Friday, December 23, 2016

~Merry Christmas!~

Storrowton Village Museum is located in West Springfield, MA.  We live on the east side of the Connecticut River & this beautiful village is located on the west side of the river.  It's a quick drive over a bridge.  Every year in early December a quaint fun adventure awaits when we travel back to this 19th century village-
                           "Yuletide at Storrowton"

Wreaths & garlands decorated the historic homes.  Arriving at the Gilbert House a dainty, yet tasteful decoration welcomed us at the door.

Once inside, a simple yet very elegant table decoration was found in the Parlor

A quick walk into the Kitchen to learn what would be served at dinner- a Roasted Chicken, stuffed Squash & baked Gingerbread! 


The cooking area had decorations with a 21st century touch.  

 The Schoolhouse was the next stop!

After stepping inside it was easy to chat with the Schoolteacher.  Her rod was on her desk- decorated with a red ribbon.

The Meeting House is in the background!

It was a beautiful day in early December!  We also learned a little local history.

We enjoyed!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies!

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies!
It's cookie time!!!  I'm talking about cookies that are baked for special occasions!  The ones that your family members/ friends will just love!  After taking the first bite of this soft rolled out cookie, suddenly it's gone.  The flavor of Nutmeg is a pleasant surprise. Imagine your cookie canister filled with these yummy cookies of different shapes and they're topped with colorful sprinkles.  They are light, too.  Sour Cream is another ingredient.  (I use Light Sour Cream.)  These Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are made in a 2 step process.  Get ready to bake a batch!  Find your rolling pin, cookie cutters & colorful sprinkles!  These are the best ever! 

Getting ready!
***HintButter is the ingredient that I use here, not Margarine.  I've found the dough to be difficult to roll out when I've used Margarine.  

On Day 1- The dough is prepared.  Then, it's refrigerated.  I always wrap the mound of dough in plastic wrap.  Then wrap it a second time- the second time in aluminum foil.  Into the fridge it goes.

On Day 2- Find your holiday cookie cutters, colorful sprinkles, rolling pin & rolling mat.  It's baking day!      

Rolling out the dough!
Dough wrapped in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil.
(File Photo)
A week before Christmas I bake a batch of these family favorites.  After cooling, they are packed in Ziploc Freezer Bags & stored in the freezer.


Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Oven:  375°F
Yield:  About 5 dozen, depending on size

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

Colored Sugars for Decorating
Cookie Cutters


Day 1-
  1. In large bowl with electric mixer beat Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add Egg, beat.
  3. Add in Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Nutmeg. 
  4. While beating on Low, slowly add Flour, 1 Cup at a time.
  5. Add in Vanilla and Sour Cream. Beat on Medium until well combined. Dough will be stiff
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place on plastic wrap, wrap dough. 
  7. Place wrapped dough on 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 pan/ sheet 1" apart. (Maybe 12 cookies to a sheet.)
  5.  Sprinkle with colored sugars.
  6.  Bake 10 - 11 Minutes. Bottom of cookies will be a light golden brown.
  7.  Remove with spatula to wire cooling racks. 
  8. When cool, store in airtight containers.  
These Sour Cream Sugar Cookies freeze very well!  I always bake them before Christmas, package in Ziploc Freezer Bags & freeze these yummy decorated treats.

Go to your grocery list & add Sour Cream & Butter to it!  These are the best rolled out sugar cookies- ever!!!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Santa Consulting Globe"

"Santa Consulting Globe"
by Norman Rockwell
The Saturday Evening Post Cover
December 4, 1926
Norman Rockwell's work for The Saturday Evening Post  is always great to revisit!  Living in Western Massachusetts & appreciating his work, it's a tradition for my hubby & I to travel to the Berkshires (farther west in my state) & visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.  We visit at least once during the year.

In 1926 The Saturday Evening Post cost 5 cents.  On December 4, 1926 the magazine was printed with a Norman Rockwell Santa Claus.  Santa is studying the globe, planning his route, so he may visit all of the "good" children when he makes his journey around the earth.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Knitted Penguins

Two Happy Penguins
Knitted- Directions: Red Heart Yarn
One day via Twitter, Red Heart Yarn had shared the pattern for an adorable black Penguin with a bright red scarf.  It was just so cute!  Taking a quick glance at the directions I bookmarked the pattern.  (Click here for pattern.)  Quickly, I made plans to make 2 of these little cuties- one for each grandson.

Much like my "fabric stash", I have a "yarn stash".  In this project, I used both!  I had red yarn & I had white yarn.  A quick trip to Michael's & I had black yarn.  I'd be knitting 2 penguins, so I decided to make each Penguin's scarf & sweater a different color!  In my "stash" was a blue tweed yarn.  It was leftover from my hubby's knitted rib winter hat.  That had been my project last year.  There's always the clicking of knitting needles going on here.  Knitting is a FuN hobby that my mom taught me back when I was a lot younger.  In other words, I've been knitting for- well- decades. 

These Penguins are just adorable!  2 sizes of  knitting needles are needed for this project:
  • The Penguin body- double pointed US #3 knitting needles.
  • The scarf is knitted with US #6 single point knitting needles.
  • A Yarn Needle is also needed to stitch the seam & also attach the flippers.
After knitting the body & flippers of the Penguin, the eyes & mouth buttons were securely sewn on the face.  To sew them securely on the knitted face, a small piece of Bias Tape was placed on the back of the face- where each button would be sewed.

Eyes & Mouth sewed on-
using Bias Tape
Then, I sewed up 2/3 of the back seam of each Penguin starting at the bottom.  I placed it flat (on my ironing board) with the front facing me.

***Staring at the body I realized that after it was sewn together & stuffed, there could be an issue of the stuffing seeping out between the knitted stitches.  That was not good!  That led to making a body Liner.   

To make a body Liner to stuff:
The next step was tracing the knitted body on newsprint.  I then had a pattern to use while cutting the Liner from light weight jersey fabric.  Cut 2 liner body pieces for a Penguin.  Sew the 2 pieces together leaving the bottom open.

The next step? 
The body Liner was stuffed & the bottom seam stitched by hand.

Stuffed Body Liners-
ready to insert
The stuffed Liner was placed inside the knitted Penguin.  The back seam on the Penguin was completed using the Yarn Needle & yarn.  Then, the flippers were sewed in place, too, using yarn. 

The plump little Penguin needed a scarf.  Tie the scarf just under the face & pull tightly.  I sewed it in place with yarn (using the scarf's color) and also tacked the long scarf in place.

To stand- push bottom of Penguin in.  

What cute little Penguins!  After the first Penguin was completed, I was on my way to finish off the second one- complete with a colorful scarf!  Soon, I'll be working on another!

This is a FuN project to keep or to give as a gift.  Again click here for the pattern.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Turkey a la King

Turkey a la King
over Toasted Oatmeal Bread
(File Photo)
What's for dinner???  Oh, it's become a tradition!  Every year over the Thanksgiving Weekend I make Turkey a la King for dinner using the remaining pieces of roasted Turkey.  Forget making a pie crust & preparing a deep dish or a Turkey pot pie.  A lot of cooking has been going on & this is a quick, nutritious, colorful & yummy dinner.  A creamy sauce that's filled with tender chunks of roasted Turkey & cooked veggies served over toasted bread.  Easy is good & in this case, easy also tastes delicious!

And, an added plus is that I usually have enough roasted Turkey remaining to make a triple batch.  You know what that means!  After the a la King cools, the extra servings are packed into Ziploc Freezer containers & placed in the freezer. 

Oh, this dinner freezes very well.  I usually place a container in the fridge the night before serving again.  It will defrost & only need reheating.  When reheating, add a little more Milk.  The sauce will be smooth & creamy when stirred and served over toasted bread!  

The recipe below is for 1 batch.

Turkey a la King
      Serves 2 - 3 Adults

1/4 Cup Margarine/ Butter (I use unsalted.)
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chicken/ Turkey Broth
     (I use College Inn Light & Fat Free Chicken Broth.)
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Turkey chunks (cooked), cut up, more if desired
2 Cups cooked Carrots & Peas (or Mixed Vegetables)

 Sliced Bread, Toasted- 1 or 2 slices/ person

  1.  Melt Margarine/ Butter in large skillet/ large pot.
  2.  Remove skillet from Medium heat and slowly stir in Flour.  
  3.  Return to heat and slowly add in Chicken Broth & Milk while slowly stirring constantly.
  4.  Continue stirring over heat until sauce is thick and bubbly. 
  5.  Add cooked Turkey chunks.
  6.  Add in cooked vegetables.
  7.  Stir and heat mixture for 1 - 2 Minutes.
  8.  Serve over toasted Bread.
What a great reminder of Thanksgiving whenever we enjoy portions that are just waiting in our freezer!  This has also become a comfort food on a cold night!  There's been a chill in the air today.  Winter will soon be here.    


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

~The Mayflower's Journey~

I wish you all
a Happy Thanksgiving Day 
& Weekend!!!

As you are enjoying this weekend, history & the voyage of the Mayflower may be of interest.  Here is a Post I wrote in November of 2012.

Happy Reading! 

Apple Crisp with Craisins & Raisins

Apple Crisp
with Craisins & Raisins

(File Photo)

There's a dessert change going on here for Thanksgiving Day dinner!  A treat with Apples & dried Cranberries are perfect for this time of year.  The Cortland Apples have been purchased!  Usually my rolling pin & pastry sheet are used the day before Thanksgiving.  Well, I've been cutting back on baking desserts for the past few months, so this year Apple Crisp with Craisins & Raisins will be baked today.  The yummy crustless dessert with slices of sweet apples along with Craisins & Raisins.  It also has a toasted oat topping that begs for a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Oh, yum!

My fave apple to use here is a crispy Cortland.  In the early part of Autumn, I use McIntosh Apples.  Once the Cortlands are harvested, I use this type until they are no longer available.  Then during the winter months, Empire Apples makes great tasting Apple Crisp!

Today is baking day!  The recipe below I've posted before.  It's been a family fave for so many years.  This dessert tastes so much better when it is baked one day & served the next.  It seasons very well with the toasted oat topping.    

Apple Crisp with Craisins & Raisins

Oven Temperature: 375°F
Time: 45 - 50 Minutes    

6 - 7 peeled sliced large apples (I have Cortland.)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon softened Butter or Margarine
1/4 Cup Craisins
1/4 Cup Raisins


  1.  Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2.  Spray PAM in 8" x 8" (or 9"x 9") glass baking pan/ dish.
  3.  Rinse apples under cold running water & dry.
  4.  Peel & slice apples.
  5.  Place peeled/ sliced apples in pan/ dish. 
  6.  Add Craisins & Raisins and mix in.
  7.  Thoroughly mix remaining ingredients together in small bowl.
  8.  Sprinkle over apples. 
  9.  Bake 45- 50 Minutes or until apples are tender.
  10.  Serve warm or chilled with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
  11.   When cool, cover & refrigerate any leftovers.
Will you also be baking an Apple Crisp?


Monday, November 14, 2016

~Butternut Squash Pancakes~

Butternut Squash Pancakes
Just need Maple Syrup!

1 Cup Butternut Squash?  - Yes
Olive Oil for baking & sauteing?  - Yes
4 Eggs- (I use only the Egg Whites)?  - Yes
2 and 1/2 Cups Soy Milk?  - Yes

After that quick check of the needed ingredients, I was ready to make Butternut Squash Pancakes for breakfast last Saturday morning.  Two mixing bowls & my handy whisk were placed on the counter.  It was pancake time!

The night before I had saved 1 Cup of the mashed veggie when we enjoyed it at dinner.  I had dreams of pancakes that are packed with flavor & are also so light.  Pancakes that are made using a vegetable!  I am just totally hooked on the flavor of Butternut Squash.  Are you, too?  If you are, make these next weekend!     

Butternut Squash Pancakes

2 and 1/2 Cups Flour- I use King Arthur Bread Flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon Ginger
3/4 teaspoon Salt

4 Egg Whites- beaten
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil for baking & sauteing
1 Cup cooked/ mashed/ cooled Butternut Squash
2 and 1/2 Cups Soy Milk

  1. Place all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Stir until well combined.
  2. Separate Egg Whites from Yolks & place Egg Whites in another bowl.  
  3. Whisk Egg Whites until frothy- 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add Olive Oil to foamy Egg Whites & whisk until combined.
  5. Add Butternut Squash to Egg Whites/ Olive Oil.  Combine.
  6. Now, add in Soy Milk & combine.
  7. Add this liquid mixture to dry mixture.  Fold into dry ingredients until combined.
  8. Heat griddle.
  9. For each pancake place about 1/4 Cup batter on griddle.  
  10. After pancake gets a little brown, flip over to cook other side.
  11. Serve with maple Syrup!
Butter or Margarine is not needed for these light yummy pancakes, because the Olive Oil for sauteing & baking gives the pancake a great taste.

Butternut Squash Pancakes are a great breakfast in the autumn.  Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Ginger are tasted with every bite.  They also freeze very well, so your family can enjoy a hearty delicious breakfast on a weekday morning.

If you find 1 Cup of Butternut Squash remaining in the vegetable dish after enjoying your Thanksgiving Dinner, save it!  Surprise your family with these pancakes on Thanksgiving Weekend!  They are so good!    


Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day!

"The Homecoming G.I."
Norman Rockwell
(May 25, 1945)
Thank you to all Veterans who have served and protected our country!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Butternut Squash Bread

Butternut Squash Bread
flavored with Cinnamon & Nutmeg
Every Fall a bushel of Butternut Squash is purchased from Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow.  Sometimes a Mum or two is also purchased.  That depends on if our perennial Mums in our garden have sprouted again this year.  Usually they do.  However, this past year had been different.  A warm day in early Spring followed by cold weather stunned the Hydrangea.  The cold snap also had effects on the Forsythia Bushes in my area.  They never flowered.  This year only one Mum in the back perennial garden sprouted & it was time for a little autumn color!  During our visit to Meadowbrook Farm a few weeks ago Butternut Squash & Mums were purchased.

Meadowbrook Farm
Preparing & freezing this mashed orange vegetable is a tradition with me.  We freeze our supply to enjoy all winter.  This habit began with my family.  (Click here for Freezing Butternut Squash Instructions.)  Our garden had a great spot to grow these vegetables that grow on vines.  Canning & freezing veggies was all part of summer back then.  Now, I purchase them at the bountiful area roadside stands. 

The last 3 Butternuts in the bushel were prepped 2 days ago.  1 Cup was saved out & stored in the fridge for a special bread- Butternut Squash Bread.  I was reminded of it whenever I opened the fridge door.  Yesterday was the day to bake the bread!  It's delicious!  Cinnamon & a bit of Nutmeg give it a great flavor.  Egg Whites are used rather than Whole Eggs.  Quite often I bake 2 breads & place one in the freezer after cooling.  At Thanksgiving, we enjoy Butternut Squash Bread rather than Pumpkin Bread!

Butternut Squash Bread

Oven:  350°F         Time:  55 Minutes 

1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1  Cup Sugar

4 Egg Whites (= total of 2 Whole Eggs)
3/4 Cup Olive Oil for sauteing & baking
1 Cup Butternut Squash, cooked/ mashed/ cooled- defrosted if frozen

  1.  Spray 1 large bread pan with PAM. 
  2.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3.  Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl.
  4.  In smaller bowl, beat Egg Whites until frothy.
  5.  Mix in Olive Oil.
  6.  Add mashed Butternut Squash to Egg Whites/Olive Oil & stir.
  7.  Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  8.  Pour batter into bread pan.
  9.  Bake at 350°F for 55 Minutes or until toothpick/ cake tester comes out clean when inserted    in middle of loaf.
  10.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 Minutes.
  11.  Then remove from pan & continue cooling.
  12.   Later, place on plate & cut into slices.
If you can wait until the next day before sampling this yummy Butternut Squash Bread, the flavors combine even more.  However, we never can wait, so we always enjoy the first slice later in that day.

Have you baked a Butternut Squash Bread?


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween Sherbet Punch!

The time is nearThe Halloween party for the goblins in your family/ & friends.  You might be planning it for next weekend!  If you are searching for a beverage that has a yummy, yet creepy look, Orange Halloween Sherbet Punch is great!  It's easy to make & is a treat at this time of year.  This punch has always been a family favorite for us.

It has 2 ingredients!  How easy is that???  When they are combined a frothy brew can be enjoyed by "children of all ages".  

Halloween Sherbet Punch 

 For each 1 Quart of Orange Sherbet
 Use 2 Bottles 7Up - 2 Liter size bottles (refrigerated)

  1.  In a large punch bowl place 1 Quart Orange Sherbet.
  2.  Pour 2 bottles 7-Up Soda in punch bowl, pouring some over Sherbet.
  3.  Stir a little to mix.  Results in frothy, softened Sherbet on top.
  4.  Ladle into cups adding some of the Sherbet.
  5.  Replenish the 7UP + Orange Sherbet, as needed.
The disposable cups will soon be filled with a frothy orange brew!


Friday, October 21, 2016

~Reminders of July~

Halloween candy is advertised & on the shelves in our local stores.  The leaves are changing colors & with a gentle breeze, some are falling down from the tree branches.  The calendar reminds me that it is the month of October!   But, looking at my front garden, I may forget for a moment.

The Stella D'Oro Daylily & the Rose bushes are enjoying the weather.  A Rosebud, a blossoming Rose & a Yellow Stella D'Oro are enjoying the season.

What a beautiful time of year!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Autumn Colors

Looking up!
This is the time of year when looking up whenever I'm outdoors definitely has its rewards!  Our green leaves on the trees are changing color.  Bright yellows, brilliant oranges & Burning Bush reds are all in view.  If a breeze is blowing, it looks like Impressionist paintings are just waiting to be admired.

While taking the daily walk these are 3 of the sights that were gorgeous in my neighborhood!

A beautiful sight!

A little farther down the street-

A medley of colors
Every day the colors change a bit more.  Every Autumn we enjoy this assortment of colors on every street- just by stepping outside.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Hearty Turkey Veggie Soup

Hearty Turkey Veggie Soup
Portions ready for the freezer!
Oh, it is a bit chillier in the AM these days!  It happens every October, but I'm never prepared for the sudden need to wear a jacket when taking the daily walk.  My Marigold & Zinnia seeds are stored away to plant next spring, so it's probably time to take out more of the long sleeved jerseys.  Thinking of those long sleeves brings the thought of a hearty soup at dinner time!  A soup that contains a few colorful veggies like tomatoes, spinach & carrots with rice.

Two years ago my large Dutch Oven would contain a yummy Sausage Soup.  Alas, that was 2 years ago.  Now, I'm keeping cholesterol in mind even more than before.  I've learned that my yummy Sausage Soup tastes mighty good when I substitute browned/ drained Ground Turkey for the browned/ drained Sausage!  Add more spices into the pot when this soup is simmering and it's oh so good!!!  So good, that yesterday I was searching for it in our freezer.  Well, that quick JG Take Out Meal was not to be seen on any freezer shelf.  Looks like Ground Turkey needs to be added to my grocery list!

Hearty Turkey Veggie Soup


1 lb. Ground Turkey
4 cans (14.5 ounces each) College Inn Light & Fat Free Chicken Broth
1 can (14- 20 ounces) Dice or Whole Tomatoes, drained
1 box (8- 10 ounces) chopped frozen Spinach, thawed
1 Cup White Rice, uncooked
1 lb. Baby Carrots (rinsed)
1 pkg. (10- 14 ounces) defrosted Green Beans- optional
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
3/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Basil
1/4 Teaspoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon dried Parsley

  1. Brown Ground Turkey & drain.
  2. Place in large pot or Dutch Oven.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to pot.
  4. Bring to a boil & reduce heat to simmer.
  5. Simmer about 45- 60 minutes- until Rice has cooked.
Could this be any easier?  No!  Serve with a slice of Rye Bread.

After enjoying a bowl of this hearty soup at dinner, you'll notice there is a quantity left in the pot.  No problem here!  This soup freezes very well.  After the soup cools, I place 2 portions in freezer containers, date/ label.  Into the freezer they go.

There is nothing like searching for a quick dinner in my freezer on a cold day & finding this hearty soup.

***The Rice absorbs the liquid when the soup is cooling, so I add Chicken Broth when reheating to enjoy again.

***When reheating for 2 Servings-  I add almost 1 can (14- 20 ounces) of Chicken Broth into the sauce pot along with the soup.  It's yummy!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Looking Forward- Zinnia Seeds!

This past weekend some of the colorful Zinnia blossoms were snipped off from the plants.  My plan has started.  After these flowers dry, I'll save the seeds for next year's gardens.  The bug?  No, that's not part of the plan.  :)


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Saving Marigold Seeds

2nd Generation Marigolds
(File Photo)
Oh yes!  It's that time of year!  Time to save the Marigold Seeds!

All summer we've enjoyed our vibrant yellow & orange colored Marigolds.  They add a beautiful touch of color to our yard.  The plants with the orange flowers are 3rd generation from a single plant that my wonderful cute grandsons gave me for Mother's Day 2 years ago.  I have every intention of keeping that original plant family going for more years.  It's becoming a FuN tradition!  Saving the seeds to plant again next spring is my plan!  It is easy & does not take much time.

Saving Marigold Seeds
  1. Look for the dried blossoms on the Marigold plants (in lower left photo above).
  2. Break off the dried pods.
  3. Place in an open envelope to continue drying.
  4. After a month or so- when completely dry, separate all of the seeds from the pods.
  5. Place seeds in another envelope.  Label/ date/ seal envelope.
  6. Store until next year!
Marigold Seeds

    This year I used a long planter on our deck for my "special crop"!  It's been a hot dry summer, but currently, these orange colorful flowers are overflowing the green planter.   

    3rd Generation Marigolds- 2016
    Looking forward to the 4th generation Marigolds!  I've started saving the seeds to Enjoy again!