Romantic Thanksgiving Menu for Two

Romantic Thanksgiving Menu for Two

I have been thinking about my blog a lot lately and have missed it terribly! I have the day off after a very long stretch of work (I really, really love my job, but every now and then you need a break) so I thought I would sit down and do some updates here after a 6 month hiatus. First off…..I am now married 🙂

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Photo taken at Old Sheldon Ruins in South Carolina during our honeymoon!

I am a newlywed of 2 months (almost) and even after being together for 9 years, I have this “domesticated” side coming out of me. I think it has always been there, but now when I bake……I wear an apron. I make the bed EVERY day. I am actually watering the plants on a regular basis. And I get this over whelming urge to cook big meals!

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With the cold winds blowing in, the leaves turning colours and Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am on a mission to make the first Thanksgiving dinner as Man and Wife special! Since we are either working or going to family parties on Thanksgiving Weekand, I decided to surpride my husband with a romantic Turkey dinner a week early!

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I planned a traditional, yet romantic dinner for two! Recipes Below:

MENU

  • Turkey
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Dry Stuffing
  • Marinated Carrots
  • Green Salad
  • Homemade Buns
  • Apple Pie and Ice Cream

Turkey Recipe

First off,I know what you are thinking….”I thought this was a menu for two? Why a whole turkey?” The first reason, is because at this time of year, you can buy a whole 10 lb turkey for less then the price 1 turkey breast. The second reason is because I LOVE me some turkey! My next post will probably be 10 recipes for leftover turkey:)

I have tried making turkey a million ways and the only time it is amazing (and people talk about it for weeks) is when I brine it. All brines are good, I have used lots different spice combinations and it always turns out good. Even 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of salt and water is great!

This year, I decided to try brining it in chicken stock, rosemary and peppercorns.After brining for 24 hours, I took it out of the fridge, dried it completely and stuffed it with lemons, oranges and garlic. Buttered the top, sprinkled sage, thyme and pepper all over (even under the skin) and popped it in the over for 3 hours, basting it every hour. Between the brine and the citrus stuffing, it is just so tender and juicy and the gravy has a nice zing to it with the citrus!

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Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

This was the first time I have tried making scalloped potatoes. They have always seemed to intimating and somewhat scary. If you have ever sliced a fruit or vegatable before and if you have ever made alfredo sauce, then you have made scalloped potatoes. It is simple and not nearly as time consuming as I thought it would be. Lesson learned! I will be making these all the time from now on 🙂

4 peeled and sliced potatoes
1/4 onion, chopped
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 pound Cheddar cheese, diced
Paprika for sprinkling on top
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Layer the potatoes in an 9×9 baking dish; repeat the layers.
3. Heat milk, flour, butter, salt, black pepper and garlic powder in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Stir Cheddar cheese into sauce until cheese is melted.
5. Pour sauce over potatos; sprinkle with paprika.
6. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
7. Bake in the preheated oven until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes
8. Remove foil and continue baking until lightly browned, about 10 minutes more.

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Dry Stuffing

This is a very awesome stuffing recipe passed down from my Great Grandmother. I do not like stuffing cooked in a turkey, I always find it resembles wet cat food…..yuck!! This recipe is cooked on the stove top, and you control the amount of “mushiness”. I have added all kinds of stuff to this recipe! Today was mushrooms, celery and minced onion.

6 cups fresh, cubed bread crumbs
1 tsp Sage
1 tsp Parsley
1 1/2 tsp Thyme
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp Butter
Celery
Mushrooms
5 Tbs Butter

4 Tbs Water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Cube bread into small cubes. Sprinkle herbs into bread crumbs in a bowl
3. In a deep frying pan, melt butter. Add celery, onion and mushrooms until soft
4. Add bread crumbs to pan until they turn brown. Flipping often
5. Melt 5 Tbs Butter into water and pour over bread crumbs. Add more water for moister stuffing.
6. Place in covered casserole dish and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. This is optional. Good either way.
7. Place in bowl and serve!

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Marinated Carrots

For my bridal shower, by sister in law asked all of the guests to bring one recipe on a card. This one came from our upstairs tenant (who has lived there for 48 years). Jack hates carrots cooked, but she guarenteed he would like them this way, so I tried them. I have to say……WOW! They are the best thing I have ever had. The marinade is going to become my new salad dressing! This recipe is a keeper, ever for those who do not like carrots 🙂

4 cups Carrots, peeled, chopped, cooked and cooled.
1 Green pepper, chopped small
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegateble oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1 can tomato soup
1 teaspoon dried basil
Directions:
1. Peel, chop and cook carrots and peppers. Let cool.
2. Mix sugar, oil, vinegar, soap, basil in pan and bring to a boil. Let simmer until it starts to thicken.
3. Pour mixture over carrots and let sit in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight.
4. Serve cold.

Green Salad

I always like something cold, green and fresh on my plate! Nothing beats a salad full of raw veggies to balance out bits of rich potatoes and savory turkey! Paired with the marinade from the carrots as a dressing, it is perfect! Top it off with some shredded cheese!

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Homemade Bread

This is one of the recipes where if I am invited over for dinner and ask if I can bring anything, I am always told “bring your bread!” This is a super easy recipe that is soft, sweet and delicous. Never any leftovers. Use this recipe for a loaf of bread or 12 buns. I made both and froze some.

4 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 white sugar
1 beaten egg
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs oil
1/4 warm water
2 Tbs Bread yeast
1 Cup boiling Water

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Add yeast to warm water in a cup. Put aside
3. Boil Water. Mix sugar, butter, oil and salt. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes
4. Add egg and yeast to mixture and stir.
5. Mix in flour and knead until a good, fluffy consistency. I use my mixer for this…less work 🙂
6. Let rise one hour. Punch down and let sit again for another hour.
7. After an hour, punch down again and place in baking dish. Let rise another hour.
8. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (longer if making a loaf of bread)

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Apple Pie

If you search allrecipes.com for apple pie, this recipe comes up with flawless reviews. I have seen it several times and thought I would take a stab at it.Here is the link:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Pie-by-Grandma-Ople/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Thumb&e11=apple%20pie&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page&soid=sr_results_p1i2

I am not very good at pastry work, but a pie shell is easy enough. Here is the recipe I use for pie shells. You need a double crust, so double this recipe.

1 3/4 flour
3/4 butter or shortning
Pinch of salt
2 Tsp Sugar

1/4 Cup cold Water

This pie is to die for. I mean really…..worth it! I am happy that I made one little one for just us tonight and another to stick into the freezer for when we have guests over.

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And there you have it. A very successful, romantic thanksgiving dinner for two!

Homemade Wontons

Homemade Wontons

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For an appetizer exchange party last weekend, I decided to make a batch of homemade pork wontons. This is a great recipe because you can use them in chicken broth with soy sauce for a wonton soup, or you can deep fry them as serve with a spicy peanut sauce or sweet and sour sauce.  Perfect for the freezer for when that unexpected guest shows up for the Holidays.

This recipe is for 100 wontons

Ingredients for homemade wontons
Ingredients for homemade wontons
  • 2 lbs of ground pork (I always wait until it comes on sale….$3/lb 🙂 )
  • 3 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cups of shredded bok choy leaves
  • 4 packages of wonton wrappers. They usually come in packs of 25.

In a large bowl add ground pork and chop up with a fork. Add two beaten eggs and stir. Add sesame oil, soy sauce and salt and pepper.

I like the surprise of biting into a chunk of ginger or garlic, so I just chop mine up finely with a knife, but if you prefer a less dramatic wonton, you can grate them. Add them to the pork mixture.

Ginger and garlic chopped with a knife instead of grated
Ginger and garlic chopped with a knife instead of grated

Shred bok choy leaves thinly and add. I do not use the white part because it is quite crunchy, but this is a personal preference. Throw in the bowl and give it a good mix, making sure it is the consistency of a pork paste (I know, that sounds awful, and let me assure you, it doesn’t look that great either, but the results are amazing!)

Pork Paste :)
Pork Paste 🙂

Next is the tricky part. Wrapping the wontons. There are different ways of doing this, so your best bet is youtube the process. I am not very good at it and they all sort of look like little envelopes.

Try this link here: http://youtu.be/nWIVfA9uteY

A couple of tricks – Make sure the wrappers stay moist and work as fast as you can!

After I wrap them, I place them on a tray covered with wax paper. When they are all done, I just pop the tray in the freezer until they are frozen, then put them in a freezer bag. They are good like that for at least three months. Maybe longer, but they never last in my house that long!

Freezing wontons
Freezing wontons
Freezing Cake and Muffin Batter

Freezing Cake and Muffin Batter

This is one of those small things that changed my life forever!

Raisin Coconut Banana Bread

5 Reasons to freeze cake and muffin batter

  1. You are craving a warm piece of cake after dinner but are too lazy to get out the mixer
  2. You are in charge of bringing a snack today….but forgot
  3. You are about to  make something for dessert and realize you don’t have all of the ingredients
  4. Unexpected guests stop by and you have nothing to serve
  5. Save time, save energy, save dishes!

I make a lot of muffins and snack cakes to serve at out music studio to parents and students. Sometimes I find myself baking every morning when I get up. It creates lots of dishes, uses lots of electricity running the mixer and takes too much time when I have a long list of to-do’s.

I got smart eventually and every time I made a batch of batter, I would double it up. Bake one batch normally and put the other batch in muffin liners or a cake pan with parchment paper and stick it in the freezer. Let freeze and put the frozen batter in a zip lock baggie for future baking.

When you want cake or a muffin, just put the frozen batter back into the pan and right into the oven. Add 10 extra minutes to the baking time. You can bake as many as you want this way. If you want two muffins after dinner….they will be ready in 25 minutes 🙂

Banana Bread right out of the freezer and into the pan!
Banana Bread right out of the freezer and into the pan!
Added raisins and coconut on top of the frozen batter and baked.
Added raisins and coconut on top of the frozen batter and baked.

I think this is the first post I have written about saving time instead of money. Hope you can use this handy little trick.

Now to enjoy some banana bread with my coffee!!

Spiced Rhubarb Squares

Spiced Rhubarb Squares

Perfect for Christmas baking!

Last night I shared the recipe for spiced rhubarb jelly (the best and possibly only reason I have found to grow rhubarb in your garden.) You can get the recipe here – https://moneyortime.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/spiced-rhubarb-jelly/

I mentioned that I was making spiced rhubarb squares at the time of posting the jelly recipe. Well, they turned out amazing. Perfect to add to that Christmas Baking collection!

  1. 1 1/2 cups flour
  2. 3/4 cups white sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/2 pint of spiced rhubarb jelly

Preheat over to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9″x9″ pan.

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt,cinnamon and egg. Add butter and mix until it comes together. Spread 2/3 of the mixture on the bottom to create a crust using your hands. Spread the jelly on the crust and crumble the remaining 1/3 of the mixture on top of the jelly. Sprinkle with more cinnamon if desired.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the middle has set.

I look forward to making many batches of these for my holiday baking this year!!

 

 

Spiced Rhubarb Jelly

Spiced Rhubarb Jelly

Do you have a patch of rhubarb in your garden? Do you look at it every year wondering that to do with it? Some people dip it in sugar and eat it raw, some people make pies, some people stew it up and eat it like that.

Well, I have a patch of rhubarb in my garden and I HATE it! I hate it raw, I hate it in pies and I hate it stewed….especially hate it stewed! So after a couple of years of chopping it down and watching it grow back, I finally go the courage to make my own recipe with it….and it is amazing! Spiced Rhubarb Jelly. It is great on toast or in baking. It might even be good in a pie. It kind of tastes like Christmas in your mouth.

So if you want to use up that rhubarb (and you can make it twice a year. Would make a great gift for Christmas with a little bow on the jar!) here is the recipe:

  • 16 cups of washed and chopped rhubarb (about 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 8 cups sugar (I will cut this back next time to 6 cups, maybe even 5)
  • 3/4 cups lemon juice
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • All Spice to taste (I made mine quite spicy and I love it)
  • 6 pint jars, lids, etc

Add the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a pot and let simmer until you get the right consistency. To check the consistency, put a teaspoon on jelly in a bowl and run a knife through it, if the jelly keeps separated, it is good to go. Once the consistency is right, add your spices and keep taste testing until it is perfect (this is the best part 🙂 )

After sterilizing the jars, add the jelly and give them a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

DONE AND DONE!

Hope you enjoy this jelly. It is a great way to start your day when it is cold and miserable in the morning. I have also just made some rhubarb bars with the jelly, so I will have to let you know how those turn out after I am done eating them….I mean eating one!

 

Coconut Cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes

Anyone who knows me know how much I love to bake! But I don’t let a recipe tell me what and what not to do. It all depends on what I have on hand!

So I wanted to make cupcakes, I had chocolate icing in the fridge and cupcake liners in the pantry! But what I didn’t have was milk or vanilla….or any cocoa for chocolate cupcakes. Thought I would get creative, and I am so glad that I did. I think I have found my favourite new cupcake!

COCONUT CUPCAKES!

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp coconut extract

1 1/2 cups white flour

1/2 cup water

Coconut Extract

The batter was so yummy! Tasted like a bright sunny day 🙂 Now I had to make them look like they tasted. I had chocolate icing, so I needed something that would compliment the brown…..something green!

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I tossed some shredded coconut in blue and yellow food colouring to give it a sort of tropical look. These are so yummy! I am bringing them to the music studio for the students. Wonder how long they will last?