30 November 2015

SCR Reveal: Holiday Treats

I am so excited to be a part of the Secret Recipe Club Holiday Treats issue this month!  The Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who come together to stalk each other's blogs in order to cook one of their recipes and then on reveal day, show what recipe we chose and a little about the blog we stalked.  That way you get a new recipe AND a new blog to follow!  Cool beans!

I was assigned to Burnt Apple blog.  She had so many wonderful treats to choose from, such as this delicious  looking Baked Funfetti donuts, these HOMEMADE Gumdrops, and these Squash Brownies with Homemade Ice Cream.  

Honestly.  What's a girl to choose?   After much deliberation, I chose to make the Apple Pumpkin DOG TREATS.  Yes, your furry friends love their sweets, too, and during the holidays we decided to share homemade "cookies" with all our furry friends!  I tried them out with Wilson and Truman after I made them, and oh my goodness!  they loved them!

Apple Pumpkin Dog Treats

  • 1 apple, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the grated apple and cinnamon. Once combined, stir in the eggs and pumpkin.
  3. Stir in the flour and cornmeal stirring until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly. Add the water and knead the dough into a ball.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to 1/4 inch. Use small cookie cutters to cut the biscuit cookies then place on baking sheet leaving a small amount of space in between.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Turn off oven and leave biscuits in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until biscuits become crisp.
  6. Store the biscuits in an airtight container.

The dough before any water is added

Fresh from the oven!

http://new.inlinkz.com/view.php?id=570564" title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up

27 November 2015

October/November Cook the Books/Food 'N Flix~The Hundred-Foot Journey


This month Food 'N Flix and Cook the Books combined forces to do one book/movie pick.  The one they picked, The Hundred Foot Journey, was such a great combination.  For me, the book and movie were vitally different, which makes for interesting conversation at your book club!

So first, thank you to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for choosing The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais.

Book review, from Amazon, as I tend to go into more detail than necessary:

Grandson of an entrepreneurial lunchbox deliveryman, Chef Hassan Haji tells of his rise to culinary success in Paris via Bombay, London, and a small town in the French Alps. With a fond, over-the-shoulder regard, he presents the lively family members, friends, and former foes who shaped him as a young chef, leading him to face his destiny and realize that cooking is not only in his heritage but also in his blood and bones. The novel floats along a bounty of vivid food imagery, a twisty-turny river of dishes Indian, French, and everything in between. With an obvious insider's knowledge of the restaurant milieu, journalist Morais delivers a world where Michelin stars determine not only the popular appeal of a restaurant but also the happiness of its executive chef. This novel, of mythic proportions yet told with truly heartfelt realism, is a stunning tribute to the devotion to family and food, in that order. Bound to please anyone who has ever been happily coaxed to eat beyond the point of fullness, overwhelmed by the magnetism of just one more bite. --Annie Bostrom

And movie review, from me:

In "The Hundred-Foot Journey," Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary genius with "perfect taste."  The Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the French village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Va.  It is both picturesque and elegant - the ideal place to settle down and reopen the family Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai.  However, a famous, classic French restaurant is across the street, ran by Madame Mallory, a rather formidble woman who is entirely again the Indian restaurant opening so close.  She protests, Papa protests more loudly, until it is out and out war between the two. Hassan's passion for French haute cuisine combine with his mysteriously talent to combine the two cultures, that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. She eventually recognizes Hassan's gift as a chef and takes him under her wing. Under her tutlege, she helps Hassan and Hassan helps her with a goal she is trying to achieve.  

So all that being said, I chose to do a simple but classic French vegetable preparation, which is asparagus and bacon.  Inspired from this cookbook:  Around My French Table, my husband made bacon wrapped asparagus for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Yes, this is Beef Wellington!

This is a delicious and simple preparation:  trim asparagus, wrap in your favorite bacon, and finish in a 350 degree oven until bacon is crisp.  The asparagus retains a nice crunch and is seasoned with the salt in the bacon.  No added fat is needed.  If you want to impress, try this dish!

Overall, great book and movie, with different highlights, but the same wonderful story.  

23 November 2015

Skinny Crustless Quiche: Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!

It's time for the reveal of my Secret Recipe Club partner:  Caleigh's Kitchen!

It was fun to go through the blog looking at recipes.  A lot of Amber's recipes are toward the healthy side, with an occasional treat thrown in, like these brownies and this no bake pumpkin cheesecake.

I decided to give the Skinny Crustless Quiche a try because my husband enjoys breakfast and every morning makes himself some eggs before work.  I'd like to be the kind of wife that gets up and makes my man breakfast every day, but I'm not.  However, this quiche might be the perfect answer to all of that!  I can make it ahead and he can help himself to it!  Giving back some time to his day will be a gift!

My version has a couple of changes to it to make it more like my husband's taste.

Skinny Crustless Quiche

Serves 8

2 slices turkey bacon, cooked
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red skinned potato, small dice
1 c chopped broccoli
1/3 c black beans
6 eggs
5 egg whites
1/3 c whole milk
1/2 c lowfat cheese
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 375.  Coat a pie pan with cooking spray.  Crumble bacon, set aside.  Cook onions and garlic with scant olive oil 2 minutes.  Add potato and cover with lid until potato is soft.  Add broccoli and cook until tender. Remove from heat.  Whisk eggs, whites, milk, cheese and seasonings until well combined.  Pour egg mixture into pie pan.  Sprinkle on black beans and vegetable mixture from skillet.  Bake 30-35 minutes until the middle is set.  Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before slicing.  Store covered in the refrigerator.  To reheat, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave in 30 second increments until of desired heat.  1/8 of pie has 138 calories, 7 carbs, 8 sugars, 1 fiber, 7 g fat, 12 g protein.

20 November 2015

It's Friday and I'm in Love with CHRISTMAS!

Our It's Friday and I'm in Love linky parties continue this week with Christmas!  Please join me by adding your favorite Christmas links, past and present, to the linky party below.  I love the collection of fun Christmas links already assembled.  As I have been browsing the internet, looking for my 2015 Christmas ideas, here are some that are making this list this year.

We've already featured snowflakes at The Hen Family, and cranberries at Nemcsok Farms,  and pinecones at Rhythms of Play.  Go and check them out for a mountain of ideas!

I love this garland-ribbon idea from Nikki on Tikkido.  So many uses, but I can really see this on a tree or gracing some evergreens on the mantle.  Simple, elegant, multipurpose garland.

I'm in love with the simple elegance of this bottle decoration.  The white candles with the clear bottles, so pretty.  Relatively inexpensive to recreate, too.  This comes from Vibeke Designs in Norway.

I love flocked trees but can't have them for two reasons:  1. I am allergic to evergreens and 2. my husband hates the mess.  So you can imagine my joy at seeing this simple way to make a tree appear flocked!  Home-ology shows you how to get this beautiful tree!

I love the Advent calendar idea presented by Momma's Happy Hive.  This would be a wonderful way to add some reading in each day for your school aged kid!  The back of the day's piece could lead to where the gift is hidden.  A bible verse, a quote for the day, a word of the day, so many wonderful things could be added.  I am loving this idea more and more!

You can join the linky parties here:  It's Friday and I'm in Love

Go and visit the other sponsors of this party by following them on their social media pages here:


18 November 2015

#BundtBakers Hot Chocolate Bundt with Godiva Glaze

This month our lovely bakers at #BundtBakers have created some of the most decadent cakes with the theme of Hot Chocolate.  Hot chocolate is my all time favorite drink.  It is like getting a hug every time I have one.  I get a lot of hugs!

This cake is super simple and oh, so good.  It is a great dessert to have at a winter party.  The chocolate flavor on this cake is light which makes it different from a regular chocolate cake.

Hot Chocolate Bundt with Godiva Glaze

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35

Ingredients (5 baby bundts, 1 regular bundt)
  • 1 vanilla cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter melted and cooled
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c hot chocolate mix
Beat all ingredients together. Pour into a prepared mini bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a cake tester into the cake. The cake tester should come out clean.
Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan. Cool completely.

To make glaze:
2 T hot cocoa mix
1 T melted butter
2 T Godiva liqueur
1/4 c cream
Combine ingredients. Heat on stove until boiling. Cool 10 minutes. Pour over cooled cake.
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17 November 2015

#CreativeCookieExchange Cinnamon Oatmeal with White Chocolate Glaze

This month our wonderful, creative cookie bakers were challenged to make a cookie with cinnamon as the highlight.  There are lovely cookies out there that we all know and love and I wanted to create another one that might just be as beloved as the snickerdoodle.

This chewy oatmeal cookie has a delightful cinnamon background while the white chocolate glaze adds a perfect amount of sweetness.  These are easy to make, freeze well and will quickly disappear in your cookie jar!

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Glaze

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 mintues

Ingredients (36 cookies)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add in small increments to the butter mixture. Fold in oats.
Shape into balls, place on parchment covered cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with your palm. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for one minute. Remove from cookie sheet to a cookie rack and cool completely.
For the glaze: melt 2 blocks white chocolate coating with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Drizzle over cooled cookies.
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Are we the only ones who start craving cinnamon when the weather gets colder? We can’t be! And we are talking anything sold under the word cinnamon--cassia, “true Cinnamon”, Ceylon Cinnamon, Vietnamese Cinnamon--if it is sold as cinnamon it is what we want! Check out all of our cinnamon cookies below! Hint: A lot of them could be used for your holiday cookie table! You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

13 November 2015

What's New Out There?

I have been remiss in showing you some fun products that I have been using.  Let's remedy that now.

For Truman and Wilson:  those goofy dogs!  They have been underfoot all week while the weather has been changing.  They get nervous when they hear the wind being too loud, or if it storms.  Thank goodness I have these little treats around so we can play (practice) our commands.  That keeps them busy for awhile.

I love these little bear shaped treats and Truman, especially, loves their pumpkin flavor.  I keep them in a clear jar with a red lid.  When I even just LOOK in that area, he goes crazy and then of course, I have to give him one (or two!)

I love this little green ribbon that I found to place on my key chair  in honor of my friend, Linda, who is undergoing cancer treatment.  I found them at this Etsy shop called Star Dog.  There were several in a package so I could share them with friends.

I really love these tea lights candles.  They are special because they smell like the essential oils, Thieves.  Yummy!  They are pricey but I got a code to reduce the price.  You can find them on Amazon.  They are made with beeswax and smell delicious.

I know it is a random group of items, but that is what I wanted to share with you this week.  Let me know if you try any of these goodies.  I'd love to know what you think!

04 November 2015

#FoodieExtravaganza Pickles!

Our theme for this month's Foodie Extravaganza is pickles!  I don't make a lot of pickles normally, but I am wanting to do a number of charcuterie trays for our Christmas gatherings so I am experimenting with different homemade pickles.  These refrigerated brussels sprouts pickles sounded too delicious not to try!

These pickles are super simple to make, too.

Refrigerated Brussels Sprouts Pickles

Brussels Sprouts (I used 1 lb for a 32 oz jar)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 c water
1 c white vinegar
1 teaspoon pickling salt

Pack clean and trimmed Brussels sprouts into a clean and dry jar.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Pour over Brussels sprouts within 1/4 inch of the top of the jar.  Store in the refrigerator up to 30 days.  Let sit at least 24 hours before serving.

I love the pickly brine, the red pepper flakes and garlic give the Brussels sprouts a nice zing.  I know these will be a hit on my charcuterie trays this holiday!

Check out these other delicious pickles!

02 November 2015

#MakeItHappenBlogHop: Organization

What an ugly word that is... organization.  It conjurs up such ill feelings for me.  I have never truly felt organized and I work on so many ways to get to that state of mind.  Just look at what I have done over the span of my adulthood:

1.  Dove into the Steven Covey movement hook, line and sinker.  This was probably my most successful venture into organization.  I was a teacher, life was on a pretty regular schedule, and I fully believed in the Seven Habits.

2.  Organized Christmas.  I followed this plan for over 10 years.  I truly believed in it, and maybe when you are a young mom and have a lot of other responsibilities, it is a great way to keep your head above water during the holidays.

3.  The Fly Lady.  Homecleaning in less than a minute!  Not really, but housecleaning ideas and in an organized fashion so that you are not overwhelmed by the tasks that need attention over time.

4.  Read scores of magazine articles on organization.  Any magazine that had a headline on organization I probably bought it.

5.  Read scores of books on organization.  This hasn't stopped.  I am currently reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

There are many other things I have done, taking workshops, taking long weekends at a hotel to plan my semester, or school year, or new year..., read blogs and chat rooms on organization, and finally came to this conclusion:  I am not organized.  Even with all the techniques and plans, I am just not wired to be organized.  For me it means this:  I have to make a conscious effort to check my (written) planner (Erin Condren for me) on a daily basis (usually at night), I have to make myself write down everything pertinent to a event or situation.  The only thing that comes naturally to me in the scheme of organization is lesson planning.

Doing all of this made me feel inferior, because I never got quite up to standard.  Even though I know where most of my tupperware is, when you open the cabinet, it will spill out onto the floor.  Annoying to almost everyone but me, who will just scoop them up and throw them back in.  I have learned that if I can find it, within a few minutes of searching, that is all right by me.

For this challenge, having all the gurus of my past in my head, I tackled my work space.  I put things in folders and tried to put things in spaces that were close to where I work.  My day job has cubicles of stuff behind my desk, my adjunct work has another cubicle behind my desk.  I am now collecting items I want to take to my mom's for Thanksgiving, so that has a pile on a table.  My desktop has my computer, a clipboard for my blog work, and a catch all for my scissors, pins, clips, etc.

So am I organized?  Not according to a perfectionist, but to me, I know when it is time to go to mom's for Thanksgiving that all the things I want to take are upstairs on the table.  Gather them up and I am on my way.  That's about as good as it is going to get for me, and that suits me just fine.

You can see my cleaned desk, but I was really wanting you to notice my Breast Cancer Tree!
Visit these other bloggers who took on a whole organization plan, too.  See how they motivated themselves, and got things back on track for their lives.

Mom Home Guide  Home Organization

Lauren Caris Cooks  Kitchen Organization

Our Good Life  Work Space Organization

Tikkido  Blog Organization

01 November 2015

#SundaySupper Christmas Cranberry "Mojito"

It's the start of the holiday season here at #SundaySupper and that means it is time to get out the cocktail shaker and create the cocktail of the season!  Last year, I learned how to make homemade cranberry sauce, and this is the inspiration for this drink.  Or maybe it was these yummy Drunken Cranberries from five years ago?  Whichever one, you are sure to enjoy this delicious cranberry cocktail.This week’s event is being co-hosted by Michelle De La Cerda-Nash and Valerie Cathell Clark. Here are their blogs: http://www.thecompletesavorist.com/ and http://lifestylefoodartistry.com/
Go and check them out!

The holidays do not need to be stressful.  There are many easy shortcuts to this recipe that make it easy to have on hand.  I call it a "Mojito" because it has muddled mint.  After that, no resemblance!

Christmas Cranberry "Mojito"

8 oz fresh cranberries
1 c sugar
1 c water
10 mint leaves
1 T lime juice
2 oz cranberry vodka or white rum
4 oz soda water

First, make some cranberry syrup.  It's easy!  Put 1 c water and 1 c white sugar in a large saucepan.  Stir.  Add 8 oz of cranberries (about 2 cups) into the water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Once cooled, strain out the cranberries (but keep them, they make a great side dish to a pork loin!) and keep the syrup.  If it is thicker than pancake syrup, dilute it with 1 T hot water until the right consistency.

To make the cocktail:  Muddle 10 mint leaves with 1 T lime juice in an old fashion glass (that's a type of cocktail glass.)  Just enough to break the leaves to release their oil but not so much that you can't tell it is a mint leaf!  Add crushed ice.  Mix together 2 oz of cranberry syrup and 2 oz of cranberry vodka (Burnett's makes some).  Pour into glass.  Top with soda water.  Garnish with mint and fresh cranberries.  Serve.

The cranberry syrup will store in the refrigerator for several weeks.  It makes enough for approximately 6 cocktails.  I store mine in an reused maraschino cherry jar!

Main and Side Dishes
Desserts and Baked Goods
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.