Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Corn Chowder on a Chilly Day!

We're off for the week, and it's windy and chilly. We need something warm after a day of skiing. So I thought I would throw together a quick easy meal that everyone will eat...My Famous Corn Chowder! Even all the kids love it!
I had some roasted Chicken pieces in the freezer left over, and precooked bacon, that I do up and freeze. That is the key to easy cooking is pre-cook items and store in freezer, when you have the chance or leftovers from something you made before. It makes for quick easy meals.


CHICKEN CORN CHOWDER
Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 red pepper , minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves)
5 strips Turkey Bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

Preparation
**Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

** Add onion, celery, and bacon; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

**Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

**Stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 15 minutes).

NOTE: You can throw everything into a crock pot and forget about it for 4 to 6 hours. Great for ski weekends at the lodge.........

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sicilian Meatballs


This is an easy go to meal, you just need to keep meatballs on hand in the freezer. Sometimes I make my own, or sometimes I'll pick up these great turkey meatballs that my super market has on sale sometimes.
This meal is super healthy and can even be served with rice. My kids all love it, especially when it has simmered for a long time. My 6 year old eats at least 10 or more at a sitting....The flavor gets so intense from the lengthy cooking time. You can even throw it together before work, and leave it in the crock pot all day, and it will be ready when you arrive.

INGREDIENTS
*2 Tbls. Olive oil
*2 Tbls. dried onions
*1/4 c. diced green pepper
*1/4 c. red wine
*1 c. water
*2 tsp. minced garlic
*1 Tbls. sugar
*1 tsp. oregano
*1/2 tsp. rosemary
*2 bay leaves
*1 1/4c. tomato paste
*2 c. chopped tomatoes with juice
* 3 pounds of turkey meatballs

DIRECTIONS
**In a large pot, add olive oil, and saute the onions and green pepper

**Add in the remaining ingredients and cover and let simmer for 4 hrs.
(Can also be done in a crockpot on medium for 6 hours or so.

**Serve with what ever pasta you prefer: Fettuccine, Ziti, Penne, etc.....

Note: Leftover Meatballs make great subs. Place meatballs in sub bun, sprinkle in cheese, and wrap in foil. These can now be baked or frozen in a Ziploc bag for future use. We used to make these for when we went skiing, bake them at home, and just heat them up near the roaring fire at the lodge!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Snowy Day in New England...Let's make Cinnamon Rolls!



It's another dreary, snowy day in New England. I love the way it looks when it is freshly fallen, but dread driving in it. I trust myself, because I grew up in this kind of weather, I just don't trust other drivers as easily.....It also can be very cold outside, and as I get older my bones are chilled quickly. Needless to say, I think I am done with winter already. Even though we have only just begun! LOL




This is the amount of snow that fell overnight, and is still falling now, except it has tapered off a bit. It will be a while before we shovel ourselves out. We always like to wait until we know it has stopped falling.


I've decided to start the morning off with these wonderful MAPLE CINNAMON ROLLS, courtesy of Pioneer Woman Recipes.
I knew the snow was coming our way, so I started this dough yesterday. It is best as a two day dough...or three day if you don't have time to make it up on the 2nd day. It is super easy, and they come out very tasty. :)

MAPLE CINNAMON ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

1 pint whole milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 package of Active Dry Yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. sugar
Cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

**Mix milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a pan. "Scald" the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point.) Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.

**When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in Yeast.

**Let this sit for a minute so the yeast gets all warm and moist and happy.

**Then add all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let sit for at least an hour.

**Now add 1/2 more cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

**Stir mixture together. At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it—overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to splurge out of the pan, just punch it down. Or, of course, you can just go ahead and make the rolls.

**Sprinkle surface generously with flour. Take dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Rectangle should increase in both width and length as you roll it out.

**Now drizzle melted butter over the dough.

**Now sprinkle sugar over the butter…followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

**Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Some of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture may ooze out toward the end, but that’s no big deal.

**Place in a buttered 13 x 9 pan, (3 x 4)

**Let the rolls sit for 20 to 30 minutes to rise, then bake at 400 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
Yield: 2 dozen


FROSTING RECIPE

To a mixing bowl, add 1/2 bag of powdered sugar.
add about 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1/8 cup melted butter
1/4 cup milk... Generously drizzle frosting over warm rolls after you pull them out of the oven
…and 1/8 cup of brewed coffee. Also add a pinch salt.

Generously drizzle frosting over warm rolls after you pull them out of the oven.


Enjoy your snowy morning!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Brunch Idea....Spinach Quiche

Well, the snow has fallen, and boy is it cold! Still baking up a storm,trying to get my cookie trays ready for tomorrow and catching up on Hospice Scrapbooking before we go on Holiday.


The next few days I will be posting some good Holiday brunch ideas. This vegetarian quiche is so good I could eat the whole thing. Popeye would love it for sure and Olive, because she likes to stay so skinny will appreciate the fact that it is low-cal. You can also make it crustless.....

QUICHE WITH SPINACH AND CARAMELIZED ONIONS
Ingredients
1 frozen pie crust
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
2 T. Dijon Mustard
1 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 large egg
3/4 cup Caramelized Onions (about 3 cups uncooked)
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

Directions
**Preheat oven to 350°.

** Combine the evaporated milk, salt, pepper, egg whites, and egg in a medium bowl, and stir well with a whisk. Add in sour cream, Dijon mustard, and spinach, mixing to combine.


**Place caramelized onions, cheese, and sundried tomatoes in bottom of crust


**Spoon the spinach mixture into prepared crust.


** Place pie plate on a baking sheet, and bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until set.


**Let quiche stand 10 minutes, before slicing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Do you make Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs?




Well, as I have mentioned before I make them quite a bit (Sugar Cookies Cut-Outs, that is!),and have many cookie cutters to prove it. This time for the school bake sale, I settled on 3 cutters that were super easy to decorate: trees, stars, and mittens. The trees went over good, because the kids thought they were bigger. I had green trees all over my kitchen the night before the sale. I let them dry overnight before packing them away. When you have time make up the dough and store it in the fridge, then all you have to do is pull it out, roll , cut, and bake.



Here is the recipe that I use, and it seems to have a welcomed reception!

Sugar Cut Out Cookie Recipe
1 Cup of Softened Butter
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 c. of Flour
1 1/2 c. of Granulated Sugar (I use half brown sugar )
2 Large Egg
2 tsp. of Baking Powder

Directions
*Preheat the oven to 375°F.

*Cream the butter and sugar.

*Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter / sugar mixture.

*In a separate bowl, sift together the baking powder, salt and flour.

*Mix the sifted dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients one cup at a time, and continue mixing until the dough becomes stiff.

*Divide the dough in half and refrigerate 1 hour or more.

*On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough until it's approximately 1/8" thick.

*Cut out cookies using floured cookie cutters.

*Bake the cookies on an parchment covered cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they're golden brown on edges.

*Let the cookies cool before frosting.

**Now for the frosting I use a confectionery sugar frosting and dip the cookies in to get that smooth texture.

Confectionery Sugar Frosting -
3 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. lemon juice or extract, and enough warm water to get the dipping consistency you desire
**It works best in a mixing bowl with a whip. I let it go to get all the lumps out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Texting and Your Teen Q&A


This is sponsored content fromBlogHer
and LG Text Ed


As you may have already heard I have been working with LG phones and Blogher concerning "Texting and Your Teens". I wrote a blog entry Here about my experience with my teens and the contract that I use for them to sign when getting a cell phone. A couple of weeks ago I asked readers to come up with a few questions that I could add to a interview with my daughters.

My first daughter, I will refer to as Mac, is in the 10th grade. And my second daughter, Mo, is in the eighth. They have both had a cell phones now for a couple of years. It is a great way for me to keep in touch with them, especially for after school activities and keeping track of them when out with friends.

This Q&A comes after I received my cell phone bill. I was outraged to say the least, at the fact that the bill was $100+ more than what it usually is. Mac had gone over her allotted text messaging. Each daughter has a limit of 300 per month. Which is just $5 extra. I thought that by limiting it, I would have a stronger hold on usage. They would have to pay for the overage, which is 20 cents per text in or out. Well she didn't realize that "my faves" were not included in the messaging service. She had just received a new phone for her birthday the previous month. Which made it easier to write texts. And because that seems to be the only way her peers communicate, it made it hard.

So I sat with them both after school to get their ideas about cell phones and texting. And here is how it went......

Mom: Do you think you could be without your phone? Is it something you felt peer pressure to have?

Mac: No way that is how I communicate with my cheering squad. I don't know if it was peer pressure, but everyone has them now. It is just kinda the thing.

Mo: I could live without mine. But I think it is a great thing to have, especially walking home from school and friends house, when communicating with you. I did feel a little pressure, just because everyone has one. And you feel like a loser if you don't.....

Mom: I know you girls don't text during school....but, do you notice others doing so?

Mac: I do see a lot of that in High School, especially if they have a IPhone, their looking at the internet and sending messages on the sly in Study Hall.

Mo: I don't think they do it as much in Jr. High , for fear it will be taken away. But, I have seen kids doing it.

Mom: Have you heard of text bullying and has it happened to you?

Mac: It hasn't happened to me , but there was some things going around school at the beginning of the year. Some sort of rating system for the freshman girls, that the upperclassmen were passing around. It was pretty bad , and boys were called into the office and suspended. Not cool....

Mo: I have heard if it, but it hasn't happened to me or my friends. I try not to open text from people I do not recognize. Because it would count as the 300.

Mom: What about Sexting and sending pictures?

Mac: The High School did have some things happen like that, but it might have been rumors. I never saw any pictures. I think it tends to happen more with girls whose boyfriends are now in College. And there are situation where they send messages like that back and forth.

Mo: I don't believe the Jr. High has anything like that going on. At least none of my close friends are doing it, I think....We do send pictures. But they're the funny ones that we might have changed to make the person have a big nose, or crazy hair.

Mom: What do think about have the text feature on your phones and the fact that I limit you to 300 per month?

Mac: I understand that there is a minimum. But most of my friends have unlimited service. And it can get embarrassing to tell them I have limited service, or they will get mad when I do not respond, because I did't open their text. And yes, I hate the fact that I had to give up some Christmas money to pay last month's bill.

Mo: I don't text as nuch with my friends, so the limit doesn't bother me. Maybe it will in High School. We will have to see....

Mom: Thanks girls for the little talk about Texting. I see that other than last month's bill excess, there really isn't much going on here. And I thank you both for not being one of those 4 or 5 hundred texts a day kids.

Readers,

If you have anything to ask or add, give me a shout out and I will reply with another post or add on.






Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Buckeye Candies for Gift Giving ...

I'm not sure if this is a Midwest type of candy or not. You see, Buckeyes are the mascot for Ohio State University which is the nemesis of the University of Michigan. So I am not sure if some Ohioan came up with this recipe as a ode to OSU. But whatever... they are addicting to eat and delicious to give as a gift for Christmas or Valentines Day. So take time and make them up, they go by really fast, and even dipping them isn't that hard.


BUCKEYE CANDY

CANDY:
1 stick softened butter
1 3/4 c. (1 18 oz. jar) creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
About 1 lb. confectioners' sugar

CHOCOLATE COATING: Note - you can use candy melting chocolate instead for dipping.
1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. vegetable shortening

DIRECTIONS
**Cream butter, peanut butter, and vanilla together, adding confectioners' sugar until proper consistency is reached. Which is roll able.

**Roll candy into 1-inch balls and place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet.
**Melt chips and shortening together in top of double boiler. Keep chocolate mixture in double boiler over low heat while you dip each candy.

**Using a toothpick, dip each ball, covering about 3/4 of candy. Place candy on sheet to cool.
Makes 8 dozen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Music for Christmas Baking......


When I'm Baking up those cookies for Christmas,
I always turn on the Christmas music to get me in the mood.
I love this singing group from Indiana.
They fit right in with the Singing Show on NBC this week,
They just need to add in some dance moves.
Sunday they'll be coming to our area,
for a private concert in someones front yard.
Whoever has the best lighting decorations for the local
FM Station will win this coveted prize.
How lucky are they?????



Friday, December 10, 2010

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

I have made these for Christmas forever. They are not really just for Christmas, but that is usually the only time you can find them on cookie trays. They are not that hard to make, so it is a wonder why no one makes them the rest of the year. I guess I'll have to make that a New Year's resolution to make these more often through the year.

When I was younger and I made these, instead of the Hershey Kiss, I made them with decorative chocolate stars by BRACH Candy, but I can not find them anymore. And when we had the bakery, I would put a thumbprint in them, and then fill with a rich ganache later, because it was less cost and time effective then those kisses.

PEANUT BUTTER KISS COOKIE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour

Hershey's Kisses (unwrapped)


DIRECTIONS
**Cream sugar, peanut butter and margarine. Add in egg. till fluffy

**Sift baking soda, salt and flour. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Chill for 1 hour or overnight.

**Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Do not flatten.

**Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven.

****Immediately press one unwrapped Hershey's Kiss in the center of each cookie. Gently lift from cookie sheet with a spatula and let cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Home Tour


Lots of tours going on in Blogland the next week.

So come join me ,

as I join in on the first of many!

Welcome to my home on the East Coast.


Just starting to feel like Christmas here in NewEngland,

and the snow will begin to fall.

So why not be greeted by some of the many snowman

that I have collected.


Sit on the built in bench, circa 1885,

and take off your boots.



Then check out my antique gingerbread

cookie cutter collection on the landing.




I even have Santa, helping me decorate some that

have come out of the oven.....



I love my fruit filled mantle,'

with glittered fruit from AC Moore.





Maybe you'll be able to sample some fresh bread

coming out of the oven while your here.



While nibbling in the kitchen,

check out my 7 foot tree.

Decorated with antique children's pots, pans,

and tea kettles from the 40's and 50's.

I figure this tree is worth a fortune!!!


Then of course,

I have many Santa helpers on my mantle.

Just a few of many.....


I have collected them since they began to come

out over 25 years ago........



This is our nostalgic tree with mercury bulbs,

bubble lights, paper garland, and those

wonderful large lights they used to use in the 70's.


I always like to decorate my built in side board....






And finally another tree with fruit and berries,

that we have in the living room.

And the metal stars are great too!


All this decorating can make a girl tired.

So I think I'll make a cup of tea,

and check out others on the tour.

You can join me HERE!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chocolate Biscotti


This is what I made a couple of weeks ago during the Thanksgiving rush. Biscotti may look hard to make. But, if you have the time it is really easy. I plan giving these out on my cookies trays for the holiday, so between now and then I will be making a few different varieties and wrapping and storing them. They make great teacher gifts when wrapped in a coffee cup or put in a cute little bag.


CHOCOLATE-CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI
Servings: 20-24 biscotti (depending on how wide you slice them)
Storing: Airtight container for up to a 4 weeks.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup almond slices
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
4 oz white chocolate and dark chocolate


DIRECTIONS
**Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

**In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.

**In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes).

**Add the eggs and almond extract and mix for another 2 minutes.

**With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients.

**As soon as the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the batter, remove the bowl from the machine and add the almonds and chocolate chips. You can use your hands to stir them into the dough.

**Once you’ve incorporated all the ingredients, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a log about 12 inches long 4 inches wide.

**Carefully transfer the logs to the parchment-lined baking sheet. With your hand, flatten each log so that its roughly an inch high and about 2 inches wide. Curve down the edges a bit.

**Bake the logs for 25 minutes. The logs will spread a bit and may even crack a bit.

**After 25 minutes, remove the logs from the oven and let them cool for 15 minutes.

**Using a serrated knife, carefully slice the logs into biscotti. Each biscotti should be about three-quarters of an inch wide. Transfer the biscotti back to the baking sheet .

**Once you’ve sliced the logs into biscotti, return the biscotti to the oven for 10 minutes.

**Shut off the oven and leave them in for another hour.

**When the biscotti are completely cooled, melt the white chocolate and dark chocolate separately in small Ziploc bags in the microwave 25 seconds at a time until melted. Then cut a small hole in the corner and drizzle back and forth over biscotti. Let the chocolate set before serving or packing the biscotti.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Translucent Maple Tuiles



This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Hindy of Bubie’s Little Baker. She chose Translucent Maple Tuiles which are a thin, lacy cookie. (Pronounced “twill” according to her blog.) You can get the entire recipe on Hindy’s blog. The dough for these is very simple and you can make it ahead and just bake as needed.


If you have ever made these or Almond Lace cookies, you know you have to be as quick as a bunny when rolling them.


I use a pie pin to shape them , but you could use a cream horn or roll them into cigarette shapes. Then dip the end in chocolate. Be careful because they are very fragile. And too much flour will turn them into fortune cookies instead.



These "cookies" are something I tend not to make that often. Maybe once in a Blue Moon, just because they can be tricky if you do not keep a eye on them. And they are so thin, their like chips.....You can't stop eating them!

We give these 4 glasses of milk,

for utter goodness!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


This is sponsored content fromBlogHer
and LG Text Ed




We have the Baby Boomers, the Generation X-ers, and now should it be the Cellular Generation????



I don't know if my teens can communicate with friends without one. It seems very sad.......When I was younger, we had what you might call a party line. You only had to call the last 4 digits of the person you were calling if they were in your keystone. Keystone meant the first three digits. You had to ask permission from your parents first and no phone calls after 7pm. And boyfriend calls in High School were few. And definitely no calls from the girls to the boys, that was not proper.


What would the teens of today do with these rules, if they had to live life like this now.These days, technology plays a major role in a teen's life. It's not only a means for communicating with us as parents but it's the nexus of their social life. My teens only communicate with those in their groups through their cell phone texting. My daughter the Varsity cheerleader only finds out her meeting times, dress, and game schedule through the texting. I find that so odd. What if the cell phone was misplaced?, she would be late to the game with the wrong attire on......


I do enjoy the fact that my teens have the cell phones. However, as with all milestones in their lives, there are certain responsibilities that come with having a mobile phone. Similar to getting their driver's license, they need guidance, instruction and moral guideposts. I noted previously about the contract I have them sign. For us as a family, this seems to be the right thing to have. Is this something you do?Or how about monitoring their calls or cell phone use. Is that something you do?


Studies have found that parents are monitoring cellphone use, with 64 percent saying they have looked at their child's address book, call log, text messages and pictures. How often was unclear. And about 62 percent of parents say they have taken away a cellphone as punishment. I am one of those parents checking up on my kids. Or taking away the phone for punishment. But that rarely happens, because without it would be a punishment for me.


In the beginning, I wanted to make sure that there was no funny business going on. And I also wanted to monitor the amount of text that were coming in and out. So in that instance, we have a 300 per month limit, and they know that any amount over that they pay for. We don't have too many overages each month. I think if we had unlimited, that would be their only way to communicate.


In my next post, I will be interviewing my two older teenagers, 15 and 13. And asking them how they feel about their cell phone, (Can't live without it or not?). And what would they do if someone sextexted them...or has it already happened??? I am opening up my comment section for you my readers, and any questions you may have for my teens. Or something you feel is an important cell phone usage issue for you.


Because this topic is so important for our kids and their futures, BlogHer really wants to get the conversation about texting, sexting and safety going – both with our kids and among parents. It will match LG’s donation of .50 to dosomething.org for every comment on this post, so please give me your suggestions on questions for my kids. Dosomething.org will get a $1.00 for each and every one.