Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day 2012

The other day we took a day tour with my parents, so dad could show us all the places where his family lived. We spent all of our time in Tama County, around Traer, Clutier, Vining and Dysart.

We stopped in to see his Uncle Ernie in Traer.....we knew he could tell us all the places Grandma Weaver had lived in Traer.  And she lived in a lot of houses and moved often.  If she could make some money by selling and moving, she would do it.  Ernie is the last remaining sibling of the Weaver family and he is a wealth of information and remembers it all, in his 97th year.  He is a treasure to talk to and reminds me so of his sister, my Grandma K.....Dad's mom.  We had lots of questions and he had ready answers for most of them.

We spent quite a bit of time in various country cemeteries....places I had never been.  This stone is written in Czech.  My dad's Grandma Weaver came to the US when she was 3 years old from Czechoslovakia.......her parents are buried in this cemetery.  Dad remembers staying with Grandpa Peter and Grandma Rose Weaver one time and they were talking and soon the tone of the conversation changed and they started scrabbling in Czech....and he knew something was not right......there was a problem.  :)  But he never knew what it was.  

 This cemetery is outside of Vining.....which is a spot in the road....Dad and Mom looking for the right markers. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad.  Thanks for the great day the other day.  I learned several things I did not know.  Thank you for your love and support over the years and your willingness to always help when I need it.  You are dear to me!!!

I love you always,

Your Daughter

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Party Time Chapter III

Chips and Salsa......

It's a staple around here.

I don't make this for every gathering around here, just almost everytime.  :)

My son-in-law's LOVE this stuff.

I've seen them practically drink it.

 I make this version during most of the year when I don't have my own fresh tomatoes.

1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
3 green onions
1 clove garlic
1/2 lime
hand full of cilantro
salt & pepper
food processor

Rough chop the green onions

This if how I peel my garlic......great little is a rubber type mat and you wrap it around the clove and roll it back and forth on the counter a couple times and whaala......

rough chop 

Add everything to the bowl of the food looks and smells yummy already.

Essential kitchen tool in my book.....I bought this probably 30+ years ago at Donaldson's.....that ought to take you back.  This is one of those tools spend the money and get the best quality and it will last you for years.

 I pulse it 5-6 times maybe till it is evenly chopped and looks like this.  Oh I wish you could smell it.....heavenly.

Isn't this a fun little dish, you can't buy one of these, because I made it several years ago at a ceramic shop.  The place where you paint your piece and then they fire it for you.  I know a family that used to go to a place like that for birthday partys, even for the adults and they would make fun unique pieces to use in their homes, or make tiles for their kitchens.....very fun.

Take the 1/2 of lime and juice it .....then add it to the rest of the ingredients in your bowl.

Add salt and pepper to taste and stir.

I usually make it a couple hours before we eat it, just to let the flavors blend.  But you can eat it right away too.  I serve them with any scoop type chip that you like.

I bet you can't eat just one bite!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Party Time Chapter II

I have made a lot of these dinner rolls in the past 6 months.  And the last two weekends were no exception.  
They really do taste even better than they look......yum, yum.

For the last several parties I have thrown, I make these tasty little suckers and have several kinds of sliced meats and cheeses and butter to tuck in.  To make them even better, my guests can heat it up in the micro for about 10 seconds.....just like out of the oven.  I am not suppose to eat these darn things, but face it, these things make me weak and I usually have one just to make sure they are OK for guests.  :0

This pic was from the Silver Fox's graduation party after completing his RN degree.  Can you tell I used to sell Longaberger products and I still enjoy using them?  The large tray with the meat and cheese has a really nice plastic liner and I like to decorate under the liner as the food still looks nice.  Also for a "tablecloth"  I had saved a poster that Jeff had done for one of his classes and it was huge, so made a nice backdrop on the table.

It you already have the Better Homes & Garden Cookbook, you don't need to write this down, you already have it.....under Bread....Yeast Rolls...Basic Roll Dough...although I have changed the original slightly because I mix it in the bread secret weapon.  

Basic Roll Dough

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/4 cup milk, scalded
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cup flour

In a perfect world, your egg and butter should not be cold, but frankly I never do that.  And you will also need to pay attention to your bread machines preferences and adjust accordingly.

My bread machine requires you put in the yeast in the bottom and then the rest of the dry ingredients, liquid last.

Over the dry ingredients in the bread machine, I add the egg right from the shell  (I don't stir it ahead) and take a knife and cut up the butter into small pieces to add.   I heat up the milk in the microwave using a glass measuring cup.... heat for 1 minute, then stir and then 30 seconds more.  Then pour the hot milk over the top.

I set my machine to mix a sweet dough and a manual setting, so it is just mixing the dough and not going into a baking cycle.....that would not be good.  :(

I do watch it when I first turn it on, to scrap down the sides one time on the bowl and also to see if I need to add more liquid or flour.  I have found I like the dough to look soft, so it pretty much makes into a ball, but not quite in the bottom of the bowl near the paddle.  Then I let it do it's thing, which for my machine takes about an hour.

Then I remove the dough and divide in half and with each half I make 12 rolls, but you can make many different shapes if you choose to.  I place the dough in my hand and roll them into a ball.  I don't even grease my hands....the dough is just beautiful....then place the shaped rolls into a greased pie pans....I like heavy glass or stoneware pie plates.

I cover them with a clean dish cloth and let them rise...probably about an hour..until double.

I bake them at 350 for about 15 minutes until they are golden brown.  Then I take a cut stick of butter and rub the tops of them with butter right out of the oven.

Now obviously they are best right out of the oven to eat, but when doing a party or holiday....I make them ahead and after they are cooled....put them in a ziplock bag and stack them in the freezer.  I thaw them on the counter and you can warm them in the micro or if you are lucky enough to have a warming drawer oven, that would be perfect.

I use this same recipe to make pecan rolls or cinnamon rolls.  After taking the dough out of the bread machine....divide the dough in half.

Throw down some bench flour on your counter and with a rolling pin roll out the dough into a rectangular shape.  Spread the dough with generous amount of softened butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon and white sugar.  I don't measure.....just not skimpy with amounts, can include crushed pecans if you like.  Then starting along one of the long edges roll up the dough along the long side.

Prepare your pans....again I use glass or stoneware pie plates.....grease the pan with butter, then chunk up bits of butter and scatter over the bottom of the pan, sprinkle brown sugar next....maybe 1/4 to 1/3 cup.  Again I don't measure, then if you like pecans add pecan half's next.

Divide your roll up dough into approximately 12-1" pieces and arrange in prepared pans....You will repeat this process for both pans or if you are doing this for just your family.  You can make a pan of each, one plain buns and one pan of pecan rolls.  This is what my family did.  I had both of these probably most every Sunday of my life when I was a kid.  My Grandma Thedens made these and pie every Saturday and Sunday AM for Sunday dinner.

Set aside and cover with a cloth and allow to rise until double and bake the same as listed above.

When you remove these from the oven find a plate that is larger around than your pie plate and lay the plate on top of your baked cinnamon rolls and with potholders invert the rolls onto the plate and scrap any remaining caramelized syrup onto your rolls and let cool....if you can stay out of them that long.

My oldest grandson, who will be 16.....I can hardly wrap my brain around that this fall.....  came up to me after one of these shingdigs and said... "Mommo, do you have any of these rolls left over that I could take home and I did have extra.... so sent him home with a dozen of them......don't know if any of the rest of the family ever saw them.....I doubt it.

The grandkids run by the basket of rolls and grab one and don't even butter them sometimes....they eat and run....cause they have so much playing to do here while the cousins are together.  :)



Friday, June 8, 2012

Party Time Chap. 1

We have had lots of company lately....a couple weeks ago, our daughter and her husband graduated from the University of Northern Iowa on the same day.  They had both done some of their schooling several years ago when they were first married and like a lot of couples, the children starting coming.....4 to be that put a halt to that plan for a time.   Recently, with help from the GI bill because of our son-in-law's service in Iraq.  They were both able to complete their degrees.  Yippee, skippy!!!!  So the Silver Fox and I wanted to celebrate their accomplishment.

I have a little primitive cupboard sitting on my kitchen counter is filled with mini's and I changed the alphabet blocks to say the kid's names.

When I do a party, I like to do simple, with special, personal touches to the honored guests.
I have a sideboard in my dining room that I had a plate glass top specially cut to fit it.  Just so I could lay flat items under it.....I had Sara give me some of their special remembrances from the past weeks to use.

I took the cover from the graduation program and cut up the pages with the kids names in it, stamped it and included a photo or two and draped their tassels over them.

This is a fun idea if you like to do scrapbooking and have those supplies any way.  Put together a traditional scrapbook page and then to display them for a party.  Go to the craft store and buy frames that fit 12x12 inch pages.  The glass pops off the front and you can hang them on the wall or display them in a pretty stand.  Then when you are done with them, take the pages out and put them in your scrapbook.  Easy peasy!!!!

This is the back cover of the program and a couple more nice pictures from the day.

About 10 days before the party, I scored a free photo book on Shutterfly, so I slammed out one of those and prayed it would come in time and thankfully it was in my mailbox when I had to have it.  They are so fun and always appreciated.

I really had no plans to make a centerpiece for the table, since I had planned on more of an open house type venue.  But I was walking past my "floral tree"........I will explain that another day....another story.  Here I had a bunch of purple & gold flowers.....then I have a pile of baskets ready to fill and give away.  So in a few minutes, I had a simple, fun arrangement, that Sara can have and enjoy and when she gets tired of it outside on her patio.  :)

Sara and Shane enjoying the celebration.

Texas Caviar

One of the recipes I served that day was Texas Caviar....let's just say right now.  Yum! Yum!  My good friend Normajean introduced this to me....and I will tell you right now.  I am not that excited about beans, but they don't taste like beans.  I took one bite of this and became instantly addicted to it.  I can say at the party that those that had never had it......had the same experience and they have been begging and waiting so patiently for me to get this posted.  So here you go and enjoy!!!

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 cup salad oil
Pepper to taste
Mix.  Bring to a boil and cool well.  (You can even put it in the refrig to speed it up.) 

1 can black eyed peas
1 can black beans
1 can white shoe peg corn
Rinse and drain the above.

1 small jar pimento, chopped and drained
1 small jar green chilies, chopped and drained
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
Mix all of the above.
Pour dressing over all.

Serve with Fritos Scoops

I love to serve them in nacho trays that you can buy at Sam's Club with a small compartment for the Texas Caviar and a larger compartment for the Fritos.

I think it is better if you make it a day ahead or at least 1/2 day for the flavors to blend.