Homemade Glazed Donuts

Every autumn, at least once, our family likes to make homemade donuts, and I’ve found a super simple way to make them so you can make 12-36 without much fuss, so even if we have a lot of our kids home, I’m not slaving for hours over homemade yeast bread, kneading it, punching it down, and letting it rise for hours.

Simple and Yummy Homemade Glazed Donuts
(feeds about 4-6 per loaf)

Start by defrosting enough frozen bread dough to suit your needs. (I defrost it on a well buttered pan covered with saran or other wrap to keep it from drying out.) One 1-pound loaf will make 12 donuts and 12 donut holes, but if you love donuts as much as we do, that really only feeds about 4-6 people. 🙂

Once the bread has completely thawed (about three hours), roll or press it out until it’s as thin as you can easily make it. Taking a donut-press, cut out 12 donuts and 12 donut holes, and line them up on well buttered cookie sheets with ample separation between them so they can rise without touching each other. Cover with waxed paper or press-n-seal wrap to keep them from drying out while they rise.

Let them rise for about an hour before frying them. This is a good time to make the glaze. For 2 pounds of bread dough (24 donuts and 24 donut holes):

Glaze for Homemade Donuts

In your mixer, combine:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) melted butter
3/4 cup milk. Beat together until completely smooth. It will be quite thin.

I use my biggest frying pan filled with about 1.5 inches of cooking oil (I use canola). Heat the oil until it sizzles if you flick a drop of water into it. When it’s sufficiently hot, gently add the donuts one at a time until your pan is full. It will really only take about 1-2 minutes per side to fry the donuts, so you need to work fast and consider this a full-time job!

Frying homemade donuts

As soon as the donuts are golden on one side, flip them over (using big spoons; don’t pop the bubbles!) and fry them on the other side.

Once they’re done, take them out and lay them on cookie sheets lined with towel paper to absorb the extra grease.

Making donuts can be a family affair, although the grease and fresh donuts are dangerously hot, so I often conscript adult help for the frying and glazing. Little ones can help with cutting out the donuts, although they might end up a little misshapen. (But, who cares??)

My number # right hand man keeping the kids
happily occupied while the donuts fried

Our grand kids were busy playing Mouse Trap and Codenames, so they were content to let their parents help me in the kitchen, ’cause if you want everything to turn out “hot and now!” then it’s really ideal to have two people working: One to fry and the other to glaze.

To glaze the donuts, drop them one at a time into the bowl of glaze, make sure they’re covered on both sides, and then immediately lift them out and place them on a fresh cookie sheet (no towel paper, and no additional butter or grease).

The glaze will drip off the sides of the donuts, but that doesn’t matter!

The important thing is to serve them while they’re still warm and sticky.

Fried Donut Holes

The only down side is that they go down like popcorn, so take that into account when you’re figuring out when to make them.

We made ours late in the afternoon after having no dessert with our Sunday dinner. Actually, we didn’t need a lot of supper that night, either! 🙂

Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great;
thou art clothed with honour and majesty” (Psalm 104:1).

Savory Beef Stew

One of the true comfort foods on chilly nights is a good, hearty stew, and I think our family’s favorite it probably beef stew. Most everybody makes it, but just in case you haven’t “discovered” this tasty dish yet, here’s our family recipe:

Savory Beef Stew

In a large skillet, saute together until tender (about 5-7 minutes):
1 small onion
3 small potatoes cubed
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons butter (or other oil)
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

When the root veggies are tender, add:
4 oz mushrooms chopped (about 1 chop)
1/2 red pepper
, chopped, and continue frying until tender (about 4 minutes)

Finally, add:
8-12 oz. cubed steak
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup peas

Simmer covered until heated through and the flour thickens (about 5-10 minutes). Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from sticking.

Savory Beef Stew Simmering on the Stove

If you need to wait long before serving it, turn off the heat and keep it covered, but reheat at the last minute, and you may want to add a little more water to keep the consistency from becoming too thick. Salt to taste!

Serve with fresh bread or rolls and fruit.

These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.”
(Psalm 104:27)


Irresistible Garlic Naan (Indian Bread)

Learning how to make Indian naan in New Delhi

Perhaps my favorite treat in India was the plentiful, hot naan. It’s sort of the staff of life on the Indian subcontinent . . . a flatbread made with yeast and a staple of every meal we ate.

New Delhi Street Vendors selling (among other things) stacks of Naan

Of all the naans, my ultimate favorite was seasoned heavily with garlic butter. Since coming home, I’ve developed an adaptation that isn’t really authentic, but it’s easy to make and tastes great (at least to Americans)!

Instead of cooking the bread in an intensely hot tandoor oven, I use a hot griddle, but if you really like the charred, bubbly look and taste, use a cast iron pan super heated for about five minutes, and then cook each piece of bread separately for about 1-2 minutes per side until the bubbles start to char.

Garlic Naan (Bread)
(Serves 3-6+, depending on how much you love it! 🙂 )

Either make a one-pound loaf of naan bread dough (using a little sugar and yogurt to enhance a regular loaf of white bread dough) or defrost a one-pound loaf of frozen bread dough until puffy. I “cheated” when I made this batch and defrosted a loaf of frozen bread dough, but if you have the time, home made is “the real deal.” I’m sure my Indian friends will be aghast at this shortcut!

Divide into 3-6 rounds and roll or press out into thin circles. (Six would be closer to the size they’re served in India, although 3 worked better with my pans and skillets so I could fry them all at once. They tear apart easily, so suit yourself as to size.)

Add in a small dish:
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon garlic (fresh, crushed from garlic cloves is best)

Mix well and brush half of the mixture onto the tops of the bread rounds.

Sprinkle to taste with crushed rock salt (“Himalayan Pink Salt” is an added treat if you have some . . . makes it seem a little more authentic, at least for Americans! 🙂 ). Let the bread rest for at least a half an hour (and up to an hour).

Turn buttered side down and fry in a hot cast iron skillet or on a pre-heated griddle (350°F.). Use the rest of the garlic butter to coat the upturned side and salt lightly again.

Fry the naan bread for about 1-2 minutes, or until starting to brown nicely, then flip them over and fry them on the other side for another minute or two.

Serve immediately. Naan bread is great by itself, or it can be served with plain yogurt (or sour cream).

Chicken Curry with Rice (notice all the curry sauce!)

It’s at its best when used to sop up copious amounts of curry sauce with Indian dishes. The rounds can also be torn into pieces and shared amongst how many ever people you’re serving!

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

Break Thou the Bread of Life
—Mary A. Lathbury, 1877 (Public Domain)

“Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word!

“Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, to me, to me,
As Thou didst bless the bread by Galilee;
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
And I shall find my peace, my all in all.

“Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me,
Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me;
Give me to eat and live with Thee above;
Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love.

“Oh, send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me,
That He may touch my eyes, and make me see:
Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word,
And in Thy Book revealed I see the Lord.”

Glorious Super Hero Muffins (Gluten-Free but Super Cool!)

Would you like a recipe for super yummy, super healthy muffins . . .so good that even if you don’t need to be gluten-free you’ll still enjoy them?

Recently my Chicago kids visited, and Linda helped her oldest (aged 7) make us “Super Hero Muffins,” which were so moist and delicious that it was hard to believe they could also be good for you, but I think they are! 🙂 Want to know how? Here is Linda’s recipe (inspired by but considerably changed from what she could find online):

Super Hero Muffins
(Makes one dozen)

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F. and then grate:
1 cup± carrots (about 2 medium carrots; you can give or take a little on the one cup)
1 cup± zucchini (about one large zucchini)

Place in a large mixing bowl, and then add:
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons melted butter (can replace with 3/4 cup coconut oil if you want your muffins to be dairy-free as well)
1/2 cup sugar (can also use maple syrup if you want)
2 cups almond meal (if you don’t need to be gluten free, you can use regular flour)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free if sensitive)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or 1/2 cup raisins or currants if you prefer)
Optional:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other favorite nuts)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix in the blender just enough to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed, then scoop out and divide the mix evenly into twelve cupcake liners in a baking tin.

Colorful and flavorful “Super Hero” Muffins!

Bake at 350°F. for about 30 minutes±, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

A Plate of Warm Super Hero Muffins!

Enjoy for breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner, or midnight snack . . . anytime you need to be a super hero!! 🙂

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24)

Kathi’s “Dutch” (English) Chocolate Torte Cake

Have you ever had a piece of an Arnie’s “Dutch chocolate torte” cake? Until we moved to Grand Rapids, I always wanted a Mardi Gras cake for my birthday, but after discovering one of Grand Rapid’s best culinary achievements, I began looking for excuses to buy Arnie’s Dutch Chocolate Tortes. They are “the best,” and they’re hard to beat for a birthday party or special occasion, because Arnie’s Bakery also has masterful cake decorators, but if you don’t mind your cake looking less than perfect, I’ve developed a cake that at least competes in texture and flavor, and that’s what really counts, right?—especially if you can save $25 in the process! 🙂

Kathi’s English Chocolate Torte
Serves 12- 18 (very rich!)
(Okay, so maybe it should be “Dutch,” but I’m not Dutch.
“If you’re not Dutch, you’re not much!”
?? 😦 Well . . . I won’t go there . . .)

Bake your favorite chocolate cake. I used a Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Fudge cake, but make your own or use your favorite. (I find that Duncan Hines cakes are too soft, but home made or most store-bought mixes work fine.)

Use two pans, and after they are baked and cooled, cut each layer in half with a thread just when you are ready to frost.

Fluffy Butter Cream Frosting

Butter cream Filling:
2 pounds plus three cups powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Frost cake completely: each layer, the top and sides, and chill in the refrigerator until firm (several hours or overnight).

Four-layer chocolate cake filled and frosted with white buttercream frosting

Then, entirely frost the top and sides with chocolate ganache. Here’s how:

Chocolate Ganache:

 1 cup heavy cream, heated until it just starts to boil, then turn off the heat and immediately add 16 oz. (two cups) dark chocolate chips.

Chocolate Ganache

Whisk until it’s totally smooth.

Cool to room temperature, and then carefully drip over the chilled cake, spreading the ganache and smoothing it from the top down as you go.

Kathi’s “English” Dutch Chocolate Torte Cake

Return your masterpiece to the refrigerator and chill until the ganache is also firm.

Take it out of the refrigerator just minutes before serving. It’s easiest to cut if it’s cool, but it tastes best if it’s room temperature, so find the “sweet spot” time wise (maybe 10-15 minutes; if you want to serve it straight out of the refrigerator, try microwaving a single piece for 10-15 seconds to make it just about “perfect!”).

Kathi’s Dutch Chocolate Torte served with whipped cream and caramel sauce

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 106:1).

Hawaiian Pulled Pork Nachos

One day while we were in Disney, we stopped at Captain Cooke’s in the Polynesian Resort for lunch. My son-in-law ordered something I’d never heard of before. For one thing, they were served with kettle chips instead of tortilla chips, and for another, they were made with pineapple and pulled pork. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it, but it was actually quite delicious, so if you’re looking for a little twist on standard nachos, you might enjoy trying this!

Hawaiian Pulled Pork Nachos on Kettle Chips
(Serves 4-6)

In a saucepan, add:
2 cups shredded pork
1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup crushed, canned pineapple (with the juice)
1 cup shredded cheese (or your favorite nacho spread)
Salt and pepper to taste (after everything else has melded)

Simmer until most of the moisture has been absorbed and it’s thick enough to serve on a bun. (Come to think of it, I think this would make excellent pulled pork sandwiches too. 🙂 )

Serve over crispy kettle chips with lime wedges. (I bought some barbecue kettle chips for this recipe, and they are good, but I personally think they taste just as good with regular corn tortilla chips too, so suit yourself.)

Add a little guacamole, salsa, and sour cream, then serve with a some fresh fruit and veggies, and you have a mouth-watering lunch, snack, or supper!

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will shew forth all thy marvellous works” (Psalm 9:1).

Creamy Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dip (or Spread)

Looking for a new twist on a dip this autumn? My sister passed on to me a recipe for a pumpkin dip she had at a party last weekend, so I thought I’d try it with my grand kids. The original recipe called for nutmeg, which my body reacts to, so I used allspice instead . . . and a little more to bring out the flavor.

Creamy Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dip

I liked it, but I wasn’t sure my grands would, so I added touch of salt and a half a cup of peanut butter. With that bit of kid magic to enhance the flavor, it was a hit, so I’m going to pass it on to you with those modifications.

In a blender, combine:
4 oz. (1/2 cup) softened cream cream
1 cup (8 oz.) pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or whatever you use for syrup)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt (or salt to taste)

Blend until completely smooth. (I had to open and scrape the sides down once, because the maple syrup didn’t get completely mixed in the first time.)

I served it with red pepper strips, apple slices, and bananas, but I’m sure it would taste great with most any veggie, fruit, or cracker you like. I was going to try it on fresh bread, but the bread disappeared a little too fast last night!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Spread on a Bagel for Breakfast!

However, I put the leftovers in the refrigerator and tried some this morning on a bagel with some hot chocolate. As a spread, it’s not as caloric as cream cheese or peanut butter, nor as sugary as jam, so it made a very yummy, pretty healthy breakfast! 🙂

He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:10-12; Job’s confession . . . and oh, that it might be ours too!).