Monday, December 15, 2014

Soft Molasses Cookies

Soft Molasses Cookies 1

How;s everyone doing with their Christmas preparation? I'm just about finished.

I'm an early shopper so I was done way back in October. I spend December wrapping and baking and working on my Christmas menu. Yesterday I cooked and baked all morning and then I wrapped up the last of my presents. I look forward to a lazy few weeks before Christmas. I stressed myself out for too many years and ended up sick every holiday until I vowed that I wouldn't let it get to me anymore, so I shop early, I plan ahead, we keep the buying to a minumum, and really try and enjoy the season. I hope you all do the same!

Now on to cookies!

We all have that one cookie or dessert that just screams Christmas for us. The one you have to make or it's just not Christmas without it.

Well here is that cookie for me. Soft Molasses Cookies.

I blogged about these ages ago. I've been making them for years and years. They are always on my Christmas cookie list.

The whole house smells like Christmas when you make these. Cinnamon, cloves, just makes the whole room come alive.

I have a few friend who have added these to their "must make" list and it just warms my heart to know that they have become a part of their Christmas tradition too.

Soft Molasses Cookies 3

Soft Molasses Cookies
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
Printable recipe
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups flour
1/2 tea. salt
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
sugar for rolling ball into

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and eggs.

In another bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Blend thoroughly with a wire whisk. Gradually mix flour mixture with the creamed mixture until dough is blended and smooth. Roll dough into balls about the size of a walnut, roll into sugar, and place on greased cookie sheet or use parchment. I used parchment and they came out perfectly. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE! You really want to take these out when they look underdone. Trust me they will set up perfectly.

Cool on wire rack and store in tightly covered container.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Old Fashioned Molasses Cake

Molasses Cake

So Turkey Day is fast approaching and I know many of you have your menus done and you're desserts planned already but I can't help but share this delicious little cake with you now.

I love molasses. I love the smell of it and the taste of it. It instantly makes me think of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This is the perfect little cake to whip up on a whim. It's like the baby bear of cakes. Not too big, not too little, just right. All it requires is a few bowls and few minutes and you have a little cake to enjoy with a warm cuppa tea on a chilly afternoon. If you love gingerbread, you'll love this!

I've been watching my sugar, so I used Stevia in place of the sugar and sugar free whipped topping. It tasted plenty sweet to me!

Molasses Cake2

Old Fashioned Molasses Cake
Recipe from Taste of Home
Printable recipe.
2 tablespoons reduced-fat butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot water
9 tablespoons fat-free or sugar free whipped topping

In a small bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg. Beat in molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; add to butter mixture alternately
with water, mixing well after each addition.

Transfer to a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares;
garnish with whipped topping. Yield: 9 servings.

Nutritional Information: (based on using sugar, not a sugar substitute) 1 piece with 1 tablespoon whipped topping equals 148 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 28 mg cholesterol, 205 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Creamy Veggie Casserole

Creamy Veggie Casserole 4

I got some powerful Thanksgiving mojo going on lately. The internet is all abuzz with talk of turkeys and Thanksgiving sides. It's everywhere I tell ya.

I get excited about Thanksgiving. I love that it's a holiday where gifts are not involved. In my house it's all about food, football and naps.

I host Thanksgiving dinner every year. I love the weeks building up to Thanksgiving. I love planning my menu and making my shopping lists. I just love everything about it.

While I do stick to a few tried and true my Roasted Parmesan Creamed Onions....just take a look at these beauties....

Parmean & Cream Baked Onions

They are out of this world! You can get the recipe here.....I do venture out and try some new recipes. I found this recipe back in September and let me tell you, it's a winner.

I made this for a party we hosted when my in-laws were here from Ohio and everyone raved about it. I doubled the recipe and I'm glad I did cause it was a huge hit. It will now grace my Thanksgiving table.

I used a broccoli and cauliflower combination, but feel free to chose whatever veggies you like.

Creamy Veggie Casserole 2
Creamy Veggie Casserole
adapted from a recipe at The Gunny Sack
Printable recipe
2 – 14oz bags of mixed veggies (broccoli/cauliflower/carrots or any combination of these work well)
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons flour
Small diced onion
1 cup milk
4oz flavored cream cheese (garden veggie or chive work well)
4oz shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper
½ cup French Fried Onions

Cook the veggies (the microwave works fine for this) and place them in a large bowl to cool a bit.  I squeeze any excess water out of them at this point too. Place butter and onion in pan and cook over medium high heat until slightly tender (about 3 minutes). Add in the flour and milk and whisk until thickened. Add in the cream cheese and stir until smooth. Pour the cream sauce over the veggies. Add in the shredded cheese and stir to combine. Pour into a greased deep dish pie pan and bake at 350 for 20 –25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with French Fried onions and place back in the oven for 5 minutes.

* If doubling the recipe, place in a 9x13 inch pan and add about 5 - 10 extra minutes to the cooking time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Apple Fritter Bread & the cookbook winners!

Apple Fritter Bread 3

What is is with me and the whole apple fritter thing? Really. I'm just apple fritter crazy lately.

Just ask my family how many times I've said "fritter batter, fritter batter, fritter batter". Once I start I can't stop, lol. You know you just tried it!

I've been busy getting my Thanksgiving menu ready and my Apple Fritter Cake is on that menu. It was such a hugely popular cake that I decided to look for other "apple fritter" recipe. I turned to Pinterest as I do so many times and this beauty popped up.

It only uses 2 apples so you don't have to sit and peel and chop a while buncha apples. It came together really quickly. I even had my sous chef Mitchell to help me stir and mix this one. Thanks Mitchell!

Apple Fritter Bread 2

We loved it. It produces a moist and tender cake. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea if you're like me!

I'll be posting a few of my favorite Thanksgiving sides in the next week. I've got a fantastic Creamy Veggie Casserole coming your way. It makes frozen veggies taste amazing!

Apple Fritter Bread

Apple Fritter Bread
recipe from The Baking Chocola Tess
Printable recipe
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 apples, peeled and chopped (any kind), mixed with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 - 3 tablespoons of milk or maple sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 9x5-inch loaf pan and spray with non-stick spray or line with parchment and spray with non-stick spray for easy release.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside. In another medium-sized bowl, beat white sugar and butter together using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, add in vanilla. Combine & whisk flour and baking powder together in another bowl and add into creamed butter mixture and stir until blended. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan; add half the apples and half the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer and top with remaining apples and brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl the top a little using knife or spoon. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, approximately 50-60 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before adding the glaze.

For the glaze
Add a half cup of confectioners sugar in a bowl. I like to add pure maple syrup to my sugar for a mapley flavor. You can also use milk. Just add enough to get it to the right consistency for drizzling.

Cookbook winners!

I have to tell you all, based on the comments, stuffing and mashed taters seem to be high on your lists of favorite sides!

And the winners of the autographed copies of Callie's Biscuits and Southern Traditions!

Lynda Herman who said

I love it all, but the green bean casserole might be my favorite!

Tracy McGinty who said

Oyster Dressing! 

Congratulations ladies. Please contact me with your mailing addresses!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Callie's Biscuits and Southern Traditions Cook Book(s) giveaway!

Have you ever fallen in love with a cook book as soon as you opened it? Like you're standing in the store and you start to thumb through it and you just start swooning page after page?

That's what happened to me with this book.

First of all it's a beautiful book and so well written. I don't like stuffy cookbooks. I like cookbooks that read like....well...a book. I like a little story, I like beautiful pictures, I like to see the photo and have it make me say "yes, I want to make that...NOW!".

This book did that for me. I want to make so many recipe from this book! Just the biscuit section alone had me and there is so, so much more than biscuits!

I had never heard of Callie's Biscuits before but I'm a biscuit lover from way back and this woman is a Southern biscuit baker so come could you go wrong?? It's not just a book of biscuits, oh no. It's filled with amazing's a little about Carrie:

Carrie Morey started her company, Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, with a simple goal: She wanted to make her mother Callie’s delicious biscuits—unbelievably tender, buttery creations—accessible across the country. Carrie’s handmade biscuits combine unique, brilliant flavors—sharp cheddar with fresh chives, cracked black pepper with cream cheese and green onions, and cinnamon biscuits so buttery they melt in your mouth. The biscuits are an iconic Southern staple, but they are just the beginning.

Now Carrie Morey shares her modern approach to traditional Southern cooking in more than one hundred recipes that pair classic Lowcountry fare with surprising twists, for incredible results. Carrie guides you through the foundational techniques of Southern cooking to reveal how she developed her new takes on favorite heritage dishes and how to take the fuss and huge time investment out of traditional preparations. She shares skillet recipes passed down through generations, including Lemon Zest Cast-Iron Fried Shrimp, Macaroni Pie, and Cast-Iron Herb Lamb Chops. She gives roasting and slow-cooking techniques for Beef Stew with Herbed Sour Cream, Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad, and Roasted Pimento Cheese Chicken. Her DILLicious Cucumber Sandwiches, BBQ Chicken Salad Biscuits, Fiery Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs, and Summer Crab Salad will make any picnic or casual get-together a true Southern affair. And her desserts are to die for: Mama’s Sour Cream Banana Pudding, Alex’s Chocolate Chess Pie (so good that Carrie credits the pie for sparking her and her husband’s whirlwind romance), and Blueberry and Peach Cobbler finish your meal on the perfect sweet note.

Carrie also shares her family stories behind each recipe—growing up in Charleston, learning to cook from great Southern matriarchs, and founding and growing her business. Fill your kitchen with the comforting aroma of home-cooked goodness with Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions.

This giveaway is a little thank you to all of you. I'm ever so grateful that you stop by and visit my little corner of the internet. I'm touched by every comment, every share, every kind word that passes my way. This is my way of showing how much you all mean to me. Without you guys writing and photographing and maintaining this blog really wouldn't be much fun, so thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


I'm sure many of you are planning your Thanksgiving menu. This book will arrive in time for you to plan some delicious recipes!
I loved this book so much that I'm going to give away 2 copies to 2 lucky winners, and get this...they are autographed copies!!

We all need to get our biscuit on don't we?

callie 2

How to enter:

I'm going to make this simple. You don't need to go visit me on Facebook (although if you're not already a fan I'd sure appreciate it!) You don't need to enter, or follow a bunch of different blogs, or click on some widgety thing, just leave me a comment, here or on Facebook answering the question:

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side?

Contest ends Wednesday, November 12th, 2014!
Good Luck Ya'll - see I was speaking Southern right there!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Happy Halloween!

I can't wait to see the little one's lining up at the door tonight. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to see a lot of Elsa's and Olaf's tonight!

I loved trampsing around the neighborhood when the kids were little, but I missed answering the door. Now that the kids are big and don't trick or treat anymore I miss walking around the neighborhood!

It's cooled down quite a bit here in New England so I'm breaking out the casseroles.

I just threw this together , much like I do with my soups. I did take note of what I used to make this so I could share it with you all tough. More than once I've made one of my "throw this and that in" casseroles and forget to write down exactly what I did. This time I remembered.

I used 3 very large chicken breasts when I make this but you could most certainly use the meat from a rotisserie chicken in a pinch.

Chicken and Rice Casserole 2

Chicken and Rice Casserole
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
Printable recipe
2 - 8oz boxes Uncle Ben's Wild Rice cooked according to package directions * see note
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
3 to 4 cups completely cooked, cubed chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken if you'd like!)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large stalk celery, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Blend in flour with a wire whisk, stirring constantly, cook for 1 or 2 minutes or until the flour turns golden. Gradually stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat.

Sauté the onion, carrots, celery in the olive oil until tender. Add in the garlic during the last few minutes.

Add the sauce, rice and chicken to the veggie mixture and stir to combine. Spread in an a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over rice mixture. . Bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Note* See the note on the bottom of the Uncle Ben's box when you are making 2 boxes at once. There are instructions for making 2 boxes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Easy Apple Pastry Puff

Easy Apple  Puff Pastry

I could eat stuff made with apples every day. I really could.

Every year we go to the same apple orchard to pick. I'm very loyal to my local farmers. I've been picking blueberries at Macombers Farm in Rhode Island for over 20 years and I can proudly say the same thing about Sunset Orchards in Scituate, RI too. It's the only place I go to get my apples.

It's a yearly tradition that we have. My friends and I go pick, they have a coffee, I get some cider, we pick a whole buncha apples and then I make apple treats. The kids would all go with us up until a few years ago when it became uncool to be seen with your parents. The kids are now 17, 18 and 19 so they want no part of apple picking anymore. They'll come back one day. I keep telling them this. I'll be patient.

There is nothing like a fresh picked apple. Unless you've had one you wouldn't even know what you were missing. They are so crisp and so fresh. I love baking with them because I don't have to add much sugar. The sweetness of the apples really shine through.

So I made some apple treats over the last month and I'm now down to the last few apples. I just threw this recipe together to make something sweet for the Sunday football games. It was super easy to make. I always have a package of puff pastry in my freezer to whip up goodies. I also make a Ham & Cheese in Puff Pastry savory appetizers that also takes just minutes to make. Puff Pastry to the rescue!

Easy Apple  Puff Pastry 1

Apple Puff Pastry
recipe from Lisa@ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
Printable recipe
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
4 medium apples, peeled and cored and sliced thin
4 tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar (less if your apples are really sweet)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
Coarse sugar for sprinkling

In a skillet melt the butter and toss in the apples. Cook for about 5 minutes, just until they become a little soft. Add in the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for another 5 minutes until the apples get all gooey and caramelized. You don't want them to be mush so don't over cook! Take off the heat to cool a bit.

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place 1 sheet of the puff pastry on the baking sheet and roll it out just a little. You can do it right in the pan or on the parchment on your counter. You're not going to double it in size of anything, just make it a wee bit bigger. Make sure to do this on a piece of parchment or you will have a heck of a time moving it!

Place the apples to the left hand side of the puff pastry leaving a half inch of space from the edge. Fold over the pastry and use a fork to "pinch" the edges together all the way around the pastry. Brush the top with the egg wash and cut some slits in the top to vent it. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until golden brown.