Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Spiced Orange and Cranberry salad

 Ok for starters, the amazing smell that perfumes your kitchen as you make this salad makes it  well worth trying!
The sweet smell of cranberries with the tart-fresh squeezed orange juice, and kick of cinnamon and clove will put you right in the mood for Christmas!
This gorgeous salad is such a sweet addition to your Holiday meal, you will just love it.
I hope you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Recipe: Holiday spiced orange and cranberry salad
Recipe source: Emmy in her Element
1 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple
1 cup of pineapple juice (reserved from the crushed pineapple)
1 large box (6 oz) raspberry Jell-O mix
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (depending on how much you like cinnamon!)
a pinch of ground clove
1 can whole berry- cranberry sauce (I like ocean spray brand)
2/3 cup walnuts chopped
2 medium apples peeled and chopped into bite sized chunks (tart apples are best, I use pink lady)
Strain and reserve juice from crushed pineapple. Let pineapple continue to drain until all it's juice has been separated.
Combine water, orange juice, and pineapple juice in medium sauce pan. Add orange zest, cinnamon and clove. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and dissolve raspberry Jell-O. Add cranberry sauce and stir until dissolved. Pour into a bowl and let chill in the fridge for 2 hours. While Jell-O is still in "soft serve" form, add chopped walnuts, crushed pineapple and apple chunks. Let chill until firm, about another 2 hours. I love to make this salad a day ahead, to ensure that it sets up firm in time to serve. Make sure and leave yourself plenty of time to let it set.
I love how food can bring Families together for the Holidays. No matter your status, religion, ethnicity or view, there should always be a time of year when your family comes together to share time and love. For my family, good food always accompanies us... just another reason why it is such a special part of my life.
Happy Holidays. 

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Homemade egg noodles... they're easier than you think!


 Today I woke up feeling a bit low on energy and like I might be catching the inevitable winter cold that we all take our turn enduring this time of year. After taking care of all of my Motherly responsibilities and getting my house in order, I decided I was going to make myself a nice warm pot of chicken soup and take some time to be lazy this evening. Homemade soup is easy, and Ill promise you one thing... it tastes 100,000,000 times better than canned or fast food soup.
You know what else is really easy to make? Homemade egg noodles to go with it. I swear there is nothing more delicious than biting into a tender homemade noodle that has soaked up all of the delicious flavor of your chicken broth.
I hope you will give it a try, I promise you will never go back to store bought again ;)
Here's to surviving the Christmas season, and ALL that comes with it!
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil (olive or vegetable)
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons of water
2 cups all purpose flour
Mix together and knead on your countertop until dough is smooth and springy.
Roll out to about 1/8th inch thickness.

Make sure and sprinkle plenty of flour on your countertop. You don't want your noodles sticking!

Take a pizza cutter and cut small noodles (they will puff up in the soup so don't make them too big!)
Toss into boiling broth and let them boil for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.
Note: I made 1/2 this dough recipe for my soup today that will serve 4 people and it is plenty! Make the recipe above for larger portions if necessary.


Would you like my recipe for the soup to try out your noodles? GO HERE
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Buttery almond meltaways

Tis' the season for all things sweet, buttery, jam filled and delicious.... Am I right?
I was stuck at home this afternoon and decided to try a new recipe. I found it in a 2007 Betty Crocker Christmas cookie magazine.
Such simple ingredients took only a few minutes to mix together, and in no time at all the smell of thumbprint cookies baking on a cold winter's day filled the air.
This is a really fun recipe to make with your kids, as you can have them stamp their tiny thumbs into the cookies to make room for the sweet jam filling.
Have a lovely day!
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (almonds, pistachios, or walnuts)
1 small jar of your favorite flavored jam (I used sugar free strawberry, and peach mango orange)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar (for garnish)
Mix together butter and powdered sugar. Stir in flour, salt, vanilla and nuts.
Shape dough into 11/4 inch balls about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
Press your thumb three-quarters of the way down into the dough, to make an indentation for the jam.
Bake the cookies 15-17 minutes (until set, but not yet browned)
Remove cookies onto a cooling rack, and re-press thumb prints as they have puffed up a bit.
Cool completely, then add jam filling to the centers.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar over jam filled centers.
Makes about 2 dozen
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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Best EVER Banana Bread

Ready for the best banana bread you've ever had? This recipe originally comes from my Mama, but I added a few of my favorite ingredients to make it extra special. Cinnamon, pecans, and vanilla. How can you go wrong?
Hope you enjoy it! Your kitchen will smell amazing!
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Crisco shortening
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together shortening and sugar, slowly add 2 eggs, the milk and the vanilla.
 Dry Ingredients:
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon (depending on how much you like)
Mix all together, and stir in 2 medium sized bananas, MASHED.
Stir just until incorporated.
Chop 1 cup pecans OR walnuts, and stir in 3/4 cup into the batter.
Add the batter to a greased pan, and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of nuts on top.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, or until toothpick test comes clean.
Let the bread cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

 This bread is delicious as a breakfast, dessert, or makes for a wonderful gift to share with someone!
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Roasted Steelhead with brussels sprouts, and mango raspberry salad {Gluten Free}

Are you in need of a quick, healthy, but still bright and beautiful dinner?
Look no further, I have a flavorful and tasty dinner idea (that happens to be Gluten Free) that you and your family will love.
Check it out!

Sprinkle the tops of your steelhead steaks with "Weber Kickn' Chicken" spice. Yep, its not just for chicken! It is so yummy on fish, it's filled with onion, sea salt, garlic, red and bell peppers, orange peel, and paprika. ITS ALSO GLUTEN FREE! Bake fish in a 375 degree oven until cooked through.
Next, make your Brussels sprouts. If you have never made them, check out this post I did. I would do everything the same except hold the bacon.
If you know how to prepare the Brussels already, I just added salt, pepper, a sprinkle of onion powder, garlic powder, and let them simmer in chicken stock.
As for the fruit salad, slice 1 mango into chunks. Add fresh raspberries on top.

Hope you enjoy!
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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Homemade whole wheat seed bread (A 4 loaf recipe!!)


Growing up, I remember coming home from school to the high pitched sound of my Mother's wheat grinder, blending up a batch of fresh ground wheat for homemade bread. The sound wasn't a bother, rather a mouthwatering reminder that in a short time there would be a buttery-honey covered slice of warm homemade wheat bread waiting for me. Yum.
I don't think there is anything more comforting then a slice of fresh-out-the-oven homemade bread. I must also add, there are few things more rewarding then presenting your family with bread that you have made yourself. It is such a feeling of accomplishment. You can freeze the extra bread loaves, and pull out a fresh one every morning for your family.
This recipe is one that I have experimented with, and I decided to pack it full of different kinds of seeds for added nutritional value and texture. It is so delicious and such a fun change up from regular bread.
My 4 year old son Benson, is a really picky eater. When I say REALLY, that is a total understatement. Luckily, letting him add the seeds to the mixture today, sparked his interest in trying the bread he helped make. Another huge reward for a mama who has stress over her baby not eating enough.
I hope you will try and enjoy this recipe, it's lots of fun and you can add many different things to it to suit your personal taste! 
Recipe: Whole wheat seed bread {4 loaves}
Recipe source: Emmy in her Element

5 cups warm water
2/3 cup honey (*tip: spray your measuring cup with pam first and the honey will come right out of the cup clean)
2 tablespoons yeast
Mix together and let the yeast foam for 5-7 minutes.
Now add:
1 tablespoon salt
2/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
3/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup millet
5 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds
mix together.
Slowly add 7 cups of whole wheat flour. Swap your mixing hook for your dough hook as the
dough gets thicker.
Now add 4 1/2-5 cups of bread flour, a little at a time just until the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl. DONT OVER ADD FLOUR OR YOUR DOUGH WILL BE TOO DENSE.
Let the dough hook knead your dough on medium speed for 5-7 minutes.
Then dump the dough out onto a floured countertop, and knead for a few extra minutes until the dough is smooth and springy. (Go ahead, punch that dough and take out your daily frustrations! Its a great arm work out :)
Now add your dough to a large bowl, pre greased with pam or Crisco.
Let the dough rise for an hour or until doubled.
After the dough is doubled, pour back onto a floured countertop. Form the dough into a log shape. This will make it easier to cut the dough into 4 large even pieces.
Now take each piece and roll it out into a rectangle shape. Roll up the dough from the short end closest to you, and tucking under the ends when it is all rolled. Add to greased pans, and let rise for an additional 45 minutes. 
Before adding to the oven, add a little warm honey on top of the bread, and spread some of the seeds you used on top of the bread so people know what's in it. Plus its really pretty!
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Make sure and pop the loaves out onto a cooling rack or they will get soggy from condensation if left in the pan to cool. Make sure to always cut your bread with a sharp serrated knife.



 If you don't have a large enough family to eat all this bread, you can slice the loaves in half and take them out of the freezer a little at a time, or you can pass them out to friends and family. Trust me they will gladly accept this tasty delight!
 If you are delivering the bread warm, fold a sheet of wax paper in half the long way, wrap around the bread so it can still cool without being trapped in a steamy bag, and wrap string, ribbon, or raffia around it with a tag if you want!
 This post is dedicated to my Mom, who continues to encourage me to try my best at cooking and baking, and who offers me so much inspiration from the many days as a youth that I came home to a wonderful smelling kitchen and a warm welcoming meal.

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