Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CARAMEL GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE DESSERT

The only thing bad about this cake is that most of the downstairs volunteers at Hillcrest Thrift Shop didn't get to eat any of it. That is the first time that has ever happened. Volunteer Ashley said it was Volunteer Terry's fault. Terry usually volunteers on Monday but came yesterday because the shop was closed on Monday for Presidents' Day. He ate a piece and told so many about it, some of the volunteers from upstairs came down to get some. 

I was really disappointed when the ladies told me it was all gone by the time they went into the community room at noon to eat lunch. They really missed a "good one". I will try to make sure that doesn't happen again. (Although it will be hard since I am stuck at the register ringing up the purchases of the customers.)

I found the recipe on a piece of paper Monday when I thought I would straighten up my secretary. Don't know if someone gave me the recipe or how I got it. It is definitely a "keeper" though.

Last year I bought a couple of bags of caramel bits and thought I would give them a try. Unwrapping a whole bag of caramels takes forever! Anyway, I have not seen them again in the store. I researched them and saw that Kraft introduced them in 2007. I don't know if they weren't popular or what. They surely should have been. If you can't find them, just use an 11-ounce bag of caramels but allow time to unwrap all of the individual caramels or ask for help.



CARAMEL GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE DESSERT

1       German chocolate cake mix + ingredients to mix according to the box
1       11-oz package of caramels (I used a bag of caramel bits)
1       stick of butter
1       tablespoon milk
3/4   cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)
1       cup nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 - inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix up cake mix according to directions on the box.

Pour half of the batter into pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until done.
Check doneness with a toothpick.

Meanwhile, melt caramels, butter and milk.
(I did this in a saucepan over medium low heat. Next time I think I will do it in the microwave in 30 second intervals.)

Pour melted caramel mixture over the baked cake making sure you cover entire surface. (Move pan with mixture over the area because the mixture doesn't spread easily once it is on the cake.)

Sprinkle chips and
nuts over caramel mixture.

Pour rest of cake batter over all covering the area completely.

Return to oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until done.

Cool in pan on wire rack.

Serve with whipped topping.



Can you see that delicious caramel in the middle of the cake?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CHICKEN NUGGETS

Yesterday was the first morning in probably a week that there was no sun shining in the window to wake me up. (It did try to peak its head out around noon but there were just too many clouds. So it didn't last long.) We really need some rain. Our winter has been a really mild one. I think it has snowed twice but accumulation wasn't even a total of 5 inches. Unfortunately we didn't get that much rain either. My husband and I took a walk around the block about mid-afternoon and the ground wasn't even wet around the trees. 

For many, yesterday was a holiday and I am happy for them. I haven't been retired that many years that I don't remember how nice it was to have a 4-day work week. I do like to keep a busy social life but most Mondays are work-around-the-house days for me. 

Yesterday was a good productive day for me. I recently decided I was going to go through my "stash" of fabric and donate much of it. Most of my sewing now days is quilt making and so much of my material I have had for years dating back to when I made clothes for myself and my older granddaughters. While I probably wouldn't be making any quilts from the material, Blankets of Hope could. (Blankets of Hope is all that remains from the United Methodist Women at my church.) We currently have four members - Friend Janice, Friend Fran, and Friend Teresa, and myself who meet once a month at the church and make mainly lap throws for members of the church and elsewhere who need a little hope. We have made quilts big enough for beds and gave 25 one year to Kairos Outside, a special weekend retreat designed to support the female loved ones of men and women who are or have been in prison. Last year the Hospice program at North Kansas City Hospital took almost 20 for their program. We make some amazing quilts with just fabric that has been donated to us. So guess who is getting six cloth grocery bags full of material. Fran came over and helped me. Even though I was in a purging mood, it was good to have a friend encouraging me on. I also moved a few things out of my sewing room and put them in the attic. 

After lunch, I looked through a few recipes and found a good sounding one to make for the Hillcrest Thrift Shop volunteers later in the afternoon. (I will also be taking a bag to the thrift shop - material that isn't cotton suitable for a quilt.) I hope to share the Caramel German Chocolate Cake with you tomorrow.

After taking a walk around the neighborhood, I sat down to rest a bit and then it was time to start thinking about dinner. (I really didn't have to think because I had already decided earlier to make Chicken Nuggets by a recipe I found the other day and had gotten the chicken breast out of the freezer to thaw.)

My husband walked in the kitchen while they were baking in the oven and asked what smelled so good. They were really easy and fast. They only have to cook 10 minutes and they were very good. (I think my grandchildren would like them - they eat chicken nuggets all the time.)



CHICKEN NUGGETS

1-1/2        cups crushed cornflakes
1               teaspoon paprika
1/2           teaspoon garlic powder
1/2           teaspoon dried oregano, ground
1               egg white
1               lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 

Crush cornflakes in a ziplock bag. Add paprika, garlic powder, and oregano and mix together.

Dip the chicken pieces in the egg white allowing excess to drip off.

Drop a few pieces at a time in the bag and shake to coat the chicken.
Coat well.

Place chicken pieces in a single layer on a shallow baking pan.
Bake for 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

PRIDE OF IOWA COOKIES

"When I get home, I am going to make an Amish recipe for Pride of Iowa cookies." I never expected to get the reaction I got when I made that statement Thursday afternoon to my quilting canasta friends. Friend Dorothy, who is from Iowa, immediately voiced how much she loved them and that her mother always made them. Friend Janice, who is from northeastern Missouri, said her grandmother always had those cookies when she was a little girl. That led to a discussion about the 30 - minute radio show they remembered back in the 40s and 50s called Kitchen-Klatter. They reminiscenced about the spices the show advertised, the thick cookbook with no index, and a regular on the show called Lucille. I decided to google the show and read to them the information I found online. The show started in 1926 and was the longest running homemaker show in U.S. radio history. Broadcasted from Shenandoah, Iowa, Leanna Field Driftmier eventually broadcasted the show from her wheelchair. Dorothy said that was one reason her mother listened to the show - as she was also in a wheelchair. The show was aired in the midwestern states for five decades. They both felt the recipe was one Leanna had shared on the show. (Regrettably, I could not find any information on the origination of the recipe.)

Later at home, I found no changes in the recipes online and "my recipe" when I researched just the recipe except for one lady who used butter instead of shortening. When I checked Mrs. Jonas Yoder's recipe with the recipe Janice had, she said she had 2 sticks of butter written in parenthesis after the cup of shortening on her recipe card. After eating one of my cookies, Janice said she remembered her grandmother's cookies being more chewy. She didn't know if using butter instead of shortening would create that result or not. 

Mrs. Yoder's recipe was in the Heritage Country Harvest Cookbook from the Amish in Northern Indiana. I followed her recipe but did cut the ingredients in half as I didn't want to make a lot of cookies.



PRIDE OF IOWA COOKIES

1       cup brown sugar
1       cup white sugar
1       cup shortening
2      eggs
2      cups flour
1/2   teaspoon salt
1       teaspoon soda
1       teaspoon baking powder
1       teaspoon vanilla
1       cup coconut
3      cups quick rolled oats
1/2   cup nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet.

Blend sugars and shortening together .

Add beaten eggs.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and
add to creamed mixture.

Stir in vanilla, coconut, oats, and nuts;
mix well.

Drop by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet. (I used my cookie scoop that holds 1 tablespoon water.)

Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass (or with your fingers).

Bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake.

Remove and cool on wire rack.

Friday, February 17, 2017

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA OAT PROTEIN BALLS

If you follow my blog or have read many of my posts, you know that lunch is a difficult meal for me. I try to avoid processed meats, so I don't eat sandwiches often. In the past I have made protein cookies or balls and that works well. I can join them with my Greek yogurt I eat every day and that generally will satisfy me. I guess I should just do better about making them and keeping a supply of them on hand.

The last time I bought some protein powder, I chose a chocolate flavor. I usually get vanilla, and thought the chocolate would be a nice change. If you have never made any protein cookies or balls before, the nifty thing about them is you can take liberties and add just about anything you want to the recipe. (ie dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, coconut, etc)



PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA OAT PROTEIN BALLS

2-1/2     cups oats (quick or old fashioned - I used the latter)
2            tablespoons honey
1/4         cups creamy or chunky peanut butter
1             cup ripe bananas (about 2 large)
1             teaspoon cinnamon
2            scoops of protein powder

Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and stir until well blended.



Form into balls and refrigerate. (The mixture was "wetter" than others I have made. I decided to use my medium ice cream scoop to form balls. I covered a cookie sheet with wax paper and dropped scoops on it. I ate one a few hours later, but they were better the next day.)


Using the medium size scoop, I made 14 balls. 




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

FRUITY OATMEAL

When I woke up yesterday morning (Valentine's Day), I felt like doing something special for breakfast instead of the same-o-same-o. I thought about making some muffins, but couldn't find anything that looked exciting. What I did find and decided to make was this Fruity Oatmeal. 

I know what you are thinking....what's exciting about oatmeal. Really? Well, the addition of apples and dates were different from my plain oatmeal I usually make in the microwave. So I figured it had to be an improvement.

And it was! I will definitely be making it again.

The recipe was in a new cookbook I bought last Friday when Friend Janice and I went to a few estate sales. It was a Better Homes and Garden cookbook called Eat Healthy Lose Weight. It said each serving had 140 calories. I drink my milk and do not add it to my oatmeal. 


FRUITY OATMEAL

2       cups water
1/4    teaspoon salt
1        cup rolled oats (I did use Old Fashioned Oats)
1        cup chopped apple or chopped peeled peach (I used a Fuji apple)
1/4    cup raisins or snipped whole pitted dates (I chopped whole pitted dates)
1         teaspoon vanilla
1/4     teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients.


Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes (if you use quick oats) or 5 minutes (for regular oats), stirring occasionally.


Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes before serving.



If desired, serve with fat-free milk.


Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BEST EVER CHOCOLATE CAKE with FLUFFY FROSTING

Saturday night our Tasty Bunch gathered for dinner at BC Bistro and then for dessert at Friend Judy and Paul's house. Almost half of the group were absent because they were all enjoying the sun and warmth in Florida as snowbirds (even though we have had almost no snow this winter). Judy decided to treat us with a layered chocolate cake for dessert. She loves to bake and tries to give away as much of the sweet stuff as she can when she wants to make something. Not sure what she did with the other half of the cake (that we didn't eat).This is one of those goodies that would be hard for me to give away because it is so delicious.

Judy said she always made her chocolate cakes by the same recipe. That is until she found this recipe. She thinks the difference in the taste is the boiling water you add at the end when mixing it up. Seems like I have made a chocolate cake and added boiling water as the last ingredient, but I couldn't find it. Whatever. It was a really delicious cake.


BEST EVER CHOCOLATE CAKE

2         cups flour
3/4     cup cocoa
1-1/2   teaspoons soda
2         cups sugar
2         teaspoons baking powder
1          teaspoon salt
1          cup milk
2         eggs
1/2      cup oil
2         teaspoons vanilla
1          cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9 - inch cake pans by spraying and dusting with flour.

Put flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.

Add milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla on beat on medium speed until well combined.

Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water.

Beat on high for 1 minutes. Batter will be thin, but that's okay.

Pour batter into pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. 

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to cool.

When cool, ice with Fluffy Frosting.

FLUFFY FROSTING

1       cup sugar
1       tablespoon corn syrup
1/4   teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8   teaspoon salt
1/3   cup water
2      egg whites
1       teaspoon vanilla

Bring sugar, cream of tartar, salt, syrup, and water to a boil and boil till sugar dissolves.

Add to unbeaten egg whites, beating constantly until frosting is of spreading consistency.

Add vanilla.

Judy thought she would make the cake look festive for Valentine's Day and sprinkled the chocolate sprinkles on the top in the shape of a heart. She said she had cut a heart shape out of a piece of paper and laid it on top of the cake, but when she removed the paper, they fell out onto the rest of the cake. I suggested she might have used a heart-shaped cookie cutter and place it on the iced cake. After you sprinkle the chocolate inside the cookie cutter, you could lightly press around the edges so that when you lifted the cutter, the pieces wouldn't move.


She also served it with some gelato.



Monday, February 13, 2017

MARRIAGE MEATLOAF

I saw this recipe called Marriage Meatloaf on Kevin Williams' Amish365.com website. I read his introduction for the recipe and was intrigued. Kevin said he had received a letter from a reader who said that Elisabeth Coblentz's recipe had "saved her marriage" as it was the one thing she could do for her husband that really brought them together, satisfied him, etc. 

I checked it out not because I felt my marriage needed saving, but because meatloaf just happens to be one of my husband's favorite meals. I like it, but won't usually order it in restaurants because they usually put onions and peppers in it and I don't do "onions and peppers" well in recipes. As I was thinking about making it, I decided I could make it and it would "save our marriage" as it would make my husband very happy and me, too. 

You see what I decided to do was first mix up all of the ingredients except for the diced onions. Then I divided the mixture in half. Using my Pyrex "mini" loaf pans (they are actually a little bigger than mini loaf pans), I put half of the mixture in one of them and then added the diced onions to the rest of the mixture. It was quite a bit of onion in the smaller loaf because I used the full amount the recipe called for with the bigger loaf, but that just pleased him more. (I offered to add peppers even though the recipe didn't call for it, but he said that was okay.) It was easy then to divide the mixture for the topping between the two pans.



MARRIAGE MEATLOAF

2        lbs ground beef
3/4    cups quick oats
2        well-beaten eggs
1/4     cup chopped onions
3/4    cup tomato juice
2        teaspoons salt
1-1/2  teaspoons pepper

SAUCE

2       tablespoons ketchup
2       tablespoons mustard
2       tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together.

Pack firmly in loaf pan.

Mix sauce ingredients and spread over meatloaf before baking.

Bake for 1 hour.

My directions:


Mix ingredients except for the onions together to
distribute the oats and other ingredients evenly.


Mix with a wooden spoon and/or your hands.


Divide mixture in half using two loaf pans. 

Add chopped onion to one of the "halves".


Press mixture in loaf pans.


Mix sauce ingredients, divide evenly
and spread over mixture.


Bake 45 minutes.

Mine....


My husbands....













We both were able to enjoy a delicious meatloaf for dinner.