Lemon Blueberry Muffin Cake

Several weeks ago I made this cake to take to our church cafe.  It was a huge hit and I have been asked for the recipe several times.  This cake takes time and patience, but believe me it is well worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of unsalted REAL Butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature.
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Splenda  (I use Aldi Market’s brand)
  • 3 Large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tbsp of REAL vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. of Lemon Juice (concentrate)
  • 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flower (sifted)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 Plain Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 pound of fresh blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Spray your bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (the kind with the flour in it).
    1. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies of the pan.
  3. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar and splenda.
  4. Then add your beaten eggs, vanilla extract and lemon juice into the sugar/butter mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, soda and salt.
  6. Fold the flour combination with a fork until well combined.
  7. Alternating a half cup at a time add in the flour mixture and the Almond Milk.  Add in flour, then Almond Milk, over and over until it is all incorporated.  DO NOT mix it in all at once or over mix it.  Stir just until its all come together.
  8. Make sure you scrape down the sides as you mix in your flour, and Almond Milk.
  9. Very, very gently “Fold” in half of your blueberries.  Be very careful when doing this so you do not burst open all the berries.
  10. Now gently add the batter into your prepared bundt pan.
  11. Then add the rest of your blueberries on the “top”.
  12. Bake for about 65-75 minutes.  Oven times often vary for baked goods, test for doneness by using a toothpick.  It should come out clean when you insert it into the cake (if you don’t hit a blueberry).
  13. Cake should be golden brown and should NOT be “Jiggly”.
  14. Don’t turn your off your oven until after you take out your cake.
  15. AND DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT RELEASING THE CAKE FROM THE PAN YET.
  16. The cake must COMPLETELY cool.  This could take an hour and a half or more.
  17. Once the cake has been allowed to cool COMPLETELY, you can release the cake form the bundt pan.  This is absolutely KEY to getting the cake to come out clean.  The pan needs to be TOTALLY COOLED, then it should come out easily.
  18. To take the cake out, place a large plate under the opening of the pan, and “Flip” over.  Your cake should slide out onto the plate.
  19. Sprinkle the top with powder sugar.
  20. ENJOY!

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Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

Breakfast Egg Muffin

One of my favorite breakfast is a poached egg English Muffin breakfast. 

Did you know you can imitate your favorite fast food breakfast sandwich? The secret is to poach your egg. 

You do not need a fancy egg poacher. All you need is a small non-tephlon skillet a small lid or plate and a canning jar ring. Yes a canning jar lid. 

  • Spray your skillet and canning jar ring with nonstick spray. 
  • Place the ring in the center of your skillet.
  • Place the egg in the middle of the ring.
  • Add a little water slowly into the skillet put a lid over the skillet.
  • Set the eye to medium. 
  • Let cook until the yoke is the way you like. I like mine soft. 
  • While cooking toast your English muffin & prepare your toppings.
  • Take the ring & egg out of the skillet.
  • Using a butter knife slip around the edges of the ring to slip the egg out.
  • Place on your muffin with whatever toppings you like.  Mine this morning has yogurt jalapeño pepper cheese & some venison sausage sticks (Thanks to my old High School friend Bob Mauck).  Yum!


Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

The Daily Delay…

I have a confession to make.  I am a control freak.  Yup, there I said it.  I’m sure my kids are rolling their eyes and saying ‘DUH!’.  When I say that I am a control freak, I mean it in a good way, I like order vs chaos.  But sometimes it can get out of hand.  I tend to believe everyone should think or do things the way I think they should be done and in my time frame.  I have learned, finally over time, to step back break and say a little prayer to get myself in check.  When I feel like I am not in control, I get nervous, anxious and a tad cranky.  When I feel like something is not happening on the timeline that I want, I get anxious and pushy.

Here lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking on things on this line.  Why is it that I think that God should part the waters for me whenever I think they need parted?  Why is it that I become discouraged when God does not open the door that is locked in front of me?  The answer is simple, he knows more than I do.  Many times I need to be humbled and after pulling and tugging and slamming against said locked door, it will open.  Not usually in a good way and definitely not with the results I had in mind.

Patience.  Because this world does not run on my clock and calendar.  It runs on God’s design.  He built it, he knows the plans we (I) need to step back and enjoy and yes, even suffer at times, through those plans.

So when you are feeling impatient and wondering why you are stalled, delayed or not moving, consider it a blessing and sit and listen.  You are being delayed because God knows there is a storm waiting on the path you are insisting on choosing.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Meal Prep 101 Class

What an amazing opportunity I embraced on August 25, 2016.  And I just had to share.

It has become quite apparent to me that my love of old fashioned traditions in the area of food preparation and cooking has become a skill that is craved for.  A friend of mine at church requested that I teach a class of meal prepping to several women in our church.  Everyone is so busy now days, work, children, demands, we all tend to slip into the grab and eat on the run, how can we be healthier and still have time to get everything done?

The biggest part of this question, is how do we prioritize and organize our time to be productive.  Advance Meal Preparation is only a small part but it is a huge benefit to busy family life, no matter what the size of your family is!

Last night I helped introduce several women and one man to the joys of home-made crock pot foods.  We completed 12 meals (4 different recipes, 3 of each) in just under two hours, and that included dicing, cutting and prepping fresh veggies as well as our prepared meats.

The meals that we prepared for our freezer which at a later date will be thawed the night before and placed in a crock-pot on low the day to be eaten were as follows:

  • Black Bean Turkey Chili
  • Vegetable Turkey Soup
  • Bell Pepper Chicken
  • Asian Sesame Chicken

I had the most wonderful time sharing my knowledge with this group.  The best part is that our hostess also celebrated her birthday with us and her loving husband surprised her with cake and a group birthday serenade.

For years, I was very sad that my own children never wanted to embrace these traditions.  My grandmother Inez and my Mom, Kathy spent quite a bit of time teaching me basic techniques in preparing for the long winters.  I longed to teach my children these same skills, but they were more intrigued by modern convenience.  We all have our own paths to follow.  But, I continued to pray often to be able to pass down what had been so generously passed down to me.  God answered those prayers to give me the opportunity to teach others.  And continue to teach I shall.  It is wonderful to find your purpose and enjoy it with all of your heart.

Good friends, old-fashioned values and knowledge and time well spent.  This is what life is about.

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Until next time, have a glorious day and count your blessings!

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Braided Enchilada Calzone

Braided Enchilada Calzone

Ingredients

  • pizza dough unbaked
  • Verde enchilada sauce
  • Shredded chicken, pork or chorizo cooked
  • Roasted green chilies of your choice
  • Cheese of your choice
  • 1 egg white whipped

Preheat oven at 350 Degrees F

Role out your pizza dough rectangle shaped on a rectangle cookie sheet.

Using kitchen scissors, cut at a slant down each side strips. Make sure the strips leaves plenty of filling room in the middle. Do not cut them off.

Spread your enchilada sauce down the middle.

Now spread your cooked meat sparingly.

Add your roasted chilies on the middle strip.

Sprinkle cheese over the items in the middle strip.

Now “braid” your dough. Starting with end pull one strip to the opposite side at an angel. Now take one strip from the other side and down over at an angle towards yourself. Do this until all strips are crisscrossed. Tuck the ends under the crisscrosses at the end.

Brush with whipped egg whites.

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.

Once golden brown remove from oven sprinkle with shredded cheese of your choice.

Sprinkle with a touch of ancho powder if you like.

Serve warm.

Let me know you like it.

If you use this recipe, please be kind enough to give me credit for it.

 

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

“Night Before” Peach Smoothie 

I do my best to prepare my breakfast & lunch the night before so I’m not making unhealthy choices during my work day. Or even worse, skip meals all together. I’m especially horrible about skipping breakfast. 

My awesome husband, Bob, has been a huge help on the skipping breakfast problem. He was able to get me liking Breakfast Smoothies or Protein Shakes, whichever you prefer to call them.

With it being summer the fruit is plentiful right now, especially peaches. So here is a quick smoothie/protein shake prep recipe. 

In a sealable sandwich bag add the following:

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup instant oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 fresh Peach pealed & sliced (I add a sprinkle of Fresh Fruit powder to prevent the Peach from browning)

  1. Seal your bag.
  2. Put in the refrigerator
  3. The next morning put 8 ounces of almond milk in your blender
  4. Add the contents of your bag. 
  5. Blend until smooth
  6. Add some ice if you like & continue to blend. 
  7. Pour in a drink container and enjoy.

Until next time 

Mrs. Kay L. Rice 

Canning Beets

My husband and I absolutely love beets. These hearty root vegetables are full of vitamins and the color can perk up any meal or relish tray. 
Most people think of pickled beets when you mention them. While we do enjoy them pickled, especially the little ones, we enjoy them roasted, boiled, in soups and stews, as a slaw type salad with horseradish (let me know if you want that little gem of a recipe), all kinds of ways. 

With all that said I will also add that canning beats for winter is one of the most labor intensive vegetables I can. Next to squash and pumpkin. 

Here we go:

To make my life easier I wash them and rinse them whole (with their tops & bottoms intact) the night before. If you use your sink, please, bleach clean your sink and rinse well before putting in your beets to scrub. After scrubbing replace your dirty water with clean water and you can soak overnight if you wish. 

Beets MUST be pressure canned. So please familiarize yourself with your canner. Know how to properly operate, clean, maintenance, use and store. 

As with any canning process make sure you sterilize your jars. I use the boiling method. 

It is recommended that beets are preboiled or preroasted before canning. Raw packing is not recommended in most root vegetables. 

Do yourself a favor. Wear latex gloves when working with Beets. 

I sort my baby beets from my large beets. Cut off the tops leave the root to prevent maximum bleedout, and put in two separate pots. Add water to cover and a teaspoon of white vinegar to the water (also helps with bleeding). Cook them approximately 30 min. Less for the baby ones. Move to cold water and slip off the skins. Dump the boil water outside and not in your fresh cold water. Just saying.

Cool, cut off the root & peel off the skin and cut up. You cut up beets to improve and even out heat throughout. Baby beets are small enough that they  can be left whole. However, all needs the roots cut off & the skins removed. 

Now that you are totally exhausted, we begin the packing and processing process.

Pack your beets into sterilized jars. Cover with fresh boiling water leaving 1/2inch of headspace. Optional: add 1/2 tsp salt per pint / 1 tsp per quart; add 1 tablespoon vinegar per pint/ 2 tablespoons per quart. This does not create pickled beets. 

Prepare and vent your canner as instructed. Pints are pressure canned for 30 minutes quarts are pressure canned for 35 min. These times are started when your pressure meets the specifications for your location sea level. For me its at 11lbs. Yes area hieght makes a difference. 

Again do not remove your lid until the button naturally comes down and the pressure gauge show 0 zero pressure. 

Remove careful. Let set for 24 hours in a safe place & count your “POPs”. Anything unsealed after 24 hours refrigerate and use first. 

Enjoy!

Kay L Rice

(References if knowledge come from my Grandma, my mom & from “The Encyclopedia of Country Living)

Canning Basic Green Beans

A staple in our home is the basic green bean. I will say for the most part in this household we doctor up our green beans with onion, garlic & of course jalapeño peppers. However, the following is just your basic run of the mill green beans canning recipe. Enjoy. 

First things first. Green beans must be pressure canned. So be sure to understand how to operate, maintenance, care and clean your pressure canner. 

We get our green beans mostly from farm markets and always in season. A half bushel should give you approximately 13 quarts of snapped green beans. 

First wash and snap your green beans. 

I like to give the a quick blanch wash of three minutes in boiling water. However, some people don’t do this. It’s up to you. The argument is that cold packing keeps the beans crisper. I don’t notice a difference. 

As always make sure your glass quart jars are sterilized by boiling or dishwasher. 

Take your center lids and steep them in boiling water while you work on filing the jars. 

Now, I use quart jars because honestly, pint jars of green beans is rather skimpy for me, in size. Green beans warm up well with leftovers, so to me, it’s easier to put then up as quarts. 

Fill your jar to the base of the neck with your beans. 

Fill all your jars. 

If you add salt use a pickling and preserving salt. This will prevent a cloudiness in your beans. 

Add water to the jars but leave a 1 inch headspace. 

Wipe the rims with a clean towel. 

Place your rims on your jars. I use a magnet stick to pull my kids out of the hot water. 

Attach the ring to the lid. Tighten the lid but not so much that you strain something. 

Place the jars in the canner. Add water to your canner, per specification and size of your canner.  You can also add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water in the canner to prevent calcium buildup. 

Put your lid on your canner and click it shut. Leave the stopper off. Turn on the heat. I generally start mine at 7 never full blast heat. 

Once you start to get a steady stream of steam from the vent set the timer to 10 minutes. 

When the timer goes off your button should be straight up. When the button is up put your ‘stopper’ on. 

Watch your gauge closely when you hit 11-12 lbs start your timer for 25 minutes for quarts (20 min for pints). 

Please watch your pressure gauge closely adjusting your heat appropriately to keep it at 11-12 lbs. Do NOT ever leave your canner unattended during this phase. It only takes a second to hit a dangerous level of pressure. 

When your timer goes off. Turn off the heat and leave the canner alone. Do not fiddle with the stopper, or the button and no matter what do NOT be a dork and open the canner. It will take a while, 30 min or so, to naturally cool down. 

When the button drops it will be safe to open your canner. 

There WILL be hot steam. Do not be careless while taking the lid off. Skin does not grow back easily!

Gently remove your jars and place them in a prepared place on a thick towel to cool. This place should be out of the reach of kids, pets etc. And will need to stay in this place for 24 hours.

Once your jars begin to cool you will hear that lovely sound. POP! This means a jar has sealed. There should be a pop for each jar. Don’t try to cheat and push the lids to make them seal, they won’t. 

If you have a jar that doesn’t seal, put it in the refrigerator & use it first. 

Never reuse your center lids. The only parts that can be reused are the rings & the jars. 

Mark your lids with contents & date & move to your pantry. 

Enjoy! 

Mrs. Kay L Rice

Canning Rehydrated Black Beans

Canning is a skill that both men & women should be comfortable with. That’s just my opinion, of course. There is much to he said for providing for yourself. The pride in doing so, the benefits of not having unnecessary gunk added to your food & the cost. 

At our home we buy dried beans to store in our dry goods shelves & can them Rehydrated for the quick meal later down the road. One bag of black beans can give you 7 pints of Rehydrated beans for ready to use meals.

Beans, like meats, must be processed in a pressure canner. Pints take 75 minutes to can (once pressure is reached). Do yourself a favor and dedicate the day to do a bunch of beans! It’s well worth the time and effort because that single page of dried black beans may cost you approximately $1.49 but when you can get 7-8 pints out of it you are looking at 22¢ a pint, with flavors you decide. 

So here we go! 

Please make sure you know how to properly operate, maintenance, check and care for a pressure canner before you can. 

I hot soak my bag of beans for about half a day. Making sure any stones or icky beans are disposed of.

Make sure that your pint jars are sterilized. Taking them out of a sealed box does not mean ready to go. Either boil your jars your run the through the dishwasher. I prefer to boil.

Off to the side put your center rings in a bowl and put hot boiling water over them and let them sit. 

Take your clean jars and measure 2/3 cup of black beans into each jar. This is only if you have not completely Rehydrated them. They will need room to expand as they cook during the canning process. 

If you add salt use salt specifically for pickling and preserving. This prevents a cloudiness to your beans. 

You can add other seasonings at this point as well like chili peppers, jalapeño peppers, ancho powder, etc.

Add hot water to each jar but leave 1 inch of headspace. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean towel.

Place the center lid on your jar.

I use a magnet stick to pull out the lids from the hot water. 

Now put in your outer ring. Tight but not Goliath tight. 

Place them in your pressure canner according to YOUR canners specifications & size. 

Put the water in the canner to your canners specifications. 

After checking your lid, band, exhaust tube put on your lid until it fits correct and shuts. 

Turn on the heat, I start at 7 on my electric range. Do NOT go maximum heat. Leave your ‘stopper’ off. 

When you start to get a steady stream of steam from the stopper tube, set your timer for 10 minutes. Never walk away from your canner!

When the timer goes off, the latch in the back should be up. 

Now put your ‘stopper’on the vent. Watch closely as the pressure raises to 12 lbs. 

Set your timer for 75 minutes. You will need to adjust your heat to keep it at 11-12 lbs pressure. By the end my range is normally at about 3 on the eye heat. Do not leave unattended! It only takes seconds to jump to a dangerous pressure weight. 

When your timer goes off, turn the heat off the eye, leave the canner alone & for the love of all things good do not release the stopper or try to open the canner!!!!

It will take a while, like almost an hour, to naturally cool and release the pressure. When the button goes down on its own and the gauge reads 0 only then do you open the canner.

THERE WILL BE HOT STEAM!!!! Don’t be a dork when taking the lid off! Use caution! 

Make sure you place a towel where your jars can sit undisturbed to cool (away from kids, pets, etc.) For at least 24 hours. 

Using your jar tongs take the jars out of the canner and place on towel. 

As your jars cool you will hear that magical sound of POP. You should hear a pop for each jar. 

Do NOT push the lids to force a pop. The jars must pop naturally to seal.

Let cool. Mark your lids after 24 hours and put on your shelf for use.

If you have a jar that does not seal, put it in the refrigerator and use first. 

Never, ever, ever reuse the center lid. You only reuse the rim/ring and jar!

Enjoy!

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

Jalapeño Chicken

A favorite in the Rice household is our version of Jalapeño Chicken. It’s fantastic reheated for leftovers too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless chicken breast, split & cubed
  • 1 cup of white Mexican Hominy
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 6 hand roasted jalapeño peppers
  • 1 fresh “red” jalapeño pepper
  • 1 red tomato diced
  • 1 cup Green tomato sauce or tomitilloes sauce

Directions:

  1. Sauté the Hominy, mushrooms, onion, red tomato until not quite soft. 
  2. Remove from pan.
  3. Sauté chicken breast cubes until cooked.
  4. Add the first sauté veggies back into the pan with the chicken.
  5. Add in your green sauce.
  6. Add in the roasted jalapeño peppers.
  7. Stir until even.
  8. Add in your fresh red jalapeño pepper. 
  9. Lower heat and let sit for approximately 5 minutes.
  10. Serve over rice. 

Enjoy!

Let me know how you like it!

Mrs. Kay L Rice