Sunday, February 18, 2018

Week 113, 2-18-2018

Thoughts and Quotes: Life is a mystery.  Me

Are we born with some master plan so that things work out as they should, or do we just get lucky sometimes?

For instance - I'm usually working right down to the wire to get my greeting cards in the mail on time. I never seem to have the time to do some of the prep work in advance so that I'm not pushed to the limit when the holiday arrives. However, last year after finishing my valentines, I went ahead and did all the cutting, embossing, stamping, and die cutting for 2018. I had everything in a box ready to assemble. 

As you know, the flu bug hit me hard, and making valentines was not part of my lying on the couch staring at the TV and sleeping plan. 

I was so sick, I couldn't even dream of getting dressed, combing my hair, and going to the market, but it just happened that Nancy was waiting for her new job to start in March, so she'd been helping me do my deep clean.

So - Nancy to the rescue. She checked on me like a mother hen, went to the market to lug in cat food, and she took my valentines home and put them all together, put the stickers on the fronts of the envelopes, and put my return address stickers in place. She's an art major, and very neat, so a better job than I'd have done.



Thank You: To everyone for your emails wishing me well. They worked - I'm almost back to normal. 
And to my blog buddy Carrie for the Get-Well Box.



And to Joey for my new card making toy.


And to Nephew Ron for this fun set of DVD's.


And to my cardmaking friends for the beautiful valentines.

Carrie



Jean



Joey



Katie



And cards from non-cardmakers David and Becky and Jim.


And an e-card from Linda.

Tidying: I'm so far ahead on my discards that I didn't even take a photo of the bags of knee socks, panty hose, and sweaters I cleared out. If you haven't read Robert Parker, give him a try. If you like Perry Mason and Della Street, you'll love Spenser and Susan.

I didn't read the Aunt Dimity books. I was only a few pages in when the protagonist started getting written messages in a journal from her deceased aunt.  Not my thing.




















Tasting: I hadn't left the house since January 30, so Tuesday, February 13, Nancy and I went for Mexican food for lunch. Miracle of miracles, finally I could taste. I enjoyed it so much, we went out again on Wednesday to Texas Roadhouse and I forgot photos. I had a lovely Caesar salad, a chopped steak patty with grilled onions and mushrooms and topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese and a big baked potato. Of course, they always have those wonderful homemade yeast rolls, but I was so eager to dig in, I forgot photos. Had more of my lunch for dinner and finally finished it the next day. When you go there, be sure to eat all your rolls but one, and then they'll bring you a fresh basket and you can take them home.


And I was having so much fun, we went to Patrick's for home cooking on Friday. I had fried chicken and Nancy had a club sandwich.





The pies weren't cool yet, so they couldn't be cut.



But what I really wanted were these cake stands.



Tasting: I need three weeks of soup, salad, muffin tin recipes to catch up, so I'm using some of my archived recipes. The idea is to finish the year with a soup, a salad, and a muffin tin recipe for every week in the year - 52 of each.

GREEN POSOLE

Posole is Spanish for hominy.  Sometimes it’s spelled pozole.  The soup is usually red, but we had green at El Torito in California at the Sunday brunch.  I loved it and finally decided to see if I could duplicate it.  This recipe is fairly close and very simple to make.  You’ll need extra time if you wish to chill and remove the fat.

1 good-sized pork steak, about 1” thick
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 qt. chicken broth
2 4-oz cans chopped green chiles
2 15-oz cans white hominy, drained (use a cheap brand)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed oregano
Salt and pepper
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges

Salt and pepper the steak and brown in a skillet.  Lower heat and continue to cook until done.

Cut the steak into cubes and transfer to another pan for simmering. 

Sauté onion, garlic, and spices until soft in same skillet and add to soup pot, along with the chicken broth, chiles, and hominy. 

Simmer for an hour to blend flavors.  Adjust amounts of salt, pepper and cumin to your taste.

Serve with sprinkles of chopped cilantro and lime wedges to squeeze in.


CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP

8 oz white button mushrooms
8 oz baby Portobello mushrooms
6 Tbs butter (or more)
1/3 cup flour
1 qt chicken broth
1/4 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 cup whipping cream
Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Clean the mushrooms and take few middle slices out of the small ones for garnish.  Chop the rest.

Melt the butter and sauté the garnish slices.  Remove to a paper towel to drain and add the chopped mushrooms.  Sauté until golden, adding more butter if necessary.

Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, cook and stir a few minutes to cook the flour.

Add the chicken broth and herbs.  Simmer ten minutes.

Whirl the mixture in a blender in batches.  It will be hot and the pressure will cause the lid to fly off unless you hold it on with a folded kitchen towel.  On low, start at “pulse” and work your way up to the highest speed and then switch over to high.    Do each batch the same way.  Do not fill the blender more than halfway each time.

Return to skillet or pan.  Add whipping cream and reheat, stirring constantly.  Add salt and pepper, if desired.  The salt will depend on the chicken broth you use.  Garnish.

Note:  You can add your own choice of herbs, if you wish.  Thyme, rosemary, sage would work well.


CHILI

1 lb. ground beef
1 recipe chili seasoning (see below)
1 15 oz. can pinto beans (don’t drain)
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
1/4 cup catsup

Chili Seasoning
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Brown ground beef and pour off excess fat (I like a little left in).

Stir in balance of ingredients.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about ten minutes until some of the excess liquid is absorbed.


MACARONI SALAD
Janice Lesperance

Macaroni, shells or elbows, cooked
Celery, sliced
Green onions, sliced (use tops)
Green olives, stuffed, sliced
Ripe olives, sliced
Green pepper, chopped
Hardboiled eggs, chopped
Shredded cheese
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
Salad Supreme
Dill seed

This recipe is to make to your taste. Mix all the ingredients but the hardboiled eggs. Stir those in gently as the last item. 


VEGETABLE SALAD

Salad:
1 15 oz can Le Seur peas, drained
1 15 oz can white shoe peg corn, drained
1 15 oz can French cut green beans, drained
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped green onions
Small container pimientos, optional

Dressing:
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

While the green beans are still in the can, run a knife through to cut the pieces into 1/2’s or 1/3’s.

Mix all salad ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stir to make sure sugar is completely dissolved, then cool.

When cool, add to salad and chill.

Best made a day ahead. Keeps well in the refrigerator.


 MAGIC PAN SALAD

Tear up enough Romaine lettuce to serve your number of guests.

Add to taste: Mandarin oranges from a can and finely sliced green onions

Toss with vinaigrette

Top with toasted slivered almonds

Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stir to make sure sugar is completely dissolved, then cool.

This is a simple but refreshing salad that everyone loves.



MORNING GLORY MUFFINS
(Many versions on the internet – this is mine)

2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
2 cups finely grated carrots (see note)
1 large apple, peeled and shredded
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 eggs
1 cup salad oil
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350.

Line 18 muffin tin cups with paper liners (or grease).

Whisk together flour through salt.

Add pineapple through nuts and stir to combine.

Place eggs, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to combine well. Add mixture to flour mix and stir just until combined.

Spoon into muffin cups. The batter should come almost to the brim.

Bake 30-35 minutes in lower third of oven until they test done.

Note: Use a very large mixing bowl.


CORN AND CORN MUFFINS
BHG Jiffy Cooking

1 14 oz pkg corn muffin mix (I use Jiffy)
1 scant cup cream-style corn
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup shredded cheese (your choice)

Heat oven to 425°.

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and stir to blend.

Pour into a greased 12-muffin cup tin.  They’ll be about 2/3 full.

Bake 12-15 minutes.

This is a quicky and so good. Try them with the chili recipe above.


LIME MUFFINS
(with sweet lime butter)

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup salad oil
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Heat oven to 400°.

Lightly grease a 12-muffin pan.

Mix first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.

Combine all remaining ingredients and add to mixing bowl, stirring just until moistened.

Spoon into muffin cups (they should be 3/4 full).

Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve with Sweet Lime Butter :  Mix 1 stick softened butter, 2 Tbs powdered sugar and zest from one lime.


I didn't get to my tissue box cards, so will have to play catch-up next week.


The Pepper and Pals Report: Pepper and Stormy have to work so hard supervising the cleaning, etc., they require long naps.



Stormy slipped out in the drizzle yesterday and stayed half the day. When she came in, she bathed so long, I thought she might end up with no hair. There was frost on the ground this morning, but she slipped out anyway. It's almost noon, and she's still outside.

Midnight and her three grown babies (Fred, Ginger, and Flower) come for meals regularly, but I rarely see BJ, and she's the last one to be trapped. I'll get her yet. Of course, the neighbor's cat, Hercules, is constantly looking for food.

Tasting: Finally, the September tea is finished. Yes, I know that tulips don't bloom in September, but that's the only thing I could find to match the table. They always bloom at the market or the florist.

The Table






Of course, this is just the setting for photos. When tea starts, the flowers move to the center of the table, and the milk and sugar go on the other side of the teapot.

The Menu

Savories: Turkey-Lettuce Finger Sandwiches, Mini-Quiches

Scone: Butterscotch Scones with Pecan Cream

Sweets: Peanut Butter Cookies, Orange-Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

The Recipes

Some of the items are rather time consuming, so I put in one easy savory. Turkey-Lettuce Finger Sandwiches are simply bread of your choice, buttered on both slices, turkey from the deli counter, and leaf lettuce. To add a little interest, you could add a thin layer of cranberry sauce. I'm going to try these with a little strawberry-cranberry jam Carrie sent in my Christmas box. It's not overly sweet, so should be perfect. Or you might try a little pepper jelly.

MINI-QUICHES

2 pkgs (15 each) phyllo shells (in the freezer and already baked)
2 Tbs finely chopped onion
3 eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese
1-1/2 tsps flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 strips bacon, cooked and finely crumbled
Snipped chives for garnish

Heat oven to 350°.

Remove shells from package and place on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Sauté onion in a bit of butter until tender and set aside.

Combine eggs, cream, cheese, flour, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth.

Stir in onion.

Divide bacon evenly among all cups.

Pour egg mixture into cups, filling all the way to the top. (I used a small melon baller).

Bake 11-12 minutes or until set.

Garnish with chives, if you desire. You can also use green onion tops. Simply cut them in narrow strips and mince.


BUTTERSCOTCH SCONES WITH PECAN CREAM

Scones:
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2-1/2 tsps baking powder
5 Tbs cold butter
1/2 cup butterscotch chips, rough chopped

Topping:
1 Tbs whipping cream
1/4 cup butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 400°.

Whisk together cream, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and baking powder.

Cut butter in small pieces and drop into flour mix. Mix in the butter until all the pieces are incorporated.  (I use my fingers). Add the 1/2 cup butterscotch chips.

Pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture and stir until moistened and forms a ball.

On a lightly floured mat, pat the dough into a 1” thick disk. Either cut it into eight wedges, or cut mini-scones with a 2” round cutter.

Put on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake wedges 12-15 minutes, or mini-scones 8-10. Allow to cool.

Put topping ingredients in a small bowl and heat in microwave, on warming tray, or over hot water. Stir until smooth and then drizzle or glaze the tops of the scones.

Serve with Pecan Cream (Mix together 4 oz softened cream cheese, 3 Tbs cream, 2 tsps powdered sugar, and 3 Tbs finely-chopped pecans).




PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter (chunky is optional)
2-1/2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
Sugar for rolling

Heat oven to 375°.

Cream butter and add vanilla.

Add both sugars, creaming well.

Beat in eggs, mixing thoroughly.

Add peanut butter and mix well.

Sift flour and baking powder together and stir into creamed mixture.

Roll into small balls and roll in sugar. (I use my melon baller to scoop the dough).

Place on greased cookie sheets and make a criss-cross on the top of each ball with the tines of a fork, flattening slightly.

Bake 10-15 minutes. Adjust time for smaller cookies.


ORANGE-FROSTED PUMPKIN COOKIES

2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1-3/4 cups (15-oz can) pumpkin
2 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

 Frosting:
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tbs orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest

Heat oven to 375°.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Put butter and both sugars in a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy.

Add egg, pumpkin, orange juice, and orange zest and beat until well combined.

Gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.

Drop level tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets. I use my melon baller.

Bake 8-12 minutes. Cookies are soft – not crispy. Remove and cool completely.

Combine frosting ingredients. Spread a thin layer over the centers of the tops of cooled cookies.



So glad to be back - I missed talking to you.

STAY RESTED TO AVOID THE FLU

TAKE A WALK THE FIRST SUNNY DAY

START PLANNING YOUR GARDEN

ADD SOME PERENNIALS

WATCH FOR THE FIRST ROBIN

THANK YOU FOR SHARING MY LIFE







1 comment:

  1. Glad you are feeling better Patsy, a joy to see you are blogging again. I loved the recipe for the mushroom soup, I will be giving that a try. As always a joy to visit and be inspired.

    ReplyDelete