The excitement is quickly building for the holiday season but my list writing has yet to begin. I have to write a gift giving list, a grocery list, an errand list, an event list, an ingredient list, a Christmas card list, and of course, a wish list!
The Ross, extended family Thanksgiving dinner and evening fun is on the calendar and I have been asked to bring something. The turkey, the ham, and a chocolate cake are already on the menu, but what will I take, why is it so hard for me to decide? You're puzzled, too, right?
How can someone like me with access to thousands of recipes, shelves of cookbooks, and eighteen years' worth of recipe filled weekly columns have such indecision? To many choices may be the reason, but then again it might be the fact that I will have my shop open that day so my donation to the meal must be refrigerated, pre-baked, or crock-pot cooked. Beverages are a given, we always take that.
Perhaps a 7-Layer Salad and Cornbread Muffins; maybe maple baked sweet potatoes and pumpkin muffins? I better decide quickly. I do know this it won't be a relish tray. It's good, but it's no fun, unless of course you bought one of those magic vegetable cutters from the county fair last year and your carrots look like turkeys, your tomatoes look like roses, and your celery sticks curl pretty like snowflakes.
A gift-giving list is not just one list, it's a list of sub-lists; names of family members are listed, and then under each one, what their gifts will be are listed, and next to that list is the spending list. And then there are the stores to stop at sub-list.
I don't list my favorite treat-myself-treats while Christmas shopping for others but I will tell you they include; soft pretzel bites, a gourmet shortbread cookie, a grande apple caramel spice, and always a large Coke and a large fry, but never one-right-after-the-other and never during the same shopping trip; honest.
The events list is actually a monthly calendar and it seems that the November and December months should be enlarged as the small squares allotted for each day are way too small for this time of year. This year we are going to small business Christmas open houses, December wedding receptions, close and extended family gatherings, and the calendar has many straight days marked off for deer hunting, always deer hunting. (Insert note here; I am not a hunter, I am the cook.)
Some years the Christmas card list grows and sadly some years the list shortens, a bit, but mostly it grows, we always send a card to someone who has sent us a card and we had not, yet. Good time to mention that the Post Office is always on my errand list.
My mother has instilled in me the mastery of list writing. I am always with a flip page steno pad in my possession, it is my old school information registry, and it means I must always carry a purse compatible to its 6 x 9-inch size. Two things on my wish list right there, a new purse and a year's supply of steno pads. List on people, list on!
Share your eat-by-the-handful holiday snacks with Hearth & Home. Send recipes to: Hearth & Home, 5973 Blachleyville Rd., Wooster, OH, 44691. Emails are always welcome; email@example.com
Hearty Italian Sausage Soup (Donna Lortcher, New London)
1 pound Italian sausage sliced
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cans (14 1/2 ounce each) fat free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 coup can water
1 can (15 ounce) cannellini beans, rinsed
1 can (14 1/2 ounce) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 cup rotini pasta, uncooked
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
Cook sausage, onions, and garlic in oil in large saucepan for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add next 4 ingredients. Bring to boil. Stir in pasta; cook 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach; cover. Let stand 5 minutes. Top with cheese. Serve with crackers.
(Donna Lortcher, New London)
29 ounce pumpkin puree
3/4 cup all juice
2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Chill in refrigerator, or if desiring to can spoon the mixture into hot jars. Be sure to only fill 1/4 inch in from the top. Be sure and remove air bubble; process for 10 minutes in water bath.
Mom's Magic Muffins
(Donna Lortcher, New London)
1 (14 ounce) box Raisin Bran cereal
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups buttermilk
1 cup canola oil
4 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups dried sweetened cranberries
Combine cereal, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Put in large bowl and mix well. Combine buttermilk, oil and eggs in separate bowl and whisk well. Pour egg mixture into cereal mixture, stir until just blended. Fold in cranberries. Put a lid on and put in refrigerator overnight. Batter will keep for up to a week in refrigerator. Place in greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.
2 to 4 beef bouillon cubes
1 quart water
1 pound browned hamburger
1 sweet onion saute in hamburger drippings
3 large potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
1 (1 pound) bag frozen California vegetables
2 cans cream of celery soup
1 pound Velveeta cheese cut into 1 inch cubes
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and add bouillon cubes. Cover and boil for 10 min. To this add potatoes and veggies, cover and cook over medium heat until tender-about 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream of celery soup and add hamburger and onions. Simmer again with the lid on the pot for about another 5 to 10 minutes. At this point you may want to add some garlic, pepper, or other seasonings to enhance the flavor. Add the cubed Velveeta, stir until cheese melts and serve.
Autumn Spiced Caramel Corn
3 quarts popped popcorn, fluffed up, unpopped kernels removed
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine
3 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Dissolve the sugar, margarine, corn syrup and salt until firm ball stage.
Remove from heat and add spices and baking soda. Pour over popcorn, stirring well. Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes stirring every 15 minutes until done. Cool.
Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 pounds red skinned sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces and put in a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, and bake at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until potatoes are tender.
Sweet Fruit Cookie Pizza
Sweet Cookie Crust:
2 tablespoons real dairy butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg white
1/3 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped fine
1 (8 ounce) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, liquid
2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup canned, sliced peaches packed in light syrup, drained
1/2 cup strawberries cut in 1/2 lengthwise
1 medium banana, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Preparing the sweet cookie crust; cream the butter, honey, and brown sugar together in a
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mixing bowl. Add the egg white and combine; mix in the applesauce and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to the sugar mixture, stirring just to combine. Gently stir in the oats and apricots. Spread the cookie dough on a lightly greased pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned about 30 minutes. Cool. To prepare the topping; in a mixing bowl, whip cream cheese with the thawed apple juice, and zest until lightly creamy. Spread white mixture over the cookie pizza crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border for outside crust. Arrange fruit toppings over top. Chill until ready to serve.
Party Mix for the Crock-Pot
1 cup Cheerios cereal
1 1/2 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 cup bite size shredded whole wheat cereal
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup pretzel sticks
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
Combine first 5 ingredients in crockpot. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over cereal mixture; toss to coat. Cook on high, uncovered, for 2 hours.
Stir mixture well every 30 minutes. Turn crockpot to low and cook for 2-4 hours. Store in air tight container. Makes 5 cups.
Granola Oatmeal Cookie-Style
4 cups oats (or any combination of grains to equal 4 cups)
1/3 cup flax seed
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup honey
4 teaspoons vanilla extract