Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lemon Pudding Cookies

Making a batch of cookies is soothing to me, and I work with some expert treat eaters so I can always find a home for my baking. This week's offering is delicately flavored little morsels, lemony little puffs of goodness. They taste wonderful with ice cold milk, but coffee or tea would probably suit just as well. They are quick and easy and they bake up beautifully. I got 45 cookies from the recipe, for those of you who need to know.

Lemon Pudding Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 3.4-oz. package instant lemon pudding mix
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), cream shortening, sugar, and pudding mix. Beat in eggs. Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt. Using about a teaspoonful at a time, roll the dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. I used my silicone baking mats, which I am partial to--they came out perfect! Bake 10 minutes (or a minute or two longer if your oven runs cool) or until just beginning to brown. Let cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes before removing to wire rack or parchment paper to finish cooling.

That's it! So easy. These cookies are good anytime, but I think they would make a perfect ending for a light luncheon or tea.

You can find this recipe and many more delicious treats in my book The Amish Baking Cookbook, which is sold in many fine stores, and online at Harvest House Publishers, CBD, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon:

It's Sunday afternoon. For most of us that means we are gearing up for the work week ahead. I'll say this: If you have a batch of these delicious cookies, the week will start out well!

Blessings to you and your loved ones,


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stonaflesch--Plain and Simple Fare

The recipe I'm going to share with you today uses just a few basic ingredients, is quick to put together, and cooks while you're busy doing something else. Those are the kinds of meals I, tasty, and self-cooking. Yay for Stonaflesch!

There are several ways you can cook this meal also, so read to the end to find out and choose the method best suited to your day's needs.


Before I go into the recipe proper, understand that you can make larger or smaller amounts depending on how many people you need to feed, and how much of each ingredient you have. You can use less meat, or more potatoes or carrots. For instance, I almost always use much less hamburger because I'm frugal. (Like less than a pound of hamburger to feed an entire family!) It's very forgiving. I like to think of Stonaflesch as a dry stew. One last mention: kids generally love this dish.

2 lb. hamburger
10 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
thyme to taste
paprika (optional)

In a heavy oven-proof pot, large stove-top pot, or large slow cooker, layer a portion of the hamburger (raw) with some of the carrots and then potatoes. (It's better to have a number of thin layers versus just a few thick ones.) As each layer is completed, sprinkle on a bit of salt, pepper, and thyme. Continue layering, ending with a small amount of hamburger. Sprinkle paprika over the top and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

The following directions are how to cook Stonaflesch, from my favorite way to least favorite way:

Oven: Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour, or until carrots and potatoes are cooked through and tender. Or if you have the time, bake it at 250 degrees for 3-4 hours, being careful not to scorch the bottom. (You can add about 1/4 cup water or broth to help prevent scorching, but it's not necessary, and it's not how we ate it as kids.) Classic method.

Slow Cooker: Make the layers and slow cook on high for about 5 hours, or on low for the entire day. This is a great method if you'll be gone from the house all day but still want a hot meal in the evening. Note that the hamburger will look a little pink, but it's simply because it was slow cooked; it's completely safe to eat and cooked through.

Stove-Top: Brown hamburger until almost done; drain grease, and then use the same pot to make the layers. Turn the stove to just above low, cover the pot, and cook until vegetables are tender.

That's it! Dinner is served.

Summer is just beginning in earnest around these parts. It's a good time to grow your own potatoes and carrots--and just think how inexpensive this meal would be if you simply went out back and dug up your dinner!

Blessings to you and yours,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Soft Chocolate Cookies

Here's a quick and easy recipe for you--Soft Chocolate Cookies. It takes minimal ingredients and minimal time to whip up. If you have an electric stand mixer, it virtually makes itself!

Soft Chocolate Cookies

2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well again.

Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time. If you have time, let the dough chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so before baking; the dough won't be so messy.

Form a rounded spoonful of dough into a ball and place on a cookie pan that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.

Cool for several minutes right on the cookie sheet before transferring the cookies to a paper lined counter to completely cool.


Oven Baked Spareribs

The recipe I'm going to share today has been in my family for at least 40 years. It's easy and pretty much hassle-free. The taste isn't like the usual barbeque sauce spareribs, and I think it makes for a tasty change of pace. Plus, because it's completely done in the oven, you can make these ribs in the middle of winter. Served with homemade potato salad, it's a little bit of summer's best anytime of the year!

Oven-Baked Spareribs

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cu sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
6 lbs. meaty spareribs, cut into individual ribs

Combine all ingredients for sauce and let stand for several hours. I usually make this in the morning and keep it on the kitchen counter, stirring every so often. You want allow enough time for the sugar to dissolve and the flavors to meld.

Using your largest roaster or two smaller ones (not ideal), place the ribs in a roaster and bake, uncovered, in a 375-degree oven until just done (approximately 1 1/2 hours). Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the drippings, and then baste with the sauce. Baste frequently. Ribs are done when sauce becomes sticky.

Note: The basting part takes some time. I use a pastry brush and turn my ribs over to get both sides. And I'll confess also that I've been known to use a spoon to add my sauce. When I do, I make sure to also baste from the pan drippings/sauce in the bottom of the roaster. I've found that by doing this, the time it takes to do the basting and for the sauce to thicken takes less time.

I'm sharing this on Memorial Day weekend. This is the holiday where we often gather with friends and family for one of the season's first barbeques. Time spent with loved ones is always to be treasured, don't you agree? I do so hope that when you gather, you all take some time to thank God for those courageous men and women who have suffered or died for our freedoms. And pray for all the families that have an empty seat at the table because of these heroes. They, too, have sacrificed much for all Americans and I, for one, am grateful.

Blessings to you and yours on this Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I recently read a Facebook post that had a recipe for taco soup and it looked good. As so often happens with me, I couldn't rest until I'd made some, so that's exactly what I did. Because I didn't write down or otherwise bookmark that page, I was unable to follow the recipe exactly. But I figure that should never be a problem--we can simply "taste" with our minds and add ingredients accordingly. Here is the result:

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

1/2 - 1 lb. ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel), undrained (I used my home canned goods instead: a quart jar of diced tomatoes and a pint jar of salsa)
1 cup (more or less) salsa
1 soup can water (I added around 3 cups water)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn (I suppose you could use canned corn, but I've never tried it that way)
2 T. taco seasoning
2-3 T. Ranch dressing mix (powdered, not made)
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Brown the meat; drain off grease. Mix browned meat and all other ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for about 3 hours. This is very forgiving, so you can eat it as soon as it's hot enough, or you can let it go on low for many hours. I've made this several times on a weekend when I know I'll want a hot meal later in the day but also know I won't be inside to make it. And it's also possible to make this on the stovetop instead of in a slow cooker. Just let the soup simmer until the corn is done and you can be eating in a hurry!

Serve in bowls with shredded cheese and crush tortilla chips if desired, but it's also good plain. I like to make a batch of cornbread to go with. Yum!

One more thing to consider: This recipe is very fluid. Use what you have and in the amounts that seem good to you. You can't go wrong!

Blessings to you and yours!