Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Creamy Potato Soup

It is cold outside!  We received our first winter snow yesterday on top of a sizable amount of sleet. Today is an inside day and I've been busy purging and organizing the pantry so everything starts out fresh and organized for the new year.

I've also been battling a cold, so the cleaning and organizing job was just the ticket; not to strenuous and I could easily pause for a nap attack.  
After a little break in my work, I was chilly and the hunger pangs set in.  My tummy was rumbling and I wanted something easy and something that would warm me inside out.  I spied potatoes and onions on the counter; in the pantry, a carton of chicken stock. Instantly I knew lunch was going to be a nice steaming bowl of potato soup with shredded cheese and bacon crumbles.  Yummers!

This recipe is easy and quick to make.  Enjoy reading through it as I go grab a second helping!

...and oh, by the way, my pantry and cupboards are looking neat and tidy now!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Microwave Beef Stew

Let me begin by saying that this is not a quick recipe.  It is cooked in the microwave, but on a lower power.  I know it seems odd to use a microwave for lengthy cooking, but this beef stew is delicious and worth it!  It's very easy, you just layer the ingredients in the casserole, pour the liquid mixture over the top, pop it in the microwave and let it cook.  No checking, no peeking!  Do be sure you have a large covered casserole before undertaking this recipe.

I got this recipe from my mother, who received it when she took a class after purchasing her new microwave well over 15 years ago.  A local appliance store offered a class with the purchase of a new microwave.  I don't know that I've known of any stores doing that then or since that time.  Between mom and I we have made this stew dozens of times. 

The stew is perfect for chilly winter evenings,  Pair it with a nice salad and some crusty bread for a hearty meal.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Potato Candy

Spud, potato, tater, whatever you want to call it, this simple root vegetable is undoubtedly the oddest ingredient in this candy recipe.  It's fun to make this potato candy and see the reactions of folks tasting it for the first time.

I will admit that I had not planned to make this recipe this year as part of my holiday baking and candy making.  However, I uncovered this old fashioned gem while leafing through the ragged, stained pages of my grandmother's cookbook while looking for another recipe for a friend of mine.  When I saw this recipe, I was immediately transported back to my childhood and visiting Grandma and Grandpa's at Christmas. I couldn't wait to try the recipe.

Research to find the origin of potato candy resulted in a lot of stories and claims, but there seems to be nothing definitive.  This is an old recipe and very likely passed down from generation to generation.  I presumed it was maybe a depression era recipe since it is made of very simple ingredients.  If anyone has any history feel free to post a comment and share it with all of us.

Don't let the potato throw you.  This recipe works and is super simple to make and you have to trust me, you will not taste the potato!

One important word of caution.  Do not, I repeat do not, use a large potato.  One about 1/3 the size of what I used would be sufficient, unless you have a very large family!

As with many of the recipes in my grandma's recipe book, it lists ingredients, not necessarily measurements and not much in the way of instructions.  So there aren't quantities included, I had to make things up as I went along.  Don't let this deter you from trying this recipe.  I'll share my tips from the lessons learned and you can adapt and have some fun too!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cinnamon Sugared Pecans

I can't remember a Christmas that I didn't make these.  I have such a hard time staying out of them; the sweet crunch is like a magnet, pulling me to the bowl every time I'm in the kitchen!

I don't have a story or specific memory to go along with this recipe, they have simply been a part of my Christmas baking for a long time.  They have been enjoyed by many and the recipe has been shared numerous times.  They are great to take to work for a holiday celebration.  They would also make a great hostess gift for all of those holiday gatherings.  And let's not forget our co-workers or employees, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness!

As I mentioned in my earlier post for Sugar Cookies, this recipe is perfect for using those leftover egg  whites you have after you make cookies!  

I get the 2 pound bags of pecans from Costco, if you want to make a smaller quantity, just divide the recipe in half and you'll be all set.  Trust me though, with all the nibbling and gifting, you'll need to make all 2 pounds!  

Have a Holly Jolly and Nutty Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Connie's Sugar Cookies

It's the time of year when visions of all kinds of sweet things dance through our heads.  Our tried and true favorites we make every year plus the new recipes we're enticed with on Pinterest, in magazines, or cook books.  Like most of you, I have my favorites.  One is a drop sugar cookie that is so light and crispy, you can snarf down the whole batch before you realize what you've done!  Cut out sugar cookies have never been my favorite.  I remember making them with mom as a kid, and we ate them, but as a kid...it was about the sugar.  I didn't care much about things like texture, lightness, or that they were mostly like eating sweetened cardboard.  

Now that you knowing my feelings about how most cutout sugar cookies have texture and taste like cardboard, this post will seem odd.    I had not planned to make sugar cookies this year, and definitely not cut out sugar cookies.  However, I found these beautiful cookie cutters at William's Sonoma and well, I have to use them.  I plead my case for a tasty Sugar Cookie recipe asking my Facebook friends if anyone had one they would be willing to share and my friend Connie came to my rescue.  Connie and I grew up in the same small town and played together as children.  I remember swimming in her backyard pool and us gushing over teenage heart throbs Bobbie Sherman and David Cassidy (yes, that has been a few years ago), but all good memories!

Not only did Connie come to my rescue with her recipe, the recipe is super easy to make!  If you have a food processor, you will have your cookie dough mixed up and ready to go in less than 10 minutes and clean up is easy too because it's all done in the food processor.

I have to admit in looking at a lot of sugar cookie recipes, this is the only one I've seen that is made with only egg yolks.  Don't discount the recipe because you don't know what to do with the egg whites.  You can use the leftover egg whites to make some Cinnamon Sugar Pecans.

I am so excited to have a rolled Sugar Cookie recipe  and with Connie's permission, you can have it too!  Thank you Connie!  Merry Christmas!

About Me

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My career is in IT.  Cooking and photography are among a few of my hobbies. In my spare time, which is most weekends I tie on my apron and exercise my creativity by trying new recipes and adapting them to my tastes. I also have a passion for photography that I incorporate by taking photographs to go along with the recipes I post on my blog.  
I also enjoy travel, both near and abroad. Meeting new people, new experiences and cultures and oh, not to mention the food! I hope you enjoy my blog.