Friday, April 18, 2014

Resurrection Rolls

Whoever came up with these wonderful rolls really deserves some credit. I have seen them here and there on Pinterest, and wanted to give them a try so I could make them for my grandchildren. They are  delicious, and a really great way of illustrating the "Empty Tomb" for the little ones, in fact, the other name for these rolls is "Empty Tomb Rolls".  A marshmallow is used in the center which when baked, melts and disappears.  It creates a yummy addition to these sticky rolls, and demonstrates the empty tomb.  They are fun to make, and delightful to young and old alike.

Here is a special way you can use these rolls to teach your little ones about Jesus: You can read from John 19-20 (or any of the gospel versions you prefer). Then as you make your rolls let them help, and tell them what each part represents:

The marshmallow represents Jesus.
The butter represents the anointing preparations (aloes and myrrh).
The cinnamon and sugar represents the  spices.
The roll represents the tomb.
Into the oven they go; that represents three days in the tomb.
On the Third day Jesus is resurrected from the dead and is no longer in the tomb: Open a roll and it is empty; no more marshmallow.

Use a bread dough of choice (some people use crescent rolls, I used frozen bread dough for these).

Stretch and roll out your dough.

Dip a marshmallo in melted butter.

Next, dip and roll it in a brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Place in the center of a piece of dough.

Close the dough around the marshmallow and pinch the dough tightly together.

Roll the rolls in the butter and cinnamon sugar mixture again.  Place in greased baking pan.  Drizzle with a little more butter.

Sprinkle with nuts (these remind me of the rocks around the tomb.)

Allow to rise until doubled.

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.

They are delicious and gooey on the bottom like Monkey bread.

Slice them open before eating, to see the empty tomb.

Resurrection Rolls

Bread dough (I liked meaningfulmama's version, you can also use frozen bread dough, or refrigerator crescent rolls; you can find these at the health food store that doesn't have the transfats).
Brown Sugar  or Sucanat
Chopped Nuts

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together cinnamon and brown sugar in desired amount.
  3. Roll and stretch a roll at a time.
  4. Take a marshmallow, dip in butter and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture
  5. Place in the center of the stretched out roll.
  6. Wrap the dough around the marshmallow, pinching the ends to make sure of a good closure.
  7. Dip the roll in butter and cinnamon mixture again.
  8. Place each roll side by side in a greased baking dish.
  9. When all rolls are in the baking dishes, drizzle with a little more butter, and top with chopped nuts.
  10. Bake for 18-22 minutes.
  11. Slice open each roll to show the little ones the empty tomb.  
  12. Eat and enjoy

Blessings to you all.

After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

John 20:26 -29

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Those Potatoes

Here is a comfort food that really makes you feel good deep down inside.  What can be better than creamy, cheesy, potatoes with sour cream, onions and a crunchy topping?  The answer is very few things.  This one is another family favorite that we have been making for years.  Steve's mom gave me this recipe when Steve and I were first married; I thought it was a treasure when she gave it to me.  It goes great with roast beef,  chicken or any meat at all.  It is also good for brunch, and goes wonderfully with bacon, eggs and biscuits.   I often serve it for a crowd, and have even made it in a big roasting pan when we have fed a crowd of young people.  Serve them up for Holidays and special meals, and you won't have anyone disappointed.  Every element of this dish is important,  sour cream, green onions, crunchy cornflakes… they are all key flavors and textures.  I made up made up several of these as I was taking pictures for this post.  One goes over to one of Eddie's friend Chance and his family, since Eddie will be staying with them over Easter holiday, and we will be catching up with Jon and Marie in Arizona), and another is for a neighbor, lastly, a small casserole will remain at our house.  When I started, I didn't have my much needed cornflakes, so I used another good "crunchy factor" which is cracker crumbs.  As I was finishing, Steve arrived home with my cornflakes, and I was able to top off one of the casseroles with the crumbled up cornflakes and butter.  So you will see pictures of both.  Out of all the years I have made this, most of the time I have used the cornflakes, and they really are a perfect topping.

Cook 6 medium to large potatoes in boiling water.  When tender, drain and cool.

Grate the potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl.  Note:  I didn't peel mine, the little pieces become a part of the meal, and the large pieces of peeling are easy to removed after grating.

Add Cheese.

Toss together gently.

Put butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream and green onion together in a large bowl.

Stir until well mixed.

Add to potato mixture and stir until evenly blended.

Spread evenly in a 9x13 prepared casserole pan.

Top with remaining cheese.

Sprinkle crushed cornflakes or cracker crumbs over the top.

Drizzle with butter.

Bake at 350 for 35- 45 minutes.

Those Potatoes
6 medium potatoes (or you can use approximately 10 cups pre made frozen hash browns if you want). 
1 stick of butter
1 can cream of chicken soup (an organic version of this can be found in the health food store).
1 pint sour cream
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
Salt and Pepper
2 cups crushed cornflakes (or cracker crumbs)
1/4 cup melted butter

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook Potatoes with skins on until tender.  
  3. Cool completely.
  4. Grate poatoes and put into a large bowl (I usually keep the skins on; most of the skins will be easy to remove at the end of grating each potato.) Note: you can use approximately 10 cups frozen hash browns if you don't want to cook and grate your own.
  5. Melt butter.
  6. Add cream of chicken soup, sour cream and green onions.  Mix well.
  7. Add half of the cheese to the potatoes and mix lightly and gently together.
  8. Add the creamy mixture to the potato mixture.
  9. Spread mixture into a 9x13 inch casserole pan.  
  10. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  11. Top with remaining cheese
  12. Sprinkle with crushed cornflakes (I have used crushed cracker crumbs in a pinch and that is good as well; although there is a flavor and crunch that the cornflakes give that is very good.)
  13. Melt remaining 1/4 cup of butter.
  14. Drizzle butter over crushed cornflake crumbs.
  15. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes

Monday, April 14, 2014

Strawberries and Cream Cookie Tarts

These wholesome little tarts are inspired by Bettie Crocker's "Strawberry Cream Cheese Cookie Tarts", which I think are such a cute and  wonderful idea.  This is the healthier variation of that recipe, using a sprouted wholewheat flour, and healthier dairy, fats and sugars.  When holidays come along, we love to bless our families with treats; but I like to try to offer some healthy treats in the mix to keep the excess sugar from getting out of hand.  These turned out delicious.  They are a crunchy, creamy, strawberry cheesecake, cookie tart, satisfying, treat.  Steve gave it another "Oh my word" rating, and this always makes my heart happy.  It will be a nice addition to Springtime,  Easter brunch or Mother's Day tea.

Mix up your cookie dough and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes or until the dough is somewhat firm.

Pinch off a pieces of dough and roll into balls and put a ball in to each cup of a mini cupcake pan.  Note: some recipes I have seen for this idea of a tart suggested just cutting a slice of cookie dough into quarters and not rolling it into balls, which may work with a white flour sugar cookie, but with this recipe the cookie dough didn't rise and form nicely when I tried it like that, so be sure to roll the dough into a ball (about 2-3 inches in size… you want the ball to stand a little above the pan).

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  These need to come out while they are still tender, don't over-cook them.

Find a kitchen tool with a round bottomed handle. This will be used as a tool to make your tart.

While the cookie is still hot and fresh from the oven, use your tool to press down into the cookie.

Place the tool in the center of the cookie and press down hard.

Now you have a little tart.

Mix up your cream cheese filling.

Place the filling into a pastry bag.

Pipe the filling into each tart.

Slice the strawberries.

Put a strawberry slice onto each tart.

Yum Yum.

Wholesome, pretty and delicious.

Strawberries and Cream Cookie Tarts

For the Tarts:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup or Coconut Sugar or Sucanat
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tb cream or half n half
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

For the Filling
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar (I used organic unbleached)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 drops orange essential oil (or 1 tsp orange extract)
Sliced strawberries (I measured out about a cup and half before slicing).


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a Medium sized bowl, mix together butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and half n half.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Add dry ingredients to  butter mixture and mix until well combined (I mixed by hand).
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  7. Roll pieces of cookie dough in to 2-3 inch balls.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Using the rounded end of the handle of a cooking tool, such as a ice cream scoop or large wooden spoon, press into each baked cookie while still in the pan to form a tart.
  10. Allow to cool and remove from pan.
  11. In a separate bowl, combine the filling ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, mix all ingredients until completely combined.
  12. Spoon mixture into a pastry decorating bag.  Pipe into tarts.  Top with a strawberry slice.
  13. Serve and enjoy.  
Note: These store well for several days if the strawberries are not put on.  Be sure to cover and keep in the refrigerator.  If you are  going to make a day or two ahead, slice the strawberries the day of serving and top each tart at that time.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cooking for a Crowd

Several times a year, we have opportunity to cook for a crowd in our home, and I'm sure
many of you do too; be it  for family, friends, holidays, graduations, or weddings.  I do really enjoy the prospect, and though I couldn't do it every week... now and then is wonderful.  With the coming of Passover, Easter, Mother's Day and Graduation celebrations,  many of us will be cooking and planning something for a big group. 

 Here are a few tips that can help:
1.  Cook foods that are classic and commonly liked.  I find it easiest to cook the old favorites for big crowds, because I know they are sure to please, and I am familiar with the outcome; less mistakes and surprises.
2.  Cook foods that can be prepared a day or two ahead and consider main dishes that can be made a week or two ahead and frozen.

3.  Limit the amount of foods that need to be cooked in the oven: for instance.  Plan your main dish and perhaps a side or two that can all fit in the oven at once, to make it easier to have all of it warm at the same time.

4.  On the same lines, prepare a few dishes that can be served cold, and made ahead, such as salads. or plan an entire party around cold dishes, such as sandwiches, finger foods, cheeses, cold meats and salads.

5.  When making desserts, plan desserts that can be made in big pans.  Or plan farther ahead, and make  handheld desserts, such as cupcakes, hand pies, or a variety of "Mini Desserts and cookies".  Bake and freeze these more than a week ahead of time.

6.   Consider one big dessert rather than several small ones (This one is a reminder to myself, because often my own inspiration wears me out, and I want to do more than is needed... just keep it simple Sweetie).

7. If you are cooking several hot dishes, utilize crock pots and large roasters.  We often use our large roaster to cook a turkey or  brisket.  This leaves the oven free for baking rolls or side dishes. I have also used the large roaster for other things like to making a huge batch of baked potatoes for Olga's graduation potato party.  My Mom gave us a Crock Pot Trio for Christmas this year, which is wonderful for large crowds.  This weekend I will be using for company.  I will put slices of roast in gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy all in separate crocks.
8.  Buy big aluminum disposable pans like these rolls are in: Sam's and Cosco sell these in
 bulk.  I don't use aluminum on an every day basis, but these large disposable pans are wonderful for large recipes, and for making clean up quick and easy.  They are also wonderful when bringing food to a pot luck, because you don't have to worry about retrieving the pan if you need to leave before all the serving and eating is finished.  They can be lined with parchment paper if you want to protect your food from the aluminum, or to make removing something from your pan a little easier.
9.   Make lists and plans a week ahead if possible, and shop early.
10. Get most of your cleaning done 1-2 days ahead.
11. Plan seating and table setting a day ahead.
12. When I know I am having a crowd, I have it on  my mind through the week, planning and writing down ideas as they come to me.  This has always  helped me put all together smoothly.
13. Remind yourself to relax and enjoy the process.  It is a creative job; enjoy the creativity.

Meal Suggestions for a Crowd

1.   Meat and Potatoes: (any meat will work) 
A Large Roast or Brisket  Cooked the day before, can be cooled and nicely sliced,
 then re-warmed the next day with gravy or barbecue sauce. 

..Serve with:
2.    Pre-made mashed potatoes or
3.    Potato Casserole  
5.   Vegetable Casserole

.other main dishes
6.   Chili Relleno Casserole: Served with beans and rice
7.   Shredded Beef Burritos  Served with Taco Salad
8.   Chicken Spaghetti

.soups and stews are wonderful and simple
9.   Chili and other soups and stews are great and can be  rounded out with wonderful breads, muffins and salads, as well as adding condiments that go good with them such as cheeses, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, chips etc
10.  Green Chili

..Try a food bar
11.  Potato Bar
12.  Taco Bar
13.  Homemade Pizza Bar 
14.  Salad Bar
15.  Appetizer Bar

..casseroles can be made ahead and frozen
16.  Spaghetti Pie
18.  Lasagna

…… sandwiches cold or hot are wonderful for a casual meal
19.  Sloppy Joes: Served with a variety of salads and chips
20.  Shredded Barbecued Beef Sandwiches: Served same as the Sloppy Joes

..if all else fails, there's always: 
21.  Spaghetti and Meatballs
Dessert Suggestions for a Crowd

2.  Sheet Pies: Any type of pie can be doubled up
     and made on a Sheet Cake Pan and made into a Slab Pie
3.  Peach Cobbler (make it a double)
4.  Tres Leche Cake (make it a double)
5. Cheese Cakes or other desserts doubled and made in large cake pans.
6. A variety of handheld desserts that can be made up ahead and stored or frozen, such as cupcakes, hand- pies, cookies and bars

Serving and Table Setting
Formal or informal, china or paper, silver or plastic, buffet or family style, picnic or place settings;
I can honestly say that we have done all of the above for a crowd.  Buffet, picnic, paper, and plastic are without a doubt the easiest choices preparing a meal for a large group,  but there are occasions when, to me, I'd rather set the tables with my prettiest tablecloth, china and silver.  Usually Christmas Eve, Easter and Mother's Day are the days I like to do it that way.  The rest of the time, it is casual.  Yet, even with casual meals, an atmosphere of beauty, fun,  and joy can be created with a little decorating and creative ideas.  Here are a few for any occasion.

1. Flowers: Every season brings a new color theme. Whether picked from the back yard, or bought from the store, I can't resist them.  Enjoy yourself, and make it a challenge to arrange and decorate.  It brings such a lovely atmosphere into your home.  I like to keep arrangements up for weeks, or at least as long as the flowers will last.
2.  Tablecloth, Dishes and Silverware:  I love the challenge of deciding which tablecloth and which dishes to use for each occasion.  I like to keep a variety of tablecloths handy for different seasons.  Disposable ones work great as well, for informal occasions, and kids functions.  Then comes the decision of dishes and silverware.  Consider collecting a few types of all of the above for various times of the year.  If you are using plastic silverware, you can put it in a cute container to add to the decorations, such as baskets, decorated mason jars or little carry-alls designed specifically for that purpose.

3.  Place Cards:  Place cards can become the most delightful decorating tools.  You can make place cards out of scrapbook material, trinkets, plants, baked items, pinecones; Click here for more ideas from Pinterest.

4.  Paper Plates: You can a buy paper or plastic  plates in bulk 
at places like Sam's or Costco, or purchase them at the Seasons
end at half price or even more from places like Hobby Lobby other craft outlets.  Paper plates can be pretty, and can be used to set a nice table.  The silver paper plates on the left are from Hobby Lobby, and I have loved using their variety of colors on many occasions.

5.  Napkins and Napkins Rings:  Napkins are a necessity  but can also be a fun way to add pretty decorations and party favors, like at this Christmas brunch.

6.  Centerpieces and Decorations:  Use your imagination and whether you use candlesticks, flowers, or items that go with the theme of  your meal, don't be afraid to add color, texture and substance to your table and buffet table.

These are all just a beginning of ideas to get your inspiration going.  Enjoy your family and friends, and remember to do all in the spirit of hospitality.  I desire to bless those who come to my home with welcome, love, good food, beauty and comfort.  These are the most important keys to a wonderful gathering.