Monday, February 29, 2016

Blogging friends.....

.....are the very best!!  You may remember that I offered a cookbook for bread machines to the first taker.  So - Happyone indicated she wanted it, and off in the mail it went!  

On Monday, I received this from Happyone!


She knit them herself!!  They are perfect for spring!!  This was a really nice gift!  Thank you, Happyone!

Friday, February 26, 2016

What we love....

....taking a tray of cookies to serve for refreshments when my UMW Circle played Bingo with residents of an assisted living facility,


....French toast in a mug for breakfast (thanks Danielle at Heartfelt Home!),


....that "mystery recipe" for Chocolate Bread,



....and who knew there is such a thing as purple cauliflower?? (Thank you, Trader Joe's)!


Roasted with green and the usual white, it was delicious for dinner!

Have you discovered something new recently?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Throwback Thursday...."

This post is going back to one just at a year ago!


Featuring a recipe today for the Chocolate Gravy that is in the pan on the stove!

CHOCOLATE GRAVY
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons cocoa
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups milk
- Melt butter in skillet.
- Mix dry ingredients together.  Add vanilla to milk.  (At this point, I put dry ingredients in a jar, then poured the liquid into it, covered, and shook it until everything was well blended).
- Pour into skillet with melted butter and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until thick.
- Serve with hot biscuits.

Of course, you see that I added a little pat of butter just for "good measure!":-)

The Husband really likes this!  I am actually not a fan of anything like this on my biscuits.  I much prefer adding sausage, ham, or egg to them.:-)  Maybe even a touch of cheese.:-)  

Like someone said, "Who can go wrong with chocolate?"

Monday, February 22, 2016

Did you ever....

....jot down ingredients for a recipe and not include the instructions?  Or - even the name of the recipe?


In my seemingly never-ending task of straightening and sorting through all these loose papers in my possession, I came across this one.  Noticing that two of the ingredients have to do with chocolate, I very wisely deemed it worthy to try!

So - remembering the steps that I go through when baking bread (sometimes) - I proceeded to treat this as though it were Chocolate Bread!  Who can go wrong with Chocolate Bread?!?  Just think of all the possibilities!:-)



 
The dough just made and ready to set aside for rising.


The dough after rising.


Out of the oven!


Sliced and ready to serve!

The Husband found it particularly tasty with peanut butter!

I will be rewriting this one in a more correct form! 

A birthday....

Though we celebrated President's Day last Monday, today is actually the birthday of George Washington.


Most of us probably carry a picture of George in our wallet!


Do you have plans for a cherry pie today?:-)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday fun....

Seems like there is always that purging to do.  Here is something for you:



Many moons ago, I very often used a bread machine.  No longer in possession of one of those appliances - and not having it on my "Wish List," I have this recipe book that I actually no longer need. It is offered to the very first commenter who indicates he/she wants it!

Have fun - and have a great week-end!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Heart health....

The focus all during the month of February is your heart health.  These may be some important facts to remember.




Be sure you are taking care of your heart!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Did someone say, "Chocolate?"

A well-liked local restaurant recently printed this recipe in the newspaper, and it gave me a new one to try.


So - here it is, ready for the oven!


I'd say whipped cream would be a wonderful "accent!":-) 


Just out of the oven!  The Husband said, "Wow!":-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Halfway....

The women's chorus in which I sing is halfway through our winter season.  We learned our music last fall, rehearsing once a week.  We have performed for assisted living centers, retirement centers, church groups, and groups of retirees.  Just in case you see someone dressed like this - 


....be prepared!  You just may hear a song!:-)

The scarf is a prop for our two "snowy" songs.

Are you having a "Wonderful Winter?"

Monday, February 15, 2016

From Sunday morning....

This post features our Valentine's Day breakfast.


Just out of the oven - this recipe from my files of many years ago!


Using a pan that I've had for years and years (there are those who follow this blog who will remember this one), I also came up with these - 


They are from this recipe - 


I omitted the ham specified in the recipe so these would be appropriate for the vegetarians in the family.:-) Also, I halved the recipe for our purposes.

Leftovers?  Always good to have around!

I send wishes for a pleasant President's Day to all!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What we love....

A second pot of coffee on a cold, cold morning -


A lace-covered table, perfect backdrop for pink-trimmed dishes -


Valentines from family and friends -


Have a lovely Valentine's Day week-end!

China - Strawberry Faire by Johnson Brothers, now discontinued.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ahead of time....

Happy Friday!  Today is actually Abraham Lincoln's birthday!


As we now honor his memory with President's Day - coming up Monday - here is a dessert that will have that two-fold purpose of honoring George Washington, whose actual birthday is several days away.


When I was teaching, I would purchase something called Swiss Cake Rolls made by Little Debbie. They resembled the logs of the cabin where Lincoln had his beginning, and the students really enjoyed them.  So - I associate the chocolate of this cake with Abraham Lincoln.  The cherries that are added remind me of that story of George Washington and the cherry tree.

Once again, I must give Betty Crocker credit for this one.  It appears in a cookbook from the late seventies.


I followed the directions for the Chocolate-Cherry Cake variation.  I do believe it will be amazing served with a dollop of whipped cream!:-)  It would also be great for a Valentine's Day simple dessert!  Can't wait!:-)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Year of the Monkey....

Do you have any monkeys in your house?  Strangely enough, that is one stuffed animal that seemed to escape our ownership through the years, though we certainly had our share of bears, kitties, and dogs!  The Curious George books were favorites when The Daughters were younger, though.

Actually, the Chinese New Year celebration began this week and will continue for several more days.  This is the Year of the Monkey on their calendar. 

In observation of this event, we have enjoyed this:


Chinese Cabbage, as found in a Betty Crocker cookbook from more than 45 years ago!  I've used an iron skillet from The Husband's home for preparation.


As you are able to see, this makes 4 servings.  We never have a problem deciding what to do with leftovers!:-)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A day late....

Today is Ash Wednesday, which means yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, a day many people have pancake suppers.  While I have been known to flip a pancake or two, we have not been huge fans of having them for our evening meal.  Instead, this has become a favorite here.




I served this over brown rice.

This recipe comes from Betty Crocker, of course.  She has been my "go to" for many, many years, and I still have that very first cookbook of hers that I purchased in 1962!

China - Strawberries and Cream, Villeroy and Boch, now discontinued.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Time for another cookie tray....

Yes. It. Is.  Just when our resolve to be "good" was going so well, here it is time for another cookie tray!    I recently contributed this to a week-end meeting.


On the tray are the usual Rolled Sugar cookies, cut in heart shapes, then dipped before adding sprinkles.  I used white almond bark for dipping.  The next rows on either side are Red Velvet Thumbprint cookies, a Betty Crocker recipe.  In the middle are Cake Mix cookies.  

While it is the general practice here to bake "from scratch," the Cake Mix cookies are always good for a change.  Any flavor of cake mix can be used, adding 1/2 cup of oil and two eggs, then mixing.  Any additions that you wish can also be stirred in the dough.  Drop teaspoons of the dough on the cookie sheet (I line mine with Silpat) and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.  The cookies in the above picture were made with a chocolate cake mix.  Chopped pecans and Valentine chips were added to the dough.  The recipe will make 3-4 dozen.  Try it!  I think you'll like them!


Monday, February 8, 2016

Time for a "Souper Bowl...."

With a prediction of some winter weather headed in our direction, a pot of chili seemed to be in order.

Bubbling in the pot!

I have used this recipe a number of years.  It seems that I have to be ever-watchful of those pounds, and I have developed what I think is a good low-cal choice.

VERSATILE CHILI
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. ground white turkey 
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 cup V8 juice 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder 
- Heat olive oil in saucepan; add onion and garlic, cooking until onion is soft.  Crumble ground white turkey into pan.  Brown, stirring well to break up turkey.  Drain off fat, if there is any.
- Add kidney beans, tomatoes, V8 juice, and seasonings. 
- Heat to boiling.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

I have added other chili-type seasonings to this at times.  The ground white turkey really "likes" flavor added.:-)  I also use ground white meat chicken in this recipe.

I call this "versatile" because not only is it delicious in a bowl - topped with some low-fat sour cream and low-fat Mexican blend cheese - it makes a great topping for baked potatoes!  Also, it's good for homemade nachos!  Choose the tortilla chip of your choice, arrange them on a microwaveable plate, and top with some cheese, heating in the microwave until cheese is melted.  You could also add other desired toppings, such as jalapeƱos, etc.  Some of that lf sour cream is good on top, too! 

I want to mention that purchasing no salt added/low sodium products has been a policy of mine for quite awhile now.  That way, I am able to control the amount of sodium in what we eat.

I'm sure you know what to do with leftovers.:-)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A taste of cheese....

This recipe has been in my files for many years - maybe since the late-seventies.  It was printed in the local newspaper and has become a favorite of City Girl through the years.



Go ahead and use those heart-shaped dishes!  This is Heart Month, plus Valentine's Day comes along soon!  Use any kind of cracker you like for spreading.  If you choose to try shaping a cheese ball, I would advise that it be very well-chilled before the shaping process, as this has a softer result.

Something else that looks good - even tastes good - is this:



 
Peeled, hard-boiled eggs are good to add to that pickled beet juice!  Isn't this one pretty?  They would look great in a bowl on the party table!

If you are planning a Super Bowl party, perhaps some of the recipes from the blog this week might be good to include on your serving table.  Enjoy!

Keep those toothpicks handy....

They will be good to put to use for enjoying these:



We have never been fans of barbecue sauce/ grape jelly/etc. on meatballs and much prefer the traditional marinara for dipping these.  While the recipe specifies ground beef, I haven't used ground beef in a very long time.  Instead, these are made with ground white chicken.  Ground white turkey could also be used, depending on your budget.  When making these this time, I used Pecorino cheese.  With no seasoned bread crumbs, I simply added dried basil and dried oregano to the mix.

Of course, "leftovers" are always good this way:


If there are any leftovers from this, Munchkin the Elder loves Meatball Subs!:-)

Oh!  While you have those toothpicks handy, try them with these:


Lovely cubed potatoes, just perfect for a side dish - or a party table!  Munchkin the Younger finds that these are just what she needs!:-)


Both these recipes actually came from the Rookie Cookie page of our newspaper. 

Happy cooking!

A healthy one....

Everyone seems to want a "healthy snack."  Does this one qualify?

FRUIT AND NUT NIBBLE
1/2 pound raw cashews
1/2 pound pecans
1/2 pound almonds
1 cup chopped dried Apple
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup carob chips, optional (but why leave them out?)
- Mix all together.  Store covered.


Well, it is fruit and nuts!  They're healthy, right?:-)  The problem comes with limiting oneself to 1/4 cup!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Versatile Rice Chex....

This is the savory side of that versatile Rice Chex.  This one comes from Gooseberry Patch via my  friend, BWWeavers, who posted it on Twitter before Christmas.  It, just like the sweet one yesterday, is good at anytime!

SPICY SNACK MIX
5 cups crispy cereal squares
1 cup round toasted oat cereal
1 cup pretzel sticks
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-size cheese crackers
1 stick butter
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon hot sauce (adjust this amount per your preference)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
-Mix cereals, pretzels, nuts, and crackers together.  Melt butter; add other ingredients.  Pour over cereal mix and toss well to cover.  Spread on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

For our preferences, I actually omitted the hot sauce from this one.  As I had pretzel twists on hand, that is what I used in this one.  Also, this isn't a gluten-free snack.

Enjoy!  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snack time....

Happy Groundhog Day!  According to reports this morning, that groundhog didn't see his shadow!  Do you think he's certain we will have an early spring, or is he just playing with us?:-)

Are there times when you want to have special snacks around?  For many, this coming Sunday - Super Bowl time - there will be a lot of snacking.  The following recipe is one I cut out of the newspaper a number of months ago featuring that pumpkin spice flavor, but it is good at any time.

PUMPKIN SPICE CHEX MIX
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups wheat Chex cereal
2 cups honey nut Chex
8 oz. pecans
1 cup pretzels (optional)
- In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice, set aside.  In small microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter for 30 seconds.  Stir in vanilla.  In large microwave bowl, mix all cereal, pecans, and pretzels.  Pour butter mixture over cereal mix, stir until evenly distributed.  Add sugar and spice mix and stir until coated.  Microwave uncovered 5 minutes or until mix begins to brown, stirring every minute.  Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool.  Store in airtight container.

I will say that I used the more traditional method of making this Chex mix.  I placed the cereal mix on a parchment lined baking sheet, then baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Also, in an effort to make this gluten-free, I used 3 cups of the cinnamon Chex and the honey nut Chex, omitting the wheat Chex completely.  I found gluten-free pretzel twists, as well as sticks.  I think I will try walnuts the next time!

There is something "magical" about Chex cereals.  They seem to be ready to absorb any flavor one wishes to use with them. 

This will certainly be a hit at any gathering!