Holiday baking

I love to bake, all year around! But winter time is when all my skills come out. This weekend we baked all the cookies to send to my parents, siblings, inlaws, and C’s best friend. It was exhausting but so much fun. 

We made two types of cookies that were my mother in laws favorites and that got us to talking about her. We still mention her almost daily and it’s getting less weird. 7 months went by fast, I feel like she just died. Anyway, her recipes came out delicious! The Christmas lace cookies were my favorite. We were so glad to be able to share them with others. 

Other cookies were some I make every year and a new cookie that was gingerbread with a lemon icing. Delicious! The cookies were a huge hit with our co-workers too. Office people like to eat. 

My cookies were: gingerbread with lemon icing, rugelach, cinnamon crisps, chocolate coffee crinkle, lemon raisin, and Christmas lace. I can post recipes if anyone is interested!

Stuffed French Toast

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Tonight’s amazing concoction: stuffed French Toast. Recipe stolen from Food Network.
One loaf challah bread or similar braided bread. Cut pockets in one side
Filling: 6oz softened cream cheese, almonds and raspberries (mix all together: I used food processor to chop my nuts and berries and then mixed it into the cream cheese.
Custard: 2 eggs, 3/4 cup half and half, 1tbsp sugar, 1tsp vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Once you have your filling mixed, put in a piping bag or create your own using a baggie. Just cut a corner out for easy squeezing. Then pipe filling into the bread. Skillet should be warm. I added butter to this to start with. Cook as you would normal French Toast, until both sides are golden. Remove from pan and enjoy!

Gobble Gobble

I don’t know what you’re doing with your 15 pound turkeys but we are baking ours in a maple whiskey brine. The house smells so gross as we prepare the brine but I hope it ends up delicious.

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My Thanksgiving dinner is apple focused and with recipes from Food Network. I’ve never made any of it before.

Side dishes: root vegetable mash potatoes, apple grain salad, apple sausage stuffing, and brussel sprouts with butternut squash and pomegranate seeds.

Dessert: Raspberry cheesecake mousse, sweet potato pie, and whatever my guests bring.

It’s going to be a delicious 4 day weekend!

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Food Adventures

This past week I tried several new recipes. I think the favorite for us was a Turkey pasta with peanut sauce. It’s a Thai inspired dish with a delicious peanut sauce, snow peas and left over Thanksgiving turkey with linguini noodles. I would eat that again. I also made stir-fry for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the sauce and the vegetables were also great. Tomorrow night I’m making a new Thai dish tomorrow with chicken and vegetables with a garlic sauce. YUMMY!

It’s also Christmas cookie time. Do you bake cookies? Tonight I made my first cookie of the season, a peppermint swirl. It looks better than it tastes. I think the recipe calls for way to much mint extract and it’s like eating toothpaste. I’m glad I’m sending these cookies out to relatives and not keeping them at home. haha. The next cookie adventure is a filled cookie that C’s family always makes. He’s sick and so I’m in charge of making them.. but no pressure, right? I’ve never been in charges of these before and the dough is refrigerating and I’m not convinced the dough came out right. I’ll be making them after work tomorrow so we’ll see. I’ll post photos once I have all my cookies prepared and ready to mail. My goal is a cookie a day until Saturday and then I’ll mail them off. That means A LOT of cookies!

Do you have any food traditions around the holidays?

Sweet Potato Soup

I came across this recipe and had to try it for myself. I really love sweet potatoes and really… who doesn’t love soup?

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 small celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium leek, sliced (white and pale green parts only) I omitted this
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped I used 1 tsp pre-minced garlic in the jar
  • 1 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option and gluten-free stock for gluten-free version)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Preparations:

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add chopped celery stalks and leek, sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. I used my usual soup pot

2 Add sweet potatoes, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

3 Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot. I have a food processor that I use to puree and it’s great!

4 Add half and half and maple syrup and stir over medium-low heat to heat through. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool soup slightly. Cover and refrigerate soup and celery leaves separately. Bring soup to simmer before continuing.) Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with celery leaves. I did not sprinkle with celery leaves, ate it as it was with a piece of sourdough bread 🙂 

Notes: The prep time is about a half an hour or more depending on how quickly you work chopping everything, peeling the potatoes, etc. Pureeing takes about ten minutes and then you get to reheat and enjoy. This recipe made 5 servings (2 ladles of soup per serving). I’ll definitely be making this one again! Delicious.

I have a request

As the temperature climbs and our apartment complex hasn’t switched over to air conditioning yet, we are experiencing ridiculous heat in the apartment. It’s 88 degrees outside and even with the doors open it is still 80 degrees inside. As a result, there is no oven cooking going on here. I have tried 2 crock pot recipes in the past week and both were failures, big failures. As in I wouldn’t eat the food period failure.

I am looking for slow cooker or stove-top, grill, and sandwich ideas to get through this awful period until they switch the HVAC to air. For slow cooker recipes, I am gone for 10hrs for work so I can’t use any 4-6 hour recipes, it just doesn’t work. Feel free to share links and send me an email if you have an awesome beat-the-heat recipe.