Wednesday, November 26, 2008

countdown to thanksgiving # 13- brined turkey...

sorry that i didn't post a new recipe for you yesterday!  i own a flower shop & people want there centerpieces!!!  back to the tip...  
last year we brined our turkey for the first time.  it was so easy & soooo delicious.  it was moist & juice & very flavorful.  we used the brining salts from williams-sonoma.  i know that there are lots of brands & recipes out there, but we will be sticking with this one.  you do have to plan ahead though, because you need to start the brining process 24 hours before you are going to cook it... so today!  if you don't do it for T-day, there's always Christmas.  
i hope you all have a very happy & delicious Thanksgiving.  it is my daughters birthday this year on Thanksgiving, so i'll be taking the weekend off, but i will be back Monday & we will dive right in to Christmas!!!!!!  check back Monday for our first christmas give-away!

Monday, November 24, 2008

countdown to thanksgiving # 12- Thanksgiving take-home boxes...

don't you hate it when you go to families houses for the holidays & they ask you if you would like to take some leftovers home with you, just to say... "oh, i don't really have anything to put them in."  or they wait until after dessert & they wash out a Cool Whip container.  not at my house!!! (i only use real whipped cream:)  i featured these little beauties on my personal blog, but because they were about food & i promised thanksgiving tips... here is my #1 favorite holiday tip for packing leftovers!!!  for the full instructions go HERE.  but here is a brief summery... i think you'll get the idea!

{thanksgiving take-home boxes with vintage clipart cards}

{i got the images from a holiday vintage clipart book}

{the leftover cast... stuffing, turkey, rolls, pumpkin cookies, cranberry sauce, gravy, ect.}

{packed in a 6 x 6 kraft colored box from heaviest to lightest}

{i tied with one with turkey twine... how appropriate!}

Sunday, November 23, 2008

countdown to thanksgiving # 11- brussels sprouts with bacon & hazelnuts...

i know that a lot of people aren't crazy about brussels sprouts, i personally do like them, but i promise that even people that DO NOT like them like this recipe!  let's be honest... what's not to love about anything with bacon!  i got this recipe from my darling neighbor & it is a great & different was to prepare a not so favorite veggie.  another thing that makes this recipe different is that the brussels sprouts are cut in a chiffonade, so they aren't chunky, they are lighter & the texture is a little nicer.  if you have a veggie this holiday season give this one a try!

{brussels sprouts with bacon & hazelnuts}

2 lbs. brussels spouts, chiffonaded
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lbs. bacon, chopped
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Trim the ends of the brussels spouts & remove any spotted or discolored leaves.  Slice in 1/16th of an inch slices by hand or run through a food processor fitted with a slicing blade.  Use your fingers to separate the slices.  Allow about 10-15 minutes for this process.

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon & drain on a paper towel.  Reserve bacon grease.

Add brussels sprouts & onions to skillet with bacon grease.  Cook on high until sprouts are tender & bright green & onions are caramelized.  Add bacon, salt & pepper to vegetables, stir gently.  Spoon out onto a plater & top with toasted hazelnuts.  Enjoy.

and the winner is...

Lori, comment # 10!  congratulations Lori, e-mail me ( your address & i will ship your jellies out tomorrow.  sorry everybody else!  i picked the winner using  it really is a cool site.  check back, we will be having more giveaways through the holidays.  we'll be giving away dishes, more food & other fun cooking things.  & don't forget- countdown to thanksgiving will start back up later today.  Thanks for playing! 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

yeah for 100! & a anne made giveaway...

our last post was # 100.  it is crazy how time flies!  to celebrate we will be having a fun giveaway.  these jellies are my favorite & i think they are perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas & just everyday.  

{anne made jellies}

there are so many BEAUTIFUL flavors!  i will send you all 9 flavors & the recipe for the cream cheese spread i love to serve with it. 
 Spicy Kiwi, Spicy Mango, Strawberry Basil, Cranberry Habanero, Raspberry Habanero, Orange Rosemary, Blushing Peach, Apricot Habanero & Lemon Zinger.  

Just leave a comment with your favorite recipe that you have used from our blog.  You can enter until Saturday at Midnight.  I'll post the winner monday.   Unfortunately i won't post the count down to Thanksgiving during this time.  You can check my other blog for some other Thanksgiving ideas, HERE.  
Good Luck & thanks for following in our culinary journey...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

count down to Thanksgiving #10- pumpkin patch muffins...

since our family usually eats at like 2ish on Thanksgiving Day, i don't like to eat a big breakfast.  but i can't completely wait til then to eat.  So these are an easy fun & light little breakfast.  my mom made them all the time when we were growing up & it brings back fun memories!  Maybe they can become a tradition at your house.

{pumpkin patch muffins}

{super yummy with honey butter}

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin spice & nutmeg.  Add sugar & mix.  Stir in milk, butter & vanilla.  Mix just until moistened.  Fold in canned pumpkin.  

Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

count down to Thanksgiving #9- Jennifer's layered cornucopia salad...

this is a Recipe Club blast from the past!  i can't even tell you who brought this salad originally, but it was at the very beginning of recipe club; about 3 years ago.  it is so super yummy & different.  The cottage cheese gives it the cream texture while still using a vinaigrette dressing.  If your food assignment this year is green salad... this recipe is for YOU!!!  ** this recipe was originally brought by Jennifer.  Thanks Summer for the help.  it is a favorite of mine too!

{Jennifer's Layered Cornucopia Salad}

1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 package baby spinach
1 container cottage cheese
1 lb. bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 cups grated swiss cheese
1 small purple onion, sliced & broken into rings
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms

Arrange all ingredients, except mushrooms,  in order on a large platter.  


3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP grated onion
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

mix all ingredients together.  Add mushrooms & marinate for at least 8 hours but not more than 24 hours.  

Pour mushrooms & dressing over salad just before serving.

Monday, November 17, 2008

count down to Thanksgiving #8- spinach dip appitizer...

thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a few yummy dishes to munch on as your guests are waiting for the turkey timer to pop.  this is my little sisters favorite dip EVER!  if you haven't ever made it, it is really good with cubed french bread, crackers or veggies.  also another great one to make the day or 2 before.

{Creamy Leek & Spinach Dip}

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (1.8 ounce) package dry leek soup mix
  • 1 (4 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, dry leek soup mix, water chestnuts and chopped spinach. Chill in the refrigerator 6 hours, or overnight.
  2. Remove top and interior of sourdough bread. Fill with mayonnaise mixture. Tear removed bread chunks into pieces for dipping.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

count down to Thanksgiving #7- hot cranberry cider...

this is a pretty & easy make ahead drink for any cold day!  the clove studded oranges are really nice & festive.  it is nice also to be able to throw everything in the crock pot in the morning & not have to think about it again until you're ready to serve it.  

{hot cranberry cider}

4 cups cranberry juice cocktail
4 quarts apple cider
1 cup sugar
2 oranges, studded with whole cloves*
4 whole cinnamon sticks

Combine all ingredients in a large pot or crock pot.  Simmer on very low for several hours.

** clove studded oranges are very easy to make.  you can do any pattern.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

count down to Thanksgiving #6- robyn's classic pumpkin roll...

this is such a yummy & fun dessert to make.  it is a little confusing if you haven't done it before, so i am going to include some extra pictures with the instructions.  if you have any questions or if the instructions aren't clear just leave me a comment & i will try to help out!
{Robyn's Classic Pumpkin Rolls}

3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 TBSP lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl mix together eggs, sugar, pumpkin & lemon juice.  Beat well.  Sift together all remaining dry ingredients & add to pumpkin mixture.  Mix well.  Pour into a well greased & floured 11 x 17 baking sheet.  Bake at 370 degrees for 12 minutes.

Remove from oven & liberally sprinkle with powder sugar.  Flip out onto a clean towel & roll up like a jelly roll.  Cool completely rolled up.  Unroll & spread with cream cheese frosting* then roll back up.  This time without the towel.  Wrap in parchment or saran wrap & chill in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.  Slice & serve.

** {cream cheese frosting}

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup powder sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

Beat together until light & fluffy.

Picture instructions...

{turn out cake onto a towel-- if you want you can dust it with powder sugar too}

{roll up in the towel... & NO, those are NOT my hands!}

{unroll & spread with frosting}

{re-roll with out the towel}

{slice & serve}

Friday, November 14, 2008

count down to Thanksgiving #5- Creamy Asparagus Bake...

this is such a nice alternative to the green bean casserole. it is creamy, with a crunchy topping. a little different, but super delicious!

{creamy asparagus bake}

1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1/4 cup peppercorn ranch dressing
2 TBSP shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup coarsely crushed Ritz crackers, about 12 crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook asparagus in simmering water in a large skillet for 2-3 minutes or until bright green, but still crisp.  Drain.

Toss asparagus in dressing.  Place in a 2 qt. baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese & cracker crumbs.

Bake 10-15 minutes or cheese is lightly browned & heated through.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

count down to Thanksgiving #4- Scrumptious Sweet Potatoes

This dish is a must for a Thanksgiving Feast! I haven't met someone who hasn't like it yet...even all those people who are not sweet potatoes fans enjoy it. Give it a try- I promise you will be Thankful! Happy Eating!

{scrumptious sweet potatoes}
3+ cups sweet potatoes-mashed
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 c canned milk
1 T vanilla
1 c sugar
1/2 T salt
1/2 stick butter melted
coconut flakes- (optional-but really yummy)
1 c brown sugar
1 c chopped sugar coated pecans*
1/2 c flour
1/2 c soft butter (I always use the other 1/2 stick and it's plenty!)
crumble on the top

bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
*to make sugar coated pecans, mix 1 cup chopped pecans with 1/4 cup sugar in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. stir constantly until all the sugar is melted & all nuts are coated. transfer to waxed or parchment paper. cool completely.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

count down to thanksgiving #3- katie's cranberry wassail slush...

this is one of the yummiest drinks that i have ever made!!!!  it is so different & delicious.  it has all of the flavors of the holidays & yet is cool & refreshing!  give it a try & i know you will and your family will not be disappointed!!!!

{katie's cranberry wassail slush}

3 cans cranberry jelly

2- 12 oz. cans frozen lemonade

1- 12 oz. can frozen apple cranberry juice

4 cups water

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

Put all ingredients in a large bowl & mix with a hand mixer until combined.  The mixture maybe a little lumpy.  Freeze overnight.  Place frozen mixture in a large punch bowl & add 2- 2 liter bottles of cold gingerale.  Stir & drink up!

count down to thanksgiving #2- creamed corn...

this is such a lovely side dish!  it is easy & delicious as well.  the perfect complement to your turkey this year.
{tiff's creamed corn}

3 TBSP butter 

3 TBSP flour

22 oz. super sweet frozen corn

1/2 cup whole milk

2 TSBP sugar

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 cup whipping cream

1 tsp. salt

In a small pan melt butter, stir in flour cook on medium for just a couple minutes stirring constantly.  Set aside.  In a large pot combine corn, milk, sugar, pepper, whipping cream & salt.  Bring to a boil & boil for 5 minutes.  Add flour & butter mixture to pot & stir until thickened.  If it ends up too thick, just add a little extra milk or cream until you are at your desired texture.

Monday, November 10, 2008

count down to thanksgiving #1-pumpkin pie bars...

tiff brought these a year or 2 ago to recipe club & i loved them so much!  i have made them many times since then.  they are creamy & crumbly & delicious!  but you do have to make sure that they are completely cooled or even cold or they don't set up the same.   

{Pumpkin Pie Bars}

1 1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

3/4 cup cold butter

1 cup old quick cook oats, uncooked

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1- 8 oz. package cream cheese

3 eggs

1- 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with foil; grease foil lining.  

In a medium bowl mix: flour, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in oats & pecans.  Reserve 1 cup of mixture & press remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  

In a medium bowl beat cream cheese, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, pumpkin & spices.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Pour over crust.  Sprinkle with reserved oatmeal mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Lift from pan using foil handles; cool completely.  Cut into bars.  Store left overs in the refrigerator.  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

giving thanks for great food....

{think thanksgiving}

starting tomorrow, i will be posting a new recipe everyday until Thanksgiving.  there will be great side dishes, unique salads, delicious desserts & great tips for leftovers!  be sure to tune-in so you don't miss out.  i might even through in a couple of give-a-ways... check back tomorrow!!!!  my mouth is actually watering just thinking about it!  see you tomorrow:)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tiff's creamy apple tart...

Tiff wasn't able to come to recipe club last month but sent this DELICIOUS tart.  It is the prefect combination on tart, sweet, creamy & crisp.  & it being quite simple it just an added bonus!  Give this one a try for Thanksgiving this year...

{tiff's creamy apple tart}

1 pie crust
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 fuji apple, peeled & sliced
1 granny smith apple, peeled & sliced
1 johnagold apple, peeled & sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2  TBSP sugar

Whipped Cream for topping

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Carefully spread softened cream cheese into the bottom of the pie crust.  Toss apples with 1/4 cup of sugar & flour.  Evenly place over the cream cheese layer.  Mix together cinnamon & the other 2 TBSP sugar.  Sprinkle onto the top of the apples.  Bake for 25 minutes uncovered.  Loosely cover with foil & cook another 5 minutes.  Serve with fresh whipped cream.  Enjoy! 

Monday, November 3, 2008

the perfect pair-- mom's chili & summer's corn casserole...

with the weather getting colder it is so fun to start making more soups & stews again!  i love my mom's chili recipe & it goes so well with the recipe from one of our first Recipe Club get togethers.  Summer brought it & it has been a favorite of mine ever since.  it has great texture & is a great pair with any soup!

{mom's homemade chili}

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1- 16 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups tomato juice
1- 10 oz. can kidney beans, undrained

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion & celery.  Drain off excess fat.  Stir in remaining ingredients except beans.  Simmer covered for 30-45 minutes until flavors are blended.  Stir in beans & heat through.

{summer's corn casserole}

1 stick butter, melted
1 can cream style corn
1 can sweet whole kernel corn, drained
2 boxes jiffy corn bread muffin mix
1- 16 oz. container sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a 2 quart casserole dish.  Add remaining ingredients & mix well.  Bake 45-60 minutes or until knife stuck in center comes out clean.