Cooking and Food Family Ties

Enjoy Read Alouds With All Five Senses

I’ve blogged before about the series we’re reading written by Ralph Moody in the 1950’s about his own boyhood. The first book, “Little Britches”, hooked us but good, and we’ve now moved onto book number two: “Man of the Family”. The next and last (I believe) is called “Shaking the Nickle Bush.”

Currently, Little Britches and his big sister Grace are canvassing their home town of Littleton, CO selling wagon loads of their mom’s homemade goodies…donuts, pies, injun puddin’ and beans. Their father died at the end of the last book, and the family is doing what it takes to make ends meet.

So I thought we’d have a “little britches” meal tonight, but upon researching ‘injun pudding’ I see that it takes injun cornmeal and has raisins and cinnamon…which sounds downright unpalatable!

So we’ll have plain ole cornbread with our beef ‘n beans, donuts and peach pie. So much for authentic.

Btw, if you should choose to read this series aloud, be aware that one or two of the adult characters drop some unsavory words now and then. I’m a fast reader, usually several words ahead of what I’m actually voicing, so I just ad-lib. In this case, the story is worth it.

I’ve said it before, it’s a series that reminds me a bit of the Little House books…only from a boy’s perspective.

Christianity Cooking and Food


My homeschooling friend and I got together today and canned pickles four different ways–bread and butter, dill, refrigerator dill and pickled okra. Mmmm. Our next canning day is later in August with peach lemonade concentrate up for processing!

My mom always had a neat way of comparing canning to Christianity. Life’s pressures and how they hone us. So many things are important in canning: clean hot jars, veggies/fruits need to be softened, air bubbles need dissipated, lids need to seal so the contents will stay preserved…the water in the canner needs to be boiling, and pints and quarts have to cook for certain lengths of time. All that pressure in these combinations result in a good product.

Today my friend and I had one jar break while canning…the glass bottom just blew off and all the okra in that pint went to waste. It happens. Not sure what went wrong, perhaps it was just a weak jar or maybe we filled it too full.

What causes a Christian to stumble downhill…weakness during testing? Discouragement? Pride?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Cooking and Food Mega Cooking

Dinner’s in the Freezer!

Do you own a cookie scoop? You should. I love mine. For one thing, it makes cookie sizing a breeze for my young girls, not to mention practically mess free. And my favorite use for it? Meatballs!

Below I’m posting the best recipe I’ve ever tasted/used/found for BBQ Meatballs. I make these in large quantities to freeze for future meals. Mega-cooking is a mama’s best friend! Lightly brown these in the oven, not cooking them completely, then cool them on a rack. Once cooled, fill freezer bags in nice stackable layers…when ready to cook simply empty bag onto baking sheet and bake! My whole family absolutely LOVES these. We are blessed to get our meat from the feedlot where dh works, but in past years I would stock up on hamburger whenever our grocery store had a meat sale…I hope you have a large Tupperware fix and mix bowl!

BBQ Meatballs (a triple batch of these yields 253 mini-meatballs)

2# lean ground beef, 1# ground turkey,1 can sweetened condensed milk (or make your own:1 cup dried milk/3TB melted margarine/two-thirds cup sugar & one-third cup boiling water), 2 cups oats, 2 eggs, half an onion chopped, 1/2 tsp pepper, 2 TB chili powder, 2 tsp salt

Mix all together well. Form into balls with cookie scoop if you have one! You can freeze these on a tray before dumping them in a freezer bag, or follow procedure I mentioned above.  When ready to cook, place the frozen meatballs onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 till slightly pink in center. Coat with sauce, bake additional ten minutes to glaze. These can also be cooked in the microwave.

BBQ Sauce

2 cups catsup, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 TB liquid smoke, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder

Boil together. Cool. Store in labeled squeeze bottle or other containter in the fridge until needed for meatballs.

Mega-cooking has many advantages other than the obvious. Filling the freezer with meals means less spontaneous dining out expenditures, more time for other things, more money for other things (cooking in bulk means buying in bulk which often shaves money off your groceries) and one of the best things: if someone needs a meal in a pinch, you’re prepared to drop one off. Our favorite recipes to triple also include burritos, chicken lasagna, pizza pockets (calzones that you dip in pizza sauce), chicken tetrazzini, shepherd’s pie, croissants, and peanut butter choc. chip cookies that thaw in a few minutes for a quick lunch addition or daytime snack. Get a few friends together at your church kitchen and have a cook-fest! It’s a blast and your family will thank you!

Cooking and Food

Marinating Steaks

Yes, we are! And I have the recipe for you too…it’s the best, honest! Got it from my pastor’s wife EONS ago and it never fails to earn raves…

Marinade for Shish-Kabobs or Steak or Chuck Roast–ultra flavorful and tender

*I always use Sirloin steaks…yummy!

Ingredients: 1/2 cup veg. oil, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 4 teas. Worcestershire sauce, 2 TB Wine vinegar, 2 TB lemon juice, 2 tsp dry mustard, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes, 1/2 clove garlic–crushed, beef, and veggies if you plan on doing the shish-kabobs.

Combine all marinade ingredients in bowl; mix well. Place beef in whatever you are going to marinade it in and pour marinade over. Refrigerate, covered over-night or for 6-8 hrs. Grill over med-hot coals to desired doneness. Yield: 8 servings. (Unless you double the recipe like I do and throw all the steaks you can find on the grill ’cause you love leftovers!!)

So, dh calls me this morning and says to marinate steaks because he’s grilling tonight! Yay, another sign of summer!   I popped some beautiful pie cherries out of the freezer to thaw and made 2 cherry pies to go with…it feels like Memorial day early!

Soon as toddler wakes up we’re off to buy briquettes!


Cooking and Food

No-Knead Crusty French Bread

No-Knead Crusty French Bread

1 pkg active dry yeast; 1.5 cups warm water, divided; 1TB sugar (can subst. honey); 2 tsp salt; 1 TB olive oil or melted shortening; 4 cups all-purpose flour, could use half whole wheat; cornmeal

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water.  Add sugar, salt, olive oil and remaining warm water; mix till dissolved.  Add flour and mix till smooth (do not knead).  I use my Kitchen Aide mixer, but this can be done by hand…it’s just harder!  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.  Turn onto a floured surface.  Divide in half; let rest for 10 minutes.  Roll each half into a 8″x10″ rectangle.  Roll up from a long side; pinch edge to seal.  Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle tips with cornmeal.  With a very sharp knife, make 5 diagonal cuts across the top only of each loaf, about 1/4″ deep. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or till lightly browned.  *If desired, these can be made into breadsticks after first rising, just rollin a rectangle, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with italian seasonings and parmesan.  Cut into sticks.  Put in a cold oven, turn oven to 400 and bake for about 25 minutes.

This is a tried and true and oft requested recipe at our house!  I love quick and easy breads!  We’re having this tonight for French Dip sandwiches…yum!  Perfect for this rainy day of rosy wind-bitten cheeks!

Sold another border collie pup today!  Two left out of six which is pretty wonderful!  A litter of six pups can soon eat more of my budget than my human family of 5! 

Still typing away, but focusing on arranging the various scenes/plots in my novel to the best advantage.  I’ve had some cool ideas for advancing certain themes in my plot faster and with more conflict…and am adding to both hero/heroine’s bios!  All good! 

Getting off here,