Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Good morning–  Just in case you have a bag of cranberries lingering in your freezer after the holidays here is jus one more cranberry recipe (the last, I promise!!).  I could eat this all year round with mugs of hot tea.

And thinking most of you don’t have those cranberries on hand, blueberries would work just as well!  Perfect coming out of the oven on a lazy Saturday morning…

CRANBERRY ORANGE BUTTERMILK BREAKFAST CAKE
1 orange
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup buttermilk*

Grate all the peel off of the orange.  Set aside.

Mix together the oil, 1 cup sugar, egg and vanilla.  Then stir in the flour baking powder and salt.  Fold in the cranberries and orange peel.  And finally stir in the 1/2 cup buttermilk.

Spoon the stiff batter into a 9″ square** baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Delicious served warm with morning mugs of tea!

*In place of buttermilk, you can use 1 tab. of cider vinegar & then fill the measuring cup to 1/2 cup.  Let it sit a couple minutes to thicken like buttermilk.
**or –I used a 10″ tart dish

Second Christmas at Home


Hi there friends– Just one more Christmas post!!  After our sweet time with kids up in San Francisco, we trekked back home for celebrations with family here.  It was a bustling few days and a small house bursting at the seams–a festive time with people we love.  (If you aren’t into way-to-many Christmas photos, you might want to skip this post!!)

We sat down to Christmas Eve lunch, four generations around the table,  opened a few gifts and passed around baby Lois.

     

Christmas Day– Gifts exchanged, new toys tried out and my favorite– Spanish tapas supper around the coffee table after all the hub bub had died down.

     

     

The week filled up with park walks and picnics, playing around the house with 4 grand-girls and a pass through In-and-Out as we ferried John & Laurel to the airport.

      

     

     

     

So thankful for the time with our kids– and for the chance to remember our Savior’s come to earth.  It was a Merry Christmas.

Early Christmas in San Francisco


Hi all– We had a two part Christmas this year– starting out with 3 nights with kids up in San Francisco.  It was all lively grand-kids and beautiful meals, cookie decorating and a big explore in the arboretum.  Thanks thanks Jessica for pulling us all together!

We started our celebration with a ramble through the SF Arboretum.  Mae & Eero were our tour guides and Ani & Brian supplied Wooly Pig sandwiches for a picnic on the lawn.

     

     

There was a table full of cookie decorators and lots of cookie nibbling.

     

We had some beautiful meals around the table together.  From Jessica’s morning waffles to Chef Chris’ short ribs with glazed carrots and cashew-beet sauce.

     

And there was some mid morning gift opening by the Christmas tree by all the cousins.

     

But my favorite part of our days together was watching the cousins play together.
     

     

Here we are all together.  Thanks bunches AA & Jessica for everything!!   So one more Merry Christmas dear readers.  Hope you had a sweet time with people you hold close.

Peppermint Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache

Hi all– So how was your Christmas??  Hope it was full of sweet times with people you love.  We are winding down here.  Watching the Santa Paws movie on Netflix with the Grand-girls while all our kids are off seeing Star Wars.

And wanted to send you this recipe from our Christmas Eve lunch.  Peppermint laced cheesecake topped with rich chocolate ganache.  It does taste like Christmas.

PEPPERMINT CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Crust:
1 store-bought Oreo pre-made crust
2 tab. cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Filling:
32 oz. cream cheese (4 packages)
1 cup sugar
3 tab. flour
5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 candy canes, crushed to a powder

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tab. butter
1  1/3 cup chocolate chips (8 oz.)
garnish: 2 or 3 candy canes, chopped to bits

Mix the Oreo pre-made crust, 1/4 cup sugar and melted butter until the chocolate crust turns to crumbs and blends with the butter and sugar.  Press it into a 10″ springform pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake the crust for just 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the filling, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and cup of sugar until they are blended and smooth (no lumps!).  Then beat in the flour, eggs, sour cream and peppermint extract.  Finally fold in the crushed candy canes.

Spoon the mixture over the semi-cooked crust and return it to the oven for 60 to 70 minutes at 350 degrees.  It helps to put a pan of water on the bottom rack below the cheesecake to prevent cracks as it cools.  The cake while be slightly wobbly in the center, but should firm up as it cools.  Open the door of the oven a crack and let the cheesecake sit 60 minutes more in the cooling oven.

Take the cheesecake out of the oven and run a sharp knife around the sides, so it won’t stick to the sides and let it cool an hour more.  Then cover it with foil and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

To make the ganache, bring the cream and 2 tab. butter to a low simmer in a saucepan on the stove top.  Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips, beating it together until smooth and shiny (3 or 4 minutes).

Let the ganache cool and then spoon it over the cooled cheesecake.  Sprinkle the chopped peppermint on top.  Pretty and ready to eat!

And here’s my beautiful mother– enjoying her cheesecake with the family.  Merry Christmas Mom! (And I know she’s one person who always reads my little blog– thanks Mom– Your’e the best!)

Christmas Hope

Blessed Christmas to you friends–  This has been such a full Christmas season for us–real joy sitting around a beautiful table with our SF family this past week,   cheerful -if not totally melodic- caroling with the lovable neighborhood kids, watching Larry tell the Christmas story as a shepherd in our church’s Bethlehem Walk…

And there’s been deep sadness walking with a with a friend as her husband suffers dearly, our son’s family still evacuated because of the wildfires, a serious eye injury to a close friend and continued legal stress…

Life is complicated.

But these Christmas lyrics have stuck in my mind– “The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”   I’m thankful to know that thrill.  There’s hope and deep joy in walking with God in these days.

Hoping for the thrill of God’s hope and moments of true joy for you and your family this Christmas.

Almond Rocky Road

Merry Christmas!!  A friend brought in this Christmasy candy the other day and it set me to searching for the recipe. It hits all those sweet spots– chocolate, nuts and those springy marshmallows.  I think the grand-girls will love it!

I was surprised how super easy it is to make– takes 10 minutes max!  The recipe is so simple, I could give to you over the phone!  But here I’ll just write it out here:

ALMOND ROCKY ROAD
2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz.)
2 tab. butter
14 oz. can condensed milk
2  cups roasted almonds, chopped in half*
16 oz. bag mini marshmallows

In a large microwave proof bowl, melt the chocolate chips and butter (about 90 seconds).  Stir them all together until it’s all smooth. Pour in the condensed milk and mix until it’s all blended.

Then pour in the marshmallows and almonds and stir until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.

Spoon it all into a 9″x 13″ pan that has been lined with waxed paper.  Pop it into the fridge for a couple hours to harden and cut into delicious squares.

*The original recipe I worked from called for 2  1/2 cups peanuts, but I opted for almonds.  Walnuts or pecans would be good too.

 

Rethinking Christmas

Hello Blog-Friends:  If you’re like me, you might have a whole lot of expectations (I prefer to call them “hopes”– it sounds kinder) about Christmas ahead–what the best Christmas should look like to you.  It’s all about lists.  Making them & checking them twice.

But this year we’ve had a shift.  Last Monday, our son called from Ojai.  They were pulling out from home, evacuating because of the wildfires closing in on their small community.  The family finally made their way down to our house, and we spent some days watching blazes on t.v. news and checking Facebook posts detailing damages.

The school where Micah teaches lost the science building (his physics lab & robotics program) and the girls’s dorm burned to the ground.  Their home had some damage, but much was saved by fire fighters.  So thankful.

So our hopes have changed some.  Christmas will look a little different.  The to do lists are shorter.  And things that matter– being together, remembering God’s gift of his son to the world shine brighter.

I’ve been reading a daily Christmas email from my favorite blogger, Shannan Martin.  She writes it so well:

“There in the wonderful, terrible thick of December, the furniture of my heart was shifting. Things that had lurked in the shadows were snapping into focus. As Christmas drew nearer, the new rhythms of my soul were bumping against my old ideas about how to celebrate, why we celebrate, and what a new way of living the “thrill of hope” might look like practically.

Basically, I cleaned out my Christmas closet. I did that thing where you hold up each old shirt and decide if it still fits, and whether or not it’s worth the space it occupies.”

So my Christmas hopes for you (and me) are that we’re able to see that “thrill of hope” and rest in God’s love for us in the middle of all the Christmas storm of activity.  Merry Christmas Blessings to you, dear friends.

P.S. To find Shannan’s blog and the link to her “12 Ways of Christmas Emails” click here.  I think you’ll love her as much as I do.