Archive for December, 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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SUNSHINE SALAD

The Sunshine salad and a super easy and, light and delightful salad to serve to your guests and it is also perfect to bring with you to a brunch or dinner.  Christmas is over and now, all of a sudden, we all seem to be more focused on how our waistlines have expanded in just the last week or so!  How great it is to have something that is light, tasty and low in fat and calories for your friends as well as yourself.

Let’s make our salad!

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SUNSHINE SALAD

PREP: 20 minutes
SERVES – 10

Ingredients FOR DRESSING:IMG_4964
½ cup corn oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar
½ tablespoon of poppy seeds
½ teaspoons dry mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pepper to taste

Ingredients For SALAD:

8 ounces soft salad greens
8 ounces baby spinach
1 kiwi – peeled and sliced
1 small European cucumber, sliced
½ pint of grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces fresh mushrooms
1 (8 ounce) can of mandarin oranges, drained1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 green onions, chopped

Directions:

For the dressing, in a bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, poppy seeds, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.IMG_4966

For the salad, in a large serving bowl gently toss the salad greens, spinach, kiwi, cucumber, tomatoes, mushrooms, mandarin oranges, strawberries and spring onions.

Just before serving add the dressing and toss.

ENJOY!

 

Interesting Note:  Did you know that poppy seeds will cause a drug test to show positive for drugs?  I guess it is because the poppy plant is where opium and heroin come from.  How is it that I know this?!

Several years ago while living in California, my small group (bible study group) was presented with the opportunity to prepare a meal at a halfway house.  The residents were people recovering from drug or alcohol abuse and in general working at getting their lives back together.

We served then a nice pasta dish, with a salad and rolls . . . potato rolls . . . sourdough rolls and you guessed it . . . poppy seed rolls.  All of a sudden, one of the residents started running all through the dining area plucking dinner rolls off of everyone’s plate and promptly throwing them all in the trash,  What the . . . ?!!  It was then that he told us that there were two requirements each resident had to meet in order that they stay at the halfway house;  1.) be employed or in school and 2.) pass a drug test every week.  He explained to us then that the poppy seeds would show up positive on a drug test.  The administrator of the halfway house conferred.

Moral to the story: Be sure that if any of your guests are subject to drug testing at their jobs . . . perhaps they are a delivery driver or equipment operator . . . let them know about the poppy seeds in your salad.

 

That’s all for now.  As always, thank you for reading!

Kris

 

We are in the process of putting our 2013 schedule together for Cooking Classes at The Lark Inn.  Stay tuned to our website to find the right cooking class for you.

Also, all of a sudden we are getting a lot of requests for bookings for our guesthouses in the Flint Hills of Kansas.  Prairie Burning is coming this spring as well as many other events.  Be sure you have relaxing and comfortable lodging for your Flint Hills experience.  Check our website to learn more.

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TANGERINE BISCUIT RING and ANGEL BISCUITS

Loss of sleep keeping the kids in bed until after Santa comes . . . dealing with weird uncle Larry at Christmas dinner . . . . opening an insane amount of gifts or even if you are just chillin’ and taking in the deeper meaning of Christmas and what it means in your life.  Any way you cut it, my Tangerine Biscuit Ring will give you the nourishment you will need for the tough Christmas Day ahead!

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TANGERINE BISCUIT RING

PREP: 20 minutes
BAKING TIME: 35 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 350 DEGREES
SERVES – 10

Ingredients:IMG_4985

•    1 1/4 cups sugar
•    1 tablespoon finely shredded tangerine peel
•    1/3 cup tangerine juice
•    1/4 cup butter, melted
•    2  12 ounce package refrigerated biscuits (20 biscuits) or ANGEL biscuits *
•    kumquats (optional)
•    fresh cranberries (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees f. grease a 10-inch fluted tube pan; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and tangerine peel, breaking up any tangerine peel clumps with a fork. In another small bowl, combine tangerine juice and melted butter.
3. Separate biscuits. dip each biscuit into the tangerine juice mixture, then roll in the sugar mixture to coat. Place biscuits on edge IMG_4986in the prepared pan. Pour any remaining tangerine juice mixture over biscuits.
4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 minute. Invert pan onto a serving platter with slightly raised sides; remove pan. Cool for 30 to 45 minutes. serve warm.
If desired, garnish center of biscuit ring with kumquats, cranberries, and fresh herbs.  This recipe can also be made using oranges instead of tangerines.
Makes 10 servings.
* see additional recipe for Angel Biscuits below:

ANGEL BISCUITS

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PREP: 15 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 10 – 12 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 450 DEGREES
SERVES – 10

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 
1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 
5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 
1 cup lard or shortening, chilled
  • 
1 tablespoon melted butter

In choosing lard or shortening, be sure to use non-hydrogenated products. Butter may be substituted.
Directions:

  • Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar.
  • Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the buttermilk, making sure it has first been warmed to room temperature so as not to shock the yeast.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Stir all ingredients together to mix well.
    Using your fingers, two knives or a pastry blender, work 1/2 the chilled shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
  • Work in the remaining shortening until it resembles large peas.
  • Stir buttermilk and yeast mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended; do not overmix.
  • On a clean surface dusted lightly with flour, turn out dough and knead 6 to 8 times, patting together lightly into a flattened circle. Roll circle out 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and cut using a floured glass or a 3 inch biscuit cutter. Dip in flour between each cut.
  • Arrange biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet; leave 1/3 inch between for softer sided biscuits or 1 inch for more crisp sided biscuits.
  • Brush with melted butter before serving.

This dough can be refrigerated for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to a month.

As always, thank you for reading.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a super holiday season!

Kris

In January, we will be starting the year with our “Start the Year Healthy” Cooking Classes at The Lark Inn.  Check our Website to learn more about upcoming classes.

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OATMEAL BRULEE WITH GINGER CREAM

This recipe for Oatmeal Brulee with Ginger Cream is what I call a Real Sleeper.  When I picked it out for our holiday cooking class I thought it would be very nice and something interesting to try.  Oh My Gosh . . . It is fabulous!  It ended up being the favorite of the entire class.  This recipe makes for a great dessert or you could even fix this for Christmas morning breakfast!

Let’s not waste any time and get started!

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OATMEAL BRULEE WITH GINGER CREAM

PREP: 30 MINUTES
BROILING TIME: 10 MINUTES
SERVES –4

Ingredients

GINGER CREAM:IMG_4972

•    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
•    2 slices fresh gingerroot (about 3/4-inch diameter)
•    1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
•    1 tablespoon grated orange peel
•    3 tablespoons maple syrup
•    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

OATMEAL:

•    4 cups water
•    2 cups old-fashioned oats
•    1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
•    1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    3 tablespoons brown sugar
•    2 tablespoons butter, softened
•    1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawedIMG_4973
•    1/4 cup sugar

Directions
•    In a small saucepan, combine the cream, ginger, cinnamon stick and orange peel; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; strain and discard solids. Stir in syrup and nutmeg.
•    In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil; stir in the oats, apricots, cherries and salt. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; stir in brown sugar and 1/4 cup ginger cream. Let stand, covered, for 2 minutes.
•    Grease four 10-oz. broiler-safe ramekins with butter; place on a baking sheet. Divide raspberries among ramekins. Spoon oatmeal over raspberries; sprinkle evenly with sugar. Broil 4-6 in. from the heat for 7-9 minutes or until sugar is caramelized. Serve with remaining ginger cream.

ENJOY!!

Take special time to enjoy your friends and relatives this holiday season.  These recipes may help!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Kris

For information about Cooking Classes at The Lark Inn or to see about spending a couple of nice nights in the Flint Hills of Kansas Visit our Website.

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SPICY STRATA

One of the all time great standards for serving brunch to the masses of your guests is egg strata.  You remember, you mix it up the night before and stick it in the fridge.  You left the fridge do it’s fridge magic, take it out in the morning and stick it in the oven for a little oven magic.  When it’s done, all are happy and delighted.  This is the same thing, an egg strata but this one is a spicy variation on the theme.  It has just the right amount of kick . . . not so much that grandma can’t eat it but just enough that everyone will enjoy it.  Try it with some salsa or pico de gallo and kick it up to any level you want.

The good news is that it’s easy and everyone will love it!

Let’s make our Spicy Strata!

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SPICY STRATA

PREP: 20 minutes
INACTIVE PREP TIME:  OVERNITE
BAKING TIME: 60 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 350 DEGREES
SERVES – 10

Ingredients:

1 pound of breakfast sausage – such as Jimmy Dean Sausage
1 – diced onion (Vidalia or sweet onion if possible)
1 small can of diced green chilies
1 small can of diced jalapenos (optional)
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese or pepper jack
12 eggs
1 1/12 cup milk
1-teaspoon dry mustard

1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon black pepper
6-8 slices of French bread or ciabatta bread

Directions:

1.    Grease a 9X13 inch pan – I use butter to grease pan.
2.    Cook onions and sausage in skillet.  Drain off the grease.
3.    In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper.
4.    In your baking pan, layer your bread slices first
5.    Top with sausage and onion mixture, chilies and egg mixture (add one cup of the grated cheese with eggs- reserving 1 cup for the top of the casserole)
6.    Cover and refrigerate overnight.
7.    Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for one hour.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

I have found this is best served as a buffet, but it really doesn’t matter . . . they will be coming back for it either way!

As always, thank you for reading and have a blessed Christmas and holiday season!

Kris

For information about our Upcoming Cooking Classes at The Lark Inn or a Relaxing Get-a-Way in the Gorgeous Flint Hills of Kansas, click on either of those links.

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TAYLOR TOTS

How nice it is just in everyday life to have something that is easy to fix for breakfast or brunch.  It is even better during the holidays when you have out of town company and guests you want to spend time with and you have something really good to eat . . . that was easy to fix!  My Taylor Tots are made with my angel biscuit dough, sausage, egg and cheese and are delightful . . . It doesn’t get much better.  these are the best fresh out of the oven.  But, here’s a secret . . . they also freeze really well and with a few seconds in the microwave your guests will be hard-pressed to think you haven’t been slaving away in the kitchen since well before they woke up!.

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TAYLOR TOTS

PREP: 20 minutes
BAKING TIME: 10 – 12 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 375 DEGREES
SERVES – 10

Ingredients:

1 can refrigerated flaky biscuits (such as “Grands”) or Angel Biscuits * IMG_4893
1-8 ounce cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
½ cup of grated cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
½ cup cooked bulk sausage (such as Jimmy Dean’s)

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray.

2.    Separate each biscuit into three or four pieces (or roll out the Angel Biscuits very thin) and press each piece into a muffin tin, pressing down on dough lightly to mold into the muffin cup.

3.    In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, milk, egg and cheddar cheese.  Mix until well combined, just a minute or two.
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4.    Spoon a teaspoon or so of sausage into the muffin tins on top of the dough.  Cover with about 2 tablespoons of the egg and cheese mixture.

5.    Bake for about 10- 12 minutes until puffed and golden.

Serve immediately.

Thank you for reading.  Enjoy your holiday season and your family . . . even the weird ones!

Kris

 

Click on these links for more information about upcoming Cooking Classes at The Lark Inn or a great Get-A-Way in the picturesque Flint Hills of Kansas.

 

 

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HONEY ALMOND GRANOLA

With the Christmas and Holiday season being so busy, we all need good protein-packed fuel.  How else will you ever get done . . . Christmas Programs at the kids’ schools . . . shopping . . . special time with friends and relatives . . . more special programs at the kids’ schools . . . more shopping . . . you get the idea.

My Honey Almond Granola definitely fills the bill . . . it’s protein-packed . . . it tastes delightful and it’s easy to make . . . and the extra bonus . . . it will keep for a while!

I know you are busy so let’s get right into making our Honey Almond Granola!

 

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HONEY ALMOND GRANOLA

PREP: 35 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES
OVEN TEMP: 325 DEGREES
YIELDS: 9-10 CUPS

Ingredients

  •     vegetable oil cooking spray IMG_4923
  •     4 cups old fashioned oats, not quick-cooking
  •     1 cup oat bran
  •     2 cups whole almonds, coarsely chopped
  •     3/4 cup vegetable oil
  •     3/4 cup honey
  •     1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  •     1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  •     1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1 cup raisins

Directions

  1.    Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat oven to 325°.
  2.    Spray two baking sheets with vegetable oil spray or line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3.    In a large bowl mix the oats, bran, and almonds.IMG_4927
  4.    In a smaller bowl, whisk the oil, honey vanilla, almond extract, dry milk powder, and salt.
  5.   Pour the mixture (it will be gloppy) over the oats and stir, with your hands or a spoon, until well combined.
  6.   Divide the mixture between the two oiled baking sheets and spread in an even layer.
  7.   Bake for twenty minutes, stir the granola and switch the positions of the pans.
  8.   Bake until the oats are golden brown and almonds look well toasted another 10 to 20 minutes; don’t overcook.
  9.   Let cool completely in the pans.
  10.  The oats may feel soft but will get crisp as they cool.
  11. When completely cool, stir in raisins.

The granola will keep for about 3 weeks if it lasts that long!

Now the best part . . . ENJOY!!

As always, thank you for the blessing of sharing my passion of cooking and serving others.  Stay tuned for more great Christmas/Holiday recipes!

Kris

 

 

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