About The Country Wife Blog

Monday, June 18, 2018

Munchie Monday: Best Ever Pecan Pie Bars

Somehow I found a recipe for pecan pie bars. I made them to take to a fiesta at the Spanish church last week to celebrate Father's Day.  They are really good.  I probably won't make them again unless it is for a party, because they are so calorie-dense and mostly sugars and butter, but they sure do taste good.

To make a 9 by 13 pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust:

In a medium bowl place:  1 1/4 cups butter, softened, 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract.  Mix really well until completely combined and light.  I used a wooden spoon because I did not want to have to wash up the mixer afterwards.  It takes a while but was a satisfying workout...!

In a small bowl combine 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt.  When well-combined, mix into the flour/butter mixture until all combined.  Press into an un-greased pan.  If you can make a little lip up the edges, as if it were a pie dish, that is great. I did not do that and it was fine.

Bake for 15 minutes or so until set but not brown.  Bring out of the oven and let cool a bit.

In a medium bowl mix well 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened, 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed.
When this is all combined,  put it in a saucepan and bring to a low boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the 1 tablespoon heavy cream, and 1/2 pound chopped pecans.  Stir well.
Pour it over the cooked crust then bake for 25-30 minutes until well set.  Bring out of the oven and place on cooking rack.  Let cool mostly then cut into pieces and put in the refrigerator.

Really yummy.  People like them.  Dear One likes them.  I like them.  As a matter of fact as I was typing this post, Dear One asked where the bars were hidden. Uh, well, in the refrigerator!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Food Friday: Quick and Easy Pickled Beets

Beets have never been my favorite vegetable.  I do remember my mother making Harvard Beets with tiny new beets when we were young. I did like those, but that was where I drew the line for many years.  Recently I learned that beets have some very good-for-you nutrients in them, though I cannot tell you right now what those nutrients are.

Since then I have been trying to eat beets from time to time.  The best beets I have eaten were pickled beets in the salad bar at Godfather's Pizza on Cornelius Pass.  Because these were surprisingly good, when I found that you can make pickled beets at home, and in the refrigerator, I thought I would give them a try.

This is what I did:

Quick and Easy Pickled Beets in the Refrigerator

2 15-ounce cans sliced beets
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard with whole mustard seeds visible
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 small peeled garlic cloves

Drain the beets.

Place the garlic cloves and mustard in a 1-quart wide mouth Mason jar.

In a 4 cup measuring cup, mix together the vinegar, water, and salt and stir well.

Place the drained beet slices in the quart jar.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the slices, leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top. 

Cover with the lid and gently shake the jar until you think that the liquid has gotten to all the beets.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hour or better yet, 48 hours.

For myself,  I let them pickle for four days before trying them.  Not bad, but it is a pretty good bet that I failed to put in the Kosher salt.  Oh, well, I can salt them as I eat them if I feel strongly enough about the saltiness issue.  Right now I would find them fine to eat with my breakfast baked potato, which is what I plan for tomorrow morning's breakfast....I want to use up the last little potatoes, and maybe a spring roll with peanut sauce (which was fabulous, if I do say so myself) which I made for the office potluck lunch earlier this week. 

There you have it:  Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickled Beets.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Father's Thoughts

Today in our office devotional the brother who was sharing the thought told us some things his father had taught him growing up.  I thought they were pretty good.

There are people who learn from the experiences of others.
There are people who learn from their own experiences.
There are people who never learn.
What kind of person are you?
What kind of person would you like to be?

When Elder W went away to university his father had more thoughts for him.

You can study hard, go to class, and learn a lot.
You can work hard and support yourself.
You can play hard and socialize and have a great time.
You can do two of these three.

Elder W said that he tried to do all three when he first got to university.  He learned that his father was correct.  You cannot do all three.

These seemed like reasonable things to teach our children and grandchildren if they have not already learned them and so I am sharing them with anyone who wants to listen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Forty-Five Big Ones!

Forty-five years ago today Dear One and I entered the Holy Temple in Cardston, Alberta, Canada and were married for time, and for all eternity.  Now, eternity is a long time, but I think we have made a good start.  It has not been all sweetness and light, but we are still plugging along hand in hand.  And we still begin each day with delight and eager anticipation of what lies ahead together.

To celebrate we broke down and went to a restaurant one of our sweet friends in Vermont used to tell us about.  Well, actually, he would sing a little ditty made up of the title of the restaurant. I always wanted to try it out and recently, by a fluke because I was looking at the scenery as we crossed the highway bridge, there it was!  So we went on Saturday.

It is called Red Robin.  When we came in the host invited us to sit in the bar, even though he made note of our name tags and told us he knew we would not want alcohol but he thought it would be more comfortable for us there since there was barely anyone up there.  The main dining room was jammed with diners so we appreciated his thoughtfulness.

We had two different servers, both of whom were lovely young men.  I think the first one was ill all of a sudden and had to leave.  Dear One had a fabulous veggie burger with all the toppings PLUS endless steak fries which were not as endless as I had thought he might choose. I had fish and chips with a wedge salad.  The wedge salad was enough and I should have stopped there, but I decided to eat on the rest of the meal and eventually I finished it.  They have some really delicious "campfire sauce" that we both liked on the fries.  Dear One was able to help me out with my basket of fries. The server was surprised I left some in the bottom of the container, but I just did not want one more bite.

At the front door are these darling cheeseburger seating pieces for people waiting.  It must be a popular place because both burgers look like people have been sitting on them for long periods of time.

Today at the office we are having a potluck lunch.  I look forward to them because I enjoy trying other people's cooking. I plan to make Vietnamese Salad Rolls.  I stopped in at the Can Tho Market to get some Hoisin sauce and some fish sauce to use in the dipping sauces.  The proprietor, when I asked if there were smaller bottles, said no...one was 500 ml and the other was 700 ml!  The 500 ml bottle was five dollars more costly that the larger bottle. I asked him why.  He said, "It is the best! You need to get this one."  I asked what made it the best.  He told me it was the flavor and that it was much better.

 As I was leaving with the items, I had the more expensive bottle. He said, "If you have some Vietnamese friends and they see this bottle, they will think you really know what is good."  Or something like that.  Now I am going to have to find many recipes to use the fish sauce with.  I am taking suggestions!  One good thing: it does not need to be refrigerated.  Also it lasts forever!

Tonight we hope to attend the temple here in Portland to remind ourselves of that day forty-five years ago. I do remember it as if it were yesterday, though.  Such a sweet day with his friends and my parents with us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Travel Oddities!

When we take little trips with the other senior missionaries we see some amazing things.  This little guy was guarding the trash bin at the top of Oregon Health and Science University Hospital (OHSU).

It is amazing what people can create!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Munchie Monday: Quick and Easy Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Departing dinner this time was going to be really easy for us to help with.  We always make the desserts as it pleases everyone to have homemade desserts.  This time we decided on homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Remember those Gooey Butter Cookies I put in the freezer?  Well, we used those for some of the cookies.  Sister J made her famous chocolate chip cookies.  We got vanilla ice cream to go with the chocolate chip cookies and Tillamook Mudslide ice cream for the butter cookies.  (I had never heard of Tillamook Mudslide ice cream before our Spanish tutor mentioned it to me. He said it was fantastic.  He was right!)

Nope!  Not a Tillamook ice cream salesman, just a happy customer....

So on the Friday before the Tuesday departing dinner we went to the Mission Home and set up ice-cream-sandwich-making shop on the pingpong table in their garage which was right next to the freezer.  We put one cookie down bottom-side up,  put on a scoop of slightly softened ice cream and flattened it out somewhat with a dinner knife, then placed another cookie right-side up on top. We wrapped some of them in deli paper and some we left unwrapped, then put them into the freezer.  We think people will really like them.

There was one chocolate chip cookie and one butter cookie left.  Sister J insisted that I take them both so I made an ice cream sandwich when I got home and put it in the freezer.  The next day I gave half of it to Dear One.  It was really good.

Ice cream sandwich frozen and ready to split with Dear One.
Messy ice cream sandwich ready to wrap and freeze.

The ice cream was lop-sided when it froze.  It still tasted good.
You don't have to use homemade cookies.  Any cookies will do.  Just soften the ice cream a little bit then put it between two cookies.  Yummy life indeed.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Food Friday: Salt and Straw and Waffle Cones

One of our stops on our trip to downtown Portland was a place Sister J really wanted to show us.  It is called Salt and Straw.  It is an ice cream place.  It has many unusual flavors of ice cream.  In May they had lots of floral flavors.  They allow you up to six sample spoons full.  I tried the Rhubarb Crumble and the Lavender Honey.  A big thumbs up on the Rhubarb Crumble.  Thumbs way down on the Lavender Honey.  Yucky!  Dear One and I settled on safe chocolate choices.  He got a two-scoop cone; I got one scoop. It was plenty.  It was also plenty of moolah!

Going into the store after an almost one hour wait in line(!!!!!) I planned on getting my ice cream in a "bowl"--actually a paper cup.  However, when we got in there, still waiting in line, I watched a young man make the waffle cones.  There were four waffle irons that he kept going.  Very impressive.  That changed my mind: a freshly-made waffle cone did not seem something to miss.

This was the line...across the front of the building and all the way down the other side, plus all the way down the inside of the building.  Fortunately there were some nice benches to sit on outside while waiting.

 This is the waffle-cone-making station.  Bad picture as you cannot see the waffle cookers but..

This was my cone with one bite taken out of the ice cream.  The ice cream scoop is about the size of a small tennis ball.  It was $5.10 plus $1.00 for the cone.  Very tasty.