Monday, August 26, 2019

RECIPE: Bierocks - beef and cabbage-filled buns

Photo credit: - who also has a great recipe on her site. 

When I was young, I remember my mom and dad occasionally buying these yummy beef and cabbage turnovers from a bakery in the small town of Oakhurst, California, where I grew up and went to school. We would eat them with mustard. Later, when I grew older and had kids, I wanted to make them myself because I couldn't find them anywhere. My mom found two recipes and gave them to me. One was from the Fresno Bee newspaper and one from a good family friend, Kathy Burrow (thanks for sharing, Kathy)! Here they are:

Bierock Recipe #1 - from the Fresno Bee (makes 12)

(Beef and cabbage turnovers)
Any pre-made or frozen/thawed bread dough (like Rhodes) will do OR make recipe below:
2 packages dry yeast (or 2 teaspoons)
2 cups warm water (110° or lukewarm)
2/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg
6-7 cups flour
Filling:           7 pounds chuck roast in 1-inch cubes
                        4 bay leaves
                        1 cup chopped onion
10 to 12 black peppercorns
2 heads shredded white cabbage
4 additional onions, chopped
Salt and pepper
MAKING DOUGH FROM SCRATCH: In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let set until yeast foams (5-8 minutes). Whisk in salt, sugar, oil, and egg. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until 4 ½ cups are in. Dough should start to pull away from sides of the bowl. Put dough on well-floured surface (use 1 cup remaining flour) and knead, adding flour until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set in warm place to rise until doubled in size (about an hour). Punch dough down and allow to rise again to double. Punch down again and then divide into 12 equal balls and let rest 10 minutes. Pat and stretch each ball into a 6-inch circle. Fill with beef/cabbage filling and fold over and seal edges completely. Place on greased baking sheet. Let rise about 30 minutes or until puffy. For soft crust, brush bierocks with oil before baking. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
IF USING PRE-MADE FROZEN DOUGH: Thaw and let rise before stretching and filling.
FOR THE FILLING: Brown meat cubes in a little oil. Add enough water to cover meat and add peppercorns, bay leaves, and 1 cup chopped onion. Bring water to a boil, cover pan and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until meat is fork tender and can easily be shredded.
Shred cabbage and chop four onions. Coat a large pot with oil, add cabbage and 4 additional chopped onions. Sauté over medium heat, stirring often to not burn. When cooked through, increase heat to boil off remaining liquid. Don’t brown the cabbage. Add shredded meat to cabbage and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool completely and put 1/4 to 1/2 cup filling on each 6-inch circle of prepared bread dough.

Bierock Recipe #2 from Kathy Burrow, a good family friend)
(Beef and cabbage turnovers) – makes 20-25 turnovers
Any pre-made or frozen/thawed bread dough (like Rhodes) will do OR make recipe below:
                        2 Tbsp dry yeast
                        2 ½ cups warm water
                        1 Tbsp salt
                        1 Tbsp sugar
                        1/4 cup canola oil
                        3 eggs, beaten
                        7 to 7 ½ cups flour
            1/4 cup oil
            1 medium head white cabbage, finely shredded
            1 large onions, finely chopped
            4 cups cooked cold roast beef (or cooked ground beef) finely chopped in food processor
            Salt and lots of pepper

IF MAKING DOUGH FROM SCRATCH: I large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast and sugar into warm water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved (about 5 minutes) and then add salt, eggs, and oil. Mix. Add flour and stir until very elastic and batter falls from spoon in sheets. Beat in remaining flour as needed and knead until dough is easy to handle. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Cover and let stand 10 minutes to tighten up. Add flour and knead again until smooth and elastic. Place in large oiled bowl and turn to grease all sides. Cover and place in warm area until doubled in size (about an hour). Roll dough on floured board to 1/2-inch thick. Cut 5-inch squares and place a heaping Tbsp cooled filling on each square. Bring four corners together and pinch open sides to enclose completely. Set on large cookie sheet, cover and set in warm place for 15 minutes to rise. Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove and brush hot bierocks with butter. Eat with mustard, BBQ sauce or nothing at all.
IF USING PRE-MADE FROZEN DOUGH: Thaw and let rise before stretching and filling.

FOR THE FILLING: Heat oil in large skillet. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add cabbage shreds and toss to mix. Cover and steam cabbage until softened. Stir occasionally so cabbage won’t brown and to not overcook. Add cooked, chopped meat and mix well. Add salt and lots of pepper. Cool and then place by tablespoons onto dough squares.

Photo credit: - who also has another really good recipe on her site

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My Recipe for Apricot Nectar

My sister and I recently made some apricot nectar. Nectar is thicker than a normal juice, so not to everyone's liking, but I LOVE it. Here's my recipe:

Pit apricots (I do a bucket-load at a time and get about 8-10 quarts of juice from it) and then puree them with a juicer that separates out the skins and stringy parts, but but leaves the rest in a thick puree, NOT a thin juice. I use The Champion Juicer.
Mix 4 cups of this puree in a pot with 6 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar (keep these ratios when doubling, tripling or quadrupling your amounts). Bring mixture to a boil on the stove on medium-high, stirring occasionally, and watching that it doesn't foam up and over the sides.
Ladle hot nectar into washed and sterilized quart jars (or just cool and place in fridge if drinking right away). Fill to within a 1/4-inch from the top of jars, skim off foam and bubbles, seal with hot lid and jar ring. Process sealed jars in a large pot of boiling water that covers the jars by an inch of water (25 minutes for me here in Northern Utah, but it will differ for people living at higher or lower altitudes). The nectar will stay good in your pantry for years! ENJOY!
(All photos taken by my sister, Barbara Knudsen)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

My latest project: Redoing my kitchen island countertop...DONE

My latest big project is DONE! Redoing my kitchen island countertop took a lot of time and a lot of watching Youtube DIY videos, but I'm proud of how it turned out! Now our family of 6 can all sit at the same counter and all have leg room underneath.

The laminate I bought is called "Cafe Azul". I wanted something that woul bring out the silver colors in the kitchen (like our fridge and knobs and sink). Turned out really nice.

Squaring up the laminate with wooden dowels between the laminate top and the particle board countertop base. The dowels keep the glue on each surface from touching until I'm ready to press and stick the surfaces together.

Clamping the edge strips of laminate after gluing them on. I also had to add two legs to the two counter corners as we realized that the corners were sagging a 1/4 inch and would probably sag more in the future if we didn't support them. Hence, the tall butcher block table legs.

Using a paint roller to apply the contact cement (glue) to the underside of the laminate. I also applied a coat to the top of the countertop particle board. The glue adheres to itself when the two pieces are put together.

My 10-year-old sat on the countertop to put pressure on it while I drilled screws up into it from inside the cabinets. My 7-year-old made sure I was supplied with ice water while I sweated my way through the process. It took a lot more arm and shoulder muscle to drill upwards than it would have drilling down and having my body weight to help. Whew!

I gave my old coffee table a face lift with some of the leftover laminate.

Placing the particle board countertop on the cabinets. Squaring it up took a while before I was satisfied enough to secure it.

The piece of laminate I cut, propped up by the old countertop and waiting in the shop until I was ready to glue it to the new particle board countertop.

Using painter’s tape is a good way to keep the laminate edges from cracking or shredding while cutting it with the circular blade.

Thanks to my mom and dad who gave me their old router, I was able to trim the laminate egdes. It sure made a mess of my floor, though, sending shreds of laminate everywhere. I think I spent a good half hour vacuuming and sweeping every bit of it up after I was done.

Yep, I made myself a "plumbob" to help me line up the edge of the counter with the line on the floor. The weights in the background were to keep the cabinet from shifting around while I was moving and squaring up the countertop.

A view of the underside of the particleboard countertop I made. I love having a shop to work in.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Projects I've Been Working On!

I've been busy with end of school activities, schedules, kids, and PROJECTS! Here are some pics of the things I've been doing.

Sewing over 20 hot pad bowls for teacher, bus driver and other "thank you" gifts for the end of the school year. Hot pad bowls are made of 100% cotton batting and fabric so they can me placed in the microwave, along with any bowl or mug being heated up, and not melt, and fingers won't get burned when taking the hot dish out. They can also be used to hold cold bowls of ice cream (as my girls like to do). I make mine reversible. Super useful and fun!

Hot pad bowl next to a small/medium glass bowl that I use for heating soup sometimes.

Our collection at home to match all the things my girls like:
Chickens, Star Wars, Minecraft, Pokemon

All stacked up! We place them by the microwave so they can be grabbed anytime.

Reupholstering my old, ripped computer chair:

The old ripped secondhand computer chair.

Reupholstered using a fuzzy fleece blanket I had. I sewed two separate covers. 
I took the arms off the chair before sliding one cover onto the back and
the other onto the seat and then reattaching the arms through the covers. 

Buying two weathered, secondhand entertainment center end shelves, taking them apart and using the pieces to make a custom-fit cabinet that will go under my extended island that I'll also be making soon: 

I didn't take a picture of the used end shelves I bought for a total of $20,
but they were similar to these pictured here. I cut one horizontally in half to use as
my main cabinet and then disassembled the rest to use the pieces as needed. 

Extra pieces to the left. Holding the sides together on the
future cabinet using a giant rubber band.

I sanded each piece and then applied 2-3 coats of polyurethane onto each.
I used the trim from the old shelves to decorate the doors.
Doors were cut from from the other shelf pieces. 

Installing the hinges and getting the doors straight took some time, but it turned out nice.

This is our current island countertop.
Not a lot of room for the six people in our family. 

This is a cardboard cutout giving an idea of the size of the new
countertop that I'll be making and installing. The cabinet I've been
working will go underneath to support the larger counter.
My 11-year-old daughter is giving me the thumbs up.

So there you go. The projects that have been keeping me busy lately.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Kronk's Spinach Puffs by Rosanna Pansino

I love Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE, and I love the character Kronk. Early in the movie, muscular, good-natured Kronk makes spinach puffs for dinner, and as I love spinach, I've always thought they sounded so yummy. Nerdie Nummies creator, Rosanna Pansino, has shared her easy and tasty recipe for Kronk's Spinach Puffs on Youtube and on Rosanna's site. I've written out the recipe below, though the directions are in my words, typed out while listening to her Youtube video:
Kronk’s Spinach Puffs
NERDY NUMMIES – Rosanna Pansino (link to her original directions)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups frozen, chopped spinach
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box puff pastry sheets (defrosted for a few hours from freezer)
1 (3- to 4-inch-square) cookie cutter
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little bit of salt)

Over medium-high heat in a large pan, add oil and wait for it to heat and shimmer. Add onions and let them sweat for 3-5 minutes until they are translucent (meaning kind of see-through, but not brown). Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds until fragrant then add frozen chopped spinach and salt. Cook until liquid is gone. Turn off heat and remove from stove. Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, combine cheeses and egg yolk, mixing with rubber spatula or spoon. Add spinach mixture and mix to combine. Set aside.

On lightly floured cutting board or other surface, lay down one large square of puff pastry and give it a gentle roll with the rolling pin just to smooth out the folds. Cut out 9 squares with cookie cutter, then repeat with other puff pastry sheet, making 18 squares total. Remove excess dough from around squares.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and place 8-9 pastry squares on each. Turn squares so they look like diamonds. Brush off excess flour. Place about 1 Tbsp spinach mixture in rough oval-shape in center of each diamond, not letting mixture touch edges. Brush a little egg wash on two lowest edges of pastry and bring them together, pressing hard to seal lower edges, leaving upper edges open and mixture exposed at the top. Should make a rough "cone" shape. Pop pan in freezer for about 10 minutes because puff pastry cooks best from a cold state.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15-17 minutes till golden. If baking two sheets at the same time, switch sheet positions halfway through baking (so after 7-8 minutes). ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Brownie Caramel-Swirl Mug Cake - A great gift idea!

I'm always looking for cute gift ideas for the holidays, and I recently came across some fun recipes for small desserts made in a mug in the microwave. What a neat idea! All you have to do is get a microwave-safe mug, provide the pre-measured dry ingredients in the mug, and attach directions stating the wet ingredients the person needs to add and how long to microwave it for. FUN, RIGHT? YES! I used a yummy recipe for Brownie Caramel-Swirl Mug Cake from Kin Community as my base. There are other recipes for "mug cakes" and "mug muffins" all over the internet. I've provided links to two others at the end. 

Blend these dry ingredients with fork then pour in a little baggie. Tie it off, and then place baggie in microwave-safe mug:

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons hot chocolate mix of choice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips (or other of choice)
Caramel candy (like a Kraft caramel)

Type directions to mix these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Attach directions to mug. Wrap mug and mixture in clear wrapping:

Add following ingredients to dry ingredients 
in the mug and blend until smooth:

3 tablespoons almond or other milk
3 tablespoons oil (can reduce to 1 Tbsp)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Microwave on high for 90 seconds.
Let cool for 2 minutes before eating.

Brownie Caramel-Swirl Mug Cake (original recipe)

Other mug cakes and muffins:

GooeyBrownie Chocolate Mug Cake for One
(from The Kitchen Whisperer)

(from Betty Crocker)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Baked Apple Dumpling Mummies - SO CUTE!

Baked apple dumplings with candy eyes
(photo by Elsie Park)
I like having fun with food during the holidays. Halloween has so many possibilities. I experimented with my regular baked apple dumplings, wrapping them in extra strips of dough to create the "mummy" look. I had placed raisins on them for eyes before baking, but my husband said they didn't look as good as the candy eyes from the store, so after they were baked, I removed (and ate) the raisins and placed the candy eyes on the mummies. I had leftover pie crust dough so I made a mini mummy blackberry pie, too (pictured below). I managed to get a few pictures of them before my husband and girls gobbled the mummies up. Here's the recipe for baked apple dumpling mummies:


Pastry for one-crust pie (can also use store-bought dough):
     1 cup flour
     1/4 teaspoon salt (can double this is using unsalted butter)
     1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold butter (I use salted butter)
     2-3 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour and salt in medium bowl then cut cold butter into it using pastry cutter until it resembles find crumbs. Add water and mix and mash with a fork until a nice dough forms. Cover and set aside.

Apple Dumplings:
     3 medium apples of choice (I like to use Yellow Delicious, Gala, or Fuji)
     Mixture of ~1/4 cup sugar and ~ 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon to taste
     Raisins or candy eyes (usually found in the baking section of the store by the sprinkles)

Divide pie crust dough into three equal portions. Roll separate portions out on lightly-floured surface to 1/8th-inch thickness. Peel and core apples. Place one apple in center of each dough section. Fill each apple center cavity to the top with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Wrap each apple up in the dough, overlapping edges just enough to pinch together and seal. Tear off excess dough and roll out again to 1/8th-inch thickness. Cut into strips with knife or pizza cutter and lightly wrap around your apple dumpling, making your mummy.

If using raisins for the eyes, you may place them into the dough before baking (or after if you prefer), pushing them in so they fit securely. If using candy eyes, do not place on dumplings until after they are baked (I don't know how candy eyes fair in hot ovens). Place dumplings in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour until crust starts to look golden on top. Remove from oven. Place apples on individual plates/bowls and drizzle with the apple syrup that came out of the dumplings during baking and pooled in the bottom of the pan. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!
Dumplings with raisin eyes. My husband said they didn't look as cute as the candy eyes.
(photo by Elsie Park)
The mini blackberry mummy pie I made with the leftover crust (with candy eyes placed after baking).
(Photo by Elsie Park)

Other things we did this year:

Crispy rice ghosts with frosting and candy eyes (Photo by Elsie Park)
Crispy rice treat recipe here:
Jack-o-Oranges: Faces drawn onto mandarin oranges with Sharpie pen (Photo by Elsie Park)


Monday, October 15, 2018

Canning season is officially over for me! Phew!

I love making use of nature's bounty, but it's a lot of time and work to bottle, preserve or simply use up all the fruit and veggies I get each year from my garden and others. This year was one of the most bountiful yet:

- Apple butter (12 pints, bottled)
- Apple pie filling (7 cups, frozen)

- Carrots, cut (3 one-gallon bags, blanched and frozen)

- Cherry pie filling (10 cups, frozen)

- Grape jelly, purple (8 pints, bottled)
- Grape juice, purple (40 quarts, bottled)
- Grape pie filling, purple (12 cups, frozen)

- Peach butter (6 pints, bottled)
- Peach jelly (10 pints, bottled)
- Peach nectar (6 quarts, bottled)
- Peach pie filling (7 cups, frozen)

- Salsa, mild (24 pints, bottled)

- Swiss chard, steamed (eaten)

- Zucchini bread (8 loaves made at intervals and eaten by my family)
- Zucchini, steamed (eaten)

Now time to rest and enjoy the fruits of my labors throughout the winter.

Purple Grape Juice! YUM!

Lots and lots of carrots!

The entire family (minus our 3-year-old) cutting carrots

An entire garden box-full of carrots reduced down to these two large bowls, later blanched and frozen

One of our weirder carrots this year *laugh*

Making salsa? Hmm

Two pies I made for hubby's birthday. The one on the left was made from my parent's sweet cherries.