CUCUMBER POMEGRANATE SALAD

Need a quick, easy and pretty side dish for Thanksgiving?  I have it right here for you!

 

CUCUMBER POMEGRANATE SALAD

1-2 large cucumbers, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Champagne Dressing
  • Arrange cucumbers, green onions and pomegranate seeds on serving plate.
  • Generously salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle dressing over top.
  • Chill.
  • Enjoy!

CHAMPAGNE DRESSING
1/3 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
salt & pepper to taste

  • Whisk together peanut oil, champagne vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt & pepper. Chill for several hours.
  • Enjoy!

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 47 of 2017

I hope you all had a great week and weekend.  Mine was so so – just getting things done that will help hubby while I’m down, but I’m not expecting much excitement until after surgery.

This can be a stressful week for many, so let’s start it with a laugh! Just remember that a turkey is JUST a BIG chicken. I’m going to do my Thanksgiving shopping this morning and then won’t eave the house again!

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

We finally got a bit of a “COLD” front (at least for here) through yesterday that has lowered temperatures to the fall level finally.  I don’t have many hopes for a real winter here, but would like it if the temperatures at least get down to the 60’s for a high and stay there for more than 4 days!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

A banana, tangerine and coffee

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… quite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing – doctor has me washing things much more often trying to eliminate infection possibilities. I have to say washing the linens every other day is getting tiresome.  I never wear clothes more than one day, but sheets and towels usually get 3-4 days or so before changing them.
  • LIVING AREAS… plan on doing a deep clean today and tomorrow for Thanksgiving
  • KITCHEN… pretty clean, but with starting Thanksgiving prep tomorrow that WILL change! I do the veggie chopping and making the croutons for the stuffing on Tuesday and baking on Wednesday so I’m not doing it all on Thursday – makes it so much more stress free!  That way I can watch the parade and enjoy my coffee!
  • STUDIO… is mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD… nothing much for hubby and nothing for me at all
  • BLOG… still doing some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday posts scheduled, I’m also working on my ideas for Ava the elf

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

  • BIG BANG THEORY and the new YOUNG SHELDON
  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, S.W.A.T. ??
  • MADAME SECRETARY, SCANDAL, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED
  • BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0
  • MACGYVER, SCORPION, BLINDSPOT, ORVILLE, WISDOM OF THE CROWD
  • Z NATION, WALKING DEAD, STRANGER THINGS, FLASH, DC LEGENDS, INHUMANS
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SPEECHLESS, GREAT NEWS
  • THIS IS US, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE GOOD DOCTOR, LONGMIRE
  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS, GUY’S RANCH

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
WAFFLES & BACON
SHIRRED EGGS
PANCAKES
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
C.O.R.N.
C.O.R.N.
C.O.R.N.
DINNER
SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN and SCALLION RICE recipe will post soon
PORK MARSALA recipe will post soon
TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE recipe will post soon  and SALAD
SEE MENU BELOW
C.O.R.N.
C.O.R.N.
C.O.R.N.
DESSERT
 MOLASSES CRINKLES recipe will post soon
 REINDEER NIBBLES recipe will post soon

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

Only more 16 days until surgery and I can’t be happier!  I need to get this behind me and on the road to recovery! I ended up with yet another infection this past week and have been put on house “isolation” for the most part until surgery. Primarily I’m staying away from school children and elderly that may be sick or contagious, washing my hands A LOT, showering A LOT and am on 3 new eye drops to combat the latest issue. I’ve already been in for 2 weeks other than doctor appointments and am looking forward to get out and doing the Thanksgiving shopping this morning and after that will only leave the house on the day of pre-op at the hospital and then on the day of surgery.  It’s getting old being so sequestered, but has become a necessary evil.  We even had to cancel our trip to Santa’s Wonderland. 🙁 There’s always next year. 😀

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

I got hubby a new stocking this year and it is really cute. Mine is an UGG red, white and green plaid that I really like too.

Then, there is Gunner, at 15 3/4 he’s still trudging along, but spends most his time chasing rabbits in his sleep in his favorite bed these days.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday, Terri at Darling Downs Diaries and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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THE FIRST THANKSGIVING MENU vs. A TRADITIONAL MODERN MENU

As I was selecting a Thanksgiving Menu this year I was struck by the thought that much of the menu may not have even been at the first Thanksgiving which prompted me to do some research.

According to HISTORY.COM much of what we eat today for Thanksgiving is vastly different from the First Thanksgiving.

As I was selecting a Thanksgiving Menu this year I was struck be the thought that much of the menu may not have even been at the first Thanksgiving which prompted me to do some research.

Today for many Americans, their traditional Thanksgiving meal includes many “seasonal” dishes such as roast turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.

As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that truly spans cultures, continents and millennia. Thanksgiving itself dates back to November 1621. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. But, it wasn’t until 1863, during the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty. Historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.

The first autumn harvest for the newly arrived Pilgrims corresponded with the Wampanoag Indians autumn harvest celebration at Plymouth. This event is widely regarded as America’s First Thanksgiving. Much of the local fare would have been from the Indians harvest.

In November 1621, now remembered as America’s “first Thanksgiving”, although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time. The festival lasted for three days.

No exact records exist of the actual menu, but Edward Winslow journaled that after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful the colony’s governor, William Bradford sent 4 men hunting for wild turkey, which was plentiful in the region and common food fare for both the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians. It is also possible that the hunters also returned with ducks and geese. He was organizing a celebratory feast a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit.

Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. As for the dressing or stuffing, herbs, onions and nuts may have been added to the birds for flavor.
The first Thanksgiving’s attendees almost certainly got their fill of meat. Winslow wrote that the Wampanoag guests arrived with an offering of five deer. Culinary historians speculate that the deer was roasted on a spit over a smoldering fire and that the colonists might have used some of the venison to whip up a hearty stew.

Local vegetables that likely appeared on the table include onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots and perhaps peas. Corn, which records show was plentiful at the first harvest, might also have been served, but not in the way most people enjoy it now. In those days, the corn would have been removed from the cob and turned into cornmeal, which was then boiled and pounded into a thick corn mush or porridge that was occasionally sweetened with molasses.

Fruits indigenous to the region included blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and, of course cranberries, which Native Americans ate and used as a natural dye. While the Pilgrims might have been familiar with cranberries by the first Thanksgiving, they wouldn’t have made sauces and relishes with the tart orbs. The Pilgrims would surely have depleted their sugar supplies by this time. Records show that adding sugar to cranberries and using the mixture as a relish didn’t actually happen until about 50 years later.

Because of their location and proximity to the coast, many culinary historians believe that much of the Thanksgiving menu consisted of many seafood entrees that are no longer on today’s menus. Mussels in particular were abundant in New England and could be easily harvested because they clung to rocks along the shoreline. The colonists occasionally served mussels with curds, a dairy product with a similar consistency to cottage cheese. Lobster, bass, clams and oysters might also have been part of the feast.

Whether they were mashed, roasted, white or sweet, potatoes were not at the first Thanksgiving as they had yet to arrive to the north American region. Present on the menu would have been turnips and possibly groundnuts.

As for pumpkin pie, pumpkins and squashes were indigenous to the New England area, but the settlers hadn’t yet constructed an oven and lacked both the butter and flour to have made a pie crust. Some accounts do imply that early settlers improvised by hollowing out pumpkins, filling the shells with milk, honey and spices to make a custard, then roasting the gourds whole in hot ashes. The lack of sugar and an oven would have also eliminate pies, cakes or other desserts from the menu.

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

Pilgrims didn’t hold their second Thanksgiving celebration until 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well.

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

TRIVIA THOUGHTS
Turkey, because it contains tryptophan often gets blamed for the drowsiness and the need for a nap after the big Thanksgiving meal, but studies suggest it is really the carbohydrate-rich sides and desserts that allow tryptophan to enter the brain.

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusett Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

New York, In 1817, became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition.  In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln, finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

It was Abraham Lincoln who scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when FDR moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends.
Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States and many Native Americans take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country. Historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among other European settlers in North America that actually predate the Pilgrims’ celebration.

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PUMPKIN MUFFINS

This is another recipe from the Doxie Greenspan meme I belonged to several years ago. This is another of my favorites that is perfect for this time of year.

PUMPKIN MUFFINS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
about 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, for topping

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Butter, spray or line 12 cupcake molds in a regular-size pan.
  • Place the pan on a baking sheet.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  • Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add both the sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth.
  • One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after they are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla.
  • Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. To avoid over mixing, you can stop the machine early and stir in any remaining dry ingredients into the batter using a rubber spatula.
  • Stir in the raisins and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle a few sunflower seeds over the top of each muffin.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Kelly’s note: A lot of the TWD folks found that 25 minutes was too long, taking theirs out around 17 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove each one from its mold to finish cooling on the rack.

NOTE: Dried cranberries are an excellent substitution for the golden raisins in this recipe.

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BISCUIT TOPPED CHICKEN POT PIES

BISCUIT TOPPED CHICKEN POT PIES 6 servings
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
1 large stalk celery, diced
2 + 1/2 cups flour
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cups spinach leaves
Fresh ground black pepper and salt, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large stock pot, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions, carrots and celery, stirring until soft, about 6-7 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup flour, stirring to blend until flour is golden.
  • Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring until thick and creamy.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Stir in cream and milk until well blended.
  • Add in spinach and chicken pieces, cooking for 5 minutes more.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide mixture into 6-8 ramekins.
  • Arrange ramekins on baking sheet. (KEEP WARM)
  • I like to pour the contents out onto a plate for eating.

OPTIONAL: I sometimes add a can of Le Seur peas for color more than anything.

BISCUITS

1 1/2 cups finely grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
1 cup whole buttermilk

  • In a large bowl sift together 2 cups flour, 1 cup of the cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Using a pastry blender cut in the cutter until mixture is crumbly.
  • Add buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. (Dough will be sticky and that’s okay)
  • Drop by HEAPING spoonfuls onto silicone lined baking sheet.
  • Bake until edges are beginning brown.
  • Place one biscuit on top of each ramekin and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper.
  • Add to oven for 5-6 minutes until cheese is melted and pot pies heated through.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY ~ PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Today would have been my dad’s 80th birthday I can’t believe he’s been gone 25 years. I still sometimes pick up the phone to call him and talk before I realize…

ANYWAY I digress. My cousin also passed away back in 1998 and her sister and I bake a cake for her every year on her birthday – most times we even make significantly different flavors, but I always make the same one on daddy’s birthday, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, his favorite.

This year I decided to try a new recipe from Damaris Phillips – I just LOVE her.  She is so much fun, and REAL, plus she likes to experiment so I know she’d be okay with the changes I made to her recipe.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
Total:1 hr 15 min          Active:25 min          Yield: 8 to 12 servings

TOPPING
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon molasses
20-ounce can sliced pineapple, drained and juice reserved
20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup pineapple rum

  • Soak raisins and apricots in the rum.
  • In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the brown sugar.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Drain apricots and raisins well.**
  • Arrange the pineapple slices in the skillet.
  • Fill in the spaces with the chopped apricots and golden raisins.
  • Follow by a thin layer of crushed pineapple. Set aside.

CAKE
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 QUALITY flaked coconut
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice (from the cans)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
1 LARGE egg

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.

Combine the cake ingredients in this fashion:

  • In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, coconut and salt.
  • In a second bowl, combine the milk, vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of the reserved pineapple juice.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the granulated sugar and coconut oil on medium speed until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg.
  • Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.
  • Add the milk mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Add the rest of the flour and mix until combined, about 1 minute.
  • Pour the batter over the pineapple slices in the skillet and spread evenly.
  • Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted, 25 to 35 minutes.
  • Be sure and check after 20 minutes to make sure the top isn’t getting too brown. If it is, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Cover with a large serving plate and invert the cake.
  • ENJOY!

NOTE: YOU CAN NOW USE THE LEFTOVER RUM FOR A COCKTAIL WHILE YOU WAIT!

 

BRANDING IRON MEATBALLS

I originally found this old recipe in some things of my grandmother. It is from an old cookbook she evidently bought at Knott’s Berry Farm. I’ve modernized it to our tastes, but I love that they are on skewers, making it a great party recipe. They are also great on the grill – I use fire wires when I grill them to make it easier to turn them regularly.

BRANDING IRON MEATBALLS
MEATBALLS
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 eggs,, beaten
1 LARGE shallot, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Panko crumbs**
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
Stainless steel Skewers
pineapple chunks, cherry tomatoes or green and red pepper chunks

  • Soak skewers in water for an hour before using if using wooden skewers.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine ground sirloin, eggs, shallot, garlic, Panko crumbs, salt and pepper until well blended.
  • Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized balls.
  • Arrange meatballs on on skewers alternating with veggie pieces, pineapple chunks or tomatoes.
  • Arrange skewers in a single layer on a jelly roll pan covered in foil.
  • Pour cooled sauce over skewers.
  • Marinade skewers for an hour or so, turning to coat every 15 minutes.
  • Broil for 5 minutes.
  • Turn skewers and broil 5 minutes more.

NOTE:** You may need to add more to achieve the desired consistency for the meatball to hold together well.

SAUCE
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup apricot pineapple jam**
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablesspoon Frank’s hot sauce

  • Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add shallot and saute’ until soft.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until thickens.
  • Cool.

NOTE:** Recipe called for Knott’s Orange Honey, but I haven’t been able to find it so substituted the jam.

CORN FLAKE HOLLY WREATHS

Christmas is right around the corner so I thought I’d share one of my favorite holiday recipes. My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year special for me and I would wait out on the front steps for her arrive just to see them and know they were there. She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect!  They are delicious and they are a quick, easy, no bake treat and they’re so pretty to add to the cookie & candy tray selections.

CORN FLAKE HOLLY WREATHS
(these are better when they are made a few days ahead)

30 large marshmallows (or 3 cups mini marshmallows or 1 jar marshmallow cream)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon green food color
3 1/2-4 cups cornflakes
Red Hots or sprinkles for decorating
  • Combine marshmallows, butter, vanilla and food color in top of double boiler.
  • Heat and stir frequently until well blended.
  • Gradually stir in cornflakes until well blended.
  • Drop onto wax paper and arrange into wreath shapes. I plop them onto the wax paper and then push out from the center to form the wreaths.
  • Decorate with red hots.
  • Let cool.
  • If your house is warm – chill in refrigerator until set.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

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GOOEY CARAMEL TOPPED GINGERSNAPS

Whether you use homemade or store bought these cookies turn out swoon worthy of any holiday goodie platter. They are sooooo simple, but look and taste sooooo decadent.

GOOEY CARAMEL TOPPED GINGERSNAPS
42 gingersnap cookies, (homemade or store bought)
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup + 1/4 cup finely chopped honey roasted peanuts
12 ounces combination of white and dark chocolate
Sprinkles of choice (I like chocolate for the holidays)

  • Arrange cookies on cooling rack line baking sheet.**
  • In a microwave melt the caramels with the heavy cream, stirring until smooth.
  • Stir in peanuts.
  • Spoon about a teaspoon over each cookie.
  • Refrigerate until set.

 

  • Alternately melt white and dark chocolates.
  • Coat each cookie halfway with one of the chocolates, return to the rack allowing the excess to drip off.
  • Sprinkle with sprinkles and/or crushed peanuts.
  • Refrigerate until set.

NOTE** Was paper or parchment paper works well also.

GINGERSNAPS
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup CRISCO
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoons ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
sugar for rolling

  • Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves. Set aside.
  • Cream butter and crisco together until smooth.
  • Add sugar and molasses, blending until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture gradually until well blended.
  • Chill dough for at least 1 hour.

 

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Roll dough into small balls
  • Roll balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 minutes for soft chewy cookies and 12 minutes for crisp cookies.

POTATO SOUFFLE

For company dinner these make a great impression served as individual dishes.  They also looked like you worked all day making them even though they are really simple!

POTATO SOUFFLES
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
8 ounce russet potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup creme fraiche
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh flat leaf parsley
Generous amount of Fresh ground salt and black pepper, to taste
2 eggs, separated
pinch cream of tartar

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Using a pastry brush coat the inside of 2 12 ounce ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Parmesan in each.
  • In a pot of salted boiling water cook potato until fork tender.
  • Drain potatoes in colander and then return to empty pan to cook off any excess moisture for 30 seconds or so.
  • Using a ricer mash potatoes into a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add unsalted butter and creme fraiche, mixing until well blended.
  • Stir in parsley, salt, pepper and egg yolks.
  • Beat egg whites until foamy
  • Add cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Add egg whites to potato mixture in 2 batches, combining JUST until there are no streaks.
  • Divide potato mixture between the ramekins.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes until tops are puffed and golden.

 

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 46 of 2017

GOOD MORNING. I can’t believe it is Monday already again! It really seems like the weeks go faster the closer we get to the end of the year. We had a quiet weekend at home except for the few hours I was out with the girls for a yearly craft fair jaunt and lunch.

There are some friends of a friend that are becoming shut-ins for health reasons so at lunch we discussed who would make what for the Thanksgiving meal that is being taken to them. I got cranberry sauce YUMMY and then started the who is making what list for Christmas Eve at Patty’s house after church. I got veggies which I actually like to make, but no one else wants to sign up for. I’m going to make my southern green beans and seagram’s honey glazed carrots. All of these recipes will be posted after Thanksgiving as I’m making them then also and need new pictures.

I made the cranberry sauce this weekend and froze it so it will be easily transported in this horrible heat we are still having.  I also got my Thanksgiving menu together (it’s only 10 days away) so we could get the shopping done later this week before the crowds.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

The weather is better than it has been, but NO WHERE near where it should be for mid November. I am so over the 80 degree temperatures!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Fresh fruit and coffee

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

Between now and Thanksgiving I’m working hard every day to get as much manual labor done as possible and super stocking so hubby doesn’t have to do much shopping, something he REALLY hates to do and is really not good at LOL. He will be able to do the laundry, vacuuming, dishes etc… with little effort, but I want to make it as easy as possible on him.

  • LAUNDRY… quite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing
  • LIVING AREAS… plan on doing a REALLY deep clean today and tomorrow
  • KITCHEN… pretty clean really
  • STUDIO… is mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD… nothing much
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday post planning
  • ERRANDS… blood work and EKG for surgery – never got them done last week with getting sick

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

I finally finished reading the Bridge to a Better Life by Ava Miles in her Dare Valley Series.  I will finish her series as I’m enjoying it, but for a bit of change I switched over to Jana Deleon’s Happily Everlasting series and am on book #2, Once Hunted, Twice Shy.

The Holiday Baking Championship started this past week and I’m enjoying that.

  • BIG BANG THEORY, YOUNG SHELDON
  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, S.W.A.T.
  • MADAM SECRETARY, SCANDAL, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED on the 21st
  • BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0
  • MACGYVER, SCORPION, BLINDSPOT, ORVILLE, WISDOM OF THE CROWD
  • Z NATION, WALKING DEAD, FLASH, DC LEGENDS, INHUMANS
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SPEECHLESS, GREAT NEWS
  • THIS IS US, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE GOOD DOCTOR
  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS, GUY’S BIG PROJECT

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
PANCAKES and BACON
HAM and EGG OMELETS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
OLD FASHIONED TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE
BURGERS with GREEN TOMATO MAYO
DEVILED BEEF TENDERS and PARMESAN MASHED POTATOES
BRANDING IRON MEATBALLS
 SMOTHERED STEAK TIPS and ROASTED ROOT VEGGIES  SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN with SCALLION RICE  PORK MARSALA with BUTTERED EGG NOODLES
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

I’m doing a countdown to surgery.  Just 23 days to go.  It will be a LONG 23 days though.  I ended up with laryngitis and bronchitis last week and the doctor and I agreed upon a self-imposed “isolation” to keep me healthy enough for surgery. We had been out of town the week before a few days and she believes coming back here with the higher humidity was what did me in. Then last night I discovered new eye infection similar to the last and put in for an emergency referral last night and am waiting on the call to go in to the specialist.  It wasn’t this bad last time and he almost put me in the hospital so I am a little scared this time. Something I’m allergic to or exposed to is biting me maybe.  Since the last time I have been washing the towels and sheets every two days as it is.  Hubby is convinced that I picked up something working on this HOUSE FROM HELL that I have just never been able to get rid of because of my compromised immunity.  I’m beginning to think he may be right.

Even if the doctor hadn’t suggested it, hubby was going to impose an isolation because of my compromised immunity.  I did go to a favorite craft fair on Saturday and came home with a slight fever and coughing, so have acquiesced to hubby and agreed to a more stringent “isolation”.  Insert BIG SIGH here! At this point I will do whatever is necessary to get me through surgery with no more delays.  I AM READY TO RECLAIM MY LIFE!

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

We haven’t had much rain, but sure have had pretty skies!

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday, Terri at Darling Downs Diaries and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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BAKED PINEAPPLE ORANGE CHICKEN

BAKED PINEAPPLE ORANGE CHICKEN serves 6
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into large bite sized pieces
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 egg whites, beaten until foamy
1 cup FINELY GROUND Panko crumbs
1 cup Wondra flour
1 cup orange pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Buttered rice (I use chicken broth and scallion whites while cooking)
1/2 cup sliced scallions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line a shallow roasting pan with foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Use 3 shallow prep dishes – 1 for the cornstarch, 1 for the egg whites and 1 for the Panko Wondra combination.
  • Coat chicken pieces 1st in cornstarch, then in egg whites and finally in bread crumb mixture.
  • Place chicken pieces on baking sheet.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
  • While chicken is baking, prepare sauce.
  • In a medium sauce pan combine, 3/4 cup of the juice, se sugar, liquid aminos, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup juice until smooth.
  • Stir into sauce pan and simmer until thickened.
  • Transfer chicken pieces to a large bowl, pour sauce over and GENTLY toss until chicken pieces are well coated.
  • Serve over rice and top with scallions.

Linking up with Julie over at Back to My Southern Roots.

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