Tuesday, December 24, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Photo; courtesy of PINTEREST



The Blessings of Peace
The Beauty of Hope
The Spirit of Love
The Comfort of Faith
May these be your gifts...this Christmas Season.
 
 
 
Good will, Success and happiness be with you,
this Christmas!
 
Wishing you all, a very Merry Christmas!
Hugs,
Elisabeth


 




 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hot Pepper Jelly




So, this is my awesome 'Hot Pepper Jelly' that I have never made before! As you notice those pretty swatches of holiday material...I would have loved to place around the jelly jar top...unfortunately; they were a little small, except for the one jar on the top, but they were extremely slippery for me to try to tie them around the jars, so I left them as 'it is' a little 'place mat'...or a small cocktail napkin, if your prefer, but the jelly turned out so awesome and just the right peppery taste!

My granddaughter Gabby was not impressed...to say the 'least! She was expecting a mild light sweet pepper jelly, which I should have known from the start to make them with all sweet peppers...instead of mostly hot peppers add to some of the sweet. No problem...next time I will use all sweet peppers. At least...we, adults, get to enjoys these lovely gems, slathered over cream cheese topped little crackers...yummm!
It's so easy to make it, just follow the instructions on the recipe.

These are the peppers I used...purchase from the Green Market...the long red ones are the super hot pepper, and all the others are sweet!
KRAFT SURE JELL...Hot Pepper Jelly recipe... 

and I only used red, and orange peppers. The red ones were the hot peppers!
I washed, peeled, and chopped my peppers, and
put them in the food processor to chop them fine.
(be sure to remove the seeds first if you don't want them to be extremely hot)






Bring it to a boil, and skim off the foam...you are ready to ladle them into sterilized jars!










Aren't they so festive...red, and so pretty?
Well, you're not quite finished yet!














Cover the jar with the sterilized lids, and put them into water that covers them almost, to the top.













Cover the pot with a lid, and boil for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the jars, and let it sit on a kitchen towel on the kitchen counter until it cools down...and your are ready to refrigerate them.









They are so good, served on Ritz crackers, with a dab of Philadelphia cream cheese and a small spoonful of the pepper jelly on top of the cream cheese...yumm! A perfect holiday treat!










Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lemon Bread

Christmas is only 10 days away, and the year has gone by so fast that before you realize...2014 is just around the corner. I wish I had something more exciting to post, other than my average baking stuff. This super lemony and not too sweet bread was so easy to make and not planning to bother to post it...only when half of a loaf was gone, that I decided to take a photo of it and said..."why not?"...so here it is, and the recipe is right inside the container of the glazed chopped lemon peel that is only available at this time of the year, along with the glazed candied cherries and pineapples that brings back such great memories from years of past Christmas!
As you can see, this is a Florida local product and it's quite fresh and extremely potent in lemon flavor.
This past Saturday morning; since the sun decided to come out for a change after every day of cloudy and rainy weather, it was so nice to browse around and check out the little Green Market...much smaller than the one we have in West Palm Beach...but this was a really nice way to spend an hour by myself!
 
 
As I was passing through, I noticed this Rasta man weaving what it seemed like palm tree leaves at the flower stand.
 
There were all kind of local vendors selling different things...including homemade breads, rolls, and pastries; jams, jellies, handmade jewelry, candles, soaps, clothes...you name it!
 
What you see in the background are some colorful Tye-dye materials...notice the Intracoastal water on the right side...gentle breeze, and perfect mild and pleasantly warm temperature in the middle of December.
This is the bridge from Lake Worth that takes you across to the island of Palm Beach...otherwise known as S. Ocean Blvd.
The building in the background is a small hotel that used the be the Howard Johnson, years ago..same building, just remodeled.
Of all things...I was able to find some amazing and lovely peppers, hot, and sweet. I promised my granddaughter Gabby that I would make some pepper jelly for her. She loves the pepper jelly that my daughter buys for her at the WPB Green Market and that one is soo good, not too hot, and not too sweet. Hope I can make one just as good. Did google a few, and found some other good recipes on Pinterest. I love this basket, which I got from Goodwill for $1.99  last year!
 
Thank you for your continuous support, and friendship...I hope you are all doing well and getting ready for a wonderful holiday season! xo

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Turkey Vegetable Soup...and Blessings

 
I realize this isn't much of a food presentation...but, it's a real 'thrift' of a wonderful homemade soup from 'scratch', that costs nearly nothing...and it's all fresh!

Everyone knows that I save the carcass from the roast turkey. This year, I ended up with 2, and huge leg bones as well. Nonno Sal, (he is not my nonno=grandfather, but everybody calls him that)...he is sooo sweet and adorable with amazing cooking skills from Sicily. Before we packed up leftovers he said to me...
"Éé...Elisabett, I saved some nice-a bone for you to make-a nice-a soupp! I told him "thanks, but I already have so much leftover carcass, and turkey meat!...but he insisted these huge leg bones were special, and he knows I always save them!

All it takes to make a beautiful turkey broth, is to place the carcass and extra leg bones in a large pot, fill it 3/4 up with water, bring it to a boil, skim off the scum, and lower the temp. so it could simmer.

I always, but always add a bay leaf or two to all my broth, and a half of onion, some leftover herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, or basil, that are in my fridge and are not so fresh...dump it all in, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Strain the entire broth over a mesh strainer, and discard all the contents.

Now, all you do is get a medium pot, and sauté in vegetable oil a medium chopped onion, a couple cloves of garlic, 2 stalks celery 3 pieces of whole carrots, scraped, and sliced, added some more chopped parsley, and another bay leaf. Do not add baby carrots, they are expensive, and they are not really baby carrots, just special cut to make them look like baby carrots.
Also, I added 1-5 oz. can of petite diced organic tomatoes, and fill the pot with the reserved broth to about 3/4 full, add some leftover turkey meat; just chop into small pieces and simmer the soup for another 45 minutes.
Bring it to a boil... add some leftover thin dry spaghetti from a leftover box...break it up in 3 portions, and boil until tender. Turn off the heat, and soup is ready to serve.
Yields about 12 generous servings, and you save a lot of money!

In my previous post, I mentioned that my neighbors next door to me from both sides are not very friendly, and/or receptive! Well, wouldn't you know it's like "one door closes, and another opens" situation that took place. Just over the weekend, a new person moved into our condo unit. I of course said 'hello' and introduced myself, and she as well!

Just yesterday, I stopped by to see if she's OK, because there was a large truck parked downstairs and bringing stuff down from her apartment. I seriously thought she decided to move back out again! I told her I'm so sorry she decided to move out before even settling in...and noticed that there was a Kitchen-Aid mixer sitting on the floor. She said she is 'downsizing' and donating stuff that she doesn't need, and she is not moving out. I asked her if  she's getting rid of the Kitchen-Aid and she asked if I wanted it?... before she gets rid of it. Well, of course my answer was YES~

She hasn't used it in a while...had it stored probably in a garage because it was so dusty, but in perfect condition...I cleaned it up, shined it up, washed the bowl and the mixing gadgets, and it's 'brand new' all over again! I thanked her, and promised that I will get great use out of it, and told her that I'm truly Blessed, and the 'blessing' will come back to her. She just smiled, and I know I made a friend with a new neighbor! Life works in mysterious ways...and you just 'never know'!

 Here's my gorgeous and top of the line 'fire engine' RED Kitchen-Aid....made in the U.S.A
All cleaned, and shined up...not a scratch, or even shown that it has been used; probably once or twice! Posed it for my photo...my daughter wants me to trade with her white one; which is smaller, I think. She laughed and said I should take a 'selfie' with the Kitchen-Aid...why don't I take it down to the beach...prop it on a chair and take 'selfies' with it sitting next to it...ha, ha,...funny, not ready to do a trade yet; will have to try it out first!

Hope your Sunday is going great...although I feel bad for some of you in the freezing and snowy weather; Bye now, from Sunny South Florida~xo

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Thanksgiving came...and went this year; with less family members, and less friends. Each year it is different than from the year before. Isn't it true, that during the major holidays we lose family and friends to 'death' or they just move away...move on...never to be heard from, again...or for a long time...no connection?... it does make one sad, but 'life does go on' and we have to make the best of it!
We have so much to be thankful for, and count our blessings even if its for our every day lives that we interact with other family members and friends that we see often, or once in-a-while! As far as some of our neighbors...well, in my situation where I live; that is very awkward. I hear the srong gusty winds these days, and the 'roaring ocean'. It is always
 10 or more degrees cooler here, so this week one day, I woke up to what seemed to be freezing temperature, when others further up north, or in other parts of Europe had way below freezing and snow storms...no doubt!

Families in neighborhood communities; they treat each other with respect, and care about one-another! Even with the elderly folks that live alone are invited to holiday gatherings, so they don't have to feel left out. For example; my direct next door neighbor...an elderly retired professor, does not speak to anyone...just keeps to himself. He eats every meal...out! I do worry about him, especially during holidays because he does not even have one friend...always alone! I offered several times to help in any way, but I get rejection...so sad!

...let's get on with the rest of the Thanksgiving 'feast'...and recipe for the Cranberry Upside-Down Cake!

For the Cranberry Upside-Down Cake, I used the recipe from my sweet daughter Lora's blog @

note: if you don't have cake flour, it is important to substitute correctly for all-purpose flour but you have to make adjustment to it!
For the 1 1/4 cup of cake flour used in the recipe: use 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour: remove 2 Tbsp. of flour, before sifting, and then replace it with 2 Tbsp. corn starch and add it to the flour, then sift together.
The basic rule; to substitute all purpose flour for cake flour;
Remove 2 Tbsp. flour per each cup of flour used! (you can omit the cornstarch replacement, but it does make it lighter)
I use a square glass Pyrex pan, sprayed the pan with Pam baking spray, cut out parchment paper to fit the inside of the pan, and sprayed that, as well.
The baking time; 350 degrees F. for 45 min. was absolutely correct temperature.
I used a small baking pan to place the cake pan on it, so when it came out of the oven, I could just flip the cake over on it, or your can flip it over directly on a platter. It was a lot easier this way, and peeling of the parchment paper was very easy. After cooling it down for 10 minutes, I was able to slice it and place the slice on the serving platter.
So, there you have it! The best moist cake...ever! I must confess, I like to trim the edges of cake, and devour it, myself...selfish? you bet! ...not feeling guilty, at all...I do it every time, especially when I make brownies, all edges are trimmed off and if you happen to be close by, I will share the fun and yummy pieces with you, but other than that I will offer the entire cake, and not save any pieces for myself! (my rules for me.)
We share Thanksgiving feast with 20 people w/kids included...everyone pitched in. 2 huge turkeys, and lots, and lots of side dishes...and desserts! Just a few samples of the 'feast'...we all gained at least 5 lbs. each; at least!
Second huge turkey...not stuffed, stuffing on the side.
Can't have Thanksgiving or Christmas without the traditional French's Green Bean Casserole, which I make every year...(photo from last year...here's the recipe) French's Green Bean Casserole

Traditional 'super easy' to make Cranberry Sauce...and old recipe that I've made for years which now my daughter makes each year.  Here's the recipe: Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

 Lora's Classic Pumpkin Pie...(she made 2 this year)...also with homemade crust...yumm!
Here's the recipe: Classic Pumpkin Pie
Hanukkah candles were lit by Dr. Eric's son, River...a 'true inter-faith' group of people, with different heritage, nationality; Italian, Sicilian, Jewish, Hungarian, Polish, Irish and English, Colombian, and Mexican...( a united nation of different backgrounds)...and various religions...Jewish, Catholic, Christian, and Southern Baptist.
Blessings were recited by Dr, Eric's father, nonno Gil...
Nonno Sal...with his prayer and blessings (he wanted to have this special prayer in case he will not be here with us next year)...sigh!
Here are some of group sitting at the dinner table...Dr. Eric on the front left, (looks like I was the only camera person taking some photos)...others took I-Phone photos for their 'Instagram' ...OK, so I'm old fashioned!

The big kids (tweens, and teens)...enjoyed their meal outside on the back patio!
...a little 'nippy' temperature, but the fire pit kept them cozy and warm!


 I am such a proud grandmother of 4...three, which are not shown. They are my greatest blessings and joy, along with their parents...my two children and their spouses! Without family to enjoy...even if you are single or a couple without children or grandchildren...you have to embrace 'life'...family members, and even if you just have one friend...do cherish that friendship!
I saved the 'best for last' our vet, and dear friend... with Lady...an abandoned beautiful Boxer, that he saved, after he was called to check this poor doggie living under a nearby highway bridge...surviving for over one year...full of scars, malnourished, and she almost had to be put down. He was able to befriend her...took her home, nourished her back to health after a couple serious surgeries...(having to deal with putting his own beloved old and sick Boxer; Charlie down)...that's what I call 'fate'...not only did the beautiful Boxer became a family member, but she was given the name 'Lady'...because she was so sweet, appreciative, with such nice 'ladylike' manners. She is with the family for one year now, and she is truly loved and cared for!
Dr. Eric does volunteer work once a week for people that cannot afford 'pet care'!
Isn't she absolutely adorable?...Lady sneaked up to me from under the dinner table, as I was sitting there, and gently rested her cute little head on my lap...looking at me with those sweet adorable and loving eyes! That's what I call a LOVE STORY! My heart simply melted, and it brought tears to my eyes!

So, I think I updated a lot this time...hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving...now it's time to go on a diet; not really a diet...diet...just cut down on extra helpings, and the desserts, until Christmas! xoxo







Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving, 2013= THANKSGIVUKKAH

This year, for the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide in what many in the Jewish community are calling “Thanksgivukkah.” The eight-day Jewish holiday begins at sundown on Wednesday. The next day is Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history...and turkey, of course; but most importantly, it's a holiday all about everything that we are thankful for!

Thanksgiving presents definite opportunities to appreciate where you came from and how far you've come ...considering 'where' you came from.
Are you looking forward to this year at your Thanksgiving gathering?   Is there someone that you could ask to join your Thanksgiving gathering?

Well, I must say, it should be an important and blessed event for all. We have so much to be thankful for, and help the less unfortunate who are struggling in their every day life.

No one should be hungry on Thanksgiving, we live in the Land of Plenty, and we just need to spread the ‘plenty’ around a little bit sometimes.

In this time of year when so many worthy causes are asking for your spare change...give, even if it's  a dollar or less! Realistically, everyone can only do so much...but we can ensure that at least one evening will be filled with warmth, food and love and help a family take at least one night off from the stress and worry they deal with every other day of the year!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!












Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history--and turkey, of course!--but most importantly, it's a holiday all about everything that we are thankful for. Cheerful, colorful illustrations accompany the simple
Rea
Recognized as a special day to express gratitude for life’s many blessings, Thanksgiving is a highly anticipated American tradition when family and friends come together for a celebratory feast.
The traditional Thanksgiving Day meal features a glorious turkey as the centerpiece, accompanied by splendid offerings of soups, salads, gravies, stuffing, potatoes, and various other side-dishes, desserts and delicacies


Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/lifecycles/2013/nov/19/thanksgiving-day-celebrating-gift-health-family-an/#ixzz2loS6JucO
Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitterd more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/26/3781675/hanukkah-thanksgiving-bring-
Recognized as a special day to express gratitude for life’s many blessings, Thanksgiving is a highly anticipated American tradition when family and friends come together for a celebratory feast.
The traditional Thanksgiving Day meal features a glorious turkey as the centerpiece, accompanied by splendid offerings of soups, salads, gravies, stuffing, potatoes, and various other side-dishes, desserts and delicacies


Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/lifecycles/2013/nov/19/thanksgiving-day-celebrating-gift-health-family-an/#ixzz2loS6JucO
Follow us:
@wtcommunities on Twitte




Read more:
http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/lifecycles/2013/nov/19/thanksgiving-day-celebrating-gift-health-family-an/#ixzz2loS6JucO
Follow us:
@wtcommunities on Twitterr
blessings.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

One of my favorite 'comfort food' pasta is Orecchiette, with (Rappini)=Broccoli Rabe. Most recipes call for ground sausage added to it, and/or pancetta; but my favorite addition for color, and flavor is sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, and slivered. Not chopped, but slivered, to actually be able to bite into the bitter-sweet-savory soft tomato that goes so well with the sautéed broccoli rabe.
The health benefits of Broccoli Rabe, are endless!
 Health Benefits of Rapini (Broccoli Rabe):


  • Increased Protection from Bacterial and Viral Infections
  • Increased Immune Function
  • Reduced Cancer Risk
  • Reduced Risk of Colon Cancer
  • Protection Against Heart Disease
  • Regulation of Blood Sugar and Insulin Dependence
  • Slowing the progression of AIDS
  • Slowing Aging
  • DNA Repair and Protection
  • Protection Against Dementia
  • Alleviation of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Alleviation of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Promoted Eye Health
  • Alzheimer's Protection
  • Osteoporosis Protection
  • Stroke Prevention
  • Reduced Risk of Type II Diabetes
  • Reduced Frequency of Migraine Headaches
  • Alleviation of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Antioxidant Protection
  • Prevention of Epileptic Seizures
  • Alleviation of the Common Cold
  • Prevention of Alopecia (Spot Baldness)
  • Alleviation of Inflammation
Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)...despite having the similar looking broccoli floret, is actually the descendant of the turnip and thought to have originated in China, or the Mediterranean. The Broccoli Rabe is bitter, with a sharp taste. It is often prepared steamed, with lemon, or garlic.
Read more: Health-Alicious-Ness.com

Here are a few recipe sources: Although I have my own, which is quite similar!
Whole Foods Market...Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sun-dried tomatoes and White Beans
Lidia's Italy...Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
Food.com...Broccoli Rabe with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Orecchiette


Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Elisabeth's version of this recipe

1 bunch of Broccoli Rabe...abt. 1 to 2lbs

wash thoroughly in cold water, cut hard ends off, and cut the entire bunch in three sections.



In small amount of water, with/or without a steam basket, steam with lid on, until it starts to get wilted. strain in colander and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process.










about 1/2 cup or more sun-dried tomatoes that is in olive oil. Slice each tomato in about 3 pieces, lengthwise and set aside.





not shown in photo: cut 3 cloves of garlic in half, and sauté in 3 Tblsp. of extra virgin olive oil until golden brown. Discard garlic. Saute about 1 Tblsp. of red chilli flakes, and leave it in oil.

Cook orecchiette pasta in rapidly boiling water, till al-dente. Save 1 cup of the cooking water...very important!





Saute the strained broccoli rabe in the garlic infused olive oil. Add the sun-dried tomatoes,
the strained pasta, add more olive oil to your liking, salt and pepper.


Give it a good stir to incorporate all the ingredients, add the reserved cooking water, a about 1/4 at a time...you can use the entire amount if you like it more saucy; add grated Parmigiano-Reggiana cheese, and serve.
You can add extra cheese when serving, along with additional freshly ground black pepper.
Buon Appetitio! Ciao:)