Sarah's Kitchen

      Our Family's Favorite Hummus
 4 cups Garbanzo beans (chick peas) cooked or canned, drained and cooled
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, of the best quality available in your area
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 tsp. Salt -  I like Celtic Sea Salt, but any salt will do
1/4 tsp. ground Cumin
3 cloves Garlic, peeled
    Place Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt, Cumin, and Lemon Juice in a food processor.  Whirl until garlic is thoroughly chopped and in very small fragments.  Add Garbanzo beans, and process on high until mixture becomes smooth.  You may have to use the pulse option on your machine, depending on the type and speed of the  machine you have.  Scrape Hummus into a serving bowl using a silicone spatula.  You can eat this hummus with Pita bread or chips, use it as vegetable dip, or use it to make sandwiches.  Its flavor is even better the next day, and it will last up to a week in the fridge.  Enjoy!

 Cranberry Sauce - The pure, cranberries only, tongue-tingling version
3 cups Raw Cranberries, washed and drained
1 1/2 cups White Sugar
3/4 cup Water
      Combine all in a medium sized sauce pan.  Place on burner at Med/High heat, and boil for 20 minutes, stirring constantly.  Cool, and enjoy!
      I usually make my cranberry sauce with the recipe below, as it is the only kind my younger sister will eat.  None of this pure cranberry stuff for her!  And don't even try to feed her the stuff from a can...   
      But, if you're a purist and don't want apples in your sauce, this is the recipe for you.  If you're feeling really adventurous this year, you can just make both and see which one your friends and family like best.  Cranberry sauce is really very easy to make, so have fun and see which kind you like best.  To your success!
      Cranberry Sauce - Erhart Style
3 cups Raw Cranberries, washed and drained
1 1/2 cups Apples, shredded - I used the Gala variety, but any red or pink apple is fine as long as it's sweet
1 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Water
a pinch of Salt
      Combine all in medium sized sauce pan.  Turn heat of stove burner to High, until the mixture begins to boil. Stir constantly!  When the mixture is boiling steadily, reduce heat to Med./High, so that the mixture keeps boiling but not wildly.  Boil, stirring constantly, for 20 minutes.  The Cranberries should burst and fall apart,  the Apple will disintegrate, and the entire mixture will have a jelly like consistency.  Cool a bit, and enjoy your homemade Cranberry Sauce!
       Warning:  This sauce is quite tart!  For a sweeter sauce, add 1/2 cup Sugar, and 1/4 cup water to the measurements above. Boil for an additional 3 - 5 minutes.  Yum!
      Cinderella's Soup

 4 cups Raw Pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1" cubes (chunks should be large)
 1 Onion, preferably yellow, diced small
 2 stalks Celery, cut crosswise into 1/8" pieces
 2 cloves Garlic, chopped into tiny pieces
 1/2 cup hulled Millet 
 1/2 cup dried Lentils
 2 Tblsps Better than Bouillon Chicken Base, or a few bouillon cubes of your choice, chicken flavor
 1-2 tsp. Salt
 a sprinkling of Pepper, preferably fresh ground
 1/2 gal. Water = 2 qts.
                 Mix all together.  Boil for 30 minutes.  Add:
 2 cups mixed frozen vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, grn. beans)
               Boil for another 20-30 minutes.  Ladle into soup bowls or mugs and enjoy!  
This is a good use for part of that pumpkin you bought last month, but which was never used.  And it's gluten free!
   Mama's Easy Fudge Frosting
1 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
3 Tblsps. All Purpose Flour
a dash of Salt
         Using a whisk, blend dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add:
1 cup Water, cool from the tap
         Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Boil the mixture in a small sauce pan for 3 minutes (it should be gently bubbling for 3 whole minutes!), stirring all the while.   When done boiling, remove from heat immediately.  Add:
 1 tsp. Vanilla extract.
          Stir again.  Let cool for a minute or two and then spread onto cooled cake.  Enjoy!
   Perfect Pumpkin Pie                                  Preheat oven to 425F
2 cups Pumpkin Puree- if you baked your own pumpkin drain it well before blending
1 cup Brown Sugar, very lightly packed
1 1/2 cups Evaporated Milk = a 12 oz. can, or you can just use whole milk
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground Clove
     Blend well in blender, until smooth and creamy.  Pour into unbaked pie crust.  You can use this recipe, if you like:
1 1/4 cups Flour, whole wheat or all purpose
1/2 cup Butter = 1 stick, slightly softened
1/2 tsp. Salt
   Blend together with a fork to form fine crumbs.  Add:
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
3-4 Tblsp. Cold Water
   Blend with fork, using tossing motions, until dough begins to form. Work gently with hands to form dough into ball.  If it seems crumbly, sprinkle on another teaspoon or two of Water, and work it in with your hands.  Try to work the dough as little as possible to get the best texture.
  Now, there are two ways of getting this dough into a pan.  The first is to roll out your dough on a floured surface, press it into an ungreased pie pan and trim the edges to fit.  The second way (my fave), is to simply place your dough into an ungreased pie pan and press it into your pan until it's even and the edge of the dough comes up just over the edge of the pan.  Pinch the edge to make it pretty.  And use a 9" pie pan for best results.
   Pour the Pumpkin Filling into your beautiful pie crust, and bake for 15 minutes @ 425F.  Then decrease the heat to 350F, and bake for 45 minutes more.  When done, your pie should be evenly brown on top with a lovely brown crust, and it shouldn't "slosh" when you pull it out of the oven.  Let cool, slice, and enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream.
Hint:  Don't even try to count your calories while eating this.  Just relax, and enjoy!  ;-)
    It's Pesto
 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil- I like Braggs brand, it tastes good!
 1/4 cup Flax Oil, cold pressed preferably 
  4-6 cloves Garlic, 4 if you like your pesto mild, 6 if you like a "bite", peeled
 1/2 cup dry Basil leaves, you can make that 1/4 cup basil and 1/4 cup parsley for a more mild flavor
 1 cup Walnuts, hulled and shelled :-)
 1 cup + 2 Tblsps. Parmesan Cheese
 1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
        Place the Olive and Flax Oil into a blender.  Add the garlic cloves and blend on high for a moment to completely liquify the garlic.  Add the Basil, blend again.  Add Walnuts and blend again 'til smooth.  Finally, add Salt and Parmesan Cheese. Blend on Med.-High speed until smooth.  Pour/scrape Pesto sauce into a glass jar, screw on the lid and refrigerate.  Pesto is always best if you let it set in the fridge for a few days and let the flavors mingle before eating, but you can eat it directly after preparing it if you like.  
   I've also made this with fresh basil, but dry basil is generally more readily available, and you have to fiddle with the basil amount if you use fresh basil.
  Enjoy with any pasta, or spread on fresh bread for a delicious and healthy snack. 
  Basic Bread                                               Use a LARGE mixing bowl! 
    3 cups warm Water - hot from the tap is good
    1/4 cup Sugar or 3 Tblsps. Honey
    1 Tblsp. Salt - I use Celtic Sea Salt, coarse ground
    1 Tblsp. Yeast- Active dry, instant, or quick rising is fine
       Mix well with a sturdy wooden spoon, let set for 10 minutes or until yeast has dissolved and begins to foam up proving that it is "alive and well".  Add:
    3 cups Whole Wheat Flour, the finest ground available preferably
    1 cup Oil- olive, coconut or canola, whichever you prefer
        Stir well with that wooden spoon.  Add:
    3 cups more Whole Wheat Flour
         Stir well, until dough forms and all flour is absorbed.  Discard spoon, you're going to use your hands from now on!
          Sprinkle dough with another 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour.  Turn the dough ball over.  Grab one side of the dough, fold it into the middle and press down.  Turn the bowl a 1/4 turn, and repeat.  For those of you that know how to bake, you'll know this is called kneading.  Keep kneading for about 20 strokes, or fold/press movements.  That bowl should have turned in a complete circle about 5 times.
          When your dough is soft, smooth, and elastic, cover the bowl and dough with a kitchen towel or cloth and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.  Your dough should almost double in size.  When it's done rising, punch it down until it's back to it's original size.  Knead it again for about 5 strokes.  Divide into 3 equal parts.
           Turn on the oven to 350F.  Grease 3 large loaf pans (I use metal pans that measure about 9"x5", they're a little bigger at the top than at the bottom).  
           On a smooth clean surface, turn out your 3 equal dough balls and pound them into rectangles.  Don't worry about making them perfect, mine usually turn out oval.  You want these rectangles to be about as wide as your pans, and a bit longer.  Roll them up lengthwise, tucking the ends under to make a nice loaf shape.  You don't want the ends of your formed loaves to touch the ends of your pans, as they're going to rise again, so make your loaves a bit chubby.
           Set each formed loaf into a pan, and use a dinner fork poked clear to the bottom to poke several sets of holes through the middle of your loaf, top to bottom.  I like to turn my fork diagonally and make a wheat head shaped pattern across the top.  This makes the loaves rise nicely, without getting odd air bubbles in them.
           Cover the pans with a towel, and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes while your oven heats.  When their 30 minutes is up and they're beautifully light looking, place them gently into the oven, on the middle rack.
          Bake @ 350F for 30 minutes, or until brown on top and they make a hollow sound when tapped upon with your fingertips or knuckles.    Remove from oven, and let rest in pans for 5-8 minutes.  Turn out onto towel.  You may brush the tops of the loaves with butter to make the crust soft, but we usually don't.  Cover lightly with a cloth and let cool before cutting.  If you want to eat the bread while still warm, cut it about 15 minutes after removing from oven.  Cut with a good, long bread knife, and enjoy.  You can store your loaves in plastic bags in the refrigerator, but slice them before refrigerating.  Yum!
   Crazy Cake             Preheat oven to 350F
     3 cups All purpose Flour- I like Natural White from Wheat Montana, available at Walmart
     2 cups White Sugar 
     6 Tblsps. Cocoa powder - Try Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder.  The results are amazing!
     1 Tblsp. Baking Soda
     1 tsp. salt
          Sift all ingredients into mixing bowl and blend well. Add:
     2 cups cold Water
    3/4 cup Oil - light olive or canola, your choice.  I've even made this with coconut oil before!
    1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar, or light wine vinegar of your choice.
          Whisk all ingredients together well.  Pour into greased cake pan, and bake @ 350F for about 35 minutes, or until knife inserted into middle of cake comes out clean and top of cake springs back up when tapped.   Enjoy as is or top with your favorite frosting (I'll post a very simple fudge frosting recipe later)! 
  I enjoy making this cake for special occasions.  It's so easy to make, and contains no eggs, milk, or butter!
Pink Harvest Salad:
3 raw Beets, peeled and diced into 1/3 in. cubes
6 Red Potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 1/2 in cubes (make sure the potato cubes are bigger than the beet cubes, measurements don't have to be exact)
3 Carrots, scrubbed and diced into 1/3 in. cubes.
      Place all veggie cubes into a large saucepan.  Cover with water and add a teaspoon of salt.  Boil on medium heat for 20-30 minutes or until all veggies are done to a tender crisp state (time will depend on the heat of your stove and the size of your veggie cubes). Don't let them get too soft!  Drain well.
   Pour the salad cubes into a bowl and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours, or until cold.
   Mix into chilled salad 1/4 cup of Mayonnaise, more or less to taste.  You can skip the Mayo if you like and just use a bit of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, but I like the creamy pink sauce that comes from mixing the Mayo into this salad.  So pretty!  Garnish with parsley or anything that suits your fancy and serve.
  Note:  All measurements in this recipe are approximate.  I almost never use written recipes, and actually learned to make this Pink Harvest Salad in Bolivia at a friend's house.  You really can't flop with this recipe, just get started and it will be sure to taste good and please everyone (I know, 'cause I used to HATE beets!)
   Enjoy, and have a wonderful Autumn!

   My Soft Pretzels- by Sarah E
  3 cups Hot Water (hot from the tap, not boiling)
  2 Tblsp. Sugar
  1 tsp. Salt
  2 tsps. Active Dry Yeast- I use Red Star but any brand is good.  And you can use instant yeast instead.
       Stir together.  Add:
  5 cups Whole Wheat Flour- I use Bronze Chief as it's fine ground and tastes good!
       Stir together, then knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Smear your newly made dough ball with oil (olive or vegetable, your choice) and cover with a tea towel.  Let rise in a warm place for 30 min.
       Turn on your oven to 475F.  Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a wide bowl mix together 2 cups water and 2 1/2 Tblsp. Baking Soda.  Pour 1/4 cup Mortons Kosher Coarse Salt into a bowl or cup.  Now back to the dough;
      Knead the dough for 2 minutes or until smooth and back to its original size.  Using a sharp knife, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.  
     On a lightly oiled surface, such as your table,  roll each ball into a long rope.  Remember playing with Play Dough as a child, when you would make long "worms"?  Well, use the same motions to form "ropes".  And have fun doing it!   Make your ropes 1/3"-1/2" wide, and 28"-30" long.  You will probably have to oil your work surface a few times before you're finished rolling out all your dough ropes.
     As your finished rolling each rope, gather it up by the 2 ends and lift it into the air.  Crossing your hands, spin the rope so it forms a loop with a little twist and 2 "ties" at the top (think a fish shape, body and tail).  Lay it down on the table, and cross the "tail" over the "body".  Press the "tail" ends into the "body's" side to form a professional pretzel shape.  Dip this pretzel into your bowl of Baking Soda water, shake off the excess, and lay it onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of your dough balls.
    I like to form 6 pretzels, place them on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt, and place them to bake while I form the next pan of pretzels.  If you want to roll them all at once that's fine too, but they will be different in size due to the yeast.  
    Bake each pan of pretzels for 13-15 minutes @ 475F, or until a dark golden brown.  Remove from oven, and brush with melted butter (This is optional, I almost never use butter).  Cool a little, remove from pan and enjoy!  My family likes to dip their pretzels into mustard or cheese sauce.  Others like to bake their pretzels without salt, brush them with butter after baking and coat them with Cinnamon Sugar.  Make your pretzels to fit your taste, and enjoy them!   Makes 16 good sized pretzels.
My brother makes breakfasts Monday through Friday at our house.  This morning he made Shoo Fly Cake!  Shoo Fly Cake just happens to be a favorite of mine, and in my current state of happiness I've decided to share the recipe with you!
     Shoo Fly Cake                      Preheat oven to 350F
  4 cups Flour - all purpose or whole wheat, your choice
  3/4 cup Butter - the salted kind, softened
  2 cups Brown Sugar
       Mix these 3 ingredients thoroughly to form crumbs.  Place 1 cup of these crumbs into a separate bowl and place to the side to use as topping.   To the remaining crumbs add:
  1 tsp. Baking Soda - sprinkle this over your crumbs and stir it in just a little
  1 cup Molasses - black strap is best, but you can use golden if that's all you have or you like it better.
  2 cups Boiling Water (almost boiling is fine, just make sure it's scalding hot!)
       Stir all together (except that 1 cup of crumbs) with a wooden spoon or sturdy whisk. Pour batter into greased cake pan (or paper lined muffin cups, if you like) and sprinkle with 1 cup Crumbs.  Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes (20-25 min. for cupcakes), or until crumbs are browned and knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Cool, and enjoy!  If you like milk on your cake, you can always pour some over your piece, or do as my dad suggests and eat it with vanilla ice cream ( beware the calories!).  Yum!