Dinner

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The People’s Exchange is an “advertising paper” serving the Amish communities in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. It has a circulation of 10,500. It’s printed every two weeks. And, it is FREE. 

In The People’s Exchange you can find a “Charming Spinner” to get your clothes “50 to 90% dry” or a “woman safe” driving horse. There are ads for “certified organic” Jersey cattle, for race ponies and for farms. Every issue also contains a “favorite” sent-in-by-reader recipe.

Last week they had  the best tasting cake recipe ever. It came out light, fluffy and moist with a wonderful sugary crust. Yummmmmmm…

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Last week, The Peoples Exchange had 136 pages.

AMISH POUND CAKE

1 box yellow cake mix (2 layer box)

4 eggs

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup milk

1 pkg.instant vanilla pudding (The recipe didn’t say which size. I used the small box)

brown sugar

cinnamon

Mix together the cake mix, eggs, cream cheese milk and pudding. Pour batter into 2 loaf pans and top with brown sugar and cinnamon. (I was pretty generous.)

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Yes, the recipe does use mixes. But, you end up with a cake, fresh from your oven, that TASTES made-from-scratch.dsc01927.JPG
I wish I had some just “picked-from-the-garden” strawberries.

SUBSCRIPTION FORM FOR

    THE PEOPLE’S EXCHANGE

(courtesy of The People’s Exchange)

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This is a to-die-for recipe. It is rich but worth every calorie, in my opinion.

This gooey pumpkin butter cake is outstanding. It is based on a recipe from Paula Deen.

Cake: 

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Gooey Topping:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

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Cake mixture has been patted into bottom of pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

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Mixing the pumpkin and cream cheese.

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Serve with fresh whipped cream.

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The sun is setting. It’s time to eat!

According to my husband, beef pot pie is one of the best things I make. It is also easy.

The two essentials to making meat pie are first to have enough good & tasty gravy to almost cover the cooked meat, and second to ensure that steam does not produce a soggy crust.

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My dough is rolled out and ready to go over the gravy-covered beef and vegetables.

Here are two sure-fire methods to prevent a soggy pie crust (I use method 2):

  1. Use any unsweetened pie dough and prebake separately on a baking tin cut to cover the casserole. Since pie dough shrinks during baking cut it slightly larger than your baking dish and prick it with a fork. Bake the pastry seperately at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Set your crust aside. Cover your meat and gravy (vegetables too, if desired) with aluminum foil and bake until warm in the casserole dish. When your meat and gravy is hot and bubbly, place the prebaked crust on top and serve at once.
  2. OR… put an unbaked dough over the stew and bake the meat mixture and dough at the same time (I prefer this method):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Fill baking dish with cooked stew and gravy to one inch from the top. Place over it a generous covering of round of dough, allowing for shrinking. Brush dough with a little milk. Be sure to make slashes and prick your dough with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cover pie crust edges with foil. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 35 minutes until crust is golden and your filling is bubbly.

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Buster begging for pie trimmings. He’s already had some. See the flour on his face?

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The pot pie is hot and ready. For my filling I used left-over roast beef & gravy, cooked mixed vegetables (frozen mix) and another cup of gravy made from a dried mix.

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Yea! My crust is flakey, not soggy.

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Dinner rolls minus one roll.

Last night I dug out my tattered original handwritten recipe, scalded, mixed and kneaded. I left the dough in a covered bowl overnight. This morning I shaped and set the almost finished rolls out in the warmest part of the kitchen to rise.

Buster watched.

When I came back into the kitchen later to check on my rolls, the towel that had been covering  the rolls was on the floor. A roll was missing. Buster was innocently sleeping on the rug in front of the stove.

He didn’t so much as blink when he saw me checking the rolls to see if any of those remaining were “obviously” licked or sniffed.

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Roll? What roll?

“Best in Show” Dinner Rolls

Along with homemade mincemeat and pumpkin pie, my grandmother and mother made these rolls for holiday dinners. As a teenager, I  entered them in the County 4-H Fair and won “Best in Show” in the yeast bread category. 

Warm 1/4 lb. butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup milk until lukewarm (scald milk, turn heat off, let butter melt then add sugar)

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Scalded Milk is milk that has come to a boil. There will be a skin on the top of scalded milk.

Mix yeast in lukewarm water.

Beat 3 eggs.

Mix milk and eggs and add yeast.

Gradually add 5 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt.

Let rise overnight in a covered bowl.

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The dough is ready to be rolled or shaped and set out to rise again.

In the morning knead a little. Shape your rolls. Let rise until evening.

Bake at 350-375 until golden brown.

Besides bringing dinner rolls I am also bringing a Sour Cream Apple Pie and Paula Deen’s Gooey Pumpkin Butter Bars to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

NOTE: If Buster had managed to snatch more rolls, it could have been fatal. According to this article,, a dog’s stomach is a nice warm, moist environment, so, unbaked dough can expand to many times its size when ingested. With Christmas just around the corner and holiday parties in full swing, keep in mind any four-legged family members, who might be waiting for “opportunity”, and take care not to leave “people” food out the way I did.

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Sour dough pancakes with sausage and hot real maple syrup.

It is cold today…40 degrees, with wind and rain.

But, I’m ready. My  sour dough starter has been upstairs by the radiator for 48 hours. It’s yeasty and bubbling and fermenting and smells pleasantly alchoholic. It is a family tradition too. I got the starter that is starting my starter from my mother who has been making the recipe since 1988.

This morning I used some of it and surprised my husband with sour dough pancakes. He loved them. They were light and tasted as good as I had hoped. Which inspired me to dig through my recipe drawer to find recipes for sour dough biscuits, cakes and bread.

The weather is miserable. But, I’m happily inside, wallowing in domesticity. I’m encasing my favorite recipes and some I want to try in plastic and organizing them in a 3-ring binder. I’ve made up menus. I’ve done a grocery list.

Meanwhile, my sour dough ferments and gets better. It will last for as long as I keep feeding it.

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When your starter is ready it should be bubbly and have a pleasant yet slightly sour aroma.

MOM’ SIMPLE SOUR DOUGH STARTER
(Can be left unattended for 3 weeks, no problem.)

1 pkg. dry yeast

2 cups warm water

2 cups flour.

Mix flour and yeast in 1 1/2 qt. container (glass or earthenware). Use wooden spoon. Add water. Cover with cheesecloth or towel. Leave in warm room for 48 hours. Stir 2 to 3 times. It will ferment, bubble and accquire a slightly sour smell. Makes 3 cups. Refrigerate. To use, stir then pour off as much as the recipe requires. Then add equal parts of flour and water to the remaining starter in the pot. Stir & let stand a few hrs. until it bubbles again before covering and refrigerating.

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Part of the batter is mixed and set out the night before you want to have sour dough pancakes.

MOM’S OLD-TIME SOUR DOUGH PANCAKES

1 cup starter

2 cups flour

enough warm water to make batter

Make batter using the starter, flour and warm water. Set in warm place until morning. In the morning, stir up the batter a little. Not too much.

While the griddle is heating add:

1/4 cup dry skim milk

1 to 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

1/3 cup melted shortening

2 eggs beaten

Dissolve 1 tsp. baking soda in a little warm water and add just before spooning batter onto griddle.

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Turn your pancake over when the top is covered with bubbles. This pancake is just starting to bubble.

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The bottom of the pancake browns quickly. Keep a close eye.

MOM’S QUICK SOURDOUGH BREAD

1 tsp dry yeast

3 tbsp. warm water

2 cups starter

3 tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. non-fat milk powder

2 tbsp. shortening or vegetable oil

3-4 cups flour

Generously grease a 9×5 loaf pan, set aside. In small bowl sprinkle yeast over warm water. Set aside to soften – 5 minutes.

In large bowl combine yeast mixture, starter, sugar, salt, milk powder & shortening or oil. Beat until blended. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a medium stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 8 – 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Add more flour if needed. Shape into loaf and place in prepared pan. Cover with cloth and set in a warm place free from drafts. Let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake 50 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your fingers. If after 30 minutes loaf is golden brown, cover with a tent of foil to prevent further browning. Turn out of pan. Cool on a rack.

MOM’S SOURDOUGH BISCUITS

1 1/2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. shortening

1 cup starter

Mix dry ingredients – cut in shortening. Stir in starter & knead 20 times on floured board. Roll 1/2″ thick and cut with biscuit cutter. Place on floured cookie sheet and let rise until double. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

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I made these this morning. Most of them are gone already.

MY BLUEBERRY SOURDOUGH MUFFINS

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 oil

1 cup sourdough starter

1 cup white or whole-wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 425.

 Combine dry ingredients in small bowl. Stir in blueberries. Combine wet ingredients in a larger bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ones. (I sprinkled a little sugar and cinnamon on top of my muffins)

Mix quickly and spoon into greased and floured muffin tin.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.  

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The pear crisp is warm from the oven and ready to serve.

This dessert features a wonderful, butter pecan crisp topping over fresh pears in an Old South flavored brown sugar, cream cheese sauce. It is best warm from the oven and topped with good vanilla ice cream or a whipped topping.

 INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 large pears, peeled, cored and cut in chunks

2 tbsp. chopped pecans

8 crushed vanilla wafers

2 tbsp. butter

vanilla ice cream or whipped topping

 DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350. Butter small casserole dish. Mix sugar, softened cream cheese, cinnamon and salt until well blended. Stir in pears and pour mixture into buttered casserole.

Mix pecans, wafers and butter in another bowl. Sprinkle over cream cheese with pear mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until pears are bubbling and crispy topping is golden brown.

Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

Makes 4 small or 2 very large servings.

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Getting the ingredients together.

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A zip lock bag makes crushing crumbs and cleaning up a breeze.

ANOTHER VERSION: Ellaella of  made this dessert with some Yankee touches. One of the changes she made was to substitute gingersnaps for the vanilla wafers. She also made individual servings instead of using one casserole dish. AND …according to Ellaella the crisp was outstanding. You can find Ellaella’s version here: http://foodpluspolitics.com/

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Tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden have become part of our kitchen decor.

Horse manure!

DH brags about the power of his horse manure compost as if he invented it and got a nobel prize for the invention. “George Washington swore the secret to good farming was horse manure,” says DH.

“You just wait,” he said last summer, “George Washington knew his stuff, you’ll see.”

We added dried manure to our compost pile of grass clippings and shredded leaves last fall. This spring DH tilled it into our garden. Then we used more grass clippings and shredded leaves for mulch on top.

I was hoping the mulch would prevent unwanted plants from popping up, resulting in a no till, weedless garden. That didn’t happen. We had weeds. But, DH was so right about horse manure producing garden miracles. Our one cucumber plant has produced 60 cucumbers…so far.

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Our onions shortly before they were pulled up and cured.

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The first watermelons we found. There are at least 15 on that plant now.

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An 11 pound zuchini that came from a volunteer plant on our compost pile. We didn’t find it until it had grown to this size.

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A basket full of Yukon Gold potatoes. I had no idea potatoes could be so good.

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Browning the meatballs and simmering the tomato basil sauce.

Dinner tonight featured home grown tomatoes and basil.

MY MEATBALLS

Soak in milk, water or stock;

1 slice of bread, 1 inch thick

 Beat:

2 eggs

Add eggs to:

1 1/2 lb. ground meat/I used ribeye

Saute until golden brown:

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Add to the meat. Wring the liquid from the bread. Add the bread to the meat and then add:

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 chopped clove garlic

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. oregano/I’ve used Italian Herbs

Mix and form into balls. Brown lightly in:

2 tablespoons butter

 Cover your frying pan and simmer on low until the meatballs for 1/2 or until the meatballs are firm and no longer pink in the middle.

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Cooking down the sauce.

SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH FRESH TOMATOES AND BASIL
6 peeled, seeded and cut up tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
 garlic, minced to taste or pinch of garlic powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons fresh basil (more or less to taste)

DIRECTIONS
In a large skillet or saucepan combine the tomatoes,  tomato
sauce, garlic, sugar and basil. (Other herbs may be added. I really like basil and prefer just that with tomatoes.) Stir all together and simmer over low heat until thickened. More sugar and a tablespoon of butter may be added if the sauce is too acidic. Flour (1 to 2 tablespoons) may be added if you prefer a thicker sauce. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

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Homemade spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil over meatballs & spaghetti. It was sooooooo good!

HOW TO PEEL TOMATOES

Put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 – 45 seconds is usually enough)

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then….

Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water.

 

 

This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes!  If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce…not very pleasant.

 

 

 

 

After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half. 

Now you need to remove the seeds and excess water. Wash your hands then squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don’t need to get fanatical about it; removing just most will do.

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Toss the squeezed tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off. You’ll end up with a thicker spaghetti sauce in less cooking time!

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 According to my husband this was the best peach pie, ever.

I made changes in the recipe because the peaches were so juicy. I also wanted my top crust to stay crispy. So, I mixed 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of sugar. I put the sugar/flour mixture over the filling before dotting with butter and adding the top crust. (Don’t worry the top mixture of sugar and flour will cook into the pie. And, it will keep your top crust from becoming soggy.)

PEACH PIE FILLING:

 5 to 6 cups of peaches

1/2 to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar (I used 2/3 cup of white)

1/8 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Dot with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS: Bake the pie in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. The middle should be bubbling.

dsc00223.jpg How to peel peaches: dip the fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl or pot of cold water and ice. The skins will easily slide off.

Healingmagichands of  http://healingmagichands.wordpress.com/, kindly added it is important to make sure the peaches are ripe before peeling. Otherwise the peels may not slip off.

Thanks for your help, Healingmagichands!

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