Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TERI'S MACARONI & CHEESE


I love Debbie Macomber's books. Several years ago I read the whole Cedar Cove series. Having read the books, I enjoyed the series on the Hallmark Channel, but I didn't like how they changed the storylines. 

A few years ago when I was in the library I saw a book, Knit Along with Debbie Macomber, the Cedar Cove Collection that contained some knitting patterns. In the back were some recipes and one of them was Peggy Beldon's Blueberries Muffins. I made them and of course shared them here on my blog.

The other day I was in the library and decided to check out the cookbook section and saw another cookbook called Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Cookbook. Remembering how much I liked the muffins, I decided to check it out. I love how she "revisits" the characters and divides the recipes by the characters. 

This recipe for Teri's Macaroni & Cheese was in the Dinner at 44 Cranberry Point with Bob and Peggy Beldon. (Remember they turned their home into a Bed-and-Breakfast.) Macomber said that Teri Polgar had given Peggy this wonderful recipe. 

This is definitely comfort food at its best (as Macomber says). It makes a lot though so invite someone over to help you eat it. They will love you forever. You could make it gluten free too if you wanted. I use a gluten free pasta and you could use a gluten free flour for the flour.




TERI'S MACARONI & CHEESE

4       tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, plus extra for the pan
1/3    cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
2       cups whole milk (I used skim milk)
1/2    pound Velveeta cheese, cut into chunks
1/2    cup cottage cheese
1/2    cup sour cream (I used Greek yogurt plain nonfat)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1        pound elbow macaroni
Shredded cheddar cheese, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter (or spray) a 3 - quart casserole pan or several small oven-safe baking cups.


Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.


Sprinkle in flour; stirring until absorbed, about 1 minutes.


Slowly pour in milk; stirring constantly,
until incorporated.
Reduce heat to low and add Velveeta chunks,
stirring until melted.


Stir in cottage cheese, sour cream or yogurt,
salt, and pepper.


Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain; place in prepared pan.


Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni and fold in.








Cover and
bake for 25 minutes.


Uncover, sprinkle with shredded cheese and
bake 10 more minutes or until cheese melts.


Call everyone to the table and be comforted.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PUMPKIN OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

My DIL Sara has been excited about pumpkin anything. She sent me a picture/recipe from Pinterest and told me I should try them. The recipe or at least the idea sounded familiar so I checked it out. The I sent her a response telling her I had already and a link to my post Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. (She made them as cookies though.)

Well, anyway, her interest ignited my interest. I know we still have a few days of summer left but fall decorator stuff is everywhere. Nothing else for me to do but start looking for recipes using pumpkin. (I was looking for recipes that combined pumpkin and bananas because we brought back a bunch of bananas from our week in Bella Vista, AR and I needed to make something with them, but I couldn't find anything I thought I wanted to try.) Since the cookie jar was empty I was looking for cookies or maybe muffins that I could try as cookies. 

I found this recipe in my Heritage Country Harvest Cookbook of over 700 favorite recipes from the Amish in Northern Indiana. It must be a popular recipe because it listed two contributors - Mrs. Lester A Beechy and Mary H. Hochstetler. I have made a lot of recipes from this cookbook and I think several were Mary's. Anyway, back to the recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. The recipe doesn't say how many cookies it makes, but using 4 cups of flour and 3 cups of oatmeal, I am sure it makes a gazillion - definitely more than I wanted to make. So I basically cup the recipe in half. I say basically because I decided to reduce the brown sugar by a fourth of a cup and because the original recipe calls for 1 egg and who wants to try to cut an egg in half, I decided to just use the egg white. I will share their recipe and then put my portions in parenthesis. How is that?

These have got to be the best ever cookie using pumpkin, oatmeal, and chocolate chips all together. Because of the pumpkin, I would not leave them out for many days. After three days, I put them in the refrigerator to keep them from molding. The only thing is, I don't like them as much cold. The pumpkin is not strong tasting at all. I would suggest, if you have cookies to spare and they are going to last a while, store them in the refrigerator and in the morning take out however many you think you might eat that day and let them come to room temperature. Then you will enjoy that moist, pumpkin and chocolate chip taste. The oatmeal, btw, makes the cookies taste like they contain nuts, but they don't. (I initially put the cookies in my cookie jar in a single layer with wax paper between the layers.)



PUMPKIN OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (my version in parenthesis)

1-1/2     cups butter or shortening (3/4 cup butter)
2           cups brown sugar (3/4 cup brown sugar)
1            cup white sugar (1/2 cup sugar
1            egg (1 egg white)
1            teaspoon vanilla (1/2 teaspoon vanilla)
1            pint pumpkin (1 cup canned pumpkin)
3           cups oatmeal (1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats)
4           cups flour (2 cups flour)
1            teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon salt)
2           teaspoons cinnamon (1 teaspoon cinnamon)
2           teaspoons soda (1 teaspoon baking soda)
1-1/2     cups chocolate chips and/or raisins (1 cup 60% cacao - chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Cream butter and sugars. (I always slice the butter to make this process go easier.)


Add egg (white) and vanilla.


Stir in pumpkin.


Combine dry ingredients together in another large mixing bowl and
then add them to the mixture.


Add chips.


I used my cookie scoop that holds 1 tablespoon of water to scoop out the dough and placed it on an nonstick cookie sheet with 12 on the sheet. (I recently decided to invest - they actually were not expensive - new cookie sheets that are nonstick. I bought one and liked it so much, I went back to Tuesday Morning and bought another one. I love them so much and clean up is so easy.)


Bake for 10 minutes. (They will still be a little soft, but I baked the second pan for 12 minutes and I personally didn't like the result. They were a dryer cookie.) They don't flatten much.


Cool on wire rack. Store in single layer with wax paper between the layers. If you still have some after several days, you might want to store them in the refrigerator. Just remove and allow cookies to come to room temperature for the best flavor.



Monday, September 18, 2017

OFF TO EUREKA SPRINGS, AR

On Thursday of the week we vacationed in Bella Vista, AR, we decided to revisit Eureka Springs, AR. When we lived in Fayetteville, AR, 30+ years ago, we went to Eureka Springs several times. We thought there might be a lot of changes in those 30+ years, but interestingly enough, we remembered a lot of it. 

Eureka Springs is a must if you are visiting northwest Arkansas. It consists of 360 streets that wind around the town, has no stop signs, and no cross streets. There are 65 natural springs that helped give it one of its names as the "City that Water Built" because they believed the springs had restorative and healing properties. I would really recommend that you check out the above link and read more about it and its fascinating history. As much as I would like, I can't do it justice here. 

Since we were staying in Bella Vista, the first part of the route was a new road for us. Several stretches of the road winded through heavily wooded areas and we couldn't help but remark that in another month that was going to be a really pretty area with all the fall colors.

Just before we got to Eureka Springs, my husband pulled off at a place on the side of the road to let a truck go around us. (He had been behind us for a while.) The really neat thing about doing that was that we noticed a couple of businesses across the road on the other side. One was a log cabin that looked like my kind of place and the other was called Castle Antique. In between was a place where you could look out over the valley and White River, Inspiration Point. (I actually took this picture through the window of the second story of the antique shop. I liked that I could see more of White River there.)

I loved the Velvet Otter. Cheryl, I hope I remember her name correctly, was very friendly and eager to talk to us about the cabin which was built in the late 1800s and the things she had to sell. She was also good to listen to us reminisce about when we lived in Fayetteville. She told us the cabin was originally a restaurant. It was very well constructed. 


(I loved some spoon bracelets and couldn't make up my mind which one to get, so I just got both of them. My husband suggested it. Thanks, Dear!) I have baby spoons from each son that I have wanted to have made into bracelets but just never have. I should. Anyway, I would strongly recommend that you stop and check out Cheryl's shop if you find yourself on Highway 62 just west of Eureka Springs.

I didn't take a picture of the Castle Antiques Shop but did take one of the owners' house (at least part of it). He said it was the only one in the country made like it. The house was built in the 1920s as a hunting lodge. Instead of placing the rocks flat (vertically) against the side of the house, they are placed on top of each other (horizontally) with the pointed side outside. You might be able to see the technique on the short outbuilding in the center of the page. They also used the technique in the wall, but the points aren't as prominent in the wall as they were in the house. 

We asked the owner of the antique shop where he liked to eat in Eureka Springs and he said Local Flavor which was across the street from the Trolley Depot. We found a place to park just down the street from the Trolley Depot that cost $5/4 hours and headed down the street. We found out information about the trolley and decided during lunch that we should take the narrative tour so that my husband could see the things also. You can drive the historic loop in your car, but I knew he wouldn't be able to see things since he was driving. And we would also hear all about the area. It was a little pricey at about $17/each, but it lasted about 90 minutes and it was good to hear about places we were seeing along the way so I think it was worth it. Tim did a great job also as our guide. 

Before I forget, lunch was just perfect. My husband got a Cobb salad and I asked if they had luncheon size salads because I knew I would never eat a full salad. Our waiter said they didn't, but he could prepare me a side salad size one for which ever salad I wanted. I got the lemon chicken Caesar salad and it was just the right amount! I would highly recommend the Local Flavor restaurant if you are looking for a place to eat.

Have you ever taken a trolley ride through a city or historic district and everything seemed to be on the other side of the trolley than where you were sitting? Well, that was usually the case with me. Very frustrating! The good news I could usually still see the places because it was an open-air trolley, but it meant I couldn't get as good a picture. 

When I share pictures with you of our travels, I like to state what the picture is. This time though I am just going to share the pictures. I may say something about a few of the pictures, but generally you can just enjoy the sites. There were so many beautiful Victorian homes that I just loved.
The Local Flavor where we ate lunch.







The next few pictures are of the Crescent Hotel  (1886). One of the times that we came over to Eureka Springs years ago, we stayed a couple of night at the Crescent Hotel. It was a fun experience!




The resident cat probably in his favorite place.






The next two pictures are of the Fuller House. It has two unique things about it...1) it is the largest house in Eureka Springs and 2) it has never been sold, but has remained in the Fuller family since it was built.





The next picture shows the backside of a house. Many of the houses built in Eureka Springs are like this. From the front it looks like a small one story house, but in reality it will have three or four stories below because of the way it was built on the hillside.


Another one of the springs


A different spring

 No, we are not in New Orleans.
Basin Park


This cozy little blue house just above the Trolley Depot was a Sears kit-house.


Before we left town, we stopped by the Mud Street Annex to enjoy a piece of pie. I got their most popular homemade Coconut Cream, but my husband decided to get a strawberry muffin.


As we were leaving town, 







we had to stop at Thorncrown Chapel. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Please, go to the link to learn about this awesome place.



I hope you have enjoyed my pictures and maybe put a trip to Eureka Springs on your bucket list. You won't be sorry.