English Muffins

While overseas, we often could not get some of our favorite foods. Most of the time it did not matter, but occasionally we wanted comfort food from home. Not only are English muffins easy to make, but use ingredients that were found easily while we traveled.

They are good plain, but English muffins are much better toasted. They are good eaten in so many ways; with eggs and cheese, as hamburger rolls, smothered in butter, or as a base for peanut butter and jelly.

Biscochitos

Our friend Mike is from New Mexico. He thought this would be a good cookie to add to the girls’ baking portfolio. They are super easy to make and great with tea.

Biscotti

I was looking for a good biscotti recipe and my friend, Cheri, had the perfect one for me.  This is super easy to make with many variations.  The cookies store well for a few weeks too.  

If desired, these cookies are firm enough to dunk in chocolate.

Tiramasu

I first discovered tiramisu when we went to an unschooling home school event at a waterpark.  Mark had pointed out a desert that he thought looked good, it looked like pudding in a chocolate bowl.

Later that day, Allan asked me what special treat I wanted.  So many looked good, but I decided to try Mark’s suggestion.   I have been hooked ever since.

We have tried different recipes, but this is our favorite version of it.  It works with either regular or gluten free lady fingers.

Lady Fingers-Gluten Free

Andrea commented that she really wanted tiramisu for dessert.  We looked in three stores before finding lady finger cookies.  We did not find gluten free ones at all.  So we decided to try to make our own.

The recipe we tried was very easy.  The cookies crisped up and are wonderful for dunking in hot drinks or just eating plain.


Butter Toffee

Before getting married, I worked as a third grade paraprofessional.  My first year was wonderful. The teachers used me as an under teacher, working with different students and using my strengths to help the classes.   Since I am right handed, I learned to write on a chalk board and I taught cursive that year.

Since I interacted with the students so much, they spoiled me often.  At Christmas, Brianna brought me a batch of this candy.  I liked it so much, I requested a recipe.  I have made this recipe almost every year since.  Now Andrea makes this recipe also.

 

“Rotten Tea”

Grandma Reble's Recipe
Grandma Reble’s Recipe

Many years ago, my friend Charlotte,  shared this tea with me on the way to school.  I thought it was great and she gave me the recipe for “friendship tea.”  I made it a few times and forgot about it.

Years later, I was given the recipe for “Russian Tea” from Mom McGuire.  We played with the recipe and made it in a variety of ways.  Adrian has always enjoyed it.  He thought it was called “Rotten Tea” and that is what we call it at home more often than not.


Daddy’s Pasties

Pasties are popular in Calument where Daddy spent a lot of time growing up.  He said that Petila’s taxi in Calumet would often take his family to McLain park and then come back at a prearranged time to take them home. His grandmother made them also. There are many recipes for pasties, but all are similar.

Feel free to experiment with the basic recipe. We often make the pasties with cubed meat instead of ground.  Be careful not to overstuff the crust, it is much better to have leftover filling!

When serving, I like them best with a little extra butter. Some people serve them with gravy. My mom eats them with ketchup.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 4th is National chocolate chip cookie day.

For some reason, I did not bring a chocoate chip cookie recipe when we moved to Slovakia.  My friend, Joan Britton, gave me this recipe and told me the dough was really thick (her recipe called for one egg), but was the best recipe.  I could not find chocolate chips there, so I just cut up chocolate bars.

We took them to work to share and I often left out the chocolate for our friend who was allergic to it.  The cookies are still very good without it!

When we moved overseas again, the eggs were smaller and we discovered two eggs worked very well.  We also could not find brown sugar, so we started using molasses instead.  Even though we can get brown sugar here, we prefer being able to adjust the molasses to our own personal tastes.

Ginger Beer Concentrate

I never had ginger beer until we lived in Swaziland.  It was a great drink for hot days, but we did not make it often.  The recipe our friend gave us was very good but required the mix to ferment a few days before drinking.  We rarely planned far enough ahead, or we let it sit too long, so enjoying ginger beer was rare.

Then we discovered this recipe.  We often make extra base to freeze.  It defrosts quickly and is a nice beverage to enjoy on lazy summer days.

We prefer this with sugar, but it also tastes good with raw honey.

Another version that we enjoy is replace the water with very strong peppermint tea that has been cooled and strained.