SWEET CANDIED CARROTS

This is a super simple, yet sweet and flavorful recipe and quite honestly my favorite way to eat carrots.

SWEET CANDIED CARROTS
2 pounds carrots, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
MINCED parsley

  • Place carrots in a wide saucepan.
  • Cover by 1 inch of water.
  • Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes until crisp tender.
    Drain and set aside.
  • In the same pan, combine the butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper; stirring to combine until butter is melted.
  • Return carrots to pan; cooking and stirring 5 minutes until well coated and glazed well.
  • Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 4 of 2022

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up
with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

First off, my sympathies  🙁 to all my Packer fan friends, Carrie in particular. I’ve never been a 49er fan, but that was the game of the year with a seriously unexpected outcome!

And having grown up in southern California before the RAMS went to St. Louis, I’ve always been a RAMS fan, well because my dad was – they were our home team. 😀 So, that was a good outcome (as far as I was concerned) and a really “historic” game with Tom Brady receiving his first ever un-sportsman like flag and penalty.

As for the Bengals and Titans I had no preference, but I do like the Bengals helmets – ha ha I know, such a girl thing to say! 😀

I’ve always been a Bills fan for some unknown reason, but am also a Chiefs fan so had no true preference there either except to see a good game, which we certainly did! It truly was the Josh Allen & Patrick Mahomes show. Congratulations Jean 😀

All 4 playoff games were quite good and I really enjoyed them all, but it’s time to get this week started.

Looks like we’re heading back into wet weather later this week, which is normal for us at this time of the year. The dry weather we’ve been having has been kinda nice after all the snow and rain, but much colder 24/7 with it being so clear, making the rain a welcome change.

This week will be in the high 40’s during the days and 30’s at night with the rain returning over next weekend. Either way I get to keep enjoying turtlenecks, flannels, UGG’s and snuggling in blankets and quilts.

Hot water & Apple Blueberry toddler squeeze

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING 2 loads of laundry to do and some more sorting through clothes and stuff.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS Hubby and I each have a couple appointments this week. Unfortunately, they’re on 4 separate days! Have been trying to combine things where possible to save on gas – it’s gotten so expensive!
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS & PROJECTS I’m working on some paperwork and calls.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING Menus are planned through mid month pending any serious change in weather 😀 I’ve been reworking recipes I had set aside to try into servings for 2 with NO leftovers!

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • PRIME Looking forward to the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in February
  • DISNEY+ Black Widow
  • CABLE We finished Yellowstone through season 4 which upset hubby because season 5 won’t start before at least November along with the Four 6’s. Last year we watched a single episode of Resident Alien, but somehow missed the rest of the season so we’re watching it now before season 2 begins. We’ll also catch up with BULL, Law & Order SVU, the CHICAGO trilogy, SWAT, 911, Fixer Upper, Kid’s Baking, Next Level Chef, Alex vs. America, Beat Bobby Flay, a few movies

I’m finishing up THE LAKESIDE INN by Leanna Morgan and will start BUNDLE OF TROUBLE by Diana Orgain this week. Bundle of Trouble wasn’t on my original list for the year, but popped up as a free kindle read in my email so I thought I’d try a new to me author.

I’m getting a third blooming on all my Christmas cacti. 😀

 

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
STUFFED MEATBALL PIES
WONTON CROUTON SALAD
BOBBY FLAY CHIPOTLE SALISBURY STEAKS with MASHED POTATOES
C.O.R.N. CLEAN OUT REFRIGERATOR NIGHT
CHICKEN & DUMPLING SOUP with NO KNEAD BREAD
BAKED GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES and BOOZY TOMATO SOUP
PROCIUTTO STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS & PASTA
DESSERT
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHEWY BROWNIES

  • CHIPOTLE SALISBURY STEAKS
  • DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHEWY BROWNIES

BALSAMIC PINEAPPLE CHICKEN with ROASTED POTATOES & BRUSSELS SPROUTS

It’s all about the sauce! Sauce is the BEST way to add extra flavor to ANY dish! I use pineapple jam, but have also used apricot pineapple, tart cherry, peach and even fig. When you add your favorite jam to a QUALITY balsamic vinegar and FRESH herbs the flavors mingle with the pan drippings and caramelized onions so that the flavors explode into the PERFECT sauce.

BALSAMIC PINEAPPLE CHICKEN with ROASTED POTATOES & BRUSSELS SPROUTS

12 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Red Onion, halved – one half sliced thin, the other half diced
2 tablespoons FRESH thyme leaves
1 LARGE Lemon, juiced
2 boneless, skinless chicken steaks
4 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 tablespoons QUALITY Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons Pineapple jam
1/3-1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
2 cups halved and trimmed small BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 + 1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 + 1 tablespoon butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Toss potato pieces and Brussels sprouts
  • Dice potatoes into ½-inch pieces; toss on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast on top rack, tossing halfway through, until browned and tender, 20-25 minutes.
  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
  • Generously season all over with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Dredge in WONDRA and and shake off excess.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to a cutting board and set aside to rest.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan oil in pan.
  • Add the onion slices and thyme leaves, cooking 2-3 minutes until softened.
  • Whisk vinegar, lemon juice and jam together.
  • Add jam mixture to pan and simmer 2-3 minutes until syrupy.
  • Stir in stock and simmer 2-3 minutes until thick and glossy.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining butter until melted.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Thinly slice chicken crosswise if you’d like.
  • Divide chicken, potatoes, and green beans between plates.
  • Drizzle to your heart’s content over the chicken and or potatoes and Brussels sprouts. ENJOY every bite.
  • Serve with lemon wedges on the side if desired.

BAYOU BLEND CASSEROLE – previously known as BLEND IN THE BAYOU and once known as SEAFOOD CASSEROLE EXTRAODINAIRE

I’m trying to clean up some old recipe posts. This was originally posted on March 24, 2010 and again on November 4, 2010. I then posted it for the Magazine Monday meme on March 24, 2011. I’m now changing it to a current date so I can update it. It was originally done tutorial style, but I was never happy with the pictures so am updating it a bit.

Magazine Mondays was hosted by Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice.  She HAD a great blog with some great recipes, but has since deleted it I guess. I really intended to stick with this recipe as it was originally written, really I did! But, as I read it more closely I felt some changes coming on. You know that feeling you get when you realize hubby won’t like ingredient 5 or your son would hate ingredient x, etc… The more I messed with the recipe the further it got from what they intended.

So here is their recipe as written:

BLEND IN THE BAYOU
8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 – 6 ounce cans crab meat, drained and flaked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup cooked rice, prepared
4 1/2 ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers
  • In a small saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, celery and green pepper in remaining butter until tender.
  • Stir in the shrimp, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, garlic salt, pepper sauce, cayenne and cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.
  • Combine crackers crumbs and cheese. Sprinkle over top.
  • Bake, uncovered 25 minutes or until bubbly.

and here is the new recipe as made and enjoyed and savored as the plates were licked clean!

SEAFOOD CASSEROLE EXTRAODINAIRE inspired by Taste of Home’s Blend in the Bayou
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large bunch green onions, chopped

4 large mushrooms, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red pepper, cleaned of ribs and seeds, diced

1 – 8 ounce package crab meat, chopped & flaked
2 – 6 ounce cans white albacore tuna, drained and flaked
1 can cream of celery soup
3/4 cup cooked rice, prepared
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 + teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
1/2 sleeve crushed butter-flavored crackers (I used Keebler herb and butter)
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese, soup and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic in remaining 1 tablespoon butter until tender.
  • Stir in the tuna, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, salt, pepper sauce, chili powder and cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.
  • Sprinkle crackers over top.
  • Bake, uncovered 25 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes more.

CHERRY CHEESECAKE BITES

These super simple and oh-so-scrumptious ‘cupcakes’ are quick and easy, but look and taste like they took you all day!! You can make the glaze as thick or thin as you like to change your look. I was trying for a new Easter recipe and I was looking for a new version of a hot cross bun 😀

Yields 24-26 cupcakes

CHERRY CHEESECAKE BITES adapted from REAL HOUSE MOMS

CRUST
1 1/2 cups ginger snap FINELY ground crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Line two regular sized muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  • In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, melted butter, sugar and cinnamon.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
  • Using a juice glass, press crumbs into an even packed layer.
  • Bake for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest while you make the filling.

FILLING
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 LARGE eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Beat cream cheese until fluffy.
  • Gradually add in sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Add eggs, one at a time.
  • Add vanilla and salt, mixing to combine.
  • Pour 3 1/2 tablespoons of the cheesecake filling into each cupcake liner.
  • Tap muffin tins on the counter to bring the bubbles up to the top and pop them with a toothpick.
  • Bake cheesecakes for 22 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.


TOPPING
8 ounces SMUCKERS tart cherry jam (or jam/preserves of choice)

1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract

  • Place 2 teaspoons of jam on top of each cheesecake where a little dip forms.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla until smooth. Vanilla glaze will be a little on the thick side, but should still drizzle off a spoon. Add more heavy cream as needed to reach your desired consistency.
  • Drizzle over cheesecake tops.

  • Chill for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Remove from liners and enjoy!


SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD yield 8 servings

Simple ingredients make an elegant looking side dish for any picnic or BBQ. This is the perfect pasta salad for a quick bite or pick me up!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

1 pound penne pasta (or large pasta shape of choice – cavatappi works well too), prepared al dente per package directions in salted water, drained WELL
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup micro greens of choice
1/4 cup diced red pepper
FRESH salt and pepper, to taste

  • Whisk together the pesto and vinegar.
  • Toss pasta with pesto mix.

  • Add sun-dried tomatoes tossing to combine well.
  • Fold in micro greens, diced red pepper and Parmesan cheese. 
  • 
Chill in fridge until ready to eat.


NOTE: This makes a full meal just by adding some chopped salami, pepperoni or rotisserie chicken pieces.

CHICKEN CAESAR PASTA SALAD

CHICKEN CAESAR PASTA SALAD

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

1 pound penne pasta (or large pasta shape of choice – cavatappi works well too), prepared al dente per package directions in salted water, drained WELL
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup Caesar dressing (you choose)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 LARGE lemon, juiced
2 cups micro greens of choice
1 cup container grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup FINELY shredded QUALITY Parmesan cheese
2 cups chicken grilled, diced or shredded (I use rotisserie chicken breast pieces)

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Add sea salt and pasta then stir to prevent sticking.
  • Return water to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook pasta according to directions on package until tender but still slightly firm.
  • Drain then immediately rinse under cold water to cool pasta and stop cooking.
  • Set aside to drain completely.
  • Using a very large bowl, add Caesar dressing, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and lemon juice then stir to combine.
  • Add chopped Romaine, grape tomatoes, Parmesan, black pepper and well-drained pasta then stir until ingredients are well coated.
  • Add diced or shredded chicken then toss to distribute chicken evenly through salad.
  • Season to taste with salt and additional black pepper if desired.
  • Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.

 

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 3 of 2022

RECI

Doing Happy Homemaker Monday so extensively helps keep me on track as it summarizes the past week and lays out a fairly concise plan for this week.

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up
with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

This is always one of those dates that sticks with me! 28 years ago today, also on a Monday, my world turned upside down (along with thousands of others) when at 430AM the Northridge earthquake struck and we lost it all. Even after growing up in southern California and knowing about, as well as living through other major quakes, the memories of this one in particular are VERY vivid. I honestly thought a jet plane had crashed into the neighborhood from the violent way it all happened (I was literally thrown out of bed across the room and had bruises on the bottoms of my feet for a month), but I lived on a street near a DWP plant and what I thought I saw was actually the transformers on the pole tops all blowing one after another…

The earthquake occurred just after 4:30 am local time along a previously undocumented blind thrust fault in Northridge California, a suburb located about 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

The major shock lasted 10–20 seconds and its peak ground acceleration of 1.82 g was the highest ever instrumentally recorded in an urban area in North America and registered a magnitude of 6.7. It was caused by dip slip on a thrust fault—the overriding movement of one crustal block up and over a second crustal block.

This is what is left of the parking garage I would have been parked in later that day had it not been a federal holiday for Martin Luther King day.

The major shock lasted 10–20 seconds AND I am STILL after all these years flabbergasted by the things destroyed AND the things that survived that horrible day in just that short amount of time.

My car was totaled when the neighbors block wall toppled on top of it because there was no rebar supporting it, but my Princess House Brandy snifter bowl full of all the shells I’ve collected through life survived after it flew across the room and landed on top of a pillow under my roll top desk. The painter was coming that day to do the remodel on the kitchen so literally EVERYTHING kitchen related was on banquet tables throughout the house as we had just spent the weekend emptying EVERY single cabinet. We lost every last piece of our small appliances, glassware, dishes, crystal, china, food, etc… and yet life has moved on, things have been replaced and the memories remain.

This is the first piece of Princess House crystal I ever purchased and the ONLY piece I have left. Only God knows how it survived that day since NOTHING else did. In it are the shells that I have collected with my cousin Jenn throughout my life from the Galveston, Texas Gulf Coast. She and I neither one live there now, but do still have friends and family in the vicinity.

On another note today would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday – SEE MY GINGERBREAD POST to honor her later today.

This was one of my favorite magazine covers from her 98th birthday.

I’m keeping track of the words from the Compendium of UGLY English words calendar I was gifted for Christmas as a source of amusement. Some of these are roll on the floor laughing hilarious and others are just flat out gross! They do cheat a bit and only give us one word for the weekends. 😀 I’ll pick up where we left off last Monday.

  • January 10 – MILDEW (noun) A white fungus that forms on damp organic material like clothes or rugs. Commonly found in old apartment complexes under that light fixture that always leaks when it rains.
  • January 11 – NAUSEA (noun) Believe it or not, there’s a word for that queasy rumbling you get in your stomach as you stare into the dizzying abyss of your toilet following a night of heavy partying or cheap Thai food: nausea. If you’re feeling “nauseated” or “nauseous” and think that you situation can’t possibly get any worse, just know that you can.
  • January 12 – DOUCHE (noun) A strong jet of water applied to certain body cavities as a means of cleansing, or a device used for this purpose. You probably saw it in a French Airbnb once.
  • January 13 – PANTIES (noun) A woman’s undergarments and contender for worst word on this list next to moist purely for its consistent pairing with the word “used” as in “used panties” and as in “with no time to spare and no other option,
  • January 14 – QUAFF (noun) To drink with enthusiasm (or the act of doing so). Often results in throbbing hangovers and a lot of missed calls from some guy named :Hot Anthony”.
  • January 15-16 – SNOT (noun) A piece of mucus and/or a stuck-up person. Snot is the sound you hear when your nose is filled with snot and you attempt to breathe in. Try it.

We’re a bit on the dry side again, but still cold with highs in the low 50’s and night’s in the 30’s with foggy days so I am still enjoying hoodies and UGGs when I go out.

WOW, just such a big category lately. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around people spouting hoax” regarding the pandemic. No matter where you stand on vaccinations, saying that there is nothing going on is just crazy. The cult like mentality it takes to believe that the WHOLE world is perpetrating a hoax just baffles me. I pray that some enlightenment takes root soon. We need to be over this pandemic as a lifestyle.

Hot water, a banana and peach yogurt

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I have a couple loads of laundry to do along with bathrooms and kitchen deep clean. The dishwasher mother board fried after the last power outage 🙁 After some research and the inability to get a plumber in a timely manner the $450 for a plumber and part on a 6 year old appliance just didn’t make sense so we replaced the dishwasher on Saturday which was another 14 step project LOL 😀 Since I had to empty beneath the sink it just made sense to do a deep clean that area and then the walls and floor behind and under the dishwasher…
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING The BIG downsize sort through the recipe tote is complete and BIG handful have been chosen as the next culprits for the winter. They have even been organized by category 😀
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS Hubby’s surgical follow up and stitch removal is later this morning as well as another appointment. Besides groceries, I don’t have many errands this week.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS & PROJECTS Now that the holidays are over, the decorations are all cleaned up and the house completely back in order I have some paperwork and calls to get to. Just after I posted my HHM last week Diana chose the painting for the Eagles fundraiser. It’s not really my style or even my favorite choice, but it is for a fundraiser 🙂 so paint I will.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • CABLE We’re finishing the Yellowstone marathon we recorded a couple weeks ago. We just finished season 3 and will watch season 4 this week. After episode 10 of season 3 and episode 1 of season 4 I needed a minute to process it all. BULL, New Amsterdam, The Resident, 911, Chicago series – Medical, Fire & P.D., Magnum PI, Blue Bloods, NCIS,  I also have a couple Hallmark movies to watch – The Wedding Veil #1 of a trilogy, Sweet Pecan Summer, North to Home and some cooking shows to catch up on – Kids Baking Championship, Guy’s Ranch Kitchen, Molly Yeh, Beat Bobby Flay, Alex VS. America, Guy’s Grocery Games…
  • AMAZON PRIME We’re waiting for Mrs. Maisel to begin again – they finally announced it would be February 18th, but they’re only going to release 2 episodes a week for 4 weeks. That is probably good for me though – otherwise I’d have to watch all 8 episodes in a single sitting.

Hidden in the Keys, Longboat Key Island by Sage Parker

Okay, I didn’t take this picture, but I thought it was quite funny that I needed to share it 😀

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
CHICKEN MADEIRA
SEAFOOD EXTRAORDINAIRE CASSEROLE
FRITOS NACHOS
C.O.R.N. CLEAN OUT REFRIGERATOR NIGHT
PROSCIUTTO STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS
ENCHILADAS SUIZA
GERMAN APPLE PANCAKES
DESSERT
CHERRY CHEESECAKE BITES and DUFF’S ELVIS COOKIES

  • CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD PASTA SALAD
  • APPLE PANCAKES
  • BAYOU BLEND CASSEROLE
  • CHERRY CHEESECAKE BITES
  • BALSAMIC PINEAPPLE CHICKEN
  • SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD

OLD FASHIONED GINGERBREAD

I remembered a target commercial from a few decades ago that featured Betty White making Gingerbread men so thought this was a good day for this recipe in honor of her would be 100th birthday. I even found a youtube of the old commercial.

I have been trying to recreate my grandmother’s gingerbread recipe for years. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been written down anywhere and she is no longer with us so I cannot even try to coax it out of her 🙁

Her recipe was super moist, spicy with complex flavors. Each time I try a new recipe that sounds like it might come close I am sorely disappointed time after time. And then I ran across Jane’s recipe from The Heritage Cook. It didn’t sound right, but it sure looked right! So, I decided to give it a try and WHOA with a couple tweaks it’s so darn close that I’m calling it a day on my search.

It was the black pepper that didn’t sound right, but who am I to say that grams didn’t use black pepper? I know she didn’t use fresh ginger, but she may have compensated with a much larger amount of ground ginger.

This REALLY is NOT a timid gingerbread. It is EXTREMELY bold and FULL of bold flavor. This is really NOT like most gingerbread that you remember, but is spicy, bold and flavorful. The taste will linger on your tongue and that’s a good thing. This recipe is PERFECT for the holidays, but truly wonderful year round.

OLD FASHIONED GINGERBREAD – YIELDS 10-12 MUFFINS
ADAPTED slightly FROM JANE the HERITAGE COOK
1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup water
¾ cup mild unsulphured molasses (NOT Blackstrap)
¾ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup  or QUALITY flavorful honey or Agave Nectar (see note)
1 cup PACKED dark brown sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 LARGE eggs, at room temperature
½ cup WHOLE milk
2 packed tablespoons FRESH peeled and grated ginger

  • Combine the butter, water, molasses, honey and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat stirring frequently until the butter is melted and the ingredients are smoothly incorporated. Remove from the heat and pour into a large aluminum bowl as an aluminum bowl will cool much quicker than those made of other materials.
  • Set aside and cool to lukewarm. If you are in a hurry you can cool down the bowl by placing it in a cool water bath.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Lightly grease a muffin tin and set aside. Bundt and loaf pans also work well with this recipe.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
  • When the molasses mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the milk and stir to combine.
  • With a wooden spoon fold in the dry ingredients gradually. Gingerbread is like brownies, you don’t want to over mix it.
  • Stir in the grated ginger.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. If making a bundt or loaf pan bake time will be 1 – 1 1/4 hours. If the top is browning too quickly, tent with a piece of foil.
  • Cool for 10-20 minutes in the pan set on a wire rack, then invert onto the wire rack and cool completely.
  • Store in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Bring to to room temperature before serving.
  • Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired. A dollop of whipped cream will temper the spiciness a lot.

TIPS & HINTS

  • Lyle’s Golden Syrup has a delicate butterscotch flavor and it allows the other flavors to shine through. It is a byproduct of refining sugar cane and you can use it in place of corn syrup, maple syrup, or honey. A company that follows fair trade practices and has a low carbon footprint, Lyles has created a product to be proud of.
  • There are several types of molasses available on the market and using one over another can drastically change the flavor of your baked goods. Unsulphured molasses is the highest quality, made from sun-ripened sugar cane and is from the first boiling in sugar processing while sulphured molasses is made from unripe sugar cane, treated with sulphur fumes, and is from the second boiling. It has a darker color and stronger flavor. The strongest form is called Blackstrap and is the most bitter. Whenever a recipe calls for a specific type of molasses, the balance will be off if you use a different kind.

On a side note Betty White was a fabulous dancer and while I believe she had a stunt double for parts of the season 3 dance scene that starts around the 5 minute mark in this clip, I do remember hearing that she still danced several hours a day well into her 60’s.

HERB & CHEESE POTATO GRATIN

HERB & CHEESE POTATO GRATIN adapted from TARA TEASPOON

Yukon Gold potatoes plus a couple sweet potatoes mixed with QUALITY FLAVORFUL  cheese, and lots of FRESH herbs come together to make a show stopping delicious side dish perfect for the holidays – any holiday, or Sunday family gathering meal!

SERVES 8-10      PREP TIME 20 mins     BAKE TIME 50-60 minutes

2 small sweet potatoes
8 small Yukon gold potatoes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon FRESH dried parsley
1 teaspoon FRESH thyme
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sage
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped rosemary
8 ounces (2 cups grated) QUALITY Gruyère OR Fontina cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup chicken broth

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Peel potatoes.
  • Using a mandolin or vegetable slicer, cut potatoes into VERY thin slices.
  • In a large bowl, gently toss potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, cheese, and onion, until everything is evenly mixed. Be careful not to break the thin potato slices.
  • Working with a small handful of potatoes at a time, gently line up coated slices in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 2-quart baking dish.
  • Whisk together the milk and broth. Pour over and around potatoes.
  • Cover pan with foil and seal around edges.
  • Bake 50 minutes.
  • Remove foil. Continue to bake 15-20 minutes more until potatoes are tender and golden. Test the potatoes with a thin knife to see if they are tender throughout.
  • Cool slightly, but serve hot.

END OF WEEK CHICKEN

Recently Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom mentioned she was cooking her Dad’s Favorite Chicken, a recipe handed down from her grandmother, great grandmother for dinner one night. You can find her recipe here. As I was reading her recipe I realized that everyone’s grandmother must have a similar recipe. My Gram’s recipe was used primarily at the end of the week to use up things from the veggie bin and such and she used dried herbs. I’ve freshened it up over the years with FRESH. Sandra’s recipe is made with Portuguese fries, but mine is made with either mashed potatoes, pasta or crusty fried potatoes.

END OF WEEK CHICKEN

2 LARGE skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small bite size chunks
1/3 cup WONDRA flour , seasoned to taste

1 LARGE bunch green onions, THINLY sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 LARGE carrots, halved and sliced in half moons
1 tablespoon FRESH thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped FRESH Italian leaf Parsley

1/2 teaspoon smokey paprika
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup homemade bone broth
1 tablespoon
avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter

  • Melt avocado oil and butter in saute pan.
  • Add carrots and saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Add onions and tomatoes, cooking 2-3 minutes more until onion is translucent. 
  • Add seasoned WONDRA flour to a paper bag or large ziploc bag. Add chicken pieces shaking to coat. Shake off any excess flour.
  • Arrange veggies around the edges and add in chicken pieces, thyme, paprika, minced garlic, salt and pepper, searing chicken pieces for a few minutes. The dredged chicken pieces will help with your gravy as they cook.
  • Add in bone broth, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Check frequently to make sure you still have cooking liquid – add broth as necessary to keep everything moist and have a good amount of gravy.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, noodles or fried potatoes.

CHRISTMAS OATMEAL COOKIES

This recipe is really versatile!  You can make it like plain old oatmeal cookies or you can roll it our and use cookie cutters at Christmas time, glaze them and decorate with sanding sugar!  Today’s picture is a “June” version.  I’ll try and get a picture next Christmas to add to this post.

CHRISTMAS OATMEAL COOKIES
1 cup butter, softened
1 LARGE egg
1 teaspoon QUALITY vanilla extract
2 1/4 quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup small chopped walnuts’
3/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
1/2 cup FINE sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and oats.
  • Beat together the butter, sugar and egg until fluffy.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Gradually add the sifted dry mixture into the egg mixture, blending well.
  • Add nuts and chocolate chips.
  • Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake 10-11 minutes.
  • Cool.