Got Persimmons? Make Persimmon-Cranberry Pie Filling.

Fuyu persimmons are getting ripe on the trees so it’s time to start making pie filling, breads or pudding.  If you have a lot of persimmons, you may want to try making this Persimmon-Cranberry Pie Filling to have on hand during the holidays.  One quart of this pie filling is enough for an 8″ pie.

Once the filling is prepared, it is packed into quart jars and placed in a hot water bath for 25 minutes to seal.  This recipe uses a product called Clear Jel which is a cornstarch derivative and is the perfect thickening agent for this filling.  Be sure to use the “cook-type” of Clear Jel for this recipe.  Clear Jel can be found online at: Hoosier Fill Farms

After the filling is made, it’s simple to add the filling to a prepared shortbread crust.  For the pie above, the topping is 1 1/2 cups flour, 4 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons Splenda for Baking, combined well and sprinkled over the pie filling.  The pie was then baked at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until the filling started to bubble.

For recipe, click here:  Persimmon and Cranberry Pie Filling Recipe

To learn more about Clear Jel, here is a good article:  Living Homegrown – Using Clear Jel

Be sure to check out the recipe above and give this a try.  My efforts yielded 15 quarts of pie filling, enough for the upcoming holidays.  See ya in the kitchen ~ Barbara

 

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Homemade Sauerkraut

When life gives you cabbages, make “kraut.” And that’s exactly what I did.  With two large heads of cabbage, I set off to make “kraut” which will pair very well with Kielbasa and Apples later this winter.

This recipe is best made in pint jars.  Be sure to purchase plastic lids to use over the metal lid when making this kraut.  I was able to find the plastic lids at Walmart. The metal rings may rust because of the salt in the brining liquid.  After packing the jars, the jarred kraut sits in ice cold water for 9 days. No need for hot water bath processing.  After the 9 days, the jars are removed from the ice water and sit for a couple of weeks.

For recipe, click here: Homemade Sauerkraut

Many thanks to Liz and Jim Harper, of Hiltons, Virginia, for the recipe.

It’s Beginning to Look Like Fall … Pumpkins and All!

I have to admit that I am sort of a “pumpkin” junkie.  Pumpkin Spice coffee, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin oatmeal, anything with pumpkin is on my shelves at this time of year.  It’s too bad that we only enjoy pumpkin in the fall; it’s good all year long.  I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Muffins and felt the time was right to give them a bake.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

There is a lovely texture to these muffins and they are not to sweet.  I use the Sugar Blend for Brown Sugar to cut down on the sugar content and I omitted the salt.  The chopped pecans add a slight nutty flavor to compliment the muffins.  Serve warm with a bit of cream cheese and you’re ready for Fall.  Now where is my pumpkin spice coffee??  See ya around the hay bales this Fall ~ Barbara

Pumpkin-Spice Muffins

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned solid-pack pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2/3 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 12 standard-size muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners.  Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and allspice in large bowl.  With pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Beat together egg substitute, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla in small bowl until blended.  Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until blended.  Spoon batter into muffin cups, dividing equally.  Sprinkle pecans over the tops.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Remove muffins from the pan to a wire rack.  Let cool slightly.  Serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins.

Per Muffin:  161 calories, 4 g fat, 250 mg sodium, 4 g protein, 27 g carb, 8 mg cholesterol

 

 

Pears and Blueberries, Oh My!

I’ve been keeping an eye on two Kiefer Pears that were still trying to ripen when I noticed they were finally ready.  After doing a bit of searching, I found a recipe for a Blueberry, Pear & Walnut Galette that sounded yummy.  The recipe uses Puff Pastry, which I love to use, some blueberries and pears.  It also calls for walnuts, but I used pecans instead.  Other than that one change, I followed the recipe exactly.  Unfortunately there is nothing left.  Sister and I each had a piece, I shared a couple of pieces with my neighbors and a couple more pieces with a friend who stopped by.  Oh well, guess I’ll have to make it again.  Hope you’ll give this a try.

Blueberry, Pear and Walnut (Pecan) Galette

Thanks to Pie Lady Bakes for the recipe and inspiration for this dessert.  Pie Lady Bakes, click here: Pie Lady Bakes-Blog

Blueberry, Pear & Walnut Galette

Ingredients:
1 roll of frozen puff pastry
2 Bosc pears, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1 egg, beaten

Directions:
Thaw the puff pastry, and place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and ginger together. Toss the pears and walnuts in the sugar mixture until well coated.  Arrange the pear slices over the dough in two rows (see photo), keeping about 1/2 inch from all edges. Sprinkle blueberries over pears.  Fold over the puff pastry along each edge, pressing corners together.  Brush the puff pastry with the beaten egg.  Place in the bottom third of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

 

A Cool Salad for a Hot Summer’s Day – Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad

When I was working in Nashville, Tennessee, one of my favorite places for lunch was a small bistro directly across the street from the Main Library.  They had scrumptious pastries for the morning and satisfying salads for lunch.  My choice was their cold peanut noodle salad with fresh vegetables.  I had not thought about that salad for quite some time until I ran across this recipe from the Eating Well Test Kitchen.  Loaded with strips of chicken, red peppers, cucumbers and green onions, the pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti) is bathed in a sauce of creamy peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil and soy sauce.  I followed the recipe (see below) but feel it’s a bit too much rice wine vinegar.  I am not a fan of Cilantro so that was not added to my dish.  I used whole wheat pasta, low sodium soy sauce, and Smart Balance peanut butter for a healthier version. For purposes of my photo, I did not add the romaine but I will when this dish is served.  Try making this dish with less rice wine vinegar and then add more if needed.  You may also need to add a touch of sweetener; just taste the dish and make any necessary adjustments. I added a small amount of Splenda.

Many thanks to Eating Well Test Kitchen for this delicious recipe, click here:

Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad

I mean, who doesn’t like peanut butter for lunch!!  Give this salad a try for your next get together or as a treat just for yourself.  Go ahead, you deserve a treat.  See ya in the kitchen ~ Barbara

 

 

Combine Two Favorites, Lemon and Zucchini, For A Tasty Tea Bread

One of my favorite flavors for baking is lemon, either lemon zest or lemon juice … or both!  And this tea bread combines both, zest and juice, along with shredded zucchini for a light and easy to make tea bread. To cut down on the sugar, I used Splenda for Baking and I also used a little less oil than was called for in the recipe.  Even though my dough seemed a bit thick, it baked up in 45 minutes to a beautiful golden brown on the outside and a light and airy dough on the inside.  Be sure to watch your oven around the 45 minute mark so as not to overbake.  The recipe calls for a bread pan, but I just used a 9×5 loaf pan and it worked just fine. I also omitted the glaze on top, but that’s up to you.  This will be the perfect bread paired with my ham and cheese egg casserole.

Thanks to Lemon Tree Dwelling for the recipe, click here to download recipe: Lemon Zucchini Bread

Check out Lemon Tree Dwelling for more recipes, click here:  http://www.lemontreedwelling.com/

Need to find me? I’ll be in the kitchen ~ Barbara

Buzzing Around Brunswick County – Local Beekeepers and Their Efforts to Save the Bees

“We would like you to write an article on local beekeepers” my editor said to me earlier this summer. “Sure thing” I say.  Oh no, what did I get myself into, I ask?  I know nothing about bees other than they produce honey and bee stings.  Well, I was going to find out all I ever wanted to know about beekeeping, and then some.  My journey started by attending a local beekeepers meeting, and then scheduling interviews.

For the next several weeks, I visited farm after farm learning all about bee hives and the countless hours these beekeepers devote to protecting these tiny creatures.  Most beekeepers have the same thoughts about their bees. “They are like my children, they need nurturing, food and shelter.”

My story, and photographs, was just published in the South Brunswick Magazine, Summer 2017 issue.  To read about my journey into beekeeping, click on the link below.

Click here to read story:  2017 Summer SBM-Buzzing Around Brunswick County

Many thanks to all the beekeepers who gave up their time to school me in the “sweeter” side. And thanks for the honey!  Be sure to check out my recipe for Honey Thyme Shortbread which is included in the article.

Maybe I’ll see you around the bee hives! ~ Barbara

Fresh Pears are In Season … How About This Pear Tart?

Pears are starting to ripen here in North Carolina and what could be better than a Pear Tart?  This recipe calls for canned pears, just to make it a quick bake.  I used home canned pears in a light syrup, drained well.  The crust is light and crunchy with finely chopped walnuts, a slightly sweet layer of cream cheese and then topped with these glorious pears.  A sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar top this off for a truly delectable dessert. To keep the sugar content to a minimum, I used Splenda for Baking instead of regular sugar. In place of the recommended tart pan, I used a 9-inch springform pan and it worked just fine.

Thanks to Taste of Home for this recipe.  It’s a keeper for me and one that I will make again.  Recipe is below photo.  Hope you’ll give it a try for your next get-together.

Click here for recipe:  https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pear-tart

See ya around the kitchen ~ Barbara

Figs are in Season! Try these Glazed Warm Fig Bars for a Tasty Treat.

In my younger days, one of my favorite cookies was Fig Newtons, and they still are a favorite today.  I wanted to try my hand at making my own, but I didn’t want the heavy texture of the original cookie.  Thanks to Pepperidge Farms and their Puff Pastry, I have found a way to get the taste of Fig Newtons, but with a flaky crust.  The recipe calls for dried figs, but since fresh figs are now in season, I cooked a batch of fresh figs and then drained them.  I did add some dried figs to tighten up the filling.  If you don’t have fresh figs, just follow the recipe (a link to the recipe is at the end of this post.)

Be sure to use local honey for this recipe for that taste of sweetness.  I will definitely make these again.

Homemade Fig Bars with Puff Pastry

 

Homemade Fig Bars fresh from the oven

Puff Pastry is my go-to pastry for these tasty treats.  If you do not like figs, try substituting any dried fruit; just follow the recipe on the initial cooking of the fruit.

Many thanks to Pepperidge Farms for their delicious recipes.

Recipe courtesy of Pepperidge Farms; click here:  https://www.puffpastry.com/recipe/glazed-warm-fig-bars/

Maybe I’ll see you in the kitchen! ~ Barbara

Need an idea for Breakfast? Try these Mini Ham ‘n’ Cheese Frittatas and Chocolate Delight Banana Muffins

Breakfast has to be my favorite meal of the day. It just gets my day going, especially after a couple of cups of coffee.  I’m always searching for new and simple ideas to add variety to my meals. This delightful combination of mini frittatas and muffins fits the bill for easy breakfast eats.  If you don’t want to bake early in the morning, make these the day before and then warm them up and serve with fresh fruit and coffee.  Both of these recipes are perfect if you are baking for a diabetic; food exchanges are included.

Chocolate Delight Banana Muffins (left) and Mini Ham ‘n’ Cheese Frittatas (right)

The muffins are made with reduced fat-biscuit baking mix, Splenda and a touch of sour cream, along with bananas, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and walnuts.  Light and moist, these are just perfect hot out of the oven.  For the frittatas, I made the recipe exactly as stated except I used about one tablespoon dried onions instead of the chives.  I only used the chives as a garnish.  A great combination of flavors all wrapped up in a small bundle.  Next time I may substitute turkey sausage and use fat-free mozzarella cheese for a different flavor combination.

Thanks to Taste of Home for the frittata recipe.  Click here for recipe:  Mini Ham ‘n’ Cheese Frittatas

Click here for recipe:  Chocolate Delight Banana Muffins

Both of these recipes are definite keepers.  I hope you give them a try and add them to your cookbook.  See ya around the kitchen ~ Barbara