Friday, December 30, 2011

VEGGIE TORTILLA ROLL-UPS


Tortilla rolls packed with wholesome fresh veggies are
one of my favorite snacks.

Prepare the veggies of your choice and add sour cream and
seasonings to a block of cream cheese.


Beat the cream cheese and seasonings until smooth;
stir in the colorful veggies.


Spread on a whole wheat tortilla; roll up and refrigerate
for several hours.


Slice, serve and enjoy with dill pickles.

VEGGIE TORTILLA ROLL-UPS

6 or 7 whole wheat tortillas (8-inch)
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
4 tsp. dry Ranch-style salad dressing mix
¼ cup sour cream

Combine cream cheese, salad dressing mix and sour cream until
well blended.

½ cup finely chopped broccoli florets
½ cup finely chopped cauliflower
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup finely chopped green onions
½ cup finely chopped sweet red and yellow pepper

Add vegetables to cream cheese mixture; stir to mix well.  Divide
filling and spread evenly on 6 or 7 tortillas.
Roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Just before serving, cut into 1 ¼-inch slices using a serrated knife. 
If desired serve with guacamole or salsa.
Yield: about 36 appetizers

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A FOREVER FEAST, CHRISTMAS 2011


From my house to your house .. from my kitchen to your kitchen..
Thanks to all of you who read  my blog.
Special thanks to those of you who have taken the time to send messages.
I hope that you continue to follow my progress in the kitchen
and if you learn anything of value, I will be glad.


To my family, friends and followers, I send you best wishes for
a blessed Christmas celebration.


For unto us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NIV

Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
II Cor. 9: 15 KJV

Friday, December 23, 2011

SPINACH AND POMEGRANATE SALAD


Vibrant green spinach is not only flavorful, it is a
nutritional powerhouse as well.
Toss in a few other healthy ingredients and enjoy a festive salad.


I always serve the dressing on the side so guests can use the amount
of their preference.  A poppy seed dressing goes well
with this salad.

POMEGRANATE SPINACH SALAD

1 pkg. fresh baby spinach
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup almond slivers, toasted

Arrange spinach on a large platter.  Top with shredded cheese,
pomegranate seeds and toasted almonds.
Drizzle with Poppy Seed dressing.

CREAMY POPPY SEED DRESSING

½ cup sugar
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. ground mustard
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp. poppy seeds

In a blender, combine all ingredients except oil and poppy seeds.
Cover and process until blended.
While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream.  Blend until
thick and creamy.  Pour into serving container.  Stir in poppy seeds.
Store tightly covered in refrigerator.
Makes about 2 cups dressing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

TURTLE CHEESECAKE


A decadent cheesecake all wrapped in caramel, pecans and chocolate.


A layer of caramel is poured over the baked crust, followed by
 a sprinkling of toasted pecans.


Pour the cheesecake batter over the caramel layer.
Spoon the melted chocolate over the batter and swirl with a knife.


After the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled, it is ready for the
transformation from simple to extravagant.


Cut into slices before decorating to make it easier to serve.
I found that cutting a cheesecake with a caramel and nut layer is a bit
more difficult that a plain one.  You will need more patience
and determination but it can be done.


Spoon some caramel over the top and edge ... allow some to flow over.


I love this step ... pipe a rosette on the edge of each slice.


I should have made stars because of the season but I ran out
of time and had hearts on hand.  So white and chocolate hearts
were destined to grace each mound of whipped cream.
Each slice was topped with a toasted pecan half dipped in chocolate.


This is truly an extravagant and delicious dessert.
My guests were delighted.


TURTLE CHEESECAKE

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp. sugar

Melt butter in a small saucepan; stir in crumbs and sugar.
Press firmly and evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 8 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool.

14 oz. individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1 (5oz.) can evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a double boiler, or a bowl set over barely simmering water,
melt the caramels in the milk. Stir until smooth.  Reserve 1/3 cup.
Pour remaining caramel over the cooled crust.
Sprinkle nuts over the top.

3 pkg. (8oz.) cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, combine cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla;
beat until smooth, scraping down the bowl several times.
Whisk eggs until light; whisk into batter in two intervals just until blended.
Pour cream cheese mixture over caramel layer.

½ cup milk chocolate chips, melted

Spoon melted chocolate over cream cheese mixture; cut through
batter with knife several times for marble effect.

Bake in preheated 325° oven for 50 minutes or until barely set.
Turn oven off and partially open door for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven; loosen cake from rim of pan with a thin knife.
Cool completely on wire rack.
Refrigerate cake for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Garnish with whipped cream and reserved caramel sauce.





Tuesday, December 20, 2011

SUGAR COOKIE PLACECARDS


It has become my tradition to personalize a cookie for each of my grandchildren.
They were mailed in Montana on a Friday and arrived in Indiana
and New York on Monday... thanks to a great postal service in the US.


I begin with Rana's sugar cookies cut with a round cookie cutter.
I posted the recipe a few days ago.
Spread the icing smoothly and allow to dry.
Make a few extra cookies in case of mistakes.


Mistake #1 in the left corner ... script too large so I had to start over.
Otherwise it went well to write the names with a round decorator tip
on a bag of green butter icing.


I like to use red hots because they are more dainty but I had adapt to
something without the cinnamon .. like a smartie.
Just to please one little appetite... no problem ... that's what
grandmothers are all about.
That little circle of red does brighten them up.  I stuck them to
the cookie with a dab of melted white chocolate.


I switched to a leaf tip and piped on the leaves .. let's pretend
they look like holly leaves.


Finally I added a love symbol using a new paint brush and food coloring.


The dollar store had the perfect size boxes.  I lined them with plastic
wrap and a layer of star cookies because there was room.


The cookies were placed inside and covered with the plastic wrap
and they were ready to go.
They were so appreciated  I was told on the phone.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A FOREVER FEAST, GIFTS


 Seven very precious young people and children are on my mind
and in my heart at this special season.


I spend hours working in my kitchen baking tokens of my love
to box up and send across the miles.


Favorite treats are carefully chosen and arranged in attractive and
colorful containers.


I treasure this link to my grandchildren ...
When the box arrives ... I know they will feel the love that
was tucked inside.  The memory will be etched in their hearts.


It is not work ... it is pleasure because I love them so much!
But there is Someone who loves them infinitely more than I can.
And only He can love with a perfect love.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you,
the only true God and Jesus Christ,
whom you have sent.
John 17:3
This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent his one and only Son into the world
that we might live through Him.
1 John 4:9

Friday, December 16, 2011

GINGERBREAD CHILDREN


How about this amazing troupe of gingerbread children !
The 'girls' are on order from my granddaughter Jodie .. the grandsons get the 'boys'.
Makes me tired just to think of time it took to create these darlings.


The dough is a breeze to mix  ... and exceptionally easy to work with ..
reminds me of working with quality play dough.


It doesn't break or crumble ... so the baking is easy as well.
After I was all done cutting out the 'boys', I realized I was not using
the matching 'girl - boy set'.
Oh well, there's always next year.


I give myself lots of time for the fun part ... turning plain cookies into little 
personalities.  If I add any chocolate to
the costume, I do that first.  I did a border of chocolate on the skirt hem,
a mitt on some of the hands and a little halo on the head.
That dries and sets in minutes.


The boys get to have chocolate trousers ... my grandsons will
not know what trousers are... but they will taste great.  I hope they notice the
cute patches I meticulously applied to the knee area on some.


GINGERBREAD CHILDREN

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.

1 cup molasses
1 tbsp. white vinegar

Heat molasses to almost boiling.  Pour over butter mixture.  Add
vinegar, mixing well.  Cool to lukewarm.

1 egg, beaten
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. salt

Stir in beaten egg. 
Blend dry ingredients together; stir into molasses mixture to form
a soft dough.  Chill dough several hours or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about ¼ inch thickness,
Cut with a floured gingerbread child cookie cutter.
Place on greased baking sheets.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until
edges are firm.  Do not over bake.
Remove to wire racks to cool.
Decorate as desired.

ROYAL ICING

1 tbsp. meringue powder
2 tbsp. cold water
1 cup powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, beat meringue powder and cold water with
electric mixer on medium speed until peaks form.  Gradually beat
in powdered sugar until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.
Spoon icing into decorating bag fitted with medium round tip, and
pipe over cookies.  Let stand about 5 minutes until icing is set.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

RANA'S SUGAR COOKIES


These cookies were named Rana's Sugar Cookies because my
niece Rana loves them a lot.  I share her fondness for this
simple sugar cookie.


You can find a cookie cutter to suit almost any occasion and
for this batch the snowflake was the choice.


After the cookies are baked, I like to spread them on heavy brown
paper or several layers of newsprint paper to absorb any grease.
It also saves me from having to wash racks which is a good thing.
After they are slightly cooled, decorate with icing and sprinkles.


Tiny bite-size stars are fun to make ... at times a little is perfect.
I arranged the stars close together and drizzled the icing over them
in a random pattern.  Making a star within the star using the
same round decorator tip looks very nice as well.



RANA'S SUGAR COOKIES

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract

In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, egg and flavorings;
beat together thoroughly.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Blend dry ingredients and all to creamed mixture until well blended.
Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours.
Divide dough in half.  Roll each half  ¼ inch thick on lightly floured
surface or parchment paper.  Cut into desired shapes and place on
lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated 375° oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until light
brown on the edges.
When cool spread with Quick White Icing.

Icing:  Measure 2 cups powdered sugar into bowl.  Moisten with milk
to spreading consistency, about 2 to 3 tablespoons.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SNOWBALLS


These little balls of nutty goodness will melt in your mouth.
I thought it was appropriate to picture them in a snow setting.


I usually roll these cookies in powdered sugar but since they are
off to some far away places, I dipped them in a thin white icing.
 My friend Ruthann gets the credit for this idea.
While I love the powdered sugar concept for Snowballs, this method
seals the cookie for transport and is less sticky to eat.


To give the non-powdered Snowballs a winter look,
I did a scribble with green melting wafers.

SNOWBALLS

1 cup butter
½ powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until fluffy.  Mix in flour,
salt and nuts until dough holds together.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 10 to 12 minutes or
until set but not brown.
While warm, roll in powdered sugar.
Cool; roll in powdered sugar again.
OR alternately, dip warm cookies in thin white icing.

Icing:  Measure 2 cups powdered sugar into bowl; moisten
with milk to spreading consistency, about 2 tablespoons.

Monday, December 12, 2011

FRUIT and NUT REFRIGERATOR COOKIES


I include these cookies in the Christmas box that I send out to my
family even though they are favored by only two. 
Jewelled with candied fruit, they can remind you of the traditional fruitcake
without the effort of making one.


The dough is soft but easy to shape into a log that is then frozen.
It doesn't freeze really hard and can be sliced quite easily with
a sharp knife.


Sometimes the candied fruit has a goodly amount of liquid mixed with it.
The times I have included the syrup in the cookies, they turned a nice
pink color.  This year the fruit I bought was on the dry side so my dough
stayed nice and light.  Even so, I toss the fruit with flour to keep the colors
separate.


FRUIT AND NUT REFRIGERATOR COOKIES

½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Cream butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and beat well.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 ½ cups chopped candied fruit

Blend 2 ¼ cups flour with baking powder, soda and salt; stir
into creamed mixture.  Stir remaining ¼ cup flour into nuts and
candied fruit; add to mixture and mix until combined.
Shape dough into 2 smooth rolls, about 2 inches in diameter, on two pieces of
waxed or parchment paper.  Wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or
overnight.  When ready to bake, slice with sharp thin knife into
¼ inch slices.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden.
Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to rack to cool
completely. 
Yield: about 4 dozen cookies
Freezing: excellent