Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Menu Finalized

I have a lot to be thankful for these past couple of days.

We spent the weekend doing all the shopping and running around for the Thanksgiving Basket Distribution for the food pantry.  We did not have to purchase 1 turkey...they were all there is something for which to give thanks.

On Monday, with the help of many wonderful people, I spent the day distributing the baskets.  We were able to provide complete Thanksgiving dinners for 41 families!!  For this, I give thanks.

Yesterday I spent finalizing our Thanksgiving Menu and doing the shopping for our dinner in the morning.  In the afternoon I was able to sneak in a hair color (for which I am extremely thankful) and then we picked up Mom Klik and went to the Fox Theatre to see Celtic Thunder.  We had never seen them before and all I can say is WOW!!!  I am sharing this video so that you can hear for yourself why I am so thankful to have gone to see them and to spend a special night with Mom Klik.

Today will be spent baking and cooking and preparing whatever I can so that the load is lightened for tomorrow.  There is nothing else on the schedule today for which I am extremely thankful.  

Here is my menu for Thanksgiving Day....pretty traditional and nearly the same as last years menu and the years before that.  I pray that you and yours have a very magical and wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Pitas for SRC

I am very excited to share this month's Secret Recipe Club reveal with you.  What is Secret Recipe Club, you ask? is just the greatest club in the world.  There are over a hundred bloggers who love food and love to cook in this club.  Each month we are given a mission to spy on another blogger and learn about them.  While doing so we go into their recipe file and (this is the hard part) pick one recipe that we want to make.  Then on reveal day we share whose blog we had and what one recipe, out of the plethora of great recipes, we decided to make.  You can learn more about SRC right here and you can join SRC right here.

This month I was assigned Nicole of Hapatite.  Nicole currently lives in the DC area but her heritage is Cherokee, Chinese and German.  Culturally she tends towards Hawaiin which is where her father's family hails from.  Can you imagine how wonderful the recipes are on her site with the fusion of all these different cultures and you can' can't even just go on over there and check it out.  You are in for a treat!!

So many recipes caught my eye on Nicole's blog that I have a list a mile long of recipes I want to make including her Spinach Artichoke Dip and the Peach Lacquered Chicken Wings.  Both of these are definitely going on appetizer tables this Holiday season.  Nicole also has some fabulous desserts but I will let you go check those out yourself so that this narrative doesn't go on for days and days!

I finally settled for a dinner recipe using pork because I wanted to empty my freezer of last years harvest before these current little guys take up residence.  I love Greek food or any food from the Mediterranean for that matter, so the Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki started jumping up and down, waving it's hands and saying "pick me, pick me" so I did.

And I am soooooooo glad because this dish was delicious!!!  I made a few, very minor changes.  I used sweet onion instead of red onion because that was what I had on hand and left the skin on the cucumber instead of peeling it.  I cut the recipe to only serve 2 people, I used my flexible fire wire instead of wooden skewers and grilled pitas instead of naan.  This recipe is definitely a keeper!!

I put mine on my plate and drizzled them with the tzatziki.

Frank put down a pool of tzatziki and placed the pork on top.
After the first couple of bites he drizzled more on top.


Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki

1 lb pork loin, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. finely chopped sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 t. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. Greek yogurt
1/2 English cucumber, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 piece pita bread per person

Place 1/2 c. olive oil, onion, 2 garlic cloves, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper in a plastic bag that seals.  Squish around until well blended.  Add pork loin cubes.  Shake until completely covered with marinade. Remove air from bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients to make tzatziki sauce.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve Souvlaki.

Place marinated meat onto skewers and grill over med high heat for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.  While pork is resting, brush each side of the pitas with olive oil and grill until lightly browned and heated through.  Serve Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Pitas.  Print Recipe

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preparing to Give Thanks

I wasn't sure how I wanted to mark place settings this year.  I always like to use something that the guest can keep.  I have used wooden pumpkins, little frames hanging from a vase containing a rose, wine glasses, chocolate covered eggs and cookies  in the past year that I have been blogging.  Prior to that I have used wine markers, ornaments, potted plants, little books, get the idea.

Then yesterday morning we stopped for breakfast before our shopping extravaganza and while waiting to be served Linda and I walked next door to Miles Candy and Cake supply store.  I love this store and Linda had never been there....she loves it now too.  While there I spied some cute little turkey candy molds, so this morning I am making candy turkeys that I am going to place in little cellophane bags with the guests names written upon them.  One chore done and tons more to go.  I will get more serious about my preparations after the Basket Distribution tomorrow.

Aren't they cute?
I considered doing the tail feathers in all different colors.
For about a second and a half.
Then I came to my senses.

Slipped 2 into each bag lined with parchment so the name will show up.

I'm heading over to share this at the Inspiration Monday Party. Come along with me and share what inspires you as you find some inspiration.  Then join me at Simple Supper Tuesday and we will party some more!!

Petoskey and Pine

Our daughter, Nicole, and Son in Law, Pierre, have started a new business.  They make the most wonderful soaps and candles and now they have added lip balm to their products.  I cannot wait to try it.

I wanted to share their facebook page with all of you today.  They are making up gift boxes and I think they are just gorgeous.  You can learn more about it at

Photo: The business is almost there. This is a taste of what we're bringing. This is a gift box designed with 2 soaps, a soy candle, and an all natural lip balm. Perfect for the holidays!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Singing Saturday...

This was a very busy but productive day.  We spent all morning shopping and lugging food for the Thanksgiving Basket Distributions.  Then we had to be at Mass at 4 pm as the choir was singing. After Mass the Benda's, who spent the day doing all of the running around with us, came back to enjoy dinner with us.  I had my soup I shared with you yesterday and Linda brought a delicious dish. I can't remember what she called it but it was like a gourmet version of Salisbury Steak.

Tomorrow is a free day YAY!!!  Even better, I get to take care of my Little Miss Melody while Mommy and Daddy have a movie date.  I cannot wait....I have not seen her since Tuesday, almost an entire week!!  I am suffering baby withdrawals LOL.

Speaking of is my baby being serenaded by her Daddy.  It makes her very happy.  It makes her Mommy very happy can hear her giggling in the background.

It makes my heart sing....knowing that my baby is loved so very much by so very many people!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Week Menu is already time for Thanksgiving.  Time just flies around this household.  I will be spending this weekend shopping, lugging and packaging for the Food Pantry Thanksgiving Distribution on Monday.

So I am posting this Weekly Menu today instead of tomorrow and I am also making my Chicken Wild Rice Soup for tomorrow today and then will just be able to reheat it when we are done running around.

This is an easy and delicious soup that I got from one of those little cookbooks you find at the grocery store checkout many years ago.  Probably Pillsbury but I cannot guarantee that since I had removed the page and threw out the book itself.  There is no acknowledgement on the page itself but the original recipe calls for "Maggi" and "Carnation" brands so this was put out by whichever company owns those trademarks.  On this same page was a recipe for Pumpkin Corn Muffins that sounded delicious so I threw a pumpkin in the oven as well so I could make these to go along with the soup.

Here is my adaptation of both recipes.

After preparing the soup I transferred it to the crock of my slow cooker.
This will make for easy reheat tomorrow while we are doing our errands.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

1 box (6 oz) long grain and wild rice mix, prepared per package directions.
2 T. Olive Oil
1/2 lb chicken breast meat cut into bite size pieces
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 c. water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 T. dry white wine, if desired
1/4 t. dried tarragon, crushed
1/4 t. dried thyme, crushed
1 can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk (I use low fat)
2 T. cornstarch

Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  Add the chicken, mushrooms, onions and garlic.  Cook until vegetables are tender.  Add the rice, water, bouillon cubes, wine and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Mix a small amount of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl.  Reduce heat and add the cornstarch mixture, along with the remaining milk.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Print Recipe

Pumpkin Corn Muffins

2 eggs
1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. canola oil
1 1/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1 c. corn meal
1/3 c. sugar
4 t baking powder
pinch of salt

In bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat the eggs, pumpkin, milk and oil until well combined.  Turn off mixer, add dry ingredients, turn mixer to lowest speed until dry ingredients are incorporated then turn mixer speed slightly higher and mix thoroughly.  Scoop into muffin cups lined with paper cups or sprayed with baking spray.  Bake at 375* for 25 minutes.  Print Recipe

I will be publishing photos and recipes throughout the week so please join us each day and on Monday you should stop by MPM for great menu ideas from hundreds of bloggers.

Soup Saturday
Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Pumpkin Corn Muffins

Mashed Potatoes

Meatless Monday
Butternut Squash Ravioli

Out to dinner with Mom Klik before the Theatre

Chicken and Broccoli Pie

I will be posting my menu for Thanksgiving Day this weekend.

Leftovers, of course

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hot Tamale....on a cold winter's night

Choir was canceled tonight so we are home in our nice cozy house, sipping on Frank's Fantastic Margaritas and eating our Tamales and Refried Beans doctored up with my homemade salsa.

These tamales are probably not traditional.  I used chicken thighs instead of pork and I didn't really have a recipe, or rather I had about 5 recipes that I read over and then I did what I wanted LOL.  Here is what I ended up with when all was said and done.  I have amended my recipe to lower the amount of sugar you should add because while ours were very tasty they were a little on the sweet side for me. Frank, however, thought they were perfect so adjust yours to your taste.

Once you make the filling and soak the corn husks, place a dollop in the middle and fold it into a neat little package.

Place a couple of open corn husks on the bottom of the steamer.
Then add a single layer of your packages, seam side down.
You will add another layer of corn husks and top with a second layer of packages. 
Cover and Steam for an hour.

Remove to a platter and serve.

Open the packages and remove the tamale to your plate, discarding the husk.

Chicken Tamales

2 c shredded cooked chicken ( I boiled up 4 thighs until tender and shredded them)
1/2 c. diced onions
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. fresh Oregano or 1 t. dried
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
juice from 1/2 small lime
Salt and pepper to taste
20 Dried corn husks, soaked in warm water for half an hour
3/4 c. butter at room temperature
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
large pinch of salt
1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. Masa Harina (Corn Flour)

In a large saute pan, cook onions in oil until tender.  Add garlic, oregano and jalapeno.  Cook over med heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, stir an bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.  Place into a food processor and puree until smooth.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale yellow.  Add egg, salt and baking powder and mix to incorporate.  Add the Masa Harina and the tomato puree and mix until well blended and smooth.  Stir in chicken.

Place a dollop of filling inside each corn husk and fold over each side lengthwise and then each side width wise making a little package. Place the packages in a steamer lined with corn husks in a single layer.  Once the steamer is filled, place additional corn husks on top of the packages and layer the remaining packages.  You can repeat this as many times as necessary depending on the size of your steamer.

Place steamer over 2" of boiling water, cover and steam for 1 hour, adding water as needed.  Print Recipe