Creating a Better life

So as life gets more and more complicated and there are more and more stimuli thrown at us I want, no make that I NEED to simplify and minimize my life.  One of the ways I’m doing that is by creating a singularly better creative space for myself over at SAVORY KITCHEN TABLE where I am combining all my blogs into one.  Please follow and join me there for all future posts and recipes.

S.O.S. aka S@#%! on a shingle

Hubby had been craving S.O.S. a lot lately! I hadn't made it in years and he really wanted to go OUT for a hometown diner style breakfast. Someone told us about a local diner that had it as a special. He was soooooooooo excited and then he was soooooooooooo disappointed. It truly was S@#%! on a shingle, the dogs weren't even thrilled with the leftovers! So tonight I surprised hubby with home made Creamed Chipped Beef and I thought I would share the recipe. One of my 'secret' ingredients is serving it over sourdough toast for extra flavor. The other is using a cast iron skillet. The last secret ingredient is an actual ingredient.

S.O.S. aka S@#%! on a shingle
1/3 cup butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 jar Armor dried beef*, chopped small
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (my last secret ingredient)

  • Melt the butter and add the onions. 
  • After about 2 minutes add the beef also. Saute' until onions are translucent. 
  • Sprinkle with pepper. Use salt sparingly (beef is pretty salty)
  • Sprinkle flour over the meat and onions and stir in well. The flour will burn, so work quickly. 
  • Gradually add in the milk, stirring continuously until mixture boils. Turn down heat, add the Worcestershire sauce and thicken to a gravy consistency. 
  • Serve immediately over toast.

LEMON BARS & CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY WALNUT BARS ~ BAKING PARTNERS


This month our Baking partners challenge is "Bar" recipes.  The recipes are for Lemon Bars, an all time favorite! and I adored the Chocolate Raspberry Walnut Bars. 

This month's challenge was suggested by Suja from Kitchen Corner Try it! 
Lemon Bars

Recipe source The Secrets of Baking, Sherry Yard and The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle

Basic short crust recipe
:
All Purpose flour- 1 1/4 cup
Confectioner's sugar- 2/3 cup
Pinch of salt
Cold unsalted butter cut into half inch cubes- 10 tbs  (1 1/4 stick)

For the filling:
Sugar- 3/4 cup
Lemon zest- 1 tablespoon
Eggs-4
Lemon juice-1 cup
Condensed milk- 1/2 cup (or milk 1/2 cup. Milk or condensed milk is optional it gives the bars a custard flavor and firmer texture)
All purpose flour- 3 tablespoons
Salt- 1/8 teaspoon
Yellow food color- 2-3 drops (optional)
Powdered sugar for dusting

To make the crust
  • Pre-heat oven to 325 degree F and position rack in the center of the oven.Butter 9inch square baking pan and set aside (you can also line pan with aluminum foil)
  • Using a food processor,mix flour,sugar and salt.
  • Add pieces of butter and pulse 8-10 times till the mixture resembles coarse meal. Process until the mixture forms large clumps and holds together when pinched between two fingers (around 15-20 seconds). 
  • Scrape dough into prepared pan and pat it into an even layer.
  • Using a fork prick the dough at one inch intervals. 
  • Bake the crust for 20 minutes till the edges become golden brown. 
  • Allow this to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the filling
  • Pulse sugar and lemon zest in a processor till it is fragrant. 
  • Beat eggs and mix the sugar and whisk till it is pale yellow color. 
  • Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, flour and salt. 
  • Pour over the baked crust. 
  • Bake at 325 degree F for18-20 minutes or until just set and firm to touch. 
  • Cool in room temperature and the place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour before cutting into bars. 
  • To finish dust the top of each bar with powdered sugar and serve. 
  • Store lemon bars tightly warped in room temperature for two days or in the freezer for one week. (I store in the fridge)
Chocolate Walnut Raspberry Bars
Recipe source Faye Levy's Chocolate Sensations

Walnut cookie dough
Walnuts- 1 cup (3-3/4 0z.)
Egg yolks-3
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Salt- 1/4 teaspoon
Vanilla extract-2 teaspoon
Grated lemon zest- 2 teaspoon
Chilled Unsalted butter- 1 cup ( 8 oz.)
All purpose flour- 1 3/4 cups
Chocolate Raspberry filling
Raspberry preserve- 1/2 cup
Semi sweet chocolate cut into chunks- 6 oz.
Nutty crumble topping
Sugar- 2 tablespoons
All purpose flour- 1/4 cup
Walnuts- 1/4 cup

To make the dough

  • Finely process nuts in a food processor and set aside.
  • Combine egg yolks, sugar,salt,vanilla,lemon zest and butter in the food processor.  Start with 10-12 pulses and the continuously pulse for 5 seconds until combined.
  • Add flour and walnuts and process for five seconds.
  • Scrape down and continue processing till the dough begins to form sticky crumbs but does not come together as a ball. 
  • Put dough in a plastic bag or a wrap and press together to form a ball. Chill for one hour.
  • Pre heat oven to 350F (175C). 
  • Cut out 1/4 of the dough and set aside in the refrigerator.
  • Pat the remaining dough in bottom of an unbuttered 13"x9" pan.
Filling
  • Stir preserve, using a rubber spatula. 
  • Gently spread over the dough.
  • Sprinkle chocolate over the jam.
Topping
  • Cut reserve dough into small pieces. In the food processor process flour, walnuts, sugar and the cut dough till it resembles a crumbly mixture.
  • Spread this evenly over the chocolate.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crumbs are firm and light brown. 
  • Cool in pan over a rack till it is lukewarm. 
  • Using a sharp knife slice into bars. 
  • Store in airtight containers (up-to three days in room temperature) (I store in the fridge)


ASKING FOR A LITTLE HELP & paying it forward

Day to day life gets in the way sometimes of our dreams and plans.  That's exactly what happened to my beautiful niece and her family. What's the old saying? Man plans and God laughs.

Kori, 7 months pregnant, toddler in tow left Oregon to visit with her mother and family in southern California for a short visit before baby was scheduled to arrive mid June.  

Fate is a cruel mistress.  Kori went into labor 2 months early with a breech birth and needed emergency surgery.  Justin rushed down from Oregon and is now taking care of the toddler too, but can't be in two places at once to work.  

Mom and Alaina Rose are doing fine, but baby needs to stay in the hospital a few more weeks and mom is recovering from surgery. The situation has eaten up their savings.  A web page, Werner 911,  has been set up to help them get their family back home and anything would help.  They will PAY THIS FORWARD when they can.

WEEKLY MENU


Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie


DATEBREAKFASTLUNCHDINNER
MONDAY4/28YOGURT, GRANOLA & BLUEBERRIESSANDWICHESSLOW COOKED PORK & SAUERKRAUT
TUESDAY4/29TOASTFRUIT & CHEESEHONEY BALSAMIC ROAST PORK TENDERLOIN & SLOW ROASTED PAPRIKA POTATOES
WEDNESDAY4/30YOGURT, GRANOLA & BLUEBERRIESSOUPCABBAGE ROLLS
THURSDAY5/1FRUITCHEESE & FRUITCHICKEN STEW
FRIDAY5/2CHEERIOS & BANANASALADPORK CHOPS with TOMATO GRAVY
SATURDAY5/3QUICHE LORRAINEOUT C.O.R.N.
SUNDAY5/4 FARMER'S BREAKFASTSALADCHICKEN CHILE CORN CUSTARDS

SLOW COOKED PORK AND SAUERKRAUT

SLOW COOKED PORK AND SAUERKRAUT
makes 6-8 servings

2-32 ounce jars of sauerkraut, drained
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
3 pound boneless pork loin roast
3 tablespoons brown mustard**
  • Combine sauerkraut, chicken broth and Lipton soup mix until well blended.**
  • Add pork roast, cutting in half if necessary to avoid over crowding.
  • Set on low for 8 hours.
**The original recipe called for water instead of chicken broth and for the mustard which I HAD to eliminate due to allergies (I'd like to live to make another recipe) and we loved it so I don't believe the mustard is necessary, but add it if you like.

BAKING PARTNERS ~ CINNAMON CHOCOLATE BABKA MUFFINS

Cinnamon Chocolate Babka Muffins

DOUGH
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed 110 degrees
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant rapid rise yeast
1 large egg at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Using a stand mixer, use a paddle to combine the milk, sugar and yeast, stirring to blend.
  • Add the egg, flour and salt mixing on low until a sticky dough begins to form.
  • Mix in the butter until well blended with no remaining chunks.
  • Switch to a dough hook and knead on low for about 10 minutes. The dough will be loose and sticky.
  • Butter a large bowl.  Add dough, cover with tea towel and let rise until doubled in a warm place. This will take 1-2 hours.
FILLING
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Chop chocolate pieces in a food processor until small coarse pieces.
  • Add brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and pulse until coarse crumbs.
  • Set aside.
EGG WASH
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Whisk together until well blended.
STREUSEL TOPPING
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and flour.
  • Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Set Aside.
ASSEMBLY
  • VERY GENEROUSLY butter 12 muffin tins OR use muffin papers for easier clean up.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface.  Gently depress the center to deflate.  Let rest 5 minutes.
  • Roll the dough into a 12x20 rectangle.  (flour as needed to prevent sticking)
  • Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough.
  • Roll the dough into a tight log.
  • Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (HINT: I now use dental floss for all this type of cutting.  You get a good clean cut every time.)
  • Place each piece into you prepared tin or papers.
  • Cover with your tea towel and let rise 30 minutes or so.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • After 30 minutes, brush tops with the egg wash.
  • Sprinkle each with the streusel topping.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until puffed and brown around the edges.
  • Cool completely on wire racks in the tin. (I use the papers because I like them warm, but the come out of the tins better cool).


WEEKLY MENU PLAN


Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie


DATEBREAKFASTLUNCHDINNER
MONDAY4/14YOGURT, GRANOLA & BLUEBERRIESSANDWICHESGLAZED STUFFED PORK CHOPS
TUESDAY4/15TOASTFRUIT & CHEESECHICKEN CHILE RELLENOS
WEDNESDAY4/16YOGURT, GRANOLA & BLUEBERRIESSOUPCHIPOLTE CHEDDAR MAC & CHEESE ala TAMY
THURSDAY4/17FRUITCHEESE & FRUITPEANUT PORK & NOODLES SALAD
FRIDAY4/18CHEERIOS & BANANASALADCHICKEN PARMESAN MEATBALLS
SATURDAY4/19S.O.S. aka S#^T on a SHINGLEOUT SMOTHERED CHICKEN
SUNDAY4/20LUAU BENEDICTS SALADFAMILY EASTER DINNER

GLAZED STUFFED PORK CHOPS

Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops
4 VERY thick pork chops
8 slices oatnut bread
butter
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup apricot pineapple jam, room temperature
1 tablespoon peach schnapps
1 large lemon, juiced
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Slit each pork chop along 2 sides to create a large pocket.
  • *Toast each slice of bread well and then lightly butter.
  • Cut each piece into small squares.
  • Toss with thyme, garlic salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each pork chop with 1/3 cup of mixture.
  • Whisk together the jam, peach schnapps, red pepper flakes, ginger and lemon juice.
  • Place chops in a square greased baking dish.
  • Arrange remaining stuffing around the edges.
  • Glaze chops and stuffing tops.
  • Bake uncovered 30 minutes.
  • Turn chops, glaze chops and stuffing again. Bake another 30 minutes.

*If you prefer, prepare 1 box of stove top stuffing instead.
**Tonight I used Lemon Curd and had a distinctively fresh flavor with the same consistency.  Use whatever flavor speaks to you. 

BIRD'S EYE VIEW FROM THE EAGLE'S NEST

There were 2 platforms with old nests a few months ago.  I noticed that one of the platforms was getting bare and the other one was being built up, but today was the first time I saw the new neighbors.  I think spring is finally here.

CORNED BEEF HASH

CORNED BEEF HASH
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small Vidalia onion, finely chopped
2-3 cups Yukon gold potatoes, chopped small
2-3 cups Cooked corned beef, chopped smaller than potatoes
celery salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Melt butter in pan (cast iron works best) over medium high heat.
  • Add potatoes and cook until tender, stirring periodically.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add onions and cook until onions are translucent.
  • Add corned beef.  You want this dish to sizzle.  Sizzling equals browning.  Don't stir, but allow the hash to cook undisturbed until it starts to brown and then flip it in portions until it has browned on all sides.
  • Top with over medium eggs and enjoy!

POTATO PANCAKES

This one is for Riley at Pig'n'Pancake in Seaside.  Thank you for being a great server and so friendly. You made breakfast enjoyable during our stay.
POTATO PANCAKES
3+ cups peeled, grated & squeezed* potatoes
1 large bunch green onions, minced or 1 small Vidalia onion, minced
1/2 cup self rising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup buttermilk**
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Sift together the flour, salt and pepper.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, egg and butter until smooth.
  • Whisk in the flour mixture until well blended.
  • Fold in the potatoes and onions.
  • Drop onto hot griddle and make your pancakes.
  • Serve with applesauce and sour cream or with the Sauerbraten gravy.
*I use a cheese cloth towel as my base. I grate the potatoes on top of it and then bring all the corners together like a knapsack wrapping the potatoes inside. I continue to tighten the turns until I squeezed all the moisture from the potatoes.

**I generally use regular milk and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.