Day: January 25, 2008

Aloha Friday – Week 17

 

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Kailani hosts this weekly meme and in her words:  In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing heavy or thought-provoking. If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link below. Don’t forget to visit the other participants!

 

So here is my question for this week:

What book(s) are you reading right now?

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My daughter gave me a book for Christmas called Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  When I read fiction, I usually stick to certain authors, but she thought i’d enjoy this book.  The story line is really good, it’s about a man at the end of his life in a nursing home and the circus comes and it brings back memories from when he worked in the circus.  The only problem I have with this book is when the language gets explicit, so I skip over those parts.  The author could have refrained from using profanity and still have a compelling story.

 

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I have read a lot of books by Max Lucado, he’s one of my favorite authors, but this must be his best ever.  The chapters are short, some are humorous and some sad but each one is thought provoking.  While each chapter tells a different story they all relate to Jesus and His last week on earth.  Lucado has a way of making you feel like you are right there, he transports you back in time and brings it all alive to you.

Make sure you head over to An Island Life and check out the other participants and their questions and be sure to leave a comment for Kailani!

 

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I keep this with me at all times.  It has 3 of Charles Capp’s books in one.  It has God’s Creative Power for Healing, God’s Creative Power for Finances and God’s Creative Power Will Work for You.  I highly recommend getting this and get extra copies to give as gifts.  Charles Capps taps into God’s Word to help us prosper financially, in our health and our lives. 

Favorite Ingredients Friday

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Overwhelmed With Joy hosts this weekly Meme and this weeks theme is Super Bowl Snacks.  Here are a few of my favorite snacks no matter what the occasion!  Make sure you visit OWJ to check out all the cool recipes!

Chili Cheese Dip    P1190049                                                          

I always have Velveeta cheese, canned chili, cream cheese and Rotele in the house.  I like to make Chili-Cheese Dip and serve with Tortilla Chips, or I’ll take flour Tortilla’s and warm them in the microwave and cut them into trips to dunk in the Cheese Dip.

Ingredients:

1 can Rotele (you can substitute salsa)

1 lb. Velveeta cubed

2 cans Chili with beans

1 package Cream Cheese cubed

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan add Chili and Rotele and stir over a medium heat.  Once Chili starts to heat up, add the cubed Velveeta and place the lid on the pan.  Check every few minutes and when cheese is mostly melted, add cubed Cream cheese, stir to combine and reduce to low heat.  Stir regularly until everything is well combined, cheeses have melted and consistency is smooth and creamy.

* on a few occasions I have been out of chili and I’ve substituted refried beans and sometimes I’ll add a plop of Sour Cream once I place the Dip in the bowl.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

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What You Need:

Pitted Dates (you can also use fresh dates if you prefer and pit them yourself) – I recommend getting a 16oz container of the Dates.  You can usually find them in the produce section with the dried fruit and nuts, just make sure they are whole pitted Dates and make sure you check the ‘use by’ date to insure freshness.  I haven’t done a lot of experimenting with this recipe, but as I’m writing this, I’m getting the idea to try using other fruits like Apricot and Mango.

Bacon – A 1 lb. package of bacon.  You can use fresh or pre-cooked bacon, avoid the wide cut bacon.  If you are using fresh, make sure you look for bacon with more meat than fat.  With fresh bacon, take 1 strip of bacon and cut it in half and wrap around the date, if this overlaps too much, cut the rest of the strips into thirds.  With pre-cooked bacon you might be able to cut the strips in half, sometimes I have found depending on the brand I pick up, I have to use a whole strip (when I use Hormel from Sam’s Cub I can cut the strips in half).  Also note that fresh bacon takes a little longer to cook and requires placing a wire rack on the cookie sheet before placing the wrapped dates on the sheet to keep the dates from absorbing too much of the grease.  I prefer using pre-cooked bacon because it’s faster, has less grease and it’s quicker to clean up after.  I know that some people prefer to use Turkey bacon, but I haven’t tried it yet so I don’t know how it would turn out – but just for kicks, I’ll have to test it out!

Cookie Sheets – (1-2 depending on the size of your cookie sheet and number of guests you are cooking for)                                                                             Parchment Paper – (this is optional, you can line your cookie sheet with it to help absorb some of the grease)                                                                                Wooden Toothpicks – (avoid the kind with the colored cellophane on the tips)                                                                                                                  Paper Towels or Brown Paper Bag – (to help blot some of the grease after you remove cooked dates from the oven)

How To Prepare:

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  If you are using fresh bacon, cut the strips in half.  If you are using pre-cooked bacon, cut the strips in half if possible.  Sometimes you can’t get 2 pieces out of one strip depending on how they packaged it. (but you don’t need all that bacon for one date either, so I trim some of the excess and save it for topping off salads, or use them in omelettes).

Wrap each date in bacon as you would a pig in a blanket and then use a toothpick to hold the bacon in place.

If you are using fresh bacon, I recommend laying a wire cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet, then place the dates on the rack – leave just enough room between dates so they don’t touch.

If you are using pre-cooked bacon you can use parchment paper, however it is not mandatory and there is no need to use the racks.

Place in oven and cook until bacon is crisp – approximately 15-20 minutes for fresh, 7-10 for pre-cooked.  The times will vary depending on your use of fresh or pre-cooked and your ovens.  You can increase the oven temperature to speed up the crisping process.  I don’t recommend using the broiler because the intense heat causing grease splatter and smoking.

Plum Dipping Sauce – optional

by the Editors of Easy Home Cooking Magazine

Yield: Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

2/3 cup plum sauce  (check your grocery store’s Specialty or Ethnic food aisles)

2 green onions (scallions) with tops, sliced thinly

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon honey

3 to 4 drops hot chili oil (optional)

Preparation:

1. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; mix well. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.

*****  You can also stuff the date with Blue Cheese prior to wrapping it with bacon – yummy!!

Pepperoni Bread

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I make my Pepperoni Bread a few different ways depending on how much time I have to prepare the bread, and how many I’m making.  You can use store bought bread or pizza dough to save you time and canned pizza dough works great too!  Sometimes, your local Pizzerias will even sell you some of their pizza dough!  for this Tapas Tuesday, I’m making my own dough.

What You Need:

Pizza Dough (if making your own dough)

3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup warm water (should be 85-115 degrees,  should be very warm but not hot to the touch)
1 package dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil ( I like using Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 tablespoon honey (optional, but it gives the dough a great taste)
3/4 cup water

Filling

1 pound slicing Pepperoni – thinly sliced (available at the deli counter)                                                                                                                2 – 8 ounce packages of shredded Mozzarella cheese (fresh is nice, but pre-packaged is just fine)                                                                                                          1/2 pound Provolone Cheese – thinly sliced                                                            Garlic Powder                                                                                                                              Italian Seasoning                                                                                                  Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                                                                      

Finely Chopped Fresh Basil (this is optional, you can use dried Basil if you prefer)

Combine salt and flour. Dissolve the yeast in warm water; let sit for 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 of the oil, honey, water, and yeast mixture to the flour  and stir, then add the rest of  the liquid and stir.  Flour your hands and then knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Take the bowl you stirred the dough in, place a little Olive Oil in the bowl and swirl it around coating it.  Place the dough back into the bowl flip it over once or twice to coat with the oil, and then cover it with a damp paper towel.  Let the dough rest in a warm place for an hour.  Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Stretch and roll out the dough on a floured surface. 

Lightly drizzle some Olive Oil over the surface of the dough and using your hands spread it over the entire surface of the dough.  Now sprinkle Garlic Powder over the surface to taste.  Now take about 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning and place it in your palm.  Cover the seasoning with your other hand and roll the seasoning back and forth between your hands to grind the spices and sprinkle over the dough.  The oil on your hands and the friction you create by rubbing your hands together brings out the flavors of the spices.  I do this anytime I use a dried herb.  Now starting at one end, lay the pepperoni over the dough end to end until you’ve covered the entire surface leaving a border of dough of about 1/2 inch.  Now lay your sliced of Provolone cheese over the pepperoni, you don’t need to cover the entire surface, just make sure you space them evenly.  Finally, top it all off with your Mozzarella Cheese.  Once you’re done that, start at one end (if you want a short fat roll, start at a narrow end, if you want a longer narrow roll, start at a wider end – note that the short fat roll takes a little longer to cook) and then slowly begin to fold up the edge and begin to roll it towards the other end like you’re making a Jelly Roll.  Once you’ve done that, pinch the ends together and tuck them inside the roll a bit.  Lightly pinch the dough together and place it pinched side down on and ungreased cookie sheet.  Take a sharp knife and cut about 4-5 even spaced slits about 1/2 inch long to allow the heat to escape and to keep your dough from puffing up too much.

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Place in oven for about 15-25 minutes or until dough is just about golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes, slice and serve with warm marina sauce.  My family likes it without the marina sauce too!

You can get really creative with your filling – you don’t have to use Pepperoni, try some Genoa Salami or try something else.  Prep your dough as listed above, drizzle your oil and spices over the dough and instead of using Pepperoni and Mozzarella, try some of my favorites below or think up your own.  Some of the ideas below don’t require you to oil the dough – it’s up to your taste preferences, and some don’t need Italian Seasoning, use your favorite spices!

Broccoli and Swiss Cheese (I use thawed chopped broccoli and top with Swiss cheese)

Cheddar Jack Cheese ( I get the cheese at the deli counter sliced thin and just layer lots of it on the dough – yummy and gooey)

Spinach, Mushrooms, Bacon and Swiss Cheese (I use thawed chopped spinach and saute with bacon and mushrooms and top with Swiss)

Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese (I shred boneless buffalo bites and toss them in blue cheese dressing then spread over the dough – mmm, mmm, mmm)

Roasted Veggies and Parmesan (roast up your favorite veggies in the oven by chopping them, drizzle some EVOO over them, sprinkle with salt and pepper and garlic powder and toss them – roast for about 20 min’s in a 400 degree oven then spread over the dough and sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesiano Reggiano or my favorite Locattele cheese and bake)

Bacon and Eggs (simply scramble up some eggs and chopped bacon and spread over the dough.  top it off with your favorite cheese – I like cheddar and swiss – yummy)