Rosemary Potatoes With a Secret!

red potatoes 1a

If you love delicious, buttery, (but still light) seasoned potatoes, but don’t have much time to cook, read on!!

Red potatoes are a favorite side dish of mine.  They’re my favorite for potato salad.  They wonderful in Pioneer Woman’s Hot Crash Potatoes!  It’s hard to beat red potatoes roasted with rosemary in the oven…BUT they take a good bit of time to cook in there!  

I was delighted recently to be thumbing through my Cooking Light Cookbook and find a recipe for  Rosemary Potatoes done in the microwave!  They came out still moist, not withered up like some things when they’re microwaved.  I was so happy with the results, I just had to share this technique with you!  I love to have a side dish that can be ready in 15 minutes and taste like you’ve been working on it for an hour!

 I made these potatoes for Sunday dinner – a day when we come home from church ready to eat!  This meal was so fast!  I had a package of honey-glazed ham in the freezer, so I warmed up slices of ham, cooked my green beans on the stove with this method and popped the potatoes in the microwave.  In FIFTEEN minutes dinner was ready!  That’s faster than we would have been seated at Cracker Barrel!  This recipe is a keeper!

red potatoes 3

Here’s how you make them:

Rosemary Potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, quartered (about 4 cups)

Instructions:

Place butter and garlic in an 8-inch square baking dish. Microwave at MEDIUM-HIGH (70% power) 45 seconds or until butter melts. Add rosemary, salt, pepper, and potatoes; toss well. Cover and microwave at HIGH for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. (Mine took a little less than this).

 

red potatoes 2

I hope these pictures make you hungry for roasted red potaotes and you try this recipe!  All you need is 15 minutes (or less!).

What kind of potato is your favorite?  And are you like me, and want to throw an “e” on the end of “potato?!!”  What in the world??  Oh well….

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Canning Peaches at Home

For years I was really afraid to try canning at home.  I think I was scared by stories of pressure canners and the horrific results.  I have chosen to go the route of a water bath in a “big ol’ canner,” as we say in East Tennessee.  It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s so gratifying.  Today I’m sharing the simple method I’ve been doing for the last three years with great success.  As you can see in my pictures, there are lots of pots of water, so if you can boil water, you can can fruits and vegetables!  

Things You’ll Need:

  • Water Bath Canner (or pressure canner)
  • Quart Sized Jars, Lids, and Rings
  • Jar Utensil Set: containing a jar funnel, bubble remover and headspace tool, magnetic lid lifter, and jar lifter.
  • Peaches (about 15lbs for 6 quart sized jars)
  • Sugar 
  • Lemon Juice or Fruit Fresh
  • Large and Small Pots
Before getting started, make sure you pre-wash all the jars and rings.  The dishwasher works great for this.  Now you can prepare the water bath canner.  
 canning peaches 3.jpg
Fill the water bath 2/3 full with water and place on stove top over high heat to bring to a boil.
Rings can be re-used each time you do canning, but the lids should be replaced.  There is a chance they won’t seal with repeated use.
The easiest way to clean the lids is to put them in a small pot of almost boiling water for about 5 minutes.
First rinse the peaches with cold water.
canning peaches 4.jpg
Since we don’t want to peel all the peaches by hand, we are going to blanch them. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the peaches in and let sit for 30-40 seconds. I set the timer on the microwave so I don’t lose track of the seconds.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the peaches from the pot and place in a large bowl or sink filled with ice cold water.
Take peaches out one at a time, slice them in half, give it a quick turn and they will split open. The peels should slide off easily and you can remove the pits.
Slice the peaches and soak them in lemon water. I use about 1/4 cup lemon juice in about 3 cups of water. This will help keep the peaches from browning. You can also use Fruit Fresh instead of soaking the peaches. Just sprinkle it over the top of the sliced peaches.
 canning peaches 2
Remove the peaches from lemon water and place in a large bowl. Now is a good time to start the syrup. You can make a light, medium or heavy syrup. For the light syrup use 6 cups of water and 2 cups sugar, for medium syrup: 6 cups water and 3 cups sugar, and for heavy syrup: 6 cups water and 4 cups sugar. I use the light syrup. Heat the water in a medium pan and slowly mix in the sugar. Bring to a light boil, turn down the heat, and keep warm.
I do what’s called the “raw pack” method where I don’t pre-cook the peaches and I just add them to the jars.
Once peaches are added, pour in the syrup. The one batch of syrup should fill 6 jars if you filled them with plenty of peaches. You should have 1/2 to 1 inch of head space at the top.
canning peaches 1
Use a knife or canning tool to press against peaches to remove air bubbles. Tilt the jars slightly and press peaches towards the middle. You will need to do this for the “raw pack” method.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean wet cloth and place the lids and rings on. Tighten, but don’t over tighten.
Place jars in the canner.
Make sure you have enough water to cover the jars. Check the chart at the bottom of the page for processing time. Processing times are different based on method used (raw or hot), jar size, and altitude. Cover canner with lid while processing.
Use the jar lifter to remove jars from the canner.
Cool jars completely. You will hear the lids start to “pop” which means they sealed properly. Some will pop while still in the canner. Any jars that have not popped on their own after completely cooled should be refrigerated and used first. Enjoy your peaches!
canning peaches 5

Recommended process
Boiling-water bath
Pints – 30 minutes
Quarts – 35 minutes

We will save these peaches for when fresh peaches are no longer in season.  I stretch them out to last all year long!  What a great treat to eat these in the wintertime!

What’s stopping you from trying your hand at canning?  You could start with just a small amount of fruit and get the understanding of the process before launching into a day-long adventure of canning.  

I’m thinking of trying some salsa next!  I have a good number of tomatoes to use and since we like Mexican food so much, I’m pretty sure salsa would be a hit!  

If you could, what would you like to can for wintertime?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Breaking the Habit

“Negative Habits Every Family Should Break”  is the title of the series my husband is preaching on Sunday nights. This past Sunday night he encouraged families to get rid of disorganization. The very evening he was preaching his message, I was reminded of why it’s so important for my home to be organized.

As the service was being started, one of our very own missionaries who was passing through the area, felt led of the Lord to come to Boones Creek Bible Church’s evening service. He was by himself, due to his family being away for a few days, and so he was on no time schedule. After spotting him in the congregation, my husband had him come up and pray during the service. When our missionary guest announced how the Lord directed him to our church, and that he was on no schedule, the Lord prompted my heart that he needed to come and stay with us for the night. It was no surprise that when I talked to my husband after the service, he felt the same way. And so, our missionary friend returned to our home after the service.

As my husband was preaching, and I had been given the prompt to invite this dear man to stay with us, I thought, “I’m thankful that everything is in order at the house. I’m not going to have to go home and apologize for the messy kitchen, dirty dishes or laundry piled up on the couch. Whew!” Oh, not that my house couldn’t have used a dust rag or mop in places, but overall, it was ready for a guest to drop in.

Being organized and tidy isn’t only about teaching your children good habits and responsibility, it’s also about being prepared to be used of the Lord when He prompts your heart. There have been times that I would have resisted having a guest enter my home, trust me! But on this night I was thankful that I was prepared – not so I wouldn’t be embarrassed, but because my lack of organization would have caused my husband and me to miss the blessing of serving this servant of the Lord! It was a delight to have him in our home, and to be able to quickly obey the Lord’s leading.

So, if you look at your lack of organization and say, “It’s just my family, and they don’t care!” You’re missing the whole point. First, we’re stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to us (that includes our belongings, as well as the training of our children), and secondly it will free us up to serve others.
Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. I realize that he’s referring to legalism, but disorganization can also be a type of bondage that keeps us from being free.

Look around your home right now and ask yourself if you’d be good with guests stopping in. If the answer is “No way!” why not start on a path to orderliness? Perhaps you could free yourself from the bondage of disorganization by:
FlyLady cartoon

  • Check out Fly Lady’s “Getting Started” Tips
  • Determine to get rid of 7 things every single day. Put the unused items in a black bag and when it gets full discard it – Goodwill, Salvation Army, Consignment – something!
  • Read Emilie Barnes Books on organization, such as “Organizing Magic: 40 Days to a Well-ordered Home and Life

If this negative habit has been a part of your life, it’s not impossible to get rid of it! Start today and make a little progress at a time. It will be so freeing, and you’ll be ready to serve at a moment’s notice!

Would you be ready and willing to serve others today? What would it take to get you there?

 

Home Project – Wall Decor, Creating Balance

I guess it’s pretty common for homeowners to make improvements in their homes in spring and summer.  The weather is perfect for it, and we have lots of daylight in which to work.  As I mentioned last Friday, like many others, I’ve done several projects in my home, and this week I thought I’d share one with you each day.  We’ll start with a simple one – a wall hanging.

This spring I showed you a little arrangement that I was working on in my living room.  I used a very inexpensive frame found at Goodwill, and changed it to make a whole new look.  You can find that post here.  When I posted it, it wasn’t quite complete, and I promised that when I finished it I would show you what I had done.  So today I’m going to give you a peek at the completion of that project.

Here was the unfinished grouping I hung next to the fireplace –

IAM.jpg

Because of what was on the other side of the fireplace wall, I needed another something to balance it out, but I didn’t know what!  Then I came across this wreath tucked away and knew it was perfect!

 

wall hanging.jpg

It gave just the right amount to balance out the large picture on the opposite wall, plus it added a little softness to the harsh lines of the wooden frame and Scripture verse.

I must have tried a half a dozen different items before I landed on that wreath, but when I held it up there, I knew immediately that I liked it!  Sometimes you just have to keep trying different items – pictures, mirrors, shelves, clock or wreath before you find what is perfect for a space.  But you’ll know it when you find it!

Tomorrow I’ll show you the whole wall, and another bigger project that was recently completed!

Do you have a project you’re working on at home, or is there one you need to tackle?  Why not put it on your list and whittle away at it before summer is over?

Refresh your space,

Denise Signature 150 px

Individual Berry Cobblers & What We Really Eat

berry cobbler.jpg

Happy Monday!  First let me start with sharing a new recipe that I made as a special treat for my cobbler-loving husband!  If you need a treat for Fourth of July these would be perfect.  You can make one, or you can multiply the recipe to make as many as you need.  These are Berry Cobblers,  served in individual ramekins, making them a perfect size and also easy to serve!

I found the recipe here on this site. They were so easy to pull together, and with no sugar added to the fruit, I think they’re a really healthy little dessert, well, maybe the ice cream added some fat and calories, but you can’t eat cobbler without ice cream!

Individual Berry Cobblers
Ingredients
  • NOTE: These directions are per each serving so multiply it by how many servings you plan to make.
  • ½ cup berries or fruit of choice
  • 2 tbsp oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar, slightly packed
  • 1½ tbsp softened butter
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking soda
  • a couple drops of vanilla

Instructions –
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place berries/fruit In a ramekin or other small baking dish
In a separate bowl, Mix all other ingredients….oatmeal, flour, sugar, butter, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Use your hand or a fork to make sure all ingredients are incorporated well.
Sprinkle oatmeal mixture evenly over berries/fruit.
Place ramekin on a baking dish (just in case it boils over a little bit) and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until topping is beginning to brown.

berry cobbler 2.jpg

Do you ever look at people’s You Tube videos of their food and wonder if they really eat? I mean, sometimes it’s more about the tableware and presentation than the food.  To me, the most important part of mealtime is the food!  We really enjoy our food over here and I want it to be delicious and pretty – not just pretty!

So, I’m going to close today by giving you a little look at my plates from this past week so you can see what we really ate.
Here’s a real look at our meals:

wp-1498945762059
Grilled Marinated Steaks, Twice Baked Potatoes, Berry Green Salad
0622171822
Perfect Pork Tostadas, Spanish Rice, Fresh Fruit
0526171712
Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce, Corn on the cob, Oven Garlic Fries
0626171753
Chicken Fajitas, Refried Beans, Lime tortilla chips, Cantaloupe
0625171328
Turkey Breast, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Berry Green Salad

I don’t just take pictures of pretty food – we eat real meals every day at home.  Presentation is part of that, but also good food, prepared and cooked at home to nourish body and soul! Also the time at the table, sitting and talking as we eat, sip on glasses of tea, or nibble on sweet treats like this berry cobbler!  Meal time is a huge part of family time.  Let’s make dinner delicious, nourishing, pretty and memorable!

What have you made this week that your family loved?

From my country kitchen,

8e63c63ac0bc189bf1c68b03c74dbb5f (1)

 

 

(L)Oven Monday – Strawberry Shortcakes & Menu Inspiration

recipes 1

Happy Monday, friends!  I had a great time Friday night sitting out on my back porch with a stack of food magazines and iced coffee.  Most of the periodicals had been given to me by others who had looked through them, then passed them along.  How sweet!  Why do I flip through food magazines?  Or why do I sit with one of my cookbooks and put page markers in the pages? Not just to “Oooo” or “Ahhh” over the pictures (though I do that!). I do it for three reasons:

  1. I get tired of eating the same things
  2. I like to try stirring new things up in my kitchen!
  3. I like to surprise my husband with special recipes I’ve made for him!

I sat there for about a half an hour and ripped out recipes I want to try.

recipes 2

How about you = are you in a menu rut?  Spaghetti, frozen pizza, chicken tenders from the freezer section, steamed veggies in a bag…it just gets old.  I would challenge you to pull out either the magazines that have been delivered to your mailbox or one of your favorite cookbooks.  You can even go to the library and check out a cookbook from there to get some fresh ideas.  The point is, flip through and find recipes of menu items that you maybe already have most of the ingredients for.  If you know you purchased chicken breasts and they’re in the freezer waiting to be cooked, look for a recipe for chicken!  You might only try one new recipe this week, but add something to change up your normal routine.

Here are some of the recipes I found:

  • A supper Entree’ – Chicken breasts with Strawberry Salsa and Feta cheese – I have all the ingredients!
  • A fish recipe – Salt and Vinegar Baked Fish – You use the Salt and Vinegar chips as the coating!  That’s brilliant! Similar to this
  • A weekend breakfast – Sausage and Egg Flatbreads – I’m going to make my own .
  • flatbreads for this.
  • A dessert – Strawberry Icebox Cake – This will be great for company this summer! Similar to this one.

I won’t make all these this week, but I will try at least one!  It’s amazing how much money and time is saved when you make a menu.  It is so helpful to me to know what’s for supper, so I can plan and work ahead.

So, if you’re not in the habit of making a menu, plan at least few nights for starters.  If you’ve been making a menu, but you’re in a rut, go find some new, yummy sounding recipes to add!

Now let me share a recipe that I love.  This is a quick and delicious Strawberry Shortcake, made a little lighter.  These sweet biscuits are so much better than the store bought sponge cakes!  The addition of the orange juice and vanilla to the fresh berries makes it SO good!

strawberrry shortcake1

Lite Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups halved strawberries, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chilled stick margarine or butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
  • Whole strawberries (optional)
    1. Combine 1 cup strawberry halves, 1/3 cup sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and lemon juice in a bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Stir in 2 1/2 cups strawberry halves. Cover and chill.

    2. Preheat oven to 425°.

      Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; cut in margarine with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring just until moist (dough will be sticky).

    3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 times with floured hands. Pat dough into a 6 x 4-inch rectangle. Cut dough into 6 squares. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

      Split shortcakes in half horizontally using a serrated knife; place each bottom half on a dessert plate. Spoon 1/4 cup strawberry mixture over each bottom half. Top with shortcake tops; spoon 1/4 cup strawberry mixture over each top. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon whipped topping; garnish with whole strawberries, if desired.

      strawberry shortcake 2
      This dessert is as delicious as it is pretty!  

I hope you’ll add this to your menu and also find some other great recipes to freshen up mealtime at your house this week!

Refresh your menu!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

Kitchen Pantry Tour

pantry11a

My pantry is a corner closet in my kitchen.  It holds all my cooking items, so that would mean ~

wp-1496103227464

  • Canned Goods
  • Baking ingredients
  • Dry Goods
    • Pastas
    • Rice
    • Flours
    • Grits
    • Oatmeal
    • Sugars
    • Dried Fruits
    • Nuts
  • Teas
  • Pudding/Jell-O
  • Cereal
  • Jams, Jellies, Honey

It also holds some paper products

  • Paper plates
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic silverware
  • Straws
  • Holiday napkins and plates
  • Holiday bags
  • Extra Ziploc Bags

Some seldom used items are stored there.

  • Pressure Cooker
  • Pasta Pot
  • Thermos
  • Small Insulated cooler

So, as you can see, that pantry has lots in it AND I go in and out of there all day long. I tell you all that so you’ll understand why this “Before” picture looks so messy!  It had just gotten out of hand, even though I had a “system” I thought was working.

Pantry

I took a day and half last week and got it under control!

Let me give you a tour of the “After.”  It still has LOTS in it, but it’s labeled better and spread out in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me when I walk inside.

pantr11

I’ll show you each shelf:

Up above ~

pantry 8

pantry 7

I added a little decor inside the pantry.  I hung my “Denise’s Kitchen” sign and my Rooster picture above the shelves.

pantry 6

 

pantry 4

pantry 2

I hung my two dust pans on a wall in here.  The small one is only for sweeping crumbs off the tablecloth.  The large one is for the floor.  I was constantly going to the coat closet down the hall to sweep around the trash can and counters.  This makes life easier!

pantry9

All the holiday paper napkins are in Ziploc bags and labeled.

pantry10

A little vignette on the floor!

pantry 1

 

0524171353a

While my pantry might not be the most beautiful with glass jars and empty shelves, it works for me and I enjoy stepping inside now.  My items are accessible and it makes me smile to open the door!  Mission accomplished!

If you didn’t see this post, you can see how I used vinyl chalkboard to cover the door of my pantry!

Do you have an area in your house that makes you grimace?  I hope this inspires you to do something to that space so you’ll smile instead!

Refresh those spaces!

Denise Signature 150 px