Friday, December 31, 2010

Chocolate Chip Granola Banana Bread


What better way to end the Old Year,  than to snuggle up with a comfy little throw blanket, watch re-runs on T.V...
or if you're a thrifter like me, get some VCR movies for 69 cents at Goodwill, or if you're lucky, you can get DVD's for $2.99, and get some real good ones, if they're even available. One great VCR movie I still cherish, and like to watch it on New Year's Eve is "When Sally Met Harry" It's from the 80's and I love the 80's classics. There's a quote in there that makes you think,

"What does this song mean? My whole life, I don't know what this song means. I mean, 'Should old acquaintance be forgot'? Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?"

I'm certain this has happened to a few of us, over the course of time..."old acquaintance forgotten"...not by choice, it's just how life takes a different turn. Everybody has something in their life that sometimes they just don't wish to share with others, so they fade away from sight, meaning...they would rather not be "acquainted" with you. I think it has a lot to do with the economy changing, location, jobs, family, relationships, so it's easier for them not to share things with you, or not wanting to divulge information, that might change your friendship...instead, ending it is the better option...sigh!

So, make yourself a nice hot cup of your favorite herb tea, and have a nice piece of banana bread...as for me and my family, I like to add chocolate chips, not just in the mix, but sprinkle them on top of the bread.

Just as with my cheesecake which I have memorized the recipe, which is so basic, so as the banana bread. It turns out perfect every time. You can of course, omit the chocolate chips, and add nuts, and raisins, or dried cranberries,but always add dried fruits, and not chopped fresh ones. The mashed ripe, (not overripe) bananas add the moisture, and any other ingredients other than the chocolate chips, nuts raisins or dried fruits will make it too wet, and it will not rise properly. I added half a cup of granola to it, knowing that it's dry and will even give it a better flavor, and make it healthy.  The baking time is done to a science, I promise you this is another "tried and true" over, and over again recipe. Recipe, to follow!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Comforting Frittata

With Christmas behind us, and leftovers just about gone, too much sweets eaten...a nice comforting vegetarian frittata will not only satisfies your hunger, but you can have your "breakfast, for dinner" as well. How can you go wrong with a perfect blend of sauteed sliced potatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes, and fresh spinach, topping it off with shredded cheese of your choice ( I used, cheddar)...scramble up at least 6-8 eggs, and added all together cooking it on the stove top, making sure you are not scrambling it, just lift a little from the edges to let it cook evenly, and finishing it off in the broiler. Yumm! Something your family will enjoy on a lazy and not much to do, evening.
There's no set recipe for this fritatta, just start out sauteing some chopped onions in about 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, along with about 4 small potatoes peeled and sliced thin, saute until potatoes are almost tender, adding about 1 large or a couple small fresh tomatoes, salt and pepper and a good handful of fresh spinach right into the mixture. Let it all cook together until spinach gets wilted. I even added about 1/4 cup of plain crushed tomatoes, (tomato sauce, marinara sauce will also work) but not tomato paste. To serve 6 servings with this, I scrambled 8 eggs, and poured it right over the vegetable mixture...see photo below!
In this process, all you do is lift a little bit around the edges, not disturbing the rest of the egg mixture, letting the uncooked eggs flow to the edge. 
At this point, you can see the edges setting, but the middle is still kind of wet, so with a wooden spoon, or spatula, carefully make a small incision in the center, tilting the pan from left to right to get to an even flow for setting more.
This may sound like a small "surgery process" or some kind of experiment, but it's just to make sure you have an even, nice, and fluffy frittata. Here's the last process, below!
Last process, I added a 16 ounce bag of shredded cheddar cheese, and a small amount of Mexican style cheese...you can add in place of this, shredded mozzarella, Swiss, or just grated Parmesan cheese. Also, you can variate the vegetables, and the spices, but in this case my grandchildren were eating this, and I had to be careful not making it too spicy for them. You can top this off with a nice salsa, and serve it with crusty bread. This dish served 4 adults, and 4 young children. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Cheesecake, and Christmas Memories

As the year is dwindling down, and Christmas is over, a New Year is awaiting us to start "anew" with a clean slate of resolutions, and promises. Leaving the old year with fond memories, and some sadness...not just what kinds of gifts we got for the holidays, and what parties or events we attended, but thinking ahead for the coming year, of what we can do for each other, to give, and get more BLESSINGS!
After visiting my new and beautiful friend, Jamie's blog @Mangiabella and reading her inspirational posts, and quotes, reminds me, that life is so precious, and that the true joys in our lives are family, and dear friends... let us not forget our faithful pets, and embrace new friends.
I concluded this thought, after leaving Jamie's blog, that:

"Bringing gladness to the hearts of others, and giving of yourself...is the Greatest Gift of All"...(my quote)

So, I will share my most favorite cheesecake of all, that I make, just about for every special occasion...have memorized the ingredients, and method, to the point that this is seriously a "scientific" method, that you must follow, and not sway from it. It's a New York, or should I say New York Style Cheesecake, that can be left simple, without the sour cream topping, which really gives it a more amazing flavor, and dresses it up, but you can do it without it, because you will not see "cracks" on top of the cheesecake...I promise you that. You can dress this cheesecake up for the summer, with a fresh fruit topping, or for the holiday, as I did, with rainbow, holiday sprinkles, and surround them with handmade chocolate pieces that already has sprinkles on it, from your local chocolate shop, as I did. I'm not going into the "song and dance" recipe, to write it down, I will link the recipe back to this summer, when I made it the last time.
I kid you not...this is a "tried and true" recipe, that you will want to follow, to a T! The only important thing is, you should, and must make it the day before, so it will set nicely. Actually, I made this two days before Christmas, and let it chill nicely in my frig.

So, here's the link, and recipe: New York Style Cheesecake

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.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Farfalle with Basil Pesto

There's something about pesto sauce that I really love. Maybe its bright green color, and oh, the aroma of fresh basil infused with imported extra virgin olive oil, the pine nuts, the garlic, just a little whirl in the food processor, and you have a gourmet sauce, that is quick, and delicious. A few shavings of Parmigiana Reggiano, and you have an incredible meal. All you need, is a nice fresh Italian bread, or French baguette, a salad, and you have a gourmet dish, with very little fuss! I used the recipe from the Food Network, but otherwise, I use the same one myself, not know where the original came from.
    
          Pesto Sauce
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (see Cook's Note)

Directions

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.
Adapted from Television Food Network

I decided to remove the second photo of the yummy pesto pasta, so I could include the photo of this year's Christmas tree, at my daughter's house. This year, as in every few years, they put up a live tree, but unfortunately my little 4yr old grandson is allergic to the fresh pine, so he has to take his allergy medicine, which is helping...otherwise they would have to take the tree down before Santa Claus arrives!




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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chili Con Carne and Buttermilk Corn Bread

I had this yummy Chili post up for about 10 minutes earlier, and for some technical problem, lost the entire post...so here I go again, repeating the post, and my recipe.
Also, my apology to Sandra @ Sandra's Easy Cooking for having to remove her kind comment to re-do the post.

As I mentioned earlier, we've been having some pretty chilly weather here in South Florida, as an example, last night the temperature dipped down to 31 degrees and the wind chill made it drop down an additional 10 degrees or more. It was unbearable for the Palm Beaches, but than again, at least we only had to just watch all the snow storm up north.
The best thing to make when the weather is as CHILLY, is to make a nice batch of CHILI...to take the CHILL off.
Wow, it even rimes...chilly...chili...and chill, as long as I get the spelling right, you know what I mean.
Lora @Cake Duchess  has a wonderful recipe called: Grandmother's Buttermilk Corn Bread...no clue as to whose grandmother, but it sure is the best, with real butter, and the buttermilk.
As you can see, I photographed this with my awesome new camera, and this is the actual color, and the moist texture, and also the nice wedges cut, from the cast iron skillet, which it was baked in. If you would like the recipe, you will have to click over to Lora's blog. My recipe for the chili is to follow. It's my very own recipe, and I did not want to even check for references, because I prefer the simple, yet homey and tasty chili, without all the mystery ingredients added to it. This doesn't have any kind of peppers, so the kids won't complain, so it's just the beans, and the meat sauce, with a medium spicy flavor to it.

Chili Con Carne
my own recipe

1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. organic ground beef
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2-15 oz. cans light kidney beans
2-15 oz cans dark kidney beans
2-15 oz cans black beans
1 teaspoon good quality chili powder
(more if you want it spicier)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dry oregano
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Saute onion and garlic in the oil, until it starts to wilt. Add the ground beef, all the spices, and cook until it loses all the pink color, and starts to get brown. Now, add the crushed tomatoes, the Worcestershire sauce, and simmer for about 30 minutes till it gets thick, and the excess liquid starts to evaporate. If it doesn't, you can always ladle out the excess, from the top. At this point you can add all the beans, but drain the liquid from them, before adding them to the sauce. Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and serve with a dollop of sour cream if you like, and some shredded Cheddar, or mixed Cheddar, and Jack cheese.
Very delicious, and filling. Serves 6.

note: You can also make this vegetarian if you omit the ground meat, and follow the rest of the recipe, after sauteing the onion and garlic
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookbook Sundays-Cream Cheese Brownies

For someone who rarely bakes, I must say this decadent brownie turned out super great. When I decide to bake, it has to be either very simple, like chocolate chip cookies, or banana bread, but I couldn't resist making these brownies, because I love chocolate, and so does just about every one else in the family, except my daughter, who can live without it. She's an apple-anything, with apples lover. I found this wonderful book  called, How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman...where else?...but at Goodwill, for $.79. This bright gold color, caught my attention, and I immediately delved into it, grabbing it off the book shelf. This is a paperback, it was and I say, seriously, brand new. I know for a fact that the hard cover book costs $29.99, so the paperback must cost about $10.00 less. What a bargain! I am so happy that I joined Brenda at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen for the Cookbooks Sundays, except, 75% of my cookbooks are collected from my thrift finds, that I should be feeling "guilty" about for finding such treasures, but maybe not so guilty...after all those people that got rid of them had their own reasons. Just like to know what reasons?

So sorry for the inconvenience...I will post the recipe ASAP, just a lot of things going on here!

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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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sweet Potato Latkes and Pickles?

These are the best sweet potato latkes I've made, this year, for the first night of Hanukkah, and my camera went "blank" on me...the screen, just totally gave out. My nine year old granddaughter, (bless her little heart) stepped right in, to take the first shot...and that's the only photo I have of this, while still frying in the cast iron skillet, she took such a nice pic. I finally got my new camera-Canon SX130 IS, which I will be taking my photos of my foods. Gabriella did not waste any time, checking out my camera, while I was still reading the instruction book, she already took such amazing photos of the Christmas tree, and her little brother, and figured out the video. Fort the sweet potato latkes, the real secret to it, as far as I'm concerned, the best way to make it crisp, and not come out soggy, you have to add a couple of Idaho potatoes to it, and make sure, you use matzo meal, instead of flour.

I have been wanting to make my homemade pickles for quite a while now, but not been able to, because I could not find the small cucumbers for pickles. I really like the Kirby brand, but cannot  find them anywhere. While at Costco's, I found a bag of these cute gourmet mini cukes and got all excited, about jarring them...and the jar?...yeahh..."thrift find" a quart size  light blue mason jar, 2 of them, from Goodwill, for $.99. each.
All you have to do is to sterilize the jar in the dishwasher, just run it through a regular wash with the other dishes, prepare the brine= vinegar and water, and pack them tightly in the jar with the boiled water/vinegar, and the herbs. I will post the recipe for the latkes, and the pickles. I also have a Tagging to pass to 15 bloggers., with 7 questions...tthanks to my sweet friend Jo, from Chic & Gorgeous, who passed the tagging to me, last week. So, I'm posting the recipes, and also the tagging.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Not- So Traditional Apple Crisp

If you ever tasted the most delicious apple crisp...this is truly the one. I guaranty you that you will not switch back to the same old...same old. I made this about a month ago, and did not intend to post it on my blog, but now's a good time as any, since my camera broke down, and I will be picking up the new one at my friend's house today. She works at the largest and second favorite department store, Wal-Mart, and passed on her employee discount to me....and not just any discount, but she bought the same camera for herself, and passed both discounts, and that is a huge favor, and present a friend could give to you. I still have quite a few of my little index recipe cards from 20 years ago, before even Windows 95, which was my first computer.

I have cut out this recipe, called Traditional apple crisp from our local Palm Beach Times food section, and carefully glued it onto the index card.The recipe calls for 6 apples, but I only had 4, so I substituted a can of sliced peaches in syrup, and gave it a shot...and you know what? It's the best apple crisp I have tasted so far, and I know for a fact, that there are other versions of this, which I have seen on the food blogs. So here is my adaptation of the recipe.
Not-So Traditional Apple Crisp

1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
cinnamon
1/2 cup (4oz.) butter
4 medium apples
1 15 oz can sliced peaches in syrup
(save 1/2 cup of the syrup)
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Dash of salt

Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in butter, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. Peel, core and slice apples. Fold in the canned, sliced peaches, and add the syrup. Place in a 10 x 6 by 2-inch baking dish, or a square 8x8 dish. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar, sprinkle the crumb mixture  over all. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, or ice cream of your choice. So yummy, and comforting, it is a simple, yet a wonderful easy dessert. Serves 6.





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Friday, December 3, 2010

Cranberry Sauce, and a Stylish Blogger Award

It  is Hanukkah, and it officially started at sundown on Tuesday, and will last for 8 days. We just left Thanksgiving behind, and here comes all the holidays one, and before you know it, it's the New Year.
Well, for Hanukkah, all we do is just keep frying the nice and aromatic shredded potato latkes=pancakes. The best way to do them is to just pass it through the shute of your food processor with the shredding disk, and you'll have a big bowlful to work with, a super messy kitchen, and the aroma of fried potatoes, and onions...and before you know it, your batch of latkes are gonna be eaten up in less than 10 minutes.

Will post some photos about the latkes, my granddaughter took the photos with her camera, mine just totally went blank...no screen. Will be getting my new camera this weekend. A present to myself!

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Herb Biscuits, and a Giveaway Winner!

These herb biscuits were actually made yesterday morning, for Cookbook Sunday, which I did not post, since my mentor Brenda, from Brenda's Canadian Kitchen is vacationing, and celebrating her birthday, in
Las Vegas.
Brenda  is having the time of her life, in Las Vegas, and keeping us posted with such beautiful and envious photos of the places she visited, and having a glorious time.
But in the meantime, her 8 days are almost over, and she will be back continuing her drool worth cooking, and baking....moving on!


WE HAVE A WINNER for the GIVEAWAY!!!

Congratulations, Carolyn.. from. All Day I Dream About Food.  has such a beautiful light, and balanced food blog, with yummy main dishes, like this recent Lemon Tarragon Chicken  Soup and the unforgettable
Pumpkin Bourbon Cheese Cake with a Spiced Pecan Crust.
You gotta check it out, and browse through all her other delicious recipes.

Carolyn is a gracious and lovely lady, who always visits so many blogs, and leaves such upbeat, and kind comments, you can't help but notice. This is what friendship, and support is all about...and not just...me, me, and only me, and myself. I cannot tell you how it irritates me, when you have a friend request on Foodbuzz, and they answer you back, with "don't forget to visit, and follow my blog, etc. etc., or with a "you're welcome"...and nothing else, or better yet: :DITTO...well, ditto to you too, but I don't want to say it, just keep thinking, Ughhh!...OK. that's enough of that, now I sound like an old Yenta!

You are the winner of the Giveaway cookbook. I left you a comment on your blog, and also where to contact me, so I can mail the book out to you, by tomorrow. I know you will love this book or the person you will be giving it to, as a gift.

Thanks to all of you for participating...and thank you, Carolyn, enjoy the book!

I also would like to let all my friends know that I will be giving away more books, since I have such easy access to them at such a ridiculous small price, no more than $3.00 tops, for a book that is worth at least $30.00, and in new condition. Apparently in this area, either people are just buying them and recycling them, or getting them as gifts and not liking them. At any rate we're the winners for being able to acquire such great books.

Again, I bought this book at yet, another thrift store, that is a huge warehouse, and one entire large section, is loaded with all kinds of books, including great cookbooks. I have a photo of this fabulous book section in my previous post about a month or two ago.

This place is called  World Thrift, and here, you can find everything to your heart's desire. Prices are a little higher than Goodwill, but you have a lot more choices. Books range between $.95 to $3.95 for a recently published book....no kidding. Dressed to Grill, is a hard back cover book, with spiral notebook look, inside. It is inspired for single ladies wanting to please their guy. No photos, just cute drawings, and cute, and silly names for recipes.
For instance, this herb biscuits is called: Hey, I bake biscuits, too! This is a 2002 edition, retails, at $16.95, I paid $.95...now how can you not want to buy a great book for 95 cents?

Recipe, for Herb Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp. ice cold unsalted butter cut into
small pieces
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. buttermilk, or plain
yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Scatter the butter over the top. With a pastry cutter, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the pieces are no larger than peas. Add the herbs and buttermilk or yogurt, stirring just to blend. (Handle the dough as little as possible to keep the biscuits, tender and light.)

Turn the dough out unto a lightly floured work surface, then, with your fingertips, (I used a rolling pin) press, or roll into a circle about 1/2 in. thick. Cut 3 inch rounds, (I used 2 /12in.) with a biscuit cutter, or the rim of a glass.
Reshape any remaining dough and cut more biscuits. Place the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. (If making ahead, cover, and refrigerate until ready to pop in the oven.)

Brush the biscuits with olive oil. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
Makes 10 to 12 biscuits. (Incidentally, mine turned out super golden, and flaky.)


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Turkey, and other Goodies

Hi friends... Thanksgiving is over, but the show is not, or should I call it "show and tell?" Anyway, here's the scoop. My son-in-law, the executive chef, and his best friend/neighbor/Vet had this brilliant idea to have 4 families, and 2 sets of grandparents come together, and everyone making something. This was the first Thanksgiving to have all these families, and children eat together under one roof. It was quite an adventure, but lots of great food, and desserts, and lots of fun. (Glad I wasn't hosting it)...anyway, we had two, 20lb. turkeys, this was mine that I made to bring along, with all the trimmings. For that matter, getting up at 6 AM and have the turkey in the oven by 7...luckily all the other thing were done the day before. For that matter, I could've had it in my little condo, but how do I fit 20 adults, and 10 children in? I surely would have the "condo commandos" on patrol and be not only reported, but be "blacklisted"
So, bare with me, while I show off my "dressed bird" at both angles. Got this yummy tender Butterball turkey at Costco a couple days before, and all the other good stuff, including a huge bag of fresh cranberries. Can't beat Costco, that's for sure!

Here's the backside of my beautiful "broad breasted" turkey. It was so tender, melt in your mouth white meat, that my electric knife just would not work slicing it, because it was so moist, and tender, any knife for that matter worked. The stuffing was made from Pepperidge Farm Herb seasoned, from 3, 16ozs. bags...(4 in a huge box) plus half of a huge bag of Nonni's brand of foccacia parmesan croutons. Just simple sauteed mushroom, onions, and celery, and about 1/4 cup of my pecan pesto mixed in their for more flavor. Stuffed the bird, and made a casserole of it on the side. Yumm!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sun dried Tomatoes in Herbed Olive Oil-and a Giveaway!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, all I have to offer at this last couple days, is my sun dried tomatoes, and herbs with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh basil leaves and a teaspoon of my own mixed dry herbs for flavor, packed into a 16 oz. sterilized mason jar, and  refrigerated. Will keep fresh for up to one month, if it's going to last you that long. I always have a case of mason jars, 8 or 16 ozs. on hand, knowing that I will use them for something ie. pesto, herbed olives, jam, or even leftover soup, or sauces.

Sun dried Tomatoes in Herbed Olive Oil


1/2 lb. sun dried tomatoes, just plain-not in olive oil
(can be purchased in your supermarket, or specialty market)
3 cloves garlic cut in half
extra virgin olive oil to fill the jar
1 teaspoon of mixed dry herbs
(I mixed dry pepper flakes, dried oregano, and parsley, along with black pepper,
 and a dash of garlic powder, to make a batch, or use your favorite mix herbs.)
3 large basil leaves torn in half

In a medium saucepan, place the sun dried tomatoes, and the garlic halves, fill with water, just enough to cover the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and turn it off immediately. Let it sit for about 10 minutes off heat, strain all the water, pack the jar with all the listed ingredients, fill to the top with extra virgin olive oil, and refrigerate when it cools completely. You can use it for many uses, as in pasta, pizza topping, or for any recipe that calls for sun dried tomatoes in oil. It's a lot less expensive to make your own, and will taste so exquisite. It also makes a special gourmet gift for someone for the holidays. Just cut a scrap of a holiday paper, or cloth, wrap a pretty bow or holiday string around it, and make someone "happy"...smiles guaranteed!


As I mentioned previously, I found this wonderful coffee cake book at Goodwill last week,and could not imagine anyone dropping this great book off, when it looked brand new, and such good recipes of coffee cakes with beuatiful photos of it inside. Also savory cakes as well. The paperback books at my local Goodwill store cost $.79 cents, sometimes more, as much as $2.49, regarding the type and size of a book.
This book retails at $18.95, and it's a 2006 edition.

99% of the time the books that are donated there are in "mint", new condition. Such bargains are so amazing to find. I am going to start more giveaways, because all I've been doing with some of these books by re-donating it back or forcing my daughter to take them, when she herself has so many books. As I googled about the author of this book, and found another really good recipe from one year ago....@happygomarni.com.
 http://www.happygomarni.com/2009/11/milk-chocolate-walnut-coffee-cake.html




To enter the giveaway:

1) Please follow foodandthrift on Twitter...sorry, I don't have an account on Facebook. If you already do so,  please see number 3. If you are doing so for the first time, please let me know that you are now following me on Twitter, so I could add you to the giveaway.

2) Leave a comment on this post! You are encouraged to share a comment about coffee cakes, other books or any other thoughts.

3). If you RT or post on your Twitter page this giveaway post link, you get an additional entry. Please drop me an additional comment on this post saying that you did so.

4) To get an additional chance in the giveaway, become a "follower" of  food and thrift find's  blog.

5) Drawing will be done randomly from all comments recorded by Sunday, Nov. 28, at 11 PM (EST) and one lucky winner will announced.

6) Please note: Shipping only in the US. I apologize to my International friends.

Happy Thanksgiving picture