Eating

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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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“It’s called muffin-top” says my daughter who keeps up with all the latest terminology and gives great graphic descriptions.

My mother is more reassuring. “You look fine.” But, I remember a story she used to tell about ladies from her square dancing class who bought stretch shorts and had to wear them backwards As they got older the lady’s fannies had flattened and shrank. Their weight had gone to their middles forcing tummies to pooch out the front.

I used to find that story cute. But, I’ve been going through clothes and not liking anything.

Soon, I’m going on vacation. We will be away from the horrible snow and cold. We’re heading for sunshine. Which I love. But it’s also the land of swimsuits and short shorts and college girls in string bikinis.

Everything I own has been thrown to the bottom of my closet floor in disgust.

I’ve been wearing big comfy overalls around the house this winter and the goldfish has expanded to fill the bowl. I refuse to buy bigger sizes. But, I dig through my husband’s t-shirts and his shorts. The look is casual & faded…perfect…maybe.

“Why aren’t you eating?” my husband asks watching me pick at my food. He worries I’ll make myself sick. Later he sits beside me on the couch with a snicker’s bar.

I can smell the chocolate and the nuts.

“Would you like a bite?” he offers.

“Ummmm…well, yeah, just a bite….”

He’s going to be sorry when he sees the granny pants I bought. Those are pants made to accommodate eating Snicker’s bars. Lots of them…

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My new sexy “granny pants” undies.

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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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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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These bar cookies are not only delicious, they are FOOLPROOF. The recipe is my daughter’s. When she was a teenager she liked to bake and made these cookies often.

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DH’s grandmother Helen’s Dream Cake recipe from her hand-written cookbook. The recipe is similar to my daughter’s bar cookie recipe.

OLD FASHIONED HOLIDAY BAR COOKIES

Crust:

½ cup butter

½ cup light brown sugar

1 cup sifted flour

Filling:

2 eggs

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

3 tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

1 can (3 ½ oz.) coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Mix butter, sugar and flour until smooth. Pat into bottom of 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cool.

To make filling: beat eggs until light; gradually add sugar. Add vanilla, flour, salt and baking powder. Stir until combined. Add coconut and nuts. Spread evenly over crust and bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly.

Cut into bars while still warm.

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The crust is patted down on the bottom of the pan, baked and ready for my “flourless filling”.

“Noooo,” I shrieked like a shrew. 

My poor husband was trying to help. But, he was instead further ruining the treats I was making for him.

I didn’t realize until AFTER I spread  the filling over my cooled cookie crust that I had forgotten to include flour in the filling.

DH said it was not a problem, he could stir the flour in with a fork. I was afraid the fragile crust might break up and get in the filling…my daughter’s recipe specifically called for a crust.

But, DH seemed confident, so  I sprinkled about a tablespoon of flour over the cookies.  DH got a fork and started stirring. Vigorously, he stirred the crust right INTO the filling.

Which was reason I made enough noise to scare our animals out of the kitchen.

My scream also stopped DH from doing more cookie damage.

I put the cookies in the oven and hoped for the best. 

Fortunately, the best was fantastic. The cookies were wonderful.

The recipe is FOOLPROOF.

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Our neighborhood grocery has hitching posts and shelter for horses.

This is one of my favorite recipes. Perfect for special holidays, it looks and tastes wonderful. It is easy to make too.

I have also included my pie crust recipe.

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My, oh my…this pie is SO GOOD!

Amish Sour Cream Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Topping

FILLING:

Mix:

2/3 cup sugar

2 tblsp. flour

1/4 tsp salt

ADD:

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

Stir in 3 cups of apples. If apples are not tart add 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice to apples before adding them to the sour cream mixture.

Put filling into unbaked pie and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Remove pie from oven and sprinkle with Brown Sugar Crumb topping. Bake for an additional 20 more minutes.

BROWN SUGAR CRUMB TOPPING

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup butter (room temperature)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix together all ingredients until they become course and crumbly.

COOL PIE FOR AN HOUR BEFORE SERVING.

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Be sure to cool for an hour before serving.

PERFECT PIE CRUST

Mix together

2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Gold Meadow)

1 tsp salt

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Cut butter and shortening into flour mixture with a fork until it is cumbly. Don’t worry about overmixing at this stage.

 Cut in with fork :

 2/3 cup chilled lard or shortening (I use Crisco)

2 tbsp. chilled butter

Sprinkle dough with:

4 tbsp. water

Blend the water lightly into the dough. You may lift the ingredients with a fork, allowing the moisture to hold the ingredients together. You may add up to 1 more tablespoon of water if needed.

Gather the dough up  into two balls. Chill until ready to roll out.

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Once you have sprinkled your dough with water, mix and handle the dough as little as possible. This crust has been rolled out and is ready to be crimped.

STILL LOOKING FOR APPLE RECIPES? The Rocky Road of Love has an Apple Cake said to be so rich, moist and full of tangy apples you can have it for breakfast, the next day: http://rockyroadoflove.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/fresh-apple-cake/#comment-939

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Looking for Holiday Recipes? Be sure to visit Overwhelmed With Joy’s 2nd Edition of, “Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style”  at:

http://overwhelmedwithjoy.blogspot.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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