Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 Christmas thoughts

So it is the last Sunday of this decade.  2020 will be here in the blink of an eye.   I've spent a lot of time this week reviewing my year and my life and I am excited for a brand new decade.

Our holiday was very nice.  I catered lunch for one of the groups of doctors that I work for.  I'm not saying it is true for all but for the group I work for... the way to their heart is through their stomach.  We had a really nice time together, sharing a meal and time with each other.  It was very festive and well worth the seven hours I spent in the kitchen.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the big guy and I spent at home together.  What a treat to just be able to relax and enjoy a few days with no hustle or bustle. The day after Christmas one of our dear friends came for dinner and we enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs, yeast rolls and a wonderful salad.  Along with a number of cocktails.

One of my gifts was the new cookbook Fix It With Food by Michael Symon.  I have flipped through a little and already see a number of things I want to make.  I'm feeling the need to lighten up our diets.  When we lived in SW Florida we ate more of a Mediterranean Diet with primarily sea food, fruits and vegetables.  Moving back to the Midwest we had a very difficult time finding good sea food.  Well earlier this year I found Sea 2 Table and their products are amazingly fresh and it feels so good knowing exactly where they come from.  So this year I will be taking you along on our journey to an even healthier way of eating. (No affiliation with the cook book or Sea 2 Table)

I hope everyone was able to have a few moments of peace throughout the holidays.  I know it can be a very difficult time for some.

I started this blog to share my love of all things food. I have a lot of plans and goals for 2020 and I plan on sharing it all here so there will be more posts and more on my day to day journey through life.

Wishing everyone a fabulous New Year!

I'm going to share the Banana Pudding recipe I made for Christmas Day.  It's not exactly healthy but it does have a lot less sugar than most recipes.

Vanilla Pudding:
1/3 Cup sugar
3 Tbs. corn starch
1/8 tsp. salt
2 1/3 Cup whole milk
2 Egg yolks
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Add the first 5 ingredients and cook over medium heat whisking frequently.  It takes about 8-10 minutes to completely thicken.
Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.

Let cool for just a few minutes and then add to a pie crust or a pie pan lined with vanilla wafers.  Let sit about two minutes and add in 3-4 medium sliced bananas.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  At least 4 hours.

With a mixer whip whole whipping cream and a tablespoon of vanilla until thick.  This takes about 8 minutes.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Things That Make Me Smile

Right before it started snowing, our yard was filled with birds filling up on bird seed.  They fly around so quickly it was hard to capture what I saw but I did get these two pictures.

Christmas Baking

I can't believe Christmas is ten days away.  I don't know why but this year seemed to fly by even quicker than most.  

The house is decorated for Christmas.  It is cold and snowing.  A perfect day to start my Christmas cookies.

I try to make cookies that freeze well so I can pull out a variety when I need them between now and the New Year.

This year I am keeping it pretty simple.  I am taking two trays to work for the Doctors and I want a tray to put out on Christmas Day so I won't need as many as I usually bake.

So far, I've made Peanut Butter Blossoms and Magic Cookie Bars.
Next, I will make Wedding Cookies and Sugar Cookies.

The house smells wonderful.

Any holiday baking at your house?

Monday, December 2, 2019

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Friday night we had all of the usual leftovers from Thanksgiving and I wanted to try something a little different.  Eggroll wrappers and wonton wrappers have SO many uses.  I've made a large variety of appetizers with them over the years so I thought why not try a thanksgiving leftover eggroll?

Now I was a little skeptical at first but I have to say they were really good.

I took eggroll wrappers and spread on mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing and turkey.  I pan fried the eggrolls and we used my cranberry sauce as a dipping sauce. Yummy!

We had a couple of turkey sandwiches over the weekend and then Saturday night I used up the rest of the turkey in a big pot of Brunswick Stew.

My first encounter with Brunswick Stew was way back when I was 19 and waitressing at a BBQ place in SW Florida.  Apparently a lot of BBQ places make this to use up the leftover smoked turkey, chicken and even sausage.  There is a lot of controversy as to where exactly and who exactly originally created the stew.

I love the taste of it.  This is the recipe that I use. It is from The Farmers Almanac.  It is a versatile stew so add whatever veggies you like or have on hand.  I usually add corn and lima beans.

Smoked Turkey Brunswick Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cups smoked turkey breast, shredded
2 (28 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 ½ cups diced Yukon gold potatoes
2 cups mixed vegetables, frozen (corn, baby Lima or butter beans, green peas, green beans, and carrots)
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup barbecue sauce (Recipe here
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
 Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the shredded smoked turkey meat and remaining ingredients to the stock pot and stir to combine. Bring the stew to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours or until potatoes and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

*Roasted turkey works just as well as smoked.