Gracious Home Gatherings

Dear Cooks of the Cupboards, (:)

A new year is upon us and bright and beautiful gifts might be ours to open
with each day. Warm hands to hold, sweet cheeks to kiss, soft hair to
smooth, steaming beverages and meals to serve, and much more.

Our little kitchen is already a whir of activity and overflowing with those
little duties that only happen in this one room of the home --- crockpot
cooking, bread baking, casserole making, cakes being slid in and out of the
oven and countless others.

One satisfying comfort meal from my kitchen this week was our largest
stockpot full of beef vegetable soup and bread loaves hot from the oven! I
did the soup a bit different than I have in years and it was delicious...
*thank You, LORD* for the inspiration!

The stockpot was placed on the large gas burner and I sautéed chopped onion
and garlic in a good drizzle of olive oil. When it was bubbly all over and
the onions were tender enough, I sprinkled some flour and whisked it in to
make a quick roux (spelling?) and when it looked right, a few cups of beef
broth made from bouillon cubes was added. This became the base of the soup
and everything else was stirred in: 4 cans of stewed tomatoes, 2 cans of
tomato sauce, garlic salt, sea salt, pepper, onion powder, lots of parsley,
chili powder, 2 cans baked beans, 2 cans garbanzo beans, 1 can northern
beans, 2 cans of corn, 2 cans of green beans, 1 can of mushrooms, 2 bags
frozen cauliflower, almost a whole bag of fresh carrots after they had been
washed, peeled, and cut into large pieces. As soon as the hamburger meat was
browned, it was added and when all was heated well, we (my daughter helped
as much as I did:) added almost all of a large bag of frozen peas and a can
of drained yams. I know the last ingredient might rise a brow or two in
confusion but we were pantry cooking and trying to make this soup
substantial enough to actually be more of a stew. We love sweet potatoes and
there were just enough in here to add a most delightful change!
By the time this soup/stew simmered to steaming all the way through... you
could eat it with a fork and some did! We had extra unexpected to feed (17
guests making the total 23 including our family) for two full days and one
night and there were still leftovers! The amazing thing was that my
daughter and I woke up rummaging through shelves to see what we could fix
until grocery day and our gracious Father flung open doors of supplies we
didn't even know we had! It makes us see how often we take for granted the
overflowing blessings and provision our heavenly Father supplies.

"Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes
and home-made bread --- there may be."
David Grayson, 'Adventures in Contentment' (1907)

While the stockpot was being built up and filled up:) four loaves of whole
grain bread were being mixed, kneaded, risen, formed, baked, and on racks to
cool. These loaves should have been started first but we were making up what
we were doing as we went and it just didn't dawn on us! By the time the
lunch hour came, we were very hungry and the bread wasn't done so we threw
together some Cheddar biscuits I found a recipe for at .
I just typed in "quick bread" and there were choices and one was biscuits. I
knew biscuits were one of the quickest breads to fix so we went with one of
the first ones we came to.
These were so wildly popular that my 21 year old niece has asked me to fix
these for her birthday in a couple of weeks! God solved a challenge on what
in the world I'd do to find gifts for six birthdays and one anniversary this
year and one of them will be these biscuits:)

Cheddar Biscuits
Submitted by: Chaney
This is a very tasty, easy bread to make. It goes great with things like
spaghetti and lasagna.
Servings: 8

2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet, or
line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine baking mix, Cheddar cheese, and garlic powder.
Stir in milk. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie
3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Brush biscuits with melted
margarine, and sprinkle with parsley and garlic salt. Bake for 5 more
minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.

Other dishes prepared in our kitchen were:

Marinated Salmon (I've fixed this one so often that I think it has been
shared at least once before)
Stir fried vegetables (I just buy the bags frozen with mini corn cobs, water
chestnuts, broccoli, carrots, snap peas, and more and toss them in olive oil
and a shake or two of soy sauce.)
"Break off bread" : My family likes bringing loaves of bread to the table
and breaking off pieces instead of slicing sometimes. I don't mind since it
reminds me of the Last Supper:)

Roast Beef in the Crockpot (recipe in separate email)
Smoked Turkey (treat from Sam's that they have during holidays)
Scrambled eggs with onion salt, freshly ground pepper, and aged cheddar
Two healthy versions of cake
Vanilla Cinnamon Pudding (recipe in separate email)

Easy Whole Wheat Applesauce Cake
Vickilynn Haycraft

1/2 - 3/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
2 cups whole grain wheat flour (or pastry flour or kamut), freshly ground
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, seedless, unsulphured

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well until combined
or mix on low speed for 3 - 4 minutes.

Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake in preheated 350* oven for
25-30 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Cake
should spring back when touched in the center.

Let cool. Enjoy!

"I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on
a winter's evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot,
along with some sugar and a drench of cream... I know how the nuts taken in
conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people's
tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting."
Mark Twain

Pineapple Coffee Cake
created by Rachel Jones

Preheat oven to 350 (325 for glass) degrees.
Makes a large cake! You may have extra batter for muffins
depending on the size of your 9"x13" pan. Could be halved
and put into a 11"x7" pan.

1. In a small bowl combine liquid ingredients:

1/2 c. oil
1 c. honey
3 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, undrained, unsweetened

2. In large bowl combine dry ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour ( Kamut works well )
or 3 3/4 c. spelt flour
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 - 2 t. cinnamon to taste

3. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Lightly mix.

4. Pour into greased 9" x 13" pan.

5. Combine next ingredients and sprinkle on top if desired:

1/2 c. Sucanat
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. rolled oats, chopped nuts or both (both are optional)

5. Bake at 350 degrees (325 for glass dish) for 35 minutes
or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

"...the image of the pineapple coming to express the sense of welcome, good
cheer, human warmth and family affection inherent to such gracious home
gatherings." Hoag Levins

Happy New Year, precious readers. I pray your kitchen bounty will be ever
replenished for serving to others and doing the good God has set out for you
to do. May you be strengthened for the planning required to run a kitchen
and a home well as well as the preparation. It is my prayer that you and I
will also be equipped for every good work and provided the strength we need
to keep our stove tops cooking in pots and pans, ovens baking and warming
our rooms, and lots of hands on chopping, slicing, dicing, serving,
swirling, whirring, and pouring:) It is my hope that we might endure right
on through the dish washing, counter cleaning, floor mopping, and more!
Oh, that we might all be blessed by God's Living Word and Love so we can be
fresh wells with everlasting waters to serve from!

I end this with a note of love and celebration with you for a brand new

"Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the
same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your
appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress."

"Letters to Emily"
Charles Pierre Monselet
French journalist and author.


©2005 Sandy Willoughby



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