Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who's Holding You?

This is my father, a true follower of Christ and a man who loves his family with an amazing humble heart. I sat on his knee often as a child...and I miss him terribly.
When I miss him most, I think of these words...

Sunday is the day I share a little of my soul. Enjoy.

In life we have the chance to sit every now and then in the arms of a truly amazing soul. I was blessed to have such a father who loved us without fail and with love unfeigned. I shall always count that as one of God's greatest blessings in my life. Even now as an adult, the thing I miss most living far away from my father is having the chance to just have his arm around me. He always seems to know exactly what his little Tess really needs to hear. Yet, if I really think about it...I have someone holding me every day. It isn't an earthly father, though my father here is as close to God as I imagine a true disciple could be...but a loving Heavenly Father. When I pray, I imagine myself kneeling with my head on his knee and having him quietly listen to my thoughts and ideas. I can't imagine I'd feel any closer to Him than when I see him in those terms. Anxiously soothing His daughter as any truly loving Father would. Then, more often than not, I hear him whisper to me what I need to do or who I need to go help. That may be the most humbling moment of all...knowing that He needs me.

‎"In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even Greater importance." Deiter F. Uchtorf. That being said, what are the chances that the Lord has put into our lives the ability to bless for good the lives of thousands of his precious children? When I look at my fellow men, I can't help but think that of all the commandments my God has given me, the one that will always matter most to him is my compliance to his most amazing words, "As I have loved you, love one another." It's how you live and love that will set you apart as a true believer. Don't be fooled...prayer is one thing, but prayer with a true sign of one who keeps the Faith. I believe in grace, but I also believe that "when ye have done it unto the least of have done it unto me." a verb.

There you go. Wake up and do something for your fellow men. God needs you to be His hands on earth.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cherie Call Is Coming To Town!

I, Chef doing the happy dance right now!! Doing a shout out and rambling review right now!

I love, love, love, love, Cherie Call ! Last year, I bought 10 of her Christmas album called Gifts . She is one of my all time favorite singers and she is coming to town y'all! I'm so excited! She sent me an email that said, " I wanted to let you know... On Saturday, November 6th, I'll be signing CD's and singing at the Chandler, Arizona Deseret Bookstore from 1-3 pm. The address is 2860 W. Chandler Blvd. Come see me and I'll sing virtually anything you'd like. As long as it's a Cherie Call song. I don't know Stairway to Heaven." Cherie is a kindred spirit. The music she sings has really changed my world in some remarkable ways! Indeed, I dare say that this song in particular, changed how I saw myself during a very low and dark time. Thank you Cherie for sharing it with a mom who felt alone and very...un-beautiful. I can now say, I don't feel that way anymore.

(Cherie Call)

Look at all the signs, Look at all the shows
All the glamorous people who claim to know
What perfection is and what makes beauty stay
But when all the styles go out and the labels fade away

It's what you give that makes you beautiful
It's how you live that makes your dreams come true
Keep your faith in this world,
And let the light of the Lord shine through
That's what makes you beautiful

Nothing burns as bright, nothing shimmers so
As the smile of a friend when hope is running low
And how your hand feels warm when you dry a tear
Love is still in fashion at the end of every year


Even roses fade away in the snow
But the beauty in your heart can always grow



There you go folks. I'm going to see her! Smooches Cherie!
Cherie Call was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona and has been writing music since her early teens. She has released seven full length albums of her original songs. Her latest album, “Grace”, was released in October of 2009. Some highlights of Cherie’s performing life include playing “in the round” at Nashville’s famous Bluebird Cafe, being a finalist in the prestigious Kerrville Newfolk songwriting competition, and opening for bluegrass legend Tim O’Brien at the University of Utah. Cherie’s songs have been included on several albums produced for the LDS Especially for Youth summer programs, and also on the soundtracks to many independent films, including God’s Army, Charly, and the Banff Award winning film, “True Fans”. Cherie currently hosts a podcast on called “The New Music Show”, where she interviews other musicians about their latest work. Cherie currently lives in Utah with her husband and two daughters.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Fall Decorative Breads!

What do you think of the seasonal gold embellishment on a dark pumpernickel? I had a fun relaxing bread session last night and wanted to share some great ideas for Fall decorative breads. Though I'm only sharing the pictures today. Full tutorials will follow soon. The latest experimentation with pumpkin shaped bread bowls is going well! Look how cool they look! I am ever so pleased with how they have turned out so far.

I went with a dry looking leaf instead of a green one. It just seemed more fitting for the season.
The little guys side by side are about 8 inches across and actually easier to make than they seem.

This is a sweet potato bread with curry and spice. Made more amazing by some artistic Fall foliage. What an awesome center piece this will make! Oh I'm excited!'s all edible so it would also work for just a nice dinner presentation.

What do you think? Who wouldn't want to sit across from this bread at a Fall feast?
It's almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Cupcakes

Chef Tess Today on Valley Dish

Fall Cupcake Ideas on Valley Dish Today!

More of my Fall Cupcake ideas will be on Valley Dish this afternoon on NBC 12 Phoenix at 3:30 pm. It should be a nice little segment on getting the most out of your tray designs and your cupcake designs. Gorgeous and Easy Sunflower Cupcakes where part of last weeks segment, but are more geared toward Fall in general. If you missed how to make the modeling chocolate, I think it is an amazingly cool thing to use to add some vines or Fall leaves to a cupcake top.
One thing I like to do is make the tops symmetrical when I design them, but also for this season, adding some toasted walnuts and sesame seed can really add some great texture and flavor to a cupcake.
What seems to be the ongoing trend, is getting back to the simple "retro" designs of the 1950's and 1960's. These color schemes are great! Often I will use the same method I used for making the caramel apple wrappers for the Tricky-Treat Stuffed Caramel Apples
to make a smooth top for a cupcake. I just roll out the caramel between two pieces of parchment paper until it is the same size as the top of the cupcake. This placed on top of a thin layer of frosting will stay in place, but give such a nice caramel coat. On another cupcake I will mold the modeling chocolate into leaves and outline it with red icing. I'll use caramel balls to make Polk-a-dot designs. Yet another, I'll do the outline of a leaf in thinly rolled modeling chocolate, and then paint the leaf with food coloring to give the effect of a fall leaf...and sprinkle it with sesame seeds.
Whatever you do for your Fall cupcakes...have fun! I'm so excited to be part of your life. God bless!
There you go! Remember to watch Valley Dish this afternoon!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homemade Maple Worcestershire Sauce Tutorial

Worcestershire sauce has become one of those "must have" condiments people keep in their pantry. I don't think I know a single person in America who doesn't like it. However, there are a few vegans out there who would love to see it made without any anchovy. There are a lot of moms who care if their kids have high fructose corn syrup or anything close. So, today I wanted to show the process I use to make homemade Worcestershire sauce. It's actually quite simple and it makes about half a gallon of sauce. So, I make a large batch. It will last several months easily. On the down side, it does have a very distinct odor, and therefore is one of those things that it's probably good I only make once in a long stretch. The smell in the house is rather...pungent. Similar to the smell I get on Sweet and Hot Corn Relish Day. I'm just saying...if I didn't like the stuff so much, I'd probably just buy the jars from the store.

Chef Tess Homemade Maple Worcestershire Sauce
6 oz peeled chopped horseradish root (or one 4 oz jar prepared horseradish--no mayo!)
2 medium red onions
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup minced jalapeno
2T crushed black pepper
3 cups water
4 cups sweet balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
12 whole cloves
2T sea salt
zest of one lemon
3 juniper berries, crushed

I employ a very elite labor force.
Red onions are my favorite in this. I love how sweet they are. You can however use white onions.

I do keep the seeds with the jalapeno...the added heat makes for a very nice sauce later.
Yes...the seed is where a great amount of the heat is found in a chile pepper.

My favorite part of the sauce is adding the crushed juniper berries. These are ones we picked in the mountains by our cabin. You mean I put Baby Pine Cones in my dinner? Yes...and more.
I add some cloves as well.
Combine all the ingredients in a large one gallon pot and simmer one hour on low heat. It seems like it should be harder to make Worcestershire sauce huh?

I use a fine cotton cloth to strain the sauce placed over another strainer.
Pour the sauce into the strainer.

Drain. It takes about 20 minutes to strain.

If one is not careful, it would be easy to get impatient and squeeze that bag...perhaps losing a few juniper berries into the strainer. Thus...the second strainer. I may have been a little bit overzealous in my mesh squeezing.

The sauce will look like this:

Transfer to pint jars. This recipe yields 4 pints or two quarts. Feel free to make more or less as needed. Put sealed jars in a boiling water bath caner and process 10 minutes. Allow to cool on a kitchen towel lined counter top for 12 hours. Sauce is best after one month or longer to mature. I've seen it done where the sauce is put in a wooden barrel and aged like wine. I don't do that...I don't have the right facility. I suppose it could be done that way though...if you want to get all technical-fancy. I just know, even like it's a pretty tasty sauce.
There you go. Make some Worcestershire sauce.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Veggie Dog and Veggie Sausage Mixes

Tomorrow I will be teaching a free public class on how to make veggie dogs and meatless replacements. It seems fitting that today on the day I usually have a new convenience mix, that I include veggie dog and veggie sausage mix. What couldn't be good about that for a vegetarian? My husband Ace is vegetarian, and his only complaint is that they taste too much like meat. They are not gluten free, but they are awesome. Is it possible to make homemade veggie dogs with great flavor and less sodium than the commercially prepared pre-frozen counterparts at the grocery store? We covered the basic steps for making seitan, but if you missed that post, please look here: Meatless Wonders 101 (Wheat Meat or Seitan)

Veggie dog mix:

1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten powder
1T paprika
1T Pero® Caffeine Free All Natural Beverage
1T msg free Powdered Beef Base. or Vegetable Soup Base
2 tsp cracked black pepper
11/2 tsp garlic powder,
1T minced onion powder
1/2 tsp sage

Combine all dry ingredients and store in a pint jar with a tight fitting lid. Shelf stable up to 3 years if you use an Oxygen Absorber packet.

Combine with the 1 cup water mixed with 1 tsp liquid smoke.
Follow the preparation information for Veggie Dogs.

Other Sausage flavors

(If you are vegetarian, feel free to use vegetarian stock as the liquid and omit the bullion) All the dry ingredients are added to the dry gluten before mixing. I use the low sodium MSG free bullion:

Pepperoni: Use 2 tsp beef or vegetable bullion, 1 tsp liquid smoke or sesame oil, 2 tsp cracked black pepper, 2 tsp dry oregano, 11/2 tsp garlic powder, 1T paprika (for the color...or you can use dark coffee or pero.)
Mild Summer sausage:
Use 2 tsp ham or beef bullion, 1T mustard seed, 1 tsp cracked black pepper, 2 tsp powdered sage, and 2 tsp minced rosemary.
Breakfast sausage:
Use 2 tsp beef or pork bullion 11/2 tsp dry rosemary, 1/4 cup dry onion, 2 tsp garlic granules, and 1 tsp pero or instant coffee for color.
Shrimp sausage for seafood chowders:
4 tsp shrimp bullion, 1T dry minced parsley, 1 T dry chives, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp dry lemon zest and a dash of Cayenne pepper. Use clam juice for the liquid instead of water.
Southwest Roasted Chile Sausage:
4 tsp chicken bullion and 2 tsp each:ground cumin, new Mexico Chile powder, cilantro, lime zest Use 1 tsp liquid smoke with the liquid.
Italian Fennel Sausage:
2 tsp pork or beef bullion, 2T dry minced onion, 1 1/2 tsp fennel seed, 1 T mustard seed, 1 tsp all purpose Italian Seasoning, 1T dry minced garlic, 1 tsp ground pepper.

Greek Sausage for gyros:
2 tsp beef bullion 2 T garlic, 1T fennel seed, 1 1/2 tsp dill seed, 1T dry mint, 1T fresh minced rosemary, 4 tsp pero or postum granules, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. Use 1 tsp liquid smoke in with the liquid.

There you go.

Tomorrow's Class starts at 9AM
Call to save your seat:

Preparing Wisely
144 S Mesa Drive Suite D
Mesa, AZ 85203
(480) 964-3077

My full tutorial PDF is available free for how to make the meatless wonders. Email me, for your free copy. I'm happy to help!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Things That Stay

Sunday is the day I share a little of my soul. Enjoy.

My son had some teeth come out and go away this last month. As the new permanent teeth have come in my son has asked, "Will these be the ones that stay?" For some reason those words have had particularly strong meaning to me. For me, it had nothing to do with teeth and everything to do with devotion. I want to stay.
The Savior asked His Apostles, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67)
How does anyone develop the power and strength to never leave the Lord in a world with so many distractions and such a cunning adversary? How can we win against an enemy who knows us, perhaps better than we know ourselves? The only way to victory, is to take as your battle partner the One who will never stop fighting in your defense.
I have the ability to choose what stays in my heart and what leaves. I hold or dispel feelings and beliefs that will ultimately lead to my success or failure. This is true always. What I take to my heart will make or break me as an individual. Yet how simple it is to choose to be full of anger toward another! I ask myself often:
Do I choose happiness over bitterness?
Do I choose God over men?
Do I choose to be offended or do I choose to love?
Do I choose to be ashamed of my Faith or stand firm in it?
Do I choose Faith or fear?
These are questions that ultimately will lead to my choice to stay...or go away.
One thing I know is certain. He will never leave. He will stay. If anyone leaves, it is me. I don't want to leave. I want to stay.
The song that gives me most strength says this:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose

I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!
You're not alone.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gardening Success!

Is there anything more exciting than plucking the Pac-Man patty-pan ghosts from the garden? Especially when they started like this...
Well, my little seeds are finally becoming amazing little plants. The flowers I planted from seeds are going crazy and reminding me of all things happy and joyful!
Every time I see them I think of my dear sweet dad...who grows flowers for a living. I guess I never appreciated that effort until now. Thanks Dad. Thanks for planting seeds.
Heirloom tomatoes are coming on strong, though the heat has finally subsided enough to actually maybe see some good production. They have been stunted for a little while.

Those little butternut squash plants from a few weeks back...

As well as the pole beans...

are making themselves known.

The dill I thought had died...decided to show up.
Hooray for that. I can't even cook without dill. How does one cook without dill?!

Most exciting perhaps to the start of the cabbage patch. I never got a cabbage patch doll as a kid. I still have emotional issues when I see one of those dolls. Never show me one. You may not be prepared to see me in that state of insanity. Red cabbage is coming in! Hoooooray! I want to braise a few heads of my own cabbage! Won't that be wonderful?! I also put in broccoli, cauliflower and Swiss chard. We'll see how they do.
I don't buy fancy electronic stuff. I did however get a blackberry. It started as a twig from a mail order nursery. I couldn't be more thrilled with it's downloads right now. Oh dear...someone please tell me that it will have berries soon. I'm desperate for a real blackberry.

So, the patty-pan squash survived the hail storm of 2010. Hail. Hail the size of freakin' baseballs that actually stranded me inside the bank for an hour. I wasn't sure the little squash plants would make it. They did however get a little mutilated on some of the leaves. The plant...still pumpin' out little happy squash that look like they belong in a Pac-man game.

Pole beans have been going crazy. You may be shocked to see me still bare foot gardening. Why yes, I do feel rustic thank you. Plus, it's the end of October in Arizona and I can still go outside without shoes...or a frost bite kit. That feeling you're feeling right now, it's called...respect.
The surprise perk of the week...a hearty oregano bush where I didn't expect it. I don't know why it's still going strong, but I'm happy to see it.

What is it about the garden that makes me so happy? I'm still trying to define it, but then again, that may be the whole point. If something makes you happy, do you have to define the joy, or just bask in it?
That being said...I'm flicking off my shoes and gardening some more. Life is good.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Black Quinoa Super Grain

It has come to my attention that I haven't done a lot of side dishes here for Freezer Friday and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't leaving out one of my favorite parts of a meal...more of the meal. If that makes simple sense. It is one thing to have the freezer meal rice topper on rice, but another world to have it on a whole grain like quinoa or barley. I'm a huge fan of the Solar Cooked Fire and Rain Barley Pilaf as a base for soup or as a meal on it's own if we're talking grain. I have a long way to go adding a ton more on the subject of whole grain here on the blog. I hope you don't get sick of the new options. Variety is good. Even with grain, as it will nourish your body different ways and add another level of appreciation for good food. More than likely, my kids will at least be able to visit other families around the world someday and not freak out if they are served a meal they don't recognize. That's always good for foreign relations. So is this. Bolivia...I love you. I love your Black Organic Quinoa . Quinoa ( pronounced "keen-wah") is heaven. It has been cultivated in the Andes for more than 5000 years! Locally referred to as the "mother grain", it kept the Incan armies strong and robust. It's a protein powerhouse and considered one of the best sources of protein and amino acids by the United Nations. It's gluten free. Plus... look at it. It's just gorgeous and looks like Fall. Doesn't it? I fell in love the first grain that I ate. It is slightly nutty flavored and mild with amazing texture. Uncooked it looks like this...

The main thing to remember with quinoa cookery is to always rinse the grain. Always. It isn't optional like rice rinsing is. Quinoa will be huge wads of bitter unhappy junk in your mouth if you don't rinse it. I'm just've been warned. Put the grain in a strainer that is fine enough that the grain won't wash out.

This is how you cook it:

It will look like it has sprouted when cooked. It isn't sprouted. Just cool.

Because herbs freeze beautifully, I add a few from the garden.
This batch ended up like a fusion of Provence France and the Andes mountains. If that's possible--I'm eating brie with it. I'm using herbs that are traditionally combined for a classic French meal. Dill, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano. This with a subtle hint of lavender petals and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. A drizzle of fruity Lucero

Crushed Mandarin Orange Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil .

Personal taste will vary and your preference for herbs may be different. As a general rule, I use about 1/4 cup chopped herbs to 2 cups cooked grain.
Put 2 cup portions in pint size freezer bags or containers and remove as much air as possible. Freeze laying flat for maximum freezer space.
Defrost in the fridge or in the microwave out of the bag. Heat 2-3 minutes microwave or add to your favorite soup or casserole in place of rice.

There you go. Explore a new grain this week.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Edible Fruit and Veggie Art!

Last weekend we had a women's getaway and craft day at the church. It seems I have a lot to catch up with on the blog, but I did especially want to share a class that one of our guest instructors taught on cutting fruit and veggie garnishes. I did large fruit and veggie displays at a local resort as the assistant banquet chef, but I was teaching a jam class at the retreat. Thankfully John Miles was willing to come in and help instruct the ladies.

John has unusual taste in aprons though.

One of our gals, Jessica, was even able to make a turkey from an apple...with a toddler in her lap. Be impressed!
John makes these crazy Halloween "finger foods" using carrots. I have to share:

Even more impressive are his carved carrot roses.

My personal favorite, cantaloupe roses.

Thank you John for the great class! Everyone went away feeling a new sense of creativity. I walked away thinking, "I need John's taste in aprons."