Thursday, December 29, 2011

Turkey Pot Pies

Christmas is over for another year, i just finished taking down the tree and putting away the decorations. Sunday's dinner for nine went well, and I have plenty of leftovers. When I offered everyone some to take home, they ran out the door. So, I froze the potatoes for shepherd's pie, along with the rolls i forgot to serve. I took a couple turkey sandwiches with me to work Tuesday and had the rest of the stuffing and broccoli salad for another meal. But I still had plenty of turkey and gravy staring at me, along with a bowl of carrots. I had received three cookbooks as gifts for Christmas, so I found the perfect recipe in one of them: Company's Coming Most Loved Holiday Favourites. 

Turkey Pies

1+3/4 cups turkey gravy.
2 tsp minced onion flakes.
1/4 tsp salt.
1/8 tsp pepper.
1/8 tsp poultry seasoning.
1/4 cup prepared chicken broth.
2 + 2/3 cups cooked diced turkey.
1 cup cooked mixed vegetables, chopped.
Pastry for 2 double crust pies.

Combine first 5 ingredients. Add broth, 1 tbsp at a time, stirring until medium thin consistency. Add remaining ingredients, stir well.

Divide 2/3 of pastry into 6 equal portions. Roll out each on lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness. Line six 4+3/8 inch mini pie pans with each dough round. Spoon filling into shells.

Divide remaining dough into 6 equal portions, roll out each portion to cover pies. Crimp edges to seal well. if desired, brush top of pies with beaten egg. Poke slits in tops of pies for steam to escape.
Bake on bottom rack at about 400 F for 30 minutes until browned.

They overflowed a bit, since I did not use the egg sealing technique, but they turned out really nice. I only got three, because I only used enough dough to make one double crust pie. I added the turkey and carrots along with some frozen peas to the filling, it kind of looked nasty, but once cooked it tasted great!

I also used real onions instead of the onion flakes, just because that was all i have. They turned out delicious and quite filling! I threw two in the freezer and took the other for my dinner at work last night. It heated up quite nicely in the microwave, although the pastry was a bit soggy.

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas this year, or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice or weekend, if you do not celebrate. I got everything i needed (new cookie sheets and jeans) everything I wanted (new set of pots, housecoat), and a few other things to enjoy (cookbooks, ornaments, punch set) plus a couple of gift cards to get a few more things I need. Number one is a new rolling pin!

So now that leftovers are used up and everything is finished for another year, it is time to turn to a new one. I am going to a pot luck party this weekend for New Year's Eve, a first for me because I usually end up working that night. I have one more post i want to get up this year, but in case i don't have time, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy new year. Hope 2012 is the best of all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingerbread Reindeer

This is yet another recipe I found on Pintrest. Not so much a recipe and more of an idea that I found. Today I am making Monkey/Bubble Bread for Christmas breakfast and Rolls for Christmas dinner. While they are raising and baking, i figured i'd have time to post these.

I made these for my co-workers, I used the same gingerbread men recipe that i used last year, only this time I cut them smaller so i would not have to make three batches. Using leftover royal icing and some Christmas Smarties, I made these!

I was a bit afraid that the Smarties would be to big, but they turned out perfect. All you have to do to make these cuties is bake a batch of gingerbread men, like so:

And turn them upside down. It's nice to be able to get two uses out of one cutter. I think they turned out adorable, and so do the few co-workers that saw them last night. I won't know until later today when I go in if everyone agrees, I'm sure they will, though.

Now the Monkey bread is baking, and I have to go mop my floors. Then all I have to do is run to the City Market to get my veggies for Sunday, and Christmas is done! Just have to sit back and have fun.

We even got a special Christmas treat from Mother Nature today!We have had one storm, about a month ago, and the snow was gone a week later. The grass has been green and we thought we were in for a green Christmas, but when we woke up this morning there was about half an inch down, and they changed the rain forecast to about 3 inches of snow! We get a White Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Maple-Whisky Fudge

This is a new recipe I made yesterday, I found it awhile ago on Pintrest, the pin led me to a website called Old Tyme Fudge, they have a lot of old recipes, so check it out! I've been wanting to make this one for awhile, but it took me a couple weeks to get everything together. I don't think it really turned out, but it looks delicious!

Maple-Whisky Fudge.

3 cups sugar.
2/3 cup milk.
2/3 cup half & half (or evaporated milk)
1/4 cup light corn syrup.
2 Tbsp butter.
6 Tbsp whisky.
2 tsp maple extract.

Line an 8 inch pan with foil and spry with cooking spray, or butter pan. In a large 3 quart saucepan, combine sugar, milk, cream, corn syrup and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture comes to a boil. Cook to soft ball stage on a candy thermometer. Do not stir. Remove from heat, do not stir. Cool to 120 F, add whisky and maple extract. Beat until mixture starts to lose its gloss. Quickly pour into pan to set. 

It didn't set very well, it is quite soft. The whisky is very strong, i used Crown Royal because it was the only brand the liquor store carried in the tiny bottles. I used about a bottle and a half. I cut it in triangles because it looks a lot like my brown sugar fudge, and I need a way for little people to distinguish it quickly, so they know they can't have it. 

I had a hard time getting it up to temperature, it seemed to stall out between 200 and 220. Suddenly, it turned darker, so i think i burnt it. 

I let it sit until it started to crystallize, but the temperature didn't seem to go down. I think i should have pulled the thermometer out and let it get to room temperature instead of just letting it sit in the pot. Finally, I put it in my mixer and gave it a few minutes, then poured it into the pan. Instead of using foil, i just used wax paper like i use for all my fudges. It peels off easier, i find. 

So I am officially ready for Christmas, save for a bit of house cleaning and bake some rolls tomorrow. This morning, I am heading over to my nephew's first Christmas concert. He is in kindergarten and loving it! Apparently they are singing Away in a Manger. Can't wait! 

Hope everyone is having a great last rush to Christmas!! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Kiss Cookies

It has been a busy couple of weeks! I have been baking up a storm, and running the roads, and then I was sick for a bit, but I am better now and am baking some more. I've mostly been doing a lot of the old recipes from last year, cherry bread, lemon bread, cherry winks, peanut butter balls, fudge. But now I am done everything but the banana breads (i am waiting on the bananas). Everything is bought and wrapped, and all i need to do is a bit of cleaning before Christmas. So this week is my free week to try new recipes! I have a new fudge recipe I am trying tomorrow, but this one is one I found on Meal Planning Magic a few weeks ago, it was part of her 12 weeks of Christmas cookies. I love cherries, and have oodles left over, so now is the time to make them!

Cherry Chocolate Kiss Cookies.

1 cup butter, softened.
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted.
1/8 tsp salt.
2 tsp cherry juice.
1/4 tsp almond extract.
2 + 1/4 cup flour.
1/2 to 3/4 cup crushed cherries.
1 cup sugar, for rolling.
Hershey kisses or hugs, 1 per cookie.

Cream together powdered sugar, butter and salt. Add cherry juice and almond extract. Stir to combine. Add flour, mixing well. Fold in cherries. Refrigerate dough 30 minutes (optional). Roll into balls, roll in sugar. Bake at 325 F for 14 minutes. As they come out of the oven, press a hug or a kiss in centre. Cool completely.

They are such a pretty cookie. And they taste great! I was really worried as I made the dough, as I have a tendency to write down recipes wrong. I kept second guessing myself. "What, no eggs?" run to the computer. Ok, no eggs. "Wait, no powder or soda?" run back to the computer. Ok, none of those either.

I ended up forgoing the quarter cup flour, as I had to add an extra teaspoon or two of cherry juice just to get the two cups in. I started taking cherries out of the jar to chop them finely, then I remembered I had a mini food processor under the counter that seldom gets used. I had those cherries chopped fine quicker than I could blink :-)

This is a very seasonal recipe, it is such a pretty colour. I think it would be great for a girl baby shower. After Christmas, that is my next baking adventure, I am going to be an Auntie again, and my little man K is going to be a big brother! He can't wait!  But for now, we are baking up to Christmas. I am having everyone here Christmas Day, for the first time ever. I've got lots of goodies for everyone!

Hope everyone is having a great last rush till Christmas; you should see me around a bit this week, I have one more new recipe and at least two that I made last week that I want to post!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cornmeal Blueberry Muffins.

I wanted to make this recipe a few weeks ago, but started pouring ingredients and realized i did not have enough cornmeal. So it went on the back shelf for another day. I finally remembered to get the cornmeal last weekend, and since it is such a miserable day, i figured it would be the perfect time to make them. I found this recipe in November's edition of Canadian Living magazine.

Cornmeal Blueberry Muffins. 

1/2 cup sugar.
1 tsp grated lemon zest.
1 cup cornmeal.
2/3 cup flour.
1/3 cup whole wheat flour.
4 tsp baking powder.
1/4 tsp salt.
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries.
1 cup milk.
1 egg.
1/3 cup oil.

In large bowl, rub sugar and lemon zest. Add cornmeal, flours, baking powder and salt, whisk together. Take 1 Tbsp of this mixture and blend with the blueberries. In another bowl, blend together oil, milk and egg. Combine with flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Fold in berries. Spoon into 12 lined muffin tins, bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes.

Once again, i used Halloween muffin liners because I forgot to pick up plain ones. Oops. They are on the list now! I made a few minor changes, I skipped the lemon zest and i used plain flour instead of whole wheat. They turned out very nice, a bit dry though.

I find my oven runs hot, so I only turned it up to 375. They baked nicely in the 20 minutes allotted. While they were baking, I made another treat. This one I have been seeing everywhere. All you do is take a square pretzel, sick a Hershey's hug or kiss on top, heat it in the oven to melt a bit and then add another pretzel.

I tried microwaving a few, but it really didn't work, so once the muffins were done I turned off the oven and stuck them in for a few minutes.

I might make a few more for Christmas, and there are a lot of variations I have seen out there, so I may try some of those as well.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Candy Cane Heart Wreath

I have always been a crafter; mostly scrapbooking and needlepoint, but I have tried many different things. I know this is a cooking blog, but i think i am going to expand my horizons and post a craft i tried a few days ago. This is another idea I found on Pintrest, it led me to a website called Beverly's. My wreath didn't turn out quite as symmetrical as hers, but i like it. :-) 

Basically you need 22 candy canes (i ended up only using 20), a length of ribbon and a glue gun. She also used something called E6000, i think it is a special type of glue but I have never heard of it and i'm sure you can't get it around here, so i just used my glue gun. Step one is to glue the candy canes back to back. 

Once that dries, flip them over and put the bows on. I was a bit short on ribbon and dexterity, so instead of tying mini bows, i just folded the ribbon over itself and cut the ends on an angle to look a bit fancy. I also realized at this point that I put the bows a bit to low on the candy canes. 

Finally, flip them over again and glue the ends together to form hearts. I found it easiest to glue sets of two together and then go back and glue those together to form a ring. This is here you are supposed to use the E6000 to hold the ends together. 

It is a bit messy because I got the candy canes at the dollar store, and it was hard to find matching sizes in the same box. The final step is to use some extra ribbon to create a hanger. I took a picture off the wall above my mantle and hung my wreath there. Except for being non-symmetrical, it looks really good. If i do this again next year, i will use better quality candy canes. This is a good last minute decoration, altogether it only took about 20 minutes! 

I haven't got my tree up yet, but i think it is going to be sometime this week. I wanted to wait for the weekend, but it looks like it might be to busy! Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Snickerdoodles & Cinnamon Ornaments.

I seem to be finding a lot of recipes on Pintrest lately, this is another Pin i found that led me to a blog called Alphabet Soup. I have made snickerdoodle cookies once before, but it was years ago. A lot of the recipes call for cream of tarter, something I usually do not have because I do not have many recipes that calls for it. I made these yesterday because I was also making some cinnamon-applesauce ornaments for Christmas, and I was told it would be a tease to make the house smell so yummy and not get anything edible out of it.


1 + 3/4 cups flour.
1/4 tsp salt.
1/2 tsp baking powder.
1 + 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
1/2 cup sugar.
1/2 cup butter.
1 egg.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
2 Tbsp milk.

In mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix until combined. Add milk and vanilla, mix well. In another bow, combine flour, powder, salt and cinnamon. Gradually add to butter mixture, stirring until all incorporated. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp cinnamon. Roll batter into balls and roll into cinnamon sugar. Bake at 375 F for 8 to 9 minutes.

These turned out nice and soft. My only quibble is that they did not expand, they are about the size of a twonie (a Canadian 2 dollar coin). Otherwise, they are delicious.

My ornaments turned out well, to. This is the first time I have made them, all you do is mix 3/4 cups of applesauce with a cup + 2 Tbsp cinnamon, roll the dough out between plastic wrap, cut and bake at 200 for 2 and a half hours. I found this recipe on the spice website (not sure what brand, I just Googled Cinnamon ornaments)

The dough looked very much like red clay that we have around here. There is a gentleman who makes things out of it and sells them in the City Market to the tourists.

The next day, my house still smells deliciously cinnamony from making these, i think they are a good kick-off to the season! I was planning on waiting to put my tree up until next weekend, but now I am really starting to feel Christmassy and may end up doing it today!

I hope everyone is having a great December so far, and that as Christmas comes closer you have the chance to relax and enjoy yourself with family and friends, after all, that is what the holidays are all about!