Thursday, December 22, 2011

Barbecued Marinated Firebird - not our favorite

We had never grilled turkey breast before, which is probably why this wasn't our idea of a great meal.  Next!

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Trophy Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Cakes
Next Recipe:  Chocolate Cheese Cake - looks awesome! I'll be back after while!.  Bon Appetit!

Vacation Trip to Thunder Bay, Ontario with Arliss, Bob and Sybil Moreland: There, and Back Again

[Bob Moreland, my stepfather, writes a column ('Friends and Fancies') that is published in a number of newspapers in South Dakota and Nebraska.  His September 2011 columns described the vacation trip I took with Bob, my mother Arliss, and Bob's daughter Sybil at the end of August.  We had a great time and I wanted to share Bob's viewpoint (with his permission) as well as my own photos and images. I have also added some additional information and weblinks where I think it will add to the story (my comments are in italics). - DeAnn]

#412 Friends and Fancies
By  Bob Moreland
September 1, 2011
Bob Moreland, photo by Steve Moreland

This has been an eventful week.  Last Sunday we packed our suitcases and headed to the Fairground in Valentine.   We arrived just as the Sand Painters and other exhibitors were about ready to take their paintings from the walls.  They had entered some very professional paintings and photography.   Dave Dorsey had the “best of show” ribbon with a painting making the use of color in an abstract painting of an outdoor scene.

Green Valley Ranch, near Merriman, Nebraska, to Valentine, Nebraska
The occasion was a surprise party for Pat Schemmer [Schemmer Studios, Valentine, Nebraska]  who was given the Rose of the Sandhills Award in recognition of the many honors and awards that she has received for her skills in many forms in the art world and her continual unselfish aid and assistance  in promoting art among beginners and longer term artists.   In the invitation to the party we were asked to bring an original work 5X7 or smaller for Pat.   A day or two before I found a picture I had taken of Pat and penciled a drawing of  it  on a 5X7 canvas and  got out my oil paints that hadn’t been used for many seasons.  The caps were all dried on.  In the past when that happened I never found any other way to open them other than lighting a match and holding it until the cap twisted off, usually burning my fingers and littering the place with burned matches.  I got the innovative idea this time to light a candle and rotating each tube that I planned to use  over the flame.

I got Pat’s likeness fairly well captured but thought she was too dark and started experimenting.  By the use of pastel chalk I did get it lightened but lost the details.  Realizing that I needed to present it within a period of 24 hours I wiped it out with a rag approximately 6 or 7 times trying every medium at my disposal with the hope that I could get it to look even close to resembling Pat as I had it before all the wipeouts.   Knowing that I would have no other time to write this week’s Friends and Fancies I spent the whole time from supper to breakfast trying to complete both projects.  I blamed near decided to scrap my portrait of Pat but it was too late for any other plan so took it and received a hug and a thank you!  Had anyone asked about the media  that I used I would have told them,  “A combination of lead pencil, magic marker, chalk, water color, oil paints, erasers, sandpaper, ball-point pen, crayola, my jack knife and spit.”
I told Arliss at the time we got married, just a month short of four years ago, several places that I wanted to take her and people that I wanted her to meet. 

Bob and Arliss on their sunny wedding day, October 2, 2007
Merriman to Valentine to Pierre
We accomplished another one of those goals after leaving Valentine last Sunday.   We are now in Albert Lea, MN on the way home from Thunder Bay, Ontario, winding up a wonderful week.   

We drove from Valentine to Pierre, to the home of Merlyn and Arliss’ daughter, DeAnn Hilmoe.   They were expecting us!  Merlyn had an outdoor cooker with deep fat at the boiling stage and was just ready to put in his last catch of Walleyes.  Added to that pleasant scene were our long-time friends, Dan and Myrna Buckles, formerly from Martin, now living in Pierre, their mouths watering, witnessing.

In a short time we were enjoying Walleye, and Zucchini Stir-fry, a meal to be remembered. 


After a good night’s sleep, DeAnn, Sybil, Arliss and I left for Benson, MN for a noon lunch with Arley Anderson.  Arley was Elaine’s late brother Bruce’s wife [Elaine was Bob's first wife, who passed away about seven years ago. Arley is Elaine's sister-in-law.] Arley's son Rob and his wife Pam joined us briefly.

[On our way to Benson, we stopped in Redfield, SD to get some gas - "coincidentally," my cousin Evey DeKay was just arriving at work at the next convenience store, so we got to greet her and catch up on her life. 'Next time' maybe we'll get to see her sister Marleen as well!]
Pierre to Benson, Minnesota

Benson, MN to Foley, MN to Duluth later that night

After catching up on happenings since the last time we had been together we headed for Duluth, MN where DeAnn’s brother-in-law Dick Hilmoe and wife Judie live. 

However, our next stop was in Foley, MN to see Randy and Donna Schaefer who worked for us a number of years ago.  [To Be Continued...]

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Carrot Salad

And I'm back to the Columbia Classics Car Club Trophy Recipes!   Last evening I made Carrot Salad as a side dish. It was a hit!

This recipe was provided to the cookbook by Rita Nehls, and this is her note with the recipe: "This was my Mother's recipe.  She used 4 cups of carrots; instead of dicing her onions she slices them so they can be eaten in rngs and puts her peppers in chunks.  Then she reuses the dressing as a salad dressing when the carrots are all gone.  TALK ABOUT FRUGAL...a depression child, you know! Anyway, enjoy it whichever way you want.  You have seen mine and I chop everything as most men don't like a salad that has large green pepper chunks or onion chunks in it.  ENJOY."

After supper someone suggested that very thing: saving the leftover dressing to use on green salad. It is reminiscent of a Dorothy Lynch dressing - very good.

The recipe from the cookbook suggests cider or red wine vineger, so I used red wine vineger; and calls for a slightly smaller amount of olive or vegetable oil (1/3 cup), in addition to specifying the amount of salt and pepper - 1 teaspoon each.

The main dish with this meal was Fettucine Alfredo con Pollo (fettucine with jar sauce and chicken breasts) and it was also terrific.  I must have gotten the recipe from a friend, as I had it saved in my Word document recipe list of favorites. (I name the documents by type of recipe so they are easy to find, like Recipes - Main Dishes - Fettucine Alfredo con Pollo.)  This one was easy to make and delicious. I looked at cheaper brands alfredo sauce but they all substituted soy ingredients for cream, so I went with Bertolli as the recipe recommends.

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Trophy Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Main Dishes
Next Recipe:  Barbecued Marinated Firebird (turkey breast)I'll be back after while!.  Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You Can Ask!

I visited the AAUW book sale at the very end of the day - just when they were selling an entire bag of books for $1.  Serendipitously, I found several books I've always wanted to read, and several others that were favorites in the past. I so love finding something extremely valuable while you are looking for something else.  Love that multi-tasking.

The first one I found was "The Gold of Troy" by Robert Payne, which tells the story of Heinrich Schliemann, 1820-1890, a self-made man and scholar who discovered the archeological site of Troy by using Homer's Iliad as a travel guide. I don't remember how old I was when I first read it - probably middle school.  In those days I was very interested in Greek mythology as well as history (as I continue to be) and I think I will enjoy rereading it every bit as much.

I also found a copy of James Michener's book Caravans, which was a bargain I couldn't resist.  I remember reading it the first summer I lived in Pierre (1974) as a college student working at the State Library.  Last year I read it again and gave my copy to Dawson Lewis, whose son Michael was then with the Marines in Afghanistan.  He sent it to Michael, and Michael actually was in the same area described in 'Caravans' and saw these 'khettaras', man-made subterranean tunnels used for water transport. I'm glad to have it back in my library.

And then there's What Happens When Women Pray, Evelyn Christensen's little book that has had a revolutionary effect on prayer groups in every decade since the 1970s.  I overheard my mother's prayer group when they were studying the section on specific prayers from the chapter "Methods - the Six S's'. She was telling them a story from my life: during one holiday vacation, while home from the University of South Dakota, I wanted something from my Dad, or wanted him to do something.  He knew I wanted it, and I knew he knew I wanted it.  I'm not sure whether he knew that I knew he knew I wanted it. OK, enough of that.

I don't actually remember now what it was I wanted; maybe I wanted to drive my brother's car back to school? At any rate, Dad did not do or provide whatever it was.  When Mom asked him why he didn't, since he knew I wanted it, he simply said, "She never asked."

How many times do we miss out because we don't actually say what we want in so many words, but just drop hints?  This happens in prayer as well as in personal interactions.  Just come right out and ask!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Baked Omelet for Saturday Night Supper

It has been such an interesting challenge to incorporate the recipes that will be next in line in the cookbook challenge into our meals.  It means looking ahead far enough that we have ingredients for several recipes at all times, so that I can make one or more at a moments' notice as time (and interest) and appetite allow. It's a juggling act - finding time to cook, at a time when I feel like cooking and Merlyn feels like eating what's on the menu. Saturday night turned out to be the 'sweet spot' in last week's juggling act.

Saturday nights are always special in my mind. In my childhood, Saturday nights were when we took our baths.  I'm sure we took them at other times, but my strongest memory is of the Saturday night bath, in anticipation of Sunday morning church, with clean body, hair, and clothes.  It's such a strong a metaphor of the way we'd like to approach God - with clean hands and a pure heart.

When I was 5, we moved to a house with a real bathtub!!!  There were lots of other new and wonderful things but the bathtub really stood out to me. Fast forward to the present, and I'm a morning shower person, and only occasionally soak in the tub.  I still think hot water is one of God's greatest gifts!  Again, it's a metaphor for His gifts to us - God requires us to come before Him in purity, and then gives us the means to do it!  

Saturday night was a great time to try this Baked Omelet.  It's simple and filling!  I couldn't find a similar recipe online so will reproduce it below. 

1 lb. bacon, ham or sausage meat (cooked and drained).  Line bottom of 13 x 9 pan with meat; top with sliced cheddar cheese and sliced mushrooms.

Beat together:
1 1/2 dozen eggs (18)

1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour over cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Unhappily, <hangs head> I was not successful in my quest to follow the recipe exactly. Since there were just the two of us, we elected to cut the recipe in half and use a 9 x 9 pan.  We had ham on hand for this recipe (from a post-Easter spiral-cut ham that we slow-cooked), and added about 4 oz. of sliced fresh mushrooms.  Because I am often assaulted with the comment "needs more *flavor*," I chose to use pepper jack cheese to add some spiciness. 

This is a delicious baked omelet and I will use this recipe for overnight guests expected in the fall. It's easy, filling, and should be universal in its appeal.

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Trophy Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Main Dishes: Cakes
Next Recipe:  Chocolate Caramel Cream Cake
I'll be back after while!.  Bon Appetit!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best 'Broccoli Salad' in the World

While some of the recipes we've attempted have been surprisingly good or surprisingly - not good, I have been blind-sided by a couple of eventualities.  One is that I have taken some of the recipes out of sequence! I am a 'by the book' girl, and it's shocking to me that I've changed the rules in the middle of the 'game', to accomodate time pressures, meal schedules, and/or items on hand.

Not only that, I have actually had a difficult time preparing the recipes exactly as written!  When I research recipes on the web, I have often found myself thoroughly disgusted with the posters who go on and on about how they added this or substituted that, wondering, "why can't they just make it the way it's supposed to be done????".  But now I find myself doing the *very* *same* *thing*!  And seemingly unable to stop!

I did prepare this 'Broccoli Salad' as it appears below, except that I used Oscar Meyer Ready to Serve Bacon instead of frying my own (since I had some on hand). A Good Housekeeping Taste Test calls it one of the best-tasting precooked bacons.  Also, I forgot to put in the slivered almonds until we brought it out for the second meal.  It made enough for 3-4 meals for the 2 of us. AND WE LOVED IT.

Karen Hilmoe, one of our favorite cooks, contributed this recipe for the cookbook, and attributes this recipe to our collective niece, Patty Hilmoe.  Per her note on this recipe: "Our niece, Patty Hilmoe, of the Bismarck Hilmoes, was kind enough to share this with me.  We love it, and I get many requests for it.  I realize many of you already have it, but for those who don't... Enjoy!"

1 bunch broccoli cut up (4 cups or eore and you can mix broccoli and cauliflower)
1 cup celery chopped
Green onions chopped (Karen use 3 to 4)
1/2 # bacon fried crips and broken up (I used half a package of precooked bacon)
1 cup slivered almonds
2 cups red grapes, cut in half

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)

Blend the dressing well and toss with the salad.  Let sit one hour before serving to blend flavors.

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Trophy Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Main Dishes
Next Recipe:  Baked Omelet
I'll be back after while!.  Bon Appetit!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Candied Brie with Apple Wedges - It's a Hit!

Back when it was cold and snowy, Merlyn coerced some friends (who had never seen it) to watch the entire Star Wars series of movies. Part of the coercion was that they would bring food with them and join him on Sunday afternoons when I was working.  Star Wars, wonderful friends and great food - what's not to love!

They were such good sports about that I invited them to watch "A Year in Provence" with us, which of course required each of us to produce some French food to share. A Year in Provence is a miniseries that I first saw at Thanksgiving in 1993.  What actually happened was that there was a Thanksgiving blizzard which meant that my family couldn't come to town and have dinner with us.  This was our first Thanksgiving after my Dad passed away in August, so I was understandably depressed and couldn't really keep my mind on the series.  Merlyn spent the whole day moving snow and pulling people out of snow drifts. I spent the day tryiing to watch "A Year in Provence."  It was on A & E three times that day, so whenever he came into the house, it was still playing, and he thought it was at least 12 hours long.

A few years later I received the video series (a mere 6 hours long) for Christmas, and we watched it and enjoyed it - even learned some things!  During the past winter I ran across it as I was cleaning out our video cupboard and wanted to view it again. 

It took us two evenings to watch the whole thing.  And  the food was fabulous: we had two kinds of quiche, madeleines, salade nicoise, lobster risotto, chicken cordon bleu, French apple tart, homemade ice cream ...  We spent so much time with the marvelous food that we had to do an encore a few days later to finish the last quarter of the miniseries.

That time, we had madeleines, French apple tart and homemade ice cream again, as well as several appetizers like this one, candied brie with apple wedges,' provided for the Tri Cities cookbook by my sister-in-law Karen Hilmoe (a fabulous cook).

I have since learned better but at the time, none of us were familiar with Brie and we didn't know what to do with the rind.  So we peeled it off with a knife and scooped out the cheese, then spread it on the apple slices.  It was excellent!  And I'll have to serve it again to see how it is the right way, sliced with the rind intact.
Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Trophy Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Soups, Salads, & Condiments
Next Recipe:  Broccoli Salad
I'll be back after while!.  Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nuts and Bolts: A Dieter's Prayer

We have actually made it to the last section of the cook book, once through!  The final section, 'Nuts and Bolts', includes various inspirational and informational tidbits.

"A Dieter's Prayer"

Lord, grant me the strength
That I may not fall
Into the clutches of cholesterol.
The road to hell is paved with butter.
Cake is cursed, cream is awful
And Satan in hiding in every waffle.

Beelzebub is a chocolate drop,
Lucifer is a lollipop.
Teach me the evils of Hollandaise,
Of pasta and gobs of mayonnaise,

And crisp fried chicken from the South.
If you love me, Lord, shut my mouth.

                                         - Anonymous

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Trophy Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Appetizers, Snacks & Beverages
Next Recipe:  Candied Brie with Apple Wedges
I'll be back after while!.  Bon Appetit!

Sunday Night Supper and Cheesy Bread

In our house growing up, we never had supper on Sunday evening - we would always have popcorn, and fudge or brownies or leftover cinnamon rolls, or something else that we baked during the afternoon.  Mom had a recipe for brownies that baked a large cookie sheet full in 20 minutes. We had that one a lot.

One Sunday afternoon my sister-in-law Tina and I made jelly doughnuts. They were a success, but  I haven't made them since!  I wonder if she has? Here she is with her grandbaby, Jessie. (This was taken on a Sunday evening, too! We.had a fine steak dinner - but that was at their house, not mine.)

That is a good memory among many other great memories of Sunday evenings, popcorn, and fudge.  Fast forward to our more than 31-year marriage, and Merlyn still asks, about 5 pm on Sunday evenings, what we are having for supper.  No matter how many times I tell him "popcorn and fudge", he always asks again the next week.

One Sunday before it was time for our Financial Peace University class, I surprised him with "Cheesy Bread" from the Bread & Rolls section.  This involved a package of hoagie buns, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, a bunch of green onions, butter & mayonnaise.  On hoagie bun halves, I spread butter and mayonnaise, then sprinkled them with sliced green onions and shredded cheese.  After baking them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, they were ready to eat. 

This would have been a perfect treat for lots of people; but I knew before he even spoke what Merlyn would think: "You should have put some hamburger in this!"  Sometimes I think he's singlehandedly keeping the beef industry going.

I just looked at similar recipes online, and some of them have you mix the cheese with the mayo, butter and green onions - that might be really good, too! Guess I'm going to try this again!

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Trophy Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Nuts and Bolts
Next 'Recipe':  A Dieter's Prayer
I'll be back after while!.  Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Angels Delight - Looks Good So far!

This recipe is almost exactly like the Cool Whip Pudding Delight at this link, and is kind of a 'blast from the past'. 

I have made this dessert before, but don't think I did it more than once (with butterscotch pudding, not chocolate like today's attempt) - in those days it was "too complicated", "too many steps".  When I remember it, I have such a strong memory of my dear Aunt Virginia Emley, who made this dessert (beautifully) and originally gave me the recipe.  Aunt Virginia always had the best recipes and her food was always gorgeous to look at as well as delicious.  She did so many things well! 

I remember that a friend of hers had asked for suggestions on what to bring to our family when there was a funeral.  Aunt Virginia suggested this recipe, which the friend duly prepared.  Afterward, Virginia's friend made sure everyone knew that she was never making it again, because it was too much of a pain to make. Today, it seems pretty easy!

We are bringing treats for our "Financial Peace University" class tonight, so I'll share how the others liked it, in addition to our opinions.  We're bringing chips (Mission brand) and salsa, too (Walmart White Corn & Black Bean Salsa).  They don't really go with the dessert, but that's what sounded good to us.

I have so many happy memories of Aunt Virginia and my other aunts and this recipe has brought them to the fore.  When I began this blog after watching the movie "Julie and Julia", Aunt Virginia was prominently in my mind.  Julia Child and "The French Chef" are indelibly linked with Virginia in my memory - maybe because PBS was the only television station they could get at "the farm"? And PBS had Julia Child.

"The farm," which is what Grandma Ethel always called it, was the Emley Ranch where Aunt Virginia and my mother's brother Charles Emley lived with their son Tom (and I was his occasional babysitter during high school).  I guess Aunt Virginia was the "French Chef" of our family, in my eyes at least.

Virginia was a superb and adventurous cook and I still have recipes that she gave me to try - like moussaka and zucchini lasagna.  I miss her so much!  She passed away in 2007 after a second bout with cancer. We have lost so many wonderful years with Virginia and Charlie from the effects of those robbers, cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also called Lou Gehrig's disease). And I am so very grateful to God for the gifts of Charlie and Virginia, as well as their daughters, my cousins Judy, Joan and Lynne.

Virginia was a widow with three daughters when she married my Uncle Charlie. Charlie came to visit us one winter evening in our little house north of Tuthill, SD, to break the news that he was getting married!  He must have told us they were having an evening wedding, and I pictured them dancing the night away, all of the women in chiffon gowns, kind of like this one. 

I didn't know until just a few years ago that Virginia was married in a suit (of course she was!)  Probably something like this, and she probably sewed it herself:

Like all of the rest of Aunt Virginia's recipes, Angels Delight was a hit tonight!  There was none left when I went to get my piece - Merlyn said it was awesome, and this time I'm going to believe him.  And, one of the attendees asked for the recipe.  This one is a keeper!

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Breads & Rolls
Next Two Recipes (on one page!):  Bacon and Cheddar Muffins and Cheesy Bread
I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Amazing Cookie Bars - Not So Amazing

What's up with these so-called "Amazing Cookie Bars"?  They did not turn out well.  Maybe it's me: I might have used a pan that was too large (I used a full cookie sheet with sides, like the recipe said.)  I probably baked them too long, too.

Or maybe it's the recipe? 

The recipe is very similar to this recipe for Cake-Mix-Cookies-VIII from You can use any flavor of cake mix (I used Dutch Chocolate), and the recipe I used called for 1 egg, 1/3 cup water, and 1 stick of margarine (of course, I used butter - Paula Deen has nothing on me). Then I dropped cut up Junior Mint pieces over the top before baking it (too long, as it turned out). 

 I made a few discoveries:
1) Do not try to cut up Junior Mints.  They turn to mush.
2) I like biscotti but this was not supposed to be biscotti.  Though I sprayed the pan and baked it as recommended, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, it needs to be dunked in coffee or milk. I'm sure it would have good flavor if I could get it out of the pan. 
3) Ever recipe is not going to be a hit. 
4) There are lots of other bars that I find more amazing than these.  For instance, Pecan Pie bars (see below)!
This recipe came in the little newsletter we used to get with our telephone bill.  It is excellent! And, it goes a lot farther than a pecan pie.  The original recipe had twice this many ingredients in the crust, but I like thin crust so cut it down to this amount.

Pecan Pie Bars

1 c. flour
¼ c. powdered sugar
½ c. cold margarine or butter

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk (fat-free is OK)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 6-oz. package almond brickle chips or English toffee chips (about 1 cup)
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour and sugar, cut in butter until crumbly.  Press firmly on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan (grease or spray with Pam first).  Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla.  Stir in chips and pecans.  When the crust is done, spread filling over crusts.  Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool, cut into bars.  Store covered in refrigerator.

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Desserts & Pastries (how can you not love a cookbook that has one Main Dish section followed by Cakes, Cookies, Desserts & Pastries, and Breads & Rolls?
Next Recipe:  Angels Delight
I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

4-Bean Salad Epilogue

This version of the 4-bean salad called for rings of sliced onions, and, although I like the idea, they are a little harder to eat than chopped onions.  The salad was very good, both Merlyn and I liked it. 

It kept well, also - I had it for a number of meals for several days with no appreciable deterioration in texture or taste. It may have even improved with age.

Almond Joy Cake - Decadent

I was thrilled to see that the next recipe was "Almond Joy Cake" since I absolutely love coconut, chocolate, and almonds and the Almond Joy candy bar.  "Decadent" was the most frequently used word to describe the Almond Joy Cake that opens the section on 'Cakes'.  It was truly, well, decadent. 

To make this cake, you bake a chocolate cake from a mix.  When you take the cake out of the oven, you pour over a hot layer of evaporated milk, sugar, coconut and marshmallows that you've prepared according to the recipe.  Immediately after that, you pour over a layer of sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and chocolate chips that has been boiled together until the chips are melted. So, you need to be heating the two layers at the same time. After both layers are on, sprinkle sliced almonds over the top.

I didn't have enough chocolate chips so included some butterscotch chips and some shavings of unsweetened chocolate and that didn't hurt it at all. (And, I forgot to put the butter in the chocolate layer so it didn't cover the entire cake. We didn't really notice a lack of butter, though.)

I wasn't absolutely certain which size of pan to use, so I used a lasagna pan that is slightly bigger than a 13" x 9" cake pan. I think it would have been better if I had made holes in the cake for the coconut filling to soak into it. When I make it again, I think I'll make it as a sheet cake in a jelly roll pan.

Everybody who saw this cake called it decadent, and everyone who tried it (our Star Wars marathon group and my coworkers) loved it.  Merlyn was the only holdout - he hates coconut and wouldn't even give it a chance.

I am going to make this cake again!

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Cookies & Candy
Next Recipe:  Amazing Cookie Bars

I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Asparagus Pasta - ***BIG HIT***

I knew this one would be a big hit because I've made it before :)  And, because Merlyn was late getting home (which gave me time to cook) and he was very hungry.

I have also stumbled upon the fact that the way to a husband's heart is to make the food easy to eat. I got home early from work, so I had time to visit the store for ingredients, and to cook the Asparagus Pasta.  I also bought a rotisserie chicken, which I deboned and put in the oven to keep warm.  Merlyn *raved* about how wonderful that was, and the Asparagus Pasta as well - the definitive statement was, "I feel like I'm at Olive Garden!!!"

In case you don't know, Merlyn discovered Olive Garden and its wonderful food last year, so this is a really good compliment.

Whenever I think of asparagus, I remember Merlyn's brother Al serving us wonderfully fresh asparagus that he had hunted for in the ditches around his home.  Good job, Al, and good memories!

I couldn't find a comparable recipe online, so here is the recipe and the cookbook comments.  The recipe was provided to the cookbook by Karen Hilmoe, who is a fabulous cook!  As we were eating dinner, we talked about that and it made us realize we need a road trip to Washington to see our dear family and eat some of Karen't great meals.

I always have something to say when I cook, so my comments are underlined.

Asparagus Pasta

I got this recipe from my niece, Nancy Bryson.  We eat it hot tonight then tomorrow as a salad, cold. - Karen Hilmoe

1 Tbsp. (or less) olive oil
4+ cloves of garlic (whatever you prefer) I used chopped garlic from a jar
1/2 red bell pepper
1 bunch of fresh asparagus cut into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped I did not toast the walnuts separately
Italian seasoning (to taste)
Red Pepper seasoning (to taste)
1 pkg frozen tortellini or ravioli I used Bertolli three-cheese tortellini from the dairy case
Parmesan cheese to taste

Start water for your preferred pasta.  Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet and coat with good olive oil.  Add garlic and cook until a light golden brown.  Add asparagus.  Cook until asparagus is nearly fork tender.  Add red pepper and walnuts.  Add seasonings.  Add pasta when it is finished cooking, toss, and top with Parmesan cheese.

Karen Hilmoe

I served it with chicken, and reheated it the second night to serve with more chicken :)  It was delicious both times and tasted the same the second night (the seasonings did not become any more or less intense as sometimes happens with time).


Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Cakes
Next Recipe:  Almond Joy Cake

I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!

Friday, January 28, 2011

4-Bean Salad

"You give but little when you give of your possessions.  It's when you give of yourself that you truly give." 

This quote was posted on page 26 of the Trophy Recipes cookbook; Quotes and attributes it to Khalil Gibran.  I would have trusted that attribution without question had I not read Keith Bruzelius' posting on Facebook today, "The problem with quotes on the internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." - Abraham Lincoln."

The first line quoted above is a true statement, no matter who said it, and I'll add a truly verifiable quotation:  "Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." Colossians 3:17, The Message
I did get out of order in cooking <hangs head> but not in blogging - last evening I needed a main dish (and 'coincidentally' had time to cook something), so I went on to the next recipe.  Today, however, it's Four-Bean Salad day.  I have the morning off which certainly isn't enough time to quilt, clean, make Four-Bean Salad, do laundry, and finish our Financial Peace University cash flow statement before I shower and head to work. There are always too many tasks for the time allotted! I'm definitely going to cook and quilt.

The Four-Bean Salad needs time for the flavors to meld, so I'll make it a priority and we will have it for supper tonight. 

Here is a similar recipe for Four-Bean Salad, which should look like the picture below.

I have a much-used recipe for Texas Caviar that is also quite similar to this one, except it adds chopped green pepper and shoepeg corn (love that shoepeg corn!)  Even though many people like it, there's always a lot left over.  I always have to take leftovers to work for days to use it up - Merlyn gets tired of it after one sitting.  I suppose I could freeze it for another dinner party or potluck.

The next question is, "what is the best way to keep track of meals you've saved in the freezer?"

Returning to the tasks of the day, I have changed the bed, brushed the cat, reconciled the checkbook and started a load of laundry.  And I just finished making Four-Bean Salad. Putting together the salad reminded me of summer picnics and potlucks in my childhood: Mom often made 3-bean salad (and it wasn't really my favorite - especially in a group meal where there were oodles of wonderful dishes). I'll have to ask her why she chose that dish: whether she made it because no one at home would eat it and that way she'd get to have some once in awhile; or because it was inexpensive and easy, or some other reason I can't fathom. 

Merlyn *hates* the smell of cooking vinegar so I had to wait until he would be gone for awhile and I can get rid of the odor (it's relatively warm out so I can open the door for awhile).  Notice I said 'relatively' - in Pierre SD and January that means anything above 20 degrees.  I'm going to post this and add a paragraph later about the eating of the Four-Bean Salad.


Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.

Next Section: Main Dishes
Next Recipe:  Asparagus Pasta

I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Appetizer Vegetable Pizza

It was my day off, so I made 'Appetizer Vegetable Pizza' last evening for supper.  Actually, it was an 'all-appetizer' dinner - we finished off the dessert bites I had made from phyllo cups, lime curd and squirt topping.  Merlyn rounded out his meal with sardines on Ritz crackers - he kept saying that the vegetable pizza needed some tuna, but I disagreed so he had to get his fish another way.

The Appetizer Vegetable Pizza (kind of like this but called for mayonnaise and dill weed to be added to the cream cheese) was good.  It seemed pretty salty - either I put in too much Ranch Dressing mix, or maybe too few vegetables?  [A friend pointed out that I didn't follow the recipe exactly - it said to let it sit for at least an hour for the flavors to mellow.  That should take care of the saltiness.]

About half is left over so we'll have it for supper tonight with our Papa Murphy's pizza. We have guests so I'll see what they think.

I don't think I've used those refrigerated crescent rolls since I was in high school.  For the record, I haven't gotten any better at sealing them together.  

I'm hoping to manage one recipe per day off, but that may be too optimistic.  At the moment, I feel more like vegging with a cup of hot chocolate than cooking. And, the next recipe requires you to cook a vinegar dressing, and Merlyn really hates the smell of cooking vinegar. 

Here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, "Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA", one recipe per section, and then I'm going to blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section (which is 'Soups, Salads, & Condiments.) The next recipe will be 4-bean salad. I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Columbia Classics Recipe Challenge

Last summer, I watched the movie 'Julie and Julia' and was captivated.  It enticed me back to those 'thrilling days of yesteryear', to the day when the PBS tower went up and the number of tv channels we could receive doubled in one day!

'Julie and Julia' intersperses Julie Powell's personal challenge to recreate each of Julia Child's recipes in 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' with scenes from Julia Child's life.  It is very funny, and especially evocative of the 60's.

When we had only one or two television channels,  we watched whatever was on when we were available; and that is the only reason I ever watched Julia Child's cooking shows. (Well, there was the hope that she'd drop something or make some horrific mistake that even I wouldn't do.)  Even so, her voice is indelibly imprinted in my memory.  Merlyn Streep's interpretation in 'Julie and Julia' evokes scenes from the 60's and early 70's (my grade school and high school years) and especially those endless summers of tv-watching.

I began my serious cooking career when Mom enrolled in a Thursday evening college course at Chadron State College to work on her teaching degree, and my first dish was memorable, to say the least.  It was blackened tuna casserole.  Not that I knew that term in elementary school. I was just beginning to learn how to cook noodles, open and drain a can of tuna, and open a can of mushroom soup.  I was already an expert at losing myself in a book, however, which is where the 'blackened' part came in (Dad and my siblings called it 'burned').

Today, I am something of a 'foodie', although not a great cook.  At work, we watch cooking shows during our lunch and afternoon breaks, discussing recipes and critiquing techniques.

Last week, I had my own 'Julie and Julia' moment. I was looking through 'Trophy Recipes from Columbia Classics Car Club 1992-2002,' Tri-Cities, WA (a gift from sister-in-law Karen in Prosser, WA) and it came to me, "I should cook my way through this cookbook!" The more I thougth about it, the more fitting it seemed - I married into the Hilmoe family nearly 32 years ago, and they are definitely a 'car family'. So it's appropriate that my 'Julie and Julia' cookbook be a car club cookbook.

 My coworker, Nadine, and my husband, Merlyn both said, when I mentioned this challenge, "and blog about it!"  I hadn't thought of that, but why not?

So, here's the challenge: I'm going to make each recipe in the cookbook, one recipe per section, and blog about it.  And then I'll go on to the next section.   The first recipe and section will be "Appetizer Vegetable Pizza" from the Appetizers, Snacks & Beverages. I'll be back after it's cooked.  Bon Appetit!

Julie and Julia - the original post (Julie Powell is pithier than I am, isn't she?)