Monday, October 31, 2011

Rose Jelly

One good thing about our current location is the abundance of wild roses.  I love the smell of wild rose and they are pretty to look at.  I've thought over the years about using the rose hips in something.  I knew you could or least thought I did because while shopping in the asian stores I would see rose water and such things.  They use roses to make those, don't they? 
This year was the year of trying.  After hours on the internet (to which my children with complain about) I found a jelly recipe I thought I would try and also a candy one.  The candy is delicious, but in my book a pain to make.  It was just awkward to scoop out the seeds and hairy things out of the rose hips.  Maybe you have bigger rose hips than me and it would be easy, but for me it was too time consuming to make.  After the scooping though the rest is a breeze.
The jelly I used on my breakfast this morning and yummm!  This was very easy to make and will be made again so long as I have access to roses.  Surprisingly the taste is not that of roses as one might think.  I've read that it is like hibiscus, but that is a taste I'm unfamiliar with.  The jelly and candy does of a familiar taste, but one I am unable to name at the moment.  Anyway, who really cares?  It's good and that's all you need to know.

2 quarts rose hips
1 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 package SureJell pectin
1/4 teaspoon butter
3 1/2 cups sugar
6 (8-ounce) canning jars and fresh lids

1.  Rinse the rose hips thoroughly. Cut off the scraggly ends and discard.
2.  Place rose hips in a large pot. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook until rose hips are soft and mashable.
3.  Use a potato masher to mash up the rose hips into a rough purée. Set up a jelly bag, or a large very fine mesh strainer, or 4 layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or large pot. Transfer the rose hip mixture into the jelly bag/strainer/cheesecloth. Let strain into the bowl for at least an hour. Squeeze the jelly bag or cheesecloth to get more remaining juice out.
4.  Measure the juice. You will need 3 cups of juice for this recipe, so if you have less than 3 cups, add more water to the mixture (you can also add some boiling water to the jelly bag if you still have it set up, allowing more liquid to drain out).
5.  Place 3 cups of the rose hip juice in a large, wide pot. Add the lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a boil, dissolving all of the pectin. Add the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the butter. Bring to a hard boil (one that you can not reduce by stirring). The mixture will bubble up considerably. Boil for exactly one minute. Then remove from heat and pour off into prepared canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace from the rim.
6.  If any jelly falls on the rim as your pour it into the jars, wipe the rim with a damp paper towel. Place sterilized lids on jars and rings to secure.  To process, place the jars on a rack in a large, tall stock pot. Cover with an inch of water and bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, remove the jars from the water, and let cool. As the jars cool you should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. The lids should seal; if not, store in the refrigerator.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies

I saw this recipe at and knew I needed to make them.  First of I thought of my sister Erin who has celiac disease, but really it was all about me and the chocolate.  I found I didn't need as many egg whites as the site used and I split the chocolate chip amount in half and added white chips.

2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 egg whites (I used 3)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*.  Whisk together sugar, cocoa and salt.  Whisk in egg whites and vanilla until just moistened.  The batter should be thick like fudge brownies.  Stir in chips.  Scoop by tablespoon onto greased baking pans.  Bake for 12-14 min until tops are glossy and cookie is slightly cracked.  Cool completely on sheet.

Pumpkin Soup and Graveyard Dessert

Traditions.  They are what make events memorable and holidays top the list of events.  I'm big on holidays.  Starting with the New Year, through Valentines and St. Patrick's, breezing through Easter and 4th of July, all the way through to Christmas.  For most holidays cookie making and decorating are traditions as well as decorations, but for Halloween there is also the dinner.  Once a year, much to Doug's dismay, I make Pumpkin Soup with Graveyard for dessert.  Not sure why I call it a soup, but I have since my mom made it for us, but it's more of a casserole of sorts.  The fun of this soup is that it is cooked in a pumpkin and when serving you scrape the cooked pumpkin in with the rest.
Fresh out of the oven

1 small pumpkin (about 7-8lbs)
1 chopped onion
1 lb hamburger
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cup cooked rice
8oz can sliced water chestnuts (optional) - I don't like them so I don't use them :)

Prepare pumpkin by washing the outside and scooping out the inside.  Save the seeds for roasting later.
Brown the hamburger, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add onion and saute till meat is done and onion is soft.  Drain off extra grease if any.  Add everything else, but the pumpkin and simmer for 10 min.  Pour into pumpkin and bake on some sort of sheet or pan at 350* for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until pumpkin is cooked through.
Ready to serve before scraping pumpkin in.

I scraped the pumpkin before serving that way it was already done just be careful not to go through the outer skin.  You can have everyone scrape as they dish up if you want.
Then there was dessert...

1 package of Oreo cookies
3 Tbsp butter, melted
8oz cream cheese softened
7 oz marshmallow cream
12 oz cool whip
2 - 4oz packages chocolate pudding
3 1/2 cup milk - 2% or whole
Candies and cookies to decorate graveyard

In food processor make 2 rows of cookies into crumbs.  Mix in butter.  Pour into 9X13" baking pan and bake for 10min at 350*.  Cool completely.
When crust is cool; beat together cream cheese, marshmallow cream and 8oz of cool whip.  Carefully spread into pan.  In separate bowl make pudding with milk.  Let the pudding set up a little the pour on top of cream cheese.  Top with remaining cool whip.  Make crumbs out of remaining row of cookies and sprinkle on top of cool whip to make "dirt".  Now decorate.  The decorating is totally subjective and changes each year for me depending on what I have in my pantry.  Be creative and enjoy!

As a side note, I have made the pumpkin soup occasionally through the month of October and November just because Doug likes it.  However, I used frozen pumpkin or any squash and just stirred it in the pan with the rice and rest to heat it through.

Chocolate Caramel Apple Cookies

I saw a recipe for caramel apple cookies and wanted to try it out.  However, the recipe was very time consuming and not what I wanted to deal with.  So, I thought I could make my own recipe and after one tweaking got these bad boys.  And yes they are bad because it isn't easy to stop at one or two or even three.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp rum extract
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 8oz bag Heath toffee bits
1 cup diced apples - you want these bigger 1/4" to 3/8"

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and rum extract; mix well.  Scrape down sides if needed and add dry ingrediants.  Stir in toffee bits and apple pieces.  Place generous tablespoon on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325*  for 12-15 min or until lightly golden around edges.  Cool for a min or two then remove from pan to cookie rack and finish cooling.

Note:  I left the peel on the apples but feel free to peel first if that is you desire.  Also use good baking apples so they hold their shape and don't turn to mush. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Cornbread

What goes better with chili than cornbread?  Nothing in my book.  While searching around for pupmkin recipes I stumbled on this one at  I made it, loved, and I'm pretty sure I didn't change anything from the original (which usually I do).  This is a sweet cornbread with butter and honey not required, but definately worth it if you do.  Yummmm!

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup cornmeal
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (either canned or homemade)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1Tbsp molasses

Preheat oven to 400*.  Grease a 9" square pan.
In bowl beat eggs lightly.  Whisk in pupmkin, molasses and brown sugar.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Don't overmix it.  Pour into pan and bake for 30 min or until done.

Buroch - Dinner in a Roll

This is a recipe from my youth.  My mom would make these "dinner in a roll" for dinner and I at least loved them.  Now I make them for my family.  Doug loves them and my picky children are learning to love.  I serve these with a salad and some fruit for dinner.  You could also serve them with a soup or just take one for lunch at work and heat to eat.  These rolls freeze well for longer storage since they make so many.  I've also made just the filling and stored it in the freezer until I was ready.  When baking day comes, I thaw the meat while I make the rolls.  If you like a little sauce with your roll, I reccommend chili sauce.  Now this isn't the hot asian chili sauce, this is the sweet/tart chili sauce you can find in the condiment aisle usually or just can your own like I do.


3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, scalded and cooled slightly
3 tablespoons yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter
1 Egg, beaten
8 cups flour, plus more if needed
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1/2 onion , chopped
3 cups cabbage, shredded
1. Mix first 8 ingredients as you would for bread. Let rise until double.

2. Meanwhile brown hamburger with the onion. Skim off any fat. Add the cabbage and give it a quick stir fry until crisp tender. Remove from heat.

3. Divide dough into 24 wads of dough.  Form each wad into 5in circles and place 2-3 Tablespoons of meat mixture in the middle.

Fold up sides to form a ball. Place on greased baking sheet.  Let rise for 15 min.

Bake at 400* for 15 min. Top with melted butter when fresh out of the oven.

This makes for large sandwich rolls.  If you prefer smaller rolls then make them according to your desire; just know that baking times may vary.

This recipe is linked to

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Dark chocolate and pumpkin together.  What could be healthier? Or tastier?  Not much in my book.  I can feel good while eating these muffins and enjoy them too.  I stumbled on the original recipe at Giving Up On Perfect; tweaked it a tad and decided that these were moist chocolatey goodness with some pumpkin benefits thrown in.

1 cup pumpkin puree
6oz fat free vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350*F.  Grease muffin tin or line with cupcake liners.
Mix together the pumpkin, vanilla, and yogurt.  Add dry ingredients and mix til blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spoon into prepared muffin tin. (My batch made 12 regular muffins plus 12 mini ones)  Bake 12-15min for mini muffins and 25min for regular muffins.

Linked up to