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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 8,000 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Holiday Family and Food

Nothing says holidays like good food and family. We certainly experienced both of those this Christmas. We started off our week with an early Christmas at Wayne and Noel’s house. It was a genuine fiesta featuring savory (and a little spicy) chicken enchiladas. These enchiladas were packed full of chicken, cheese and spicy sauce; a mouth-watering (and eye watering) delight! Here’s Noel’s tip for us gringos: Put your sauce on after you bake them. This keeps them from getting soggy. I can’t believe I haven’t already been doing this!

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Feliz Navidad. Some mexican cuisine from Noel.

According to my family, the holidays aren’t the same without sugar cookies.  I get requests for them every year. I found a great recipe a long time ago for sugar cookies that, when you roll them thick, they not only keep their shape, but are more like a cake than a cookie. This cookie recipe coupled with the C&H Powdered Sugar buttercream frosting recipe on the box makes a taste combo. that is hard to resist no matter how full you are. Top these cookies with cute sprinkles and you are set. They will be gone in a flash!

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unfrosted cookies

Since I am on the subject of sweetness. I decided to try a recipe I found on Pinterest called “French Toast Bake.” I wanted to make something special yet familiar for the family on Christmas morning. What I like about this recipe is that you can prepare it the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. It’s also very easy and can be made mostly with ingredients you already have. I could not find Texas Toast in stock anywhere so decided to use Challah bread which, I was told, makes good french toast. As it turns out it was good. I might also add bacon or sausage if you are one that likes to mix your salty and sweet (Those who know me know I am not one of them). Make sure to top with real maple syrup; none of that corn syrup stuff.

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French Toast Bake…mmm

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Real Maple Syrup only!

So, from enchiladas  to Mongolian BBQ to French Toast Bake to Rib Eye Roast, it was a tantalizing trip for the taste buds. I swear I will never eat again (yeah right)! Happy 2014 and Bon Appetit!

Cookie Day 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again our family members have gathered from multiple locations to participate in our annual Cookie Day festivities.  Everyone brings their favorite recipes, ingredients, and kitchen gadgets, and the baking mayhem begins.  This year chocolate seemed to be a favorite theme, as we had chocolate cookies, chocolate chip, chocolate covered pretzels and fudge, among other goodies.  Everyone has fun catching up and socializing while baking  occurs.

IMG_0763 The kids are eager to help and were up to their elbows  (and eyebrows) in melted chocolate.

chocolate covered peretzels

chocolate covered pretzels

peppermint meringue cookies

peppermint meringue cookies

A unique recipe baked by Susie was a peppermint meringue cookie that took 90 minutes!!! to bake @ 225 degrees. They are yummy!

yummy poop!

yummy poop

A favorite of all was reindeer poop, a.k.a. oatmeal chocolate peanut butter drop cookies.

Cranberry pistachio shortbread

Cranberry pistachio shortbread

Another non chocolate option was created by sister Zoe, cranberry pistachio shortbread cookies.  They require wrapping and refrigeration prior to cutting and baking but are delicious and well worth the effort!

A deliciously sweet time was had by all, and we look forward to seeing what interesting recipes everyone will come up with next year!

Frozen herb cubes

I found this really cool idea. I have pots of of Rosemary and Marjoram outside on my deck but the weather is getting cold and they’re going to die. So I took some scissors and cut up the leaves into ice cube trays and then poured a little olive oil into each cube. They froze beautifully and I will be able to take them and throw them in a pan to sauté whenever I want a little flavor throughout the winter!

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Best potatoes on the planet!!!

I saw a recipe for something like this and couldn’t really remember it so improvised. Soooo easy and best potatoes EVER!!! Here’s how:

Boil some little red potatoes.
Drain
Place them on a cookie sheet and kind of smash them a bit with a fork.
Sprinkle them with garlic powder,salt and pepper.
Brush a little melted butter on each tater .
Bake at 350 till slightly golden on top, about 40 minutes.

Very easy and just so yummy!

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Slow cooker recipe makes life easier

http://bakedinthesouth.com/2013/03/crockpot-freezer-cooking-part-5/  I saw this post online  from a friend and had to try it.   I work a few 12 hour shifts per week  as a nurse, and it is hard to plan meals for those nights.   I have my mom living with me who used to cook on those nights but now she is forgetting how due to Alzheimers….so it is nice to have something on hand to plop into the crock pot  when I get home from work in the morning..

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most of my ingredients

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all my  bags full of stuff

 

I cant wait to try and see how these turn out.   It was a bit of work tonight, but will hopefully make my life easier and  yummier in the long run!

 

 

Fish Boil – a Door County Tradition

This last weekend my friend Daina and I visited Door County, WI. We enjoyed shopping, beachcombing, and kayaking, but one of our favorite things was the Fish Boil. This is a centuries old tradition of this area, and was a cooperative effort between local farmers and fisherman to feed the lumberjacks. It is still a popular dish and no one has found a way to improve on the technique, so it continues to this day. You can experience this feast at many local restaurants several days of the week. We went to Pelletier’s , check it out; here’s their website : http://doorcountyfishboil.com

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Here is the “Master Boiler”, who has built a wood fire under a large kettle, added  whole red potatoes, sweet whole onions, and salt.  The salt serves to increase the boiling temperature.  When the veggies are done, the Whitefish is added, having been freshly caught by local fishermen in Lake Michigan.  The oil from the fish begins to rise to the top, necessitating the need for a “boil over”.  This is done in order to burn off that oil, so that it does not adhere to the food as it is served.

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The Master Boiler throws a container of diesel fuel into the wood fire underneath the kettle.  Immediately a huge fireball ensues, engulfing the entire kettle.   The kettle is then removed by two men with a metal pole, brought to the kitchen, and the food is immediately served.

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The meal consists of the fish, potatoes, onion,  homemade coleslaw,  and a variety of bread.  Many people choose to douse their fish and veggies in butter and/or lemon (I did!).  I ordered the lite eater’s version.  You can get a larger plateful if you wish.  Dessert  consists of homemade cherry pie made with fresh local cherries from a nearby orchard.  I must admit I had my doubts about boiled fish, but I must say it was very moist and delicious!  I would recommend a fish boil if you ever travel to Door  County, it was an interesting and yummy experience!

slow cooker cube steak

We got some cube steaks on a whim. Instead of the usual chicken fried steak I tried the following.

Firstly, I seasoned the steak with my favorite Trader Joe’s Garlic salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper.

I then browned the steaks and put them in a crock pot. I added one green pepper,1/2 red bell pepper,half of a large white onion (chopped), 1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro and two coarsely chopped tomatoes. The liquid was a bottle of Stubbs beef marinade.

Few hours in the crockpot and cube steak is fall apart good. Served over rice.

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Two Girls and a Cupcake, Inc.

We ran across this little shop on our way home from the Starved Rock Lodge.
Jill and Tim own this little sweet shop in Utica, Illinois

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There were many tasty cupcakes to choose from. I had strawberry cheesecake, yummy creme cheese frosting on a white cake cupcake.
Cookies and creme,Turtles,coconut dream,cotton candy and Andes mint were some of the choices.

If you ever pass through Utica, Illinois don’t pass up Two Girls and a Cupcake.

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