Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

Happy last day of 2012!  I want to thank you for following me and stopping by to visit each week.  I hope you have a Happy New Year and a great 2013!!

Coming this February it will be two years since I've started blogging (be sure to stop by 2/13/13 for an anniversary giveaway!)  It was fun this morning to look back at some of this year's posts and seeing some of your favorites along with some of below are some of "our" favorites! (click on captions to see entire post)


I Like Turtle Cake


Orange Chicken Kabobs

Lemon Supreme Dessert

Cacio e pepe

Fresh Berry Tart


I Heart Caprese Salad


Dinner Party


Salsa Time


Mini Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake


Butternut Squash Lasagna


Snowy Yule Log

I would love to know if any of these are your favorites and what you would like to see in 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pepper Cookies

Pepper Cookies
Today I'm sharing our other Christmas cookie - these are the DIY guy's favorite!  They have a bit of a bite due to the black pepper that is added but along with the other spices, this cookie is just right!  I know this is my grandmother's recipe but I'm curious as to where she either found it or how she made it up...

The 4 spices that are mixed with flour baking powder are black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg

The other ingredients are sugar, shortening, eggs, raisins (boiled and drained), walnuts, and  cocoa powder

Once all the above is mixed, you will need to add some milk to soften.

Round balls are placed on a greased cookie sheet, baked and iced with powdered sugar and milk...sprinkles add a nice touch!

Hope you have enjoyed our two favorite cookies!  Now the recipes go back in the vault... (just kidding!)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cherry Nut Cookie

Christmas cookie time (a tad late)!  In year's past I used to make many different types of cookies... now I just make our favorite two and both are recipes from my grandmother.  Today I'm featuring the cookie I most often get requests for from family and friends.  And while I'm not quite sharing the recipe with you, feel free to ask me to make you some!  I would be happy to!

The recipe starts out with butter (not margarine) and powdered sugar

To that add some vanilla and mix well...

Next up is the flour....if the dough is too hard you can add some milk to soften

To assemble the cookie place a piece of maraschino cherry and a piece of walnut in the center of a flattened ball of dough

Roll up and bake

When the cookies have cooled, make a frosting from powered sugar, milk and some cherry juice

Next up tomorrow - Pepper Cookies (made with real pepper!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Time

Happy belated Merry Christmas!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday and ate too much - like me!  I love this time of the year... for us the food fest starts on Christmas Eve - our good friends come over for an Italian tradition of a meatless meal.  The real tradition is called Feast of the Seven Fishes and this year I am happy to say we had 7 (though 2 were shrimp prepared in different ways - I hope that counts!).  We had a hot crab dip, shrimp cocktail, baked scallops with sherry, fried walleye (some from the DIY guy), fried shrimp, steamed clams and pasta with langostinos in a garlic butter sauce...   You might think that it was too much food but there were 12 of us - we just all fit around my dining room table.  Any more and we would need to start a "kid's table" and the youngest is 18!

The night started around 6 with some apps and drinks.  Next up was the shrimp cocktail and salad then the main course.  In between the courses we played a "new to us game" that our son-in-law organized called Minute to Win It - really fun as we pitted the families against each other!  It all came down to me and Steph - if I won, then there would be a tie breaker.... lots of pressure!  The challenge was to stack 10 cups into a pyramid as quickly as possible and then collapse them back to one stack...  I managed to not freak out and won for our team...yay...but then we lost the tie breaker... Oh well, we'll get them next year and win the trophy back!

Last of the night is dessert - and we didn't get to that until about 11:30!  This year besides cookies, I found a recipe from Sandra Lee's Christmas magazine called Snowy Yule Log..  A nice, light dessert that is quite easy to make.

The cake is an angel food mix made in a jelly roll pan.  After it cools in a powdered sugar towel, unroll and spread with the filling, roll back up and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Everyone enjoyed it!

 Christmas Eve and Day were wonderful... I was also thrilled to receive a new camera - a Cannon Rebel Tsi... I have no idea how to use it and glad it came with 4 classes!  I'll be anxious to see how to take food pictures.  (my current camera is a Canon Powershot)

Stay tuned!

Snowy Yule Log Serves: 10 Calories: na Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes plus baking and cooling
Recipe : Sandra Lee

• 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1 (16-ounce) box angel food cake mix, Betty Crocker
• 1 (3-ounce) package instant white chocolate pudding mix, Jell-O
• 1 cup cold whole milk
• 1 cup frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed, Cool Whip
 • Confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed 15x10-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar evenly over a clean kitchen towel.
2. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into prepared pan (I kept out about a cup – didn’t want it to overflow). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
3. Loosen edges of cake from pan, if necessary. Invert warm cake onto prepared towel. Carefully remove and discard parchment paper. Starting at 1 long side, roll up cake and towel together and let cool completely.
4. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix and cold milk, whisking well. Cover, and refrigerate until set. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping.
5. Unroll cake, and remove towel. Spread filling over cake, and reroll, ending seam-side down. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. Transfer to a serving platter, seam-side down, and sift desired amount of confectioners' sugar over the top before serving.

Notes: I found that the plastic wrap made the sugar melt – so think next time I might just put in a sealed container

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mexican Corn Soup

Mexican Corn Soup
Tonight concludes my 3rd night of soup recipes!  I think I've soup'ed out the DIY guy but he really enjoyed this one.  I told him I would make some other type of meals soon!

This is a cream style soup and made that way by pureeing corn and chicken broth.  The original recipe called for 2 cups of skim milk but I used a cup of that and a cup of heavy cream.  I know it added a few more calories but the texture was just right.

Recipe Source:  Adapted from BH&G Low Calorie recipes

From start to finish this soup came together in 20 minutes!  Not too shabby!

With Christmas now just 4 days away, I will be spending the weekend making cookies, pasta sauce and homemade raviolis.  Looking forward to the good food and the family coming home!!!

Mexican Corn Soup Serves: 4 Calories: NA Prep Time to Table: 20 minutes
Recipe : inspired from BH&G Low Calories

-16 oz frozen corn, thawed
-1 cup chicken broth
-1 4 oz can diced green chilies
 - ½ tsp minced garlic
-1 tsp dried oregano
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-2 cups milk (I used one cup skim, one cup heavy cream)
-1 cup diced cooked chicken
-1 15 oz can diced petite tomatoes, well drained
-1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. In blender combine half of corn and broth and puree
2. In large pan add corn puree, remaining corn, chilies, garlic and oregano – season with S&P. Bring to boil and simmer uncovered 10 minutes
3. Add milk and chicken to heat through
4. Remove from heat and add cheese , stir until melted


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chicken Spinach Tortellini Soup

Chicken Tortellini Soup
Here on my 2nd day of soup recipes, is an easy, peasy recipe that you should definitely put on your must try list!  About a week ago I was checking  FB and came across a friend posting a picture of her making this looked awesome!  I'm a fan of cheese tortellini and spinach so I wrote down what ingredients I needed and set off to the store.  This soup as it all - pasta, meat (chicken) and veggies - a nice hearty soup and I kicked it up a notch by putting some pecorino romano cheese on top!   We both really enjoyed this and tastes great as leftovers too!

Recipe Source:  Courtesy of Bridget on FB (from her sister Maureen)

Spinach Tortellini Soup Serves: 8 Calories: na Prep Time to Table: 20 minutes Recipe : “Dorsey Girls”

 -1 lb diced cooked chicken
-64 oz. chicken broth
 -9 oz cheese tortellini
 -1 lb spinach, coarsely chopped and no stems
-1 medium red pepper diced
-1/2 lb baby bella mushrooms sliced
-1 cup cooked white rice
-1 tsp oregano
-1 tsp basil

Preparation: Bring broth to boil and add tortellini. Boil 6 minutes and then add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Notes: good with parmesan cheese

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cheesy Ham 'n' rice Soup

Cheesy Ham and Rice Soup

Welcome to soup week!  For the next three nights I will be featuring a "new to me" soup recipe.  I'm just in that mode... I find it very comforting and seems to fill me up quicker (now I just need to stay away from the open bag of chocolate chips in the cupboard!)

First up is a recipe I found and tweaked a bit from Taste of Home.  The person who submitted the recipe said it similar to a popular restaurant in the Twin Cities... any ideas out there who makes this?

Recipe Source:  Taste of Home Heartwarming Soups 2008

I love wild rice with its nutty type flavor and heartier texture.  Me and the DIY guy really enjoyed this and had a lot of leftovers.... so I think unless you are feeding a large crowd, I would halve it.  You will still have some leftovers but it will be more manageable... enjoy!

Cheesy Ham ‘n’ Rice Soup Serves: 12 Calories: na Prep Time to Table: 60 minutes
Recipe : Adapted from Taste of Home

 -4 celery ribs diced
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-1/4 cup butter
-4 medium carrots shredded
-1/3 cup flour
-1 tsp salt
-2 cups half and half
 -8 oz velvetta cubed
-4 cups cooked wild rice
-3 cups diced ham
-2 ½ cups cooked brown rice (I used Uncle Bens)
-64 oz chicken broth

1. In dutch oven or large soup kettle, melt butter and sauté celery and onion until tender. Add carrots and cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add flour, S&P and stir for about 2 minutes. Add half-n-half but be sure to warm it up a bit first
2. Bring to boil and stir and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted.
 3. Add in both rices and chicken broth. Return to boil and simmer on low for 10 minutes.