Monday, November 30, 2009

A Different Kind of Snack Mix

We always have the standard Chex Mix around to snack on through the holidays, but this year I decided to try something new too.  I ran across a sketchy recipe in a magazine - it said combine sesame sticks, rice crackers, pistachio nuts, corn nuts, and pumpkin seeds with your favorite spices.  Heat in the oven to bring out the flavor of your spices.

So, here's what I did.  I placed one pound of sesame sticks in a roasting pan.  I found the sesame sticks in the whole foods aisle of the grocery store in the bulk bins.  I added two 4 oz boxes of plain rice crackers(also in the whole foods aisle) broken into pieces and two 4 oz packages of plain corn nuts.  I shelled and added 1/2 lb of pistachio nuts and a 4 oz package of pumpkin seeds.  I combined 1/2 cup of vegetable oil with 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp onion powder, and 1 tsp garlic powder.  I whisked it well and poured it over the snack mix and stirred to combine.  I placed the roasting pan into a 250 degree oven and baked for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.  It is stored in an airtight container.

This is good, and I will make it again.  But, the next time around, I'll leave out the pistachio nuts and the pumpkin seeds.  They have a different texture than the rest of the snack mix and I don't care for them.  I'll add more rice crackers to make up the difference.

Give it a try if you're looking for something new and different.

Friday, November 27, 2009

We Did A Lot of Cooking in the Last Two Days

It's late, but the cooking is done, everybody is way too full, and believe it or not, the dishes are done and put away.  The kitchen is clean!  My new Pampered Chef cookware definitely got a good workout today.

Most of our Thanksgiving dishes were big hits.  The turkey was really good.  I followed the recipe posted previously on the blog with one exception.  I prepped the turkey the night before.  Once it was rinsed, patted dry and stuffed with the aromatics, I prepared an herb butter (one stick of butter softened mixed with 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning and 1 tsp Sage) to smear under the skin and all over the skin.  It went into the cooking bag and then into the refrigerator overnight.  Then, into the oven around 12:30 Thanksgiving Day.  By 4:30 it was out of the oven and smelling delicious.  I let it rest for an hour before carving.  Mmmm Good!

Both sweet potato recipes were big hits.  And . . . the pumpkin pie was amazing.  I'll definitely be saving these recipes for next year.  Here's a tell-all picture of what Christian thinks of Grandma's cooking.  Actually, he was eating rice cereal.  Hope he'll like my cooking more as he gets older.

After dinner, the Christmas decorations came out.  We put up a lovely Frasier Fur Christmas tree last night.  It is a really pretty tree with a great shape and it smells terrific.  The transformation from Thanksgiving to Christmas has been completed.  The wreaths are up, the snow globes are out, and the ornaments are hung.  Eddie put even more lights outside.  Our front yard is bright as daylight when the lights are on.  It looks good.  It will be fun to see it in the snow.  

We'll be headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the weekend for Thanksgiving with my family.  It's always fun to be together.  We'll have a big dinner again tomorrow evening.   It certainly isn't hard to count our blessings this year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is my favorite week of the year

Call me crazy, but I like the week of Thanksgiving.  I am on vacation!

Today I spent most of my day playing with my favorite little guy, Christian.  He's five months old now and just so sweet.  He's reaching for things and people now - even his crazy Grandma.  He giggles and squeals when Grandpa tickles him and makes funny faces .  What a happy little guy - he's just such a delight!   Poor Mommy and Daddy have to keep an eye on Grandpa though, because he's always talking about feeding Christian jelly biscuits and cookies.  For right now, I think we'll stick to formula and rice cereal.

Tomorrow I'll finish my grocery shopping.  The only things left to buy are the strawberries and blue berries for the fruit salad.  Oh, and more sweet potatoes.  My youngest son, Luke, just informed me that the only way he'll eat sweet potatoes is mashed or whipped.  The only way my oldest son, Paul will eat sweet potatoes is chunked and baked.  Hmmmm!   Guess I'll be making both.  After all, Thanksgiving is all about the food and I want to have everyone's favorite.

Wednesday Emily and I will start cooking.  I can't wait.  All of my new Pampered Chef cookware will get a workout.  We'll do the Pumpkin Pie, Chutney, and Oreo Turkeys.  We'll prep the turkey too, so it's ready to pop in the oven on Thursday.  We'll plan dinner for 6:00 p.m. and then decorate the Christmas tree after.  Eddie already has twinkling lights up in the kitchen and dining room.  We hope family and friends will join us for the evening.

We have so much to be thankful for this year.  Eddie and I have great kids.  Oh, we have the normal parents of teenagers complaints, but we're pretty lucky - no serious trouble.  The whole family is employed  - even the teenagers.  Paul and Katy both have good jobs and Grandpa watches Christian.    Life is good for us.  

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stuffing - My Favorite!

What is Thanksgiving dinner without stuffing?  It's a Thanksgiving staple.  I like my stuffing with lots of flavor!

2 cups turkey broth
1 cup dried cranberries
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup onion chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 Granny Smith apples (cored and finely chopped)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 cups toasted cubed bread of your choice (I like to use Pepperidge Farm Country Style)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 13 x 9 x 2" baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine turkey broth and cranberries; let soak for 30 minutes.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and celery.  Cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently or until tender.  Add apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and place in a large bowl.

In the large bowl with vegetables, stir in turkey broth mixture, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Add toasted bread, stirring gently to combine.  Spoon mixture into prepared dish and bake for 30 - 50 minutes or until center is set.

This is a tasty recipe - not dry and plain like most.  Give it a try.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cranberry-Ginger Chutney

Chutney is sweet and savory.  Use it as a glaze for roasts or a spread for sandwiches.  For special occasions, serve chutney with cheese and crackers as an appetizer.


Traditional cranberry sauce gets a healthy dose of ginger and dried fruit in this lightly sweetened chutney.  This is great with the tur
key and helps to lighten the heaviness of the rest of your Thanksgiving menu.  


1 bag (12 oz) cranberries
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 small onion (finely chopped with the Pampered Chef Food Chopper)
1 clementine or small orange (peeled, seeds discarded, and finely chopped)
1/2 tsp salt


In a 3 quart saucepan, combine cranberries, brown sugar, apricots, raisins, vinegar, ginger, onion, clementine and 1/2 tsp salt.  Heat to boiling on high.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.


Spoon chutney into serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 1 week.


This usually gets mixed reviews - not everyone likes it, but some just love it!  It's great with your turkey on Thanksgiving day, or it makes a great addition to a turkey sandwich - try it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad


This is a great salad to help lighten up that heavy Thanksgiving menu.  It's fresh and fruity.  The following recipe will make 10 (1/2 cup) servings.

2 cups strawberries, sliced (use the Pampered Chef egg slicer - it makes the job much faster and the slices are even)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks
2 kiwis (peeled and sliced)
1 cup mandarine oranges
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Mix fruit, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in large bowl.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve.

This is perfect served in the Pampered Chef prep bowls.  They are just the right size.

Pampered Chef Items Have Shipped

For those of you who placed Pampered Chef orders at the Come Cook With Me party, I should receive your order tomorrow.  I'll be sure to get your items to you over the weekend, so you'll have them in plenty of time for your Thanksgiving preparation.

Thanks again for your orders.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Soup Course - Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This simple, smooth-as-silk butternut squash puree is a true mouthful of fall.  During the dead of winter, its bright golden hue and deep, sweet flavor are most welcome.

Before you start - if you can't find creme fraiche, substitute heavy cream, which will contribute a similar flavor although not quite the same texture.  The correct amount of salt really brings out the sweetness of the squash in this recipe.  Don't be scared; add a little at a time and you'll be amazed at how it rounds out the flavor.

Tip:  This can be made up to a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator.  Warm the soup gently on the stove, covered.

2 medium butternut squash (about 6 lbs)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 Tbsp pure maple syrup, Grade B for strongest flavor
3 tsp coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 Tbsp creme fraiche
4 - 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 Tbsp maple syrup whisked into 1/4 cup creme fraiche for garnish, as desired

Preheat oven to 350.  Using a large, sharp knife, cut the squash lengthwise down the middle.  Scoop out the seeds.  Place the squash halves, flesh side up, in a 9 x 13" baking dish.  Put a Tbsp of butter and a Tbsp of maple syrup in each cavity.  Sprinkle each half with 1/4 tsp of the salt.  Cover the pan with foil.  Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until the squash is very soft.  Cool just until the squash can be handled.

Carefully pour any liquid from the squash cavities into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a blender and then scoop all the pulp into the food processor.  Add the remaining Tbsp of butter and remaining Tbsp of maple syrup, remaining tsp of salt and creme fraiche.  Puree until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor as necessary.  

Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan, whisk in about 2 cups of the stock to start, and heat through over medium heat.  Thin with the additional stock and adjust seasoning to taste.  Swirl 1 Tbsp of maple creme fraiche into each bowl of soup.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oreo Turkeys - Guaranteed to Be A Hit


These are so cute and so easy to make.  Your small guests will love them, and maybe even your grown up ones.

Oreo cookies
Hershey's Kisses
Candy corn
Red hot candies
Chocolate frosting

Lay an Oreo cookie flat.  Use chocolate frosting to glue a Hershey's kiss to the top front portion of the cookie.  Use the frosting to glue a red hot to the top front of the Hershey's Kiss (to look like the gobbler).  Then, use the chocolate frosting to glue four candy corns to the back of the cookie (the wide yellow part of the candy corn should be at the back).

Last year, I delegated the assembly of these to Emma.  She had a blast putting them together.  Honestly, they were almost too cute to eat.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Pecan Crunch

Here is another must have for Thanksgiving.  Paul's favorite - the sweet potatoes!

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (divided)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (divided)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger (divided)
1/2 tsp salt
3 lbs sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1" chunks)
1 cup dried cranberries
6 Tbsp butter (cut up and divided)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla, 1/2 tsp each of the cinnamon and ginger, and salt in large bowl.  Add sweet potatoes; toss to coat well.  Spoon into 13 x 9" baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with cranberries.  Dot with 2 Tbsp of the butter.  Cover with foil.  Bake 30 mins.

Meanwhile, mix flour, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and remaining 1 tsp each cinnamon and ginger in medium bowl.  Cut in remaining 4 Tbsp butter with a fork until coarse crumbs form.  Stir in pecans.  Remove sweet potatoes from oven and stir gently. Sprinkle evenly with pecan topping.

Bake uncovered for 25 - 30 minutes longer or until sweet potatoes are tender and topping is lightly browned.


Somebody Found Time For A Nap


Brody was the smart one of the bunch.  After all the hard work was done, he found time for a nap.  I know by the time we were finished I was all tired out.  Both of our small guests were absolutely perfect.  They were happy and smiling and just the perfect distraction from our sticky stuff.  They are welcome back anytime.

Somebody Had To Supervise

We had two little ones at the party.  They kept us all busy and entertained.  It's so much fun to have babies in the house.  No offense ladies, I think Christian and Brody were my favorite guests.  Both of them were absolutely perfect.  I didn't hear either one of them complain about making those sticky ornaments!

Look Who Did Lots of the Cooking


Someone had to slave away at the stove.  There were lots of Pampered Chef pots and tools to use.  Those make any recipe easy to make.

We kind of poked fun of the people sitting at the table who had to put the ornaments together.  The kitchen was filled with lots of color, flavor, and scents.  I really don't think anyone went home hungry.  Next month we'll be making comfort food.

Come Cook With Me Was Fun


Thanks to those of you who were able to make it to Come Cook With Me on Sunday.  It was certainly entertaining.  We made the Marshmallow Treat Ornaments, and let me tell you, they were a challenge.  They are pretty, but lots of WORK!  Enjoy the photos I've attached.  Everybody pitched in.

We made the Cherry Apple Crisp and Pretzel Rolo Thingies (The Perfect Bite) too.  Lots of sweets.  The most important lesson of the day . . . don't attempt to form one of the ornaments without lots and lots of butter on your gloves.  That stuff is sticky!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Green Bean Casserole - I Love the Original, But I've Souped This Up Too

Green Bean Casserole is a must have at our Thanksgiving table.  I think I've tried every variation you can think of, but I always come back to the original with only a small twist.  

The recipe calls for 8 cups of cooked green beans.  I use two pounds of fresh green beans and I cook them in 2 cups of turkey stock for about 5 minutes.  It gives them a unique and really tasty flavor.

2 cans (10 3/4 oz) Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup of milk
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 cups of cooked green beans
1 can (6 oz) French's French Fried Onions

Stir soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 1 1/3 cups French fried onions.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until hot.  Stir.
Top with remaining onions.  Bake for 5 minutes more.

One more twist -- I add 2 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes and four slices of cooked crumbled bacon to the soup mixture.

YUMMY!!!


Gravy - A Healthier Version

This gravy will start with turkey stock.  This will make good use of the neck and giblets from your turkey.

Stock
2 Tbsp olive oil
Turkey neck and giblets
2 medium carrots (chopped)
2 large celery ribs (chopped)
1 medium onion (quartered)
8 cups of water
1/2 tsp Rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a stock pot over moderate heat until hot, but not smoking.  Add neck and giblets; cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Add vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add water, Rosemary, salt and pepper.  Simmer, uncovered until liquid is reduced to about 5 cups; about 20 minutes.

Pour stock through a strainer into a bowl.  Discard the solids.

Hint:  Save all celery tops, carrot tops and peelings, and any other veggie pieces as you prep.  Throw them all into the stock pot to add flavor.  (Only fresh - nothing old)  I like to add any tomatoes or other veggies I need to use up as well.  Increase the amount of water for 4 quarts.  You'll wind up with enough stock for your stuffing, green bean casserole, and gravy.  Plus you'll have enough for anything else you may need to use it in.

Gravy
Once your turkey is out of the oven and you're ready to make your gravy, whisk 1/2 cup of flour into one cup of the stock and set aside.  Scoop 1 cup of drippings from your turkey roaster and add to the stock in your your gravy pan. Bring the stock and drippings to a slow boil.  Stir flour mixture slowly into boiling stock.  Stir constantly until gravy thickens.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving - Two Weeks From Today - It's Turkey Time

This will be the week that all groceries go on sale and are cheaper than they will be the rest of the year.  If you have the funds available, stock up now.  All baking goods will be reduced for the next few weeks.  Turkeys will probably be on sale everywhere for far less than $1.00/lb. So far, I've seen one ad for $.57/lb.  I suspect that will be the lowest price to be found this year.

For those of you who have never roasted a turkey, don't let anybody fool you.  It's really very easy.  Now, following is the recipe I've selected for our 2009 Thanksgiving Turkey.

Orange-Scented Roast Turkey


1 turkey (the size of your choice)  I usually buy frozen and make sure it has the temperature probe
5 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 medium oranges (unpeeled and cut into chunks)
1 large red onion (cut into chunks)
1/4 cup fresh sage (loosely packed)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp salt (divided)
1 tsp coursely ground black pepper (divided)

Preheat oven to 325.  Remove giblets and neck from inside turkey; set aside.  Rinse turkey with cold running water; pat dry with paper towels.  Place turkey, breast side up on rack in large roasting pan.

In large bowl, toss together garlic, oranges, onion, sage, poultry seasoning, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper.

Put as much of the mixture as possible in the body cavity  of the turkey.  Sprinkle turkey with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper.

Okay - I plan to change this just a little bit.  I will soften a whole stick of butter and then smear that all over the skin of the turkey and under the skin of the turkey.  I like to season the skin and under the skin.  (mainly because I like to eat the skin before the turkey is served).  I also like to place my turkey in a Reynolds Turkey Size Baking Bag.   It helps keep the turkey moist without basting.  Into the oven it goes until the temperature probe pops.  Depending on the size of your turkey, that's usually around 3 1/2 hours.  Try it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Perfect Pumpkin Pie - Yes, This Will Be Dessert

This is a variation from my normal pumpkin pie recipe.  This uses sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk.  It should be yummy.  Pumpkin Pie is always my favorite Thanksgiving goody.

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 (14 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 (9") unbaked pie crust

Heat oven to 425.  Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth.  Pour into crust.

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temp to 350; bake an additional 35 - 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1" from crust comes out clean.  Cool.

Optional Streusel Topping
Combine 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup flour in medium bowl.  Cut in 1/4 cup cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  After pie has baked for 30 minutes at 350, sprinkle evenly over top.  Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Party Mashed Potatoes

I plan to serve my family and friends a variation of these mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving.  This recipe is sized to serve 20 people, so reduce or expand your recipe as needed.

7 1/2 cups water
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp onion salt
2 (8 oz) pkgs of cream cheese (cubed and softened)
1 (12 oz) can Evaporated Milk
16 oz sour cream
1 (15.3 oz) pkg Instant Mashed Potatoes (9 cups)
Paprika
Cooked bacon (chopped)
Chopped fresh parsley or chives

Heat oven to 350.  Spray a 13 x 9" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat water, butter, garlic salt and onion salt to boiling in a 6-quart Dutch oven or saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add cream cheese, evaporated milk and sour cream, stirring until cream cheese is dissolved.

Stir in potato flakes, mixing until all ingredients are well combined.  Spread mashed potato mixture into prepared pan.

Sprinkle with paprika and bake 1 hour or until bubbling around edges and golden brown.  Top with chopped bacon and parsley or chives, if desired.

My variation:  Replace the water and instant mashed potatoes with the following.  Peel and chop about 15 average size potatoes.  Boil in salted water until tender.  Mash.  Add the ingredients as listed through the sour cream.  Mix well and place in prepared pan.  Sprinkle with Paprika and bake 1 hour.  I will definitely top with bacon and chives.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanksgiving Day - Only 17 Days Left

There is still time to place your Pampered Chef order so you'll have the serving dishes and kitchen tools you'll need to prepare your Thanksgiving dinner.  Orders placed by Tuesday, November 17th will arrive in plenty of time help make your meal perfect.

I've been busy planning my menu.  I always like to find new variations of the the classics.  Let's face it, what's Thanksgiving without the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, salad, rolls, and pumpkin pie?  Those are all must-haves at our table.  But there are ways to bring something new to the classics.

Check back each day and I'll share a part of this year's menu.  We'll start with mashed potatoes tomorrow.

Plan to come and cook with me on Sunday, November 15th at 2:00 p.m.  We'll be making holiday recipes.  Call me or send me an e-mail to let me know if you will attend.  (636) 343-9325 or keplen@charter.net

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Perfect Bite - Pretzel Rolo Thingies

This is a fantastic recipe with no name.  This truly is the "perfect bite".  It is the perfect blend of sweet and salty.  I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't rave about this cookie/snack.

Preheat your oven to 350.  Place parchment paper on your cookie sheet.  I usually do two cookie sheets at a time.  That will use one bag of twisted or square pretzels and two bags of Rolos.  Place the pretzels evenly on the cookie sheets and place one Rolo on each pretzel.  Bake in the preheated oven for 4 minutes.  Remove promptly and let sit until cool.  Keep tightly sealed in an airtight container.

So simple - but so good!  Hardest part of this recipe is peeling all of those darn Rolos.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baked Potato Soup - Mmm Mmm Good!

This is one of those awesome comfort foods.  It's perfect when the weather is cold and nobody really wants to go outside.

4 large potatoes
2 carrots (peeled and sliced)
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups milk
3 cups of water used to boil veggies
1/2 tsp pepper
4 green onions (sliced)
1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
12 slices bacon (crumbled)
8 oz sour cream

Dice potatoes.  Peel and slice carrots.  Place all veggies into 4 quarts of boiling water.  When soft (after about 10 minutes) drain and reserve 3 cups of water to use in soup.  Set veggies aside.

Melt butter in heavy pan over low heat.  Add flour, stirring until smooth.  Allow to cook until mixture smells almost nutty.  (This is called roux)  Gradually stir in your reserved veggie water.  Add very slowly and stir constantly to avoid lumps.  Add milk and continue to stir and cook until mixture is thick and bubbly.  Add veggies, salt, pepper, green onion, bacon and cheese.  Cook until thoroughly heated.  Stir in sour cream just before serving.

So good!  Serve with biscuits or corn bread.  My favorite is Cheese Garlic Biscuits.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Marshmallow Treat Ornaments - We'll try them on the 15th!



These are just too pretty!  I can't wait to try them.  


6 tbsp butter
2½ cups miniature or 18 large marshmallows
2–3 tsp red or green food coloring
5 cups crisp rice cereal
16  pieces thin black or red licorice rope
16 gummy ring candies
3 tbsp decorating nonpareils or colored sugar

1. Melt butter in Executive 4-qt. Casserole over low heat (do not use stainless cookware). Add marshmallows and stir with Mix ‘N Scraper® until completely melted. Remove from heat; add food coloring and stir until well blended.  Add cereal to marshmallow mixture and stir until well coated.

2. Using Large Scoop, scoop cereal mixture into 16 rounded portions onto Parchment Paper. Fold one piece of licorice rope in half. Wearing plastic gloves, form an indentation into cereal for licorice. Insert licorice ends into indentation.  Lightly pack scoop into a ball around licorice, leaving a 1½-in. loop at the top. Thread one gummy ring over licorice loop to fit on top of ball at base of loop. Repeat with remaining licorice, cereal mixture and gummy rings.

3. Place nonpareils into Coating Tray. Roll each ornament in nonpareils to form a narrow stripe around the middle. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.

Yield: 16 ornaments

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November "Come Cook With Me"

I am planning a November "Come Cook With Me" on Sunday, November 15th at 2:00 p.m.  We'll be baking cookies and trying out holiday recipes.  Maybe you'll take home some ideas to use for your own Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners.  I hope so.

Please come hungry, and bring a friend.  There will be lots to eat.  Send me an e-mail to let me know you'll be coming.  keplen@charter.net

Grocery Shopping Lists and Menu Planning

I ran across a website that includes a grocery shopping list and a menu planning page that are pretty good.  I think you'll find it helpful.  There are several different formats available.    www.freeprintablegrocerylist.com  You'll find one that will work for you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gooey Butter Cake - Quick, Easy & Delicious

When you need a quick and easy, but absolutely delicious dessert that everyone will love - try this one.  It is always a hit!

1 yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick of butter - melted

Mix ingredients together.  Stir well and press into 9 x 13" pan.

2 eggs
8 oz cream cheese - softened
10 oz powdered sugar

Beat eggs and cream cheese with mixer.  When smooth and creamy, add powdered sugar.  Beat until all lumps are dissolved.

Pour over cake.  Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes or until slightly golden brown.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar when it comes out of the oven.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Karan's Super Bowl Chili - Not too spicy, but spicy enough

This is the chili that was served at Christian's Baptism Picnic - Enjoy it!

3 lbs ground beef
2 tsp seasoned salt
2 cans Campbell's French Onion soup
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp black pepper
4 tsp cocoa powder
2 cans Bush's beans in chili sauce (medium)
1 - 12 oz can tomato paste
1 - 16 oz can Contadina Garlic & Onion Tomato Sauce
1 can of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
2 - 12 oz cans of Coke

Brown your ground beef with the seasoned salt.  Drain any grease from you browned meat.  Add the French Onion soup and spices.  Cook until it boils.  Add beans, tomato paste, sauce and tomatoes.  Reheat until soup boils.  Add the Coke and cook until thick and bubbly.

This is good chili.  It is pretty mild - yet leave a little bit of a burn.  Enjoy!!!

Christian was baptized today - See pictures from our picnic afterwards



It was a gorgeous day!  We couldn't have asked for better.  It was fun to spend time with family and friends.  Thanks so much for coming everyone!