I did a kitchen cupboard inventory yesterday. On one of the upper shelves, I found a can of Solo Cake & Pastry Filling. I pulled back the label of the almond flavored can and noticed a recipe for a Bundt cake. Who doesn’t love the aroma of almonds and butter baking in a cake batter? I immediately pulled out a few sticks of butter to soften on the counter and waited in anticipation of a beautiful baking experience. Here’s the recipe:
We woke up this morning to another six inches of snow… Boy, I’m getting tired of the sub-zero temperatures and the heavy snowfall we’ve experienced this winter. Yet, this is the kind of weather that makes me think of a number of piping hot soup recipes that can be made with simple kitchen leftovers. No need to head outdoors with a long shopping list of ingredients. Just take a look in the fridge/freezer and you’re sure to find the perfect combination of ingredients on hand.
Having a big pot of soup boiling on the stove seems to warm the body and comfort the soul. This recipe is chocked full of tasty kitchen staples. When making soup, there’s no need to be exact with measurements. Just take a careful sip here and there to make sure your headed in the right direction. Use any kind of beef you like, any assortment or fresh or frozen veggies you prefer, and any kind of grain or pasta your family enjoys. Bona petite!
Easy Beef and Veggie Soup
1 lb. leftover beef roast, cubed
1 onion, diced
3 celery ribs, rough chopped
3 carrots, rough chopped
2 (14 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons beef soup base
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups water
1 pkg. cheese-filled tortellini, cooked as directed
In a large pot or dutch oven, sauté celery, carrots and onion in oil until onion is cooked, about 7-10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 30-45 minutes.
Serve over a bed of cooked tortellini and season with black pepper, hot sauce, or shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.
This is one of the easiest cookies you’ll ever assemble. These little gems are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and take no time to prepare. The festive green color makes these cookies a great addition for a spring or Easter dessert, a spring wedding or baby shower luncheon, a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, or even a Christmas holiday table. I often add a lightly drizzled glaze with lemon zest to the top of each cookie but this is completely optional.
Easy Pistachio Cookies
1 pouch (1 lb. 1.5 ounce) sugar cookie mix
1 box (4-serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup roasted and salted pistachios, chopped
(Optional: Powdered Sugar Glaze)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix and flour. Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Add pistachios and mix well. Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Optional: Prepare glaze and drizzle over cookies. I often add some fresh lemon zest for a tart addition. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature.
Around the holidays I love to make special “gifts from the kitchen” for friends and family. Most times, I make batches of cookies, breads, candies, or snack mixes. This year, I made brown bread loaves and Sparking Christmas Jam for everyone.
I was doing a major house cleaning and I had stumbled upon a few boxes of cute little jelly jars. I was in the mood for a major cleanup and I was trying to get rid of anything I hadn’t used in a while. This wide mouth batch would work just fine for gift giving jars. I remembered that I had loads of frozen strawberries and cranberries in the freezer that I could use for the intended mix, so I quickly scrubbed the jars in warm soapy water and began to prep the recipe. Here are the instructions that I used.
I must admit, the recipe is not very precise and of course, canning is a precise science. When processing for home preservation where items are to be stored on shelves, I only use tested, reputable recipes. Therefore, I processed the jars as instructed but I asked those receiving a jar to KEEP IT IN THE FRIDGE for safety purposes. I gave them cold, refrigerated jars to remind them where they should be stored. No need to get anyone sick via an oversight when canning!
This is a scrumptious recipe. Great with bread and butter or tea and toast… I’ve already gotten a few requests for another jar next year. The beginning of a tradition…?
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Let’s make this a good one!
I was recently given a collection of old community cookbooks. The “giver” was doing a house remodel and was cleaning out her kitchen for a more updated look. She had too many cookbooks and was looking to send a few of them my way. Naturally, I was thrilled. I love looking through old interesting recipes. I stumbled across this brown bread recipe that looked quite tasty. The ingredients reminded me of one of my favorite Irish bread recipes, with perhaps a bit more sugar that I am used to. I quickly baked up a few loaves and my family was pleasantly surprised. A simple loaf with a sweet, mellow flavor. A great base for butter and jam.
The Brown Bread recipe is pictured below…
The flavor was so wonderful, I baked up a load of loaves for Christmas gifts and packaged them with my Christmas Jam.
In the midst of all of the holiday hoopla and Christmas shopping, I realized that there may be a load of practical gift cards that might be received far better than any piece of clothing or fancy kitchen gadget. For students, especially those living in highly populated cities, transportation can be an issue. Gift cards focused on shuttling a person from one destination to another might be much more appreciated versus a piece of clothing. Train passes, Uber gift cards, bus passes, etc. are all good ideas. Last year my sister in law gave my children transportation gift cards and they were used to shuttle them to the local grocery store, to the airport, and home from the local burger and brew joint. (Each of my children are in college and over the age of 21.). They also received gift cards from the local drug store where they were able to by toiletries, milk, and basic groceries while on campus. Another great idea for college students, gifts cards for sandwich shops and local eateries. Many dorm cafeterias are closed on Sunday evenings so having a gift card for a local diner is always appreciated.
Be creative as you think of ways to “wrap” your gift cards. Think of using beautiful paper scraps, college themed papers, Christmas wrap, or themed scrap book papers. I recently purchased some high-end soap from a local discount store. The soap was wrapped in a beautiful heavy weight paper that I just couldn’t throw away. This gave me the idea to use the paper as a wrap for a small gift; hence, a gift wrap for the gift card. Here’s what I did…
I found a template here. Or, Google various gift card envelope images for the shape you prefer.
I gathered an assortment of scrap paper, and the beautiful wrapping paper found on some milled soaps.
I printed the template and traced the outline on various scraps.I penciled in some fold lines.
I thought it might be nice to have a contrasting liner.Using a few paper punches, I fashioned a gift tag.
Use Christmas paper, shopping bags, newspaper… Whatever you like.This is an enjoyable way to personize and make personal, an ordinary, yet purposeful gift card.
This week marks the beginning of the official holiday season. Like many of you, my calendar is filled with holiday commitments, most of which require a carry-in dish or baked treat to bring along to the party. I really enjoy this time of year and I do my best to take advantage of a few stress-free tips that can really simplify things. One such tip would be to choose recipes that are easy yet flavorful. The recipe below includes ingredients that are nearly always on-hand in my kitchen. It’s adapted from a recipe that I found in an old community cookbook many years ago. This one’s a no brainer for me… It always turns out perfect. A few simple ingredients bake up a moist and flavorful, good ole’ fashioned, pound cake.
Easy Peasy Pound Cake
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
3/4 cup milk
Grease and flour a Bundt pan (take your time with this step, getting all of the softened butter and flour into all the nooks and crannies). DON’T PREHEAT THE OVEN.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla/almond extract and continue mixing well.
Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Beat until smooth batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Place cake into the oven, set the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.