1950’s Pear Pie

Fresh pear pie

Fresh pear pie

My mother gave her children the choice of birthday cakes.  I was hard put to choose between banana cake (recipe in 2016/08/08 post) and fresh pear pie.  My soul still thrills with the beautiful taste of baked pears, rich crumb topping, and the best of pie crusts.

I am so health conscious; thus I have experimented with using sugar alternatives here.  Coconut sugar or sucanat (evaporated cane juice) can not compete with cane sugar in this receipt. Only sugar insures the right texture and flavor in pear pie.

Sugar has been around for the longest time.  China grew cane sugar for many years prior to its first written reference in 325 B.C.; Alexander the Great’s admiral Nearchus wrote of reeds in India that produce “honey” without any bees.

The word sugar began to appear in Indian literature around 300 B.C.:  The Sanskrit word sarkara, meaning gravel or pebble, became the Arabic sukhar, which finally came to be sugar.

The use of Indian sugarcane spread.  It was planted at this time in the moist terrains of the Middle East.  The Arabs then introduced this food to Egypt in 710 A.D.;  Knights of the First Crusade next planted sugar in the Holy Land nearly four centuries later. Knights from the Second Crusade brought this unknown delectable back home to Europe in 1148 A.D., where it became prized over honey.  The use of sugar grew after this.  Thus it became a main stable throughout much of the world.

This popular provision indeed played an important part in the forming of our country.  The British Parliament enforced the Sugar Act of 1764, with the high tax on this sweet in all its colonies.  The New World produced a great amount of sugar; thus this law was a factor in the American Revolution, a little over a decade later.

I am indebted to James Trager  for this exciting history.  I derived it from his book The Food Chronology, 1995, Henry Holt Reference Books.

Wisdom and moderation are needed with this substance.  Today our nation consumes sugar in unhealthy amounts.  Personally I hold fast to the adage of Mary Poppin’s:  “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”  My standard is to substitute more beneficial sweeteners wherever possible.  However, there are times when only cane sugar will do.   My precious pear pie is one of them!

Enjoy this carefree, mess-free recipe.

Pear pie, whipped cream, and freshly ground nutmeg

Pear pie, whipped cream, and freshly ground nutmeg

Pear Pie with Hot Water Pastry Crust

1 ¼ cup unbleached white flour (Bob’s Red Mill is best)

1 1/3  cup whole wheat pastry flour (save 1/3 cup for crumb topping) May grind 2/3 cup soft, white, winter wheat berries for 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour.

1 teaspoon salt (Real Salt is best, available in health section of local supermarket)

2/3 cup oil (grapeseed oil is best, available inexpensively at Trader Joe’s)

1/3 cup boiling water.

1 cup sugar (I prefer organic cane sugar; available in 2 lb packages at Trader’s, but more economical  in 10 lb bags at Costco)

1/3 cup butter, softened

5 large Bartlett pears, ripened (may use Anjou pears as well; but Bartlett is best, must be ripened)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Freshly ground nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Blend unbleached white flour, 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add oil and water. Mix lightly with a fork.
  4. Divide into two balls, one much larger than the other. (You will need to use 3/5’s of dough for this single crust for a 10 inch pie plate. May bake leftover 2/5’s of dough in strips with butter and cinnamon sugar.)  Cover balls with plastic wrap and place on hot stove to keep warm.
  5. Roll out the large ball of dough between two, 14-inch pieces of wax paper. Form a very large, “oblong” circle which reaches to the sides of the paper.
  6. Gently peel off the top piece of wax paper. Turn over, wax paper side up, and place rolled dough over a 10 inch pie plate. Very carefully peel off the second piece of wax paper.
  7. Patch any holes in crust by pressing dough together with fingers. Form rim of crust on edge of pie plate by pressing dough together gently.
  8. Mix remaining 1/3 cup of flour and sugar in same bowl in which you made the pie crust. Blend in butter with a fork, until mealy in texture.
  9. Sprinkle 1/3 of this mixture in bottom of unbaked pie shell.
  10. Fill crust with peeled pear halves. Fill in spaces with smaller pieces.
  11. Evenly spread remaining flour mixture on top of pears.
  12. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 more minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
  13. Cool. Serve with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg. Mouthwatering!

1950’s Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

My siblings and I chose our meals for holidays and birthdays when we were young.  We always picked sweet and sour meatloaf.  How we loved it!

There was never a Christmas Eve that our home didn’t boast of its tantalizing smells.  They arose from the roasting of beef with its contrast of vinegar and brown sugar, mustard and tomato sauce.  The aroma was remarkable.

My memory of festivities back then was that of heightened anxiety for my troubled soul.  Celebrations  made me deeply aware of the void in my being; I suffered greatly from lifelong mental illness.

But no more!  The powerful word of God completely healed me.  It removed all wreckage from my mind and body, just as it promised to do.

I asked Jesus into my life on December 16, 1994.  But my healing didn’t begin to materialize with clarity until Mother’s Day of 2013.  This marked the start of my attendance at Abundant Life Family Church, where the word is taught in pure simplicity.

Prior to this, I spoke out my revivification every possible chance; I did everything in my power to effect my healing.  This included suddenly taking myself off medication. That misguided effort was a disaster, as it landed me in the psyche ward.

Indeed our good Father honored my heart, which was bent on his truth that promises wholeness.  Surely my life improved by small degrees as I pressed in with my passionate perseverance.  In actuality the stage was set for his complete blessing to come.  My declarations of health and thanksgiving for all the small advancements brought this forth.

However this gift potently began when the Spirit of God led me to my present church at the end of May, 2013.  I became a barnacle to the clear, unshackling truth taught here.  This unswerving reality cut away all pain.

The payoff has astounded me and those watching.  Revolution happened in my being; peaceful, lasting order emerged in my mind at ALFC. What’s more, I learned to take authority when anything tries to disrupt this harmony. Disturbances are stopped in their tracks.

I am indeed set free!  Now I thoroughly enjoy gala affairs.  Moreover everyday is a glorious party.  Heaven is here on earth.

You may access these helpful teachings at alfc.net.

My family still holds fast to our traditional repast of sweet and sour meatloaf.  It is ever-present on holidays and blesses us on my trips home.  I envision this mouth-watering dish when I think of family and food.  It’s an inseparable part of our clan.

It is extremely easy to prepare.  I guarantee you will be wowed by it.

1950's sweet and sour meatloaf

1950’s sweet and sour meatloaf

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf Yields: 4 servings.  Total prep time: 2 hr/ active prep time: 20 min/ cooking time: 1 hr & 50 min.  Note: You may double this for superb sandwiches from leftovers.)

4 medium russet (baker) potatoes, cleaned and wrapped in tin foil

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 1/3 cup tomato sauce

1 lb ground beef  (Must be 15%/85% beef fat; natural is best.)

3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper  (Real Salt is best; available in health section of local supermarket.)

2 tbsp brown sugar, packed down in spoon  (Organic is best, available at Trader Joe’s.)

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar  (Raw is best; most economical at Trader’s.)

2 tbsp yellow mustard  (Frenchies’ or any other yellow mustard is fine.)

1 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2 hours before serving.
  2. Place potatoes in oven when hot.  Bake for nearly 2 hours.
  3. In a large bowl, mix egg, bread crumbs, onion, 1/3 cup tomato sauce, salt, and pepper.  Then thoroughly blend the hamburger into the sauce.  It works best to use your hand to do this.
  4. Form a loaf in a 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 3 inch Pyrex baking dish.  Use a 13 x 9 1/2 inch pan if doubling.  Make a deep indentation in the center of the loaf, so it looks like a boat.  This will hold the sauce in meatloaf, so basting isn’t necessary.
  5. Using the same bowl, mix the remaining tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, and water.
  6. Pour the sauce over the meat and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Serve with unwrapped, split baked potatoes, which have lots of sauce poured over them.  SO GOOD!

Williamsburg Orange Cake

Williamsburg Orange Cake

Williamsburg orange cake

The spring and summer of 1973 brimmed with vitality for me; I had taken the quarter off from college “to find myself.”  However, I forgot my mother’s birthday in the midst of my prosperity.  My heart broke when I soon realized my mistake.  To make amends I baked and delivered a glorious cake; I drove it 200 miles across Montana’s Big Sky country, from Missoula to East Glacier Park.  My benevolent mother graciously welcomed both me and the confection!

This beloved parent learned the powerful lesson of forgiveness in her youth; she is always eager and ready to forgive as a result of this.  Mom taught me precious wisdom, which exempts us from much disruption when mistakes are made: immediately we amend all with our Father in heaven; next, we seek compassion from those we have hurt in our wrongdoing; finally, we lavishly forgive others and ourselves. This spells freedom for our emotions and minds!

Me, my brother Paul, mother Pat, sister Maureen

me, my brother Paul, mother Pat, sister Maureen-June 2016

That was Mom’s 50th birthday and the first time I made this outstanding Williamsburg orange cake.  I went home to Montana to celebrate her 93rd birthday this past June. We had a repeat of this treasured sweet!

The recipe calls for zesting oranges.  I like to equip my sister’s kitchen with gadgets which I find helpful in cooking.  This year I blessed her with a GoodGrip zester and thus insured my ease in making this cake. GoodGrip is high quality and economical.  A large array of this brand’s useful gadgets is available at our local Winco.  This particular zester is most efficient; it makes a difficult job super easy.

My recipe appears lengthy.  It is actually very simple, for I have included many baker’s tips. Don’t be daunted by looks!

Williamsburg Orange Cake  Yields: 2-9 inch round layers, 3-8 inch rounds, or 2-9 x 5 inch loaves.  Total prep time: 3 hr/  inactive prep time-to freeze cakes for easy frosting: 1 hr/ active prep time: 1 1/2 hr/  baking time: 30 min.

2 1/2 cups flour  (Bob’s Red Mill  organic unbleached white flour is best; better yet grind 1 2/3 cup organic, soft white winter wheat berries to make 2 1/2 cups of flour.)

1 cup raisins, soaked in boiling water  (Organic raisins are available inexpensively at Trader Joe’s.)

1 1/2 cup milk or cream, soured with lemon juice from a squeeze ball

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt  (Real salt is best; available in health section at local supermarket.)

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup Crisco  (Butter may be substituted, but this 1970’s cake calls for the then popular Crisco.)

1 1/2 cup sugar  (May use sucanat, which is evaporated cane juice; if using sugar, organic cane sugar is premium; best buy at Costco; also available at Trader Joe’s in a 2 pound bag.)

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3 oranges  (It is important to use organic, as the zest of regular oranges taste of pesticides.)

1 cup pecan pieces

Spray oil  (Pam coconut oil is best.)

Flour for dusting pans

Williamsburg Orange Frosting  (This is for 2-9 x 5 inch loaf pans or 2-9 inch round layers; 1 1/2 recipes will be needed if making 3-8 inch round layers.)

1/2 cup butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar  (Organic is available at Trader Joe’s.)

1 1/2 tbsp orange zest

3/8 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

10 narrow slices of orange rind, cut lengthwise on surface of orange (see photo).

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If using fresh ground flour, begin grinding now.
  3. Cover raisins with water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, remove from heat, set aside.
  4. Place milk or cream in a large bowl (cream needs to be shallow, as it sits in bowl, with a lot of surface exposed); sour with 8 large squirts of lemon juice from ball; let sit until curdled; measure 1 1/2 cups again before using.
  5. Stir together flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium/large bowl with a fork.
  6. In a large bowl, beat butter and Crisco until light and fluffy, add sugar, beating thoroughly.  Add 1 egg at a time, beating well with each addition.
  7. Mix in vanilla.
  8. Preferably with an electric mixer, add 1/2 the flour mixture to butter mixture, blending until all is incorporated; then, add 1/2 the soured milk, mixing well. Repeat these steps to use all the flour and milk, beat extra well.
  9. Wash and dry oranges.  Zest 2 oranges, set aside.  Save these oranges, two for juice for frosting, and the third unpeeled one for decorative strips.
  10. Drain the raisins, which have been become plump in the hot water. Blend the raisins, l tbsp of zest, and nuts into the cake batter.
  11. Spray pans with oil and dust with flour lightly. (Rinse nozzle on can with hot water, for easy spraying in future.)  Pour batter in the prepared cake pans.
  12. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cake should respond, bounce back, when pressed with your finger.  Do not over bake!
  13. Cool in pan for 5 minutes to facilitate removal; then, freeze cakes on separate paper plates for at least 1 hour; freezing prevents cake from crumbling while frosting.

Frosting  (Make 1 1/2 recipes for 3-8 inch round layers.)

  1. In a medium/large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, preferably with an electric mixer.
  2. If desired for decorating, cut 10 narrow slices of rind from third orange: use a sharp knife and cut just below rind from top to bottom of orange, gently peel stripes off orange, set aside (see photo for decorated cake).
  3. Squeeze oranges to extract 3/8 cup juice; use extra oranges for eating later.  Set aside.
  4. Beat butter until light and fluffy with an electric hand mixer.
  5. Mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar.
  6. Beat in 1/4 cup of orange juice, 1 1/2 tbsp zest, vanilla, and salt.  Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, blending well; set aside.  (Save extra orange juice.)
  7. Frost frozen cake layers or loafs.  Only if frosting is too stiff to spread easily, add more orange juice, 1 tbsp at a time.  Optional: decorate with slices of orange rind while frosting is still wet, arranging narrow slices back-to-back on top of cake (see top photo).
  8. If making the loaf cakes, to keep in freezer for unexpected company, be sure to freeze the frosting on cake, before sealing in gallon-size freezer bags.  Keeps well.
  9. Enjoy this delightful cake!

Tortellini Sausage Soup and Bone Broth

pot of tortellini soup

I first had this soup in the pleasing home of a beloved friend.  Her husband was dying of cancer and I was there ministering to them and they to me: she was letting me do my laundry, while I helped to cook and clean.  We also had a time of deep prayer, as we cried out for healing grace.

This friend’s other half died shortly thereafter.  His funeral was a celebration of goodness and life.  It was my favorite funeral ever!  God’s love was there. However I experienced a mingling of confusion admits the joy: why death?

I have since learned the answer at Abundant Life Family Church.  It is never our Father’s will that anyone die before fullness of age.  The Bible teaches us precisely how to avoid all ruin.  It warns us that we are destroyed by lack of knowledge.  Its directions educate us on how to avoid destruction, with exacting instructions for receiving abundant life.

Back then, my friends and I didn’t have enough wisdom to overcome death’s fierce attack.  Today I can say that I have the knowledge to overcome anything, in Jesus Christ’s name.  This is solely because of the truth taught from the Word of God at my church.  Now I am strong and can stand in the face of all adversity.  And I do just that!

My most prized wedding took place months after this favored funeral at my old church.  The size of this celebration of matrimony was extremely small.  Just a handful of attenders.  But God was present!  The Spirit spoke to my heart in every fine detail of this ceremony.  The vows spoken, the songs sung, the exquisite food, the fellowship… were all an expression of the one true Word.  They shouted vibrant blessing.

I experienced jubilee this day.  At the time, I thought there is redemption of the loss of my friend:  A wealthy wedding followed the holy funeral.  However this recovery was in mere seed form, as all truth starts.  Now there is fullness of this hope.  I am no longer a victim of destruction, for I have authority over the enemy of my soul.

This I learned at Abundant Life Family Church.  I invite you to browse the web and listen to teachings at alfc.net.

My friend instructed me how to make this tortellini soup six years ago amidst cleaning and laundry.  Then it nourished our bodies and souls, even during trauma. Here I have elaborated on this recipe bringing yet more vitality.  The most important change is homemade bone broth.  How it generates length of days!

Bone broth is a power food.  Eight ounces of chicken stock has one gram of protein, while bone broth has nine grams per cup!  It impacts our health by aiding digestion, overcoming food intolerances, boosting the immune system, improving joint pain, and reducing cellulite.

I encourage you to take advantage of leftover bones.  Start making this super stock with the easy guidelines listed below.  Bon appetit!

Tortellini soup

tortellini soup

Tortellini Sausage Soup  Yields: 64 ounces or 8 servings.  Total prep time: 1 hour;  active prep time: 30 min;  cooking time: 30 min.

2 tbsp oil  (Coconut or avocado oil is best.)

1 medium/large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, diagonally sliced

1 stalk celery, sliced at a diagonal

10-14 ounces Keilbasa sausage, or a natural sausage, sliced diagonally

scant 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice

scant 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper

1 1/2 quarts bone broth, recipe below  (You may substitute 1-liter box of chicken broth plus 1-15 ounce can.)

6 ounces of frozen spinach or kale  (Organic frozen kale is available in health section at our local Fred Meyer’s.)

1-15 ounce can of kidney beans, or beans of your choice, drained well  (Simple Truth organic beans are good and inexpensive; available at local Fred Meyer’s.)

1 cup dried cheese-filled tortellini  (This is available at Trader Joe’s; may also use frozen tortellini.)

1 tsp salt, or to taste  (Real Salt is best; available in nutrition center of local supermarket.)

1 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat; add onions, when a piece sizzles, and sweat (cook until translucent).
  2. Add carrot, celery, and sausage.  Cook for a total of 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add Chinese Five Spice and red pepper; cook 2 more minutes.
  4. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  5. Add spinach or kale, tortellini, and beans.  Bring to a second boil.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until greens are limp and pasta is soft.
  6. Add salt, adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Bone Broth  Yields: 2-3 quarts.  Total prep time: 13-25 hrs/  active prep time: 30 min/ inactive prep time: 30 min/  cooking time: 12-24 hrs.  (Note: may be made ahead and frozen in quart-size containers.)

3 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar per chicken carcass, or 6 tbsp per turkey carcass (Raw cider vinegar is most cost efficient at Trader Joe’s.)

3 leftover chicken carcasses, or 1 large turkey carcass, broken in pieces  (May freeze until ready to use.)

2 large yellow onions, quartered

4 stalks celery with leaves, cleaned and chopped in 2 inch pieces

4 large carrots, cleaned, skin scraped off, and chopped in chunks

8 large cloves of garlic

  1. Fill an all-metal stock pot one third full of water.  Stir in vinegar.  Place poultry carcasses in water.  You may break the bones, so they fit compactly in pot. Add more water to cover carcasses and stir well.  You’ll need room in pot for the vegetables later.  Let sit 30 minutes.  (The vinegar draws out the nutrients from the bone marrow.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. After 30 minutes, add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic to the pot, cover with water.  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
  4. Turn temperature down to 300 degrees.  Cook for a total of 12 to 24 hours.
  5. Add more water periodically, to keep the bones covered.  However don’t add any more water the last 6 hours of cooking.  This will aid in reducing broth.
  6. Strain when done.  If needed, reduce to 3 quarts of liquid if using 3 chicken carcasses, or 2 quarts liquid per turkey carcass.  Freezes well.

Lemon/Spinach Chicken or Ahi Tuna

Lemon spinach chicken

lemon/spinach chicken

Back to cooking with greens with another delightful dish!  This simple spinach recipe utilizes the bounty of my friend’s fall garden.  She replants her leafy vegetables mid-August for a late harvest, with which I am blessed. However one 10-12 oz bag of fresh spinach will do, if you are buying it.

This recipe is high in protein and iron. It has vitamin C as well, which increases the absorption of dietary iron according to the Mayo Clinic.  They recommend using any of the following for this purpose: broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, leafy greens, melons, oranges, peppers, strawberries, tangerines, or tomatoes.  Lemon juice and tomatoes were my inspiration here.

It is important to use coconut or avocado oil, as olive oil produces carcinogens, when heated to high temperatures.

I always use Real Salt or Himalayan salt, which have all the necessary minerals. Other salts (including white sea salt) don’t have these essential nutrients.  High quality salt, which is pink in color, and electrolytes are both necessary for good health.  You will notice a stabilization of your emotions, when these are balanced in your system.  Arbonne sells excellent electrolyte powder at a reasonable price, especially when you consider the cost of coconut or vitamin waters and Gatorade.  The caliber of Arbonne’s electrolytes far exceeds that of these drinks!

The first time I served my lemon/spinach creation was for a couple from my church.  His mother had just passed and we were celebrating her life with utter joy!  There were jocund accounts of her life’s victories, as well pictures of her holy marriage in the 1940’s.  The Spirit of God moved during our festive fellowship.

I used ahi tuna steaks that night in this recipe, instead of the chicken tenderloins. Either version is powerfully good.  Note: be extra careful not to overcook the meat or fish.

Enjoy perfect simplicity here!

Lemon Spinach Chicken   Yields: 4 servings.  (Note: may substitute ahi tuna steaks.)

3 tbsp of oil  (Coconut or avocado oil is best.)

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 medium lemons, squeezed

12-16 chicken tenderloins, thawed  (Natural ones are available at Trader’s inexpensively, or you may substitute 4-6 ounce ahi tuna steaks.)

Salt and pepper to taste  (Real Salt is best, available in the health section at local supermarkets)

2 medium/large tomatoes, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped  (For a change, I used elephant garlic which is milder; if using this, double the amount.)

10-12 ounces of fresh spinach

Steamed brown rice  (Basmati rice from Trader’s is my favorite.)

  1. Heat 1 ½ tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add small piece of onion; when it sizzles, add the remaining onion.  Carmelize onion (cook until dark brown).  Set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile roll lemons on counter, pushing down hard with your hand, to loosen the juices inside.  Squeeze lemons. Set aside.
  3. Melt remaining oil in frying pan over medium heat.  Pat thawed tenderloins or tuna, somewhat dry, by using paper towels.  (A little moisture will help the adhesion of seasonings.)  Be sure to salt and pepper raw meat/fish generously.  Cook chicken tenderloins or tuna, in hot oil, in batches if necessary.  Cut tenderloins into bite-size pieces with spatula.  Cook only until very pink inside.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!  (The inner meat of the tuna or chicken should be almost red, as it will cook more later.)  Place pieces in the bowl with onions as each is done.  Watch very carefully, as not to overcook.  Leave fond (pan drippings) in pan.
  4. Add tomatoes and garlic to hot frying pan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until soft and chunky.  Deglaze the pan (scrape fond off bottom with a heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon), while tomatoes are cooking.  Note: there is an abundance of flavor in fond.
  5. Add half the spinach to hot sauce; stir well, by distributing the tomatoes over greens.  Repeat step with rest of spinach; cook briefly, or just until leaves are slightly limp.
  6. Place meat or tuna, onions, and lemon juice in frying pan with spinach/tomatoes.  Stir well.  Cook mixture just until hot.  Do not overcook the meat/fish.
  7. Adjust seasonings.
  8. Serve with steamed brown rice.  So delicious!