Saturday, January 23, 2016

Crunchy Granola and.......the Winner is........

Before we announce the winner of the free pattern from Prairie Cottage Corner, I want to share my Crunchy Granola recipe with you. I used to make this all the time....but then we were having lots of eggs and meat for breakfast......until that became a burdensome process, when I added some extra client work and more pattern challenges. So, thinks me, I should go back to a quickie meal in order to jump-start the day. 

So here it is: Crunchy Granola. I love this recipe because it makes a tender, crunchy granola that stands up to the milk or yogurt extrememly well. The recipe is below, right above the ....shhhhhhhhh....winner of the free pattern.

Put your oats and Rice Krispies in a huge bowl and mix well.  Add the liquid ingredients and mix very well.

Chop some dried apricots and combine with raisin and craisins.

Add a teaspoon of while flour to them so they don't stick together. Some of the raisins are rather stubborn about that.

Set the fruit aside until later.

Spread the oats out into a 1/2" to 1" layer in as many containers as needed. Bake them for 10 minutes, stir, and bake another 10 minutes and stir. Bake a final 10 minutes and stir well. Turn off oven and let granola stand 10 minutes. Remove and return to the mixing bowl. 

See how golden brown it all is and how each kernel is coated with sweetness?

Add the fruit all at once....

and mix well, again.

You can add pre-roasted nuts now, if you like. I do. I avoid roasting them with the oats because they get too brown.....often, they burn. Keep the granola in the freezer or fridge to keep if fresh. Granola goes bad (rancid) very quickly at room temperature.

I serve 1/2 c. granola with added cinnamon and 3 Tablespoons of Yogurt. That's breakfast (with something hot like cocoa, or Pero Mocha Hot Drink (recipe below).

Recipe for Crunchy Granola 
(you can halve these amounts for a smaller batch)
Fills two 1-gallon ziplock bags

2/3 c. Stevia + 1 T. Molasses or 2/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. Vegetable Oil (NOT Olive Oil)
1 c. Honey
4 t. Vanilla
6 c. Rice Krispies Cereal or puffed rice
8 c. Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
2 t. Ground Cinnamon
3 c. cut dried apricots, raisin and craisins, tossed in 1 t. AP Flour
3 c. roasted, chopped nuts of choice (salted nuts are okay)

Mix Oats, Cinnamon and Rice Krispies together well. Place Oil, Honey and Brown Sugar in a 1 quart bowl and microwave until hot, at 1 minute itervals, mixing each time. DO NOT BOIL! When hot and well combined, pour over the Oats mixture and combine well.  Spread 1" deep in pans and bake 30 Minutes at 350 degrees F; stirring every 10 minutes and rotating pans, once. Stir the third time and let stand 10 minutes in the oven with the heat OFF. Remove from oven and pour back into the mixing bowl. Let cool until barely warm and add Fruit and Nuts. Combine well. Place in 2 1-gallon Ziplock bags and freeze until ready to use. Serve with milk or yogurt.

And on another note.......

Cats on the Shelf. 

What is there about a basket they cannot resist? This is how I TRY to keep them off my lap and out of my hair in the office. They are separated by a stack of scratch appropriate!

And, now, the winner of one of these patterns IS........



!!!!!Gran Chris!!!!!!

You can write to me at prairiestitcher at centurytel dot net and tell me which pattern you would like to have. Congratulations!

Pero Mocha Hot Drink
(Use a 16oz. Cup)

2 t. Pero (coffee substitute) or Instant Coffee
1 t. unsweetened powdered cocoa
2 or more t. Sugar or Stevia
1/4 t. Cinnamon
2 drops Rum Flavoring
1/4 t. Vanilla
Fill 1/2 full with very hot water.
Fill to within 1/2" of the top with milk, cream or egg nog

Microwave about 1 minute on high. Froth with a frother, small whisk, or stir well with a spoon. Dust with a smidgeon of ground Nutmeg.

Yum! Makes a great hot party drink, too.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hearts and Flowers and a Give-Away!

We've been out in the shops selling patterns this week. You can win your choice of any of the following patterns. See the instructions below.

Trending for us are several patterns:

Valentine details with precious heart buttons.....

Details of  Marketday Sue - See the tiny prints? And the easy Ribbon Embroidery roses?


Wait for it......

  • Have you ever tried a Sunbonnet Sue pattern?
  • Do you have Sunbonnet Sue on your Bucket List?
  • Do you have a Sunbonnet Sue in your quilting past, either as a gift or a quilt you made?
  • Have you discovered how easy Fusible Web applique' is?

If you answered NO to all of the above, then, these (simply) Sue banners are for you.

To have a chance to win, please Follow Me on Google and leave a Message on this Post answering the question: Is there a Sunbonnet Sue quilt in your past, present or  future?  

The Winner  will be announced on 
Thursday, January 21, 2016.

(I'll send the winner's choice out as either a PDF (instant download format) or a physical pattern.)

Be sure to visit Joan at Moose Stash Quilting. She has been the stitcher of our pattern samples for the last little while and made most of the above samples. She does beautiful work....prize-winning work.

Sunbonnet Sue Tip of the Day: when obtaining print fabrics for Sue's dresses, choose small prints. They will look more authentic than large prints, especially since Sue, likes calico very much for everyday wear.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

All the Heavy Lifting is Done.....

.....except for the roast and dressing. That's tomorrow.

This past week, I've prepared most of the dishes for Christmas Eve, Christmas Dinner, New Year's Eve and New Year's Dinner. I've done this because I'm old, rickety and want to truly enjoy the holidays (holy days). I've wanted to get the "heavy lifting" out of the way so I could concentrate on the "reason for the season", which is the example and sacrifice of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Cheeeeeep Chicken

Chicken, these days, is among the cheeeepest meat protein we can find. When it's on sale, I buy as much as I can of it and freeze it in meal-sized portions. When whole chickens are less than a dollar a pound, I get them home and roast them all (I usually buy 4 at a time). We eat one that day, and save the rest, frozen, for later.

My Holy Day Menus

Christmas Eve

 Shrimp Egg Rolls with Dipping Sauce
Sesame Wings with 3 Sauces (Teriyaki, Peanut and BBQ)
Garlic Baguette with Hot Spinach/Artichoke Spread
Raw Veggie Tray with Pickles

Christmas Dinner

Roasted Pork Rib  
Sage Dressing
Potatoes Au Gratin
Roasted Carnival Squash
Waldorf Salad
Garlicky Green and Yellow Wax Beans
Mincemeat Pie

New Year's Eve

Pork Egg Rolls with Dipping Sauce
Jalapeno Poppers
Oriental Noodle Salad
 Garlic Butter Baguette
Veggie Tray with Pickles

New Year's Dinner

Chicken Enchiladas
Cole Slaw with Pineapple Dressing
Guacamole with Tortilla Chips
Veggie Tray with Pickles

Having roasted chicken in the freezer makes Chicken Enchiladas and Sage Dressing a whiz to make. I thaw the chicken, remove the meat from the bones, simmer the bones in water for an hour and chop the meat for the Enchiladas. I add a piece of carrot, celery and onion to the water, to make the broth. When the broth is made, strain it through a collander or finer mesh sieve; *discard the bones, etc., and let the broth cool. Pour into plastic containers and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Before using, skim the fat from the top of the broth.

Twice Boiled Broth?

*I don't always discard the bones and stuff. Sometimes, I put them in a roasting pan and roast the whole thing (minus the broth) until all is brown and crusty. Then, deglaze the pan with water and pour all into a soup pot. Simmer gently for 1/2 hour until you have good, brown, stock. Sieve the bones and stuff out and freeze the stock until needed later.

Day before yesterday, I baked two small loaves of bread for stuffing cubes. I use half whole wheat and half white all-purpose flour in the recipe. When mostly cool, I cut the two loaves into 1" cubes and put them on cookie sheets in the oven at 200 degrees F for about 6 hours. I let them cool, completely dried, then put them in a large plastic bag for Christmas Day. The bread, broth, added veggies and butter will make a pot of lovely sagey dressing to go with the meal.

Chicken Enchiladas - I baked these (350 degrees F. about 1 hour), let them cool, wrapped them up and put them in the freezer until New Year's Day.

To make Chicken Enchiladas, I mix the meat from one roasted bird with one (15 oz.) can of refried beans and about 1 cup of shredded cheese (I had cheddar and swiss on hand). I add 1/2 can of mild enchildada sauce and mix well. I wrap the flour tortillas (or corn tortillas, if you like) in about 4 paper towels and nuke them for 1 minute 30 seconds, until they're moist and warm. I put these on my work table next to the filling. On a rimmed plate, I pour enchilada sauce about 1/4" deep. I grease a large baking dish. Here's what to do: lay the tortilla in the plate, then, flip it to make sure front and back are coated with sauce. Put enough filling in to the fill the tortilla from side-to-side. Roll and place, seam side down, in the baking dish. When the dish is full, you're done. Cover the enchiladas with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese and pour a can of Enchilada Sauce over them. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. Serve immediately or let cool and freeze until ready to use.

To reheat for dinner, take them out the night before and let them thaw in the fridge. Heat them at 350 degrees F., covered with foil, for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature in 165 degrees F. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, etc.

Left-over Filling and Tortillas

I had left-over tortillas and filling, so I made three good-sized burritos with that and threw them in the freezer for another meal, some other time. We nuke these in their wax paper wrappers about 2 minutes, then fry them in a little oil or bake them on a rack in the oven, until the tortilla is crisp. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, etc.

Chirstmas Rice Pudding Breakfast

I didn't want to fuss with breakfasts during the last few days before Christmas so I made a large batch of Rice Pudding. This is just rice (Jasmin), 3 eggs, about 1 1/2 c. milk, 1/4 c. sweetener, and a handful of craisins and raisins with 1 t. Cinnamon, 1/2 t. Ginger, 1/4 t. Nutmeg and 1/8 t. Cloves (all ground). Bake it until firm in a water bath, about 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Serve hot or cold with milk and brown sugar. Usually, a small bowl of this will last us until afternoon.

Another breakfast that's quick and easy is Yogurt with Granola or Meusli. This is just 3 heaping teaspoons of plain Greek Yogurt, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a handful of craisins and a handful of granola or meusli. I add a small handful of pecans, as well. Doesn't look like much, but it stays with you.

Quick Shake-n-Bake Sesame Wings  

I added Brown Sesame Seeds to the Shake-n-Bake mix and tossed the trimmed wings in it. To trim the wings, remove the tips and save for broth, later. Cut the wing at the second joint and rinse well with water. Bread and bake these about 40 minutes at 400 degrees F. until the internal temp is 165 degrees F. Save the bones from these for broth too. I put the wings in a ziplock bag in the fridge for Christmas Eve.  When ready for them, nuke them in small batches, about 4-6 minutes each until hot. Serve with your choice of sauces. We're using Teriyaki, Peanut and BBQ sauces.

Well, that's the menu, so far. Got to go bake the baguette, now and made the Spinach/Artichoke dip. Then we're ready for the Christmas Eve. We'll nibble and tell the rest of the story of the life of Christ, whose birth we celebrate and through whom, we may have Everlasting Life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Simple Gifts

We were singing this song old song my mother used to sing to us.....

Mama's little babies love shortnin, shortnin;
Mama's little babies love shortnin bread!

Has anyone else ever sung that little song? That's all I remember of it....there must be more to it than just those two lines.

Anyway, in case you haven't guessed, yesterday was Shortbread Day at our house. It snowed and drizzled all day and we mixed and baked and decorated our way through the morning. In the afternoon, we rested on our laurels (I didn't know that's what you call a Lazy Boy Recliner.).

Shortbread Bells, Stars and Bulbs

Shortbread Cookies Recipe

5 c. All-purpose Flour
1 1/2 c. Sugar (or half Stevia and half sugar)
2 c. Butter (doesn't have to be salt-free)

Cut the butter in little cubes. Mix the Flour and Sugar well together. If you want to add flavoring, now is the time. A teaspoon of Vanilla, 1/2 t. Almond or 1 t. Maple sprinkled over the flour....these are good choices.Or, leave it plain. 

Add the butter to the flour and mix the whole thing with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs and will stick together without too much cracking when it's squeezed. If it won't hold together, add another 1/4 c. of butter, cubed, and mix it in.  When it's the right consistency, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest while you make the mincemeat treat, below, from some of the dough. 

After about twenty minutes, roll the dough out 1/2" thick. Cut shapes with cutters or just cut the dough into squares. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 20 minutes at 325 degrees F. Take the cookies out when the edges of one or two are looking slightly tan. 

Don't let them brown at all. You can't under bake them, really.

When they were done, I painted them with colored glaze frosting. I like this glaze frosting because you can package it and it doesn't make a mess. It dries nice and hard and actually strengthens the cookies. Bulbs.....


...and Santa and Reindeer guarding the whole thing. These will be given as gifts in our neighborhood.

To make the Colored Glaze, in five small custard cups, place 1/4 c. powdered sugar each
Add flavoring, now, such as a few drops to taste of Vanilla, Run, Maple, Almond, etc., extract.
To each cup, add 1 Tablespoon of cold water. Mix well until smooth.
To each cup add a different color, leaving one white. I used 3 drops each of Red, Yellow, Blue and Green.

Dip a good watercolor brush in cold, clear water, and begin painting. Keep the clear water on hand to clean your brush between changes of color. 

After the first coat dries on the cookies, you can add patterns and dots on top. You really can get quite elaborate with the painting! I didn't, because my .... um.... laurels were calling....

Meanwhile, there was a mad cat in the office, tearing up the old chair. Yes, you, Katrina. I can see you have the heebie-jeebies. 

"Not me. Not the heebie-jeebies. I'm just full of Christmas Cheer!"

"When I'm full of Christmas Cheer I have to rabbit-kick this old chair and hang from the arm like a monkey."

"And then look around, innocently. Who me?"

We also made Mincemeat Shortbread Bars. These are very rich, but an easy recipe.

Cut them while they are warm and serve at room temperature or cold. Great little squares to include in a gift basket. I wrap them in waxed paper and put a Christmas sticker on each one to keep them tight.

Mincemeat Shortbread Bars

Take 1/3 of the dough above or about half of the above shortbread recipe, and press 2/3 of that amount into the bottom of a greased 9"x9"x2" baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F. for about 10 minutes. Remove the dish and spread 3 cups of prepared mincement over it.

Now, you don't have to use mincement. You could use Strawberry Jam, Orange Marmalade, etc., instead. Any fruit spread or mixture with bits of fruit. Jellies don't work very well here.

Take the remaining shortbread dough and mix it, with your fingers, with 1/4 c. Butter 3 T. Brown Sugar and 1/2 c. Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts or any nut of choice, ground well. Sprinkle this over the fruit filling and press it down a little. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Nice little treats for a neighbor or friend; or just to keep out on the table for the visitors who are bound to arrive, sooner or later.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!