Category Archives: Recipe Tips

Thanksgiving, Part V: Thankful for Family Recipes

A couple of posts ago, I shared the recipe I developed to use up the one turkey liver I inadvertently buy when I purchase a turkey at this time of year. The rest of the giblets found a good use in another dish I successfully developed this year, Candy’s Dressing. Candy was a sweet addition to our family about 11 years after my mom passed away from cancer. She has brought my dad and the rest of us much joy! Candy worked in a catering job before she became a nurse, so she has (in her head) a wonderful dressing recipe for about 60 people. She eloquently described to me over the phone exactly how the recipe should look at each stage. I converted it to a Brody-safe version and also scaled it down to fit into my cast iron skillet. My grandma generally baked her dressing in a cast iron skillet to get that wonderful crust we loved. Here is the result of merging the family traditions and my hubby’s food needs:

 Candy’s Dressing

Each time I make this, I adjust the spices and herbs a little for fun to try to find the “perfect ratios of each.” No matter what I make, Brody lovingly tells me every time that it’s wonderful. He’s very easy to please as long as the ingredients please his intestines.

 Crusty Dinner Rolls (find the recipe here)

2 Tbsp butter

Roughly 2 cups diced celery

1 clove garlic, diced

Cooked and diced turkey giblets, neck meat, wing meat, other bits and pieces of meat from cooking the turkey, roughly 2 cups total

Pan drippings from cooking turkey, roughly 2 cups

1 egg,  beaten

thyme, nutmeg, black pepper, salt to taste

3 large sage leaves

3” fresh rosemary

additional butter to oil the cast iron skillet

 1. Break up enough Crusty Dinner Rolls to make roughly 2 cups of crumbs.

2. Toast the crumbs in the broiler until they are the color of brown you like.

3. Add the butter, celery and garlic to a saucepan and cook until the celery is done.

4. Add the giblets and meat, followed by the pan drippings from cooking the turkey. Add enough drippings to make the mixture “juicy.” When I wanted to make more dressing, even after using all the giblets up, I used water in place of the pan drippings since the pan drippings only lasted for the first two experimental batches of dressing. Water doesn’t give the extra flavor the pan drippings do, but it will work.

5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the egg; mix well.

6. Add the thyme, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, sage and rosemary.

7. Gradually add the toasted bread crumbs until the texture of the mixture resembles a loose pudding. It should “slosh” when you shake it from side to side; it should not be as thin as gravy.

8. Heat enough butter in the cast iron skillet to cover the bottom and sides well.

9. Pour the dressing mixture into the hot cast iron skillet. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until the dressing is set in the middle.

 Candy’s Dressing was one of our family recipes we enjoyed this year at Thanksgiving… another recipe we enjoyed during Thanksgiving week was my dad’s barbecued chicken, using Klumpps’ Lomalinda Barbecue Sauce, on page 152 of A Recipe for Survival. Here’s a photo of it! I used our broiler instead of going to a park to use a barbecue pit. We really enjoyed the result, and I think it would be even better if we had used a real campfire. So tasty!

We feel as if we are eating like royalty now that we’ve had some time to develop recipes that 1) work for Brody, 2) are economical 3) are nutritious and 4) taste good! Our pleased taste buds remind us to praise the Lord for His kind provision of tasty, nutritious food and our capacity to enjoy it. His grace to His creation is evident every day… I simply have to slow down and cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving for these daily blessings.

 

 

My Favorite Kind of Snack!

Recently, I remembered my friend Sandy had shared a quote with us from a Puritan writer about how our souls need nourishment regularly just as our bodies also need meals and snacks. Since I tend to tire quite easily if I do not have a nourishing snack every couple of hours, I am reminded frequently of the quote she shared with us. But, I only remembered the gist of the quote and not the exact wording nor the name of the writer, so I’ll look into that eventually. For now, here is an article by another well-known writer, Arthur Pink. I enjoyed the parallels he drew between our physical consumption of food and our spiritual meals and snacks.

http://www.eternallifeministries.org/awp_nourish.htm

Pictured here is the kind of snack I enjoy. A sugary, dessert type snack does not produce the energy and clear thinking I desire out of the food I prepare and eat. I value food that produces energy for me to function. 🙂 Brody also appreciates nourishing snacks – these keep him working efficiently at work and playing piano, too! The bread is Amy’s Pumpkin Bread from our book. The recipe also includes Amy’s original recipe and a detailed explanation for how I converted it to be gluten-free, safe for Brody and packed with nutrients. The heart-shaped crackers pictured are from our book as well – Grandma gave her approval today when she tasted them! The hummus with fresh oregano is a recipe I’m still perfecting… I’ll post it when it’s ready!

Of Pie and Piano

This morning, Grandma and Ole were in our neighborhood for a seminar and so we invited them for some lunch and piano music. We didn’t tell them that they were going to be our guinea pigs for an experimental dish! They were good sports as they sampled my newest creation and some old favorites as well. The photo is of Aunt Nellie’s Pumpkin Pie recipe (one of the Sample Recipes posted on this site) – we’ve made this many times, but today, Brody prepared it and made a more artistic crust than I generally do since we wanted to post a photo of it. 🙂 He did a great job with that recipe while I was working on a variation of the Chicken Pot Pie recipe (also a Sample Recipe). Grandma and Ole also tried my latest variation of hummus – maybe next time, we can have some crackers ready to eat with the hummus… today we ran out of time to prepare the crackers. My experimental dish turned out acceptably – I used lots of fresh herbs to flavor some red beans, pork and shredded brussel sprouts, and baked it in the crust as I do for the Chicken Pot Pie. It tasted great, but I think I’ll let Brody enjoy the leftovers since I don’t enjoy pork as much as he does. I made a large batch of Meatless Minestrone yesterday, so that will likely be the main dish for me these next few days.

Brody’s latest piano piece is a medley of 3 variations of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” by Mark Hayes. I love how Mark Hayes designed the arrangement to remind the listener of a trumpet fanfare for the arrival of the King. What a blessing Brody is! His piano playing will put an uplifting tune in my head and help me keep my focus on honoring my King with my attitude, thoughts and words, even as I am washing the endless supply of dirty dishes. If you are a caregiver right now, remember that nothing lasts forever on this side of Heaven. The difficulties you face today won’t be exactly the same tomorrow. If tomorrow comes, God will give you the strength to face tomorrow’s difficulties, and it is possible that the one you are caring for may improve to the point you can hardly remember how sick he/she once was. I am still amazed at how much Brody has improved in many ways after being so careful to avoid the ingredients which don’t work for him. I am thankful that now we can work as a team with the kitchen chores. In addition to working full time, he also has energy now to exercise, prepare to teach the Men’s Bible Study at our church, and play the piano, among other activities instead of simply surviving and working his full time job. If you are just beginning the journey of finding which ingredients work for you or your loved one, don’t give up! You may be incredibly surprised at the substantial physical and mental improvements you may experience from good nourishment and avoidance of problematic ingredients. And remember, God always gives His people daily spiritual nourishment, just as He provided the Israelites with daily physical nourishment in the form of manna. He will sustain you through whatever trials you are facing today.

Crackers Experiment and “TAN” Bison Chili

Since Brody feels better when he avoids xanthan gum, I keep trying to reduce the amount I serve him. This past weekend, I decided to test my theory that we could enjoy our cracker recipe without xanthan gum…. And it turned out great! You can try it out even before you buy the book since the recipe for Crackers (page 111) is included on the Sample Recipes tab on this website. I think I will no longer use xanthan gum with the Crackers recipe since it appears not to be necessary and Brody does better with less xanthan gum… and so does our grocery budget! 🙂

We also have been trying to reduce my cholesterol numbers, so I’ve been looking for sources of protein from plants. I had fun making hummus this past week as an interesting way to eat garbanzo beans with crackers and I also tweaked my award-winning chili recipe for Brody’s and my needs. In college, I modified slightly a Betty Crocker recipe for chili for a small chili cook off. My recipe was the winning entry… the prize was bragging rights for a year and no leftovers to transport home. This week, our local Sprouts Farmers’ Market had bison available, so I bought one pound for my experiment. After a little searching through my scraps of paper containing recipes from the past 20 or so years, I found my little paper from the chili cook off day! I further modified the recipe to match Brody’s needs and to increase the content of various kinds of legumes and below is the tasty result! I also started my experimentation for a gluten-free fudge brownie recipe… I’ll work a little more on that before giving you any updates.

TAN (Tasty And Nourishing) Bison Chili

1 cup dry red kidney beans

1 cup dry red beans

1 cup dry lentils

1 pound ground bison

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder

4 medium tomatoes

1. Soak the legumes in separate pots for at least 8 hours and then drain, rinse and cook with plenty of water until tender. (Originally, I wasn’t planning to combine them all into the chili, so I soaked and cooked them separately. I think I will still soak and cook them separately since each kind of legume needs a different amount of time to finish cooking.)

2. Brown the bison with the garlic.

3. Add the salt, cumin, oregano, cocoa and tomatoes. Cook the mixture on medium heat until the tomatoes are nearly done, stirring from time to time.

4. Add the drained red beans and drained lentils, along with the undrained kidney beans. Heat and stir until the mixture is completely warmed.

5. The flavor improves as the chili sits in the fridge for a couple of days. This is great for getting many meals/nourishing snacks from one recipe!

 

5 Years and Counting…..Chicken Pot Pie to Celebrate!

This past weekend, Brody and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary of our engagement! He brought home two dozen beautiful roses – you can see one in the photo that I cut short to wear in my hair one day and then I set it in the cup of water to revive it a little. I made Chicken Pot Pie (page 120-121) tonight and we enjoyed the texture and flavor all over again. When I made this recipe for one of my taste-testers a few moths ago, she was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out! I really like the crust – it’s tender, but still sturdy enough to hold up and not become soggy. 

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the pressures we feel in this life. When I remember that the pressures are from a gentle Potter’s Hands as He molds me into the image of His Son, the difficulties feel less burdensome. When I focus on His wisdom in designing each of my trials, I am amazed at how He works in my life. He brings the trial and provides a kindness to help me bear up under the pressure. For example, years ago, my headaches did not cause me as much pain as they do now, but, in recent years, Brody has rediscovered the piano and has eased my suffering many times by playing songs that minister to me. On the other hand, he suffered from digestive challenges for years and when these difficulties became severe, God also helped me to figure out some recipes that would not make him sick, would provide him with nourishment, taste good, and have an acceptable texture. We are thankful for how God has provided for both of us in our marriage. May you also see God’s kindnesses to you today!

 

 

Yes, You Can Use the Crock Pot – just remember to plug it in! And a plug for the beauty of God’s Creation in Long Beach

We enjoyed God’s beautiful creation at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach today, and we spent much of our time at my favorite display of the incredible tropical fish and gorgeous coral. Somehow, the intense colors of fish and coral in the visual realm reminded me of the intense flavors of the 1000 Day Marinade in the savory realm! Brody and I enjoyed the 1000 Day Marinade again last week when rib eye steaks went on sale. Wow – I really enjoy the intensity of the flavors of that marinade! Every time I eat a steak with that marinade, I think, “This must be the best steak I have ever eaten!”

 

My friend, Leah, will be returning to the school year schedule soon and asked if my recipes will work with a crock pot. I decided to test out the Chicken Italiano recipe on page 119 to see how that would work with a crock pot. Brody and I were pleased with the results and thought the chicken was much more tender when prepared this way. The night before, I pureed the tomatoes and reduced them to one half their original volume. Then I added all the other sauce ingredients and refrigerated the sauce until the next day. The next day, I melted the butter, added the garlic and seared the chicken pieces in the skillet before adding them to the crock pot with the sauce. After a few hours, I finally noticed that I had not plugged in the crock pot! But, Brody was okay with eating supper a little later (I’m thankful for an easy-going hubby!) and it all worked out just fine. So, if your schedule calls for crock pot recipes, I would say, yes – you can use the crock pot with this book…. You may simply need to think about how to change the order of preparation to accommodate the crock pot and… Just remember to plug it in! 🙂 

 

Blueberry Crisp, My Roots in Colombia and Tortilla Tweaking

 This week, I needed to use up the blueberries I had bought, so I decided to make Blueberry Crisp. We hadn’t made that dessert in a while, and that was the fastest way to use the berries. I had originally stocked up when the price dropped in order to make scones for my dad and Brody’s mom for their birthdays, but then due to the hot weather, I was not sure the scones would arrive in good condition after a few days in the mail. So, I’ll send them something else for their birthdays. 🙂 It’ll be late, but this way, they can extend their celebrations! This week, as I was making the crisp, I decided to substitute some rice flour for the some of the tapioca flour and was pleasantly surprised at how nicely the crispy part turned out. If you would like a crispier topping, you can tweak the recipe on page 167 as I did this week. Simply make the flour portion half tapioca flour and half rice flour.

 Now for the Tortilla Tweaking I mentioned I’d share. When I was living in Colombia, the Piapoco tribe was the group my parents served in translating the New Testament. We would live with the Piapocos in their village for 4-6 weeks at a time, and usually visited 3 or 4 times each year. I enjoyed the bread the ladies would prepare on a regular basis. Interestingly, the bread I knew so well in the Piapoco village has the same origin (the roots of the cassava or yuca plant) as the tapioca flour which is now a staple in my kitchen since Brody can tolerate it instead of wheat flour.

 Anyway, when the Piapoco ladies would make their bread, they called it macadu (mah-kah-doo) when it was fresh. It was warm, light and faintly sour. It was quite delicious by itself or with venison, fish or chicken soup! The griddle they used was a couple of feet in diameter, and so the resulting bread looked like a very large pancake. 

 If the ladies wanted to preserve the bread for many days (even weeks), they would throw the large pancake-like bread up onto the palm-leaf-thatched roof to dry in the hot sun. This preserved bread was called daleri (dah-leh-ree) which literally means “hard.” And so it was! A person could break a tooth on that if he wasn’t careful! The daleri was so tasty for dipping in soups, and that was one way to eat the daleri with less potential for dental damage. The daleri was great for travel and for preparing food in advance. Since the village didn’t have electricity, the ladies had other ways of preserving their daily labor for food.

 If the macadu was not preserved by drying in the sun on the roof, it would become a little stale over the next few days and was sort of chewy and less appealing to me, but still nourishing. At this point, it was called chuchuweri (choo-choo-wee-ree). I think I spelled that correctly! It’s been many years since I contemplated the Piapoco language.

 A final way the ladies used the bread was to make a soup from it for breakfast or any meal. If the chuchuweri were broken up into water and heated, it was called chucusi (choo-koo-see), a soup-like dish similar to the hot cereals my readers may be more familiar with, such as cream of wheat, oatmeal, or my new favorite, quinoa cereal with raisins!

 I shared all that with you since I’ve been having fun with my tortilla recipe from page 115. The recipe as written is tasty for tacos, but I have enjoyed tweaking it lately to make similar bread items. Originally when I was developing the recipe, I started with a flatbread recipe a friend from Asia had shared with me. After making the recipe many times, I have figured out that cooking the tortillas on my griddle on high heat will make the tortillas lightly brown on the outside, flexible enough to wrap around the taco fillings and easy to chew, similar to the macadu I mentioned above. But if I want to make something like a tostada or a chip, I can cook the tortillas on lower heat for a longer time and dry out the tortilla, making something more like a chip, sort of like the daleri.

 My latest tweaking to the tortilla recipe was to try to make it more like naan, the basic bread of India. I read several recipes, and noticed that some use yeast and others baking powder to leaven the dough. I chose baking powder the other day since I didn’t want to take the time for the yeast to work. I used ¼ tsp baking powder with the recipe on page 115 as a first try and was happy with the results. I also added some pressed garlic and freshly ground black pepper. The final product was thicker and more fluffy than the tortillas and was a fun change of pace for us. I might try adding some other herbs or spices next time! The tweaking of the tortilla recipe reminded me of my “roots” in Colombia! 

Two Score and Five Year Scones

We enjoyed the A-B-C Bake for a few meals and then tried a few new recipes. One day this week, the weather was so hot that Brody didn’t really want a hot meal for supper. Since I had already started making Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup (pages 126-127), I proposed that we eat a small serving of soup, a green salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing (page 154) along with some other tasty side dishes that were satisfying, but not super heavy. I had some plain lentils in the fridge so I made Indian Style Lentils (page 94) and tweaked the Tortilla recipe (page 115) to go with the lentils. I’ll write more about the tweaking of the tortilla recipe later, but for now, here is the promised scone recipe. 🙂

 Two Score and Five Year Scones

Early in August, Willie turned 45 and his wife, Brenda, planned a surprise birthday party for him…. So, I developed a scone recipe in honor of his 45 years of life. A friend of his at the party helped me name this scone recipe.

To develop this recipe, I began with a scone recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, published by Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, edited by Jennifer Dorland Darling, Copyright 1996. The original recipe is a “normal” gluten-filled recipe, and using the method described in A Recipe for Survival, I converted it to be gluten-free and safe for Brody. I made a half batch for the first trial, and my taste-tester suggested that it needed a little more sweetness, so I added the icing for the second batch. 

Many friends gave me their feedback on the second batch – this texture is very similar to a gluten-filled scone texture, but is still slightly different from a standard scone texture. The children who tested this recipe made the crumbs disappear, so we took that as an approval vote! My friends who prefer less sweet baked goods thought this was just right, but if you prefer sweeter baked goods, you’ll likely want to increase the sugar or simply add more icing.

 18 oz fresh blueberries

1/3 cup rice flour

2 cups tapioca flour

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup coconut flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

6 Tbsp raw cane sugar

2 Tbsp baking powder

4 Tbsp rice bran

4 Tbsp ground flaxseed

12 Tbsp butter

2 eggs

1 cup goat milk

1 cup water

 

2 Tbsp goat milk for tops of scones

Icing:

2 Tbsp goat milk plus enough powdered sugar to achieve the desired consistency and 1 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Directions: 

1. Wash and drain the blueberries.

2. Combine the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Using a pastry knife, cut in the butter until the mix is of a coarse crumb texture.

3. Combine the eggs, milk and water. Mix thoroughly and then pour into the dry mixture. Stir until all the mix is moistened. Be careful not to beat the air out of it.

4. Butter 2 baking sheets.

5. Form the dough into cylinders or whatever shape you’d like. Cylinder shapes will bake more uniformly, and are easier to make with my hands, so I generally make cylinders of approximately 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch in height. As you form the cylinders, add the blueberries – I like 4-6 blueberries per scone. Too many blueberries will make the scone fall apart. I don’t like to mix them into the bowl of dough since the spoon would break the blueberries, and I like them whole. 🙂

6. Place the scones on the baking sheets and then spread a little goat milk on the tops of the scones.

7. Bake the scones at 400 F for 25 minutes. My oven bakes unevenly, so half way through the baking time, I switch the baking sheets from the top to the bottom and turn the sheets around, too, since the front is colder than the back of my oven. If your oven is more efficient than mine, all your baking times will be much shorter. I am grateful for my oven, but I realize it’s probably been baking for more years than some of my readers have been alive…. (At least I didn’t develop this recipe book using a wood fire like the one my mom used for some of her cooking in the prairies of Colombia!) So check your baked goods as they bake – you may need to adjust their baking times.

8. Prepare the icing by adding the powdered sugar to the milk. After mixing well, add the lemon juice and stir.

9. When the scones have a hint of tan on some of their edges, remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Or serve them warm with the icing drizzled on them.

10. If you’re going to store the scones for later, let them cool and then add the icing and then store them in an airtight container. They will keep best in the fridge if you want to store them for a few days. We like to reheat them in the microwave when we’re ready to have some.

Tips for Making Sweet Rolls Recipe

When you first make the Sweet Rolls recipe, you may wonder what I meant in step 5 on page 178…. disregard the instruction to turn the dough once – it will be so wet that it simply sits there in the bowl; you won’t be able to form it into a ball of dough as you would with a gluten-filled recipe. Just cover the bowl with a moist towel and let the dough rise.

I have made the recipe two ways and in both cases, the sweet rolls have been consumed very quickly, so you can choose either way and the results will be tasty. 🙂

The first way is to skip the 1/4 cup water. The dough will be drier and the rolls will maintain their shape as they rise, but they will be small rolls. So, if it is important to you that the rolls have a distinct shape, use this method.

The second way is to make the recipe exactly as it is printed in the book. The rolls will be much bigger, but they will merge together as they rise and bake. If you really want larger sweet rolls, use this method.

Either way, you and your family will really enjoy these!