Thursday, October 17, 2019

Butternut Squash Ravioli!

Okay, there should be a law about something this easy, but there isn't, so ...

You're welcome!

Our local pasta maker Bozza Pasta Shop had Butternut Squash ravioli last week and we bought some.


It looked like this only it said "Butternut Squash".  :)

This was delicious. The squash filling was creamy, with cheese, maybe? I don't know, but it's marvelous.

And it comes frozen, so you drop the ravioli into the boiling water and then seven minutes later you've got food.

I was so happy!

And here was the sauce we used for them:

1/4 cup butter (melted but not browned)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Melt butter. Pour in maple syrup and chopped nuts, stir. Serve over pasta.

So this pasta dish is more of a dessert, but I could eat it for any kind of meal. It was delicious and filling and I had squash as a side dish (ubiquitous up here in the fall!)

We are getting ready to wind down the pumpkin farm. This is always bittersweet. We love the busyness, and the customers but as the weather goes downhill, the writing is on the wall. Because we're an open air venue, the weather dictates stuff to us!

But there are still thousands of pumpkins to sell, so the next ten to twelve days are clutch. And then we breathe. :)

AND... on another note...



Isn't this a beautiful cover???? This farm girl really loves this farm-friendly book!!!!

A good day!!!!

Multi-published, award-winning inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is either writing, growing pumpkins, tending mums or picking new pumpkins for the 2020 growing season and slipping in a little fun research time. You can friend her on facebook, find her at email her at or right here at the cafe!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Apples and Pomegranates and Kitchen Destruction

I still do not have a functioning kitchen. Frustration simmers. Technically, they're done with the repairs, but they left such a mess behind, that I'll be cleaning plaster dust for the foreseeable future. 

Since the chicken marsala and tortellini last week, I've had brisket, pulled pork, eggplant parmegiana and pizza. It was all delicious, but I'm craving squash and apple desserts and all things autumn. So rather than just share boring photos of takeout, I'm resurrecting this delicious recipe from 4 years ago.

Apple Pomegranate Crumble

You know how in the story of Adam and Eve, tradition has it that Eve offered Adam a taste of an apple - the fruit of life?

I confess, I've often wondered how they're so sure it was an apple. In mythology, the pomegranate was the symbol of life And pomegranates have SO many health benefits. It just makes sense she gave him a pom. But I digress.

Years ago my daughter dressed as Persephone for a 2nd grade mythology project. I remember identifying with Demeter and thinking how awful it would be to lose your daughter to the underworld for half the year.

Which brings us to this dessert.

That same daughter[ (26 now) edited - she's 30 now] worked with me to make this recipe for Thanksgiving dessert.
I can't claim any credit for the recipe - just for having the good sense to pass it on to you.

You can find the entire recipe here - Autumn Apple and Pomegranate Crumble

I'm going to lead with the finished product to show you how delicious it looks (although you can just click that link and see Kate (with a K's) pictures.

This was ours -

The delicious topping kind of covers all the inside yumminess, so let me show you some of the ingredient steps.

Now I'm craving apples and pomegranates. Maybe when I have use of my kitchen again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Exploring with Baby

Well, I spent a good chunk of the weekend cooking and baking, however I failed to take any pictures. Not even a single shot of the Pioneer Woman Apple Dumplings we enjoyed for dessert Saturday night. Why? Because we had a visitor at the ranch this weekend and she has a knack for distracting Grammy.
The Cindy-Lou-Who look hasn't looked so cute since Cindy-Lou-Who.

Since it was our first fall-feeling weekend here in Texas, it was the perfect time to get outside and do some exploring. We found the cutest little fairy hats.
Of course, they started life like this.
However, fairies can be very resourceful. Miss T decided it was not practical for two hats to be connected like that, though, so she performed a little onsite surgery.
Later, she collected pine cones and got to climb on Big Daddy's tractor.
But watching the deer with Daddy was the best. See them near the woods there on the left?
Then it was time to celebrate with Oreos.
But about those apple dumplings. Curious things. One of those recipes you look at the list of ingredients and go, "Huh?". I mean, Cresent rolls and Mountain Dew?  Really? Yep. Ruthy blogged about them here and shared a link to the recipe. Everyone here loved them. And they are super easy. They're also another of my favorite fallish desserts, something I can't seem to get enough of lately.

So how is fall looking where you live? Are you surrounded by gold, orange and russet leaves or are your leaves covered in snow? Or has summer finally decided to take a breather, the way it did here at the ranch?

Three time Carol Award finalist Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She 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 a

Monday, October 14, 2019

Pumpkin Bread for Everyone

Jan here, finally completely moved in to the new house.

We loved our old house, but it had one downside. Like most split-level floor plans, it had almost no storage space. There was a closet under the stairs and a little bit of room along the walls of the garage.

The closet under the stairs after we emptied it.
And no one named Harry ever lived here!

So before we put the house on the market, we downsized (a lot - two garage sales' worth) and then seriously decluttered every room. The stuff we wanted to keep (several book shelves and multiple boxes of books along with too many other items) ended up in a storage unit. That's the stuff we finally moved home this weekend!

Our church does this a lot. We call our team The Black Hills Community Church Moving Company, and we move folks from apartment to apartment, or from house to house, and sometimes (sadly) in a U-Haul truck as we say goodbye.

We showed up bright and early to pick up our U-Haul. We could have made the move in a few trips using various pick-up trucks and vans, but the distance and a desire to finish before noon made the decision for us. One truck. One trip.

I had hoped to take more pictures of the crew and
the moving process, but things got busy after I
took this picture!

A tradition is to provide donuts for the moving crew in the morning. I bought ours from Jerry's Cakes and Donuts, the best donut place in town.

But what about the members of the crew who are watching their carbs or are gluten-free?

I decided to dust off my baking skills after the long hiatus from my kitchen over the summer and bake something special.

My view while I cook. This makes me
want to spend more time in the kitchen!

I found a recipe for Pumpkin bread that fit what I wanted on Erin's Well-Plated blog. I don't know Erin, but I'll be visiting her blog for recipes in the future!

Go to her blog for the recipe: Paleo Pumpkin Bread from Well Plated, but come back here for my method and review!

Pumpkin Bread for Everyone

The first thing I have to say about this recipe is that it was so easy! And it turned out so well that you're going to want to try it, whether you eat gluten free/low-carb or not.

First, I gathered my ingredients.

Then I mixed the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another.

Next, I put the wet ingredients in with the dry and stirred. Then I poured the batter into my prepared baking pan.

I have to say that I love using baking parchment for quick breads and brownies! You spray your baking pan, line it with parchment (folding in the corners to make it fit,) and then spray the paper. It comes out perfect every time!

I was impressed with the way this bread turned out! Moist and delicious, with a perfect blend of pumpkin and spices.

Even my son-in-law approved. :-)

And that truck-load of stuff? Now we have a bunch of boxes that need to be unpacked and a ton of stuff to put away, But it's all under one roof for the first time since this moving process began at the end of April. And THAT feels wonderful!

Jack isn't quite sure, though...

Jan Drexler spent her childhood dreaming of living in the Wild West and is now thrilled to call the Black Hills of South Dakota her home. When she isn’t writing she spends much of her time satisfying her cross-stitch addiction or hiking and enjoying the Black Hills with her husband of more than thirty-seven years.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Air "Frying" Okra

Missy Tippens

Today, I want to share a great way to make okra--for less time and with less calories.

A friend from church gave us a batch of fresh okra last week (Thanks, Bud!). I decided to cook it in the air fryer.

I'd tried sliced okra in the air fryer before and overcooked it. So this time I left the smaller ones whole and cut the larger ones in half or thirds. Then I sprayed them lightly with Pam (Olive Oil).

I cooked the okra on the shrimp setting! That was about 320 degrees for 8 minutes (I think). It was perfect.

We also cooked these in the air fryer to go along with the okra. They were very good!

Here's the finished okra with a sprinkle of Maldon salt.

Such a yummy dinner! While eating, my husband got close to his plate and, very surprised, said, "I don't see the breading!"

Nope. None needed. And he and my daughter both said the okra tasted like regular fried okra. So it was a big win!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pork Chop and Stuffing Bake

I love one-dish meals. They make me happy.

This isn't really a one dish meal unless you make it in the frying pan you sear the chops in... then it's one-dish!

If you transfer to a 13 x 9 pan, then it's two dishes!!!! Silly you!

For this recipe you need 6 boneless 1" pork chops

2 boxes Stovetop stuffing (I used chicken)

1 1/2 cups Gravy (homemade or canned)

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large frying pan or griddle. Sear pork chops on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange in the big frying pan OR in a 13 x 9 pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Pour gravy over pork chops.

Prepare stuffing mix as directed.  Drop stuffing by spoons full over the chops.

Then, to make the stuffing take on the "pork" taste, I added a little bit of water (about 1/3 cup) to the drippings in the porch chop pan... stirred things up... and drizzled that over the stuffing before I baked the meat/stuffing combo. It was the perfect disguise!!!

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes (or a little more). Serve with a veggie.

And I forgot to take a picture when it was done because it was going to a family who needed supper... My bad!

This was the perfect dish to do some homemade applesauce!

Take about 12 cooking apples (they don't know if they're cooking apples, so use whatever you have.) Peel... plot a new book while you peel because it takes a few minutes...

Remove seed cavity.

Put into saucepan with about 2/3 cup water. Heat over medium heat until apples are puffy and soft. Mash. Add about 3/4 cup sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon.



The farm is keeping us hopping for about 2-3 more weeks... and then I can breathe again. But in the meantime I love that we're meeting new customers every day, that folks are having fun, and that they love coming to see us.

That's the best!

And Farmer Dave stole ALL of my colorful pumpkins from the porches, so I had to re-do my displays with orange, orange and more orange... but he's right it was time to sell them to happy customers.

SOB.... ;)

On the writing front, I turned in my first mystery for Savannah Secrets (Guideposts, 2020!!!) and I'm finishing my Christmas 2020 Love Inspired.... and I can't believe how absolutely blessed I am.

God is good.

You can find Ruthy in the kitchen or the pumpkins or online at,, here at the cafe on Thursdays (unless she messes up) and you can email her at An author of over 50 books with more to come, Ruthy is living her dream of being a published author and a well-respected farm owner.

In her spare time. :)

And this pic is five years old.... So I should probably update it!!!! But gosh, I love the scarf/jacket combo!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

When the kitchen isn't operational

Last year I had a leak in my bathroom that destroyed the kitchen ceiling arch. This week it's being repaired, so no cooking.

There is also repair work being done in another room where there was a roof leak. With everything having to be removed from both rooms, I'm pretty much confined to living in my bedroom this week.

So, when an out of town friend paid NYC a visit, I had a chance to go out to dinner. What providential timing!

I got to choose the restaurant, so I chose one I'd visited with friends during RWA last summer. It's called Tony's DiNapoli, and they serve the best Italian food family style. We ordered tri colore tortelloni alfredo and chicken marsala. Both were so delicious that we had to pace ourselves so we wouldn't burst!

I won't say it was the best part, because the friendly conversation took that prize, but because the friends were from out of town and staying at a hotel, I got to take home the leftovers!

Please excuse everything being lumped together on a paper plate - remember no functioning kitchen.

I was able to boil water, so I made some of those instant potatoes I blogged about last week, and served the leftover chicken marsala on top. It was SO good!

Poor Fenway! He's having a tough time being locked up all day.

On a happier note, I saw these beautiful new flowers on our walk.

So what would you do for meals if/when your kitchen was under construction? I'm thinking Texas BBQ tis next - to inspire my writing.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Oatmeal Cookies - A Favorite Fallish Treat

Cookie anyone?

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but every October I find myself craving Oatmeal Cookies, or some variation thereof. Maybe oatmeal raisin or cranberry. Or how about just oatmeal pecan?

That's what happens when you start to make Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies and then discover that you're not only out of dried cranberries, but you're out of raisins as well. Still, it was those fall spices I was craving and what's not to like about pecans? Well, unless you have a nut allergy.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1/4 cup regular shortening - *see note below
  • 1/2 cup butter flavor shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 2/3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup dried berries/raisin blend (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugars. *In the past, I have used a blend of butter and shortening because I prefer a softer cookie. However, unlike chocolate chip cookies, these still weren't soft enough, so that's why I went to all shortening. The flavor was off when I used just the butter flavor shortening, though, which I why I did a mix of the two. And the fact that I had the butter flavor on hand. Otherwise, I could just use the regular shortening and add a little bit of butter extract. If you like a crunchier cookies, though, then feel free to use all butter.* 

Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves, then, with the mixer on low, lest we send a cloud of dust flying everywhere (experience talking), add flour mixture to shortening blend and mix well .

Now, with the mixer on low, add your oatmeal.

So about those nuts .

First, I like to see and taste the nuts in my cookies, so I coarsely chop them.

And pecans are always my nut of choice. That said, you are allowed to use whatever nuts you like and chop them as fine as you prefer.

If you're adding dried berries or raisins, add those along with the nuts.

Stir to combine.

Then drop by large tablespoons onto your prepared baking pans.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. If you like them crispy, let them go the longer time, if you like them chewy, go with the lower time.

Even without the berries or raisins, they were still delicious. 

Believe it or not, fall has finally made it to the ranch. Of course, summer isn't going to just up and leave, but one front and another one on the way are doing their best to encourage her on down into the southern hemisphere. And that's fine by me. We've spent too long enduring 90s and 100s. I'm more than ready for some 70 and 80 degree temps.

I don't know about you, but I still can't believe it's October. 2019 has just flown by. And I'm sure that before I turn around, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be knocking on my door. So I guess that means baking season has already started. 

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Three time Carol Award finalist Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She 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 a