Thanksgiving Pie

I’m usually in charge of the pies for Thanksgiving and I love to do it.  I’ve been making pie with my Mom for as long as I can remember.  I don’t know why, but pie dough doesn’t freak me out like it does some people.  I just don’t overthink it.  So, its one of my specialties.  Luckily, pie is my husband’s favorite dessert.  That’s why we’re meant to be, I guess.

So this year, I made one pecan pie and two pumpkin pies.

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I don’t want to re-type the recipes, so here are the links. They are tried and true for sure!

Pecan Pie from the Karo Syrup bottle.

Pumpkin Pie from Libby’s Pumpkin puree can.  I double this for one deep dish pie pan and one very shallow (tart?) pan. When I measure the spices, I use heaping measurements because we like the warm spice taste. Or, I have used one 1/2 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice in addition to the recipe as well.

Pie Crust from The Pioneer Woman.

BE SURE TO COVER THE EDGES WITH FOIL SO THEY DON’T OVER BROWN!

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Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

I have loved molasses cookies since I was a small child. My Great Grandma made them and I could have eaten them all day. Yum. I have a copy of her recipe, but this year we tried something new from Martha Stewart.

Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies:

makes 36, prep 25 min., total time 1 hour 30 min.

2 Cups AP flour

1-1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 Cups sugar, divided

12 Tbsp butter (1.5 sticks), softened

1 large egg

1/4 Cup molasses

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a shallow bowl, place 1/2 Cup sugar, set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining cup of sugar until combined. Beat in egg and then molasses until combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in dry ingredients, just until dough forms.

Pinch off and roll dough into balls, each equal to 1 Tablespoon. Roll balls in reserved sugar to coat.

Place on baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time, until crackled and edges are firm, 10-15 minutes.  Cool one minute on sheet, then on wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container for 3-4 days.

Peanut Brittle

This is my Dad’s favorite type of candy. I was intimidated to make brittle the first time, but it was really very easy. I’ve made batch after batch and it is so simple. We doubled this recipe for my Mom, sister and I to share.

Peanut Brittle: (from A Taste of Christmas cookbook, given to me by my Mother-in-law)

2 Cups raw peanuts (I always use unsalted dry roasted)

1 Cup sugar

1/2 Cup light corn syrup

1/4 Cup water

pinch salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions:

Place nuts, water, sugar, salt, and syrup in medium sauce pan. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until it turns “orangey” gold (about 15 minutes). Turn off heat and sprinkle in 2 teaspoons baking soda. It will foam up. Stir and quickly spread onto a greased cookie sheet. Let cool, then break apart.

peanut brittle at the top right

peanut brittle at the top right

Buckeyes

These are always fantastic and a favorite found on many a cookie tray this time of year. This recipe is from my sister.

Buckeyes:

1-1/2 Cups peanut butter (we used chunky)

6 cups powdered sugar

1 Cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 Cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 Cup Crisco shortening

Directions:

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla.

Roll dough into balls and place on cookie sheet. Chill in freezer 30 minutes or until hard.

Melt Chocolate chips and shortening over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and dip balls 3/4 of the way in chocolate using an Easter egg dipper, toothpick, or fork. Refrigerate to set.  Store in air tight container in fridge.

Buckeyes on the left

Buckeyes on the left

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

These are my favorite Christmas cookie.  They are so soft!!! This recipe is from an issue of Simple and Delicious.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies:

yields 24 cookies

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup butter, softened

1/2 Cup packed brown sugar

1/3 Cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 Cups AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 Cup dried cranberries, chopped if necessary

1/2 Cup white chips

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until crumbly, about 2 min. Beat in egg and and vanilla.  Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries and chips by hand. {Dough will be a little dry.}

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto baking sheets coated with nonstick cooking spray (I use parchment paper).

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. (I bake mine at 350 and check them at 7 minutes, I like to under bake them for softness.)

Cool for 1 min. before removing to wire rack.

Drizzle baked cookies with additional melted white chocolate for a beautiful appearance!

Did someone say Christmas cookies?

Um, we made a mess!

Um, we made a mess!

Yes, everyone is baking up a storm right now. Making batch after batch of Christmas cookies. One day last week, my Mom, sister, and I all took the day off of work to do a marathon baking session.  They arrived at my house around 8:30am and we baked and baked and baked until 7pm or so…only stopping for a quick lunch around noon.  We made:  buckeyes, powdered sugar balls, thumbprints, peanut butter blossoms in mini muffin cups, rice crispy treats, pb rice crispy treats with chocolate, cranberry white chocolate cookies, peanut brittle, spiced nuts, molasses cookies, sugar cookies, chex mix, dill party mix, and a few others.  My Mom had made fudge and caramels in advance so she brought them to split with my sister and me. My next few posts will be for some of my favorites. I took 2 big platters of assorted cookies to work and also gave some away to my neighbors. I plan to take whatever I have left to a party tomorrow.

Cheesy Corn Casserole

Because this blog sat idle for so long, I have the desire to make several posts tonight. I have three more after this one :-).  I also have some free time to do it tonight because the hubs is at work.

This is a pot-luck friendly dish.  Kids and adults love it!  It is cheap and easy! Yes, it contains the horrible fake cheese called Velveeta.  If you don’t like Velveeta, then you are no friend of mine.  Just kidding.  I don’t love Velveeta either.  We only eat it a few times a year. But it just works in the recipe, ok?  I will be making a double batch of it tomorrow for a casual Christmas party.  If I can, I will take a picture and add it later.

Cheesy Corn Casserole: (from my Aunt)

1 can cream style corn

1 can whole kernel corn, undrained

1 Cup dry macaroni

1 Cup Velveeta cheese (gasp!), cubed (I think this is a 1/4 block of Velveeta?)

1/2 stick butter

Put all ingredients in an 8×8 baking dish.  Bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Stir every 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Homemade croutons

This simple recipe is from my sister. It is really more of a guide than recipe. Adjust to your taste and how much bread you have.

Homemade Croutons:

Leftover/stale bread, cubed or torn.  I prefer sourdough.

celery salt

dry italian seasoning blend (parsley, basil, marjoram, thyme, savory, rosemary, sage, and oregano)

garlic powder

vegetable oil for frying

In a deep skillet, like cast iron, heat approx. 3 Tbsp of oil.  Toss bread cubes in seasoning  (approx 1 tsp of each) and then fry in batches. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel lined plate or cooling rack over a baking sheet. Be careful not to burn. Cool completely and store in an air tight container for up to one week.

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Baked Potato Soup

In my neck of the woods tonight its cold and snowy. That just screams SOUP to me.  I’ve been craving this soup for a few days, so I thought it would be perfect. I’ve experimented with this over the past year and a half and have, in my opinion, perfected it.  Its thick and delicious! I haven’t tried it in a bread bowl yet, but I plan to do so soon.  I know it would be fabulous! When reheating for serving later, add some milk to thin it out. Enjoy and try not to think about the calories!

Baked Potato Soup

6 medium baking potatoes

6 cups skim milk

10 Tbsp. butter

2/3 cup flour

6 green onion, chopped

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled (can substitute cooked chopped ham)

1 cup fat free sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

dash crushed red pepper and black pepper

salt, to taste if you want (I don’t because the bacon is salty and I used salted butter)

Directions:

Cook bacon, crumble and set aside.

Bake potatoes until tender. When they are done, cut up half of them with skins on. You want them to be in small bite size pieces. With the other half, scoop the potatoes out of the skins and discard skins. Chop and partially mash these potatoes.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, make a light roux with the butter and flour in a large pot, cooking a few minutes to get rid of the flour taste.  Then, add the milk as you stir constantly.  Bring to a simmer to thicken, stirring often.  Once thick, add potatoes, green onions, sour cream, and seasonings.  Mix thoroughly. Then add bacon and cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. It will be very thick!

Optional garnish combinations, mix and match any of the following:

additional chopped green onion; shredded cheese; croutons; chopped parsley, basil or chives; or oyster crackers.

10 months later…

Ok, so about 10 months later, I’m posting again and will definitely try to post regularly. I have no idea why I dropped the ball for so long, but I’m back now. It will be my New Year’s resolution to keep up with this blog. That and trying to lose weight…