24 May 2013

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Just a quick note to wish you all a very safe and Happy Memorial Day Weekend! If you are or have a member of your family that is or was in the Armed Forces, Thank You, for your service, their service and sacrifice. My prayers go out to you all this weekend, both for loss and gratitude. I am the niece and aunt of men and women that served with you and understand your pride and grieve for your loss.
Many Blessings to you all!

12 May 2013

Rustic Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette

I'm sharing my Rustic Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette recipe with you, today.  Who could want a better breakfast?!  It also makes a wonderful dessert and is always a favorite at potlucks!
Don’t you just love this time of year, when the beautiful berries and gardens are producing and, finally, the prices have come down? I absolutely love this!! Mornings are still cool enough to bake or do some canning. Yes, I am old school and would prefer to make my own versus buying store-bought. It is the only way I know exactly what is in the food I eat. Well, I am lucky enough to have 2 booming crops of rhubarb with plenty ready now to take advantage of the strawberry sales and get a head start...Yummy.  So I decided, this morning, to make one of my faves…A Rustic Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette!! 
 I have worked on this recipe over the years, so I am quite pleased with how all the “tweaking” I’ve done turns out. I thought you might enjoy the results of my hard labor…lol.
 1st of all I made sure I could find strawberries on a great sale before I decided to go harvest some of my Rhubarb. (Did I mention that since the Gophers, in my backyard, killed one of the plants, not to mention a whole summer's garden, my wonderful Mum has been kind enough to grow my rhubarb in her backyard for me for the last three years?) 
I found the strawberries 2/$3.00!! That is an incredible deal where I come from and they are just perfect. I washed and hulled them and slice them to a bake-able size. Then I went over to My Mum’s and pulled about 14-15 nice firm stalk of rhubarb… washes and cur the rhubarb up. 
Here's one of those tricks I’ve discovered after making this recipe over and over ( My family LOVES it, and would have me make one daily, if possible) Because Rhubarb’s density and cooking time can vary, I want to make sure that it will cook and be tender in the baking time. And, after several ok tries, with a few too many super tart bites, I came up with this trick, putting my cut rhubarb in a Pyrex, lidded dish, squeezing the juice of some fresh orange over it ( you can use lemon, both work). And Microwaving for approximately 4-5 mins. The rhubarb comes out about half cooked and yet, still holds its form. 
I drain off some of the liquid and put the strawberries and rhubarb in the refrigerator, separately to chill, this prevents your crust from absorbing too much juice from your filling being prepared before the dough is rolled out and the oven is preheated, so you can combine all and put it directly in the oven. If you’re using a different fruit, that doesn’t juice the minute you add sugar, this step won’t be necessary.
Okay, so now you’re ready to make it!!
I like a very fruity Galette!  More fruit than usual, but it is up to you how you like yours!
2 cups cleaned, sliced strawberries, chilled
2 cups par-cooked rhubarb, cooled in the fridge.
1-1/2 cup white cane sugar
1/2 cup flour
¼-1/2 Tsp. cinnamon
1 tablespoon of pure Vanilla
Just stir lightly to combine, don’t be too vigorous here.

1 cup white flour
½ cup wheat flour or 1-1/2 cups AP flour 
½ cup butter, frozen then cut into cubes
1-1/2 Tblsp. Sugar, white
½ Tsp. Salt
Ice Cold Water
1 Tblsp melted butter
** combine dry ingredients and cut in butter (you know how recipes for pie dough say until it resembles cornmeal? You don’t want that for this dough! Just cut the butter in until the pieces of butter are about pea-size…you want to see little pieces of butter, this is what will make your crust flakey) 

(I added this photo of the dough so you can see that you will have and want to see little pieces if the butter)
You can use a food processor here, but if you do, I suggest you pulse only you do not want to overwork your crust.  Add in enough of the cold water to just make your dough come together. Gently form into a ball and wrap In plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about ½ hour. This step is a must, to let the glutens relax.
Preheat your oven to 375F
Prepare your counter. I like to place a large piece of parchment paper on the counter; I will roll my crust out on it and assemble my Galette there, then you can easily slide parchment paper and galette onto your cooking pan. Unwrap your dough and roll out into a large round disk approximately 14-16”
Now drain any liquid off your strawberries and rhubarb and combine them, add flour, sugar, cinnamon and Vanilla, just fold mixture 4-6 times and then dump into the center of your dough round, spread out until it is covering all but 2-2-1/2 inches from the side, start pulling sides up and pinching them together all the way around until you meet.. Gently pull your parchment paper with Galette onto a large cookie sheet.  

 Brush tops of dough with melted butter and lightly sprinkle with sugar, put immediately into your preheated oven. Make sure not to let your fruit filling sit out until you are ready to put it in the oven!! You don't want to see any juices until the baking process, otherwise, you risk your pastry getting soggy.  Cook until fruit is cooked and bubbly, checking the bottom of your Galette for a nice deep golden brown, you don’t want to overdo. Juices’ leaking over the sides is normal and Yummy!!

My Dad came over and enjoyed some of this with me!! So happy to see him enjoy it.   I'm off to make two or three more! You can freeze them, raw, wrapped, take out and pop in the oven to enjoy them later in the year!! But, I really don't think much beats fresh!  Enjoy and God Bless!   

Happy Mother's Day To All!!

Happy Mother's Day to all!! I pray you all Blessed to be celebrating with your Mother's!  Make it a Beautiful Day!!  I just wanted to share this message with you on this day!

God Bless all the Mother's out there, Including and  especially all the single Dads!! Grandmas and Grandpas that are doing it all over again, the Siblings that have stepped up to help !! The Aunties, Uncles , The Adoptive and Foster Parents!! All Mommies are celebrated today, in whatever shape, size, sex, creed or color they come in!!! God Bless you all for being a child's Mommy!!!

09 May 2013

Heather's "Stringtown Home" Mother's Day Extravaganza

Good Morning!! 
This morning I am joining my friend, Heather @ Stringtown Home in honor of Mother’s Day!! Most of you know that this is not my usual “thing” But, I love to support fellow Bloggers, especially one as good and kind as Heather, and well, you see I HAVE the world’s absolute Best Mom!!  Sorry, I know some of you, reading this, may think you do…but, you’d be wrong…Hehe..My Mom cannot be surpassed!!  

I must include this little disclaimer before I continue, I was never Blessed with children of my own, but, and this is a big But, I was superbly Blessed with Nieces and Nephews!! You got it!! I am that hands on, wouldn’t change it a thing for my life, Auntie! My siblings have Blessed me with 8 offspring, 2 Incredible Boy (now wonderful, men) and 6 Beautiful and Intelligent Girls (now also women, well 3 of the girls are on the cusp of womanhood!!) But, it didn’t end their! They have families now, too!! And the Blessing kept coming; on the way of 8 beautiful grand-nieces and nephews!! I am not even counting the step-nieces/nephews! (Who by all rights should be counted, too!) And, if I am a good, Auntie, than My Mother is definitively the worlds Best Nanny to all!! Blood or not! 

Okay, so onto, Heather’s questions: This should be fun!!  (In case you haven’t caught on, quite yet, I will be replacing most of the “Mama’s” with “Auntie’s”

Mother's Day Questionnaire:

1)  What is your favorite "Mama Sayin'"?
2)  What is one thing that your family expects from you - they couldn't do without you?
3)  When do you have "me" time, and what do you do?
4)  What piece of your wardrobe do you think screams, "I'm a mama!"?
5)  Name one funny experience that you've had since you've been a mama.
6)  Do you have a weird habit that you've developed as a mama?
7)  Have you had a moment when you wonder, "How did I get to become a mama?"  (You know... like locking your child in the car with the keys inside?)  What happened?
8)  What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

 1) So I kinda misread this one at first and thought is was like a "You Mama" joke. LOL, after some sweat and thought, I realized that wasn't what Heather would have written but just for fun I came up with a fun "My Mama" quote for me, would absolutely have to be:  My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."  Honestly, the thing about this question is that it is probably the truth, that, in part, I have become my Mother.(She is wonderful and I am not saying this in a negative way at all, I am Blessed to have her)   The funniest is things are to hear myself say things like “not in this house, we don't" or "take some time to think about what you just did/said?" whichever applies. It is odd and instinctive that if I do not call my Mum, she calls me, or when I do call her she says “I was just thinking I hadn't talked to you yet today" (I love you Mom!!)
2)  What is one thing that your family expects from you - they couldn't do without you?

This one is kind of clever and hard to answer!! I would hope that my family would say that they can always count on me, no matter what….However, I bet, they would recall our younger days, and tell you that I was “the professor” because I always new the answer to everything (which should be a good thing, but when you’re the youngest of 5, it was, somehow a blow to me.  I know that they would say I am the one that they would use as a phone a friend” if they ever played “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Yeah, family is special”!! These days, I’m definitely considered more the baker, cook, decorator, “go to” one.

3)  When do you have "me" time, and what do you do?

Oh, Heather, you are funny, “Me Time” what’s that? Seriously, I LOVE “Me” time!! Who doesn’t? I have ‘me’ time in the early morning and late afternoon, usually. I love to put on Beautiful music or “the Oldies but Goodies” and either be tending to my roses, baking something Yummy on a cold morning, just ‘cuz I want to, not because it’s necessary, or sitting on my front porch having a good “friend” visit over coffee or tea) and yes, I have a linen tablecloth on my front porch table, so we sit in style), while we watch the world rush by and be thankful for where we are. (Blessed)

4)  What piece of your wardrobe do you think screams, "I'm a Auntie!"?

I believe, after some consultation, that my nieces and nephews would tell you that it is my “granny-style” nightgowns that scream I’m an Auntie!! I don’t know what to say, I love a good nightgown!! I never could get used to PJ’s. Or, that I actually have and love “house dresses” you know the ones.. You can’t beat the comfort!! And, if absolutely necessary you can run somewhere quickly, if you have to, and “technically” still be considered dressed (That’s must be the vintage lover in me…Ha!!)

5)  Name one funny experience that you've had since you've been an Auntie.

I have had many wonderful and hilarious experiences since becoming an Auntie, however, most of the kids won’t let me put the answers I’d like to up here for that one…so,… have to keep thinking on that one. LOL..
6)  Do you have a weird habit that you've developed as an Auntie?

Weird habits since becoming their Auntie, you mean besides worrying? I guess it’s one that we all do…ie: opening my mouth for them to take a bite, wanting them to put on more clothes because I am, physically cold, just looking at them. Catching myself smiling when they here or do something that only I know makes them happy and/or proud, even if they aren’t smiling at that moment. Hurting for them, when something dashes their dreams and secretly thinking of ways to make their dreams come true, anyway. This one could go on and on…

7)  Have you had a moment when you wonder, "How did I get to become an Auntie?"  (You know... like locking your child in the car with the keys inside?)  What happened?

See answer 6, 5 and 4!!
8)  What is your favorite thing about being an Auntie?

My favorite thing about being their Auntie, has to be all the Love that you give and get that you never knew was possible.  The degrees of joy you didn’t know. The utter and complete pleasure you can get from a simple expression, smile or look… Seeing them succeed at their dreams. Watching them find happiness and becoming wonderful, loving parents themselves. The immense pride I feel for each of their achievements, even though it’s theirs and not mine. Absolute knowledge of How completely Blessed I have been to have them in my life. There is no greater joy!