Springtime Lessons

March 18, 2010 at 8:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As I sit here on my porch this wet March morning, I think back on my beekeeping days and how I always miss my little buzzing friends this time of year-when any day now spring wildflowers and local peach trees are going to burst into color. This is an article I wrote several years back for The Texas Beekeepers Association Journal.

Springtime Lessons

As I sit on my porch swing and watch the dawning of a beautiful spring morning, I marvel at the variety and intricacy of God’s creation. I hear the birds sing, listen to squirrels chatter, and watch the bees buzzing busily from flower to flower. The sweetly distinct smell of honey in my morning cup of tea brings my thoughts to my hives. It is still too early in the year to work my hives, yet the anticipation is there. I pick up my beekeeper’s catalogue on the end table and flip through the pages. In hopes of the coming honey flow, I try to calculate all I will need to manipulate this tiniest of creatures. I wonder why it is that I have such a fascination with this insect, and then it dawns on me. When I look into the workings of a hive, I am in awe of God’s creativity, and I see lessons that God would have me learn.

As the bees go about their daily routine, there is never a grumble as to whom is to do what. Each one knows his (or should I say her) job and performs it to the best of her ability. Happy to keep house, take care of little ones, or provide the groceries, there is never a complaint or a feeling that her job is too menial. She cleans and keeps house with such vigor that any maid service would be put to shame. She is always protective of her family, and they always come first. Disturb her babies, and she is a mother you don’t want to tangle with! Through out her day, she is busy moving from one task to the next, and her movements are swift and filled with purpose. All the while, she is happily humming a melody, which soothes the listener and puts all around her at ease. It is a peaceful, happy sound that is contagious to those around her. It is the sound of joy at performing a task to your best ability. It is a song we have all hummed at one time or another, and maybe we should do so as often as she does.

I’m to the bottom of my teacup, and my thoughts are brought back to more pressing matters. I think of the loads of laundry to fold and the kids to attend to. I set my cup down alongside my catalogue. As I rise to go into the house, I seem to have a lightness and purpose to my step, and a hum is heard playing softly on my lip.

Enjoy the day!

~Karin~

Past posts on cooking with honey: http://wp.me/pANRc-23

Christmas Biscotti

December 3, 2009 at 5:28 am | Posted in Aprons, Recipes | 1 Comment
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It’s Christmas time, and that means lots of baking! I like to get a jump on baking so my home has lots of goodies when friends come over. I always start with biscotti because, as many of you know, I’m an avid coffee drinker and I love biscotti. I have a piece each morning during the holidays-my little treat. I usually make 3-4 different types. Below are two of my favorites. I love the honey smell of the Sesame-Honey biscotti, and the white chocolate flavoring on the Spicy Nut biscotti. Put on some Christmas carols and enjoy your holiday baking, and don’t forget to wear your Meggie Mae Apron!

Sesame-Honey Biscotti

Honey-Sesame Biscotti

Sesame-Honey Biscotti

1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; beat until combined. Beat in eggs and honey till combined. beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds and any remaining flour.

Divide dough in half. With floured hands, shape each portion into a 12-inch log. Place rolls about 4 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten to about 3 inches width. Sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds and press them in with your hand.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or till lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet 1 hour.

Transfer to a cutting board; cut each loaf diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Lay slices, cut side down, on the cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn slices to the other side and bake 8 to 10 minutes more till dry and crisp. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Spicy Nut Biscotti

Spicy Nut Biscotti

Spicy Nut Biscotti

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot
or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups finely chopped nuts
1/2 cup vanilla coating or white chocolate

Beat butter or margarine in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated and brown sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; beat till combined. Beat in eggs till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the nuts. Stir remaining nuts into dough. Divide in half.

Shape each portion into a 12-inch roll. Place 5 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly to 3-inch width. Sprinkle reserved chopped nuts on top of the loaves; press lightly into dough.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or till lightly browned. Cool on a cookie sheet 1 hour or till completely cooled.

Transfer to a cutting board. Cut each loaf into 1/2-inch slices. lay slices, cut side down, on the cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn slices to the other side and bake 10-15 minutes more till dry and crisp. Remove and cool on wire rack.

Melt white chocolate in the mircowave according to directions. Transfer to a small ziplock bag. Cut one corner off to form a very small opening. With the biscotti still on the cookie sheet, zig zag back and forth with the white chocolate to decorate the cookies.

Honey and the State Fair of Texas?

September 17, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment
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It’s almost time for the State Fair of Texas, and that reminds me of honey!! Why honey? Most of you who know me know I’m a former beekeeper. Each year, Meghan and I would go to the State Fair of Texas where she would man the bee exhibit and give cooking demos featuring honey. The smell of sweet honey drifted from the back kitchen as Meghan and the other girls, all tied up in their aprons, prepared their recipes. Those days are past, but whenever I get a hint of honey this time of year, I remember the fun we had cooking back stage and then touring the Fair together.

The terrific thing about honey is that it is so very versatile! The delicious, fragrant, golden stickiness is marvelous in beauty products as well as cooking and also has added health benefits. Learn more at http://www.honey.com.

Here are some of our favorite recipes. Hope you enjoy them, and when you visit the State Fair of Texas, be sure to visit the Honeybee Exhibit and sample one of the many honey varieties available from across the great state of Texas. Give them a big Texas hello from Meg and Karin !

Chocolate-Peanut Butter FudgeHoneySpoons

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 10-oz. Package peanut butter chips
1 14-oz. Sweetened condensed milk
½ cup honey
1 tsp. Vanilla extract or flavoring
½ cup chopped nuts

Butter well a 9x9x2 inch baking dish. Melt chocolate chips, 1 cup of peanut butter chips, milk and honey over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from stove and stir in vanilla, remaining peanut butter chips, and nuts. Pour into baking dish. When cool, cut into squares and store in cool place.

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

½ cup balsamic vinegar 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp Texas Honey salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk together first 8 ingredients until blended. Gradually whish in olive oil.
Makes 1 2/3 cups

Honey Sour Cream Fruit Sauce

1 Cup sour cream 2 tbsp orange juice
¼ cup Texas Honey

Mix ingredients together. Use as a fruit platter dip or dribble sauce over scones and muffins. Keep refrigerated.

Hope to see you at the fair!

Karin

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