Friday, November 30, 2012

241. Date Nut Roll Candy

 

I spent my twenties and thirties trying to be hip and stay current with hairstyles, clothing trends and life in general.

I hit my forties and suddenly everything is about my childhood…LOL  Go figure.  

The "remember when" moments are everywhere. Trends do tend to repeat themselves and maybe this is why I feel so nostalgic suddenly.

It used to be the music.  I would hear a song and was immediately sent back to 1985 and the homecoming dance or 1988 on my wedding day.

Now it's with almost everything I do and see, especially food.

Digging through some old recipes I found two date nut roll recipes; one with a name of Virginia Washam.  This used to be my grandmothers best friend a long long long time ago.

With this one name I was taken back to my days spent at the lake (Lake Isabella in CA), to the Washam's home (they lived below my grandparents) and a whole slew of memories came flying back.

This nut roll was made every year. I fondly remember the rolls in the refrigerator each holiday season.  My grandmother would wrap them in cotton towels and pull them out at night so that we could each have a slice.

It was sweet.

It was nutty.

It is a wonderful memory.

I wasn't sure if my own kids would enjoy this treat.  They have had dates before and so I thought they would not mind the combination. I was right. The first log was gone.  I gave the second log to a dear friend because she too had a memory of this being made in her home.

Once again, I am reminded of the connection that holidays and food has on a family.  Most of us have long forgotten the toys that were brought to us by Santa but somehow we can remember the scents of the home, the smells coming from the kitchen and our favorite cookies and candy.

Enjoy your time with the families and friends that fill our home this season.  

Recipe: Date Nut Roll Candy

1 cup of dates,  chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of milk
1/4 teaspoon of salt

In a small sauce pan add sugar, milk, dates and sugar.  Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads Soft Ball Stage or 234-236 degrees.

Remove from heat.

Add nuts and stir.  Candy will get thick.

On a clean cotton towel or a piece of wax paper, sprinkle confectioner's sugar on one side.

Plop candy in a row on one side (like a log).


Using your hands, flip over the wax paper or towel and form the candy into a log.


Roll up candy and store in the refrigerator.  Candy will become firm after cooling.

Slice and serve. 


  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

240. Hot Buttered Rum and Pecan Encrusted Christmas Ham


Christmas at our home is always a huge affair. I plan every detail with the hope that my kids will remember the activities, events, and food of the season.

All three of my kids have birthdays right after Christmas, which is when they get their big gifts for the year. During the Christmas season we focus more on traditions, family time, and buying gifts for others. Our kids are each given a budget to spend on gifts for the family, and then we help a military family and choose angel tags from the tree at the mall. Santa makes a visit to our home with gifts and stockings, and then grandparents, aunts and uncles fill in the rest.


The traditions that we started years ago with our cute little family include a variety of fun things. My favorite is the 12 Days of Christmas. It's the one thing that my children look forward to and start talking about long before December arrives. In the twelve days leading up to Christmas Eve we gather each night, open up a gift bag, and look inside. The gifts are usually trinket toys that I find here and there, and we get a chance to be silly and laugh.

The other traditions that we enjoy are seeing the lights in our neighborhood, seeing local choirs sing the music of the season, decorating our home, and of course making our favorite foods to eat.

This year, while chatting with my mom, she mentioned that a friend has been bringing a pecan-crusted ham to their annual Christmas party. This intrigued me, and I got to thinking about ingredients that pair well with pecans. I decided that a sweet, tasty, hot-buttered rum batter would be perfect with pecans and ham.

I went to work finding the best bone-in ham that I could, and gathered my ingredients. The ham turned out amazing! It was so sweet on the outside, and warm and salty on the inside. I saved the drippings and juice from the baking pan and served it in a gravy boat for those that wanted a little bit more buttered-rum gravy.

I love having a large ham for the holidays because it will provide several extra meals for us to enjoy for the week after Christmas. This recipe turns a simple ham into a gourmet feast.

Hot Buttered Rum and Pecan Encrusted Christmas Ham

  • 10 pound sliced spiral ham
  • 2 c turbinado sugar or any large grain sugar
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 c of dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 c chopped pecans
NOTE: You can use rum extract in place of rum, but start off with a teaspoon at a time.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small sauce pan combine sugar, molasses, butter, rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pinch of salt. Cook until batter starts to bubble. Remove from heat. Take half of the batter and put into a separate bowl to use later.

Place your ham in a rimmed baking dish, with the cut side down. The ham and batter will create about 1 inch of juice after baking.

Use a pastry brush and brush the batter on ham. Loosely cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Brush ham again with batter and bake for 30 more minutes (one hour total cook time so far.)

Add the chopped pecans to the second bowl of hot buttered rum batter. Stir well. It will be thick.
Remove ham from oven and carefully cover the outside of the ham with pecan buttered rum mixture.

Leave uncovered and bake for 30 more minutes.

NOTE: If your ham is smaller or larger than 10 pounds, you will need to adjust bake times. You want the internal temperature to be around 135 degrees.

Remove from oven, transfer to serving plate and use a gravy boat to serve the ham and buttered rum drippings.



This post is part of BlogHer's Holiday Parties editorial series, made possible by Cracker Barrel.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

239. Multi Grain Gluten Free Pancakes



I am so happy with this recipe.  It has taken me 6 months to finally feel good about posting a gluten free multi-grain pancake.

My poor family is about pancaked out…LOL

I have to admit they were not all bad, they were just different.  Some too flat, some to grainy, some not sweet enough or too sweet.

Welcome to the joys of recipe testing and developing.

Personally, I like this pancake much better than a wheat based recipe.  I love all of the flavors combined together that create a wholesome taste.

The texture is fluffy, like a pancake should be. They reheat well and freeze great too.

I will make a double batch of this recipe and my kids will take a week to go through them.  Breakfast is a no brainer, but they also enjoy them for after school snacks.  We use real maple syrup so I don't worry about them having the processed syrups with the big brands.

I have mentioned this before, but I love molasses instead of syrup for my pancakes.

How do you enjoy your pancakes?


Recipe:  Multi-Grain Gluten Free Pancakes

1/2 cup of oat flour
2/3 cup of almond meal
1/3 cup of corn meal, finely ground
1/3 cup of oats, uncooked
1/4 cup of tapioca starch
1 1/2  tablespoon of coconut flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of milk
2 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla

NOTE: Make sure that your eggs are at room temperature.  I have used buttermilk in place of regular milk with good results.  I have used a medium ground corn meal before and it is very noticeable, that is why I recommended the finely ground. These pancakes are not overly sweet, I leave that for the syrup. Feel free to make them sweeter for your family if that is what you prefer.

In a large bowl combine all of the eight dry ingredients and mix well.

In two bowls, separate the egg yolk from the egg white.  Beat the whites until stiff.

In the bowl with the yolk add the remaining four wet ingredients and mix well.

Combine the dry and wet ingredients.  The batter will be thick.  Gently fold in egg whites and stir to combine.

Ladle batter onto a hot griddle that has been seasoned with warm butter.

Serve pancakes with butter and syrup.

Recipe: Cinnamon Syrup

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. Karo light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. evaporated milk

In small saucepan stir together sugar, corn syrup, water and cinnamon. Stir constantly and bring to boil over medium heat. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in evaporated milk. Cool. If desired, serve over pancakes or ice cream. Store covered in refrigerator. Makes 1 1/3 cups.




  






















Friday, November 23, 2012

238. Easy Creme Brulee Eggnog Custard



When I think of winter many things come to my mind, but one of them that sticks out in the forefront is eggnog.

Like candy cane ice cream and gingerbread latte's, eggnog is only in the stores at certain times of the year.

In my home, as a kid, when eggnog made it to our fridge we were always given strict instructions of when we could drink it.  My grandparents wanted it to last longer than the few hours we would have consumed it in without the rules.  We were allowed small glasses and it was considered a luxury.

My son and I are the only ones that drink it in my little family. Both my daughters and husband don't like milk.  I think the thick texture and eggy flavor turns them off.  Drake and I buy one small quart bottle and we savor every small glass so that we too can stretch out the small sips of a favored holiday treat.  When that is empty I buy another one.  By the time is all over, we have probably consumed a gallon over two months.


I wish I had a homemade recipe to share but I have not yet found one that I love.  Each year I give it my best effort and spend the time and money buying the ingredients to try another batch of homemade eggnog and each year it does not meet my standards of excellence.

So I buy the best eggnog I can find.  I think this is important.  I have tried the generic brands and I don't think they have the rich flavor and texture that some of the high end brands do.

This recipe came to me by way of my MIL when I first got married.  She knew I enjoyed eggnog and showed me how to make this easy eggnog version of burnt custard.   I have only made it a few times because I always forget about the recipe.

It is only when I sit down with the family box of recipes and look for something new to try that I rediscover some of our oldies, and this is one of them.

The key to cooking the custard is putting the bowls in a water bath.  You can see below that I use a square baking pan and it fits the four small dishes perfectly.  I fill the water almost two-thirds of the way up the side of the pan.


These cute little bowls hold about a third of a cup each.  From this recipe, I was able to get 5 servings.
To make the crisp topping you don't need to add very much brown sugar.  I learned this the hard way one time.  If you add too much then if does not get the crispy shell and has a tendency to burn.

I do make my own brown sugar though and this is a very easy thing to do.  You take 1 cup of plain white sugar and add molasses to it.  I usually start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more if I want the brown sugar to be darker.


Recipe: Easy Creme Brulee Eggnog Custard or Burnt Custard

2 cups of eggnog
2 eggs
1/4 cup of brown sugar (use more if you need too)

Preheat oven to 350.

Warm eggnog in a small pan until tiny bubbles form.  Remove from heat.

In a bowl, beat eggs until thick and creamy.

SLOWLY whip the eggs into the hot eggnog.

Pour into ramekins.  Add water to a baking pan large enough to hold ramekins.  Water in baking pan should only be two- thirds of the way full and do not allow water to over flow into custard.

Bake for 20 minutes and remove.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Turn broiler on, remove ramekins and sprinkle brown sugar over the top of each dessert.

Broil until brown sugar is melted.  Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes to harden.

Serve on a small plate as the ramekins may be hot to the touch.

ENJOY!

  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hot Fudge Sauce



This is the easiest recipe for hot fudge sauce that I have ever made.

My sister n law, Elizabeth, introduced this to our family 20+ years ago and we have used it for more social events than we can count.

We call it A CUP, A CAN and A CUBE.

For those that don't remember the term, CUBE, that is now our current STICK of butter.

This chocolate is best served by the spoonfuls with very little of anything else…LOL  Okay that is just how I eat the hot fudge sauce.

I love it served warm over raspberry sherbet, stirred in a glass of milk or as a fondue for some of my favorite fruits and pound cake.

It's a real treat and something that makes a wonderful gift for neighbors and friends.

Recipe:  Hot Fudge Sauce

1 cube (stick, 1/2 cup) of butter, soft
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

To make your own Sweetened Condense Milk, there is a great recipe HERE from Just as Delish.

In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, melt the butter.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Add the Sweetened Condensed Milk.

Stir well to combine.  The butter will take a minute to incorporate into the sauce.  It will be smooth and silky.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Good for one month in sealed container.

  






Tuesday, November 20, 2012

237. Gluten Free Gingerbread Pear Quick Bread #TwelveLoaves November


You can also make this quick bread in small canning jars.  I found these jars at a thrift store and they make the perfect single size portion for desserts.  Bake them at the same temperature, just not as long. They will rise above the rim and this is a good sign they are done.
Twelve Loaves is a fun group of bloggers and bakers that focus on baking breads, yeast or quick breads, from scratch.  Lora, from Cake Duchess, is the creator behind the group.   Each month a theme is decided upon and she or others host the party.

To learn more about Twelve Loaves you can visit Lora's page here.   This month's theme is apples or pears.  You can find Lora's beautiful recipe for Apple Bread Ring here.  This will also take you to the link party where all of the recipes are being hosted in one place.

When you see these recipes you will be blown away, the ladies that contribute to this group are all amazing bakers.  In fact I have been stalking the group for a few months and wondered to myself if I could fit in.

I love to make bread.  It is something I have been doing for years for my family.  Of course, that all changed a few years ago when I found out I could not eat any wheat based bread.  I missed working with wheat and flour.

I dabbled a bit here and there for family gatherings to keep myself practiced in the art of baking a fine loaf of bread, foccacia, a dozen or two rolls or my favorite, breadsticks.  I still have a few recipes on the blog that are not gluten free from my earlier days of bread baking.

Last month I decided that I needed to get back to making bread, yeasted or quick bread, and prove to myself that I could still get in the kitchen a produce a quality but gluten free loaf of deliciousness.

I instant messaged my friend, Jamie, from Life's a Feast to get the details and to see if there was an interest in a participant that could offer some gluten free choices to the bread discussion and recipe sharing group.

I was welcomed to participate and so here I am with my first recipe for Twelve Loaves.  I decided on making a quick bread.  A quick bread is a style of bread that uses baking soda as the leavening agent and not yeast.  One quick bread that everyone enjoys and loves is banana bread.

Making these quick breads gluten free is very easy.  I work mostly with almond meal and this flour will create the perfect quick bread texture and flavor.  I had an idea of the combination that I wanted to use and went in search of finding recipes that shared a similar combination of flavors.  I wanted to first see if gingerbread and pears went together.

I was happy to have found several gluten free recipes that were very close to the one I wanted to make. I used my recipe for Harvest Cake as a place to start.  I love this quick bread and it works every time.  I also found a recipe by Meg at Sweet Twist of Blogging for Pear Bread.

I have just recently posted a recipe for Gingerbread Granola that was out of this world.  The full and rich flavor of molasses shined through with the hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.  I wanted this cake to also have that same exceptional flavor.

I sat on this idea for about two weeks working out the flour combinations in my mind.  Working with gluten free flour is a test in how well you listened and followed directions in your high school science classes..LOL   Mixing the flours with the starches and other ingredients can be tricky and if you over or under calculate you can end up with quite the creation.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.

This is why I love almond meal.  It seems, for me at least, to be the one guarantee when it comes to baking gluten free that I know well and it always turns out.  This makes working in the kitchen with gluten free ingredients a joy.

I have come across very few recipes that I am not able to convert to a gluten free version.  Once you understand the combinations and ratio's, then a whole new world of baking and recipe development opens up.  You no longer have just one flour to use but many.  You no longer have white or wheat to choose from but amaranth,  sorghum, rice, millet, oat, coconut and a so many more.  Each of these flours offers something unique to the recipe, texture and flavor.

To learn more about gluten free flours and baking, I would suggest that you visit a few experts in the field.  Gluten Free Goddess was my go to site for many months while I retrained myself to work in the kitchen after first discovering I had Celiac Disease. Karina has a wealth of information on her site.

This recipe was a wonderful treat for my family to wake up to this past weekend.  It made my home smell like gingerbread and browned butter.  It was a warm breakfast on a cold morning.  It was a healthy alternative to cereal or toast.

What I loved the most about this quick bread was when I took each bite, I was able to enjoy a piece of pear.  That little hint of sweetness along with the gingerbread flavor was wonderful to my taste buds.

I have kids and sometimes they like a bit of sweetness to be added to their cakes.  I made brown butter frosting for those in my family that needed a bit of a sugar fix (recipe below).

Please enjoy this Gluten Free Gingerbread Pear Cake.


Bobs Red Mill 24852 Almond Meal Flour Gluten Free (Google Affiliate Ad)

Recipe:  Gluten Free Gingerbread Pear Cake

2 cups of almond meal
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup flax meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs + 2 egg whites, beat
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup pear puree (about the size of one average ripe pear)
1 cup of chopped pear pieces (smaller pieces work best, 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch)
powdered sugar, optional for dusting
brown butter frosting, optional (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray your pan well with a non stick baking spray.

You will need three bowls.

First bowl:  Add almond meal, tapioca starch, flax meal, all the spices, salt and baking soda.  STIR WELL

Second bowl:  Add molasses, maple syrup, canola oil, 2 large eggs, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and pear puree.  STIR WELL

Third bowl: Beat 2 egg whites until peaks form.

Combine the first and second bowls and stir well.  Add diced pear pieces.  Stir.

Gently fold in egg whites from third bowl.

Spray a small Bundt pan and pour batter until it is 1/2 inch from top.  My Bundt pan measured 8.5 inches across the top from side to side.  If you do not have a Bundt pan you could use an 8X8 square baking pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top springs back when gently pressed.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove to a cookie rack to cool completely.  Keep covered in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for continued freshness.


Serve with powdered sugar sprinkled over each sliced piece or a small spoonful of brown butter frosting.

Recipe: Brown Butter Frosting

2 tablespoons of butter, browned
2 tablespoon of milk
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2-1 cup of powdered sugar

Using a small saucepan, add butter and cook until butter starts to turn brown and has a very nutty aroma.  Remove from heat.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Add vanilla and milk, stir well.  Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency is met.  The more you add the thicker it becomes.



  

Monday, November 19, 2012

236. Turkey Stuffing Meatball #Thanksgiving


It's a crazy idea, but I did it.  I took some of my favorites from a traditional turkey day meal and combined them into one huge meatball.

So what was my inspiration?

Willy Wonka, of course.

Do you remember the Three Course Chewing gum: tomato soup, roast beef and blueberry pie?

Don't worry you won't turn into a huge cranberry but you can taste the blended flavors of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

There are several ways you can do this.

1.  Make the meatballs only with the ground turkey, seasonings and stuffing.  Shape them into smaller meatballs and bake them until done.

2.  Make the meatball and stuffing mixture and then add a warm cheesy center.  I combined mozzarella cheese (this makes it stringy cheesy), cream cheese (creamy) and cranberry sauce (flavor and color).

3.  The final option is to serve them with or without the thinned down cranberry sauce.  Personally I think it adds moisture and flavor to an already yummy meal.

The first option is the easiest and the quickest.

The second option is a bit more involved and takes some patience and time to form the meatball with the cheesy filling (I will give you some tips to help with this)

I thought of this idea because I was thinking of my friends that are empty nesters, living alone or don't have time or money to buy and prepare a huge meal.

With this meatball they get a few of the wonderful flavors of the Thanksgiving holiday and a few leftovers too.  The turkey meatballs without the cheesy filling also freeze well.

You will notice that none of the pictures include an inside shot of the cheesy inside, this is because it just would not photograph well…LOL  The cranberry makes the cheesy center a mauve color.

I hope you enjoy this twist on a quick turkey day meal.


Recipe:  Turkey Stuffing Meatball

1 pound of ground turkey, thawed
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
2 cups of boxed cornbread stuffing (I used a gluten free brand) (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
See below to make the cheese meatballs and cranberry sauce versions

NOTE:  The way I scooped my 2 cups of stuffing from the box was to take off the top cubes of cornbread and use the bottom, this is where all of the seasonings are.  If you use homemade cornbread then you will want to add your own stuffing seasonings like: sage, celery salt, dried parsley, onion salt and chicken bullion.

To make the meatballs:  Combine the above ingredients.  Let the turkey meat sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.  This allows the stuffing to get softer, it will still be firm in places.

Scoop into small meatballs and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until done.

To make the Cheese Filled Meatballs: Make the meatballs above and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add together in a small bowl:

1/4 cup of cream cheese, not too soft
1/2 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons of cranberry sauce

Mix well and put in the refrigerator until the meat is done.  The cheese is easier to handle if its cold.



Remove the meat and cheese from the fridge and start making the meatball.  I took a golf ball size of meat/stuffing mixture and flattened it on my hand, scooped a small amount of cheese into the center and wrapped the meat/stuffing mixture up around it.  I did have to reach for a bit more meat/stuffing mixture on a few.  The idea is to totally surround the cheesy inside with the meat.

I was able to get 6 large meatballs from this recipe, it all depends on how big your meatball ends up being to how many your will have.

The final step for the stuffed meatball is to seal it with egg and breadcrumbs.

I used:

2 eggs
1 cup of breadcrumbs, panko ( for the gluten free version I used brown rice flour or almond meal)

Roll each meatball in the egg and then breadcrumbs.

Add to a cooking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until done.  They will be firm to the touch and some of the cheese may cook out, this is why you don't want to over cook them.

To make the cranberry sauce:

I added a can to a small pan, added a touch of water to thin and whipped the two until a thin and warm sauce was ready to serve with the meatballs.

These meatballs have been rolled in a combination of almond meal and brown rice flour because I have to eat gluten free.  Use regular bread crumbs or panko crumbs if gluten is not a problem for you.
  


233. Gingerbread Granola


This is the fourth granola recipe that I have made this year.  I enjoy making the different flavors and my family loves eating them.

The other flavors that I have made can be found at the links below:


Gingerbread is a favorite flavor at our home.  Each and every year we attempt homemade gingerbread cookies and houses.

My favorite morning breakfast is honey greek yogurt with a big scoop of granola sprinkled over the top.

I also enjoy eating the granola as a bowl of cereal.

I added this recipe to Capital Style Magazines list of neighborhood, teacher and friend gifts.  I think, in a cellophane bag with a big bow this would make a wonderful homemade treat.


Recipe: Gingerbread Granola

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup oil
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4.5 cups of uncooked oatmeal
1/4 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup blanched almonds
3 tablespoons flax meal

Preheat oven to 275.

In a medium sauce pan, combine first 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil.

In a large bowl mix oatmeal, coconut, nuts and flax meal.

Pour boiled molasses mixture over oatmeal mixture.

Stir well. Add to a cookie sheet.

Bake for one hour total time, but checking and stirring granola every 15 minutes.

Granola will turn a rich color. Remove from oven and cool.

Store in airtight container. Good for 2 months.

  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

235. Creamed Mushrooms



This time of year, when the weather turns to the cooler temperatures and the leaves start to turn, always has me yearning for warm and creamy dishes.

When my grandmother passed a few years ago I was handed a large box of recipes.  I go through these recipes about twice a year and I am always amazed that I seem to find a recipe that sneaks to the top of the pile.

How could I have missed this recipe for creamed mushrooms?

It was hidden with some newspaper clippings that she must have found in a very old newspaper.  The list of recipes were filed under Scandinavian Cottage Style Cooking.

My grandmother was from England and lived in the US most of her life.  She never left any doubt that her heart was still in Europe and this is a fine example of how she would collect memories from her time living outside of the US.

The picture on the front of the article had a thatched roof cottage.  I remember she once gave me a music box of a cottage with this exact style of roofing.  Looking through the recipes I could see why she clipped the article.

The titles and many of the ingredients were similar to the food and titles that she grew up on.  I actually thought that it was a list of English dishes until I flipped it over and read that the articles were about the simple living and cooking styles of cottage living from 150 years ago in Northern Europe.

Why I chose this dish is simple, mushrooms are my husbands favorite side dish.   We don't eat  steaks without having some sort of mushroom side dish.  Usually they have been sauteed in butter and wine.  I wanted to try something different.  Could we have a side dish of mushrooms and not eat it with something else? Could it stand on its own?

My only regret in making this recipe is that I did not buy us more mushrooms.  The flavors were so simple and yet paired together amazingly well.

The hint of paprika and lemon juice turned a simple dish into a flavorful dish that could easily be served along.  It did not need a steak, it was not a second string find.  With this being said I found it the perfect dish to also serve over something else: rice, noodles or a baked potato.

I had just bought a bag of small potatoes.  I baked up a few and this is how we enjoyed the mushrooms.  Scooped over a hot potato that had first been buttered, salt and peppered.

The mushrooms were simply delicious and yet had this gourmet flair that could not be denied.

I hope you enjoy this recipe find from my grandmothers box of treasure.


Recipe:  Creamed Mushrooms
Recipe makes enough for 2 adults as a meal or 4 small sides/toppings.

4 cups of sliced baby Portabella mushrooms
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 (1/2 cup) stick of butter
1/2-1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup of sour cream
pinch of salt

In a large saute pan, melt butter.  Saute onions and garlic until soft.  Add mushrooms and stir.

Cook mushrooms for 3-5 minutes until they reduce in size and start to wilt.  Add lemon zest, paprika, dried parsley, salt and sour cream. Stir until well combined.  Do not boil.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.



   

Friday, November 16, 2012

228. 3 Favorite Side Dishes for Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving for those of us in the US is quickly approaching.

We just had our election and now we are moving on to preparing our menus, ordering our turkeys, and inviting family and friends.

I have made small and large turkeys.  Had a few friends and tons of family.

Every year we have our favorites and the oldie but goodies on our tables.

Through the years our recipes have changed just a bit.

Take the mashed potatoes as an example.  For the greater part of my child and adult life they have been made with basic ingredients: potatoes, milk and butter with a lot of salt added.

My sister in law, Amy, introduced us to a new way of adding a bit more flavor to this already traditional dish.

Honestly, we never looked back. It was a hit and I can't imagine not making them this way.

Below you will find the three recipes that we enjoy this time of year.  They are not hard, in fact, very easy but the flavors are traditional for this time of year.

Recipe: Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Makes 4-6 servings


4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 stick of butter, soft
3 cubes of Chicken Bullion..to be exact you need Wylers
1 (5oz) can of Carnation Evaporated milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until done.

Drain potatoes in strainer. In the hot pot, add butter and bullion. Stir to combine until bullion is dissolved.

Add boiled potatoes and evaporated milk.

Using a potato masher or electric mixer, blend potatoes until smooth.

Salt and pepper to taste.


Recipe: Sweet Potatoes
Makes 4-6 side dish servings

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
5 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.

In a glass pie plate, layer the sliced sweet potatoes.

In between each layer, grate butter (this is a quick method to use) and sprinkle with brown sugar.

On last layer, add butter, brown sugar and salt.

Bake for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
Add marshmallows and cook for 5 minutes until soft.
I transfer to a prettier bowl to serve.

*I like to overcook my marshmallows until they are very brown and almost melted. This adds a nice flavor to the dish.



Recipe: Brown Butter Broccoli with Mizithra Cheese
Makes 4-6 side dish servings

3-4 cups of raw broccoli, cut into medium size pieces
3 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of grated Mizithra cheese (can be purchased at Whole Foods)

Steam broccoli until desired tenderness. Do not boil, it will make the broccoli too watery and dilute the brown butter.

In a sauté pan, brown butter. To brown butter: cook butter over medium heat until the color slowly changes to a caramel color. Be careful to not burn. It will have a nice nutty aroma.

In a bowl, add steamed broccoli and drizzle with brown butter. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Mizithra Cheese can be purchased at most specialty grocery stores or in the cheese department.  It has a specific texture and flavor and cannot be easily replaced with something else.  It also works great over a bowl of pasta with browned butter and this cheese.

ENJOY!

 



Thursday, November 15, 2012

231. Granola Bar Pie



The other day I bought a box of gluten free breakfast bars and gagged.  I literally had to spit the bite out into my hand.

It was awful!

There is nothing more inspiring to motivate you to bake something than trying something that was disgusting.

I wanted something easy to reach for while I was walking my daughter to school and thought these would be the perfect solution.

Here is why I think I had the reaction that I did.

1.  I am not used to eating process food.  The flavor is different.
2.  The texture was firm and not crumbly or soft.

As you know taste and texture are very important to me, as is cooking from scratch.

I found a few similar recipes on line and made this version based on what I had in my kitchen.  I really did not want to go and buy new ingredients when I already have a huge collection of gluten free flours.

I called this a pie because I made it in a pie plate.  It could very easily be made in a square or rectangular pan and cut into those shapes.

I like that fact that you can use which every flavor of jelly or jam fits your fancy.




Recipe: Granola Bar Pie


1 cup of oat flour

1 cup of flax seed meal

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup oatmeal, uncooked

1/4 brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup of jam


Preheat oven to 375.


Butter a pie plate or an 8x8 baking pan.


In a large bowl combine oat flour, flax meal, almond meal, oatmeal, brown sugar,baking powder and salt. Stir to combine.


Add melted butter and vanilla.


Push half of the mixture into prepared pan.


Spread jam evenly.


Add the remaining granola mixture. Using your fingers try to evenly spread the top layer with your fingers. If there are gaps they will cook together to create an even crust on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool. 



Tell me what flavor are you planning on using for the center filling?



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

234. Cannellini and Turkey Meatball Soup #worlddiabetes


Today, November 14th, is World Diabetes Day.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

It is a day that we as a collective group of individuals, who support diabetes research and know people who are affected by the disease, to rally together and offer our support and love.

Diabetes is a world issue.  More and more people, including children, are learning that they have diabetes.  We have come a long way in understanding why some people will and do get diabetes.  In some cases we can alter our diets and this can improve the situation.  

I am grateful that I am able to participate along with 40+ other bloggers and share a healthy recipe.  Our hostess is Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food.  She has set up a special link party so that all of our recipes can be found in one place.  On top of that she is giving away a BLUE KITCHENAID MIXER…so exciting!!!

I am not a doctor nor do I have diabetes, this is just my experience with two family members.  

Growing up,  the word diabetes was just that, a word.  I don't remember ever hearing  phrases like "we need to watch the sugar in our diets" or "we should eat less bad carbs".  I never heard the word diabetes until I became an adult.  I did not know that certain foods were prohibited and that changes needed to be made or you could get sick.

As my grandmother got older she developed issues with diabetes. I watched my grandmother continue to eat or rather sneak treats.  She would have things hidden through out her kitchen and bedroom.  She was in denial for a long time.  She eventually did not have a choice and had to listen to her physicians to make some changes.  She was prescribed medication and learned to alter the way she ate.  It did not happen over night and she fought it for a long time.    Diabetes hits closer to home for me now.  My Mom is young.  She is 65 and must make some changes in her diet and with her weight.  She has, for years, filled her meals with bad carbs, sugar, soda pop, candy and sweets.  The over loading has caught up with her and now she is faced with some decisions.  

Change is hard, especially with food.  

I took my Mom to New York this past summer.  I don't live by my Mom and so I was not fully aware of how close to a diagnosis of the disease my Mom was until we were in the financial district.  Between high rises and busy traffic streets I turn to find that she is shaking, turning white and on the verge of passing out.  Her sugar had dropped.  She has hypoglycemia.  Hypoglycemia is an indicator of a health problem.  In my sister and I 's mind we already knew what the health problem was and I am pretty sure my Mom did too.

Having dealt with similar issues myself,  I understood what we needed to do.  We found a cool place for her to sit and I went and bought several snacks that she could eat.  With in minutes she started to feel better.  It took her 30 minutes to feel well enough for us to continue our visit to the city.  I was worried. 

This scared me.  I saw first hand what she had been dealing with for a few years. When we returned to my home in Maryland we tried to understand what she needed to do next.  The writing was on the wall for us.  I bought her snacks to carry with her at all times and we learned that she needed to eat more frequently.   I was glad that I  could monitor what she was eating and together we could  help her understand the healthier diet that she would need to consume.  I had 8 more days before she left my house and I wanted her to see that, if done right, she could feel better.  We talked about her going straight home and making the call to get checked for diabetes.  

I was worried.  I was seeing her future.  I was seeing my kids without a grandmother.  I was being selfish because I wanted her to be healthy.  I wanted her to buy the kit to check her blood. To stay on top of how she was feeling.  I wanted her to talk to a nutritionist to help her with her diet.  I wanted her to stop eating crap food.


I wanted to scream…CHANGE DAMN IT!  Please, change so you will be around longer and not die.

I know enough about diabetes to understand that you can live a full life if treated properly and the right steps are taken to find balance in your diet.  My comment above is iterated with a level of frustration. I know my Mom and her situation and so I do worry.  She has struggled for years to get the weight off, she is a stress eater (usually sweets) and she enjoys sweets.  Change is needed, but will it happen?

I can't make my Mom eat the right foods if she does not want to.  She must make the change not me.  It's hard being a family member and watching someone deal with diabetes and the onset of diabetes when they are not willing to accept that they have or could have it.  She did go home and had the test done.  She was counseled that she was border line diabetic and that changes needed to be made.  A few months later she started a treatment of medicines.

In writing this I understand that the only person I can influence and change 100% is me.  It starts with each of us.  We must listen to our bodies.  We need to stop pretending that fast food restaurants, processed food and that exercising is not vital to our health.  I believe it is.  We must become aware and do something.  I made the change.  I stopped eating wheat, I don't eat processed food on a regular basis, I exercise so I don't allow myself to get over weight.  I have experienced several episodes where my sugar dropped and that was all it took.  I felt awful during those times.  I knew immediately when I started feeling this way what my future would look like, I had watched my Mom and Grandma go through similar episodes and I refused to take that road. If my genes dictate it, I still could get diabetes, but I am trying to do everything I can with my diet to prevent this from happening.

It took three generations in my family for someone to finally say enough was enough.  I will not stop suggesting ways that my Mom can improve her diet.  To encourage her to fight through the urges of eating junk food in place of whole foods. To exercise even if it is only 10-15 minutes a day.  Changes can be made with help and support.

The efforts of such organizations as the International Diabetes Federation and American Diabetes Association help bring education, research and support groups to all of those suffering and learning to live with diabetes or those issued with caution to change before a more serious action is required.

The opinions expressed here in this post are mine, a daughter who is frustrated.  I love my Mom with all my heart and I just want the best for her.  My research into this disease has just begun.  I hope to learn more through the other post that are being shared today.  Awareness is a wonderful thing.

If you have symptoms of diabetes  or suspect that you might, go talk to your healthcare physicians. Try to stay on top of it or in front of the disease before it's too late.  I believe early detection and monitoring is one of the keys to success.

If you have been advised to cut back on sugar and carbs, then seek out a support group, do the research and make it a priority to get better and feel good again. 

I will say it again, change is hard. I know.  Keep fighting and surround yourself and your family members with support, love and hope.

 

This is an easy recipe with healthy ingredients.

Recipe:  Cannellini and Turkey Meatball Soup
Servings: 4

Meatballs:
Makes 32 small meatballs
1 pound ground turkey
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 tablespoons finely diced onion
1 egg
1/3 cup of almond meal (optional)

Soup:

1 box of low sodium chicken broth (32 ounces)
1 can of canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thinly
1 carrot, sliced into small thin rounds
1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
meatballs (see recipe below)
2 cups of bok choy, spinach leaves or chard, rinsed and cut into 1 inch wide strips
shredded Romano Cheese for topping soup (optional)

To make meatballs:  Preheat oven to 375.  Combine all of the meatball ingredients.  Using a cookie scoop, scoop meatballs onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes for small bite size meatballs.  If you chose to make them larger you will need a longer bake time.

To make soup:  In a large pot add chicken broth, beans, onion, carrots and oregano. Bring to a boil.  Let simmer for 6-8 minutes until carrots are soft.  Add meatballs and your choice of greenery (bok choy, chard or spinach leaves).  Cook for 5 minutes until greenery is wilted.

Serve soup garnished with Romano cheese.

   




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

230. Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes



Garlic.  CHECK

Potatoes.  CHECK

Parmesan.  CHECK

Oh how I love a good roasted potato especially in the cool months ahead.

As a kid we ate potatoes by the bag full.  My grandmother made the smoothest, creamiest mashed potatoes I have ever had.

In the mornings she would make fried potatoes with onions for our breakfast.

She added potatoes to her soups, her roast dinners and served little red boiled potatoes.

I think it may be our English/Irish heritage by we love any potato: red, yellow, gold, brown.


As an adult I try to limit how often we have potatoes in my little family.  For this reason, I am always trying to make the BEST style of potatoes.  We still love mashed but this new version is our favorite.

It is crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside.  DELICIOUS!



Recipe: Parmesan Roasted Potatoes


8-10 gold and red potatoes, quartered
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of salt
Pepper to taste
2 large onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 400.

In a bowl toss potatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

In a large cookie sheet melt the stick of butter.

Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over melted butter.

Add potatoes to cookie sheet. Sprinkle sliced onions in between potatoes so that the whole cookie sheet is covered with either potatoes or onions.

Bake for 30 minutes, then turn potatoes and onions. Bake for another 30 minutes until they are golden brown.

Serve immediately.






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