Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WDW - Orange Rolls

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My sister had the nerve to show up on Christmas with these. My orange rolls recipe, but she had kicked it up a notch by rolling some of them up with fresh chopped cranberries!


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Then she started frosting them.


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I pulled out the camera to provide a diversion for myself while I was waiting to grab one of these babies capture this work of art.

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Then, the nerve of her, after bringing such EVIL food into my house, she got mad at ME for photographing her. She is actually chewing me out in this picture! Just kidding, but I do believe she was getting a bit testy.

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At first I was nice and did shots of just the food. After all, it was the morning after Christmas, and she had just woken up. I had some pity.

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But, then, she was just so CUTE, I couldn't help but go wide. A woman and her sweet rolls is a beautiful thing.

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Call it sweet revenge. After all, her rolls didn't do me an ounce of good.

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to my sister!! See you this morning for some major sister time to celebrate YOU! Love you!!

Orange Rolls

2 ¼ tsp. yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
½ cup lukewarm milk
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, soft
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 ½ - 4 cups flour

In KitchenAid bowl, combine yeast and warm water and let set 3 minutes.

Add lukewarm milk, sugar, butter, salt, and egg and mix 1 minute.

Switch to dough hook and begin to add flour, ½ cup at a time, until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Add only enough flour to achieve this result.

Knead on low speed for 2 minutes.

Place dough in a greased blowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place 1 hour, or until doubled.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 7 x 12 rectangle. Spread each with ¼ of the following mixture (saving half for frosting.)

Filling/Icing

3 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, soft
2 Tbsp. grated orange peel
4 Tbsp. orange juice

Roll up dough into a roll, pinching edges tightly, and cut into 1/2” thick rolls. Place rolls, cut side down, into two greased round cake pans. Put in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Frost rolls with remaining frosting while they are still warm.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

dimanche matin avec Riche - fresh squeezed O.J.

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When we moved into our house 12 years ago, the yard was a jungle. I do not exaggerate - you could hardly see the house! We loved the potential of the property and the price was right, so we bought the jungle anyways!

Soon after moving in, we thought the best thing to do would be to just clear everything out. It was just too hard to try to figure out what to keep and what not to keep. I was sad about losing a very good grapefruit tree and fig tree, but we decided for simplicity's sake that everything must go and that we should just create a clean slate. We worked for a couple of years, slowly but surely, giving up weekends to gradually get rid of every tree, shrub, and weed. We even split all the wood from the cut-down trees for firewood and it lasted more than 5 years! In the end, we got the yard down to DIRT, and we couldn't have been happier to see only dirt. It was a beautiful sight after all that hard work.

At the time, one of our friends bought a new home in Santa Clarita and was lamenting about having a backyard of "just dirt" that he needed to plant. We found it hard not to laugh, as we worked very hard to get our yard to just dirt! His came that way!

So, I said we completely demolished everything, but there was actually one exception. The only tree that we left was an old, strange-looking orange tree that was on the side yard. It appeared to have two different types of fruit growing on it. One was a normal-looking orange, and the other was a lemon-shaped but orange-colored fruit. The second fruit was very bitter but much to our excitement we found that the normal-looking fruit was extremely sweet and juicy. Over the years, our tree trimmer has eliminated the bitter fruit branches, leaving us with a jewel of a tree. Other than that, the tree gets no care - it has no formal irrigation and we don't even fertilize it. It amazes us that a tree like that could produce the such amazing fruit. A reminder that it is God who brings the harvest!

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The funny thing is, after we got our yard down to dirt and replanted it, we put in a mini-orchard with several new citrus trees. They were planted in good soil, receive regular watering, annual fertilizing, and trimming, but they do not produce anything near the quality or quantity of fruit as the other one! Go figure.

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One of the things that we look forward to every winter when the tree ripens is the fresh-squeezed juice that Rich makes us all season. We are fortunate because he keeps us in constant supply. Last dimanche matin, we were treated to a fresh batch. While the rest of us were showering and getting ready for church, he was busy in the kitchen squeezing us some beautiful juice. What a feast for the eyes it is to see a pitcher of gorgeous juice on the table. Our family usually stays healthy all winter-long, and there is no doubt in my mind that we are drinking our way to health with this stuff!

If you have access to home-grown oranges (check with neighbors who rarely pick their trees - I bet they wouldn't mind you picking them!), do yourself a favor and make some wonderful, healthful juice. If not, perhaps pick up a bag at the local farmer's market. I have gotten 20# bags for $10 before - great deal. Fresh-squeezed juice lasts up to a week and un-cut oranges last several weeks under refrigeration.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Card

family christmas photo 2009



"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." ~ Luke 2:14



Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas!



Love, The Harasicks



Rich, Karen, Drew & Emma



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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WDW - a splendid New Year's dessert

Want a simple yet elegant New Year's dessert? I got this recipe from Giada and it is amazing. It is an Italian custard called Panna Cotta. The name of it literally means "cooked cream." If you like creme brulee, you will like this. It is basically lightly sweetened cream cooked with unflavored gelatin to hold it together. I guarantee it will make your guests say "wow." Sometimes it is seen molded like a flan, but I like to pour mine into pretty dessert cups. If you have any crystal stemware, here is your chance to use it. Cordials or small wine glasses would work perfect - you don't want this dessert dished out in too large of portions.

Yesterday, I made this for our kids' Christmas Party, and poured it into small clear green cups I found at Target (I think they are actually 3 oz. bathroom cups!). I topped each one with a couple fresh blackberries. They were a great addition to the dessert tray. We also had mini cupcakes, brownies and sugar cookies, so they were small enough to enjoy along with something else. They were gone in no time - and many of the kids asked "what IS this?" A couple of the girls asked for the recipe, too.

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I just had to include a photo of the mini red velvet cupcakes Briana brought to the party. They were so cute and the BEST tasting cupcakes I've ever had! 016
And these chocolate mint brownies brought by the Tubbs girls. This is the recipe I featured here a few posts ago (Christmas cookies). Stephanie kicked it up a notch by changing the filling color to pink and topping the ganache with crushed candy canes.

So, back to the Panna Cotta...this recipe is so easy - it literally takes 10 minutes to prepare and it involves only one pot. Just be mindful it does need to chill about 6 hours before serving. I usually make it the day before or early in the morning that I want to serve it.

Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries
Giada de Laurentiis

1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt
2 cups assorted fresh berries

Place the milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. Pour milk mixture into a heavy saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, honey, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour into 6 wine glasses so that they are 1/2 full. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.


Spoon the berries atop the Panna Cotta and serve. Serves 6.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

dimanche matin avec Riche - Buttermilk Biscuits

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"Honey, do you have any cake flour?"

Not exactly the way Rich usually starts conversations with me.

But, now that Rich has been cooking on Sunday mornings, you never know what he might ask.

Especially when he wants to make Buttermilk Biscuits! He researched, found a recipe, and read up on all kinds of flour. He then determined that he needed cake flour for his biscuits.

This past Sunday, we were treated to some of the best biscuits we'd ever had. No, he had never made biscuits before in his life. And no, he had never made any bread before for that matter. In the bread department, the most he had ever done was make a piece of toast. And he goes and turns out the perfect, flaky biscuits.

If he weren't so stinkin' cute about it all, I'd be bitter.

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Cutting the biscuits


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Yes, he cooks all dressed for church, too!


Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

from Pinch My Salt

1 1/4 C. cake flour
3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 C. butter, cut into small chunks
3/4 C. buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

2. Prepare ingredients: Cut butter into small chunks, place in a bowl and return to fridge. Measure out buttermilk and set aside. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and have extra flour nearby for your hands and biscuit cutter. Have biscuit cutter and an ungreased baking sheet handy.

3. Mix dough: In a medium-large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt until very well blended. Add butter and cut into flour using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in buttermilk and stir lightly until dough comes together in a ball.

4. Knead dough and cut biscuits: Dump dough mixture out onto floured work surface. With floured hands, lightly knead dough a few times until it is fairly well blended. Pat out into a circle, 3/4 – 1 inch thick. Dip cutter into flour and cut biscuits without twisting the cutter. Form the dough scraps into an extra biscuit-like shape instead of re-rolling the dough. Place cut biscuits together on the baking sheet so that the sides are touching. Brush tops with melted butter, if desired.

5. Bake biscuits: place baking sheet in the middle of a preheated 500 degree oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove biscuits to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WDW- Chocolate Banana Bread

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I love quick bread loaves. They take so little time to get into the oven, and I find that the ingredients are economical and usually on hand for most recipes I have. And, if you are in the mood for muffins instead, just pour the batter into muffin tins and bake for less time (usually 15-20 minutes).

I like to double most quick bread recipes and freeze one (or several mini-loaves) for later on. They are great to give as gifts or to save for when a friend stops by and you want to have something to offer to go with coffee or tea. To freeze, I wrap them in wax paper, then in foil and store them in large ziploc freezer bags. They keep very well this way for several months. Be sure and label them, too.

Here is a new recipe that I found that is absolutely wonderful! I am always looking for ways to use up my endless frozen bananas interesting variations of banana bread and happened upon this one online recently. There is unsweetened cocoa in the batter and it is also studded with chocolate chips. It isn't overly sweet, but the chocolate flavor really shines through. This bread is excellent fresh from the oven, slathered with butter, but also tastes very good at room temperature. Be sure and use a good quality cocoa powder; I use the Dutch Process kind from Penzey's. This is such a great bread that it may be our Christmas morning breakfast this year!

Chocolate Banana Bread

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

brown sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter is thick and chunky. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the top of the bread with brown sugar.

Bake until bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.


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Monday, December 14, 2009

dimanche matin avec Riche - Corned Beef Hash

Well, it was actually samedi (Saturday) but this is very blog-worthy so I'm fudging a bit. We had 4 extra teenagers spend the night last Friday night after a day at Disneyland for Nick's birthday, so Rich wanted to make his homemade corned beef hash for breakfast. Friday night at bedtime he put a corned beef into the crock pot and cooked it on low all night long. In the morning, he diced it, cooked some red potatoes and some over-easy eggs, put it all together and served up this masterpiece:

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So, I know I pictured this before, but here's a little bit more on how he made it this time (hi Sabrina). Oh my...is this ever good.

This isn't really a recipe, but one thing I will tell you is that he is very good with the potatoes. He lightly boils them until tender, then puts them in his mom's big cast iron skillet with copious amounts of butter. He doesn't stir them too much so he can get a really good crust on them. He also takes the cooked cubed corned beef and browns that in a separate skillet with more copious amounts of butter. I try not to be in the kitchen while he is adding all this butter, as it ruins it for me to know how much butter I am eating. I also try to stay out of the kitchen so I don't get broadsided...he flies around like a mad chef in a restaurant kitchen!

Here are the happy recipients...

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Poor Drew, I don't think he was quite awake yet.

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Rich dishing it. I love a man who knows how to make hash.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Adventures in Food - Galpin Ford

galpin ford

Yes, you read that right. A car dealer in the valley that is actually home to a great adventure in food.

You see, Galpin Ford has a little restaurant called "Horseless Carriage." It's a coffee shop, basically, but the food is not ordinary by any sense. When our truck needed service recently, Rich asked me if I wanted to have breakfast there, and I jumped at the chance. I had seen it many times, but never eaten there. The first thing that struck me as I walked in was that the place is IMMACULATE. Nothing looks new, but everything is perfect and sparkling clean. So much, that I was truly stunned.

We sat down at the counter and I mentioned this to Rich, and his reply was, "you should see the restrooms!!" So, I promptly hopped off my stool to go take a look (yes, at a restroom). Same. Everything perfectly clean, shiny and polished. Not new, but perfectly preserved. I washed my hands and actually felt obliged to dry off the drip from my wet hands which I dropped on the shiny trash can lid (so I did). It's hard to be impressed by a restroom, especially one at a car dealer. But I was.

I just love places like this. They drip nostaligia. And I sop it all up.

Then I took a look at the breakfast menu and noticed that they actually offered a lobster dish with eggs. Lobster. At a car dealer. C'mon!!

We ordered a special that had whole grain pancakes, two eggs and bacon to share. Our waitress wasn't a young punk. No, she had a waitress uniform on and was amazingly attentive.

The food arrived quickly and on hot plates. Some of the best pancakes I've ever had. Perfect eggs. I can't believe I've never eaten there before! Oh, the regret that quickly set in as I ate.

When I picked up our truck later in the day, I mentioned to the sales clerk about the wonderful experience that I had at the restaurant that morning. She told me how much she loves the place, and boasted about their shrimp and avocado salad. Oh, and she mentioned something about how amazing their steak dinner is. That did it. This is now my new favorite restaurant. I will be back. Soon.

OK, before I go, I just have to tell you if you have a Ford vehicle that needs service, or you are thinking about getting a Ford, you have to go to Galpin. This is no ordinary car dealer. Galpin is actually the #1 volume Ford dealer in the WORLD- and for the last 19 years too (I'm not kidding). That is because everything they do here is above and beyond your expectations.


First of all, their service is impeccable. One time, when we were interested in possibly buying a used Mustang convertible there (they have a huge used car lot there as well), they offered to let me keep a car I was interested in for the weekend to see if I liked it! Can you believe they did that? Seriously, they did. And their service department is top notch. They rarely keep your car more than a day or two to repair it. And, when your car is returned, it is washed and clean! So nice. Any employee I have ever come into contact with there is exceptional. They are extremely customer service oriented, and it shows.

You should see the showroom, too. About 10 cars in the showroom - and big ones, too! They often have a vintage Ford on display. Right now in the center of the showroom, they have a humongous, tall, live Christmas tree, perfectly flocked and decorated to the likes of the big tree on Main Street at Disneyland - like thousands of dollars worth of huge ornament clusters. And it smells heavenly. Oh, and they have a neat toy train set encircling this humongous tree. Oodles of track, to be sure. Sure to delight any child while his parents are browsing (which I'm sure was the idea).

So, go treat yourself to a great meal (or more) at Galpin Ford sometime! Rich said after our breakfast, "Can we just go browse the showroom for a minute or two...."

menu
Horseless Carriage Restaurant
15505 Roscoe Blvd. North Hills


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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WDW - Harasick family favorite Christmas cookie recipes

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I used to bake like a mad-woman at Christmas! There were so many events I used to need to bring cookies to, and lots of little gifts I needed to give as well. I used to make about a dozen different kinds (always the same list) beginning early December and kept them frozen, ready to package up and give as a little assortment of goodies whenever the occasion arrived. In the past years, I have transitioned to making candles and canning jam from my fruit trees, so those have become my little gifts instead of baked goods. This is nice because having a freezer-full of cookies is not exactly a figure-friendly thing!

I hardly baked at all last year - except I thought my kids might freak out if I didn't make my sugar cookies - so I made those, and of course, a batch of Russian teacakes for Rich (his fave). However, mid-February, I found that big Tupperware full of un-eaten sugar cookies at the bottom of the freezer and tossed them in the trash. So, this year, maybe I'll make a half-batch of sugar cookies and a batch of Russian teacakes...

All that said, I still treasure all my Christmas cookie recipes. Only these few have made my elite list of favorites. Today I bring you a few of those treasured recipes. Happy holiday baking!

This is a great recipe for sugar cookies. Comes out perfect everytime.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Cookies:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, soft
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
1 egg
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Powdered sugar Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Milk to desired consistency
Food coloring, optional

For cookies, in bowl of electric mixer combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and egg. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir flour slowly into butter mixture. Divide dough into 2 parts and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Roll dough out to 1/2” thick and cut using choice of cutters. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. Cool.

To make frosting, in bowl of electric mixer bowl combine powdered sugar and vanilla. Add a few tablespoons of milk and beat, adding more milk to obtain desired consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired.

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This recipe is a prize winner from Sunset Magazine. These cookies look humble but taste amazing.

Coconut-Cranberry Chews

¾ cup butter, soft
1 cup sugar
½ Tbsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cup + 1/8 cup flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter, sugar, peel, and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture and beat until dough comes together. Mix in cranberries and coconut. Shape dough into 1” balls and place 2” apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake until cookie edges just begin to brown, about 8-11 minutes.

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This is so pretty and so easy to make.

Marbelized Mint Bark

1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lb. vanilla flavored candy coating, cut up
¾ c. finely crushed candy canes or starlight mints

Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small microwave safe dish, melt chocolate chips in microwave. Set aside.

In a 2 quart saucepan on low heat, melt candy coating. When melted and smooth, stir in crushed candy. Pour the melted candy onto prepared baking sheet. Spread to about 3/8” thickness. Drizzle with the melted chocolate. Gently zigzag a knife through the peppermint and chocolate layers to create a swirled effect. Chill candy 30 minutes or until firm. Break into pieces. Makes 1 ¼ lbs. candy.

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These cookies were originally called "nut roll ups" but someone heard wrong and thought they were called "nup-yoo-lups." The name stuck. These are probably my favorites on this list. They are like rugelach.

Nupulups

Dough:
2 cups flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1 container (8 oz) sour cream, minus 3 tablespoons

Filling:
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup sugar

Cinnamon sugar

For dough, cream flour and butter together in a large bowl. Add egg yolk and sour cream and mix well. Divide dough into three parts and wrap each part in waxed paper. Chill several hours or overnight.

For filling, combine walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar and stir well.

Roll each part of dough out into a 8” circle on a floured board. Top with filling. Cut into 10 wedges. Roll each triangle up from the flat side to the point, tucking in filling as you go. Place cookies on cookie sheet, and sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 325 for 35 minutes.

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This is a new one to the list. If you like peanut butter balls, you'll love these - and they are so much less time-consuming to make.

Peanut Butter Squares

2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips) and mix well. Press mixture into 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler over hot water (or microwave them for 20 seconds at a time and stir in-between until it's melted completely). Spread over peanut butter mixture. Cool & cut into small squares.

Note: don't try to cut them after putting it in the fridge... the chocolate will chip into thousands of pieces!

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I got this recipe at a cookie exchange many years ago. A basic shortbread cookie with a festive topping.

Peppermint Candy Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
¾ c. powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla
2 c. flour
½ c. oats
½ t. salt

½ c.semisweet chocolate chips
2 T. milk
½ c. crushed peppermint candy

Combine butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour, oats and salt.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees 18-20 minutes. Cool completely.

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Rich's fave. Also known as Mexican wedding cookies. These truly melt in your mouth.

Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup butter, soft
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Powdered sugar

Combine butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, vanilla, flour, and walnuts in a large bowl. Cover dough and chill dough at least two hours.

Roll dough into 1” balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 400degrees. While still warm, roll cookies in a bowl of powdered sugar. When done rolling all cookies, re-roll them in the powdered sugar.

Yield: 3 dozen


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Everyone loves this recipe of my sister's. Moist brownies, a peppermint cream layer, and a chocolate ganache topping. Absolute perfection.

Three Layer Mint Brownies

Layer 1

1 cup butter, soft
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Combine butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat until well mixed. Spread into greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until center comes out clean. Cool.

Layer 2

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, soft
1 tbsp water
3/4 tsp mint extract
3 drops green food coloring

Mix together and spread over cooled brownie layer. Chill until firm.

Layer 3

6 tbsp butter
1 cup chocolate chips

Melt together until smooth. Spread over mint layer. Chill until firm.

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Incredibly dense chocolate flavor, hence the name. These have star quality!

Truffle Cookies

4 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 Tbsp. butter
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
½ cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Melt unsweetened chocolate, butter, and 1 cup of the chocolate chips in microwave. Cool.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using electric mixer, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla, until pale and frothy, about 2 minutes. Add chocolate mixture and mix well. Add flour mixture and combine well. Stir in remaining chocolate chips. Chill covered, two hours.

Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into 1” balls, using moistened hands. Bake at 350degrees for 10-14 minutes. Do not overbake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Makes 5 dozen.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

dimanche matin avec Riche {returns}

soft boiled egg 1

OK, I know I've been remiss on posting some of Rich's Sunday morning specialties. My camera was on the blink for awhile, and Emma was out of town with hers, so a lot of our delicious food went undocumented.

This little breakfast is pure simplicity and genius. I happen to love poached eggs and over-easy eggs, but recently Rich introduced me to something his mom used to make - soft-boiled eggs. He served them in these cute little glass egg cups his mom had given us one Easter, with strips of buttered whole-grain sourdough toast on the side -major points for presentation! It is so fun to crack open the top, and dip the toast in. You can then use a spoon to scoop out what you didn't catch with the toast. This is totally old school, totally comforting. A most perfect little breakfast.


To soft boil an egg, bring a pot of water to a boil. Poke a pin hole in each end of the egg. Carefully drop egg into boiling water and set a timer for 4 minutes. Plunge egg into a bowl of cold water for 10 seconds (to stop the cooking), then serve immediately. This method is good for up to 4 eggs - you may need to increase the time if you have more eggs.

soft boiled egg 2


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Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas and Christians

This holiday season, I am currently re-reading John Mac Arthur's book The Miracle of Christmas. It's a great little book for reflection that I highly recommend. Here is a small essay from the book that I found very interesting and wanted to share.

Christmas and Christians

Christmas as a holiday was not observed until well after the biblical era. The early church of the New Testament celebrated Jesus' resurrection, but not His birth. In fact, Christmas was not given any kind of official recognition by the church until the mid-fifth century.

Partly because so many Christmas customs seem to have their roots in paganism, Christians have often been resistant to some of the rituals of the holiday. The Puritans in early America rejected Christmas celebrations altogether. They deliberately worked on December 25 to show their disdain. A law passed in England in 1644 reflected a similar Puritan influence; the law made Christmas day an official working day. For a time, in England it was literally illegal to cook plum pudding or mince pie for the holidays.

Christians today are generally not opposed to celebrating Christmas. The holiday itself is nothing, and observing it is not a matter of right or wrong. As Paul wrote, "One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the LORD, and he who eats does so for the LORD, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the LORD he does not eat, and gives thanks to God" (Romans 14:5-6). Every day -- including Christmas-- is a celebration for us who know and love Him.

How we observe Christmas is the central issue. Do we observe it for the LORD's sake or for our own sinful self-gratification? Do we even think about why and how we celebrate it? That is the heart of the matter. Christmas is an opportunity for us to exalt Jesus Christ. We ought to take advantage of it.


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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving in the desert

3rd annual Thanksgiving in the desert

California City

rich turkey

Rich deep-fried 3 turkeys! Aren't his gloves cute?

susan sabrina

Susan and Sabrina helped make "desert themed" centerpieces. The ladies went out on a walk and gathered some desert foliage and arranged them in recycled pumpkin cans. Cheap and beautiful!

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Emily and Lindsey helped arrange, too.

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making potatoes

Lindsay, Drew and Stephanie made the mashed potatoes. Drew impressed the girls with his manly stirring skills.


nardones

Gene is trying to let Brenda know she is about to have her picture taken. Oh well.


emma robert in line

Emma, Robert and Emily look ready to eat!


fab 5

jenna sabrina in line

Jenna and Sabrina heading to the buffet in the Tubbs' trailer!


rogers waiting

We were so glad that the Rogers family joined us this year in their new trailer!


tubbs

What Hunter? The Harasick's dog took your turkey leg?

waiting 1

waiting

Let us in!! We're hungry.


emma with lindsay

Emma is waiting to dig in. Lindsay, however, looks like she is waiting for the firing squad!


serving food

Just look at that spread! Toy-hauler transformed into buffet hall!


desserts

Dessert in the desert.


pumpkin pies

Emma's beautiful pumpkin pies. That girl can make a mean crust!


movie

Kids getting ready to watch "Up" on the big screen!

dads riding

Dad ride Saturday. Smile for the camera, guys!


P.S. Scroll down to see some other food we made in the desert!

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