Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Christmas Cookie Recipes

Click image for recipe and how-to's

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Balls

1 (18 ounce size) jar of peanut butter
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
In a double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, combine all other ingredients. Blend well until mixture forms a dough. Roll into 1-inch balls. Using a toothpick or fork, dip the balls into the chocolate until well coated. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Tastes of Autumn

With Autumn fast approaching and home gardens reaching their peak of harvest, I thought I would share a few of my favorite canning recipes. Besides the usual canned or frozen green beans, peas and corn, I also have a few not so ordinary "staples" put up in my pantry for winter enjoyment. Hopefully you have some knowledge of "preserving", as I am the type of cook who measures by sight and adds a few little extra's of this, that or the other to whatever I'm preparing. And as a general rule, my instructions for preparation are rather minimal. Hence your need for general cooking knowledge. With that being said, I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Stewed Tomatoes
8# ripe, firm tomatoes
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
Wash tomatoes; remove peels (drop into boiling water for about 30 seconds and remove to cool slightly. Skins will crack slightly. Pull off with a paring knife), stem ends and cores. Quarter tomatoes. Measure 17 cups. Place in an 8-10 quart Dutch Oven or Kettle. Add celery, onion, green pepper, sugar and salt to kettle. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot, stewed, tomatoes into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Process at 10 pounds pressure.
Quarts: 20 minutes
Pints: 15 minutes
Yield: 3 quarts or 7 pints
*In my kitchen, the uses for these stewed tomatoes are endless. I use them for Grandmas Chili, My Best Ever Pot Roast, Yummy Ribs-n-Kraut. I have even made homemade Spaghetti Sauce by pureeing them in a blender, adding Italian seasoning, and reducing the liquid volume down with a 2 hour simmer, and then adding browned sausage or hamburger.

Hot Pepper Rings
Hot Peppers (Hot Banana or Hungarian Wax, red and yellow)
Garlic Cloves
Salt (uniodized)
4 c. White Vinegar
1 1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Oil
Wash and slice peppers as thick as you like. I usually slice mine about 1/4-inch, and I don't seed them. To me, that's defeating the purpose of "hot" peppers. Pack into hot, sterilized jars. Add 1 clove of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each jar. Bring to a boil, the vinegar, sugar and oil, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour over peppers and seal jars. Store in a cool, dry place and refrigerate after opening.
*These peppers have a sweet, tangy flavor, and are excellent on top of chili. I however prefer to stand at the kitchen sink with a jar in one hand and a fork in the other =)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Treats

Although Halloween is probably my least favorite of the cool weather holidays, I have found some really nice decorating and craft ideas that I thought I would share with you.
Witches Kitchen : The Aranameurta Blog has a terrifying tutorial on creating your own "Witch Kitchen Jars". These are jars of things that witches would keep around their cauldrons - Garden Gnome Heads, Snake Oil, Skulls, and Nightmare Larva. All you need to get started are some jars, some regular household items or things that you can collect outdoors - leaves, moss, seed pods. The blog post also shows you how to create your own aged looking labels, as well as decorating the bottles. An additional tutorial is posted that goes into more detail about creating shelves to display the jars on, completely with LED lighting. Spooky!
Vintage Halloween Luminary : Nothing says "Happy Halloween" like a flickering candle and grinning Jack O'Lanterns. Here is a Halloween luminary craft that is sure to grace your table, mantle or window sill this year. You can make it yourself with some glass, glue, copper-foil tape, and some spooky vintage images from the early 1900's - when they really knew what Halloween was all about.
Halloween Tree : Do you remember going out before Christmas to pick out the Christmas tree? Searching through dozens of shapes and sizes, to find the one, perfectly shaped tree? Well, picture your search for the perfect Halloween tree: "Nope, not dead enough... Not twisted enough... Not quite ugly enough... " That's what I found myself saying as I hiked through the overgrown acres of a local park. I pulled out plenty of dead branches, but only one was the perfect, gnarled, twisted and very dead branch I wanted for my perfect Halloween Tree. Trust me. You'll find yours, too. And you'll love potting it in this hand-cast Plaster of Paris Jack O'Lantern base. And what's a tree without decorations? Here's a Halloween Witch Ornament, Halloween Clown Ornament, Halloween Pumpkin Ornament, and Halloween Chenille Figures.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's A Wonderful Life!

I seriously can't believe I found this! The FULL LENGTH video of my favorite Christmas movie classic! Now I can watch it year-round instead of having to wait until December to view it on cable.
Click the picture to watch 130 minutes of pure Christmas tradition. Enjoy!

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

I went to Krogers the other day with the intentions of buying everything I needed to make Stuffed Green Peppers, which is my favorite comfort food. However, when I saw the price of green peppers and started figuring how much it would cost to make enough of these little buggars to feed my family of 7 (yes, I said SEVEN), I relized this meal was deifinately not in my budget. So, I went home pouting and angry and settled for homemade mac and cheese. That evening, after the children (including the husband), were all nestled and snug in their bed's, I hit the computer and Googled "Stuffed Peppers" with the hope of finding a less expensive way to prepare them. Well lookie at what I found! Stuffed Green Pepper Soup! Half the cost, half the time, and ALL the flavor. But I still had to make mashed potatoes...I have wierd kid's. =) *Note: This recipe is doubled because the kid's eat last night's leftovers for after school "snacks" bad. I can never get dinner on the table before 7:00.
Stuffed Green Pepper Soup
2# ground beef
1 lg. onion chopped
5 green peppers chopped

Brown the above ingredients and drain well. Now add:

6 cans tomato soup and 5 soup cans of water
1 can of beef broth and 1 broth can of water
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 small cans of tomato sauce
3/4 c. uncooked white rice

Simmer on low until the rice is cooked. If the soup is too thick for your taste, add another cup of water. I also added a couple good shakes of Worcestershire sauce, and some garlic powder.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Christmas Slippers

...And 30 years later, I found the pattern! This was not an easy task. Do you have any idea how many "knit slippers" patterns are floating around out there in cyber-space today? When I was a little girl, my mother would make a pair of these for me every Christmas. She went a step further and added a huge, fluffy pom-pom to the top. Now, I make them for my children...well, the three smallest ones anyway. Samantha, Emily, and Donnie have rediscovered something I've always know. That not only are the slippers warm and cozy for little toes, but they are great for running and sliding across the kitchen floor! Thanks mom =)
Click on the photo for the free pattern.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My Favorite Family Recipes

Mom's Date Balls
"Of all the cookies/confections made by my mother and grandmother, it is these I have fondest memories of".
1 egg, beaten
1 c. chopped dates
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter (not margarine)
2 c. rice krispies
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Sifted powdered sugar
In a heavy saucepan, cook egg, dates, butter, vanilla, and sugar over low heat until it makes a heavy syrup. Remove from heat and add cereal and nuts. When cool enough to handle, roll mixture into tablespoonful size balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.
White Chili
1/4 c. butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 c. cooked, coarsely chopped chicken
3 c. chicken broth
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. dried basil
2 tsp. chili seasoning (I always add a bit more)
2 cans Great Northern Beans, undrained
1 large (28 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, chopped
Cook onion and garlic in butter in soup pot until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Hot German Potato Salad
4 med. potatoes
4 slices bacon
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 T. flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. vinegar
Cook potatoes in boiling water for 20 - 25 minutes or until just tender. Drain, cool, peel, and thickly slice (a bit more than 1/4 of an inch). In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp; drain bacon, reserving grease, and crumble. Add chopped onion to bacon drippings. Cook till tender. Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper. Stir in water and vinegar. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Stir in potato slices and bacon. Cook for 2 -3 minutes, or until heated through.
Deli Bean Salad
1 can green beans
1 can yellow wax beans
1 can lima beans
1 can kidney beans
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Drain beans. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large glass bowl. Combine vegetable oil and remaining ingredients in a jar. Shake vigorously. Pour dressing over bean mixture; toss well. Cover. Marinate overnight in refrigerator, stirring occasionally.
Brownie Bottom Pudding Pie
4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate or
1 pkg. (4 oz.) BAKER'S GERMAN'S Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/4 c. butter or margarine
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 1/2 c. cold milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O chocolate flavor
Instant Pudding and Pie Filling
Thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. (325 F for glass pie plate). Grease bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on high 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, then nuts. Spread in pan. Bake 25 - 30 minutes. Cool. Pour milk into large bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 1 minute. Let stand 2 minutes. Spread over brownie pie. Top with whipped topping. Garnish with grated BAKER'S Chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.