Sunday, April 13, 2014

Homemade Cadbury Cream Eggs


       Long before Pinterest, we cooks and bakers had more of a challenge in finding those unique recipes that made our menu's stand out, and Easter is no exception, homemade has never been so easy, thanks in part to the internet, where any recipe can be found. But, this recipe for homemade Cadbury cream eggs was given to me from a friend who made everything by hand, long before the internet! I've only made it once but because Pinterest has helped us to be more creative, it's time to add serve up something sweet on Easter that won't be forgotten. 

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops red food coloring
1 12oz. bag milk chocolate chips
2 tsp. vegetable shortening
Combine first 4 ingredients, beat well with a electric mixer till smooth. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time and mix by hand. Mix till creamy. Remove about 1/3of the sugar mixture and place in a small bowl. Add food coloring and mix well. Cover both mixtures and chill for at least 2 hours or till firm. Roll a small marble size from the orange mix and wrap a small amount of the white filling around the orange and form the shape of eggs and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat till done and chill for 4 hours. You want them to set. Combine chocolate chips with veg. shortening in a double broiler and melt down. Mix well. Take each egg and dip into chocolate and return to cookie sheet. Repeat and chill for 2 hours. Repeat the dipping process and chill again and your done! 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Birth and Days


            April is becoming busier by the day! Stormy today with a chance of tornado's but it's also Ruger's first birthday!! Hard to believe he was that sweet little puppy, and how time has raced by! But, he's still sweet, so smart and makes us laugh every day! There is no joy greater than a happy home, and Ruger made ours happy once again!
    And it's with a happy heart that I introduce you to my newest grandchild, Olivia Grace was born yesterday, she's our 6th! Pure joy and Miss Ellie will love having a baby sister! Life is good, always so good! Happy April!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Welcome April...


           Peeps, we made it!! I'm so thankful and happy to see April finally here, it means we made it through the toughest winter on record here in Missouri! March just buzzed by, dipped back into winter mode slightly but no major winter events but now it's full charge into spring and that means gardening season is here!! But first, I want to say, winters like this one, with all it's gloom and challenges, does teach us a thing or two! For me, it's knowing I'm driving better in white out conditions and being more cautious on icy roads and knowing when I should just stay home! I feel like I've run a marathon and won!
      Today, I started April in a positive way, walking a mile and knowing my knee can handle it as long as I don't race around the track! Must lose this winter weight! My hair got a makeover as well, cut short so it can grow back better and stronger! My gardens await me now, with many changes and makeover in mind, I hope to add a kitchen garden along with many new raised beds. I lost my rosemary bed and lavender too, this winter was just too cold for too long, but they are a cheap fix! Nature has a way of reminding us that we are stronger than we believe, and even though she has the upper hand, we can tame the winds, plant flowers and grow in so many new ways! Happy spring peeps!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Hutch & Stats


           
                      I don't think I've ever been this excited for a season to arrive as I have for this spring! Such a harsh and trying winter, that is still trying to hold on in small fits, but with April just days away, I think we can surely say, spring is near. And with the new season comes a new look for my hutch, refreshing and reminds me that we made it through a record breaking cold winter!
        Ever so often, I check my stats for this blog, just to see how I measure up, and I must say, I'm not getting the comments left but the stats prove I'm getting the hits! I had almost 7000 hits in February, with my hutch ranking high on the list of most viewed, along with the recipes. Thank you all for visiting!!! Country pleasures is more than a blog, it's a way of life, finding the simple ways to enjoy life, and food. It's changed many times since the beginning, I'm growing too and that's what blogging is all about. So, even if you don't leave a comment behind, I know you were here and together, we shall share and savor! Happy spring!

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's Lemon Season....



    Pucker up! If spring had a mascot, it would be the lemon! New seasons are all about switching up the menus to savor the foods of the harvest, and lemons always come to mind this time of the year. I was gifted decades ago with a crate of backyard lemons, that after much thought, turned into lemon curd, which I turned around and  gifted back.  This tangy and tasty spread is a British tea time favorite that is not only easy to make but it keeps in the refrigerator for weeks and can also be frozen for months. Lemon curd can also be used in many desserts or as a topping. Spring is officially the start of lemon season, so don't miss out on this refreshing citrus gift! 

Lemon Curd
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter (real and cubed)
1/3 cup lemon juice ( from lemons, don't cheat here with bottled) 
2 teaspoon lemon zest
Whisk eggs, sugar and lemon juice on low heat in medium saucepan. Once well blended turn heat up to medium and while stirring for 7-10 min. make sure it's not too hot or starts to stick. If it does, reduce heat. Fold in butter until well blended again. Mix in lemon zest and take off heat. Cover and chill in refridergate for 4 hours or overnight till thick. 

   

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dreams are Catchable!



              It seems this year might be going my way, regardless of the record breaking bad winter, proving that dreams are catchable and do come true! I'm learning the older I get, the more I need to just go for it! This age group allows me the freedom to chase my dreams and passions, it's a wonderful ego booster!
As you know, my photography passion went public last fall, and it's blooming...slowly but surely! It's not my part time job but full time passion, I don't believe in charging hundreds of well earned dollars for photos, I charge a mere fee for preserving memories, most of which goes for gear and gas.
    Ever since I could spell, I wanted to be a writer, that fire has dimmed over the years, sparked here and there but the embers have always kept the fire warmed. My blog has been a relaxed place to share my thoughts, stoking the fire in a way. I've been published online and in a few home press publications to my credits, plus yearly journals but now I can say I've made the daily print press! I'm writing a weekly food article for our city newspaper: The West Plains Daily Quill! I love the research, the assignments and the deadline to push my pencil to the limits! Not sure how long this gig will last, but I'm enjoying the ride! I was born to be creative, in many forms, and I'm proof it's never too late to be who you really are! So, don't stop chasing those dreams, just when you thought you'd never catch them, you do!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

True Irish Soda Bread



This bread is popular through out Ireland because it is easily and quickly made, it wasn't invented by the Irish, but they do claim it's fame. Often baked fresh for tea or breakfast. The true soda bread does not contain raisins, or does it need kneading, so I'm posting the recipe as it was intended to be made, but I do add raisins and caraway seeds to mine. I will make a loaf to go along with my Corned Beef supper for St. Patrick's Day. 


Irish Soda Bread

4 c. plain flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sugar
2 c. buttermilk
Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Scoop up handfuls and allow to drop back into the bowl to aerate the mixture. Add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough. Now work quickly as the buttermilk and soda are already reacting. Knead the dough lightly, too much handling toughens it while too little means it won't rise properly. Form a round loaf about as thick as your fist. Place it on a lightly floured surface and cut a cross in the top with a floured knife. Bake in a 400 oven for 30-45 minutes. Wrap at once with a tea towel to stop the crust from hardening.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Dinner


            I used part of my snow day to get my dining room hutch decked out for my annual St. Patrick's Day dinner with friends. This is a fun and festive way to celebrate the Irish foods, and I'm sure we all have a little Irish in us. When my kids were little, I'd dye mashed potatoes green for dinner along with other green themed foods, it's a memory they still recall with a smile, and that's the point. For us adults, it's a time to taste foods of another country or a time long ago and I love that about a themed meal.
   On the menu this year, leek and potato soup, Corned beef and cabbage, Irish Soda bread and Irish Cream cheesecake, all of which can be found in "The Complete Irish Pub" cookbook that I'm using for this meal. Pandora will be playing Irish songs in the background as we gather to share the "green" while we wait for spring! May the luck of the Irish be with us all in some way or another!

Monday, March 03, 2014

German Pizza


 
     What does Chicago, New York, California, Hawaii and Germany all have in common? Pizza of course! Once a focaccia, the first flat breads were a poor man's meal. Shaped round to fit in their small ovens, they were  baked with toppings that were commonly grown. Pizza sure has evolved since ancient times to gain the title of the most popular take out meal  in the United States, with Saturday night being the best pizza night of the week! Normally, you don't think of pizza as being German but they did create a pizza pie with all the flavors of Oktoberfest, this pizza  can be made to fit your diet or budget for a easy taste of Germany any night of the week. 

German Pizza

1 large bag frozen hash brown potatoes
1 package kielbasa sausage, summer or any Polish sausage
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 med. size onion, sliced in rings
1 bell pepper, sliced
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
Butter for pan

Brown the hash brown potatoes till crispy. In a 9x12 buttered pan, place potatoes in the bottom, this will be your crust. If you want a bread crust, use 2 cups mashed potatoes and spread over a pizza bread crust. Slice your sausage, and I mean any polish style sausage is good. I've used chicken summer sausage and it was real good. Arrange the sliced sausage over the potatoes layer evenly.Garlic salt and pepper to taste. Top with onions and peppers then cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 mins. 

   This recipe has been in my family for decades and can be changed up with many different toppings: sauerkraut, bacon, brats, corn, different cheeses, and the potato layer can be made with left over mashed potato's, cooked sliced potatoes too, all on a pizza crust or not! . I've made it several ways and it's always a hit! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rescued & Recycled


        It was a pre-spring like weekend so I took full advantage of the warm weather and got a couple of DIY projects crossed off my to do list! A couple of weeks ago, I spotted a old whiskey barrel in a burn pile, so I asked the owner if I could have it, I could but when I tried to load it, the whole thing fell apart like a blooming onion! But, I picked up all the pieces and a light bulb went off brightly! The bottom was in great shape considering it had been a planter but I was visioning a new cutting board! My handy man sanded it down to new grain for me, and after a few applications of mineral oil, it came to life! A new life as a bread board! I love the end result and I'm on the hunt to find more! As for the rest of the barrel, those parts are tucked away for other uses, nothing goes to waste!
     It was also a good time to paint, and if you've used chalkboard paint, you know it's best to apply it outside! I bought this vintage bread box at a yard sale many years ago, only paid $2 for it but hid it in a closet till inspiration hit, and it did! I've also wanted to paint clay pots for my herbs, and since my rosemary cuttings from last fall needed transplanting, and I had the chalkboard paint out, that task was complete too! So, I guess you can say, my kitchen made  out this weekend, and do did it! We are back to winter this week but so much closer to spring and more projects, there's always one more project!

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