Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Best Part of the Thanksgiving Meal

In my opinion the very best part of the Thanksgiving meal is the dressing, stuffing...whichever you call it. My great aunt shared with me her recipe for the dressing many yearer recipe for the dressing many years back and it is what I use every year. It has never failed me and is always, always, always delicious and continues to be my favorite part of the meal. It also is really nice because it is cooked in the crock-pot making for one less thing to have to cram into the oven.

Crockpot Dressing
1 c. butter
2 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped celery
1/4 c. parsley
2 cans mushrooms, drained (8 oz. cans)
12-13 c. bread cubes
2 well beaten eggs
1 t. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. sage
1 t. thyme
1/2 t. pepper
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 c. broth

Melt the butter in a saucepan and sautee the celery and onion until tender. Add in the mushrooms. Add in the parsley, poultry seasoning, salt, sage, thyme and pepper. Pour over bread cubes. Toss well. Pour in broth to moisten. Add eggs. Mix well. Pack lightly into crockpot. Cover. Set on high for 45 minutes. Reduce to low and cook 4-8 hours.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birthday Gifts

My girls were invited to a birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Our budget is pretty tight with Daddy in school so I decided to make a couple of things to give to the birthday girl. I made her a little cupcake fabric apron to use when she helps her mommy in the kitchen.
I like to make the neck loop a little big so they can grow into the apron. I just knot the excess so it fits better.

I also made her a little crayon roll out of the same fabric. I am not really that great of a seamstress when it comes to following a pattern. I like to think through the project and just kind of do it my own way and that is what I did here. My mother-in-law had made my oldest daughter one a few years ago so I just looked hers over well and came up with my own design.
Crayon Roll
I was so happy with how it turned out and it was really pretty easy.
Crayon Roll
There is something about a handmade gift that is so fun to give and to receive. These two gifts didn't take much fabric so I was able to use things I had on hand. They also really didn't take alot of time to make. Handmade is great!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Look Ma, No Recipe

First off I need to answer a question from the comments in my previous post because I just know some of you are losing sleep over wondering. The question pertained to how the neighbors responded to our peace offering. Well....I don't know. They didn't answer the door when we knocked so we hung our treats from their door knobs. Nothing has been said to us, but that is ok.

Now on to what I want to share today. I have always and forever been a fan of recipes. Like...I can't cook without a recipe. I do not just whip things up. There needs to be a plan otherwise known as a recipe.

Well, I have made 3 things in the past few weeks solely on what I know about cooking now from watching umpteen Food Network shows at my mother-in-law's house "back in the day" and having seen a recipe at one point or another.

The first thing was turkey burgers. We loooooove these and they are easy! I learned from Rachael Ray that you must add veggies to turkey meat because it is drier. The veggies will boost the flavor and juiciness. I rarely buy beef anymore and was craving burgers so I jumped in. I chopped up some carrots, onion, and garlic. I mixed this in with the turkey meat and fried them up in the pan. YUM! They were awesome. I went a bit overboard with the veggies but it worked. I have also used fresh basil and spinach in them. So good!!!!!!

The next thing that I made was Chicken Pot Pie. I had made THIS recipe a couple of weeks back so I had a basic idea. I started by sautéing carrots, onion, celery and garlic in butter. Then I whisked in some flour then added some milk and chicken stock. I let that thicken up and added some shredded chicken, sage, salt, pepper, and a bag of frozen peas.

For the pot pie part of the meal I used an old family recipe which goes like this:
Whisk one egg, add enough milk to make a cup. Add enough flour to make a sticky dough. Roll out and cut into strips or squares.

I cut mine into small-ish squares and dropped them in the pan. They cooked quickly. This was a hit with the family too. My oldest daughter had 3 servings!

My last thing was just something that I decided to try. There was no recipe that I had seen at one time or another. I melted half a stick of butter in a frying pan and threw in cubed summer squash. I stirred it around and covered it with a lid. Once the squash was tender, I added some dark brown sugar and let it get all syrupy. This was AMAZING! Again my daughter said, "Mommy, this squash is really good!"

I just need to share because I am a teensy, weensy bit proud that I can now just sort of throw some things together. It is a great feeling.

BUT I still love recipes and will be using them for probably 90% of my cooking!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Peace Offering

It all began at 6:00 a.m. yesterday morning. She awoke screaming and crying as she has almost everyday of her 19 month old life. This time the morning cuddle did not help. She cried, she screamed, she squawked, she threw herself the floor in fits. IT.WAS.BAD. I knew it was bad because I heard the neighbors slamming doors and Daddy awoke from his deep sleeping state. Finally we were able to calm her down and she fell asleep in my arms for another 45 minutes.

Later while getting ready for church Daddy said, "Maybe we owe the neighbors an apology." IT.WAS.THAT.BAD. I decided my oldest daughter and I would make pumpkin cookies to give to the neighbors as a peace offering.

That is exactly what we did. We made these Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and they were so good. I love making cookies for others because after you've given some away there aren't many left to tempt you.

The cookies were so good too! I love oatmeal raisin so the addition of pumpkin, well that just puts it over the top!