All posts by Catherine Daugherty

I love to cook and after a half century under the sun, I am blessed with the freedom to decide each day what I want to read, think, cook and eat! This blog — a few of my favorite things — family and friends recipes and the words of scripture that guide my thoughts and actions. My hope is that through Pray Cook Blog, you will find inspiration today for your daily bread, body and soul.

Jamming …

Here I sit watching The Bachelorette, as Ashley is picking and choosing her way through all these wanna-be husbands (or at the very least lovers)… I am thinking she seems to be in one jam and then another.  Well that has me thinking about — Blackberry Jam!  I have no idea what-so-ever made me think of jam but I am also dreaming of biscuits and jam, oh, now that sounds like something I can sink my teeth into!  I love making jelly and jam so today I will share a little of the recent jam I was in!

Last summer I froze several bags of berries and now before we start picking this year’s crop, I need to clean out the freezer.  This is the perfect time to make jam.  It only took about an hour, a little sugar, a box of Sure Jell (apple pectin) and 7 pint jars with lids.

Here is a run down:

5 cups crushed blackberries

2-½ cups sugar

One box Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin

½ tsp. butter or margarine

  1. Fill canner, or extra-large pot, with water, bring to boil and let simmer.
  2. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water, rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan, let stand in hot water until ready to use.  Drain well before using.
  3. Prepare fruit: For blackberries – crush 1 cup at a time, using a potato masher or food processor.  Do not puree, use the pulse button, as jam should have bits of fruit.  You will need exactly 5 cups of crushed fruit and place into a 6 to 8 quart saucepan.
  4. Mix ¼ cup sugar with 1 box of Sure-Jell.
  5. Stir pectin-sugar mixture into the fruit.  Add ½ tsp. butter or margarine to reduce foaming.
  6. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil.  This is a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred.
  7. When at a full rolling boil, stir in remaining sugar quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly.  Beware – this is the moment when some of this delicious boiling syrupy jam popped up out of the pan and onto my hand.  Ouch.
  8. Remove from heat, skim off any foam.  I didn’t have any foam when I added the ½ tsp. butter, but you may have a little bit.
  9. Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of the top. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands on finger tight. (Not overly tight, too tight and the lids will crinkle – this I know from experience )    Place jars on elevated rack in a canner (or large pot). Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches.  Add boiling water if needed.  Cover; bring water to gentle boil.
  10. Process jam for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove jars and place upright on a towel or cooling rack.

At this point you have three significant events yet to happen:

  • As the jars cool each lid that seals will make a “pop” sound.  It is lots of fun to listen for the popping of each one of the jars.
  • Let stand at room temperature 24 hours.  Next significant moment is when you open up a jar and see that it is in fact “jelled” and the consistency of a good jam.
  • And lastly, when you spread that delicious homemade jam on your favorite biscuits, bread, pancakes, or peanut butter!

Store unopened jams in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.

Refrigerate opened jars.

Proverbs 19:23   The fear of the Lord leads to life: The one rests content, untouched by trouble.

My Best Dinner Yeast Rolls

If you love to bake bread then this recipe is for you!  If you have never made bread, but are ready to learn something new – this recipe is for you!

I have been making bread since I was in high school.  My brothers will attest to the fact that I have made some pretty bad stuff.  However, time and practice does help and last year my new neighbor, Gaye, gave me this recipe that she received from a home school co-op friend.

I think recipes are so much like family trees.  If we were able to follow the path of where a recipe came from we would find branches upon branches of friends, family, cooks, and bakers that have passed a recipe from one to another.  I rarely claim a recipe as “mine” because most generally the recipes in my box all have roots somewhere else.  Occasionally I will “teak” it to the point that the original may be unrecognizable and then possibly it may be “mine.”  Through the years I have been given recipes by so many people I have met along my life’s path.  I do believe that if I had them filed chronologically they would tell a good portion of my story.  Today is about this wonderful bread recipe.

One of my best childhood recollections is walking into my grandmother’s farmhouse and smelling all the incredible smells coming from her kitchen.  She was a fabulous cook and baker.  We would show up and she would have a homemade feast just waiting for us.  This always included homemade bread and dinner-type rolls for sandwiches.  The smell of yeast rising in the kitchen still brings back these childhood memories.

Making bread is not hard.  There are just a few simple rules you must follow to get a good end result.  With this recipe you will find the kind of dinner rolls that are meant for Sunday alongside some fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a couple good veggies and some apple pie! Oh for heavens sake, I am hungry again!

Dinner Rolls

Heat to scald but DO NOT stir!  (This can be done in the microwave or on top of the stove)

  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons salt

Bubbles rising to the top of milk indicate scald is satisfactory.

Stirring will cause scorching so put milk and water in kettle first and then dump sugar and salt in without stirring.

Remove from heat and then add:

  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup potato flakes, potato water or mashed potatoes (leftovers work just fine)

Cool slightly so yeast will not die and then add:

  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup yeast

Begin adding approximately 10-12 cups bread flour, (can use part wheat flour if you want)  Dough should be soft and slightly sticky.  If you have a Kitchen Aid or a large food processor you can use the dough hook and it will knead this dough wonderfully.  If you don’t have either of those, then flour your workspace and just kneading the dough by hand, working in a little bit of flour at a time until you have smooth, elastic dough.  Continue to work until dough is a proper consistency and then cover with a towel and set in a warm place.

Let rise until almost double and then work out into rolls (about the size of a golf ball) and place in greased pans. Rise again until doubled and then bake in 350 degree oven until lightly browned. Enjoy!

Note: You can cut this recipe in half if you don’t want to make such a large batch.

You can place them in a cake pan and they will rise touching each other, or you can bake on a large cookie sheet and again they should rise to touch one another. If you want individual rolls you can place each ball individually in a muffin tin.

You can work these out into rolls (about the size of a golf ball) and then immediately freeze them on a cookie sheet. Remove them at least 4-6 hours before baking and let rise in a warm place. Bake as normal when risen to double in size. Enjoy warm rolls with dinner.

Parker House Rolls: Generously brush a 9×13 inch baking pan with butter. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Roll into a 12×6 inch rectangle. Brush dough generously with 3 Tablespoons melted butter. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut dough into 6 equal strips lengthwise. Cut dough crosswise into 4 equal sections. You will have 24 elongated rectangles. Fold each rectangle in half, and place in prepared baking pan, 4 across, and 6 down. Brush tops with remaining 3 Tablespoons melted butter. Cover pan with buttered plastic wrap. Set aside to rise until dough does not spring back when pressed with a finger, 25-30 minutes.

Clover Leaf Rolls: Shape 3 small balls and place in muffin tin and allow to rise and bake as normal.

Ephesians 2:10  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

A Daily Proverbs

Psalm For Today

New York Style Cheesecake

I have been making cheesecakes since my kids were little.  Back in the day I wasn’t too worried about too much sugar or fat grams.  So, cheesecakes were just the thing for a special dessert.  Today, we save up our sugar and fat gram allotments so we can have cheesecake once in awhile.  I have a repertoire of “fat free” or “low fat” cheesecake recipes but none come close to touching a really well baked New York Cheesecake.

I am also including a Blueberry sauce, which I started making when the blueberry bushes were just bursting last summer!

New York Cheesecake: Grease a 9-inch or 10 inch spring form pan.  Place the spring form pan on a larger baking pan to catch any leakage while the cheesecake is baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in center of oven.


  • 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs or finely crushed vanilla wafers or gingersnaps (process whole cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For Crust: In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the spring form pan.  Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.



  • 32 ounces (4 – 8 ounces packages) cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free cream cheese, reduced fat or fat free will not work in this recipe.)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Filling:  In bowl of your electric mixer or food processor place the cream cheese, sugar, and flour.  Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling.  Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and continue to bake for about another 1 1/2 hours or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake looks a little wet and wobbly.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.


1 cup sour cream (not low fat or fat free)

2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return to oven to bake for 15 more minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools).

Additional Tips:

Sometimes the surface of the cheesecake cracks.  To help prevent this from happening do not over beat the batter, especially when creaming the cheese and sugar.

Another reason for cracking is over baking the cheesecake.  Your cheesecake is done when it is firm but the middle may still look a little wet.

Also, make sure the spring form pan is well greased as cracking can occur if the cheesecake sticks to the sides as it cools.

Let cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.  This cheesecake tastes best after being refrigerated for at least a day.

Serve with fresh fruit or fruit sauces. Blueberry Sauce listed below.

Makes one – 9 inch cheesecake.

To freeze:  Place the cooled cheesecake on a baking pan and freeze, uncovered, until firm.  Remove the cheesecake from the freezer; wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag.  Seal and return to freezer.  Can be frozen for several months.  Thaw uncovered cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.

The way a cheesecake is baked is the key to its perfection.  Here are some additional baking guidelines.

Professional pastry chefs bake cheesecakes in a water bath. This method bakes the cake very gently so that it does not darken, curdle, or crack. A spring form pan is the best choice for baking cheesecakes because you can remove the cake from the pan easily, but muffin tins or any other cake pan will work fine. If you use a plain cake pan, grease it well and line the bottom with parchment paper.

1. Preheat your oven to the temperature recommended in your cheesecake recipe. To prevent water from seeping into the removable bottom of the spring form pan, wrap aluminum foil completely around the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Place the cheesecake into a jellyroll pan (or any baking pan with sides) and place the pans into the oven. Use a teakettle to fill the outer pan with hot water. Cheesecakes usually bake for about 1½ hours, so check the bath after the first hour and refill if necessary.

2. Because cheesecake is very soft, it can be difficult to judge when it is done cooking. One way to check for doneness is to take the cake’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. The ideal temperature for a cheesecake is around 160 to 165 degrees F (70 to 72 degrees C). You can also insert a small knife into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Some bakers turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in it for an additional hour to ensure that it sets completely.

3. Once the cheesecake has been removed from the oven, it needs to chill thoroughly–preferably overnight. The cake will have pulled away the edges of the pan. Carefully run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen any bits that might stick to the pan.

4. Unclip the clasp at the side of the pan, watching for any areas that stick. Carefully lift the outer ring over the top of the cake. If you used a plain cake pan and don’t want to serve dessert in the pan, invert a plate covered with a sheet of waxed paper over the pan. Tip the cake pan over the plate, and remove the pan. Invert a serving plate over the bottom of the cheesecake, and flip it over. Remove the top plate and paper, trying not to peel off the “skin” on the surface of the cheesecake. Any imperfections can be covered by chocolate ganache, a fruit sauce, or a layer of lightly sweetened sour cream.

5. For a seamless look, you can smooth the sides of the cheesecake with a hot, wet knife. Any toppings or garnishes can be added at this point.

A Fresh Blueberry Sauce

A fresh blueberry sauce recipe for ice cream, pound cake, cheesecake or bread pudding.


  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:    Wash and crush blueberries; add sugar, lemon juice and salt. Mix well. In a small saucepan, bring blueberry mixture to a boil; boil 1 minute. Add vanilla. Chill.

Serve over cheesecake, or swirl over the plate and set cheesecake slice on top!

Psalms 20 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  King David leads many military battles in his lifetime, but he is equally familiar with moral battles we all face.  What I love about King David is that he recognizes early on that the battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47)  Psalm 20 is the outpouring of David’s heart to God.  I pray that as we encounter spiritual battles, we can remember and learn from David’s proclamations of faith as to whom rules the battleground!  Have a blessed day.

Psalms 20: 7-9

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

Read all of Psalm 20

Click here for a Proverbs daily dose!

Treats For Our Four Legged Friends

We are lucky to live only about 3 miles from my husband’s brother and sister-in-law.  It is a quick trip down the road to share a meal, stop by for a visit, or use their internet, which does not falter like mine does 🙁

My sister-in-law has eight Jack Russell Terriers of various ages, sizes and personalities.  Feeding and caring for all of these little creatures is quite a full time job!  As her little family grew one by one, she realized she needed to come up with an economical home made treat rather than purchasing them.  This recipe came from her friend Rane. If your best friend is a little furry, you may want to try these treats.  They are healthy and easy to make.  Your pet will love you for it!  You may also want to stop by her website at to view her little family.

Besides her four legged friends Liz’s other passion can be seen at .  When we first met we had an instant kinship in our love of quilting.  Liz’s talent far exceeds mine and she has created some stunning original quilts. We love spending time talking about fabric, projects, and things we don’t get done!  For today, I will try and get this blog done.

Spot’s Golden Cheese Dreams

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk

In large mixing bowl, combine flour and garlic powder.

Make a well in the flour mixture and gradually stir in the oil, cheese, egg and milk until well blended.

Knead dough on a floured surface, about 3-4 minutes.

With a rolling pin, roll dough to 1/2″ thickness.

Cut to desired shape and place on lightly greased baking sheet (I use parchment paper).

Bake 25 minutes @ 400 F.


Cool on a rack and store, at room temperature, in a container with a loose fitting lid.

Note:  *Be sure and store in a container with a loose lid – not an airtight lid.  There are no preservatives and so they will mold if stored airtight.  Otherwise they will last for a month of so.  When I have made them I store in a cookie jar that has a loose lid.

*  If you don’t want to cut out shapes you can roll out the dough on your cookie sheet, square it off, score into small squares and bake the whole thing at once.  Once they are cooled just break apart.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.

 2 Good people obtain favor from the LORD,
but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.

3 No one can be established through wickedness,
but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

There are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  Reading one chapter a day is a great way to get in the habit of a daily devotional.  If you coincide the day of the month with the chapter you are reading you will always know where to begin each day!

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