Friday, November 30, 2012

Door County Cherry Cranberry Rum Pie

For the past several years, Scott has made Door County Cherry Rum Pie for Thanksgiving, and they have been perfect.  This year was a different story. I had to buy the frozen cherries at a local grocery store, but I only bought one container, 28 oz, which I thought was enough.  It turned out that we didn't have enough cherries, so he added a cup of raw cranberries. Also, in previous years he had cooked the cherries with cornstarch  on the stove to thicken the filling, but this year, he didn't.   He just added sugar, cornstarch and rum  to the cherries and cranberries, and  put that filling in the pie shell.  It turns out that the cherries I bought were already sweetened, and he didn't realize that until he had already added the sugar. The pie baked beautifully and tasted so good, but the filling never got thick, so the fruit wouldn't stay in the crust, once it was cut. He even made cute little pastry cut outs of a cherry and cranberries. The pie was gorgeous, before it was cut:) The cherry cranberry filling was tart, but still sweet enough. but the consistency was not as good, too runny. Needless to say We ate anyway, with scoops of French Vanilla Ice Cream!  This festive pie would be beautiful addition to any Holiday table.

The moral of the story is that next time he makes this pie, he will cook the cherries and flour, and sugar, to thicken, on the stove, and stir in the raw cranberries at the end of cooking, to keep them whole, and then pour in the pie shell and bake.  Sometimes, Life is just not a bowl of cherries:)

Door County Cherry Cranberry Rum pie
 Make pie rust and refrigerate until ready to use.  He used Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker's Recipe for Perfect Pie Crust.

 32 oz or about 4 cups of tart cherries drained reserve  juice
 3/4 cup reserved Cherry juice
1/4 c dark rum
1 c sugar
1/3 c unsifted flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 c raw, whole cranberries
1 egg yolk (for egg wash)

What to do
1. Combine sugar, flour, and salt.  Stir into reserved cherry juice and rum. Bring to  a boil, stirring.
2. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 min, till thickened. 
3.  Stir in butter and cranberries and refrigerate. 
4. Roll out half of pastry on well floured surface, and place in 9" pan. Trim pastry even with pan and fill bottom crust with cooled cherry pie filling
5. Roll out the other half of the pasty into an 12" circle
6.  Place pastry circle on top of your cherry filling. Cut a few large slits on the surface to allow steam to escape. Crimp edges as desired. Brush with egg wash.      
7. Bake 30-35 Min., until pastry nicely browned. Cool on wire rack.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #44
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Birthday Cupcakes for Anna, Vanilla Cupcakes, Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting, and Lots and Lots of Sprinkles

Anna, the Granddaughter of my my friend, Carolyn, recently turned seven. When I asked her what she wanted me to bake for her birthday, she said white cupcakes,  chocolate  frosting, a lots of sprinkles.  Well, that exactly what she got, only I made Vanilla Cupcakes, Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting, and lot and lots of sprinkles. When you are seven, sprinkles are very important, right Anna? Sprinkles are for the inner kid in all of us, and make any baked good more festive, even with hot chocolate.

I don't know about you, but I have lots and lots of different sprinkles in my pantry now Ever since cupcakes and cake pops have been the rage, there are so many baking bloggers,  The baking sections in the craft stores have exploded with many options to tempt us bakers. There is  edible glitter, gold dust, a myriad of cupcake liners and carriers, and much, much, more. Back in the day, there was only red and green colored sugar, and that was only used at Christmas, but not anymore. Food and Baking Bloggers are supporting the economy. Do you agree?

Anna reading with Emma and Grandma 

Vanilla Cupcakes Adapted from Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with liners.

2. With an electric mixer on medium speed beat the butter until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk until combined.

5. In a small bowl with a clean mixer on high speed,  beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula stir a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites until combined. Do not over mix.

6. Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake for about 15–20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting for 24 cupcakes

1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cocoa
4 c. confectioner's sugar
1/4 c. milk, more or less

1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy
2. Add cocoa and 1c. sugar to butter mixture and beat until incorporated
3. Add half of the milk and remainder of sugar and beat until incorporated.
4. Continue to add milk until you get desired consistency
I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #44
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Caribbean Callaloo Soup with Butternut Squash

I went shopping on Black Friday, like I have for several years.  No, I didn't go at midnight, I left the house about 3:30 am. I never set the alarm on Black Friday, I just leave when I wake up.  So last Black Friday, when I woke up at 2:30 am,  I got up and got ready to go shopping.  I had gone to bed about 9pm.  I'm not a night person, and I do better in the early morning.  There were few people shopping at that time.  That time period was between rushes, midnight and 6am.  I got some really good deals at Kohls, Target, and Jo-Ann Fabrics. I love getting bargains!  I was surprised that the sales staff were so pleasant and helpful, at that early hour.  I had a very positive experience.  Did you go shopping on Black Friday? What was your experience?  When I got home about  9 am, I had some of the Callaloo soup.

Scott has always wanted to make Caribbean Callaloo Soup.  He fell in love with the Caribbean, when he was in the Navy in his twenties. That's where he discovered Myer's Rum as well.  He has been to the Caribbean over ten times.  We spent our honeymoon on Marina Cay, (see brochure in the picture), an 8 sq mile island off of Tortola in the BVI.  The liqueur is Guavaberry Rum, which  native to St. Martin. As  he looked through recipes on the web, it seems as if each island had their own version of the wonderful soup.

 Callaloo is the leaf of the Taro plant, common to the Caribbean.  Swiss chard or Spinach is a good substitute. Some type of squash or pumpkin is also used in the soup with hot peppers.  We used a jalapeno.  One recipe had added a Scotch Bonnet, the hottest of the hot peppers, add at your own risk.  He also added coconut milk, chicken stock, spinach, spices, plantains, and onions. This soup has so many wonderful flavors and textures of the Caribbean.  Scott also added  crab meat, because that's the way he had it in the Caribbean,  You could add cooked turkey or chicken, as well. As you can see, we didn't puree this soup, but you could if wanted to. He did get a little carried away with all of the spices. if you don't have all those, just use what you have.  You'll still get the flavors of a the Caribbean!

Divi Little Bay, St. Martin

 Picture yourself eating this wonderful soup looking at the azure waters and white sand of a  Caribbean beach. If you are looking for an new soup to use some of your Thanksgiving leftovers, squash and turkey, this is the one. Picture yourself eating this wonderful soup looking at the azure waters and white sand of a Caribbean beach with a Rum in hand.

Caribbean Callaloo Soup Inspired by


1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk
32 oz Fat free, Low sodium, chicken broth
2 yellow Plantains, diced
6 oz crab meat, cooked chicken or turkey
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
5 oz fresh spinach, stemmed and torn
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp rubbed sage
3/4 tsp Allspice


  1. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven. Add onion, squash and garlic.
  2. Sauté 5 min until onions are clear.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 30 min, uncovered.  Enjoy!
I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #44
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Roasted Vegetables with a Balsamic Drizzle, Turkey Bacon, and Red Onion.

For our Mini Thanksgiving over the weekend, we made Roasted Vegetables with a Balsamic Drizzle.  If you need a quick, flavorful, side dish, this is the one to make.  If you have chopped your veggies beforehand, you can throw this in the oven after you pull your turkey out of the oven, and is "resting."  You know that after you roast your turkey in the oven,  you shouldn't carve your turkey for at least twenty to thirty minutes, so the juices return to the meat, as the turkey cools. If you don't let your turkey "rest", all the juices run out of the turkey, as it is being carved.

Back to the veggies, I used Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, and Red Onion with Red Onion. You can roast any  veggies of your choice, Zucchini, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Beets, the possibilities are endless.  I microwaved the sweet potatoes for about 2 min on high to soften a bit, to shorten their cooking time.  The veggies should be cut in a uniform size. I lined a baking sheet with foil. which was sprayed with cooking spray.  Spread out the veggies in a single layer, drizzle with about 2 Tbsp olive oil.  Roast in 400 F oven for about thirty minutes or until browned.  Stir occasionally.

I want to wish all my friends, a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for all of my family, friends, and my wonderful Husband Scott, and that we have our good health, which at our ages, is paramount.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes with Turkey Bacon, Red Onion, and Balsamic Drizzle


1 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts, washed, trimmed, and halved
1lb. fresh sweet potatoes, cut in chunks, and precooked, if needed***
2 slices of Turkey Bacon, rough chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Toss vegetables, bacon, red onion, and  olive oil together
  3. Spread out on a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast for about 30 min, or until tender.
  4. Remove from oven and drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar
***Cooks Note
Microwave the sweet potatoes for about 2 min on high to soften a bit, to shorten their cooking time, before cutting in chunks

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sage, Orange, and Clove Rotisserie Turkey

W made a "fresh", small turkey, 11 lbs, on the rotisserie over the weekend, because we are going to Scott's family on Thanksgiving,  We like to have the turkey and leftovers for soup, sandwiches, and Turkey and Broccoli, our favorite. When the turkey, is labeled "fresh", how fresh is fresh? The turkey was not frozen, and had a use by date of 11/24 which I bought on Friday, and we cooked on Saturday. The turkey was very moist and juicy, even the white meat. Not sure if the turkey was so moist because it was "fresh, or it was cooked on the rotisserie. All I know is that it was so good. The total cooking time for The turkey was 2 Hrs. 20 min., and our weather has been in the 50's, perfect for grilling. So if you are having a small group, or just want a delicious turkey, I would reccomend making your turkey on the rotisserie grill if you have one.  If you don't have  a rotissserie, you can cook the turkey with the indirect method.***

Scott knew that he wanted to do a rub this time, and found a Sage, Orange, and Clove rub, which was so good. This rub sounds like a stuffing recipe with the sage, oranges and cloves, but it goes on the outside of the bird, except for the oranges, fresh sage, and whole cloves, which are stuffed into the cavity of the bird. The recipe called for dried granulated orange peel, but we made our own.  We simply "dried" the orange zest in the microwave, and it turned out well. This turkey had so much flavor, and we had the stuffing flavor, without the stuffing! The spices weren't overpowering, adding subtle layers of flavor,  with  the orange flavor as well.

Along with our turkey for our Mini Thanksgiving we had Roasted Vegetables, with Red Onion and Bacon, Spinach Salad with Apples, Craisins, and Walnuts with a Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Fresh Cranberry Sauce with orange zest, and cinnamon. a few of these recipes will be posted later this week. We didn't miss the stuffing at all! Of course we had some dessert,  we had the Cranberry Cheesecake Bars. so good. 

Sage, Orange, and Clove, Rotisserie Turkey 
                   Adapted from   
  •     2  Tablespoons dried granulated orange peel*** 
  •         1 tablespoon dried sage
  •       1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  •         1/2teaspoon ground black pepper
  •         1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  •         1 turkey, 12 to 14 pounds
  •         2  small oranges, washed and dried
  •         12 whole cloves
  •         6 medium garlic cloves, crushed
  •         1 bunch fresh sage, tied with butcher’s twine
  1.  In a small bowl, mix the rub ingredients.
  2. Remove and discard the neck, giblets, pop-up timer, and any excess fat from the turkey. Rinse the turkey, inside and out, under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).
  4. Pierce each orange several times with a knife Insert 6 whole cloves into each orange..  Put the clove-studded oranges, garlic, and sage into the turkey cavity. Truss the turkey with butcher’s twine, tying the wings close to the body and securing the legs. Position one set of fork prongs on the far end of the spit and slide the spit into the neck end through the turkey (skewer the oranges) and out the other side, just underneath the drumsticks. Slide the other set of fork prongs on the spit and drive the prongs into the back of the turkey. Make sure the turkey is centered on the spit before tightening the fork prongs into place. Rub the entire exterior of the turkey with the rub, pressing it into the skin.
  5. Set the spit in place, turn on the rotisserie motor, and let the turkey rotate over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the internal temperature reaches 170ºF in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone), 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours. ***Note: If you do not have a rotisserie, grill the turkey over indirect medium heat for 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours.
  6. When the turkey is fully cooked, turn off the rotisserie motor and, wearing barbecue mitts, carefully transfer the spit from the grill to a cutting board. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes (the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees during resting). Remove the spit and discard the oranges, garlic, and sage. Carve the turkey and serve warm.
** Cooks Note:
To make the dried granulated orange peel or zest, place 2 Tbsp orange zest in a microwaveable dish, and microwave for 45 sec. on high.  Cool.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pear Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

We all know that Thanksgiving desserts are all about pie. However, if you want to add a different touch to your dessert table, you can't go wrong with this stunning  Pear Cranberry Upside-Down Cake.  The cake is sweet and moist, spiced with cinnamon and ginger, studded with tart cranberries, and topped with brown sugar glazed pears . I'll take a piece of this with my pumpkin pie, please.  This cake can be served warm, with a dollop of whipped cream,  ice cream. or just eat it plain.  This would also be good for breakfast. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert, besides pie?

If you have never made an upside-down cake, they come together easily. First you combine brown sugar, dark run or cranberry juice, and melted butter in the bottom of a sprayed 9 or 10 inch cake  pan. I used cranberry juice in place of the rum, because we were out of rum!  Horrors! I'm going buy more today;)  Arrange the pear slices and half of the cranberries on top of the brown sugar layer in the cake pan. Then you make your cake batter, adding the remaining cranberries, and pour over the pears in the pan. Pop in the oven, and bake for 50-55 minutes.  Remove from oven, and cool in pan 10 minutes only. Run a knife along the edges of the cake  and invert  onto a serving plate to cool. Enjoy!

Pear Cranberry Upside- Down Cake Adapted from Allrecipes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum or cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2  cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 pears, ripe, but firm, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cranberries, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Whisk the flour and baking powder, and spices together in a small bowl; set aside. Butter or spray a 9” cake pan.
  2. Stir the brown sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and dark rum or cranberry juice in a 9-inch cake pan until the sugar has dissolved. Arrange the pear slices and 1/2 cup cranberries. in the pan.  Set aside
  3. . Beat 1/2 cup butter and the white sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the first egg until incorporated, and then beat in the second egg. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated Stir in the remaining cranberries. Gently pour the batter over the pears.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is golden brown, about 50-55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a knife along the edges and inverting onto a serving plate to cool.  Can be served warm or cool with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mini Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

I'm still loving all of the pumpkin recipes, that I've been seeing on the web. I made these Mini Pumpkin Streusel muffins along with the Candy Bar Blondies,  to take to the nursing home staff  , where my Dad lived for six years, last week. These moist little treats are full of pumpkin flavor, spices, and topped with a crunchy streusel topping, so good. They were a definite hit with the staff.

These muffins come together quickly, and taste great warm from the oven.  I made sour milk, because I didn't have buttermilk.  Next time I will try making the muffins with Greek yogurt. These muffins freeze well, too.  You can make a batch now, and freeze for later, when you have  holiday company.  This recipe is for 12 regular muffins, but I made 24 mini muffins, baking for just about 13 min, in a mini muffin pan. whichever size you make, you won't be disappointed.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins Adapted from Taste of Home
Ingredients- Yield: 12 regular size muffins
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Streusel Topping:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beatin the pumpkin, buttermilk, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture just until blended. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

For topping, combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean.Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal- #WeCare

It has been almost two weeks, since Hurricane Sandy came and ravaged the Northeast.  Her effects are still being felt by many people, some of whom are homeless, living in shelters, some still without power or heat, and now it has snowed in many areas in the Northeast. the needs of these people are great, and they need our help.  Please donate to the Red Cross to help the people whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Sandy!

Spread the word, and grab the button!

I made Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with a little pumpkin puree, leftover from baking.  to me oatmeal is pure comfort food, and I eat it almost everyday. I always have cinnamon in my oatmeal, and add walnuts,  apples, or any seasonal fruit. Today I added pumpkin puree., walnuts, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Oatmeal lowered my cholesterol, along with riding my exercise bike.  I use rolled oats, which have a lot of texture.  I really haven't gotten into eating the steel cut oatmeal, but I sure do love my rolled oats.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup water or milk 
1/4 cup Pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 chopped walnuts
1 T Greek Yogurt.


1. Bring water or milk to a boil, and add oats. pumpkin, spices, and walnuts
2 Simmer 5 minutes until thick and creamy. Pour in serving bowl and garnish Greek  yogurt and more walnuts.  Enjoy!

** Cooks Note
I make my oatmeal in the microwave. I combine all of the ingredients in a large microwaveable container, and microwave for 2 min. on high. I like my oatmeal chewy.

Enjoy your warm oatmeal, and donate to the Red Cross now.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Candy Bar Blondies with MM's, too.

I had leftover Halloween Candy, because we only had 10 Trick or Treaters, but it broke our record of 9! What do you do with leftover candy besides eating it? You make Candy Bar Blondies. I also threw in the leftover Autumn MM's, which will soon be replaced with Christmas MM's. Oh, yes! I just bought my first Christmas present yesterday. Have you started your Christmas or Holiday shopping yet?

These bars have bites of melted candy bars, and  a crumbly cookie topped with MM's, so rich and gooey. The bars are made of of butter, flour, brown sugar, eggs, and chopped candy bars of your choice. Just be sure to grease or spray the pan very well, so the candy doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, just sayin'.  The bars are so goood! I have to hide these from Scott, so he doesn't eat all of them.  Above is a part of the stash I had leftover.

If you still have leftover Halloween candy in your trunk, here's a good use for the candy.  Yes, after my kids had traded each other for their favorite candies, the rest went into a big bag, and I put in the car trunk, to keep it safe:) Enjoy!

 Candy Bar Blondies  Adapted from Jennifer@ Bake or Break
Makes 16 (2-inch) bars 


1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups candy bars, chopped (about 10-12 miniature candy bars)


Preheat oven to 350°F.
 Grease*** an 8-inch square baking pan.

Stir together melted butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until well-blended.

In a small bowl, toss chopped candy bars with about 1/4 cup flour. Set aside.
Add remaining flour, baking powder and salt to butter/sugar mixture. Stir just until combined. Stir in chopped candy bars.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 28-32 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan before cutting into bars.

***Cook’s Note  Be sure to grease or spray the pan very well, so the melted candy doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #42
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scott Cooks Sunday Chicken Stew

Most Sundays, if we are just staying home, Scott likes to cook, usually one pot meals. He likes to make Chicken Creole, Chili, Coq au Vin, etc. One pot meals give us leftovers for lunches during the week.  Last Sunday he decided to make a chicken stew. It was perfect stew weather. cold and windy.  Who doesn't love a potful of chicken, herbs, and vegetables. simmering away on the stove?  Pure Comfort food. Add a little beer,  white wine, chicken stock, and you have a party in your kitchen. Your kitchen will smell heavenly.

For this particular dish, Scott used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs,  onions, baby carrots,  mushroom, baby gold Yukon potatoes, canned  diced tomatoes, herbs, chicken stock, wine, and beer. This stew has so many greats flavors, and crispy bread would go with well with this stew. With cooler temps here, this stew is so satisfying. and will warm you up. Enjoy!

 Scott’s Chicken Stew
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¾ lb.Baby carrots  We like carrots
  • 8 small onions, peeled and left whole  
  • 3/4 lb of button mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 Baby Yukon potatoes, quartered
  •  2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in chunks, 3 skinless legs, and 3 skinless thighs
  • 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence, available on spice aisle or,
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp powdered.
  • 1 tsp  thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (can diced tomatoes (28 oz ounces)  
  • 1 quart, 32 oz chicken stock, available in quart boxes We used low sodium stock.
  • Fresh Parsley for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼  c cold water
   1. In Dutch oven, brown onions and garlic in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, until soft. Add carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and brown as well.
    2. In a separate large skillet with 2 Tbsp, olive oil, brown chicken pieces. Add   browned chicken, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, rosemary, Herbes de Provence, thyme, wine, and beer, to vegetables in the Dutch oven. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until chicken is cooked through, and the vegetables are tender.
    3. Place cornstarch in cup and mix in cold water.  Pour in Dutch oven and heat, till juices are thickened. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #42
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

#cranberrylove Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

This month the theme for Love Bloghop is cranberries, or #cramberrylove.  It couldn't have come at a better time, as fresh cranberries are appearing in the grocery stores.  Join in on the #cranberrylove fun linking up any cranberry recipe from the month of November 2012.  Don't forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #cranberrylove event.  The twitter hashtag is#cranberryhlove:)

I love cranberries, fresh or dried, and cranberry juice. I use the dried cranberries in baking and cooking, when the fresh ones aren't available. During the holidays I use a lot of cranberries in various ways; I always make fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, I float fresh cranberries In Mulled Hot Cranberry Apple Cider, in my Sour Cream Coffee Cake that I make every Christmas, in Salads, Christmas cocktails, in a warm fruit topping  for baked brie, hot tea mixed with cranberry juice and a cinnamon stick, and many more.  Besides being a healthy fruit to eat, you can even decorate with them. I even float cranberries in my candle bowl for a festive touch.

Probably most people think that cranberries are grown in the Northeast, a but now Wisconsin produces more cranberries than any other state in the US.  and the cranberry is the Wisconsin State fruit, which I did not know. There is even a huge Cranberry Festival in Warrens, WI, in NW Wisconsin. My Bunco group went a on a road trip to this festival several years ago.  Even then, there were 50,00 people expected over the weekend event. Now I see they expect 110,000 people in 2013.

For my  #cranberrylove recipe, I knew that I wanted to bake something.  I make raspberry bars with a shortbread crust, but I wanted something a little different.  then I thought of Cheescake and cranberries, but I settled on Cranberry Cheesecake Bars. I saw a recipe from Lizzy @That Skinny Chick Can Bake, which I tweaked a bit.  the recipe called for canned cranberry sauce, but I used fresh cranberries. Also,  I used rolled oats, instead of the Quick-cooking oats, which was in the recipe.

These bars are wonderful with an oatmeal crust, rich cranberry sauce topped cheesecake, and topped the another layer of Oatmeal crumb topping. These would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving or holiday dessert table. Scott tested these already and they get his approval.

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars Adapted from Lizzy@That Skinny Chick Can Bake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick cooking or rolled oats
3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar, divided
1 cup butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce, or 2 c fresh cranberry Sauce***

Preheat oven 350°. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking pan. 

In large bowl combine flour, oats, 3/4 cup sugar and butter; mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture for topping, and press the rest into the greased pan. Bake 15 minutes. Cool completely.

In large bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy, gradually mix in condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla until smooth. Pour evenly over crust. In small bowl combine remaining sugar, cornstarch and cranberry sauce. Spoon over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top. 

Bake 40 minutes. Cool at room temperature, refrigerate before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

*** Cooks Note: If you make the Fresh cranberry sauce, I would recommend making it the day before, or early in the day, so it can cool completely in the fridge, before topping the cheesecake batter.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce
1 c sugar
1 c water
1 12 oz bag, fresh cranberries, rinsed

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes  2 1/4 cups.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #42
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!

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Deanna @ Teaspoon of Spice | @tspbasil
Kimberly @ Badger Girl Learns To Cook | @bdgergrl
Evelyne @ Cheap Ethic Eatz |  @cethniceatz
EA @ The Spicy RD | @thespicyrd
Sheila @ Pippi’s In the Kitchen Again | @shlylais
T.R. @ No One Likes Crumbley Cookies | @TRCrumbley
Shulie @ Food Wanderings | @foodwanderings
Becky @ Baking and Cooking: The Tale of Two Loves

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pumpkin Yogurt Bread

I usually don't start baking with pumpkin until November, but this year we were going on a road trip, and I wanted healthy snacks. It seems like once you get in the car to begin your trip, you start eating.  I love making pumpkin bread, cookies, and muffins, with all of the cinnamon, spices, and pumpkin flavor, this time of year. To make my pumpkin bread healthier and ramp up the protein, I used Greek Yogurt and added walnuts.  I love to bake with Greek yogurt, because it gives your baked goods a lot of moistness and extra protein. I doubled the recipe, because I wanted extra bread to put in a hostess gift for our friends that we would be visiting in Florida. From the doubled recipe, I got one 9 x5 loaf, two 4 x5 loaves, and two pumpkin mold cakes.  The bread turned out so well, moist,  not overly sweet,  and full of pumpkin flavor and spices with crunchy walnuts.

 This bread freezes well, and is wonderful for breakfast with peanut butter, or as a dessert or snack.  This would be a good recipe for gifts for friends at the holidays, or as a hostess gift.

If you make this bread, you won't be disappointed. I usually make a loaf of pumpkin bread for my non-chocolate loving son, also. 

Pumpkin Yogurt Bread with Walnuts Adapted from Cooking Light

·      1 cup sugar
·      1/4 cup butter, softened
·      1 2/3 cups pumpkin puree
·      6 oz plain Greek yogurt
·      2 large egg whites
·      2 cups all-purpose flour
·      1 teaspoon baking soda
·      I tsp cinnamon
·      1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
·      1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
·      1/2 cupped walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine sugar and butter in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well blended. Add pumpkin, yogurt and egg whites; beat well, and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; stir well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until blended. Stir chopped walnuts in batter, or sprinkle on top of batter in pan.

Spoon batter into a 9 x 5 loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Let cool completely on wire racks.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #41
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!


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