Hearth & Home

Hearth and Home by Daphne Ross

Looking for a winter's rainbow

Rainbows in winter do happen, they are called sundogs, and they look like tiny sections of rainbows. Sundogs are more common than rainbows because they can appear any time of year, while rainbows are limited pretty much to the warmer seasons. At this point in time I will take even snippets of rainbows; let's call them sun puppies. How sweet is that?

Driving home in a complete white-out last week was more than scary it was spiritual, a Jesus take the wheel, pray the entire 18 mile trip home kind of drive. A trip under normal conditions driven in less than 20 minutes, took over an hour. Total white is frightening when driving.

I am tired of snow, but I am not tired of its beauty. Proof is the constant clicking of my digital camera capturing much of the photographic beauty all around our homestead. Old Man Winter and Mother Nature have gifted us over and over again the beauty of winter. Please no more gifts, I insist.

I ask the question is white a color? Ask a scientist and you'll get a reply based on physics, "Black is not a color, white is a color." Ask an artist with paint or a child with crayons and you'll get another answer, "Black is a color, white is not a color." I'll pass on both right now, and the next shades in will be brown and grey; slush is the worst paint of this seasonal episode, the palette of winter is just ho-hum, dull, and depressing.

But on the days when the sky is the most brilliant blue, even in the lowest of temperatures, white clouds passing thru do have beauty, beauty in the blue. The running colors in the sunrises and the layered colors in the sunsets they are absorbed by my appreciative eyes and uplift my thoughts.

But I want more, more color in this winter life I am living in right now.

The Valentine's Day carnations in the mason jar on my kitchen table are the best of Mother Nature's goods right now. A good time for florists is not just a holiday in February; it's every day of winter that drops down more white stuff from the overcast chute in the skies. White in the sky, white on the ground, call the florist and take home the best of what nature has to offer at the moment, flowers, colorful flowers.

A big bowl of nature's bounty, fresh fruit from where nature has no snow to contend with is a bowl of sweet welcoming color. What could be better than a big bowl of oranges, a real fruit a real color. Just add red apples, green grapes, yellow bananas, and peaches, again a real fruit a real color. How sweet is that?

Share your colorful dinner table dishes, salads, and desserts with Hearth & Home readers. Send recipes to: Hearth & Home, 5973 Blachleyville Rd., Wooster, OH, 44691. Emails are always welcome:
thewritecook@sssnet.com

Barbecued Meatballs
(Bonnie Augenstein, Ashland)
Meatballs:
3 pounds ground beef
1 can (12 ounce) evaporated milk
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
Sauce:
2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped onion
To make meatballs, combine all ingredients, mixture will be soft; shape into walnut size balls. Place meatballs in a single layer on wax paper lined cookie sheets; freeze until solid. Store frozen meatballs in freezer bags until ready to cook. To make sauce, combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place frozen meatballs in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan or dish; pour on the sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Yields: 80 meatballs.

Slow Cooker Venison Stew

2 pounds venison stew meat, cubed
2 cups water
4 carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, chopped
3 potatoes, diced, may be skin-on
2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon fat
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup red wine (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat the oil over medium high heat and brown the venison. Place the meat in your slow cooker. Add the water, carrots, celery, potatoes, onion, garlic powder, bay leaves, salt, sugar, pepper, wine, paprika, oregano, thyme, and nutmeg. Stir well. Cover and let the stew cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours. Remove bay leaf. (NOTE: I chose to only use 1/4 cup red wine and then added water to make 1 cup liquid as directed.) To cook traditionally: brown the meat as described. Add in the rest of the ingredients, then cover the pan and let it simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaf. Add the potatoes and carrots, then cook another 30 to 45 minutes or until they are tender.

Loaded Scalloped Baked Potatoes (Daphne Ross, Wooster)
6 potatoes
8 slices bacon
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
1 cup shredded triple Cheddar cheese with cream cheese
Cook potatoes in boiling water in saucepan 25 minutes or just until tender; drain. Cool. Meanwhile, cook bacon as directed on package. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble bacon; reserve 1/4 cup. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. Whisk flour and milk in large bowl until blended. Stir in sour cream. Add potatoes, remaining bacon and 2 tablespoons chives; stir to evenly coat potatoes. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray; top with cheese. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining chives and reserved bacon. I precook the potatoes to decrease the baking time, which helps to prevent the white sauce from curdling. Cut cooked potatoes in half, then place, cut-sides down, and slice as directed. Be sure to cut the slices evenly for uniform baking. Yields: 12 servings.

Shredded Potato Salad

1 (2 pound) bag frozen, shredded hash browns
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon pickle relish
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
Poke some holes in the hash brown package with a fork; microwave on High 6 minutes. Shake bag to stir potatoes; microwave another 6 minutes. Open bag and pour into a bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add mayonnaise, mustard, chopped onion, pickle relish, chopped boiled eggs. Easy to prepare using your family's favorite ingredients in their potato salad. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Banana Streusel Coffee Cake

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
For streusel:
12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, set aside. In a medium bowl whisk fluff together flour, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer mash bananas until they become thick liquid. Mix in butter until combined and then mix in sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add flour and mix until just combined. Prepare streusel by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl, cut the butter in with a pastry cutter until a coarse crumb forms. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with 1/3 of the crumb mixture. Cover the filling with the remaining batter and top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for at least 1 hour. Mix together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cake before serving.

Easy Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings
2 pounds chicken wings, rinsed and pat dry
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup buffalo or hot sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping
Toss the wings in the oil, salt and pepper, place them on a rack, on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven on the upper shelf until golden brown and crispy, about 45 to 50 minutes. Toss in the hot sauce and butter and serve while warm with blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
1 box French vanilla cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs, divided
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
1 can (21 ounce) strawberry pie filling
Grease 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Combine cake mix, butter and 1 egg in large bowl until well blended. Reserve 1/3 cup for topping. Press remaining mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer in large bowl. Beat in remaining eggs and 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Pour over cake mixture in pan. Spread strawberry pie filling on top and sprinkle with reserved cake mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. Refrigerate until chilled. Cut into bars and sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar. (Note: May use any flavor of fruit pie filling.)

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