Monday, 31 December 2012

Cheese Straws! 5 star recipe for the New Years Eve Party!

Tonight we toast! Cheers to the New Year 2013, with good friends and family! Here's to the start of something new and special!

For this special evening I will give you, hands down one of the easiest appetizers you can make, in time for New Years Eve or New Years Day dinner with family.

Since I discovered this recipe several months ago, I have made it more times than I have fingers on my hands to count.  They come out wonderful EVERY SINGLE time.

 

Friday, 28 December 2012

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

As a final hora to Christmas sweets I made these cupcakes to share for Christmas dinner dessert. One of my favorite bloggers (www.glorioustreats.com) made these for her husband to take into the office. I wanted to make them a bit more chocolatey so I added some bittersweet chocolate chips to the batter. I had also received a bar of the Ghirardelli peppermint bark so I chopped that up and used as garnish on top of these little cakes.


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Beef Wellington for New Years Eve!

Nothing says 'special occasion' quite like a traditional Beef Wellington. Its preparation, however time consuming, is not difficult and many steps may be prepared ahead of time. This impressive and delicious meal can be mastered and presented with grace by any caliber chef.




I served with JJ's "Blue cheese and rosemary scalloped potatoes" April 27, 2012 blog.


Monday, 24 December 2012

JJ's Easy Raspberry Braid- Christmas Breakfast


Falalalalalalala! Another Family favorite! This beautiful and easy to make braid can be made by a youngster! Look's complicated....NOT! When my children were growing up, we had this every Christmas morning, for sure, but, many times throughout the year. I adapted the recipe from my long time German mentor, Eva Kenly. This one you can have ready for tomorrow morning!

I am linking this recipe to "Foodie Friends Friday"!

http://www.walkingonsunshinerecipes.com/

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Prime Rib Roast-slow roasted



This holiday season we are enjoying a standing rib roast, also known as prime rib. This amazing cut of meat is sure to dazzle any dinner guests you have during the holidays. Not only is the flavor amazing, but the presentation is quite impressive. I made  this one last Sunday for Wee Bear and I, Wee Bear dug deep into the cellar for an impressive 2004 Napa Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, and it was a party!!

Monday, 17 December 2012

White chocolate Mousse with Pomegranite sauce!

 My friend and neighbor, Kris (otherwise known in the Hood, as "The Mayor"), created this for a ladies luncheon at Christmas 2007. I ran across the recipe as I was scouring my notebooks for recipes for my "Ugly Sweater Party". It is a light dessert and received lots of praise at her luncheon, as well as my party.



Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Cookies -Part Two!

Well, my two-week long cookie making extravaganza has come to an end and I have to say that I am pretty happy with how they all turned out. Time consuming yes! So much fun to make and I can't wait for the next excuse to make sugar cut-out cookies again!! I have a champagne bottle cookie cutter and I'm thinking New Year's!!

I took a lot of photos so enjoy them and I hope they inspire you to make some cut-outs of your own! I have also included some links to video tutorials that really helped me create designs, etc. I am including the basic recipe for Royal Icing which I used on all these cookies. 


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Today "It's all about cookies! Two family favorites!"

First your gift to me, my viewers.  I need to say thank you! This Christmas season we are getting over 250 views a day! I have learned most of you like to follow by e-mail and not Goggle, which is my favorite way to follow as well. If you type your e-mail into the blank box at the right, you will get a e-mail everytime we post, with a short description of what is on the blog. You can then choose to delete or take a closer look. Following through Goggle you will get a e-mail in your Goggle account and your picture, in the collage on the right. We have nearly 3000 Twitter followers, many Pinterest followers as well as Facebook. 36,000+ views since I started this blog in March 2012. Thank you for the many e-mails and commenting about making a particular dish that you made and enjoyed with friends and family. Amy and I are thankful to have so many viewers no matter how you choose to follow. 


My friends Ruth and Jim gave me this cute server "Stiletto Server" for a hostess gift! I just love it! She said, "it is all YOU"!! hahaha note- it has the red heel!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Caramelized Bacon Hors D'oeuvres! Cheese and fruit plate!


Our "Ugly Holiday Sweater Party was a huge success on Saturday! Everyone seemed to have a favorite part of the food served, but without question, everyone raved about the "Caramelized Bacon"! This is an amazing and outrageous hors d'oeuvre and from what I saw at my party, the most addictive! The bacon is sweet and spicy and perfect with cocktails!
 
This is one of those posts where I really wish I could give you all one of those little sample tastes in a thimble cup you get at a grocery store or Costco!

 
It is easy with very little prep time, so pop this one in your party line up!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas Cookies Galore! -Part I


The cookie baking/decorating season is in full swing! I have armed myself with cookie cutters and am up to my elbows in flour, sugar and butter!! Ready or not, here is my tutorial on baking and decorating some cute and creative sugar cookies...

First, you gather up the cookie cutters you are going to use. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Spiced nuts! Wine bag tutorial too!


 Preparations for the "Ugly Holiday Sweater Party" are in full swing. Both nuts that I will serve are done! These are quick, you can have them done for this weekend too! I use mixed nuts, but you can use one type of nut too!

Scroll down for a wine bag pattern, you can whip up today!

Also, 25th Anniversary party pictures, last night with Jack Nicklaus! So fun!!



Tuesday, 4 December 2012

National Cookie Day!! Extra!!

December 4, 2012 is

National Cookie Day

It’s National Cookie Day! Did you know that the English word "cookie" is derived from the Dutch word "koekje," which means little cake? Dutch bakers used to test oven temperatures on small amounts of batter so that they would not waste the entire cake mix if the temperature wasn't right. It was not long before they discovered that these tiny pieces of cooked batter were actually quite tasty!
Cookies come in all different flavors, shapes, and sizes. To celebrate National Cookie Day, bake a few batches of your favorite variety and invite your friends over for a cookie swap!

Here are some past cookies we have featured on Sew Whats Cooking With Joan! This is an extra post! If you are looking for yesterdays post, just scroll down to the next post "Braised Short Ribs"!
Emma our Grandchild!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

My husband is traveling on business this week and when he is away my dinner plans usually consist of light fare. My favorite is soup and I don't get to have it for dinner often because he doesn't consider it filling enough to be dinner - not enough food he says! I think this soup is plenty hardy with the addition of the grilled cheese croutons. It's basically a grilled cheese sandwich (using Gruyere cheese...uh yum!) but cut up into crouton sized pieces and garnished atop the soup.



Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Pistachio Crusted Lamb Rack........Yum!


Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending Chef de Cuisine Joe Worrell's cooking class at Constantino's, one of our club house restaurant kitchen's, in our community of Desert Mountain. I couldn't resist putting this in today, as it is just over the top, exploding with the flavors of the season!

As the afternoon progressed the kitchen  was filled with the incredible aroma of garlic, lemons and juicy lamb. We definitely achieved a good two thumbs up from Chef Joe Worrell, for perfectly executed Rack of Lamb.


Hailing from Canterbury, lamb is one of those dishes that we make to feed the hoards when celebrating a special occasion.  It is a simple dish to make for entertaining – lamb rack cooks quickly and the meat is tender and succulent.  This crunchy, salty pistachio crumb really complements the sweetness of the meat.

This dish is so easy to make and the results are so tasty! We served it with cauliflower puree (guide follows) and roasted carrots and turnips.  There are many options – another great side is roasted cherry tomatoes: simply wash sweet cherry tomatoes and throw into the roasting dish with the lamb.  The tomatoes will cook in the fat from the lamb and their intense sweetness makes a nice contrast to the salty pistachio crumb.  You could also par-boil some floury potatoes and throw them in too – they will crisp up and make a whole meal in one dish.  Enjoy!



Sunday, 25 November 2012

Next up! Cornwall Gingerbread cookies!



    ​Now that the turkey is done, the relatives have made themselves scarce, and the cranberry sauce stains have been addressed, it's time to kick this holiday season business into high gear!

    I was privy to far too much delicious food this past week, so, despite my sub conscience screaming, never eat again............the holiday kick off would not be complete without making a batch of these cute little Gingerbread Men! They are fragrant with ginger, both crystallized and ground, ground cloves and cinnamon. The Lyle's Golden syrup is a key ingredient, very English, sources and story follows. Our Granddaughter, Emma, was visiting for a few days, so, I couldn't resist making these delicious cookies with her. 

    If you like your gingerbread men on the softer side, cook a little less time. If you don't want to hassel with cutting and rolling, just roll them into balls and press with a sugar coated glass, these will be super soft and yummy! there are a few ways to decorate your cookies, you can press raisins or currents into the dough before cooking or you can decorate with frosting, as Emma and I did. You can also use these Gingerbread men as tree decorations of gift tags, just pierce a hole into the cookie before cooking with a skewer or small cocktail straw, add pretty ribbon after they are cooked and decorated.

    Cornwall Gingerbread cookie

    3/4 c. butter
    1 c. sugar
    1/4 c. Lyle's Golden syrup (sources listed below)
    1 egg
    2 c. flour (+1/2cup, if you are rolling out and cutting shapes)
    1 tsp. salt
    2 tsp soda
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. ground cloves
    1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp. lemon extract
    1/4 c. chopped crystallized ginger (grind in a small food processor if you have one)

    Preheat oven to 350 F.

    Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add Lyle's syrup, then beat in egg.


    Combine flour with soda, salt and spices. Beat dry ingredients into butter mixture. Fold in crystallized ginger.


    Form into balls, roll in sugar, and place on a silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. and press with a sugar coated glass bottom. For rolled cookies, refrigerate for 20 minutes, then roll out and cut into desired shapes.

    Bake for 10-12 minutes.  
     
     
    Lyle's Golden syrup

    Where to find it~ A English boutique store, Amazon, Metropolitan Market

    About Lyle's ~

      Abram Lyle, a successful Scottish businessman set about constructing a sugar refinery on the banks of the river Thames with his three sons. The company became known as Abram Lyle & Sons. And so began the story of one of the world’s oldest and best loved brands. From working in the sugar business, Lyle noticed that the sugar cane refining process produces a treacly sort of syrup, which could be further refined. The result was a delicious preserve and sweetener for cooking. He started selling small quantities of “Goldie” from wooden casks to his employees and local customers. Word spread quickly that the syrup was delicious and soon Lyle was selling a tonne a week! He replaced the wooden casks with “Lyle's Golden Syrup” dispensers, and they soon began to appear on the shelves of grocery stores all over London. It was only a matter of months before the tin, as we know it today, started to be used.


    How They Do It

    Lyle's Golden Syrup hasn't changed in 127 years and is still made the same way it was all those years ago. The secret to Lyle's is the perfect blend of sugar molecules, which are continually refined throughout the process. This ensures that the highest quality standards are met for consumers to enjoy the sweet glistening syrup that they know and love.For those of you who are scientifically minded… the sucrose molecule splits in half to give glucose and fructose sugars. This inverted syrup is blended back with the original syrup to give a partially inverted syrup. The secret of Lyle's Golden Syrup is the final blend of sucrose, glucose and fructose, which allows the syrup to be so thick and velvety without crystallizing. 

    A gift for neighbors or a hostess gift!

     

    A Holiday party idea!



    Holiday Party time!

     Every holiday season, it's the same old yarn: office parties, last-minute shopping, and another boring sweater from your Aunt Peggy. If you're ready for a new pattern --  host a "Ugly Christmas Sweater Party" -- this is really fun idea! The Ugly Sweater Party with prizes puts a casual spin on a stressful time of year and the ugliest sweaters yule ever see. Look around or goggle ugly holiday sweater, you'll  find one ugly enough for first prize!!


    Oh My Goodness My Guiness


    Have a terrific Cyber Monday!

    Cheers!
    JJ

     

    Friday, 23 November 2012

    Left overs! For breakfast?


    I just can't get enough turkey when Fall comes along!! I start off by buying turkey breast in September, trying different preparations, move on to thighs for casseroles or curry.  For my family, it doesn't end with Thanksgiving. Turkey for us, is the gift, that just keeps on giving!

    What's your leftovers style? The obligatory turkey-stuffing-etc. sandwich? Throw an egg on those brussel sprouts? Repurpose the mashed potatoes into a family doughnut recipe? Or if you're craving spicy, ever tried a mouth-numbing Szechuan-style turkey dish? I dug up some leftovers recipes, so you can make the best of the gift that keeps on giving.


    Wednesday, 21 November 2012

    Field greens, pear and gorgonzola salad! Our family favorite!



     
    Thanksgiving is upon us and some of you may be panicking about everything that has to get done. I know, I’ve been there. I am notorious for making too many dishes and driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to get them all done. Thank goodness this year, my amazing daughter-in-law and son are hosting Thanksgiving and my equally amazing daughter and son-in-law are hosting Christmas day! I handed the Holiday baton over last year at a Thanksgiving celebration at our home in Scottsdale. Wee Bear and I didn't know what their reaction would be, but, they thrilled us with an overwhelming, "YES"! I told them I would assist and be there in every way, from setting the tables to menu planning, serving drinks, cooking, baking and clean up. But... they have embraced it, and are really having fun!! It has been a smooth transition, no drama, happiness and laughter abound! And no, we didn't stuff the turkey with Prozak!!

    A few last minute tips to remember. These days there are a lot more people with dietary restrictions and it is likely you will have to accommodate some at your holiday dinner. Make sure you ask all of your guests ahead of time. If you are unable to fulfill their needs, ask them to bring something that they can eat. If you have vegetarians coming, make sure you offer them something other than just the side dishes. I like to stuff a acorn squash with truffle risotto (October 31, 2012 blog) or something similar so that they feel just as special as everyone else at the table.


     When you are figuring out the seating arrangements, make sure you place quiet people next to those who are great conversationalists. If you have a couple of joke tellers in the crowd, place them at opposite ends of the table or room. In our family, Wee Bear is the best conversationalist, I used to say, "he could carry on a conversation with a telephone pole"! If you have especially shy people coming, make sure you tell the people on either side of them some of their favorite topics or hobbies so they can keep the conversation going throughout dinner. If you have people who are not comfortable with each other, do not put them next to each other.....could be awkward for them.

    If you are going to serve the meal family-style with dishes being passed at the table, keep your centerpiece and table decorations to a minimum. You don’t want your guests to have to peer around a towering flower arrangement, or juggle dishes to find room on the table. Go out into the yard and pick up some fallen leaves and acorns and scatter them around the table. Add a few votive candles (helps reduce the danger of fire), some beautiful plates, glasses and napkins, and you have the makings of a stunning holiday table. Amy's table is set and I had the pleasure of seeing it early, (actually I was offering to buy the flowers) it has the most stunning deer horn candelabras, napkins and rings ...needs nothing in addition. They are ROCK STARS! And TT has created a time line for preparations, he is in charge of turkey brining to cooking, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

    Another fun idea for the table is to create fun place cards that double as take home gifts. Small potted plants with the names written on the side, a bag of homemade candies or baked goods, or even bags of caramel corn labeled are all fun, inexpensive, and thoughtful ways to say thank you to your guests for joining in the holiday celebration.

    At the end of the day, I think people are just happy and thankful to have fun with each other and eat together. (and the wine helps, no doubt!)


    Here is a family favorite salad, it is gorgeous and heavenly!



    Monday, 19 November 2012

    Spice Roulade with Custard sauce!

     By request!

    I had a dinner party about a week ago at my home. Wee Bear and I invited three couples to a six course dinner starting with the savory Jalapeno crackers, Thyme Roasted Marcona almonds and Veggie shooters. Once seated, I served Pumpkin Soup with popcorn garnish.Following much crying for seconds, I served the Field greens, pear and gorgonzola salad, that I would have blogged about today, but, a request came in from Rae in Toronto, for  "Spice Roulade with Apple filling" and a creamy "custard sauce". Rae wants to served this yummy cake for Thanksgiving. I like to honor requests as quickly as possible, which is usually three weeks out, but, Thanksgiving is two blogs away!! So here goes Rae!!



    Friday, 16 November 2012

    Maple Pecan Pie plus a Holiday Cookie Decorating Class!

    Well, the holidays are upon us and now that Halloween is over it is now all about turkey and all the fixings -that includes pies! Probably one of my favorite part of the Thanksgiving line-up of food is dessert. TT and I are hosting the dinner this year and are busily getting the house in order and making sure we have all the ingredients to pull it all together. Last night we completed our grocery shopping list and now we just wait for the butcher to call us about picking up the 20lb bird we ordered! It's going to be a feast!

    The tables have been set and I am doing what I can to prep whatever possible to make things easier come Thursday. Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen right up until the turkey is about to be carved!?. I've come to realize that making things or prepping ingredients in advance surely makes your holiday run a whole lot smoother. I am less stressed and can enjoy the company of family and friends. So, with that said, I have made one of three pies I am serving on Thanksgiving. You can make this pie (along with pumpkin pie) a week in advance and once baked, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. The day of, take it out and let it come to room temperature. 

    Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    Pumpkin Soup with a surprise garnish!



    We love pumpkins this time of year, particularly when they're roasted and whipped into a creamy, cold-weather soup. So thankfully there are many variations on this classic Fall meal that have shown up on several of the blogs lately. Try pumpkin and coconut milk (a classic), but also chipotle chocolate pumpkin soup, or a spicy southwest version. All it takes is a few new ingredients and you'll be tasting pumpkin in a whole new way. 

    My pumpkin soup is tried and true, is simple clean with fresh flavors that will please even your Mother in law!! The popcorn garnish, well, it is just a little surprise!!

    Monday, 12 November 2012

    Let's make art! Gourd Art!!


    A few weeks ago I took a class to make "Gourd Art". Oh... was it fun! I wanted to share my experience with you. Jane Bogg's taught the class, "About her" is below. She is fun and wants to help you become a "Gourd Artist" outside of class. She is excited and interested in you really learning the art, which make for a wonderful experience for her students. She also sell her art from her studio, contact information is below.

    Friday, 9 November 2012

    Nibble, nibble Jalapeno crackers!

    Gearing up for Thanksgiving!  

    Wednesday, 7 November 2012

    Peter Peter Pumpkin eater! Ravioli to die for!!






     With all of the pumpkin dessert recipes that have been televised and blogged about, I thought it was about time I feature a recipe that uses this incredible squash in a savory application. This ravioli has been  a favorite of mine - warm with the scent of toasted pecans, the mingling flavors of rosemary and sage; the perfect balance of flavors, all complimenting one another, in harmony. Sweet and savory hand-in-hand. I look forward to Fall every year when, it feels so good to make this delicious dish.

    Monday, 5 November 2012

    Miss Muffet sat on her Tuffet!

    These two adorable cousins are our Grandchildren! Emma who is almost 6 months in this picture and Julia who turned 1, sitting on her tuffet!!

    A tuffet, pouffe or hassock is a piece of furniture used as a footstool or low seat. It is distinguished from a stool by being completely covered in cloth so that no legs are visible. It is essentially a large hard cushion that may have an internal wooden frame to give it more rigidity. Wooden feet may be added to the base to give it stability, at which point it becomes a stool or a footstool. If the piece is larger, with storage space inside it, then it is generally known as an ottoman.
    A couple of years ago I took a "Tuffet" class with my friend Fawn, from Myra at Northwest Quiltworks in Bellevue,Wa. We had so much fun and started making  the cutest little footstools/child's tuffet. I thought, what a perfect gift for a child! They just love to sit and have their Mom, Dad, Grandpa or Grandma read them a story. Story time was big in my children's lives, they still remember that special time. And now, I am making these tuffet's for my Grandchildren, on their first Birthday, so that they can have their own special seat for story time. Wee Bear buys three story books to complete our traditional 1st Birthday gift to our grandchildren. To date of January 2017 I have made 10 tuffets for my grandchildren and a few others as gifts. I have one more to make the end of 2017, for grand child number 11.

    Friday, 2 November 2012

    Pumpkin Bread

    I recently bought a new fall inspired loaf pan at Williams Sonoma and decided to bake a pumpkin bread using it. It came out beautifully and the bread stayed moist for an entire week. Great with coffee in the morning! I was a little skeptical that the batter would stick in the grooves of the pattern, but a good spray of non-stick cooking spray turned the bread out perfectly. Next time I think I would give the finished bread a dusting of powdered sugar -I think that would look pretty over the pumpkin design.



    Wednesday, 31 October 2012

    Fall Mushroom Risotto!

      Truffled Mushroom Risotto in a Roasted Acorn Squash

                                       adapted from Karin Calloway

    The first time I tried truffle was via "truffle oil". It is a beautiful oil that tastes great on popcorn, potato chips and french fries. But, it just won't do for everything. Truffle tapenade is made by blitzing a small amount of truffles into a mushroom paste and let me tell you that this is warm, and earthy in the most amazing of ways. It still makes your head feel a little funny and your nose start proposing marriage! The paste is available at specialty gourmet shops.

    Mushrooms are a great substitute for meat because of their earthy flavor and meaty texture. And if you serve a good mushroom risotto, even the most ardent carnivore won’t miss the meat.

    Monday, 29 October 2012

    Pork Tenderloin with Port, mushroom sauce!


    This is yummy and easy, and also makes a pretty presentation. Before I share the recipe, I need to tell you, I love pork tenderloin.  But, in my experience, it usually needs seasoning, marinade, a glaze or a sauce. The flavor of pork tenderloin itself is rather neutral, so it is a nice palate for lots of adornments.  

    This fabulous and impressive sauce is deep in the  flavor of Port. Wine reduction sauces are divine, however, most wine reduction sauces take patience and a little more time. I’ve tried to make this sauce as simple and as flavorful as a typical reduction sauce, but in less time. The outcome is a savory......but with a hint of sweet, flavors of shallot and intense port wine. Please let me know what you think.  I love to hear from my fellow foodies and comments are always welcome!  I’ll also be posting a few side dishes that will compliment this recipe beautifully!  Keep an eye out for those recipes in the next few days.

    Friday, 26 October 2012

    Spiders, Pumpkins and Spooky Ghosts!

    As Halloween quickly approaches, I have a cookie recipe to share with you. I found these cookie cutters at Williams Sonoma and decided to bake, decorate and box up in cute decorative boxes and deliver to our neighbors. These cutters are great for beginner cookie decorators (like me!) because it stamps the design on the cookie so that you know where to decorate! They have taken all the guess work out of it. Well, I suppose you could say that they have taken all the credit for the design. I haven't mustered up the courage yet to bake a batch of cookies and decorate myself, so these were perfect for me as a first attempt into the cookie decorating arena!


    These cutters are exclusive to Williams Sonoma and you still might find them in stores as I did -I got mine on sale! If you would like, you can buy cookie cutters in the same shapes and just use these designs as a template to make your own from scratch. 

    Wednesday, 24 October 2012

    Glazed Apple Cider Donuts






     Let me begin this post by saying how excited I am to share this doughnut recipe with you. What can I say? Doughnuts are exciting. They remind me of my childhood.....and my children's childhood, all fuzzy and warm with loving family.


    Long story short: the doughnuts I’m sharing with you today are perfect for a child's Halloween party, a memory making activity with your children, or a gift for a neighbor or friend. Doughnuts are fun to make!

    Monday, 22 October 2012

    Arugula Salad with Caramelized shallots, goat cheese and candied walnuts!


     
    I enjoyed this hearty salad for lunch last week, and it was a triumph for the taste buds!  It was soooooo tasty! I thought I would share this salad in prelude to the Halloween Sweets, which will be featured the rest of this week!  My favorite salads have lots of different things going on: some kind of fruit, some kind of nut, some kind of cheese. And almost always a little hint of sweetness in the dressing. There’s a little bit of prep involved, but the best part is that you can do all of it in advance! So perfect for dinner too! You will be delighted at how easy each step of this salad is!

    Friday, 19 October 2012

    Octoberfest ~ Part Two

    Almost always, my favorite part of a meal is....DESSERT! For the Octoberfest party I made JJ's Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake. It was delish and not much was left over at the end of the night. I still have a slice or two tucked away in my freezer for a rainy day when a chocolate pick me up is in dire need!

    Originally taken from 'Gourmet|March 2000', this has been a family tradition for many years. As explained in the recipe, the chef uses Valrhona cocoa powder in her cake, but other Dutch-process cocoa powders work equally well. The filling is made from sweetened condensed milk that is cooked in a water bath in the oven until it caramelizes. I think it adds a wonderful richness to the rest of the cake. I could eat the milk/coconut filling alone, it's that yummy!

    *This recipe makes about 12 servings.



    Wednesday, 17 October 2012

    Chicken Soup...the COLD remedy!

     Who among you is coughing? Who among you is sneezing? Whose throat is so sore, it’s like you gargled sand?  I’m here to heal you and me, with homemade chicken soup. You may think to yourself: “Heck no! I haven't got time for homemade chicken soup! I’m opening a can!” But you’d be wrong, my friends, you’d be dead wrong. One whiff of this Godly creation and you’ll be better restored than the Sisteen Chapel. Behold the vision:



    Monday, 15 October 2012

    Roasted Pearl Onions



    Pin it! Onions are one of my favorite foods and these roasted onions are so tasty and easy to make. While I was looking for side dishes for my steak tenderloin, I remembered making these for a side last Spring with ham. I wrote the recipe, took the picture, but, did not deliver to you! I really enjoy roasting vegetables of all sorts and I was looking forward to roasting onions. This  recipe is pretty straight forward, no muss and no fuss. Roasting the onions brings out their natural sweetness and are a perfect side for steak, ham or any of your Fall dishes. I am pleased to offer another really tasty way to enjoy onions! Roasted pearl onions are rich in flavor and nutrients. 

    Friday, 12 October 2012

    Octoberfest! -Part One

    My husband and I had a successful Octoberfest party over the weekend. Most of the neighbors attended along with some family and friends. JJ and Wee Bear are back from their cruise so JJ and I split the menu and planned out decorations and set up. She has a great knack for planning and decorating plus she has so many wonderful decorations to use! I rented a beautiful farm table from a local family owned business. We got so many compliments from the neighbors on it and glad we opted for that instead of the basic buffet tables you cover with a table cloth. This table was gorgeous!


    We also rented the plates and silverware from the same company, which made for an easy cleanup. You just wipe the food from the plates and place them back into the crate they came in...no washing and no drying!

    The first part of this blog series, I will be telling you about the appetizers and share with you some of the recipes. A lot of these you can use for any occasion, in fact, many are create options for football/sports entertaining. 


    These little gems were created by "Tink". They are easy to prep and taste so good straight out of the oven! We ask her to make these often for family gatherings. 

    Wednesday, 10 October 2012

    Pepperoni Pin Wheels!


    While on our cruise up the east coast of the United States and Canada, we were looking for new and different dishes that we could share. We were directed to a pub in Quebec for the best lobster rolls, as it turned out we didn't have lobster rolls, but, we had a terrific meal starting with Pepperoni pinwheels and deep fried pepperoni.......trust me, this was all Wee Bear!! We loved the pinwheels and I decided to recreate them.


    With football season here and the holiday's on their way, this is a quick, easy, and make-ahead appetizer. These delicate little pinwheels are absolutely delicious, positively addicting, and devoured by adults and children alike.  Oh, and the smell of these while they are baking?  Pizzeria comes to mind.

    This appetizer can be made in advance (perfect for the Holiday rush). Just roll them up and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for up to one month.  Defrost the rolls in the freezer before slicing and continue with the recipe.

    Two roll Pepperoni
    1 package puff pastry

    That's it! Easy Squeezy!!

    Normally I like to make my own puff pastry, however there are a few acceptable options in the freezer section at the grocery. If you can find Dufour, it is a all butter puff pastry that bakes up nicely with tremendous flavor. I found it at my Whole Foods. Most stores have Pepperidge Farm, and with the strong flavor of the pepperoni in this recipe....I think it will be fine.

     I prefer the taste of log pepperoni and used that in my recipe, however, you could use the slices.  I just peel off the casing, give it a rough chop, and then throw it in my food processor to finely mince the pepperoni. 


    Spread the pepperoni mixture over the puff pastry, and roll up!

    This picture is the other mixture I used, bacon and cheese. Same technique.

    Bake the pinwheels just before your guests arrive and serve warm and within the hour.  Any leftovers can be refreshed in a 350ยบ F oven for 5 minutes, but I doubt there will be any leftovers.  Perfect for a Holiday get together and lovely for a cocktail party.  Give this a try, you won't be disappointed!



    These golden brown rounds are everything you want in an appetizer, lots of pepperoni flavor, everything you want in a recipe!



    I also made bacon and cheddar cheese pin wheels, using the same technique above!! Cook the bacon and chop, shred the cheese and mix together.


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    As promised here is the clip of Sweet One and TT's Oktoberfest! Enjoy!
    I have had a ball with I movie and am looking forward to improved tutorials on the blog!

    Cheers!
    JJ