Not Taking Any Chances

 

I am not taking any chances for 2013.

I want to start the year off right.

My older sister Neiner Weiner makes black eye peas every year on New Years Day for good luck.

My Mom the Princess even talked about how good there where. Neiner put a ton of ham in with her black eye peas and cooked them till they thicken and made a gravy.

Well, I decided to get a head start on this good luck concept for New Years Day. I started cooking my black eye peas today.

I know, I know, some people eat black eyes peas on New Years Eve for good luck.

Does taste testing count?

I am not taking any chances!

I will eat some tonight and tomorrow.

Will that give me double the good luck?

What are you doing to bring yourself good luck for the New Year?

Be safe, have fun and be joyous tonight!

Have a great New Year’s Eve!

Be sure and eat your peas!

Becky

 

 

Caramel Toffee Pretzels

I was in trouble!

My older sister Niener Weiner was trying to get a hold of me.

I had to drop my car off at her house two days ago so her husband could work on my car. When I got there her husband told me Niener wanted me to call her as soon as I could. I promptly called her at work and she wanted to know why the caramel toffee pretzel recipe was on not on this web site yet.

OOPS

Well, I stammered and stalled and told her I had taken pictures but not had time to upload the recipe yet. Getting cross examined by your older sis sure can sure put you in the hot seat. I told her how to make them and reassured her, that as soon as I got home I would put the recipe on here.

So here it is : )

A couple of years ago I was watching one of the shopping networks and a person was selling all kind of wonderful gooey and sweet pretzels. The price was a little pricey for me and I decided to come up with my own recipe. I made these caramel toffee pretzels and put them on the goodie trays I make each year to give out to my family. It has become a requested sweet treat, that I better not forget to make.

As you read through the recipe you will see that these pretzels are pretty easy to make. The recipe only makes 11 per batch, so plan on making a double batch. They are crunchy chewy and salty all at the same time. An explosion of yummyness for your taste buds.

Here is the recipe, so hopefully my older sister Neiner will not tell Mom, the Princess, on me.

I love you Neiner Wiener!

Becky

You will need a package of pretzels, caramel bits and toffee bits.

In a double boiler, melt the caramel bits until they are smooth.

 

 

Add just enough water (about 2 teaspoons) to the caramel until it can pour easlily off your spoon.

    

Put a pretzel in the caramel.

Coat the pretzel on both sides.

Place the caramel coated pretzel in the toffee pieces.

Coat both sides of the pretzel with toffee pieces. 

Sit on wax paper or parchment paper until the caramel cools.

Set them on a tray to serve. If you are giving these as gifts, I put wax paper around each one just to make sure they do not stick together.

Caramel Toffe Pretzels

Ingredients:

 1 bag of pretzels (a one pound bag of pretzels will easily make two batches)

1 bag of Caramel bits (you could use regular caramels if you cannot find these at your local grocery stores)

2 teaspoons of water

1 bag of toffee bits

Directions:

In a double boiler, melt the caramel. Add 2 teaspoons of water to slightly thin caramel. Dip a pretzel into the caramel and drip off excess caramel. Place caramel covered pretzel into the toffee bits and throughtly cover both sides.  Place the pretzels onto a wax paper to cool.

 

 

After Christmas Bargains

Did any of you go out and brave the crowds and get any good bargains yesterday?

Or, did you have to go out and return clothes you got as a gift that was the wrong size, buy clothes the right size or purchase new shoes with a gift card?

I admire you if you did.

I stayed home and tried to figure out the movie, Tinker, Soldier, Spy, Tailor or it is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?

See the name even confuses me. I had to restart the movie twice, watch parts of it three times and finally cheated and went to wikipedia (because everything you read there is factual, right? hehe) and read the plot synopsis. Did anyone go see this movie? Did you fall asleep or have to stay and watch it twice to figure out who was the beggerman?

Whew….I think it might have been easier to go shopping.

My oldest daughter who does not cook did go out and get some bargains. She has been planning this day as soon as she spotted the AXE coupons for $3.75 off a holiday box of cologne.  Walmart had the boxes for around $9.89. She figured if they were marked down half price to around $4.50 a box and you could use the $3.75 coupon off then you could get them for $1.25 each.

She did even better!

She got all of these for $6.00.

$1.00 each after using the $3.75 coupon.

Whoo hooo!

I had 6 coupons and she had 5. So, she bought 11 in total.

 My son the super hero, who was out of shampoo has already found one box…..maybe he is the beggerman?

Maybe I need to watch the movie again?

I am still confused.

Becky

Christmas Dinner

 

What was on your menu?

Every holiday meal with my family, we usually have certain dishes that we have to (are expected) to bring.

My sister, Niener Wiener, has to bring her cauliflower salad. Last year she tried to sneak in a healthy dressing on it instead of the usual Spin Blend. Everyone could taste the difference. My younger sister, Jeanie Beanie, has to bring her green bean casserole and fruit salad. She can’t skimp on the little crunchy fried onions on top either. My younger brother, Robert makes the mashed potatoes, twenty pounds of them. Yes, they are that good!

Me, I bring the deviled eggs. 

This is what happens when you are known to make something so good, so delicious, so delectable and , more importantly, is what Mom tells you to bring.

The Princess (my mom) still reigns.

I came up with my own deviled egg recipe years ago. You are going to laugh too, when I tell you that I generally do not eat eggs.

Nope, I do not eat eggs, except for an occasional deviled egg.

I do love to make an omelet, quiche, souffle and a morning casserole with eggs. You just won’t be seeing me lining up to eat it. So, in the process of cooking with eggs, that I do not like to eat, I had to figure out a deviled egg recipe that I would at least sample.

It has Miracle Whip, mustard, salt, sugar, sweet relish and of course eggs as the staring ingredients.

They are simple and honest. Why complicate deviled eggs with a lot of nonsense ingredients?

Look the recipe over, and if your Princess Mom asks you bring some deviled eggs at your next family meal together, you might try this recipe.

Becky

    

Put your eggs into cold water and heat to boiling on the stove. Boil your eggs for 4 minutes and then let them sit in the hot water for at least 25 minutes. I use eggs that I have had have for a week or so. I try not use fresh bought eggs if I can help it. I think a little older eggs are easier to peel.

    

I usually peel one egg and slice it in half to make sure they are done. If you see a ring of green around the yolk, you have boiled them too long. It is a chemical reaction and it does not hurt the flavor of the eggs. These look like they are just right.

    

Now here comes the fun part, peeling the eggs. If your eggs are cooperating, the shells will come off pretty easily. If they are being stubborn it can be a test of wills of who will win. The messed up ones can always go into to an egg salad. Just keep reminding yourself that : ).   

    

After you get them all peeled, slice the eggs in half, lengthwise.

Take the little  golden yolks out of the boiled eggs and put them in a bowl.

I beat the eggs up with a mixer a bit before I add the rest of the ingredients. Add the Miracle Whip, sugar, sweet relish, mustard and salt.

With an electric mixer, mix all the ingredients together. I do not know how ladies used those hand held rotary beaters way back when.  Be sure a do a little taste test to make sure you have just the right amount of salt and pickle relish.

Fill the centers of each egg with a spoonful of filling.

     

After you get all the eggs filled, it is time to go find the paprika.

Sprinkle a little paprika on them to give them a little color.

That is all there is to making deviled eggs.

Peeling eggs did not take me near as long as peeling 20 pounds of potatoes….sorry Robert : ).

Here is the recipe!

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs (I use eggs I bought the week before)

1/2 cup Miracle Whip

3 tablespoons sweet relish

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon mustard

salt to taste

Directions:

Put the eggs in large pan and cover the eggs with cold water. Bring the eggs to a boil and boil for 4 minutes. Take the eggs off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for at least 25 minutes.

Peel and rinse the eggs. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Take all the yolks out and put them in a mixing bowl.

Add the Miracle Whip, sweet relish, sugar, mustard and salt to the egg yolks and mix together until smooth.

Fill each egg with a spoonful of the yolk filling. Garnish with paprika.

 

Christmas Eve, The Countdown to Christmas

This is what my little tree looked like 24 days ago.

If you have followed along, you know I have been adding an ornament to the little tree each day.

Today we added the last ornament.

It was the BEST one!

Yesterday, we added a little angle to the tree for Dec 23.

Today we added……..

    

…….the star to top the tree

This is what the tree looks like now.

This little tree has provided so much fun and joy this holiday season. I think about all the Christmas’s that it sat in the top of my closet.

 I certainly was a Grinch.

Next Christmas, I am going to get out the little ceramic Christmas tree, my son the super hero, made when he was in boy scouts. I am so afraid it will get broken I keep it hidden away.

Not next Christmas.

I might even get out the reindeer that he made to go with it.

Maybe….it is baby steps here : )!

May your Christmas be joyful, happy and full of family and hugs, and food and hope!

Merry Christmas,

Becky

 

 

Poppy Seed Bread

I made candy yesterday.

Today is baking day.

This is my favorite poppy seed bread recipe. It comes from a old local cookbook that was published in way back in 1973.

Pretty Old uh?

Sometimes, oldies are goodies.

A nice lady named Judy Wollard submitted this recipe. I do not know who Judy is, or if she is still alive, but she must be nice if she shared her recipe.  The cookbook belonged to my ex Mother In Law, Jackie. She belonged to the American Business Women’s Association. The ABWA compiled a cookbook of favorite recipes and sold them to raise money. You could buy a copy for $2.00 each. I wonder how much money they made.

Jackie loved a good recipe. She left behind recipes she typed up on index cards, recipes she had cut of newspapers, and recipes she wrote down from her friends.

She had beautiful handwriting.

My children still ask for me to make some of her recipes.

Funny how a recipe can last longer that you can.

I love her recipes.

My family does too. When I asked them what they wanted on their goodie tray, they all said poppy seed bread.

This poppy seed bread is sweet and has a nice aroma of almond and butter with a dash of vanilla. While it is hot from the oven you pour on a orange juice and sugar glaze for an extra measure of moistness. Sounds perfect right?

It is.

Thank you Judy for sharing such a delicious recipe for my holiday goodie trays.

Thank you Jackie, for leaving me your cookbook.

Here is how you can make this holiday bread in your kitchen.

Becky

You will need, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, almond flavoring, butter flavoring, poppy seeds, sugar, salt, oil milk, flour and orange juice.

         

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Next add the sugar. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

         

Add the oil, milk and butter and almond flavoring.

         

Add the vanilla and eggs. (that is baby college girl cracking the eggs) and mix together.

Evenly pour batter in small loaf pans lined with parchment paper. Or you can do two regular size loaf pans also.

Bake until when you insert a cake tester in the bread and it comes out clean. This bread is not quite done.

While the bread is baking, heat the orange juice, sugar, vanilla, and almond and butter flavoring.

When the bread comes out of the oven, pour warm glaze over each loaf. If you want to, you can take a skewer and poke holes in the bread to allow the glaze to enter the bread easier.

Take a knife and run around each loaf of bread to loosen from the sides of the pan. Take the bread out and cool on a cooling rack.

This is an oldie but goodie recipe.

Why change perfection?

Enjoy!

Becky

Poppy Seed Bread

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seed

1 1/2 cup milk

1 1/8 cup oil

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

1 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

Glaze:

1/2 cup orange juice

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

Heat up glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved. When the bread is still warm from the oven, pour glaze over each loaf.

Directions for the bread:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and poppy seeds. Add oil, milk, eggs and almond, vanilla, and butter flavoring.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until all the dry ingredients are moisten.

Pour batter equally into 2 regular size loaf pans or 5 small loaf pans.

If you are baking regualr size loaves, bake for 30 to 40 minuts. If you are baking smaller size loaves, bake until the center comes out clean when tested with a tooth pick or cake tester, aprox. 20 to 25 minutes.

 

Candy For Christmas

Have you ever really wanted a recipe?

I mean, REALLY, wanted a recipe?

My sister in law, also know as, PIC has told me about these wonderful peanut clusters that her grandfather would make for her each Christmas for several years. He would put them on a cookie sheet and put them on top of the dryer or washing machine in the cool laundry room to set up. Maybe, he was putting them in the laundry room, hiding them from the rest of the family, saving them just for her. She loved them that much. She loved him that much too.

He is gone now.

The family thought the recipe was gone too.

PIC’s mom thought she had the recipe somewhere but could not find it. I thought maybe I could google one that was similar. I asked PIC to describe the recipe. Well, it had peanuts in them and chocolate and what makes them different is that they are not totally hard, but creamy. They would just melt in your mouth leaving you wonderful dry roasted peanuts to munch up.

How do you google a recipe with that description?

It was hopeless.

Until one day the sky opened up sending a ray of heaven down on PIC’s Mom’s recipe box showing her where the recipe was. Well, that might be stretching the truth a bit. But that is how we all felt.  

I feel very lucky to have this recipe and to be able to share it with you. Family recipes taste better just because they are family recipes. With every bite, you get a taste of all those memories that surround it. This one has so many memories, it crunches.

I hope you are getting Candy for Christmas too!

Becky

You will need some chocolate almond bark, semi sweet chocolate chips, chunky peanut butter, and lastly a jar of dry roasted peanuts.

          

In a double boiler melt together almond bark, chocolate chips and peanut butter.

         

Stir until smooth and all the chocolate is melt. Pour the melted chocolate over the peanuts and stir until all the peanuts are coated.

With a tablespoon, spoon out little chocolate clusters onto parchment paper.

The recipe makes about 55 peanut clusters. Less, if you can’t help yourself and you have to sample a few. I think I have around 50 left. Don’t tell anyone!

If you need a fast and chocolatey and creamy and peanuty candy for Christmas, you might give this recipe a try.

I bet Santa would love some too!

Just don’t forget the milk.

Becky

Peanut Clusters

Ingredients:

16 ounces of chocolate almond bark

1-12 ounce package of semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1-16 ounce jar of dry roasted peanuts.

Directions:

In a double boiler, melt together the almond bark, chocolate chips and peanut butter together.

Pour the peanuts in a large bowl. When the chocolate mixture is completly melted, pour it over the peanuts and stir.

With a tablespoon, spoon out peanut clusters onto parchment paper.

Allow 2 hours to set up.

Enjoy!

Becky

Only 2 Days Left Till Christmas!

Tonight, I had to add today’s ornament on the tree all by myself.

All my kids and great grand girls are out of town until tomorrow.

The branches of the little advent tree are full of ornaments.

Only two days left till Christmas.

My Christmas shopping is officially over.

Whew!

Now, it is time to start wrapping.

And cooking.

Here is the next to last update on the little tree.

Day 19 was a little red stocking

Day 20 was a red ornament with a gold bow.

Day 21 was a little green wreath

And today, December 22, was a cute little snowman with a present for you!

Only 2 more ornaments left.

Do you want to guess what they might be?

I am not telling.

Becky

If you want to read more about the advent tree go to the post Countdown To Christmas.

No Time To Cry Over Spilt Milk: Time To Make Funnel Cakes

I made a mess, didn’t I?

Yesterday marked the end of the semester, the end of finals and the start of holiday (Christmas) break.

I have almost 2 weeks off.

I need it!

This past week of school seemed to go on forever…you know like the movie, Ground Hog Day. I don’t know if I was trying to do too much the last week of the semester, or my students were waiting until the last minute to finish up projects, or both.

Besides all that, I still wanted to make funnel cakes for my foods class students. It is a tradition. It did not matter that I was gettting over the flu and catching a bad cold at the same time. All that mattered was, that I treated my class to warm and crispy little circles of powdered sugar delights.

I was in a hurry. I am always on a time crunch at school. The bells do not stop just because you run out of time. I was blending up eggs and milk in the blender to go into the batter for the funnel cakes, when all of a sudden a cold liquid started going down my arm inside my long sleeve. I let go of the top of the blender….and shazaam…..milk and egg went everywhere.

How did that happen? I just stared at the mess in amazement. The only thing bringing me to my senses was a cold and sticky goo inside my sleeve. Yikes…I had to take a wet paper towel and do a little bath of my arm.

You want to know what I did after that?

I left it there.

I sure did. I rolled up my wet sleeve and just went to another kitchen and went right on making funnel cake batter.

I did not have time to cry over spilt milk…..the bell was going to ring…and I had students coming in any minute.

I set up my little funnel making assembly line.

I had two pans of hot oil heating up.

Of course, you need a funnel cake pourer. Looks like a old fashion yellow oil can : ).

I use the funnel cake pourer and pour a circle of batter, then do a little spider web inside, connecting it all together.

I turned them over to get the other side all crispy brown.

Take them out of the grease, put them on a paper towell and cover the whole thing with powdered sugar.

It does make a tad of a mess. No too mention the powdered sugar sprinkled around the floor of my classroom, making it look like it had snow storm come inside.

 A little spilt milk. No worries.

That is nothing that a little wet rag can wipe up.

Powdered sugar all over the floor.

Now, I need to call in the professionals…..Someone call the custodian!

Don’t worry, I made the custodian a funnel cake too.

Crying over spilt milk…..I don’t have time….the bell is about to ring

Becky

p.s. Here is my recipe. I have used this recipe for years and it has never failed me.

Funnel Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup flour

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

Directions:

Ina bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Use a funnel or funnel cake maker to make a funnel cake shape and cook in hot oil on one side. When brown, flip cake over with tongs and cook on the other side. Drain and sprinkle with powdered suger.

O

The Countdown Continues!

Yes, I am still counting down to Christmas….are you?

This is what the little advent tree looked like yesterday with a total of 18 ornaments;17 were the original ornaments. I was missing day 17 because it got broken several years ago. You can read all about it here at Countdown to Christmas.

I have been worried about day 17 since I got the tree down from my closet. I still have not found a small glass ballerina slipper ornament. I just have to let that go and put something else on instead. My oldest grand girl chose a little church ornament. I thought it was very fitting, as I was being a little…ok…very selfish with my little advent tree. I think there is a bible verse that talks about sharing…”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth……Matthew 6:19-21. Wonder if my oldest grand girl read that bible verse…..anywho….

Here is the lastest countdown on the ornaments. I left off at day 9….so here we go!

    

       Day 10                                             Day 11

         

          Day 12                                       Day 13                                        Day 14

    

           Day 15                                           Day 16

    

         Day 17                                         Day 18

I know it is the 19th and I do not have today’s ornament on yet. I am waiting until my oldest grand girl can help me put it on the tree.

I am beginning to learn my lesson!

I enjoy the little advent tree so much more when I can share it with others. So, I am waiting until I see her tomorrow to add the ornament.

Tomorrow is the 20th….and that means there is will be only 5 more days till Christmas….

But, today is the 19th and I still have 6 : ).

I hope you are farther along in your shopping, cooking, baking, gift giving, card sending and candy eating than I am.

Becky