Saturday, December 16, 2017

Seasonal Living And Timeless Traditions For Your Home...Hearth...And Heart... December 2017

There is something rather charming and wonderful about keeping old traditions alive...that will always keep us connected to our hearts and to each other.

Traditions matter.

This Christmas season how about getting in your kitchen and making good Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls...fun for the whole family to make together!

" Because nothing says love...like something homemade"


OLD-FASHIONED POPCORN BALLS
makes about 20

Ingredients...
18 cups popped popcorn
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla



Prepare your popcorn...popping the right amount. Remove all corn kennels that did not pop... from popped popcorn. Put popcorn in a greased 17 x 12 x 2 inch baking or roasting pan.

For the syrup mixture...butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In saucepan combine sugar...water...corn syrup...vinegar and salt. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils..stirring to dissolve sugar...about 6 minutes. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of saucepan Reduce heat to medium...continue boiling at a moderate steady rate...stirring occasionally...until the thermometer registers 250 degrees F...known as the hard-ball stage...about 20 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat...and remove the thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup mixture over the popcorn and stir gently to coat. Cool until the popcorn mixture can be handled easily. With buttered hands...quickly shape the mixture into 2 1/2 inch diameter balls. Wrap each popcorn ball in plastic wrap. Enjoy this old-fashioned Christmas treat!

Love...Victoria


Sunday, October 1, 2017

OCTOBER BAKING ...WITH SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS...SAGE OATCAKES RECIPE 2017

October...is the ideal month to get in the kitchen...and cook...whether that be a slow cooking stew...soup...pot roast...or a great dessert...or snack to enjoy with family and friends.

I fell in love with oatcakes when my family and I traveled to Scotland one year. I couldn't get enough of these tasty and addictive treats...they are quite good. Traditional Scottish oatcakes...are to Scotland...what a baguette is to the French...and is considered to be the bread of Scotland...although it is more like a cookie or sweet cracker. Oatcakes date back as far as the 14th century...and are eaten at breakfast...as a snack or at tea.

My recipe is a wee bit different...than the traditional Scottish recipe...but very good none the less. What makes these so special...is that I have added a good quality dried Sage...which adds such a wonderful taste to these oatcakes.Herbs and desserts pair quite well together...and once you start adding herbs to your desserts...whether fresh or dried...you will taste what I mean.

Did you know that every time you eat herbs...you are ingesting something that is very good for your health? Yep...it is true! Sage is packed with vitamins and minerals...helps with digestive problems...is anti-inflammatory... an aid for depression...memory loss...good for your bones... aids in Alzheimer's disease... and helps in reducing night sweats in menopause... to just name a few of this wonderful herbs healing properties. So enjoy making and then eating these delectable oatcakes (cookies). You can eat these slightly warm...drizzled with honey...or let them cool.

Sage has Vitamin A...Vitamin C...Vitamin E...Vitamin K...and B complex.
Sage also has potassium...zinc...calcium...iron...manganese...cooper...and magnesium. It also contains Thujone...and folic acid.



Remember..."Nothing says love...like something homemade!"



SAGE OATCAKES RECIPE
you can use gluten free oats and flour also for these
*always buy organic herbs...whether dried or fresh

Makes 15 2-inch round oatcakes

1 tablespoon butter for greasing the baking sheets
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup honey ( warmed and liquid)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats ( do not use quick oats or instant)...or gluten free
1 cup all-purpose flour...or gluten free flour
1 teaspoon finely ground quality dried Sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter...cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Mix the buttermilk and honey together until completely combined. Set aside. Place oats...flour...baking soda...and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add the Sage and mix well.

Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter...cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and honey mixture...and stir until it forms a dough.

Form the dough into 2 disks. Set aside one of the disks. Roll out the other disk on a floured surface until it is 1/4 inch in thickness. Using a cookie cutter or a glass...cut out rounds or shapes. Place the cut cookies on the buttered baking sheets.

Gather all the scraps of left over dough...re-roll it and use to cut out more cookies. Then repeat this process with the other dough disk.

Bake the oatcakes 10- 15 minutes or until the edges are just turning golden brown. Do not OVERCOOK!

Cool slightly...eat with honey drizzled on top...or cool completely to enjoy. These will store well in the fridge in a covered container for up to 3 days...but trust me...they will be gone quickly. 

Love...
Victoria


Sunday, September 24, 2017

SEPTEMBER BAKING APPLE CRISP RECIPE 2017

I am back!

I have been absent from my blog writing for far too long! I have actually missed it...and I hope you have missed my posts too. Completing my course to become an herbalist...took many...many months...and all of my focus...but now that I have completed this very fun but intense study...I have the creative energy to write again...on one of my favorite subjects...FOOD!

September is such a lovely month...because it is the beginning of the Fall season. What is more appealing on a nice Fall day or evening...than to get in your kitchen and bake something easy...sweet and oh so good. Apples are plentiful right now...so this is the perfect dessert to make this month. Enjoy!

Nothing says love...like something homemade!

APPLE CRISP
12 servings

3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup cold butter...cubed
8 cups thinly sliced ...and peeled tart apples
1 cup apple cider...divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl...mix the oats...flour...brown sugar...and cinnamon...then cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of the mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.Next add a layer of the apples...a bit of the oat mixture...and continue layering until ingredients are gone.Top layer needs to be oat mixture. Drizzle with 1/2 cup apple cider over top.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Drizzle with remaining cider...bake 20 minutes longer or until apples are tender. Serve hot with ice cream. Yum!

Love...
Victoria


Sunday, June 11, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS STRAWBERRY SKILLET CAKE JUNE 2017

The month of June strawberries are in season...and they are such a wonderful fruit to make really good and easy fruit desserts.

As many of you who follow my blog... already know...I love cooking in my cast iron skillets for just about any recipe...and this includes desserts.

Below is a mighty tasty Strawberry Skillet Cake...that everyone will rave about! And remember "Nothing says love like something homemade."

STRAWBERRY SKILLET CAKE
makes 1 9-inch cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter...softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar...divided
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pound fresh strawberries...cleaned and halved

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Lightly grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with olive oil...using a pastry brush or dry paper towel. Next lightly flour the bottom and sides of the skillet with flour...shaking out any excess.

In a large bowl beat the ONE cup sugar ( the other 1/4 cup is for topping) and the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy...about 3 to 4 minutes...stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.Add the eggs...one at a time...beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl...whisk together the flour...baking powder and salt. Gradually add this flour mixture to the butter mixture in the large bowl...beating at low speed...until combined...then gradually add the sour cream...combing at low speed. Next gently fold in the strawberries...until well combined.
Spread the batter into the greased and floured cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar.

Bake for about 35 minutes...or until a knife placed in the center comes out clean. Take out of the oven...let cool completely...and serve right from the skillet...topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream...enjoy!

Love...
Victoria

Saturday, June 10, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS A FRENCH CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE 2017

Chocolate cake is just one of those things...that is always in fashion...always popular...and has a very long history in food traditions...around the world.

A good chocolate cake is always in season...and the below recipe is one of the best recipes I have ever made for chocolate cake...as well as for the taste.

This is a French chocolate cake recipe...very rich...very simple to make...and it uses very little flour. The butter gives this cake its richness...and the almond meal is an ingredient that I have come to love...and you will love the flavor and texture it gives to baked goods.

Please use a very good quality dark chocolate...it makes a huge difference. And keep in mind...a very small slice of this cake will do...it is very rich.


FRENCH CHOCOLATE CAKE
serves 12

9 ounces dark chocolate...70 percent caco
14 tablespoons butter ( I prefer unsalted butter...but use what you like)
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 scant cup almond meal
1/3 cup flour or gluten free flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 11 inch cake or springform pan with a disk of wax paper.. or buttered parchment paper. Melt the chocolate and butter...on very low heat or use a double boiler to melt.....constantly stirring so it does not burn. Once it is melted set aside to cool...a bit.

Next separate the eggs the eggs...the yolks going into one  large bowl...the egg whites in another large bowl. Put the egg whites into the fridge...and then whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until a light lemon yellow.

In a small bowl stir together the almond meal and the flour.

Add the warm chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and whisk quickly and thoroughly to combine. Add the flour and almond meal mixture and fold in with a spatula...just enough to combine.

Take the egg whites out of the fridge...and beat the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak.Using a spatula or a wooden spoon...gently fold HALF the egg whites into the chocolate  mixture...then fold in the rest.

Pour prepared cake batter into the pan...and bake on the center rack of your oven for 15 minutes.After baking the cake mixture for 15 minutes...turn off the heat and let the cake rest in the oven for 10 minutes...with the oven door slightly ajar. The cake will not look done when you take it out...so do not be concerned. Cool completely on a wire rack in the cake pan...the texture of the cake  will set as it cools. Gently take the cake out of its pan...with the same method you use to remove any cake after cooling...and set it out on a cake dish. This cake tastes even better the next day...if it lasts that long!

Love...
Victoria


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS MAY 2017 MOTHER'S DAY COCONUT MACAROONS

Today I will continue my May posts...with the focus on Mother's Day...and Mothering...by sharing a very easy and delicious recipe for homemade Coconut Macaroons...because "nothing says love...like something homemade."

Mom will love these homemade treats...made with love. These are so easy to make...even an inexperienced baker can make them.   



COCONUT MACAROONS
Makes 20 to 24 cookies

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites...at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine until mixed... the coconut ...condensed milk...and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in a standing mixer or a hand held mixer until the egg whites make medium-firm peaks.Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using a small spoon. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes...until golden brown. Cool and serve. Enjoy!

Happy Mothers's Day
Victoria
 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

SEASONAL LIVING AND TIMELESS TRADITIONS...MOTHERS DAY GIFTS FROM THE HEART 2017

Mother's Day is May 14th...and this is such a loving tribute to Mom's...and for all they give and do each and every moment for their children.

This Mother's Day...instead of going to a store or shopping on-line...try another approach to your gift giving for your Mom...give her natural...simple...and meaningful gifts from your heart.

Here are a few creative gift ideas for your Mom this Mother's Day...

1...Plant a tree in her honor...including a tree planting celebration. Just gather your Mom...and everyone you want included... around the tree...and have everyone say a message of gratitude for your Mom...then plant the tree together..bless it...and your Mom.

2. Give your Mom a Rosemary bush...an herb of remembrance...as a reminder that everything she does for you...and will do for you...will always be remembered.

3. Plant a beautiful Rose bush...in your Mom's honor.

4. Make a sweet and loving Mother's Day book for her...having everyone write a beautiful message to Mom...including pictures of you...and all other of her children.

5. Take a large mason jar...decorate it...write MOM across the front...and then fill it with little messages of gratitude to her...for how much you love and appreciate her.

6. Make a collage of appreciation for Mom...adding words and pictures of what she means to you.

7. Bake her a homemade cake...with candles...to celebrate her.

8. Write her a poem.

9. Write her a love letter...about how you feel about her...then put it in an envelope...and place dried Lavender...or Roses in the envelope for beauty...and a lovely scent.

Happy Mother's Day to you,
Victoria