Monday, December 30, 2013

Turkey Lurkey: Honeyed Turkey Gobbler

The end of the turkey … the end of the year! It was a Big Bird, and we ate it all, with the scraps and bones destined for the soup pot. Oops! Not that kind of Big Bird …!
Headed for the soup pot? Oh-oh ...
Todays recipe is dead - um, very - simple. It would be nice to have the turkey drippings the recipe calls for, but butter works equally well. As long as you can muster up the 4 c. diced turkey youll need to make this, you’ve got yourself a meal that serves 4, and a Big Bird thats only a memory! Um … I’d best move on to that recipe before I scare someone.

Honeyed Turkey Gobbler:

4 c. diced cooked turkey, in 1-in. chunks
1-½ c. liquid honey
¾ c. prepared mustard (ballpark” mustard - the bright yellow kind)
1 tbsp. curry powder
¾ c. turkey drippings or melted butter
Cooked rice, to serve 4 (see Note)

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Place turkey in 1-qt. (1 L) ungreased casserole dish. Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl; pour over turkey, tossing well. Cover and bake 30-to-35 min. or until hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally. Yields 4 servings - over rice is nice. 

Note: See Index for How to Cook Rice

Dice cooked turkey into 1-in. chunks

Combine sauce ingredients, pouring over turkey

Bake until hot and bubbly

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Turkey Lurkey: Turkey Stroganoff

A very easy recipe, I thought. Thats exactly what I need about now. Campbell’s Soup™to the rescue! Oh, whew! And whew! again. This is not a true stroganoff recipe. Trust me on that, Dollinks. But on Dec. 29th, with the year counting down and Auntie Nicole falling asleep in front of the TV set (tonsils twisting in the wind), this will do j-u-st fine.
Turkey Stroganoff:

¼ c. chopped green bell pepper (“capsicum”)
2 tbsp. chopped onion
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
One 10-oz. (284 mL) can Campbell’s™condensed cream of mushroom soup (see Note)
½ c. sour cream
¼ c. milk
2 c. cooked broad noodles
1-½ c. diced, cooked turkey
½ tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Sauté green pepper and onion in butter until tender. Blend soup, sour cream, and milk in lightly greased 1-½ qt. (1.5 L) casserole. Blend in remaining ingredients. Bake, covered, about 30 min. Serves 4.

Note: You’ll find other Stroganoff recipes indexed under Main Dish.

Further Note: Campbell’s™provided this recipe, so I have to keep writing Campbell’s™, but you just go ahead and secretly use any old brand you want, nudge-nudge, wink-wink. As long as it’s Campbell’s™...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Turkey Lurkey: Low-Fat Turkey Chili

I’m making this excellent chili for dinner tonight. It’s a great meal at this time of year: It’s easy, low in fat, economical, and a smart way to use leftover turkey. 
Low-Fat Turkey Chili

To find this recipe in future, check the Index under Main Dish: Poultry. Don’t forget to check the Main Dish: Turkey Lurkey section of the Index: It lists several ideas for using leftover turkey.

Low-Fat Turkey Chili:

2 tbsp. canola oil
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. chopped celery
1 green bell pepper (“capsicum”), diced
2 tbsp. chili powder
1-½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano 
1 tsp. dried basil
¼-to-½ tsp. hot pepper flakes (“chili flakes”)
4 or 5 c. chunked turkey
3-½ c. fresh, chopped tomatoes with juice (or one 28-oz. {796 mL} can diced tomatoes)
Two 13-oz. cans (398 mL each) tomato sauce (see Further Note)
½ 13-oz. can (398 mL) water
One 19-oz. (540 mL) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
One 19-oz. (540 mL) can chick peas (“garbanzo beans”), drained
Salt, to taste

In large, heavy, deep skillet or pot, warm oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cooking until soft and onions are translucent, 3-to-5 min. Stir in celery, green bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, and hot pepper flakes, and turkey, cooking until heated through, about 1 min. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, kidney beans, and chick peas, bringing just to the boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 30 min., stirring often. Season to taste. Serves six.

Further Note: If using canned tomatoes, use one can tomato sauce rather than two.

Oil, onions, and garlic. Mmmm … The fragrance!

Add celery ...

Chopped bell peppers ...

Chili powder and other spices ...

And plenty of turkey.
Stir all into pot.

Add tomatoes (and tomato sauce, if needed) ...

With kidney beans and chick peas.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Eccles Cakes

These delicate cookies are very fussy - but a worthwhile project sure to produce outstanding results! No one will believe you made them yourself, and no one
Eccles Cakes … time-consuming, but worth every mouthful!
will expect that you started with a package of puff pastry. Unless you
’re a boffo baker or harbor a fantasy about being chained to a stove for what’s left of the holidays, buy frozen puff pastry and be done with it. I made these the day before Christmas, and they were a big hit. One of my daughters asked for the recipe, so this is for you, dear Erin! Named after the English town of Eccles, these little cakes - actually a cookie - were first mass-produced for sale in 1793.

Eccles Cakes:

To Prepare the Filling:

1-½ tbsp. butter
2 tsp. light brown sugar
¾ c. currants
3 tbsp. mixed candied peel
¼ tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
⅛ tsp. allspice
Milk, as required
Crystalline white sugar, as required

Melt butter over medium-low heat in small saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients except cream and sugar. Cool thoroughly and set aside. 

To Prepare the Pastry:

One 14-oz. (397 g) pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 425 deg. F. Cut block of pastry horizontally in half. Roll very thinly on a well floured work surface using a well floured rolling pin. Cut into rounds with 3-½ in. cookie cutter. Working with several rounds at a time, assembly-line style, place 1 tsp. filling mixture into center of each round. 

Lightly dampen edges of each pastry round with wet finger, gathering edges together as a small bundle. Re-roll scraps and repeat. Flatten each cookie with palms to form a smaller round. Place on floured work surface seam-side down. Gently flatten tops to form thinner rounds with rolling pin

Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a sharp paring knife to slice three small slits into top crust of each cookie. Dab with milk, sprinkling generously with crystalline sugar. Bake 13-to-15 min. Do not over-bake! Cool on wire rack. Makes about 32 Eccles Cakes.

Note: These freeze well before or after baking. They are exceptionally good, and would make a delicious bite-sized treat for New Year’s Eve - especially with a glass of crisp champagne.

Roll pastry very thinly and cut into rounds.

Save and re-roll the scraps.

Add dried peel to center. Dab edges with water.

Pinch up dampened edges to gather into a small ball.

Roll out the fruited pastry rounds.

A closer view of two rolled cookies or cakes.

Make three small slices with a sharp knife.

Dab with milk.

Add a generous sprinkling of sugar. Bake.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Boxing Day!

Today marks Boxing Day - a British tradition celebrated in some parts of the world. Its roots lie in the Middle Ages, where servants and trades people were given a small gift for good and loyal service. For those of you unfamiliar with this day, it bears no relation to:

If your mobile device blocks this YouTube video, its at: 

Nor does it have any connection to:

This video is at:

Boxing Day has now become:

See this at:

Good thing? Bad thing? The working poor earn less than the minimum wage. The minimum wage itself often lags below the poverty level. Boxing Day once meant that those who had more gave a small “Christmas box” to those who had less. Today, Boxing Day means that those who have more rush to “big box” stores to give themselves even more. As the saying goes, give your head a shake.

Happy Kwanzaa!

To know where youre going, its important to reflect upon where youve been.  As you teach your children to look back, never forget to look forward. Have a wonderful Kwanzaa!

- Google Images

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From Our House to Yours
On This Special Day!

May peace fill your hearts. Wherever you live and whoever you are, strive for a better world.   xox   Nicole

Our Christmas table awaits!

Please take a seat!

With light, laughter, sharing - and giving thanks.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Frankie Extends a A Holiday Wish

On Christmas Eve ... 
Ron and I are reflecting on a year almost past. On this, his first Christmas Eve, Frankie - our pet fish, personal secretary, and chauffeur - is doing the same. Frankie battled the holiday crowds to buy us a gift

He also plans to cook the Christmas turkey all by himself. How will he baste it, one child asked? With difficulty, I said.

Who says fish aren’t intelligent? Frankie’s favorite look-out
is the small Christmas 
wreath we recently hung at the edge
of his
bowl. He spends literally hours there each day. 

This holiday season, offer the gifts of friendship, time, trust, commitment, kindness, visible appreciation, gratitude, and humor, and you will receive them in return. If you’re feeling a little blue over the holidays, buy yourself a fish! Or get a little silly and bring others joy! 

If you cant see this YouTube video, youll find it at:
Hugs to you all!   xox   Nicole

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ask Sadie: Holiday Tips You Already Know But Need to Hear Again

My dear friend Sadie has stepped away from her post at The Chicago Bugle to offer a few words of heartfelt advice! You’ll find more of her meandering messages indexed under Sadie. Sadie normally offers Advice to the Lovelorn. Unless you follow these common-sense tips, you’ll be lovelorn, too!

Two words: Thank. You. Say them. Write them. But do not neglect them. Teach them to your children. Remember them yourself. Why I need to state this as a “tip” baffles me, but unfortunately, I do.

Feign complete and utter delight: Essential during the holidays and in life. Someone selected this item for you. Tell that person s/he couldn't have chosen anything better! Better yet, mean it. Every gift has worth. 

Give with a sense of fun: A friend once gave his daughter-in-law one boot. One! The other was gift-wrapped elsewhere. A wonderful gift! Another friend gave her daughter a pair of gloves for washing dishes - a follow-up on the dish-drainer rack the daughter’s boyfriend had given her earlier. With one difference: Tucked into the gloves was a gift certificate for the daughters favorite store.

Give something you made yourself: Gifts that are knitted, crocheted, potted, cooked, originally written, or painted are gifts from the heart.

Give quality time: Take a senior out for tea, have a video weekend with nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, enjoy a fancy lunch with your kids … Whatever you do, spend time. Sadie often wants to give a clop in the chops to mothers and fathers who talk or text on cell phones while ignoring those actually in their company.

Give charitably: Someone once planted a tree in Israel in my name. I found that a memorably welcome present. Give blood, give to the food bank, give to registered charities in anothers name or memory. 

Do Yourself a Favor: It may seem like the holiday season’s all about money, but that’s not true. Its about giving of yourself. Giving enriches the giver. Its better to give than to receive. Why do you think those expressions were penned? If you dont believe Sadie, consult two of the best pieces of writing on the subject: O. Henrys short story titled The Gift of the Maji and Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. Each is a recipe for happiness.

You booze, you lose: On average, one problem drinker affects the lives of 10 other people. Two more words: Moderate. Quit. Take the path that’s right for you.

And oh, yes …! Mazel tov.

Happy Festivus (For the Rest of Us)!

Not to be overlooked!

If you cant see this YouTube video on your mobile device, go to:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Glorified Butter Tarts

Perhaps it’s my quirky sense of humor, but whenever I think about why this recipe caught my eye, I always smile. Clipping it from The Brandon Sun in Autumn, 1967, I was drawn to it by a headline: Butter Tarts a Dream Come True

A dream come true??? I love butter tarts and make them every Christmas, but suspect the headline
’s author had a deeper relationship with butter tarts than I do. All these years later, Istill smiling. 

Im glad the headline grabbed my attention. Although I have many butter tart recipes, this one is head and shoulders above the rest. The filling is beautifully gooey and not overly sweet, and the simple, no-roll pastry is hugely appealing. I’ve certainly used purchased, frozen shells to make butter tarts, but the pastry for this recipe is so quick and easy to make that it’s … it’s … a dream come true! 

Glorified Butter Tarts:

To Prepare the Pastry:

4 oz. (125 g) cream cheese, softened

½ c. butter, softened (no substitutes)
1-¼ c. all-purpose flour

Using electric mixer, cream cheese and butter together. Add flour slowly, continuing to blend. Roll dough into 1-in. balls for 2-in. tart pans. Roll into 1-½-in. balls for 2-¾ in. tart pans (My large tart pans have a detachable bottom for fail-safe pastry removal. If you dont own these or at the very least, non-stick tart pans, theyre well worth buying). Press ball of pastry into each individual tart form, using fingers to ensure pastry evenly meets top edges of pan. Cover and set aside in fridge or freezer.

To Prepare the Filling:

1 large egg

1 tbsp. butter, softened
¾ c. light brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
⅔ c. finely chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted 

Preheat oven to 325 deg, F. Using electric mixer, beat together all filling ingredients except pecans. Stir in pecans, spooning filling evenly into pastry-lined pans. This will seem like too little filling, but it will puff up as it bakes. Bake small tarts about 22 min. and medium tarts about 28 min. Cool tarts on wire rack before removing from pans. This recipe makes about 8 large tarts or about 15 small tarts. 

Pans with detachable bottoms make tarts easy to remove.

Roll pastry into ball. Flatten between palms ...

And press into tart pan, allowing edges to overhang.

Slice away overhanging pastry. 

Cover and set aside while preparing filling.

Add and beat all filling ingredients except nuts.

Chop toasted pecans finely.

Stir in finely chopped toasted pecans.

Spoon in buttery filling. Bake. 
Cool on wire rack. These freeze well for up to two weeks. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Glazed Cherry-Almond Bundt Cake

I’ve often made this moist and delicious cake in the final few days before Christmas - and this year was no exception! I rose early to watch it snow yesterday, glad of the warmth of the fireplace. As I admired the lit trees outside our window, I began to make this recipe. This was what I saw as dawn crept over the tiny village in the Time Zone and at the Latitude Where We Live.

Our village is brightly lit for the season!

Everywhere, lights to take the chill ...

From a cold December day!

Glazed Cherry-Almond Bundt Cake:

To Prepare Cake:

2 c. halved red candied cherries
½ c. slivered almonds
2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
⅓ c. milk

Preheat oven to 300 deg. F. Stirring by hand, combine cherries, almonds, and ½ c. flour in medium bowl. Set aside. Using electric mixer, cream butter. Gradually add sugar until light and fluffy or until no grainy feeling remains when mixture is rubbed between thumb and forefinger, about 5 min. Stir in extracts, blending well. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition

In separate bowl, combine remaining 1-½ c. flour with baking powder and salt, blending well. Starting and ending with flour, alternate additions of flour mixture and milk to creamed mixture. Stir in floured fruit and nuts. Spoon into greased and floured 12 c. or 3 qt. (3 L) bundt pan. Bake 45-to-50 min. or until cake tests done with a skewer. Cool in pan 10 min. before turning from pan onto wire rack. 

Wrap fully cooled cake in cello covered with a layer of foil. Store in a cool place, allowing to mellow at two or three days before serving. Prepare and decorate with Icing Sugar Glaze on the day you plan to serve this excellent cake.

To Prepare Standard Icing Sugar Glaze:

⅓ c. butter or margarine
2 c. sifted icing sugar (“confectioners” sugar or “powdered” sugar)
1-½ tsp. white vanilla
2-to-4 tbsp. cold water

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in icing sugar and vanilla. Add water, 1 tbsp. at a time, stirring until glaze reaches desired consistency. Drizzle over top and sides of cooled cake.

Note: Or make this fuss-free Basic Icing Sugar Glaze by combining sifted icing sugar with a whisper of light cream to the consistency you desire. Drizzle it over the cake with a squirt bottle or through a funnel.

Flouring fruit and nuts prevents their sinking to cake bottom.

Cream sugar and butter until no grainy feeling remains.

Starting and ending with flour, beat between additions of flour
mixture and milk.. Stir in floured cherries and nuts.

Test with a skewer for doneness.

Cool on rack.

Oops! We forgot to mellow this cake
and were forced to serve it at once!