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Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Classic Retro Cheese Ball

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So I have this great cheese ball plate and I found myself looking for a great cheese ball recipe.  Of course I scoured the Internet and asked a couple of friends.  Then it occurred to me that I actually have a book about cheese.  That really shouldn’t surprise any of us.  It’s Hallie Harron’s Cheese Hors d’Oeurves.

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How can you resist this happy guy?

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Love those boots.

Inside is smoked gouda and cream cheese.  Need I say more?

Eat Well and Savor.

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Seven Layer Cookies

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I thought I would jump from my cake failure to a tried-and-true success.

Some of you may know these as magic bars, but I’ve been eating seven layer cookies every Christmas of my life.  They are so easy, yet every Christmas I have to call my mom to get the recipe.  A couple of years ago I did manage to write it down, but I still had to call for some clarification.  Don’t worry.  I’ve worked out the kinks.

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Heat the oven to 350.  While it’s warming put a stick of butter in a 9×13 pan to melt.  My mom swears that the 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs are to just be layered on top.  But I challenged the cookie gods and actually mixed them in this year.  Shockingly, the world did not end.

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Add two cups of coconut.

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And then 12 ounces of chocolate chips.

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Then my favorite part:  12 ounces of butterscotch chips.  I have had these once with peanut butter chips; someone else made them.  I am not one to discriminate against peanut butter, but I am a firm believer in sticking to the original.

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No.  I didn’t get confused and put a picture of chowder in there.  That is none other than manna from said cookie gods:  Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk.  Not one can, not two cups, but two whole cans.

Lastly, two cups of walnuts.  Although I think I bought the package that was 2-1/2 or 2-2/3 cups and used the whole thing.  No need to toast ahead of time.  Bake for 30 minutes.

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Heaven on a plate.

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I can only make these once a year.  Dec-a-dent.

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Isn’t that the cutest little reindeer?  This is actually an apron that my mother made for me years ago.

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Of course there’s a matching oven mitt and a dish towel to hang on the oven door.

1/2 cup butter

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 cups coconut

12 ounces chocolate chips

12 ounces butterscotch chips

2 cans of sweetened condensed milk

2 to 2-1/2 cups of chopped walnuts

Layer in this order in a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting.

btw – I used Nestle chips and couldn’t help but notice that over the years, much like other products, they have decreased in size from the original 12.  The downfall of America, I say.  If they go down any lower I may have to buy two bags next year.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

 

Lady Baltimore Cake

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Here’s where my trouble begins:

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Of course when you have this adorable Christmas cake stand then you want to make a cake.  Then when you have Clementine Paddleford’s The Great American Cookbook you want to make a layer cake from the Carolinas.  Seems easy enough.

You know your cake’s going to be great when there’s three cups of sugar in the recipe.  It all went downhill pretty fast, so I only have the before picture on the batter.

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Two 9-inch cakes?  Check.

Time to make the filling/frosting.  Pecans, raisins, and figs.  This is the closest I am getting to figgy pudding.  Soak them in a little brandy.  How bad could that be?

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Well, I think this is where things started to go awry.  Next time a recipe says finely chopped I am dragging out the food processor.  I neglected to mention that it’s two cups each on the raisins and pecans.  Translation:  that’s a lot of filling.

Next problem:  I have an innate need to follow recipes.  CP did not say that you need to make your two layers into four.  Even though I suspected all that filling just wasn’t going to work crammed into the middle I just had to try.  Needless to say, the whole thing pretty much oozed off the cake stand before I could take any pictures.

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I know.  It looks pretty gross in person too.  Fortunately I was not expecting company.  The frosting is the kind made with boiled sugar-water and egg whites.  That’s just not my favorite, so that didn’t help matters.  The cake itself was fab, though.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Trifecta

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Let me tell you a tale about three little butternut squash.   Squashes?  Squashi?  Squasheaux?  What is the plural?

A while back I picked up Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai.  I had my eye on it for a long time and finally gave in.   The cover itself is adorable.  Pancakes stacked on a little pink cake plate – need I say more?  I don’t really know too much about her, other than she was on Top Chef and she has a new book called Cook Yourself Sexy.   Who could argue with that?

Recently I made the Creamy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.   The recipe called for 1-3/4 pounds of squash, which is about five cups.  Apparently the scale was broken at the market that day, because I wound up with three times that amount.

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I know what you’re thinking.  That’s the brownest butternut squash soup you’ve ever seen.   Remember I said that there are apples.  Well, CK didn’t say to peel them, so I didn’t.

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Of course it could also be because my onions got a little crispy.  I can honestly say it didn’t affect the flavor, especially with the addition of almond milk.  Delish and only 241 calories a serving.

Squash number 2 became Hungry Girl’s Bake-Tastic Butternut Squash Fries.  As if I don’t have enough HG books, I picked up her new one a few weeks ago:  Hungry Girl to the Max.  The fries recipe is so simple I didn’t even take a picture.  Sorry.  Just bake them away at 425, flip after 20 and bake for 15 more.  Add a little salt.  I could have eaten the entire squash in one sitting.

Squash number 3 met some cauliflower and a potato and lived happily ever after.  Hungry Swirl Butternut Casserole, where have you been all my life?  In order to get the swirl this does require a little work, but next time I think I can put it all in one bowl.

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There’s a little cheddar and some Laughing Cow mixed with the squash and a teeny bit of butter and fat-free half-and-half in the potato/cauliflower.

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I may have broken a little HG rule and added a little extra cheese on top.  I also didn’t broil it, as she suggested.  I used my 8×8 Pyrex and I’ve heard some horror stories about those babies shattering.  In fact, it says no broiler right on it.

This makes six servings, 146 calories each.  I didn’t really have a plan for what to have with it.  I considered just making it four servings and calling it dinner.  I finally paired it with a little Morningstar Farms riblet.  However, it was SO amazing I think I could have eaten half of it as a meal.  Needless to say, I have found a repeater, my friends, and one I would serve to company to boot.

In other news:  No need to send out the search party.  I’ve just been a little busy with work and decorating for the holidays.  And last week we went to see Rudolph at the Center for Puppetry.  It was bargain-priced, free parking, only an hour, and if you can stand being surrounded by a jillion kids and their annoying mothers on cell phones, this is the show for you.

Also, we’re going to WDW for the Very Merry Christmas Party this weekend!

Eat Well and Savor.

 

Cranberry-Glazed Ribs

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I finally used up the last of my Thanksgiving leftovers!  I’m sure the title gives that away.

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I haven’t made ribs very often, mostly because I perceive it as time-consuming and difficult to achieve perfection.  This recipe from Rachael Ray’s magazine is actually an easy one.   Just bake them in the oven, then glaze and broil.  When you pull them out of the 400 degree oven to glaze them be sure you don’t spill the drippings all over the oven floor.  I had to let the oven cool and clean it out and then broil.  If not, I would have surely set off the fire alarm!

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Do they look a little naked to you?

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Don’t worry.  I dipped every bite into the extra sauce.

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Surprisingly, there’s a little bit of sauce left.  It will pair nicely with my turkey burger tomorrow.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

Glazed Pork

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For once the name just doesn’t do it justice.

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However, this recipe does come from a book with the word simple in the title, although it’s Simple Summer Suppers.  Capers and raisins, balsamic vinegar and OJ.  Those are pretty much the highlights.   Of course there’s some spices in there too.  This recipe is from Cooking Light.  You know what that means.  That’s right.  Only 234 calories.

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Perfect with my new favorite green beans:  roasted.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

Tomato Vegetable Casserole

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This may not be the time of year for tomatoes, but it really doesn’t matter for this recipe from Giada and Everyday Italian.

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It might look like a little bit of a mess, but it what’s inside that counts.

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One potato, one sweet potato, and a couple of carrots walked into a bar.   Oh wait, I forgot the red bell pepper.

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Top with red onion and zuchinni.  We almost have every color of the rainbow.

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The last layer is the tomato with breadcrumbs and parmesan.

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Of course all the layers have olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Bake at 450 for 40 minutes and it’s like magic; that is, magic with a perfectly cheesy crust.

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I am totally rocking my holiday plates.  There’s a partridge in a pear tree under there.

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I wish I could tell you what my favorite part was.  I tried several different bite combinations and every one was comforting and moan-worthy.  I would even be so bold as to say that this would be an excellent side dish for your holiday.

Eat Well and Savor.