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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Elbow Macaroni Hotdish (from Grandma Finger)

Joe has been talking about this hotdish lately.  My mother-in-law Margaret used to make it often and he'd literally shovel it in.  (she used to make EVERYTHING he liked on a regular basis though..she loved her grandkids so much!).  Between her homemade cinnamon rolls and some of her dishes like this, she had plenty of company with those hungry grandkids of hers!  Anyway, I make it occasionally, probably not quite the same as hers, but close and decided to make it tonight for supper for me and Dave.  We enjoyed it, good old comfort food, hotdish, corn on the cob fresh from the roadside stand, and fresh Colorado peaches..good meal!  There really is no recipe, but this is close to how I make it..


Cook a few cups about 2- 3? of elbow macaroni per the package directions to a dente.  (the oven will additionally cook it and you don't want mushy blown up macaroni..not good.

in a medium kettle, brown 1 lb of hamburger that is salt and peppered to your taste, about 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, 1 stalk of celery that is finely diced, 1 whole carrot that is cleaned and finely diced and 1-1/2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (or the cream of mushroom/chicken blend soup-that's what I like to use), and 2-3 Tablespoons of Western dressing (I know it sounds weird, but it gives it a great flavor)  and a heaping tsp of the liquid beef base in the jar or a beef bouillon cube.  when the noodles are done, mix it all together, put in a casserole dish and bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes or until top looks a little bit brownish.  eat.


A coworker of mine brought in a GIANT zucchini she had found growing in her compost pile this last week.  No one wanted it so she brought it to me to see if I'd make something with it.  I kind of looked at it begrudgingly, but, because I hate wasting things so much, I took it and made this bundt cake for work on Monday.  I actually was going to make two recipes, but got too busy finishing up my Frida crochet project finally-picture will be on another post, and didn't have time to make two, but I will be making the second one and posting about that soon.  Everyone absolutely loved this cake..I put it in the breakroom and it was gone within an hour and people were coming in complaining it was gone because they wanted more!  It's definitely one to make if you want to use some zucchini.  very moist, dense and flavorful.  Here's the recipe with my  changes.


3 cups white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple in it's own juice (drained, but reserving syrup)
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups cleaned and shredded carrots
1 cup peeled and shredded zucchini

For glaze: 3/4 cup powdered sugar (or make cream cheese frosting instead of glaze)  I made a glaze and put toasted coconut chips on mine (this recipe would be good with some coconut inside it too!)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  whisk together drained pineapple, brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla in a large bowl  until smooth. 
3.  Add flour, white sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ginger, kind of tossing together with a whisk and then combining to the #1 ingredients until combined well.  don't over mix.
4.  Pour batter into a well greased and floured bundt cake pan..(I use the baking spray with the flour right in it and spray well).
5.  Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. 
6.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a rack.  remove cake from pan and cool on wire rack until completely cool, about 30+ minutes.

For the glaze put powdered sugar in a bowl and slowly add the reserved pineapple juice until a spreadable glaze forms.  drizzle over the cooled cake and add toasted coconut if desired.  I only used a partial amount of the glaze because I didn't want it making the cake soggy on the bottom when it dripped down, but you could use some waxed paper pieces under the cake and pull them out once the glaze stays put. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Giant Blueberry Muffins

I had some blueberries in the fridge to use up, either by snacking on them, or making something with the small amount I had left..not enough for a pie or cobbler, so I thought of blueberry muffins.  I found this recipe on allrecipes called To die for Blueberry Muffins..a great choice for me because I love streusel on muffins and it had a 5 star rating.  I can see why it did.  These are really yummy.  just do a search for the recipe.  I won't post it because I did exactly what she recommended.  It makes 6 large muffins..I didn't see where she stated how many, so will let you know so you use the right size pan and don't dirty a bigger one..LOL.  I didn't use a cupcake liner, but probably would next time because they are so big that it's kind of a job to get them out easily, I managed but was scared I would crumble it all up.  Here's a picture.  Would be great for a brunch!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dill pickles with garlic and Jalapeno

My husband really likes kosher dills.  I haven't canned any for him for a long time, but had been thinking about them lately, so decided to make him a few quarts for a treat and to bring deer hunting this's kind of a tradition that he has had to buy them to bring the last few years!  I only made 7 jars because I favor my bread and butter pickles with hot dishes to eat and just for a snack sometimes.  I will be making much more of them because some of the kids/grandkids love them too! (tomorrow!).  I also am out of pickle relish so will be making some of that tomorrow too. 

Here is how I made the dills. 
Makes 7 quarts (I used wide mouth jars-easier to pack)

2-3 inch fresh pickling cucumbers, scrubbed and rinsed and set on a clean towel to dry (about 1/4 bushel?)

2 larger jalapenos, quartered.  you can add more if you really like spicy pickles.

1 large bunch of fresh dill with green heads

1-2 whole cleaned garlic cloves per jar, or 1 tsp minced garlic-that's what I used this time, per jar.

Run the 7 quart jars through the dishwasher cycle.  leave them in the dishwasher to stay hot once they are done.

In the meantime clean the cucumbers well with a vegetable scrub brush, rinse and lay on a clean towel.

rinse the dill and cut off the heads-I put 2 large or 3-4 smaller heads in each jar. 

In a larger kettle put in 8-1/2 cups of water, 2-1/4 cups of white vinegar, and 1/2 cup of canning salt..canning salt is different than regular salt, be sure to use the canning salt...bring to a low boil so the salt dissolves.  leave on warm.  I actually had to make 1/2 batch more as I had larger pickles so they didn't fill all the space like smaller ones should.

take out a clean jar, put the dill in the bottom, garlic and 1/4 of the jalapeno with the seeds in the jar.  pack it with the cleaned pickles, just to wear the neck starts.  pour in the brine until there is about 1 inch of jar left, bottom of the neck, and covering the pickles.  wipe the rim of the jar well with a clean, dampened paper towel.  apply a new lid and screw on the ring tightly.  put in a canner that has been half filled with hot water (heated on the burner).  fill remaining jars and then drop down the jar holder and fill the canner with more hot water from the facet until it's just over the jars.  cover and bring just to a boil.  shut off immediately, set jars on a towel and let seal.  do not disturb.