gingersnaps

Other than the turkey leftovers and a few slices of pie, Thanksgiving is over. This means it’s Christmas cookie season now! Yesterday we made these gingersnaps — my favorite!

food with pictures

gingersnaps

Okay, here’s a fact: I could give up sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies, and any other cookie, but not gingersnaps. I’m sure no one has ever asked me this question, but if they did, gingersnaps would be the one cookie I took with me to a deserted island, if I could only pick one kind. They are that good.

Yet, I forget about them. During the Christmas season I make them and enjoy them, but then the holidays come and go and spring arrives and I don’t make them again for months and months. Why? I have no idea.

It is now Christmastime, and today was a “make cookies” day and I made both butter cookies and these gingersnaps. I am a happy girl right now, with two containers of yummy cookies to enjoy with my evening cup of tea.

*Note: I’ve had this recipe for at least a…

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Thanksgiving turkey

Last year’s Thanksgiving turkey post … getting ready for tomorrow!

food with pictures

I am not posting pictures of my Thanksgiving turkey from this year, because I don’t find pictures of turkeys all that appetizing. Or maybe it’s only the photos I took don’t look that appetizing. Anyhoo, the turkey today tasted great. It was tender and delicious. But no photo, sorry.

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I am thankful to have been given my mother’s oval roaster. Amazing results every time! This roasting pan is one of my favorite things.

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Remember that bag of onion, celery, garlic and carrots from the other day? That’s what goes into the bottom of the pan when I make my Thanksgiving turkey. Then I add a cup of chicken broth.

The washed and dried bird goes on top, then a generous dusting of Bell’s. That stuff is awesome! Now, sure, you could make your own poultry seasoning using a combination of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, and…

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stuffing

Another Thanksgiving recipe to get us ready for the big day this week. Stuffing … my favorite part of the meal! And easy to make in the slow cooker, saving valuable space in the oven for the turkey and other sides.

food with pictures

I shall start by saying that I am fully aware the name of this should be “dressing” rather than “stuffing” since stuffing is meant to stuff inside the turkey, and dressing is meant to be cooked on the side. I have always called it stuffing and will continue to do so. That is my prerogative. And now to continue with the post. 🙂

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When I was in 7th grade I took Home Ec class. That would be Home Economics to you young people. Or what they now call Teen Living or FACS (Family And Consumer Sciences). In the fall of that 7th grade year we were in the kitchen section, and in the spring we went to the sewing room. I enjoyed both, but especially the times we cooked. No surprise there.

That fall, prior to Thanksgiving, the class was making all the components of a typical Thanksgiving feast…

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orange cranberry sauce

Once again, now that Thanksgiving is just days away, my favorite cranberry sauce recipe.

food with pictures

cranberry sauce


I was not a fan of cranberry sauce when I was young. Growing up, on our holiday table we’d usually have the jellied cranberry sauce that came from a can — you know, that popular unappetizing red blob. No thank you. I was happy with all the other foods on the table except for that one. But as the years went on, the can was no more and my mom experimented with cranberry sauce recipes. Unfortunately, I had no intention of trying any of them after experiencing that red blob for so many years.

Then I got married and my husband is a huge cranberry sauce guy. He prefers the whole berry cranberry sauce, and is used to the canned variety. Okay, not as bad as the jellied version, but still not anything I’d eat. So the can of whole berry cranberry sauce was part of our Thanksgiving table for…

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quick hot chocolate

hot chocolate

This recipe is not to be confused with my hot cocoa recipe. That one uses cocoa and is a mix, this one uses chocolate and is ready to serve when made. I’ve had this recipe for almost 20 years and I have no idea who gave it to me. But I thank them greatly for passing it on to me all those years ago, since it’s so easy and so good!

The word “quick” in the title is the key here. Cold day? Need a hot drink? Craving chocolate in a warm, drinkable way? Kids home from school on a blustery day and need to be warmed up quickly? This is the recipe for you!

I don’t have a photo of a cup of this warm chocolately goodness, because just as quick as it is to make it, it disappears. Sorry about that.

Oh, and please note, do not over-do the blender part of this process, and be careful not to use your blender’s most powerful setting. I usually use the LOW/STIR setting on my blender. But today, well, I made that mistake I just warned you about. I hit the wrong button — MAX/ICE CRUSH — and it took me a couple seconds to switch it off (since it was shooting all up in my face). Hot chocolate over my counter, in my recipe book, on the floor, down the cabinet, on my clothes … EVERYWHERE.

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Quick Hot Chocolate

3 cups hot milk (heat on the stove-top or in a microwave … whichever you prefer)

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped cream or marshmallows, optional

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In the blender, blend the chocolate chips with 1/2 cup of the hot milk and sugar for 5 seconds on LOW.

Add remaining milk, and vanilla.

Blend on LOW for another 5 seconds.

Pour into mugs.

Top with whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired.

Makes 3 cups of hot chocolate.

birthday cake

triple chocolate squares with mint

My oldest turns 21 in just days. And he’s away at college on his birthday, so I’m sending him treats to enjoy while studying. When he returns home for the Thanksgiving break, I’ll make him his favorite birthday cake, brownie ice cream cake.

I wanted to give him a full week of goodies to eat, so earlier this week I sent double chocolate cookies, and today a package of banana muffins (his favorite), and triple chocolate cake squares. For the triple chocolate cake squares, instead of using semi-sweet chocolate chips, I used a bag of Nestle dark chocolate and mint morsels for the topping. So good!!!!! Since he’s a fan of chocolate and mint, he’s sure to love these!

easy chicken soup

chicken soup

It’s been years since I’ve made regular old chicken soup. I usually make vegetable barley soup or ham and bean soup. But I used to make chicken soup all the time — weekly in the fall and winter. And this week I needed to make chicken soup because my husband was having a medical procedure done (nothing serious) and chicken soup was the requested and recommended food to have on hand for the afternoon of the procedure. When I had the same procedure done just last week, he didn’t make me soup, or pasta …  or anything. He got yelled at by the discharge nurse and then was sent out for takeout from a favorite restaurant of mind. Just to prove I’m a good wife, and a better spouse than he is, I made him homemade chicken soup. Bonus points for me.

Instead of using my standard chicken soup recipe, the one I haven’t touched in a while but made for the first time over 20 years ago, this time I tried some shortcuts. And they worked very well. There is nothing new or unique about this recipe. It’s just basic chicken soup. But you know what? That’s the best kind, in my opinion. Soup like my mother and grandmother used to make. Soup that tastes good alone or with warm from the oven rolls, or with a toasty gooey grilled cheese sandwich, or simply with a wedge of cheese and a crunchy apple. Perfect cold weather comfort food.

I will definitely be making this version of chicken soup more often. So easy and perfect for a cold day, which today is. Hello Winter. Goodbye Fall. Yummy soup.

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Easy Chicken Soup

Into a large soup pot pour 32 ounces of chicken broth. Turn the heat to medium.

Season generously with salt and black pepper (and garlic powder, if desired).

Place into the liquid 3 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless), cut into large-ish pieces. Cover.

chicken in stock

While that is cooking, clean and chop 5 stalks of celery. Then peel and thinly slice 6 carrots. Finally, chop one onion.

veggies

By the time all the chopping is done, the chicken will be cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces.

chicken

Add the veggies to the pot.

Add the chicken pieces back to the pot.

Also add 32 ounces of cold water to the pot.

Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until you get a gentle boil.

Add 1/2 – 1 cup barley.  *Note: You can also add 1 cup dried pasta or 1/2 cup uncooked rice. If you choose rice, this meal is gluten free.

barley

Reduce heat to medium/low.

Cover and cook until barley (or pasta or rice) is tender, about one hour, or longer if desired or busy or if you just want your house to smell like delicious homemade soup.