Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies

Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies
6  Cups  Old Fashioned Oats
2  Cups  shredded unsweetened  Coconut
5-1/3  Cups  Flour (can use part Whole-Wheat Flour)
2  teaspoons  Salt
2  teaspoons  Cinnamon
4  Cups  Brown Sugar
2  Cups  Butter
1  Cup  Real Maple Syrup (I prefer the Grade B Maple Syrup from Trader Joe's)
1/4  Cup  Light Corn Syrup
4  teaspoons  Baking Soda
1/2  Cup  Boiling Water
2  teaspoons  Maple Extract
4  Cups  chopped toasted Pecans (please chop them smaller than I did; I was in a hurry)
Preheat oven to 300* (you can use this preheat time to toast your Pecans).
In a very large bowl (Tupperware works great), combine the Oats, Coconut, Flour, Salt, Cinnamon, and Brown Sugar; whisk to combine.
In a large saucepan, combine Butter, Maple Syrup, and Corn Syrup.  Heat over medium heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally; remove from heat before continuing to the next step, or you will have a big mess all over your stove.
In a small bowl, combine the Boiling Water and Baking Soda.  Dissolve well, then pour over the Butter mixture, stirring well.  Stir in Maple Extract; stir into dry ingredients.  Add in Pecans and mix well.
Using a large cookie scoop (about 3 Tablespoons measure), scoop cookies onto well-greased baking sheet, placing about 2-1/2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly.  Bake at 300* for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown and set, but not crispy.  Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes; transfer to cooling racks.  Makes about 6 dozen.
be ye all of one mind,
having compassion one of another,
love as brethren,
be pitiful,
be courteous,
Not rendering evil for evil,
or railing for railing,
but on the contrary, blessing,
knowing that ye are called to this,
that ye should inherit a blessing."
1 Peter 3:8 & 9
Well, it happened again.
It always does this time of year.
The weather changes, and this Central-Valley-born-and-raised girl tells her husband "Ok, we can just pick up and move to Vermont now."  There is just something in the turning of the leaves, the misty mornings, the clear, crisp evenings, the smell of wood smoke, and the time change that makes me long for a location where autumn is more obvious.  (Don't ask me how I'd feel about the mud in March, though.)
For some reason, my very soul begins to long for that which I've never had.  And then I think of Abraham, who "looked for a city, ...whose builder and maker is God".  As I type up this post on the last day of October, the day on which sin and evil is so celebrated, a day when my heart is longing to be removed from the darkness around me, I look to the Father and for the day of Jesus Christ's return, and I find that what I am really longing for is for the day when "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord."  And so, I am comforted by these words, for Jesus is coming soon!  Keep looking up!

Recipe adapted from .

Tempura Batter for Shrimp Fondue

Tempura Batter
for Shrimp Fondue
2  Eggs
1-3/4  Cups  Ice Water
1-3/4  Cups  Flour
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
2  pounds  large fresh shelled Shrimp, patted very dry; nest serving bowl in crushed ice to keep cold
3  Cups  Vegetable or Peanut Oil, for cooking
Chinese Hot Mustard, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, and Hoisin Sauce for dipping
Beat Eggs and Ice Water until frothy.  Beat in Flour and Salt until batter is smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  When ready to use, re-beat until frothy.  Place batter in a small bowl and nest in ice to keep chilled.  Heat Oil in Fondue pot on stove to 375*, transfer to Fondue stand and set heat to high, checking occasionally to maintain high temperature.  Using a Fondue fork, dip Shrimp into Batter, shaking off any excess.  Cook in hot Oil until Shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Yields about 2-1/2 cups batter.
It is very important that the Tempura Batter is kept cold throughout the preparation and serving process.  I like to use my immersion blender to get this good and frothy--this helps to make a light, fluffy fried Shrimp.  Make certain that your Shrimp is very dry (use paper towels), otherwise the Tempura Batter will slide right off the wet Shrimp!  It is also fun to use this batter with veggies--Asparagus, Green Beans, small pieces of Broccoli... you name it!
"For I know
that my Redeemer liveth,
Job 19:25a
From Gourmet International Fondue Cookbook 

Marinated Beef & Chicken Fondue

Marinated Beef & Chicken Fondue
with Horseradish & BBQ Dipping Sauces
For the Marinade:
3/4  Cup  Soy Sauce
1/4  Cup  Worcestershire Sauce
2  Garlic Cloves, crushed
2-1/2  pounds  Fillet Mignon, cut into thin strips (freeze for 30-45 minutes, then slice slightly frozen)
2-1/2  pounds  boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, cut into thin strips
For the Horseradish Dipping Sauce:
1  Cup  Sour Cream
3-4  Tablespoons  prepared Horseradish
1  Tablespoon  finely chopped fresh Red Onion
1  teaspoon  Vinegar
1/2  teaspoon  Salt (or less)
1/4  teaspoon  fresh ground Black Pepper
For the BBQ Sauce:
8  ounces  Tomato Sauce
2  Tablespoons  Brown Sugar
1/3  Cup  Steak Sauce
8  Cups  Vegetable or Peanut Oil, for cooking
Prepare the Marinade:
Place Beef and Chicken in two zip-top plastic bags.  Combine Marinade ingredients; divide evenly between meats.  Seal bags, turn to thoroughly coat meat; refrigerate four to six hours, turning occasionally.
Prepare the Dipping Sauces:
In a small bowl, combine Horseradish ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  In another small bowl, combine BBQ Sauce ingredients; cover and refrigerate.
To Fondue:
Drain and discard Marinades.  Place meats into clean bowls and nest in ice.  Using one fondue pot for every six people, heat 3 cups of Oil in each pot to 375*.  Using Fondue forks, cook meat in oil until it reaches desired doneness, about 1-3 minutes.  Serve with the Horseradish & BBQ dipping sauces.  Serves about 12 as a main course.
"For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted,
He is able to help them that are tempted."
Hebrews 2:18
Slightly adapted from Taste of Home, issue unknown.

Crab Fondue

Crab Fondue
18  ounces  Cream Cheese, softened
1/3  Cup  Mayonnaise
1  teaspoon  Prepared Yellow Mustard
1  Tablespoon  Corn Starch
1/2  teaspoon  Garlic Powder
2  teaspoons  Old Bay Seasoning
1/3  Cup  White Wine
1  Tablespoon  Lemon Juice
1  pound  Lump Crab Meat
1/4  Cup  Green Onion, chopped
Sourdough Bread Cubes or Fresh Pears
In a medium/large microwave-safe dish, combine the Cream Cheese, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Corn Starch, Garlic Powder, and Old Bay Seasoning.  Warm in microwave, stirring as needed until fully blended.  Stir in Wine, Lemon Juice and Crab; microwave until hot.  Stir in Green Onion.  Transfer to Fondue pot; adjust heat to low to keep warm--prevent from scorching.  Serve with Sourdough bread Cubes or Fresh Pear chunks.  Serves 4-6 as a main course.
To prepare ahead of time, follow instructions up to the point of stirring in Wine, Lemon Juice, and Crab; refrigerate.  When ready to serve, warm until hot through and stir in Green Onions.  Yummy!
"But we see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death,
crowned with Glory and Honour,
that He,
by the grace of God,
should taste death for every man."
Hebrews 2:9
Slightly adapted from  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baked Fontina with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Baked Fontina with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1-1/2  pounds  Fontina Cheese, rind removed and 1-inch diced
1/4  Cup  Olive Oil
6  Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1  Tablespoon  minced fresh Thyme
1  Teaspoon  minced fresh Rosemary
3  ounces  Sun-dried Tomato halves, sliced
1  Teaspoon  Kosher Salt
1  Teaspoon  fresh Black Pepper
1 Baguette loaf
Olive Oil
Preheat broiler and position oven rack 5 inches from heat.
Slice the Baguette on the bias into 1/2-inch slices and lightly brush with Olive Oil.  Broil for 2-3 minutes, turn and broil another 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.  Transfer to serving basket and set aside.
Evenly sprinkle the Fontina in a 12-inch cast iron skillet; drizzle with Olive Oil.  Combine the Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary and sprinkle evenly over the cheese; top with Sun-Dried Tomatoes.  Combine the Kosher Salt and Black Pepper and evenly sprinkle over the top.  Broil for 6-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and top is bubbly and starts to brown.  Serve immediately with baguette toast.  Serves 4-6 as a main dish; 12-14 as part of a Fondue Dinner.
"Having your behavior honest
among the Gentiles, that...
they may by your good works,
which they shall behold,
glorify God..."
1 Peter 2:12
yum, yum, yum-oh!
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa how easy is that?  by Ina Garten, page 97


Classic Cheese Fondue

Sorry, no picture for this one...
But I DO hope you enjoy the Fondue
Classic Cheese Fondue
12  ounces  Gruyere Cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
4  ounces  Smoked Sharp Cheddar, shredded (about 1 cup)
2  Tablespoons  Flour
1  clove  Garlic, crushed
3/4  Cup  Sherry
1/4  Cup  Apple Juice
1  Tablespoon  Lemon Juice
2  Teaspoons  Dijon Mustard
Assorted dippers for serving
In a bowl, toss the Cheeses with Flour; set aside.
Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a medium saucepan; heat to a gentle simmer.  Whisk in the Cheeses, a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until melted.  When fully melted, transfer to fondue pot and keep warm.  Serve with dippers of your choice.  Makes about 2-1/2 Cups.
"Jesus Christ,
the same yesterday,
and today,
and forever."
Hebrews 13:8
Want to make your Fondue Dinner go a little smoother?  Prep the Cheeses and Flour and store them in a zip-top bag in the fridge, and combine the remaining ingredients and refrigerate them, too.  If you label your bag with the prep instructions, all you have to do at the last minute is finish it up.  Makes a Fondue Dinner Party flow a little better by eliminating the last-minute work.

Adapted from Cheese Fondue,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Caramel Apple Cobbler Rice Krispies

Caramel Apple Cobbler
Rice Krispies
8  Cups  Rice Krispy Cereal
4  Cups  Quick Oats
1-1/2  Cups  diced dried Apples
1-1/2  pounds  Mini Marshmallows
1/2  Cup  Butter
2  Tablespoons  Apple Pie Spice
1  Tablespoon  Vanilla
1/4  Cup  Caramel Ice Cream Topping, plus additional for drizzling, if desired
Generously coat a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray; set aside.
In a  very large mixing bowl, combine the Rice Krispies, Quick Oats, and dried Apples; set aside.
In a 6- or 8-quart pan, melt the Butter and allow it to begin to slightly brown.  Stir in Mini Marshmallows and stir until melted.  Remove from heat, stir in Apple Pie Spice, Vanilla, and Caramel topping.  Pour over the Rice Krispy mixture and combine well.  Press into the prepared 9x13 pan and set aside until firm.  Makes a very full pan and serves about 24. 

" all diligence,
add to your faith virtue;
and to virtue, knowledge;
And to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, patience;
and to patience, godliness;
And to godliness, brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if these things be in you, and abound,
they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
II Peter 1:5-8
Adapted from


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Salted Caramel Fondue

Salted Caramel Fondue
1/2  Cup  Brown Sugar, packed
1/3  Cup  Light Corn Syrup
1/4  Cup  Heavy Whipping Cream
2  Tablespoons  Butter
1  Teaspoon  Vanilla
1/2  Teaspoon  Kosher Salt
Your favorite dessert dippers--see suggestions below
In a small saucepan, combine the Brown Sugar, Corn Syrup, Whipping Cream, and Butter.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in Vanilla and Salt.  Transfer to fondue pot and keep warm.  Serve with dippers.  Makes about 1 cup.
"Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything,
by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God,
which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6 & 7


Last spring we had the opportunity to participate in a benefit auction for our children's school.  T and I and some dear friends offered to host a Fall Fondue Party for 10, which took place this past Saturday night.  This Salted Caramel Fondue was one of our desserts and was also the favor our guests took home.  For dessert dippers we used Pears, Apples, Pound Cake, Pretzels, Strawberries, Rice Krispies, Brownies, Bananas, Marshmallows, and canned Biscuits (to fry in hot oil) with Vanilla Sugar & Apple Pie Spice blend.  This fondue also makes a wonderful ice cream sauce and a delightful addition to a cup of hot coffee.  If you're going to make this for a favor, I recommend sprinkling the Kosher Salt on top of the fondue once it has set up in the jars instead of stirring it into the hot Fondue as the recipe states--it looks prettier that way!
Our menu for the evening included Tempura Shrimp Fondue, Marinated Filet Migon and Marinated Chicken Breast Fondue, Simmering Beef Broth Fondue, Baked Fontina Fondue with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Spinach and Artichoke Fondue, Classic Cheese Fondue, Crab Fondue, Chocolate Marshmallow Fondue, and Mini Doughnuts.
 Adapted from Butterscotch Fondue on, submitted by Sharon Mensing

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondue

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondue
2  Cups  Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (12 ounces)
1  14-ounce can  Sweetened Condensed Milk
1  7-ounce jar  Marshmallow Creme
1/2  Cup  Whole Milk
1  Teaspoon  Vanilla
Your favorite dessert dippers--Apples, Pears, Pound Cake, Rice Krispy Cookies, Bananas, Strawberries, Brownies, Pretzels, Marshmallows...
In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, carefully heat Fondue ingredients until just melted and combined.  Transfer to fondue pot and keep warm, serve with dippers.  Makes about 4 cups.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1
The first time I made this fondue I put it in a mini slow cooker to keep warm while we had our dinner.  When I came to get it for dessert, the marshmallow creme had expanded, lifted the lid, and the fondue was spilling down the side!  We all had a good laugh over that one! 
From, submitted by "Tinkerbell"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Apples and Tarragon

Curried Chicken Salad 
With Apples and Tarragon

1  quart  canned Chicken, drained and broth reserved, shredded
1/2 - 3/4  Cup  Mayonaisse, or enough to bind together (I like to use some of my reserved broth here to make it a little moister)
1/2  Cup  finely diced Celery
1  tart Apple, grated
1  Teaspoon  dried Tarragon 
1/4 - 1/2  Teaspoon  Curry Powder, to taste
1  squeeze  Lemon juice
Black Pepper

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Lettuce Leaves, as desired

Mix all filling ingredients together and make into sandwiches.  Makes about 8 whole sandwiches.  This filling keeps very well in the fridge to speed up your mornings. 

"Sing unto the Lord a new song,
And His praise from the ends of the earth..."
Isaiah 42:10a
This is a fun fall riff on my Curried Tarragon Chicken SaladI hope you enjoy it!