Saturday, January 21, 2017

Clementine sugar cookies- perfect winter treat!

Hello, everybody!! It's almost February and that means I am CRYING over the lack of fresh food. I just hit a wall in February, mostly because all of our garden stores are dwindling. Our canning always seems like such a huge project until we get through the winter and... not so much. We end up buying more and more from out of state because I can't live without fresh produce. I spend a lot more time reminiscing over our delicious summer food.

 Looking back on peach season!
 This most perfect pear.
 OK, this isn't produce but I saw it and thought, "Ooooh, I need to run to the panedaria!"

 So many peaches!
 Last year our grapes were hit with a fungus but this year, we're prepared!
 I can't wait for blueberry season again!!
 It's always horribly hot- around 110F but we pick fast and usually get about 30 lbs in half an hours. Lots of hands!
 And I remember when I thought I had too many pears and had better give some away. My kingdom for a fresh pear!
 Our rainbow of heirloom tomatoes!
 Oh, the dishes we made!
Ok, and lots of desserts. This is upside down and I think it was only a month ago. Leftover cranberry orange sauce made into a cobbler...
But despite the terrible trials of winter, we always get fruit baskets from friends. My brother sends us orange and grapefruit boxes from Florida. DELICIOUS. So, to me, winter also means orange season! California's orange season is around January and we get some incredible citrus up this way.

So, I made clementine sugar cookies and FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES. But I' going to share the recipe anyway because it was so delicious. And I'm adding free pics from Pixabay, my favorite free picture site.
 So, they looked nothing like this, but isn't this a great picture?

Preheat oven to 350F

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tsp orange zest
2 TBS clementine juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

 Mix all dry ingredients together, then add vanilla, butter, orange zest, clementine juice, egg. Mix thoroughly.


2 cups powdered sugar
 dash of salt

3 TBS clementine juice

This still isn't what they looked like but it's a little closer. So, bake at 350F for about 7 minutes. I made mine about the size of a silver dollar because I think they're so cute.

Remove from the oven and glaze with the celementine topping. It should be thin, not like a frosting.

Next time I'll get pictures!
 I hope you're all surviving the long winter and feel free to stop by my author page at Mary Jane Hathaway!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Kale and Farro Stew

Missy Tippens

I tried a new recipe a couple of weeks ago that I saw in a demo at the grocery store. Publix has a booth where they make recipes and let you taste them. They provide the recipe on a card and have all the ingredients you need nearby in one place so that it makes grabbing dinner items easy!

Click here for the original recipe. The only thing I did differently was use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. Just about the whole family had been sick with a cold, so I wanted to use the chicken broth since I long ago heard that it can help with congestion.

I won't share the whole recipe since you can click the link above and see it. But I thought I'd share the photos I took while making it.

Here are all the ingredients and the handy-dandy recipe card. I have a notebook I put them in.

Here are the chopped "trinity" of celery, carrots and onion. I cooked them in oil for the 3 minutes and then added the garlic so it wouldn't burn.

Then sautéing in oil.

Then you add in the broth, tomatoes, faro and spices. Simmer.

And next, stir in the kale (I actually used a bag of baby kale, chard and spinach) and beans. 

At the end, you brighten it up with lemon juice and zest and parsley. It never stated how much lemon juice, so I juiced the whole lemon. It was too much. (Can you say pucker up?!) I'd say only do half (or less).

Look how beautiful it looks! So colorful and healthy looking.

Then you sprinkle on feta cheese, which adds a nice bite and creaminess to it.

Ta-da! A hearty, tasty meal.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tender, Sweet, Fluffy Doughnuts

I claim no credit for this.

I must write that disclaimer because my first two attempts at fried cakes (doughnuts) last week were dismal.

The outside was too crunchy.... The inside was too dense. And they just weren't anything you'd jump up and down and say "Mommy, please??? Please can we go to Blodgett's Farm and get doughnuts and see the kitties and chickens? PLEASE????"

That's the reaction I wanted. That's what you need/seek when you want folks to come back again and again.

And there are tricks to every trade. In baking, the slightest variation changes the dough conditioning and then the final product.

I wasn't sure what I was looking for, and I'm still testing ideas, but this one worked so well that the entire crew (the weekend crew, and that's a lot of folks!) gave it a thumbs up....

The recipe was on Mom's Raised Doughnuts

These came out great. Does it take a little work? Sure, I was a first-timer so each step takes a little longer...

And this week I'm going to test this one:

Crispy and Creamy Doughnuts

And we're going to do some with plain glaze (that's what we did last week), maple glaze (Cle Elum Maple Bars, anyone??? From my Double S Ranch books? You better believe the sign on those will mention those amazing cowboys in Central Washington!)

And maybe some crushed-nut-crusted, too?

No cooking here this week, except for a pot of red sauce and meatballs..... My go-to standby on busy weeks and while I'm juggling seed orders, buying wood for new fall displays, writing, editing, and little ones in and out.... plus a fun day in Cheektowaga with the RWA chapter there!!!.... cooking took a back burner.

But we're going to call this all research. Research into little goats and delicious confections. Research into drawing two careers into a third and not having it become the BERMUDA TRIANGLE!!!

Did anyone read James Michener's Hawaii? I loved Nyuk Tsin,  the Chinese laborer/mother/grandmother who built her own little dynasty for the sake of her family. She worked hard, learned hard, and applied lessons to everyday life.

Nyuk Tsin was my kind of woman.

I loved that book, I loved the depth of characters and the outside look at how English/European/Christian influences can alter the direction of a nation... But also what the resultant blend can be.

Laney has discovered her first favorite book. The gets it off the shelf and runs it to me when she comes in the door... "My Symphony" illustrated by Mary Engelbreit. SHE LOVES THIS BOOK. I don't know if it's all the pictures of the pretty little girls, or the flowers or the colors, but she loves it. We read it again and again and again.... and she never grows tired of it.

Kind of like me and Sleepless in Seattle. Or Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth).... I could watch them so many times and not even care.... Because they're faves!

I'm not sure how much cooking will go down this week, either, but Lacey's going to make some of her Christmas sliders for Football Sunday (playoffs!!!) so maybe we'll check them out next week... And who knows? There might just be another doughnut recipe in my back pocket!!!

Multi-published Ruth Logan Herne loves God, her family, her crazy little farm in upstate New York and she's got a real soft spot for dogs, critters, coffee and chocolate.... And if you're nice to a little kid, you are her new BFF!!! Friend her on facebook or stop by her website
She'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pineapple Shrimp for a Quick Dinner

I really thought I had shared this recipe here before, but when I looked at the archives, I couldn't find it. I did find lots of shrimp recipes, so it's obviously a favorite around here. So, even if you have seen it before, this is a bit different, and still delicious!

This is one of those recipes that looks complicated, but the hardest part is making the rice. Seriously.

You need to make rice. I prefer plain white with this, but go with your favorite.

Next step was to defrost some frozen shrimp. You could use fresh, but I always have the pre-cooked frozen jumbo ones in the freezer so this is easy. I just sit them in a bowl of warm water for a bit while the rice is cooking.

Next. I put a small amount of coconut oil in the wok and add in my freeze-dried garlic. The coconut oil and garlic make a great combo.

Once the garlic has started to brown, I empty in a can of crushed pineapple in juice.

Simmer until the pineapple is hot, then add the shrimp.
You could use the tiny shrimp or leave these whole, but I like to break them into bite-sized pieces before throwing them in. It makes eating them easier.

Simmer a few more minutes. Since the shrimp are already cooked, this is just about heating them and letting them absorb the flavor.

Since I had it, this time I added a bit of toasted coconut on top!

The whole thing takes only as long as the rice. The shrimp pineapple mix takes about ten minutes tops.

So much deliciousness.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

November is pumpkin month, December is cookies and candies, so that can only mean one thing--
January is cupcake month!

Okay, show of hands.
How many of you are scratching your heads at that comment?

Here at the Obi house, we're barely into the new year when the birthdays start hitting. First it was my son-in-law, Dayton's, birthday, then it was our baby's birthday.
Sniff, sniff.
The little stinker actually had the nerve to turn 18.
You know what that means, right? All of my children are now officially adults.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to act like it.
Yeah, why spread the candles out among all of the cupcakes when you can put them all in one and make a bonfire?

(Mom shaking head)

So let's talk about those cupcakes.
These chocolate cupcakes are my absolute favorite. They are made from scratch, so you know they must be healthy, they're easy to make, they're uber moist AND oh, so delicious.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Take the word of the birthday boy who, when asked what kind of cake said he wanted "those chocolate cupcakes that don't need frosting."
That's right. These cupcakes are so moist that frosting is optional. Even for a teenager.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (this is what I used, but you can also use vegetable or canola oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup BOILING water
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Start by mixing your dry ingredients together.
I simply put them all into the mixing bowl, then blend them with a wire whisk or the mixer set on low speed.
Now add the eggs, half-and-half, oil and vanilla.
Using an electric mix, blend until combined, then turn mixer to medium and beat for 2 minutes.
Your mixture will be thick like this.
Then, with your mixer running on low speed, add the boiling water in a nice steady stream.
Mix slowly until fully combined. Yes, it will be thin.
Fill cupcake liners approximately 3/4 of the way.
I use my large cookie scoop so they're all even.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes, but start checking them at 12 just to be sure they don't overcook.
Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
Which I did right after I took the above picture.

So let's suppose you didn't want unfrosted cupcakes, but you didn't want a heavy layer of frosting either. You could dip the tops in a little chocolate ganache, let it set and you're good to go. If I were doing that, I would have added a tad more batter to each of the cupcake liners. The way I did it, I ended up with 30 cupcakes instead of 24, but that way would be great for a regular frosting, too.

And now we're back to this. But he's so stinkin' cute, I just couldn't resist.

Now it's your turn.
Anybody still got their Christmas decorations up? Or at least some of them?
This is me raising my hand. but between deadlines and birthdays, who has time. The good news is that the world has not ended because some of my decorations are still up.
So life really does go on.

Mindy Obenhaus lives in Texas with her husband and kids. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at