Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tortilla Tuesday is here!

Tortilla Tuesday is here!

Who doesn't like Tacos and Tortillas?! My family loves them. For those of you that follow me, you know I try to make healthy choices and avoid GMO and GE foods at all costs. Sometimes we make exceptions which leaves me guilt ridden because I fed my family pesticides. Ugh. Sounds so dramatic, however I have food allergies and have to take every ingredient in our food seriously. I understand how, even insignificant, ingredients can cause someone a problem. 

For instance, I have a sensitivity to pomegranates, I ordered a popular protein shake made from real fruits and vegetables.  One of the mid, to last ingredients, was pomegranate powder.  I thought, "well, it's not a prime ingredient, I should be fine."  

I was wrong.  I had energy and wasn't hungry for the first few days, but then I just started feeling bad.  It's hard to explain, but mostly I just felt.... bad.  I started feeling sick and grumpy and I couldn't concentrate.  I felt heavy inside and couldn't get myself motivated to do anything but sit on the couch.  I thought back to how my diet had changed, which led me to realize it was the shakes.  It took a couple days to get all of it out of my system, but then I felt like myself again.  It's funny how one small ingredient can cause so many problems. 

That said, I believe that if we are using the foods laden with GMO/GE ingredients, and artificial colors we are hurting our bodies, not to mention the environment.  While I can't cut out all GMO's, mainly because our country does not require food distributors to disclose that information on the labels, I do try very hard to minimize our intake.  (That's why it's important to buy Organic and Non-GMO certified. Here's a link to the GMO dirty dozen.)  

All that said, we love taco's and tortilla's in our house.  Every time I get a box of taco's or bag of tortilla's I read the long list of ingredients and cringe a bit inside.  My friend Ana is from Chile and she makes tortilla's by hand, with 3 ingredients.  Yes, THREE.  I thought I'd give it a try.  We gobbled them up, they were delicious.  Hard, but good. So I modified my next batch and they were fantastic.  Soft, delicious, and good all by themselves.  

Here are a couple of tips:
Don't roll the tortilla's too thin or they will become brittle and hard.  
Adding Organic Sunflower lecithin helps them to be soft while adding nutrition and health benefits.  
To make a burrito, thin the batter with more water and then pour on the griddle. (I have not tried this yet, but Ana said it will work.)

3 cups organic flour +more for rolling dough
1 cup  hot water
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons Organic Sunflower Lecithin (optional)
Coconut oil (optional)

Mix flour and lecithin in a bowl

Heat up griddle or skillet to about 350 degrees

Mix salt and water and stir until dissolved.  (taste the water, if it's too salty, just add more water and next time cut back on the salt.  The water needs to be salty though, it will flavor the tortilla's.)

Add salt water, a little at a time, to the flour and mix until it is no longer tacky or sticky

Pinch off a golf ball size roll of dough

Sprinkle flour on board and then roll out until about 1/3" thick (you may have to just experiment a bit to get it to the thickness you like. Too thin will be hard and brittle)

You can put the tortilla directly onto the griddle as is, or add some coconut oil to give a nice golden color.

Flip when the tortilla starts to brown

Place on a plate and cover with foil or a towel to hold in heat.  I just place mine in the oven. 

These are really good.  

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Friday, February 19, 2016

How about some Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Pudding or just plain Organic Chocolate?

How about some Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Pudding or just plain Organic Chocolate?

      With the weather being so cold, and plenty of snow to play in, sometimes Hot Chocolate becomes boring.  How to mix it up and be healthy?  Make home made pudding.  This recipe is an adaptation of Grandma's Jello Salad recipe.  Which, is one of my most popular recipes!  Give it a try.  Anyway, my son and I love Chocolate.  I try to make healthy treats for us, and can't bring myself to use the boxed pudding mixes any longer.  If I can't pronounce an ingredient, without a Chemistry dictionary, then I probably shouldn't be eating it.  Thus this recipe was born.  I made a vanilla pudding for Rice Pudding and raisins.  It was very good.  So why not make chocolate?  I used Organic Cacao powder, it's a superfood!  
Organic Chocolate Pudding
   This picture shows how silky smooth the pudding is.  In fact, my son liked it so much he keeps asking for it.  When making my second batch, I messed up the flour and sugar  measurements.  Not to worry, the result was a super thick pudding, so I just added milk to thin it out.  Worked great. So, don't freak if the pudding looks super thick, just add more milk.  Don't forget you can also use 2% or skim milk for this.  We were snowed in and this was the only milk I had.  I don't usually use this brand, but when a snow storm is on the way, you sometimes have to take what Organic milk you can get.  

When I was enjoying this delicious dessert I thought about my friend whose son has a lot of food allergies, like me, and my other friend who is opening a restaurant and wants to use "healthy alternative" foods.  

My friends son wouldn't be able to enjoy this pudding because of the milk and egg.  So I sent her a message to ask what she used to substitute eggs.  She told me Chia seeds or flax seeds.  Ok, I had coconut milk and chia seeds.  She was coming over today, so I put her to work. We created this new pudding recipe.  I'm so happy with it!   Her son loved the pudding.  The consistency was a touch thinner, and it didn't set up as solidly as a pudding, but it was setting up better as it cooled.  
Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding 

1 cup of organic milk
1 organic egg  beaten
2 Tablespoons of organic flour
3 Tablespoons of organic sugar
1/2 cup of Cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon stick (optional)

In a sauce pan over medium heat, 
pour 1 cup milk and beaten egg
vanilla and cinnamon (both are optional)


Whisk frequently (you'll see it start to thicken)

Get the flour and sugar ready to whisk into the hot mixture.  
Whisk as you put the flour in to avoid lumps.  
I put my flour and sugar in a bowl, whisk with one hand and shake in with the other hand.  

After you have incorporated the flour and sugar then whisk in the cacao powder.

If the mixture is too thick or you just prefer a thinner pudding, then whisk in  more milk until it is the consistency you like.  

After the cacao is mixed in thoroughly and there are no lumps the pudding is ready. 

Homemade Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Pudding

2 cans Coconut milk
1 Tablespoon of milled Organic Chia seeds (substitution for eggs)
4 Tablespoons of Organic Flour
4 Tablespoons of Organic Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Vanilla extract
1 Stick of Organic Cinnamon (ground well)

I put the cinnamon stick and the chia seeds in my vitamix and milled to a powder

Put the milled mixture in a measuring cup and add 1/2 can of coconut  milk.  This will allow the seeds to thicken.  You may want to add the entire can if it looks like the seeds have thickened a lot. 

Put the other can of coconut milk and the vanilla, in a sauce pan over low heat. 
When it starts to steam add the chia seeds.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL.

Whisk in the flour and sugar. 

If the mixture is not as thick as you like, add some more flour, just be careful that you don't add too much.  You don't want to taste the flour in the pudding.  

You may want to add Cacao powder to this to make it chocolate.  We couldn't because Junior is allergic to nuts, and the Cacao was packaged in a facility that also pacakages tree nuts.  

This was very good!  I was surprised to be honest.  Pleasantly surprised.  

If you like this recipe, please comment below and visit me again!  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Beautiful and Festive Crabapple Preserves or Candied Crabapples

Crab apple Preserves
Candied Crab apples 

My Mom always made everything a celebration.  Our birthdays were not just a regular day.  On our birthdays we didn't have to do any chores.  Nothing! That by itself was a perfect day!  First thing in the morning, I couldn't come downstairs until Mom or Dad called for me. 
Walking down the stairs, I couldn't help but smile knowing how special everything was going to be.  As I stepped down each step I could see the lights had been dimmed, and I could smell my favorite breakfast, anything bacon! After the last step I would look up and see my family standing around a beautifully decorated table, arranged with flowers, a chocolate iced cake (my favorite) decorated beautifully, presents sitting on my plate and my family smiling and singing Happy Birthday to me.  I can't tell you how much those memories mean to me.  Like I said, my Mom always makes everything a celebration!  Thankfully some of my Mom's creativity has rubbed off on me. My best friend, Angie, calls me Rosie Jr.  I love it.  
Thanksgiving and Christmas were fantastic events, full of German customs mingled with American tradition.  We had advent wreaths, sugar cookies with smiling icing faces, Gingerbread houses iced with white sugar and covered in candies.  We wrote letters to Santa and awaited a visit from St. Nikolaus on Christmas eve while we remembered Jesus' birth at Christmas Eve service.  With nervous anticipation we would come into the house, to see if St. Nikolaus left us sticks with coal, or brightly covered pieces of chocolate.  We had to dress up in our best clothes for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  Mom laid out her best china, linens and festive tablecloths.  Fresh pine fronds were cheerfully nestled among the silver serving dishes filled with steaming and home cooked foods.  Perfectly cooked turkeys with crisp golden skin, ham covered in pineapples, cloves and bright red cherries.  Gravy, stuffing, veggies, bread, casseroles, and salad laid out in abundance.  Right beside the ham, served in it's own silver bowl were the candied crab apples, covered in a bright red syrup.  In my mind I can still see those crab apples, served over a slice of ham. In the bowl they looked like Christmas tree decorations that should be sparkling on the tree, not shimmering at me under a spicy, sweet syrup.  With each slice of ham or turkey, Mom would carefully ladle the festive apples and syrup over each one. Absolutely delicious.

Last year I decided that I would find some crab apples and try my hand at making my childhood memory come to life again.  I mentioned to a lady at church and she told me that she has a crab apple tree in her yard.  She would check to see if they were still OK, then let me know.  Next time I saw here she told me that her apples had turned bad, but her daughter also had a tree and she would check, but that would turn out to be a bust as well.  It was too late in the season for the crab apples.  I was very disappointed.  I would just have to wait until next year.  

This summer, as I was walking around my neighborhood, I decided to go down a street I never walk on.  As I made my way along I noticed a tree with cherries on it.  As I neared the tree I realized they were crab apples!!  I was so excited I couldn't believe my eyes!   There they were, red, small round apples on a gorgeous green tree! Anyone who knows me, is shocked by what I did next, I marched right up to the front door of someone I don't know and knocked.  My heart was pounding and I was thinking, what am I doing! No one answered.  Unbelievable!  I got up the nerve to knock on a strangers door and no one is home.  Great.  I didn't think I'd ever get the nerve up again, but the memories flooded in and I
knew what I had to do.  The next day, I walked down that street again and knocked on the door.  No one answered.  This must be a cruel joke.  As I was walking away a man with a dog came toward me, he asked if he could help me.  I told him yes while proceeding to tell him I'd like to get some of the crab apples, but no one is home for me to ask permission.  He looked at me in an almost disgusted way, mingled with surprise and asked, "what in the world do you want with those nasty old crab apples?"  His mouth curled in distaste as he said it.  I told him my reasons and he advised me that the couple that lived there would not have a problem with me collecting as many apples as I could carry.  He explained that they despise the tree and are planning to chop it down.  He then went on to invite me to harvest white and purple concord grapes from his backyard.  He and his wife had planted grape vines along their fence line and there was an abundance of them.  I thanked him heartily promising to bring him a sample to try, and finished my walk as quickly as I could in order to prepare for an afternoon of harvesting fruit from my neighbors yards!  

I called Mom to inquire about the recipe, she informed me it is from a very old Kerr Canning Cookbook, which she would type out and e-mail to me.  I then took the boys to help me gather the crab apples and grapes.  We got a lot of fruit! I wasn't sure what to do with the grapes but thought I'd make jelly.  That's a story for another day though.  I knew I needed canning jars and lids, even though I don't know how to can.  I do know how to freeze, so I wasn't too concerned about preserving the crab apples.  The recipe seemed easy, but I didn't believe it, no way it could be so easy.  Let me tell you, it was easy.  It didn't take a lot of time.  I also added my own touches to the recipe. 

When I had cooked up the apples, they tasted just as I remembered and they were amazing!!!  I was so happy with how they turned out.  I took a jar for the the people who let me harvest the apples from their tree, a jar to the neighbor that let me harvest grapes and to a couple other people I told about and they all reacted negatively to the crab apples.  I also put a couple in a baggie, so they could taste them and decide if they wanted to keep the canned jar for the Holidays, or give it back to me if they didn't like them.   Everyone that tried them, loved them.  I had to go get more crab apples and make another batch.  I cleaned the tree of them.  After the second batch, I shared a jar with my friend Kimberly and she loved them.  I brought her a jar when we all met to eat lunch with two other families.  Everyone at table tasted them, and loved them.  The owner of the restaurant came over and tasted them and he wanted some too.  I have found more crab apples, but they are green.  I'm going to try them as well, but I am told they are a little more tart.  I have also been told of another family with a red crab apple tree in their yard!!!! I'm so excited.  

The most labor intensive thing was cleaning the apples and sorting through them.  I filled a sink with warm soapy water and poured some white vinegar in to kill any germs on the apples.  I left them in the sink for a few minutes and then rinsed them really well.  I then sorted through the crab apples taking out any with holes and placing them in a separate bowl to use later.  After the apples were sorted and ready I moved on to the next step, cooking them.  Here is the recipe for Crab Apple Preserves.  I call them Candied Crab Apples, but the Kerr Recipe names them Crab Apple Preserves.  

Crab Apple Preserves
Inspired by Kerr Canning Recipe Book

Select good sound apples, wash and remove the blossom end.  Leave stems on and do not peel.

3 Cups Water
6 Cups Organic Sugar
2 Fresh Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tsp cloves
1 1/2 Tsp Red Hots Cinnamon candy

Boil the syrup for 5 minutes

Add the crab apples to the syrup and boil until they are tender and transparent (my crab apples didn't become transparent, but the skin did split a little. I took that as the indication they were done.)

Work rapidly and Pack cooked apples into *sterilized canning jars, cover with boiling syrup and seal each jar as filled.  
Make sure to wipe the top rim of each jar, to make sure that there is nothing that will cause the seal to fail, before adding the lids.    

Two options:
1) Let the jars "heat seal".  With this method the apples should be eaten within a few months of preparing.  Making sure the jars are hot, as well as the lids, will help with this method.  Also make sure you are filling the jars with the boiling liquid and apples. Fill to "neck" of jar and try not to leave too much air space.  You can turn the jars upside down it you want, I left mine upright. As the contents cool, the lids contract and "pop" shut, sealing them.  
2) Place your filled jars on rack of large lidded canning kettle.  The jars have to be a least 1/2 inch above the kettle bottom so water can circulate and the water has to be at least 1 inch about the top of the jars.  Process in boiling water bath, at a rolling boil for 25 minutes.  Use canning tongs to remove the jars from the canner, put them on several thicknesses of cloth to cool. 
You should hear the lids "pop" indicating they have sealed.  

*Sterilizing Your jars:
Wash them in hot soapy water, rinse and then boil them in clear water for at least 15 minutes.  Turn upside down on a clean kitchen towel until ready to fill.  (or you could wash them in the dish washer under sanitize) 
Important for canning. 
To keep the jars warm,  you could place them in an oven set at the lowest heat setting.  
Scald the lids by placing them in a pan and pouring boiling water over them.  Do NOT boil the lids, but keep them warm until you are ready to use.  

NOTE: Without the Red Hot Candies, The syrup was a brown color, and didn't look very good.  That was a problem.  Everyone that heard about my desire to find crab apples, asked the same question; "why on earth do you want those nasty crab apples?"

I didn't want to use the Red Hots because of the artificial color and I suspect they are made with High Fructose Corn syrup which means it's probably made with GMO corn.  I try to stay away from anything that is GMO or GE.  In this case, I really had three choices.  
  1. leave them out and have a muddy looking syrup no one would want to taste
  2. add food coloring and get a strong dose of red 40 (which has been shown to cause a lot of problems in kids and adults.)
  3. add the minimum amount of red hots, just to turn the syrup red and add more cinnamon flavor
I went with option number 3.  Sometimes you just have to go with it.  

The Kerr recipe only calls for the sugar, water and red hots. I added the cinnamon sticks and cloves.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

Delicious Easter jello with home made pudding, marshmallows and cheddar cheese

Grandma's Jello Salad 

Delicious Easter jello with home made pudding, marshmallows and cheddar cheese

This recipe is one of my most viewed.  It's on every update reporting my Stat's for the week.  Since, Easter is on it's way, I thought I'd re-post.
Oh, one more note, even though the cheese sounds like it might not be so good, it is delicious.  You can not imagine how well this combination is.  My Grandma is a genius!! :)

One of my most favorite deserts is my Grandma's jello salad.  She made up this recipe and it is a family favorite.
I use different variations of this Jello salad, but the same technique Grandma taught me.  The home made pudding is out of this world. It is very easy to make.
When my husband first saw this jello salad, he wasn't sure what to think.  He told me he didn't think the cheese was such a good idea, he didn't think he'd like it.  His mind was quickly changed once he took a taste.  Don't write this off because you think the cheese will not be good, it is wonderful.
I found these cute, rabbit shaped, marshmallows and decided to use them since it is Easter.  They are hidden a little in the cheese, but it's still a cute presentation. 

This recipe makes a lot of Jello Salad. I cut it in half and I have fun with the combinations of jello and fruit. I also use the flavored marshmallows to mix things up a bit. Kids love this, and adults do too!

My Grandma makes this a lot, and she always adds different kinds of fruit with the pineapples. Her favorite type of fruit to add are bananas. I'm allergic to bananas! I went to her house and she told me she made her jello salad. I cut myself a piece then put it right back in the pan. I went back into the living room with no jello. She was just about to ask me why, when her eyes got all big and she said BANANAS! A few weeks later she made the jello again. This time she didn't add banana's and was happy to tell me that. I was so glad I could have a slice of her jello salad.  I get a slice and there were some odd looking fruit pieces mixed in with the pineapple, just to be sure I asked what they were, Mango. I'm allergic to mango too. So, I had to learn how to make it myself, or I'd never get any I could eat! Ha Ha.
The first recipe is Grandma's actual Jello Salad.  The ingredients I used for the salad pictured are listed below.  Feel free to experiment with flavor combinations. 

Grandma's Jello Salad:

1 regular package Lemon Jello
1 regular package Orange Jello
 can crushed pineapple
1 bag mini marshmallows
Orange Juice
2 TB. sugar
3 TB. flour
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 pint whipping cream (or 8oz. Cool Whip)
Grated cheddar cheese

Prepare Jello according to package
Drain pineapple and reserve the juice
Add pineapple to jello
Pour into glass dish
Cover with mini marshmallows and refrigerate to gel

Add orange juice to pineapple juice to make 1 cup
Pour into sauce pan
Add sugar, flour, and beaten egg
Cook over medium heat until pudding like, stir constantly
Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally
Once room temp., refrigerate until ready to add to Jello salad

Put whipping cream in a bowl and add lemon juice
Fold in the pudding mixture, whip together (if using whipped topping, then mix into pudding mixture)
Put on top of marshmallows then grate cheese on top

Refrigerate until ready to serve

Easter Jello Pudding ingredients:

Raspberry jello
Bunny shaped Marshmallows
Fruit cocktail drained, reserve the juice to use for the pudding

PLEASE NOTE: This recipe is protected by copyright law 2012.

I've been gone a while......

I'm sure we can all relate, life took over.  That's not a bad thing though. I had a bad experience with a website that stole my most popular recipe.  They put it in a cook book and are selling it for their own profit.  That really discouraged me.  This website, "Just a Pinch" stated in their privacy that making cook books for profit from submitted recipes was against the website rules.  As it should be.  Later I get a notification that they have compiled a cook book with recipes posted on their website.  They shared a link where I could purchase it.  What!!!  I contacted them, and basically the website rules don't apply to them.  Not only did they publish my Grandmothers Jello Salad recipe in one cook book, they put it in 4.  They are now profiting off of my Grandmother's very own recipe.  It was so discouraging that I kind of stepped back. How disheartening, that a website that asks you to share recipes with others and specifically says not to complile a cookbook, would be so unscrupulous.  Since then, my wonderful and sweet Grandma has passed on.  She died this past January at the age of 90.  I love her more than anything, and this has been very hard.  If she taught me anything,  she taught me to be tough.  She would be upset with me if she knew I quit blogging because of some bad eggs.  So, I'm planning a comeback.  I don't know how some people can make a living by it, sure wish I could though.  Until then, I will blog as much as I can.  I have some really good recipes to share with everyone.  I'm so happy with all the views, my blog has had.  Thank you all for your support!  In celebration of my return, I am going to re-post my most popular blog, you guessed it, "Grandma's Jello Salad".  The repost will follow this short blog.  Don't forget, you can use different flavor combinations of jello, fruit, and marshmallows.  The cheese really does make it, please try it at least once.  I may be making some tomorrow.  Right now, I'm heading off to bed.  Good night world!  Hey Paw is back!
  Up next.................a recipe for Crab Apples.  That's right, Crab Apples!!! You won't believe how good these are!  Coming in the next few days!!! See you then!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Baked Butternut Squash with stewed apples, raisins, cranberries and molasses

Baked Butternut Squash with stewed apples, raisins, cranberries and molasses

                           Many times I have gone into the grocery store to buy butternut and acorn squash.  Almost every time, the cashier has no idea what I am purchasing.  When I tell them what it is, they look confused and some will ask me what do I do with it?       When I have my friends over for dinner and serve them their own acorn squash filled with stewed fruit, they are amazed.  It's so pretty, and the taste is incredible.  Most people think of squash, as a vegetable that you boil or bread and fry, not one that you bake.  I tried a recipe that called for peeling the butternut squash, cutting it into pieces then boiling it.  

 That took so much time, it was not fun. I spent more time trying to peel that hard skinned squash than I did preparing the turkey.  I will never do that again.  What a pain!
Acorn squash are smaller with a lovely dark green color.  Check out my post for Balsamic Maple Glazed Pork Chops and Acorn Squash, for a great dinner recipe with a lovely picture of an acorn squash ready for the oven.  The picture is from another blogger, and a link to her recipe is also included.  I can't take credit for that great picture.

Butternut squash are long and light tan in color.  I'm not sure I can describe their taste.  Maybe somewhere between a pumpkin and a sweet potato?  They are not too sweet, nor too bitter. They have a lovely flavor, that is enhanced by adding butter and stewed fruit.  Butternut squash can be the entire meal, or a lovely addition to a meal.  It's definitely a great "wow" dish.  One butternut squash can serve 4 people.  With an acorn squash, I serve one person a half of an acorn squash filled with the fruit.  Like a bowl.  The Butternut squash is bigger, and a little awkward.  I generally put the butter in the squash, stir it up, then add the fruit on top.  Instead of putting a enormous butternut squash on each persons plate, we dish it out with a serving spoon.  It still looks nice on the serving platter, then it's gone.  All of it usually.  

Baked Butternut Squash with stewed apples, raisins, cranberries and molasses:

Butternut Squash
Butter or Coconut Oil
Orange Juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Wash the Butternut squash (to stop the spread of any germs that may be on the skin, when slicing through with the knife)

Place the tip of a sharp kitchen knife into the side of the butternut squash.  Place gentle pressure on the knife and slice toward the end of the squash.  Once you have a nice sized slit, slide the knife deeper and cut the squash in half.  Generally, once the initial opening is made, the squash will kind of "crack" open as you force the knife through it. It's not hard to cut at all.  

Scoop out the seeds and discard

Place each half, flat side down, on an edged baking sheet and add water.  Don't leave out this step.  ADD WATER!  This keeps the edges from burning, and keeps the squash from drying out.  Just enough to cover the bottom of the sheet.  

Place in the preheated oven and allow to bake for 45 minutes.  

The squash are cooked through when you can make an easy "dent" in the skin by lightly pushing on it. If it doesn't give easily, and make a small dent, then let bake a little bit longer.  

When the butternut squash are baked through and soft, pull out of the oven, and add butter to taste.  The squash should be easy to stir with a spoon to incorporate the butter. Drizzle on some molasses or brown sugar to sweeten it up.  It really does add a nice layer of flavor!

Stewed Apples:

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 Red delicious apple
Some sort of fruit juice
Orange Juice
Dried Raisins and cranberries
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon (to taste)

Heat a small saucepan on medium low and add the butter
Wash the apple, then slice into bite size pieces, add to the butter. I leave the skins on, that's where all the nutrients are, and they become soft during the cooking process
Stir it around and let the apples cook a little in the butter
Don't let the butter turn brown!
Add the cinnamon
I use whatever juice is in the fridge, tonight it was actually fruit punch. I just pour in enough to cover the apples half way up, and then add a splash of Orange Juice. It add's a surprise taste that is lovely.
Add the raisins and cranberries and put the lid on let simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are soft.
Scoop the stewed apples into the prepared Butternut Squash

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Simple and delicious Home made Cream Puffs with Blueberry Whipped cream

Simple and delicious Home made Cream Puffs with Blueberry Whipped cream

I can remember, as a kid, my mom making cream puffs for us.  They were so light and fluffy, filled with delicious whipped cream.  They were a real treat.  Sometime Mom would make them into swan shapes.  They were beautiful and delicious.  I never dreamed I'd try to make them.  I thought they would be too difficult for me to try.  

One day, last year, Mom and I were talking about birthdays.  She told me that as a little girl living in Germany, her Mom and Uromi would make her cream puffs for her birthday.  They would place them in a silver platter, filled with whipped cream and she could eat all she wanted, all day long.  They would also present her with a bouquet of Daffodils.  She said she loved feeling so special.  That's where the idea was started.  I thought I'd make sure Mom got daffodils and cream puffs for her March birthday.  

About a month before her birthday, hoping she had forgotten our conversation about her birthday as a child, I asked Mom to give me the recipe for the cream puffs. Without questioning me, she e-mailed it.  I'm always nervous when I try a new recipe, I guess everyone is.  I didn't want to ruin the ingredients, and I really wanted to make these for my Mom.  The time dwindled down to a few days before her birthday.  Since she doesn't live near me, I would have to UPS the package to her. It was time to "sink or swim".  So, I got my ingredients and went to work.  

I used a tip on the pastry bag, that was too small.  You can see the dough on the left was piped using the small tip.  I switched to a larger tip, and you can see example of those.  The ones on the far right are the ones that looked the best.  
As you press the paste, through the pastry bag tip, it will automatically spiral around, just go with it.  You can also see the water. That is the water, you'll see in the recipe, I sprinkled on top.  I just dipped my fingers in water (wash them first, ha ha ha), then let them drip on top of the pastry.  

Here are the tiny ones filled with blueberry whipped cream. They are delicious.  So light, fuffy and full of flavor.  My son asked me if I was going to mail those delicious muffins to Romi (that's what he calls her).  Yes I am.  Well, yes I did.  I couldn't post this recipe until after Moms birthday.  I didn't want to ruin the surprise.  She said she felt like a little girl again!  Success!!
Below is the recipe Mom sent me.  I just copied and pasted it here.  She used a term, Choux Paste.  Since I have never seen it before, I did a search.  It seems it is a light pastry dough that is used for many types of pastry, including eclairs.  Yum!!

Cream Puff Recipe:

Choux    Paste      
(about 2 ½ cups)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ tsp. salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature (VERY important!)
1 large pastry bag

One ½ inch plain decorator tip (I don’t know if a zip-lock bag with the edge cut off would work, it could, but you would have to re-inforce it with maybe masking tape.  I think it would be worthwhile to invest in the decorator tip and a package of disposable decorator bags)
Combine in a large, heavy saucepan:

1 cup water, the cut-up stick of unsalted butter and ½ tsp. salt.

Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium heat.

Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.  The mixture will look rough at first but it will become smooth, at which point you should stir faster.   

When you see the mixture starting to coat the bottom of your saucepan, be watchful. 

Take your pan off the stove and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Then, add one egg at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until totally incorporated and smooth; by the fourth egg will be shiny and if scooped up on the end of the spoon will stand erect.  

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 deg. F.

Scoop the paste into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip and onto an ungreased cookie sheet pipe 1-inch to 1-1/2 inch little mounds about one inch apart (they spread and rise up).  

Before baking, ever so lightly sprinkle a few drops of water over the shapes for a light, airy texture.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 deg. And bake until golden brown and very firm to the touch, about 25 minutes longer.  

Remove to a rack and let cool completely.

Note: I used salted butter and left out the 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Slice in half (they will be hollow) and fill with your choice of:
1.  Sweetened whipped cream
2.  Whipped cream w/strawberries other berries of soft fruit mixed in
3. Puddings lightened with whipped cream
4. Ice cream

How to make Blueberry Whipped Cream:


1 small carton of heavy whipping cream
1 cup frozen blueberry's

Put the blueberry's in a food processor and finely chop

Pour the carton of heavy whipping cream into a mixer bowl and turn on the mixer.  Keep mixing until the cream starts to come together.  It looks like clouds.  I add sugar to taste, it seems the more sugar you add, the stiffer the whipping cream gets.  Too much will make it too sweet though. Once it is at a nice stiff consistency, I added the frozen blueberry's and whipped some more.  Once thoroughly combined, I put the whipped cream into a pastry bag with a round tip and filled up the cream puffs.  

I also use the flavored whipped cream for my coffee as well.  I learned this from my Mom.  Instead of using creamer in our coffee, we just used the heavy whipping cream (unwhipped).  If it was whipped, then we dropped huge dollops into our coffee.  It's so good! 

You can use anything to flavor the whipped cream, chopped strawberry's, caramel, chocolate syrup and so on.  Be daring!