Monday, December 28, 2020


 ~ Jo Cooks

1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 T. orange zest
1 t. vanilla
2 T. orange juice
2 1/2 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. orange juice 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for two minutes. Add egg, zest, vanilla, and juice; mix one minute or until totally combined. Add flour, baking soda, and salt to bowl and mix on low until just combined. Fold in chopped cranberries.  

Use a medium cookie scoop to form balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are slightly golden. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

While cookies cool, whisk icing ingredients together. Use a teaspoon to drizzle glaze over cooled cookies and allow to set before serving.

Makes about four dozen.

Notes: I use silicone baking mats instead of parchment paper. Using a small scoop, I get about five dozen cookies from this recipe. If you like coconut, try coconut cranberry chews for a cookie that's similar to this one, but with a few changes. 

Monday, December 21, 2020


 ~ Simply in Season: Recipes That Celebrate Fresh, Local Foods in the Spirit of More-With-Less, written by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert

1 c. wild rice, rinsed and drained
2 c. chopped onion
1 c. pearl barley
2 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
2 c. winter squash, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
2 c. parsnips, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. apple cider or juice
3. c. chicken or vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Boil rice gently in four cups of water for 10 minutes; drain. Saute onion in oil or butter. Mix rice, onion, and barley in 9x13-inch pan. 

Spread sweet potatoes, winter squash, parsnips, and mushrooms over rice and barley mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour juice and broth over top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for one hour. 

Notes: I use butternut as the winter squash and include mushrooms. There's still quite a bit of liquid in the pan when we pull it out of the oven, but it doesn't take long for the grains to absorb it. 

Monday, December 14, 2020


~ Once Upon a Chef

3/4 c. roasted, unsalted cashews
1/4 c. water
2 t. cornstarch
1/4 c. hoisin sauce 
1 T. soy sauce 
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
8 green onions, white and green parts separated, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 T. rice vinegar
1/4 t. sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Place cashews in single layer on baking sheet. Toast in oven until fragrant, about five minutes, then set aside. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together, cornstarch, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce; set aside. 

Place chicken pieces in large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat evenly.

In a large, non-stick skillet, heat one tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add half the chicken to hot oil and stir-fry until lightly browned, but not cooked through, about three minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, along with the other half of the chicken, garlic, and white parts of green onions. Stir-fry about three minutes, then return first batch of chicken to pan. Turn head to medium and add rice vinegar. Cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. 

Add the sauce mixture to the skillet and stir until sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through, about one minute. Remove from heat and mix green parts of green onions, cashews, and sesame oil. Serve immediately. 

Notes: I toast my cashews in a skillet on medium-low and serve the whole thing over brown rice. Spicy Asian zucchini slaw makes a good side dish and isn't actually spicy. 

Monday, December 7, 2020


~ Bethany Weathersby

1 uncut loaf French bread, preferably with a soft crust
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. cranberry sauce, homemade or store-bought
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
2 c. milk
1 t. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13-inch pan.

Slice French bread by making a partial cut (1/2 - 2/3 down) and then a complete cut, alternating through the loaf so each slice has a pocket. Mix cream cheese, cranberry sauce, and powdered sugar; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk, sugar, and almond extract; set aside.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into a bread pocket, then dip the stuffed slice into the egg mixture and place in pan. Repeat until all the bread and cream cheese mixture has been used. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread slices in pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Cover and bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and set. May uncover for final minutes of baking time to brown.

Notes: I saw a recipe for cranberry French toast roll ups, used it as inspiration for modifying the stuffed French toast recipe my family's enjoyed for many years, and ended up with this delicious result. I get 10-11 pocketed slices from one loaf of French bread and lay them in the pan like a row of dominoes that has tipped over. If you'd like to plan ahead, you can make in the evening and heat the next morning. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020


 ~ Allrecipes

cooking spray
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 T. honey
1 1/2 t. sriracha sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine brussels sprouts, oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a bowl, tossing until coated. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes or until golden brown and tender. 

While brussels sprouts roast, stir honey and sriracha sauce until combined. Place roasted brussels sprouts in bowl, drizzle with honey mixture, and toss until coated.  

Notes: Spicy stuff! I skip the cooking spray and just use Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan instead.

Thursday, November 26, 2020


 ~ Taste of Home

9-inch pie crust, homemade or store-bought
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
3 T. butter, melted
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. salt
6 medium tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/2 t. cinnamon
3 T. cold butter
1/3 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, butter, nutmeg, and salt. Gently fold in apples and cranberries. Pour into pie crust.  

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle topping over filling. 

Bake one hour or until apples are tender.

Notes: I've only made this once and had a lot of liquid at the bottom of the pie when I cut into it, so I drained it off before serving. It tasted amazing, though, and I'll definitely be baking it again. Maybe I just had super juicy apples? If you really want to kick things up a notch, serve it with almond whipped cream. Absolutely divine! 

Thursday, August 13, 2020



~ The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe, written by Rebecca Rather with Alison Oresman

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 c. dried cranberries

1 c. powdered sugar
3 T. pure maple syrup
4-5 T. heavy whipping cream or milk
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats or grease well.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter, syrup, and both sugars on medium-high speed. Add eggs and beat until thoroughly combined. Add flour, salt, baking soda, oats, and cranberries, mixing on medium-low until combined. 

Use a 1 3/4-inch scoop to drop dough  about one inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Lightly press down to slightly flatten each cookie. Bake 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then move to cooling rack until completely cool.

While the cookies cool, combine all glaze ingredients. Whisk until smooth, adding an extra tablespoon of cream if it's too thick. Dip tops of cooled cookies in glaze, then set aside for about 30 minutes for the glaze to harden.

Makes about four dozen. 

Notes: I use heavy whipping cream and silicone mats. 

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