Friday, December 21, 2012

Cranberry Liqueur

I made Cranberry Liqueur last year, and I can tell you right now, this is a new tradition!

You. Must. Make. This!

 Yes, I did make a double batch, for gifts, you know.....

As a matter of fact, you might want to tuck a couple of bags of cranberries in the freezer, to start a second batch at a later date, because you can enjoy this any time. Of course it is wonderful simply sipped, but don't stop there. Make a delicious Seabreeze, with ruby grapefruit juice, vodka and of course the Cranberry Liqueur.

The strained cranberries are also delicious. They are wonderful stirred into a bundt cake, or muffins or even over vanilla ice cream with a splash of the liqueur, for extra measure.

Cranberry Liqueur
adapted from:  Creative Culinary

1 c water
2 c sugar
2 c (10 oz bag) cranberries
1 orange to make: 1 T grated zest and 3 T juice
2 c vodka (does not have to be top shelf)

Bring water and sugar to a boil, boil 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Slice/chop berries, grate zest and juice the orange.

Combine syrup, berries, orange zest and juice.

Stir in the vodka.

Store in a large covered jar, stir every day or so. Age for 3 weeks. Then.......


Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Stocking from felted wool sweater - part 2

This seems to be where we left off,

This is the first time I have worked with felted wool. With that said, here is something I learned.

If you wish to add a design with embroidery thread or buttons, do that before you sew the front to the back. The felted material is too thick to work comfortably from inside the sock. The decision was made to  change the decoration from a Christmas tree made from buttons to something else. The something else turned out to be a patch pocket, made from a piece of the sweater cuff.

But lets start with a loop.

Using a paper core, loop the embroidery thread around 3 to 4 times.

To strengthen the loop, work a blanket stitch around the loop.

To make a pocket, cut a piece of the cuff, position and whip stitch around the edge. The flat top shank buttons will be used to form a name (thank you sharpie!). It is easier for me to sew the top button, then the bottom button and then add the middle buttons using the already placed buttons for guidance.

Finish the top edge in a blanket stitch. Add the name to the button tops and fill the little pocket. This will be handy for a love note, candy, a little cash or a gift card.......

Since this stocking is for my husband Terry, I made it a bit on the masculine side. And now I need to start one for me.

You can find Christmas Stocking from felted wool sweater - part 1 here

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

Joe's Special, an easy dinner for those busy nights

We have come to use spinach leaves in our sandwiches instead of lettuce. Since my husband takes a cold lunch everyday, our weekly shopping trip includes a fresh bag of spinach for sandwich making. This will often times leave, a half bag of spinach from the week before. It is good spinach, just not as crisp for sandwiches.

It is however delicious in cooked dishes and I see more spinach in our future meals. Last night we had Joe's Special, a delicious blend of spinach, ground beef, onion, mushrooms and egg. I like to pass Parmesan cheese at the table for each person to season as they choose.

Joe's Special
by the seat of my pants
serves 4-6

1/2 - 1 pound ground beef
1 medium size sweet or red onion, diced in 1 inch pieces
8 oz mushrooms, sliced thick (we were out for this dish, but I love them in here!)
garlic salt
8-10 oz spinach 
6 eggs, beat well and set aside
Parmesan cheese

Crumble the ground beef in a skillet, top with the onions. Brown the beef well to sear, turn over and let the onions cook a minute. Add mushrooms cook a minute more.
Add spinach, toss with the beef mixture until wilted.

Immediately stir in eggs and cook until eggs are set to your liking.

Serve with buttered toast, a side salad and fruit for dessert.
And yes, dinner is done.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop by. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Roasted Garlic, the easy way

Once upon a time I had a cute terra cotta garlic roaster. It held one head of garlic. It was one of the many  kitchenware items that I owned, "needed" but did not use. Why? Well basically because it did only hold one head of garlic and you know the frugal side of me, was not going to heat up an oven to roast one head of garlic.

Enter the muffin pan. You can load up your pan with 6 heads of garlic, plus they stay upright. Obviously if you need more than six heads of roasted garlic, grab a 12 cup pan. Roasted garlic is a delicious way to eat more garlic, which is very good for us.

Roasted Garlic the easy way
adapted from Pinterest
350 degree oven

1 muffin pan
1 head of garlic for each "cup"
olive oil

Slice the point off to expose the tips of the garlic cloves. Place each each in a separate "cup".

Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil, roast for 45-55 minutes. Or until soft and lightly brown in your oven.

Let cool and enjoy!

To use the cloves, when cool enough to handle, carefully break the head apart to separate the  cloves. When ready to use squeeze the roasted garlic out from the papery skin.

Warm roasted garlic is delicious "spread" on bread instead of butter.

You can also coarsely chop the (removed from the papery skin) garlic and toss it with hot pasta, additional olive oil and dry bread crumbs. Pass Parmesan cheese at the table for each to use.

Mash some cloves into soft butter, spread on cut bread, broil Heavenly!

I think you get the idea, it is really easy to enjoy roasted garlic, so get roasting already!

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

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Easiest Cinnamon Rolls Ever! Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will can also view it here in the archives, Sunday June 13, 2010.

Simple things are usually the these delicious Cinnamon rolls for Sunday June 20th.

Now you might be asking why would someone would make a pan of Cinnamon rolls for Sunday June 20th? Well it also happens to be Father's Day, and I have yet to meet a Dad that did not like Cinnamon Rolls. The thing is though, you might want to get your skill down with a "practice" pan. That way you will have a really good idea of just what a great gift you can make for Dad. However I need to be honest; you don't really need practice, because these rolls are easy.

But a practice pan this weekend, would sure be a plausible excuse to make some now and next weekend too! You can also make the recipe through the final rise, cover and refrigerate overnight and bake fresh for breakfast the next day. Yeast doughs are usually very agreeable to an overnight rest in the fridge.

The process and ingredient list does look involved, but (please) do not let that sway you in your decision to make these Cinnamon rolls. I assure you, the ingredients are everyday, the steps are easy and the rolls are delicious. 

Easy Peasy Cinnamon Rolls for Dad and Everyone
adapted from Yakima Herald Republic Newspaper - Yakima WA
currently in my little black binder,on a very splattered page
makes a 9X13 pan of rolls

1 c milk, heated to very hot, but not boiling
1/4 c butter, sliced into pats
1/4 c sugar
1 t salt

Place butter, sugar and salt in a large glass bowl, pour hot milk over let sit until warm to the touch. The hot milk will melt the butter and warm the bowl. Prepare yeast mixture.

1 package yeast (2 1/2 t)
1/4 c warm water
pinch of sugar
Combine and let yeast activate or bloom. 

To make the dough, you will need:
up to 41/2 cups of flour, measure out the full measure of flour and dip from that, do not use more.  
1 egg 

When the milk mixture has cooled to warm, stir in about 1/3 of the flour, beat well (11/2-2 minutes with a hand held electric mixer is a good measure, you will develop enough gluten for a well textured and yet tender roll).

Add the egg, stir well.

Add another portion of the flour, beat until smooth (another minute works well).

Stir in the yeast mixture, and beat until smooth.

Add enough (or all) remaining flour or enough to make a soft dough - do not exceed the original 41/2 cups.
Mix well, dough may appear lumpy.

Do not worry.
No kneading required, you could not knead this dough. It is very soft and will produce a soft roll.

Cover bowl and set aside in a warm place to rise, rising time may be 1 - 2 hours depending upon how warm your kitchen is.

When doubled, deflate dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

For rolling/patting out the dough, you will need approximately 1/2 c flour.

 I prefer using a jelly roll style pan to keep the boundaries, both in terms of clean up and size of the patted/rolled out dough.

 You will need to use about 1/3 c flour on the pan, then sprinkle about 2 T flour over top of the dough. 
Important to remember:  This is a very soft dough, you will need to simply proceed with the directions, knowing that all will turn out as promised.

Turn the dough over in a tossing gesture, to gently coat with flour. Roll/pat dough out into a flat rectangle 
about 1/2 inch thick.

Spread with the filling, to within 1 inch of the perimeter of the dough. You will want the outside edges free from the filling, so that you can keep the filling in the dough together before cutting.

3 T melted butter
6 T sugar
3 t cinnamon
3 T brown sugar
Combine to make a spreadable paste.

Starting on the long side, roll up the dough.

Cut the rolled up dough into 12 equal pieces.

 I prefer to work in sections, I divide into four sections, then cut 3 rolls from each section.

Because the dough is soft, it may not keep a pretty shape, again do not worry. Simply proceed to cut each section and place the dough rolls into the pan.

Place in a prepared 9X13 pan. Cover again and let rise until doubled, 45 - 60 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool. Glaze if desired.

1/2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 t milk
1/4 t vanilla
1 t butter
Beat until smooth, spread lightly over cooled rolls.


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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Stocking from felted wool sweater - part 1

One of my fun things to do is shop thrift stores. I do this for amusement and to find the unexpected treasure. I also save some money when I can find what I need. But usually I shop for fun and to find raw materials. Now you might be asking what exactly is raw in a thrift store.

For me raw materials are goods that can be used for other purposes. Yes I do re-purpose the item, but that is a fairly new word and I am but an old grandma, so I usually fall back on my upbringing and use the  expressions from those formative years.

Always always always I search out cookbooks and kitchen goods. You just can't have too many kitchen goods to play with, especially a specialty pan that you did not want to pay full retail for. And cookbooks, well I have displayed my love for them here with my cookbook list.

But today I will share my second favorite, wool sweaters. They are harder and harder to find, but when I do, I felt them in a (very) hot water wash. The old jokes about the sweater fitting before it was washed, are actually true, if you used hot water. The fun thing about the wool sweaters is that usually the designs are masculine and therefore make a wonderful Christmas stocking for that special man in you life.

It is easy, come and take a look...........

1. Find a wool sweater: I always check the label if I am unsure. Some of the new acrylics have a wool feel to them and of course will not "felt" in hot water.

2. Wash the sweater, use the hot water setting on your washer.

3. Dry the sweater, again use the hottest setting on your dryer.

You should now have a sweater that has a thick felt quality to it, like this one.........

4. Grab a sock and simply cut around it in an exaggerated pattern.

You do want this on the large side, after all it will hold wrapped goodies on Christmas morning. The remainder of the sweater will not go to waste, there are always things to do with thick durable fabric.

5. Stitch a blanket stitch around the outside of the cut out sock. I used a 1/4 inch depth to the stitch. And I chose to run a blanket stitch around the perimeter twice for strength. I am using black (heavy duty) button thread.

Next we will decorate and add a hanging loop,

but that will be part 2.

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

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pretzel Toffee, Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will can also view it here in the archives, Sunday March 27, 2011.

I am a real sucker for the sweet/salty combination. If you are, you must make this. Or at least remember this recipe, for those times when you need a treat, a gift for others, or a project to work on with someone special.

Me and pretzels go way back, I eat them often. I offered this delicious Roasted Pretzels snack some time ago. So falling hard for this pretzel toffee, was very easy!

Pretzel Toffee
adapted from: My Kind of Cooking

small twist pretzels, a 9oz bag will be more than plenty
1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
2 c chocolate chips, a 12 oz bag

Line a 10X15 inch jelly roll pan with foil. Cover the surface of the foil with pretzels, leaving no empty spaces. Set pan aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium size sauce pan, melt butter, stir in sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, allow to boil 2 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to keep a bubbling boil. Do not cook longer than the 2 minutes.

This is the boiling stage you want to maintain for the 2 minutes.

Pour butter mixture evenly over the pretzels, carefully place pan into the oven. Bake 7 - 10 minutes.

Check after 5 minutes to make sure the sugar mixture is not getting too dark around the edges.

Remove from oven, sprinkle chocolate chips over the surface.

Let stand 10 minutes, carefully spread chocolate over surface of the candy.

Let cool, then refrigerate to chill. This will assist in breaking the toffee into pieces.

Break toffee, place in decorative bowl and watch the compliments come your way. This is seriously good!

As always thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!