Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's Christmas Time!

Yes, we are now in the busiest, most enjoyable time of the year. With all the decorating, baking, shopping and social engagements filling our days, hopefully we can all just slow down for a bit and spend a little quiet time. Watch a favorite Christmas movie. Read a good book. Listen to some great Christmas music.

And speaking of music, check out my Holidays page for some information about some of those songs we all love. I hope to keep adding to it as we get closer and closer to Christmas.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 19, 2012

3 Days….

Yes, 3 days until Thanksgiving. Are you preparing the meal? We’re having dinner here with our kids and grandsons, and I am really looking forward to it! It’s always a good time – noisy and crazy and filled with food. Perfect!

We all have so much to be thankful for, don’t we? No matter what our situation or problems or trials are, couldn’t they always be worse? I just look around and see so many who are not as blessed as I am and wish them well.

Our dinner will include a large turkey breast and a honey-baked spiral-sliced ham, along with many sides, salads and desserts. Our daughter will be bringing her yummy green beans and maybe a dessert. One of my favorite recipes is what I call “Heavenly Rice”. I haven’t made it in a long time, but it’s an unusual and delicious treat. Recipe is below.

Organization is key to doing a large dinner such as Thanksgiving. I thought I was really organized until I got home from 3 grocery stores earlier today and realized I’d forgotten the celery, of all things!

A few tips:

1) Make your menu and gather recipes early. And make it easy on yourself – stick to the old favorites, those tried-and-true recipes that everyone loves. This isn’t a time to rewrite the menu with all new foods, but maybe try one new item. Or try a twist on one of your usual recipes.

2) Make a shopping list from those collected recipes, then do a quick inventory of what you have on hand.

3) Do as much prep work as you can the day (or two) before. We may roast the turkey breast the day before – that works fine and frees up the oven for all the sides. Just drizzle a bit of broth over it, cover and reheat. Peel and cut vegetables. Brown the sausage for stuffing. Bake the cornbread for the stuffing, cool, then crumble or cube it – let dry overnight. Cube the bread for the stuffing and let it dry. Make the cranberry sauce and gelatin salads. Chill anything that needs to be chilled. Bake desserts if they’ll still be fresh-tasting the next day. Don’t forget the ice!

4) Don’t forget the celery! Smile

5) Schedule baking times and prep times so you can have everything done at the same time with a minimum of fuss.

6) Eat and enjoy!

Here’s a recipe from quite a few years ago – given to me by my Mother. It’s in her handwriting, and I treasure that well-worn sheet of paper!

HEAVENLY RICE
1 small box cherry gelatin
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup peaches, fruit cocktail or sliced bananas
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
 
Dissolve gelatin in 2 cups hot water (or the juice from the pineapple and enough water to make 2 cups). Chill until set. Whip gelatin and fold in remaining ingredients. Chill thoroughly.
 
This sounds a bit strange, but trust me – it’s so good!
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I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. And let’s all count our blessings.
 
As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day to all our veterans! We appreciate their service and the sacrifices they and their families have made. Remember to thank a veteran today - and every day.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just 2 More Weeks!

Two weeks until Thanksgiving! Are you panicked yet? It’s time to pull out those treasured recipes that everyone waits all year for. I’ve started working on the menu and gathered some recipes. There are a few menu items that are never to be “messed with”, but I like to try at least one new recipe or a twist on an old one.

If your family is anything like mine, you have a lot of people to please with your menu. In addition to dietary needs due to medical conditions, there are several just plain picky people! I look at this as a challenge rather than a problem, and it all usually turns out just fine.

This year I think I’ll be trying a few new condiments and salads, then stick to the traditional menu of turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, etc.

Give some of these a try. Happy Cooking!

EASY PICKLED BEETS

1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices

2 cups vinegar

2 cups sugar (or Splenda equivalent)

'1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

4 (16 oz.) cans sliced beets, drained (reserve 3/4 cups juice)

Wrap pickling spices in small piece of cheesecloth. In a large saucepan, combine all but beets; bring to a boil. Stir in beets and reserved juice. Pour into a 1 1/2-quart glass container. Cover and chill overnight. Remove pickling spices before serving.

PUMPKIN MARMALADE

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1 cup orange marmalade

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine first 3 ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Cover and chill – will keep up to 1 week.

(The recipes above are ones that I’ve had around quite a while, but I have no source information and cannot attribute them to anyone in particular.)

FRUITED PUDDING SALAD

1 (3 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding

1 (16 oz.) can fruit cocktail

1 (15.5-oz.) can crushed pineapple

1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine pudding powder with undrained fruit. Stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping and marshmallows. Chill until serving time. Makes 6-8 servings.

(Recipe from Lofino’s Market in Dayton, OH.) This one is really good!

I wish you all wonderful Thanksgiving meals and memories. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. Thanks for reading!