Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A scrumptious way to use leftover turkey

This is a recipe from tasty kitchen that I tried tonight with leftover turkey. I only made a few changes to the recipe. I left out the mushrooms, added two more celery stalks and two extra carrots. I used about a 1/4 cup more flour and I added the spices in while it was coming to a boil so that the flavor would be more infused. This was perfectly creamy and very delicious.

Wild Rice Chicken Soup
1 cup Uncooked Wild Rice (I Prefer The Whole Grain Style, Not The Cracked)
½ cups Unsalted Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
2 stalks Celery, Chopped
2 whole Carrots, Sliced Into 1/4" Thick Coins
8 ounces, weight Button Mushrooms (sliced)
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ cups All-purpose Flour
8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 cups Half-and-half
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
½ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Black Pepper
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme (or 1/2 Teaspoon Dried)
¼ cups Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley (or 2 Teaspoon Dried)
4 cups Cooked And Coarsely Shredded Turkey Or Chicken (smoked Meat Is Especially Nice In This Soup)
2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
First off, you’ll want to get your wild rice cooking, so it’s ready to add to the finished soup. Prepare according to the package instructions. (It takes a while; the instructions on my bag says to cook it for 55 minutes.)
The remainder of the recipe can be made in one stock pot. Start by melting the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir well and saute until the onion is transparent and softened. Blend in flour, cooking until it bubbles a bit. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly.
Turn up the heat a bit and bring the soup to a low boil. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat slightly and add the cooked wild rice, half-and-half, soy sauce, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, and turkey or chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and taste test to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
Serve with crackers or warm bread.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pretzel Cookie Bars

I found this recipe on tastykitchen.com. I was a bit skeptical, but something piqued my interest and I decided to try them anyhow. After these are cooled, they are divine. I know the photo is blurry. This was my eighth attempt and I finally gave up so you will have to look past the blurriness. I am definitely not a photographer.

¾ cups Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
¾ cups Granulated Sugar
¾ cups Dark Brown Sugar
2 whole Large Eggs
1-½ teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract
2-¼ cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
¾ teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 bag (11 Oz. Size) Milk Chocolate Chips (I Like Ghirardelli)
3-½ cups Pretzel Sticks, Crushed Into Tiny Pieces
¾ cups Unsalted Butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a 9x13x2 baking pan with parchment paper (for easy removal).
Beat butter and sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and the vanilla, beating until just blended.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until airy and gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar/egg mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and add in the chocolate chips. Mix one last time for a second then set aside.
For the crust, combine the crushed pretzel pieces with the melted butter, stir to combine. Spread pretzel mixture over the bottom of your prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes.
Drop large spoonfuls of the cookie dough and scatter it over the pretzel crust. Carefully and evenly spread the batter over the warm pretzels. With your (clean) fingers, press the dough into the pretzels. Place the pan in your preheated oven and bake for 20-24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. Remove when the bars are golden and a tester comes out clean.
When bars have cooled, remove (using the parchment paper) and cut into 15 bars. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Improvisation of the day

Okay, so I had two chicken breasts today that I needed to use. I thought about haystacks and other items with chicken but wanted to try something I have never tried before. I finally decided to try a white chili with chicken. I looked up some recipes for white chicken chili and realized that I didn't have any white beans. So I improvised and made up my own recipe. I think it turned out rather tasty. Here it is and let me know how you liked it or what you did to make it your own. My mother taught me that necessity is the mother of invention. :)

NOT White Chicken Chili

Cook two diced chicken breasts with 1/2 C. chopped onion and about 1 tsp. garlic powder in 1 Tblsp. olive oil.
Add 1 can caribbean style black beans, 1 small can diced green chilies, 1 can rinsed black beans, 1 can cream style corn, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. cumin, and 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Heat through and serve with grated cheese and chopped parsley or cilantro.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Month

One more post for today and then I will be done. Good thing too. Six posts in one day is okay...but seven would just be excessive! ;) This is something I made last year or the year before. You know the years start to run together as you seem to get older. This is just another hooked pillow. I do like hooking and it is something I can do in one day if I work hard at it. I took this drawing from a coloring book and traced it onto some burlap. I then chose colors from my wool yarn stash and hooked it. I think it is so hard to find Thanksgiving decorations. I don't shop much for them...but it does seem that the stores skip from Halloween straight to Christmas. I do love Thanksgiving and have a few things I like to put out during November. This is one of them. I think I decided to make him due to the lack of decorations I own for this holiday. I was pleased with how he turned out and the bottom of him is even sewn up!

Stone Ground Whole Wheat Bread

Yes, I have been in the blogging mood today. I made some bread that didn't rise as well as usual but sometimes it is a tad cold in my kitchen for it to properly raise.
I grew up on this stuff. I remember having to take my lunch box to school everyday with a sandwich made from whole wheat bread and how I longed to be able to be like the other children who had school lunches. Now that I am older and have actually tasted a few school lunches, I no longer feel deprived. In fact, I feel very blessed. I remember one time when the school janitor came up to me in the lunchroom and told me that I must have a very special mom and that I was so lucky! At that time I didn't see any luck in having to bring lunch from home....but now, I see what he was talking about.

Mom's Bread

Dissolve 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. yeast
in 1/2 c. warm water

I am very fortunate to have a Bosch mixer. My grandmother bought it for me 23 years ago and it is still going strong. What this means is, that if you wish to make it any other way, you are on your own. I only use my Bosch for this and have no idea how it would be any other way. Life should be full of experiments though so be brave.

Put 5 c. hot tap water in Bosch
Add 7 c. freshly ground whole wheat flour
Blend well.
Add 2 Tbsp. salt
2/3 c. oil
2/3 c. honey
Add 1 c. WW flour
Then add yeast mixture
Add 3 c. WW flour and mix well
Knead in Bosch for ten minutes
Oil the counter and your hands with Canola oil
Dump the dough out on the oiled counter
Divide into four equal pieces and place in greased loaf tins
Let raise for 30 minutes or so
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until done

Slice warm and smother with butter and honey

Nostalgia and Thanksgiving

This post is not so much about the apples that my son and I dried. We cut them up and I did make a mixture of water and Fruit Fresh to soak them in....but....somehow, they ended up turning slightly brown anyway. I do love to dry apples in the fall. I know some people put them in something sugary or sprinkle them with cinnamon, but I just love them all natural! When my kids come home from school and dip in to these to grab a handful for a healthy snack, it makes me smile.
On to why this post is not about the apples even though you may be wondering about that now that I wrote a paragraph about drying apples. Oh, one more thing I do have to mention here before getting to what this post is really about. When I was in my early twenties, I lived close to an old man. I cannot, for the life of me remember his name. He was kind enough to give me an old Excalibur Mills dehydrator. It is so nice and so large and still works perfectly! I am forever indebted to him for his kindness.
Now....on to what this post is really about....My roots are in Bear Lake Valley. I have a million relatives there. My Aunt (probably great, great Aunt) Ida lived there in the 19th century. She had these very jars in her home. When I was younger, my grandmother let me go into her home and choose something to keep. I chose two porcelain cats. I loved cats as a kid. My sister now has these cats in her home. Then another time as an adult, Grandma, once again allowed me to go inside Ida's home and take these jars home with me. I LOVE these nostalgic jars and how old they are. I am impressed with times past and how things were made with such care and so well. I have run these jars through the dishwasher and they have held up so well. In fact, they do a pretty nice job now of making reproductions that almost look like the real deal. Someone who did not know the history behind these jars may just take them for one such reproduction. But every time I look at them in my kitchen or I fill them with something, I am taken back to days long ago. I have a passion for things that have that kind of influence on me. Some may question me in why I even use something this old. I do believe in using things and now and then, yes the unthinkable does happen and something old gets broken. Whenever that happens (even though I feel as though part of me has been shattered), I try to smile and tell the guilty child that they are far more valuable than the ruined item. I guess if I just put them up high or in some hidden place to preserve them forever that I feel I would miss out on the memories that are induced by using them daily. I feel it makes me so much more grateful for what I have.  

Best Ever Granola

Compliments of my mother!
8 c. oats
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. wheat germ
1 c. almonds
1 c. cashews
1 c. coconut
1/2 c. sunflower seeds

Mix together in a large bowl...and I mean a big bowl...like huge!

1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. peanut butter

Heat in a pan until thick and bubbly then add 2 tsp. vanilla and pour over oat mixture. Mix well. Spread on 2 large cookie sheets. Bake at 200 degrees for one hour-stirring every 15 minutes. When cool add 1 c. of raisins or mixed dried fruit if desired.


You know you can't beat that feeling of something warm and tasty in your tummy. My mother always made wassail for the holidays and I loved it! Such a nice warm citrus flavor and just reminds me of home. I took my mother's recipe and tweaked it to make my own version.

2 1/4 c. sugar
4 c. water
4 cinnamon sticks
10 allspice berries
12 whole cloves
1 piece of ginger
1/2 can of orange juice concentrate
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 quarts of apple cider

I just boil the water, sugar and spices for about 5 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer in my crock pot.

Mothers are the best!

These are some lovely wrist warmers my mother made for me last year. I absolutely love wearing them in the early mornings when I am driving my kids to school. The steering wheel is not so cold with these on. I have huge wrists and very large hands for a girl. A lot of things do not fit on my wrists. I struggle finding bracelets that work for me and such. I even recently acquired some wrist weights and the adjustable Velcro fitting will not even go around my wrist! Talk about aggravating. Anyway, I was happy for the skills my mother possesses to have been able to figure out this pattern and then to adjust them to make them fit me. She is so talented! You would think I would have learned to crochet from such a talented woman....but nope....I stink at crocheting.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dreamy Apple Pie

I have absolutely loved every recipe I have found on Pioneer Woman's website. My mother taught me to cook when I was nine years old. I love to cook, especially baking. I have tried several pie crust recipes over the years and I have found several that I love. I have one with an entire brick of cream cheese in it that is to die for! It does have issues with shrinking though. I have tried them with eggs and without eggs and with or without vinegar. Today, I had an abundance of Jonathan apples from my dear Grandmother's orchard. I decided to make a pie using a new recipe. I found one that looked divine on PW's website and decided to give it a try. It was fabulous! In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is the VERY best apple pie filling I have ever used. I LOVED her crust recipe as well. It is so great because you can make it and freeze it. Just perfect for me to make ahead of Thanksgiving and then only have to pull it out and use it! I cannot say enough good about this pie. I would write out the recipe here for you but if you just visit thepioneerwoman.com, you will find this recipe and she even has step by step pictures along with the instructions.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin/Nutella Cheesecake Muffins

Wow! I found this recipe on the pioneer woman's tasty kitchen site. I had to try them as soon as I read the word Nutella. I have to admit that I wasn't sure how these would turn out. They are delicious! They made about 24 for me and I had to cook them a couple of minutes longer than the 18 minutes. Fairly easy and fast though. Give them a try. :)

4 Large Eggs
1-½ cup Sugar
1 can (15 Oz. Size) Pumpkin Puree
1-½ cup Vegetable Oil
3 cups All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
8 ounces, Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup Nutella
1 Large Egg

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add in sugar, pumpkin and oil and beat thoroughly. Add in remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, Nutella and egg until smooth.
Place paper liners in a muffin tin. Place about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin batter into each liner, then 1 tablespoon of Nutella batter, then top with 2 more tablespoons of pumpkin batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes.
These are best served completely cooled. Makes 20 muffins.