Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preparing to Give Thanks

I wasn't sure how I wanted to mark place settings this year.  I always like to use something that the guest can keep.  I have used wooden pumpkins, little frames hanging from a vase containing a rose, wine glasses, chocolate covered eggs and cookies  in the past year that I have been blogging.  Prior to that I have used wine markers, ornaments, potted plants, little books, get the idea.

Then yesterday morning we stopped for breakfast before our shopping extravaganza and while waiting to be served Linda and I walked next door to Miles Candy and Cake supply store.  I love this store and Linda had never been there....she loves it now too.  While there I spied some cute little turkey candy molds, so this morning I am making candy turkeys that I am going to place in little cellophane bags with the guests names written upon them.  One chore done and tons more to go.  I will get more serious about my preparations after the Basket Distribution tomorrow.

Aren't they cute?
I considered doing the tail feathers in all different colors.
For about a second and a half.
Then I came to my senses.

Slipped 2 into each bag lined with parchment so the name will show up.

Petoskey and Pine

Our daughter, Nicole, and Son in Law, Pierre, have started a new business.  They make the most wonderful soaps and candles and now they have added lip balm to their products.  I cannot wait to try it.

I wanted to share their facebook page with all of you today.  They are making up gift boxes and I think they are just gorgeous.  You can learn more about it at

Photo: The business is almost there. This is a taste of what we're bringing. This is a gift box designed with 2 soaps, a soy candle, and an all natural lip balm. Perfect for the holidays!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Singing Saturday...

This was a very busy but productive day.  We spent all morning shopping and lugging food for the Thanksgiving Basket Distributions.  Then we had to be at Mass at 4 pm as the choir was singing. After Mass the Benda's, who spent the day doing all of the running around with us, came back to enjoy dinner with us.  I had my soup I shared with you yesterday and Linda brought a delicious dish. I can't remember what she called it but it was like a gourmet version of Salisbury Steak.

Tomorrow is a free day YAY!!!  Even better, I get to take care of my Little Miss Melody while Mommy and Daddy have a movie date.  I cannot wait....I have not seen her since Tuesday, almost an entire week!!  I am suffering baby withdrawals LOL.

Speaking of is my baby being serenaded by her Daddy.  It makes her very happy.  It makes her Mommy very happy can hear her giggling in the background.

It makes my heart sing....knowing that my baby is loved so very much by so very many people!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Week Menu is already time for Thanksgiving.  Time just flies around this household.  I will be spending this weekend shopping, lugging and packaging for the Food Pantry Thanksgiving Distribution on Monday.

So I am posting this Weekly Menu today instead of tomorrow and I am also making my Chicken Wild Rice Soup for tomorrow today and then will just be able to reheat it when we are done running around.

This is an easy and delicious soup that I got from one of those little cookbooks you find at the grocery store checkout many years ago.  Probably Pillsbury but I cannot guarantee that since I had removed the page and threw out the book itself.  There is no acknowledgement on the page itself but the original recipe calls for "Maggi" and "Carnation" brands so this was put out by whichever company owns those trademarks.  On this same page was a recipe for Pumpkin Corn Muffins that sounded delicious so I threw a pumpkin in the oven as well so I could make these to go along with the soup.

Here is my adaptation of both recipes.

After preparing the soup I transferred it to the crock of my slow cooker.
This will make for easy reheat tomorrow while we are doing our errands.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

1 box (6 oz) long grain and wild rice mix, prepared per package directions.
2 T. Olive Oil
1/2 lb chicken breast meat cut into bite size pieces
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 c. water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 T. dry white wine, if desired
1/4 t. dried tarragon, crushed
1/4 t. dried thyme, crushed
1 can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk (I use low fat)
2 T. cornstarch

Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  Add the chicken, mushrooms, onions and garlic.  Cook until vegetables are tender.  Add the rice, water, bouillon cubes, wine and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Mix a small amount of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl.  Reduce heat and add the cornstarch mixture, along with the remaining milk.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Print Recipe

Pumpkin Corn Muffins

2 eggs
1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. canola oil
1 1/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1 c. corn meal
1/3 c. sugar
4 t baking powder
pinch of salt

In bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat the eggs, pumpkin, milk and oil until well combined.  Turn off mixer, add dry ingredients, turn mixer to lowest speed until dry ingredients are incorporated then turn mixer speed slightly higher and mix thoroughly.  Scoop into muffin cups lined with paper cups or sprayed with baking spray.  Bake at 375* for 25 minutes.  Print Recipe

I will be publishing photos and recipes throughout the week so please join us each day and on Monday you should stop by MPM for great menu ideas from hundreds of bloggers.

Soup Saturday
Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Pumpkin Corn Muffins

Mashed Potatoes

Meatless Monday
Butternut Squash Ravioli

Out to dinner with Mom Klik before the Theatre

Chicken and Broccoli Pie

I will be posting my menu for Thanksgiving Day this weekend.

Leftovers, of course

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hot Tamale....on a cold winter's night

Choir was canceled tonight so we are home in our nice cozy house, sipping on Frank's Fantastic Margaritas and eating our Tamales and Refried Beans doctored up with my homemade salsa.

These tamales are probably not traditional.  I used chicken thighs instead of pork and I didn't really have a recipe, or rather I had about 5 recipes that I read over and then I did what I wanted LOL.  Here is what I ended up with when all was said and done.  I have amended my recipe to lower the amount of sugar you should add because while ours were very tasty they were a little on the sweet side for me. Frank, however, thought they were perfect so adjust yours to your taste.

Once you make the filling and soak the corn husks, place a dollop in the middle and fold it into a neat little package.

Place a couple of open corn husks on the bottom of the steamer.
Then add a single layer of your packages, seam side down.
You will add another layer of corn husks and top with a second layer of packages. 
Cover and Steam for an hour.

Remove to a platter and serve.

Open the packages and remove the tamale to your plate, discarding the husk.

Chicken Tamales

2 c shredded cooked chicken ( I boiled up 4 thighs until tender and shredded them)
1/2 c. diced onions
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. fresh Oregano or 1 t. dried
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
juice from 1/2 small lime
Salt and pepper to taste
20 Dried corn husks, soaked in warm water for half an hour
3/4 c. butter at room temperature
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
large pinch of salt
1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. Masa Harina (Corn Flour)

In a large saute pan, cook onions in oil until tender.  Add garlic, oregano and jalapeno.  Cook over med heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, stir an bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.  Place into a food processor and puree until smooth.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale yellow.  Add egg, salt and baking powder and mix to incorporate.  Add the Masa Harina and the tomato puree and mix until well blended and smooth.  Stir in chicken.

Place a dollop of filling inside each corn husk and fold over each side lengthwise and then each side width wise making a little package. Place the packages in a steamer lined with corn husks in a single layer.  Once the steamer is filled, place additional corn husks on top of the packages and layer the remaining packages.  You can repeat this as many times as necessary depending on the size of your steamer.

Place steamer over 2" of boiling water, cover and steam for 1 hour, adding water as needed.  Print Recipe

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake for #BundtBakers

Welcome to November's edition of #BundtBakers.  Our host this month is Lauren of From Gate to Plate.  I am extremely pleased to be a part of Lauren's group for several reasons....first of all, Lauren, is a farm girl so you know that get's me excited, and she loves to cook so we have that in common too.  But the main reason I am excited that Lauren is hosting this month is that the ingredient she chose for this month's challenge is....

Are you ready?


So now you know that Lauren and I are really kindred spirits...animals, sustainable living, cooking, baking and booze....we are destined to blog together!!!

During #PumpkinWeek last month the last recipe I made was Pumpkin Pie Martini's.  They were delicious and I had gone out and purchased 2 different liqueurs with which to make it.  So this month, when Lauren announced the secret ingredient, my mind immediately went back to those Martinis and the liqueur that was still in the bar.

This cake is perfect for those holiday gatherings.  It can be made ahead of time and as long as it is kept in an airtight container tastes better a couple of days after it was baked than it does on day one. This frees you up on the day of your gathering to concentrate on dinner, knowing that dessert is ready and waiting.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

3/4 c. butter, softened
2 1/4 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. each, ginger, cloves and nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
3/4 c. Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 eggs

3 T. Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Spray Bundt Cake Pan liberally with baking spray.  Preheat oven to 350*.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a med bowl.   Whisk together the pumpkin, Cream Liqueur and vanilla in another bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add eggs beating well after each.  Reduce speed to low and alternate adding the flour and pumpkin mixtures until all is incorporated and batter is smooth.

Spoon into pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan on rack for 15 minutes before inverting onto the rack and cooling for another 10 minutes.

While cake is cooling, whisk together the Cream Liqueur and powdered sugar, creating a glaze.  If glaze is too thick add more liqueur, 1 t. at a time until it reaches desired consistency.  Drizzle glaze over cake.  Print Recipe

Here is what the rest of the gang brought to the table today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside....

Remember yesterday when I told you that our pigs water source is frozen and we had to water them by hand?  Well, I have a confession to make....When I say "we", and it involves work or something distasteful, you should read Frank.  Of course, if it is something fun or that I enjoy then "we" reads we LOL.

Well, this morning Frank had an early meeting so I had to water the "we" there you notice. Frank does not get any credit around this house, poor guy.

Let me tell you, it is C O L D, cold outside and to make it worse, there is no sun!  Well, I mean there is sun because it is daytime but there is no sunshine.  I don't mind the cold or the snow but I hate gray days. Sigh......

This warmed me up with some early morning laughter.