Cold Days and Warm Food

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This past weekend our weather has changed.  I am not totally sure it was for the better! There were winter storm advisories but that kind of bombed out for us and I was good with only getting a small amount of snow.

The weather guys were right on their prediction of  cold temperatures. Sunday saw us in the sub zero range with a wicked wind chill to go with it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look to change any time soon. (This always makes my husband wonder why our ancestors settled here!)20190121_112554.jpg

Today just seemed to be the kind of day where a good pot of chili soup needed to be simmering on the stove. The only problem with that is my husband is not in favor of chili soup.

Chili soup was kind of out of the question for him for a meal; so I also went with one of his favorite cold weather foods…..Balken Brei. I made him a loaf pan of it last week when I heard the weather was going to nose-dive temperature wise.

I am NOT a fan of Balken Brei but I do like how it smells. For those of you who have no idea what this “delicacy” is I will try explain. When you render the lard from a pig you end up with these crunchy little bits called cracklings.

You take those cracklings and fry them out till they are a crisp golden brown and kind of dry.  At this stage you can go ahead and make Balken Brei or you can freeze your cracklings till ready to use.

For the brave among you I am going to give you the recipe so you can try this Dutch treat for yourself.

Balken Brei
1 Pound Cracklings
Water
Salt and Pepper to taste
White Flour
Allspice to taste

Put the cracklings in a sauce pan.
Cover, till just covered, with water.
Add about 1 tsp. sald and 1/2 tsp pepper.
Bring to a boil then let simmer till most of the water has been absorbed by the cracklings.
Remove from heat and add flour. You will keep adding flour
till the mixture is very stiff and hard to stir.
Add Allspice to taste…start with about 5 teaspoons.
You may have to use your hands to mix at this point.
Put mixture in loaf pan lined with wax paper and press in firmly.
Cover and put in fridge to cool.
Once it is cool and firm you can slice into thin slices.

To prepare:
Cut into thing slices and fry in pan in melted butter.
Fry till golden crisp.
Serve with syrup.
My husbands favorite is Dark Karo syrup.

Some people use buckwheat flour. Some people add other meat to this recipe. My husband prefers the basic one so that is what I go with. It think he likes it this way because that is what he grew up with.

I am pretty sure this is NOT a heart healthy recipe. For years my sons have called this “fried fat”. I am also not sure what cracklings really are! If they were fat they would have melted? If anyone knows please let me know.

Being of Dutch background, I often wonder if our Dutch ancestors were just so tight thrifty that they did not let anything go to waste…not even cracklings! I also wonder if there is any other use for them….other than feeding the girls…..

And now…..I really want to know….what is your favorite cold weather food? When those temps dip close to zero and the snow flies (assuming you live where this happens) What is your go to food for comfort? If you have a favorite recipe please feel free to leave it in the comments or link to it if you have already posted it on your blog.

Have a great week doing things for those you love…..and if you live where it is cold….stay warm and make a family favorite!

Cooking is like love
It should be entered into with abandon
or not at all
Harriet Van Horne

 

Really Good Pudding Dessert

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The other day I got a call asking if I would trade turns for bringing lunch to our Coffee Break Bible Study. I had no reason to refuse so I went ahead and started looking through my pantry items to figure out what I could make without making a trip to the grocery store.

After checking the fridge and finding that I did, indeed, have cream cheese and also realizing I had the necessary White Chocolate pudding mix I decided to go ahead and make a family favorite for Bible study.

If you are looking for an incredibly easy dessert to make and if you like cream cheese…this may just be the dessert for you. It is smooth without being overly sweet and totally delicious. It does not take very much time to put together, which is another big win….at least for me it is a win.

Great Pudding Dessert

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter

2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped nuts-optional

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup powdered sugar

8 ounces Cool Whip
2 packages white chocolate instant pudding mix
2 1/2 cups milk

Directions:
Mix crust- put in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350º  for 15 minutes.
Whip Cream cheese, powdered sugar.
Add 1/2 of the Cool Whip and mix thoroughly.
Spread on cooled crust.

Mix milk with pudding mix.
Add rest of Cool Whip.
Put on top of Cream cheese layer.
Top with nuts if desired.
Let set in refrigerator.
Enjoy!!

Years ago I got this recipe from a friend. It had no name so I just named it what my family always called it! Sometimes keeping things simple is a great way to go. Many times…..keeping it simple is a great way to go. (Yep….I think there is a lesson in there somewhere!)

I am always on the lookout for quick simple recipes of all kinds. I love to explore the possibility of new favorites. If you have a family favorite please feel free to share in the comments……in fact I would be very grateful to have you share, as I could add to my stash of simple favorites.

 

“The discovery of a new dish
does more for the happiness of the human race
than the discovery of a star.” 

― Jean Anthelme Brillat-SavarinThe Physiology of Taste: Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy