Monthly Archives: May 2008

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip CookiesA severe chocolate craving sent Dagmar and I in search a chewy chocolate chocolate chip cookie, and this was the winner.

They were pretty straight forward to bake and traveled quite well, even in the heat and humidity of the week end.

I still have a few hidden in the freezer (please don’t tell!) and they even taste good frozen!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together: 1/2 cup white sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 cup butter (2 sticks).

Add: 2 eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla extract, beating well.

In separate bowl combine: 2 cups flour, 1/3 cup baking cocoa, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.

Add 2 cups of chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoons on to ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes.

I’d love to experiment with these, trying some different chips. I think chocolate raspberry would be wonderful as would chocolate mint.

Double the chocolate means double the goodness in these cookies!

Grilled Venison Burgers

Juicy Burger, Chips, and GreensIn honor of Memorial Day we enjoyed a traditional cook-out with a twist, the burgers were made from venison.

Over the years we’ve had several friends who have given us venison, and it took some time for me to figure out the best ways to cook it so that all of my children would eat it.

This recipe was a hit! We enjoyed the grilled venison burgers on homemade buns with fresh lettuce from my cold frame and potato chips.

(I should confess here that French fries were on the menu and were in the oven at the correct time but I forgot to turn the oven on, so we substituted the chips! oops!)

Grilled Venison Burgers

Mix together:

2 pounds of ground venison

1 egg

3/4 cups of dry bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)

3 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash’s Grilling Mates for Hamburger

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Make into patties and grill. We like to brush the tops with barbecue sauce before serving.

Since venison is very lean, the egg, bread crumbs and milk help to hold the burger together and keep it moist. The extra spices give it some great flavor!

A great American meal to celebrate a great American holiday!

Green Dragon Dessert

Green Dragon DessertIn honor of Memorial Day, the “official” start of the summer season, I’m going to share a delicious frozen dessert.

My youngest sister gets credit for introducing this treat to the family. She spent a few summers working in the kitchen of Twin Lakes Bible Camp near Manson, Iowa.

She came away with some great friendships and several amazing recipes, this one included.

It’s fast, refreshing and very easy to make.

Green Dragon Dessert

Crush: 1 pound of Hydrox chocolate cookies (store brand also works), and 6 Butterfinger bars.

Mix crumbs with 1/2 cup of melted butter.

Layer 1/2 of the crumbs in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

Spoon on mint chocolate chip ice cream to cover. Smooth out.

Sprinkle with remaining crumbs.

Freeze. You should slightly thaw before serving.

This is a perfect dessert to make ahead and have ready for the cook-out or family get-together this summer. A no-bake delight that is cold, refreshing, and full of chocolate!

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

We had a beautiful week! The farmers finally got into the fields and we were able to get tomatoes and peppers (both hot and sweet) in the garden. Then we took a few days to work inside cleaning the pantry and the storage room.

Although they were both in desperate need of a deep cleaning, we should have spent those three days pushing hard to get the rest of the garden in.
Round Hay Bale At Dawn
The old adage “make hay while the sun shines” is quite true. Farmers know that when the conditions are right for making hay they need to do it! They drop everything and focus on what is important, the hay crop. Once the rain comes, their crop is ruined.

Our conditions were right for planting. The garden was dry, the mulch was on and the sun was shining. We had planned to spend Thursday in the garden since the forecast was for rain later in the evening. Instead, the rain arrived at day break and changed everything.

We have since had a storm every morning for the past three days with heavy rains in the forecast over the weekend. We’ve had over an inch and a half of rain in the last 24 hours, with more on the way. It will take some time for the garden to dry out after that.

So, I have a clean storage room and pantry, but the seeds I purchased to feed my family are still sitting on the shelf and not in the garden growing. That was a mistake.

Did I learn a lesson in this? Oh yes! I realized that once again I had let the urgent take the place of the important. My priorities were mixed up.

That happens a lot in life doesn’t it? House work seems more important than reading to the children. Making supper trumps taking the time to listen to the woes of a seven-year-old. Checking emails takes priority over spending time in the Word.

I remember reading the story of a busy mom with several little ones. She had a fussy one who just wanted to be held, but she needed to get a meal on the table. So, with a little one hanging on her leg, she proceeded with the meal preparations.

A few minutes she looked down and saw that her child had actually fallen asleep sitting on her foot and hanging on to her leg.

Her heart was broken. She turned the burners off and lifted her precious sleeping baby into her arms for some cuddling.

So often the urgent things around us; the laundry, the dishes, the bills, the messes; all keep us from the truly important things in life; time with our husband, our children, and our Lord.

What’s important in your life today? Don’t let the urgent take the place of the important.

Make hay while the sun shines!

Red-Winged Blackbirds: Sounds of Summer

Male Red-Winged BlackbirdOne of my favorite sounds of spring and summer is the call of the Red-Winged Blackbird. To me it says rural Iowa countryside. It says home, summer, hay fields, ponds, cat tails, raspberry patches and wild roses.

A very common bird, most people are familiar with the male of the species with it’s black plumage and bright red patch on his wing.

But few would easily recognize the female since she is neither black nor does she have a red stripe. She is very subdued and camouflaged in her basic brown attire. Some would say she looks more like a large sparrow.

The Red-Winged Blackbirds like to nest in Female Red-Winged Blackbird
marshy areas and near ponds.

Once the nesting has started, watch out! The male Red-Winged Blackbird are very territorial!

We’ve actually had them dive bomb our heads and fly in close circles around us trying to distract us from their mates and their nest sight.

The males are really quite fun to watch because they use many gestures that we can actually understand.

One of these is called the “songspread’ when the male arches forward, spreads his wings to the side and shows off his bright red patches on each wing. This is a sign of dominance and is usually directed at other males.

Another one to watch for is when two males are perched near each other with their bills tilted up in the air. This is called the “bill tilt’ and is basically a standoff that allows them to settle territorial disputes without fighting.

Enjoy those Red-Winged Blackbirds and their antics, listen for their call and know that warm weather has finally come!