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 for 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.
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.
A couple of weeks ago, our local woman’s club held a holiday craft-making session for all of its members. During one of the sessions, I saw a group assembling a dry soup mix in a cone shaped bag. The leader of the session had carefully measured out ingredients for all to use for their individual bags. The layered mix looked colorful and interesting. I complimented her on the clever idea of making such an inexpensive gift packaged in a compact and attractive cellophane bag. Two days later, she left a couple of different soup packages on my desk while she visited my office. She included a little note card explaining how each of the soup mixes should be cooked. I was so appreciative of her gift. What a kind gesture!
Naturally, I made a pot of soup when I returned home that evening. The Italian Curly Soup recipe made just the right amount and tasted delicious poured over a few mini-meatballs. Warm and flavorful with a crisp green salad and some crusty bread…
I’d like to send a big shout out to my dear friend… Thank you for the delicious mixes. Can’t wait to try the Wild Rice Soup recipe. This is a great and inexpensive “anytime” gift to pass along to someone special in your life… A warm and wonderful gift from the kitchen.
I recently remade the soup and I have posted a slightly different recipe below…
Italian Curly Soup In a Cone
Layer in a cake decorating disposable cone (or quart sized-jar) the following ingredients:
How about a piping hot bowl of wild rice soup?
Here’s another great soup in a jar recipe…
I’m always looking for a “silver lining” when I’m inconvenienced or when things just don’t seem to be going my way. Recently, I found that silver lining in a major road construction project that closed a through-fare that I frequented on my daily jaunt back and forth to work. Because of the construction, a detour took me down a winding country road that was quite scenic as the fall landscape was beautiful. Tucked in among the oak trees and farm land sat a roadside farm stand that was bursting at the seams with an abundance of cool weather vegetables, plump ripe tomatoes, and an assortment of peppers. The entire front yard displayed a sea of beautiful orange pumpkins where families strolled to pick out a few of their favorites. I had my eyes on the butternut squash as I pulled my vehicle to the side of the road. Hand written prices were scrawled on a mini chalkboard that was propped up against the old wooden flat bed wagon. A tin can was laid out for patrons to square up their bill and honestly leave the amount due. It was like a blast from the past. I was thrilled to have found this quiet piece of paradise alongside the road construction and the hectic traffic of the day.
Arriving home, I searched the web for a delicious looking recipe where I could use my butternut squash. I stumbled on this salad in a jar recipe and immediately gathered the ingredients I would need for the colorful dish. I chose this recipe because of the maple syrup in the dressing. We tapped our trees this past spring and I wanted to use our own maple syrup with the other dressing ingredients. I made a few slight changes to the recipe… Instead of pepitas, I used sunflower seeds and instead of the quinoa, I used couscous. I used a container of field greens for the salad mix. This is a delicious recipe that I will be sure to make again. Here’s the link for this “Fall Mason Jar Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing”…
I had a wonderful time attending a local basketmaking workshop held at a rustic county park in my area. The weather was beautiful and the scenery was gorgeous. We sat under a shelter with several picnic tables that were lined up for all of the class participants. Just prior to the session we were mailed a list of supplies needed for the construction of the basket. We each brought along an old towel, some clips to hold the basket in place, scissors, a large bucket and a spray bottle to keep the wooden strips wet while working with them. We carefully listened to the instructor as she effortlessly managed teaching and assisting the 20 students before her. The item that we would be constructing is called a Footed Market Basket. I tried to take pictures as I worked through the steps while making this adorable basket.
…Can’t wait to sign up for another session!