Sunday, December 28, 2014

Old Fashioned Johnny Cakes

I am not sure why, but I have always been a fan of historical things...antiques, old books, living history re-enactments, 1800's architecture, and so much more. I am beginning to plan my dream house, modeled after an 1800's plantation. While being wrapped up in staring at Google Images of restored older homes, my inability to focus for long periods of time, I seem to constantly end up going off on tangents to everything else from that time era. Lately my new "go to" tangent has been antique cook books. With the internet, you can get vintage cook books with a few simple clicks, ready for reading on an e-reader. Technology is a wonderful thing!

Last night, my attention wandered in the direction of breakfast foods in a 1908 cook book. While looking at the pancake recipe, I noticed a "Indian Fritter" recipe that I had to try out once I put a little effort into modernizing it. I believe they are also called Johnny Cakes in the south, which for modern day purposes and the need to be politically correct, is what I will be referring to them as.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mince Pie

In preparation for a family Christmas, I decided to try my hand at a Mincemeat Pie. This is a heavily spiced pie that is filled with a modernized version of traditional mincemeat.

Mince Pie
makes 1 9 inch pie

prepared 2-pie crust recipe (to follow)
3/4 cup finely chopped beef, cooked
2 1/2 cup chopped apples
3/4 cup raisins (I used a mix of golden and regular)
1/4 cup candied citrus fruit peel (citron used in fruit cakes)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup demerara sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
4 oz. brandy

Preheat oven to 400. Line a 9 inch pie pan with bottom crust.

You do not have to cook the mincemeat if you do not wish to. I was in a hurry and needed to rush my pie along a little, so I tossed it all in a pot and cooked over low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar was melted and apples began to soften.

Pour into prepared pie crust. Top with second crust. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, until crust is nicely browned.

(If you are really late, you rush and don't even weave the lattice crust together). If doing a lattice crust, make sure to use a little egg wash to make it all stick together properly.

Simple Oil Pie Crust Recipe (again for when you're in a hurry)
makes 2 crusts

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup  vegetable oil
3 to 6 tbsp. water or milk
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the oil and water/milk and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Divide dough in half. Pat half the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers. 
With the other half of the dough, roll out on a floured surface until less than 1/4 inch thick. Either place on top of the pie whole (remember to cut a few slips for the steam to escape),  cut into strips for lattice, or cut out shapes to overlap on the top of the pie.

Flute the edges together.

Bake as required for the pie.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I want to take a moment to wish all my friends a very Merry Christmas! I hope that whatever you do on this day, rather you are religious or not, that you take a minute, sit back, relax, sip on a cup of hot chocolate, and reflect on all the positives in your life. This is the time of year to be celebrating friends, family, and all that you do have in your life.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Old Fashioned Griddle Cakes by Fannie Farmer

For years I have had an obsession with vintage recipes, or receipts as they were once called. One of my favorite recipes comes from the Boston School of Cooking Cook Book written by Fannie Merritt Farmer in 1900. Griddle Cakes. The recipe is similar to that of traditional pancakes but with a slight change in yet just different enough to be a nice switch to the breakfast menu.

These are fried in a bit of grease or butter or oil, giving them a crisp edge while the middle of the pancake is tender and moist. A must try for all pancake lovers!

Friday, December 19, 2014

TGIF! Let's Celebrate!

Less than one week until Christmas! Are you excited? I know I am!

I am looking forward to finishing my massive list of Christmas cookies that need to be baked and then spending the holiday with my family. Nothing fancy, just a good (and relaxing) time!

Here is hoping y'all have finished all your holiday shopping and that you get to spend Christmas with those who mean the most to you!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Anisscheiben (Self-Frosting Anise Drops) - A German Cookie

There is something magical about these little cookies. They are made from a simple batter but with a lot a waiting, they turn into these delicious cookies that have a meringue type frosting, a chewy center, and a crisp bottom. There are a few secrets to getting these to turn out perfectly, which take a little practice. I am still working to make them into perfect little circles like my Grandmother could.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pfeffernüsse (Peppernuts) - A German Cookie

For as long as I can remember my family has made the same cookies every holiday season. Almost all of the cookies are ones that my grandmother made every year, without fail. Honestly, I have never figured out how she managed to make all the cookies that she did. She baked for not only for the family she'd have over for Christmas, but everybody got to leave with a huge box of cookies, at least a dozen of each kind. She had to have made at least triple, if not quadruple, batches of every cookie.

My grandmother lived with us when I was in high school and I got to spend the last 3 years of her life working in the kitchen with her at Christmas to make all these wonderful cookies. While I was in college my dad took over the Christmas cookies. No matter how much he tried, they just never came out right. My mom tried too. She failed even worse. Once I moved out of my parents' house, I took over the Christmas cookies. I have been baking for a week already and am only half done with the list of Christmas cookies. I'm pretty sure I've also gained at least 5 pounds already.

One of my favorite cookies are these little spiced cookies that are extremely hard and require a hot beverage to drip them in. Translated from German they are called Peppernuts.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Aebleskivers - Danish Pancake Balls

A friend recently recommended I check out Cast Iron Cooking, a group on Facebook for Cast Iron everything. I must say, since I joined the group last week, I have become a little addicted. The amount of awesome pictures, recipes, and just pieces of cast iron is AMAZING.

It just amazes me when you sit and read about people still using these 100+ year old skillets that are in absolutely perfect condition. I have a decent amount of cast iron items in my cookware collection, however it does not see frequent use because of my small kitchen and storage issues with it. I cannot wait to have a bigger kitchen so that I can make good use of the pieces I have.

This morning's breakfast was inspired by several recent inquires on the group regarding an Aebleskiver Pan. These wonderful little pancake balls are most common in Denmark although they exist in many countries. To the Dutch, they are poffertjes. Munker in Norway. They even reach as far as Japan, where they are savory instead of sweet and called Takoyaki.

Whatever you call them, they are delicious!

Friday, December 12, 2014

TGIF! Let's Celebrate!

Only 3 Fridays left in the year. I am not sure whether to be excited or sad at this fact. Time seems to slip away so quickly these days. Where can I resign being an adult?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Triple Berry Cherry Pie

With Christmas fast approaching, I am beyond ready to be stuffing my face with Christmas dinner and all the wonderful desserts and treats that go along with it. Tonight, I tried out a delicious pie that incorporated a variety of "left over" fruit I had in the freezer. It seems like although I freeze things in 1 quart containers, I always end up with about 3/4 cup left in the containers. This pie is a great way to use up those little odds and ends hiding out in the freezer. I used 3 types of berries and some tart cherries, but you could use any fruit as long as the total comes out to the 4 cups.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fried Apples

It's a great fall morning, I am up early than necessary to await on a repairman who will show up between 8 and 5. Since I have to be up, I might as well be productive and making something yummy to eat.

Upon inspection of a mostly empty fridge, I decided on some buttermilk pancakes topped with fried apples. I know you can open a can and just heat them, but homemade fried apples are just so amazing! You must make them!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tuscan White Bean Soup

There is nothing like a good bowl of hot, steamy soup after a long stressful week. Minimal effort and delicious results. Soup also has a ton of wonderful bonuses. It's cheap, even if you go organic with it. It is easy to make large quantities and it freezes exceptionally well! It's filling if accompanied with a bit of homemade bread. And best of all, it's absolutely delicious and packed with so many vitamins and other nutrients.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Berry Mug Muffin

Today is one of the rare days that I find myself home alone at breakfast time. Even my cats abandoned me this morning.

I am now curled up with a book, this deliciously simple "muffin", and a over-sized cup of coffee. A great start to a relaxing day home alone!

Friday, December 5, 2014

TGIF! Let's Celebrate!

The first Friday of December! I can hardly believe that in 20 days (less than 3 weeks!) it will be Christmas!

I am up early, preparing to head off in search of cooking ingredients. Since I make close to 36 dozen cookies, plus some candies, I have to double check everything to make sure I have everything I need written down. I know that I will be getting strange looks from the lady at the checkout, every year I get questioned about why I am buying such massive quantities of flour, sugar, sprinkles, spices, extracts, pounds of butter, and eggs.

I got my tree up and decorated last night. I feel like I am one of the few who still waits until after Thanksgiving to start on Christmas. Am I really all alone in thinking 1 holiday at a time is ok?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ginger Rice Pudding with Maple Syrup

Call me old fashioned. But I refuse to buy into all the hype that has become the holiday season. To me, this is the time of year for indulging in great food, great drinks, and great people. I refuse to indulge in the commercialism that has taken over the true meaning of the holidays.

While many are out, battling one another for the best deals, I'll be at home, stationed in my kitchen working on an array of delicious treats.

Today, upon reading this tutorial on The Kitchn, I decided to apply this risotto cooking method to one of my favorite dishes, rice pudding.

Monday, December 1, 2014

All Things Winter and Christmas

Although I am not a huge fan of winter, I absolutely love the holiday season and all the things associated with it. Especially the cookies. And the hot drinks. And the huge meals shared with loved ones. And anything else food related this time of year.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thai Lentil Soup - Vegan and Cholesterol Free

After a wonderful Thanksgiving feast, surrounded by my loved ones, on Thursday. And a repeat on Friday with all the delicious leftovers repurposed into new yummy treats. And again on Saturday. Tonight called for a very different kind of meal.

I had a stray bag of red lentils hiding out in the pantry that I'd purchased randomly a few months ago and never got around to using. So I hopped onto the trusty ole Pinterest and a few recipes looked decent but I ended up combining a couple different things to create this.

Sorry for the crappy picture but I lacked anything nice for garnish and wasn't about to run to the store just for the sake of a picture.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cranberry Martini

Congratulations! We have survived Thanksgiving and Black Friday! Tons of delicious turkey, stuffing, pies, and countless calories later I am now stressing about preparing for Christmas.

I get the honor of preparing that massive quantity of cookies that my Grandmother used to make. I went to the grocery and after an hour of battling the crowds, I reappeared with 25 pounds of flour, 25 pounds of sugar, an assortment of nuts, sprinkles, baking chocolate and 10 pounds of butter. We won't discuss the eggs. That was a nightmare. A very distracted mother was allowing her young child WALK on the eggs. I'll go back for eggs another day. Once I've got my cooking baking game plan figured out. Look out for all the delicious recipes that will follow!

While I work on that game plan, I will be sipping on one of my favorite holiday drinks. A delicious Cranberry Martini.

Friday, November 28, 2014

TGIF! Let's Celebrate!

Happy Friday my friends! Here in America, it's Black Friday. Most Americans are either still nursing their turkey comas from yesterday or out facing the masses at the sales. Me? I'm curled up on the couch with some hot cocoa & marshmallows, and the never ending stream of Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. I am not a fan of crowds. I am much happier tucked away in my corner of the world, avoiding the insanity that is Black Friday.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have never been one to participate in the "thankful posts" on Facebook because I am thankful for the things in my life every day, but today I am thankful for all my readers and hoping that you are all able to spend the day with those you love and hold dear! I am enjoying the first Thanksgiving in several years that I have the opportunity to travel to see my family.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Crustless Cranberry Pie

I'm not sure what is up with the weather, but it was very nice to be able to have my windows open all day and enjoy the wonderful 75 degree temperatures here in NC. Apparently nobody told the weather that it's the end of November, but I'm not complaining. It was magnificent!

It was also the perfect day to try out a new recipe, perfect for a Thanksgiving dessert. A simple "pie" that requires less than 5 minutes of effort. This isn't really a pie, but a cake in the share of a pie. But whatever you call it, it is delicious! Try it out this holiday season!

Friday, November 21, 2014

TGIF! Let's Celebrate!

Another Friday is upon us. The end to a beautiful week. Let's dive into the wonderful world of the Internet and see what has been happening around us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vanilla Bean Latte, a great copycat of Starbucks Vanilla Latte, and healthier for you too!

I spent my day walking around a gigantic mall, attempting to finish up my holiday shopping before the masses get turned loose into the public. One thing about gigantic malls is that they are filled with multiple Starbucks and a Teavana thrown in for good measure. While not a fan of over-priced, high calorie drinks, I ♥LOVE♥ the smell of coffee. It's just magical.

I resisted the urge to stop in and buy one of those crazy expensive drinks, but now that I am home and am breaking out the Starbucks coffee grounds (reserved around here for limited occasions as I am not a fan but once in a while you need that super strong coffee to make a perfect drink!)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Apple Cider Oatmeal

A beautiful Saturday here in my house. Yesterday I couldn't resist getting some apple cider while I was out and about. I was craving this wonderful Mulled Apple Cider. It embodies everything that is fall from my childhood.

This morning I decided to add a little of that cider into my breakfast oatmeal for a little change. It was delicious. A perfect fall breakfast. (And it takes less than 10 minutes to make!)

Friday, November 14, 2014

TGIF! Let's Celebrate

Here in NC, the fall weather has finally decided to come and stay. This week was the end of the 70 degree temperatures, and I am excited to break out my winter coats, fuzzy-lined gloves, and beautiful scarves.

My parents have experienced their first snowfall of the season and I must admit that I am a little anxious to return to Ohio. I recently purchased over 60 acres of land and am currently waiting (rather impatiently I might add) until spring so that I can begin building my dream home, complete with huge kitchen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Bake

It is definitely November. Facebook is flooded with the daily thankful posts. The major stores took down the Halloween items and replaced them with Christmas. Somewhere, I think, they are hiding the Thanksgiving items. Maybe. Or did I just miss an entire holiday? 

I just find it sad that the entire Thanksgiving holiday is being pushed to the side so that people can make even more money. But I digress... 

I want to tell you about this delicious dinner that I made. Simple. Quick. Flavorful. All wonderful things to be thankful. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

TGIF! Let's Celebrate!

The holiday season is officially upon us. Tuesday was election day and now there are just a few short weeks until Thanksgiving. I have been busily planning my Thanksgiving Dinner menu, finding so many delicious recipes that I cannot wait to try and share with you!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chicken & Dumplings

The unpredictable weather, that is refusing to say good bye to summer, has taken a plunge today. For me it's the perfect excuse to stand over the stove, watching the windows and patio doors in the kitchen steaming up as I cook a delicious, old fashioned comfort meal.

Dumplings can mean different things to different parts of the country. For me, the "dumplings" are little balls of dough, steamed on the top of a thick soup. For others dumplings refer to thick noodles cooked in the broth. For me those are just noodles. If you prefer the noodle version, simply add them instead of my version of dumplings.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Caramel French Toast

I am a firm believer in starting every day with a hot, filling breakfast. While my pantry does have a collection of cereal, in my world, it serves the purpose of a late night snack. There is something so satisfying about getting up, frying up some breakfast meats, and cooking. It makes me feel accomplished when I've made a delicious breakfast and enjoyed it sitting at the table reading the news or a new book. Starting the day with that type of accomplishment just seems to set the mood for a productive day.

You should start your day with this delicious Caramel French Toast and tell me that you don't feel amazing afterwards!

Friday, October 31, 2014

TGIF, Let's Celebrate Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

As you prepare for a night of passing out candy, taking little ones trick or treating, or are dressing up for a night out with friends, take a few moments to make sure to stay safe!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Black Bean & Pumpkin Soup

While it is back to being rather unusually warm here in NC, I simply could not resist making this delicious soup today. I am hoping that it brings back the true fall weather that I love!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lemon Chicken Parmesan

A delicious twist on a  classic Italian dish. What more can I say?

Friday, October 24, 2014

TGIF, Let's Celebrate

Another week has come and gone. It's nearly Halloween and Wal-Mart is fully stocked with their Christmas goodies. I love the Christmas season, but I am not a fan of it being pushed up to October. I prefer to celebrate my holidays one at a time.

I have slowly spent this week getting ready for Halloween. I cannot wait to see all the neighborhood children dressed up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Roll Cake

Nothing says Fall like Pumpkin EVERYTHING. After having spent some time at the Pumpkin Show in Circleville, OH last weekend and seeing Dr. Liggit's 1900lb pumpkin, I was inspired to make something yummy with pumpkin.

Friday, October 17, 2014

TGIF, Let's Celebrate

Here it is, Friday yet again! And what a beautiful Friday it is. I hope that everyone has had a great week and is ready for a great weekend.

My weekend plans involve marshmallows, my fire pit, and an over-sized, well loved sweater. It's perfect weather for it!  I can't wait!

Friday, October 10, 2014

TGIF, Let's Celebrate

Here it is, Friday again. It's been a beautiful autumn week. I love driving through town and seeing all the houses that are decorating for fall, seeing signs advertising the local pumpkin patches and seeing all the fall decorations out in stores. (But we won't discuss how certain stores already have Christmas things out.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pumpkin Swirl Coffee Cake

The cool fall air has apparently made my cat lose his mind. Cats are notorious for taking off at high speeds just to go from one room to the next. My Ralph has lost control. He took off from the kitchen as fast as he could and then I hear this loud thumb as he crashes into the wall. A few seconds later he comes running out towards the kitchen again and somehow managed to get into the back of the dishwasher that I was loading with breakfast dishes. I just wish I had had my camera handy to take a picture of my cat stuck behind all the dishes in there.

While the fall season is making my little furry friend extra nutty, it is making me crave all the delicious things.

After freeing Ralph from the clutches of the evil dishwasher, I set about mixing up this delicious pumpkin swirl coffee cake.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Orange Soy Glazed Scallops

There is a Japanese steakhouse nearby that I absolutely love. Not only is watching the chef prepare the food at the table amazing, but they do something amazing with the food. There is always the perfect balance of flavors and the ingredients always are fresh.

My favorite dish to get is their scallops. I'm not sure why, but cooking scallops have always intimidated me. Maybe it is the fairly expensive price tag combined with the finicky nature of scallops that demand to be cooked just so. But I finally gave in and decided to try cooking some. And let me tell you, a little googling and youtubing of how to properly cook them, and they were AMAZING.

Friday, October 3, 2014

TGIF, Let's Celebrate!

Here in NC, the summer is finally slipping off, giving way to the crisp autumn weather. After driving through the mountains last weekend to visit family up north, I have been filled with both excitement for the upcoming holiday season and a little sadness as I watch a beautiful summer fade into the distance.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

Let it be October. A season of mixed emotions for many.

As the cooler weather settles in, so many are sighing in relief as the summer heat fades into cool nights and warm days. That relief from the heat also comes with sadness as we say good bye to sipping ice cold lemonade, barbecues & picnics with friends, and swimming.

Now is the season to start looking forward to evening bon fires, pumpkin & apple EVERYTHING, and it's time to start shopping for that perfect winter coat.

It's also time to try out these AMAZING waffles. I love these waffles because they are the only pumpkin waffles I have found that actually have the ability to become crispy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Come Read With Me

October is upon us my friends. The weather is finally starting to cool off, making it perfect for baking and spending time curled up with a good book. Check out some of my favorites I'll be reading this month.

Joy the Baker does it again with her AMAZING recipes. Make sure to check out her delicious desserts in this book!

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's National Pancake Day, Let's Celebrate It!

Here in America, we love our food. We love our food so much that we have nation-wide days to celebrate some of our favorites! According to Wikipedia, there are over 170 days used to recognize some of our favorite foods.

Today is National Pancake Day! How are you going to celebrate it?

I have created a little chalkboard art to celebrate. Feel free to download, print, and use for personal use. Check out my other creations (logo free) on Etsy.

(Can be downloaded for personal use only)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Raspberry Peach Pancakes

As summer comes to an end, I am sad to see the end of the local summer fruits at the local farmer's market.

As a farewell to summer, I've whipped up a batch of pancakes using one of my favorite fruit combinations, red raspberries and peaches. There is nothing complex or complicated about making these pancakes but there is something magical about the balance of the spices and the fruit that goes into them.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

A good chocolate chip cookie can change a person's mood in a second. It is a taste of your childhood, instantly transporting you back to a simpler time in life.

It is easy to make yourself the perfect chocolate chip cookie. There are countless recipes out there, suited to all the varying tastes that are specific to the individual. Nuts or not? Chewy or crispy?

A perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe should be able to meet the needs of all. This recipe, modified from America's Test Kitchen, can be adapted easily to please everybody.

Friday, September 19, 2014

TGIF, Let's Celebrate!

Congratulations! You've made it through another week. Some weeks that is reason enough to celebrate. I know that this has been a challenging week in my world.

Since we can't all be at the beach, enjoying the sounds of the waves, let's discuss what's been going on throughout the week.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sauerbrauten, a taste of Germany

Sprechen sie deutsch? Yeah, me neither. Foreign languages just aren't my thing, but foreign foods...those are right up my alley. 

This weekend, while visiting my parents and trying to map out the rest of my life, I decided to hold a hostile take-over of their kitchen. My father was all for it as he got to eat one of his favorite meals. I was all for it because I love German food.

However, I am not sure my mother is going to forgive me for this one. The vinegar smell is going to take a few days to leave the house. It may take longer to leave the refrigerator. I'm not sure the box of baking soda is going to be able to work quick enough. I blame my mother for this though. She would not allow me to marinate the meat in a plastic container with a lid and none of her bowls from the 1960's have lids. The plastic wrap simply did not take care of keeping the odors in. 

So here is my word of warning, if you are disgusted by the smell of vinegar, find somebody else's kitchen you can hijack for this dinner. It is delicious, but far from a pleasant aroma.