Monday, January 31, 2011

Meatballs and Onions in Paprika sauce

Meatballs and Onions in Paprika Sauce
by: the seat of my pants

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs
1 c dried bread crumbs
1 t garlic salt
1/2 c milk

2 c beef stock, divided
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks, then separated
3 T sweet paprika, plus a bit more to garnish
2 T flour
1 c sour cream

Combine all ingredients until well combined, form into 1 inch meat balls. Place on a try and broil until brown, turn repeat.

Place meat into a large skillet with a lid, scatter onions over the top, add 1 1/2 c of the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 3o minutes. Remove lid, return heat to high, and allow liquid to reduce as you prepare a slurry.

Combine the remaining stock with the flour, whisking until smooth and no lumps remain.

Reduce heat to medium, sprinkle the paprika over the meat, then stir in the sour cream. When mixture is hot, stir in the slurry, let mixture simmer until thickened, stirring as needed.

Serves 4 - 6, along with with mashed potatoes or side of choice.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

By request with:
Beat the winter blues @ Goodbye City, Hello Suburbs!

This post will be shared with:
Make it with Paprika @ Couscous and Consciousness

Hearth n Soul @a moderate life

Tuesday Twister @ GNOWFGLINS

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Sunday Cafe, January 2011

We are having a bit of a special gathering today. Our guests today include a young man and his son, who recently reconnected with our family. A former classmate of my son from junior high school, I have not seen Andrew in over 20 years.

Main dishes:

Oops! I did not get a photo of the ham, but I think it is safe to say, they all look the same!

Spiral Honey Baked Ham
I received this delicious ham as part of my holiday bonus from my employer. I knew it would make a lovely meal in January for my gathering. Ham is always a hit.

Chicken Cobbler Pot Pie

Honey loves pot pies. It is his easy "go to meal" when we are working different shifts. I had found this wonderful sounding crust and knew I wanted to make a pot pie.

Meatballs with sour cream Paprika sauce.

This one is by the seat of my pants. Meatballs and onion chunks simmered in beef stock, then thickened with sour cream and paprika.


Green beans

Cooked with bacon, dried tomato and onion, oh and a bit of wine. I am very fond of this combination of flavors together. The only thing better is to make this dish with the addition of a ham hock and cook slowly for a couple of hours, so tender and delicious.

Oven roasted butternut squash

Seasoned simply with a sea salt, rosemary and pink pepper corn blend.

White lima beans, braised with roasted pork bones

Brown food is sad looking in a photo, this was good, however the last time I made these I used a ham hocks and that flavor was missed.

Macaroni and cheese with bacon (by request!)

Vegetable platter with olives and pickles

This looks awkward, but the marinated mushrooms and olives in separate little serves keeps the vegetables crisp. I purposely did not have a dip or dunk for the vegetables.
Tossed greens with vinaigrette

Swedish Saffron Bread with dried fruit
Butter and Jams

I missed getting a photo of this out of the oven, but it was so pretty! I love the dried fruit in the bread, a very nice bread to enjoy with dinner. The simple addition of 1/3 c each dates, currents and dried cranberries made a completely new flavor.


Apricot bread pudding, with
apricot lemon sauce and raspberry port sauce

 The bread pudding used up the leftover sweet rolls from my vanilla project.

Chocolate soup cake with cream cheese frosting.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by!

Today is Sunday Cafe

Wow I planned a meal fit for countries! Then I realized that maybe, just maybe, since I was not feeding a country I should scale back a bit. After all the meal is due on the table between 2 - 3 pm, today. So here is my scaled back version of our dinner. I will be back with photos later tonight.

Spiral cut baked ham. (because this is so easy, I knew I could do a lot of other dishes).
Beef Meatballs in sour cream Paprika sauce.
Chicken Pot Pie

Mashed Potatoes
Small white Lima beans cooked with roasted pork bones for rich flavor
Buttered Corn (this is for Honey)

Oven roasted butternut squash, half tossed with pesto. (pesto is delicious over the roasted squash)
Green beans cooked with onion, bacon and dried tomatoes (and wine, the secret ingredient!)
Tossed greens in a raspberry thyme vinaigrette
Crisp vegetable plate, with olives and pickles

Swedish Saffron bread with dried fruits
Butter and assorted jams

Apricot bread pudding (made with leftover homemade sweet rolls)
served with apricot lemon sauce
Tomato soup chocolate cake, with cream cheese frosting

Assorted wine

See you later with some photos.

As always, thanks for stopping by,
I appreciate your visits and comments.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thank you Alex @ a moderate life for this award. I do know one thing, my "style" is unique, and I have fun with this good life, the friends I have made blogging, and playing in the kitchen.

Apparently there are rules for acceptance, so lets get our chores done, then we can play.

* Post linking back to the person that gave you the award.

* Share 7 random things about yourself.

* Award 15 recently discovered bloggers.

* Drop them a note, and tell them about it!

Hmmm, sharing stuff about me. These are in random order, not order of importance.

1. I display my family of origin name and my birth position on my license plate, "EGGER 2". One day while getting gas, the attendant must have thought my little red car might be part of a business fleet, she asked if there was an EGGER 1, and I told her, that would belong to my older sister.

2. I work with Seniors, I have for over 10 years. Currently I am a Housing Manager, it is challenging, usually fun, and I seem young to them! Working with seniors, can also be difficult, some are going through the terrible-(seventy)twos and others have health conditions that preclude enjoying activities of daily living.

3. My blog was started to display the fruition of my Sunday dinner concept and the ongoing dinners. In the beginning (when only my children read it) everything was boring because I followed self imposed rules that I thought were important. Then one day, something happened, I don't know, maybe I got bored or forgot my own rules! I began to change not only the content, but how I offered it. Now I get to enjoy my family centered Sunday Cafe dinners (held last Sunday of each month, now 3 years old) and some writing that can be enjoyable to read. Apparently I also had a creative writing desire within me, I finally let out to play.

4. My family doubled, when my children married. I am very fortunate and I love all my kids!

5. Some days I don't want to cook. On these days I hope there is a planned-over in the freezer!

6. And on the reverse side, I have been known to pull a vacation day, so I can stay home and cook.

7. Thank you! A big thank you to everyone that comes here, reads my stuff and leaves a comment. Bloggers aren't "needy" as much as they don't know if you have been here without a little comment. And yes it is very nice to have visitors, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

And now.......

I would like to show these great bloggers my appreciation and respect for their time, effort and the great blog posts they offer up. These are in no order of importance, just tumbling out. You each may collect and carry on the tradition as desire dictates and you feel comfortable doing so.  

1.  Brenda @ Brenda's Canadian Kitchen. She is so charming, and she has done some traveling! A very nice read, she also is the hostess of Cook Book Sunday, where I have been challenged to use my own cookbooks. Thank you Brenda.

2.  Rocquie @ Sage Trifle. Rocquie offers some great retro food. Her photos are impeccable. She has the luxury of cooking for an eating machine and often will cook what He is hungry for. She has indulged me with my own little series: What we ARE NOT eating Wednesdays, by joining in a time or two. And I must tell you, even the photos of what she did not eat, were better than mine!

3.  LeAnn @ Dinner with the Osbornes. LeAnn and I met for coffee here a while ago. It is always a pleasure to meet other bloggers. It so happens we live in the same town. She is a hard working woman, who together with her husband own and operate their own business. Then she goes home and makes dinner. She has a little feature on her blog that I enjoy. She usually ends her posts with a remember to......phrase.

4.  Pam @ Sidewalk shoes. Pam is so straight forward! In life, in blogging and I would think everywhere. I love it. She usually shows only one photograph on her posts, but it clearly tells the whole story. She features a weekend wine review, that I enjoy. I have been learning a thing or two about which wines to try and those that are not worth putting in the cart. And she is a cat lover!

5.  Sue @ Couscous & Consciousness. Sue has recently started a new series, Make it with.......Mondays. There is a new ingredient each week, but she graciously keeps the link up for 2 weeks, so that you have time to find, make and post a recipe with the special ingredient for that week. This series had been fun as well as challenging for me, helping break through my hesitation and use those ingredients that I am not sure what to do with. In addition, Sue makes the most vibrant food!

6.  Elisabeth @ food and thrift finds. Elisabeth lives in beautiful Palm Beach Florida. She is often out in her community and shows some gorgeous scenery. She is also a great cook, and had me at Polenta. She always has a kind word to say and shares her thrifty finds. I love to go thrifting so this is a fun connection.

7.  Farah @ Farah lives in Pakistan. She primarily shows her home and the things she has crafted to make her home comfortable and beautiful to the eye. She is a very talented woman. She is gentle and quiet in her blogging style. She recently offered a post about her country and the beautiful scenery there. She too is a cat lover.

8.  Claudia @ what's cookin' Italian style cuisine. Claudia cooks, and cooks and cooks. She makes me want to cook and cook and cook! Her goal is to document her family's heritage, from the kitchen. And now her sons have begun to carry on the family tradition of home cooking and family meals. She offers some really great food, just right for around your own family table.

9.  Monica @ The Yummy Life. The beautiful presentation and food styling caught my eye. In addition Monica cooks some great food, and offers up homemade mixes and spice blends. She also has some great downloads for labels and tags, these are very nice to finish off your homemade gift and make it look special.  I have several of her posts bookmarked for in the future.

10.  Avril @ Baking and Creating with Avril. Avril is a cooking baking machine. She was a part of the 12 weeks of Christmas Cookies series. She has been a little busy of late with her latest homemade specialty, new daughter Coco. Drop by Avril's blog and sneak a peak of young Miss Coco, and say hi to Arvil too!

11.  Joy @ Kitchen Flavours. Joy is the sweetest blogger. She makes a wide variety of different food for her family and shares it with all of us on her blog. Joy is also brave, she just gets in there and does it. I  enjoy visiting her blog to see what she has made, knowing that it will be delicious, healthy and beautiful to look at.

12.  K @ Cooking with K. I am a fairly new visitor to K's blog. She makes some delicious food, especially desserts! K cooks for her husband and grown family. She has photos of her beautiful group and I can tell she is a proud wife, mother and grandmother.

13.  Holly @ Hoosier at heart. Holly and I might have been separated at birth even though we were born in different states to different mothers, in different years. She totally cracks me up! She has a great sense of humor and is not afraid to take life where she finds it, especially on trash day. Stop by Holly's place and leave with a laugh, she hands them out for free!

14.  Carla @ Recipe Addict. Carla makes some great food. I am new to visiting her (and Michael's) blog. Her posts contain delicious, home cooked food, shared in a straight forward manner. This is what they eat, and I love that part.

15.  Laraine @ Larainy Days. What can I say, I think humor is very stylish! I come here often to get my laugh in good working order. And I get the side benefit of being able to leave a bit of a snarky comment. You won't find chocolate chips in cookies on this blog, and probably you won't find a chip off the old block either!

And a special shout out to Annie @ Real Life Living. Annie requests to be award and tag free, but drop by and say "hi" and let her know I honored that request but wanted to introduce you to her.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!
And thank you for visiting today.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cranberry Pine Nut cake squares

When I looked around at how much food Honey and I waste, I was aghast and ashamed. I never (repeat never) wasted food when the kids were at home. I had no idea how difficult it can be to cook less food. I continue to have a difficult time shopping for less food and using it all. One of my goals that goes along with my defining word, enough, is enough waste already!

When I made Cranberry Liqueur this past holiday season, I was left with all those happy cranberries. They have been staying in the refrigerator, and really are such good tenants that I almost forgot they were there. But now I was hearing a faint whimpering sound. It turned out to be not only the cranberries but a large handful of pine nuts as well. So I sat out to find something to make that would use these two ingredients and give me something good to serve Honey when he gets home for his meal break.

Cranberry pine nut cake squares
adapted from: 1 mix 100 cakes
written by:  Christine France
350 degree oven

This recipe book calls for super fine sugar. An ingredient I would not have in my kitchen unless I made it myself, because we use organic evaporated cane juice crystals. But I have found at least one answer to that little problem. I cream the butter (cold from the refrigerator) and the sugar together and then proceed with the recipe. Most of the recipes in this book are a one bowl style, and adapt very well to small changes. The original recipe called for fresh raspberries, but I knew the cranberries would make a nice substitute. 

3/4 c cold butter cut into small pieces
3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 c flour
1 T baking powder
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/4 c whole milk or half and half

1-2 c chopped "happy" cranberries (chopped cranberries left over from making Cranberry Liqueur)

approximately 2/3 c pine nuts*

Cut butter into small pieces, add to large mixer bowl along with sugar. Cream together on med/low until mixed well, turn up to med/high and cream until sugar begins to break down.

Scrape sides of bowl, down to the center, leaving creamed mixture in a pile in the center of the bowl.

Add remaining ingredients listed, flour through half and half. Start mixer on low until ingredients are mixed, turn speed up to medium and beat approximately 1 minute. Stop mixer, add cranberries, mix on low to stir in.

Spread batter in prepared 9X13 pan, sprinkle pine nuts over top. I prefer the nuts on top so that they can bake to a golden crisp texture.

 Gently "pat" the surface of the cake to help the nuts stick to the batter.
Bake 35 minutes, or until tests done in your oven.

Serve with a small scoop of ice cream (to spread like frosting over the top), whipped cream or just plain. Enjoy.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

*You may also stir half of the pine nuts into the batter and scatter the remainder over the top.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments.

This post will be shared with:
Hearth n Soul @ a moderate life.

Getting back on track

Since I am almost over that bad cold that is going around in our area, it is time to get back to keeping up with the needs of our home. Yesterday I spent some time with my little sis and my great niece doing what we love to do (well maybe not the great niece yet) thrifting. My little sis has feet just the right size to find great shoes, usually new at a very affordable thrifting price. Me, not so much, my very own boat sized shoes never set foot in a thrift store unless I walk them in! I usually head straight to the housewares and look for the unusual or unique. And happiness be mine, I always score!

I found this great hammered cooper candle holder. I have started collecting cooper pieces, and this one fits right in with that new hobby.

I also found this unique patchwork with crocheted piece. I am not certain it is a table cloth or runner, but I shall use it here and other spots as the desire strikes.

Having these different and unique pieces is such fun. I enjoy changing out the dining room table with something new and different, usually on a Sunday.  The little ceramic tray for the salt and pepper shakers was from an earlier thrifting day.

Our little house was almost a great room concept. Before Honey changed a wall, it was possible to see the kitchen counters from the living room. That I did not like. Now the dining room can be seen from the living room,  and keeping the table set with a nice display adds to the enjoyment of our little home.

Honey put up the magnetic knife rack before going to work today. Out of reach from the little ones that visit, but still handy for a cook to get too. Thanks Honey!

Whether I like it or not, there is laundry, changing of linens, vacuuming and various cleaning chores calling my name. Maybe I can get around to making/baking something also.

As always thanks so much for stopping by to visit.
I appreciate your time and your comments.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thanks are in the air.....

Earlier this month I won a $45.00 CSN gift certificate from Alex @ a moderate life. I shopped and shopped and finally settled on this.....
OK, actually I settle on what is in the box, just a moment while I open it.....

the Mag Pro knife rack for my kitchen knives! I have wanted one of these for the longest time. Oh and another box is due any day now with the rest of my loot, 3 wonderful thick handles wooden spoons.

Thanks Alex, shopping is fun!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vanilla Rolls, Girl Scouts and door to door sales, oh my!

When I was about 10, I was real hungry for money. I wasn’t greedy but I was kind of needy. I had equipment I wanted and needed to buy, because my Girl Scout troop was going to Jamboree. I loved scouts and at that time in my young life, I wanted everything to match. There was a flashlight in my Dad’s toolbox, and  I could take it to camp, but I wanted the little green one with the Girl Scout logo on it. Also it had a 90-degree bend right at the top and it was really comfortable in my kid sized hand.

I already babysat, and had for years. I started my babysitting apprenticeship right at home, about age seven. I could do everything needed for kids younger than me, and there were plenty of them at my house. I went on to work paid gigs at age 10, even though sometimes I was a bit scared when it was real dark outside and there was nothing left to do. You know after the little ones were sleeping and I had already done the dishes to keep busy.

One day I noticed a little advertising to sell Watkins products. Door to door sales the ad stated, ordering customers on every street. It also mentioned, "no investment necessary". Well that was all I needed to hear, count me in! Let me just say this about that, door-to-door sales are not easy. But I kept at it, going down the block, around the corner, and onward, day after day. I did not get rich, but I learned at age 10, sales were not in my future.  So I did what every kid does, after a while I hounded family and friends. I made enough to get some equipment and then I let that wonderful opportunity go.

But I loved the vanilla extract. To this day, vanilla is still my favorite flavor. When I hear the phrase “plain vanilla” I think, no way. Vanilla is like a smile in your food. It is pleasant, familiar and each time you taste it, you are happy again. 

While out thrifting one day I found this great book, and brought it home. Seeing the book brought back some great memories of my “career” in sales and of going to Jamboree with my Girl Scout logo equipment. Ah the life and times of a 10 year old.

Today lets make Vanilla Cream rolls. I must tell you up front, these are not in any cook book, only an idea or experiment. I wanted something special (you could probably substitute different and that would be OK) and so, they are several techniques and recipes combined to make a very special sweet roll treat. Something very vanilla. My thoughts on coming up with this project went something like this:

Take sweet tender vanilla flavored yeast dough, spread lightly with butter, then sprinkled with sugar and a splash of vanilla, rolled and cut, then lay in a pool of cream, vanilla and sugar. When baked the cream will form a delicate vanilla caramel sauce. After baking let rest a few minutes before turning out of the pan so the cream sauce is on top. 

Lets see what we can do.

Vanilla sweet dough

2 1/4 t yeast
3 c flour
dash salt
1/3 c plus 2 T sugar
4 T soft butter
3/4 c plus 1 T milk
1 T vanilla
1 egg

Load ingredients into ABM in order given, process on dough cycle.

Vanilla Cream Sauce

1 c whipping cream
1/3 c sugar
1 T vanilla

Combine together in a 9X13 pan, stirring well. Set aside.

Vanilla Sweet Rolls

completed dough 
soft butter
small amount of sugar
dash of vanilla

Roll dough into a 9X13 rectangle, spread lightly with butter, sprinkle lightly with sugar, splash a bit of vanilla over to moisten. 

Roll dough up starting from the 13 inch side. Slice into 12 rolls. 

Carefully pick up and place in the cream mixture. Let rise until double in a warm spot, 45 - 90 minutes depending upon the warmth of your kitchen. 

Bake 350 for 30 minutes or until rolls are done. 

 You can see the cream sauce bubbling up between the rolls. The smell is so heavenly!

Let rest in the pan 10 minutes, turn out onto serving tray, letting cream sauce cover rolls. 

Having eaten one, once cooled, they are a bit vague in flavor even with the amounts of vanilla used in each step. This would be a very delicious roll with a bit of cinnamon in the dough and the vanilla cream sauce. But not bad as experiments go.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments!

This post is shared with:

Hearth n Soul @ a moderate life

Make it with Vanilla @ Couscous & Consciousness