Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tomato Paste Woes

Removing tomato paste from the can might be a wee bit of pain.

The cans are small.

The spatula needs to be smaller than the standard spatula size.

Sometimes you might cut your finger trying to "clean out" all of the tomato paste.

It would be nice if tomato paste was a bit easier to get out of the can; don't you think?

I've been doing this trick to empty the tomato paste can for many years now.

So it's neither new nor my own invention!

Perhaps you already do this nifty little trick.

But in case you don't, I wanted to post it for you!

Yes, you! 

You may be the one person who needs this handy-dandy kitchen trick.

And you'll love it next time you open a can of tomato paste!

You will feel like you have conquered the world!

OK -- maybe not to that extreme.

But you will do it and you will say to yourself,

"Well, huh!  That's pretty neat!"

Below are pictures and a brief description.

Not that you couldn't look at the pictures and figure it out . . .

but words are nice.


Start with your can of tomato paste.

Remove the top lid; as in "totally remove."

Turn the can upside down and cut the lid, but do not remove.

Using your finger, gently and steadily push the bottom lid through the can.

Viola!  You did it!  The tomato paste is removed with very little effort or waste!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Crustless Apple Pie

I'm tired of unpacking.

I'm tired of heat.

 I'm dreaming of Fall.

I drive down the street and there are beautiful pumpkins at the garden centers.

Gorgeous pots of mums line the drives.

I'm beginning to think about Fall food . . .

And I have the air conditioner on!

Something is wrong with this picture!

I want to wake up and throw the windows open and have a long sleeve shirt on.

I want the days to warm to the perfect temperature.

And I want to be able to sit with the family around the uncluttered table to a great bounty of fall food.

But that's not happening right now.

As I'm dreadfully unpacking yet another box,

I had the idea of a "crustless apple pie."

One reason for this is I have no time to make a pie right now.

Another reason for this thinking is back to line #4 -- I'm dreaming of fall food.

Apple pie is Fall!

The third reason for this idea is being gluten free; I haven't attempted a gluten free pie crust.

Right now, I'm scared to try . . . there's not enough patience left in me right now to try something new!

But a crustless apple pie?

Yes!  I can do that!

When this is made, it's really just the warm, cinnamon-y, yummy filling of an apple pie.

Scooped into a dessert dish and topped with some delicious vanilla ice cream.

Fling open the back door and enjoy a sit on the patio as you devour your dessert . . .

 . . . and dream of the coming Fall!

Crustless Apple Pie

4 apples, cored and sliced.  Peel on?  Peel off?  You decide!
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. salt
2 TSBP butter
2 1/2 TBSP water
1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp. cold water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. boiled cider, optional*

In a sauce pan, over medium heat, place the apples, brown sugar, spices, butter and the water.  Cover and cook stirring occasionally for 4-6 minutes or until slightly softened.

While the apples are cooking, in a small dish combine cornstarch and water. Once the apples are to the slightly softened stage, remove the pan from the heat and add the cornstarch/water mixture.  Return the pan to the heat and bring to a gentle boil while stirring.  Continue to cook until apples are soft (not mushy) and filling is thickened. Let bubble 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and gently stir in the vanilla and the boiled cider, if you desire.

Allow the apple filling to cool a bit if you are going to enjoy it warm.

Otherwise, cool and store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Possible uses:

Top waffles, french toast, or pancakes.
Put a dollop on warm oatmeal
"Apple Pie" sundae topping
Serve with pork loin or grilled chicken
Mix into your breakfast vanilla yogurt, topped with chopped pecans and dry oats

*This is boiled cider, from King Arthur.

 Image result for king arthur boiled cider

Monday, September 21, 2015

Saucy Chocolate Cake

Last Christmas we spent a week away.
It was a wonderful gift!
We did very little while we were gone.
We played games and watched moves.
We made ourselves get ready and leave the condo 3 times during our 8 days.
We weren't gone very long on those excursions . . . .
we were rather content in the condo watching moves and playing games!
One day, the Mr. made reservations at a restaurant on the campus of  The College of the Ozarks.

On a side note, this college is founded on amazing principles.  If you have time, you ought to take a look!

College of the Ozarks, Keeter Center
Image from the internet

We had a great lunch and we even ordered dessert.

Two reasons:

  1. We were on vacation; when on vacation we can do whatever we want.
  2. They had a gluten free option.
When you eat gluten free, it is always exciting to go to a restaurant and have "normal" options!

We ordered the chocolate something or 'nother dessert.

It was served warm in a cast iron skillet.
It was yummy!
It also reminded me of something I had eaten in the past.
That began my search!
Viola!  Here's a recipe for you to try!
Actually, this is an old recipe . . . just renewed!
Saucy Chocolate Cake
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup gluten flour blend*
1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/4 cups hot water
Ice cream or whipped cream (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F.

Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla; beat until smooth.

Pour batter into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan, or you can distribute evenly among individual-sized baking dishes of your choice.  Stir together remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over batter.

Pour hot water over top; do not stir.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes.

If you baked this in a 9-inch square, serve in dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired.

If you baked the dessert in individual dishes, invite your friends over to enjoy this warm, delicious dessert.  Garnish with whipped topping, if you wish.

Makes about 9 (1/2 cup) servings.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Vanilla Pudding

It is so simple, and often overlooked.

But honestly, I love pudding.


Good, no, Great pudding is awesome!

I really only like the boxed stuff in recipes.

Just to make a dessert of boxed pudding isn't really appealing to me.

But make homemade pudding, count me in!

One reason why I like pudding is that most of the time I have the ingredients on hand.

Especially for vanilla pudding.

The ingredients are pure and simple.

If it's been awhile since you've had "great" pudding, try this soon!

I might just make a believer out of you!

Vanilla Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk, divided
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBSP butter

Place 2 cups milk and salt in a saucepan. Sprinkle sugar and pinch of salt on milk and do not stir; heat over medium-high. Quickly combine cornstarch with remaining 1/2  milk; add egg yolks and mix well. When milk comes to a full boil, remove saucepan from the heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Pudding will begin to thicken. Return to the heat and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and butter until the butter is melted and well incorporated.  Pour into individual dishes. Serve warm, my favorite way to have homemade pudding.  Yield: 4 servings.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Back Home

Image result for oklahoma signs

It's been awhile since I've posted.

One might think that we haven't been eating! 

While we surely haven't been trying new recipes or being creative in the kitchen, we have been maintaining a caloric intake!

What's really been going on is that we've been in the process of moving!

"Process" is a long word!

And so is "moving!"

In late Spring, we put our home on the market and it sold rather quickly.

That was the easy part!

The Mr. took a month off between job changes; we had hoped it would be a time to unwind.

It was anything but that!

Since June 1st, we have:
  • made inspection repairs on our Dallas home
  • cleaned our Dallas home when we moved out
  • met movers to pack our Dallas home
  • moved into temporary housing
  • moved out of temporary housing
  • cleaned our temporary home when we moved out
  • gone on vacation
  • started homeschool for the cherubs
  • bought a house
  • cleaned the new house so we could move in
  • painted rooms at our new house
  • took a Labor Day get away
  • started looking for a new church home
  • had fun hanging with family and friends in Oklahoma
  • gone to several fun events as apart of the new ministry we work with
  •  . . .and this past weekend, we met movers to deliver our belongings
This means that we are currently spending every minute we have to unpack!

We are beyond excited to be "back home" in Oklahoma;  I can't wait to get settled! 

I'm ready to get back into our "home routine!"