Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Hutterite Diaries

Good morning, all!

I recently purchased the book, The Hutterite Diaries, by Linda Maendel, who is herself a Hutterite.

It's a fascinating and well written look into one woman's Hutterian worldview, and often the stories are about her day-to-day life in the colony where she lives. Hutterites are a Plain sect that began around the same time as the Amish and Mennonites, and like the other Plain groups, they eventually immigrated to North America. Today there are Hutterite colonies in the northern tier of the United States as well as in Canada. They use modern equipment and technology and grow grains and other crops on massive acreage that's owned by the individual colonies. They eat communally in a centrally located building, but each family has their own home.

I'm so glad I got this book because it's given me a better understanding of this particular people group. Next, I plan on researching their cooking traditions and who knows--maybe I'll post a blog or two with a tasty Hutterite recipe!

Blessings to you and your loved ones. I hope life is treating you gently these days.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gather Around the Amish Table Book Endorsement

Hello, all!

Some months ago I was approached and asked to write an endorsement for a cookbook, which I was happy to do. They promised me a complimentary copy once it was in print, and true to their word, I found this in my mailbox today.

I took a quick peek inside and I'm looking forward to relaxing with a hot cup of tea and going through it at my leisure. The recipes appear to be plain, with no exotic ingredients--the kind of food that many families seem to relish. But what I think I'll enjoy even more are the short "diaries" of the Plain cooks who contributed family favorite recipes.

The book is put out by Herald Press ( and retails for $19.99. It has some great color photos of some of the foods featured in the cookbook, and would more than likely be a great addition to your collection.


May today find you and your loved ones in good health and spirits.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fabulous Wheat Bread Recipe

Two events came together in my little world that resulted in this wonderful bread recipe. First of all, yesterday I canned 46 pounds of albacore tuna, so of course I wanted to have a tuna sandwich for lunch today. But I had no bread. What to do? I could run to the store and buy a loaf, which I do when I'm busy, but the thought of home-canned tuna on homemade bread wouldn't be dislodged from my mind, so this morning early I set about making bread.

I ground up some hard white wheat berries and got a quart of wheat flour, which I figured would be plenty for a single loaf. I also decided that I wanted to throw in some of my powdered buttermilk (I've set myself to the task of finding ways to use powdered buttermilk because it's so handy to have around.). I wasn't planning on making anything complex--just your average loaf of good tasting bread.

But of course, it didn't turn out as I planned, and it's all my fault. (I really need to stop daydreaming while I'm cooking!) Suffice to say that I added way too much yeast (enough for 2-3 loaves, rather than 1!) in the proofing batter. Further, I'm a frugal person, so I couldn't conscience throwing out a perfectly good bowl of bread starter. So I changed plans midstream.

To wit:

Honey Buttermilk Wheat Bread (makes 3 loaves)

1 1/4 cups warm water
4 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/3 cup honey
6-8 T. melted butter
8 T. buttermilk powder
2 cups water
1 T. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 cups wheat flour
4 cups+- regular flour

Grease or butter one large mixing bowl; set aside for now.

In another large mixing bowl, mix together the 1 1/4 cups warm water, yeast, and honey. Let set for about 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble and froth.

Add remainder of ingredients except the regular flour. Mix together with a large wooden spoon. When well mixed, begin to add the regular flour, about a cup at a time and then mix well after each addition. When the dough pulls away from the mixing bowl and forms a loose ball, dump dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick on your counter or bread board. Form into a ball and place in the greased mixing bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

When ready to proceed, grease 3 loaf pans and set aside. Form the dough into 3 loaves and place them in the prepared loaf pans. Cover with the clean towel and let them rise until about doubled. (The loaves will be about 1-2 inches above the top of the pan at their highest peak.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread for 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks.

I have a weakness for fresh baked bread so I did what I usually do--and what the "experts" say you should never do. I cut into one of the loaves minutes after pulling them from the oven so I could slather butter onto a thick heel slice. Heaven!

This is a good recipe--perfect as sandwich bread or toast. The texture is soft and small crumbed (no doubt from the egg and all that butter!), and when completely cooled down you can cut lovely, thin slices if that's your druthers. The only thing that niggles is that it's not the cheapest bread recipe to make, but it still beats the price I would pay for 3 loaves of organic wheat bread at the store. And the freshness and taste can't be improved upon.

Lunchtime, please get here quick. I've got tuna fish sandwiches on the brain!

Hope all is well in your part of the universe. Blessings to you and yours!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Quick and Easy Taco Soup--Delicious!

I've been so busy lately and one evening earlier this week I needed to come up with something quick for dinner. I had some hamburger thawed, so I knew I wanted to start with that. I poked around in the fridge and found a lovely bell pepper along with lots of onions, so next I perused the pantry shelves and made up my mind. Taco Soup sounded like just the thing.

The recipe below is for a smallish batch (serves 3 people), but I listed ingredients in parentheses to make a larger batch  that would easily feed a good-sized family--especially if you serve it with cornbread, biscuits, or buttered bread, etc. And bear in mind that all the ingredients can be increased or decreased according to your tastes.

Ready to Eat!
A Close-up View

Quick and Easy Taco Soup

1/4 lb. hamburger (1 lb.)
1/2 onion, chopped (1 onion)
1/2 bell pepper, chopped (1 bell pepper)
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles (2 cans if you like lots of spice)
1 can diced tomatoes (2 cans)
2+ cans water (4+ cans water)
1 T. powdered Ranch Dressing mix (2 T.), or use a packet if that's what you have 
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (1/2 tsp.)
1 tsp. cumin (1 1/2 tsp.)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup uncooked white rice (1/2 cup)
Brown hamburger and then drain grease. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer until rice is done, about 25 minutes. Once the soup is ready, you can add more water if you want your soup soupier.
Eat as is, or top with cheese:

Sour cream would probably be tasty also.

It's a breeze to make. And it's a delight to eat!

Hope all is well with you and yours. The summer is speeding by, and tomorrow I'm going to can about 50 pounds of tuna. I can't wait!

Carry on!