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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Pepperoni Bread

1 loaf frozen bread dough
1 stick pepperoni, peeled and sliced thinly
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 egg
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt,1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
Sesame seeds

Thaw bread dough according to package directions.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray cooking oil on a cookie sheet.
Spread dough out almost to the edges of the cookie sheet.
Mix together the egg and all seasonings (not sesame seeds)
Spread 1/2 of this mixture on the bread dough.
Place a two row layer of pepperoni down the center of the bread dough.
Add sliced mushrooms(optional).
Add mozzarella cheese.
Pull up the sides of the bread, and crimp or pinch together.
Turn crimped side over so it is on the bottom. Do this carefully, as the crimping can open up.
Spread remaining egg mixture on top of the  dough.
Generously sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Serving bread hot is best. Pepperoni bread is also good cold.

recipe source here

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I Pledge

I have heard and said the Pledge of Allegiance since I was a young child. It was something that we did daily in the classroom. I had no idea how much history it had behind it though. If you are a history buff like me and even if you are not you may want to read all about it.... 

The pledge is an expression to the United States flag. It was composed by Admiral George Balch in 1887. It was revised in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Some 50 years later December 28 1942 Congress would adopt the pledge. It was not until 1954 that the words "Under God" were added. 

As the pledge stands today the pledge in its current form was composed by Francis Bellamy. Bellamy was a Baptist minister and a Christian socialist. A previous version of the pledge had been created by Admiral George Balch. Balch had been a veteran of the civil war and later worked for the New York Board of Education. Both pledges would exist until 1923 when a National Flag Conference was hosted.

Balch desired to teach children of immigrants to be loyal to the United States. He worked with the government and other private organizations distributing flags to classrooms and schools. The Daughters of the American Revolution embraced Balch's pledge until the 1910s. Bellamy believed the pledge to be too juvenile and lacking of dignity.

I pledge allegiance to my flag, and the republic for which it stands. I pledge my head and my heart to God and my country. One country, one language and one flag.
— Balch Pledge of Allegiance

Bellamy pledge read: 
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Swedish Tea Ring

One thing I could count on when I was a little girl is enjoying my grandmothers Swedish Tea Ring sometime during the winter holiday season. She would make one for each family so it all depended on how fast she worked whether you got one before or after the big holiday. To me it did not much matter as it was delicious when ever it did finally reach your home. 

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups very warm milk 120 degrees F
1 egg beaten
3 tablespoons butter softened
5 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
candied red and green cherries optional

In the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add warm milk, egg and butter until well combined. Slowly add in remaining flour until the dough starts to come together. Change to your dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to rise until double in a warm place. (About 25 minutes)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon for the filling of the tea ring, set aside. Lightly grease a large baking pan and set aside.
Punch dough down and roll out to a 20"x12" rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. With the long side facing you begin to roll up the dough into a long log. Seal the seam by pinching the dough together. Bring the ends together and pinch the dough together to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet seam side down.
Using a pair of kitchen scissors cut the dough in 1 to 1 1/2" sections around the ring be careful not to cut the whole way through. Gently pull up each section and give it a small twist and lay back on the pan. Cover and let rise until double.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Decorate with optional candied cherries. Also may drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze

recipe source here

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Make Your Own Snowflake

Just a few days ago we were able to see our first snow flakes. They were so pretty. Some were large and others small and while we could not see them up close I know by studying that each had their own special feature. Is there snow where you are?? If you are like me and would love to see them a bit more up close perhaps you should make your own. Make your own??? Yes, that is what I said. It is easy and all you need is

Wax paper
Sparkly Glitter Glue –  (or Elmer’s Glue and some glitter)
needle and thread
Marker & paper to draw templates (or print them) optional

Tear off piece of wax paper. If drawing or using templates, put them under wax paper first. Using the Sparkly Glitter Glue, draw out your snowflake.  Be sure and make it thick enough, otherwise, it will easily tear when time to peel off wax paper.
snowflake tempate with glitter glue

Let dry overnight and then carefully peel off.
peeling snowflakes
glittered snowflakes

Thread your needle and poke hole through snowflake. Tie off and hang as decoration.
You’re done!

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Smoky Cheddar Cheese Olive Balls ++++ Appetizers

2 cups shredded smoked cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon milk
70-80 large Spanish olive halves, drained (I had huge olives from Costco, so I just cut them in half)

Put my cheese, paprika, and room temp butter in my mixer. Mixed until smooth.  Slowly added the flour. If you find that the dough is too dry, add a bit of milk. Taking teaspoon sized scoops of the dough, I flattened it in my hand and then rolled it around an olive half. Placed it on a greased cookie sheet. Once all of the olives were rolled, I put the cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until they start to get a golden color.

Eating these snacks are best right out of oven. They will last a few days in fridge. It is possible to make them ahead of time and freeze them unbaked when you are ready to bake pop in oven 30 minutes right out of freezer. 

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Historic Serial Killer Captured

It was on December 26th, 1620 that one, if not the top, serial killer was captured. The lady behind the murder and torture of hundreds of girls between 1585 and 1610 was none other than Elizabeth Bathory. She was countess from the renowned Bathory family. The Bathory family was the noble family of Hungary. Elizabeth is counted by many as the most prolific female serial killer in history. There were 4 collaborators that helped her pull off the deadly feat. While that deadly date will ring forever in the history books on December 26th let me remind you that the food from Hungary can not be ignored.

Hungarian food is hearty food with fantastic taste. The breads, sausages, meats, stews, sauces, desserts and more are all in my opinion delicious. The national dish of Hungary is goulash. Hungarians refer to it as "gulyas" which means "herdsman". The recipe was a Turkish one originally and brought to Hungary by invading Turks. Hungarians have made it their own and created a recipe that is between a soup and stew. Goulash is not full overly packed of beef and veggies, the broth seems to form a sauce. In the United States goulash is made with ground beef and macaroni. Hungarian Goulash is not.

3 tablespoons lard or butter
1½ pounds yellow onions, chopped
¼ cup good quality sweet Hungarian paprika
1½ pounds beef (see note), cut into ½ inch pieces
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, seeded/membranes removed, cut into ½ inch chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded/membranes removed, cut into ½ inch chunks
2 tomatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, cut into ½ inch chunks
5 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and cook the onions until beginning to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the paprika. Add the beef and garlic, return to the heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the beef is no longer pink.
Add the bell peppers and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes (see note). Add salt to taste.

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