Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cookies From Home

         My dearest childhood memories have to do with food of course.  My grandmother, Grannie, had a lot to do with that.  She was a great baker and always had a cupboard full of fresh baked goodies.  From cinnamon rolls to cookies we always had plenty to eat at her home.

      One of my fondest memories was when Grannie would come to visit.  She would pull up and open the trunk of her car, the treasure chest of all treasure chests, it was filled with every conceivable baked good she could come up with.  We loved her visits.  We loved her cookies.  At her home she always had cookie jars filled up with cookies.
Persimmon WonderFlour Cookies

So Tender and Cake Like 
     Our favorite cookie was her oatmeal raisin cookie,  not like the hard ones you get today but this one was cake and super soft.  She would boil the raisin in water and use the plump raisins and some of the water.  We could never find the oats in them, they were so tender and soft.  I am not a soft cookie person, but I loved those.

      So when my brother called recently and mentioned a new cookie recipe that he found and loved and he said it reminded him of Grannies cookies, I had to try the recipe.  He was right they are like grannies,  soft and tender, but I think this recipe is a new favorite of mine.

      The secret is the Persimmons.  Persimmons are hard to find in Arizona, but I found them and let them get ripe.  After they were rip I scooped out the fruit and blended it in the blender for a wonderful orange looking fruit.  I made the cookies and I love them.  I did change the recipe a little,  I substituted WonderFlour for the white flour and it was amazing.
WonderFlour is the best for cookies.  Thank you Brent for the wonderful recipe.  I love these new cookies,  a new family favorite for me.  I guess I need to find out if persimmons grow here.  Cannot afford to make them at the prices at AJ's market.  Know anyone with a tree in the area,  call me,  I will make you a batch of cookies.

WonderFlour Persimmon Walnut Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups persimmon fruit, blended
2 eggs
4 cups  WonderFlour
2 teaspoons Baking Spice,  Penzeys or  1 teaspoon nutmeg and 1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and sugar,  add eggs and cream again,  add fruit and whip until creamy.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Scoop unto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.   Moisten hand with water and slightly flatten cookies.  Bake in a 335 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Good Ole White Bread

Good Ole White Bread

Good Ole White Bread       The way my mom made it.  Yum Yum...

        6 cups hot water

        3/4 cup Crisco or butter,  Mom used Crisco
        1 cup sugar
        1 tablespoon salt
        1/4 cup Saf instant Yeast
        About 18 cups Natural White Flour  Wheat Montana's is great
In Bosch Mixer, (Mom did it by hand it and it took hours to do) place all ingredients using only half the flour and placing the yeast on top of the flour.  Turn on mixer and kneed  adding more flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl..  Mix 6 minutes and than turn off mixer and remove from bowl.  For fluffier bread let rise once in a oiled bowl.  Punch down and divide into 2 lb. loaves and place in oiled pans.  Let rise until double.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until done.  Remove from the oven and eat right away topped off with lots of butter and fresh jam.  

The Joy of Baking Bread, Happy Birthday Mom

Walnut Golden Raisin Bread

Nothing like fresh baked bread to warm the heart.
      I love baking bread.  I love the way the house smells when bread is baking,  it really makes any place feel like home.  It brings out so many loving memories.  In fact my earliest memories are of home made bread.  My mother was an expert bread maker from hand.  Her bread was heavenly.  Light, white, and sweet.  It was amazing.  She was an amazing baker,  she could do wonders with her bread dough.

      Her cinnamon rolls where amazing also.  They were sweet, dripping in butter and topped with an amazing maple frosting.

      On bread days she would often take a loaf of dough and chop in into pieces and roll it out on a flat surface.  Once it was rolled out she would place it in a hot cast iron skillet filled with Crisco  and fry it to perfection.  We would call it "Scones" and top it with butter, honey, or fresh bottle jam that we always had in abundance.

     She made her bread in a large stainless steel bread bowl that made about 16 lbs. of dough.  The real treat was that first loaf of bread out of the oven.   Cut into large chunks and of course topped with lots of butter and jam.  It was the most wonderful food ever back then and still is to me the best taste in the entire world.

     This month is my mothers birthday,  she would be 76 years old.  I miss her, but every time I bake bread I think of this amazing person that not knowing what she was doing instilled in me the love of home made bread.  I am sure as a young mother her thought was not the impact her bread making was going to have on her son.  I am certain that she was only trying to feed a hungry family and bread making was just one more chore on her list of things that needed to be done.  Isn't that how life is.  We really never know the impact the daily chores or rituals will have, taking no thought of how often our actions today will effect our families, children, or friends is years to come.

      That is the power of food.  It has the power to change our lives in ways we do not even understand.   It can unite, bring together, and form lasting memories that remain long after we have eaten the food.
I am so grateful for the memories of my mother baking bread for her hungry boys.  Thanks mom, your influence has literally blesses hundreds of lives and you thought you were only baking bread.

My Mom when I was a boy growing up. 
      I have to say one more thing about my mom.  I thought she was the prettiest mom ever.  I told my friends bragging, "You should see my mom, she is so pretty".  They believed me and I invited them to come and see her for themselves.  We were anxiously waiting out side the shop where she said she was coming.  I was so excited to show off my mom I could hardly stand it.  She showed up and to my great dismay it was hair day and her head was wrapped up in a towel, no makeup.  I keep telling them "Really guys she is so pretty, today is just a bad day".  My mom was a knock out.  All my friends loved her.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bribery! Does it work?

What a Feast,  Ribs, Wings, Fruit Salad, etc.  

Boys love to eat

And EAT.......
       I have been known to bribe the young men that attend the same church I do to do certain things,  like read the scriptures daily, pray, etc.  I have bribed them with cookies most often but have had to do bigger things to make a point.  One of my very favorite evenings that I have ever had was one of these bribe events.  I had told the young men that if they would read their scriptures daily for a month I, Chef Brad, would fix them a feast.

     Now I have to say they were not 100% on, but close enough I kept my word and had the entire group over for a feast..  It was amazing.  The food, which took me all day to prepare was amazing.  Now if you know the island people, they know how to eat and I was worried that my feast would just be a snack to them.  So I worked all day to prepare the feast.

      And I have to say if you can get a group of teenage boys to read their scriptures everyday for a month they deserved a feast.

      I prepared ribs, my favorite way, Mexican style,  that is placed in a deep pan covered with a wonderful red chili spice blend and baked for hours at a low heat.  The best part is the sauce that is served over rice.  And the ribs are so tender you can eat them with a spoon.

      I also prepared chicken wings, BBQ ribs, and of course a huge fruit salad.  For the beverage I did fresh strawberry cream,  I think they drank 4 gallons.  There was so much food and according to island culture they eat until the food is gone.  It took a couple of hours,  eating, laughing, and strengthening relationships.  After the food was gone, they got up and were ready to leave,  what were they thinking,  I didn't invite them to dinner to eat only.....


Is it going to be good.....

Yes, it is good.  Oh my.....
Food was the bait,  but my plan was to feed them, get them comfortable and then, wham.

      So they all got up to leave after cleaning up and I asked them where they thought they were going.  Home of course.  They were happy and content.


      "Come into the house and get comfortable in the living room" I said with a huge smile.
"I have a couple of things I want to talk about".

     How could they refuse,  I had just fed them a feast of a life time, they could not just leave.  I had them right where I wanted them, in the front  room, comfortable, and perfectly ready to listen.

      What happened next was the most wonderful evening I have had.   These well fed boys and I discussed the scriptures openly and we were not only physically feed that night, but our spirits had a feast also.

      Food is so powerful.  It can bring us together, and open hearts to learn and feel deeper things.

     Yes I have been know to stoop to bribery, but all for the end result.   And I am sure I will stoop again and again, but I don't feel guilty and so far no complaints from the bribed...

Outdoor Pizza Party with "Chef Dad"

Best investment ever.  The Pizza oven brings people together to enjoy
great pizza and more important strengthen relationships

I do look a little tired.  I just fixed pizza's for a very hungry group of boys.
What fun.  Notice how happy and relaxed they are.

My missionary son and one of his many "brothers".
This was one of those wonderful evenings that will not be forgotten soon.  I cooked, with help, and the young men feasted on pizza for a couple of hours.  It was amazing.  It always is when food is involved in strengthening relationships.  My son was just preparing to leave on his mission so he invited all of his "brothers" over for "Chef Dad's" famous out door pizza oven party.  His friend with loving fondness call me Chef Dad, a name I wear with pride.  That name came from the countless late night spur of the moment feedings in my kitchen.  I have an open door, open frig, policy.  No matter when or what time the youth show up if they are hungry I will feed them.  Over the years it has been a wonderful experience.  I think, don't tell them, but when you keep them well feed they tend to stay out of trouble.  Or was it the constant lectures while they ate?  One will never know.  Perhaps it was the combination of the both that makes the difference.  What ever it is I love feeding my children's friends at what ever hour.  It is an amazing experience.


Chocolate WonderFlour Wheat Free Cupcakes
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with WonderFlour and Xagave

     Chocolate cupcakes are so amazing.  I have been working on cupcake recipes this year and have found out some interesting facts.  Cupcakes don't need white flour to be drop dead good and they don't need refined sugar.   When I first making whole grain cupcakes I found the flavor was great, but they tended to be dry.  So I started working on different things and found the magic result was that amazing product called Xagave.  All natural sugar substitute, great for diabetics,  and it added the moist texture to my cupcakes.  So I ended up with a moist, sugar free, healthy (almost) cupcake.  I have had the greatest success with spelt flour and my own WonderFlour.  Now I would not bake a cake or cupcake with white sugar or white flour.  Three Cheers for WonderFlour and Xagave.
This cupcake is worth $3   And it is healthy on top of that.  Ok not completely, but close.

Whole grains do work with pie dough.

Baking PIes is a wonderful part of the holiday season.
             Pie making is an art that  I love.  I have been on a journey this year to bake the perfect whole grain pie dough and have learned so much.  Whole grains are great when making pie dough.  Not all of them work and I have found that by sifting the flour in the new Bosch flour sifter I get better results. (The sifter can be found at The sifter produces white flour like textures that make the doughs tender and flakey.  I am working on a new e-book on sifted flours which will include great whole grain doughs.

Pies and soups made with fresh produce is great.  I don't know what the yellow one is, but oh my what great flavor.

     I found the big yellow pumpkin by accident.  I love the texture and personality it had.  It decorated my counter for months and I finally used it for Third Sunday Dinner Soup.  It was so amazing.  The meat was so dense and full of flavor.  Yellow is my new standard in pumpkins.
Who say's you cannot bake a whole grain pie dough, and yes it was  excellent.
          The best part of the holiday season is baking pies.  I always wonder why it ends there.  I think for me it is I just get caught up in so many different foods I forget.  So glad to be reminded again about pies and this year was my best season yet.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recipe for Pumpkin Cashew Soup

That's a big pot of soup.
Pumpkin Cashew Cream Soup

1 Large pumpkin, cut in half, seeded, and baked on sheet pan in oven at 375 degrees until tender.
2 cups raw cashews, soaked over night covered in water, drained the next day and blended covered with water
2 Quarts vegetable stock
1 /2 cup or a little more fresh pesto sauce
Salt and pepper,  be careful sometimes the stock is salty.

In blender place fresh baked peeled pumpkin with a couple of cups of stock.  Blend well and place in large stock pot.  Repeat until all the pumpkin is blended.  Next blend the raw soaked cashews covered with water.  Add to pumpkin with any remaining stock if needed.  Add pesto and bring to boil,  simmer and season to taste.  Serve with croutons.

Cashew Cream is amazing and can be used for many things that call for cream,  soups, sauces, dips, etc.

Third Sunday Dinner

Chocolate Caramel Cheese Fondue
Third Sunday Dinner

Potato White Quinoa Soup
Third Sunday Dinner

More Food
Third Sunday Dinner
Third Sunday Pot of Soup
Cream of Pumpkin Cashew
      The Third Sunday Blog is all about Family, Friends, and Food.  It just happens that Third Sunday is an important day of the month for me to share food with family and friends.  Third Sunday is a four year old tradition that I have loved and enjoyed for the joy it has brought me, my family, and all who have come to our home over the years. Third Sunday Dinner came to be kinda by accident.  I love entertaining and love having people over to enjoy good food and friendship.
       So I started having people over on Sundays.  It started out getting to be to much of a time commitment for us and people started asking if dinner was this Sunday or next Sunday.  So I decided to make it easier on my family and our schedule by picking one Sunday of the month and sticking with it. 

        So for the past 4 years we have had Third Sunday Dinner every third Sunday for 11 months of the year.  We take a break in August, only because I am on the road and cannot be home.  But the rest of the year we have Third Sunday Dinner every third Sunday.  It is not the only time I open my doors to feed family and friends, but that is the consistent one.  We have any where from 30 to 100 people each month. 

      This blog will be about past, present, and future Third Sunday Dinners, and every other fun food activity that I get involved with.  You will learn that I have a deep love  and understanding of what food can do to build friendships, strengthen family bonds,  remove ethnic barriers, and unite people in a common cause, enjoying life through the foods we eat and building relationships with those we break bread with.

      After all life is all about food.   
Overflow to the  back yard on one Third Sunday Dinner