Friday, July 29, 2011

Revenge of the Chronic Dieter, by Phyllis Salmons

Good Morning Friends! Man I can't believe it's the end of July already... Seems like just yesterday I was begging and pleading with my wonderful foodie friends to do 8 weeks of guest posts for me, and here we are, at the very last one! Don't worry, I'm not going to get all emotional and blubbery, but I have to say a HUGE thank you to all my wonderful friends (and Hubby!) for their fantastic posts. Especially to this weeks poster, Phyllis from Vintage Vera!


When I first sent out my plea for guest posters, Vera and Phyllis were among the first to respond, and that blew me away! I mean here we have 2 wonderful women who have a cookbook of their own full of the wonderful recipes their Mama made, and they want to post on MY blog?!? Well I thought that was pretty darn awesome! Some of you may remember Vera's post the beginning of the month, but now I give you her sister Phyllis with 2 wonderful desserts sure to please, and not kill your diet! (The best kind in my book!) So without further ado I give you... Phyllis!

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I am a longtime college professor teaching at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. Most of my students are studying to be professional pilots. I teach them physics and will see begin my 34th year here (Note: I started teaching physics in college just out of kindergarten, LOL).

I grew up in Winston-Salem, NC. I have three older brothers and one younger sister (the famous Vera Guthrie of Vintage Vera). I help Vera with the admin duties of her Facebook Group Vintage Vera.

As far as cooking is concerned, I have always felt comfortable with desserts -- I figured no matter what they looked like, unless you really blew it, you could still eat the results. This is rarely true with main dishes. I can make a killer (and high cal) lasagna though (I need to work on a version of that which would accommodate my metabolism deficiency).

I never married and have no children except for my cats, past and present. What can I say -- I am the classic old maid schoolteacher cat lady.

I know my Guest Blog is nothing like you have ever seen before, but I hope you enjoy it.

Revenge of the Chronic Dieter

By Phyllis Salmons

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the past. Perhaps it’s just because I am getting older – they tell me that it is typical to look back at the good old days. Adding to it, a little over a year ago, my sister Vera started a Facebook group called Vintage Vera. On that page, we sit on our virtual “front porch” and talk about things of the past. When we were kid, the adults sat on the real front porch and visited while the kids played in the yard nearby. Naturally, one of the favorite memories of Mama and Granny is the delicious food they cooked.

In late 2010, Vera and I published the Vintage Vera Cookbook to document those early recipes we have always loved. When I think of the hard work that Mama did as she reared five kids and provided for us with a great deal of hard work outside the home to bring in money and by keeping the house clean and warm. How in the world she found the time and the energy to cook is beyond me.

As Vera and I were recording many of the recipes, I frequently commented on the calorie and fat content. As children we burned it off. The adults worked so hard on the farms, on their jobs, and in the home, that they would never think of joining a gym. Though I know they got tired, they always had the time to do what they knew they must do.

What a wimp I am today. My job is not nearly as physically demanding as my mothers. I feel it necessary to pay big bucks for the accessibility to the gym. I am always tired. If I go to the bank and to the post office in the same day, I definitely need a nap (and often take one if those errands are not on today’s agenda).

With my lifestyle abundant with time saving and energy saving devices, a less demanding job, and an aging metabolism, my thoughts are frequently on calories, fat content, and portion control.

Alas, if I get it my body whipped into shape, I will always have to be very careful about what I eat. This realization has created a great depression when considering that I will never again truly enjoy delights such as Mama’s Apple Pie or her Sliced Sweet Potato Pie. How sad.

Here is her recipe from the Vintage Vera Cookbook (not pictured):

Phyllis's Version, before baking!
Mama’s Sliced Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients:
3 medium sweet potatoes

1 large can evaporated milk

2 cups sugar

1 stick butter or margarine

1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. flour 
Crust for two-crust pie (homemade or store bought)

Directions:
Boil sweet potatoes until fork tender, cool and peel. In a deep dish baking dish, line the bottom crust and sprinkle with flour. Slice the sweet potatoes into slabs and layer into dish until about three layers deep. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Mix evaporated milk with water to make about two cups of liquid. Pour the liquid over the potatoes, sugar and cinnamon. Cube butter and dot over the top. Use the second pie crust to cover the filling, making slits in the crust (or construct a lattice top). Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour until the crust is brown and the pie filling is bubbling. It may be wise to place a baking sheet under the dish prior to baking to avoid boil over. Good served hot or cold.


Now you can see my point about lamenting that I could never again delight in this delicious treat. To tell you the truth, I always loved to dollop a hearty serving a Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream on a hearty serving of the pie. Guess you know now why I have a weight problem.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am trying. In 2009 I lost almost 90 pounds which has indeed improved my health greatly. I put a little of that back on (not too much, but enough to get my attention). I still think I need to lose about 10 more pounds beyond my lowest, so I am really trying to be good.

Oh, the sadness when I remembered the taste of Mama’s pie and the thought that I can never afford to have it again.

A few months ago, it occurred to me that a good number of the calories in pie are in the homemade crust. Now Mama’s was great, but I do not make my own crust because of having cats in the house – there is a fear of finding a cat hair in the crust. So, back when I did cook these delights, I used store-bought crusts – not as good, but I felt an appropriate substitute under the circumstances.

I love the crust as much as anyone, but it occurred to me that I should invent a “low-cal, low-fat” pie filling and omit the crust. Being that portion control is also my downfall, it is important to attempt small amounts so as not to overeat. LOL did you ever know of anyone who bought a bag of low calorie cookies and ate all instead of the stated serving size of two cookies?

At first, I tried to make my lifestyle friendly version of Mama’s sliced sweet potato pie.


I made the filling just like Mama (hers is probably eight servings – or four for me). I made mine in a smaller pan (probably three servings) substituting
About ¼ cup of Splenda Brown Sugar for the Granulated Sugar = 193 calories. The two cups of granulated sugar adds up to 770 calories.
1 Tbsp. Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread for the butter (~45 calories). Mama would have used about 4 Tbsp of butter at 400 calories.
I used two sweet potatoes boiled or baked (~230 calories).
I used ½ c. fat-free evaporated milk (176 cal)
Having no crust, I did not use the spoon of flour

Mama’s version My no-crust version

312 per serving + calories in the crust 215 per serving

Now take into account that I was eating a double serving of Mama’s pie WITH Breyer’s Vanilla and yikes!

Upon tasting of my tasting my Crustless Sweet Potato Pie, truly I was doing a happy dance!

The Apple Pie Experiment



A few weeks later, I wondered if I might do the same with Mama’s apple pie. On my first attempt, I made the same substitutions (Splenda and Smart Balance) in a single serving ramekin so as not to overeat. I used a Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored and sliced into thin wedges.

I sprinkled with cinnamon and a little pumpkin pie spice, used the Splenda Brown Sugar and the Smart Balance. I didn’t know what to do about liquid, so I must have added about a quarter to a third cup of water. I baked at 400 degrees for one hour.

The smell permeating the house was heavenly! How long had it been since I had smelled that wonderful delight – if it tasted anywhere near as good as it smelled, then wow wee!

The taste was right on the money, but the apples were literally swimming in hot apple pie juice. I ate the apples and drank the juice, making a mental note that next time the juice needs to turn into what would better be called syrup.

Today I tried it again. With the apples sliced into the ramekin, I sprinkled on cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice (I didn’t have any apple pie spice), with the Splenda Brown Sugar and Smart Balance on it. To make the syrup, just guessing, I added one heaping teaspoon of flour and 2 Tbsp of cold water.

Bake for one hour in a 400 degree oven.

About half way through, I stirred it so that the top apples would get down into the juice that had developed. Ah, this was much better, not just a runny liquid!

After baking, I spooned the whole thing out onto a serving dish. If I weren’t going to photograph it, I would have just eaten it straight from the ramekin.

OMG! Perfection!

For the apple pie, I looked online and found a source stating that one-eighth of a 9-in. pie has 410 calories. Now I figure that my ramekin of Crustless Apple Pie has enough filling to equal three or four slices of that apple pie (ok, without the crust), but I figure the whole concoction is about 200 calories!!!

So that’s my tale of the Revenge of the Chronic Dieter! Bwahaaaahaaaa….

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Thank you SO much Phyllis for both of those recipes, I admit I would miss the crust (hehe!) but they look outstanding! I am so thankful to you and all my friends for this wonderful journey through you're kitchens!

If you would like to learn more about Phyllis and Vera head on over to their Facebook Page, Vintage Vera. There is also information on the facebook page about how you can purchase your very own copy of their cookbook!

Happy Cooking!
The Farmers Wife & Phyllis Salmons
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pan Seared Chicken with Parmesan Basil Linguini

Pan Seared Chicken with Parmesan Basil Linguini

Hey y'all!! I'm so excited to finally share this recipe with you today! When I first made this, I posted the picture on Facebook and was OVERWHELMED by y'alls response over it! So much so that I even let you guys name it! The name winner is... Pan Seared Chicken with Parmesan Basil Linguini! Long yes, but fitting. I wish I could say this recipe was created out of some special epiphany, but the honest truth is that I pretty much made it up as I went along. Oh I mean, I had an idea of what I wanted the end result to be, but I didn't have any sort of recipe to follow. Truthfully though... that is totally me in my element. I love creating recipes on the fly, while cooking, they seem to be my best ones. lol! The best way I can describe this dish is that it's somewhere between an Alfredo and a Carbonara... Which makes it TOTALLY YUM! hehe! My little sous chef adored this, and ate every last bite and then asked for more (which is REALLY rare for him!) and all I can say is that I enjoyed this as leftovers just as much as I did the night I made it!

Ingredients:
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup Panko
1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
4 Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk
1 Package Linguini

Sauce:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1/4 White Onion, diced
1 Roma Tomato, seeded and diced
5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade
2 cups Heavy Cream
2/3 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 teaspoons Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
To make the sauce heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Then add the garlic and onion and saute til the garlic is slightly browned and the onion is translucent. Add the tomato and basil and saute for about 1 minute, then add in the cream and stir til the oil and cream don't separate. Next put in your cheese's and spices and stir constantly until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is thick. Set aside while you cook the pasta and chicken. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Flatten the chicken to about 1/2 inch thickness, (or you could butterfly it) then in a shallow dish combine the panko, breadcrumbs and basil. In another shallow dish whisk the egg with the milk. Then heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, and add about 1/4 inch of olive oil. For the chicken, first dip it in the egg mixture being sure to coat both sides, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Once all the chicken is coated, place in the hot pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, then cover and turn to low heat and cook for about 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Once your pasta is cooked, drain and put back in the pot, pour the sauce on top and mix. Transfer to serving dish, and slice the chicken into long pieces and place on top of pasta, garnish with more basil and Parmesan.

Review:
5 stars... I have to be honest, this was just so good! We loved the creaminess of the pasta along with the crunchy seared chicken... Mmmm...

We're finishing up our Guest Posting series this Friday with Phyllis Salmons from Vintage Vera with a very wonderful post I know you're sure to love!

Happy Cooking!
The Farmers Wife
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak

Philly Cheesesteak, Farmers Wife Original

 You may not know this about me... I love Philly Cheesesteaks.. And I mean LOVE them! I would eat one everyday if my waistline approved. I'm not entirely sure when the obsession started, and I've never actually been to Philly either, but once it was there is refused to go away. A few months ago I found this Philly Cheesesteak frozen package with everything, meat, rolls, onions and cheese. And it gave me an idea, why can't I make these at home? I know it's crazy that it took me seeing that to realize I actually could make this at home, what can I say? I'm slow sometimes. So a few weeks ago when I found cube steak on sale at our store (and when I say on sale I mean WOWZA it was a big sale!) the wheels in my head started turning, I started drooling all over the place, it wasn't a pretty sight in the middle of the store, you know what I mean because it's a natural reaction for a foodie. haha! I promptly bought the other ingredients needed for this and made them for dinner, and oh baby... It was GOOD! My hubby even ate it, and these really aren't his favorite (isn't he sweet to eat my favorites?!?). Next time you want a cheese steak I hope you'll consider this one!

Ingredients: this will make 2-3 sandwiches
2 Cube Steaks
1/2 White or Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
1 Bell Pepper, thinly sliced *optional*
1 Tablespoon Butter
Worcestershire Sauce
Steak Seasoning  *I used my Hubby's steak rub*
Cheese of choice *Provolone, Mozzarella, Cheddar*
Steak Rolls

Directions:
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, grease with olive oil and add the steaks. Season the top side with a splash of Worcestershire and a sprinkle of steak seasoning. Turn after 4-5 minutes and cook on the other side, seasoning the flipped side as you did the first. In a separate pan melt the butter, then saute the onion and pepper adding a sprinkle of steak seasoning until soft and caramelized. Once steaks are mostly done, remove from the skillet and with a sharp knife slice thinly, add the sliced steak back to the skillet and let it cook another couple minutes then remove. Split the steak rolls and place open side up on a baking sheet. Top with steak, then onion and pepper mixture and cheese. Turn on the broiler and place the baking sheet in the oven, keep close eye on it, you want the cheese to melt and not burn and the bread to toast lightly. 2-3 minutes. Remove and serve warm.

Review:
I really really love this, I'm sure it's not quite your traditional cheese steak but it has SO much flavor it just to die for! I give this 4.5 stars since I don't make it that often.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Steak Rub from The Geeky Farmer

It's FRIDAY!! Y'all know what that means, Guest Post day here at The Farmers Wife! This week's guest post is my favorite by far, and you know why? Because our wonderful poster this week is my amazing Hubby, Jeremy aka The Geeky Farmer! You've heard me talk about him for months, and rave about how awesome he is, and now y'all get to actually "meet" Jeremy!


I want to state for the record that this picture is old... lol! This is probably about 4 years old in fact, it was taken while I was pregnant with our son. But we don't tend to take pictures of ourselves anymore, they're all of the little man or in my case of food... haha! But isn't he handsome? Ok.. Maybe I don't want y'all to answer that question... haha! This man is not only the love of my life, but he is the most AMAZING Griller I know. When I say I would much rather have a steak at home, grilled by him, than go to the top rated steakhouse in our city I'm not even kidding. He is amazing! Now y'all know from my posts that my Hubby is a dedicated Farmer, but he really is more than that. He is a great cook, and is always challenging me in the kitchen, and I in turn like to challenge him on the grill. But enough from me, because I really could go on for days about this wonderful man, now you get to hear from him!

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Hey all! It's Jeremy, or as I refer to myself over on my blog "The Geeky Farmer". First I want to say thank you to my beautiful wife for the opportunity to share this with all of you, but before we get started, here is a bit about me. I spent a good bit of my teen and young adult life building and fixing computers as well as dabbling in programming and web design. Just before high school we moved back to my dad's hometown so he could help with the family farm and I have worked there ever since. When I'm out driving tractors all day I have a good bit of time to research all sorts of geeky stuff, I usually browse through over 1,200 geeky articles a week thanks to GreenStar GPS auto-steer and my Verizon Droid X! I too have a blog where I do reviews of Android smartphone apps and a friend of mine does iOS apps for me.

Like most of you, my dad did all the grilling when I was a kid, but as I grew up I gradually started taking over as my dad was working long hours. By the time I was in high school I was doing most of the grilling and I liked it, so much so that I even got grilling related supplies a couple times for Christmas. As time went on I moved out and then got married and eventually got my own grill.

Not long after I decided to make my own steak spice mix as I just was not satisfied with what you could buy in the store. While there were quite a few packet mix things that are great for chicken there were not many that I liked that were good for beef, so I started experimenting with different combinations of spice mixes and decided that I liked Garlic, Lemon, Salt and Pepper.

At first I would use Garlic Salt and Lemon Pepper, but it still didn't quite satisfy my flavor, mostly because it was too salty. Then one weekend when Kim was pregnant with our son we spent an entire evening trying different mixes and spices and finally decided on a great mix!

Steak
There isn't so much a recipe, just a ratio, that way you can mix it in any quantity you need. The ratio is as follows, using these exact measurements should be enough for 1-2 average sized steaks or about 6 hamburgers:


Ingredients:
4 Tbsp Lemon Pepper
3 Tbsp Garlic Powder (Granulated Garlic works too, but I prefer the powder, easier to get an even mixture)
3 Tbsp Onion Powder (dried chopped onions works too, but has to be applied separately and is harder to measure, also much more likely to fall or be knocked off while cooking)

Steak pre-grilled with seasoning slathered on.
For steak I recommend you mix the powders on a bowl, then using a spoon, shake them on the raw steak good and thick. You should have to pat it down with your hands to get it to stay. If they are less than say 2+ inch thick then I usually spread the powder on a plate or something and roll the steak in it till it picks up a good bit of the spices. For hamburgers I usually shake some on after the first time I flip them (explained below), putting on about 1/3-1/2 as much as the steaks.

Kim suggested that I give a brief explanation of how I cook burgers and steak for you all, so here goes. Before I start I should warn you, I like my beef with no pink left, so if you like it so it's still walking around on your plate mooing, well then you'll have to change these instructions accordingly.

I start both burgers and steak the same way: Get the grill good and hot, say 375°-425°, then cook them for 5-7 minutes on each side. For steaks I then move them to the upper rack and turn the temp down to about 325° and continue cooking 5-7 minutes on each side until cooked to your liking. Hamburgers I keep the temp hot and just keep them moving being careful to not let them burn.

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Thanks Honey, for this great post! You know I love your steak and burgers, and now the whole world knows too! I really hope y'all enjoyed this post, and this fantastic recipe, as well as getting to know the man behind The Farmers Wife! This won't be the last you hear from Jeremy either, he'll be doing another tutorial soon!

If you want to see what Jeremy's blog is all about you can check out his site: The Geeky Farmer

You can also "Like" him on Facebook and follow him on not only One (@TheGeekyFarmer) but Two (@GeekyFarmerNews) Twitter Accounts!

Happy Grilling!
The Farmers Wife & The Geeky Farmer

P.S. If you're looking for great sides to go with your Grilling Feast this weekend check out all the sides I made to go with this great recipe! Baked Beans, Lighter Loaded Mashed Taters, and Vanilla Fluff Fruit Salad!

Kim is also Guest Posting over at Baking and Cooking, a Tale of two Loves today! So hop on over and check out Becky's site!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baked Beans

Baked Beans, Farmers Wife Original
 I can't believe this week is half over already... I know I always say that, but it still astounds me how fast the week goes by. As you may already know I've been doing a series of Barbecue side dishes this week, and it just wouldn't be a good barbecue without baked beans!! Most of you, like me, probably grew up on the good ole' Bushes Original. And I have absolutely nothing against that delightful canned goodness, but I do like to try to make things myself sometimes and cut out the middle man. Now truthfully I was INCREDIBLY skeptical about making these... I don't think I've ever had homemade baked beans before, and truthfully I was surprised to learn that they are called baked beans because you actually do bake them! Lol! I know, I know, I'm a little dense sometimes, but all I'd ever seen was beans cooked (reheated) on the stovetop so how was I to know? I debated right up until the last minute on if I was even going to make these, I was just that nervous about it, but that first bite and wow... We were sold! They were so delicious and full of flavor, more so than any canned baked bean I've ever had, and we liked them so much I've made them more than once!

Ingredients:
2 cans Pork N Beans
1/3 lbs. Bacon
1/4 Onion, diced
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
1/8- 1/4 cup Mustard
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
Dash of Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
In a skillet cook the bacon until crispy, once done remove and set aside. Cook the onion in the bacon grease, until translucent. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. In an 8x10 or 9x13 glass pan, pour your cans of beans. Then crumble the bacon and add to the beans. Once the onions are cooked add them and the grease to the beans, along with remaining ingredients and mix well. At this point you can taste test (the bacon is cooked, you're just baking the flavors together and making it thick) and add anything you feel is missing. Then cover and bake for 1 hour, removing the foil for the last 15-20 minutes of baking. Serve warm.

Review:
We really loved this, I think my hubby's exact words were "Wow... We're never buying canned again!" haha! 4.5 stars

Psst... This weeks Guest Poster is.... MY HUBBY!!! I'm so beyond thrilled for this post y'all, and I can't wait for you to get to know him a little better too! If you have a moment go check out his site, The Geeky Farmer.

Happy Cooking!
The Farmers Wife
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Lighter Loaded Mashed Taters

Lighter Loaded Mashed Taters, Farmers Wife Original

I'm having one of those days again... The kind where all I want to do is sleep and my energy level is well... *ZZZzzzzzzz* Oh sorry, what was I... Oh right energy, doesn't exist for me today. I would much rather lay down and sleep the day away than share this recipe with y'all. Sorry if that offends or upsets, you know I love you guys, just have absolutely no drive or vision today. But I wanted to share this fantastic recipe with y'all!

Now I'm sure loaded mashed/baked potatoes is nothing new to you. They've been all over since some of the big chain restaurants added them to their menus. Now I will admit to the guilty fact that I have tried them before at said restaurants, and while my conscious regretted it later, my tummy enjoyed it at the moment. lol! So when working on side dishes to compliment the perfect Barbecue feast one of the first things that came to mind was loaded mashed taters... But how could I make these little bad boys just a little healthier? Well, it's not as good for you as eating steamed veggies, but this is good and not nearly as guilt ridden as the big chain restaurants version! And just so you get an idea of just how low in calories this is, we got 5 servings out of it totaling 249 calories per serving! Not to shabby if you ask my flabby... ;-)

Ingredients:
4 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 Tablespoons Margarine
1/2 -2/3 cup Non Fat Sour Cream
1/8-1/4 cup Milk (I used 1% but you can use Skim or whatever you have on hand)
3/4 cup Shredded Cheddar
4 slices Turkey Bacon, cooked and diced
2 Green Onions, diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dash of Garlic Powder

Directions:
Peel and cube the potatoes and place in a stock pot and cover with water. Cook on medium-high heat, bring to a boil and let cook about 20-30 minutes or until fork tender. Once cooked, drain and place back into pot, then add in milk and butter. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until creamy and mostly if not fully lump free *You can use a hand or stand mixer to mash the potatoes I just prefer the old fashioned way.* Add the sour cream and spices and mix well. Then add your cheese, cooked diced bacon and green onions and stir. Serve warm.

Review:
We really enjoyed this, and did not miss the fat in this recipe AT ALL! I will be making this repeatedly. 5 stars!
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vanilla Fluff Fruit Salad

Vanilla Fluff Fruit Salad, Farmers Wife Original
 It's another summer weekend, and y'all know what that means... BARBECUES!!! Yeah baby, I love me some good ole' barbecues. You know the kind, the men all outside congregating around the grill complementing each other on their manliness (I'm just guessing this is what guys talk about while standing around the grill... lol!) and who can down a can of whatever drink is in their hands first, critiquing the griller's technique and hollering at the women to bring them more beverages. The kids are running around the yard being watched (hopefully!) by the men, or swimming and getting themselves very hungry for the food they will likely not want to stop to eat... And all the while the women are in the kitchen (cus we're really the smart ones being in AC) making up all the side dishes to go with the meat of choice being cooked by our men. Sound about right to you? ;-) Ok... I might have over-exaggerated a bit... But you get the point, a good barbecue is where we all come together to share a delicious meal. And I have just the thing for your next barbecue!!

This fruit salad is seriously my new favorite fruit anything. I've made it a couple of times and every time it is GONE fast! The first time I made this was just for the 3 of us, and we managed to pack it all away in one day... Yeah... I won't go into details as to how we spent most of that next day but I think it was well worth it! The little Sous Chef was in love with this, and the Hubby and I shared his opinion. You know when each bite that is taken everyone makes a "Mmmmm" noise that it must be good! I hope you'll give this a try for your next barbecue! (I know I will!)

Ingredients:
1 6oz. Container Non-Fat Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1-2 Bananas, sliced
1 16oz. Container Strawberries, sliced
2/3 cup Blueberries
1 16oz. Can Mandarin Oranges, drained
1 8oz. Can Pineapple Tidbits, drained
1/2 cup Raspberries

Directions:
In a large bowl whisk together yogurt, marsmallow fluff and lemon juice until combined and smooth. Add in your fruit and mix until fully coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Review:
This is incredibly simple, and sinfully delicious! This gets 5 stars from our family! If you wanted to you could add in some nuts for a crunch or a bit of granola, and you can really use any fruit you like as well.

And be sure to stay tuned this week for more BBQ friendly sides all leading up to a VERY special Guest Post this Friday!!

Happy Cooking!
The Farmers Wife
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Classic Hummus, from Basilmomma

Hello Friends! It's that time of the week again... Guest Post Friday! I can't believe we're almost to the end of this series here at The Farmers Wife, but I have really enjoyed it and loved getting to know some fellow bloggers better, I hope y'all have too! And I am SO thrilled for this weeks fabulous guest... Heather from Basilmomma


Isn't she just wonderful y'all? I can't tell you how much I've looked forward to this post. I haven't known Heather all that long but I just can't get enough of this gal and her food! She is a Wife and Mom to 2 boys, so we all know what that means... She is one very busy momma! For Heather cooking is her hobby (can you see why we get along?!?), which I just adore as it is my hobby as well! And if you haven't you need to go check out her beautiful site, I promise you will find a bazillion recipes you will be drooling over and want to try ASAP! And now I will turn this over to Heather!

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You would think that we never feed my kids by how often they ask for food. If I ate like that I would be big as a house and quite unhealthy. The thing I often forget is that kids, unlike adults, are always moving. At least mine are. Playing tag, riding bikes or in this case, swimming. I could never keep up with him in the water and I can't imagine how good of shape I would be in if I did.

Health conscience adults that are watching their weight would never down a handful of brightly colored gummy "fruit" snack but don't think twice about handing a pack over to their hungry child. Whether it is to satisfy their hunger or to pass the time parents often give to many filler foods. Sometimes it is just easier to give in to what they are asking for rather than fight that battle in public.

Now, this is not to say I have never done this and I am guilty of this myself. A bag of super buttery popcorn at the movies or a dish of french fries from the baseball concession stand sometimes does the trick. But like clockwork, they are hungry again in an hour. I have found that for my kids, the key is to offer a more filling snack choice and also a drink. I know I often think I am hungry when in fact I am actually thirsty. There are so many drink options out there that are not loaded with sugar and artificial colors. I know right now my kids are really into those little Crystal Light pouches that you add to a 16 ounce bottle of water. Best thing you can refill that bottle and reuse it or use one of your own at home.

I see snack time as a Fourth Meal. The opportunity to sneak in a few things that I sometimes can't on their dinner plates. There are so many possibilities and they can be defined by your child's individual tastes. There is the standard that we all love, peanut butter in jelly, but what about substituting the jelly for a banana and the bread for a tortilla. Roll this up and wrap in plastic or foil and this is a good packable snack. The protein of the peanut butter and the healthy sweetness of the banana will tide your child over until their next meal.

Try some variety in those Ziplock bags. Small cut up fruit and a yogurt cup to dip them in is a good one. Dried Cranberries with sunflower seeds and a handful of chocolate chips will satisfy their sweet tooth. They idea is to find items that are tasty, filling, nutritious and enough to keep them away from the hot dog cart. Now, this doesn't mean that we don't enjoy the occasional treat at a game. I would be lying if I said we never did. But for some people a Saturday means going back and forth between soccer and little league, swimming and lacrosse. That can be several hours up to all day being away from home. So there can be a lot of time to fill.

Once you have packed your child's favorite small toys or handheld games consider packing in a few new foods to try. This was how I initially introduced Hummus to my kids. I knew they would be hungry and I wanted them to try a new recipe I had. I didn't say what it was but I did bring along dipping items that I knew they liked. When they realized that was all I brought they eventually caved in and gave it a try. To their shock not only was it good but they wanted more and that is how a new popular snack in my house was born.

Snacks don't have to be boring to be nutritious and delicious. Think outside the box and make something new. My recipe for hummus makes quite a bit and really only has a few steps. I like to put this in little 6 oz. cups that I can wash and reuse. It doesn't hurt that my husband and I like to eat this as well. Now I can bring along something to nibble on that makes everyone happy and especially me. Less whining about being hungry and less to pack is a real winner in my book.

Classic Hummus



A few of our favorite dippers.

Ingredients:
1/4 C fresh flat leaf parsley
zest of 1 lemon and 2 TB of it's juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves (or more if you like a little kick) 
2 15 ounce cans of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 TB of Tahini paste. This is available at Meijer and will keep for a long time in the pantry.
5 TB water
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 TB of olive oil

Add all of these items to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until thoroughly pureed and has a smooth texture.

Keep in refrigerator. Keeps for 1 week.

 
With a cut up pita, carrots, cucumber and some small pretzels.

_________________________________


First off I just want to say Thank You SOOO much for sharing this recipe with us Heather! I LOVE Hummus and haven't made it in years, and I love that you make this healthy for your family. We all want our kids to eat healthy and this is spectacular, especially for summertime! I am so honored to have you here and as a friend!

If you want to see more of Heather and her fabulous food you can check out her blog Basilmomma

You can also find her on Facebook  and Twitter

Happy Cooking!
The Farmers Wife & Basilmomma
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sausage and Pepper Pizza

Sausage and Pepper Pizza, Farmers Wife Original
 Another week is almost over... I swear it's hard to believe how fast time flies these days! Some of you may know this already, but I tend to make pizza most Friday nights as it is easy and well who doesn't love a pizza night? I get tired of eating the same old pizza all the time, unlike my boys who I think could live on Pepperoni Pizza... lol! Sometimes I mix it up and make a BBQ Chicken Pizza, or add some veggies and pineapple, just whatever makes it a little different. Until a few weeks ago... I had an epiphany one afternoon. I wanted a sausage pizza, and I wanted it BAAAD!! ;-) That was when I went digging through my fridge. I can't say it was a pretty sight at first, when all the contents of your fridge/freezer make it's way onto your counter it can get a little messy... This is when I decided to clean out the fridge and freezer and to make a really long story short what was left, after my escapade, was the makings of this pizza. And it was worth it! I loved the texture and taste of this pizza so much I think I want to have it's babies... ;-) Yup, I went there! Trust me on this one, it's that good!

Ingredients:
Pizza Dough: adapted from Bread Machine Magic
(I made homemade but you can easily use a store bought dough)
This is for a bread machine - Makes a "medium" pizza
1 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
3 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast

Pizza Toppings:
Pizza Sauce (I used my spaghetti sauce and added garlic and oregano to it)
1 lbs. Italian Turkey Sausage
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup Turkey Pepperoni, chopped
1/4 Onion, diced
1/4 Yellow, Orange and Red Peppers, thinly sliced
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:
Place dough ingredients in bread pan starting with wet ingredients. Select Dough setting, and press start. Once the dough is finished, using your hand form a round pizza crust either on your pizza pan or a pizza stone.

In a large skillet heat half the olive oil, and saute the onion, and peppers. Once soft, remove from pan and set aside. Place the other half of the oil into the pan and cook the sausage (remove from casing and crumble into pan) until browned. Then add the pepperoni and cooked peppers back in. Pre-Heat oven to 350F degrees. Spread desired amount of sauce on to pizza crust, and then top with half the sausage mixture. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, and then add remaining sausage mixture. Then top with mozzarella and bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Review:
While I absolutely adored this pizza, my Hubby was slightly less enthused... lol! So overall I'd give this 4 stars.

This weeks Guest Poster is Heather from BasilMomma with a fabulous recipe I know you'll just go gaga over!

Happy Cooking!
The Farmers Wife
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Biscotti

Cherry Chocolate Biscotti, Farmers Wife Original
 Hey y'all! Do you ever have days where you feel like you've just hit a wall? You can't focus, or think straight for beans? That's how I feel today, so bear with me! I've been meaning to post this recipe for weeks and just keep forgetting. Some of you may remember this from my Guest Post over at The County Cook a few months back, I had so much fun with this post. It was my first ever Guest Post and it was a brand new, never been made or posted before original recipe! And now I want to re-share this recipe with y'all!

If you're unfamiliar with Biscotti, they are a twice-baked cake/cookie originating in the Italian city of Prato. The cakes are generally large almond biscuits, made dry and crunchy through cutting the loaf of dough while still hot and fresh from baking in the oven. And let me tell you, they are amazing!! I remember the first time I had biscotti, and they were this chocolate creation a friend of mine was serving at a party and I fell in love. Now y'all know I'm just a wee bit obsessed with coffee (ok... more than a wee bit...) and these are the PERFECT companion to your morning (or early afternoon, mid afternoon, evening cups of coffee... *disclaimer I do NOT drink THAT much coffee... Most of the time...). When you dunk these little bits of heaven into your coffee, tea or whatever they soften up a bit and the added flavor is just amazing! I highly recommend giving these a try if you're a die hard coffee freak like I am, you really won't be disappointed!


Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
4 Eggs
2/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
1 cup Sugar
5 oz. package Dried Cherries
1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
3 Tablespoons White Chocolate Chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375° F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Add in the Cherries, Dark and White chocolate and toss in the flour mixture (this will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the dough). In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, oil, sugar and almond extract. Add to the flour mixture and mix well. The dough will be stiff, and sticky, you may want to use your hands. Once mixed, divide the dough in half, and form into 2 log's on the cookie sheet the length of the pan, flattened slightly. Bake the logs for 25-30 minutes until golden and firm. Let cool about 30 minutes, then slice with a serrated knife into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange on cookie sheets and bake again for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through to brown up the edges. Let cool and serve with coffee, tea or hot chocolate. These will keep for about a week in an airtight container.

Review:
I have to say this gets 5 stars. They have an amazing flavor with the almond extract and the cherries. I personally like mine with a big cup of coffee, and they soften up a little when you dunk them and they become just delectable!

Happy Cooking!
The Farmers Wife
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grandma M's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Family Recipe
 Saturday morning, hard to believe we're here already! This week has both dragged by and flown all at the same time. But I'm glad to be at the end of another week, and for me that means baking time! Between cleaning and laundry which are always on my to do list on Saturdays, I also try to do my baking then as well. This makes for a busy day for this Momma, but also a really great smelling one. (hehe!)

I don't know about y'all but I try my darnedest to keep junk food out of the house, reason being if it's there we WILL eat it... lol! So most of my Saturday baking is breakfast foods for us to eat on Sunday so I don't have to get up before the Roosters to make breakfast for the family (yes I realize how lazy I sound... But quite frankly I like to be lazy. hehe!) so this usually consists of breakfast breads or rolls, or some form of muffin. But this week I decided on Cookies. I haven't made these cookies in over a year (I know I'm a bad Wife and Mom with that confession!), why exactly that is I just don't know. One of the reasons is I keep loosing the recipe (most recently my little Sous Chef admitted to throwing it away...) and another is they're just so dang addictive I can't stop eating them... I mean these cookies are good with coffee for breakfast, alone as a mid morning snack, with my second cup of coffee mid afternoon, and with a glass of milk before bedtime. How do I know this? Because that's what I did yesterday... haha! Here's a little history behind this cookie recipe...

This is actually my Hubby's Grandmothers recipe. One of the first things I remember about meeting my Man's family is their obsession with these cookies. They like them fresh out of the oven, frozen, and would probably eat the dough if Mom would let them. They've been made dairy free, with raisins instead of chocolate chips, for bridal showers, baby showers, and just about anything in between. I still remember the first time I was "allowed" to make/see the recipe itself. I believe I was helping make them for my Bridal Shower, and I insisted on making a batch with Raisins in it instead. I am pretty sure it was considered blasphemy at the time, though they turned out to be a big hit. But I felt so honored to be a part of this legacy and now I get to continue to share this recipe and Grandma M's legacy with my own kids. So I hope you will enjoy these, and who knows maybe they'll become a legacy for you as well!


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Margarine, softened
1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
3 Eggs
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
4 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
12 oz. Chocolate Chips (I round up to 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups Chopped Nuts (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, or your stand mixer cream the margarine, sugars and egg until combined. In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add the oats to the flour mixture. On slow speed add your flour/oat mixture to the wet ingredients one cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Then add in chocolate chips, nuts (if using) and vanilla, mix until just incorporated. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and drop by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes (times may vary depending on oven and size of cookies) until golden. Let the cookies sit on the pan for 1-2 minutes before removing and cooling on wire racks. These will keep in a Ziploc bag or airtight container for 1-2 weeks (if they last that long!) or in the freezer for a couple months.

Review:
These really are a fantastic cookie. Completely different from the kind I grew up eating, but I really do love them. And I love being able to continue a legacy in my Hubby's family. I give these 5 stars!

Note: *If the margarine is room temp when they go to the oven, the cookies may spread out more and not be as puffy. You can refrigerate the margarine, sugars and egg mixture until firm, then have all the dry ingredients mixed, ready to add while the cooled mixture is still firm.*

 Happy Baking!
The Farmers Wife
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Friday, July 8, 2011

Macedonian Style Fritters from Diethood

Happy Friday friends!! I don't know about y'all but I'm SO ready for the weekend! And to kick start your weekend I have a fantastic Guest Poster for ya today. Kate from Diethood is here to share a fantastic recipe with us! Kate is such a total sweetheart, I have really enjoyed getting to know her through the blogoshpere, and adore her site and recipes! She has an unending enthusiasm for food, which I totally love and admire!


Isn't she just gorgeous y'all? *Kate when I grow up I want to cook like you and look like you... is that ok?* lol! Ok seriously though, Kate is such a sweetheart. She is Macedonian, which I have to admit I find so fascinating. Kate is also a Wife and Mom to an adorable little girl! Now I have to say, I love the authentic recipes she posts on her site, I've never seen food quite like it and it all looks amazing! One of the things I love about Kate is that she finds food and cooking to be a passion of hers, and her natural curiosity is shown on her blog with the wonderful recipes she creates. I just know y'all are going to LOVE this recipe today... So without further ado I give you Kate!

__________________________________



Howdy Y’all!

I’ve always wanted to say that! Kim’s blog seems like the appropriate place for it.

HI, KIM! Thank you for having me here!

I am always very flattered when a fellow food blogger asks ME to Guest Post… ME!?! Yep, me!

Thank you, Kim, for this invite – I am so honored to be here. If you were closer, I’d hug you and
kiss you!



In the spirit of Southern cookin’, I decided that I wanted to show y’all how to cook up some fritters. But not just any fritters; these are Macedonian style fritters. What’s that, you ask? Macedonia! It’s my home country! I was born in Macedonia, but moved to the States when I was around 11 years old.

Fritters are a breakfast staple in Macedonia. We inhale these treats like no other. You can have them with powdered sugar and some chocolate syrup, or you can also have them with some feta cheese, or plain yogurt… or you can always just eat them plain.



Macedonian Style Fritters – Pitulici (Pee-too-lee-tsee)

… in some parts of Macedonia these are also called Mekici (meck-e-tsee)

You will need:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups warm water (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups canola oil for frying pan
Toppings: powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, feta cheese, yogurt, jam, etc…

Directions:
Sift together the flour, yeast, and salt; set aside. With your electric mixer on low (or “knead”), mix together the water and olive oil. Add in the dry ingredients, one tablespoon at a time. Knead together until the dough is soft, but not sticky. If the dough feels dry, add in some water, one tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too moist, add in a bit of flour until you reach the desired consistency. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that’s been greased with some olive oil. Let it rest for 30 minutes. When ready, pinch off some dough and pull it at the sides with your fingers to mold it into a disc, the size of a standard pancake. In a large frying pan place 2 cups of canola oil and heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough, (around 370 degrees Fahrenheit), carefully drop in the fritters, one to two at a time, and fry until golden in color, about 3 minutes, flipping only once. Place on paper towels to drain. Serve immediately.


______________________________________


Oh my word y'all... Did you get a load of those fritters? I am in awe and drooling all over the place here... They just look exquisite and the perfect treat... Thank you SO much Kate for sharing this fantastic recipe with us and for teaching us some Macedonian! I really hope y'all loved this post as much as I did, and please go check out Kate's site!

For more of Kate's fabulous recipes, you can find her on her blog Diethood

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna, adapted from a family friend

Howdy Folks! *teehee* Sorry I just really felt like saying that this morning. I'm still waking up here, drinking my coffee and thinking I can't believe this week is half over! Time sure flies when you spend your days cooking and cleaning. I don't know about y'all but our weather has been nasty here, I woke up Sunday morning to my living room and part of my kitchen covered (And I mean COVERED) in sand... YUCK! I hate sand... And then had to get my rear in gear and spend the day cooking. I was exhausted, and ready to throw in the towel pretty quickly, but we had company coming over and that just wasn't an option. Now what does this have to do with today's recipe you're wondering... Honestly? Absolutely Nothing... HAHA! But since we're all friends here I figured I'd get y'all caught up!

This recipe was given to me from my Mother In Law courtesy of her best friend. About a month ago my In Laws took a big ole trip, and one of their first stops was to visit these friends, the next morning I get a call from my Mom in Law with this recipe solely so I could try it and adapt it! (hehe! She knows me a little to well.... lol!) As I was writing down the recipe the wheels in my brain were already turning with how I wanted to make this, and as luck would have it, I had almost everything already in my house to do so! I will admit I was a little skeptical, I mean it's very different from anything I would normally make but to my surprise we liked it! I couldn't get the little Sous Chef to try it, but I wasn't surprised at all by that. This recipe is very low cal, and figure friendly, and tastes pretty darn good if you ask me. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. Zucchini, peeled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup Ricotta Cheese (skim)
2/3 cup Non Fat Sour Cream
1/4 cup chopped Green Onion
1/4 cup chopped Yellow and Orange Pepper
1 lbs. Italian Turkey Sausage
28 oz. Tomato Sauce
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Basil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
1/8 teaspoon Sage
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
3/4 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a large skillet on medium-high heat brown the turkey, once cooked add the tomato sauce and spices. Let come to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile chop your veggies and slice the zucchini. In a medium bowl combine the ricotta, sour cream, peppers and onion, set aside. Grease an 8x8 pan (or double the recipe to make a 9x13) then start your layers with a thin layer of meat sauce, then top with zucchini, cover that with the cheese and veggie mixture, sprinkle part of the mozzarella and Parmesan on top of that. Repeat layers, ending with meat sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes. Serve warm with a salad and fresh bread.

Review:
I really enjoyed the flavor of this dish, the texture was different than normal lasagna and is it more watery. Overall I'd give this 3.5 stars. I will probably make this again, but it won't go into our normal rotation since the little guy wasn't a fan. *Yet!*

Stay tuned for this weeks guest poster! Kate from Diethood is sharing a fabulous recipe with us this Friday!

Happy Cooking!
The Farmers Wife
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White and Blueberry Rolls

Red, White and Blueberry Rolls, Farmers Wife Original
  Happy Fourth of July my Blog Family!!! As some of you may know, in the Farming community the only holidays our guys get off are Thanksgiving and Christmas. So quite often the other holidays either get put on the back burner or ignored completely. But you see there is this one slight exception... Food! I can't pass up the opportunity to cook a huge holiday specific meal, that would be like blasphemy in my world! ;-)

I'm sure it's no surprise to you that this is a breakfast recipe, as I am the self proclaimed breakfast queen. We just love breakfast, I mean what isn't there to love about it? You get to eat sweet sticky morsels of goodness just because it's "Breakfast", what more could you ask for? A few weeks back I had this idea, something I had never seen before, Cinnamon Rolls with White Chocolate and Blueberries with a Red Strawberry Glaze... Yeah baby. I was a little skeptical of how exactly they would turn out, but man were they good. Yes, they were very sweet but served with a side of smoky bacon and cheesy eggs... This was the perfect holiday breakfast! And you know the rule of thumb, if the little Sous Chef devoured it, then it really must be good! ;-) I hope y'all will like this, and have a wonderful celebration today!

Ingredients: small recipe yields 9 rolls
Dough: adapted from bread machine magic (can easily be made without a bread machine)
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Water
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine
1/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Yeast

Filling:
1 Tablespoon Melted Butter or Margarine
Cinnamon Sugar mix in a shaker (or 1 Tablespoon of each mixed together)
1/2 cup Blueberries
1/3 cup White Chocolate Chips

Glaze:
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons Milk
1 Tablespoon Strawberry Preserves

Directions:
Place dough ingredients in your bread machine in order listed or according to your manufacturers directions. Select dough cycle and go relax while it does the hard work for you (hehe!). OR you can make this in a stand mixer with a dough hook and let it knead the dough and then let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Once the dough is done, turn out onto floured surface and using a rolling pin roll out to an 8x14 inch rectangle. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix evenly all over the dough. Then sprinkle the blueberries and white chocolate leaving about 1/2 inch border at the long ends. Starting with the long edge, start rolling up the dough, pinching the seams to seal. (Some berries and chips may fall out, that's ok just stuff them back in.) Using a sharp knife mark 1 1/2 inch sections. Using a sharp knife or dental floss cut the rolls. Place the rolls into a greased 9 inch cake pan, flattening them slightly. Cover and let rise in a warm oven for 30-40 minutes *Tip turn your oven on at 200F degrees for 1-2 minutes, then turn off and place the rolls in there. Be sure to remove the rolls before pre-heating the oven.* Once risen, remove from the oven and preheat to 350F degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and prepare the glaze by whisking together the ingredients and drizzle over the rolls. Serve warm.

Finished Product!
 Review:
These are sweet, sticky and wonderfully delicious! I would give them 4 stars, as I won't make them that often but will definitely be making them again!

Happy Independence Day!
The Farmers Wife
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Vegetable Pizza and Very Vanilla Fruit Salad, From Vintage Vera

 Good Morning Blog Family!! I hope y'all are having a great week, and are looking forward to celebrating the Holiday Weekend! To kick start your Fourth of July food fest, I have a fantastic Foodie to share with y'all today!! Vera, from Vintage Vera is sharing TWO fabulous recipes with us today, both of which would be fantastic for your Holiday get together's!


Vera and I met through Facebook, and I remember when I first came across their page, I truly felt like I had come across something special. Vera along with her sister Phyllis have created a great "Home" on their page, where you can share your memories and recipes and just feel like you've always got a friend. They also get a bit silly at times (just like all Sisters do!) and make you feel like a big part of the Vintage Vera family! I've recently gotten the chance to look over their cookbook to do a review on Country Cooks Across America (which will be posted tomorrow morning!!) and I just have to say I loved it. They are such a fantastic team, and I feel so blessed to know them! Now enough from me... I give you Vera!

_______________________________ 

Q: Tell us about yourself and your family.
A: I have always lived in Winston-Salem, NC, and I am Southern to the core. My husband, Jack is my BFF. He is a treasure and I love him as much today as I did when we married 27 years ago! With no children, our kids are our pets (currently cats named Earnie and Loucie). Usually we have one or more dogs as well, but not at this time.

I have siblings all over the map. The oldest is Garland Davis. He and his wife live in Hawaii. Next is John Salmons. He and his wife Candy live in King, NC. Finally, Raymond (aka Tommy) and his wife Bonnie live in Southern California. All three were in the military in the Vietnam era, -- add their enlisted years together and it is almost 60 years of service to our country!

My sister Phyllis Salmons lives in Daytona Beach, FL. She works behind the scenes with me on my Facebook Page (Vintage Vera). Phyllis will present the guest recipe for The Farmer's Wife on July 29, so please come back and see what she will come up with! I also have two nieces and two nephews, all grown today.

Having been close to Mama my entire life and having to deal with the circumstances with her final years, gave me a great compassion for senior citizens. Although I have many years of work experience in banking and insurance, after Mama passed away, I was inspired to work in association with helping the elderly. Today I work with a non-profit agency helping senior citizens, especially in matters regarding budgeting and finances.

Q: What is the purpose of the Vintage Vera Facebook page?
A: I love history and what we call "front porch stories." When I was a child, the adults sat on the porch in the evenings and talked about a wide variety of subjects and issues. The children playing nearby learn many life lessons and memorable stories by overhearing some of this exchange. We don't have the literal front porch for a social outlet anymore, but at Vintage Vera we have created a "virtual front porch." Now we can visit with neighbors around the world and stay as long as we wish! A wide variety of subjects come up and you know one of those is food! No matter where a person is from, we look forward to their next visit to Vintage Vera and their ideas and input on our discussions, notes, and photos.

Q: What do you first remember cooking?
A: As a child I remember standing in a chair at the kitchen stove stirring the homemade custard we used in making the best banana pudding. While the custard cooled a bit, I would line the bottom of our dish with vanilla wafers. Phyllis would get me to count the wafers, teaching me my numbers, because even as a teenager she was good at math and already showing signs of being a teacher. (Today Phyllis is a professor of physics at a university where she teaches students who hope to be professional pilots.)
Today Jack and I work together in the kitchen with the cooking. He is always interested in trying new recipes and pitches in with as much of the preparation as needed. In fact, all of my brothers are pretty good cooks too! Jack and I have Mama's fruit trees in the back yard and we grow our own vegetable garden. We enjoy the harvest year round by canning apple butter, pear preserves, tomatoes, pickles, and whatever else strikes our fancy.

Q: What are your favorite foods?
A: That's easy! Pinto beans, turnip greens, sliced tomatoes, and homemade cornbread! I am not a big meat eater, although I am not a strict vegetarian. I absolutely cannot stomach any kind of seafood so don't even suggest it!

Now here are two recipes from Vera -- shall we say Vera's Vintage Vittles?

Thanks so much to Kim, The Farmer's Wife, for allowing me to share a couple of recipes from our Vintage Vera Cookbook! I'm sure you will agree that farmers and their wives are among the unsung heroes of our great nation! Thanks Kim -- we appreciate everything you do -- on the farm, for your wonderful family, and sharing with us via the internet!

With it being the middle of the summer, the last thing I want to do is to heat up the house by cooking. Growing up in rural North Carolina tobacco farming country, we didn't have air conditioning so it was important to Mama to keep from heating up the rooms even more. Today, I still think it is a good idea, even with good air conditioning.

These recipes are great summer fare for a number of reasons! First of all, you don't have to stick strictly to the stated amounts. Mama used to do a lot of cooking just putting in some of this and some of that, as she would say, "till it looks right." The only cooking required for the veggie pizza is to brown the crust in the oven (that's not going to heat up the room too much)!

As far as the vegetables go, you just toss on what you have from the garden or in the refrigerator, as much or as little of each as you wish! The salad takes care of the available fruits you have on hand!

Veggie Pizza and Very Vanilla Salad



Vegetable Pizza:
Ingredients:
2 cans crescent dinner rolls
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
Shredded cheddar cheese
Broccoli, cauliflower, onions, sweet pepper, cucumbers, and tomatoes, all chopped

Directions:
Heat oven to 375. Unroll both cans or dough, separate into 4 long rectangles. In an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 pan, place dough in pan -- pressing to seal all openings. Press up the sides of the pan to form a crust. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In a bowl mix the cream cheese, sour cream and ranch mix until smooth. Spread over the baked crust. Top with vegetables and cheddar cheese. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before serving. Cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.

Optional: If you want meat on the pizza, toss on chunks of ham, chicken, or pulled pork. It's all up to you! Cover and refrigerate leftovers.


Very Vanilla Fruit Salad


Ingredients:
2 c. strawberries, halved
1 c. blueberries
1 c. pineapple chunks, canned or fresh
1 c. cantaloupe chunks
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1/4 c. confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions:
Mix fruit, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve. For Raspberry Fruit Salad: Prepare as directed use McCormick's Raspberry Extract in place of the vanilla.

If you have another fruit on hand, like blackberries or fresh peaches, just add them in. When ready to serve, if desired slice a small banana on it (do this last so that the banana will not brown).

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Q: Tell us about the Vintage Vera Cookbook.
A: Vera and Phyllis compiled the Vintage Vera Cookbook in 2010 to document the recipes served by Mama and Granny -- some of these dishes they had not even thought of in years.


Mama rarely referred to a recipe. As her health was failing, we were unaware of the fact that everyday just after breakfast, she would write down her recipes in a composition book. I never knew of this book until after she died and her nursing assistant told us about her spending the time writing it. The penmanship was weak and not her beautiful handwriting that I remember. I know that she was preparing it for us so that we would know how to cook these dishes when she was gone.

Upon finding this treasure, we knew it was just like her to never say a word about it. After many calls to the siblings, I came up with the idea of compiling a cookbook, indicating that certain dishes are in her memory and others were credited to Granny.

This cookbook is very special to us -- a trip down memory lane as we compiled it -- and a culinary delight when we cook and reap the rewards. Through this cookbook, we feel closer to Mama and consider it a preservation of her love.

Until we started comparing notes with other people, we had not seen some of these recipes outside of our Mama's kitchen. Many of our family and friends had grown up with similar culinary fair and relate to this cookbook easily. In addition to the recipes Mama wrote down, our aunts and cousins and other friends were kind enough to provide recipes for many of their favorite dishes. Many of them are likewise designated to be in memory of the loved ones whom we associate with that dish.

Included in the Vintage Vera Cookbook are Mama and Granny's recipes for "putting up" the harvest of the family garden and fruit trees. Today, in addition to canning apple butter and pear preserves from Mama's fruit trees, Jack and I can Grape Leaf Pickles with the products of the backyard grapevine, and we plant a vegetable garden allowing us to can other favorites like tomatoes.

Until July 4, a special benefit is being held from the sale of Vintage Vera cookbooks to benefit the victims of the late April tornadoes in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Details can be found on the Wall, the Notes Tab, and the Shop Now Tab of the Vintage Vera Facebook page. After July 4, donations from the sale of the Vintage Vera Cookbook will go to a non-profit organization call HERO (Horse Education and Rescue Organization). HERO helps abandoned and mistreated horses, getting them the help they need and then they seek to place to horse in a location where they will be properly cared for.

We hope you will consider participating in Vintage Vera and spreading the word about all of the chatter happening on the virtual front porch! You will find it quite enjoyable!

Once again, thanks to Kim for offering me the opportunity to share my memories of Mama, for this is indeed what these recipes are to me and my siblings. How rare for a mere cookbook be so sentimental!

When you come to visit Vintage Vera, be prepared to laugh! I hope to see your comments soon over on our front porch and if you are interested in our cookbook, just just let it be known! Welcome friend and y'all come back now, ya hear?

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I just have to say first of all Thank you SO much Vera for sharing your heart and your recipes with us today! I can't wait to give them a try, with our summer heat you can bet these will be made ASAP! I really hope y'all will go check out Vera and Phyllis on Facebook and take a peek at their cookbook. Also at the end of the month Phyllis will be sharing some more of Mama's recipes with us!!

You can find Vera on her Facebook Page: Vintage Vera

I hope you'll enjoy sitting on the Front Porch alongside Vera and Phyllis!

Happy Fourth of July!

The Farmers Wife
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