Gluten-free Breakfast Cobbler

 

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I jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon a while back, and while I didn’t see much…or actually ANY noticeable difference in the immediate quality of my life, I am still willing to concede that the wheat flour we eat ain’t what it used to be.  Everything you read about the condition of our grains is appalling.  I’m not completely gluten-free any more but I have incorporated different types of flours into my diet on occasion.

I wish I could say that this breakfast cobbler is some lofty example of my heightened awareness of nutrition.  Although the berries are organic and the flours are wheat-free, I was mostly just trying to use up last year’s blackberries in my freezer and the get rid of the half-used box of rice flour mix in my pantry.  People talk about being a “purposeful” eater, so this probably isn’t a very good example of that concept other than the main “purpose” was to clean out my freezer and pantry.  Does that count?

Gluten-Free Breakfast Cobbler

5 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 cup flour (I used a rice-blend)

6 cups prepared fruit thickened to desired consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place thickened fruit in a 9X11 glass dish. (I thickened my fruit with a little more flour, sugar and pats of butter.) In a small bowl, mix the butter and sugar and cinnamon (if desired).  Add the egg and vanilla; mix by hand until thoroughly blended.  Stir in the rolled oats and flour.  Dab mixture on top of fruit.  Bake approximately one hour or until topping is set and fruit is bubbly all the way to the center.

Here is the flour blend I used.  I have tried several and this gives smoother results than some of the other ones I’ve baked with previously.

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Here is the coverage I got on a 9 X 11 pan of fruit with the topping. This is the cobbler prior to baking.

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Excellent results!  This recipe is a keeper!

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Cookbooks Galore

I started collecting cookbooks for my personal use and pleasure about 15 years ago.  I have always enjoyed cooking and have been fortunate to have been raised in an extended family of great cooks.  I enjoy reading cookbooks both old and new.  Unfortunately, my collection outgrew the space I allotted and my books have been stored in boxes for several years.

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While looking around Hobby Lobby for items to finish my Fourth of July crafts I happened to see this shelving unit and I thought it might be perfect for the one and only corner in my house that would accommodate it. You need blinders to get in and out of Hobby Lobby with just one item!  I used my phone coupon and got if for 40% off and had Davis bring it in and set it up.  Now the question was, would all my cookbooks fit?

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I try to keep them grouped although some defy categorization when they are all-purpose cookbooks.  I have never counted my books because the collection is often changing and I’m not really an enumerator by nature.

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The cat and dog helped on this dark and stormy summer night.  And my mom sat in a chair reading cookbooks as I pulled them out of boxes.  That’s help, I think. (Actually I needed her sage advice from the corner…”Add that one to the yard sale box!” “Get rid of that one.”  etc., etc.)

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The cat thinks he’s hiding.

Apple Dog Bones

Two shelves done.  Holiday cookbooks and Baking Cookbooks. Next is the international books and then outdoor grilling books.

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They did all fit with some room to spare!

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Hmmm….I have a Barnes and Noble gift card left over from Christmas. I could fit a few more in there.

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Here is my feature cookbook of the month.  Great American Cookout.  I got it at the Little White House in Warm Springs, GA on a class field trip.  It was my personal consolation prize for having to go.  I’m not big on hour-long bus rides with 50 children and no air conditioning on a big yellow school bus. I use retail therapy whenever possible.

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At this point, you may be thinking, “That is way too many cookbooks” and that may be true, but you would only be half right, because I have three more shelves of cookbooks in my kitchen and 4 more shelves downstairs.

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NOW  you can officially be thinking, “That is way too many cookbooks!”  I will say that I have slowed down in the purchase of cookbooks and I currently ascribe to the policy of Cookbook In — Cookbook Out.  If I buy a new cookbook, I give one away or put it in the yard sale pile.   This is my current pile of giveaways.  Soup anyone?

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With the vast array of internet cooking sites, I don’t use cookbooks quite as much as I used to so I can imagine that I will slowly whittle down my collection.  Also, I guess I do actually feel a little encumbered by having a plethora of cookbooks, however I do enjoy reading them and looking at the photos. I will keep them for now.

So what did I pick to cook after getting all the books out of the boxes?  I chose carefully. Something healthful and nutritious.

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Apple Oat Squares

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 all-purpose flour

3/4 grated cheddar cheese

1 egg

1 small apple grated (about 1/2 cup)

1 small carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together dry ingredients and cheese.  Add the egg, apple, and carrot.  Place the dough on a floured surface and pat into a square about 9 X 9 X 1/4 inches. I cut the dough into 36 squares. Place squares on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Turn off the oven and leave the trays in the oven for 2 hours.  Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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Pat out, cut, and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

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Tasty!  Crunchy!  And… for your fur babies!  Ha Ha!

I chose a dog treat cookbook from my shelves today.  Hope your sweetie pie enjoys them!

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Chupa certainly deserved them after all the “hard work” he did helping put up the books.

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Humans could actually eat them because they are full of good ingredients, however I will save mine for this sweet face.  Westminster here we come! Shine up the trophy!

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Relaxed

As mentioned in the last post, I was headed to my friend Terri’s lake house in Jackson, GA.  I felt an extreme sense of peace driving by the county landmark.  Finally, someone appreciated my bountiful attributes.

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I stopped for some power food…

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…and drove by my dream house.  It’s for sale.  If a million people would just send me one dollar each, I could buy it and renovate it.  One dollar isn’t asking too much, I don’t think.

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Finally, I arrived at Terri’s house where she doesn’t charge you a dollar for some birthday rest and relaxation.

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We chatted on the porch for a while and then headed over to the Blind Pig BBQ.  Great meal in a fun setting.

I saved some of the BBQ pork for my breakfast grits the next morning.  Great combo.

We finished off the evening with more porch sitting…

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…and a candle-making session. I brought soy wax chips and some starter candles.

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Originally, I planned for us to make candles in the tea tins, but Terri had empty bucket tins that looked great with our other Fourth of July decorations.  We melted the wax in a tin can placed in a saucepan of water – a double boiler of sorts.  Then we poured a little wax into the tin and let it almost cool before setting the smaller candles.

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We used Hanukkah candles as the wicks because they are easy to stand up, cheap, and colorful.

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After several layers of wax, the candle started to fill.

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We had to hold up the candles if the wax was too hot.

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Finally the tub was full .  I lit the candles and they burned down into this lovely puddle of colored wax.  The candle has been burning for several hours with many more hours to come. If you don’t want the color, use white candles for the wicks.

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We ended our visit with more lake time…

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…and rides on the jet skis.  I give Terri a perfect 10 for her dismount and for her hostessing skills resulting in a wonderful time at  the lake.

 

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Cake and Tacos

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We celebrated my birthday last night by going out to eat in Rome, GA.   Olivia is working and living this summer at Berry College.  We had a great time at LaParilla eating giant taco salads and burritos and queso and tableside guac!

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Right Side.

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And Left Side

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And the selfie for Instagram.

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Now, onward to Lake Jackson for more birthday fun.

 

Brussels Sprouts

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We do, indeed, like Brussels sprouts around here.  I know they are not everyone’s favorite vegetable, but we eat them quite often especially if they are fixed as I made them tonight.  I found this recipe in a Williams Sonoma advertisement booklet for Thanksgiving celebrations in 2013.  We used to go over to our local store on Sundays for their free cooking classes.  They were very good and a friendly group of people always attended. The samples were great, too.

The exact recipe is who knows where at this point so I will try to list what I dumped together last night for dinner. I served them with chicken and flavored rice.

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Brussels Sprouts that Actually Taste Good

3 cups raw Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced

1/2 medium onion

1/2 small garlic clove (I just had a few gratings.  This shouldn’t overpower the onion)

butter and/or olive oil

1/2 apple, peeled, cored and coarsely cubed

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tablespoon stone ground mustard

Soften the Brussels sprouts, onions and garlic in the butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the apple and cook until desired tenderness. Reduce heat to low.  Toss in the walnuts and stir in the mustard.  Cook over low heat 5 minutes or until flavors are combined. Serve warm.

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Georgia Peaches

DSCF2758Some of the early varieties of peaches are already showing up in the local farm stands. My favorite place to go around here is Gregg Farms in Concord, GA.

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In addition to many varieties of peaches, they sell u-pick blueberries and blackberries.  The best part of the farm is their soft serve peach ice cream.  You can eat it under this grain tower (or whatever it’s called) in their rocking chairs.

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I make lots of recipes with their peaches during the summer.  Today I started my day with a blueberry peach smoothie and ended the day with these Ginger Peach Shortbread Cookies.  Very delicate but very supremely divinely wonderful.

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Ginger Peach Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from the Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

1 cup butter (no margarine), softened but still cool

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a tin of 24 mini muffins. Using a mixer, blend the butter, flour sugar, salt and ginger until well mixed, about 5-7 minutes on low speed.  Spoon the dough into the muffin tins.  Press down slightly to flatten top.  Bake 15-20 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from pan onto a wire rack to cool.  Frost with peach glaze.

Peach Glaze

1 small ripe peach

2 cups powdered sugar

Peel and pit the peach.  Place peach flesh with powdered sugar in a blender and puree peach with the sugar. Add more powdered sugar to desired thickness.  Pour on top of cookies.

Here’s the line up.

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I used a mini scoop to put the dough in the pans evenly.DSCF2774

To get the cookies out without breaking, I put a clean linen dish towel over the top of the them and inverted the pan holding the dish cloth tightly over the cookies.  Then, the cookies tapped right out onto the dish towel.

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Here is the inside of my blender with the delicious peach glaze.

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I’m looking forward to a summer of peaches and lots of new recipes to try.

 

Fourth of July DIY

DSCF2723Very glad to be back in the blogging world after a long break.  Unfortunately, while I had stopped blogging I was slammed with 17,000 pieces of spam mail so it has taken me a while to delete all of those. They are gone and now I am here. So, if you are selling diet aids or Michael Kors knock-off purses, please do not comment again a million times.  All others please feel free to send a cheery “Hello.”

Recently, I had a wonderful time with friends and family getting ready for Fourth of July. We gathered at my house and ate and crafted into the evening.  I will give you a recap of the crafts and quickie how-to’s for each.

First, you see a photo of my front door with a wreath from Michael’s.  Use those coupons ladies!  Next, is my front door with bunting from Ace Hardware.  Is it just me or does their new jingle seem a little awkward…”Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks.”  I still sing the old one in my head whenever I hear the new one. Do you?

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Diane, Gina, and Terri joined me for food and crafts and an evening of creativity.  Dinner was chicken salad, shrimp salad, timbales from the Swan Coach House, asparagus salad made by Diane, and fruit skewers made by Terri.  They were all delicious and if anyone wants recipes, I can provide them, but this post is super long as it is, so I will leave them out for now.food

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timbalesshrimpblue berriesI also made a pound cake with mustachioed patriotic peeps. Still cracking up over those.IMG_6157

Now, on to the crafts.  We started with this oh so clever silverware holder from Diane.  The basket came from the Dollar Store and the cans came from the pantry…lots o’ corn.

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First, you cover cans with Mod Podge and glue down the paper. Place another layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper.  While the Mod Podge is still wet, tie jute around the top.  Allow the end string to position under the string you are wrapping so both will tie at the bottom.  The paper looks wrinkly here  but it does dry flat. It was an easy project that had really cute results. Be sure to only pick up one wet can at a time with your hands in the cans or you just might get stuck with double can-hands like the woven Chinese finger trap.  Not that it happened to me or anything…. Last, hot glue ribbon or decorated burlap around the basket and you are done.   DSCF2690

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Next we made a craft that I loved but I somewhat disassembled it to use in different places in my house.  Diane led another craft to make paper fireworks in Mason jars full of white sand placed on top of a tie-dye table runner.  I made all the parts but then as you will see I used each part in a different location in my house.

First, we did the tie-dye.  I love, love, love to tie-dye.  I adore all the splotches of color and I love how each piece is unique.  This project was no exception.  We used highly technical tools such as dollar store buckets and rubber duck pot scrubbers.

duck brushHere is my tie-dye table runner on my dining room table.  The whirligig came from Lillian Vernon Outlet many years ago in Virginia Beach.  The plates and cups are from Target. I haven’t finished with silverware or napkins yet.  I’ll show you the finished table on the Fourth.DSCF2743Then, the next part of the craft was to make paper fireworks.  This was a simple craft with a great look.  I could see using this idea for other holidays.  It is fun and festive.DSCF2716

To make the paper fireworks, cut a 4-inch by 10-inch piece of paper.  Fold it in half so it is now 4X5 inches.  Fold over to the top as a guide for cuttingDSCF2744While folded, cut into thin strips stopping at the top fold.

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Next, take a skewer or dowel rod and position the paper at the end.  Dab with hot glue and start rolling with the decorated side in.

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Glue again at the midpoint of the roll and then again when it is all rolled up.

DSCF2748Use your giant man-hands (oh wait, those are mine) and curl the paper using scissors and your thumb like you would curl ribbon.

DSCF2749Easy and so cute.  I made an extra can and put lentils in it to hold my fireworks.

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I used my jars of sand out on the screened porch on my table.  You can also see the next craft hanging out there.  I led the group in making a lighted garland.

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I purchased 24-foot light strands from The Home Depot last year after Christmas.  I went to Joanne’s and purchased a variety of patriotic fabrics and tore them into strips.  I cut circles from the decorated burlap fabric.  Using a hot glue gun or hand tying, we decorated as desired.

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The next craft also used torn fabric so they went together really well. Gina brought wreaths for us to make. I don’t see how she had the hand power to tear all that fabric for us ahead of time, but we really did appreciate it.

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I actually have it hanging in front of the window by the table but it is too back-lit to see it very well in photos so I moved it to the door to see it better in the picture.  Gina tore strips into 1-inch by 6-inch pieces.  It takes about 1/2 yard of fabric for each of the 8 sections of the wreath.  Two are blue and the rest alternate red and white. I ended up cutting some of my strips for extras and the look wasn’t drastically different in case your hands won’t hold up with all the ripping.

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I started with the blue.

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And then after two sections of the wire wreath switched to reds and whites.  When you get to the reds and whites, tie 4 or 5 strands on each wire in each color before alternating to the other color. It gives it the striped flag look.

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DSCF2701We didn’t finish that craft that evening but we did get a good start on it before moving to the another craft which was this beautiful centerpiece for the table.  Amazingly, we didn’t coordinate crafts but everyone had a unique idea and they all went together beautifully.

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The materials for this craft include a foam wreath, burlap ribbon, hot glue, flag cupcake picks, and a nail.  (We cut the center out of foam discs to make our wreath shape.)

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Wrap the wreath with the plain burlap ribbon and secure with glue.  Place decorated ribbon in the inside and outside ring of the wreath.  Then, use a nail to poke holes in the foam and place the cupcake flag picks all around the top as seen in the picture. It is now magically daytime in the picture below because I took it the next day but at this point in the evening, it was well  past dusk.

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Another quick craft of mine was making Mason jar votives. Take Mod Podge and use a paint brush to coat the inside of a jar.

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Start at the bottom and do one color at time.  Use a skewer to add pieces of tissue paper.  You can sprinkle in some glitter stars if desired.  Then, paint over the paper with Mod Podge again.  Be sure not to keep going over the paper or your glass will turn pink or baby blue with the paper.  It runs easily.

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I used various sizes of jars and finished off with battery operated votive candles. I put some party favor blue ribbons on the larger jars for a country fair look.

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Two other crafts that you see in the photos that I made in previous years are these clothespin Uncle Sams and the beaded dessert server.  The Uncle Sams have been in my Fourth of July box for about 15 years.  I made a bunch of them years ago and tuck them around my tables or serving counter every year.

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And the last craft of this very long post is my beaded serving utensils.  DSCF2711

They are easy to make with about 3 feet of  20-gauge wire and approximately 12 beads. Start by curling the ends of the wire and wrapping the base of the spoon or server.  Add beads to the wire and keep wrapping as you go up the handle.  Finish off with a tight wrap and tuck the end of the wire back through the wrapped handle or curl like you did at the base. This server is Oneida and comes from Wal-Mart.

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The pets were in a daze and so were we after a long night of handicrafts. (And you didn’t think I could get a Chupa photo in this post. Ha! I slipped it in here at the last minute!)

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As I was walking around looking at the crafts, I kept thinking “Ahh, this garland is my favorite,” and then I would see the paper fireworks and think, “No, this is my favorite.” Then, my eyes would move to the wreath, and think, “Oooh, I really like this best, but then I love the centerpiece, too.”  Needless to say, there is no way to rank these crafts so I quit trying.  They are all lovely and only surpassed in beauty by the friends who gathered to make them.  I’m really looking forward to the Fourth and using all these great ideas and beautiful decorations!

Welcome back to Frankly Southern! So glad joined me today. I hope you will come again soon.

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Russian Tea for Terri

I was the last person on earth to make the afore-mentioned chili cheese log, but my friend Terri is the last person on earth to make Russian Tea.  She is the very last person including every Russian and every American.  I’m quite sure of it.

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The weather jumped up into the fifties today.  Perfect for a fire in the outdoor fireplace.

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Unfortunately, the fire is mostly smoking and not burning. My wood is too old.  I love my outdoor screened porch but my social life is sadly lacking and I haven’t been out there much lately. I might be turning into a lonely, crazy cat lady.  What are the symptoms?  Is it that I’m growing whiskers and a hairy upper lip. That could be hormones.

But I do have a cat now.

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And I dress my dog in argyle sweaters.

DSCF2502And, if you look back to the second picture, I still have Christmas decorations out. (Although I do think everyone could use a little JOY all year long.)  The evidence is becoming incriminating.  Please save me from a life of solitude and pet obsession.  Come over soon so I can make you a smoky fire and some Russian tea. Enticing, eh?

 

Russian Tea 

2 cups Tang

1 cup instant tea (I use decaffeinated)

1 cup Country Time Lemonade Powder

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Sift together all ingredients.  Keep in an airtight container.  To serve, use 2 rounded teaspoonfuls per cup of hot water.  Serve with cinnamon stick, wedge of lemon or orange slice.

 

Let me just taste that for you.

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Chili Cheese Log

Apparently I am the last person on earth to make this cheese log.  Last week you recall I was going through my old recipe boxes to play Recipe Box Roulette.  While inside those yummy vintage files, I found a recipe for Chili Cheese Log.  I thought I had stumbled upon some rare long-lost recipe from the files of my ancestors.  Not so much…I Googled the recipe only to find 20,000 variations.

I made it anyway even though it isn’t rare or unique. The recipe took me back to a time in the 1950’s whereupon I would meet my hubby at the door in my heels and pearls with a martini and this appetizer cheese platter.

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But wait…I don’t have a hubby. Only a dog. (Where’s my dogtini?)

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Wait again…I don’t drink martinis.  This fantasy is going downhill fast.

 

Chili Cheese Log

1 3-ounce package cream cheese

2 cups shredded sharp American processed cheese (I used Land-o-Lakes)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/2 small garlic clove)

Dash red pepper

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Sprinkle with:

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Soften cheeses to room temperature.  Use a food processor to blend cheese, lemon juice, garlic and red pepper.  Blend in nuts. Shape into a 1 1/2 inch roll.  Sprinkle a mixture of chili powder and paprika until well coated. Add more spices if necessary.  Place log in plastic wrap and chill.  Allow the log to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

I honestly didn’t know Land-O-Lakes made something as mundane as American Cheese.  You could substitute Velveeta but it won’t have the sharp taste. Don’t forget to take the paper out.  Olivia can attest to the fact that food is harder to eat when your mother forgets to remove the paper when making a sandwich with sliced cheese for the lunchbox.

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I added some of my homemade organic blackberry jelly to the plate.  I loved the combination with the sharp cheese.  Admittedly not everyone else did but hey, this is my recipe box fantasy and I can mix things up a bit if I want to.

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Chicken Paprikash

I went to Sam’s Club yesterday and spent a lot of money.  We now have toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, dish soap, hand soap, moist towelettes, and nothing to eat. Ha! Tell me I’m not the only person who does this!

I did pick up this giant-sized bottle of paprika.  It cost the same as the small one next to it from the grocery store.

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I thought I’d better start learning how to make some Hungarian food to use this giant bottle up.  My internet sources tell me that it loses its flavor in a year.  That’s a lot of goulash by next March.  It is rainy and cold today so a nice plate of Chicken Paprikash hit the spot.

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Chicken Paprikash

2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 +2 tablespoons butter, divided

1   14.5-ounce can chicken broth

2 tablespoons or more paprika

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sour cream

In a large dutch oven, soften the onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the butter.  Add the chicken  and brown slightly.  Add the broth and paprika and place the lid on the dutch oven; simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.  In a small skillet, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux.  Add some of the liquid from the chicken to make a thick sauce.  Add the sour cream.  Place mixture in with the chicken and heat through.  Serve over noodles.

Two tablespoons down, many more to go.