Saturday, November 21, 2009

Home-made Butter

Hailey and I made butter this week. This is something I used to do with my kindergarten kids the week of thanksgiving. It is easy and it brings back memories for me when I was a girl and had the assignment to churn butter every week from the cream urnished by our Jersey cow, using a paddle type butter churn with a glass bottom. For my kindergarten kids and Hailey all we needed was some clean baby food jars and a carton of whipping cream.
You just put about 1/2 in. of cream in the jar and screw the lid on tight. Then you start shaking the jar rhythmically making sure the cream hits the top (lid) and bottom of the jar alternately with each shake. Shaking does not have to be done fast but hitting the top and bottom of the jar causes the fat globules in the cream to turn into butter.
This takes about 15 minutes. while everyone was shaking and waiting for their cream to turn into butter we would take turns talking about Thanksgiving traditions.
After about 15 minutes a yellowish thump of butter should start to form and the leftover whey can be poured off. Sometimes I save it and use it in baking (such as cakes).
In kindergarten we made corn muffins (I just used the Jiffy brand corn muffin mix. I added a couple teaspoons of sugar since they were not served with honey or jam.) in a mini muffin pan. My mother added a little salt and yellow food coloring to our butter but in kindergarten we ate it without. It tasted a little like whipped cream on a cupcake.
Students were excited to make butter just like the pilgrims did and it might give your children something to do while they are waiting on the turkey.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

German Chocolate Cake

Last week I made German Chocolate Cake Frosting/Filling with Hailey. I have to be totally honest. The fact that Ralph's birthday is this week and this is his favorite kind of birhday cake probably entered into my choice. We made a chocolate cake mix since that was not the focus of the project. We each got a round 9" cake with German Chocolate Cake Frosting/Filling on the top. The cake got eaten before Sara & family came this weekend to celebrate his birthday. (Jay was in Texas at the football game with TCU.) We managed a quick birthday celebration during halftime and finished warching the TCU game while we ate dinner that Sara had made of Ralph's favorite foods, Roast Leg of Lamb, mashed potatoes and gravy, fruit salad with cool whip, etc. Sara even made another birthday cake (carrot cake with cream cheese frosting) with all 59 candles which the grandkids helped grandpa blow out.
Sara and Emily gave Ralph a Chocolate Latte machine and some cans of flavored Hot Chocolate mix so we each had a cup before we went to bed. All in all, it felt like a family celebration which is hard for two old fogies like us to accomplish.

German Chocolate Cake Frosting/Filling

1 c. evaporated milk
1 c. sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 lb. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
Cook in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until mixture thickens. (about 12 min.) Add 1 1/3 c. angel flake coconut and 1 c. chopped pecans (chopped walnuts may be used.) Beat until frosting is cool and thick enough to spread. Makes 2 2/3 c. frosting.

There is enough to spread the top layer and fill the midde of two 9" inch chocolate cakes (German chocolate cake is usually lighter chocolate.) I frost the sides of a two layer cake with regular chocolate frosting and put a marascino cherry on top like the bakery does.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

White Chili

Last week we made white chili. The nane has never sounded very appealing to me but we really like it and get a hankering for it from time to time. Neither Ralph nor I like spicy food so I cut the spices by as much as 1/2. The canned green chilis are not hot.


1 lb. white beans (navy beans) - soaked overnite and drined ( 4 cans,including liquid of cooked navy beans may be used.)
6 c. chicken broth ( chicken boullion may be used.)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 medium chopped onions
1 T. oil
2 4 oz. cans green chilis, chopped
2 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. chopped oregano
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
4 c.diced, cooked chicken breasts
Combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 3 hrs. (If using canned beans cook for less time or until flavors are combined) Add more broth if necessary.
Serve hot and topped with your choce of the following items:
chopped green onions
sliced black olives
grated cheese
chopped tomatoes
sour xream
crushed tortilla chips

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Split Pea Soup

We have been having snow and cold weather so it felt like soup. Ralph requested his favorite soup - Marcia Homer's Split Pea Soup. This is a recipe I got while we were young married and in college at the University of Idaho. It has been a family favorite in the 30 years since. It has a little more pizazz than plain old split pea soup.

Marcia Homer's Split Pea Soup

1 lb. peas, rinsed (I have never rinsed as the split peas I buy in the grocery store are pretty clean these days.)
2 quarts water
2 c. chopped carrots
2 c. chopped celery. including tops and leaves
2 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. dried parsley flakes or 1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. oregano leaves or 1/4 t. ground oregano
1 T. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 bay leaf ( I generally do not have them and have never included them.)
1 meaty hambone or hamhock ( I usually use the bone left over from a holiday ham I have on hand.)
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hr. 3o min. or until a thick soup has formed. Remove cooled meat from bone. Add meat to soup and throw bone away. Enjoy with bread and butter.