
16 to 20 lbs 4-5 days
20 to 24 lbs 5-6 days

DON’T thaw on the counter, in water or in the microwave- you don’t want food poisoning.

3. If you want the turkey succulent follow my directions on how to   Brine a Turkey. Brining a turkey makes a huge taste difference and tenderizes it. Take the turkey out of the original packaging for the last day and a half of thawing time and put into the brine. The brine actually helps to thaw it.

4. Rinse brine off turkey, pat dry and put into your roasting pan.  Add three peeled carrots and 2 medium quartered onions to the bottom of the pan for added flavor. Cover well with aluminum foil. Tuck the foil around rim tightly, this locks in moisture. Do all of this the night before  your turkey meal. When I go to bed I set my oven for 325 degrees so that it will be ready when I get up in middle of the night (3:AM).

5. Turkey baking time: Take upper racks out of oven. Preheat oven to  325 degrees F.

Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
Hours
6 to 8 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 to 6-1/2 hours
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
Hours
6 to 8 pounds 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours

6. At 7:AM I turned the temperature down to 300 degrees.  Take foil off turkey when you get up and baste with butter. Put foil back on and every hour after take off and baste with  more with butter. Make sure you have a meat thermometer, insert it into the thigh not touching bone.  When the internal temperature of the turkey is 165 degrees take foil off and turn the temperature up to brown the skin. This only took 15 min’s- I turned it up to 450 for speed. Don’t go do something else, keep your eye on the bird.  You’ve spent too much time on it to dry it out!  After it is beautifully brown turn the oven temperature down to 250 degrees and let it rest in the oven to reabsorb any moisture it lost by puncturing it with the thermometer. 30 min’s to 1 hour before serving turn heat completely off. Continue basting turkey for moisture.

7. The turkey will fall apart. You won’t get beautiful photo’s because it’s falling apart.

8. To make gravy -pour turkey drippings into a skillet and turn up heat. Whisk flour of your choice  in and add water as needed. If you brined the turkey you WONT need salt. It is perfectly salted already. Enjoy!!

The pan wasn't big enough but we still used it! Aluminum foil kept it secure and sealed tight.

The pan wasn’t big enough but we still used it! Aluminum foil kept it secure and sealed tight

 

Marshmallow Fruit Salad- GF

Marshmallow Fruit Salad-No photo can capture the taste!!

Marshmallow Fruit Salad-No photo can capture the taste!!

Some recipes are so special that you use them only at  holidays and special occasions–this Marshmallow Fruit Salad  is one of those recipes! It’s a labor of love that’ll be passed down for generations. Serves 40 people-6 0z each or 20 people with leftovers for the next day.

Use organic ingredients when possible for longevity of your life.

2 cups of cooked Arborio rice

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour (I use GF)

½ tsp. salt

3 egg yolks- beaten

1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple

2 15 ounce cans mandarin oranges

1 ¾ cup of juice from pineapple and mandarin orange’s

7 cups homemade marshmallows -Homemade makes a huge difference, but you can use store bought. I actually wouldn’t make this without homemade marshmallows. It’s what makes it special.

2 ½ cups Truwhip (homemade whipped cream is the ultimate ingredient but lactose intolerant people can’t eat it. Most tolerate Truwhip which is 70% organic w/ trace amount of sodium caseinate. Cool Whip is genetically modified- don’t use it)

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Only use Arborio rice for this recipe.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, juice from fruit- stir well and cook on medium until thick. Stir into cooked rice. Refrigerate overnight- to absorb all the goodness into rice.
  3.  Next day, stir into rice mixture; Truwhip, marshmallows, pineapple and mandarin oranges. Mix well.
  4. I make this for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
    While rice is cooking make fruit dressing in skillet--fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and flour- cook till slightly thick

    While rice is cooking make fruit dressing in skillet–fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and flour- cook till slightly thick

    Thickened

    Thickened

    Add to cooked rice, stir- refrigerate over night so rice absorbs all the yumminess

    Add to cooked rice, stir- refrigerate over night so rice absorbs all the yumminess

    Stir into rice mixture- marshmallows, Truwhip and fruit

    Stir into rice mixture- marshmallows, Truwhip and fruit

    Marshmallow Fruit Salad- refrigerate until ready to serve

    Marshmallow Fruit Salad- refrigerate until ready to serve

     

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/Crumbled Bacon Dressing- GF

Gnocchi with fresh salad and garlic infused pork

Gnocchi with fresh salad and garlic infused pork

This is DELICIOUS!

3 organic potatoes (yellow or white)

1 large sweet potato

1 cup flour (I used gluten-free  baking mix)

3 egg yolks

1 tsp salt (my gluten-free mix had salt so omit if yours has salt)

1/2 cup butter- room temperature

1/2 cup olive oil

2-3 slices bacon- fried crisp (save grease)

2 small shallots-diced

1 cup chicken stock

6 large sage leaves- chopped

1/3 cup crushed walnuts (more or less to taste)

1/4 cup of fresh parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Bake potatoes 400 degrees 60 minutes. Take skin off and mash in large bowl.

2. Add 1/4 cup butter, flour, egg yolks and salt and mix well.

3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

4. Roll dough into balls. If you’re using gluten-free flour like I did, good luck–it’s really sticky. Other flours make perfect little balls, not so with gluten-free. Keep flour on your hands as your roll into balls. You’ll have to continue added flour in your hands the whole time. The dough is sticky. After you have 15 balls rolled, gently submerge into boiling water. Boil for 4 minutes or until they float to top and seem somewhat firm. With slotted spoon take each one out individually. Set on a plate. Roll you next set. This is a little time-consuming.

5. Fry bacon- set bacon aside. Keep  grease in  pan, fry chopped shallots in the grease. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil. Turn the heat up to high. Add chicken broth. Reduce to one-third. Add 1/4 cup butter and chopped fresh sage.

6. Empty into a bowl and set aside.

7. Wipe frying pan clean. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil to medium high in pan. Once high add the gnocchi. Don’t let them touch each other. Fry until brown on the bottom then flip. Fry until brown on that side then take out. Fry your next batch until all gnocchi are fried.

8. Put all fried gnocchi back into hot pan. Add reduced chicken broth. Stir lightly and then top with crushed walnuts and fresh parmesan cheese. YUM!

Serve with fresh salad and garlic infused pork or chicken.

Gluten free dough is sticky

Gluten- free dough is sticky

Form into balls and boil in salted water until they float

Form into balls and boil in salted water until they float

Frying pan-- frying shallots in bacon grease

Frying pan– frying shallots in bacon grease

Frying gnocchi on medium high until brown on each side

Frying gnocchi on medium high until brown on each side

Gnocchi_5_890x1186

 

Chicken & Dumpling Casserole- (Gluten Free)

drying flowers, hannah's house, chicken casserole, gnoii 132Chicken & Dumpling Casserole

1 chicken

1 onion

3 carrots

water and salt

Dumplings

2 cups of self-rising flour (I use gluten free baking mix)

¼ cup butter, melted (more is always better)

¼ lb cheddar cheese, shredded

2/3 cup buttermilk ( you can substitute w/ homemade plain yogurt)

2 eggs, beaten

  1. Cook chicken in water with 1 diced onion, three chopped carrots and salt to taste.  Cook for 2-6 hours depending on how tender you want or how long you have. Take chicken out of broth, take skin off and debone. Shred chicken. Save carrots.
  2. Mix all ingredients for dumplings and set aside.
  3. Grease 9 X 13 baking dish. Evenly distribute shredded chicken and saved carrots into dish. Pour 2 ½ cups of chicken broth on top. Add salt to taste. Pour dumpling mixture on top in mounds and  spread evenly.
  4. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 min’s or until dumplings are fully baked on top.
  5. To freeze: Bake, let cool and wrap tightly- put in freezer. Let thaw and reheat on low heat. Sometimes I freeze it unbaked. If you do that, let it thaw and then bake 40 min’s are until done.

How to Make and Can Pear Butter

Sharon’s Pear Butter( I double the recipe)

We have an abundance of pears on our property. We just found another tree drooping with pears a couple of weeks ago in our field. Some people are allergic to apples so pears are a great way to enjoy the same recipes with a fruit similar. I would recommend using apple cider in this recipe if your family members can have apples. I posted how to make your own pear cider in here.

10 cups chopped pears (approximately 5lbs)

2 cups pear cider (you can use apple)

3 cups sugar (you can make it without sugar)

1 tsp ground gloves

1/2 tsp allspice

3 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Wash, peel,core and quarter pears. You don’t have to peel the pears if they’re blemish free.

2.Cook pears in cider and sugar until done, 20 min’s on high.

3. Pour pears in small quantity into blender and puree.

4. After all pears are pureed put spices in and stir

5. Pour into a pan and cook in oven on 350 degrees for at least 7 hours. It becomes thick and rich the longer it cooks.

Don’t use iron pans, it turns the pear butter a dark color and takes on the taste of iron. I learned this the hard way. Glass, stainless steel or ceramic are good choices. Test for desired thickness by spooning a drop of pear butter on cold plate. If no liquid oozes around edges, it is ready.

6. Ladle into sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

7. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Yeilds 5 pints

 

Retro Mint Patties

Retro Mint Patties

Retro Mint Patties

The most requested recipe from our  vintage barn wedding last month? The mint patties! They were a HUGE hit, here is the recipe!

RETRO MINT PATTIES

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 4 cups  confectionery sugar (organic confectionary sugar doesn’t perform as well in color but  non organic is genetically modified)
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 4 tablespoons milk ( I use raw with full cream top)
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil (don’t use imitation flavoring PLEASE)
  • 1 tsp pure organic vanilla extract (the better quality you use the better tasting it is)

mint_line

Coating:

  • 1 lb  white chocolate, chopped (the better the quality the better the taste)
  • soft gel paste colors ( for weddings and showers I use regular food dye. For all other occasions I use all natural dyes. The photo is representing the regular food colors)

 

Instructions for the Filling:

  1. If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer now’s the time to pull it out (with paddle attachment)! If you don’t, get your arm muscles ready for a work out.  In mixing bowl combine sugar, butter, milk, peppermint oil and vanilla.
  2. Mix for 2 minutes on medium high. My mixer started to overheat, if that happens turn it off and let it cool down. Don’t burn your motor up.  Cover and chill filling in bowl for about 30 minutes.
  3. After chilled, roll into 1.5″ balls and place on wax  or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand to create a patty. Chill for another 30-60 minutes until firm and remove when your coating is ready.

Instructions for the Coating:

If you have a double boiler- use it. I don’t have one so it makes this recipe more difficult.  In a double boiler, bring water to boil. Once boiling, turn the stove to low and add your chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth. Stir continuously. We borrowed a melting pot for chocolate from a friend, they’re around $20- it helped a lot.

Divide your chocolate into 3 bowls. Add a couple drops of color to each bowl and stir. WORK QUICKLY at this point, once the chocolate is 80 to 84 degrees on a candy thermometer you can begin dipping the mints into chocolate. The chocolate starts to harden in the bowls when the temperature decreases.  Dip patties into chocolate, coat both sides. Set in a cool place but not refrigerator to set. After hardened you can refrigerate. You can make in advance and freeze.  They were WONDERFUL!!

*filling recipe adapted from Joy of Bakingmintjennifer_mint

 

Retro Mint Patties

Retro Mint Patties

The Good Wife Bridal Shower

 Rachael with all her sisters, niece and me at her Good Wife Bridal Shower

Rachael with all her sisters, niece and me at her Good Wife Bridal Shower- Everyone was asked to wear an apron, bring a favorite recipe and piece of wife advice

We had a wonderful bridal shower this past weekend for Rachael(daughter). We had so much fun all together, I wish we could do it every weekend! Every time there’s a wedding or bridal shower I think about how important wedding festivities have been throughout the centuries. Back in Jesus’ time whole towns and villages would celebrate a marriage.  One of Jesus’ first miracles was at a wedding feast–just imagine Jesus coming to your shower or wedding! How powerfully amazing that would be! Isn’t it beautiful that the beginning of His miracles He did at a wedding? He manifested His glory at a party(John 2). . .let’s never forget to bring His glory to every party we attend and everywhere we go.

goodwife_display_poster

Cupcakes made in large cupcake pans with 1/2 pound of frosting on each! A sweetaholic's dream come true!

Cupcakes made in large cupcake pans with 1/2 pound of frosting on each! A sweetaholic’s dream come true! For Party Cupcake recipe click here!

Buckeyes streaked with white glaze and topped with pink frosted rose

Buckeyes streaked with white glaze and topped with pink frosted roses- Brought by sister-in-law Marianne

Homemade cupcakes made in large muffin pan with  1/2 pound of frosting on  each one! A sweetaholic's dream come true!

Homemade cupcakes made in large muffin pan with 1/2 pound of frosting on each one! A sweetaholic’s dream come true! Made by mother of the bride-me

Fresh flowers Hannah got from Trader Joe's and then arranged in tea pots

Fresh flowers Hannah got from Trader Joe’s and then arranged in tea pots

Homemade mint patties under glass dome-made by sister-Jennifer

Homemade mint patties under glass dome-made by sister-Jennifer

Chocolate covered strawberries and fresh flower arrangement- both made by sister, Hannah

Chocolate covered strawberries  made by sister, Hannah

Bridal Shower cookies- made by Grandma Marilyn

Bridal Shower cookies- made by Grandma Marilyn

Truffle cake pops-made by Chris

Truffle cake pops-made by Chris

Vintage tin cans Rachael found at thrift/antique stores

Vintage tin cans Rachael found at thrift/antique stores

 

Antique frosting decorating kit- I've had it for years and still use the kit! The donut maker broke a couple  years ago--I used to make donuts with it.

Antique frosting decorating kit- I’ve had it for years and still use the kit! The donut maker broke a couple years ago–I used to make donuts with it.

Guacamole mountain w/ organic chips, sliced veggies and dip and an organic rice casserole made by sister Heather

Guacamole mountain w/ organic chips, sliced veggies and dip and an organic rice casserole made by sister Heather

On the back table; Grandma Shanaberger's chicken salad sandwiches and Heather's organic party meatballs

On the back table; Grandma Shanaberger’s chicken salad sandwiches and Heather’s organic party meatballs – whoops where did the meatballs go? Punch on the buffet- Made by Mother of the Groom, Barbara Curry. Good Wife Bridal Shower Poster created and printed in our home the night before the shower

Pink and Cream colored truffle cake balls- seriously amazing

Pink and Cream colored truffle cake balls- seriously amazing- made by Chris

Vintage Aprons

Vintage Aprons- Dales great grandma made the one with pink embroiderer on it and his grandma made the yellow one

Game #1- Hannah had 20 kitchen items on her. She walked around the room pretty quickly letting everyone see her then she left and everyone had to write down the items they remembered. Who ever remembered the most won- Dawn won!

Game #1- Hannah had 20 kitchen items on her. She walked around the room pretty quickly letting everyone see her then she left and everyone had to write down the items they remembered. Who ever remembered the most won- Dawn won!

Everyone was asked to bring a recipe and a piece of wife advice

Game #2- Rachael told her and Jonathan’s love story and then everyone was given a piece of paper and asked questions to see who got the most answers correct. Chris won!

recipe card 2                                                                      Everyone was asked to bring a recipe and a piece of good wife advice

Game #3-Bridal Bingo- Everyone was given a bridal bingo sheet and stickers. They had to write items they thought Rachel's gifts would be in each box. Every time one of the things they wrote down was opened they got to put a sticker on it. First person to get a row finished called bingo-winner was Kim!

Game #3-Bridal Bingo- Everyone was given a bridal bingo sheet and stickers. They were asked to write items they thought Rachel’s gifts would be in each box. Every time one of the things they wrote down was opened they got to put a sticker on it. First person to get a row finished called bingo-winner was Kim!

 

 

Grandma Marilyn(dale's mom) and Grandma Shanaberger(my mom) with Rachael

Grandma Marilyn(dale’s mom) and Grandma Shanaberger(my mom) with Rachael

Mother of the groom to be-Barbara and Mother of the bride to be- me

Mother of the groom to be-Barbara and Mother of the bride to be- me

Present opening time

Present opening time

Present opening time!

Present opening time! Ellie is taking notes on who gave what presents

Rachael Glasgow Wedding Shower 4613_img_file (25)Rachael Glasgow Wedding Shower 4613_img_file (115)

Rachael and Bethany have been friends since they were 2 years old- Her mom (Beverly Toves) did  all the photos at the shower!

Rachael and Bethany have been friends since they were 2 years old- Her mom (Beverly Toves) did all the photos at the shower!

 

Rachael Glasgow Wedding Shower 4613_img_file (31)

 

Rachael with cupcake

Party Cupcake recipe here!

Jonathan had been working outside but came in for an appearance

Jonathan had been working outside but came in for an appearance

Eating Weeds for Your Health-Dandelion Fritters & Sautéed Dandelion Greens

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.  3 John 1:2

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
3 John 1:2

I started the week off by making Dandelion Fritters! Yep, with the weeds from our yard.  Dandelions are the most amazing plant ever and just to think people spray killer on them in their yards. Don’t use yours if you’ve sprayed them!! The flowers, the greens and the roots are all medicinal. The flowers  taste a lot like zucchini blossoms, if you’ve ever had those. They’re addicting with your favorite dressing or with honey!

Dandelions are SO good for you; for liver disorders, diabetes, acne, cancer, anemia, for your  bone health, helps in weight loss and the list goes on. . . Read the benefits here! The juice inside the steam of the flower is used for warts, age spots on skin and other skin aliments.  1 cup of dandelion provides vitamin A (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA)! One cup of chopped dandelion greens are  good sources of vitamins B1, B2, B6, vitamin E  and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA)!

Dandelion Fritters

A bunch of cleaned dandelion flowers—only use clean and organic, meaning no pesticides.

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup of cornstarch-organic if possible

¼ cup of flour-(I use GF flour)

½ cup of water

Oil for sauteing

Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix egg, cornstarch, flour, water and salt together. Let sit for 10 min-gets thicker. Then dip dandelion flower’s into the batter. Drop on to hot greased skillet. Cook on medium high for 3-4 minutes and flip. Flatten down with spatula and cook for another 3-4 minutes until slightly browned and becomes soft inside.

Dandelion Greens w/ Walnuts and Blue Cheese- (The greens are on the bitter side. Go easy when you first start eating and build up your amount- they are a powerhouse)

Bunch of washed Dandelion greens- in the spring time they are the best, tender— I use all summer

2-3 garlic cloves minced

¼ cup of olive oil or grape seed oil, plus 2 tablespoons

Balsamic vinegar spray

4 ounce crumbled blue cheese—I used my homemade goat feta

Chopped walnuts

Chopped dates

In skillet, saute garlic in a tablespoon of oil. Add dandelion greens and additional 2 tablespoons of oil, cook until they wilt- just a minute or so. Transfer to serving dish. Spray balsamic vinegar over the greens, sprinkle with chopped nuts, blue cheese, chopped dates and salt if you want.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2

One of many dandelion plants

One of our many dandelion plants

 

 Dip dandelions into batter and then onto a very hot greased skillet. Fry for 3-4 minutes on medium high then flip and flatten just a little with spaula

Dip dandelions into batter and then onto a very hot greased skillet. Fry for 3-4 minutes on medium high then flip and flatten just a little with

spatula

 Flipped and flattened

Flipped and flattened

YUMMY Dandelion Fritters!! dip in your favorite sauce (mine was curds with garlic and seasonings) or honey. HONEY is DELICIOUS with it!

YUMMY Dandelion Fritters!! dip in your favorite sauce (mine was curds with garlic and seasonings) or honey. HONEY is DELICIOUS with it!

caley,easter, wedding invitations, dandelion recipe 064

Saute with garlic in oil

Saute with garlic in oil

Yummy and healthy

Yummy and healthy

Dandelion Blossom Syrup

Dandelion Blossom Syrup

Easter with family!

Coconut Cream Cake

 

Coconut Cream Cake

Coconut Cream Cake

My mom makes the best fresh coconut cake you’ve ever eaten in your life. She buys a  fresh coconut, uses the milk inside it and shreds up her own coconut. I could  eat the entire cake all by myself. She’ll be shocked that I used organic dry coconut out of a bag, but I didn’t have time to go get the real deal.

Any time you use fresh coconut, you can’t lose. It’s amazing. If you use fresh in this recipe, don’t toast the coconut. The moisture from the fresh is delectable so keep it that way.

Yellow Cake

2 3/4 cups self-rising flour (I use Gluten free flour)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar (organic if possible)

4 large eggs, beaten

1 cup coconut milk- I used organic coconut milk in a can, but if you use fresh it will be yummy!

1 tsp vanilla extract (organic if possible)

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for 1 minute. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Spoon batter into two greased and floured pans 3/4 full.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until done. Watch it! Let cakes cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate.

Coconut Cream filling

1/2 cup of organic corn starch

1 1/2 cups sugar, organic if possible

4 cups milk- use goat milk for lactose sensitive

6 Tb. butter

4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup of shredded coconut- I used organic dry in bag, but freshly grated coconut is divine!

Mix  starch and sugar into milk, stir until everything is dissolved. Add butter, cook for five minutes. Slightly beat egg yolks in small bowl. Add a little of the hot milk mixture to the beaten yolks, slowly. Add a little more to the eggs, then add all that back into the big pot of milk mixture and stir all together. You just don’t want to shock the eggs and have them turn into scrambled eggs in your milk. Once you pour them in cook stirring constantly until thick. Add vanilla and coconut–stir. It will get thicker as it cools. Don’t let it scorch!

Set aside in waiting for cooled cake. After cakes cool slice them in half and top each layer with yummy cream. Wipe the sides if any drips down or the frosting won’t stick to the cake.

Frosting

1 1/4 stick of unsalted butter, softened

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar (Organic if possible)

1/3 cup coconut milk, canned or fresh

1 tsp vanilla

In large bowl mix butter and sugar, add milk and vanilla. Mix with mixer for 3 minutes. If it is too thick add more coconut milk.

*Roast 1 1/2 cups of coconut in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until browned. To be used after you frost cake. If you use fresh coconut don’t toast it.

This recipe makes three layers

This recipe makes three layers

Then I sliced the three layers in half and made them into six layers. As you can see I messed up. i was on the phone the whole time I was cutting them with the electric knife. It didn' t work well with one hand

Then I sliced the three layers in half and made them into six layers. As you can see I messed up. I was on the phone the whole time  cutting them with the electric knife. It didn’t
 work well with one hand!

Pour a generous portion of filling onto the first cake halve--I added more than this

Pour a generous portion of filling onto the first cake halve–I added more than this

Keep stacking with a new layer of cake and filling

Keep stacking with a new layer of cake and filling-don’t put filling on top!

Frost top and sides

Frost top and sides- the organic powdered sugar had some lumps in it- doesn’t really matter

II browned 1 1/2 cups of coconut in the oven on 425 for 10 min's--While cake is still moist add the browned coconut to the top and sides. Just toss it all over, the counter will be a mess!

Brown 1 1/2 cups of coconut in the oven on 425 for 10 min’s–While cake is still moist add the browned coconut to the top and sides. Just toss it all over, the counter will be a mess!

You can freeze this cake whole--wrap tightly

You can freeze this cake whole–wrap tightly

French pressed coffee and coconut cream cake--oh my, this is good!

French pressed coffee and coconut cream cake–oh my, this is good!

 

caravaggio_jesus

He is RISEN! Let us celebrate that this weekend! Thank You Jesus!

 

A Simple Family Passover (Seder) Supper

Our Seder Supper- First time ever without our girls!

Our Seder Supper- First time ever without our girls!

We celebrate the Passover (Seder) meal on Thursday or Friday evening before Easter.  We’ve made it simple so that it would never be too hard to do. A traditional Seder meal is long.  In celebrating this feast we are honoring a feast, instituted by God and celebrated by Jesus himself.  “Because Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us; therefore, let us observe the festival [Passover and Unleavened Bread]… with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).  This is not to be done out of a religious spirit, or any form of “legalism,” but rather in a joyful, reflective, and instructional manner.  Enjoy!

Our Christian Passover Seder

Candles lit on the table: Representing Jesus, who is the light of the World

Food on table; Roasted lamb, unleavened bread, boiled egg, bitter herbs (horseradish), Charoseth (a sweet mixture of apples, cinnamon, grape-juice [or wine], and walnuts), salt water, parsley, and wine or grape juice

Children should know this is a special tradition.  Inform them ahead of time that the focus will be solely on the Passover and on Christ.  After the dinner they can talk about their day’s events and personal interests.

We start by reading Exodus 12:14, “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.”  This passage is directly discussing the Feast of Passover.

Then explain:

We celebrate this feast to help us remember that God rescued the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.  On the night before He delivered them, God told them to kill a lamb and to cover the top of their doorway with its blood.  Every Israelite family who did what God said was protected from the plague of death in their home.

Many years later, Jesus (God’s son) came to earth in human form and died on the cross- as a fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifice.  He became the ultimate sacrificial lamb.  We no longer have to kill a lamb like they did under the Old Covenant for forgiveness of sin.  Jesus’ blood was shed so that all who receive Him as their savior are saved from sin and eternal death.  This sacrifice was all-sufficient, once for all.

Read Isaiah 53: 3-12…

In short, it says that Jesus was the lamb who was slain for all of our sins.  The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed!  He poured out His soul unto death for us, so that we may be saved.

When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, His blood covers us- protecting us from eternal death and bondage.  The night before Christ died, He celebrated the Passover dinner with His disciples and said that from now on (until the end of the age) we are to partake of the Lords supper as a reminder of His death and resurrection until He comes again.   It is good for us to tell this story to our children, especially during the week of Passover, since it is a prophetic picture of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross.  Generation after generation will be instructed on the profound importance and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, since He was/is the fulfillment of the Hebrew law (Matthew 5:17).

Read John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Pray a prayer of thanksgiving:  For the ultimate sacrifice of Christ’s blood that was shed for us all and His resurrection.  Also, thank Him for the food that is about to be partaken of.

At this time, the head of table passes each food item (one by one) and explains what they represent…

Platter of roasted Lamb:  We eat this in memory of the lamb that the Israelites sacrificed the night before they escaped out of Egypt.  Jesus was our final perfect Lamb who was sacrificed for us all.

Unleavened bread ( I made Gluten Free Matzo): Store bought Matzo can be used.  We eat this to remind us that the Israelites didn’t have time to wait for yeast bread to rise- rather they had to be ready to go when God said “GO.” At the Last Supper Jesus told us that the bread would represent His body that was broken for us.  We eat it in remembrance of His body that was slain for us.

Boiled Egg- (In Jewish tradition it is a roasted egg) the egg stands for renewal.  The Israelites were going to start a new life and we have new life in Christ because of what He did on the cross for us.

Bitter herbs-We serve horseradish as a reminder of the bitterness of the slavery in Egypt.  Jesus suffered greatly for us that we may be saved.  Remind them that on the cross He was given the bitter vinegar on the sponge to drink.

Charoseth- This is a mixture of chopped apples, walnuts, grape-juice (or wine), cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Symbolizes the mortar and bricks the Israelites used in making the bricks for the king of Egypt.

Karpas– We use parsley for this. These plants stay green all year and represent everlasting life because of Christ’s resurrection.

Small bowl of salt water– Tears of the Israelites in bondage. Today can represent our tears for those who haven’t accepted Christ as their personal savior.  Dip the parsley into the salt water bowl and eat it.

Grape juice or wine poured in glasses– At the Last Supper Jesus said that the wine represented His own blood, poured out for us all. Drink in remembrance of Him until He comes again.

Jesus is the Messiah who died on the cross and rose again on the third day!  He is alive today and all who accept Him become joint Heirs with Him.  Our inheritance is great.  We have been given not only life eternal but everlasting peace, authority in Jesus’ name, and the last will and testament that Jesus gave us- an inheritance that is vastly immeasurable (John 17: 20-26)!

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate this feast with your family. Just celebrate, fill your home with the glory of our risen Savior with praise, worship and adoration to Him who is, was and always will be!

Halleluyah!

And at this time, the meal is concluded!

Our family watches Jesus of Nazareth after the dinner.

Easter is usually the only time of year our family eats lamb. Typically I roast an entire leg of lamb the whole afternoon before the meal. I didn’t post my recipe because most people say to cook it rare. Ours always falls off the bone and is SO tender. This was the first time I’ve ever made lamb chops, next year I’ll go back to the larger piece and roast all afternoon. This was good!

Charoseth3 chopped apples, 1 sliced banana, 2/3 cup plain yogart, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, dash cinnamon, couple tsp’s organic sugar or honey, 1 tsp vanilla-Mix all!

I made Gluten Free Matzo this year! Click here for recipe

The Seder Dinner

I got the plates here for a $1 each, the sterling silver platter for $3 and the brass candle sticks 2 for $1! Yep, thrift stores are amazing! I bought the glass dishes for pennies.

St. Patrick’s Day–Powerful Story to Share over Traditional Irish Dinner

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner- Colcannon w/ Crisp Bacon and Fermented Sauerkraut

I think it’s interesting that we rarely hear the story behind St. Patrick’s Day.  St. Patrick went down in history as being a radical Christian.  He considered himself a pagan when he was growing up. It wasn’t until he was sold into slavery by Irish slave traders that he came to Christ.  His relationship with the Lord grew while he was a slave.  After six years in slavery he escaped to Gaul.  He studied there for 12 years and then felt called by the Lord to Ireland to convert the lost to Christ, and boy did he.

Patrick was made the second bishop to Ireland. He had an exceptional ability to speak publicly and to win people to Christ. He was arrested several times for his boldness in the Lord, he escaped each time. Nothing ever stopped him from preaching the gospel.  He died on March 17th, AD 461- hence, the date we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Here are some of the many stories  that are recorded about him:

  • It has been said that he raised people from the dead.
  • He originated the symbol of the shamrock, because he used it in his sermons to represent the Holy Trinity.  Each leaf represented the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- and how they come together to create one entity.
  • Patrick’s ministry lasted 29 years. He baptized over 120,000 Irishmen and planted 300 churches.

What will be written about you when you pass from this earth?  I Chronicles 16:8-9, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.”

Lord, help it be said of me that I ministered boldly in Your Name!  That I had passion to convert the lost to Christ, and many received You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

St. Patrick’s Day is a day to retell the story of a man who made Christ known to the nations and told of all His wonderful acts.  Share the verse and story on St. Patrick’s Day even though it’s not an official holiday.

A Shamrock Plant-Do you see the three leaves?

I’ve got the perfect recipe for you to make this St. Patrick’s Day.  To be true to Irish tradition, serve Colcannon—a dish mainly consisting of creamy mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. Serve with crisp bacon and fermented sauerkraut.  The corned beef and cabbage tradition is an American tradition not an Irish one.

When you serve Colcannon, make a depression in the middle of the mashed potatoes and put a big ole pat of yummy butter in it.

Want Celtic inspiration while you cook?  Listen to Be Thou My Vision.  I love that song!

Colcannon

5 large organic potatoes, washed, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 sticks of butter

2-3 cups chopped kale- I only had two cups left in my garden

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1 tablespoon salt

1 lb. Bacon (nitrate free)

Fry bacon.  Set aside.

1. Fry bacon and set aside.  (After I fried the bacon I poured the grease out and added kale and spring onions to the bacon skillet.  Then, added three tablespoons of the bacon grease back to it.  Stir and cook for 5-10 min’s.  YUM!)  In my ingredient list, I included three tablespoons of butter to fry the kale.  You can fry it in butter or bacon grease, which ever suits your taste buds.

2. Put chopped potatoes and salt into pot and cover with water.  Bring to boil.  Cook 12 to 15 minutes. Drain when done.

3. Whip drained potatoes with hand mixer or mash by hand.  Add 5 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of milk, whip.

4. Add cooked kale and chopped onion mixture to mashed potatoes.  Add more salt to taste.

To serve— mound mashed potatoes on each plate, then make depression in center and add generous pat of butter. Serve with several slices of nitrite free crisp bacon, fermented sauerkraut, and Irish bread (We don’t eat much bread so we didn’t have bread).

 

Our kale grew the whole winter! I’v been using it, so I only have two cups to use for our Irish Dinner

I chopped wild onion grass for the onion flavor, that’s the only onion growing on our farm right now–I chopped at least 1/3 cup

Chopping potatoes

Cooking kale in left over bacon grease from fried bacon

The house smells wonderful! Homemade bread fresh out of the oven would have been delightful with it! We splurged and had organic root beer with the meal. Typically we always drink water.

The third episode of The Bible comes on Sunday night! Don’t miss it. Here is a clip from it.

After School Valentine’s Day Cookies

Children will always remember coming home  to the smell of cookies baking when they grow up. Memories like those are cherished and passed on for generations.  These are as delicious as they smell.  They ooze gooey yummy chocolate, if you don’t bake them all the way. They’re especially good to have ready on Valentine’s Day when your kids come home from school. It’s a hard holiday for kids who didn’t get what others got. Make it extra special when they come home, love can erase a lot of hurts.

No one can tell there’s no flour, added fat or gluten in them! DELICIOUS!  Recipe here: Flourless Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Using a heart shaped  5 inch cake pan makes 10-12 cookies depending on how full you fill the pan.

I made one for each of our daughters. I sent them to the ones who live away from home by the mail.

5 inch heart cake pan–I got it at my local hobby store.

Dale and I mailed a box to each of our daughters– Should arrive just in time for Valentine’s Day

I piped some (all natural dye) frosting on the cookies just to make them “Pink.” Girls love pink!

 

 

Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Homemade heart pancakes and eggs with butter cut in shape of hearts

For Valentine’s Day Dale and I rarely give each other gifts. I’ve asked him not to give me flowers or buy me a card(we make our own). At this moment in life it’s not in the budget. I don’t need things to tell me he loves me.Instead we enjoy doing the simple things together, like having a candlelit breakfast or dinner at home.

Making things you already have the ingredients for is the easiest, like pancakes.  Just make it prettier and more intentional.

I have two pancake recipes. The one I’m giving you today I use more often than the Best Pancake Recipe. This one is just easier because you don’t have to whip the egg whites.

Pancake Recipe

2 cups flour (I use GF Pamela’s Baking mix, if you use this, omit salt and baking soda)

2 eggs beaten in a two cup measuring cup

Add plain yogurt  to beaten eggs to make two cups

2 tablespoons oil, melted (I use butter or coconut oil)

2 tablespoons organic sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients and mix well. I let it sit for 10 minute’s. Heat your skillet to medium high. Pour batter, when it starts to bubble–flip it. Cook for a few more minutes and serve hot! You can buy the heart shaped pancake molds on Amazon, 2 for $10 http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Nonstick-Heart-Pancake-Rings/dp/B0000DDVWK.

I used a 5 inch heart pancake mold–I only have one–so it takes a while to make a bunch

I used the same thing for the fried eggs. I did make scrambled eggs and cut hearts out of them with a regular cookie cutter

So the egg would stay pretty on top I didn’t flip it–put a top on in the final cooking minutes and it will cook completely without flipping

I let my butter get just a little soft–then I flatted it on my cold cutting board and with a small heart cookie cutter cut the butter into hearts

Valentine’s Day Goodies

Valentine’  Day Goodies- Glazed sugar cookies,Chocolate Bottom Macaroons and Meringue Cookies

This year for Valentine’s Day make your own decadent sweets that say, “I love you.”

V