Friday, December 6, 2013
Well all the containers came down from the attic, my house is decorated and the outside is decorated, so Christmas season has officially begun at our house! Hooray! We pick up our tree later today, so tonight will be all about the decorating!
The winter chill is starting to settle in here in Rhode Island. The wind is picking up and there is that gray/steel look to the sky.
I know a lot of people hate the winter but I love it. I try and embrace each season here in New England. We are blessed with getting to experience all four, not everyone can say that about where they live. Still I hear the endless complaints about driving in the snow, or having to shovel snow. It's Rhode Island. It snows here. That's not going to change. If you really hate it that much, then I suggest you move. I really want to say that, but I usually don't.
So I'm one of those nut cases who loves the chill in the air and gets excited when we bring down the big bucket of hats, scarfs and mittens from the attic. I love to bundle up. I love it when we boil water in the kettle almost every night for tea and hot chocolate. I love to put on my Smartwool socks. I'm a bit of a homebody. Maybe that's what makes me so acclimated to the winter?
I also love to fill the kitchen with delicious things to warm you from the inside out. What's better than a hearty casserole on a chilly night or a delicious hot breakfast to start your day?
If you search online for the phrase "bubble up breakfast bake" you will find quite a few recipes. I looked at dozens before deciding to just make up my own.
I served this Sunday for my friend Tati and she loved it! I gave her some to take home to her husband John and he loved it too. I've made quite a few breakfast recipes over the past year and I have to say this one was one of the best. I'm already planning on making it again and adding spinach.
Bubble Up Breakfast Bake
1 pound of breakfast sausage
1 tube of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the sausage in a skillet on medium high heat. Drain any grease, set aside. Place the chopped onion in the same pan. You may need to add a little oil to the onions. Let the onions cook for a few minutes then add in the chopped mushroom. Cook until tender. Set aside.
Cut each biscuit into 8 pieces and place in the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish. Add the sausage in a even layer. Top with the onion and mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the rest of the ingredients.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean in the middle of the dish.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It's been one year today.
365 days since he's been gone.
During those first few months I thought I'd never feel happy again. I felt like my heart was breaking. The passing of this little dog turned my whole world upside down. I can't even bring myself to think about the last time we saw him. It's just too painful. Just typing this has left me struggling to see the screen through my tears.
I remember in the days after he was gone telling people that I couldn't celebrate Christmas this year. How could I be happy and joyful without him in my life? I was truly devastated.
I cried. Oh how I cried. Barely holding it together at work. Choking back tears at every movie or commercial with a dog in it. Almost jealous when I saw friends with their pets. Feeling horrible for all the times I scolded him for being underfoot, or trying to sneak food. All the little day to day things that changed our daily life creeping up on me, making me feel so down.
Then came the firsts. The birthdays without him. The first time he wasn't there to sing (howl) every time we started to sing Happy Birthday. The first time he wasn't with us in the yard, laying in the shade as we tended to the garden, jumping in the leaves, napping on the deck, walking with us in the woods. I can't tell you how many times John would find me just sitting in a flood of tears, overcome with memories and sadness.
I must have said "I miss him" a thousand times since last December and John always replies "I miss him too".
I still have his tattered bunny on my bureau. I still pick it up and breathe him in, knowing that the day will come when I can't smell him anymore. A lock of his hair in a box, his collar and sweaters still in a big basket on top of an armoire. I can't bare to part with them. I don't want to have every little piece of him vanish.
So. yes, it's been a year and I wish I could say that I don't miss him quite so much, or that my heart still doesn't sink a little when John opens the door and he's not running ahead of him to greet me, or that I don't wake up and for a millisecond put my foot down and expect to feel his furry back under my feet.
He was my constant companion, my foot warmer, my snuggler, my precious Moose.
Many people have asked us why we haven't gotten another dog. There are days when I long for another and all the things I miss about having a pup, but we just can't right now. The thought of going through this again is just unbearable. I can't say that we will never have another dog in our lives again, but right now the pain is still too raw.
I miss him. I miss him so much.
Monday, December 2, 2013
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and friends and then we had a wonderful Black Friday. No we didn't venture out for the bargains. I've never been a Black Friday shopper. I shop early so all my presents have been purchased for months now. I get my bargains in the summer and fall. We did go to a local craft show. It's sort of a tradition with us. I think we've been going for almost 10 years now. We bring a canned good for the food pantry, pay a dollar, and get to see all the beautiful things that local crafters and artisans make. It's sort of like Small Business Saturday one day early. We picked up a few little gifts that I just couldn't pass up and then we headed back home and ate turkey sandwiches. Best part of the day.
Saturday we ventured out again to get some pine roping for decorating the front yard. Saturday night we plunked ourselves on the couch, cuddled up in blankets and watched stupid movies. A pretty great weekend so far if you ask me.
Sunday we cooked another small turkey because we only had enough leftovers for a few sandwiches. Can you imagine? So we popped the bird in the oven bright and early, then I made some turkey stock with the bones and threw together a big pot of turkey escarole soup.
While the soup was cooking I made a batch of these Sugar Cookie Bars for my husband's boss who celebrates Hanukkah (hence the blue frosting). My youngest loves sugar cookies. Loves them. Since this makes a whole jelly roll pan full there was plenty enough to give away and plenty for Evan.
If you love sugar cookies but don't feel like rolling them out and cutting them into shapes, then this is the recipe for you. It'll feed a whole bunch of people too, so it's perfect for a pot luck, Hanukkah or Christmas party. The frosting can be tinted any color you like!
Sugar Cookie Bars
recipe from The Repressed Pastry Chef
1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temp
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla & mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt & soda & stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan) I used a half sheet pan.. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes (this was 20 mins for me), until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.
1/2 cup butter; room temp
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp milk
food coloring (if desired)
For frosting combine butter and shortening until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar in 1-2 cup increments until combined, then add milk & mix until smooth and spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cookie, then cut into bars.
Friday, November 22, 2013
So Thanksgiving is fast approaching. It's one of my favorite holidays. What's not to love about a day that's all about the food?
I'm not crazy about turkey. It's ok. Making a turkey once a year is perfectly fine with me cause I'm all about the sides anyway. I was a vegetarian for over 20 years and I remember people always feeling bad for me when Thanksgiving rolled around, but I was always one happy girl cause there were so many other delicious things to eat besides the bird.
On Thanksgiving morning I'm up bright and early and I head straight to the kitchen to get started so my clan usually fends for themselves when it comes to breakfast, but I found a Biscuit, Sausage and Egg Casserole that is so easy and quick to put together that I think I can make this before my oven fills up for the day.
I changed a few thing from the original recipe that I found on At Home with Lady B. I read the reviews and many folks were complaining that the eggs were not fully cooked and that the biscuit layer was too thick I pulled this out of the oven at the suggested 30 minute mark and my eggs were still runny so I popped it back for more cooking time. I adjusted the ingedient amounts and time and it came out great.
This recipe does a bit of flip-flopping in the oven. The eggs sink to the bottom and the biscuits rise up to the middle. Pretty cool!
I think my husband ate half the pan! It's a keeper!
Biscuit, Sausage & Egg Casserole
Adapted from a recipe At Home with Lady B
5 ½ buttermilk biscuits (from an 8 count tube)
1 pound of any breakfast sausage (browned, drained, and cooled)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 °F. Crumble and cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain.
Line bottom of an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with biscuit dough, firmly pressing perforations to seal. I put four biscuits in the bottom of the pan, flatten them out and then filled in the empty spaces using pieces of the remaining biscuit and a half. Sprinkle with sausage and then cheese. Whisk together eggs, milk, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until blended; pour over sausage and cheese.
Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into squares; serve warm.
Monday, November 18, 2013
I'm feeling all cozy and homey right now. I love that hunkered down, cuddled up feeling that this time of year brings. I love wrapping myself up in a blanket and pulling up my thick knee socks. I love digging into the stash of books I've been collecting all summer and fall. I love that it's pie season. Had to throw that in, cause well...PIE!
My list making is going into overdrive. I've got my thanksgiving recipe lists (and folder), I've got Christmas present lists, I've got craft supply lists and the most important of all, I've got my "must make list". It's a little collection of recipes that I kind of pull from a bigger collection of recipes and move to the top. Priorities you know?
My friend Rebecca from Foodie with Family posted this recipe on her Facebook page last week. It was one of those moments where the clouds parted in the sun shined down and my heart screamed hallelujah! I am crazy mad for rice pudding. I also love coconut...and oh yeah, chocolate. I'm a bit crazy for that too. This recipe combined all three. Heaven. I ate this right out of the pot. I'm not ashamed to tell you that. I eat it cold too, but I couldn't wait to eat it. It was lunch for me last Saturday. Lunch never tasted so good.
Don't worry that the coconut water will make this too coconutty, it won't. This made enough for my friend Tati and I to eat. She is a rice pudding lover too. If you love it as much as we do, you may want to double the recipe!
Rebecca has a great recipe for Whipped Coconut Cream. Check out the link for that recipe.
Almond Joy Rice Pudding
recipe from Rebecca - Foodie with Family.
1 can coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 can evaporated milk
Whole milk or half and half
1/2 cup arborio rice
¼ cup raw sugar
vanilla bean, split and scraped
a pinch of salt
shaved or chopped dark chocolate
Whipped coconut cream (see recipe below)
Toasted sliced almonds
Pour the coconut milk and evaporated milk into a four cup measure. Add enough whole milk or half and half to measure 4 cups evenly.
Stir together the milk mixture, rice, raw sugar, vanilla bean (both the bean halves and the scrapings), and salt to a medium sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, then lower the heat to medium low and allow it to simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Let it cool several minutes, covered, before transferring to serving dishes.
To Serve Warm
Top the warm pudding with shaved or chopped dark chocolate, whipped coconut cream, and toasted coconut for Mounds bar pudding or add almonds with everything else for Almond Joy pudding.
To Serve Cold:
Cover the portioned pudding with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Chill for at least an hour (but up to 3 days in advance) before serving. Top the chilled pudding with shaved dark chocolate, whipped coconut cream, and toasted coconut for Mounds bar pudding or add almonds with everything else for Almond Joy pudding.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Every fall and winter I have this dilemma. I can't photograph food 5 days out of the week.
Why? Well, I work full time and by the time I get home, it's dark outside.
I take all my photos in natural light, so when the suns goes down, nothing gets photographed. I don't have Photoshop, so what you see is what you get with me.
It does limit me to weekends to take a decent photos, and sometimes even then the weather doesn't cooperate here in New England.
That still won't stop me from sharing delicious recipes with you. I think you all can see past the not so stellar photo and know that when I tell you something is delicious and you should make it, it is.
This Dorito Taco Pie was delicious. The bottom is layered with crushed Doritos. Yes, Doritos. Trust me on this, and I know for some of you this is such a non-issue cause you already told me how much you love Doritos.
I made two of these because we had friends over to watch football. I served it with shredded lettuce, sour cream and guacamole. It was such a hit.
Dorito Taco Pie
recipe from my mother-in-law Carol!
1 pound of ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
2 cups Dorito Nacho Cheese chips, crushed
8 ounces of cream cheese, room temp
½ cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced
Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish, or a deep dish pie pan. Place the crushed Doritos in the bottom of the pan. Cook the ground beef, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain any grease. Add in the package of taco season and cook as directed on the package. Spoon the ground beef over the crushed Doritos.
In a medium size bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth and then slowly add in the salsa. Pour this over the ground beef. Top with 1 ½ cups of cheese. Top the cheese with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. I skipped this step because we are not fond of hot lettuce and we don’t like tomatoes, but if you are go ahead and pile it on then add the remaining cheese. If you’re like us, add the lettuce and tomatoes after and just use the full two cups of cheese to top it.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese it brown and bubbly. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, etc.
Friday, November 1, 2013
While October is usually my most favorite month of the year, this October proved to be a bumpy ride. While we thoroughly enjoyed our Ohio vacation, my heart was being pulled home. My Dad had a few cardiac episodes which involved two procedures, one very scary one in Boston which had us all on edge. He has pulled through and is even back to walking (for a few months with Mom by his side). I'm ever so grateful that he's doing well.
My youngest turned 17. Yikes, my YOUNGEST! When did I get this old? We had a big party for him last weekend. I'm still recovering from the marathon cooking session.
I found this recipe called Holycraptheseareamazing Cookies. I can't remember where I saw this recipe. I looked it up online and there are lots of bloggers who made these, so my apologies if you are the original creator! (Contact me and I'll link back to your blog!)
To be honest this one was in my recipe file for awhile. When you see a title like that you just have to make them right? The ingredient list was pretty simple too and they were no bake, a no brainer. I re-named this recipe Peanut Butter Corn Flake Treat cause they just weren't amazing to me. They were good, don't get me wrong, but I'm not a peanut butter freak, so they weren't fantastic or amazing in my book but my kids loved them, but what kid doesn't like a rice krispie type treat? This would be a great recipe to make with youngester/toddlers.
Peanut Butter Corn Flake Treats
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 jar (18 oz) peanut butter
6 cups corn flakes
3 oz good chocolate
Combine the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Place over medium high heat and stir until the mixture comes to a full boil. Remove from heat and stir in whole jar of peanut butter. Mix well.
Add the cornflakes to a large bowl and pour peanut butter mixture over the corn flakes and mix well talking care to coat all the corn flakes.
With a tablespoon of cookie scoop out and form into 1 – 2 inch balls depending on your preference, and place them on a cookie sheet lined to parchment or wax paper.
Put the chocolate in a small bowl and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.