Tuesday, November 23, 2010

HOT Drinks for a Cold Evening

Cups of Comfort Hot Drinks: Cocoas, Toddies, Punches, and Grogs - Suzanne Kotz - HardcoverEver want something hot to drink and don't want the usual coffee or tea, not your normal hot chocolate or cider either?  Here are a couple of hot drinks you might enjoy!

Hot Buttered Cider

1 Quart apple cider
2 Tbs brown sugar
4 Tbs butter

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
(4 servings)

Mint Chocolate

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 Tbs water
2 c milk
3 Tbs mint syrup or creme de menthe

Put chocolate squares in a pan; add water and melt, stirring occasionally, over low heat.  Scald milk over med heat in a second pan, then slowly whisk it into chocolate.  Add mint syrup or creme de menthe and whisk again.
(2 servings)

Honey Cocoa

1 cinnamon stick
4 c milk
1/4 c powdered, unsweetened cocoa
1/4 c honey

Scald the milk with the cinnamon stick over medium-low heat.  Remove from heat.  Discard the cinnamon stick.  Place cocoa in a small bowl and dribble in 1/2 c milk, stirring constantly.  Add the cocoa mixture to the milk and warm over low heat.  Stir in the honey and heat through.
(4 servings)

Warm White Russian

2 1/2 c brewed coffee
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c coffee flavored liqueur
1/4 c vodka
Whipped cream for garnish

Combine coffee, cream, coffee liqueur, and vodka in a saucepan.  Simmer until hot.  Divide mixture among heated mugs and garnish with whipped cream.
(4 servings)

Lights Out Grog

1 jigger vodka
1 jigger cognac
2 jiggers light rum
1/4 c orange juice
1 c boiling water
1 tsp sugar

Combine vodka, cognac, rum and orange juice in a heated mug or heat-resistant glass.  Fill mug with boiling water and stir in the sugar.
(1 serving)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is almost upon us.   Macy's parade in the morning; Dallas Cowboys in the afternoon, I think (not for me)    We are all so looking forward to our big dinner together down at my church hall.  We have a definite 37 to 40 people at this point.  My contribution:  lots of sweet potato souffle, many mini-cheesecakes topped with cherries or peaches, cranberry stuffing and meatless gravy for my darling daughter.   Included in our feast:  turkey, stuffing, hams, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, turnips (a wonderful recipe that my husband used to make that my daughter is putting together this year), creamed onions, eggplant parm, eggplant with veggies and chicken, relish trays and vegetable trays, pies and breads and soooooooooooo much more.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

TODAY'S KITCHEN - Al Roker's Chili

I don't think my mornings could be complete unless the TODAY show clicked on at 7 o'clock each morning.  I really enjoy the hosts and their stories of what's going on in the world TODAY.  I bought TODAY'S KITCHEN Cookbook quite a while ago; there are recipes from the hosts as well as from the hottest chefs and  celebrities.  Here you will find the recipe for Al's Chili (Al Roker), which would be real tasty on these cool fall evenings.

2 lbs chuck steak, cubed into bite size pieces
1 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
2 large onions, diced
12 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs pure chili powder
1 32-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 16-oz can pinto beans
1 16-oz can northern beans
1 16-oz can dark red kidney beans

Brown the beef and sausage in a large dutch oven.  Remove meat from pan and reserve.   Drain off the fat, reserving about 2 Tbs.  saute' the onions and garlic until translucent, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Add the cumin, paprika, and chili powder.  then add the tomatoes and the meat into the Dutch oven.  Stir the whole pot, and simmer on the stove for about an hour and a half.  at that point, add the three cans of beans, simmer for another 30 minutes.

Serve with dishes of chopped scallions, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese.  a nice warm corn bread would be nice as well.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Broccoli and spaghetti Squash - two of my favorites

Another great sounding recipe from Broccoli by Brody that sounds yummy and easy to make.   This recipe calls for a sweet Spanish or Vidalia onion.  Vidalia onions are readily available in the spring but you can sometimes find them in your market year-round.  If you cannot find them, simply substitute a sweet Spanish onion.  The combination of colors here - bright yellow squash and the deep green of the broccoli - makes this a visually stunning dish.

1 large (2-3 pounds) spaghetti squash
3 Tbs water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium vidalia onion (or sweet Spanish), thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
3 c broccoli stems and florets, stems peeled and thinly slice on the diagonal
2 Tbs water
1 scallion, green and white parts, chopped

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and invert the squash halves on a plate.  Sprinkle with the 3 Tbs water, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 5 to 7 minutes.  (The spaghetti squash halves can also be placed in a shallow aluminum foil lined baking pan with water and baked at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes).  The skin should be tender when pricked with a fork.  Cool slightly.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute' the onions and garlic until just tender and transparent but not browned.  Add the zucchini and broccoli  and the 2 Tbs water.  Cover and steam over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the broccoli is crisp-tender.  Remove the pan from the heat.

Gently separate the spaghetti strings from the squash by scraping the insides of the squash with a fork.  Remove them to a serving bowl and gently mix with the other vegetables.  Garnish with scallions and serve.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Broccoli-Chicken-Cheese Roll-up

Broccoli by Brody: Recipes for America's Healthiest Vegetable
I was talking with my cousin Kathy this morning about broccoli - how long would it keep in the refrigerator; should she blanch and freeze it or what?  Broccoli crowns are on sale through today and she wants them for one of her Thanksgiving veggies.  Since we were on the subject of broccoli - I went to the bookshelf and retrieved Broccoli by Brody, by Lora Brody and here is a recipe I came across that sounds like it would be pretty darn good!

Broccoli-Chicken-Cheese Roll-ups (Serves 8)

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c bottled Italian dressing
1 c chopped broccoli stems and florets, stems peeled and steamed or microwaved for 2 minutes or until just tender
1 c regular or skim milk ricotta cheese
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c sliced scallions, green and white parts
1 large egg or 1/4 c egg substitute
1/2 c dry white wine or chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish; pour the salad dressing over the chicken and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or as long as 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the center position.  Spray and 9 x 13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a bowl, mix together the broccoli, ricotta, parsley, scallions, egg, salt and pepper.

Divide the filling among the chicken breasts and spread it out almost to the edges.  Roll the chicken around the filling, secure with a toothpick, and place seam side down in the prepared baking pan.
add the wine, cover loosely with foil, and bake for 45 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Remove the toothpick before serving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shopping and Lunch with the Seniors

     Today I've arranged for the Senior Center bus to take a group of 24 seniors to Colonie Center (a local shopping mall) where we'll visit the Christmas Tree Shop and whatever else we have time for.  I know that I will make a stop at The Children's place and Crazy Eights to see if they have any buys for my granddaughter.  Adison will be 3 on January 21st and she just loves clothes (she likes shoes even more)!!
     After our shopping we'll meet back on the bus and then head to the Olive Garden and Red Lobster (next door to each other) for lunch.  We have 19 ready to eat at the Olive Garden and 5 will dig in at the Red Lobster (Olive Garden for me because I love their soup, salad and bread sticks)!!
     Hope all the seniors enjoy their day!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cookies and Treats

How does that cookie jar empty so quickly?   Guess it's time to bake some Cinnamon Sugar Cookies for my little Miss Adison to enjoy!

1/2 c butter, room temp
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 1/4 c sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbs milk
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, salt, lemon rind and 1 c sugar.  Add eggs and milk; mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda and gradually add to the wet mixture; mix well.  Drop mixture onto greased cookie sheets, one round tablespoon at a time, 2 inches apart.  In a small bowl, mix 1/4 c sugar and cinnamon.    Butter the bottom of a glass, dip into cinnamon sugar mixture and flatten one cookie.  Repeat until all cookies are flattened.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes until light golden.  Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool.
Makes two and a half dozen cookies

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Let's Blog Hop!!!


When I was a little girl growing up I didn't know either of my Grandmothers (both having passed away before I was born) but I did have my Grandfathers for a few years.   But I do remember my Mom saying some of the following and I have even said a couple to my children when they were growing up.

Beauty is only skin deep.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

The best things in life are free.

All that glitters is not gold.

Never judge by appearances.

Money does not grow on trees.

Things are not always what they seem.

You can't tell a book by its cover.

Don't go near the water until you learn how to swim.

Waste not, want not.

A penny saved is a penny earned.

And I do hope I'm around to say a few of them to my darling granddaughter!  These are a few simple words but have an enormous amount of meaning to them.

Adison - A love of my life

     Here I am, spending some time with my granddaughter Adison. We dropped her Mom off at work and came home and had breakfast while she watched a Christmas show.
      I was recently afforded the opportunity to review Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol"  [a pop-up book] and have brought it with me to my daughters today  to read to Adison. The review should be posted on Saturday.  I hope my little angel will like it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Out and About

I'll be out and about the next few days so won't be here to blog!   
 I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Musical Feast

A Musical Feast: Recipes from over 100 of the World's Most Famous Musical Artists

The recipes found in these pages were donated by some of the world's favorite musical artists with their personal photos and reminiscences.  The recipes include family favorites, dishes discovered by the artists on their travels and recipes that resonate with personal memories.  A few of those famous musicians include:  Tony Bennett, the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, Cher, Clint Black, Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, the Village People, and many, many more. 

Blue Eyes' Italian Chicken, Potato and Onion dish
Frank Sinatra

This is best with soft music and candlelight.


2 2-lb chickens cut into pieces
Olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced separately
8 potatoes, peeled, quartered
1 c white wine
2 Tbs oregano
1 c fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Soak chicken in salted water for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Fill large baking dish 1/2 to 3/4 inch high with olive oil.  Layer chicken in bottom of pan; cover with onions; add potatoes, wine, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.  Mix pan ingredients by hand.  Cover with lemon slices.  Cover with foil. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.  Uncover and cook 15 minutes longer, or until  potatoes are soft. 

Serve with cold white wine. . . . and you'll love it.  Add a salad and dessert, and it is a wonderful meal.

8 servings

The artists donated these recipes to help combat one of the biggest social problems of our time: 
the problem of homelessness.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Last Dinner on the Titanic

This is the name of a cookbook I bought a number of years ago and just took it off the shelf this morning so that I could look through it and post an interesting recipe.  Not only was the Titanic the largest liner ever built, it also carried the most advanced culinary facilities afloat.   In the three galleys, a staff of about eighty worked around the clock to prepare nearly 6000 meals daily.  The recipes in this book were researched from period sources and carefully tested for modern kitchens.  This book contains beautiful pictures and wonderful stories as well as the delightful recipes. 

The dinner menu for an evening in The Third Class Dining Saloon listed the following for dinner one evening:  Vegetable Soup, Roasted Pork with Sage and Pearl Onions, Green Peas, Boiled Potatoes, Plum Pudding with Sweet Sauce, Cabin Biscuits, Oranges and Tea.  Following is the recipe for the Roasted Pork with Sage and Pearl Onions.

Roasted Pork with Sage and Pearl Onions

Today, cooks serve pork roasts that are slightly pink, but at the beginning of the century, anything but well done pork posed a health hazard.  Since pork becomes tough when well done, the custom was to marinate the meat overnight to increase its moisture content and improve its taste.  This recipe contains the best of both ages:  the meat is coked to the modern standard of doneness, but marinated to maximize juiciness and flavor.


1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c port
1/4 c chopped fresh sage (or 2 Tbs dry, crumbled sage leaves)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Boneless Pork Shoulder Butt, rolled and tied (3 lb)
1 1/2 c small button mushrooms
1 tsp butter
3 c chicken stock
1 1/2 c pearl onions
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 c port
Salt and Pepper

Place first six ingredients in food processor.  Blend until onion and sage are almost smooth.  Place pork roast in large shallow bowl;  pour sage mixture over pork, turning to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove roast from refrigerator and let come to room temperature for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, clean mushrooms and remove stems; reserve stems for another use. 

In large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Place in bottom of roasting pan with marinating juices.  Pour 1/2 c of the chicken stock over the pork and surround with pearl onions.  Bake in 325 degree F oven for 1 hour; add mushrooms and another 1/2 c of the chicken stock to pan.  Continue to cook for about 60 minutes or until instant-read meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F or until juices run clear and meat is just barely pink in the center.  Remove roast and vegetables from pan; tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, set roasting pan over medium heat; sprinkle flour into pan; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Pour in remaining stock and port; bring to oil and cook for 3 minutes or until thickened.  Strain.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice roast and arrange on platter.   Spoon sauce over pork slices and serve pork surrounded with onions and mushroom caps.   Makes 6 servings.

I've always been intrigued by the story of The Titanic; the stories, pictures and even the recipes give us a glimpse into the lives of those who embarked on its maiden voyage in April 1912.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mom's Tomato Soup Cake

As a little girl, I just loved it when my Mom made her tomato soup cake.  While looking for some of my favorite recipes for posting, I came across this one.   I've never made it myself but I think this must be as good a time as any!  I hope it's as good as I remember it.

Cream together:

1/2 c butter or margarine
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 can tomato soup

Sift together and add to the above:

1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt

Add 1 c raisins and 1 c nut meats.

Bake in prepared loaf pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees F.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time to Make the Fruit Cakes

The aroma of fruit cakes!  I remember taking my  Mom to visit her cousins Kay and Betty and watching them soak the fruit cakes in rum.  They were sooooooooooo delicious.    Once they were made they took them out once a week and added more rum to the cheesecloth.  Here is Betty's recipe:

1 1/2 c raisins
1 1/2 c dates, chopped
2 c sugar
5 Tbs, sort of heaping, butter
2 c boiling water

Boil the above for 20 minutes.

Mix the above together with:

2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
3 c flour
1 c chopped nuts
1 shot of rum
1 lb mixed fruit

Put in a large greased tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour.  Let cool; remove from pan while still warm.   Wrap in cheesecloth soaked in rum (sometimes they used wine, whiskey instead of the rum).  wrap good in Reynolds wrap.   Store in refrigerator.

Mom's cousins used to make the fruit cakes mid-November; resoak them with the rum weekly and continue to refrigerate.   Just right for the holidays!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Meet Me On Monday!"


1.  What is your favorite kind of pie?
2.  Have you ever ran out of gas in the car you were driving?
no, never
3.  How many languages do you speak?
Just English, but I do remember the French national anthem
(we had to sing it every day in French class)
4.  Do you take daily vitamins?
5.  What is your worst eating habit?
eating too fast

Friday, November 5, 2010

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cake

Another recipe from Old Fashioned Pumpkin RecipesI haven't tried this one yet but it does sound quite interesting.  Maybe this weekend!

1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/2 c cooking oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 c cooked pumpkin
1 1/2 c flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1 c chopped nuts
1/2 c raisins or chopped dates

Cream sugars and oil.  Add eggs and pumpkin and mix well.  Sift dry ingredients together and add to pumpkin mixture.  Add nuts and raisins.  Pour batter into well greased and floured 2-lb coffee can.  Place in slow cooker and cover top of can with half dozen paper towels.  Place lid on cooker and bake on high 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.  Resist temptation to take lid off slow cooker to check progress of cake.  This lets out a tremendous amount of heat.  Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chicken 'n Cheese Shortcake

Yes, another recipe from my favorite cranberry recipes cookbook.

12 (3-inch) squares cornbread, split in half, shortcake fashion
4 c cooked chicken or turkey meat
4 c shredded sharp cheese
2 (1-lb) cans Ocean Spray Whole cranberry sauce, heated

Place buttered cornbread squares (split) on baking sheet.  Distribute chicken pieces over cornbread squares.  Cover with shredded cheese.  Broil 4 inches from heat source until cheese melts or bake 1/2 hour at 350 degrees F.  Stack two squares high, shortcake fashion, on serving plate and top with hot cranberry sauce.  makes 12 servings.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Cranberry Recipes

Another great recipe using cranberries.  Getting ready for Thanksgiving and our big family feast!!

101 All-Time Favorite Cranberry Recipes (Ocean Spray)

Cranberry Ham Rolls

4 Tbs butter or margarine
4 Tbs onion, finely chopped
4 Tbs chopped celery
2 c rice, cooked
Salt, Pepper
8 slices (1/8" slices)boned, boiled ham
Cranberry glaze

Melt butter in small saucepan.  Add onions and celery.  Cook until soft.  Remove from heat.  Add rice and seasoning.  Spread mixture on each ham slice; roll up; fasten with toothpick.  Place in greased (or sprayed) shallow pan.  Make cranberry glaze.  Spoon over ham rolls.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Makes 8 servings.

Cranberry Glaze
Crush contents of a 1-pound can ocean spray jellied cranberry sauce and add 1/2 c brown sugar.  Spoon over ham rolls before baking.

Last Visit to the Farmer's Market

This was the last outdoor Farmer's Market for me in Saratoga Springs, NY (they will be indoors for about a month more though) and I bought my first spaghetti squash of the season.   One vendor had some that were really small, great for one person.  I took one out yesterday, pierced it and then microwaved it.  When it was finished  (about 7 minutes on High, turn it over and cook for another 7 minutes), I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds and shredded the spaghetti out into a small bowl.  I added just a couple pats of butter, some garlic and some Paul Newman's peach salsa.  DELICIOUS!!