Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day... and a Giveaway!


How could you not want to celebrate St. Patricks' Day? It's such a happy occasion that we all can share...no matter what nationality, color, or religion you are, especially here, in the United States, in every state. It is one ethnic holiday, that everyone can agree on. So, let's honor the Irish, their celebration, and join in the fun.

For today, I made a special brunch, just for myself...I owe it to myself to eat healthy, and enjoy this beautiful day, and be grateful for the "little things" in life! I found these adorable cocktail, hand painted glasses for $.99 each, at my local Goodwill store, and I thought it would be cute to use it for the special day, with a light dessert, of vanilla pudding...no, not exactly home made, but not the instant kind...you actually have to cook this; I doctored it up a little, using about a 1/2 cup of heavy cream, to the 2 1/2 cup milk, and added 1 teaspoon vanilla extract at the end. I also melted down some semi-sweet chocolate chips, with about 1Tablespoon heavy cream, to drizzle on some of the most amazing fresh sliced kiwis, and layered some of the melted down chocolate, to layer on some of the others. So, I had a total of 3 glasses of this yummy dessert (the fourth glass broke: sadly, when I brought it home, and dropped the bag)

My family loved this ( I did not have any, just "test tasted"..he, he, really true) This dessert is not only light, but pretty, and really satisfies the "sweet tooth" and if you put it in a pretty glass dish, they will think you slaved away on this...Not!  So, get your best green shirt out, perhaps a "green glitter top hat"...join your local parade, go out, and have some fun!

May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a Song
in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the People you Love.

Wearing Green Around the World

Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia.
In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Last year, close to one million people took part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Angel Food Cake and an Award for Angels

While I realize this is not Spring or Summer...but after all, this is South Florida, and we cannot deny how blessed we are, not to be trying to dig ourselves out of the snow, being stuck in our homes, or even worse, stranded on the highway because of the impossible driving conditions. I feel for all of you, who are in this situation. Almost hate to say..."been there, done that"...when our last snow storm in the seventies while still a very young couple, me still in my early twenties... with a tiny toddler, less than 2yrs old... visiting my aunt and uncle for the Christmas holidays, glorious Florida sunshine, and 75 degrees in December...pure heaven! Returning back to Cleveland to the snowstorms...at that point, we decided...
Florida, "here we come!"...and made the big move!...so, the rest is history!...over 35 years in the tropical climate, and would not change 1 minute of it, except for a "White Christmas."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas to all!

You might find this decoration "weird, or silly" but I think it's really chic, and festive. Since I don't have any foods to post, after the last two days of spending time with my granddaughters, and helping out my daughter with last minute shopping, this is all I have to show for my Christmas decoration, which is my "smart" thrift find, that I'm posting...after all this blog is called "food and thrift finds"...so I'm showing off my silk plant, which I bought at Goodwill, like new, and so perfect, for $3.99, the whit lights were $1.99, the pretty dark blue liqueur glasses, with the wrought iron case, $2.99, and last, but not least, the pretty cobalt blue vase, that I filled with our local sea shells, $2.99...so, just think, under $15.00 for all. Actually $12.00. Can't beat that, and it's so enjoyable!
My amazing kitty Prince,...little old, and wise guy, almost 18 yrs. old. I took this photo, in pitch dark, and turned out so nice. He is a Maine coon, with the longest legs I have ever seen on any cat. So sweet, and protective, my little alarm clock, every morning at 7:00AM!
Today, we went to City Place, in West Palm Beach...a magical city, within a city. Very popular place where everyone goes, and meets. Full of shops, and restaurants, and they actually are surrounded by condos, that people own, or rent. Oh so beautiful! These poinsettias are found at just about every corner...so Christmasy!
This was an original church from the thirties that is still surviving, and renovated into a theatre. The entire City Place is built around this lovely former church. Every hour, the church bells chime, and the water falls comes on to a wonderful tune...in this case, it's to Christmas carols.
The Christmas tree at City Place is so beautiful at night, all lit up with  lights. Plenty of parking space in the 4 story garage, and on the streets, as well!
Only in Florida, you get to witness something like this...Flip flops, on one girl, and boots on the other. The weather, about in the low seventies!
OK...Last, but not least...Yeahhh1 I just received my awesome giveaway gift, from Veronica, 
The Enchanted Cook. who had a giveaway, and I was one of the winners. Thank you so very much Veronica, and Thank you O for sending this pair of Olive oil, and vinegar combo. So amazing, I can hardly wait to try this pair...so pretty, that I'm almost afraid to open it. Wow!... this is my best Christmas present, ever!
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Goat Cheese with Pistachios, and Cranberries

We had such an eerie week...so glad it's Monday, and in 4 days, Christmas Eve will be here. All last week, my daughter and I were involved with the last of the Christmas presents for our close friends' children, and last of ours, as well. We're still trying to go on with our lives missing Sheryl, knowing how we spent quite a few Christmases together. Her horrific accidental death left such a toll on my daughter-in-law, and son, that it will be such a long healing process. On Saturday, we hosted a memorial for her, at my son's house. Out of respect I only took a few pictures of 2 of my appetizers, and some of the fabulous sweets from Costco.I will share the recipe with you for this awesome cheese ball-which really supposed to be a cheese log, but as usual, I want to adapt it my way.
So, my daughter-in-law requested to make a baked brie, and suggested that I serve it with pepper jelly, which is a great combo with the brie...I suggested to wrap the brie in puff pastry, and just spread the jelly on the top. Not knowing, that there's an actual recipe for it, I proceeded to make it my way, the first thing of course; scraping off the rind from the cheese which comes off so easily, and let the puff pastry thaw out for easier rolling. Also, unfortunately I did not bake it in a high 400 degree temp. I baked it at 350, which is a med. temp. for 35 minutes. Also, I brushed the entire finished crust, before baking it, with an egg wash. Same result, just from memory, of baking with puff pastry. Recipes, to follow!

Goat Cheese with Pistachio, and Cranberries
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine, Nov. 2010

2 tablespoons roasted pistachios, chopped
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
1 8- to 10-ounce log fresh goat cheese
crackers or bread, for serving

On a large plate, combine the pistachios and cranberries.
Roll the goat cheese in the fruit-and-nut mixture to coat. Serve with the crackers or bread.
note: I rolled the cheese into a ball, and then rolled it in the fruit, and nut mixtures. Serves 8

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Baked Brie with Pepper Jelly
adapted from Best Bites

Puff pastry comes with two sheets per box, so remove one sheet and allow it to stand at room temperature for about 40 minutes. Place the remaining sheet in a freezer-safe bag and save it for another use.
When the pastry has thawed, gently unfold it on a very lightly floured surface. If there are any cracks, lightly moisten them and gently press them back together.

Carefully cut the wheel of brie in half lengthwise (it helps if it's cold). Place one half, rind side-down, on the pastry. Spread a layer of pepper jelly over the cheese. Place the other half, rind side-up on the jelly, almost like a brie sandwich (let's not even go there).

If you want, you can spread another layer of jelly on top of the rind.
You'll want 2-3 inches of pastry surrounding the cheese, but any more than that will get bulky, so you may need to trim about 1" of pastry on one or more sides (reserve the scraps for decorations). Carefully wrap the pastry around the cheese, sealing the edges shut so the melted cheese and jelly won't leak out when it's baked.
note:
If you want, you can have a jar of pepper jelly handy so if there isn't enough of that flavor in the baked brie (it actually ends up coming out pretty subtle), you can add a little more. Because it's awesome.

Ingredients, and directions

1 8-oz. wheel of baby Brie
1/2 package puff pastry, thawed for about 40 minutes at room temperature
About 2-4 tablespoons pepper jelly (try to find some without onions, garlic, or other spices; fruit juice is okay; Tabasco is a great, widely available, reliable choice.
1 egg white mixed with about 2 teaspoons cold water
Preheat oven to 400.
Gently unfold the puff pastry sheet, mending any broken spots. Cut the brie in half lengthwise and place one half, rind down, on the pastry. Spread with jelly and then place the other half of the brie, rind up, on the cheese. If necessary, trim the excess pastry and then fold it over the cheese, sealing the edges. If desired, decorate the brie with decorative shapes cut from the excess dough and brush it with the egg white/water mixture
Place the bundle, seam-down, on a lightly greased baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with crackers, bread, and fresh fruit (like strawberries, apples, pears, and grapes) if desired. This is perfect as an easy, elegant holiday appetizer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Risotto with Peas, Zucchini and Saffron

I finally started to take pictures with my new camera, and this is one of the first photos of food...although, my granddaughter already is way ahead of me, while I'm still reading the instruction manual, she not only took photos of the Christmas tree, and decorations, but also made a video, of the tour of their house...LOL.
Here's a fabulous shrimp dish, made by my daughter...cannot take credit for it, but I will post the basic risotto recipe, and the finishing of the shrimp, and veggies.

Basic Risotto

1 cup white arborio rice
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
5 cups hot stock (or water)
1/2 cup white wine (optional)

 Heat olive oil in a heavy non-stick 2-quart pot. Saute onion in oil until translucent. Add rice and stir rice until grains are coated with oil Add wine and stir constantly on medium heat until wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup hot stock or water, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, adding the remaining liquid 1 cup at a time. This rice creates its own creamy sauce; add additional liquid if creamier texture is desired. Remove from heat, stir in cheeses and serve immediately. 
For the shrimp:
Just cook 1 lb.of shrimp-which is peeled, and deveined, tails removed, in small amount of broth, or water, and fold in at the very end, when risotto is done.
For the vegetables:
Sauteed, thin sliced zucchini, and frozen peas, added at the end of cooking the risotto, along with a few strands of saffron.
Very tasty, and yummy!
Today, I was watching my precious little grandson, and could not decide what to make for lunch...well, "lo and behold" mommy always has fresh chicken broth on hand, and marinara sauce, not to mention leftover rice, steamed spinach, and steamed broccoli, which was a side dish the night before. Such a beautiful solution, to Minestrone soup, on a cold, and damp S. Florida day. Always have staples, like canned beans of any kind. In this case, we had the perfect Great Northern beans, which was the best choice, for the soup.

Minestrone Soup
32 oz. of chicken broth, homemade, or canned, or in a 32 oz. carton
16 oz. of Marinara sauce, homemade, or from a jar
2- 15oz. can of Great Northern beans, or (any kind of your choice)
1 15 oz can of dice tomatoes
you can add, leftover broccoli, steamed chopped spinach, or any
other cooked vegetables, ie. carrots, celery, additional beans,
( I added leftover rice, you can add dittalini (tube) pasta, even leftover meatballs
or chopped leftover chicken is good.
All you have to do is add all the ingredients of your choice, together and simmer to
an almost boil, and serve. Really delish! Serves 6.

I kid you not...my grandson had two bowls of this yummy and comforting soup...and after that, had a nice sampling of the Tate's cookies. so crisp, and yummy!
All set for Christmas...all the stocking hanging, and waiting for Santa. Decorated by my 9 year old granddaughter, the mini "Martha Stewart"...and photos done by her, with my new camera...yeahh!...I finally was able to upload them. Now, I'm on my way to take fabulous new photos, and say goodbye to my old camera, of only less than 3 years...sigh...I still like the old 35mm. with the film. I still have my Canon, 1985 model, with all the extra lenses, but it's obsolete for today's use. I even have another one, which is a Nikon, same year. I have close to $1,000.invested in each of the 2 with several lenses, and fancy case, (now, just a memory)

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The "Smiling" Hug (huge) Pot

You may may be wondering what this crazy woman is up to...a  Hug pot?...yet alone, a smiling one?...
(this is a reflection of the corner of the white rimmed stove top...so cool!)well, actually, this is my wonderful turkey leftover resource, a hug pot of turkey broth which I made after Thanksgiving, as a thrifty, and frugal person that I am, living the good life, on the beach, in S.Florida

I could not bare the thought of throwing good leftovers out, when there are so many people in the world, even in this country who go hungry, and not enough food to eat. We have so many things to be thanking God for our everyday life's blessing, and Thanksgiving is the one most important day of them all!

I commented on Chef Dennis at More than a Mount Full post late last night about his amazing, and beautiful Thanksgiving feast, and also his gorgeous Turkey Pot Pie. Left a comment with a "typo" error which I do so often because I type too fast, and have this crazy "gift for gab"...just saying what comes to my mind, and like magic, it's all there in typewritten words, not looking back for goofy and weird mistakes, sometimes!

Just to prove to you, here's the copy and past comment posted to Dennis, but immediately I posted another one correcting it. You have to have enough sense of humor sometimes to laugh at your own self...well, in that case, no wonder I have such happy days, and not be in a "funk". When you learn to laugh at your own self, and not be so self-absorbed, I find that the world looks to me like a happier one, and people will tend to get closer to you, and understand you better. (I've been trying to explain that to my children.)

In the midst of my Smiling Hug Pot, I've decided to post my sweet friend Kavita's rules for the tagging, along with the wonderful bloggers she tagged, including me. I am so honored, once more, or should I say twice more, the first time was from my awesome same name foodie "buddy" Lizzy. As you might as well know, I am Lizzie too, only with a different spelling, which I told Lizzy, from... That Skinny Chick can Bake....you can call me Lizzie, every one else calls me that...close family, friends, and mostly my 4 precious grandchildren...to them, I am NONNA LIZZIE...sounds real nice! 
  
   Here are my sweet friend's Kavita's from... 
  Kavita's Kitchen  questions
1. What is your take on organic food , is it a big deal for you ?  
It certainly is a big deal for me. I feel more assured that it is left natural, without pesticides, that would certainly kill the bugs that attack to fruit or vegetables, but would also harm, and kill humans after a period of time. To me, any homegrown, or private farm grown fruit and vegetables are considered organic. It's so much healthier for you.  
2. Do you time your breakfast,lunch & dinner or eat when you are hungry ? 
 For breakfast, it's mostly oatmeal, and before lunch, some healthy fruit or plain yogurt w/granola, and throughout the day just small portions of healthy things, like fresh fruit, or a smoothie. and for dinner, a balanced meal. I'm not really hungry during the day, and don't nibble on junk food!
 3. What inspired you to write a food blog ? 
It's mostly, not what, but who?...the "what factor" was, that I was no longer working due to my health issues, which is under control, and had time to spare, and the main factor was that my daughter inspired me, to just post about my daily routine, and foods that I prepare. By that time, May, of this year, she already had a food blog, and encouraged me to do a blog too. I wasn't totally sold on it, I was more interested in sharing my "thrift finds"...glad that I added more foods, thanks to joining Foodbuzz!    
 4. You try a new recipe and it does not turn out good,what will you do ?      
Usually, in cooking, I don't follow the recipes, I just need to know the basic ingredients, and I always change it around to my way, adding different ingredients. Just need the idea! As for baking, it has to be more precise...the only recipes that do not turn out are yeast dough breads, or rolls, (which most of the time, I blame it on the yeast, that it wasn't fresh)...LOL..just a big "copout"...in that case, it gets thrown out! 
5. Name three ingredients you consciously avoid or eliminate even when the recipe calls for it ?
The 1st. one is yeast, because I would much rather prefer fresh yeast from a bakery...don't care too much for the powdered yeast. 2nd. is sugar, but I just try to cut down on it, and not avoid it. 3rd. would have to be adding too much butter, to a recipe...in most cases, it would be in desserts, or cakes. As far as food recipes are concerned, there really is not a thing I would avoid, accept in baking.      
 6. Name three things you have to use in most recipes ?  
 Again...I will refer to baking recipes, which would be 1. sugar, 2. butter, 3. eggs. Cannot bake without those three things. There really is no substitute for achieving a beautiful result without those three things.   
 7. How important is eating meals together as a family to you?     
As a kid, growing up, in Ohio, my dad worked two jobs, my mom was a seamstress... always busy sewing clothes for people in our own home, and she only had time to make 1 pot meals, or casseroles, and during the week every one ate at different times. The only day we ate together, was on Sunday. I did not want to carry on that same tradition, and it was very important to me, that with my children, we always have our meals together. This tradition has been carried on by my children and to my little grandchildren.  
 8. You do not like a particular dish at your favorite restaurant,what will you do ?  
 Somehow, that has not occurred in a favorite restaurant, but it occurred in a restaurant, where I haven't eaten before. Just tried to make the best of it, and not go back again...that's all!    
 Thank you Kavita, I will be posting my 8 questions to 8 bloggers, on my next post. Also I have 2 more Lovely Blog Awards to pay forward, and another one from Wendy, at
 Weekend Gourmet which is the Stylish Blog Award to pay forward, which is slightly different.  I already contacted a few people to let them know about awarding them, and will follow through in the next few days.    


Blogger Elisabeth said...
Thank you for sharing your Thanksgiving story and showing off your feast. Everything looks so inviting, and beautiful. So funny about the crostata story...LOL I made a hug pot of turkey broth with my leftover carcass, that I strained and froze in plastic containers. I love your turkey pot pie, will work nice for chicken as well. This is the perfect recipe that I'm looking for, and the crust is Superb!
November 30, 2010 1:27 AM

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cookbook Sundays-Cranberry Oatmeal Walnut Cake


There's been so much going on getting ready for Thanksgiving, and this year it's going to be with two other families and their children. Glad it won't take place in my "shoe box" size beach condo. I actually did get a head start on Cookbook Sundays, thanks to my friend Brenda, from
 Brenda's Canadian Kitchen...who started it. I will link this back to her blog.

This cake is so perfect for Thanksgiving morning with coffee or tea, and it really is from a coffee cookbook, called Coffee Cakes, by Lou Seibert Pappas. it's a 2006 edition, and it's a fairly new book for me that I found about a month ago, at Goodwill for $.79. Originally listed for $18.95. Now, that's what I call a bargain. I may want to start a "giveaway"...because, really, I'm starting to feel guilty for getting all these nice books for "peanuts"...and the rule is at Goodwill, any paper back regardless of the size, is 79 cents, so therefore, I have quite a lot collected, and I've been donating them back, along with a lot of my own that I don't need. I think it would be nice to pass them along to other bloggers that can use them. I will mention about this soon.


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Cranberry Oatmeal Walnut Cake
adapted from Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas

1 1/2 cup quick cooking or old fashioned
rolled oats
2 large eggs
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup whole -wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup (2 ounces chopped walnuts
pecans, or toasted and skinned hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan
(I used a bundt pan)
Spread the oats in a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until
lightly toasted. Let cool.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, brown sugar, and oil together until blended and
stir in the buttermilk or yogurt, molasses, and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, combine flours, toasted oats, baking soda, baking powder,
salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Stir to blend. Add the dry ingredients to
the buttermilk mixture and beat for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Stir in the
cranberries. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Toss the nuts, and remaining 1
teaspoon cinnamon together, and sprinkle evenly on the top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester
inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Cut into squares, or strips.
Serves 12.
Note: I used a bundt pan, and used the 2 teaspoon cinnamon, along with the chopped
walnuts in the batter. Also I used 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour. (did not have
whole-wheat flour on hand. Also, I used a simple sugar glaze, mad with one cup of powdered sugar, and about 1 teaspoon water, mixed to a medium thick glaze, and drizzled the cooled cake with a large spoon.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Carrot Cake

October is such an all time favorite month for everybody. The beautiful fall colors of the season, Halloween of course, but than there are birthdays...and not just any birthday. My granddaughter, the second oldest of my 4 grandchildren Sophia's 9th birthday. I mentioned in my "Tagged" answer that I had to learn from "Betty Crocker" to cook, and I did not mention, also, to bake, as well. At that time, a hundred years ago...(actually, in the seventies)...Betty Crocker recipes were very popular, as were Better Homes and Gardens. Seems like everybody had a cookbook from one, or the other, as I did. This recipe is really so easy, and your family will love this, especially the beautiful fall colors, even in the frosting, which is just a nice creme cheese frosting with a few drops of yellow, and red food color, to make it a pumpkin, orange color, few pieces of M&M's a fancy cake pan, or just one 9" pan, or a spring form pan, will make it fancy looking. So much nicer than a 13x9 which the recipe calls for.

adapted from Betty Crocker
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (I use 1/2 evaporated milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
3 cups shredded carrots (about 5 med. carrots)
do not use pre shredded carrots-they are too thick

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9 8 inch or 9 inch round, or spring form pan, with shortening, or cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat sugar, eggs and vegetable oil with an electric hand mixer till combined for about a minute or 2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, and add them slowly to the wet mixture. Add the milk and vanilla to it, and beat on low, till all combined. Fold in the shredded carrots, and pour batter into pan. Bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees, and lower the temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Check by inserting toothpick into middle of the cake, to see if it comes out clean. Cool completely, before frosting, at least 1 hour.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package 8 oz. creme cheese softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp of milk
(add about 7 drops of yellow food dye and 4 drops of red dye to the milk to make orange color)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and velvety. Frost cake, and immediately chill in freezer for about 20 minutes before decorating.