Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PEACH DUMPLINGS

Since peaches are such a great price right now, I have been searching for new recipes to make using them. I'm glad my calendar for the week is not as full as it usually is as I do have to buy enough before Wednesday so I can make some of my peach jam later in the week. Another thing I can always do is slice and freeze them since this works well.

But until then, I am excited about sharing with you this recipe for Peach Dumplings that I made over the weekend. OMG! It is so good. I found the recipe in a small booklet-like cookbook called Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking. I did make two changes from the original recipe. One, I used half a cup of sugar/stevia blend for the cup of sugar to reduce the calories. Two, I reduced the milk for the batter to 3/4 cup. I actually made it the first time using a whole cup as the recipe stated. It made a thin batter. In the instructions, it talked about a fairly stiff batter and dropping large spoonfuls into the boiling syrup and peaches. The batter using a cup of milk was no where close to being able to do this. So I quickly mixed up a second mixture and slowly poured the milk in while stirring and stopped when I had a "fairly stiff batter". I had 1/4 cup of milk left. I don't see how you might do it and come up with a different result, but I would recommend measuring out a cup but adding it slowly as I did and stop when you have a stiff batter. I also decided after it was done but before I dished out a serving for myself to sprinkle a little cinnamon/stevia mixture on top since the "dumplings" weren't browned. That was not in the recipe, if you want to stay true to the recipe. I also rearranged the ingredients in the recipe to coincide with the order in which you use them and I also added some instructions as the recipe wasn't as thorough as I like.



PEACH DUMPLINGS 

1       cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup sugar/stevia baking blend)
1       tablespoon butter
2      cups hot water
2      cups sliced peaches
1       cup flour
2      teaspoons baking powder
1/2   teaspoon salt
1       cup milk (I used only 3/4 cup skim milk.)

Peel and slice the peaches. 


Make a syrup of the sugar with the butter and 2 cups of hot water. (I heated the water in a large saucepan and then added the "sugar" and butter and stirred until the sugar dissolved and butter melted.)



Add the peaches.

Let this mixture come to boil.


While it is cooking, prepare the dumplings by combining the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Slowly add the milk to make a fairly stiff batter.
Peaches are ready.
Drop large spoonfuls of this batter into the boiling syrup and peaches. (I have an ice cream scoop that is half the size of a normal scoop that worked perfectly. The first scoop I made was a little bigger and so my last one was a little smaller than the rest.)



Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook for 20 minutes (over medium heat.)


Serve while hot.


Since the dumplings were not browned, I decided to sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar over the dumplings. It is a mixture I made using stevia and cinnamon that I keep in a small container and use when I need it.



Since you are to serve it hot, invite your friends over to help you eat them. (It does heat up nicely in the microwave - a serving at a time.)

Monday, June 29, 2015

PEACHES & CREAM GOOEY BUTTER CAKE

One of the best things about summer is fresh fruit. When Friend Fran hosted the Farkle group, I chose a Gooey Butter Cake recipe that actually called for dried blueberries. I considered using fresh blueberries, but then decided to use some fresh peaches I had. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but everyone praised it highly.



PEACHES & CREAM GOOEY BUTTER CAKE

1            yellow cake mix (sugar free will work)
1            large egg
1/2        cup (1 stick) butter, melted

*********

8            ounces cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat)
2            large eggs
1             teaspoon vanilla
1/2         cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4            cups sliced peaches
1             box powdered sugar (4-1/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 - inch baking pan. (I used my homemade Pan Grease.)


In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, and melted butter. Mix well with an electric beater.


Pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.


The easiest way to do this is to drop globs of the batter around the bottom of the pan and then use a spatula or your fingers to blend them together.


In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.


Add eggs, vanilla, and melted butter and beat until blended.


Stir in the peaches with a large spoon or rubber spatula.


Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until well blended.


Spread the mixture over the cake batter.


Bake for 40 - 50 minutes. Do not overbake -- the center should be a little gooey. (I baked mine about 45 minutes.)


Serve at room temperature. Allow at least 2 hours for the cake to set up.

Friday, June 26, 2015

MY BIRTHDAY SURPRISE!

I honestly can't remember a better birthday than the one I celebrated a week or so ago. Anyone who knows me - knows that my family is the most important thing in my life. Family was the reason we moved from Ventura, CA after living their longer than we (my husband and I) had lived anywhere since we were married. Our older son moved to CO and our younger son decided to make MO his home after attending school here on a baseball scholarship and meeting and falling in love with a MO girl. The move hasn't always "set well" with my husband who had thought CA would be forever our home, but for the most part, I think he is happy here. I wish KS wasn't between MO and CO though so we could see our CO family more frequently and the 6 grandchildren could play together more often. BUT it's better than it would have been if we were still in CA.

My day didn't start out any different than any of my other recent birthdays. My husband asked me where I wanted to go to dinner and since I really hadn't decided, I told him I would think about it. When I got home from playing Mexican Train with friends, before I could tell him I had decided I wanted a steak at Texas Road House, he told me Patrick, our younger son, had called and wanted to take us out to dinner at Cracker Barrel. Even though that meant I wouldn't be getting my steak...I thought that was really thoughtful of him. 

He greeted me with a big grin and hug at Cracker Barrel and wished me "Happy Birthday". Then he led us to our table all the way in the back section. I rounded the corner and had the surprise of my life. At this long table was sitting not only Patrick's family but our older son, Jeffrey, and his family from CO. I just couldn't believe it. Everyone had kept the secret so well. (Even Friend Janice who had given me a "lame excuse" for not going to estate sales the next day...dil Sara had sent her a message telling her they were coming so we wouldn't make any plans.) 


Friday I spent most of the day with Jeffrey and his family (Patrick and his wife were working.) I got up early that morning and made these brownies at my Granddaughter Hallie's request. They were so good and only had 1/2 cup of sugar in them. 

Later in the afternoon all of the grandkids had fun in the pool.













For dinner that night everyone came to our house for dinner. Dil Sara has a gluten intolerance and made her Orange Chicken in the slow cooker for dinner. I will be sharing the recipe soon. It was very good. I also made green beans and potatoes  in a different slow cooker.


The next afternoon we gathered at Platte Ridge Park for a picnic. My son Patrick had cooked ribs and brisket on the grill back at his house while he worked on his brother's car earlier in the day.

Before we ate, the kids had a blast playing on the playground equipment.

Didn't know that we have such climbers in the family....



Tyler...




Maddy... She even got me to climb it...my first ever. "It's so easy, Grandmother." (Glad no one got a picture of that.)



Henry thought he was big enough to do it all, too. "Look at Grandmother."





The girl cousins....








Taking a little break...




Granddaughter Sadie had requested a lemon cake. She wanted to help me make it, but that didn't work out with our time schedule. So I decided I would let her mix together the frosting. Of course, Granddaughters Maddy and Hallie wanted to help also, which Sadie agreed to. I made my Lemon Dream Cake which has the lemon frosting/whipped topping frosting.


They each took turns stirring...




























Can't leave out anyone...





























I had to include this cute one...







and one more of the younger boys...




I thought this picture I took of Tyler climbing "up" the tunnel slide was interesting.


I love this picture of all 6 of them we took back at Patrick's house...

and here is all of us at the park...



The weekend had to end too soon, but so many memories were made that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

FUDGE-FILLED BARS

After my surprise weekend, I was a little depressed Monday afternoon. It didn't help me when I had to find something to bake to take to Hillcrest Thrift Shop on Tuesday. I wasn't really in the mood to cook for sure. Then it seemed like I couldn't find a recipe that didn't call for 2 cups of sugar. It is just so hard for me to use that much sugar in a recipe. I know, I used to do it all the time. But I just can't do it anymore. 

Finally just before giving up I picked up my 2003 Taste of Home's Quick Cooking Annual Recipes cookbook and found this recipe for Fudge - Filled Bars submitted by Renee Zimmer of Gig Harbor, Washington. There was a picture of the bars on the page and they looked really yummy. Since I had all of the ingredients and it didn't take too long to make them, I decided to give the recipe a try.

Boy! Are these to die for! I kept 3 at home and ate one when I got finished with my shift. When I left the shop, there were 3 bars I left on a plate. 



FUDGE-FILLED BARS

2         cups quick-cooking oars
1-1/2   cups flour
1          cup packed brown sugar
3/4     teaspoon salt
1          cup butter or margarine
1          cup chopped pecans
1          can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
1          cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2         tablespoons shortening
1          cup plain M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 - inch baking pan.


In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt.


Add margarine that has been cut into "slabs" and mix until crumbly. (Mine is never what I call crumbly.)

Add the pecans.

Set aside 1-1/2 cups of mixture for topping.


Press remaining mixture into pan. Easier to do this if you drop spoonfuls around pan and then spread them together with fingers or a spatula. Take from the reserved mixture if you need a little extra to cover the bottom.



In a saucepan, combine the milk, chocolate chips, and shortening.
Cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted.


Spread over the crust.


Sprinkle the top with the reserved crumb mixture.


Sprinkle M&Ms on top.


Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until edges are turning brown.

Remove and cool on wire rack.


Cut into bars and serve.