Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We're On A Roll....

Some of you have asked for the Pumpkin Roll Recipe I am using. Here it is. I got it from my dear friend Cindy. It's really yummy. The recipe is a bit long and I really didn't know how to explain the "rolling the cake in the towel" part. so I'm also including a short Video I found on YouTube.  Enjoy !!!

Pumpkin Rolls.... 
preheat the oven to 350 degrees
you need to prep your pan/pans first. I used 2 small cookie sheets. you can also use a full size sheet pan. either will work fine. then use parchment paper or wax paper to line the pan/pans.
get out your electric hand mixer or your stand mixer. 

1- cup white sugar
2/3- cup canned pumpkin
3- eggs
 put in a mixing bowl and beat together for 5 minutes until light and very fluffy. * I use a hand mixer and tilt the bowl some toward me. so that the beaters pick up some air along with mixture. you'll know by the air bubbles if you are doing it right.. 

then add 3/4 cup of self rising flour 
1- teaspoon cinnamon
mix until well blended. 

pour the mixture onto your prepared cookie sheet/sheets. 
** If you use 2 small cookie sheets try to put an equal amount on each sheet. it doesn't look like it will work, but it does.. :D 

Bake about 13-15 min. the cake should feel spongy. 
remove from oven and cool in the pan.. 
It should be cool to the touch in about 20-30 minutes.. 

** while you are waiting prepare your towels.  tea towels only.. the ones that have no nap/fuzz. flour sack cloth works well too.  Spread it out on the counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. make sure you sift the powdered sugar on so there are no hard pieces. 

Remove the cake from the pan. I just used the edges of the parchment paper and carried it to the towel. I then turned the cake over on top of the towel. * make sure the towel is smooth. 
CAREFULLY remove the parchment paper. do it very slowly. 

I like to roll mine from the short side, but you could do it from the long side if you wanted to. carefully roll the towel up.. and  let cool another 15 minutes.  

Make the filling.. 

1- 8oz box cream cheese softened.. 
2- Tablespoons soft butter
1- teaspoon vanilla
1- cup powdered Sugar
mix w/ hand mixer until Frosting consistency..  

Make sure the roll is completely cool, Unroll the towel. 
spread on the filling almost to the end of each side. 
now re-roll the cake in the same direction you did at first.. 

I have placed the finished roll  in plastic wrap.. but I don't like the way it works..  I tried using wax paper and then wrapped it in foil.. you can refrigerate it or store in the freezer..  :D 

for a similar recipe and to see how to roll the cake in the towel   Watch this quick you tube video.. 

Your ThanksGiving Table....

Corn Casserole... 

Wow, Thanksgiving is upon us. I can't believe it's here already. I got out the recipe cards and have already whipped up a pumpkin roll (the first one I've tried on my own). It turned out pretty good for a first attempt. 

I don't know if you're like me, but I like to change it up. Now my family, well that's another story. They are totally traditionalists and don't want one item changed. Knowing that. I have looked and found some very yummy and acceptable ways to prepare their favorite Traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  I'll be posting a few of those recipes here. 

I am just posting a few recipes for side dishes and a dessert. A couple of my favorites are new and I'll just direct you to the website where they were found.  

The first one is for "Cornbread Dressing Easy and Moist" http://www.southernplate.com/2010/11/cornbread-dressing-easy-moist.html   The recipe is from Southern plate and looks delish. I'm trying it for the first time this year. Husband, being a good Southern boy, totally hates white bread dressing (our favorite) I have tried forever to make his "mama's cornbread dressing". it's never quite right. After looking this one over, I am sure it will be much more like his mama's then my previous attempts. I don't think I will ever be able to make mine as good as his mama's, but that's the way it should be. If you are looking for loads of Thanksgiving recipes look here. It's another link to the Southern plate site and contains about 60 Holiday recipes. I highly recommend this site. 

My first recipe is for " Corn Casserole" it's a hit with our family and everyone loves it. It takes you back to grandma's table. You may have heard it referred to as "Corn Pudding" I think the names are interchangeable. This recipe I got from a dear Christian lady. Miss Fannie Shelton. this was one of her "always asked for" recipes. Enjoy....  

Corn Casserole:
preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

3- eggs 
3- Tablespoons of flour
3- Tablespoons White sugar
1/2- teaspoon Salt
1- 15oz can cream style corn
1- can evaporated milk
1/2- stick of butter or margarine

Beat together eggs, milk, sugar, flour, and salt until light and foamy. (you'll need to use a hand mixer or put this in your stand mixer.
Blend in corn. pour into a greased/sprayed casserole dish. 
slice butter into small squares and place on top of the corn mixture. bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until custard consistency.  serve while hot. 
*I use an old glass Pyrex baking dish that holds about 4 cups or so.  

The next favorite is "Green Bean Casserole" you just can't beat the original recipe found at Frenchs.com or Campbellskitchen.com  we leave out the soy sauce and pepper.. We love it. I've tried to replace the dish with brussel sprouts. (my own families traditional veggie) but that's a giant NO. so green bean casserole it is. 

The next recipe is for a fabulous and yummy Cranberry Sauce. My bunch don't like cranberry sauce. I served this for the first time a couple of years ago and they all loved it. A friend from our Troop Support group shared it with me. I make it throughout the year when something a bit fruity is needed. It's fabulous with pork loin, pork chops etc. I always double this recipe for 20 or more of us. some of the kids take it home.. LOL  

Yummy Cranberry Sauce... 

1- can of cranberry sauce * I use whole berry
1- small box of red jello * I use cranberry but any red jello is fine
1/2- of a 15oz can of crushed pineapple or a full 7oz can
chopped nuts of your choice. * I use walnuts

pour the can of cranberry sauce into a bowl. add the crushed pineapple and the nuts. 
then sprinkle the powdered jello over all and mix well. 
this makes about 3 cups of sauce

The last recipe I think is the hands down best Pecan pie recipe I've ever tasted anywhere ever. Our friend Greg aka: Critter, from Ky. makes some of the best pies I've ever tasted. He can make the best meringue I've ever seen. I can't do meringue.. it's crazy. but he makes the best pies. You'll love this one. Now it may be kind of like making granny's pie.. It may not taste exactly the same cause granny threw in a big hunk o love.. I'm really hoping this turns out half as good as Critter's .. if it does, I'll be satisfied. 

Critter's Pecan Pie.. 

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
1- cup white Karo syrup
1- cup brown sugar
1- stick of butter melted. please use the real stuff
3- eggs beaten
1- teaspoon vanilla
1- teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups of Pecans (whole or chopped doesn't matter) 

prepare your crust and get it in your pie pan. 
put your pecans in the bottom of pan on top of the crust.

get your bowl and hand mixer out. beat the eggs, then add the Karo syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, the vanilla, and the salt. And mix. 
*I haven't made this for a while so I can't recall how thick it is. use the mixer if it's thin enough.. if not mix it well by hand. 
Then pour it over the pecans in the bottom of the crust. 

bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes. keep an eye on the crust and cover it with strips of foil if it starts to get to brown. 

I am hoping your Thanksgiving is full of good food, good friends, and family. When we think about it our lives are all about relationships. I love to share food that reminds me of those special people and special relationships.
 Remember to be Thankful I know I am. 
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Grandma's Sunday Dinners....

My Grandparents George and Geneva Sykes 
on their 25th wedding Anniversary 1947

 Some of my favorite memories were spent with my grandparents at their farm in Parma MI. The ride to Parma was just right for a nice Sunday afternoon. It wouldn't be very long before we'd be pulling into the driveway lined with Peonies. When I was small the house looked huge. I loved it. Grandma and Grandpa would meet us on the porch with hellos and hugs. Grandma always wearing one of her best Sunday dresses and one of her good Sunday aprons.  

I don't remember seeing grandma without an apron unless she was heading to Church or the grocery store. She had everyday aprons. Sunday aprons, Holiday aprons and even aprons she wore working out in the garden. I don't remember her ever wearing pants. I think she may have in the winter when they still had the cows, but I never saw her in anything but dresses. 

Grandma, My aunt Lenora, Mom, Dad, and us kids. 

Sunday dinner with grandma and grandpa was always a big treat. Grandpa would usually have charge of us while the women finished preparing the meal. Apparently they didn't like us kids running in and out of the kitchen. Grandma had a wooden swinging door from the dinning area (see above) into the kitchen. It swung both ways and was a very real temptation for us kids. 

Grandpa  would take us on a walking tour of the yard and the barn. We were never allowed in the barn by ourselves. The cows had been gone for years and there were holes in the floor that we may or may not see. The old hay still covered most of the floor and he was afraid we'd get hurt on the loose boards. I loved that old barn and it's smell. Grandpa still stored hay up in the loft. I loved to watch him during haying putting the hay on the conveyor and up in the loft. 

Sometimes Grandpa would get out the tractor and take us on a ride down the lanes. Grandpa didn't grow crops anymore, but he did let some guys cut the hay off the fields and he let folks hunt there if they stopped and asked permission. 

Blackberries grew in the lane. I remember grandmother giving grandpa a pail and asking for him to pick some berries and bring them back up to the house. She also gave us the "strict grandma" look and said for us not to eat any of the berries. We'd ruin our dinner. We all promised not to eat even one berry and ran out the back letting the wooden door whack. (a favorite sound of mine) We headed to the tractor and rode straight to the patch. Grandpa told us we better make sure the berries were good, so we would need to eat a few. Well you know what little kids smashing blackberries in our mouths would look like. Yep.. berry juice staining our mouths, hands, and I'll bet our clothes too. 

We never returned to the house without picking a nice bunch of wild flowers for grandma. When we returned to the house that day we marched in the kitchen with a bucket full of blackberries, a big bunch of flowers and big grins. She looked right at us and asked if we ate any berries. We quickly looked at grandpa.. he got the biggest grin on his face, winked at us, and we all said.. " oh no grandma, we didn't eat any berries"..  LOL  she started laughing and sent us to wash our hands and get to the table. 

Sunday dinners were always at the large dinning table. table pads were added. Tablecloths were placed along with napkins, dishes, silverware and real glass glasses. Something we were never allowed to use at home. We were always instructed to make sure to hold our glasses with both hands. There was always some type of Jello salad with vegetables (mostly carrots and or celery) served on a bed of lettuce on a salad plate brought to the table first. My mouth was about table high.. so it slid in pretty good. I never did care for veggies in my jello, but you always ate what was put in front of you, and boy was the food put in front of us. Plates full of Roast beef or Fried chicken, Mashed potatoes with gravy, some corn and maybe peas. Grandma canned and froze everything. so it was all homemade and very yummy. Then when the dishes were cleared the cake or pie grandma made earlier in the day was brought out with coffee for the adults and more milk for us kids. 

Grandpa was always worried that we weren't eating enough. He would make sure we had an extra serving or two of some dinner item and then would make sure grandmother cut our piece of pie a bit bigger then it should have been. After dinner the rest of the dishes were cleared and all of us women would head to the kitchen to do the dishes. I would stand on a box in the kitchen and rinse the silverware and wipe it. That was my job. Then I was off to play with grandpa on the big swing in the front yard. 

soon enough we'd head off home. Once we were a mile or two from from grandmas we'd have to stop so us kids could throw up. LOL  I remember the day my papa had to tell grandpa we just couldn't eat that much food. Our bellies were just to little. 

Dad, mom, Keith, and I

Those were some of the most vivid and wonderful memories I have of my grandparents. Sunday dinners were something. They were an important part of the family. If we went for the weekend  we'd go to Church. My grandparents lived just down the road from the little Methodist Church. We would walk on nice days. One of Grandpa's jobs was to ring the bell. It alerted the families in the area it was time to start heading to Church. One of my brother's favorite moments was when grandpa let him ring the bell. 

 My grandmother played the organ for the service. When I was older I would practice with the choir for a few minutes before service. Grandma always made sure I had a hankie. Then out I would go and sing just like I did it every Sunday. The choir members loved it. Well they acted like they did. 

Every family gathered on Sunday for a very similar dinner. Maybe there were no table pads, or tablecloths, or fancy jello salads. But there was family gathered to share their day. I really miss those dinners. Now families seem to gather at the local restaurants if they gather at all. I know lives are busy and fixing a big meal when you are busy with Church and kids and such may not be practical. I understand that a trip to the local Bob Evans or KFC is a nice break for mom. But I wonder how much we have really given up. Those walks with grandpa were precious. Grandma letting me help rinse the silverware even when it would have been much easier for her to do it herself was important. I wonder what part of that special relationship we may be letting slip away..  

I'll never forget those wonderful Sunday dinners. I hope you have many wonderful memories of Sunday dinners and If you haven't had one lately call your family together. Make them put their phones and ipods away. gather them up around the table and let them share some good roast beef, Or KFC.. what you are eating is not nearly as important as what you are saying to each other.... 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Giant Killers wanted...

Yesterday was a roller coaster of a day. Dear friends from Church received the news that the tumor was cancer..  

The day began with fervent prayer that the biopsy would come back good.. Our ladies prayer meeting took place and as we were gathered for breakfast at a local restaurant the call came. Cancer. 

Time stopped..  we tried to wrap our heads around how a 15 yr old could have cancer. How is that possible, and not just any 15 yr. old.. one of ours. That is just how it felt. Our daughter. One of the Aunts was there, and of course her pain was a million times more acute then ours, but still we felt the pain of the situation fill our hearts and minds. 

I spent the day praying.. praying for mom and dad. praying for the siblings and the extended family members. Praying for the Doctors that will read all the tests and make a treatment plan, and of course, praying for "our" kid. 

I saw where Dad made a post on facebook. He called the cancer a giant, but immediately followed that with "looking for the right stone"..  I know this has been a blow to Mom and Dad like nothing they have faced before..  They must feel like young David of the Bible.. Standing and looking at the Giant that is sneering at their smallness and laughing at their funny looking armor. For now, that giant looks mighty big. They are unsure of just how they need to attack ... But they know something that giant doesn't know..  

That funny looking armor is the Armor of God.. They are very familiar with it They've worn it before. This giant is different, it appears bigger then others they have faced, but they know God is the one who will fight for them. God will enable them, just like David, to defeat this giant. I'm not sure how God will do it, but I know He will. I know that as they assemble their chosen rocks. Other believers will be assembling to encircle them with prayer and support. I can't wait to see this giant hit the ground. I can't wait to shout with "our kid" Cancer Free.. 

I know that today they are not the only ones who face a giant. Maybe you have one you are about to face or are facing. Know that God can and will help you face and defeat your giant. Ask for His help. He is waiting and willing to help you choose the right stones and He'll help you fight. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Don't Forget To Thank A Vet...

On this Veterans Day I want to say Thank you to our Veterans. There are many that I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years. Since I am a member of a Troop Support Group I've gotten a chance to meet some awesome Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors. Many I've never had a chance to meet in person, but I've become acquainted with them through emails, facebook, and letters. 

I wrote a blog post in July of 2012 thanking some of those I've had the pleasure of sending packages to. I always take a name or two off our mailing list and "adopt" them. That means I pack their boxes, write letters, and pick up a few extra things I send them. 

You can read the post and see the photos Here. I have a couple of more thank yous to mention here. 

this is Austin, I'm packing him boxes now. 

Ryan is sitting in the truck. He's recently come home. 

Justin.. The son of a dear friend home now.. 

I have by no means thanked all those I've had the joy of "adopting" over the past 10 years, there have been over 60 of them.. That doesn't include all the Veterans I've met as part of our local VFW Post and those my husband, a Vietnam Vet, and I have met as he uses the benefits from the VA medical community. 

If you stop and think about it, you know a Vet or two. Make sure you thank them today.  Thank their families too. They also make sacrifices so their family member can serve. 

If you have served or are serving our Country. I want to say Thank you. I wish there were better words. Words that could convey the depth of my thank you, But thank you is all I have. It is said from the depths of my heart...  

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm Still Here....

Wow, Time has flown by since my last post. A lot has been happening. I'll make a quick run down.  

1.  I had my hysterectomy. It went well. 
2.  I'm on week 5 of recovery.  yahoo. 
3.  I've learned you probably should be really careful when you open a huge container of corn starch.. 

It was quite funny at the time.. It went everywhere. I'm still finding it in the strangest places. 
4.  Our leaves are mostly gone along with the warmer temps. I fear winter is really on the way.. 
5.  Our sweet and funny little squirrel friends are gone. We have only 2 now that visit on a regular basis. We fear a hunter got them. I'm hoping they headed off to Phoenix to visit relatives for the winter. 
6.  Our grandson Tim is half-way through  his classes, and will be leaving for India and Nepal for 3 months in just a few short weeks. 
7.  I have gotten a big part of my Christmas shopping done. Not because I'm a planner, but because all the grand kids asked for gift cards and or money. I'm thinking they don't appreciate the unique and unusual items I find for them..  (ROTFL) 
8.  I am again participating in the annual facebook 30 days of thankful posts.

Well that's it for now. I'll write more on my surgery later. Don't worry nothing graphic.. and I promise not to post the photos the surgeon took. (they are really cool)  

Enjoy the last of the leaves, a good snuggle blanket, your favorite hot beverage, and a good book..