Meatballs with Peas and Turnips

Gosh I am weary of festive food.  My dinning room table still looks like the candy and snack kingdom.  How about a simple but good supper made up of comforting favorites?  Harry Brown gave me a big sack of fresh turnips when I bought eggs last, right after Thanksgiving.  Since then I have been yearning for an old family dish, buttered peas and turnips.  Meatballs sounds good to me to so that was last night's supper and Brian loved it.  He too was ready for some simple fare.

This meatball recipe was adapted from a recipe from Ree Drummand the Pioneer Woman.

Ingredients for Meatballs:

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
3/4 C. quick oats
1 C. milk
1/4 C. finely chopped onion
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 C. oil for frying
flour for dredging

The Sauce:

1 C. ketchup
3/4 C. finely chopped onion
3 T. white vinegar
2 T. sugar
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 T. Shiracha or your favorite hot sauce

To make the meatballs combine in a medium sized bowl the beef, oats, milk, salt and pepper, and onions.  Stir well to combine.  Form into walnut sized meatballs by rolling in your hands.  Refrigerate the meatballs for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile stir up the sauce by combining all of the ingredients and whisking them together.  Let them sit on the counter and meld.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet.  I use cast iron.  Dredge the meatballs in flour and brown them in batches just to get a good golden color.  Place them into a large baking dish.  Drizzle the sauce over the top of the meatballs evenly to cover. 

Bake until cooked through, hot, and bubbling, about 45 minutes.  Yield 4-6 servings.

Ingredients for Buttered Peas and Turnips:

2 fresh turnips
4 C. frozen peas
2 T. butter

Peel and dice the turnips into a saucepan.  Just cover with water and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low simmer and cover.  Simmer for 10 minutes od so until fork tender.  add peas and simmer another 2-10 minutes until done taste to correct the seasoning and add butter.  Stir well and serve hot as a side dish.  Yield 6-8 servings. 

Helpful Hint:  Freeze any leftover vegetables for making vegetable soup.

Easiest Chocolate Nut Clusters EVER, Crock Pot Candy or Slow Cooker Candy.

There are both mini and regular size candies on my stand.
This has to be the all time easiest candy anyone can make!  I was fascinated when someone told me about it.  The called it Crock Pot Candy.  So so easy on a buy day and it makes quite a lot, a bit over 5 pounds of yummy treats.  The lady at the grocery told me she makes it and uses pecans instead of peanuts and her husband is addicted!  We were going through the chocolate shelf in search of our ingredients and struck up a conversation.

Ingredients for Nut Clusters:

2 pounds of nuts (I used dry roasted peanuts.)
4 ounces German Sweet Chocolate. broken
2 C, semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 packages (1 1/4 pound each= 2 1/2 pounds) almond bark, broken

Filled Crock Pot ready for lid.
Using a large slow cooker 6 -8 quart, layer the nuts in the bottom.  Next break up the bar of German Chocolate atop the nuts.  Scatter the chocolate chips for the next layer and top it with the broken pieces of almond bark.  Do not stir.  Top with the lid and turn the cooker to low.  Set your timer for 3 hours and walk away.  DO NOT OPEN THE LID, DO NOT STIR OR PEEK FOR 3 HOURS.

Meanwhile ready cup cake pans with paper liners.  You can use regular size or the mini size or both.

At the end of 3 hours with a sturdy spoon stir the heck out of the mixture to blend it altogether.  For regular size cupcake papers drop 2 tablespoons of the mixture into each.  If you are using the mini cupcake liners drop 1 tablespoon of the candy into each paper.  Keep filling the liners until all of the candy is used and allow them to cool and set.  After they are cold store in a tightly sealed container.  ENJOY.


Doing Pie and Cookie Dough Today! Christmas Buffet Menu.

5 pie crusts
Today I have made up my recipe for 5 single crust pie crusts (or 2 double and a single)  because I am making two very special people their favorite pies to send with my husband in the morning when he leaves for work.  He can deliver them for me and they will still be nice and warm.  That sounds like a great Christmas surprise to me!  I have the pastry made up and patted out into 5 disks and wrapped in waxed paper then dropped into a plastic bag  and stashed into the refrigerator.

Home canned apple pie filling
I will use my last can of homemade Apple pie filling for one pie and then I am making an very old fashioned Raisin pie.
Raisins simmering

Snicker doodles
Next this morning I am making up a batch of Snicker doodles   then a recipe of sugar cookie dough   and a batch of dough for painted roll out cookies.   I will bake the Snicker doodles today and store the made up cookie dough to bake off tomorrow after my marathon trip to both the butcher and the market.

Since I have been troubled with bad knees I was counting the days to the injection appointment.  But, the injections bother me about a day and a half but then I jump up and feel 30 again for awhile!  Today is my first feel like 30 day.  Thus the reason I have postponed the marketing.

Planned Christmas Buffet:

This Christmas I am planning a buffet to be left out and enjoyed at will.  The ham for Thanksgiving was such a hit I am repeating it.    I also ordered several pounds of the butchers delicious homemade potato salad (yes I did!)  But I will throw together some baked beans.  Thinking of a huge, maybe 4 pound platter of fresh strawberries and some chocolate ganache for dipping!  Then our other "likes" include a platter of ice cold shrimp cocktail, a cheese ball with crackers, assorted bread.   Assorted beverages on ice and maybe a bit of hot buttered rum!
Spiced Pecans
Some spiced nuts, and of course veggies and dip.  Dessert will be Christmas cookies and a batch of Christmas rice crispy treats with red and green holiday sprinkles!  Then maybe, just maybe, I will do up a persimmon pudding with whipped cream for good measure.  

Raisin and Apple Pies
Monday Morning 7:30 AM:  The pies have finished baking and are packed for Brian's deliveries! 
Since they are still hot I dropped a cooling rack into the bottom of each of two large tote bags.  Next I covered the rack with a clean tea towel and put the aluminum pie plate in a second aluminum pie plate to sturdy up the base.  Then I rolled 2 additional clean tea towels into cylinders and used them as bumpers to keep the pie from sliding.
Tucked away to travel

The last step was to tear, fold, and enclose two ample sheets of fresh aluminum foil for the pis to be covered with when cool. 


Grandma's Pumpkin Bread, Frosted Pumpkin Loaf Cake, and a Tea Blend for Gifting.

I placed 4 walnut halves in a row down the top for a festive look!
You know, things have sort have gotten away from me and today I am bearing down to catch up!  Starting with this very treasured Pumpkin Bread recipe shared with me a lifetime ago by Grandma Powell.  It is delicious and makes 2 big loaves.  I made one adding chopped walnuts (I used 1/2 cup) and the second without nuts.  The first loaf is to given as a gift later today along with a tea blend I made up using Black Nigirli Tea and Black Elderberries.  Either blend half and half or place a half teaspoon of each into pre-purchased tea bags.  The tea has anti-viral properties and can be helpful when suffering with a "bug".

The second loaf I will frost and use as a Pumpkin Loaf cake for Sunday dinners dessert.

Ingredients for Grandma's Walnut Bread:

3 C. sugar
1 C. vegetable oil
4 lg.eggs
2/3 C. water
2 C. pumpkin
1 C. chopped nuts
3 1/3 C. flour + 1 T. separated
1 1/2 t. soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ground cloves

No nuts version
Butter and flower generously 2 loaf pans and set them aside.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat together the sugar and oil.  Add in the eggs one at a time beating after each addition.  Blend in the pumpkin.  Stir together the dry ingredients and add them alternately with the water to the batter mixing until just blended.  Add a  tablespoon of flour to the chopped nuts and stir together well, this will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.  Stir in the nuts.  Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans evenly and garnish with a row of walnut halves down the middle of the loaf if desired. 

Bake in the preheated oven at 350 for about 1 and 1/2 hours until done when tested with a skewer in the center of the loaf.

After removing the loaves cool on a rack for 20 minutes.  Run a thin knife all the way around the outside edge to loosen.  Invert the loaf into your hand and remove from the pans then continue cooling on the rack until cold.  Store in a large plastic bag.  Slice and serve with soft butter or softened cream cheese.

Ingredients for the Frosting:

The formula for the frosting I am using for the no nuts loaf is for each 1 C. of powdered sugar add 1 T. soft butter and 1/2 t. vanilla.  Then add 1 T. cream and stir together.  Add additional droplets of cream and stir until reaching the consistency you want.  Drizzle or spread across the loaf and serve.


Double Birthday Dinner, Ribs, Smashed Potatoes, Key Lime Pie and a Boxed Cake

Joel, Brian, Kate, and Mike admire the 439 cake.
Two of our sons, Mike and Joel have December birthdays.  Not too long ago they started celebrating them together.  As usual they wanted something BBQ and I really didn't want Brian to have to tend the grill standing in 6" of snow!  So, I opted to just do them in the oven according to the format he uses out on the smoker,  low and slow.     I used the same rub but browned the three slabs on both sides in an open flat pan for 45 minutes a side at 350 then covered them for 3 hours at 225 degrees F.   After that I applied the sauce liberally and returned covered at 350 for another 30-40 minutes.  They were delicious!

EASY Smashed Potatoes:
(You can see these in the forefront of the above picture on the foil lined tray.)

The smashed potatoes are easy and I bake a whole tray full (8 to 10) of jumbo potatoes covered with a sheet of foil for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees F.  When they are cool enough to handle with a pot holder I scoop out the center flesh leaving enough potato in the skin to retain it's shape.  Place 1 stick of butter and all of the potato flesh into a large mixing bowl with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and a package of Ranch Dressing Mix.  Add about a cup of sour cream and a cup of buttermilk and beat with the mixer enough to combine but remain lumpy.  Taste and correct the seasoning as needed.  Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

Now you can either cover these well with plastic wrap and stow them away in the refrigerator for a few days or bake them at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until hot and the cheese has melted.

Good to the last piece.
The Key Lime Pie can also be made a day ahead

I did not make the meringue topping but instead froze the egg whites for later use and covered the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerated.  At serving time I passed pie and sweetened whipped cream.

Next I stirred up a Duncan Hinds Butter cake and chocolate frosting, a big green salad, and arranged a platter of fresh fruits including pineapple, oranges, tangerines, and blackberries. 

Blowing out the candles.
The most fun was using numeral candles 439 to top the cake as Mike is 43 and Joel is 39!  I thought that was clever enough.  Then the real task of wrapping this special snow shovel Joel had asked for and his Dad ran all over town to find!  The ties Mike requested were WAY easier!  HA HA!

Happy Birthday Boys!


Santa Claus!

Santa candy dish lid.
Yesterday I thought I would try to stay home and get through some more sorting, unpacking, and cleaning.  There were maybe a dozen or so boxes I had never opened in the garage from my visits with Grandma Powell.  I knew there was ribbon and other Christmas items and I also knew we need the room in the garage so I bundled up with warm cloths and headed down to clear a path.

Santa to the left of me!
Imagine my delight as I unpacked upon finding a box of Santa Clause figurines!  I have long loved Santa and have a few items.  Actually, I have secretly longed for a collection of Santa items and look with delight upon the collections of others!

Santa to the right!
So to join the two pieces painted for me by my best friend there are 9 others who have joined us and who delight me!  Plus our oldest son gave me a European Santa last week all dressed in green for the season!

These items join several Santa serving pieces, several Frosty the Snowman plates and a couple of Christmas tablecloths I treasure!  We all love our treasures and I am grateful for these vintage pieces.

This European Santa is over two feet tall and greets guests as he stands on the end of a church pew as you enter our home.  So...Merry Christmas one and all!  And Season's Greetings too. 


Baking Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies
We had a lot of fun this past week making Christmas Cookies and Caramel Corn with the twins!  Now that they are 5 they take great pride in their cookie decorating being quite careful to place each sprinkle in just the right spot for the best eating!

Spy decorates cookies.
Decorating Christmas Cookies in your PJ's is good.
Jack was still dressed as a spy while he helped but Sam was quite happy just enjoying a pajama day!

This is an old recipe we have used for many years for a simple cut out cookie to decorate whatever the occasion may be!  

Ingredients for Rolled and Cut Out Sugar Cookies:

2 C. flour sifted
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 C. room temperature butter (one stick)
3/4 C. sugar
1/4 t. fresh grated nutmeg
1 egg
1 T. milk

Sift and set aside the dry ingredients.  Cream fats and sugar until fluffy and add egg and milk.  Blend well.  Gradually add the flour beating well.  Gather the dough into a ball and wrap well in plastic then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Roll the dough on a flowered board to about 1/4" thick and cut with floured cutters.  Bake in preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes.  Makes 2-3 dozen cookies depending on the size cookie cutters you use.  Cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for Cookie Frosting:

2 C. powdered sugar
2 T. soft butter
3 T. cream
1/2 t. vanilla

Beat these ingredients together well adding droplets of additional cream until you reach the desired consistency.  Frost cold cookies and decorate with sprinkles before the icing hardens.   You may also want to tint the frosting with food color as desired.
After tasting cookies and playing in the snow mittens were left drying in front of the fire.  It was a good day.


Strep throat strikes and we have a lot of puney people!

Today it seems a good time to pause a minute and and tell you my friends and followers of why I am not busy posting away and in the midst of Christmas plans!  Well....we are about all down or at least puny with two totally down having strep throat! 

One of my grandchildren is on my sofa and another on antibiotics with strep!  I am pooped and achy all over with a terrible cough.  So the winter has found us and the Christmas preparations are on hold for now.  More later when things are improved.

You all take care too,  and stay well!