Vanilla Wafer Bar

In my last post, I mentioned cutting the sugar habit and looking for things that are not over-the-top sweet, and these bars are the exact opposite of that.  But, for me, they were filled with nostalgia.  I’m not sure if this happened with other people’s grandparents, but I associate the vanilla (or strawberry or chocolate) wafers so strongly with my mom’s parents.  I think they must have always had them around when I was growing up.  So, when I saw a bar that called for them in the Minnesota Catholic Daughter Cookbook, it looked intriguing enough to try.

When cutting them up, I decided to cut along the lines of the vanilla wafers.  Had I waited and let them saturate a little bit more, I think I could have cut however I wanted to the next day.

Vanilla Wafer Bars

Vanilla Wafer Bars

1 pkg vanilla wafers
1 c graham cracker crumbs
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c coconut flakes
1/2 c butter
1/2 c milk

Bring crumbs, brown sugar, coconut flakes, butter, milk to a boil.  While this is cooling, line the pan with vanilla wafers.  Pour filling on wafers, then top with whole wafers.  Frost with powdered sugar frosting.

Curried Vegetable Salad

We had a flag day potluck at work to celebrate the summer, which I love for a number of reasons, but also because flag day is my Grandma Freda’s birthday, and so any opportunity to celebrate on her birthday is fun.  I had planned to make a salad that’s been sitting in my list for awhile, but because I was leaving town a day or two afterwards and was trying to use up some of the items in my refrigerator, I went with this curried vegetable salad instead.  This is a recipe from the Minnesota Catholic Daughters Cookbook, which always has some fascinating recipes within it.  It had memories of the cashew coleslaw I made earlier this spring, which was highly enjoyed by some members of the family.

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Curried Vegetable Salad

2 1/2 c broccoli florets
2 1/2 c cauliflower florets
1 pkg dried cranberries
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/4 c oil
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp curry powder

Cut up fresh veggies, add cranberries.  Mix together garlic, soy sauce, mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, brown sugar, and curry powder.  Add to the veggie-cranberry mix and mix together.  Add 1/3 c toasted slivered almonds just before serving.

Chocolate Caramel Bars

I have been working hard to get rid of things I don’t need lately.  Some of this is recognized in my cooking through cookbooks, quilting through items that are in my stash, knitting up dishcloths left and right to get rid of the balls of yarn, etc.  I recently went through my closet and started to get rid of a number of different clothing items that don’t fit, aren’t what I thought they would be, etc, as well as some that have been in the rotation, but which have holes.  While I was looking through some ingredients in my cupboard, I had picked up a jar of caramel sauce and some chocolate chips with the intention of making this dish, so I thought I would take the time to throw the food together.  Plus, with all of my ice cream making as of late, I had the

While I was looking through some ingredients in my cupboard, I had picked up a jar of caramel sauce and some chocolate chips with the intention of making this dish, so I thought I would take the time to throw the food together.  Plus, with all of my ice cream making as of late, I had the KitchenAid mixer out (usually stored under the island in my kitchen) and thought I could put this together.

This recipe came from the Minnesota Catholic Daughters cookbook.

Chocolate Caramel Bars

Chocolate Caramel Bars

2 1/4 c flour
2 c oatmeal
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c cold butter or margarine
2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans
1 jar caramel ice cream topping

In a bowl, combine 2 c flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Set half aside for topping, press the remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13×9 pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and pecans.  Whisk caramel topping with remaining 1/4 c flour until smooth; drizzle over top.  Sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before cutting.

Crunchy Pea Salad

Recently, we had another funeral at church and I brought a salad again.  I’m glad I looked through the salad recipes when I was home at my parents house over Easter, because I found some great ones to try and bring for this funeral and other upcoming funeral luncheons.  This crunchy pea salad came from the Catholic Daughters cookbook and looked to be full of midwestern goodness.  In recent years, I have heard references to ranch dressing being the Millennials’ ketchup and another friend reference moving back to our rural area from a more urban area and realizing how much ranch was in everything.  Since it is a dressing, it seems appropriate in a salad, so here we go with that.

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Ranch Crunchy Pea Salad

1 pkg frozen baby peas, thawed
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup diced celery
1/4 c diced green onion
1/2 c sour cream
1 c ranch dressing
1 c chopped cashews

Combine all ingredients except cashews.  Chill.  Stir in cashews just before serving.

Peach Melba Muffins

I was looking through some recipes and started coming across some muffin recipes that looked absolutely delicious.  Combine that with Wilson’s Orchard sending out an email saying that peaches were in season and at the orchard and I knew that I needed to make this recipe I found in the Catholic Daughters Cookbook.  

We also had a big project going on at work the week I made these and I wanted to make sure some folks felt appreciated for the extra work they were putting in to make it go as smoothly as possible.  I was glad to be able to bring these into the office and share them with these folks putting in extra hours.

Peach Melba Muffins

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Honey Glazed Pork

I wouldn’t be able to get through a grilling season in Iowa without making some pork tenderloins.  I think the tenderloin is one of the easiest and most versatile meats that exists.  I found the recipe for this pork in the Minnesota Catholic Daughters cookbook.  I served it when two middle school aged young women were over, along with my coworker and her husband.

We had such a good time, discussing the City Museum in St. LouisCity Museum in St. Louis — apparently a great place to head if you have kids in the upper elementary age.  We also talked about the start of the school year (by the time this posts it will be upon us), and instruments.  This pork was exactly what we needed, in addition to some brownies, cashew coleslaw, and zucchini sweet potato hash.  The grill times are a little short in the recipe.  Make sure to cook it until it reaches a temperature of 145 degrees.

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Cashew Coleslaw

As the end of summer is here — and feels like it has been since early August, the end of the time to eat coleslaw, BBQ, and some of the summer standards seems to be approaching.  I know it’s not quite that dire at this point, but there are moments of it feeling a little bit that way.  With that in mind, I was reading through the Minnesota Catholic Daughters cookbook and preparing to have one of my colleagues over for dinner and thought this might be one of those in-the-box while out-of-the-box dishes that wouldn’t be too scary to present to someone else.

The sugar adds to the dressing and makes it surprisingly sweet, and the cauliflower adds a nice crunch to a the mayo-based coleslaw.  Generally, I’m not a fan of mayo-based coleslaws.  I’d prefer a vinegar-based dressing.  But, I was pretty happy with this one.

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