Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Dewberry Cobbler

It's dewberry time in Texas. These wild berries are akin to blackberries, though much more tart. Back in March, we saw the wild vines start to flower. 
And as the flowers lose their petals, you can see the green berries starting to emerge. Since they grow in the strangest spots, the flowers help remind me where I'll want to revisit when it comes time to pick. 
A few weeks later, I start to check on the berries. Red means they're still ripening, though a few purple ones are starting to appear.
Finally, they're ready to pick. 
I rinse them well, then dry them, before spreading them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Then I pop the pan in the freezer for about an hour to flash-freeze the berries. Once frozen, I transfer them to zip-top freezer bags and store them in the freezer so they're ready whenever I need them. 

Like now, when I want to make Dewberry Cobbler

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 stick of butter (8tablespoons)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups dewberries (you could also use blackberries)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in square baking pan and place in oven until melted. 
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Add egg, milk and vanilla and stir to combine. I recommend doing this after the butter has melted.

Pour/spoon batter over melted butter and do not stir.

Top with berries.

Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Serve alone...
Or with whipped topping or ice cream. Though some people just can't decide.
I love doing cobbler this way. So easy, so delicious. And this recipe brings out the delightful taste of these springtime berries.

What types of berries grow wild where you live? Do you ever pick them? If so, what's your favorite thing to make with them?

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 mindyobenhaus.com.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Chicken 'n' Bacon Lavash Rolls Recipe Reminder

Good Monday Morning!

This is officially a rerun, but as I was browsing through past posts last week, I stumbled upon this one that I had written about five years ago.

Gobsmacked! I had forgotten all about this recipe, and it was one of my favorites that summer!

So rather than a rerun, this is a recipe reminder - a reminder for myself!

But before we go to the recipe, I need to explain why we're having a rerun recipe reminder.

First of all, this happened:

For the past ten months or so, we've been actively searching for our...well..."retirement home." Or a home that will be as permanent as we can get this side of heaven. We had a good idea of what we were looking for, but like always, we leave the final say up to God. He knows what is best, right?

So we looked for land, or a log cabin on land, or a shack on land, or a house we could live in that was in our price range.... Nothing showed up. But every place we considered/drove past/looked at with our realtor fine tuned our list a little bit more, and every time we fine-tuned, a "stellar view" would top the list.

Then we found this place. "Stellar view" says it all!

The morning we went to look at this place - actually a townhouse (who'd a thunk it?) - the fog was so thick! Visibility was down to less than a hundred feet or so in places. Deer would appear by the side of the road as ghosts in the mist. We drove most of the thirty miles (out of town and up into the hills) this way, glad that we were familiar with the road. We have actually driven by this place several times in the eight years we've lived in the area.

Then we topped the last rise before heading into the slight valley where the townhouse is located, and the fog was gone! God had swept back the veil of mist and our view was clear! When we walked into the place, we immediately felt at home. In all our years of buying houses (this makes #7), that's the feeling we've learned to look for. It was clear that this is the place God had prepared us for, even though it really isn't anything like what we thought we wanted when we started our search.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), we made an offer and it was accepted. We spent the next three weeks getting our current house ready to put on the market. Last week was an insane marathon of painting and handyman chores...but we made it. The listing goes live today, so now we wait for a buyer.

And all last week, every time I wondered if it was worth it, I took another look at that view...

In case you're wondering, that white spot on the right
is Mt. Rushmore. Seven miles away as the crow flies.

Yes, yes, yes. Some dreams are worth every ounce of work you put into helping them come true!

So, what does this have to do with today's recipe reminder? I think you can understand that I did very little cooking last week. I was up to my ears in paint, and cooking was the last thing on my mind. But now that the house is ready, I'm taking a break this week to actually write and fix real meals.

This one will be on the menu soon!

Chicken 'n' Bacon Lavash Rolls

I can hear all of you saying, "What in the world is a Lavash Roll?"

This was something I've been introduced to since starting to eat the Trim Healthy Mama way.

These are available at Walmart or almost any other grocery store, usually in the deli section with the other specialty breads. They're great because they're LOW carb, LOW fat and HIGH protein :)

And if you've ever been on a lower carb diet, you know one of the big challenges is finding something close to bread that you can eat and not blow your diet. These can be part of your answer.

I love these as crackers. I take half of a square, cut it into cracker sized pieces, lay them out on top of a microwave safe plate lined with a paper towel or parchment paper, and microwave for a minute. Top each cracker with a smear of peanut butter....

Just a minute - it's time for my afternoon snack. I'll be back in a jiffy!

Mmm.... Peanut butter....

Now, back to the Chicken 'n' Bacon Lavash rolls!

These are super easy.  Preheat your oven to 375°.

First, cut a small chicken breast and two slices of bacon into small pieces, then cook them together with some onion and seasoning until the chicken and bacon are both done.

I used this seasoning -

But you can use whatever you have on hand.

Spread a piece of Lavash bread out on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Pile the chicken and bacon in the middle, and top with shredded cheese. I think I'm going to add some cubes of cream cheese along with the shredded Colby and Monterrey Jack cheeses next time.

Fold the long edges in...

...and roll up, making sure the seam is on the bottom when you're done.

Sprinkle the top with a little cheese... (I forgot to brush some olive oil on the top - it really makes a difference!)...

...and bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is all melted and the bread is slightly browned.

Cut in half, and enjoy!

One great thing about this roll-up is that you can use whatever ingredients you want. I also love it with ground beef, cream cheese, onions and peppers to make a Philly-style sandwich.

Or you can use scrambled eggs, sausage, cheese and salsa to make a breakfast burrito.

Or...well, use your imagination (and the ingredients in your refrigerator!). Have fun!

And for those in your family who don't want to limit their carbs, use a flour tortilla or brat bun rather than a Lavash.

* * * * *

Welcome back to 2019!

I have to tell you that my dream of living in the country is more than fifty-five years old. I spent my first five years living in the middle of Ohio farm land while my dad pastored a country church. Soon after my fifth birthday, he received a call from a church plant in Michigan, and I've been longing to live in the country again ever since. I am so thankful that God has provided a way for my dream to come true.

Do you have a long-held dream? Do you despair of it ever coming true? Or are you practicing the art of patience as you wait?

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-six years. Her writing partner is her corgi, Thatcher, who makes life…interesting.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Cherry-Mustard Sauce

Missy Tippens

I finally made the cherry sauce I told y'all about a few weeks ago when I posted my cherry smoothie recipe!

It's a simple sauce a friend from Weight Watcher's told me about: cherries, dijon mustard, and Greek yogurt mixed up in the blender. She said she loves it on chicken. I had a pork loin that needed to be eaten so decided to give it a try.

Only, once I got ready to cook, I discovered my husband had thrown out my dijon! Strange that he actually goes by expiration dates. :)

I found a recipe for dijon but decided to just doctor up yellow mustard by adding some white wine.

In a blender, I put the frozen cherries. Then added mustard and some white wine. I also added some of the Greek yogurt (and ended up wishing I hadn't added quite so much). So just play with yours until you come up with a taste you like.

I sliced my pork loin and cooked the chops in some butter and olive oil. Once the meat was nearly done, I pulled it out of the skillet and put it on a plate. Then I added my sauce to the pan drippings to heat it and help add flavor.

Okay, y'all can go ahead and say what you're thinking. :) It looks gross as a sauce for meat.

Yeah, I agree. However, I took a chance and served it anyway. I added the meat back to quickly heat through.

Pink pork! I will say it looked much better left over. The butter added a lot of great flavor.

Have you ever had to wing it due to a trigger-happy spouse?


Missy Tippens

Thursday, April 25, 2019

A Trip to The Silos and Magnolia Market

So youngest son is living in Dallas now...

and we went down to visit him last week so that I could do some book research, and Dave and Luke could see Mike Trout play baseball because the California Angels were coming to Arlington to play the Texas Rangers... and it was Holy Week, which wasn't how or where I generally spend Holy Week.


It worked out beautifully.

I got my research done with a trip to Chip and Joanna Gaines "Silos". Mindy and I perused the Magnolia Market (so many pretty things to see!) and fell in love with some quaint and beautiful ideas for the home...

And the garden...

And the cupcakes. :)

The cupcakes were amazing and I gave my final two to Innocent, my Uber driver because managing two cupcakes on the plane with turbulence just sounded like disaster waiting to happen, right? Why set myself up for failure when an act of kindness works so much better!

We had a great time in Texas!!!

First, folks in Texas talk to you.

You know, radical crazy things like "Good morning!" or the notorious "Have a nice day, y'all!"



Oh my stars, that was quite refreshing because folks don't talk to youse in NYC. They avert their eyes, drop their gaze and pretend you do. not. exist.

Last year I was strolling down William Street in Lower Manhattan and a homeless man's jacket was on fire. Smoke was billowing from his pockets where he'd put a cigarette butt to save for later, but it wasn't quite out.

Hundreds of people walked by.

Sent him looks of disparagement.

Not one offered to help the old timer until I stopped....

And you know what his first words were? "You're not from around here, are you?"

SIGH.......  No. Because where I come from, folks stop and help an old fellow in trouble. They treat him kindly and maybe buy him an egg sandwich and fresh coffee. Not because they have to. But because he's human and they're human and that makes two humans.

It's all mathematical!

So Texas was way fun... I found a lovely chapel for Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday Mass and was blessed by that... and a couple of homeless folks on the way, so I figured the church wouldn't mind if the homeless fellows got my offering in lieu of the church basket.

And I went to Fort Worth Stockyards with Farmer Dave and Luke (youngest son) and it was so much fun. It's different than when I was there about 8 or 9 years ago.... They're building new things and some of the old shops are gone, but the cowboys are there and the cattle and horses and I got to sit myself on a bull!

Yee haw!

And then we had a lovely Easter with family, a beautiful Easter Vigil service and a lovely Easter Egg Hunt for the grandkids on Easter morning.... and it was lovely.

So how was your Holy Week? How was your Lent? I'd love to hear about it!

Multi-published inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of 50 novels and novellas and still loves, loves, loves what she does because it's crazy fun and she loves making up stories. Write to her at loganherne@gmail.com, visit her website http://ruthloganherne.com and friend her on facebook where she loves to chat up her love for God, family, faith, friends, babies, dogs, donkeys.... and her love of being an American!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Key Lime Salmon

Spring has fully arrived here in Brooklyn.

Cherry blossoms are just about to peak.
Pretty front yard

Early lilacs.

So I have a springlike dish to share.

Fair warning - this is one of my weirdly-inspired dishes.

The salmon part is normal. I just sprinkled a salmon filet (wild Alaska salmon) with dill and baked it in parchment paper.

I'd made rosemary potatoes to go with it, but it just felt bland. Most often when I had dill with salmon, it was in some kind of sour cream or yogurt sauce. I had neither of those...


I had Key Lime Greek yogurt.

I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, so I just kept it on the side. I was pleasantly surprised.

Caveat - I periodically get Key lime cravings. Visions of a sunny Florida Key, Margaritaville, and all that, so it was going to be pretty hard to dislike this. Still, I wasn't sure how the flavors would meld.

The fact is, it tasted so good together that I had it again a week later!

Excuse the sad photo. I didn't make a very large portion and it was hard to get a good shot.

And the best part was, I didn't use up all the yogurt, so I got to mix in some mini chocolate chips for dessert!


What do you think? Would you like this flavor mix? It's not SO very different from adding lemon, which we do all the time with seafood.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Magnolia Market with Ruthy and Foodie Fun

This Texan hasn't done much cooking this week. And when I did, I forgot to take pictures. However, I did make a trip to Waco, Texas to meet up with our own Ruth Logan Herne.
We met at The Silos, home of Magnolia Market.
Not to mention some of prettiest gardens I've ever seen.
 The snapdragons and roses were in full bloom. And check out this cool fence.
 I loved all of the little vignettes.
Then we shopped at Magnolia Market, though neither of us bought anything. Mostly because we were holding out for the bakery.
Pastries and a long list of cupcake choices awaited us there. I got a coconut cupcake, a strawberry one, lemon-lavender, the Silobration and a Chocolatier. 
Hmm... Can't imagine where the Chocolatier and the strawberry one went. Though, I will say that the strawberry was my favorite.

Then it was back home to the ranch for our final fish fry of the 2019 Lenten season. This is some of the best catfish you've ever tasted.
Just for the record, this was my son's plate, not mine. But I still ate my fair share of fish.

Yes, those were the highlights of my week. The rest of it was spent finishing up my latest manuscript which, I'm happy to say, is now in the hands of my editor. I think that calls for a celebration. Someone pass me a cupcake.

How did you spend your Holy Week? And how was your Easter?

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 mindyobenhaus.com.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Pottery Painting Fun

I've found a new favorite thing to do!

A couple weeks ago, daughter-in-law Katie invited daughter Carrie and I to paint pottery with her at one of her favorite local spots, Prouty Pottery. Follow the link to check out this great place! (And if Rapid City is too far away for you, check to see if there is a pottery studio near you.)

I had painted pottery once - years and years ago - and didn't remember it being as much fun as this was.

Maybe it was the company? Probably!

Each of chose our pottery piece. As you can see in the picture above, Katie chose a shallow dish/serving platter. She's planning to use it for salads, but I think it would be great for pasta, too.

Carrie chose a yarn bowl, and I was glad they had two. I had been wanting one! (In case you're wondering, a yarn bowl is where you put your ball of yarn when you're knitting or crocheting. You thread the yarn through one of the holes, and knit away!)

Katie brought our finished pieces to our Easter dinner yesterday, and we were amazed at how well they turned out!

Here's Katie's bowl before the glaze was fired:

And here's the after:

Isn't that gorgeous???

Carrie chose a special glaze for the interior of her yarn bowl...

It looks like confetti birthday cake, doesn't it? But the confetti crystals explode when they're fired, and the result is beautiful.

I also chose a special glaze for my interior and the dribbles down the sides, but not an exploding one.

Brown before firing...

...then during firing the blue comes out, with the brown and teal as shadowed undertones. You can see the unique openings in the yarn bowl design here.

It was a bittersweet afternoon, though. Katie has one more week in Rapid City before she loads up the last of her stuff and joins our son in Illinois. He started the training for his new job a few weeks ago, and when you've only been married for two years, a four-week separation seems like forever. Who am I kidding? A four-week separation seems like forever no matter how long you've been married.

We will certainly miss having them so close! But they are ready for their new adventure together. And I know Katie will continue to keep in touch here at the Cafe!

Do you like doing things like pottery painting with your family and friends? We know Missy loves her cooking classes! What is your favorite?

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-six years. Her writing partner is her corgi, Thatcher, who makes life…interesting.