Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dr. Pepper Bone-In Ham

One 10-pound, bone-in smoked ham, skin removed and fat trimmed to 1/4 inch
3 cups Dr Pepper (not diet)
2 cups water
1/2 cup pitted prunes (I have used a jar of Baby Food Prunes too!)
1/3 cup yellow mustard (I use whole grain)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

Preheat the oven to 325° and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. 

Set the smoked ham in a large roasting pan.
Score a 1/4-inch-deep crosshatch pattern into the fat at 2-inch intervals. 

Pour 2 cups of the Dr Pepper and the 2 cups of water into the pan and roast the ham for about 2 1/2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham registers 120°.
Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, simmer the prunes in the remaining 1 cup of Dr Pepper until they are plump and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. If you are using Baby Food Prunes skip the part about fishing the whole prunes out, and move onto whisking in the mustard....
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prunes to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Whisk the mustard, brown sugar and vinegar into the liquid in the saucepan and boil until very thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.
Drizzle the syrupy glaze over the ham and roast until glossy, 20 minutes. Carefully transfer the ham to a cutting board.
Pour the pan juices into the saucepan and spoon off the fat.
Boil the sauce until reduced to 2 cups, 10 minutes.
Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and the prunes and bring to a boil.
Simmer the sauce until thickened, 2 minutes.
Slice the ham and serve with the Dr Pepper sauce.

Summer's Spinach Apple Salad

1/2 C veg oil
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C sugar
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 red apple cored & diced
1/4 C sweet onion minced
1/2  to 1 C craisins

1 pkg spinach
1 pkg romaine or mixed greens

For Dressing add all to Tupperware bowl with a lid. Shake well & sit at room temperature for at least one hr.
Prior to serving add 1 pkg spinach & 1 pkg romaine or mixed greens to a salad bowl.

Optional add-ins: pistachios, asiago cheese or blue cheese.

You can add 1/2 red & 1/2 green apple for Christmas colors.

Feed the remaining apples to the kids.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oven Baked Stew with Chive Drop Biscuits

1 pound beef, cut into chunks
1 TBS vegetable oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
4 medium potatoes (cut into cubes) Leave the peelings on if desired
2 cups carrots cut into coins or use whole baby carrots

½ cup frozen, or fresh or canned (drained) whole kernel corn
½ cup frozen, or fresh green peas
1 cup onions, cut into large pieces
2 TBS tomato paste
1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 tsp Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Season beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a large skillet over medium-high heat oil; then brown meat in skillet. Place meat in a large baking dish; add potatoes, carrots, corn, peas and onions. In a medium size bowl combine tomato paste, beef broth, cream of mushroom soup, onion soup mix and Italian seasoning; combine soup mixture with the beef and vegetables in baking dish. Cover dish and bake for 2 hours. 

Chive Drop Biscuits  
2 cups flour 
4 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 TBS finely minced chives
2 tablespoons vegetable oil OR melted shortening OR melted butter
3/4 to 1 cup milk (start with smaller amount, only add more if needed)
Melted butter

These take less than 5 minutes to throw together. Only make the dough after the stew has been in the oven for at least 2 hours. 

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, chives, oil and milk in a large bowl. Stir to form a light, soft dough, adding more milk if necessary. Drop by tablespoonfuls on top of stew. Brush top of biscuits with melted butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-30 minutes or until the biscuits are done.

I made a batch and a half of the biscuits to cover my 13x9 pan of stew (we like LOTS of biscuits). If you make more dough than you have room for on top of your stew just bake the extras on a greased baking sheet for 20 minutes next to your stew. The biscuits on the stew will probably take 10 minutes more to finish baking. 

Eggnog French Toast

This has been a Christmas traditional breakfast for our family for at least a decade. I am somewhat allergic to eggnog. I love the flavor, but it does NOT love me. I thought that if I cooked it then it would sit better with me, and guess what it does!!

My son is living in Canada as a missionary for the next 2 years. He asked if I would send him this recipe so he could make it on his own this Christmas for him and other missionaries. That is when I realized I have never posted this one before. Shame on me!!

I hope you enjoy it and start the tradition of your own. If you try it out let me know, I'd love to see pictures of you making, eating, and enjoying!

Eggnog French Toast 

1 quart of eggnog (homemade or store bought, I stick with store bought)
2 eggs, beaten
nutmeg (you could use cinnamon in a pinch, but the nutmeg tastes better)
 1 loaf of Texas Toast style bread (again you can use a homemade bread thickly sliced into 16-18 slices)
butter, you need some to fry them in and to serve the French toast with
pancake syrup (also homemade or store bought). Homemade recipe is below.

Pour eggnog into an 8 or 9 inch baking dish. Whisk up the 2 eggs and stir into eggnog.
Heat up a griddle, cast iron or nonstick pan over medium low heat. These have to be done at a lower to temp to prevent burning. They fry up low and slow.
Put about 1 TBS of butter into the pan and coat cooking surface. Do this for each batch. You will also have to scape the sugary coating out of the pan before each batch of toast goes into the pan.
Dip in the eggnog mixture however many pieces of bread will fit into your cooking pan at a time. Mine fits 4 as you can see above. Place in pan and lightly sprinkle each piece with some nutmeg.
Let them cook slowly. DO NOT try to turn them over too soon, you will pull the coating off of the bread and make a mushy mess in the pan. Really trust me on want to learn from me and not be like me!!
Turn over and cook the other side.
Repeat with remaining bread and eggnog mixture. Don't forget to scrape out the sugary coating left in the pan, and re-coat the pan with a TBS of butter.
Keep cooked toast in a warm oven until time to serve with butter and syrup (don't forget the bacon!!)

Homemade Syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS maple extract (Brand name Mapleine, they carry it at Walmart)

In a saucepan combine all  ingredients and bring to a boil. Watch it!! You do not want this to boil all over your stove! Again learn from me, don't be like me!! You may have to remove the pan from the heat to keep it from boiling all over the place. Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve hot over pancake, waffles, and French toast.
This easily doubles or triples! We store the leftovers in a squeeze bottle in the fridge, once it has cooled enough to transfer it into the plastic bottle.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups (2½ sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ stick (4 TBS) butter softened
4 oz cream cheese softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 TBS cold milk

Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt  together in a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, roughly 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined, then reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.
Form the dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Shape the dough into 1¼ inch balls and roll each ball in the sanding sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are set. They will still look a bit gooey when removed from the oven. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from the cookie sheet and cool completely.

For Frosting:
Whip together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar, vanilla, and only 1 TBS of cold milk at a time until you reach the spreading consistency you desire.

As you can see from the photo above I left some unfrosted, frosted some, and some with the frosting I added about a  ½ tsp of crushed up candy cane. They all got gobbled up at a Christmas party we went to. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teriyaki Orange Chicken

Jennifer S.

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, or thighs
2 med oranges (juice and zest from one orange)
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1 TBS packed brown sugar
salt and pepper
ground ginger powder
1/2 cup water
1 TBS cornstarch

In a foil lined baking dish place chicken in a single layer.

Zest, and juice one of the oranges.
Cut the other orange into thin rounds.
In a mixing bowl add orange juice, zest, teriyaki sauce, and sugar. Stir and pour over chicken.
Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and ginger powder to taste.
Place the orange slices on top of each chicken piece.
Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes. Or until chicken juices run clear.
Put chicken on a serving platter.
Pour the liquid that the chicken was cooking in into a sauce pan.
Put on a med-high heat until it comes to a boil.
Whisk the water and corn starch together and add to the boiling sauce, stir constantly to avoid lumps. When sauce has thickened some pour it over chicken, reserve some to pour on hot cooked rice.

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Daily Gratitude

OK, as a Tradition I usually post what I am most Thankful for on a "Daily Gratitude" post. I am going to keep up with that tradition, I also encourage you to post what you are most thankful for in the comments with me each day!!

Day of Gratitude One: I am thankful for my loving husband! I would be lost without his love and constant support!

Day of Gratitude Two: I am so thankful to be blessed by four wonderful boys! After my first was born in 1993 it took us 10 years (5 1/2 of that on fertility treatments) before we were able to have another child. I love them all so much, and thankful that they forgive me when I fail them. Each one of them is so unique, so special, and so talented in their own ways. Thank you for being mine!

Day of Gratitude Three: Today I am so thankful for my daughter. She is not my daughter by birth or adoption. She came to us by way of Kazakhstan as a foreign exchange student. She calls me mom and I am in love. She teaches us words in Russian and we assure her that her English is almost perfect (because it is!). She takes me out for a walk every night. She is so funny and talented! I had to wait 20 years of my married life to get a daughter, I only get to keep her in my home for a year, but she will be in my heart for a life time.

Day of Gratitude 4: I am thankful for all my friends near and far who support me in ways even they will never know. I am eternally grateful to all of you for touching my life in some not so small ways. Thank you!! 

Day of Gratitude 5: Today I am completely thankful for my parents. They taught me right from wrong, even when I didn't follow their impeccable examples, they love me with all their hearts. I haven't lived near them in 17 years, but I always know that they are both only a phone call away.

Day of Gratitude 6: Today I am thankful for my right as an American citizen to cast my vote. I hope you all took advantage of this privilege as I did.  

Day of Gratitude 7: I am so grateful that as a church "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (Article of Faith Eleven)

Day of Gratitude 8: Today I am grateful to have 4 siblingsI am the oldest sissy to my 3 sisters and 1 brother. They are each special, talented, funny and a blessed addition to our family. They each have their own spouse now, who I am glad to call my brothers and sisters too.  We don't get to see each other all that often, but when we do, it's as if time has never gone by. Love each of you!


Day of Gratitude 9: Today I am thankful for YOU! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who take the time to read, share, inspire, and support my blog.  
You Are Awesome! 

Gratitude Day 10: I am thankful for sleeping in!
Day of Gratitude 11 (Veteran's Day): Today I am thankful to all of our veterans and those of you still serving...thank you! I honor you today and all throughout the year! Thank you for securing our Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!
Day of Gratitude 12: Today I am so thankful that all the Halloween candy is almost gone (I may or may not had a hand in this, and some of it may or may not have made it's way into the trash).
Day of Gratitude 13: Today I am so thankful for my health. I am not in the best of shape, but I strive to do one healthy thing a day. I am drinking a gallon of water, walking around the block and watching my portion size. I am grateful to wake up and enjoy each day with my husband and my wonderful children.

Day of Gratitude 14: Today I am thankful for my house. I am thankful I have shelter and a roof over  my head. I hate the master bathroom (that is another story for another time) but it's mine and I am thankful to have a place I can make a home for my family.

Day of Gratitude 15: Today I am thankful for the companionship of furry  friends. I can't remember a time growing up that we didn't have a cat (or two) in the house. My cat Nibs (like black licorice Nibs) came to us at just 3 days old. He was rescued from the ceiling vent above a restroom by my hubby at 3 am (he worked nights at a college then). He called me on the phone and put the tiny mewing kitten up to the receiver. How could I say "no" to that? He is 2 1/2 years old now. He's crazy, but I love him!!

Day of Gratitude 16: Today I am thankful for my in-laws. I cannot say that I am thankful for my parents, and my siblings,  and not mention my in-laws. Not only did they raise an amazing son (and his four siblings), they treat my children wonderfully. They always try to be there for my family. 


Day of Gratitude 17: Today I am thankful for electricity. I am so glad I was born when it's so readily available. I love it when I can turn on the lights, cook, clean, have my air conditioner in the summer (that's important here in AZ), run the heater when it gets cold (yes people it does reach freezing temps here sometimes), and that I can blow-dry my hair. Thank you Ben Franklin!!

Day of Gratitude 18: Today I thought I knew what I was going to say I am thankful for....But then we had this event happen during dinner that made me change my mind. My 71/2 yr old choked on a piece of meat. He got this horrible look on his face (he even said later "mom I was about to die"). But my medical training (I am a CNA)  kicked in and I knew just what to do. After a couple of rounds of the Heimlich he was fine. So today I am thankful not only for my son's life, I am thankful I have the training to save that life!

Day of Gratitude 19: Today I am thankful for "Date Nights". I have dated the same wonderful man for over 20 years now. It gives us a chance to reconnect, talk about our 5 great kids, remember why we love each other, romance one another, and run-away for a while. Even if we don't leave the house, we always make sure to take the time to be together. I am also thankful to my sweetheart who continues to ask me out each week.

Day of Gratitude 20: Today I am thankful we have a washer and a dryer. When we moved to AZ 6 years ago we sold our set in Indiana. Once in AZ we expected to buy a new set shortly after our arrival. But a miracle happened, the renters before us had left theirs in our house. The rental company told us we had to call the former renter and ask if they wanted them back. We were told that they were a gift to us!  I have had that same set for over 6 years now, and they have worked for me everyday! Which is a good thing with 5 kids!!

Day of Gratitude 21: Today I am thankful I love to cook and bake. I am also thankful that my children have an interest in learning more about doing it with me. I am a one woman machine in the kitchen and sometimes forget to teach them or to let them help. I am trying to get better at sharing my kitchen space and my love for creating tasty food. I even let my daughter "help" me this year, since it's her first ever American Thanksgiving.

Day of Gratitude 22: Today I am thankful that we could share Thanksgiving with our daughter (foreign exchange student). This was her first American Thanksgiving celebration. I feel so grateful to be able to share it with her, our family, and our friends. Oh, and that I tried to keep my OCD's in check and I let her make pancakes in the kitchen, almost all by herself! (They were tasty too!)

Day of Gratitude 23: Today I am so thankful for leftovers!!

Day of Gratitude 24: Today I am thankful for have a second car. There are time in our marriage that we only had one car, and time when I had the car and hubby had a motorcycle. But, right now I am thankful that we have 2 cars that work!

Day of Gratitude 25: Today I am thankful to have callings (unpaid duties) at church. I haven't been in our Young Woman's Program (for girls ages 12-18) for 26 years. I had an understanding with God, he wouldn't put me in that calling and I wouldn't shoot myself in the foot! ;). That being said with some jest, I also told him that I would only ever agree to serve in this capacity if and when I had a daughter who needed me to be in there with her. I felt 100% safe in making this deal, I have 4 boys. My how my tune changed when I received a wonderful daughter all the way from Kazakhstan who needs me to be in there with her! I am so stinking nervous, but I feel so blessed! 

Day of Gratitude 26: Today I am thankful that we got our 3 mile "wog" (walk + jog) in. I have an acute case of cynophobia, I am NOT exaggerating when I say we ran into every nasty dog in the neighborhood tonight, and only 2 of them were on leashes (and they still managed to give me a heart attack). I have enough adrenaline racing through my body to burn off 1,000 more calories. My heart might return to it's place of origin, and come out of my throat soon. 

Day of Gratitude 27: Today I am thankful for the sound of music (most of it anyway). I love that my daughter is talented and plays the piano for me everyday! She has even sparked an interest in me to play again, not any where near as well as she does. But I am thankful I can hear and I can still sorta remember how to play.

Day of Gratitude 28: I had already typed out what I was thankful for yesterday, and then my son called me from Colorado on his way to Canada to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was so marvelous to hear from him. He has been gone 3 weeks, I haven't missed him as much as I expected to. Because I know that he is doing the right thing at the right time. I am so proud of him. I do miss him, but for now it's OK.

PS I did just get a bit misty-mushy when I was uploading his missionary picture to my blog just now! 

Day of Gratitude 29: Today I am thankful for people who like to craft. I on the other hand like to watch them do it. I really enjoy the finished project, not the process so much. I have MAJOR OCD'S when it comes to getting my hands "gucky". I even cook with surgical gloves on (Shhh now my secret is out). I did however really enjoy getting together with the sisters from my church and making mod podge ornaments!