Back in the Saddle Again…

8 Jun

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know it’s been a while, ok a LONG time, since I last posted anything. I apologize.

Upon returning from a date night with my hubby, I thought it would be fun to make cookies with the rug-rat.  He didn’t really seem too enthused, until I started asking for a “special cookie maker.”  That got him excited, go figure.  So, I started looking at the ingredients I had on hand and Grandma’s trusty recipes.  I was missing a key ingredient for a cookie I thought looked easy enough: Mincemeat Cookies.  I ran out of pear mincemeat at Christmas and didn’t have any other jars on hand.  However I did have three jars of fig preserves from my Aunt Barbara.  She and her daughter, Haley (my oldest cousin), are always good for a few jars of this and that when I’m home.

So, I used chopped fig preserves.  If you have never had mincemeat, I suggest you try some.  Unless your great-aunt Gertrude still makes it the “real” way (with the meat of a hog’s head), a jar of modern mincemeat is usually a mix of spices, sugar and various “hearty” fruits like pears and apples.  While figs are a little softer in texture, their flavor is a similar profile and mincemeat.  In other words, it worked.

There was no indication as to the yield in the recipe.  It made about 48-60 cookies I think (give or take the “tester” cookies).  So here it is, the first recipe of the year.  Better late than never!

Mince Meat Cookies

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs (well beaten)
  • 1 cup of mince meat, or preserves of your choice

Sift the flour, salt, and soda together.  Cream butter and sugar then beat and add eggs.  Stir in mince meat.  Add the dry ingredients and mix.  Drop by the spoonful (or see option below) onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400* for about 12 minutes, or until cookies are golden.  Option: make bake in thin sheet and cut into bars.

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Gave him a cookiephoto(2)

First biteHe likes them!He liked it!

The mix seemed a little dry while mixing, so I poured in some of the fig preserve liquid to moisten it up a bit.  It worked well and the cookies taste amazing!  The hubby just came out of the kitchen exclaiming, “Wow, that made a lot of cookies!”  Another note: The hubby is not a fig eater but enjoyed these cookies, so they must be good!

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Grandma’s Notes: 9/20/98- Went to church; crocheted some.  THANK YOU LORD FOR YOUR CLOSENESS TO ME IN MY EVERYDAY LIFE.

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Dairy free, egg free, no junk added ice cream

1 Feb

So, I’ve done a lot of reading and researching and decided that I’m changing up how I eat. Since the main issue I’ve had has been with dairy, I knew I’d needed to figure out how to change recipes and my usual go-to snacks (I LOVE me some queso)!

I am an over-ripe banana hoarder. We buy them, all nice and yellow, only to forget about them and watch them all but peel themselves off the banana hook (although I have been standing next to the kitchen counter when one decided to peel…creepy). They then get tossed into the freezer where they await their fate: bread, smoothie, and the pièce de résistance ICE CREAM.

That was tonight’s challenge, which I gladly accepted! The picture below is all I had left after I realized I should have taken the picture at the beginning.

Oh well.

Amber’s Pb & Cocoa Ice “Cream”
• 2 frozen bananas peeled
• 1-2 TBSP peanut butter
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk ( mine is unsweetened)
• 1 tsp cocoa powder
• 1 short squirt/dash/splash agave nectar

Throw everything in the blender and mix until smooth. The variance in milk depends on how much you need to keep the mixture moving in the blender. I then poured it into a Tupperware container and plopped it into the freezer for about a hour-and-one-half hour. After an hour, or so, I took it out and stirred it (the edges freeze quicker). I added pecans to top it, but you don’t need anything!

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Enjoy, and let me know how yours turns out!

Christmas Eating (part two)

29 Dec photo(3)

OK, as promised…and promised again, I’ll share the remaining recipes from Christmas day.  Our main course came from A Butcher Shoppe & a Bit More.  It was beef tenderloin but I didn’t get any pictures.  I’ve come to figure that taking pictures of meat, by itself, is not all that appetizing.  Trust me, though, it was amazing!  The people at your local butcher shop are fantastic people to know.  I’m glad I found them.

Now, for Grandma’s recipes…One of the things I remember eating, on quite a few occasions, at Grandma’s was “creamed potatoes.”  If I didn’t know better, I would think this had some kind of special gravy or actual sauce.  NOPE!  It’s just flour and water.  SO very simple.  The trick is to not cook the potatoes until they are mush, because then you end up with just watered down mashed potatoes.  You want some shape left to the potatoes.  I will say, however, that these potatoes resembled hers but didn’t taste exactly the same.  Nevertheless there were very few bites left in the bowl!

Potatoes in Cream Sauce

  • potatoes, preferably new (we used russet)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • flour for thickening
  • enough milk or water to moisten the flour

Peel and boil whole small new potatoes, or cut up others.  Leave them in water in which they were cooked.  Thicken with flour/water mixture and season.  Possibly add small amount of butter.

Grandma’s notes: 6/4/91- walked a mile.  Anthony called; they have a 6:00 ball game; I went and watched the game.  6/5/91 Anthony and Ashley came.  He mowed.  I fixed a pot of potatoes; Haley came; began to rake after dinner.  Marcus cut hay this P.M.  Haley came in thirsty and hungry.  THANK YOU FOR THE HAPPY MOMENTS YOU GIVE ME EACH DAY.  Loyce brought SS class flowers.

Since I had not done too many posts in recent weeks, I decided to make sure I had as many recipes as I could (that would be Christmas dinner appropriate).  So, I also made some great carrots.  Granted, they aren’t your typical sweet, brown-sugary kind, but tasty anyway.

Savory Carrots

  • 4 cups carrot slices
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups onion slices
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Cook carrots in broth until tender, do not drain.  Saute onion in butter; blend in flour.  Gradually add water.  Stir in carrots and broth.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened; continue cooking 2 minutes.  Makes 8 servings.

I used a 2# bag of whole carrots and doubled the liquid because I did mine in the crock pot to keep from heating up the kitchen too much.  Therefore I had to also add more flour to get a good consistency and thickness to the sauce.

photo(3)Grandma’s Notes: 7/11/91- Shelled purple hull peas.  Amber, Anthony, April, and Ashley spent night.  7/18/91- Carried Haley to cheerleader practice; took her to hayfield; picked up Marcus; took him to Bible school.  7/27/91- Finished reading I Samuel at 3:00.  THANK YOU LORD FOR BEING THERE FOR ME.  MAY I NEVER BE IN THE WAY OF MY CHILDREN TRUSTING YOU.

 

One of the most favorite things to eat at pretty much any meal, holiday or otherwise, is sauteed cabbage.  Everyone has their favorite way to make it.  Ours is by pan sauteing it in a pan after cooking bacon.  Who doesn’t like a little bacon grease?!

Cabbage

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 6-8 slices of bacon
  • 1 lg onion sliced (optional)
  • 1 chicken bullion cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon in electric skillet (I just use a pan); crumble; set aside on paper towel to drain.  Cook sliced onion in some of the bacon grease until tender.  Put on another paper towel to remove grease; set aside.  Slice cabbage and cook in some bacon grease, stirring it down to add more (and not burn).  Add 2 bullion cubes dissolved in about 1/4 cup water.  Cover and cook until tender; (add no other liquid).  Put in a large dish; put cooked onions on top and top all with crumbled bacon.

photo(10)I remembered to take a picture AFTER we had devoured it.  This is all that was left!

Grandma’s Notes: Lance and Barbara were married January 23, 1967 at Ramah Baptist Church in Tenaha.  They have two children, Haley Ann Horton Monroe and Marcus Lance Horton.

 

So, there you have it.   A Christmas breakfast and dinner that even Grandma would have been proud of.

Christmastime is here…

27 Dec

…well, it was here.  Now we focus on the New Year.  New goals, new friends, new lives…NEW!  However, before we move on, I am following-up on a previous post in which I promised to share our Christmas breakfast and dinner.  Hold on to your seats!  This is going to be a recipe slam!

I mentioned two breakfast recipes: one oatmeal and one more traditional breakfast casserole.  I also had a Hot Cocoa bar with a crock pot hot cocoa (found here) along with chocolate chips, smosh-moes (marshmallows), and crushed peppermint.

My simple tablescape:

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My sister even brought me some Trader Joes gingerbread men!

photo(8)The Gluten-Free Oatmeal casserole found here

This thing is DELISH!  I would however, cut the chocolate chips in half or just add them as a topping at the end.  I’m also pretty sure I could make this a vegan-friendly dish by using an egg substitute.  There was none left at the end of breakfast!

photo(6)Another gluten-free option found here

This also had nothing left of it at the end of the morning.  There is just something about sausage, cheese, and hashbrowns!

photo(7)The boy enjoying Christmas Breakfast!

OK, realizing how late it is here, I will continue this post with a second entry.  Next time, cabbage, savory carrots, potatoes in cream sauce, and Martha Washington balls!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

22 Dec

With Christmas rapidly approaching (I could’ve sworn there was another week to go) and family already on their way, I want to pause and thank Hod for such an amazing 2012. From new career paths to upcoming career endings, to a two-year-old that is already smarter than me…it has been amazing.

Now don’t worry. I’ll still be cooking and blogging, but the next post won’t be until after Christmas dinner.

So, with that, I wish you and your family the merriest of Christmases!

Christ, Jesus is born!

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Feliz Navidad!

17 Dec

I’m putting off doing my Christmas meal shopping, kind of.  It’s just going to take me actually writing down a list of what I need and then going to the store to get everything.  Until then, however, I still need to feed our family in the days leading up to Christmas.  So, when I went out today, I made sure to grab some tortillas, enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese.  In my prior trips to the grocer I managed to stock up on chicken broth and onions, along with some evaporated milk.  I was set!

Mexican  Chicken Casserole

  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (10-15 oz) enchilada sauce (mild or hot)
  • 1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
  • 12 corn tortillas (I bought flour by accident…they taste good but get pretty mushy)
  • 1 lb grated cheese
  • 1 cup chopped green chilies (I wish I had my hatch chilies for this)
  • 1 medium onion chopped

Combine chicken broth with enchilada sauce and milk.  Layer half the tortillas in a 9×13 casserole dish.  Top with chicken, 3/4 cheese, chilies and onions.  Add remaining tortillas and cheese.  Pour sauce mixture over casserole and bake for one hour at 350.   Side note: when you pour the sauce over the top, the cheese tends to “migrate,” so pour slowly!

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Grandma’s Notes: 12/15/91- White frost.  Marcus came home with me after church.  He’s watching football game while I fix lunch.  We ate in front of the TV.  He went to George’s after lunch,  Haley came by- took me to choir practice.  She’s spending the night.  I THANK YOU LORD THAT YOUR FAMILY SPREADS TO MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD.  THANK YOU LORD THAT I AM PART OF IT.

 

Spicing Up the Holidays

16 Dec

I may or may not have mentioned that my husband is getting ready to retire at the end of this year.  With that comes a LOT of celebration!  With celebration comes guests, and with guests come FOOD!  What better way to utilize some of Grandma’s recipes?!  I even volunteered our house to host Christmas dinner.  I may or may not have bitten off more than I can chew.  All I know is that I refuse to wait until the last minute to get things ready.

So, I have planned my menu and begun to shop for our breakfast goodies.  The plan, for Christmas morning, is a hot cocoa and spiced tea bar to go along with a baked oatmeal casserole and a more traditional breakfast casserole.  The cocoa is going to be a crock-pot version I found here, thank you Pinterest!  As for the spiced tea, thank you Grandma!

This is such an easy recipe and one that can be made ahead of time (ahem, like I did today).  Since it’s shelf-stable in a air-tight container, it also makes for a great Christmas gift for the neighbors.  One tip: try to get your ingredients at a big-box store.  As much as I hate to shop at Wal-Mart, it is one of the few places where you can get Tang.

Anyway, I did change this recipe a little.  The original mix called for lemon-flavored tea and TWO cups of sugar.  Now, I don’t know where you grew up, but when Grandma had Tang at her house, I don’t ever remember having to add more sugar when making it.  So, I used unflavored, unsweetened tea and lemonade mix.  I think it gives a more “natural” lemon flavor.  Well, as natural as a powdered concoction can taste.

So, I mixed everything and put them into mason jars this evening.

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Spiced Tea

  • 1 cup unsweetened instant tea
  •  2 cups Tang
  • 1 cup lemonade mix (I used Countrytime)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and store in jar with lid.  Use 2-4 tsp of mix per mug of hot water.  Side note: this is an UH-Mazing concoction sprinkled over crushed or shaved ice and eaten as-is.

Grandma’s Notes: 11/26/81- Thanksgiving Day; Lance and family, along with George and family were here for a 6:00 P.M. dinner.  Had a good time, a grand meal, and good fellowship.  Called Frank and family about 10:00.  They had celebrated with church friends and had a good day

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