I love giving gifts. I suppose that would be one good thing about being Oprah, I'd get to pass out free stuff all the live long day. Well, I'm not Oprah but I still wanted to share something with you.
I made some sweet little recipe cards that you can download and print all year long. It was just easier to add it to Scribd than to mess with the whole 'code' thing. Just click on download, or if you're all prepared with paper, print away!
Sweet Card Copy
I hope you enjoy them and I hope you have a wonderful holiday full of many blessings!
I lost. I lost my fight against the nasty cold. With Christmas looming and cooking to be done, my healthy, cold blasting smoothie just couldn't keep me from being pulled under.
Such is life and I am finally better. Most of my holiday cooking has been very delayed as has my posting here. I have compiled together a couple things that I've gathered from others and wanted to share. I think many of these would make great last minute gifts, or be very tasty while you sit around with loved ones. Here's my photos of their stuff.
First is Honey and Jam's most wonderful Oatmeal Cream Pies. These are such fun especially if you enjoyed them as a kid. I never ate them in the house of healthy, but I knew kids who would unwrap them and devour them at lunch.
If you haven't seen Honey and Jam it is a must see blog. Hannah's photography is beautiful and such a delightful soul. I even found her guest blogging in The Kitchn.
Next up is straight from the queen of food blogs the Pioneer Woman. Yes I went to her book signing when she came and I was completely overwhelmed with people. It was so crowded and even though I staked my claim on a 1 foot square of floor surrounded by other bloggers for 1 hour, I could not stay any longer to get my booked signed. I'm just not that hard core.
These jalapeno bites are! I made a few just to try them and now I know for sure these are going on the super bowl menu.
The ingredients are a bit different in her book, but you get the gist. These are nice and spicy and not too creamy. I think these would work well too for your New Years party.
My next holiday recommendation is this ginger syrup I found here at The Kitchn. And yes I am aware that it looks more like a sell for whip cream since my pictures show gratuitous amounts of the good stuff. I assure you this syrup is somewhere within this wonderful drink.
This syrup would make excellent gifts if you pour it in some pretty bottles. Maybe give it along with a small bag of espresso and a cute gingerbread cookie. Just a thought for those of you who are procrastinating as well.
This is my favorite holiday mug. Oh, I added orange peel to this syrup and it was divine.
I've been wanting to make marshmallows for years. I finally did it. It really wasn't as scary or destructive to the appearance of my kitchen as I thought. I used Ina's recipe. Obviously I didn't use the coconut, I wanted these to be for hot cocoa.
I remember watching Martha make marshmallow once and she really looked like she was on the verge of saying some choice 4 letter words and throwing the pan out the window. I did line the pan with foil and dusted it with powdered sugar. I can't wait to make peeps for Easter now.
I hope you all are in good health and keeping cozy with friends and family. Enjoy the season, it will be gone as soon as it came.
FoodBuzz has once again sent me some food love. As part of their Tastemaker program every now and then I find treasures in my mail box. This time I was given a coupon for Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. I will say that it was for free puff pastry, but I assure you this post isn't because someone buttered me up with free food. Puff pastry is so fun to use, and makes everything delicious.
Just look how flaky and yummy that is. Pepperidge Farm is holding hosting a puff pastry recipe contest. If you have any great recipe ideas you could give it whirl. The prize is a trip to New York. Imagine all the wonderful eating awaiting for you.
Since each package of puff pastry sheets come with 2 sheets I decided to try out 2 different ideas. One a dessert and another appetizer. The holiday season usually brings an over abundance of sugar so I wanted to tone down the sweetness of my dessert. I wanted to almost blur the lines of dessert and side dish. Apple tarts were my staring point, and I just mixed in some apple favorites.
Rosemary always reminds me of winter and it pairs so nicely with apple. I also wanted to create another flavor in my crust so I added some sharp cheddar to the crust.
Rosemary Cheddar Apple Tart
1 sheet puff pastry
3 baking apples peeled and cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 pinch salt
1 egg beaten
Roll out the puff pastry so it's about 1/8 inch thick, or about 16 inches on the long side. Cut down the middle so it looks like this:
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on the bottom piece. Brush the edges of the bottom cheese with beaten egg and place the other piece directly on top. Press firmly over the top and around the edges to seal the pastry. I used the rolling pin with gentle pressure rolling over the pastry once to mash it all down. Place pastry on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 375º. In a large bowl mix remaining ingredients until the apples are all coated. Pour the apples into the center of the pastry. Leave 1-2 inches around the sides of the pastry. Fold the edges over the top of the apples. Brush the flipped up edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. If the edges are browning too quickly tent with foil.
Since it is dessert no one will object to a little ice cream right?
Next up are some very quick appetizers. Again I was looking for something a bit sweet, and a salty. This is a great pantry recipe. If you have some puff pastry in your freezer, you could use some form of these ingredients to make a great appetizer.
I love caramelized onions so I added them to these, however if you are in a big hurry you could definitely omit the onions for an even easier treat.
Figgy Blue Cheese Bites
1 puff pastry sheet
1 onion sliced thin
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon butter
3 Tablespoons fig spread
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (any blue cheese works great)
1 egg beaten
Heat butter in small pan over low heat. Add onions and stir into butter. Lightly salt and pepper onions. Add the thyme sprigs to the pan. Let the onions cook gently and slowly over low heat. Stir every few minutes until the onions are golden and almost sticky. This takes a while but could be done in advance. Preheat oven to 425º. When the onions are cooked remove the thyme sprigs and remove from heat. Add the fig spread. Cut the pastry into 9 squares making 2 cuts in each direction. Place 1 Tablespoon of onion mixture onto the bottom corner of the square. Place one piece of blue cheese on top the onion. Brush the edges of the square with egg and fold over the top. Pinch the edges to seal. You could also add the filling the center of each square and bring the corners together and seal the edges creating a little purse. Place on baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.
You could use this same idea for quick little dessert bites. Just place spoonfuls of your favorite jam into the center and bake. Dust with powdered sugar and everyone is happy.
Hopefully I didn't sound too much like a commercial, but for all those who can eat gluten this stuff is great. It makes so many things fancy.
**Side Note: To make the caramelized onion step even more fortunate, add in 2 extra onions and a little more butter. Save them to use later. I love making chicken salad and throw some caramelized onions on top when I make a sandwich. My favorite lunch ever - baked sweet potato split open with a little bit of butter, caramelized onion on top, bit o' shaved parmesan. Just a suggestion.
I'm a huge sucker for those trash turned to jewels decorating shows. I soak them up and get all infused with over inflated inspiration. Sure, my family won't let me even glance at a power tool. Never mind the fact that I don't know the first thing about building furniture. I have every notion of transforming the worlds trash. I have even started hoarding every piece of furniture that I can find that has all but given up the ghost. Unfortunately the side of my house is looking a bit Sanford and Son.
But, I have worked some recycling magic on a few things with much delight. My kitchen table for one had seen some better days, and now it fits so well into this house.
My husband never throws out food. Uneaten food to him is just like a chair with 3 legs on the side of the road to me. Through the years I've taken on his food salvaging attitude just as he has embraced my mission to redecorate our living room out of found objects. The holidays often leave the best scraps.
Scrappy Sweet Potato Bread Pudding
4-6 cups old bread (I used 6 unused wheat dinner rolls) torn into pieces
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup leftover sweet potatoes or 1 whole roasted mashed sweet potato
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
sweetened condensed milk*
Add eggs, milk, brown sugar, sweet potatoes, vanilla and cinnamon to a large bowl and mix together. Add bread and stir gently and not too much, you don't want all the pieces to break up you just want the bread coated with all the liquid. Pour into a buttered 8x8 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake in 375º oven for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the top a little. Serve warm with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk if you like. I adore sweetened condensed milk so this is my favorite way of eating bread pudding, but it isn't necessary.
Waste not want not never tasted so good.
What's your favorite holiday leftover?
This year I was introduced to the persimmon. I had 3 fuyu's perched in my co-op basket and I had no idea what to do with them. What would we do without the internet? I mean one minute I had no idea what this thing even was, and in seconds anything I've ever wanted to know about the persimmon is gleaming before me.
The internet spoke of persimmon cookies, persimmon pie, and the list goes on. It was overload, persimmon overload. It also reminded me of one of our favorite King Of The Hill quotes. Peggy says "People without the internet shouldn't be allowed to have children." She's so self-rightously annoying in the funniest way.
I was making things so extremely complicated. Just eat the darn thing. So I did, and I smiled. It was like a warm mango.
Everything else just fell into place. My fruit bowl said everything the internet didn't. Simplicity.
Persimmons, pears, and pomegranate.
2 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon agave nectar, 1 pinch of cardamon.
It was bright and crunchy. Smooth, but tangy. It's a great fall salad and fits nicely into that category of raw.
Then the temperature dropped outside and it was a bit chilly. And when I say cold I mean it was 66 degrees outside. That's cold around here. Simplicity needed heat.
Warm 3 P's Salad
2 fuyu persimmons peeled and halved
2 red pears halved and cored
1 pomegranate seeded
12 oz pomegranate juice
2 1 inch pieces of ginger sliced thin
3 cups muscat wine
2-4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon allspice divided
Place prepared fuyu persimmons in a baking dish. Pour wine over the top and add one half of the ginger slices. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 teaspoon of allspice and a pinch of cardamon. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter and cover with foil. Bake on 375º. Add pears to another baking dish. Add remaining wine, ginger, allspice, pinch of cardamon and dot with butter. Cover with foil and add to the oven after the persimmons have been in for 1/2 an hour. Bake for 20 minutes. While the fruit is roasting add the pomegranate juice to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer slowly for about half an hour until the juice reduces and becomes slightly syrupy. Remove the foil from both and turn the broiler on. Broil both fruits for 2 minutes or until they're slightly browned. Remove the fruit from dishes and add to a bowl. I poured the remaining wine juice mixture into the pot with the pomegranate juice and let it bowl a little more. That is optional, but yummy. Slice the fruit smaller if you wish or serve whole. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and pour the sauce over the top.
Note: I made the unfortunate mistake of buying the Haagen-Dazs Five Brown Sugar flavor some time ago. It's only unfortunate for my hips, but the rest of me loves it. WELL, this warm salad is most divine when spread over the top of this ice cream. It's a very beautiful fall presentation as well. One that I forgot to photograph so you must trust me. YUM!
Christmas is sort of like the internet. Wonderful and complicated. I think I will take the 3 P's approach this holiday season. Simple: peaceful, patient, and present (not the gift kind, more of an in the moment sort of thing). What's your holiday approach this year?