Saturday, November 28, 2015

"On the run......."

Dad had the "Sneaky Squash".
This is an on the run, on the road post. Thanksgiving was lovely and the only picture that I have to show for it is one that my sister Caitlin took. I did not take my camera out even once. Sometimes that's what it takes to enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Happy Thanksgiving!"

I have used my grandparents' old postcard for Thanksgiving these past few years - I'm deciding that it is now tradition.

While it seems as though our world is bleeding, I hope that we can all reflect on the things that we do indeed have to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"To me, my recipes are priceless." ~ Colonel Sanders

It is BITE time again, and probably our last gathering till we are all back in the spring! As host, Ellen chose "Family Favorites" as the theme. This had me returning to a recipe that I have posted here in the past. Olive Tarts are a huge family favorite for appetizers any time of year, but especially during the holidays! Aside from loving how they taste - scrumptious - they are so easy to make and freeze way ahead of time. They go right from the freezer to the oven - perfect! All recipes can be found at the end of the post!

For side dishes, Tierney brought her mashed potatoes, and a dish that had sauteed brussels sprouts.

Well, I am a serious mashed potato fan, and these did not disappoint! Creamy, with a mixed of smooth and chunky. Add a bit of sauce from Ellen's chicken - oh my!

I confess to not being a brussels sprouts fan. This dish however, had just enough crispness and flavor to overcome my picky taste!

For our main dish, Ellen prepared Country Chicken Kiev. This was a recipe from her mother-in-law, a perfect dish for a cold winter's night. We agreed that the combination of herbs on top made it taste as though it was topped with stuffing - moist and wonderful!

Last up is Chris's Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie. This is close to the recipe that her caterer cousins used to make. Wonderful and not too sweet!

So - so long BITE - till the spring!

Olive Tarts

Cook 15 mins ∙ Makes 36ish ∙ Difficulty Easy


  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • One large jar of Spanish olives - drained and patted dry


Make ahead of time and store in the freezer.
Blend cheese and butter together
Mix in flour, salt and paprika
Work one teaspoon of the mixture around an olive to coat completely. Arrange them on a baking sheet (I press them down a little to flatten the dough on the bottom so that they don't roll around when you go to bake them) - place them in the freezer till firm and then put them in a plastic bage in the freezer till you need them.
To bake, set oven at 400 ° , remove tarts from the freezer (do not thaw), and place them in an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or till they look done.

Tierney's Awesome Mashed Potatoes!

Side dishes
Makes 8


  • 8 - 10 Large Red-Skinned Potatoes
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup milk as needed
  • 1cup shredded Gruyere cheese


Cut into 1" cubes with skin on. Boil until fork tender. In a large bowl mash potatoes (by hand or mixer) with 6 Tbsp. butter, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup milk (as needed), 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese, pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.


Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Side dishes
Prep 10 min ∙ Cook 5 min ∙ Makes 6 servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source


  • 2 (12-ounce) packages Brussels sprouts, ends and brown leaves trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar


Place the Brussels sprouts in the feed tube of the food processor fitted with a large slicing disc. (There is no need to core them.) Process the Brussels sprouts until they're all sliced.
Place the butter and olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan and heat it over medium heat. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and saute them, stirring frequently, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, season to taste, and serve hot.
Cook's Note: Because you're shredding the Brussels sprouts, there's no need to core them.
Place the shredded Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel for up to a day.


Country Style Chicken Kiev



  • ½ c butter
  • ½ c fine bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp eachbasil and oregano
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 2 chicken breasts split ( about 2lb)
  • ¼ c white wine or apple juice
  • ¼ c chopped green onion
  • ⅛ c chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 375°
In a heavy 2 quart sauce pan, melt butter. On a piece of waxed paper mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and garlic salt. Dip chicken into butter and then roll in crumbs to coat. Place skin side up in an ungreased baking dish. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until golden and chicken is tender.
Add wine, green onion and parsley to remaining butter. When chicken is done pour sauce over chicken. Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve sauce spilled over chicken.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Source MaryAnn Cohen via The Perry Family Cookbook (2009)


  • 1-quart vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 baked pie shell or graham cracker shell


Spread Ice Cream in cooled pie shell. Place in freezer until thoroughly hardened. Blend together pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices. Whip cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture. Spoon into frozen shell covering ice cream. Return to freezer until time of service. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"I say I am stronger than fear." ~ Malala

From Vogue Knitting
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Organizing ahead of time makes the work more enjoyable. Chefs cut up the onions and have the ingredients lined up ahead of time and have them ready to go. When everything is organized you can clean as you go and it makes everything so much easier and fun." ~ Anne Burrell

I certainly have become more organized as I've gotten older. I have a long way to go, but retirement has offered me the gift of time and mind-space to "get my act together" in some regards! I have always been a "get as much done ahead of time as you can" person, but it is certainly easier with a more open schedule. 

Such is the case in preparing for our upcoming Thanksgiving gathering. For the past couple for years, my family has all gathered at a rental in Saratoga. It has been a great spot, but it has had its drawbacks, and our numbers continue to swell.  This year we have a new rental, also outside of Albany. We will see how it goes, but the most important thing is that we are together. We will sorely miss some who are not able to come this year, and delight in those who are able to join us for the first time. We really do not know what awaits us in terms of the kitchen this year. As a result, we are all encouraged to do as much ahead of time as is practical. 

My doubled recipe made three medium-sized loaves.
I have signed up to bring some breakfast items, and have baked, and frozen some loaves of cranberry nut bread and banana nut bread.  The cranberry bread is one that I did last year, and it was delicious. Once again I used fresh cranberries that we got while on the Cape. This is a new banana bread recipe for me, and I think it is delicious as well! I have included both recipes below. Both freeze up wonderfully.

Banana Bread (I added nuts)

Sweet Breads
Prep 10 minutes ∙ Cook 1 hour ∙ Makes one loaf ∙ Source


  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar (can easily use 3/4 cup, or drop it down to 1/2 cup if you want it less sweet)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.
Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes (check at 50 minutes) at 350°F (175°C), or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack. Remove the banana bread from the pan. Slice and serve. (A bread knife helps to make slices that aren't crumbly.)

Walnut Cranberry Pound Cake Recipe

Sweet Breads
Prep 15 min ∙ Cook 1 hr 5 min ∙ Makes 12 servings ∙ Source


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk


1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the sour cream, syrup, orange peel and vanilla; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture until blended. Fold in cranberries and walnuts.
2. Transfer to a greased and floured 10-in. tube pan. Bake at 350° for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
3. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Combine the confectioners' sugar, syrup and butter until smooth; add enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over cake. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Walnut Cranberry Pound Cake in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2005, p148

Nutritional Info

1 slice equals 534 calories, 25 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 136 mg cholesterol, 294 mg sodium, 71 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 8 g protein.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." ~ Victor Hugo

It is happily time for the newest installment of Craft in America, a series I have loved for several years now. "Music" airs on November 20th on your local PBS station (check local listings). The preview is below (remember that if video does not come through via email notifications - please go directly to my blog) Remember too that you can stream all previous episodes at Craft in America.

In recognition of today, Veteran's Day, I am including the entire hour-long "Service" episode that aired about a year ago. So powerful and remarkable. You will not be disappointed if you take the time to watch it right now.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"On My Needles - Update!"

Back in later September, I shared with you a knitting project that I had just begun for myself. I had set the goal of having it completed before the snow flew. Well, we have had a few flakes since then, but I really don't think that they count. I have since revised my goal to completion by Thanksgiving, just a few short weeks away. I updated the goal when my sister Robin showed me a cardigan that she had been working on, but kept putting off completing. We agreed to have our Thanksgiving gathering be the debut of our projects - a bit of motivation for us both!  

So - here is where I began, and here is where I am now. I am in good shape, though I think that it's going to be a tad roomier than I had planned. I am looking forward to wearing my completed pullover in time for turkey!

I'm almost there!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." ~ Benjamin Franklin

We finally made a whirlwind trip to VT to see Alex and Hannah's new spot - lots of light, lots of room - it's just great. And then they made a trip here to attend a wedding celebration. Two weekends in a row - feeling so lucky to spend time with them, however whirlwind it was!

I have decided that this is a good time to share a list of links that I have saved on Facebook for a couple of months now (not all of them!) I see something that I want to revisit at a more convenient time, though I almost never get to them, and save them. I'm considering this another exercise in weeding out. I plan to even really look at the ones I post!