Dumplings & Fruit Crisp

In spite of sending bags of food home with my daughters, there was still  a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers.  I made a big pot of turkey soup with little dumplings made from the leftover mashed potatoes.  Dumplings can be made with leftover stuffing as well.  Just take a cup or two of stuffing and make a well in the middle.  Break an egg into the well and combine it with the stuffing.  Add a little flour into the mix if it is too wet.  Drop the dumplings into a bubbling soup or stew and you’ll know they are done when they rise to top.

The rest of the turkey is cut up and frozen now along with another gallon of stock.  There were a few apples left from pie making so those are  peeled, sliced and frozen too.  I held back an apple, diced it and mixed it in with the leftover cranberry-apple compote.  I added a little extra cinnamon and put it into ramekins.  Baked in the oven with a quick crumb topping , it will make a delicious dessert.  Freshly whipped cream will make it even better.

Thanksgiving

 

 

Last week was filled with Thanksgiving preparations.The pumpkins were  all  cooked up into delicious soups, pies and breads.   Cranberry compote and apple pies bubbled away in the oven.  Winter squash and potatoes were brought up from the cellar and readied to be roasted along with the turkey that we got from a small family farm a few miles away.The house was scrubbed and shiny clean .  My girls all came home.  I had so many things to be thankful for.  This Thanksgiving in particular we were all acutely thankful for each other. Time is so fleeting and things can change on a dime.  This was a good holiday to remember to treasure the moments and those that share them with us.

Thursday’s turkey remnants are simmering on the stove.  The good stock will make delicious soups and stews  for these cold winter nights.  Christmas is coming and there will be lots of baking, decorating, sewing, and cooking, making my herbal concoctions and painting. This house is ready to be filled up with the joy and magic of the Season.

 

Special Ingredients

My daughters have been calling in requests for things that they want me to cook for Easter.   I don’t  know how many generations have been making our family recipes but since my Mother died 4 years ago, it’s been my turn to keep them going.

Yesterday I made nut roll.  There’s a lot more cooking left to do and some of the ingredients aren’t available in  the regular grocery stores.  I took a little trip to a town about 40 minutes away that has a strong, Eastern European community and a good ethnic market.  There was a 45 minute wait to get into the shop.  In line, the mood was festive.  Everyone was  excited about the holiday.  We were all talking and laughing with each other.  Since many of us were making the same traditional Easter dishes, the conversation turned to recipes and cooking anecdotes.  It was fun and the time flew by!

The store was pretty big and had a lot of interesting things that aren’t in the regular grocery stores.  Many of the items had labels that weren’t written in English.  I got everything I needed, had  a good time looking around and found a few interesting things for the Easter baskets.

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Getting Ready

Baking, cleaning, finishing up a few things to go in the Easter baskets,continuing to sow seeds for the garden…today was the beginning of a busy week.  I made Laurie’s  ginger-carrot soup from Notes from the Hinterland  and it was delicious!  We’re still getting snow..flurries mostly and the temperatures are cold so chances are that we wont be having any daffodils or tulips anytime soon ouside.  Luckily, the indoor plants are doing their best to make up for it.

Saint Patrick’s Day

My house smells like cooked cabbage today but I like it because it reminds me of my Grandparents.  I still have the cup my Grandfather used for his supper tea.  His parents came to the States from the county of Donegal.  They raised their children in the tenements of Boston where she was a midwife and he was a policeman.   Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!

Valentine’s Day

 

 

When my girls were little,  I would set the table fancy for Valentine’s Day morning and bake heart shaped muffins. Their Dad gave each of them their own little box of chocolates.   This year my youngest came home for the weekend.  I  set the kitchen table up a bit  last night and made some scones to have this morning with cream and strawberry jam.   The perfect way for me to start the day, with my baby girl…Live-Love-Laugh… and happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

 

Warm from the inside

 

I woke up to snow this morning! I never checked the weather report so it came as a complete surprise. I guess I’ll spend some time shoveling today before everything turns into a frozen, crusty mess..it’s still soo cold.
Yesterday I made a good, warming soup. A bunch of kale, 2 carrots, 2 small potatoes, a tuber of tumeric and a 3 inch chunk of ginger root all went into a pot with homemade chicken stock. Everything was brought to a boil and then simmered until the carrots were tender. When it cooled down a bit, I pureed the whole lot. It tasted good.. a little,spicy, warm and kind of exotic to my New England taste buds. Sea salt, black pepper and a teaspoon of coconut oil made it even better. I’ve been trying to think of ways to incorporate fresh tumeric into my diet..it has so many health benefits: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and there’s a lot of studies showing it may improve brain function and increase endorphins. I’m in! Maybe I wont feel crabby and sore from shoveling this snow:)
My daughter is still home with me for a few more days. Last night we watched the first of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy together and we turned this year’s Christmas cards into next year’s gift tags. Tonight is part 2. I do love having her back home.

Spicy chocolate & honey, cookies & candy canes


Ten days until Christmas! It’s windy and cold outside. Our little town is bustling with holiday busy-ness… Carolers singing on church lawns, a Christmas play at the old Town Hall, our annual town festival with boy scouts selling wreaths on the green and all of our churches hosting craft fairs, white elephant sales and holiday luncheons. New York was great for a visit but I am very happy to be living in my little town, especially at this time of year.
Finishing up projects, baking and playing Christmas music has kept me busy between all the fun events. I found this little Linzer cookie kit last year for $5, recipe included. The cookies were very easy to make, the dough handled well and they taste good!
There’s nothing like a good cup of hot chocolate at this time of year. It’s simple and delicious to make from scratch. I use honey instead of sugar and add some holiday spice.
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
Dash of nutmeg
Heat milk and honey over low heat, stirring until honey is dissolved. Add cocoa, continue stirring and add spices. When the milk starts steaming, it’s done.
This is so easy and can be modified to your own taste. My daughter likes to add a touch of cayenne pepper to hers. My other daughter prefers it with just cocoa and honey, no spices added. Cardamom is nice, if you have it. Of course, freshly whipped cream would be delicious on top too:)
Decorations can get elaborate. Sometimes it’s just as satisfying to use what is on hand. These candy canes are cute and festive and a few bows left over from last year add a little color and hide the construction. I used a plastic lid, punched holes in it and wired the candy canes, still wrapped, on to it. Simple but homey and cheerful in my cozy old kitchen.
I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful season. Thanks for stopping by!

Christmas in New York


There’s nothing like Christmas in New York City. My cousin came up from Florida for a visit and we took a train into Manhattan. We did as many of the “Christmas tourist” things that we could fit in and had so much fun!!! The windows at Sax 5th Avenue were so gorgeous! We went to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes and the angels, the tree and the skaters at Rockefeller Center. On our way to see Macy’s windows, we stopped at the Christmas festival in Bryant Park. Times Square was crazy, as usual. Carnegie’s is always fun and I still think their cheesecake is the best ever.

Cookies and Christmas Projects


Such a fun time of the year! The weather has been icy, rainy, snowy and overall dreary but it doesn’t matter, I’ve been busy inside baking and trying to finish Christmas gifts. This picture will be for for one of my daughters. My Dad’s 79th birthday was this week so I made a batch of his favorite cookies. It’s the same recipe his Grandmother used when she made them for him. I had a lot of felt from my Mother’s sewing room so I’ve been playing with making these ornaments. I had them all hanging in the kitchen window. My girls noticed them on Thanksgiving and took home what they wanted. You learn to share everything when you come from 3 sisters and have 3 daughters, lol! I’m glad my daughters liked them. I hope all of you are enjoying the season!

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These cookies bake from 7-10 minutes.  It’s best to refrigerate the dough,  for about 15 minutes, before rolling it into little balls.  Set them a couple inches apart onto the cookie sheet, they do spread.

Window Dressing


I do seasonal window dressing for an optical store. It’s a few stores away from where I had my store. I had to modify my style and personal preferences to fit this store but I like the way it turned out. The display is double sided, seen from the inside and through the window. It was strange being there a few weeks before Christmas and not having a store any more. A wine shop recently opened where I had been. There’s been lots of ‘endings’ the past few years. That is life. New beginnings too.

Pie for Breakfast & Christmas Cactus


I officially start my Christmas season with pumpkin pie for breakfast. Thanksgiving was wonderful, all 3 of my girls were here. We had a great day, lots of good food, games, memories and so much to be thankful for! Yorkshire pudding was on the menu, as it has been for generations in my family. This year it raised up nice and puffy….made up for the gravy which was a little on the thin side, lol.
I saved some of the seeds from the spaghetti squash. Hopefully I can get these to grow in the spring and if I manage to confound the dreaded squash borer this year, I love the idea of having squash in the summer from the one we had at Thanksgiving.
The market had these pretty Christmas cactuses for $5.00. I couldn’t resist. They are easy house plants and live for generations. Once this little cactus settles down and gets used to its new home, I’ll transplant it and with permanent marker write the date and my name on the new pot. I’ll paint a rock with the same information and a little picture of a bee. If I use acrylic paint and varnish it, set it on top of the soil with the plant, that will last for years too. Maybe some day a grandchild who loves plants like I do will have this plant! My blogger friend Ginene, from Fox and Finch Antiques had violet plants that were her great Aunt’s from 1955! Thanks for the inspiration, Ginene, and have a wonderful day everyone!!