Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies.......She looks well to the ways of her household. Proverbs 31:10-27
We're sisters who like to cook and bake, talk cooking and baking, and share recipes and kitchen wisdom.

Crisp Oat Pecan Cookies

  I wanted to make some cookies today, and did not want to go to the store, so the recipe had to be something I had in the pantry.
 This recipe in the Taste of Home Winning Recipes was for a cookie mix in a jar. Those are not my favorite type of mixes but the recipe looked interesting. I made it up using their ingredients and normal cookie directions and they are very good. 
  The recipe mix just made one batch of cookies so I wouldn’t bother to make a mix out of it. Do give it a try though as you will never have anyone guess that there are Rice Krispies in the dough. The cookies are light and crisp and crunchy. Just hit the spot and everyone said to make them again, so will keep them in the rotation.
 Here is my adaptation of Oat Pecan Cookies.
Crisp Oat Pecan Cookies
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup old fashioned or regular oats (not instant)
1 cup crisp rice cereal
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup softened butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  Mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda, oats, rice cereal and pecans in small bowl; set aside.
  Beat butter till soft, add sugars and beat till light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Gradually add the rest of the dry ingredients to the butter, egg mixture. Blend till combined.
  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on greased or parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake in 350°F. Oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake as they will be hard. They should be brown and look slightly damp. 
  Leave cookies on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then cool cookies on wire racks.

Sunday in Iowa

This nice old fire truck is in a large yard on a quiet side street in our neighborhood.

Family Favorites...Pineapple Spice Drop Cookies

Need something quick, inexpensive and delicious for coffee time?  Here’s your recipe!
These cookies go together fast; you can bake them right away; they are really yummy!  Guaranteed to get you plenty of helpers in the kitchen and lunchbox or picnic fans too.
I used the drained pineapple juice and a little powdered sugar to make a glaze to dribble over them – add a dash of salt to keep the frosting from being too sweet. 
Pineapple Spice Drop Cookies
  2          Cups  Sifted All Purpose Flour (8 ½ ounces)
  1          Teaspoon  Baking Powder
  1          Teaspoon  Baking Soda
  1          Teaspoon  Salt
     1/2    Cup  Shortening – softened (3 ½ ounces)
     1/2    Cup  Sugar (3 ½ ounces)
     1/2    Cup  Brown Sugar (3 ½ ounces)
  1          Teaspoon  Cinnamon
     1/2    Teaspoon  Nutmeg
     1/4    Teaspoon  Ground Cloves
  1          Large  Egg -- unbeaten
     2/3    Cup  Crushed Pineapple – drained (an 8 ½ ounce can)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix shortening, white sugar, brown sugar, spices and egg until creamy.  Blend in pineapple, then flour mixture.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls (size 50 or 60 scoop) of dough, 2" apart, on ungreased cookie sheets (I use parchment paper).  Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Celery with Citrus Ginger Sauce

Here’s a simply delicious side dish!  My husband couldn’t believe CELERY could be so good.  I couldn’t believe it could be so quick as well.  This is a healthy, fiber-filled, delicious side dish.  I especially like it with an entrĂ©e that I bake, like chicken breasts or fish, so I can stir fry while the main dish is baking and have it all done on time.
Peanuts or old-fashioned Chow Mein noodles make a good topping too; and I have used a Meyer lemon instead of orange for the citrus – and also purchased orange juice as well.  I use the purchased fresh ginger paste in a tube that I find in the refrigerated salad section of our grocery – no waste.                 

Celery with Citrus Ginger Sauce
  2         Teaspoons  Orange Zest -- slivered
     1/3  Cup  Fresh Orange Juice
  2         Tablespoons  Soy Sauce
  1         Tablespoon  Honey
  1         Teaspoon  Cornstarch
  2         Tablespoons  Olive Oil
  4         Cups  Celery -- diagonally sliced
  1         Teaspoon  Fresh Ginger -- finely chopped
  1         Teaspoon  Garlic -- finely chopped
     3/4  Cup  Onion -- halved and slivered
     1/4  Cup  Cashews -- chopped
Cut orange zest into fine slivers.  Whisk orange juice, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch together until blended.
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil, celery, onion and orange zest.  Stir fry until celery is crisp tender but still bright green, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in ginger and garlic.  Add the orange juice mixture and stir fry just until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle with cashews and serve.
6 Servings
Per Serving : 115 Calories; 7g Fat (53.8% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 415mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

 Adapted from “Eating Well” Magazine

Make it Yourself...Eggs as leavening agents

Soft and Stiff beaten eggs, Beaten yolks, Jelly Roll
 Eggs serve as leavening agents in their ability to foam. Egg whites or egg yolks can each foam separately or together as a whole egg. Whisking egg white incorporates air and produces a foam - a relatively stable mass of bubbles. Whole eggs incorporate air less well, especially when beaten into a batter, but give a sponge cakes a light texture. Beaten eggs are a leavening agent as they incorporate air into the batter, which will expand in the oven and cause cakes and souffles to rise. 
If left to stand, egg white foam will gradually collapse, but when heated the foam becomes permanent, such as in a meringue. Some cakes, such as Angel Food Cake use beaten eggs as their only source of leavening, as do egg souffles.  
 Eggs, as well as flour, are the structural ingredients in baking. Eggs provide leavening; add color, texture, flavor and richness to the batter. 
 Over beating of egg whites can cause some problems in folding them into other ingredients and may collapse more easily.  They should just hold a soft or stiff peak which ever your recipe calls for.
Always fold them into other mixtures, not stirring them in as you want to keep as much air as possible in the beaten egg mixture. Under beating of course will cause you some problems also as they will not hold a structure as well. Really it isn’t as hard as this sounds, just use some common sense and you will be fine.

Sunflower Wheat Hamburger Buns

Clockwise, top R:  Ingredients, brushing risen buns with egg wash, letting buns rise in covered half sheet pan,
wonderful finished buns!
I like to keep some hamburger buns on hand in the freezer all the time – they are handy for sandwiches on those days when you are pressed for time.  Here’s a nice recipe for hearty buns that we’ll have again.
It had everything we like in them, and I keep the ingredients on hand for baking anyway.  I buy my wheat germ, wheat bran, flours and seeds at our nearest Amish grocery for a good price.                    
Sunflower Wheat Hamburger Buns
  2 1/2  Cups  Bread Flour -- 11 1/4 ounces
  1         Cup  Whole Wheat Flour -- 4 ounces
  1         Teaspoon  Salt
  2 ½     Teaspoons  Instant Yeast, or bread machine yeast
     ¼      Cup  Toasted Wheat Germ -- 1 ounce
     ¼      Cup  Wheat Bran -- 1/2 oz
     ¼      Cup  Sunflower Seeds -- 1 1/4 oz
  1         Tablespoon  Poppy Seeds
     ¼      Cup  Salad Oil
     ¼      Cup  Honey
  1          Large  Egg
  1          Cup  Water -- 120°-125°
Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl.  Heat water to 120-125°.
Add oil, honey and egg to dry ingredients.  Mix briefly with paddle attachment.  Add water, while mixer is on low, as fast as flour will absorb the water.  Mix on speed 1 or 2 for 2 minutes.
Change to dough hook.  Knead for 6 minutes.  Cover and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
Deflate dough. Divide dough into 12 hamburger buns - 2 3/4 oz. each.  Shape into balls and flatten.
Place on a half sheet lightly greased or lined with parchment.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 25-30 minutes. (I brushed the risen rolls lightly with an egg yolk beaten with a tablespoon of water for a nice shiny crust.)
Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until internal temp. is 200°.
Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
**Can also be shaped into 20 dinner rolls and baked for 12 minutes.

  "Everyday Light Meals"

Mushroom Cube Steak

  For supper tonight, I tried the Mushroom Cube
Steaks from Best of Country Cooking. It was a
simple recipe, but very good. We like mushrooms and this treatment of cube steaks is more like a regular steak. The mustard added to the flavor and when I put the steaks back to cook with the mushrooms, I deglazed the pan with some brandy. This is not in the recipe, but I wanted the flavor. If you use brandy or sherry, just add enough to deglaze. You do not want them to simmer, just to finish cooking with the mushrooms and onions. Simple, quick and tasty. What more could a cook ask for.
Mushroom Cube Steak
3 cube steaks or one apiece for as many as you are feeding.
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter for each steak
½ teaspoon mustard per steak
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce per steak
½ pound sliced fresh mushrooms
¼ of medium sliced onion
  Melt the butter in a large skillet, salt and pepper the steaks. Add to the skillet and brown on both sides. Remove steaks and spread each steak with about ½ teaspoon mustard. Sprinkle with the ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce and keep warm. 
  Melt more butter in pan if needed and saute the mushrooms and onions until tender. Deglaze with brandy or sherry if desired. Add the steaks back to the skillet and cover. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until steak is tender. 

Sunday in Iowa

"Centennial Corner" in Bussey, Iowa, Population 422, another old coal town.