Category Archives: In the Kitchen

We love food. We love to eat it, but we especially love to cook it! Food is what sustains us, brings us together, and brings life to a home. I don’t usually measure when I am inventing new recipes, but in the future I will try to measure ingredients so that you too can enjoy these delicious dishes.

Maple Pecan Granola

I am not a morning person, but I like a good, healthy breakfast to start my day. I am also a fan of saving money and avoiding processed foods. A typical breakfast consists of a soft boiled egg (I use an egg boiler, otherwise it is an overcooked hard-boiled egg), my special Yogurt (Plain or Greek sweetened with honey or maple syrup and flavored with LorAnn Oils Almond Emulsion) with some fruit (Mango in this example) and granola, and a cup of coffee. I usually flavor a 16 oz tub of yogurt on Sunday and it lasts about a week. I make two batches of Granola on Sundays as well because everyone in the house loves it. My husband likes to have about a cup and a half with almond milk when he doesn’t feel like making his usual oatmeal breakfast. My daughter puts about half a cup into a small container and adds dried fruits, more nuts and some wheat chex to make a quick trail mix.

This is by far my favorite granola and it saves me lots of money on my grocery bill. You can adjust the recipe any way you like. It is a simple ratio of 6 parts dry ingredients (not counting the spices) and one part wet ingredients. I use the One cup Prep bowls from Pampered Chef to measure my “parts,” but any container will work.

Ingredients

4 Cups Rolled Oats

1 Cup Chopped Pecans (The Pampered Chef Food Chopper makes quick work of this)

¾ Cup slightly crushed Bran Flakes (I just crumbled them by hand)

¼ Cup Wheat Germ

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½ Tsp. Cinnamon

½ Tsp Dried orange zest

¼ Tsp Salt

¼ Tsp Fresh grated Nutmeg

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½ Cup Maple Syrup

¼ Cup agave Nectar

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Walnut Oil

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Directions

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Mix dry ingredients and spices in large mixing bowl. Whisk Syrup, oils, and agave nectar, then pour over dry ingredients. Mix well using a rubber spatula.

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Spread evenly onto a lightly greased baking sheet. I prefer to use my Pampered Chef large Bar Pan.

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Place in center of oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until oats are golden brown. Mix granola with a high heat resistant rubber spatula every 15 minutes.

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Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for about an hour or until granola is close to room temperature.

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Store in airtight container for up to one week. This one is the Ikea 365 two quart Dry Food Storage container

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It’s time for Scones!

One of my favorite treats is scones with Devonshire cream and hot cup of strong black tea. This is one of my favorite recipes.

Basic Scones

Equipment:

  • Food Processor or Large Bowl
  • Baking sheet and Parchment Paper
  • Rolling Pin
  • Biscuit or Cookie Cutter

Ingredients

  • 275g/ 10 oz/ 2 ½ cups Plain (All Purpose) Flour
  • 25ml/ 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 60g/ 2.25 oz/ generous ¼ cup Sugar
  • 5ml/ ½ tsp Salt
  • 100g/ 3.5 oz/ 7 tbsp unsalted Butter, diced
  • 35g/ 1.3 oz/ 3 tbsp Shortening
  • 120ml/ 4 fl oz/ ½ cup Buttermilk (or ½ cup milk minus ½ tbsp then add ½ tbsp lemon juice)
  • Milk, to glaze
Orange and Cranberry or Lemon and Blueberry
  • Grated peel of 1 large orange or 2 large lemons
  • 50g/ 2 oz/ scant ½ cup dried cranberries or blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 220° C/ 425° F/ Gas 7. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (or food processor). Add the butter and shortening. If using a bowl, rub flour and fats until mixture resembles crumbs. In processor, pulse until combined.
  3. Gradually add the milk and mix (or pulse) until soft dough is formed. Do Not Over Mix! Add the dried fruit and grated rind by hand. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to about a 2 cm/ ¾ inch thickness. Cut out shapes or rounds with biscuit or cookie cutter. Place on Baking Sheet and brush the tops with milk.
  4. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Serve hot or warm with butter, or whipped or clotted cream and jam.

Bon Apetit!

Cool Orange Salad

Cool Orange Salad
Cool Orange Salad

Cool Orange Salad has been a tradition in my husband’s family since the 1960’s.  His mother believes that it was a recipe that came with a tub of Cool Whip.  Regardless of how long this has been a holiday tradition, it’s delicious!

Equipment:
  • Strainer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Electric Hand mixer
  • Mold (Optional)
Ingredients:
  • 12 oz container of Cool Whip (de-frosted)
  • 6 oz package of Jell-O (Orange or Lime)
  • 20 oz can of crushed pineapple
  • 16 oz or 1 lb container of small curd cottage cheese
  • Optional–Mandarin Oranges (drained and patted dry with paper towels) for decorating
Directions:
  1. strain the cottage cheese. It is very important to remove as much liquid as possible. I use a mesh strainer and press the curds with the back of a spoon–repeat as necessary until most of the liquid is removed.
  2. Strain the crushed pineapple using the directions in step 1.
  3. Scoop the Cool Whip into mixing bowl. Using a mixer, stir in the Jell-O. Mix until the Jello-O is dissolved.
  4. Add the pineapple and cottage cheese to the Cool Whip and Jell-O mixture. Stir until well mixed.
  5. Put the Cool Orange (or Lime) Salad into a decorative mold.

The first time I ever ate Cool Orange Salad was at my Husband’s family Christmas party. I loved it so much that it is now part of our celebration feast every year. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Merry Christmas!

 

Creamy Eggnog

I have been serving this eggnog for over 20 years and every year it receives high compliments. Leave the chemistry experiment in the dairy case at your local grocer–make your own nog this year!

Makes: 10 4 oz servings

Chill 4 to 24 hours before serving

Ingredients

  • 8 beaten egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3-5 whole cloves (Optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  •  Ground nutmeg

Directions

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan mix the egg yolks, milk, and the 1/3 cup sugar. Optional: add the cloves and cinnamon stick for spicier eggnog. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture just coats a metal spoon. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves. Place the pan in a sink or bowl of ice water and whisk rapidly for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Cover and chill for at least 4 or up to 24 hours.
  2. Just before serving, in a mixing bowl mix the whipping cream and the 2 tablespoons sugar, the ground cloves, and ground nutmeg. Beat until soft peaks form. Transfer chilled egg mixture to a punch bowl. Fold in the ¼ of the whipped cream mixture. Serve at once. Add a dollop of the whipped cream to each serving. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Makes about 10 (4-ounce) servings.

Add spiced rum or brandy to each serving as desired.

Louisiana Sugar Cookies

I am about to share the most coveted, secret recipe for Louisiana sugar cookies.  They have been a family favorite since I was a wee one. They are crisp, but melt in your mouth. They are sweet, but not too sweet.  They are buttery, but not too buttery. And the best thing about them is:  they are easy to make!

Ingredients:
  • 1 C.  Butter (or margarine–but trust me butter is BEST)
  • 1 C. Sugar (I like to use C&H Baker’s Sugar)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 C.  All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • Bowl of sugar
  • Colored sugar
Directions:
  1. Preheat Oven to 325⁰ F.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Whisk together all DRY ingredients.
  4. Whisk egg, then whisk in the Vanilla.
  5. Mix egg & vanilla into butter/sugar.
  6. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  7. Form dough into ball then store in plastic bag or wrap.
  8. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  9. Press glass with decorative bottom or cookie press into large dough ball, then dip into sugar.louisiana sugar cookies press prep
  10. Form dough into small balls—diameter should be about the size of a quarter.
    1. Roll ball into sugar and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
      1. Don’t crowd them—the cookies will spread out a bit as they bake!
    2. Use glass to press cookies.
      1. Sprinkle pressed cookies with colored sugar.
    3. Bake for approximately 5-7 minutes or until slightly golden on edges.
    4. Remove and cool for 20 minutes.louisiana sugar cookies press
Alternatives:

Substitute the vanilla extract with your favorite baking emulsion or extract (e.g., almond emulsion or extract, lemon extract, rum extract or emulsion, peppermint extract, etc.)

Cookies can be topped with a pecan, walnut, candy cane dust, chocolate chip, or cake/cupcake sprinkles. Options here are only limited to your imagination!

 

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!