Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cider Plumped Raisins & Craisins

Yesterday was a blustery day blowing swirls of the light snow and the tree branches!  With our snow covered streets it was a Norman Rockwell winter picturesque morning.  Perhaps his paintings and illustrations quickly come to mind, because Stockbridge, MA is a little over an hour's drive west from our home on the MA Turnpike.  It is a fav road trip to visit this very familiar museum filled with his works. 

While the snow was blowing outside, we were very comfortable indoors.  The computers, the cell phones and the iPad were in constant use.  The question of the morning:  Would the Metro-North travel resume to NYC, anytime soon?

Breakfast was quick and yummy!  Whenever our freezer's supply of muffins is gone, (and it was gone) there are always Craisin Raisin Twists.  :)  Previously, I have posted about my fam's happiness of biting into a Pillsbury Flaky Cinnamon Twist that is filled with Plumped Raisins/Craisins.  Usually, I soak the dried fruit in Apple Juice for added flavor.  However, last week there was no apple juice to be found in my home.  However, we live in New England and cider is a staple in our fridge!  Cider it was! 

Yummy, I learned that Apple Cider gives Craisins & Raisins a nice tangy flavor.  In a 1 cup container (with a lid) fill 1/2 full with Craisins and/or Raisins.  Pour Cider to cover dried fruit and place lid on top and into the fridge.  I use a 1 Cup Ziploc.  Store in fridge for 2 days and the plumped fruit will be ready to use.  This stores well about 2 weeks in the fridge. 

As of yesterday morning we are liking the tang of Craisins & Raisins that have been swimming in Apple Cider.  The Flaky Cinnamon Twists were baked following the package directions (and until lightly browned) and adding 6-7 plumped Craisins/Raisins in the middle of the dough before twisting.

A quick and yummy breakfast included Cheesy Scrambled Eggs, half a Grapefruit & Coffee.     

We did enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This coming weekend enjoy the company of your family and friends!  It is a special time of year that allows  us to take a step back and appreciate the wonderful things that we all have.  

Peace to all and Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Ah, Sour Cream Sugar Cookies!  The Nutmeg makes them taste so yummy!  Can you tell they are my favs?  I really like baking these and also eating these.  They are the best Sugar Cookie I've ever tasted.  For that reason I bake them every year for special occasions.  My cookie cutters are ready! 

These delicious light cookies are made in two steps.  Day 1 make the dough.  Wrap and refrigerate.  On Day 2 the colored sprinkles are taken out of the cabinets along with the rolling pin and the cookie cutters.  Then, the fun begins!  Nibbling on a warm cookie that is cooling on the rack is the best.  These cookies are great AND they freeze very well.  Tomorrow the dough will be prepped.    

Printable recipe card.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Oven:  375°F
Bake:  10-11 Minutes
Yield:  About 5 dozen cookies depending on the size

1 Cup unsalted Butter, softened
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
4 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Sour Cream, can be Fat Free
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Day 1-
  1. In large bowl with electric mixer beat Butter and Sugar until light & fluffy.
  2. Add Egg, beat.
  3. Add in Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt & Nutmeg.
  4. While beating on Low, slowly add Flour, 1 Cup at a time.
  5. Add in Vanilla & Sour Cream, still beating on Low.  Then beat on Medium until well combined.  Dough will be stiff.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place on sheet of plastic wrap, fold.  
  7. Place wrapped dough on sheet of aluminum foil and wrap well.
  8. Refrigerate overnight.
Day 2-
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Unwrap dough and cut into four parts.
  3. On well floured surface, roll dough to 1/4" thickness.  Use cookie cutters.
  4. Place cookies on cookie pan/sheet 1" apart.  (Maybe 12 cookies per sheet.)
  5. Sprinkle with colored sugars.
  6. Bake 10 - 11 Minutes in 375°F oven.  Bottom of cookies will be a light golden brown.
  7. Remove with spatula to wire racks.
  8. When cool, store in airtight container.  Cookies can also be placed in freezer.
I always sample a cookie or two.  It's all part of "quality control".  Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are just the best!

It's also a tradition in my kitchen that any leftover Sour Cream Sugar Cookie dough is used to make "Initial Cookies" for my fam.  Ropes are made from the leftover dough.  Then, the first letter of each family member's first name is shaped and placed on a cookie sheet.  Each letter is about 2"- 3" in height.  The last sheet of cookies are always the decorated initials for each family member.  :)   


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Roasted Yams & Carrots

With the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holidays, tasty, nutritious, easy to prepare foods are necessary.  Orange colored Yams or Sweet Potatoes and Carrots can be roasted together very easily.  One evening this past week I had both of these veggies to use.  This was a two for one roasting event to be enjoyed along with Haddock Plan B!  Now that we are wearing our winter coats, Haddock Plan B has become Plan A!  No more grilling outdoors until warmer weather... 

Roasted Yams/Sweet Potatoes & Carrots

Preheat oven to 425°F. 
Line a large cookie pan (with edges) with foil and spray with PAM
Roasting Time:  30 - 35 Minutes

The Yams were prepared first, because I coated them only with Olive Oil (for sauteing & baking). 

After washing the two Yams, they were cut into 3/4" slices.
Place in a Gallon Sized Ziploc Freezer Bag containing 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.  
Place Yam slices on the outer edges of the large cookie pan.

Tongs work well to place the coated veggies on the baking pan. :)  No sticky fingers.

Wash a 1 lb. bag of Baby Carrots in cold water.
Add 1/4 teaspoon Oregano, 1/4 teaspoon Basil, 1/4 teaspoon Garlic & 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper  to the Ziploc Bag.
Mix together. 
Place Carrots into Ziploc Bag and coat with the Olive Oil & Herbs. 
Place the Carrots in the center of the cookie pan. 

Roast 30 - 35 Minutes at 425°F.
Prick with a fork to determine tenderness. 

Not only did my home have a wonderful aroma of herbs, but the heat coming from my oven was very welcome on a cold December day!  :)  Dinner was delicious! 


Sunday, December 5, 2010

CranOrange Coffee Cake

This cute little Santa ornament hung on my family's Christmas Tree when I was a youngster.  Fortunately, there were Santas remaining in the set, so my sons each have one to hang on their trees, also.  :)  The holidays are approaching and it's time to get some Fam Fav goodies baked and into the freezer! 

About 12 years ago, a week before Christmas, I remember asking my older son if he could give me some input as to what our Christmas dessert might be.  I was clueless as what in the world I should bake.  His response, "Remember the CranOrange Coffee Cake you used to bake?"  O.K., I remembered, but I didn't realize that we hadn't enjoyed eating this appetizing Bundt cake in a very long time.  For that reason, I now bake it to enjoy at Christmas.  Yes, my daughter-in-law now has this recipe, too!  :)

CranOrange Coffee Cake is scrumptious, moisty and colorful.  The original recipe called for Ocean Spray CranOrange Relish.  However, for the past two years I have been unable to purchase this ingredient, so I've found a good substitutionAbout 8 ounces from a can of Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce plus 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Orange Extract.  Combine together and use.  The cake is baked in a Bundt or Tube Pan.  After baking & cooling, wrap in foil and freeze until the day before serving.

(Yes, it can be enjoyed after baking, cooling and icing, but over the years I've learned that it has a better flavor if we are patient and do not devour it within the day.  This cake is a wonderful fam fav in the freezer ready to eat.)

After removing from freezer, unwrap the cake and place on a special dish.  Drizzle the Almond Glaze on top.  A small scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream served on the side is a tempting addition.  Yummy! 

CranOrange Coffee Cake

Oven:  350°F
Time:  Bake 55 Minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

1 Stick (8 Tablespoons) Unsalted Margarine/Butter, softened
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Egg + 2 Egg Whites (or 2 Whole Eggs)
2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
*  *  *
8 ounces Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce Plus 
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Orange Extract
OR 1 container CranOrange Relish    

  1. Spray 9" or 10" Bundt Pan or Tube Pan with PAM & flour. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Using mixer, Cream Margarine/Butter with Sugar.
  4. Add 1 Egg + 2 Egg Whites (or 2 Whole Eggs) and blend well.
  5. Add dry ingredients alternating with Sour Cream.  End with the dry ingredients.
  6. Add Almond Extract.
  7. Combine 8 ounces Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Orange Extract in separate bowl , if needed.
  8. Place 1/2 of batter in Bundt Pan, spread evenly.
  9. Top with 1/2 of Sauce, spread.
  10. Carefully add remaining batter, spread.
  11. Follow with remaining Sauce, spread.
  12. Bake at 350°F for 55 Minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
  13. Cool on wire rack for 5 Minutes.
  14. Remove cake from pan and cool.
  15. After cooling, wrap in foil and freeze until needed.
The day before or many hours before CranOrange Coffee Cake will be enjoyed, remove from freezer and place on a cake dish.  Make Topping and Drizzle over top:

Blend 3/4 Cup Confectioner's Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Water and 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract until smooth.  

This week I will bake two CranOrange Coffee Cakes and they will be waiting in my freezer.  :) 

Do you have a family favorite that your family enjoys during the holidays?


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spice Facts

So often when I am baking the aromas of Cinnamon and of Nutmeg float from my kitchen to the other rooms in my home.  In desserts or in warm cereals when the weather is chilly, these are two of the spices that I often use.  Now, my Spice Rack contains mostly McCormick containers of savory fragrant useful baking ingredients.

History and facts are two fascinating areas for me.  This past weekend I stopped in and browsed through McCormick's website.  With a click here and a click there I learned more about the spices that I have been using for many years.  :)

On the back of my kitchen door hangs a double sided Durkee laminated chart that has always given me quick info about what herbs and spices would work well with various foods.

The printed charts are no longer mailed as incentives to cooks.  Mine is still used and is probably 30+ years young.  It's been a part of my kitchen for a loong time.  However, it's great to visit a website with the History & Facts!   

Now, I'd best get back to the K2, P2 ribbed hat that I've started knitting - for a gift.  Tomorrow the oven will be heated.  :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just Remember the Cranberry Sauce!!!

Jellied Cranberry Sauce is a must on our Thanksgiving Dinner table, just like Gravy!!!  A dish of the wiggly sauce will also accompany the Hot Turkey Sandwiches that we will enjoy on Friday!  Yummy!   :)  Oh, definitely, there will be moments when our fridge door will open and a "small" slice of moisty roasted turkey will be enjoyed as a snack, just because ...

However, it is customary on the second day after Thanksgiving, we will dine on Turkey a la King for our main meal.  Small bits of turkey along with carrots and peas in a creamy milk sauce placed over toasted oatmeal bread.  It's a much easier version of Turkey Pot Pie.  Is it easy?  You might ask.  Oh, it's very simple to prepare.  And also quick!  Just remember the Cranberry Sauce!!!  

Turkey a la King
Serves 2 - 3 Adults

1/4 cup Margarine/Butter, melted (I use unsalted.)
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chicken Broth (I use College Inn low fat, less salt.)
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Turkey chunks (cooked), more if desired
2 Cups Cooked Carrots and Peas
Toasted Bread

  1. Melt Margarine/Butter in skillet.
  2. Remove skillet from Medium heat and slowly stir in Flour. 
  3. Return to heat and slowly add in Chicken Broth and Milk while slowly stirring constantly.
  4. Continue stirring over heat until sauce is thick and bubbly.
  5.  Add Turkey chunks. 
  6.  Add in cooked vegetables.
  7. Stir and heat mixture.
  8. Serve over toasted Bread. 
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cranberry Bread

One never knows who/what the source of a delicious recipe may be!  Quite a few years ago one of my sons arrived home from school one afternoon with a RECIPE.  On this particular November day his school librarian had read a Thanksgiving story to his first grade class.  

Maggie & her grandmother lived in New England near a cranberry bog.  We lived in MA, so the story had kept his attention!  Her grandmother baked delicious Cranberry Bread.  Printed in the book was a recipe for the Cranberry Bread with the instructions "Get Mother to help".  My son's kind librarian had given each student a copy of the recipe to bring home to mom.  

There were bags of fresh Cranberries in our fridge, because Thanksgiving was the following week.  That weekend we baked Cranberry Bread using "his" recipe.  From that day on it became the recipe we would always use for Cranberry Bread.  It makes one mighty fine bread!  It also fit my requirements for a dessert recipe - the Sugar content was much less than the required Flour.  From the first time we baked this delicious moisty bread, I substituted 2 Egg Whites for the 1 Whole Egg.  The original recipe called for Golden Raisins and I have never used Raisins, only Cranberries. 

The recipe that became a family favorite was printed in the book Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin.  The book is no longer printed, but the included recipe is still enjoyed by my family.  :)  It makes one delicious, colorful, tasty, moisty bread.  I usually double the recipe and bake two.

Cranberry Bread


2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Butter/Margarine (softened)
2 Egg Whites (or 1 Whole Egg) beaten
3/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 Package Fresh Cranberries (rinsed in cold water and chopped)

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with PAM.
  3. Rinse Cranberries in cold water (using a colander)
  4. Chop Cranberries coarsely.
  5. Combine Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt and Baking Soda in large bowl.
  6. Cut in Butter/Margarine (with pastry blender or two knives) until mixture is crumbly.
  7. Add Egg Whites (or Egg) and Orange Juice and stir until moist.
  8. Add chopped Cranberries to batter and Fold in.
  9. Spoon batter into loaf pan. 
  10. Bake at 350° F for 1 Hour and 10 Minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  11. Cool on rack for 10 Minutes.
  12. Remove from pan and cool on rack.
  13. After cool, wrap in foil.
**My Extra Notes! 
  • Wait at least 5 hours after it has cooled to eat.
  • If baking two breads, double recipe and stagger the pans in the oven.
  • This bread Does Not Freeze Well.
  • Use Fresh Cranberries, not frozen.
Two days before Thanksgiving I will be baking two Cranberry Breads.  It is the best!!!  Yummy!

Do you bake Cranberry Bread to enjoy on Thanksgiving?


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Butternut Squash Muffins

After mashing the last batch of the Butternut Squash chunks that were in the large pot, 1 Cup of this tasty, orange veggie was refrigerated.  I had plans ...  Muffins!  Specifically, Butternut Squash Muffins - Yummy! During the month of November (especially before Thanksgiving) one of the ingredients in some of my baked goodies is Butternut Squash.  I learned this habit from my mom.  While growing up my fam had two large gardens.  Oh yes, Butternut Squash was one of our cherished veggies.  My mom did not bake goods with Pumpkin, but always substituted it with the plentiful orange colored tasty Butternut.  To this day, I still prefer using it.  I have used Pumpkin to see how it would taste/work, but discovered my mom knew what she was talking about.  Butternut Squash it is!   

It's a great ingredient in muffins!  The next day my 2 muffins pans were put to work.  One batch of these tasty treats requires only 1/2 Cup of Squash.  However, let me tell you whenever I am happily working in my kitchen, I seem to use many utensils and there are splatters in unusual places.  :)  So whenever I bake muffins, my rule is to make a double batch.  Sometimes, it may take an extra couple of minutes in the oven, but my freezer will be well fed!  It's always great to open the freezer door and locate a package of homemade muffins.  Yummy!  

A few years I started using Egg Whites, Soy Milk & Olive Oil as substitutions for Whole Eggs, Milk & Vegetable Oil/Butter or Margarine (melted/cooled) whenever possible.  Keeping in mind that 2 Egg Whites equals 1 Whole Egg.

These tasty muffins are so good with Raisins!  In my fam it's always all about the Raisins! This time the double batch did not last long nor did many muffins make it into our freezer!  The next day our sons and families had some goodies!  :)   

Butternut Squash Muffins
Oven:  400°F
Yield:  12 Muffins


1 and 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Egg Whites (or 1 Whole Egg)
1/2 cup Soy Milk
1/4 cup Olive oil (for Sauteing & Baking)
1/2 cup mashed Butternut Squash
1/2 cup Raisins  


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place muffin liners in muffin pan.
  3. Combine first 6 dry ingredients.  Stir to mix.
  4. Separate Egg Whites.  Place Egg Whites in small bowl and beat with fork.  (If using 1 Whole Egg, beat with fork.)
  5. Add Soy Milk (Milk), Olive Oil & Butternut Squash to Egg Whites, stir.
  6. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. 
  7. Add Raisins.
  8. Mix all ingredients until moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.
  9. Fill muffin cups by evenly dividing batter. 
  10. Bake 18 - 20 minutes in 400°F oven until muffins are lightly browned on top.  Double batch may take up to 4 additional minutes.
  11. Remove muffins from pan immediately.
  12. Cool muffins on racks.

Do you bake using Butternut Squash as an ingredient?  When making muffins do you bake a double batch as long as the utensils are being used?  Do you purchase an extra bag of Flour or Sugar if it is on sale during this time period?

My answer is yes to all three questions.  :)


Friday, November 5, 2010

A Batch of Butternut!!!

Steaming, orange, mashed Butternut Squash!  My family's fav fall vegetable! Now, it will be the fav veggie of spring, also, if I start to tackle that bushel of Butternut Squash that has been sitting patiently on our garage floor.  :)  The time has come...  As our temperatures at night have decreased, I realize that it is not wise to let those light orange colored beauties sit on a cold concrete floor.  So, it was time to get moving and prep those veggies for the freezer.  Portions of mashed Butternut Squash were placed in Freezer Ziploc Bags and placed in our freezer to be enjoyed throughout the winter/spring.   

It is one of my fall traditions.  I usually prep 6 squash at once. First, the Butternuts are rinsed/cleaned in cold water.  Then, carefully the skins are removed with the aid of my cutting board and a sharp knife.  Cut off & toss the stem and rounded top.  Then, the long top portion is cut into slices that are circles, and the skin cut off.  After removing the seeds, I do not save them, but do save as much of the orange veggie as possible in the surrounding area.  2" chunks of orange squash are placed in two large pots on my stove top.  (I use my 2 Dutch Ovens.) 

After adding cold water (to reach up about 2" in the pots), the heat is turned up to High.  After a Boil is reached, lower the heat and simmer about 13 - 15 minutes, until pieces can be pierced with a fork.  During the cooking minutes, stir the Squash pieces in the pot, so they soften equally.   After draining the squash using a colander, return the chunks to the large pots and mash.  

I pack about 2 Cups of mashed Squash in Ziploc Freezer Bags.  After labeling, store in freezer.  Whenever desired for dinner a bag is unwrapped and the frozen chunk of squash is placed in a Corning Ware container with a lid.  Reheat in the microwave.  Easy does it! 

Yes, squash can be purchased already mashed and boxed & frozen ready to heat.  I've seen boxes containing a mixture of various winter squashes that need butter/margarine or brown sugar/maple syrup for flavor.  I am really not into adding sweetness to veggies to help make them more tasty, but would rather save any desired sugar for dessert.  We are very fortunate here in Western MA - Butternut Squash is readily available to purchase when the harvest is ready.  I usually purchase them at Meadowbrook Farm.   

In the next couple of days 6 more Butternuts will be prepped and find their spot on my freezer shelf.  The bushel will contain even less.  I always save enough for either dinner or a yummy dessert that contains Butternut Squash.  That will be another post!  :)

Do you enjoy Butternut Squash?  At other times of the year in addition to Thanksgiving Dinner?



Friday, October 29, 2010

Slow Cooker Chili

My wooden Spice Rack has been a handy staple in my kitchen for over three decades.  :)  It's located on the wall and is my "go to" area whenever I am adding herbs &/or spices while cooking.  My DH had listened to my specifics for a Spice Rack, built it & stained it. Spaces for tall & short containers were included, much like a shadow box.  Today, I took a quick glance at the tall container of Chili Powder.  Plenty!

The Chili Powder will be used on Sunday for Red-Hot Chili.  Now that our evenings are a bit more brisk, nothing beats a warm bowl of hot Chili topped with a little Sour Cream and a slice of Rye Bread at dinner time!  My West Bend Slow Cooker will be used once again. 
This small appliance is so handy.  Requiring about 15 minutes prep work always results in one no fuss, fragrant, nutritious, hearty dinner.  Yum!  And quite often there are more servings remaining in my slow cooker's pot!  Now, that is an added bonus.    

Red-Hot Chili


About 1 lb. Ground Beef
(1) 14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
(2) cans Red Kidney Beans (about 19 oz. each)
Chopped Onions (dehydrated - 1 TBS.)
Chopped Parsley (dehydrated) - 1 TBS.
(2) tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Oregano
(2) 15 oz. Tomato Sauce

***Quite often I reach into my freezer and take out a little bag of Green Pepper strips to add while placing the ingredients in the pot.
  1. Spray cooking pot of Slow Cooker with PAM.
  2. Brown about 1 lb. Ground Beef in a frying pan.
  3. Place browned Beef in Cooking Pot.
  4.  Pour (1) can Diced Tomatoes on Beef.
  5. Drain, rinse in cold water & drain again (2) cans Red Kidney Beans.
  6. Place Kidney Beans on top of Tomatoes.
  7. Sprinkle on desired amount of dehydrated Chopped Onions & Chopped Parsley.
  8. Then sprinkle on Chili Powder, Garlic Powder & Oregano.  Add Green Peppers, if desired.
  9. Pour Tomato Sauce over top & spread.
  10. Place lid on top. 
  11. Set temperature to High for 2 and 1/2 hoursThen, reduce to Medium for 1/2 hour.
Before serving, stir the Red-Hot Chili.  Your family will know dinner is ready.  :)  We enjoy a spoonful of Fat Free Sour Cream on top.  And Rye Bread on the side!  

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Sherbet Punch!!!

Every fall during mid October our Halloween decorations find their way out of hibernation.  At this time of year I also always remember the Halloween Sherbet Punch.  It's a yummy, frothy, orange beverage that we, especially my sons & their friends, would always enjoy whenever our family and friends (both young and old) got together. 

Our punch bowl's ladle would be in constant use.  The stack of cups would need to be replenished.  And ... the punch bowl's ingredients, too.  :)  There are two ingredients to this delicious brew:  Orange Sherbet & 7-Up Soda.  O.K., I use the Diet 7-Up to save a a few calories here.  

The quantity of needed ingredients depends on number of guests.

Halloween Sherbet Punch

For each 1 Quart Orange Sherbet
Use 2 Bottles (Diet) 7-Up Soda (refrigerated)

  1. In large punch bowl place 1 Quart Sherbet.
  2. Pour (2) bottles of 7-Up Soda in bowl, pouring some over Sherbet. 
  3. Stir a little to mix.
  4. Results in frothy, softened Sherbet.
  5. Ladle into cups, adding some of the Sherbet.
  6. Replenish the 7-Up & Sherbet, as needed.
Your goblins will enjoy what you have brewed!  



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Raisin Craisin Apple Crisp!!!

What a great sunny Columbus Day Weekend it was!  The chilly mornings and the orange pumpkins went hand in hand along with the yearly ride to Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow to purchase the "bushel of Butternut Squash"!  What a wonderful time of year in Western MA!  

For me it also marks baking the first Apple Crisp of the season with the local crisp Cortland apples.  A slice of homemade Apple Pie always tastes great, but if there is no time to roll out the pie crust, Apple Crisp it is!!!  Raisins & Craisins (dried cranberries) mixed in with the apple slices before the baking dish is placed into the oven.  :)  The aromas of Cinnamon & Nutmeg coming from my oven always linger on... The rose colored Pyrex baking dish is used so often filled with seasonal goodies.  Yummy!

The servings of Apple Crisp above only need the large scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Mmmm! 

 Apple Crisp  

Oven Temperature:  375°
Time:  About 45 Minutes

6-7 peeled sliced Apples (I use Cortland or Empire & sometimes 8 Apples.)

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar (I use a little less.)
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/3 Cup + 1 TBS. softened Butter or Margarine
*  *  *
1/4 Cup Raisins + Craisins (total amount)

  1. Preheat oven.
  2. Spray 8"x8" glass pan with PAM.
  3. Combine dry Topping Ingredients in small bowl.  
  4. Measure Butter/Margarine and place on top of dry ingredients to soften.
  5. Peel + slice Apples.  Place in glass pan.
  6. Add Raisins & Craisins.  Mix with Apple slices.
  7. Mix softened Butter/Margarine with dry ingredients.
  8. Sprinkle mixture over Apple slices.  
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 45 Minutes or until apples are tender.  
  10. After baking, pierce center with a fork to test for "doneness".  Bake additional 5 minutes, if needed, test again.
  11. Serve warm or chilled with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream. 
  12. Cover & refrigerate any leftovers.
Do you bake desserts containing Apples?  With Oats?   

We did enjoy it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Zucchini Muffins

Many years ago more than a few gardeners would use some of their abundant Zucchini crop in baking Zucchini Bread.  Perhaps I had baked too many dessert breads of this particular variety to enjoy the taste any longer.  And then many years passed...  

Cupcakes are a dessert to be enjoyed on special occasions or "just because".  Quite often this past summer while I browsed through magazines, read articles and read other blogs, Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting recipes were appealing to and baked by many individuals.  I was ready to enjoy the taste of Zucchini as a dessert once again.  It has been a few years.  :)  Perhaps it'd be a good idea to ignore the Cream Cheese Frosting with the additional calories. 

I located many and baked three different recipes.  Each recipe I tried contained a lesser amount of sugar - it's that calorie thing, once again.  The last recipe that I baked (and have done many times this past summer) was located on allrecipes.com  Janet Pierce shared a recipe, Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins that results in moisty delicious muffins.  Thank you!  She also shared that she freezes these muffins.  That was a selling point for me.    
This past week there were two green Zucchini in my fridge.  Considering that autumn has arrived, what better way to use these Zucchini than make a double batch of Zucchini Muffins?  I now use Janet Pierce's recipe, but do not include the chocolate chips nor the chopped walnuts.  I also substituted Egg Whites (2 Egg Whites equals 1 Whole Egg when baking), Olive Oil for Sauteeing & Baking and Soy Milk.  In my family it's always "all about the Raisins", so I added 3/4 Cup Raisins.  Plus about 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg.  A double batch of the Zucchini Muffins was baked with two-thirds of the baked goodies placed in my freezer.  The total baking time for 24 muffins was 28 minutes.

They are so good!
We are enjoying them!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Flowers!

Michaels Arts & Crafts Store is definitely one of my favorite places.  Whenever I realize that a new seasonal table arrangement or door decoration is needed, Michaels is my destination.  I enjoy arranging silk flowers.  It's a fun hobby to take the purchased floral stems, cut the selected flower/flowers to a desired length and place the stem ends into a foam block that has been glued inside the bottom of a container.  One placed here, another there.  There is no time limit and I find it quite relaxing.    

About two weeks ago when I shopped, it was a tad more fun to wander in the front aisles of Michaels, because all of the floral stems were discounted 50%.  Yes, definitely I knew this before my car left our driveway.  Purchasing an item on sale is the way to go.  That is my belief with most items, unless it is needed pronto.    

After Thanksgiving last year I did take advantage of the Michaels specials on containers/baskets.  The fall colored basket that I had chosen last year would be filled this fall with autumn colored flowers.

My DH takes care of the first step a day or two before I plan to start my new floral arrangement.  A foam block is cut & glued down inside the container.  Then, the highest flower's stem is cut (with wire cutters) and placed in the center and pushed down into the foam.  One additional flower is placed on each end of the container.  Those are the guidelines.  Turning the container/basket constantly while cutting & pressing the stems down, the project is completed.  Today's project took about an hour while the raindrops were falling.  :)  

Do you find hobby supplies at Michaels? 



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Banana Cream of Wheat!

It is official!  It's Autumn!  On some mornings when the weather gets a bit chilly, hot Cream of Wheat cereal makes one very warm, filling, tasty breakfast.  It's quick - takes 2 minutes and 30 seconds to simmer on top of the stove.  It's easy - 2 ingredients - the dry cereal and the Milk.  I use Soy Milk.  No optional Salt for me.  The familiar red box states that this prepared cereal contains Calcium and also Iron.  Now, this is where those brown spotted overripe Bananas sure do come in handy.  O.K., I use three ingredients.  

By following the directions on the Cream of Wheat box while preparing, I also add a sliced Banana to the dry cereal plus milk in the pot before bringing the mixture to a boil and then simmering.  What a delicious taste - I might even murmur that I do like the taste of a Banana, on occasion that is.  :)

Two mornings ago it was a Cream of Wheat AM.  Now, it feels like summer, again.  Ah, New England at its best!   

Do you enjoy hot cereal on cold mornings?          

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Time to Heat the Grill...

As we made the left turn into our driveway, the vibrant colors in the cut-out on the right greeted us!  These colorful gorgeous Zinnias grew from seeds that were saved from last year's plants.  There are even more buds ready to burst open.  What a nice welcome!

After breathing in the salty air at the Cape (Cape Cod) for a few days it's great to enjoy our fall weather "back home".  Relaxing at Nauset Beach during the day and dining out in the evening...  Quite often Swordfish was listed on many menus.  However, no longer do I order that tasty fish while dining out.  I know that our local grocery store, The Big Y, carries the "wild caught" fresh Swordfish steaks at this time of year.  So, the first dinner at home this year after our vacation included Grilled Swordfish.  That's a change!  :) 

Now that I'm back into a routine, it's also time for me to remember the daily habit of "enjoying" a Banana every day for the Potassium content.  My blogging buddies know well that I try to hide or even ignore that healthy yellow fruit whenever possible!  :)  However, today's lunch - Yummy Yogurt with a little Peach Freezer Jam drizzled on top, all with a sliced Banana (ripened just right).  Cannot forget the tall glass of O.J.

Whenever I think of Bananas, I remember Dr. Seuss's great book "Green Eggs and Ham"!  I do like that book.  Bananas?  Ummmmm...

Is there a food that you do not particularly enjoy, but eat anyway?

Tonight we used our outdoor grill, again - Grilled Sockeye Salmon!
We enjoyed it!


Monday, September 6, 2010

What? No Buttermilk???

Usually, I am very aware of what is in my fridge. Usually, I have all of the necessary ingredients for a recipe.  Usually I recognize the difference between an opened and an unopened container on the top shelf in the fridge, even if it is located in the back.  The important word here is usually. Every morning I consider black coffee to be in its very own important food group. So this AM after enjoying a cup of my necessary first food group, I was ready to start in on the Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes for breakfast. The variety of pancakes we did not have last weekend.  I was envisioning a breakfast of light fluffy cakes dotted with dark blueberries.  A stream of maple syrup would be dripping down the pile on a plate. Yummy!

After the majority of ingredients were ready, only the liquid needed to be added to the batter. Once again the fridge door was opened, but the familiar quart container of Fat Free Buttermilk was no where to be seen. So, thinking way back into the depths of the memory to what I sometimes did years ago when 1 Cup of Buttermilk was needed but not to be found...  1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice is placed in a liquid measuring cup and Milk added to make 1 Cup. O.K. I needed 3 Cups, easy enough. I had Lemon Juice and I had 1% Milk.

The resulting batter was o.k. The pancakes tasted good. Maple Syrup did roll down the stack just as I had envisioned. :) There were many pancakes to place in our freezer - always an added plus.  My DH gave them 2 thumbs up!  Sweet! 

However, my light fluffy cakes dotted with dark blueberries were no where to be seen. :( You know the expression - Flat as a Pancake.

Well, last week the opened quart container in the fridge had been tossed, because it only contained a small portion of Buttermilk.  The grocery list containing the word Buttermilk was lost on the way to the grocery store.  Then, getting ready to drive into Boston for the Boston College Football game took top billing. 

Ah, next time I better double check the Fat Free Buttermilk situation.  My flat pancakes tasted good and more are located in our freezer.  But more importantly, BC won the game!  :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blueberry or Oatmeal???

As the saying goes, "Variety is the spice of life."  It's also quite amusing at times.  Unless there is a blizzard, an ice storm or a heat wave (like currently here in New England) my hubby & I take a daily walk.  The exercise is important for health and it's a great way to greet our neighbors as we move along.  There is always time for a friendly, "Hi!"

Baseball caps add protection from the sun, so it is not unusual for us to wear our favs.  However, at first not all of our neighbors realized that we cheer on rival baseball teams.  Yup, it the Red Sox and the Yankees.  It's comical when suddenly an individual will discover this fact.  :)  Unfortunately, my team has had many injuries this season...

This past weekend our sons & families were in for a family visit/neighborhood Get Together.  Saturday AM arrived very quickly with many last minute preparations.  Hearty Pancakes that have been prepared, ready and waiting in our freezer always work so well for quick breakfasts.  Earlier in the week a quart of Fat Free Buttermilk was in my fridge.  A dilemna - which Pancake to make - Blueberry Buttermilk or Oatmeal with Strawberry Topping?  You guessed it -  my hubby enjoys the Blueberry and I am so partial to anything containing oats.  Our son likes both Strawberries & Blueberries.  The last couple of batches of Pancakes this summer I've made Blueberry Buttermilk, so this time Awesome Oatmeal Pancakes with defrosted Strawberry Topping it was.

Much to my surprise, our son added his own touch to his breakfast ...

There always is a canister of Reddi-wip on the top shelf of our fridge.  Just like the ole' days!  :)  This week located next to the Reddi-wip is a new quart of Fat Free Buttermilk!

Does everyone in your family have the same fav Pancake?
Enjoy this Labor Day weekend.
If you are in Earl's path - Be safe!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Peachy Craisin Crisp

The trip to Calabrese Farms in Southwick, MA on Friday afternoon resulted in purchasing local, fresh, juicy, fragrant Peaches!  If you enjoy making Freezer Jam, as I do, it is time to get moving when the fruit is ripe!  Yesterday a batch of Peach Freezer Jam was prepared.  In a couple of hours it will be stored in our large freezer downstairs.  The afternoon began with preparing Freezer Jam and ended with one very tasty dessert - Peachy Craisin Crisp.  Yummy!  

It has become a tradition for me to bake this scrumptious dessert after making the jam.  I'm sure it's due to the fact that not only are the juicy 6 - 7 Peaches in my fridge, but my kitchen counters and stove contain all of the necessary utensils.  My rose colored Pyrex container can be located quickly.  It's 8" x 8" size is perfect to use.  The combination of Peaches and of dried Cranberries is scrumptious in this dessert with an oat topping. 

***After washing the Peaches in cold water, the skins of the fruit need to be removed.  To remove the skin easily, carefully place each Peach in simmering water for about 35 seconds.  Using a slotted spoon, remove each Peach and place on a plate to cool.  When the fruit can be comfortably handled, peel and cut fruit into slices.  :)
Peachy Craisin Crisp

Oven Temperature:  375° F    
Baking Time:  About 45 Minutes

6 - 7 sliced Peaches
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/3 Cup softened Butter or Margarine
1/4 Cup Craisins (dried cranberries)

  1. Preheat oven.
  2. Spray PAM in glass baking dish.
  3. Place sliced Peaches in baking dish.  Sprinkle on Craisins and mix.
  4. In small bowl combine remaining ingredients thoroughly.  Sprinkle over Peaches.
  5. Bake 45 minutes or until Peaches are tender.  
  6. Serve warm or cold topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  7. After cool, cover and refrigerate any leftovers. 
This is a great dessert filled with slices of fresh fruit!  An added plus is that there is no pie crust to roll out on a warm summer day if this delicious fresh dessert is prepared.  Sweet!  Do you bake using fresh peaches?