Cookbook Reviews....The More-with-less Cookbook

The newest edition has an orange cover
Here’s a cookbook I like so much I’m on my second copy…the first one literally fell apart.  The More-with-less Cookbook is one I bought at a restaurant in Kalona, Iowa years ago.  It’s actually a cookbook you can read; the premise of the book was originally a response from the Mennonite Central Committee to their call for church members to eat and spend 10% less.  Mennonite periodicals carried the request for recipes and hints to help members achieve the goal.  This cookbook is a compilation of the recipes; after more than a 1000 were tested by more than thirty home economists. 
I like the book as much for the recipes, of which there are plenty, but also for the suggestions, and the thoughts and philosophy about using and enjoying food without waste.  After 25 years, when I read this book again, I find it has greatly influenced my own attitudes about cooking and choosing what to cook.  Many of the recipes were contributed by church members and missionaries in many countries, so there is a multicultural feel to the recipes as well.  One of my favorite features of this book are the suggestions for using any leftovers or excess food, at the end of each chapter.
The copy I have now is the 25 year reissue of the original…still the same, but with added comments by people who have used the original book and recipes.   It's a cookbook that will always  be on my cookbook shelf!
Here are a few of my favorite recipes from this book.
Scalloped Cabbage

Family Favorites...Old Fashioned Three Flour Bread

Here’s an old-fashioned bread recipe that I’ve modernized using a heavy-duty mixer and instant yeast.  I use a medium rye flour, and bread flour, along with whole wheat flour.  I have to say, the rye is not really noticeable for taste, but it makes a nice firm-textured bread for sandwiches or toast, and we had some when we sliced it with sorghum from our local sorghum producer, Maasdam’s.  I use lard from our local locker plant, because it isn’t hydrogenated.  Otherwise use butter or salad oil.
Check out our mixer bread information HERE.  Remember, you can also make this recipe by hand too, the way I did for years.            
I braided one loaf and made another in a 4” x 12” pan for smaller slices this time.  Of course, you can make this bread by hand as well.  This bread gets a thumbs-up at our house.  If you use active dry yeast, rising times about double.
Old Fashioned Three Flour Bread
  4        Cups  Bread Flour -- 1 pound 4 ounces
  1 ½    Cups  Whole Wheat Flour -- 6 ounces
     ½    Cup  Rye Flour -- 2 ounces
     ½    Cup  Brown Sugar -- 4 ounces packed
  2        Tablespoons  Sugar
  2        Packages  Instant Yeast or bread machine yeast
  2        Teaspoons  Salt
  2        cups  milk
     ½    Cup  Water
  3        Tablespoons  Lard -- melted and cooled (or butter or oil)
In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, sugars, yeast and salt.  In a saucepan, heat the milk and water to 120-125°.
Add to dry ingredients; then add cooled lard and beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.  Change to a dough hook and knead 6 minutes or knead by hand 8 minutes.  Cover bowl tightly and let rest in a warm place 10 minutes.
Punch down dough, turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half, divide each half into 3 ropes; about 15" long.  Braid 3 ropes and place into a greased 9 x 5 x 3" loaf pan.  Repeat with second loaf.
Cover and let rise 25-30 minutes.  Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes, or until 200° on an instant-read thermometer.  Remove from pans to wire rack to cool.
If desired, mix an egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water and brush on loaves just before baking.  If needed, cover lightly with a piece of foil or parchment paper to prevent overbrowning the last 10 minutes of baking.
Yield:  "2 Loaves"

Lemon Cupcakes

Cupcakes have been requested lately as a change from cookies. We like the recipe from Southern Living for orange cupcakes so well that I decided to try them as lemon flavored cupcakes. Everyone thought they were as good or better than the orange. I think maybe a combo of the two would be good also. Here is the recipe using Lemon instead of Orange. If you would like more just double the recipe. 
Lemon Cupcakes 
¼ cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs room temp.
½ tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon juice
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ of a 8 ounce container sour cream (4 ounces)

 Preheat oven 350°. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time beating until blended. Stir in Lemon zest and juice.
 Combine the flour and next three ingredients and add to butter mixture alternately 
with the sour cream starting and ending with the flour mixture.
 Spoon batter into lightly greased mini muffin pans (a rounded tablespoon) and bake at 350° for 13 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of the cupcakes. 
 For regular cupcake pans lightly grease or use cupcake liners and bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pans for 5 minutes and remove to cool on wire rack until completely cool, about 30 minutes.

Frost with Lemon Butter Cream Frosting
 ¼ cup softened butter
1 ½ ounces softened cream cheese
8 ounces powdered sugar
½ tablespoon grated Lemon zest (optional)
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon juice 
  Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy, gradually add powdered sugar alternately with the Lemon juice and milk, until desired consistency. Makes enough for 12 regular size cupcakes or 36 mini cupcakes.

In The Kitchen... Muffin Pans

Small, Medium, Large

Muffin or cupcake pans are a type of pan every cook should own at least one of. Beside making cupcakes in them, you can bake muffins, breakfast items such as single serving egg dishes, small tarts, etc. They are so versatile and useful that giving them cupboard space will be well worth it.
 Now days you can buy muffin or cupcake pans and they are larger than my older ones. The polished metal ones I have had all of the years I have been married and they do not hold as much in each cup but I do use them for cupcakes as they do not brown the bottoms as much. The larger cup size I use for cornbread muffins, and regular muffins and any special type of breakfast item I want to make.
 Also in this category are the mini muffin pans. They work so well for single bite size items. The most common use I think is for Tassies but I also use them for cheesecakes and canap├ęs. I have made Hush Puppies in them and baked doughnut holes. 

 If you turn the muffin pans upside down you can make single taco bowls over the bottoms or single pie shells (see the Cheesy Vegetable Tarts). There are really a lot of uses for a pan of this type.

Here are a few recipes:

Orange Marmalade Ricotta Cupcakes

Pecan Tassies

Chocolate Pecan Tassies

Individual Cheese Pies

Cheesy Vegetable Tarts

Taco Salad

Sunday in Iowa...

It's a little unusual to find roses untouched by frost by this time in November in Iowa.
These are blooming on the bandstand square in Oskaloosa, Iowa

Cookbook Reviews...Taste of Home’s The Complete Guide to Country Cooking

When Myrna found this cookbook on sale, she showed it to me, and I had to buy one right away!  My husband enjoyed looking at the photos and choosing what he thought I should make and I enjoyed the wide variety of recipes and abundant “how-to” tips and photos throughout the book.
It starts out with choosing kitchen cook and bake ware, cutlery, and goes on to knife skills, measuring, pan substitutions and gadgets in a kitchen basics chapter, then covers everything from bread to game, beans to desserts, and everything in between.  The photos are great – just mouth-watering.
I would have to add Taste of Home’s The Complete Guide to Country Cooking to any list of good, basic cookbooks for gals who want to get more out of their kitchens and learn to cook from scratch.  The recipes use very few convenience foods and make good use of garden produce and herbs.

Family Favorites...Mighty Easy Molasses Bread

I’m always ready to try a new yeast bread recipe; and we enjoyed this one from   "New recipes from Quilt Country".  I used Grandma’s molasses, which is fairly mild, and couldn’t really taste the molasses in the finished bread.  It was a nice dough, easy to handle and shape.  
I usually make our daily bread in 4” x 12” pans, so I get more, smaller, less caloric slices.  I use instant or bread machine yeast to make bread baking faster.  Instant yeast has less dead yeast cells, so it’s both faster-acting, and also tastes more yeasty.  If you use regular active dry yeast, bread rising times double.
Check out our mixer bread information HERE.  Remember, you can also make this recipe by hand too, the way I did for years.
The mixing directions in this recipe are mine, not the original.
These loaves made especially nice toast.   Of course, the first day, we had it with butter and more Grandma’s molasses!                     
Mighty Easy Molasses Bread
  7           Cups  Flour -- about 2 pounds
  1           Tablespoon  Salt
  2           Packages  Instant Yeast
  2           Cups  Milk -- 120°-125°
     1/4    Cup  Corn Oil  
     1/4    Cup  Molasses -- dark
  1           Large  Egg -- beaten
Combine all but 1 cup of flour, salt, and yeast.  Stir to combine.
Heat milk to 120-125°.  Add egg, molasses and oil to flour.  Slowly add milk, then mix with paddle attachment for 1/2 minute at low speed and 3 minutes at medium speed.  Gradually add the remaining flour until a soft dough forms.  Change to a dough hook and knead 6 minutes until elastic or knead 8-10 minutes by hand.
Cover and let rest 10 minutes in a warm place.
Punch down dough and shape into 2 loaves for either 12" x 4" loaf pans or a 9" x 5" loaf pans.
Cover again and let rise until nearly doubled, 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°.   Bake for 35-45 minutes (depending on pan size) or until internal temperature registers 200° with an instant read thermometer.
Brush the top with butter and cool the loaves on a baking rack.

  "2 Loaves"