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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monthly Recipes: August

Frozen Fruit Salad

1 pound frozen pineapple tid bits
1 pound frozen mango chunks
1 pound frozen blackberries (or a mix of frozen berries)
1 pound frozen cherries
segments from mandarin oranges/tangerines/other sweet citrus if you have them

Toss it all together in a bowl and keep in the refrigerator for at least two hours. It will be chilly, but not frozen when you eat it.

Smoked Chicken Salad

1 pound smoked chicken meat, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, boiled, peeled & quartered
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 ear of roasted corn, kernels cut off
3 hearts of romaine, chopped
8 ounces feta, crumbled
1 pint small tomatoes, cherry type preferred (halved) or small salad tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

Dressing: I do this by eye and taste

lemon pepper
kosher salt
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Toss salad ingredients together and season with dressing ingredients as you see fit. Toss again and serve for a light dinner.

Cinnamon Rolls with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

These are very easy to put together. The dough can be made by hand, in a stand mixer or even in a bread machine. They can also be made completely, up to the final rise, covered and put in the refrigerator, ready to be baked in the morning for fresh rolls.

4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar (I use vanilla sugar)
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup raisins - preferably sultanas (optional)
1 cup sliced almonds (optional)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, to spread on dough

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Butter an 9" X 13" baking pan well. Set aside.

Mix ingredients for dough in a food processor or by hand until thoroughly combined and a soft, smooth dough is formed. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five to 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Allow to rise, in a warm place, covered for about an hour, until doubled in bulk. This can be done in a bread machine as well on the dough cycle.

Mix ingredients for filling in a medium bowl. Roll dough out on very lightly floured surface, to create an 18" X 24" rectangle. Brush dough with butter. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over dough. Sprinkle with raisins and almonds. Roll up from long end, seal tightly and cut into 1 1/2 inch slices.

Arrange in pan. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cover rolls and let rise for 45 minutes, or cover with foil or plastic wrap and put in refrigerator over night. If you are preparing these ahead of time, pull them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to baking, bake uncovered. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Cool rolls for 5 minutes.

While rolls are cooling, whip together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Spread thickly over top of cinnamon rolls and reserve some to pass with servings. Serve warm.

Funnel Cake

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
oil for frying

Mix everything but the oil with a fork or whisk. Heat about 3/4" oil in a heavy
skillet, we do this on med-high heat. Use a 1/2" spout funnel, close with
your finger and pour in about 1/4 C batter. Over the hot oil, remove your
finger and let batter run out in a spiral about 6" in diameter. Fry until
golden, turning once (they fry very quickly, maybe 2 minutes, tops). Drain
on rack over a pan or on paper towels, keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter, stirring before pouring. Sprinkle funnel cakes with powdered sugar. You can also put some strawberry jam in a squeeze bottle and squeeze that over the cakes and top with whipped cream, go nuts!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Menu Plan: August 26 - September 1

I didn't mean to skip two weeks of menu plan posts, but we came back from our cousin camp out to go full tilt boogie into fair week, then promptly succumbed to exhaustion and recovered last week. We did eat. I did menu plan. We just didn't post it. On the plus side, two of our children got blue ribbons for their art work at the fair and we raised a lot of money for scholarships, which our neighborhood community club awards to young people heading off for higher education.

Our apricot tree is ripe, ripe, ripe. It has also given up on us, since we have neglected to prune it for so long, and lost three limbs in a thunder/wind storm a couple weeks ago. Rich still has a little to do, but God has taken care of much of the pruning. Now, to save the wood for fires. In any case, you will see us eating lots of apricots this week and next.

We are a week from starting school again, so things are busy here and I am getting last minute planning and orders done. It's a little crazy. We also got three cats about three weeks ago, so our children could have a cuddly pet instead of our invisible cat, and to keep the mice down this fall and winter. We introduced one of the kittens to the turkeys today. He was terrified. That was on purpose. We don't want them hunting the poultry. So far, so good, they want to get the starlings, robins, mice, and we're hoping they will go for the gophers and rabbits, too.

Today is Mariam's birthday. She is two! You may also remember that it is her name day as well. Because it is a Sunday, we are observing that tomorrow. Her birthday party is a little thin tonight, as Rich and Alexander are out of town helping our very good friends pack up a moving van and clean up their home. We'll still be doing cake and presents, but it may end up later than we wish.

Since I have been remiss about posting recipes this summer, I will post several of them this week. I have a smoked chicken salad recipe I promised two weeks ago, my cinnamon roll recipe (which I couldn't enter into the fair because it has a cream cheese frosting), my funnel cake recipe and a frozen fruit salad recipe I promised some weeks ago.What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Menu Plan: August 4 - August 11

This week is a big week of entertaining. Some friends of ours from the other side of the mountains will be here tomorrow and we get to spend this weekend with some of Rich's cousins and their children, so I'm not sure what our meals will be then, as some of it depends on their preferences.

We didn't do anything to mark the old date for the Feast of St. Dominic, so we'll be eating orange with our breakfast and a Spanish dish for dinner in his honor on the new date. We prefer to celebrate the older dates on the liturgical calendar, but this year Dominic's name day will be marked on the new.What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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