Friday, December 11, 2015

Menu for Christmas 2015 dinner

Christmas zone meals were quite the production.  We had three to four helpers (members of the Quito Stakes) at each of the nine lunches or dinners in the mission home.  The appetizers were the first big project as they needed to be at the Church early.  Once that was done, it was time to make the delicious freezer rolls, put the turkeys in the oven, and do the rest.  Only one dinner was a comedy (or tragedy) of errors where the turkey wasn´t cooked enough, the brownies weren´t done, I bonked my head on the stove fan and nearly tripped on a rug.  It was definitely not my day.  The good news is that the missionaries didn´t seem to notice because we played a white elephant game while the oven got turned up to broiling!

Miracles aren´t only out in the teaching...many times I´ve experienced kitchen miracles.  Betty Crocker stays close by me in the kitchen when I´m preparing big meals.  I often look up and whisper "Thank you!"

Mariana and Sisters Pemberton, Naylor, Garcia and Richardson getting ready to fill bread baskets with mouth watering rolls
Raspberry Jello with crushed pineapple and raspberries on a bed of lettuce topped with cream
Hermana Ayala and Elder Ramponi prepare the plates in the kitchen

Elders Perez and Dyal try out the raspberry jello salad
The final product
Elders Fierro and Echeverrito take a roll from the basket

mashed potatoes
RICE of course!
winter salad
sweet potato casserole
green beans
delicious rolls

Super brownies
chocolate fudge topping with mint flavoring
vanilla ice cream

Hermanas Naylor, Pemberton and Garcia put the desserts together, with the help of Mariana Vallejo in the background
Elders Ramponi, Valentine and Higgins are wonderful servers

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Appetizers for the Christmas Zone Conference 2015

As part of the Christmas zone conference, the missionaries got a special treat of appetizers.  This year they were cowboy caviar with corn chips, Artichoke dip with french bread broken into pieces, and a vegie tray with ranch dressing.   They devoured everything!  I so love feeding missionaries.  

Cowboy Caviar


2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil
clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
firm-ripe avocado (about 10 oz.)
can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas
can (11 oz.) corn kernels
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Lots of diced avacados
bag (6 oz.) tortilla chips or 2 cups finely shredded cabbage


1. In a large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic, and pepper. Peel, pit, and cut avocado into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.
2. Drain and rinse peas and corn. Add peas, corn, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes to avocado; mix gently to coat. Add salt to taste. Serve pea mixture with chips as an appetizer, or add cabbage and mix to make a salad.
Nutritional analysis per appetizer serving.

Artichoke Lemon Dip

Creamy artichoke dip made with artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, lemon, parsley, garlic, and cream cheese.
§  Prep time: 10 minutes
§  Yield: Makes about 2 cups of dip
§  1 14-ounce (400 g) can of artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained
§  1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
§  1/4 cup (25 g), packed, grated Parmesan cheese
§  1 Tbsp lemon zest
§  1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
§  1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
§  1/4 teaspoon salt
§  8 ounces (225 g) cream cheese, room temperature
§  3 to 4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Put the drained artichoke hearts, parsley, Parmesan, lemon zest, garlic, and salt and pepper in a food processor.  Pulse a few times until a paste forms. You should still be able to make out bits of parsley and lemon, so don't over-process it.
2 Place the cream cheese in a medium sized bowl.  Add the artichoke parsley mixture and the lemon juice.  Stir until well blended.  Add more salt, pepper,  and lemon juice to taste.  Garnish with a few fresh leaves of parsley or ribbons of lemon zest.
Simply Recipes

Winter Salad

Romaine and butter lettuce

Gala apples, cubed
fresh orange, or grapefruit cut up or mandarin oranges
sugared pecans (I used walnuts)
pomegranate or craisins

3/4 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 c. appe cider vinegar
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 T poppy seeds
2 T fresh onion

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole
By JsBride on December 16, 2007

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Servings: 12
    • 4 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup butter
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 0.5 (8 ounce) bags mini marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup butter, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs.
  3. Spread sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture is crumbly, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle pecan mixture over half of the sweet potatoes.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven.
  6. Add the marshmallows to the sweet potato mixture during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  7. If desired it can be made with just the pecan topping or just the marshmallow topping (just double the amounts).
  8. If making ahead of time bake as directed for 25 minutes, and when about ready to serve warm in oven at 350 for 15 minutes then add marshmallows and bake for another 5 minutes.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I made these for a farewell activity for a young man going on a mission.  I filled them with a tuna salad prepared with lots of celery, cilantro, red and green peppers, onions and pickles.  They were a hit!

Cream Puff Tuna Bites 

Cream Puff Tuna Bites (or Crab)
(Makes 30-40 puffs)
30 – 40 Mini Cream Puffs**
2-3 cups of Tuna Salad** or your favorite Crab Salad (no recipe provided)
1. Slice tops of cream puffs almost all the way through. Lift top and fill each with 1-2 teaspoons of salad.
Note: Keep cream puffs and tuna salad separate until shortly before serving. This keeps cream puffs from becoming soggy.
** See Cream Puff recipe below.
Cream Puffs
(Makes 30-40 mini puffs)
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
4 eggs
1. In a medium saucepan melt butter. Add water and bring to a boil. Add flour and salt all at once; stir vigorously.
2. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. (It will pull away from the side.)
3. Remove from heat and cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth and glossy, 1-2 minutes. (The batter gets more glossy with each egg you add. Just make sure egg is completely beat into the flour mixture. Even if your arm gets tired, don’t rush this step. Beating the eggs is what makes the cream puffs rise so don’t try to beat them in all at once.)
4. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls (about the size of a quarter) onto a greased baking sheet, approximately 1 inch apart. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Puffs will be golden brown, dry and sound hollow when tapped. Store in an airtight container for 2 days until ready to use or freeze up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Buttermilk Syrup

Buttermilk Syrup

Our Best Bites

2 Tbs corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a LARGE pot. Like one you’d make soup in. Yes, you’ll have way more pot than ingredients (and I’m not referring to the green leafy stuff), but this will boil all over your newly-cleaned stove if you put it in a smaller saucepan.
Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low (as long as it’s still bubbling, you’re okay). Cook, stirring very frequently, for 8-9 minutes. You’re basically making candy here and candy-making requires constant vigilance.
When it’s done, it should take on this luscious golden-brown color. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

There will be foam on top. It tastes just as good, but it’s not super pretty. If you’re into aesthetics, you can skim it off; otherwise, just give it a good stir.

Best ever Brownies!

These brownies are an absolute hit and don't require frosting.  When I make these, I have to hand them out or they somehow disappear...

Super Brownies

1 ½ sticks (3/4 cups) margarine
6 Tbsp. cocoa
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
1 ½ cups chopped nuts
1 ½ tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in pan.  Add ingredients in given order.  Mix by hand.  Pour into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30 min.  Frost while warm.

1 stick (½ cup)butter
6 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. cocoa

Bring ingredients to boil; take off heat and add 1 lb. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Vinaigrette I use in every salad!


1 clove garlic
1/4 red wine vinegar (since I don't have rice vinegar, I just use 1/2 c red wine vinegar)
1/4 rice vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper  (I use peppercorns)

Blend in blender.  Serve over tossed greens with lots of different cut up veggies.  Most missionaries have come to LOVE Hermana Richardson salads, and those that don't still get a small serving!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cinnamon baked French Toast

Elders Bahr, Folsom, McPhie, Gallardo and Mogollon sample the fruit and baked French Toast, which was a hit, btw, especially combined with strawberry or buttermilk syrup and whipped cream.  They ate down to the crumbs!

Breakfast for the Mission Council on October 6, 2015

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
The Pioneer Woman

French Toast:
Butter, for greasing
1 loaf crusty sourdough or French bread
8 whole eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces, plus more for serving
Warm pancake syrup, for serving
1 cup fresh blueberries, for serving
Special equipment: 9-by-13-inch baking pan

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Sisters Ccoycca, Silva, Narvaez, Maximiliano, Gil, Potter, Holbrook, Pinto and Mantilla