"Santa Consulting Globe"
by Norman Rockwell
The Saturday Evening Post Cover
December 4, 1926
Norman Rockwell Museum
to all who celebrate!!
Friday, December 24, 2021
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Got Raisins? Got Molasses? Got Ground Ginger and Ground Cloves?? If not add them to your grocery list! You will be on your way to baking a batch of Hermits! The delicious molasses flavored bar cookies that are filled with raisins are a great choice for your holiday cookie tray. Three "logs" of dough are placed on a large cookie pan. Then, they are baked in your oven. All at one time!
|Ready to be placed in the oven!|
After the three logs of dough are baked each log is cut diagonally into serving pieces. Then, after the bar cookies cool, one is ready for a "taste test". It is not necessary, because of course it will taste scrumptious! But, who can resist a taste test of a homemade cookie??
|Which Hermit should I "taste test"?|
These bar cookies also freeze well! Place 4- 6 of them in a freezer bag and pop in the freezer. Freeze more if you are able to do so. We enjoy most of them after I bake them. What a special treat to find a package of Hermits to defrost in about 1 month. Bake a batch this week! Don't forget the taste test!
Sunday, December 5, 2021
|Best Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies|
Imagine biting into a soft sugar cookie that's decorated with colorful sprinkles and you taste a hint of nutmeg. The nutmeg is not overpowering, it's just a hint. The cookie could be in the shape of a star, a reindeer, a tree, a wreath, a snowman or some other shape. It's so yummy you want to take another bite, so you do! If I've offered it to you, it's a Best Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookie! This is the time of year when I bake a batch of these delicious cookies during the beginning of December.
These yummy cookies freeze very well! Later in the month it's great to reach into the freezer and take out the needed amount to defrost.
They are made in 2 steps. On Day 1 you prepare the dough and refrigerate it overnight. On Day 2 take out your rolling pin, rolling mat, cookie cutters and colorful sprinkles. Cookies will be baked!
|Rolling out the cookies!|
After these Best Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies are baked there is always "taste testing" going on! At least that is the reason given for enjoying 2 or 3 of them while they are still slightly warm. Who can resist a freshly baked slightly warm homemade cookie?? Click here for the recipe for these yummy cookies!
Add Sour Cream to your grocery list this week. Ground Nutmeg and colored sprinkles also if you do not have any. You will be on your way to bake a batch of the Best Sour Cream Christmas Sugar Cookies!
Friday, November 26, 2021
|Turkey a la King|
There are slices of roasted Turkey in our fridge. Yes! Tonight, we will be enjoying Turkey a la King served over sliced toasted oatmeal bread. We enjoy this dinner. Think small chunks of roasted Turkey that are surrounded by mixed veggies in a creamy white sauce- oh yum! After Thanksgiving Day this is always a "go to" dinner for me. The Turkey was cooked yesterday and the veggies are in our freezer. A can of chicken broth is in our pantry. What can be easier?
Why roll out or purchase/ use another pie crust to prepare a pot pie? Using toasted bread is so much easier! So much quicker too! There is no need to bake anything in the oven.
Take a short cut today or tomorrow. Prepare Turkey a la King using this easy recipe! (Click here for recipe.) Just remember the Cranberry Sauce!
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
|Butternut Squash Pancakes|
It's all about the Butternut- Butternut Squash that is! This is definitely our favorite veggie. We enjoy it as a side dish at dinner, but it does not stop there. Butternut Squash Pancakes are absolutely delicious! What a great way to start a day. After making a batch and enjoying breakfast, the remaining pancakes are placed in our freezer for other mornings.
I usually use Egg Whites in this recipe, but you could use Egg Whites + 1 whole Egg.
Remember when cooking/ baking:
2 Egg Whites= 1 Whole Egg
This recipe calls for 4 Egg Whites. So, remembering the above formula, instead of using only Egg Whites sometimes I use 2 Egg Whites and 1 Whole Egg. It depends on how many eggs are in our fridge and what their expiration date is.
I have posted my recipe in the past, so I am including the link for this delicious recipe now:
Last weekend I made a batch. The extra pancakes were placed in our freezer, so we will be enjoying them at breakfast on Thanksgiving Day morning.
At this time of year you may also be enjoying Butternut Squash as a side dish on Thanksgiving Day! Save out 1 Cup for these delicious pancakes on the weekend! You will be happy you did!
Friday, November 19, 2021
|Unbaked Pie Crust|
Thanksgiving Day is next week! As we continue to plan our menu for this November holiday, thoughts of desserts and pies come to mind. Will pie be included? In my family of course we will be enjoying a slice or two of different varieties of pies. We like pie!
The next question will be what kind of pies do family members like? What kind of pies do I like? Decisions! Decisions! Decisions! I bake most pies, as the expression goes "from scratch". Yes, that includes prepping a pie crust. I don't like the "store bought" crusts. I also have the best recipe for homemade Pie Crust! I will be preparing the whole recipe and using half of it for Butternut Squash Custard Pie! I don't bake a pumpkin pie. It is a long family tradition starting in my childhood to bake a delicious Butternut Squash Custard Pie! Click here for the recipe. It's worth the click!
My Pie Crust recipe is one that my mom always used. It is for a double crust- top and bottom crusts. I cannot tell you where it came from, because I really do not know. But, I do know that she always used it and her pie crusts were so good! They were flaky and thin. Sometimes, instead of baking a pie, she would roll out the bottom crust to fit inside a cookie pan. Then, she would fill it with slices of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar and roll out the top crust and crimp the edges before baking. We would call this dessert an Apple Square. No, it was not square in shape, it was rectangular. It was a dessert that would last for quite a few days. It needed a doubled recipe of Pie Crust to prepare it.
I have had my rolling pin for probably 50 years! It is a Tupperware rolling pin that allows me to unscrew the cap on one end and pour iced water inside before screwing the cap back on. The cold rolling pin works great! I am not sure that they are available anymore. Mine seems to have lasted forever! I will be using my handy rolling pin the beginning of next week.
The recipe for the delicious pie crust was called Plain Pastry for a Pie Crust. I always use it and my pie crusts are thin and flaky, too! The recipe is below.
Plain Pastry for Pie Crust
Makes 2 crusts: lower and upper crust
2 Cups Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt- (I use a little less.)
2/3 Cup solid Vegetable Shortening- (I use Crisco.)
5- 6 Tablespoons Cold Water- (Sometimes I need an extra Tablespoon.)
Pastry Blender or 2 Knives
- Measure out shortening and refrigerate for 15- 20 minutes.
- Place Flour and Salt in Mixing Bowl and combine.
- Place solid Shortening on Flour/ Salt mixture.
- With a Pastry Blender or using two knives cut shortening into Flour/ Salt mixture. It will look like small pebbles.
- Add 5 Tablespoons of cold water to mixture and continue mixing. Add additional 1 Tablespoon Water and mix in.
- If dough feels dry, add 1 additional Tablespoon Water and combine.
- Dough will be soft and can easily be divided into 2 balls. Divide into 2 balls.
- Spread a thin layer- small amount of Flour on rolling mat.
- Take one ball of dough and place on floured rolling mat.
- Begin rolling dough into circular shape by rolling in one direction and then in another direction.
- Continue this process until dough is thin and will fit into the pie plate. The dough needs to overlap pie plate so a fluted crust can be made before pie is baked.
- If a top crust is needed, follow these same directions. Place top crust on after filling is placed on bottom crust.
- To flute pie crust: Trim dough that is overlapping edge of pie plate to about 1". Use index fingers and thumbs of both hands roll both crusts together and place on top of pie plate edge. Go around entire pie.
- Then, using index fingers and thumbs of both hands, crimp the dough that is on top of the pie plate edge. Right hand goes in one direction, left hand goes in opposite direction. Go around entire pie. The unbaked crust will be fluted. Now, move the fluted crust inside the edge, so later when slicing the baked pie, it will not break off.
If you are baking a pie that needs only one crust like Butternut Squash Custard Pie does, there is that extra ball of dough. It never goes to waste here! It is a tradition of mine to bake Tasty Treats! They are my Part 2 of baking a Butternut Squash Custard Pie!
The dough is rolled out and Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Raisins and Craisins are sprinkled on top.
The dough is then rolled like a Jelly Roll. Cut into slices and place on a cookie sheet. They are sooo goood! Click here for the Tasty Treats recipe!
|Before placing in oven!|
Have you decided what pies your family will be enjoying on Thanksgiving Day? Butternut Squash Custard Pie is a great choice! Yes, we will be enjoying one. I have not decided on the other variety just yet.
Prep your own Pie Crust!
Friday, November 12, 2021
|Butternut Squash Bread|
Today a delicious Butternut Squash Bread is baking in our oven! There is no way that I will be freezing it to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day, because I know that after it cools there will be two slices cut for dessert. While it bakes the wonderful aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg float out of my kitchen. It is quite the tease.
For that same reason I also know that next week I will be baking two more of these yummy breads. But, after those breads cool, each will be wrapped in heavy duty foil/ labeled and placed in our freezer.
It was a tradition from my childhood to use Butternut Squash rather than Pumpkin when baking these delicious treats. My mom always used the Butternuts. While growing up we had 2 large gardens and definitely had a great supply of them. Now, I keep that tradition going!
Plan on baking a Butternut Squash Bread for your family to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day! It is easy to prepare and tastes so good!
Add Butternut Squash to your grocery list!
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Friday, November 5, 2021
The bushel of Butternut Squash is in our garage w-a-i-t-i-n-g (similar to the bushel that was in our garage last year in October that is pictured above). Waiting for what you may be thinking. Waiting for me to get busy and begin prepping this delicious veggie for our freezer! We always purchase a bushel. Usually during the month of October, working with a few at a time the Butternut Squash are cleaned/ cut into chunks and steamed, so the chunks can be mashed. The next step is to place the mashed squash into freezer bags. After labeling/ dating each bag, into our freezer the bags go. What a great veggie to enjoy not only now and at Thanksgiving but for months to come!
|Butternut Squash ready for the freezer.|
I did say usually I am working on this during the month of October. Well, I have not been as quick about it this year. It is time to get busy!
We enjoy mashed Butternut Squash served at dinner and I also substitute this veggie for pumpkin when baking in so many recipes. Taking a bag out of the freezer and defrosting overnight in the fridge comes in handy! If we are having this veggie as a side dish for dinner, I place the frozen veggie (taken out of the bag, first) in a microwave safe baking dish, venting the cover and defrost/ heat in my microwave. I use my CorningWare. No butter/ margarine nor sugar is added nor needed before placing the steaming veggie on the dinner table.
Do you freeze Butternut Squash? It is so delicious!
Click here for my complete instructions that are included in this post that I wrote in 2014.
Friday, October 15, 2021
|Craisin Raisin Apple Crisp|
Apple Crisp is a great dessert! Slices of baked apples with a crispy oat cinnamon/ nutmeg flavored topping. I always combine a few Craisins (dried cranberries) and raisins with the apples before adding the oat topping. When serving, a small scoop of vanilla ice cream is added on top of the Craisin Raisin Apple Crisp and it tastes so good!
Back in October 2011 I posted my recipe. This post has a printable recipe card for Craisin Raisin Apple Crisp, too! I cannot remember when I began baking this delicious apple treat, but it remains a favorite in my household. The weekend is here, so purchase some apples and bake this dessert. It is so good!
Remember no pie crust is needed! Click here for the recipe!
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
We've been enjoying our colorful, beautiful Zinnias in our gardens all summer. Now, it's time to save the seeds from this year's flowers. You guessed it! I am already thinking about next year's bountiful crop. For that reason this past week many colorful flowers were snipped from the plants and placed in cut down tissue boxes. These snipped flowers are drying out in our garage.
Every year during the month of September I continue this tradition. The red, pink, orange and yellow snipped flowers will dry out and then I will be able to separate the "tear shaped" seeds from the dried out petals.
|Saved Zinnia Seeds|
Then, the Zinnia seeds will be stored in labeled sealed envelopes. It's amazing how many seeds a gardener can harvest! After 5- 6 years the colorful flowers become smaller, so I purchase new seed packs the following Spring. The process continues for another 5- 6 years.
It's great to plan ahead!
Friday, September 24, 2021
|A quick walk around our yard!|
A beautiful September day! Sometimes cloudy and at other times sunny. Now, the decorative grasses have fronds that move gracefully in the breeze. The Phlox are beginning to blossom, too. Earlier this year the deer also enjoyed our garden and they had too many of the Phlox buds for snacks in the wee hours of the mornings. What a great surprise to see a few of these bright lavender flowers!
Our lavender Rhododendrum has flowers, too! This very interesting shrub always has a mind of its own. Some of the buds blossom in the Spring and others blossom in autumn. It has buds that are getting ready either for spring or for autumn!
A quick walk around our yard always has new surprises!
Sunday, September 5, 2021
|Getting ready to freeze Green Peppers strips.|
For me in the last two weeks it was time to start prepping and freezing Green Pepper strips and chunks! This fresh local vegetable is available at roadside stands and supermarkets, so the peppers are ready to purchase. It's another tradition for me at this time of year and does not take much time to do. In the colder months taking a package out of the freezer to defrost is easy. I use the strips as one of the toppings on homemade pizza and in other entrees. Two years ago I did not take the time to freeze them and really missed using them. So, it was time for me to get busy!
|Ready to place in the bags to freeze.|
"Mission accomplished!" Now, they are in my freezer!
We will Enjoy this winter!
Friday, August 13, 2021
|Butternut Squash Ravioli- |
with Basil Craisin Topping
It's been so hot, so humid and so uncomfortable these past 3 days. Yup, we are in a heat wave. Last night cheeseburgers on the grill sounded like a really great idea! Topped with a slice of a local fresh tomato sounded even better! Looking online at the weather I saw that our local weathermen warned us of a severe thunderstorm coming to our area. Suddenly, the sky looked not so pleasant and there was a strong breeze. Plans to enjoy that cheeseburger were put on hold and quickly a pot of water was placed on the stove to boil. Luckily, I had a package of fresh Butternut Squash Ravioli in the fridge! I boil it for 5 minutes rather than the 4 minutes that are recommended. While suddenly the thunder and lightning was all around us, it took so little time to get dinner on the table along with a fresh fruit salad. We sat down to eat. Before we could take that first bite, our power went out. About 8 hours later it was restored.
I add dried Basil, Craisins and Olive Oil for a great taste to the prepared Butternut Squash Ravioli. Click here for recipe.
It's always a great idea to have a package of quick to prepare Ravioli in the fridge. You just never know when it will come to the rescue. That cheeseburger with a slice of local fresh tomato? Oh, it's on the menu for tonight!
We will Enjoy!
Saturday, August 7, 2021
|A closer look brings a great surprise!|
We are enjoying the colorful Zinnias in our yard. They were planted from seeds saved from last year's beautiful flowers. It's amazing how many seeds one can harvest from one flower! In the spring the seeds were planted. They took a bit longer to sprout and grow this year, due to the rainfall we had in this area. However, once they started growing the flowers have added so much color to our yard.
This Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly flew in one afternoon. Moving slowly and not too close I was able to snap a photo! A beautiful sight!
Thursday, August 5, 2021
|Peach Freezer Jam|
Summer is definitely the time when it seems like all of the local fruits and veggies ripen at the same time. The juicy blueberries are still available and now local peaches are too! Ripened local peaches = it's time to prepare Peach Freezer Jam! That was on my agenda on Monday. Tuesday afternoon the Peach Freezer Jam was placed in our freezer.
I use CERTO liquid fruit pectin when prepping this type, too. The Directions are located inside the box.
Even though I've been using this product and prepping Freezer Jams for about 40 years, I still reread the Directions every time. Just in case there are any changes going on.
The fruit needs to be prepped, first. The skins of the peaches need to be removed. An earlier Blog Post I wrote (click here) has more of the details.
After placing these containers in our freezer I can say, "Mission Accomplished!"
We will be Enjoying them!
Monday, August 2, 2021
|~Local Fresh Blueberries~|
It's been that time of year! Time to purchase the local fresh Blueberries! One morning about a week ago my tradition continued.
The tradition is freezing Blueberries and Blueberry Freezer Jam! I wrote the linked highlighted Post exactly two years ago.
The fresh local blueberries were purchased and in the afternoon they were prepped for our freezer. Yes, some were saved for munching, for the Jam and also for Blueberry Pancakes! There was even some to add to cereal to enjoy at breakfast. Yum and double yum!!
I did write the words "about a week ago". This past year+ I have been cooking/ baking a lot! Like so many of you have been. Well, that led to me not blogging as much.
Last year I did not prepare the Freezer Jams. There were some containers left from the previous year and they tasted delicious! However, this year they are finding their place in our freezer. If blueberries grow in your area have you purchased them to freeze? Or to prepare Freezer Jam? They are so delicious!
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Warm grilled Zucchini halves always taste so delicious! In the warmer months- like in the summer- this is a great side dish at dinnertime! It is placed on our grill after being coated with Olive Oil, Basil and Oregano. Sometimes, I add garlic powder, too. It is so easy to prepare, grills quickly and tastes so yummy! Any extra pieces are refrigerated. The next night they are cut into smaller pieces and added to a veggie salad.
If you have not enjoyed this very easy delicious side dish, add Zucchini to your grocery list or Farmers' Market list this week and try it. The recipe is below:
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Some like it hot! Others- not! Our Salmon Daylilies do not mind the heat. This morning 2 buds popped open. This perennial is like clockwork. Every year the colorful flowers begin making an appearance at this time. Now, it's during our heat wave!