Friday, November 30, 2012

November Foodie Penpal Revel

Where has the time gone, it is the last day of November and time to do the Foodie Penpal Revel.  This month my package came from Nae Carter who blogs at I Choose the Sun.

In our communication, I told Nae that I had a real sweet tooth.  Boy did she hear that!  My package was crammed with all sorts of goodies to take care of that sweet tooth.  Nae sent so many wonderful treats that I have not yet finished them all.

First there was this little bag of Moose Munch (what a cute name).  I love glazed popcorn, and this one had cashews in it, one of my favorite nuts.

I think I am going to use these dried pears in a snack mix.  Interesting, I live where pears are grown, but I've never eaten dried ones that I know of.

 This bag of trail mix was delicious.

Of course, a sweet tooth needs candy, and Nae took good care of it with these.  I have been a good girl and restrained myself so there is some left.

Thanks Nae for sending me a great package to finish out the year.

Foodie Penpals was started by Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean in September 2011.  There is now an exchange in Canada and in Europe.  For the month of December, we are making a contribution to charity, but the exchange will get rolling again in January.  If you would like more information on how to join in the fun, drop by Lindsay's blog toward the end of December.  She will have all the information up for getting started in the new year.

My package went to Barbara Geeco in Virginia who does not have a blog.

I am linking to to Foodie Penpal Reveal Day

Thursday, November 29, 2012

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats-Eggnog Cherry Drops


Here we are at week 10 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic.  Only two more weeks to go.

For me, a holiday cookie platter is not complete without a eggnog-flavored cookie.  This week I am sharing Eggnog Cherry Drops.  This is a rum and nutmeg flavored cookie full of chopped candied cherries, nuts and coconut if desired.  Only two cups of the Holiday Cookie Mix makes about 32 cookies.

Making these cookies used up the second batch of Holiday Cookie Mix.  I will need to make one more to finish the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, but will have some left to post additional recipes made with it on my Saturday sweets posts.

After the cherries and nuts have been chopped, these go together very quickly, and they can be all baked up and ready to eat in about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie sheet they are baked on.

Any nuts can be used here.  I most often use walnuts, but almonds are very good in these also.

Eggnog Cherry Drops
2 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 egg
1 T. water
1 t. rum extract
1/2 c. candied cherries, chopped
1/2 c. toasted chopped nuts
1/2 c. flaked coconut (opt.)

Measure cookie mix into a mixing bowl, add nutmeg and mix well.  In a small bowl, combine egg, water and rum extract.  Mix well.  Add to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Stir in candied cherries, nuts and coconut, if using.  Drop by teaspoonsful onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees 10-11 minutes.  Remove to rack to cool.  Makes about 32 cookies.

There is still time to jump in and join in posting a recipe for the last two weeks.  All the important details are on Brenda's 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats post.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Some people like chocolate, some people like Snickerdoodles.  Today’s Saturday sweet is a cookie for those people who like both.  A chocolate cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar.

The dough needs to chill for at least one hour, but can be kept chilled several days, so it can be made ahead and baked later.  This makes it a convenient cookie to make at holiday time.

3/4 c.  butter, softened
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
2 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Break egg into a small bowl.  Add milk and vanilla and mix well.  Add to butter/sugar mixture.  Combine flour, cocoa and baking powder.  Mix well.  Add to liquid mixture.  Stir until well blended.  Dough will be somewhat stiff.  Cover and chill 1 hour.  (Dough can be placed in a zip top bag and chilled several days.)  Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl shallow bowl and mix well.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll bowls in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Place balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Flatten with a glass that has been dipped in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Let stand on cookie sheet 1 minute before removing to rack to cool.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Linking to these great parties:
Seasonal Inspiration
Strut Your Stuff
Saturday Nite Special
Weekend Bloggy Reading
Ingredient Spotlight

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Finds

My Friday Finds continue with more delicious looking recipes from bloggers who attended Online Blogcon.

Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

Oh Man!  I have got to make these.  I don't know how I managed to miss this post last summer.  That's OK, they will be great to put in Christmas goodie platters.  Kristen hosts Improv Cooking Challenge on the third Thursday of each month.  December's improv ingredients are chocolate and marshmallows.  Details on how to join in fun are on her Improv Page.

Eat at Allie's

Just the recipe I need this week to use of some of that leftover turkey.  I love curry with turkey or chicken in dishes like this.  This is going to be my lunch when I work on Black Friday and then on Saturday this week.

A Kitchen Addiction

Eggnog is one of my most favorite flavors of the holiday season, and it is no secret how I feel about streusel.  Muffins are so nice to have available for breakfast or a snack.  These are most definitely on my "to make soon" list.

The Tasty Fork

This is a great recipe with ingredients I usually have on hand.  I am keeping this one in the front of my files for serving unexpected visitors, and I just may make some up just for myself to take to work for lunch.  This dish might be fun to play with ingredient wise.

Happy Food Healthy Life

Although the blogger suggested this as a Thanksgiving side dish, with the combination of two great fall foods, this would be good anytime.  I am also going to try it with yams/sweet potatoes.  It would be easier to get hubby to eat them.

Cooking is a Hoot

The CAB stands for cheddar cheese, apple, and bacon.  Three things that I like, but I would never have thought to put them together in a grilled sandwich.  Now that someone has, I say, "Why not?"  I agree with her suggestion to add some apple butter, also.  Things like this are just one of the reasons I love to read other blogs.  I'm thinking after the turkey is gone, that this will soon be on my lunch menu.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

I am linking up to Friday Favorite Finds at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  Click on over with me to see what others have found in their travels around the web this week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats-Spiced Ciderdoodles

Before we get to today’s Christmas Treat, I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope that you all have a wonderful day full of family, food and friends.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

This is week nine of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats 2012 hosted by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic.

I am continuing to post recipes utilizing the Holiday Cookie Mix.  Today’s cookie I call Spiced Ciderdoodles.  A little envelope of dry spiced cider mix turns these into slightly apple flavored cookies.  If regular Snickerdoodles are preferred just leave out the cider mix.

I roll these in a mixture of sugar and apple pie spice, but sugar and just cinnamon can also be used.

The dough for these can be made ahead and refrigerated a day or so until ready to bake.

Spiced Ciderdoodles
2 1/2 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
1 envelope spiced cider mix
1 t. cream of tartar
1 egg
2 T. milk
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. apple pie spice or cinnamon

Measure cookie mix into a large mixing bowl.  Add spiced cider mix and cream of tartar and mix well.  Combine egg and milk and mix well.  Add egg/milk mixture to dry ingredients.  Mix until well blended.  If the dough is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate an hour or more.  Combine sugar and apple pie spice or cinnamon.  Mix well.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll in sugar mixture.  Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Flatten with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in the sugar mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let stand one minute before removing from cookie sheet to rack to cool.  Makes about 3 dozen.

If you want to jump in and join us for the last three weeks there is still time.  Brenda has all the details on her post here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Finds

Time for another Friday Finds.  I am continuing to share delicious recipes found at the blogs of bloggers who attended Online Blogcon.
Whatcha Makin' Now

I got no further than this post on this blog before I knew I had to share this fun take on a batch of fudge.  I will definitely be making this one for gift giving this year.  For some reason I would not get a permalink to this specific post to come up so I will tell you that it was posted on November 12, 2012.

Inside Bru Crew Life

This is a blog that I have featured on Friday Finds before.  This cake looks like a good way to use up some of that apple butter that I made recently and provide hubby with a nice treat.

Dreaming All Day

Well, I may or may not be on a goodie kick this week.  We will see when I am done here.  I have seen other recipes for Apple Cider Cookies, but some of them required quite a bit of dry apple cider mix.  This one takes only 1 tablespoon.

Mom on Time Out

Lest I get carried away with posting all sweets today, I am including this wonderful looking pasta dish.  I love to use pasta as a side dish in place of potatoes.  The lemon flavor in this one is different and seems inviting.

Crazy for Crust

Dorothy is one of the founders and hosts of Online Blogcon.  I love cinnamon anything so this would be the perfect thing to wake up to eat in the morning.  Now if I could somehow or other get Dorothy here to make it for me.

Those are some of the wonderful recipes I found this week.  As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

Join me over at Friday Favorite Finds to see what other bloggers have found in their travels around the web this week.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Different Kind of Cookie Swap

Well, Whoops! Some of you may have gotten a post with only a graphic.  Not sure how that happened.

Since I posted earlier about this year's Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and it is now closed, I thought that I would also let people know about this new twist on a Cookie Swap.  In this cookie swap you will send a recipe to someone and someone else will send a recipe to you.  Each participant will then make the recipe that they received and post about it.  Posts will go "live," and there will be a link party on December13th.

Isn't this a clever idea?  You get to keep the cookies that you make and don't have to go to the Post Office or pay for shipping.  I am very excited about this and have signed up.  This is being hosted by Julie at White Lights on Wednesday and the following bloggers.                     

A click on over to Julie's sign up page will give you all the details and the schedule.  Cookie Monster's Grandmother hopes that you will join her in the fun.  Sign up runs through November 23, 2012.               

Improv Cooking Challenge-5-Spice and Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Today is the third Thursday in November and time for Improve Cooking Challenge hosted by Kristen at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, so this is post number two.

The ingredients for the challenge this month were sweet potatoes and honey.  Sweet potatoes are one of those things that there is some confusion about.  Here in the northwest yellow fleshed sweet potatoes are called sweet potatoes, and orange fleshed ones are called yams but are, supposedly, actually a variety of sweet potato.  Confusing, I know.  Anyway, I chose to make my recipe with the orange fleshed potato as that is the one my family likes.

In searching the web for inspiration for this ingredient combination, I found a short video by Tyler Florence where he was making what he called sweet potatoes (they were the orange ones) roasted with honey and cinnamon.  The video was my inspiration for this recipe.  There were no ingredient amounts or oven temperature given in the video.

I love Chinese 5-Spice seasoning with its slightly licorice undertones so chose to use that in this recipe.  I will be trying other spices such as Pumpkin Pie Spice, Apple Pie Spice, Nutmeg, and Ginger (I probably will need to reduce the amount of spice for this one.).  5-Spice can be a little difficult to find in the grocery store, but I know that Spice Islands still makes it.

Although I used whole pecans in the dish I made for the photo, in the future I will use coarsely chopped nuts.  Any other nut of choice could also be used, or the nuts may be omitted.

All in all, I am very pleased with the result and have a recipe that I will use often.  The not-too-sweet glaze really lets the flavor of the sweet potato shine through.  Personally, I just kept eating these like popcorn and could not stop.  If you like true sweet potato flavor, I think you will like this.

5-Spice and Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes
2 1/2-3 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams
1 1/2 T. olive oil or melted butter
1/3 c. honey
1 t. 5-Spice seasoning
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. coarsely ground pepper
1/2 to 3/4 c. coarsely chopped, toasted pecans or other nuts (opt.)

Peel and slice potatoes into 1-inch slices.  Quarter slices.  Place sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle olive oil or melted butter over the potatoes and mix until they are well covered.  Pour honey into a glass measuring cup and warm in microwave about 30 seconds.   Add 5-Spice, salt and pepper to the honey and stir well.  Pour honey over the sweet potatoes and mix until they are well covered.  Turn into a foil-lined 10-15-inch baking sheet and spread into a single layer.  Bake at 375 degrees 15 minutes.  Carefully stir and turn sweet potatoes so that they are well coated with the liquid (honey will still be quit liquid at this point).  Return to oven and bake about 15 minutes more.  Stir and turn potatoes again until they are well coated with glaze (honey will be glaze consistency at this point).  Sprinkle nuts over potatoes and return to oven for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Remove from oven and place in a serving dish.  Makes 6 to 8 servings  (Unless you are me, then it make a serving for one.)

 If you like to join in the fun of this challenge, you can find all the necessary information on Kristen's Improv Page.  December's challenge is chocolate and marshmallows.  The recipe does not have to be original.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats-Flaky Cereal Cookies


Here we are at week eight of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats 2012 hosted by Brenda over at Meal Planning Magic.

Today I am sharing another drop cookie recipe made from the Holiday Cookie Mix.  This one was originally called Cornflake Cookies, but I have changed the name as I have used many other flaked cereals instead of cornflakes to make these.  The ones in the photo were made with Special K Chocolately Delight.  Almost every major cereal maker makes some flaked cereals so there are many out there to choose from.

This recipe makes a cookie that is lacy on the outer edges and soft in the center.  It is a pretty cookie for a cookie tray, but it does not travel well as it breaks easily.

Flaky Cereal Cookies
2 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
1 1/2 c. flaked cereal crushed to 1 cup.  Cornflakes or any flaked cereal can be used
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped, toasted walnuts (opt.)
1/2 c. flaked coconut (opt.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine cookie mix and cereal.  Blend together well.  Measure vegetable oil into a glass 1-cup measure.  Add egg and vanilla.  Beat with a fork until well combined.  Pour into cookie mix mixture.  Stir until well blended.  Stir in nuts and coconut if using.  Drop mixture by teaspoonsful onto foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cookies stand on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Makes about 2 1/2 doz. cookies

It is still not too late to join us.  You can find all the necessary information on Brenda's 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats post.

Check out all the great treats that other food bloggers have shared this week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ingredient Spotlight-Stovetop Rotisserie Chicken

The Ingredient Spotlight today over at Eat at Home is cooked chicken or turkey.  If I have roasted a chicken or a turkey, I do usually have left overs to use up.  Sometimes, however, I want to make a recipe that calls for cooked chicken or turkey, and I don't have any on hand.  So, occasionally, I make cooked chicken just to store in the freezer for such a time.

I like the flavor of store bought rotisserie chicken but not the price or the fact that they are usually small so don't yield much meat.  I have been experimenting with trying to make rotisserie flavored cooked chicken on the stove top.

I have a recipe for Simmered Chinese Chicken in which the chicken is cooked in a flavored sauce that infuses the chicken with a slightly teriyaki flavor.  I wondered if doing somewhat the same thing using rotisserie seasoning would infuse a bit more flavor into the chicken.  So this is what I tried, and I did end up with lots of cooked chicken meat with more flavor and several cups of really flavorful broth.

This same method could be used with chicken breasts or thighs.  Just adjust the time cook for only 20 to 30 minutes.

Stovetop Rotisserie Chicken
1 whole chicken (4 to 5 lbs. is the size I like to use)
1 t. salt
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. garlic powder
14 to 1/2 t. coarse ground black pepper
1 –2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 peeled carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 qt. water

Combine salt, paprika, onion powder , thyme, garlic powder and pepper.  Mix well and rub on all surfaces of the chicken and also inside the cavity.  Heat olive oil (you want enough to cover the bottom) in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  When hot, add chicken and brown 3 to 4 minutes on all sides.  You may have to hold the chicken up with a meat fork to brown on the wing sides.  When chicken has browned add onion, celery, carrots, garlic and bay leaves.  Pour water over everything.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours until chicken is tender, turning chicken over several time so all sides cook in the liquid.  Remove chicken and set aside to cool.  Pour liquid through a strainer and place in a container in the refrigerator to cool.  When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones.  To freeze chicken divide into recipe amounts and put in freezer bags.  Remove fat from broth. Rewarm broth to pouring consistency, if necessary.  Pour 1 cup of broth over the chicken in the freezer bags.  I usually get about 6 cups cooked chicken and 3 cups of broth when I make this.

Linking to these Great Parties:
Ingredient Spotlight
What I Whipped Up Wednesday
Show and Share Wednesday
Wow  Me Wednesday
Back for Seconds Social
Whatcha Work Up Wednesday
Whimsy Wednesday
Work It Wednesday
Whatcha Whipped Wednesday
Cast Party Wednesday
Wednesday Whatsits
Whatever Goes Wednesday
Look What I Made
Whole Foods Wednesday

Monday, November 12, 2012

Secret Recipe Club-Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

My assignment for November for Secret Recipe Club was the blog It's Yummy to My Tummy.  This blog was started by Heather in 2010.  She chose an apt name for her blog.  It is loaded with delicious recipes, all of them  "yummy to the tummy."

I went through every post in her blog and found many great recipes to try like Baked Doughnuts (I must finally use my new doughnut pan),  Cheese and Fruit Danish,  and Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls.  Several that are great for this time of the year:  Tootsie Roll Fudge, S’Mores Fudge, and one that is a big weird Soda Pop Jell-O Salad.

When I finally made a choice, I chose Chicken and Gnocchi Soup because I am always looking for new soup recipes, and I had cooked up some of my Stovetop Rotisserie Chicken (post to come on Wednesday) so I could have cooked chicken on hand.  Because I wanted a greater quantity of soup, I increased the recipe by half.  My recipe amounts reflect that.

Parmesan gnocchi was the only gnocchi that I could find at my grocery store.  The gnocchi had a packet of cheese and herb seasoning with it so I did add it to the soup.

I was pretty sure that I would not be able to get the spinach by my hubby, so my solution was to use a bag of frozen spinach, put a small amount in my bowl when the soup was served, and  put it in the microwave for 1 minute or so.  This worked very well, I had my soup with spinach, and hubby had his without.  Of course, I had to add my ever-present red pepper.  I have listed it as optional.

This was a very good soup, and I will be making it often so I am going to have to start making my own gnocchi.  I also think that this would be good made with tortellini.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (adapted from It's Yummy to My Tummy blog)
4 T. butter
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 c. finely diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. finely diced onion
1/2 c. finely diced red pepper (opt.)
1/3 c. flour
2 cans (14 oz.) chicken broth (4 c.)
1 c. shredded carrots
3/4 t. thyme
1 qt. half and half
1 c. whole milk
1 1/2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 1/2 c. spinach, chopped
1 1/2 lb. gnocchi, cooked according to package directions
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and olive oil together in a soup pot.  Add celery, garlic, onion and red pepper.  Cook until veggies are beginning to get tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in flour and blend well.  Slowly stir in chicken broth, carrot and thyme.  Cook gently until veggies are tender.  Stir in  half and half, milk and chicken.  Bring to a gentle simmer.  Cook about 5 minutes.  Add spinach and cook a few more minutes or until the spinach starts to wilt.  Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese if desired.  Makes  6 to 8 servings.

Go and spend a little time at It's Yummy to My Tummy.  You will be glad you did.

Linking to:  Ingredient Spotlight

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chocolate Marbled Pear Bars

Today’s Saturday Sweet is made with pears.  Pears are not as commonly used in baked goods as are apples.  I don’t know why, they certainly are every bit as good.  I am trying to remedy that by posting a few recipes from my files for cookies made with pears.

Today’s recipe is for Chocolate Marbled Pear Bars.  This is a cake-like bar filled with chopped pears and walnuts topped by marbled melted chocolate chips.  Pears and chocolate really do make a great combination.

The original recipe which I clipped from our local newspaper many years ago used drained, canned pears.  I prefer to use ripe fresh pears when they are in season but do used the canned ones when fresh pears are out of season. I don't limit my self to using Bartlett pears so use other varieties also.  They all work well.

Chocolate Marbled Pear Bars
2 cans (1 lb. ea.)  Bartlett pear halves or 3 to 4 medium to large pears
1 c. butter
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. sifted flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted

If using canned pears, drain well.  Chop pears into about 1/2-inch dice.  Melt butter in a large saucepan or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.  Add sugars and mix well.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla; mix well.  Combine flour and baking powder.  Stir into liquid mixture.  Fold in pears and walnuts.  Pour into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.  Drizzle melted chocolate over the batter and marble with a knife.  Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes.  Cool and cut into bars.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Linking to these great parties:
Weekend Potluck
I'm Lovin' It
Seasonal Inspiration
Strut Your Stuff 
Weekend Bloggy Reading
Saturday Nite Special

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Finds

It's Friday again and time for another Friday Finds.  I am continuing to share delicious recipes I have found at blogs of bloggers who attended Online Blogcon.

Simply Dream and Create

OK, I know that I have said I don't really like to make pie, but I will be making an exception for this one.  Besides, I can always buy a purchased crust.  Bake brownies in a pie crust and top it with a peanut butter/cream cheese mixture.  It can't get better than this.

One Creative Mommy

This is not so much a recipe as a process.  I don't need to eat gluten-free, but I'm certainly going to try this as a breading for chicken.  Heidi hosts Gluten Free Monday, a linky party for exchanging gluten free recipes.

What's Cooking, Love?

I make a couple of different potato stack recipes, but they use oil.  This one uses heavy cream.  It will be my next new potato recipe to make.

Crumbs and Chaos

I am the only one who likes eggnog at our house, and when I pick some up at the grocery store, I have a difficult time using it all up.  Because I also like oatmeal, I think that this would be a wonderful way to use some of it.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

I am linking to Friday Favorite Finds over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  Hop on over with me to see what other bloggers have found in their travels around the blogsphere this week.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats-Better than Pumpkin Pie Squares


We continue with week seven of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic.  This is the beginning of the second half so we are on the downhill slide right on to the end.

I am continuing to post recipes made with Holiday Cookie Mix.  Today’s recipe is what my family calls “Better than Pumpkin Pie” squares.  I have said before that I am not really into making pies so this has become our traditional Thanksgiving dessert.  It has a crust, the pumpkin filling and a wonderful brown sugar/pecan topping  and serves 12 to 15 so “fits the bill” well, I think.  This can also be cut into bars and served as part of a  cookie platter.

For those who might want to try this recipe, but don’t want to bother making the cookie mix, I am including directions to make the bottom crust without the mix.

The original recipe came from Homemade Cookies by Farm Journal published in 1971.  My copy of this cookbook is just about coming apart.  It is interesting that the pumpkin filling is the same one that has been on the back of the Libby Pumpkin can forever.  That is my favorite pumpkin filling recipe.  I am not sure who got what from whom.

For the topping, I combine the brown sugar and pecans, cut the butter in small pieces and mix it all together with clean hands.  I sprinkle it over the top of the filling and give myself permission to lick my fingers.

Better than Pumpkin Pie Squares
adapted from Homemade Cookies, Farm Journal, 1971
2 1/2 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
1/2 c. quick oats
1 c. flour
1/2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. butter or regular margarine

1 (1 lb.) can pumpkin (2 c.)
1 (13 1/2 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves
1/2 c. chopped, toasted pecans
1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 T. butter

Combine cookie mix and quick oats and press into a foil-lined 9x13-inch baking pan.  OR Combine flour, oats and brown sugar.  Stir to mix well.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Press in a foil-lined 9x13-inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes.  While crust is baking combine in a large mixing bowl the pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt and spices.  Beat with a whisk until well blended.  Pour mixture into hot crust and return to oven to bake 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine pecans and brown sugar.  Slice butter into small pieces and mix with pecans/sugar until well blended.  Sprinkle the topping over the partially baked filling mixture and return to oven to bake 20 minutes more or until filling is set.  (A toothpick inserted into filling will come out clean.)  Cool in pan on a rack and cut into large squares to serve as a dessert or into bars to serve as part of a cookie platter.  Makes 12 to 15 dessert servings or 24 to 32 bar cookies.

To recap the recipes posted so far:
Glazed Cinnamon Toffee Bars-Basic Holiday Cookie Mix is here
Buttermilk Rum Bars
Krispie Nut Bars
Chocolate Cottage Bars-This is a Saturday Sweets post that uses the mix
Tropical Dreams
Tart and Tasty Lemon Bars
Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars

Check out the links below for great recipes from other bloggers.  There is still time to join us, and you can find all the information on Brenda's 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats post.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ingredient Spotlight-Butterscotch Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Ingredient Spotlight today over at Eat at Home is chocolate chips, probably one of the most popular food products ever dreamed up.

If I need a very large amount of chocolate chip cookies, I use my Big Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe which makes 12 dozen.  Because I like butterscotch, this is probably my next favorite chocolate chip cookie.  This one is for the chocolate chip lover as it is really chocolate chips and nuts held together with a small amount of dough.  The amount of chocolate chips can be reduced for a more dough, less chips cookie.

This recipe came from Kraft way back in 1982.  They were probably the very first ones to put pudding mix in a cookie recipe.  I combine the oatmeal version with the chocolate chip version for my cookies.  I am including the adjustment to make the cookies without oatmeal below, also.

By using other flavors of instant pudding and omitting either the oatmeal or the chocolate chips or by using other flavors of chips you can make many variations of this cookie.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. softened butter or margarine
1/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 small package instant butterscotch or other flavor pudding mix
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
3 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 c. chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans
1 pkg. (12 oz.) chocolate chips

Cream together butter or margarine, sugars, and pudding mix until smooth and creamy.  Beat in eggs.  Stir together flour and soda.  Gradually add flour mixture to sugar  mixture.  Stir in oats and mix well.  Batter will be stiff.  Add  chocolate chips and nuts.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls, about 2-inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake  at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Do not over bake, these should be a bit crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Makes 5 to 7 dozen 2-inch cookies.

For chocolate chips without the oatmeal, increase flour to 2 1/4 cups and omit oatmeal.  For oatmeal cookies without chocolate chips, omit the chips.  1 c. of raisins may be added to the oatmeal cookies, if desired.

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Holiday Cookie Change

Crazy Cooking Challenge-Fruit and Nut Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing


The subject of this month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge hosted by Tina at Mom’s Crazy Cooking is Dressing/Stuffing.  No matter what you call it, it is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving dinner.  As far as I an concerned, I can never make enough of it.

Yesterday I shared a recipe for DIY Seasoned Cornbread Stuffing Mix and Monday I shared DIY Poultry Seasoning.  These are the basis for my cornbread stuffing.  Because we like the combination, I have added fruits and nuts to my stuffing over the years.  I use dried apricots, dried cranberries and fresh chopped apple.  For nuts I have used walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts.  It just depends on my mood that year which nut I choose.  I always toast them.

This stuffing recipe makes a somewhat firm stuffing that can be cut into squares.  If a less firm stuffing is desired, increase the amount of chicken broth used.

The stuffing may be made ahead and frozen.  Thaw and rewarm in the oven keeping it completely covered.

Fruit and Nut Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1/3 c. chopped red pepper (opt.)
5 c. dried cornbread dressing/stuffing mix (1 recipe DIY Seasoned Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing Mix)
2 c. dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 t. dried sage
1 T. poultry seasoning
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. chopped dried apricots
1 to 2 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 to 1 c. chopped, toasted nuts
2 c. turkey or chicken broth (or more to get texture desired)
1 egg beaten with 1/2 c. water

Melt butter in large skillet.  Add onion, celery and red pepper and cook until tender, but not brown.  Meanwhile in a large bowl combine cornbread, bread crumbs and seasonings.  Mix together well.  Add cranberries, apricots, apple and nuts.  Stir to mix well.  Add vegetables and mix in.  Add turkey or chicken broth.  The mixture should be quite wet.  Beat egg with water and stir in.  Turn into a foil-lined 9x13-inch baking pan.  Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  Uncover the last 10-15 minutes of baking time if you like a crust on your dressing/stuffing.  Serves 12

Next month the challenge is sugar cookies.  If you would like to join in the fun, you can find all the details on Tina's Crazy Cooking Challenge Page.  Check out the links below for other great dressing/stuffing recipes and come join us next month.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

DIY Seasoned Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing Mix

It is really very easy to make your own seasoned cornbread dressing/stuffing mix.  Just add seasonings to a batch of cornbread and then crumble it and dry it out.  The crumbled cornbread can be left to dry at room temperature if there is time, or it can be dried out in the oven.  I usually dry my cornbread in the oven as I have a small kitchen with little room, and, you all know, I rarely plan ahead.

I  use 2 t. of poultry seasoning to a batch of cornbread.  This can be varied according to personal tastes.  Yesterday I posted a recipe for DIY Poultry Seasoning if you would like to make your own.

Here is my recipe and method for making  cornbread dressing/stuffing mix.

DIY Cornbread Dressing/Stuffing Mix
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
2 T. sugar (opt.)
1 T. plus 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 t. poultry seasoning
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled
1 c. milk
1 egg

In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and poultry seasoning.  Mix to combine.  Place butter in a 2-cup glass measuring cup, cover and melt in the microwave, about 1 minute at 50 percent power.  Let cool.  Add milk until mixture reaches the 1 1/4 c. mark on the measuring cup.  Add egg and mix well.  Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir just to combine.  The mixture will be lumpy.  Do not over mix.  Pour batter into a greased 8-inch square baking pan and bake at 425 degrees about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Invert cornbread on a rack and cool to room temperature.  Crumble cornbread and place in a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan.  Let dry at room temperature for 2 to 4 days, stirring several times each day.  OR place pan in a 250-degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until cornbread crumbs are very dry.  Stir every 30 minutes.  Watch carefully and do not let crumbs get too brown.  Makes about 5 cups of dried cornbread.  I store this is a zip-top bag up to six months.  Use in your favorite dressing/stuffing recipe.

Tomorrow I will be posting a recipe using this cornbread dressing/stuffing mix for Crazy Cooking Challenge.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

DIY Poultry Seasoning

Good Monday and welcome to my new followers.  Thanks to all who take the time from their busy lives to read this blog.  It is truly appreciated.

I fear that I may not be following some of you so, if you follow me, please leave a comment with your blog address; and I will hop over right away to follow you back.  Thanks.

On Wednesday, I will be posting this month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge which is stuffings.  Leading up to that I am going to do a couple of posts for homemade ingredients for stuffings.

I have recipes that I use year round that have poultry seasoning as an ingredient.  Some people buy poultry seasoning at Thanksgiving time, use it, then let it sit until the next Thanksgiving time when they buy new because they are afraid that what they have is not good.  If you are one of those people, this may be of help to you.

Poultry seasoning is a combination of a number of seasonings that most people already have on hand in their pantry.  The usual ingredients are  sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary and sometimes basil and oregano.  These can be combined to suit one's personal taste.  I like sage, myself, so use a bit more of that herb.

DIY Poultry Seasoning
Here is the basic combination that I use.  Adjust it to your own taste:
1 1/2 t. dried crumbled sage
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried marjoram
1 t. crushed rosemary
1/2 t. coarse ground pepper
1 t. celery seed

Combine ingredients and whirl in a mini food processor or coffee grinder until a medium powder.  You may also use a mortar and pestle.  Makes about 2 T. poultry seasoning.  Store airtight.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Topsy Turvey Apple Cake

I love the fall when I can make all kinds of recipes with fresh, just-picked apples.  The stacks of different varieties of apples beckon me when I am at the grocery store.

This recipe is called a cake, but it is unlike a conventional cake.  It is really sliced, caramelized apple and nuts held together with a little dough.  I adapted this from a free recipe card picked up at a local grocery store many years ago.  Hubby liked this one so much the first time I made it, he had three servings in one evening.

The amount of apples needed will depend on their size.  You need enough  apple slices to cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with a single layer.  I usually use about 4 apples.  I slice the apples into the baking dish until I have what I need, then put the slices in a bowl to mix with the sugar and cinnamon.  If I have any peeled apple leftover, I just eat it.

 Topsy Turvey Apple Cake
4-6 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 1/4 c. sugar, divided
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 c. chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts

Slice enough apples to cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish in a single layer.  Transfer apples to a bowl and mix with 1/2 c. sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix well to cover apples with sugar.  Wipe out the baking dish and grease it.  Return apple slices to baking dish, spreading them into a single layer.  Measure flour and 3/4 c. sugar into a small mixing bowl.  Add baking powder and mix well.  Measure vegetable oil in a glass 1-cup measuring cup.  Add eggs and beat until well mixed.  Pour into flour mixture and blend well.  Add nuts and stir until blended.  The mixture will be somewhat stiff.  Dollop spoonfuls of the dough onto the apples.  Carefully spread the dough out with a metal spatula or a knife until it covers the apples as much as possible.  Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Cut into squares.  Place on dessert plates with apple side up.  Makes about 12 to 15 servings.  Although this is good at room temperature, it is better warm.  I warm individual servings about 30 seconds in the microwave.  I love it topped with a scoop of ice cream and a swirl of caramel sauce.  Hubby likes to top it with a slice of cheddar cheese when it is warmed.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Finds

This week I am continuing to visit blogs that belong to bloggers who attended Online Blogcon.  Here are a few of the delicious looking things I have found.

Persnickety Plates

Here is another great looking recipe for the crockpot that I must try.  I posted this one because it looks healthy as well as delicious, and I still need more crockpot recipes.  However, go visit this blog and get the recipe for Peanut Butter Chunk Oatmeal Bars.  Now those I really, really need to make.

Tasty Sweet Cupcakes

It is no secret how much I like crisps so to find an apple crisp in a cupcake really made my day.  This is a dressed-up cake mix recipe, but looks oh so good.  I just want to jump right into the computer and get this one.

What's Cooking with Ruthie

It takes just 5 simple ingredients to make this relish.  Ruthie says it is great with turkey, and I think that I will make it for Thanksgiving; but I'll bet it would be wonderful with pork, also.

That is my finds for the week, but I will be poking around more of the blogs belonging to bloggers who attended Online Blogcon so will have more to share next week.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

I am linking up to Friday Favorite Finds at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  Hop on over with me to see what other bloggers have found this week.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats-Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars

We are at week six of this year’s 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  Hope your Christmas recipe arsenal is getting loaded with many great recipes.

I am continuing to make cookies using the Holiday Cookie Mix.  Although this is the sixth week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, this is recipe number 7 made from the Holiday Cookie Mix.  The recipes that I have posted this far are:

Glazed Cinnamon Toffee Bars (Holiday Cookie Mix is here)
Buttermilk Rum Bars
Krispie Nut Bars
Chocolate Cottage Bars
Tropical Dreams
Tart and Tasty Lemon Bars

I made an error in the amount the Holiday Cookie Mix makes in my original post.  I said 12 cups, but it is actually about 16 cups.  I have made the correction in the original  post. One batch of the mix made all the listed recipes.  I have now started with a second batch of mix.

If you have ever purchased too many cans of cranberry sauce at holiday time, here is a way to use some of it up.  I developed this recipe to do just that.  These have a shortbread-like crust, a tart and creamy filling, and a crispy topping.  The can be cut into small bars to serve as cookies or into larger squares to serve as a dessert.

Either jellied or whole berry cranberry can be used.  A nice variation to this is to add a couple of finely chopped apples to the cranberry/cream cheese mixture.  The cream cheese can also be mixed with different flavor preserves to make other variations of these cookies.  Although I did not do it for the bars in the photos, next time I think that I will add a bit of red food coloring for added color to the filling.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars
2 1/2 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, very soft (may be low fat)
1 can (16 oz.) cranberry sauce
2 T. flour
a few drops of red food coloring (opt.)
2 c. Holiday Cookie Mix
1/2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts

Pat the 2 1/2 cups cookie mix evenly into a foil-lined 9x13-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove and let cook 5 to 10 minutes.  Beat cream cheese,   cranberry sauce and flour together until well blended.  The mixture will not be smooth if using whole berry sauce.  Spread mixture over the baked crust.  In a medium bowl combine 2 cups cookie mix, quick oats and walnuts and mix until well blended.  Sprinkle evenly over cranberry/cream cheese mixture.  Pat topping down gently.  Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes until topping is golden brown.  Makes about 36 bar cookies or 12 to 15 dessert squares.  Store in refrigerator.

12 Weeks of Christmas Sweets is hosted by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic.  There is still time to join us, and you can find all the necessary information in her post here.

Check out the links below for all the delicious recipes shared this week.
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