Monday, November 30, 2009

The Overripe Banana

Earlier this morning before Breakfast I glanced over to the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter. One overripe Banana remained. Hmmm, it did not really look very appetizing. Then again, Bananas have never been a favorite fruit of mine, so I cannot imagine that a piece of yellow fruit speckled with brown spots would be very appealing to me. Yes, I’ve read articles stating that Bananas contain Potassium. O.K., I get that. I eat one almost every day, but it has to look “just right”. Bananas are not juicy and scrumptious to me like Oranges and Apples are. For that reason I like to hide them in other foods. Oatmeal is a great example!

On a chilly morning a bowl of Creamy Oatmeal prepared with Quaker Old Fashioned Oats tastes so good. Especially if it is flavored with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar and Nutmeg. Having a little Banana flavoring does not hurt this tasty, healthy bowl of warm cereal. Actually, it is quite delicious!

After enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving my fridge is mostly empty, but a partial carton of Soy Milk was located. So, I had plans for the remaining piece of overripe fruit. Following the directions on the Quaker Oat canister for preparing Oatmeal, I added in one overripe Banana that was cut into slices. In preparing Oatmeal, I omit the Salt and sprinkle in Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Brown Sugar - according to taste. If the combo sits in the pot for 5 minutes before applying the heat, a creamier Oatmeal is the result.

The flavor was great and the Banana slices melted, so they were not even noticed! It made some pretty tasty oatmeal!

Do you enjoy warm Oatmeal on a cold morning?


Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Looking outdoors it is a typical November day in New England. A gentle breeze rustles a few of the remaining leaves on the tree branches. The sky is gray, but inside my home the picture looks quite different. Butternut Squash Bread is baking in my oven. Yesterday, the Apple Bread was baked, cooled, wrapped in foil and placed in the large freezer downstairs. (Click links for printable recipe cards.) Tomorrow, baking Cranberry Bread is on the agenda.

Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, has always been my piemaking day - Cherry, Mincemeat and Butternut Squash Custard. Everyone in my family has two favorites of the three choices, except for me – I like all three!

What is your favorite?

Two days after Thanksgiving it is a tradition for my family to enjoy Turkey a la King for dinner. I substitute chunks of Turkey for Chicken in the recipe. It is quick and easy! Do remember the Cranberry Sauce!

This past weekend my sewing machine was humming along. I spent some time creating and adding autumn embellishments to new guest towels. Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts has the cutest fall fabric. Soon, I will be working with the Christmas fabric that I purchased. Do you visit Jo-Ann’s and see visions of items that you may make? I sure do. That is how my Guest Towel Project started. Now, I am almost ready for Thanksgiving!

Later this week when you get together with family members/friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving! It is a great time of year to remember all of the good things that we have and do for others and also the helpful people that we know.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Plan B to the Rescue!

Last Sunday afternoon I was determined to try a new muffin recipe. The Applesauce Oatmeal Raisin Muffin batter was placed in the muffin liners. My timer buzzed, so I KNEW that my oven was pre-heated and the muffin tray could go in.

My oven takes 20 minutes to pre-heat, so that is my time frame to work fast and get the food ready for the baking phase. However, on Sunday afternoon I was not attentive to the fact that my stove was not getting hotter.

Somehow, a Plan B usually steps in. No, it was not buying a dozen muffins from the local donut store. Gazing up at my trustworthy Spacemaker Microwave (of 20 years) I remembered a section in my Microwave Cookbook on “baking” muffins in the microwave.

Time to take out that cookbook!

Following the directions and using a small Pyrex pie plate, four muffins cooked at once in triple paper liners. The result – moisty, yummy and quite unusual shaped muffins … but they do taste great!

On Monday we called John, our local, reliable appliance repairman. He arrived in the afternoon and replaced the oven’s electronic igniter. Thank you, John! That afternoon we ordered the fresh turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner from our local grocery store.

The timing for my oven to need some attention was perfect! Thanksgiving would not feel the same if I was not able to use my mom’s Butternut Squash Custard Pie recipe (click here) and bake the pie two days before our dinner! The tradition of my family savoring a slice of the pie with a dollop of whipped cream lives on!

We will enjoy this pie, again!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great Minestrone

On a damp, chilly day a bowl of homemade soup that has been simmering on the stove tastes so good! Yesterday, the overcast sky brought showers, so it was definitely a day to make Great Minestrone. Great Minestrone (click for recipe) is filled with colorful, nutritious vegetables. Three 14.5 oz. cans of College Inn Light and Fat Free Chicken Broth were added to the combination of veggies along with some herbs. In my pantry was a box of Orzo, so I used 1 Cup of Orzo rather than Macaroni. Everything simmered in my 4-quart pot for 45 – 60 minutes.

The wonderful aroma in my kitchen helped erase the gloomy weather outdoors. Oh, the soup smelled so good while it was bubbling. I stirred it occasionally while it was simmering. Before serving, I noticed that it was a little thick, so I added one additional 14.5 oz. can of Chicken Broth and heated the Minestrone for a few additional minutes. It simmered once again. The Orzo had absorbed liquid while cooking.

After enjoying a warm bowl of Great Minestrone with dinner, as usual, there were extra portions. After cooling, the extra soup was placed in labeled/dated Ziploc Freezer containers and stored in my freezer. On another chilly day a warm bowl of soup will taste scrumptious!

This soup can be defrosted overnight in the fridge. To prepare place in a pot along with an additional 14.5 oz. can of Light and Fat Free Chicken Broth. More bowls of delicious, homemade soup await.

At this time of year grocery stores offer specials on College Inn Chicken Broth. Yes, I do stock up on the 14.5 oz. cans. It is great to use when making Great Minestrone, Stuffing and also preparing Rice.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Such Tasty Pancakes!

At this time of year in Western MA yard work is a must! In many families either Saturday or Sunday brings out the raking/blowing leaves detail. We had been enjoying the long lasting colorful beautiful leaves on all of our trees this fall. But, at some point we knew that an abundance of leaves would flutter downward forming a carpet on our lawns. Most leaves are brown. Others are red or a golden color. There are town residents who hire local landscape services to remove the leaves. Other families take on the yearly challenge themselves. My hubby takes on this challenge for us.

Now, if you are planning on spending time outside taking care of the leaves detail on the weekend, a hearty breakfast is a must. Pancakes are an all time breakfast favorite in my household. Sitting down for breakfast and enjoying Awesome Oatmeal Pancakes is the best! After eating one bite you might ask - Is Oatmeal really an ingredient in these pancakes? They are very light!

These tasty pancakes are prepared in two steps. Step 1 - The evening before the pancakes will be made on the griddle, old-fashioned oats and buttermilk are mixed together in a large bowl and refrigerated.

Now, I have learned that doing this step about 16 hours before Step 2 results in lighter Awesome Oatmeal Pancakes. (Click for recipe).

Oh yes, they do freeze well, also. After breakfast, cool any extra pancakes. Each one can be placed in a separate sandwich bag and then stored in a labeled/dated Ziploc Freezer Bag. It makes for a great breakfast on another busy morning with the aid of a microwave!

Do you prepare pancakes? What kind do you make? Are there any extra pancakes after breakfast that you could place in your freezer?



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Send the Snickerdoodles Recipe!

One evening last week my older son sent me an e-mail with a request – Could you send me the Snickerdoodles recipe? A mom who loves to cook and to bake will respond to this type of request very quickly! It dealt with baking. I also knew that if he wanted a particular recipe, it was definitely a favorite from his childhood. When he was an undergrad in college I baked, packaged and mailed (click here) these soft, yummy cinnamon flavored cookies to him. A couple of years later, packages were mailed to his younger brother. This treat has also been mailed as part of birthday presents.

Now, his request could be answered very easily with a click here and a click there. On my website I posted this scrumptious recipe, perhaps one year ago. Clicking on the link would give my son easy access to a printable recipe card (click here).

O.K., I did add these little extra instructions: Store the cookies in an airtight container - they last about 3 - 4 days, before becoming a little crispy. Usually this favorite is eaten by then, anyway. And ... they do not freeze well.

Ah, Snickerdoodles, I need to bake a batch this week, also. :) Soon, I will be getting a text message telling me how everything worked out.

Do you bake Snickerdoodles? You and your family would enjoy them. Snickerdoodles look and taste so good! After the tasty cookies are baked, our cookie canister is emptied quickly. For that reason, I never have a picture to share of this delicious family favorite.