Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner

At Thanksgiving, I like to serve a similar meal as the previous years. I may change a couple of side dishes but normally our guest knows what to expect. Every year, I look for my Thanksgiving menu and it takes me a while to locate it. I always feel like I'm missing something. So, this year I'm posting it here so next year I will save some time. My favorite Thanksgiving dish is the Sweet Potato Casserole. What is yours?
My Thanksgiving menu:
Roasted Herb Turkey
Apple Cider Gravy
Sausage Stuffing
Stove Top Stuffing (for my sister)
Variety of Rolls: (Brotchen, Seven Cheese Bread, Cloverleaf Rolls, Honey yeast rolls, Butterflake Herb Loaf)
Cranberry sauce
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean/ Broccoli/Squash Casserole
Mashed/ Roasted Potatoes
Creamed Pearl Onions
Brussel Sprouts/Asparagus
Macaroni and Cheese
Dulce de Leche Rice Pudding 
Pumpkin pie/pumpkin custard/ pumpkin cake
Blueberry/Strawberry/Cherry/ Chocolate Pie
Other desserts: blueberry pie bars

On Thanksgiving, our grocery stores are closed. If I run out of something, well I better make it from scratch, improvise, or order Chinese. So, I figured I would post homemade butter recipe. I will admit I had the children shake,shake, shake, the mason jar. They thought it was cool.

Homemade Herb Butter:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 tsp garlic
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme

  1. Place the heavy cream in a mason jar.
  2. Place the lid on the mason jar and close well.
  3. Shake the heavy cream until it comes together.
  4. Drain off the excess buttermilk liquid.
  5. Gently, run the butter under water. 
  6. Mix in the garlic, parsley, salt, and thyme if herb butter is desired.
Recipe adapted from Chef John.

One year ago...........................I made Smothered Pork Chops.
Two years ago.........................I made Cheesy Potato Gratin.

Did you already know..............
-150 years ago, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be a national day of Thanksgiving.
-In 2013, Minnesota raised more turkeys than any other states.
-Wisconsin grew harvested more cranberries than Massachusetts. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Homemade Stove Top Stuffing

My sister loves Stove Top Stuffing. I mean love as in (why can't the stuffing by itself be my meal) love. I would say it is one of her favorite foods. Now, I make homemade stuffing like my Mom did for Thanksgiving. When my sister comes for Thanksgiving, I will make homemade stuffing plus Stove Top Stuffing just for her. Yes, I love her that much. Well, she told me how her mother-in-law makes a homemade version that tastes a lot like Stove Top. I had to give it a try. It is good. My youngest son loved it. The best part about this stuffing is it is made on the stove top. 
Homemade Stove Top Herb Stuffing
6 slices of bread
1/4 cup dried parsley
1 Tbsp onion, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken broth

  1. Toast the bread and then cube.
  2. In a medium bowl, place the toasted bread with the parsley, onion, salt, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Toss gently.
  3. In a medium pan, melt the butter in the chicken broth.
  4. Once the butter is melted, gently stir the herb bread to the pan.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and cover.
  6. Allow the pan to rest for 5 minutes. 
  7. Fluff the stuffing with a fork before serving.
Recipe adapted from Gail.
One year ago................................I made Turkey Pot Pie.
Two years ago..............................I made Poultry Seasoning.
Did you already know..................
-In 1972, General Foods introduced Stove Top Stuffing Mix.
-In 1990, General Foods merged with Kraft.
-At Thanksgiving, Kraft sells more than 60 million boxes of Stove Top Stuffing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies

I love Heath Bars. My husband loves Heath Bars. So when I decided to make him some peanut butter cookies, I thought I really should add some Heath Bar bits to the mix. I can't believe I haven't combined Heath Bar with my peanut butter cookies before. I really liked these cookies. My husband loved these cookies. My youngest daughter will not stop asking me to bake more of these cookies. I highly recommend these cookies. 
Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toffee pieces (I used Heath Bits of Brickle Toffee bits)

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Slowly, add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Slowly, stir in the flour mixture and the toffee pieces. Mix until incorporated.
  6. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic.
  7. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. 
  11. Place the dough onto the parchment paper spaced 2 inches apart.
  12. Lightly flatten the balls before using a fork to form crisscross patterns on top.
  13. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes before rotating the baking sheet.
  14. Bake the cookies for another 7 to 8 minutes and the cookies are lightly browned.
  15. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from

One year ago..............................I made Pumpkin Cream Cheese Scones.
Two years ago...........................I made Pancakes.
Did you already know.................
-In 1928, the Heath brothers began to market their their Toffee Bar.
-The Heath brother had obtained a toffee recipe from a Greek confectioner salesman. The brothers adapted the recipe.
-Currently, the Heath bar is a product of Hersey.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Roasted Squash

Squash, squash, squash! What to do with my overabundance of squash? Yes, I should be more adventures with squash but I haven't been. I like it roasted. I have tried to make it pureed but the kids sure didn't like it that way. Maybe they were having flashbacks of their baby food? Maybe they remember squash in their hair and all over their little faces? Maybe they just remember the photos I took of them with squash everywhere and are afraid I'll take more? I would.
Roasted Squash
2 small delicata squash, cut into 1 inch slices
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a baking sheet, spread out the squash. 
  3. Sprinkle the olive oil, salt, and pepper over the squash.
  4. Toss gently to coat the squash.
  5. Roast the squash for about 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked to desired tenderness.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

One year ago..............................I made Green Beans with bacon.
Two years ago............................I made Chocolate PB Whoppie Pies.

Did you already know................
-The skin is edible on the delicata squash.
- The delicata squash taste a lot like sweet potato.
-The delicata squash is also called sweet potato squash and peanut squash.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crab Cakes

I will admit I have never had crab cakes until now. When crab cakes are competing with mozzarella sticks on a menu, the cheese will always win. Now, I do like seafood. My son loves seafood so when I heard crab cakes were one of my Mother-in-laws favorite food, I had to make them. I was surprised how easy they were to make. I did research several recipes which called for some condiments which I would have never imagined combining with seafood. I wanted my crab cakes to taste like crab so I kept these crab cakes pretty simple. I liked them but my son, well he loved them.
Crab Cakes
1 lb. crab meat
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
32 Town House crackers, crushed
1/4 cup vegetable oil

  1. In a large bowl, combine the crab meat, mayonnaise, seasoning, parsley, egg, and fresh lemon juice. Mix well.
  2. Add half of the crushed crackers to the mixture and mix until incorporated.
  3. On a plate, evenly spread out the remaining crushed crackers.
  4. Form the crab meat mixture into patties.
  5. Press the crab meat patties into the crushed crackers. Coat both sides.
  6. In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
  7. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the crab cakes into the pan.
  8. Cook the crab cake until golden for about 4 minutes.
  9. Carefully, turn the patty over and cook the other side of the crab cake until golden brown.
  10. Removed from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  11. Serve immediately.
Recipe Jen of Sweet Morris.

Two years ago.........................I made Asparagus with Lemon and Thyme.
Did you already know............
-Crabs have ten legs.
-Crabs can regrow a lost leg.
-Crab's teeth are located in their stomach.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tribute to Linda

I know its Veteran's Day and I want to thank all of the Veterans for their sacrifice to our country. I am proud to be a Veteran. Both of my parents are Veterans. 
Nana with her youngest grandchild
 Also, I want to pay a tribute to my Mother-in-law. She passed from our lives suddenly and unexpectedly. We miss her. She was there during some important events in my life like graduating from college and the birth of two of my children. I met my wonderful husband because of her.
Nana with two of her grandsons
My Mother-in-law loved desserts. She always complimented me on my desserts. She even asked me to throw a birthday party for her baby Molly. The kids thought it was a lot of fun to have a birthday party for a puppy plus I think Molly liked it too. Our dog Parker was too happy about wearing the birthday hats though.
Nana's baby Molly
So, please take a few moments to think of all the Veterans today but also take a few minutes to hug your Mother. 
Molly's birthday party!
We love you Nana!

Did you already know.................
-Linda was the youngest child with 5 older siblings.   
-Linda had 4 sons. My husband is her third child.
-Linda once lived in Iceland and Japan.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Roasted Green Beans with Walnuts and Cranberries

Since Thanksgiving is approaching soon, I'm trying out new side dishes. Do you always make the same dishes every year or do you change the menu? There are some traditional foods I always make but the sides plus desserts vary. I loved this recipe and it did have the great flavors of Thanksgiving. I will be adding it to my menu.
Roasted Green
1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the green beans with the olive oil and salt.
  3. Evenly spread the green beans onto the baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle the walnuts on top of the green beans.
  5. cook the green beans in the oven for 6 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and carefully mix in the cranberries.
  7. Cook the green beans for another 6 minutes. 
  8. Serve immediately.
Recipe aspired from Real Simple.

One year ago...........................I made Lasagna Soup.
Two years ago........................I made Roasted Chicken.
Did you already know............
-Early Settlers thought the flower of the cranberry resembled a cran hence the name crane berry.
-It is believed cranberries were served at the first Thanksgiving.
-Native Indians called cranberries either sassamanesh, ibimi, and atoqua.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

In this household, we like potatoes. The first preference is mashed. My children will even order mashed potatoes instead of fries at a restaurant. When I made these potatoes for dinner, my son said he liked them a lot but they were like our breakfast potatoes. I hadn't realized I really don't make a lot of roasted potatoes. This recipe is great and I will make it more often even if I have to occasionally make mashed potatoes too.
Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into quarters
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dry rosemary
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  3. Evenly spread the potatoes onto a baking sheet into one layer.
  4. Add the 3 garlic cloves in different sections of the pan.
  5. Roast the potatoes for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn the potatoes over and roast for another 30 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. 
  7. Remove the garlic cloves from the pan.
  8. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the potatoes. 
  9. Season to taste and serve.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

One year ago........................I made Chocolate and Oreo Cake.
Two years ago.....................I made Apple and Cheddar Scones.
Did you already know..........
-The potato was first cultivated by the Inca Indians.
-Europeans introduced the potato to the American colonies.
-Potatoes have been grown in space.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Steak with Gorgonzola Cheese Salad

During Halloween, we saw a lot of Super Heroes. So, we got to think about all the work the Super Heroes must have accomplished. Well, what happens when time is slow? What type of jobs could the Super Heroes do with their down time? 
Here are our suggestions:
Superman: Firefighter (with his cold breath.)
Spiderman: Cleaning crew (He can reach the hard to reach places.)
Wonder Woman: Rodeo girl (She already has a lasso.)
Batman: Pest control (He is a bat.)
Green Latern: Mover (He can lift heavy things with ease.)
Hulk: Garbage compactor (with his fist.)
Flash: Pizza Delivery (Your pizza would deliver hot.)
Wolverine: Barber (You could get a haircut and a shave.)
Storm: Weather forecaster (Her predictions would always be correct.)
What are your suggestions?
Steak with Gorgonzola Cheese
2 T-bone steak
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp butter
2 oz. Gorgonzola Dolce cheese
Mixed greens
  1. Allow steak to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the pan over high heat.
  4. Pat dry the steak.
  5. Rub the steak with the vegetable oil.
  6. Salt and pepper the steak.
  7. Change the heat to medium heat.
  8. Add the steak to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes per a side.
  9. Top the steak with the butter and the cheese.
  10. Transfer the oven proof skillet to the oven.
  11. Roast the steak for about 6 minutes. The steak should register at least 120 degrees with a meat thermometer.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving on the mixed greens.
  13. Serve with additional salad options like dressing, croutons, and other vegetables.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris. 

One year ago...................................I made Blondie.
Two years ago................................I made Sausage, Bean, and Veg. Soup.
Did you already know....................
-In 1941, Wonder Woman appeared in a DC Comic.
-Princess Diana of Themyscira is Wonder Woman.
-Her lasso is called the Lasso of Truth.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Candy Bar Cookies

Halloween has past. Since we have an abundant of candy, I decided to add some to my cookie batter. It didn't matter what type of candy bars. I used Snickers, Twix, Krackle, Butterfingers, Gobbers, Oh, Henry, Baby Ruth, Peanut Butter Cups, etc. I could have kept going especially if you want a reason to use up a lot of candy bars from Halloween, of course. I did chop the candy bars pretty good but next time I think I'm going to rough chop the pieces so I have larger pieces. 
Candy Bar Cookies
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs 
1 1/2 cup candy bars, chopped

  1. In a food processor, grind the oats to a fine consistency. 
  2. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the food processor. Pulse for 10 seconds.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice.
  4. Add the eggs to the butter mixture and combine until smooth.
  5. Slowly, stir in the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix well.
  6. Fold in the chopped candy bar pieces.
  7. Chill the dough overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  10. Spoon about 1/4 cup portions onto the baking sheet. Space 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake the cookies for about 16 minutes or until light brown and the middle is soft.
  12. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.

One year ago.............................I made Corn Muffins.
Did you already know...............
-In 1847, Joseph Fry prepared a chocolate paste with sugar in which he pressed into a mold creating the candy bar.
-Joseph Fry took over his parent's business and was later called J S Fry & Sons.
-In 1919, J S Fry & Sons of Bristol merged with Cadbury.