Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year, Everyone!

New Year's Eve is almost over and tomorrow will be the first day of the New Year! Wow, where did the time go? Now that the parties are over and the cooking is done for a while, we can relax. Whew! We made it through another Christmas season. What stamina we must have, right? It must be those extra pounds we gained that gave us that energy to sustain ourselves through another season of cooking, shopping and party going. The recipe box is closed for a while and I will try to find other things to keep your interest and mine. I am trying to decide on my "new word" for 2011. I am thinking "fun or experience". Will let you know what I decide on, in a later post. I will also explain why I need a "new word".
Till next time.......

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family Traditions....

Family traditions are so important. So before I put my creche away; I wanted to share one of mine with you. This little angel that flies above the creche is over 100 years old. It first belonged to my Gram. and then my Mom. I remember saying my night prayers in front of her creche with this angel flying above it. We also had a candle in front of the creche and over the years the flame would get a bit high from time to time and soot would land on the angel. So this loving angel had to be repainted once. She has been in our family through 3 generations and my hope is that she will continue to survive through a fourth generation. There is a wire on the back of her and it slips into a hole on the manger roof. Share your traditions with your family. They may not know all the traditions you hold dear to your heart.
Till next time........

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crab Imperial

This is the Blue Crab found in the Delaware and Chesapeake Bay areas and the Atlantic Ocean.  The lump crab meat from the Blue Crab makes the most delicious and succulent Crab Imperial. If you are lucky enough to live near the bay or beaches, set the crab pots and have a feast. I got this recipe from a lady that owned the Mispillion Lighthouse many years ago. Being right on the bay, she had an enormous amount of seafood recipes. Many were served in her restaurant/bar at the Lighthouse. Crab Imperial was my favorite crab dish. Her recipe showcases the crab and isn't covered up by a lot of onion, red and green pepper. Hope you enjoy it as well.


Crab Imperial
1 lb. lump crab meat
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp minced onion
1 1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
2 slices of white bread, cubed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
few dashes of pepper
2 Tbsp butter
Paprika for sprinkling
Melt butter, mix in flour. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, to keep mixture smooth. Cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Mix in onions, Worchestershire sauce and bread cubes. Cool. Fold in mayonnaise, lemon juice and pepper. In another pan melt butter and toss in crab meat; combine with other mixture and put in greased 1 quart casserole, sprinkle with paprika and bake in 450° oven for 10-15 minutes till bubbly. Serves 2-3 people.
Till next time........

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Eggnog Leftovers......Now What?

The Christmas holiday is over and now what...........? All that eggnog we thought somebody would drink; is still in the refrigerator. So what do we do now? Well, here are a few suggestions. You can make cheesecake bars, a quick bread, hot muffins or use on hot cereals. Maybe you would like a yellow cake instead. Eggnog can be used in pancakes, rice pudding and a wonderful eggnog Latte. Most of these recipes can be found on the internet; so I won't take time or space to write them for you. My favorites are Eggnog French Toast and Eggnog Rice Pudding. They are so good.

Eggnog Rice Pudding
3 cups cooked rice
5 cups eggnog
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup whipping cream, whipped, and divided ,1 cup for the pudding, 1/2 cup for topping on the pudding.
Over medium heat put rice, eggnog, whole milk and vanilla. Bring barely to a boil and turn down heat so mixture will simmer until it is reduced to a thick sauce, just coating all of the rice. Stir in nutmeg and cinnamon. Allow mixture to cool, for 1/2 hour, stirring every so often to help cool the mixture. Gently fold in 1 cup of the whipped cream and divide into 6 dishes. Chill. Top with whipped cream and serve. If that much cinnamon or nutmeg is too much for you, leave it out and then dust the whipped cream with a little nutmeg or cinnamon when you serve it. It will be just as good.
Till next time........

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My 200th Post - Cranberry Chili Sauce

Today is Christmas, but the parties will continue for another week. Here is a way to use up some of that left over cranberry sauce or jelly. This makes a wonderful sauce for meatball appetizers. It is easy to make, only four ingredients, and yummy good. Then if you have meatballs left over, they make a terrific sandwich. You can't lose with this recipe!
  
 Cranberry Chili Sauce
2 (16oz) cans whole cranberry sauce
1 (12 oz) jar chili sauce
1 Tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
In a dutch oven, combine cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar and horseradish. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until combined. Use immediately or to freeze, let cool to room temperature. Place in resealable plastic freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month. Remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes. Makes 4 cups. Great for meatball H'orderves. Heat some of the sauce and throw in some small size meatballs and serve with toothpicks.
Till next time....... 

Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men...........

Merry Christmas, Everyone! Have a very blessed Christmas and a safe journey over the holidays!
Till next time.......

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Memories.......................

Christmas brings back childhood memories with my Gram. This ginger jar is one of my earliest memories. It belonged to my Gram. Inside of it, she kept a string of beads that smelled spicy. When the time came for Gram to go to Heaven, I was blessed with the jar. No one knows what happened to the beads. I set out to find just the right scent to put back into it. 
I found a spice potpourri that was close to Gram's beads. It contains orange peel, bay leaf, star anise, rose hips and I am not sure what else. But it smells so yummy and takes me back to when I was little. I was only about 4 or 5 years old when I was allowed to take off the lid and smell the yummy goodness that was inside. Enjoy your own special memories and share them with your family.
Till next time.......


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pomander Ball

Are the children driving you nuts since they got out of school for Christmas? Here's an idea to keep them busy for quite a while and they can hang them in their closets to dry and later to keep the closet smelling good. How many of you remember the old Pomander Ball of your Grandmother's day? Here are the instructions for making them. The children will be so proud of themselves and you can get on with the tasks at hand. This is not for small children as it does take some strength to push the cloves into the lemon. Also, you don't want small children eating the cloves or using a sharp, pointed object. No, that's definitely NOT a good idea!

Pomander Ball   
Supplies: A lemon or orange, lots of whole cloves,  1-2 oz. ground cinnamon and 1-2 oz. Orris root.
Start by washing and drying your fruit. Mark the rows where your ribbon will go around it to eventually hang it up. Then simply insert your cloves into the lemon or orange, by pressing the clove hard or using a tooth pick or ice pick to start the hole first. After you have covered the fruit in cloves, roll it in the ground cinnamon and orris root mixture. Wrap it in a cloth and put it in a dark place for 2 or 4 weeks till it hardens. The smell is so luscious. Decorate it with your ribbon and you are done!
Till next time.......

Monday, December 20, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper w/Basil Spread


This is a great savory spread. It even looks like Christmas with a star on top. Most of us keep using the same old recipes each year for our parties. So this year, I set out looking for something new as I hope to have a New Year's Eve family gathering if our weather prevails. My family likes basil, so that was my starting point. When I found this recipe, I thought I had struck "gold". It looks so festive and tastes so great. Hope you can fit it into your parties as well. It yields 1 1/2 cups.  (2 Tbsp spread and 5 crackers per serving)
 
Roasted Red Pepper w/Basil Spread 
1 12oz tub of Cream Cheese
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
5 pitted black olives, chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp almonds, sliced and toasted
Crackers of your choice.
Cut a star shape from 1 pepper using 1/2 inch cookie cutter, set aside. Chop the pepper trimmings and remaining peppers: combine with olives. Use a pulsing action to blend cream cheese spread, basil and garlic in a blender until smooth. Wash cream cheese tub, line with plastic wrap, with sides extending over the side of the tub. Spoon 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture into tub; top with olive mixture and remaining cream cheese mixture. Press firmly into cup with back of spoon. Refrigerate 1 hour. Unmold the cream cheese spread onto a plate; discard plastic wrap. Top cheese spread with toasted almonds and red pepper star that you have set aside. Serve with your choice of crackers. Garnish your plate with fresh basil leaves.
Till next time.......

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Havard Beets for Christmas!

Christmas dinner is looming on the horizon and preparations will soon begin. Let's shake things up a bit this year and forgo the traditional green bean casserole. What do you say? Let's do Harvard beets! They are colorful, sweet and sour and just plain good. Here's is the recipe, because we're friends.

Harvard Beets
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water or beet juice
2 1/2 cups cooked and seasoned diced beets
2 Tbsp butter
Blend the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and water. Mix well and boil 5 minutes. Add the beets and let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Take off heat add the butter , stir to melt the butter and they are ready to serve. Always keep the extra juice on hand to thin, if need be, to your desired consistency. This consistency works for my family.

How simple is that? This recipe can be doubled or tripled without any ill effects. Step out of the "green bean casserole box" and try something different this year.
Till next time.......

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Four Cheese Log

During the holidays, we are always looking for just a little something different. Hopefully, I will provide you with something you have not thought about and that you will enjoy.
Four Cheese Log
1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese
1 cup shredded Italian three cheese blend
1 pkg. (1oz) dry onion soup mix
2 Tbsp sour cream
2/3 cup pecan, toasted and finely chopped.
Mix first four ingredients. Shape into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Unwrap log, roll in pecans and press firmly so nuts will adhere to the log. Happy Holidays!
Till next time........

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hot Jezebel Sauce

Here is another recipe that is a bit different and a bit spicy. So if you like hot, spicy spreads, this is for you. If you don't like so much heat, go easy on the  dry mustard. Add a little bit of the dry mustard and taste. You can always add more mustard,  but once you add it, you can't take it away. So be careful.

Hot Jezebel Sauce
1 cup apricot preserves
1 cup pineapple preserves
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 tsp. horseradish, drained
3 Tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp white pepper
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
Mix preserves, horseradish, mustard and pepper. Heat to bring out the flavor and then store in a covered jar in the refrigerator. To serve, place 1/3 cup of hot Jezebel Sauce on cream cheese. Serve with crackers or toasted pita triangles.
Till next time.......

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Robert Rothschild Products

Hey, Everyone! The party season has started, and what to serve can be a challenge. Here is a Baked Brie with Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves. You have to try this one! 
You won't often see me promote a product but this is so good.

Baked Brie with Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves 
1 tube of Crescent rolls
1 small round Brie
1 jar Robert Rothschild Farm Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves
Pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375°F. Open tube of crescent rolls carefully. Do not separate inindividual rolls. Close the seams by aplying pressure to them. Place small round of Brie in center of dough. Seal long ends of crust on top of Brie. When sealing sides it will be necessary to trim corners. The dough is very forgiving, so if a seam should fall apart just apply pressure and close. Once sides are sealed you can mold crust to Brie by gently shaping with your hands. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. While hot, pour the Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves generously on top and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Serve either with thin crackers or alone. 
To see more of their products and recipes, check out the website below.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remember When...........

Remember when, ordering a cup of coffee was just that simple? "I'll have a cup of coffee, please." 
But now they have a Barista,  serving the coffee and you have to know what kind of coffee you want. Saying "black or with cream & sugar" is not enough anymore. Would you like a Cappuccino, an Espresso, a Mocha, a Latte or perhaps a flavored Latte. What is a person to do, who just wants a cup of coffee?

Here's the scoop on coffee:
Espresso - is a concentrated coffee brewed with hot water under pressure through  finely ground coffee. This is not a bitter coffee, if it is done right.
Latte - a single shot of Espresso for a 6-8 ounce drink, hold back the foam with your spoon till your cup is about 75% full of steamed milk, then top of with foam. For a stronger coffee flavor ask for a second shot of Espresso in it.
Cappuccino - is equal parts of Espresso and hot milk topped with steamed milk froth and cinnamon or nutmeg and sometimes whipped cream.
Mocha - contains chocolate sauce, Espresso and steamed milk topped with a little foam.

HELP!....... I just want a plain cup of coffee!!
Till next time....... 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Windy Day in the Country.....

The wind is blowing hard and the feathers on the birds are ruffled. Sometimes they can hardly stand still to eat the seeds I put out for them. These are some photos I took from inside the house. So they are not the best but will show you how the birds are scrambling for food today. I have a bluejay, two pair of cardinals and an arsenal of sparrows. But then God loves them all and I guess I do, too. I keep feeding them all anyway..
As you can see, it has also been snowing. It will not amount to much on the ground. But with the strong winds, we have had white-out conditions . The wind chill is really bad today so stay in or bundle up good if you go outside.
Till next time.........

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Partytime!

The holidays are here and many of you will be attending holiday parties, with drinks, great food and wonderful company. It is always good to get together with friends and wish each other Merry Christmas. But remember, if you are drinking alcohol this season, and party a bit too much; don't drink and drive. Call a cab or friend to take you home. DUI is against the law.
Till next time.......

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cut Out Cookies

It's December 5th and time to start the baking for Christmas. This is the last cookie recipe I will share this year. Get the children to help with this one. They will have loads of fun decorating them. I used to make these for my children when they were young and they always had a good time. These are easy to make and keep beautifully. Store them as you would any crispy cookie.

Rolled Sugar Cookies
Blend:
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
Combine and beat:
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Add:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Beat batter after each addition of flour. Chill the dough until it can be rolled. (about an hour). Roll it into a thin sheet. Cut into the desired shapes, sprinkle with colored sugar. (or leave plain if you want to frost them) Bake them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or a Silpat sheet. Bake at 375° for about 8-9 minutes. I roll mine just a little less than a 1/4 of an inch thickness; but more than  1/8 of an inch. If you roll them thinner, they of course will take less time to bake.
Frosting For Cookies
1 cup sifted confectioner sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp cream (or 1 Tbsp water)
Blend sugar, salt and flavoring. Add cream to make it easy to spread. If desired, tint with food coloring. Makes frosing for 3-5 dozen cookies, depending on size.

The secret to making any rolled cookie is to keep the dough chilled to start with and while you are rolling parts of it.
Till next time.....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gingerbread Men Recipe

I could not leave my blog today without giving you the recipe I've always used for Gingerbread men. That would not be fair, now would it.

Gingerbread Men Cookies
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
Beat in:
1/2 cup dark molasses
Stir:
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
Add sifted ingredients to the butter mixture in about 3 parts alternating with:
5 Tbsp or more water
You will have to work in the last of the flour mixture with your hands. Roll the dough to the thickness you want. A good way to do this is to roll the dough onto parchment paper the size of the cookie sheet; cut the cookies with the floured cookie cutters and remove excess dough from the paper.  The cookies can be decorated with cinnamon red hots for buttons, raisins for eyes, nose and mouth. Bake cookies in a 350° oven for about 8 minutes, according to their thickness. Test them with a toothpick. Remove them at once and put on a cooling rack. Yield: About 16  thin cookies or 8 fat cookies. Once cooled they can be decorated with the following icing:
Icing
Stir in small bowl to make a paste.
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
a few drops of water
You may add a drop or two of food coloring. Apply the icing with a toothpick or small knife to make additional garnishes like caps, scarves, hair, mustaches, belts, shoes, etc.
Enjoy!
Till next time........

Gingerbread Man

It is pretty clear the crusaders first brought ginger from Asia. But who made the first gingerbread man. The ginger cookie appeared as a Christmas tree and holiday scenes in mainland Europe, especially in Germany; from the 1600's. People first carved molds from wood. It wasn't until the early 1800's that the true gingerbread man was made. Cookie cutters were made several years later making the uniform shape we have today. It was taken from the gingerbread man in the tale of Hanzel and Gretal . 
How you eat the gingerbread man tells a lot about you, or so it is told. If you eat the head first, it indicates you are a natural leader, who won't take no for an answer. If the first bite is the right hand, it shows an individual who tends to be skeptical and pessimistic, while those  who eat the left arm first, have a flare for creativity and are more extroverted. If you eat the legs first you tend to be more sensitive, reveling in the company of others. According to the survey 64% go for the head first, 20% go for the legs and 16% bid goodbye to the arms first.
Okay, so this is probably more trivia than you ever wanted to know. But at this time of year when many are baking gingerbread men, I thought it interesting and appropriate...at least to me.
Till next time........

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Color of Christmas......

The colors of Christmas are many. For most people, Christmas is red, green and silver. For some it is shades of blue, frosty lights and silver. For me, I go in a different direction. I have always felt Christmas was burgundy, cream and gold. There is just such a richness of about burgundy and gold, with a touch of cream. I tend to buy a cream poinsettia instead of a red one. Maybe......I am just not a traditionalist. Who knows? What are the colors of Christmas to you? Perhaps it is the multicolor tree lights that appear in all the stores, malls and homes. Whatever the colors of Christmas are to you; enjoy the season and remember...it is Christ's birthday. Let's keep Christ in Christmas and have a Blessed Christmas.
Till next time.......