Archive | October, 2012

Nellies Cherry Pastries

29 Oct

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Nellie, (that’s what I call my mom, for my new followers this is explained in my blog post, “Your Spiritual Gift“) she made up this delightful dessert about 20 years ago. (yes mom, that’s right) The first time I sunk my teeth in this buttery flaky sweet dessert I thought “that’s it, Nellie just created the best dessert on the planet hands down!” This pastry has all the elements of a perfect dessert. It’s flaky, has a sweet glaze, any filling you put in the middle works, it’s fast to make, and it’s just plain darn delightful! But, the most important thing about this dessert, it’s always, and I mean always a hit!

In high school I had a math teacher that I brought a pastry to one morning. (I can hear you all calling me a brown noser right now!) Yes, I admit it, I was a brown noser and I don’t care either! I’d do it again! I hated math, still do…ick! Well, after Mr. “B” had his first bite of this melt-in-your-mouth pastry he was hooked. And, for some reason I started getting better grades in math…..hummm, strange???? He would even beg for me to convince my mom to make them for him and he would buy them. When I arrived to school in the morning he would stalk me down in the halls to see if I brought him one.

My pastor at church really enjoys these also. I once had to make 150 of these pastry jewels for a lunch-in to honor him for something! (Sorry, Kevin I’m sure you deserved it for some great reason. I just don’t remember what?! I just remember the food!) Matter of fact I just made these for a treat during a church meeting and Kevin was the first to devour one! I gave him the remaining on the plate to take home to his dad. Pastor Kevin has an incredible sweet tooth, so I thought! I met his dad and we hit it off right away because I gave him some cookies! He has even a bigger sweet tooth then Pastor Kevin and I both! I like it!

This dessert does have a small yet easy technique to learn “pinch & fold” but, once you get this down, you’re golden! Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, and I start collecting the puff pastry in my freezer for my up coming orders. I make these by the dozens, in all flavors. So, I’m sharing one of my catering recipes with you all and I hope you cherish this recipe created by Nellie. Or in Rudy’s words, “My Nonna.”

There are only four ingredients to this dessert! But, the way these taste you would swear they were shipped overnight express mail by a culinary genius straight from a small village in France.

20121029-202009.jpgYou need to get 8 equal squares out of one box of puff pastry. Here’s how to do it… Keep the folded sheets folded then cut down the middle

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Unfold then cut again

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20121029-203624.jpgSpread in the middle of each pastry square the cream cheese, about 1 heaping teaspoon. Unless you’re like my sister Becky and I we like more…we love cream cheese!

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Add the cherry pie filling if that’s your flavor choice. Then give a dash a ground cinnamon on top of the filling

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Okay now watch closely, here is your first fold & pinch. Gather opposite corners and don’t let go! Pinch the corners together

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Then bring up the bottom flap and pinch with the other two corners. This now looks like an envelope

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Pinch the sides and do a fold and twist under. Then do the same to the remaining corner

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Glaze with a basic powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla glaze. You could also top with a cream cheese frosting, that would also be delish!

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Oh my….

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Nellies Cherry Pastries

1 Box of Puff Pastry Sheets
1 can of Cherry Pie Filling (or whatever choice you might want)
4oz of Cream Cheese
Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. In a box of puff pastry there is two full sheets. Do not unfold. Cut each folded sheet in half. Now, unfold and cut down the middle again. You will end up with 8 equal squares. Place a dollop of cream cheese in the middle of each square. Then top the cream cheese with a tablespoon of pie filling. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Pinch together the opposite corners, then pinch and fold the sides to seal. Refer to the pictures above. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Each little pastry purse will “puff” up and some might break their seal. This is normal especially if this is your first time making these. Don’t consider this a mess-up! Believe me, just slap on some frosting and no one will know. Besides, they look more homemade when the filling bubbles out! It all taste the same no matter what they look like!

Pastry Glaze

11/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Milk or Cream
1 splash of vanilla or Almond extract

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over warm pastries.

Other ideas for fillings:

*Pineapple filling with toasted coconut on top
*Peach pie filling and cream cheese taste just like “peaches & cream”
*Pumpkin butter, instead of using cinnamon, use pumpkin pie spice
*Raspberry filling with lightly toasted almonds on top of the frosting

Or try something savory like a breakfast pocket with scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese. I would sprinkle with cheese then bake.
Chicken pot pie filling, beef stew, salmon then use the dill cream cheese…..could go on and on! Enjoy!

Busyness

27 Oct

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Lord, help me to remember that throughout the busyness of the day that I ask myself, “how am I glorifying You in all things I do today?”

In church we are studying a book called “The Relationship Principles of Jesus.” This book also comes with a study guide called, “40 Days of Love.” We are in the beginning series of this study and there have been a couple of good points that have pulled at my heartstrings already.

1.) LEARN THE SECRET OF KINDNESS. I’ve always thought of myself as a kind person. But, is that the impression I give of myself ALL THE TIME? Do I look at someone with judgement and not realize it? Do I talk kind or unkind of other people when they aren’t around? Do I love people unconditionally? Do I first think they need to “earn” my friendship? Do I love/forgive people that have disappointed me….?

2.) TO BE A KINDER PERSON YOU MUST SLOW DOWN. I recently was sharing this thought with another friend. I was sharing the thought that there are a lot of people out there guilty of not slowing down so they can see the needs of other people around them. This issue hits home with me. But, more importantly I have to ask myself, “Have I been guilty of that?” It’s easy for me to sit and judge people who have been this way to me, but have I been this way to them or others? Or, have I’ve been so busy that I don’t even recognize someone with a need?

I think it’s funny how we can instantly hear comments and statements like these and think of other people this might apply to instead of ourself first. I know I’m guilty of doing this at times. This reminds me when Jesus was explaining in Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV) 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Ouch! Does that hit home or what?!

I would like to think I’d never consider myself better then anyone else, but at times it’s easy to point out how someone else could be better. This is such a normal judgement we do to each other. But, I also know this is not the way God intended for us to treat each other. This is loving with boundaries. God does not love with boundaries!
It’s just too bad we let our humanness get in the way. Yet, Jesus tells us to love as he did: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34, ESV.)

Lord, forgive me for not asking myself first if I’ve been too busy to notice the needs other people. I don’t want to be this way. Help me to love more purely like You. And, Thank you for loving me abundantly without any boundaries. And most importantly thank you Lord, for never being too busy for me. I’m sorry that it’s me that acts too busy for you. It’s amazing to me that as the Ruler of this vast universe and with all its busyness You are waiting on me….shame on me…..forgive me.

Max the other day after school said he was going to go in the woods. I said ok without any thought. It was one of those shameful times someone is talking to you while you’re busy doing something else and you just kinda nod and answer, “huh, huh”. I was catering in the kitchen trying to get a job done. We have a compost outside for all my food scraps and my scrap bowl was full so I had to empty it outside. I noticed some hammering coming from the woods. I realized it was Max. I figured he was “just being a boy” so I went inside to finish on this deadline I had. About 5 minutes later Max came to me and asked if I would please help him carry something. I was annoyed with the thought of stopping what I was doing to help him. But, then I was convicted with the thought that nothing is more important then helping my own child. So I wiped my hands clean and slipped on Kent’s shoes and went to Max and asked him what he needed help with? Then he pointed to the ground……

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“I made three of them, can you help me carry one?” I wanted to fall to my knees asking for forgiveness. I stood there silent and amazed by the heart of my child. How could I not make time to carry my sons cross? All I desire as his mom is too carry his cross. I’ll carry it to the end of earth for him. “Of course I’ll carry your cross Max, I’m sorry you had to ask, I should’ve just notice.” Just like Christ did…for…me… We are called to carry each others cross.

Lord, help me slow down to recognize that someone might need their cross to be carried.

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I asked Max why he made them. He responded, “I just felt like it”

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Thank you Lord for using my son Max to teach me a lesson. oxox….

Butter! (And Cookies)

26 Oct

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Max and I decided to bake. Shocking, I know. But, we wanted to make a different, fun and tasty cookie. So, we browsed the internet looking for something unique. The trend seems to be “Stuffed Cookies.” Stuffing a cookie with whatever you have left hanging around in the pantry like; last years Halloween candy, Oreos, potato chips, anything!

I’ve tried to teach Max to not fall under the persuasion of peer pressure but, we jumped on the internet band wagon and made chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Oreos. They are fun! And Rudy Raccoon was beside us the whole time hoping we would drop an Oreo or chocolate chip! He even climbed up on the counter top and stuck his hand in the bowl of sugar.

Ok, this next step I know you all are going to roll your eyes thinking “get real Tahny!” Well, Max and I started to gather our ingredients. I quickly realized I didn’t have butter! Now, that is shocking!!! But, I did have plenty of heavy whipping cream. (I truly did plan on making it into butter, I just didn’t think I was going to share it with you all!) So, yes in this batch of cookies I’m using homemade butter! I’ll show you how to do it. This is quite easy to do, and by whipping up your own butter you are able to control the salt or even add flavorings, and believe it or not it can be cheaper!
No measuring needed! Just use whatever amount of whipping cream you want!

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Pour into mixing bowl with the whisk attachment. Then whip, whip, whip!

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Keep whipping. Add a dash of salt if you want salted butter. The only time you want to “over whip” your whip cream is when making butter! So keep going. You will notice the fluffiness starts to deflate and the water and butter fat is separating from each other. Keep going you’re almost there!

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Whala! Butter!

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<
Butter

Heavy Whipping Cream
Dash of Salt (optional)

Whip the heavy cream until the milk and water separate from the butter fat. Remove the butter from the milk and shape into a log, or whatever you desire!

*Recipe first published on Tahnycooks.

As far as the cookies go…

20121026-090823.jpg Max and I followed the recipe on the back of the Toll House package and then stuffed an Oreo in the middle. Nothing complicated here! Just someone’s brilliant idea that we tried out, and it worked! Another great baking day with the boys! Ohhhh….and I swear these tasted better because of the butter… 🙂

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Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg
1 (12 ounce) package NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 package of Oreos minis or regular sized
Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Stuff a regular sized Oreo or mini Oreo in a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

*recipe adapted from Toll House

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie

23 Oct

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Have you ever had that moment when there is a smell in the air and it floods back a hundred memories? It’s amazing to me how a smell can slip you right back in that moment as if you were really there living that event all over again. I’m actually having that moment right now. While typing this blog I’m wearing a sweatshirt (that I quickly grabbed off my bedroom floor) that has my husbands cologne on it. Every, and I mean EVERY morning before Kent leaves for work he gives me a hug and kiss, even when I’m asleep. Then he proceeds to tell me he loves me and he hopes I have a good day. My hug this time must have came directly after his fresh sprayed or pat of cologne. I love it. Makes me think of our dating years…..

Song of Solomon 1:2
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine. (NIV)

Rudy Raccoon just woke up. His morning routine; snuggle up with me on the couch, tell me to change the channel to either Ninja Turtles, Ninja Legos or Micky Mouse. Micky Mouse is the winner this morning (thank goodness, I can only endure ninjas for so long). Rudy will literally get nose to nose with me to communicate this first demand of the day. Nose…to…nose, not even morning breath from a 2 year old is nice. But, for some odd reason his doesn’t bother me, I like it. Gross I know, I think it must be a mother thing.

I had another smell remind me of my dad the other day. This old grumpy gentleman knocked on my door and wanted me to sign some sort of petition. He was talking and explaining things to me about the petition and I didn’t even hear a single word he said, because I was so distracted by his aftershave/cologne. It was Jovan Musk. I just knew it was, so I asked him. He instantly gave me the “stink eye” as if I offended him by his cologne choice. So, I quickly explained to him, Jovan Musk is one of my favorite colognes. He soon became flattered and kinder. I still love it!!! Whenever I smell it, it puts me right back in the back seat of the family station wagon with my three sisters on a Sunday morning going to Moscow Bible church. Dad freshly shaved, his hair combed with the black single toothed comb that he always held in his left back pocket. I, also remember going into my parents bathroom and seeing dads cologne. I would gently open the bottle and take a big deep breath in and sometimes I would get it on my nose just so I could smell my dad all day.

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Some of my other smelling memory triggers are…

Onions & garlic, McDonalds cheeseburgers, my grama Paquette
Lemon pudding cake, Sarah Good
Stargazer Lilies, my sister Becky
Jessica McClintox perfume, Aunt Ruth & Aunt Dawn
The smell of fresh cut lumber, my dad
And the smell of wisteria & lily of the valley, Nellie

These are old memory triggers and some still frequent. Like the smell of Nellie baking dad a custard pie is so cozy and sweet smelling it just draws me back home begging for a piece. When I made this buttermilk pie the smell of it baking flooded back all those memories of my mother asking dad before he walked out the door, what kind of pie she should make? It seemed to be either custard or pecan pie for his request. So, whatever he wanted she made it. Every time!

This buttermilk pie isn’t a custard pie but it smelled similar when baking. This is a unique pie these days but, very common in the Amish community.There are a lot of varieties of buttermilk pie recipes out there. Some with lemon, pineapple and plain. Plain is what I decided to do. This is a keeper in my recipe box and I hope you all try it at least once. Let me know what you think!

Remember the crust Max & I made for the pumpkin pie? That is a double crust recipe so I used the other half of the crust for this buttermilk pie. For the recipe refer back to https://tahnycooks.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/real-homemade-pumpkin-pie/

Bake the prepared pie shell in the preheated oven @ 375, for 10 minutes

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Gather ingredients

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Beat the melted butter and sugar until pale. Scrape the sides. Add eggs one at a time.

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Add vanilla. Then add the flour and buttermilk by alternating each

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Filling is complete for the plain vanilla flavor. (If you wanted lemon you could add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest in the batter) Pour filling in the slightly baked and cooled shell

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Bake until the pie has a firm giggle in the middle, and the top is a golden brown

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Cool completely, or at least until room temperature.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 pre-baked pie shell

Preheat oven to 400°F. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat; then beat in vanilla. Add the flour and salt to the batter alternatively with the buttermilk; beat until smooth. Pour into a deep dish pie shell and bake at 400F for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350F and bake for 50-60 additional minutes. Pie should turn a nice golden brown and a knife inserted should come out clean. Enjoy!

Real Homemade Pumpkin Pie

19 Oct

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Max has been asking me to make a real homemade pumpkin pie since August. He saw an early season pumpkin and it has been on his mind ever since. So, today was the day!

Max came home from school and after I finally stopped giving him the last annoying mothering question to him on how his day went, I surprised him with a question that perked his interest, “hey Max, ya know what would be a perfect thing for us to do right now?” Max immediately looked at me wide-eyed and said, “make a pumpkin pie?!?” Right on brother, today’s the day! Rudy Raccoon was sleeping and this couldn’t be more of a perfect time for just Max & Mommy.

Max loves to cook and bake. He is really good at it too. He has an incredible sense of what ingredients are used in a dish. I’m impressed by this. When we are cooking together we have great conversation. I love his ideas on what flavors would go together on not.

He just had his birthday. For his school treat he wanted homemade cinnamon rolls. So, that’s what I did! I asked Max to remind me again how many we’re in his class and it was 33.

Yikes, that’s a lot of dough I thought to myself. I really wanted to talk him out of it after he said 33. I thought to myself, why couldn’t he just want some homemade cookies or fruit? Then I reminded myself I tried fruit one year for his b-day at school and it was a flop! (Healthy school code, sigh…blah, blah, blah.) I tried to make it fun by putting the fruit on a kabob skewer and some vanilla yogurt in a dixie cup for dipping. Half of the kids looked at me like I was an alien making them eat alien food. They were holding the skewer up above their sweet little alien heads twisting the kabob around like they were looking at a food they have never seen before, and poking it like it might come alive and bite their finger off!! Kids were crowding around me saying, “I only want the grapes….I’m allergic to strawberries…..I’m allergic to pineapple….what’s that white stuff?….Can I just have the stick?” I then told Max’s first grade teacher, “I will never do this again.”

Max had that look. The look that makes your heart break. I was watching Max go desk to desk passing them out and I could see his birthday excitement leave his face every time a kid would say to him “he don’t want one” I wanna tooooo….whoa, whoa, whoa, I better just shut off the mother bear in me. Yikes!

Seriously, I just wanted to take this snack back to the alien space craft and run up to the local Market and get every kids favorite treat….Softloft cookie. So, heck yah I’ll make you cinnamon rolls Max! Shoot you want Baked Alaska you got it kid! So, what did I do? I made him the best darn cinnamon rolls momma can make. I used the recipe from Zingermans of course. (They’re called Sinful Cinnamon Rolls at the bake shop. Delish! and the dough is very versatile. I seriously should be a spokesman for Zingermans!) My aunt Ann took a class there and shared the recipe with me.

Well, I didn’t only make 33, I made 60. Yup, total over kill. But, to have Max walk around that school passing around his mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls with a proud look like “he’s the stuff” priceless.

Ok, on to the pie…I figured if Max & I were going to make a homemade pumpkin pie from a pumpkin, I better make my own crust too. The real deal!

20121019-054055.jpgI use my food processor when I make piecrust. My mom does her’s all by hand. And I tell you what, Nellies piecrust NO ONE can beat! No, matter what I do or how many times I try I just can’t get her piecrust technique down. Grrrr! Oh well, she can’t ever figure out how to make no-bake cookies!

Pulse together the butter, crisco and salt until it resembles a coarse meal. I like the combo of the butter and crisco. The butter gives that nice buttery taste and the crisco makes your crust nice and flaky

20121019-054739.jpgLightly beat the egg. Add to the flour & butter mixture

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20121019-055509.jpgPulse lightly (about 5 times)

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20121019-060153.jpgAdd the ice cold water and vinegar & pulse about 5 more times. Gentle knead just until it all comes together. (Why vinegar? It’s quite commonly used in pie crusts…without effecting the flavor it will help make a crust more flaky no matter how much the dough is worked. It helps relax the gluten formation. Some also use lemon juice–it’s the acid in them that does the work.)

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20121019-060959.jpgCut in Half

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20121019-061431.jpgCrimp or put the classic fork imprint on your crust

20121019-062134.jpgPlace piecrust in the fridge while waiting for the pumpkin filling. While we were making the pie crust our little pumpkin was baking

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20121019-062916.jpgClean it out

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20121019-063155.jpgPlace on a baking sheet cut side down. This will steam the flesh of the pumpkin, bake until soft

20121019-063643.jpgScrape out the flesh and place in the food processor. (Tera does that spoon look familiar?)

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20121019-064106.jpgAdd the eggs, milk, spices, brown sugar & salt

20121019-064314.jpgPurée until smooth and pour into the prepared crust

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20121019-065350.jpgPlace in the oven

20121019-065448.jpgBake until the middle of the pie is a firm giggle. Custard pies continue to “cook” when taken out of oven

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Real Homemade Pumpkin Pie

*Filling makes one 9inch pie

1 sugar pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

1. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Cool until just warm. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel. Either mash, or puree in small batches in a blender. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C.)
2. In a large bowl, slightly beat eggs. Add brown sugar, vanilla, salt, 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, all spices, and evaporated milk. Stir well after each addition.
3. Pour mixture into the unbaked pastry shell. If it looks like the crust is getting too brown, place a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust.
4. Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool pie, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor. Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!

Pie Crust

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, (or food processor) gradually work the butter & Crisco into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top and on your rolling pin) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.
Roll the dough over the rolling in and transfer to the pie dish. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge. Make whatever crimping design you desire!

*This recipe makes 2 shells. 2 bottom crust for two separate pies or 1 top and bottom for one single whole pie.

You’re ok…Chapter 3

17 Oct

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My recovery was going well. I was in a lot of surgical pain but that was all manageable with meds. I would also remind myself this pain was nowhere near the first pain that landed me in the hospital. And it was also encouraging knowing that this was something I needed to get done to have a “normal active” life again. I will admit I was still thinking and focusing on running/spinning again. Doc said my recovery would be 6weeks, so guess what?! I’m now counting the weeks. That was my recovery, not when he said I could run! Dr. Brodkey later made that VERY CLEAR to me. Actually directly after my surgery when I was coming out of the anesthetic I mumbled to Dr. Brodkey “Can I run now?” And I kept asking the recovery nurse to get me my running shoes under the bed cuz I was going to go for a quick run. The nurse told my doctor what I kept saying. He was floored. Dr. Brodkey marched himself out in the waiting room and spoke very clearly to my father and husband, “you both are going to have to pin her down and make her get a full recovery, NO RUNNING, BIKING OR SPINNING!”

When I came home from the hospital there were two people that wouldn’t leave my side. Nellie and Kent’s Grandpa. Grandpa would stay with me until my mom would show up around 9am everyday. He would get Max on the bus or take him to school and get me my morning meds if I needed them. Nellie would do my laundry, take care of Rudy, go to the store for me, take me to appointments and if dinner wasn’t being delivered from my church (thanks debi) she would make dinner. Then start over the next day doing all the same stuff again and again. I can’t imagine how I would have gotten all these things done without them both.

Kent had just started a new job and this was really bad timing for him. He did really well handling all the pressure of starting a new job and everything going on at home. He knew I was in good hands everyday with my mom and I could call him if I needed anything.

When I got home I didn’t care about any activity that would make me sweat at all, I was in pain. And I was determined to get a full recovery so I would never have to go thru this experience again.
I was also anxious to sleep in my bed again. I had not slept in my bed since the initial blow out of my back on February 19th. It was the end of April now and I was still sleeping in a lazy boy my parents brought over from their house.

Everyday I was feeling better, stronger and my limp was getting less and less. One week later I was doing great. Then day 8 came and I was feeling not so good, then day 9 even worse. I was doing a cake order and kept telling myself, “just get this cake done then you can sit on the couch and rest.” Kent took the boys to Cabela’s and he called to check on me and I told him he should come home. My chest felt like I had an elephant sitting on me, I couldn’t get a deep breath in and I had a gut feeling something was wrong. I just thought I was over doing it around the house. And, I would remind myself it has not even been 2wks from my surgery. I thought to myself…..of course I would feel this way. Then day 10, Sunday morning, Kent went and delivered the cake order for me. While he was gone I attempted to get ready for church. I was brushing my teeth, cleared my throat and there was blood. Not blood from bleeding gums either. This was different. I kept it in the sink so I could show Kent that this was probably something alarming. I sat on the bathroom floor wanting to faint but I talked myself out of it. I prayed to God, “just let everything be ok, give me guidance on what to do.” Kent came home look at the blood and said, “oh, what should we do?” Kent called the E.R. at St. Joes. And I called my good friend Nancy. Then 30 minutes later Nancy was at my door telling me to get to the E.R. So, I tell Nancy she saved my life! 😉 Finally an E.R. Dr. called back and said I needed to get to the E.R. to get things checked out, and to play it safe.

I packed a bag knowing I was staying overnight. I just knew I was. We gathered the boys up and took them over to Kent’s parents. I remember dropping the boys off and I hugged them differently this time. It was tighter, longer and I remember trying to breathe them in. I looked at Kent’s dad and he had tears in his eyes, and then he urged us to get going, hurry up.

The ride was quiet. It was a beautiful sunny day. We decided to go back to St. Joes instead of Jackson. There was a traffic jam on the way there. It wasn’t long, but we were at a stand still waiting on the highway to move. I remember looking out the window and watching people get off the highway ramp thinking, “I wonder if they are ok today?” I don’t necessarily know why I thought that, but I knew they didn’t know I wasn’t ok. Things just felt so superficial. Running, spinning, shopping, catering, all these things meant nothing to me. I felt so unconnected to people, I felt alone, separate from the world. All I wanted was my husband and boys. I knew God was in control the whole time. But, I was scared. Yet, I still felt this calmness within myself that I was in the hands of God. I turned my head to Kent and said, “am I ok Kent?” He said a quiet yes to me. I turned back looking out the window with tears rolling down my face. I was looking at myself through the rearview mirror thinking I looked older. Kent was rubbing my shoulder saying it’s going to be fine Tahny, we’re going to be fine, the boys will be fine.

I was wheeled into the E.R. and all of the questions started. Why are you here, what’s going on, insurance, and everyone’s dreaded question…”how much do you weigh?” We were taken back to a room and the E.R. doctor came in and explained what test I needed, so they can check if I had something major going on like blood clots in my lungs. I knew that’s what they were going to check but, it was suddenly real when that doctor said those words. He said I needed a C.A.T scan (CT scan). Kent piped in and said is there any other way to see if that is the problem or not. The doctor looked sternly at Kent and said if this was his wife or any other family member this is the most thorough test to do to see what’s going on. Within 5 minutes I was hooked up to an I.V and being rolled into a room for the scan. The test wasn’t long and they said I would have the results within a half hour. I was rolled back into the room where Kent was waiting for me. I had the clock directly in front of me. I kept looking at it, praying the whole time, “Lord I’m scared, please let everything be ok watch over my boys….help me.” I sat there on the bed hooked up to I.V’s looking at my hands and thinking they are looking older.

Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

20121017-171840.jpgThe doctor came in. He pulled up a chair, sat down and told Kent and I that I had Pulmonary Embolisms in my lungs. I looked at him with a look he must have picked up on because he then said, “blood clots.” I immediately spoke up and said clotsssss like plural? More then one? And didn’t I just cough it up?!! Doctor said I need toooooo…….the room went blank. He was talking and Kent was asking questions and I didn’t hear anything. The room was silent and spinning and I was sitting there in the bed sitting still while this tornado is spinning around me. My boys, my boys, I’m their mom their only mom, they need me…all…their….life…..then the doctor walked out. Kent looked at me and said, “let me have it Tahny pour it all out to me.” I buried my face in his chest and sobbed. He was rubbing my hair telling me its going to be fine. I knew he was concerned too, but Kent has such a strong faith and assurance that God was in control of every step that was taken. I needed that from him. We prayed together there at that moment, with tears rolling down my face Kent kissed me and said everything is going to be ok. I know a nurse tried to come in at this time and she waited outside the room.
Within 20 minutes of my diagnosis I was hooked up to everything. They gave me some sort of drug for my back pain that literally knocked me out. And I remember a nurse coming to talk to me and tried to explain things to me and I was in shock and DRUGGED UP! People were scurrying around me, poking me, hooking me up to this and that…..Kent was sitting in the corner trying to stay out of the way and I would just look at him and he would lip to me in a whisper, “you’re ok….I love you” I would give him a nod saying “ok”

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Lovin’ Me Some Sheet-cake!

16 Oct

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White Texas sheet cake, my new love. I have made this cake 3 times in the last 2 weeks. That could be either disgusting to some people or totally understandable to some people. I’m obsessed with sheet cake all kinds of sheet cake, strawberry, pineapple, peanut-butter, white, chocolate and my new creation….drum roll please…..Cornmeal sheet cake with Brown Butter Pecan Frosting. Yup, that is what I said.

Cornmeal or you might call it polenta, is one of my favorite foods. I love that it isn’t only a comfort food but how versatile it is. It can be savory, sweet, fried, grilled, baked and even eaten as a hot cereal my family liked to call “cornmeal mush” my dad & mother would make it for us girls in the morning.
It can also be added into ingredients and make an ordinary dish into something extraordinary! For example: My ALL TIME FAVORITE DISH is at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor….THE BITS & GRITS WAFFLE! Seriously besides my mothers home cooking I think this is the best culinary creation on the planet! Hands down! There is nothing better! The only thing that would make this better is if Zingermans would make it all day instead of shutting off the waffle iron at 10am. 2pm on Sundays. This has the creamy goodness of the grits folded into the batter then topped with a white sharp cheddar cheese. The cheese gets stuck to the waffle iron to give that crispy cooked cheese taste. And then there is the “bits” this is crumbled bacon. Yup, bacon. Then, this savory/sweet batter is ladled into the waffle iron and baked until it is golden brown then sprinkled with more crumbled bacon and white sharp cheddar cheese. Drizzle it with hot REAL maple syrup and you have the most divine waffle you have ever let your taste buds experience. Creamy from the corn grits, tangy salty from the cheddar, smoky from the bacon and sweet from the syrup. My mouth is watering right now……drool.

I took a picture for you all the last time I was there. I knew it would come in handy. I will be honest I order my waffle without the bits or I have them put the bacon on the side. But the last time I went to the Roadhouse I went with Nellie, she ordered it “as is” and of course I dived my fork right in as if I own all waffles that come out of that kitchen! It’s even better with the bacon, so I don’t recommend on trying to save the calories. Indulge!

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Ok, back to my newest creation, Cornmeal Sheet-Cake. Sorry, I get a little giddy thinking about that waffle. The first step is melting the butter and bring the milk & water to light boil. Add cornmeal.

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20121016-150700.jpgWhisk vigorously to prevent any lumps

20121016-150852.jpgIn a small bowl or measuring cup add the eggs lightly beaten, buttermilk, vanilla

20121016-151234.jpgSift together the dry ingredients, add the egg mixture

20121016-151434.jpgAdd the hot buttery cornmeal

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20121016-151750.jpgPour the batter into a greased jelly roll pan 15×13

20121016-152151.jpgWhile the cake is baking start the frosting. Brown the butter over medium heat. Browning butter brings a nutty flavor that complements this cake perfectly

20121016-152448.jpgAdd the coconut, pecans, brown sugar & heavy cream

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20121016-152834.jpgDissolve the brown sugar, add the vanilla, additional cream and salt

20121016-153120.jpgAdd to powdered sugar, add more cream or milk if it is too thick. I added about two more tablespoons of milk

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20121016-153426.jpgSpread on top of the hot cake. The heat from the cake will help the frosting to spread

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20121016-153631.jpgCool completely or if you can’t hold yourself back dive right on in, chances are you will make it again soon!

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Cornmeal Sheet-cake with Brown Butter Frosting

1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Grease your jelly roll pan, set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan with the milk and water. Once it comes to a soft boil add the cornmeal. Whisk really well to prevent any clumps and lumps. Keep it smooth. Once this is smooth keep on the stove on your lowest setting of heat while your preparing the rest.
Sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients. Pour in the hot prepared cornmeal mixture while mixer is on low. Scrape down the side and mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared jelly roll pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Start frosting.

Brown Butter Frosting (coconut and pecans)

1 stick of butter
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups powdered sugar

Melt the butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Keep swirling the pan. When the butter fat is about turn brown it will begin to do a foamy bubble. Remove from heat. The butter will continue to brown even when removed from the heat. Then add the coconut, pecans, brown sugar and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Place back on the heat and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Pour over the powdered sugar, add the vanilla, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and salt. Mix until well blended. If the frosting is too thick or crumbly add more heavy cream or you can use milk until you have your desired consistency. Pour over hot cake and spread evenly.

*serving suggestion: drizzle with caramel and a scoop of butter pecan ice cream. Yum-0!

Recipe created by Tahnycooks and published on Tahnycooks blog first!