Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tea Time Recipes & Super Easy Scones

Yesterday's Royal Wedding was beautiful, my DVR was set to record it on BBC America, and since I fell asleep with the TV on, I was woken at 3:00 am Friday morning to the most enchanting boys choir song and the wedding in progress. The music was so beautiful, as were the bride & groom, that I was riveted, and decided to stay up. The wedding sermon was so beautiful and spoke to the sanctity of marriage. I really enjoyed the chosen bible passage read by Kate's brother- Romans 12:1-2,9-18 - I have copied the NIV version below- such a good guide to live by.

1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. 2. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
9. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16. Live in Harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:1-2,9-18 NIV

I was up so early, that by 6:00 am, I was inspired to make scones for breakfast. I was fairly tired though, and wanted a quicker recipe than the traditional one. As much as I truly love complete, from scratch cooking, I still appreciate the ease of Bisquick. Knowing that Scones are very much like a slightly sweet biscuit, I knew there must be recipes for Bisquick scones. There were quite a lot, in fact, I learned that in England the recipe for Bisquick Scones is on the Bisquick box. So I printed out a few recipes, I tweaked them a bit because the dough wasn't feeling quite right, here is the recipe I came up with. My son, who was up bright and early for school, enjoyed a scone and tea with me for breakfast, it was really nice.

Super Easy Raisin Scones

3 cups Bisquick baking mix- plus extra for dusting dough.
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 - 1/3 cup milk
4 eggs- plus another one for brushing tops.
Sugar in the Raw for Sprinkling on tops.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
Mix baking mix, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, and raisins until combined into a dough. You may need to add a touch more milk. Then get a dinner plate, and sprinkle a thin layer of baking mix over plate- then turn out dough onto plate, dust top of dough with a bit of the baking mix, then pat dough into a round thick patty. Cut into 8 wedges. Transfer pieces to a parchment lined baking pan. Beat an egg in a dish, and using a fork or pastry brush, brush tops of scones with beaten egg, then give each scone a good sprinkling of Sugar in the Raw (better than regular sugar because of larger granules) Then bake until golden brown 12-15 minutes.

Mini Chocolate Chip Scone variation:

Same recipe as above, but switch raisins for a cup of chocolate chips, divide the dough in half, and make two smaller patties cut into 8 each- this will give you 16 smaller scones. Follow all the baking directions as recipe above.

Later during the day, I had planned a tea party for after school. My daughter invited a friend over, the girls, along with the rest of the family, enjoyed a nice afternoon tea. I made a full spread of tea sandwiches- the same ones from my tea sandwich recipe post. We also had sweet treats- Lemon Tassies and Mini Chocolate Chip Scones, all along with plenty of tea. Here is my recipe for Lemon Tassies, as well as one more tea sandwich, a zesty corned beef on toast.

Lemon Tassies

1 stick (1/2 cup) of Butter-softened
half of a block of cream cheese - roughly 3-4 oz. softened
1 cup flour
A jar of Lemon Curd

Mix butter, cream cheese, and flour, until blended. Chill for an hour. Spray a mini muffin pan with pan spray, and roll dough into walnut sized balls, and press into mini muffin cups, making a well in the center of dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes- or until dough is light golden brown. While they are still warm, carefully remove (they will be very sizzly hot) to a cooling rack lined with a paper towel. Let cool. When cool- fill each tassie with lemon curd. Perfect with tea!

Zesty Corned Beef on Toast Tea Sandwich

Break up a can of corned beef with a fork, and mix in a couple tablespoons of mayo, and a Tablespoon of Creamy Horseradish Sauce, until combined and somewhat spreadable but not at all too soft. You may need to add more mayo and horseradish sauce to taste. Set mixture aside. Cut off the crusts of whole wheat bread, and toast in a toaster oven, or on a baking tray in oven. Cut toasts on the diagonal. Spread a layer of corned beef mixture on toast, and top with a sliver of bread and butter pickle. You can see a picture of this tea sandwich on the round plate.

It was a nice day- we watched the ceremony again- as well as the double kiss on the balcony. Our afternoon tea was wonderful, and would be fun to do more often. Hope everybody has a wonderful spring weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tea Sandwich Recipes & Tutorial

In the spirit of Royal Wedding week, I thought I would share some wonderful recipes and instructions for making all sorts of tea sandwiches. My grandma was a wonderful hostess, and would often host an event at her husband's electric organ shop called "fun night" She would set out an amazing buffet of desserts, tea sandwiches, and fruit and cheese centerpieces, the whole nine yards. The customers loved it, and it was a very fun event. Of course us kids didn't attend, but we still loved fun night because we got all the leftovers or what I called "leavings". Even the crusts trimmed from filled sandwiches were a real treat.

Along with my grandma's beautiful buffets,and growing up hearing tales of Grandma's trip to England, it's no wonder that I get excited about beautiful events like The Royal Wedding. I had the great blessing of a lesson in making tea sandwiches from my grandma when I was a young homemaker- they come in handy for all sorts of entertaining. I thought I would share some of these recipes with you.

Number one tip- Get a nice brand of spreadable margarine with a pleasant taste- all pieces of bread that are in contact with filling should have a very thin layer of margarine first- it seals the bread and keeps the bread from becoming too moist from the fillings.

Rolled Tea Sandwiches

White Bread, Cream Cheese (softened), deviled ham, bell peppers in various colors, milk, mayo, margarine, green olives.

First mix with a hand mixer mix your softened cream cheese with a tablespoon or two of milk until it is soft enough to spread smoothly.

Then slice the crusts off three slices of white bread, and overlap like shown in picture, then press overlapped layers together, and then press down the bread so it flattens a bit.


The spread a thin layer of margarine over bread.

For the Cream Cheese Bell Pepper Pinwheels- spread a layer of cream cheese mixture, then lay alternating colored slices of bell pepper evenly along sandwich.

Then carefully roll sandwich, then roll in wax paper and chill for 2-3 hours- great to make the night before. When they have chilled carefully cut into slices.

Green Olive and Deviled Ham Spiral

Mix a can of deviled ham with a table spoon of softened cream cheese mixture and slightly less than a table spoon of mayo until well blended. Prepare bread just like the Bell Pepper Spirals, spread with margarine, then spread with deviled ham mixture, along one end of sandwich lay green olives end to end like shown, then carefully roll, and wrap in wax paper and chill for 2-3 hours or overnight, then carefully slice slightly more than a 1/4 inch slices.

Mini Cream Cheese Egg Salad Sandwiches

whole wheat bread, hard boiled eggs, softened cream cheese blended with a tablespoon or two of milk until spreadable, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika.

Make up your egg salad the way you like it- be sure the cut the eggs very small- I like to use an egg slicer both directions to get a nice even cut egg- I make my egg salad with mayo, mustard, salt, and pepper. I never measure- just make it to taste- start with a smaller amount of mayo & mustard, add more if needed.

Thinly spread margarine on slices of bread, and use a small biscuit cutter- or any small round glass (I used a mini coke glass)- and cut out three rounds from each slice.

Then fill a piping bag or tube with star tip, with cream cheese mixture, and squeeze cream cheese mixture around the edge of sandwich round as shown.

Then fill center with a scoop of egg salad, top with a little star of cream cheese mixture and a small sprinkle of paprika.

Radish Sandwiches

Dark Rye Bread, Margarine, cream cheese softened and blended with a tablespoon or two of milk, thinly sliced radishes.

This is an easy sandwich- and my daughter Sarah's favorite- she even used to bring these in her school lunch.

Spread dark rye bread with margarine, then cream cheese mixture- cute off crusts, and slice into 3-4 long slices (like Shown) then layer 3-4 slices of radish.

Layered Tea Sandwich

Sandwich Spread, Pinmemto Cheese Spread, White and Wheat Bread, green food color, a little cream cheese mixture from other recipes, margarine.

Scoop out some sandwich spread into a bowl ,add a table spoon of cream cheese mixture to it, and stir until combined, then add a few drops of green food coloring, and stir until combined.

Then spread a thin layer of margarine on a slice of wheat bread, then a thin layer of green sandwich spread.

Then spread margarine on one side of white bread, and put it spread side down onto green filling, then spread margarine on top, and a thin layer of pimento cheese spread. Then spread margarine on one side of another slice of wheat bread.

Put Wheat bread slice, margarine side facing cheese spread. Trim crusts. Wrap in Wax paper and chill for an hour or two, then slice into quarters. When you make a lot of this sandwich make some with two white and a wheat, and others with two wheat and a white slice- that way they will have a checkered effect.

Here is the platter I will be using.

Here it is full of these tasty tea sandwiches.

Hope everyone can find a time to make some of these wonderful sandwiches- they are perfect for birthday parties, buffets, or make just a few and invite a friend to tea.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Swiss Chard & A Rainbow

We had a wonderful Easter weekend. Along with early morning baskets, and a nice morning at church, we were able to make a few stops to visit family. We had a nice visit with my Mom, sister,and niece & nephew. We then headed over to my grandma's house for a really nice lunch- as well as an afternoon of some wonderful stories of my grandma's childhood adventures. Sarah and Joseph loved hearing about Great Grandma's adventures growing up in the country in the 1930's. Very nice day.

Today was a nice spring day- mostly rainy, a dash of hail, but the sun poked out a couple times, and we were gifted with a beautiful rainbow. I was able to get the first spring harvest out of the garden this year- our first successful crop of Swiss Chard (one of my favorite veggies that I have had a hard time growing here the past couple of years) as well as a nice bunch of chives. Both made their way into tonight's dinner- the chives went into a modified version of my Au Gratin Potato Casserole which became Sour Cream & Chive Potato Casserole (reduce the cheese- add a cup of sour cream, switch parsley with chopped chives). The swiss chard was steamed then drained and briefly sauteed in browned butter, our favorite way to eat Swiss Chard. Very yummy meal- we can't wait for the next bunch of swiss chard to be ready.

Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend!

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.
Genesis 9:16

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sarah's Cran-Crumble Muffins

Now that my daughter Sarah is older, I really love working with her in the kitchen to learn different cooking and baking skills. She makes wonderful Snickerdoodles, and has helped whip up various mixes for us many times. So today we thought we would work on homemade muffins. When a homemaker masters a basic quick bread, you can whip up great breads, coffee cakes, and muffins anytime, very quickly, and often without a recipe. I asked her what type of muffin sounded good to her, and she said she wanted to make a crumble topped muffin with cranberries. So we pulled ideas from a few different classic muffin recipes, and came up with- Sarah's Cran-Crumble Muffins. She baked up a batch, and was able to bring them along to share with her grandparents. They are very tasty. Here is the recipe.

Sarah's Cran-Crumble Muffins

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

Crumble Topping (make first, and set aside)

Combine - 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 1Tablespoon of cinnamon. Stir until combined.

In a small saucepan heat just to boiling- 1/4 cup orange juice and 1 cup of cranberries- as soon as it is hot enough remove from heat, and set aside.

In another small bowl combine 1 1/2 cups Kellogg's All-Bran and 1 1/4 cups of milk- let stand for 5 minutes- (we like the basic All-Bran Muffin recipe as well, and incorporate it into a lot of our muffins)

In a large bowl combine 2 eggs, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and the soaked cereal and milk mixture- mix until well combined. The add 1 1/4 cups of flour along with 1 Tablespoon of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the wet mixture, and mix until combined. The add orange juice and cranberry mixture, and mix until combined.

Spray muffin pan with pan spray or line muffin tin with cupcake papers, and fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Then top muffins with a good layer of crumble topping. This mix made a little more than 12 muffin cups full so we baked the rest in a tiny custard dish. Bake at 375 F. for 20-25 minutes.

It was very fun working with Sarah, I think it is so important to pass along these homemaking skills to our daughters. Joseph enjoyed sneaking a few bits of crumble while his sister finished up the muffins. The whole house smells wonderful. Hope everyone can enjoy baking with their children.

He Is Risen! Easter Mini Book Craft

I just finished putting together my Easter Sunday school craft. This craft would be great to use when teaching the story of Jesus' resurrection. This is a simple little book & craft to make, and could also be easily modified to work inside of an Easter lapbook, along with last weeks Palm Sunday mini book craft.

Similar to the Palm Sunday craft, I printed a mini book from My Take Home Bible Stories (link below) book -reduced to 60%. Then stapled it to the inside of the book as shown. You can also find great printables all over the web, that could be reduced and turned into a great little mini book. After stapling in the mini book, glue on the book cover, which is Printed in Papyrus font, and is easily made with Microsoft Works. On the inside, under the mini book, glue a strip of paper that says:

Roll away the stone... Where is Jesus?
"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." Matthew 28:6

This whole book was made of construction paper- the main book is a whole sheet of purple construction paper folded in half. Then make the tomb where Jesus was laid out of black construction paper- this can be cut out by older children, or pre-cut for younger children. Then an opening cut out of gray paper, as well as a stone, similar in size to the opening, also cut out of gray paper. Glue down the tomb, then glue the opening. Then attach the stone to the bottom of the tomb entrance with a brad, so that the stone can be "rolled" away.

This craft goes along well with the story of Jesus' resurrection, which can be found in Matthew 27 & 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, & John 20.

Hope you have a wonderful Easter!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Seeds Have Arrived!

All my seeds are here, and I am ready to garden. I get excited every year when my seeds arrive. Today I picked up the rest of the supplies I need to get my seeds started. Most years I have started seeds in the ground like my corn, squash, and beans, and purchased my tomato plants and pepper plants. This year, my grandma, who is an amazing gardener, has encouraged me to start my own. So I decided that I would give it a go- if I am able to start them myself, I will save quite a bit more money.

In addition to starting my own tomato and peppers this year, I am very excited to try a few new varieties of seeds this year- I am very excited about the mini Hubbard seeds I bought. I used to grow Hubbard squash back when I had a huge garden, but haven't been able to squeeze one into my raised beds- this new mini variety is supposed to be for smaller gardens- so we'll see. I am also excited about the Flamingo Swiss Chard seeds I bought, I love Neon & Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and I think Flamingo will be very pretty in the garden. I am also trying out a white cucumber.

Today is a beautiful day, and the sun is shining, so I'm off to continue getting the garden beds ready.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Homemade Yogurt & Nut Free Granola

I love figuring out how to make my own foods from scratch- partly because I have so many food allergies and sensitivities, and partly because I like the challenge. I have been wanting to make my own yogurt since last summer, but was a bit leery that I would get it wrong. I have read many articles on the process, but it wasn't until I watched my new Homestead Blessings Dairy DVD that I felt confident to take the plunge. So this last Thursday I gathered my supplies, and with my daughter watching on, made my first batch of yogurt. I started rather late in the day, thinking that it would only take the minimum time to culture, but it ended up taking the full suggested time to finish- thank goodness I am a night owl. So very late Thursday night- more like very early Friday morning- I packed my jars of yogurt into the fridge to chill- I was also eager to make yogurt cheese (very similar to cream cheese), so I opened one of the jars of yogurt, and emptied it into a mesh strainer basket, sitting in a bowl, covered it with plastic wrap and went to bed.

Friday morning, I had my first homemade yogurt drizzled with honey, it has a different texture than my usual yogurt, but wasn't bad. I have been pretty spoiled by all the tasty new Greek yogurt that my local grocery store has started carrying. I really enjoyed the process, and plan on making it again, next time with the addition of powdered milk, which I hear thickens it up a bit. What was really amazing though was the yogurt cheese- it was very good, I spread the creamy cheese on bagels for an after school snack, and we all had a try. I will definitely be making more, very yummy!! I would highly suggest everyone who wants to try out their own dairy making projects to watch the Homestead Blessings Dairy DVD, it was easy to follow, and gave me the confidence I needed, next up homemade butter! See the right side of my blog for a link to Homestead Blessings DVDs at the Vision Forum, the DVD is called Homestead Blessings Dairy Delights. You can also find it from Amazon.

I also love yogurt with granola- so I thought I would whip up a quick batch. I am allergic to tree nuts- so any time I want my own granola, I make my own. This recipe is a modification of various granola recipes I had read in magazines. The kids really love it, and so do I. Making granola makes your whole house smell yummy.

Here's the recipe I used-

Preheat oven to 350 F.

2 egg whites whisked in a large bowl till frothy
Add- 1/3 cup honey, 1/3 cup molasses, & 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, also add 1/3- 1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil, and 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon. Stir until combined.
Then stir in 5 cups of old fashioned rolled oats until thoroughly coated ( You could also stir in a half cup of wheat germ at this stage, which I like to do, but was all out this time). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread on oat mixture. Bake in 350 F. oven, for around 25-30 minutes- stirring and checking every 10 minutes for it to be golden brown- if it looks like it needs longer, like mine did, I turned the heat down to 200 f. and gave it another 10 minutes stirring every 5 minutes- Watch carefully- because of the sugar this can burn very quickly. When it is done, let it cool all the way in pan, then stir in 1 cup chopped dates, and 1 cup raisins. Store in an airtight container. My whole family loves this granola.

Hope you are inspired to try making your own yogurt & granola, it is well worth the time & effort.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Country Sausage Enchiladas and A Spring Day

Yesterday was a typical Oregon valley spring day- we had sunshine, we had rain, and a few bursts of hail- as much as I long for the sunshine, I love a good spring hail storm. I took a few pictures of our spring flowers- I love red tulips, and grape hyacinth are my all time favorite bulbs. I love how the violas & violets (a.k.a. johnny jump-ups) persist through all sorts of weather.

It was a nice spring day, I made a lot of progress on various chores and projects I am working on.

I was planning on making enchiladas for dinner- but dinner plans had to change when we had a last minute schedule switch, and the kids and hubby had to be fed dinner and out the door in 35 minutes. No time for enchiladas, I had some ground sausage thawed out- so I thought biscuits and gravy, but no time to bake the biscuits & cook the sausage and gravy- and I was still in an enchilada mood- so I came up with a super easy and quick Country Sausage Enchilada.

Thoroughly cook a pound of ground mild sausage (BTW- if you don't eat pork or are vegetarian you can find turkey sausage, and even wonderful vegetarian sausage). While the sausage is cooking, warm the tortillas, and (gasp) make up a packet of country gravy ( you could make it from scratch, if you were not in a hurry, but those country gravy packets are so super quick and yummy I always have a few in my spice drawer). When the meat is cooked, add a can of drained and rinsed beans to the meat -black beans or white beans work the best for this recipe. Continue heating until beans are heated. Place a pile of meat mixture on tortilla, sprinkle with a small amount of shredded cheese, fold up and top with country gravy. Serve with sliced oranges or a bowl of canned mandarin oranges. Everyone loved it and said we should have it again. I think this recipe would work for any meal, even breakfast, it was very good.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Palm Sunday Mini Book Craft

This year I have come up with a new mini book craft for my Sunday School class on Palm Sunday. The Story we will be reading along with this craft is The Triumphal Entry and can be found in Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12:12-19. I sometimes read all three. In the past I have cut out large construction paper palm branches and had the children put them on the floor for a cardboard Jesus on a donkey to walk on- while we all shout- "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!". This year we will be making the following mini book craft.

Fold a piece of green cardstock in half like shown. Print out a mini book called A Welcome Fit for a King at 60% from take home bible stories.

New Testament Take-Home Bible Stories: Easy-to-Make, Reproducible Mini-Books That Children Can Make and Keep

Cut out and staple the book like shown in the picture, do this before pasting on the front picture so, the front picture will cover staples. To make the front picture for this craft I used the Papyrus font (my favorite) and a clip art of a palm branch, you could also draw a palm branch. Glue a strip of paper under the mini book that says: Place the Palm Branch under Jesus and shout... "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" John 12:13

I also enlarged a picture of Jesus on a donkey from the mini book at 120% for the bottom page. Cut out and glue down. Cut out a small palm branch in a different color of green cardstock like shown. On the back of the palm leaf put a small piece of Velcro, as well as the other side of Velcro under Jesus, and to the side- as shown in picture- this way the kids can lay down the palm branch.

If you don't have the Take Home Mini Books book yet, I would suggest heading over to their Easter printouts could be used to make similar pictures- also a quick Internet search of Palm Sunday printables would probably yield some useful images as well. This same craft could be modified as an addition to an Easter lapbook as well.

I am looking forward to sharing this craft with my Sunday School class this weekend, I hope everyone has a nice Palm Sunday!