Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fudgy Peppermint Bundt for #BundtBakers

It is time once again for #BundtBakers.  This is a fun group of people who get together each month and share bundt cakes that we have made or created based on a theme chosen by our host.  Our host this month is Laura of  The Spiced Life.  Lauren is a SAHM who, like me, loves to cook and bake and blog about it.  Also like me she lives in the middle of nowhere.  It takes us both about 45 minutes to get to what Lauren calls "civilization" and what I call the "rat trap".  We are neighbors, Lauren lives in Ohio but bleeds Maize and Blue for my State's Wolverines....so you know right there that she has excellent taste LOL.  To further prove her excellent taste Lauren chose "Mint" as this month's Christmassy theme.  Thanks Lauren, for hosting us this month.  We know it is a lot of hard work and we appreciate it.



This month's timing was perfect for me because over the weekend we celebrated Mom's 94th Birthday.  This Fudgy Peppermint Bundt was perfect as Mom's birthday cake.  I also made some Fudgy Pepperming Cupcakes to go along with it since all the great grandkids were there to celebrate with Great Grandma.  Guess who else showed up?   The old man himself....Santa Claus.....he comes each year to help Mom celebrate.



I found this recipe for Fudgy Peppermint Bundt Cake on Pillsbury. com.  I decided this would make a great cake for Mom's 94th Birthday Party.

Then, as we were getting ready for the party we ran into several road blocks that you can read about here.  So when I went to the grocery store to get everything I needed for the party, I came across this cake mix with the fudgy center included.  So in the interest of time and my sanity, I picked up 2 packages.  One that I made into a bundt and the other that I made into cupcakes for Mom's great grandchildren.  I added peppermint extract to the fudgy filling and I made a glaze to go over the bundt and frosting to go onto the  cupcakes.  Then I sprinkled them all with some crushed candy canes.



I am almost embarrassed to put the recipe on here but since that is the whole point of #BundtBakers, I guess I have no choice.

Fudgy Peppermint Bundt Cake 
adapted from Pillsbury

1 pkg. Fudge Truffle cake mix and ingredients called for on the package
1/2 t. peppermint extract
2 oz. cream cheese
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 T. milk
1 candy cane, finely crushed

Make the cake mix according to package directions.  Make the filling according to directions adding the peppermint extract along with the wet ingredients.  Bake as directed on package.

When cake is cool.  Mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk.  Drizzle over the top of the cake.  Sprinkle with the crushed candy cane.  Print Recipe

Make sure you stop by and see what everyone else found to share for this Minty Christmas Challenge!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Another gift of wine

We must be winos oenophiles.  We recieve lots of wine as gifts.  Nearly everyone that comes to our parties, arrives with a bottle to present as a hostess gift.  We often recieve very nice bottles of wine from family and friends for special occasions.  We have been given gift certificates to stay at wineries that have inns or B&B's.  We have been gifted corkscrews, wine stoppers, wine glasses, wine markers, ornaments depicting wine, tiles depicting wine, books about wine, magazines about wine. We are collectors of all things wine....except for wine itself.  It never lasts long enough to become a collection!!

oe·no·phile
ˈēnəˌfīl/
noun
  1. a connoisseur of wines.

Wino is a slang term for a person who drinks excessive amounts of wine.

Hmmmmmmm, I guess it's going to depend on who you ask LOL!!

We were very excited when we found out a couple of weeks ago that our daughter, Nicole, was moving back to Michigan from Florida.  We were even more excited when she ws sent home for a few days this week in order to find a place to live when she is transferred back.  We didn't think we were going to get to see her at all over the holidays and were going to try to fly to see her in January but now she will be home the first week of Feruary!

She and Pierre took time from their house hunting to meet us for lunch on Monday.  After lunch, we exchanged gifts and one of the gifts they presented to us was a wonderful selection of Bordeaux Wines from 6 different wineries, all of which are Gold Medal winners.  We usually drink California Cabs so having all these wonderful French Bordeaux is a real treat.  I cannot wait to do some Food and Wine pairing with them!!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Try it Tuesday Turkey Meatloaf ala A Christmas Story for Food n Flix

Our Food n Flix feature to watch this month was the very apropos "A Christmas Story".  This is not one of my favorite Christmas movies but I had watched bits and pieces of it and had laughed out loud at it so I was not disappointed with the choice and actually looking forward to watching it in it's entirety.


Food‘nFlix


Our host for this month is Heather of Girlichef.  Heather attended Michigan State which is where our eldest daughter began her college career later switching to Walsh College of Business.  Heather is very passionate about food.  I agree with her that it encompasses all of your senses and fulfills you body, mind and soul.  Thanks, Heather, for hosting this month and picking such a fun movie to share.


This movie was about a family in the 40's  with a Dad who appearred gruff but wanted nothing more than his family's happiness.  A mom who worked hard to keep them all happy and worried continuously about their well being and two kids who as kid's are apt to do....mess up occasionally and want all their Christmas Dreams to come true.

The narrator of the story, 9 year old Ralphie, dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and his Dad makes sure that dream comes true.  Ralphie runs out to try his new gun and breaks his glasses.  When he comes in with a marvelous story to tell his mother, the back door is left open and dogs come into the kitchen and eat the Turkey that was planned for Christmas dinner.  The family ends up at a Chinese restaurant where they are presented a roasted duck, Chinese style with the head still attached.  When the owner sees that this upsets them, he disposes of the head by cutting it off....right at the dinner table.

There were many family meals in this movie, breakfast featuring oatmeal. Dinner featuring meatloaf, mashed potatoes and red cabbage.  In fact, I think they had meatloaf and red cabbage nearly every night LOL.  Christmas Eve dinner was, of course, suposed to be Turkey but ended up being Chinese dinner in a restaurant.  Life was good though because, after all, Christmas is about love and being with family and that was exactly how it turned out.

I decided to go with the Meatloaf theme because it's December.  Life is busy.  Food is plentiful and fancy.  Not to mention rich and calorie laden.  So the thought of a homey, comfort dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes appealed to me.  And we like red cabbage around here so I made that too.  You can find my recipe for Sweet and Sour Cabbage here.



I chose to make a turkey meatloaf to try to make it a little healthier but, hey, it is meatloaf after all, not salad LOL.  But it made a wonderful, cozy meal to relax and enjoy during all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.



The meatloaf recipe is adapted from one by Ina Garten as in the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  I cut down the ingredients quite a bit because Ina's served 10 people and called for 5 lbs of meat.  I usually allow 1/3 lb of meat per person and we were feeding 6 of us so I used 3 lbs of meat and will have leftovers.  I also did not read the recipe completely before starting it so I did not saute the onions first. I was out of chicken stock so I moistened it with water and instead of topping it with ketchup I used some Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup that was in my fridge.  It turned out wonderfully.



Turkey Meatloaf
Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

3 lbs. Ground Turkey
1/2 of a med sweet onion, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 t. dried thyme, crushed
2 T. worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. water
1 t. tomato paste
1 c. dry bread crumbs
2 eggs
3/4 c. Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup (or regular ketchup)

Combine all ingredients except ketchup, mixing thoroughly.  Press into an 8" x 4" cake pan. Spread Not Ketchup or Ketchup on top and bake at 325* for 1 1/2 hrs or until an internal temperature of 160* is reached.  Print Recipe









3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap

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This year I joined with Julie of White Lights on Wednesday for her Annual Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap.  In this swap we are assigned a partner.  We send our partner one of our tried and true cookie recipes and they return the favor.  We make the recipe that we receive and blog about it.  All of the blogs, from all of the participants, are then linked together for one big Cookie Party.

I was assigned Nina of Crazy for Cookies and More.  Pretty lucky to be assigned a blogger who named a her blog about being crazy for cookies, wasn't I?  Well, my luck did not stop there!!  The recipe that Nina chose to share with me was one that she created for a contest at her County Fair scoring a runner up ribbon in 2011. Like I said....it was a lucky day when I was given Nina as a partner in this swap.  Make sure you stop by her site and check out all the wonderful recipes.  This was not the only recipe that has won for Nina, she has several!!

I shared with Nina my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Blossoms that I created for #PumpkinWeek this year.  I hope she enjoys them as much as we did.

Looking over the recipe, I could immediately see why Nina's cookie placed in the competition.  They are filled with coconut, white chocolate chips, toffee bits and pecans.  Doesn't your tummy growl just reading that??

I made these cookies with a few slight adaptations.  The original recipe called for a small package of Coconut Cream Instant Pudding.  I couldn't find any at my local grocer but I did find a "Mounds" Instant Pudding (Dark Chocolate with Coconut) that I substituted with great results.  I also omitted the nuts...I love them but Frank doesn't care for nuts in his cookies so in the interest of marital harmony I left them out.  Other than those minor changes I made the recipe as written and all I can say is that I am surprised that it only won runner up because these are definitely First Place, Blue Ribbon Worthy Cookies.  In fact, that is what I am naming them!!


Frank enjoyed some cookies and milk when he came in from putting up Christmas lights.
These cookies are like eating a little piece of heaven.


A dozen got packaged up for Tingting to take home with her.
The rest went into my Christmas Cookie Jar.


Little Miss Melody says "Hey, wait a minute, I don't want to wait until next year to eat cookies!"
Thank you so much Nina, for the wonderful recipe.
I think they are going to make frequent appearances in our kitchen!!


Blue Ribbon Worthy Cookies
adapted from White Chocolate, Coconut, Toffee Cookies by Crazy for Cookies and More

2 1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 sm pkg Mounds Instant Pudding
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
3/4 c. shredded coconut
1 (11 oz) bag white chocolate chips
1 (8 oz) bag toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350*.  Sift together flour, soda and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.  In large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars.  Beat in the instant pudding.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture until combined. Turn speed to low and stir in the coconut, white chips and toffee bits.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire rack for cooling.



Monday, December 15, 2014

Thank God for Chiropractors!!

Let me just do a shout out here to all the Chiropractors in the world.  You got love people that can take a person who practically crawls into their office in pain, spends 10 minutes with them and they walk out with a spring in their step!!!  I am so much better!

This week is already much, much better than last week. The party yesterday was a great success.  I can move YAY.  We got to have lunch with Nicole and Pierre today and they will be moving back permanently the first week of February. Chuck arrives home tomorrow afternoon.  Our friend, Steve, came over and tuned our piano.  I went to the library and got this month's book for Cook the Books Club.   We had wonderful Vegetable Quesadillas for Meatless Monday.   And to start your week off with a smile, I am sharing the recipe.  You're Welcome.


Saute the veggies of your choice.
Place a whole wheat tortilla on the grill.
Place some cheese on it and then pile the veggies on top.
Place another tortilla on top and cook until golden brown and cheese is melted.
Flip over and brown other side.


Enjoy with sour cream and/or salsa.

Vegetable Quesadillas

1/2 of a small sweet onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
vegetables of your choice, I used mushrooms, brocolli and roasted red peppers
1 T. olive oil
2 whole wheat tortillas per person
1/2 c. shredded mexican blend cheese per person
sour cream and salsa, if desired

Saute onions, garlic and vegetables in olive oil over med high heat until tender.  Place a tortilla on a grill heated to 375* or in a skillet over med high heat.  Sprinkle with cheese and sauteed vegetables. Top with a second tortilla.  Cook until cheese melts and bottom turns golden, flip and cook until other side turnds golden. Print Recipe

Sharing this recipe at Simple Supper Tuesday.  Stop by and find a lot more easy and delicious meals.



Happy 94th Birthday Mom!!

Mom turned 94 on Saturday.  I did not get a chance to see her on her birthday but we were there the evening before to deliver her gift from Larry and Mary,   We got there at 6 pm.  Her nurse, Chantelle, told us she had already gone to bed for the night.  Chantelle said she had actually gone to bed before dinner but she got her up and she ate very well and then she went back to bed.  We went to Mom's room but she was MIA. We, of course, found her in Harriet's room.  We all went back to Mom's room and Mom opened her present at which time she looked at Harriet and said "Don't think you are getting any of these either"!!  We have photos on Frank's cell phone however we have emailed it to me 3 times and it will not send it so you will just have to imagine Mom in her nighty with a sweater trying to hoard a tower of goodies!!

Lo and Behold when I awoke the following morning the photo that was lost in space appeared about 4 times LOL.  So I am sharing it with you now.



On Mom's actual birthday I was busy getting ready for her party that was held here yesterday.  It was quite the debacle around here as I had strained my back and was having a very difficult time moving but the party was a great success and we had a lot of fun.  This was Mom's first trip back home here since she moved in June.  She said "Oh is this your new house?  I like it".  She lasted about 3 hrs before she was ready to leave and she had a great time.





Secret Recipe Club Cookie Carnival



Our Secret Recipe Club normally assigns two groups to November and two groups to December during the holidays so that the bloggers do not get overwhelmed with the busyness of the season. 
This is a very nice and thoughtful gesture but some of us (me) find our time in the kitchen relaxing during the hustle and bustle of the season and did not want to miss a month of SRC.  So the powers that be (Sarah) had mercy on us and went through the trouble of putting together a special SRC edition of just Cookies.  I told you this was the best club in the world!!

This is just like a regular SRC in that we are given a blogger to spy on and steal a recipe from but this time we can only steal cookie recipes.  I was assigned Sarah, of The Pajama Chef.  Sarah is a librarian by trade and loves to bake.  I was very lucky to get her blog because her earliest memories are of baking Christmas cookies with her grandma.  Perfect when you are assigned a sneaky cookie challenge.  Sarah also loves to run which explains how she can love cookies and still look like a million bucks. 

Sarah had nearly 25 different cookie recipes in her recipe file.  I got a sugar rush just reading them all!  I am sure that I am going to go back soon and try the Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies and the Peppermint Sugar Cookies but for today's challenge I chose her Classic Sugar Cookies.


I had bought a Snowflake Cookie Cutter and then received this great gift from OXO in response to another cookie swap that I joined.So I was looking for a rolled cookie recipe and this sounded like it would be perfect for the job.  This was Sarah's mom's recipes and we all know that you cannot go wrong with a recipe from mom.  


And this recipe did not disappoint.
I divided the dough into 2 sections, flattened them into discs and refrigerated.
Took out the discs, one at a time, rolled them out on parchment.
I use parchment instead of a floured surface so the cookies don't get tough.
The cookie dough was very stiff for a couple of minutes but became nice and pliable as I worked with it.


I cut my sugar cookies pretty thick and they still baked to perfection in the time written.


One or two broke as I was removing them to the cooling rack.
That meant Frank and I had to eat them.....DANG!!!!
They were delicious, even without the frosting.
A perfect butter cookie.


Sarah included a frosting recipe with her cookie recipe, however I used this one as I had used it in the past with good results.


Classic Sugar Cookies
slightly adapted from The Pajama Chef

3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. butter, softened
3 T. heavy cream
1 egg
1 t. vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar, gradually add flour and baking powder until incorporated.  Add egg, vanilla and cream mix until soft dough forms.  Divide dough in half and flatten into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake but at least for one hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375*.  Remove one disc at a time from the refrigerator.  Place the disc upon parchment paper and roll to desired thickness.  Cut into desired shapes and place on a cold, ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.  When cool decorate as desired.

Unfortunately, for some reason my link up to the other cookie blogs will not work so please go here to get a complete listing of the cookies and recipes.