Monday, December 30, 2019

Baked Seafood Casserole

Baked Seafood Casserole
(File Photo)
New Year's Eve is now in my thoughts!  Soon it will be 2020!  It also had me thinking- what will we be enjoying for dinner that night???  I've been paying attention to what you, my friends, have been reading on my foodie blog, lately.  I now have the answer!  Baked Seafood Casserole!  The delicious seafood dinner that is baked in individual casserole dishes.  That seafood dinner that is oh so easy to prepare and tastes so good!

Ready to enjoy!
(File Photo)
Just imagine- holding your fork and digging into the bubbling topping!  Reaching in for a small piece of seafood.  Maybe part of the baked Haddock.  Or maybe a baked Shrimp!  Or just maybe part of a baked Scallop!  It is definitely a great entree for a special evening.  If you have company and they enjoy seafood, they will certainly enjoy this.

It's a dinner that I bake during the colder months of the year, because it requires 45 minutes in the oven.  While it's baking I work on the Rice side dish and also a salad.

Click here for my recipe!  Place the ingredients on your grocery list!  Baked Seafood Casserole is delicious! 


Tuesday, December 24, 2019


Memories are some of the sweet things in life!  Both of these ornaments on our Christmas tree bring back so many FuN memories!  Rudolph was always on my family's tree when I was a child.  The ceramic angel is a great addition from the ceramics class I took years ago.

I wish all of you who celebrate a- very 

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies!
It's a great time of year to bake Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies!  Those yummy cookies that are in the shapes of stars, trees, bells and maybe reindeer.  For our family it would not be the Christmas season if I did not bake these cookies during the holidays!  There is a little nutmeg, here.  It has been my favorite sugar cookie recipe for- well, so many years.  The cookies are that good!

They are made in 2 steps!
On day 1 the dough is prepared using a mixer.  Then, it is wrapped in plastic wrap.  Then I wrap it in foil.  Into the fridge it goes overnight. 

The next day- day 2, the FuN begins.  The rolling pin, cookie cutters, colored sprinkles and cookie pans are set on the kitchen counters and table.  It's time to roll out the dough and use the selected cookie cutters.  I usually place about 12 cut out cookies in the cookie pan to bake.  Don't forget the sprinkles!  When the cookies are finished baking, the bottoms of the cookies will be a very light tan.  Then, they are removed from the cookie pan and cooled on a rack.  This is a great time to do a "taste test"!  An hour later, too.     

After the cookies are cool, they can be packaged and placed in the freezer until you are ready to share them!  That is an extra plus!  When the busy holiday arrives, defrost the cookies and they are ready.  Remember to save some to enjoy, now!

My Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are now in our freezer.  The end of last week was my opportunity to bake them.  Here is the recipe!

***You do not need to wait to bake them only at this time of year!  Packaged Heart and Bell shaped cookies were included in the "Welcome Bags" for out of town wedding guests when our younger son and daughter- in- law were married.  The sprinkles were the colors they selected for their wedding.  What a great surprise for so many of their guests!!

"Welcome Bag" Cookies
(File Photo)
Add sour cream to your grocery list.  I'm sure you already have the nutmeg.  You will be able to bake a batch of them to be enjoyed for the upcoming holiday!  They are that good!


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Storrowton Village Museum

Gilbert House
This is a great time of year to visit the Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, MA!  Anytime I can step into a museum, it's a great day!  Sunday, we drove over the river (Connecticut River) to West Springfield.  The buildings were relocated to this location by Helen Storrow.

A Little History!
At this time of year visitors are able to visit during Yuletide.  The weekend event was open to the public, free of charge.  Visitors of all ages enjoyed walking around and into the old buildings.  It's always a treat to visit the schoolhouse.

Stopping in to the Schoolhouse
The School Master answered so many of our questions.  He also gave us a quiz!

Union Meetinghouse in the background  
Strolling on the grounds is always great, but after our recent snowfall it looked even more beautiful!  It's always a treat to view how the area garden clubs have decorated the houses and also the Meetinghouse. 

On the steps
of the Meetinghouse


A basket of fruit
inside the Gilbert House
The clove studded oranges look festive along with the apples, lemons and the welcoming pineapple!

A beautiful tree
in front of Storrowton Tavern
It was definitely a great visit!  What a treat to go during Yuletide!

We enjoyed it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Winter Has Arrived!

December 2019
Thanksgiving Day and the weekend were great!  We all knew that snow was in the weather forecast later in the weekend, so refrigerators were stocked with milk and for us, orange juice.  An extra loaf of bread was purchased, too.  The snowflakes did begin to fall.  The holiday vacation from schools was extended to Monday with a Snow Day.  Today is Tuesday and it's another Snow Day!  Winter has arrived!

About 17" of snow was the result of the long lasting snowstorm.  Snowblowers have been working in our neighborhood and the streets are plowed.  This afternoon it does look like suddenly the season changed.

December 2019
 It is New England and the seasons can change quickly!


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Saying Grace"
Norman Rockwell
The Saturday Evening Post Thanksgiving Cover

information compliments
of the Norman Rockwell Museum

Norman Rockwell is one of my favorite artists.  We are due to take a "road trip" back to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.  With each visit we always refresh our memories and view more of his beautiful works of art.

"Saying Grace" is so interesting and it has so many details!  A grandmother and a boy are giving thanks before eating in a crowded restaurant.  The other customers are watching them with 2 others sharing their table.  Outside the restaurant we can see a train.  What a great painting to remember this Thanksgiving Day weekend! 

Happy Thanksgiving!!    


Monday, November 25, 2019

~Butternut Squash Bread~

Butternut Squash Bread
Butternut Squash is a favorite vegetable with my family!!  Every year we purchase a carton (bushel) of this orange veggie.  The project in late October/ early November is to steam it and then package it up for the freezer.  So, it is not surprising that I substitute Butternut Squash for pumpkin in recipes all the time.  Butternut Squash Bread is definitely one of my family's favorite quick breads to enjoy during the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  It is a very easy recipe!

While prepping the bushel of squash last week, I had saved 2 Cups of the veggie to bake 2 breads.  You may be thinking - why do this all in one weekend?  Well, it seems that this autumn just zipped by on us.  The squash was in our garage and suddenly our overnight temperatures were frigid.  We did not want to lose the squash, so it became one very busy weekend!  Now, we can enjoy this veggie until we have no more.  It is mashed and ready to be defrosted/ reheated.

Since the Butternut Squash was fresh, I baked 2 breads.  One, we enjoyed in the next few days and the other is now in our freezer- for Thanksgiving Day.  That is another good thing about this recipe- it can be baked early and frozen.  It is easy to defrost it and the taste is just great!

This recipe uses Egg Whites and Olive Oil.  The result is a very light delicious bread.

The recipe is here!  You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry!  Steaming the Butternut Squash is also easy.

This is definitely a "try it, your family will like it" recipe!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Apple Bread

Apple Bread
Desserts with apples as the special ingredient are always a great treat!  Especially in autumn when the newly harvested fruit is available.  One of our favorite treats is Apple Bread.  This is a yummy, moist dessert bread filled with chunks of apples.  A surprising ingredient is orange juice.  This gives the bread a great flavor!

I always bake two of these breads- one to enjoy and the other is cooled/ wrapped in foil and placed in our freezer.  Currently, there's an Apple Bread in the freezer that we will be enjoying over the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  When it comes out of the oven there is always a crack in the center.  Yet, still, I use my cake tester to learn if the bread is ready for the cooling rack. 

If you have never baked one (or two) of these breads, add apples to your grocery list.  Then, take out your bread pans and you will be on your way!  It is that good!

Apple Bread

Oven: 350°F    Time: 65 Minutes    
**Makes Two Loaves

4 Cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 & ½ teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
2/3 Cup Olive Oil (for baking & sauteing)
2 Cups Orange Juice
4 Egg Whites
2 Cups finely chopped peeled Apples (5- 7 Apples depending on
     size)  Cortland or Empire Apples are my faves to use.

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add Olive Oil, Orange Juice & Egg Whites (slightly beaten)
    and stir.  
  3. Add chopped apples and stir in.
  4. Pour batter into greased bread pans.
  5. Bake at 350°F in preheated oven for 65 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle of loaf.
  6. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from pans and continue cooling on wire racks.
After the breads have cooled we always want to "taste test"!  One bread is placed on a serving dish and slices can then be enjoyed.  The other bread is wrapped and placed in our freezer.  It is hard to resist the temptation to defrost that apple Bread that is sitting on the shelf in the freezer.  :)   


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Autumn Memories!

In the past 2 weeks the leaves on our trees and bushes suddenly erupted into beautiful shades of copper, red, orange and yellow!

It has been a gorgeous view wherever we walked or drove in our area.

Looking down one street an arc of color greeted us.

Now, we hear the hum of leaf blowers.  We also see and are homeowners raking up the dried brown leaves that have fallen from the trees.  Two nights ago the strong winds and rain changed our scenery.  The above photos are beautiful memories of the Autumn of 2019!

Now, it's time to get to work collecting the leaves.
We did Enjoy!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

An October View

A quick glance!
Every year this is the scene in October whenever we take a quick glance out of our kitchen window!  The golden yellows, the rusty browns and bright red leaves against the backdrop of green pine needles and other leaves.  Even on an overcast day the colors are beautiful.  This is one of the views of New England that is always a keeper!


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Apple Crisp- with Raisins and Craisins

Apple Crisp- with Raisins and Craisins
(File Photo)
One just might believe that I forgot what our fave family dessert is in autumn!  That was not totally true!  I had been waiting for the McIntosh and Cortland apples to be available to purchase.  Then, suddenly, they were.  Naturally I purchased both varieties.  Then, for 2 weeks they sat in our fridge.  Waiting.  Every time I saw them it was a reminder. 

On Friday I finally baked Apple Crisp- with Raisins and Craisins, of course.  It's the dessert that tastes sooo goood with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  It's also the dessert that has a great topping of oats and brown sugar.   Apple Crisp is just so so- without the addition of Raisins and Craisins (dried cranberries).

This is delicious!  Bake this treat after purchasing some McIntosh or Cortland apples.  If only one of the varieties is available- use it.  During the winter months I find in my area that Empire apples are available, so at that time of year I use the Empire apples.

Click here for my recipe!

Now that I've baked it, I'm sure that in about 2 weeks there will be plans for another.  It is a great dessert! 


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Enjoying the Colors!

The remaining views!
All summer and into autumn we have been enjoying the beautiful vibrant colors in our gardens!  Glancing in any direction brings new views.  As the summer progresses the colors changed as the perennials changed.  Now that we are at the end of September I was happily surprised to see rosebuds on our rose bushes!

Looking carefully into one of our gardens a remaining yellow D'Oro Lily was blossoming!  There are even a few more buds.

Our Porcupine Grasses now have copper colored fronds on top.  As the gentle breezes blow, they move gracefully.

Suddenly, the Holly Bush has bright red berries!  We know that a "hard" frost is in our future, so it's great to appreciate the last views of colorful flowers in our yard.  Soon, the bright colors of autumn on the trees will make an appearance.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Bright Colors!

It's a beautiful September evening!  Walking up our driveway a group of many brightly colored Zinnias greet us on the right hand side.  The reds, the yellows, the pinks and the oranges are just beautiful!

This is also a reminder to me to save the seeds from this year's crop.  These Zinnias were grown from saved seeds harvested from last year.

Soon, it will be time.  For now, we are enjoying the bright colored flowers!!


Monday, September 2, 2019

Have a Safe Labor Day!!

"The Lineman"
by Norman Rockwell in 1948
courtesy of the Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA has been one of my fave places for a number of years!  Every visit brings me back to view paintings that I have enjoyed so many times before like "Home For Christmas"- 1967 (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas).  Some works are on view on a rotation basis, so it is a welcome surprise to see them.

On this Labor Day when we honor and remember the American workers, how fitting it is to spotlight Norman Rockwell's "The Lineman"- 1948.  This was an advertisement for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.  With Hurricane Dorian on the east coast, there are many dedicated workers spending their time making preparations.  Currently, everyone is getting prepared.

Thank you to all of the workers who are coming to the aid of the people who will find the next few days very challenging!

To all in the path of Dorian, be safe! 


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Peach Freezer Jam

Suddenly, it was time to prep the Peach Freezer Jam!  This is the last variety that I make every summer.  Yes, it's been every summer for- well, years.

The easy to follow directions are located inside the box of 2 pouches of CERTO.  The local peaches were purchased.  The easy way to ripen them is to place 3 (stem side down) in a small paper lunch bag and fold the top of the bag down 2- 3 times.  In about 2- 3 days the peaches will ripen.  Depending on the size of the peaches.

Then the clean containers and all of the ingredients are located.  Follow the directions exactly when making Freezer Jams.

An easy method to remove the peel is to place 2 peaches carefully in a pot of simmering water.  Let sit for about 55- 60 seconds.  Then, remove carefully with a slotted spoon and place on a dish to cool, slightly.  The skin will peel off easily and then the delicious juicy peach can be removed from the pit.

Peach Freezer jam
(File Photo)
The directions were followed and the containers filled.  Lids were placed on top and snapped shut.  Then the Peach Freezer Jams sat on our dining room table undisturbed for 24 hours.  After the time period was up, the Freezer Jams were placed in our large freezer.  They will be enjoyed during the coming months. 

This is so yummy and it is easy to prepare!



Thursday, August 15, 2019

Summer Dinner Salad!

Summer Dinner Salad!
A colorful nutritious dinner in the summer does not get much easier to prepare- when you've enjoyed Grilled Chicken the day before!  The local fresh tomatoes and cucumbers are readily available to use.  Add them to a bed of greens of choice along with a few small chunks of cheese and craisins.  The salad dressing is your fave and dinner is oh, so good!

A slice of Basil Parmesan Toast is a great addition.  It is one of my fave ways to serve bread.

Summer is a great time to enjoy the seasonal views that come only once a year!  This past week a Monarch butterfly stopped in for a visit to our colorful Zinnias!  The plants we grew from saved seeds.  That was a great surprise!

Enjoy the Summer!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

August Flowers

Salmon Daylily
Our gardens have been bursting with so many different colors this summer.  Different perennials blossom at different times.  That was the plan!  We wanted to have rotations of flowers and colors.  The annuals add in color where needed and the plan worked!

Our Salmon Daylilies blossomed for 1 month!  Each blossom lasted for 1 day.  There was always another to pop open on the long stem.  This past Saturday the last flower opened!  It's amazing to view and appreciate a close up of the blossom!

Zinnias planted from previously saved seeds!  
It has been a tradition with me from my childhood to save the Zinnia seeds from the current season's gorgeous flowers.  They are dried and then stored to plant the next spring!  Now, the flowers continue to surprise us each day with new buds opening.  There is a great sense of accomplishment when one views the colorful flowers that were grown from saved seeds!

Purple Phlox   
This is another beautiful view- out of our kitchen window.  The small purple flowers form pretty clusters of blossoms on the stems.  More of the Phlox is opening!  It's great to view this perennial every year!

So, while I am preparing Freezer Jams and freezing fresh summer fruit, our gardens are adding beautiful colors to our yard!  Summer in New England is beautiful. 

The 4 seasons we have each year bring different scenes of beauty.  They are all appreciated!