Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Treats

I started the weekend by baking scones on Saturday Morning. I've never made them before but my friend, Marilyn, made them for Bible study last Wednesday and they were so wonderful! I had to give them a try. When some of us were at breakfast on Friday we talked about variations some had made/recommended. Janice made them with chopped dates and Greek yogurt (in place of the sour cream). Someone suggested dried cherries with almond extract. I'm going to try them with blueberries and lemon when Jeremy, Renee, and Maddie come to visit. Oh my, the possibilities are endless!

Here's the recipe. It's "Simple Scones" from, with alterations.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon orange zest (I used zest of a whole orange)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used regular), FROZEN
1/2 cup raisins, craisins, fruit of choice
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg

Glaze: powdered sugar with a little orange juice, enough to drizzle.

Freeze one stick of butter the night before you plan to bake.
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients. Add zest and stir with a fork until distributed throughout. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater. (I left wrapper on the end to hold on to so butter wouldn't melt in my hand). Use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal). This is the important part - DO NOT work mixture too much. Resulting dough will be "tough". You don't want butter pieces to melt. Stir in fruit.

In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour until  large dough clumps form. Use you hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. The dough will be sticky in places and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together. Again, don't work dough too much!

Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7" - 8" circle and about 3/4" think. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1" apart. Bake until golden, about 15-17 minutes. Cool for 5-7 minutes, drizzle glaze and serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: I wanted to "plump" the craisins, so I squeezed about 1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice into a small pan. Brought to a boil, added craisins, took off heat and covered with foil for about 2 minutes. Poured the small amount of juice into the sour cream mixture for more flavor.

One final note, be careful not to over-bake. I probably could have taken out of oven 2 minutes earlier.


Then I made cookies to take to Doug and Sue's for pizza and games. I made friend, Debby's, "Men's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies". First time I haven't made the traditional "Toll House" recipe.

Here's her recipe:

Men's Favorite Chocolate Cookies

Mix together until well blended:
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

In another bowl mix together:
3.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Add dry ingredients to sugar/egg mixture. Add: 1 cup nuts (or more!) and 2 cups chocolate chips

Drop by rounded spoons onto baking sheet. (Debby lines hers with foil.) Bake 15 minutes in preheated 325 degree oven. Very soft and delicious!

Rich had signed me up for a Texas Sheet Cake for the Newton Children's Choir Chili-Supper and Concert, which is tonight. (He is President of the Board.) So to top off the weekend, I made my sister, Cheryl's Chocolate Buttermilk Cake, which I think she acquired from her daughter-in-law. Actually it's also known as Texas Sheet Cake.

Here's that yummy recipe:

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Place in a large bowl:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Put in a saucepan:
2 sticks butter
4 tablespoons dry cocoa
1 cup water

Bring to a boil and pour over dry ingredients. Let cool slightly and add:
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 unbeaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend and beat well. Bake in a 12"x18"x1" baking sheet pan which has been sprayed with non-stick baking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Don't overbake!

Place in a saucepan:
1 stick butter
4 tablespoons dry cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk.
Bring to a boil. Add 1 lb. powdered sugar while still warm. Beat until smooth. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans (my addition!). Spread over cake.

Baking is one of my favorite things to do. I find it very relaxing! But oh, the calories, sugar, flour isn't terrific for us. But what's a girl going to do???

Hope you enjoy one or more of these recipes!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Today five friends from my Wednesday Bible study and I had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then went into Wichita to volunteer at WITS, World Impact Thrift Store. What a great day!

Sandi, Ellen, Janice, Sandy, Marilyn, and me. Loved the sweet potato pancakes!

Sandy, Marilyn, and Janice show how we all worked with clothing, making a new section of plus size items for ladies and then working through three large shopping carts and other containers, putting clothes on hangers and hanging on designated racks.

Ellen and I tried on a couple of things. She ended up making some purchases. She worked through the jacket section, which was packed!

Sandi and Sandy - another rack emptied and going back for more!

Our Bible study has set aside the 4th Friday of the month for our day of service to WITS for those that can make it. It's a marvelous day. We are blessed and in turn can be a blessing to this great ministry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


One of the things Rich especially loves is hearing from former students! In addition to telling about their lives today, they frequently will mention "The Crochet Project". Seems as though they either loved it or NOT. If you remember in the 1970s-1980s, granny square afghans were very popular, so for several years Rich would teach his students how to crochet. Apart from learning a craft it also was a good teaching tool for gifted kids who didn't always see a project through to completion because they didn't like it or it didn't turn out the way they expected. But in Mr. Dewey's class, students were expected to finish the work!

Just this week he heard from a young woman who was in his 6th grade class, many years ago. This is what she said ... "I thought you would like to know I started a business this summer with my mom and I have you to thank for it. Check out the I remember how much I hated crocheting in your class, but if not for that, I wouldn't have the business. I also ended up becoming a teacher. Year 13:) My students from my first year are almost out of college now!"

Wow! Isn't that amazing! Check out her website, You will see the gorgeous scarves she has crocheted. Three of my favs are the Bubble Shawl (shown in orange, but wouldn't it be great in black!) and the cobalt blue Simplicity and off-white Intertwined scarves.

So, we never know how we impact the lives of others, whether they be young students or our peers. May we always be up for the challenge! The rewards are great!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Count Your Blessings

Count Your Blessings

• If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep … you are richer than 70 percent of this world.

• If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy.

• If you woke up this morning with more health than illness … you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

• If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation … you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

• If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death … you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

• If your parents are still alive and still married … you are very rare.

• If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful … you are blessed because, although the majority CAN, most do not.

Taken from Growing Grateful Kids by Susie Larson, pages 129-130.

I made laminated bookmarks with the above blessings for Mom2Mom this week. Our theme for the month was "Teach Perspective" and we had a marvelous gal from our church (sorry, no photo!) speak on the topic. She was amazing! Through the telling of the story of her son's adoption from Ethiopia, she really opened our eyes to the needs of the world's very poor. The statistics, images and accounts may not be unknown to us, but somehow the telling from someone we know touches us in a more powerful way. Our blessings are, indeed, innumerable!

A few of the things we learned ...

Did you know that Africa's Big 5 used to be game animals, like elephants, lions, tigers, etc? Now the Big 5 Killers are lack of clean water, malnutrition, malaria, childbirth, and infectious diseases/pneumonia.

Water: the average American uses 105 gallons of water/day. That's for eating, drinking, bathing, laundry, watering lawns-both home and public parks, etc. The average African uses 2.6 gallons of water/day. That's equivalent to two toilet flushes/day! That's for eating, drinking, bathing, laundry. Forget yards and parks. It's the women who fetch the water, usually walking 6-7 miles/day, taking up to 4 hours/day. The young girls will begin carrying water containers around age 13. A 5 gallon container, which weighs around 40 pounds will be carried on the head, or frequently strapped to the back. Think about this the next time you let the water run while you brush your teeth! Oh, and that heavy water container on the head/back of a young girl ??? It causes her bones to become very round, not elongated, which causes her to be shorter in height than normal. This bone structure and stature leads to very difficult and long-labored childbirths, during which either or both mother and child do not survive.

$.98 US - that 98 cents will provide clean water for one person for a year!

Here are links to some wonderful organizations who are doing a mighty work serving the poorest of the poor. I challenge you to checkout the websites. Your heart will be moved to action.

Living Water International -
World Vision -
Samaritan's Purse -

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yummy New Recipe

Tried a new recipe for dinner tonight. Actually got the recipe from my friend Sarah's blog, but I made some changes. Originally it was called Balsamic Crockpot Chicken, but since I don't have a crockpot, it became stove top chicken. Photo is a little blurred. Guess I was a little too close!

Here's the recipe and then I'll tell you how I changed it.

Balsamic Crockpot Chicken
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 14.5 oz cans diced or crushed tomatoes
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, medium chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon each: dried oregano, basil, and rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
ground black pepper and salt to taste

For the two of us I cut the recipe in half, except I used 2 teaspoons olive oil instead of one tablespoon. I used two chicken breasts, which I cut in half. I'm in the habit of doing that as a means to cut back on the quantity of food we eat. It's actually a very fine portion and in this case it's a two-fer. I have another meal. There was ample sauce for two meals.

I lightly browned the chicken breast in the oil in a medium skillet. (TV chef Anne Burrell says that browned food tastes better! Agreed! More flavor!) Layer sliced onions over chicken, then herbs, chopped garlic, and salt and pepper. Pour vinegar over all and then tomatoes. Covered with a lid and cooked at a very low simmer about 1 hour, until thermometer read 180 degrees.

I served this over thin wheat spaghetti and made two little garlic breads by cutting a small dinner roll in half, making garlic butter and putting it under broiler at last minute. Delish!!

Lots of garlic so opened a chilled can of pears for a sweet finish.

Pretty tasty!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beholding Beauty!

Our granddaughter, Jordyn, sent me the following photos, which she took for an assignment in her photography class. I think they are gorgeous!

Jordyn and her little cousin, Maddie, each have Rose as their middle name. I think the first two photos are just like them, both very sweet, one is all pink and "budding out", the other a vibrant young woman. I can only imagine the fragrance these blooms emit!

Sunsets - one of my most favorite things! This is gorgeous!! Can only imagine how "beautous" it was as the colors and shadows changed!

Thank you Jordyn for bringing bright colors to my wintery world today! Love you!!! You have reminded me of the old hymn "For the Beauty of the Earth". It goes like this ...

For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth over and around us lies.

For the wonder of each hour, of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow'r, sun and moon, and stars of light.

For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above, for all gentle tho'ts and mild.

For Thy church, that evermore lifteth holy hands above, off'ring up on every shore her pure sacrifice of love.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

I am indeed grateful!