Sunday, January 25, 2015

Grow Your Blog (A Contest too!)

Hey there!  My name is Erin Raatjes and I blog!  Ha!  Well, I do a lot of other things too, but I also blog.  I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a granddaughter, a baker, a needle arts designer, a follower of Jesus, a hard worker, a photographer, and work a full time job too!  What do I blog about?  Mostly food and my needle arts designs.  Mostly food – let’s be honest.  I love to have an outlet to share recipes and also to have somewhere to post a few pictures now and then.

My company name is Myrtle Grace Motifs. (  I design punch needle and cross stitch patterns for sale for the retail market.   I enjoy being able to design fun designs and then watching other people enjoy stitching or punching them just as I did. 

To follow Myrt (that’s what I call my alter ego) – there a bunch of places to do it: (hey that’s where you are already!)

To thank you for taking some time to visit us today - we have a prize to give away!  A $5 Starbucks Gift Card.  LOTS of ways to enter - the only required one?  Commenting on this blog post.  Lots of other ways - and you can get to know us better too -but those are optional.  Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Want to see who else is participating in todays event?  Check out

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Temperature is Your Oatmeal?

Holidays in my house growing up weren't always celebrated on the actual holiday - they still aren't.  My mom is a nurse  - which has always meant we are pretty flexible for holidays.  That works out now being part of another family - we can do double the celebrations.
For the Dekker Thanksgiving this year I was in charge of bread/rolls.  My brother thinks rolls should be the main dish, his son Xander follows his theory.
Since I was traveling from home with the bread, I didn't really want it to be the standard Rhodes rolls, what if they were cold?  What if I brought them unbaked and each one popped like sad little bubbles?  See how logically I was thinking that day?  What did I do instead?  Made Italian Oatmeal Pan Bread.  It's not often that I make oatmeal with the intent to use it with yeast for bread, but this bread?  SO good.  I brought it to my folks risen but not baked, we baked it at their house and it was so good.  My brother?  He only ate one piece - really?  He's the bread guy!  Oh well, we thought it was good.

Italian Herb Oatmeal Pan Bread
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1½ Tablespoons or 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
½ cup warm water, about 110 degrees
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the topping:
¼ cup butter, melted, divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder

1.Combine boiling water and oats in a small bowl. Cool down to approx 110 degrees.
2.In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, butter, salt, egg, oat mixture and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
3.Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 7-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, flip once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
4.Punch dough down and press evenly into a greased 13-in x 9-in baking pan. With very sharp knife, cut diagonal lines 1-1/2 in apart completely through dough. Repeat in opposite direction to create a diamond pattern. (I thought my dough scraper worked well for this. My knife kept sticking to the dough. You can also try buttering your knife for ease of cutting.) Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
5.Redefine pattern by gently cutting along cut lines with a knife tip. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter.
6.Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Brush bread with remaining butter; sprinkle with cheese mixture. Bake for 5 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake 5 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Punching Kids - no violence here!

As I get older something else seems to happen – these kids get older.  How can it be that Emily is now 11 and Andrew is 9?  It doesn't quite seem possible and yet, somehow Emily is now taller than I am.  The best part of knowing these kids?  Feeling like family.  They don’t feel like some friends from Iowa – they are family (along with their parents and other brother and sister).
A few weeks ago when they all came in from Iowa to celebrate our own little Christmas – these two brought their punch needle projects!  Oh how that warmed my heart!  Andrew was working on a design I drew up for him with a football and the letter A.  Emily was working on a Myrtle Grace pattern – Just Bee-Cause.
Love that they both enjoy something I enjoy doing!  Hey kids... stop getting so old... please!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Finding Joy in Eggs and Sprinkles

Have you ever had one of those days that was just bad and not much could be done to make it better?  I had one of those days.  I decided to bake anyways.  Seemed almost like a bad challenge right?  Oh you want this day to be crappy?  Well I'm going to add something sweet to it.  Just when I think I'll get some frustration out and whack some eggs into the bowl - I open the egg carton and see this:
"This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24"
How do you argue with that?  These cookies were a sweet way to turn this day around and yes, the day did get better - much better.  Sometimes you just need to remember to find the joy in each day - even if it is in a tub of sprinkles or a well placed verse.

Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies
1 cup butter
1½ cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup chocolate sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. in mixer bowl cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy
3. add in one egg at a time mixing completely after each addition
4. mix in vanilla
5. in separate bowl place cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt and mix until well blended
6. add flour mixture to mixer bowl with butter and brown sugar on low until fully combined
7. cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge until dough is chilled, at least 30 minutes.
8. roll two tablespoons of dough into a ball, then into the sprinkles
9. place each ball of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 9-11 minutes, edges will be slightly firm
10. allow cookies to cool on baking sheet

Notes: Alternatively you can roll the cookie dough into granulated sugar.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Beverly's Breakfast Potatoes

Is there one of those recipes that is simple, rich and oh so yummy that is so comforting?  My mother-in-law's Breakfast Potatoes is a dish like that for me.  She makes them for breakfast sometimes and also sometimes for dinner.  Whenever they are made, they are so yummy.  The recipe is pretty simple - but sometimes it's the simple recipes that are the best.
How can you go wrong with potatoes, onions, cream of mushroom soup and cheese?  Ok a few other things too - but pretty standard fare, but really good.

Beverly's Breakfast Potatoes
1 large bag frozen Hash brown Potatoes (2 lbs)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 onion chopped finely
1/2 cup melted butter
1 8 oz carton sour cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp season salt

Mix all ingredients n large mixing bowl.  Pour into 9 x 13 casserole dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly and hot.   Can be frozen ahead.

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