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Bless Your Spoon: A land flowing with milk and honey

The new season doesn’t officially arrive until the 22nd – but when Sept. 1 rolls around, I mentally begin to prepare for fall. Days are getting shorter, temps are cooler, and my internal clock’s signaling change is coming.

Reflecting on summer, I’m grateful for such an abundant existence – one blessed with fresh, garden-grown veggies, juicy fruits, lots of dairy products, plenty of meat choices, flavorful herbs, and aromatic spices, and water that flows freely.

The phrase, “a land flowing with milk and honey,” first appears in the Bible in Exodus 3:8. The Lord appears to Moses in the burning bush. Referring to the Israelites, the Lord tells Moses, “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (NIV)

The phrase is metaphorical. God doesn’t mean that rivers and streams of the promised land are literally flowing with milk and honey. He’s making a point that the people will be leaving the foraging existence they’ve known in the wilderness. Instead, they’ll settle in a new land. “A land of milk and honey” is a poetic word picture that expresses the beauty and productivity of the Promised Land.

How often do we stop and think about living on land that’s so rich in food resources? Most of us have never known anything less than abundance. We truly live in a country that flows with milk, honey, and more – and I’m grateful for it.

So, today, let’s enjoy what God has given us and give thanks in return. Enjoy these recipes inspired by the fertile land we’re blessed to live on – each recipe includes honey or milk products with added spice and fruit.

Thank you, Lord, for such bounty.

HONEY-RAISIN COOKIES

1 beaten egg

¾ cup honey

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup salted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 cups uncooked quick rolled oats

1 cup raisins

In a mixer bowl, beat egg. In a bowl, cut butter into honey and sugar until crumbly. Add to egg and mix well. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the egg mixture. Stir in oats and raisins. Mix until dough is smooth. Drop dough from a teaspoon to a greased baking pan. Bake in a 375-degree oven on upper rack for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

HOT MILK CAKE

5 beaten eggs

2 cups sugar

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup salted butter

1 cup whole milk

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. lemon extract

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add flour and baking powder a little at a time. Bring milk and butter to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the flour mixture. Mix well. Fold in extracts and mix well. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven in an ungreased tube pan for 35-45 minutes or tests done.

HONEY CAKE

Syrup

½ cup sugar

1 cup honey

¾ cup water

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Cake

¾ cup salted butter

¾ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup whole milk

½ tsp. grated orange rind

1 cup chopped walnuts

Prepare syrup. In a saucepan, combine sugar, honey, and water. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Skim top. Add lemon juice and boil 2 minutes. Set aside and allow to completely cool. For the cake, in a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon while alternating with milk. Mix well. Fold in orange rind and nuts. Mix well. Bake in a greased and floured 9-inch pan in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, or tests done. Cut cake into diamond shapes in the pan while still hot. Pour cold syrup over cake. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

HARVEST DATE AND CHOCOLATE CAKE

½ cup softened, salted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup whole milk

1 cup chopped pitted dates

2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces

¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Mix well. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix well. Add flours, soda, and salt while alternating with milk and blend well. Fold in dates until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into a greased and floured 9-inch square baking pan. In a bowl, combine sugar, chocolate, and nuts. Sprinkle on top of cake. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until tests done. Cool and cut in bars. Serve warm or cold.

HONEY WHOLE WHEAT BREAD

3 cups whole wheat flour

½ cup nonfat dry milk

1 Tbsp. salt

2 pkg. active dry yeast

3 cups water

½ cup honey

2 Tbsp. Wesson vegetable oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

4-41/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a bowl, combine whole wheat flour, nonfat dry milk, salt, and yeast. In a saucepan, heat water, honey, and oil over low heat until warm. Pour warm liquid over flour mixture. Blend with electric mixer on low for 2 minutes and medium for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup whole wheat flour and continue to blend with mixer. Stir in 4 cups of all-purpose flour by hand. Turn onto a floured board and knead 5 minutes, adding more flour to keep from being too sticky. Place dough in greased bowl. Grease top of dough.  Cover and allow to rise for 60 minutes until doubled. Punch down and divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 14 x 7 rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style starting with 7-inch side. Place loaf in a greased 9 x 5 pan. Tuck sides under. Cover loaves and allow to rise 45 minutes. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until loaf is done. Cool before slicing. Bread will slice easier the next day.

MILK AND SEED CAKE

3 beaten eggs

2 ¼ cups sugar

1 ½ cup Wesson vegetable oil

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ tsp. of almond butter and vanilla extracts

2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Icing

½ cup lemon juice

½ tsp. almond, butter, and vanilla extracts

1 ½ cups confectioners sugar

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and oil. Mix well. Add sifted flour, baking powder, and salt while alternating with milk and extracts. Beat well after each addition. Bake in a greased and floured tube pan in a 350-degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until tests done. Cool 10 minutes and turn out. For the icing, combine lemon juice, extracts, and confectioners sugar in a bowl. Mix well. Drizzle over warm cake.

HONEY NUT RAISIN & ZUCCHINI BREAD

2 eggs

2/3 cup Wesson vegetable oil

¼ cup pure honey

½ tsp. lemon extract

1 ½ cups shredded zucchini

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground allspice

1 cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup raisins

½ cup chopped nuts

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs, oil, honey, and lemon extract until smooth. Stir in zucchini.

In a bowl, sift all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Stir in whole wheat flour. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir well but don’t beat. Stir in nuts and raisins. Turn into greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 1 hour or until tests done.

BUTTERMILK SPICED CAKE

1 ½ stick softened, salted butter

1 ¼ cup sugar

3 eggs

2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. ground cloves

½ tsp. salt

¾ cup fresh buttermilk

Icing

1 stick salted butter

16 oz. confectioners sugar

¼ – ½ cup cream

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. orange extract

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, thoroughly beating after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt and mix well.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture while alternating with buttermilk. Mix well but don’t over mix. Bake in a greased and floured tube pan in a 350-degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Cool completely before frosting. For frosting, in a saucepan, heat butter until browned. In a bowl, combine melted brown butter, sugar, nutmeg, extract, and enough milk to make spreadable consistency. Spread over completely cooled cake.

HONEY BANANA BREAD

1 cup softened, salted butter

¾ cup pure honey

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed overripe bananas

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

8 oz. chopped dates

1 cup chopped pecans

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Add bananas and mix well. Add flour, soda, and salt, and mix well. Fold in pecans and dates until thoroughly blended. Bake in a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until tests clean.

OLD METHODIST BIBLE CAKE

4 cups           1 Kings 4:22

2 ½ cups        Jer. 6:20

½ tsp.            Lev. 2:13

6                   Isaiah 10:14

2 cups           Nahum 3:12

2 tsp.             Kings 10:10

4 Tbsp.          1 Samuel 14:25

1 cup              Judges 5:25

1 cup              Numbers 17:8

½ cup             Genesis 24:17

Read 1 Kings 17:13 first. Follow advice in Proverbs 23:14, and you’ll have a good cake. In a mixer bowl, cream 1 cup butter in mixing bowl with 2 ¼ cup sugar. Add 6 eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift together 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, ½ tsp. salt, 1 tsp. allspice, and ½ tsp. baking powder. In a bowl, chop ¾ cup candied orange peel, ½ cup candied cherries, 1 cup walnut or pecans, 2 cups dates, 2 cups of figs or raisins. Add ¼ cup all-purpose flour to the fruits and set aside. Add flour mixture to egg mixture while alternating with ½ cup water and 4 Tbsp. honey. Mix well. Fold in fruits, and mix well. Bake in greased and floured loaf pans in a slow oven (225-250-degree) oven for 2-2 ½ hours or until tests done.