Monday, November 26, 2012

Baby Memories Shadowbox

I made this several years ago ... it's all about ME!  I had all these things that my Mama had saved and decided to make a memory shadowbox with it all.  The dress, slip (yes, even babies wore slips back in the day) and booties I wore home from the hospital, a couple photos taken that day, my wrist and ankle bracelets, card from my hospital bassinet, commemorative 'Birth Record' from the USAF base hospital where I was born, my baby hair brush with the hair from the first 'big' haircut (yep, my Mama saved it, ponytail holder and all)!  I have yet to create one for each of my three kids but I will.  Great way to put all those little memories in one place instead of hidden away in a baby book!!!

Wine Cork Wreath

I made this about 10+ years ago ... dang that's hard to believe ... anyway ... at the time I also made one for my sister and a few for friends, at cost and they supplied the corks!  Lord, I could probably make quite a few more right now with all the corks I  have.  It's one of those things I saw at a crafts festival and I thought "I can make that" and I did and its super easy!  Start with a wreath form, then   hot glue sphagnum moss to it ... lots of hot glue.  Next, randomly hot glue wine corks onto the moss ... lastly, add artificial grapes.  I get lots of compliments on this wreath which hangs in my Tuscan themed kitchen.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nanny's Pecan Pie

The cookbook in this photo is the family cookbook I designed,
edited and had published.  I'm very proud of that cookbook!

This is my Nanny’s recipe … best Pecan Pie I’ve ever eaten though I do use a different type of syrup than she did and I prefer my Pecans chopped whereas she kept hers in halves.  Nanny used Blackburn-Made Syrup (made by a company in Texas) and I prefer a cane sugar based syrup (Roddenberry’s Cane Patch Syrup which only has 3 ingredients and is 35% cane syrup … though there are other brands I’ve used in the past which are very similar).  To me, mine is just a wee bit better than my Nanny’s … she, of course, thought hers was better but she was proud that I used her recipe and didn’t use Karo Syrup like a lot of folks do.  She always said that “Karo syrup has no business in a Pecan Pie” LOL  Now, I’ve made this Pecan Pie for years and years and even used to make it for my husbands English grandmother, who always requested it saying it was the best she had ever had!!!  I once made it in Canada for her on one of our frequent trips years ago … great memories!  My son, Anthony, always requests it and says that no one’s Pecan Pie is as good as his Moms! 

This recipe makes one regular size pie.  I like a deep dish Pecan Pie cause you get more of the oooy gooey insides so I make one and a half recipe which is perfect for a deep dish pie crust.  If you want to make it a deep dish pie, you’ll have to do the math LOL

Nanny’s Pecan Pie

1 cup Syrup
¾ cup Sugar
3 Tblsps Butter
3 lrg Eggs or 4 small, slightly beaten
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Pecans (I prefer mine chopped)

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a saucepan, cook the Syrup and Sugar on medium heat until the Sugar is dissolved.  You do not want it to come to a boil.  NOTE: if it is boiling and you add the eggs, they will cook like your making egg drop soup and you DO NOT want that!  Pour in Eggs and whisk until blended, add Vanilla and Butter.  Once Butter is melted, remove from heat and stir in the Pecans.  Pour into an uncooked ready made pie crust.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top has browned.

I placed this pie on a plate I inherited from my Mama ... sadly I have no idea what the story behind the plate is since in 1952 she would have been 16 ... maybe it was a birthday gift, I don't know.  I do know that she made her own birthday cake on her 16th birthday so I feel sure it has something to do with that.  But since my Mama is gone ... I will never know.  Makes me sad but I'm glad that I have it!

Southern Style Green Beans

Southern Style Green Beans

I don’t really have a 'recipe' for my Green Beans but I know every time I make them they are goobled all up and I end up saying I should have made twice as much.  This year my brother in law requested them for Thanksgiving AND again they were goobled up in the first go round … no second servings left!!!  I just barely had time to get a picture snapped as you can see the pan is bout empty!  I should have made twice as much lol

Here’s what I do ~ I take Bacon and brown it a little bit in a pan (I think I used about 4 strips for this pan of Green Beans), not like you’re going to eat it but just enough to get the fat rendered from it.  Then I add the fresh Green Beans and, if necessary, a tad of water … just enough to cover bottom of the pan.  Add a about a tablespoon of Ham Seasoning, a little Sea Salt and a pinch or two of Sugar (that’s a trick I learned from my Nanny and my Mama … I do this with all fresh veggies).  My real secret though is something another family member taught me … add a teaspoon or two (I don’t really measure) of Apple Cider Vinegar.  Cook on low heat for a couple hours, stirring occasionally to make sure there is still water in the pan.  Sometimes I serve them still a bit crunchy (some like it this way) but most times I cook them down like real Southerners do (see my picture).


Winter Sangria

This is one of the BEST sangria recipes I’ve ever tried and definitely has a ‘winter’ sorta feel to it being it’s made with red wine and red juices.  It was a hit at Thanksgiving Dinner!  I found the recipe on Pinterest and since I changed it, I am not naming the source … the original recipe called for 1 bottle of Red Zinfandel but it tasted like drinking a fruit punch instead of an alcohol based Sangria so I added a second bottle … the original recipe also called for pomegranate seeds and since they are chewy and probably were only in the recipe for looks, I omitted them.  This is delicious and I CANNOT wait to make it again!!! 

This recipe makes a lot so be prepared to either serve it from a Punch Bowl or several Pitchers.  I used an empty Patron bottle and another empty bottle, for transporting.  Though its very pretty in a Patron bottle, its difficult to remove the fruit so I would recommend using a pitcher.

Winter Sangria

2 (750 mil) bottles Red Zinfandel
4 cups Cranberry Juice
2 cups POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
1 cup Orange Juice
¾ cup Simple Syrup
1 Apple, unpeeled, cored, sliced thin
1 Orange, cut in half and sliced thin
1 Lemon, cut in half and sliced thin
½ cup Fresh Cranberries
San Pellegrino Sparkling Water

Combine all ingredients in a large container.  I used an extra large mixing bowl or you could use a punch bowl (for making and serving).  Chill 4 hours or overnight.  To serve, pour into glasses, extracting some of the fruit into the glass, and top off with a splash or two of Pellegrino. 

Simple Syrup

Simple Syrup is used to sweeten Tea, Lemonade, Sangria, etc.  The reason for using Simple Syrup vs. regular Sugar is that the sugar has been broken down and dissolved into water vs. trying to stir sugar into a cold beverage … the sugar doesn't dissolve.  It’s easy to make and keeps for a couple months in the fridge.  Don't forget to mark your jar/container so you know when you put it in the fridge.

Boiled Simple Syrup

Combine 2 parts sugar with 1 part water (I use 4 cups Sugar to 2 cups Water which fills a quart size mason jar) in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.  Continue boiling until the sugar dissolves and mixture is clear.  Set aside to cool before using.  Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Daddy's Peanut Butter Fudge

My sister and I, along with our daughters make this every Christmas when baking our Christmas Goodies, just as my Daddy did when we were growing up.  It’s the best and creamiest Peanut Butter Fudge I’ve ever had … though some I’ve had from candy stores was pretty darn close.  I remember when I was a kid Daddy would sit it outside on the snow topped picnic table, covered, of course, to harden.  Snow?  Yes, we lived in Kansas at the time … you’d be waiting a long time to get a snow covered picnic table in SOWEGA lol  This Fudge is easy easy easy to make but patience is needed to get it to the right stage before adding the peanut butter.  Brings back so many good memories.  

Now, you do not want to try to double this recipe because we tried that one year and it DID NOT work out.  If you want to make several batches, you’ll have to make individual recipes.  This recipe always seems to be just the right amount for mine and my sister’s family … after it has hardened, cut into 1x1 inch squares … perfect size.  Yummmm

Daddy’s Peanut Butter Fudge

1 cup Evaporated Milk
2 cups Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Butter
1-1/2 cups Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
Mix together Milk and Sugar in heavy 4-quart pot over medium to medium low heat.  Cook until soft ball forms when a tad is dropped into a glass of cold water.  This is important because if you don’t take it to this step the end result will be a grainy fudge because the sugar has not totally dissolved.  Remove from heat, add Butter.  Stir in Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter and Vanilla.  Pour into a Pyrex 8x8x2 inch dish that has been greased with butter.  Cool in fridge to harden. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

A great use for that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving OR leftover chicken ... just add the herbs to the soup and broth mixture.

Chicken Pot Pie

4 boneless Chicken Breasts
1 tsp Savory
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Rubbed Sage
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lrg can Veg-All
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1-1/2 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Buttermilk
1/3 cup Butter, melted

In a greased casserole dish with about ½ inch of water in the bottom; sprinkle savory, thyme, rubbed sage and salt and pepper over chicken breasts.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until done.  Cut up chicken breasts into bite size pieces and put back in the casserole dish.  Drain the Veg-All and pour over the chicken.  Mix together the soup and broth and pour over chicken.  For the topping: mix all three ingredients together and gently pour or spoon over chicken.  Bake at 350 degrees til crust is brown (about 1 to 1-1/2 hours).  Hint: If you do not have Cream of Chicken soup on hand you can substitute Cream of Celery or Cream of Mushroom ... it will be just as delicious.