Quick Fudge!

You get that craving for something sweet and you don’t want to spend time over a pot of boiling chocolate to calm that yearning for fudge NOW! This is a fun and fast way to get that chocolate fix.

Quick Fudge!
3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Place everything except the extract in a large pot. Gently heat to melt and combine the ingredients. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and mix well. Spread the chocolate into an 8-inch square pan lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate two hours our until set. Remove from the pan and cut into serving pieces. Keep in refrigerator.

I like the ease of this recipe and the fact that we have so many different kind of candy chips to use. I like using 2 cups of the semi-sweet chocolate and one cup of peanut butter chips. There is also mint flavored one that can be used for a holiday flare. I’ve been thinking of butterscotch chips with a cup of chopped, dry roasted peanuts might be good. Haven’t tried that one out yet!

Mother Angelica’s Miscarriage Prayer

My Lord, the baby is dead! Why, my Lord – dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face – it will not see the beauty of Your creation or a flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?

“Why, My child, do you ask why? Well, I will tell you why. You see, the child lives. Instead of the winds, he hears the sound of angels singing before my throne. Instead of the beauty that passes, he sees everlasting Beauty – he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so that he, who has the image of his parents imprinted on his face, may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom, and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parent’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow, and called it forth.”

I am humbled before You, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool – forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an eternity.

Fast Rice Fritata

I like to cook but I also like the evening where the cooking doesn’t keep me in the kitchen for TOO many hours! This was always a favorite growing up and it is a quick standby for those busy days. I like to cook extra rice just to have some on hand for something like this.

Fast Rice Fritata
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili flakes
2 cups cooked rice
4-ounce can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

In a large frying pan, brown the onions in the butter until tender.

Beat eggs with milk and seasonings. Stir in Rice, chilies and tomato. Pour into the frying pan with the onions. Turn the heat down low, cover and cook until top is almost set, about 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand about ten minutes before serving.

All Your Christmas Cookies in One Recipe!

When I was little, my mother had a similar recipe for making many kinds of cookies out of one dough. Over the years, it has evolved so here are some of my favorite ways to make use of one cookie dough for a variety of flavors. We used to have Christmas Cookie Baking days with friends and this was always a great way to get started. Another plus is that you can make up all your favorite options listed and refrigerate them and spread out the baking time over several days. This is also your warning . . . December is tomorrow so can Christmas be coming rather quickly?

All Your Christmas Cookies in One Recipe
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons butter flavoring/extract
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, extracts and spices. Mix in the dry ingredients until well-blended.

Now, you are ready to bake . . . But what kind of cookies do you want to make? All this beautiful dough ready for creation . . . Divide your dough into eight portions and start thinking!

Cherry-Orange Drops
Additions:
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
½ cup diced green and red maraschino cherries
½ cup finely chopped walnuts

Mix in a an eighth of your prepared dough. Refrigerate dough for an hour. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden in a preheated 375 degree oven.

Wedding Cookies
Additions:
Those popular Wedding cookies will take another eighth of your dough Simply stir in 1 cup of finely chopped pecans and chill dough for four hours. When dough is ready, shape into small balls on a parchment-line baking sheet. Cookie scoops make this easy. You don’t want golf ball size here. Bake at 375 degrees until set and browned on the bottom, depending on the size of the balls, about 5-8 minutes. Watch them carefully! Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a cup of powdered sugar in a bowl. If you happen to have vanilla powder on hand, do put a few teaspoons in the sugar. Now roll each of the warm cookie balls in the sugar and set aside to complete cooling. You want to do this when they are still warm.

Chocolate Cinnamon Balls
Additions:
Similar to the Wedding Cookies but with a spicy, chocolate element. Add in ½ cup finely diced walnuts and ½ cup of mini-chocolate chips. Follow the directions for baking the cookies like the Wedding Cookies. Let the cookies rest before rolling them in a mixture of ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and a dash of ground cloves.

Crispy Cut-Out Cookies
No additions here but you will need to chill the dough a couple of hours to facilitate rolling it out. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about an eighth of an inch thick. The fun part? Using your choice of cookie cutters to create you edible Christmas good wishes. Place your cookies on a parchment-line baking sheet(s) and bake about 6-8 minutes in 375 degree oven. Watch carefully to insure golden cookies. A quick brush of icing is a cup of powdered sugar and enough cream or milk to form a spreadable icing. Those plastic pastry brushes are great from quick icing. Be sure to have some sparkly sugar or colorful decorations to add before the icing sets.

Gingerbread Men
Additions:
1/4 cup molasses
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Follow the directions for cooling, cutting, and baking the Crispy Cut-Out Cookies. Hope you have a gingerbread man cookie cutter on hand!

Chocolate Sandwich cookies
Again, no additions but a fun, tasty cookie. Take your eighth portion of dough, divide in half, and roll each into a roll about 1 ½- inches in diameter. Refrigerate a couple of hours and then slice the cookie rounds about an eighth thick and place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake in 375 degree oven for 5-8 minutes. Let cool a bit before removing to a cooling rack. Meanwhile, carefully melt a cup of milk chocolate chips. Take one cookie and spread some chocolate on the bottom and sandwich it (bottoms sides facing) with another cookie. For a fun decoration, when the cookie sandwiches are done, Melt ½ cup white, mint, or peanut butter chips (Your choice!) and drizzle it over the tops of the cookies and sprinkle with some colorful sugar or decoration.

Sugared Cookies
No additions but some colorful sugar would work well here. As usual, make sure the dough has been refrigerated at least an hour. Scoop up heaping teaspoonfuls of the dough, roll in the sugar, and place about two-inches apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Press gently down on each cookie – not TOO thin! Bake for approximately 5-6 minutes or until lightly golden in 375-degree oven. Let rest before removing to cooling racks.

Brown Butter Frosted Walnut-Nut Drops
Additions:
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix in the walnuts/cinnamon and refrigerate the dough. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls on parchment-lined baking sheets about two-inches apart. Bake for approximately 5-7 minutes or until golden and set. Now, this is what elevates the cookie to dramatically tasty! In a small pot, melt a stick of butter and watching carefully cook it until it starts to brown, stirring constantly. Remove from stove and add 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and enough cream or milk to combine. Mix well. It should not be runny but not too thick, either. Add drops of milk or cream if it is too thick. Now, pick up each cooled cooking and dip it halfway into the icing and set back on the cooling rack to set. Before it sets, however, would be a good time to sprinkle some chopped nuts or colorful decorations on them.

Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies
Additions:
2 ounces of melted and cooled baking chocolate
Mix the chocolate into your eighth portion of dough thoroughly. Divide in two and form into two rolls about 1 ½-inches in diameter and cool for two hours. Slice off rounds of cookies into approximately one-eighth slices. Place on the parchment-line baking sheets and bake for 5-6 minutes. They should be set but be careful of scorching. Chocolate tends to do that! Let rest on baking sheets before removing to cooling rack. Meanwhile, beat 1½ sticks of softened butter with approximately two cups powdered sugar. Drops of milk or cream helps if it is too thick. You need fluffy and spreadable here. Tint it with a tiny bit of red food coloring to get a pink hue. You can add ½ cup of crushed candy cane to the frosting or simply flavor with a drop of peppermint extract.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Prepare the dough and baking as shown above for the Chocolate Peppermint Patty cookies. This time, beat together ½ stick of softened butter, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and enough cream or milk if it needs thinning down a bit. Fill the cookies as shown in previous recipe. For an added treat, melt 1 ½ cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips and dip each cookie half way in and then set on waxed paper to set.

Yes, I know there are eleven choices here. You can pick our favorite eight! You can also divide a couple of your ‘eighths’ of dough in half which would work well with the drop cookies to try all eleven ideas.

Another Sore Loser?

Frankly, I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of sore losers in my whole life. In spite of an election that went by the books and in spite of an election tainted by the left with voter fraud, Donald Trump was elected president. Not even knowing the basics of our Constitution, students and paid protestors are demanding we change to popular vote NOW, impeach the president-elect, and even send out hopeful tweets hinting or directly asking for someone, anyone to take out President-Election Trump. The current president says people have a right to protest and the media is having at it with soap opera like news.

And, we are not even safe from this caterwauling when wanting to do something like ordering groceries and such. Seems that CEO’s would rather jeopardize their companies than stick to their business at hand.

For over 30 years, we have been ordering our herbs and spices on-line through Penzey’s Spices. We liked their small batch processing, the quality of their product, and price. We started using them when they were only one shop back East and everyone was through the mail. Today, they have 30 stores. We have noticed that the CEO has been leaning a bit left in his monthly magazine/ad but we recognize everyone’s right to be/think as they see fit. Seems, however, that he doesn’t value our democratic process much or respects the man who won the office.

A recent Facebook Post has created an internet firestorm.
In it, CEO Bill Penzey asserts that Trump voters “just committed the biggest act of racism in American history since Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway 53 years ago.” Penzey references the infamous segregationist George C. Wallace, who vowed “segregation forever” and blocked the door to prohibit black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963.

Penzey offers some suggestions for Trump voters to make amends this Thanksgiving season, including making sizeable donations to the American Civil Liberties Union or the Southern Poverty Law Center. Or, he suggests, do what you do best and volunteer, noting that Republicans really are a “good bunch.”

Sorry, but having a CEO decide that all Trump voters are racist doesn’t set well with me. I don’t like condescension, either admitting that Mr. Penzey allows that we aren’t all THAT bad but need his guidance.

Fortunately, my annual order for herbs and spices kept getting delayed in ordering. I do not wish to support a CEO with feelings so far beyond the social norms of being a businessman dealing with the public. Even as I wondered where to find the spices that add that certain something to my baking and cooking, we discovered that there is some inner family turmoil about the business and some of the family departed from the Penzey flag ship, years ago, and have a spice company called The Spice House. This morning, I took my list originally slated for Penzey and ordered from The Spice House. The two sides of the family don’t seem to share political views or, at least, one of them respects their customers and their views. In fact, for a short time, The Spice House is offering free shipping if you put in NO POLITICS in the payment page.

An added bonus is that The Spice House has a lot more interesting items, spices, herbs, chilis, extracts and they are less expensive. Mr. Penzey of Penzey’s Spices doesn’t want to deal with ‘racist’ Republicans so we were more honorable to him than he was with us and we unsubscribed from his email and Facebook and put in a rather substantial order to The Spice House. A win/win, right, Mr. Penzey.

https://www.thespicehouse.com/?gclid=CjwKEAiAmdXBBRD0hZCVkYHTl20SJACWsZj9NpkfuiiRuttMTxmQmKtcX_iz2MWZYeRu0BkOpR_e8BoC3RPw_wcB