Hidden Blessing

I love the way God slips blessings into our lives—sometimes in the most unexpected, unusual, personal ways. Perhaps it would mean nothing to someone else, but somehow you know He did that, and He did it just for you! Decades ago, I was walking the beach after a hurricane, checking out the damage, and as I looked down I spotted what looked like a 3×5 recipe card—roughed up a bit and written in a scrawl, it read Simple Apple cake. Being not much of a cook in those days, the work “simple” jumped out and decades later I’m still using it—simple, delicious, quintessential comfort food!

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Hidden Blessing
SERVINGS
6-8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
30mins
PREP TIME
12mins
READY IN
45mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix all together in a bowl.
  2. Bake in a greased and floured 9” pan for 30 minutes at 350.
  3. Serve warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream!

Just a Light Lunch Today, Please!

So requested a lady on Personal Retreat in our guesthouse. To be honest, I actually was planning something a little more elaborate such as zucchini lasagna, Caesar salad, and herb-buttered Italian bread. But I replied, “Of course!” and conceived a plan. As I picked fresh lettuce from our kitchen’s “Chef's Garden”, ideas came– what about fried eggplant and deviled eggs to add a special little touch! Some avocado slices, sliced ham or chicken, olives, cherry tomatoes.

Once again, the Holy Spirit came alongside and brought ideas fresh and new. Our retreatant was very blessed…as was I!

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Just a Light Lunch Today, Please!
SERVINGS
1serving
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
serving
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
30mins

Ingredients

Instructions

Eggplant
  1. Lay a slice of eggplant on paper towel and sprinkle with salt on both sides. After a few minutes, press with the paper towel to extract any excess moisture
  2. Beat the egg with a fork and a little water, thoroughly immerse the eggplant slice
  3. Dredge the slice in bread/panko crumbs while heating butter and oil in frying pan
  4. When butter mixture is hot, add eggplant and fry until soft and golden brown; lower heat if necessary so as not to get too brown too fast – about 10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel
Deviled Egg
  1. Place 2 eggs in boiling water, boiling for 10 minutes
  2. Cool under cold water and peel
  3. Gently slice in half, and carefully remove yolks, placing in a bowl and crush with a fork; the extra egg is good to have for more yolk filling
  4. Add mayonnaise and mustard, more if needed, mix until creamy and smooth

Gluten Free Crepes

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Gluten Free Crepes
SERVINGS
14crepes
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
crepes
COOK TIME
5mins
PREP TIME
5mins
READY IN
10mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and mix until batter is smooth ( 15-20 seconds).
  2. Spray non-stick cooking spray onto a 8 inch frying or crepe pan. Pour 1/4 cup batter into the pan and cook over medium-low heat. Turn pan immediately from side to side to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, or until lightly golden. Remove from heat and stack with a piece of baking paper between each one until ready to serve.
  4. Serve with your favorite toppings...we love fresh fruit!

Coconut Any Way You Slice It!

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Coconut Any Way You Slice It!
With daffodils and crocuses springing up everywhere, what could be more appealing on these beautiful April days, than a coconut cream pie—and prepped in a surprisingly simple way!
SERVINGS
8-10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
45mins
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

Pie Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine salt and flour; cut in shortening with 2 knives or pastry cutter, until pea-size pieces.
  3. Add water a little at a time, using a fork toss lightly and mix until it holds together. Don’t over mix!
  4. Shape dough into a flat disk, gently roll out and place in a pie plate, crimping until the edge firmly grips the top of the dish.
  5. Brush lightly with the egg mixture to make if flakey and crisp; with a fork poke holes
  6. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden
Pie Filling
  1. While crust is in the oven, make pudding following the directions on the box, adding salt, coconut flavoring; chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes
  2. In a small pan, toast 1/4 cup of coconut in the oven for 3-4 minutes until light brown
  3. Fold a generous spatula full of cool whip into pudding, adding 1/4 cup of coconut
  4. Spoon into cooled pie crust, top with more cool whip (or whipped cream) and sprinkle toasted coconut on top

Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies

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Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies
Everyone in the neighborhood knew that my mother made the best sugar cookies on the block, but not everyone knew what made them them the best… When I discovered the secret I felt I’d made one of the greatest discoveries in the culinary world. Mama’s good friend Olga was Jewish and never used dairy products, so instead of butter she substituted schmaltz--which is rendered chicken fat--that gives the recipe a distinct flavor and richness unlike any other shortening--including real butter!
SERVINGS
2dozen
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
dozen
COOK TIME
10mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream schmaltz and sugar in an electric mixer using a paddle attachment.
  3. Add eggs (one a at time), lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until well incorporated.
  4. Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Roll dough into balls roughly 1 ½ inches wide and place on a greased cookie sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Press each cookie with a bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly golden. Remove and cool completely.
Frosting
  1. Combine all the ingredients until it reaches a creamy consistency. If it’s too thick, add either lemon juice for an extra shot of lemon or milk until it thins to the desired thickness.
  2. Either frost with a spreader (pictured) or pipe onto the cookies and enjoy!

Chocolate Babka

One of our sisters has a special interest in cooking the foods of other countries. Over time she has heard me repeat many stories of my Ukrainian mother’s experiences with food and what I learned about it through her.

Perhaps my favorite memory is that of packing our picnic boxes for our all-day blueberry picking excursions. These always contained fresh baked babka, lots of butter some fresh boiled eggs from our chickens and a little horseradish root from our garden. Today’s blog features a glorified babka bread filled with chocolate…enjoy!

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Chocolate Babka
SERVINGS
2loaves
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaves
COOK TIME
30mins
PREP TIME
20mins
READY IN
5 1/2hrs (3 hrs rising, 2 1/2 chilling)

Ingredients

Instructions

Babka Dough
  1. Combine yeast with warm water and let stand until it begins to bubble, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, yeast, and lemon zest in a mixer on a low speed until combined.
  3. Add eggs and water, and mix on medium speed until dough comes together, 2-3 minutes. Add salt, then butter, adding a few cubes at a time, mixing until thoroughly combined. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until dough is completely smooth,and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl during this step!
  4. Place dough in a large greased bowl cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
  5. Grease two 9x4 inch loaf pans with oil and line the bottom of each pan with waxed paper. Divide dough in half and keep one half covered in the fridge.
Filling and Baking
  1. Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and butter until you have a spreadable paste.
  2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle as wide as the pans are long.
  3. Position dough so that a long side is closest to you and spread half of the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving a ¾ inch/2 cm border all around.
  4. Roll up the rectangle like a jellyroll, starting from the long side closest to you and ending at the other long end. Press to seal the dampened end, then use both hands to even out the roll into a uniform roll and place it on your surface seam side down.
  5. Trim about ¾ inch/2 cm off both ends, and slice the loaf into even 1-inch segments. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½ hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove plastic wrap and place loaves on middle rack of oven, and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven when done and let cool. Babka will stay fresh for 24 hours in an airtight container at room temperature or tightly wrapped--don’t place in the fridge.
  8. Babka freezes well for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave on counter or overnight in the fridge, and leftovers make excellent bread pudding or fabulous French Toast!