Stop wishing and START doing!

Written Monday February 29, 2016

As the sun shines brightly, the temperatures climb out of the 30’s and the beginnings of blossoms peak out excited to greet spring I am reminded all too well that I have let ole man winter  lead me down an unhealthy path again this year.  With muffin top and double chin I shamefully lurch up to the desk at the gym to get a new membership.  I schedule an appointment with the personal trainer to start a well suited program and begin researching clean eating plans.

I am usually all over the place when it comes to a specific diet plan, a dabbler if you will.  My feet firmly planted in Mediterranean cuisine, my diet becomes a Frankenstein’s monster of taste and texture, all while trying to maintain a specific calorie count and avoiding the bad carbs, fat sand sugars.  I have found that my body at least, responds best to a clean eating diet.

I have battled my weight my entire adult life never getting below 180 pounds.  I dare not say what my weight is today.  I will say if you ad about 55 to the above number you’ll have your answer. That number is to ugly to me right now to put upon this page.  I have bounced up and down above and below 200 with no lasting success but now a very large number is coming my way a number that means to make me take my morality into consideration the big 50 is but a couple of years away and I fear if I do not get my body healthy now I will have a miserable time plagued with pain and suffering, of constant aches and pains stroke or worse.  So,This is my affirmation, my talisman to shout upon the pyramid top, Stop wishing and START doing!

Stop sitting on my laptop looking at all the things I want to be doing like swimming and surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking.  Perusing endless online catalogues of dresses shorts bathing suites and tops I cannot wear and searching for the happiness within somewhere it is not.

I am in the process of finding my diet and recipe books after our move, even though we have been in the new home for about 7 months I have just located and hung all of our family photos and notice I have not let a photo of myself be taken in a long time.  I am working on a”clean eating” meal plan at the moment that I hope and pray will prove to be a great tool in my success.  I plan to share my experiences and recipes here. with you and hope that this affirmation will spur my success in loosing the weight in need to become healthy and fit.

I have had an extremely stressful month with some legal hurdles, taking on a new position at work and stress at home I have not come through February unscathed.  My futile attempts to count calories by keeping a food journal were unsuccessful but I did start attending the gym somewhat regularly.  I think I have emerged from February 2016 with a renewed sense of self and a fresh take on my diet so we shall see at the end of March if my convictions are true.

As for today, I continue to journal and calorie count because these tools seem to work best for me.  My advice, stick with what works for you personally.  Remind yourself of where you came from, where you are going and how far you’ve come and most of all never look back.  I have decided to start using my blog as a springboard for success and journaling here on my success and failures of loosing the weight.  It is my hope to help and inspire others on their quest to success as well.  So come join me.

Arriving home today, opening the door I am greeted with a warm and inviting feeling.  And a Pomeranian dancing circles and barking excitedly at my arrival.  After all the loving afternoon greetings are attending to I head to the kitchen for one of two things.  Either a refreshing glass of iced tea, for the Southern in me, or a tantalizing glass of chilled wine to take the edge off.  Then, I set out to cooking and for this evenings delicious meal I will start with a Mediterranean shrimp, sautéed spinach over a bed of batsmani rice.  The aroma of peppers onion and garlic fill the air and the shrimp, tomatoes and spinach with a dash of Italian seasoning add to the amazing aroma.  Although a delicate balance of flavors and aromas this is quite a simple dish to prepare.  I am going to sit down to the table for some good food, drink and conversation.  Have a wonderful evening.

  

 

Hiatus

I stepped away for a few weeks, we had a few things going on that prevented me from giving priority to documentation.  This winter cold went through everyone in the house and my husband and I had to update our transportation.  Now everyone is slowly recovering, we have 2 new vehicles in the driveway, my daughter has inherited my old car and has gotten her first job.  We are so very proud of her for her determination in being the best person she can possibly be.  Her younger brother is right behind her working on bringing up his grades and getting off the couch and into life.  He gets his own big dose of proud from myself and his father.

I have to admit the snow we received here a few weeks ago was beautiful, we also had a well deserved “snow day” or two but, I am done with this.  Being a Florida Native living in a place that actually has a winter has it’s pros but also its cons.  I love the fact that we have all four seasons, but hate the fact that it stays cold until May (at least to me).  So, we are planning to take a family vacation and go down to our condo in Florida for a week in March (thank God) and I will be ready for some warm sun on face and sinking my toes into that cinnamon sand.

Once we started discussing vacation it dawned on me that of course the winter had taken hold of me and I was not in beach shape so I have gotten back on my clean eating routine and renewed my gym membership.

But all narcissism aside, March 26 will be the one year anniversary of my fathers death.  The beach we go to was his home (and ours) for over 20 years.  We laid him to rest there in the warm waves of the atlantic in the morning as the sun rose above the horizon. This is the main reason I return, to be with my beloved father.  I grew up fishing with my father up and down the atlantic coast of Florida.  We’d fish the bridges of Cocoa Beach and the inlet of Sebastian.  The edges of the Banana River and beaches of Melbourne .  When he settled on the beach in Palm Coast it was no different.  We would get up early and run to the intercostal to cast for bait.  Then run back to the condo to grab coffee and fishing gear then we’d lug our gear down the dock to the beach, set up our beach base and case out into the waves.  The total zen of standing against the warm August sea breeze with a pole pulled by the surf as you wait for that first “hit” of a fish, there is no other joy to me.

We would make out way back to the condo when we finally got hungry or the afternoon thunderstorms rolled through.  After a quick lunch and a round or two of dice a quick dip in the pool was in order.  Then it was off to get crab legs, lots of butter, yellow rice and some plump pink shrimp to go with anything we may (or may not) have caught that day.

These were the glory days, these were the days of summer to our family.  But, about fifteen years ago my father’s health began to fail.  Many many years of heavy smoking and southern menus has began to take their toll.  not soon after we were hit with the news that he had COPD and his lifestyle slowed dramatically.  Dee Dee, his long time girlfriend and the family still fished the beach and intercostal but it was not quite the same.  I remember catching a shark off the beach one August evening and I desperately needed help getting it off the line.  Daddy laughed a little as he sat up at the doc, then had to proceed to explain how to get off the hook because he could not make the track down through the rocks and sand to get to where I was fishing.  It was then I knew.  There were a few more short afternoon fishing jaunts to the dock on the intercostal.  There were benches where Daddy could sit and we could park close.  As time passed he would sit on the couch or his scooter and would stare out across the ocean and tell us to go, go to St. Augustine to the fort or go down to the market in Flagler or “just go” and enjoy the bright sun, the sea air and pleasures that the Salt Life holds.

In March 2015 my father passed, in October 2015 Dee Dee passed, both the same year, both from years heavy smoking, one from COPD the other from lung cancer and this is 4 family members I have lost to lung cancer, five from the negative affects of years of smoking.  I also lost an aunt this year, my aunt Dianna.  She was 53, Dee Dee was 55 and my father was 72. In my opinion way to young to leave this earth and it many blessing.

I do not smoke although I did until August 2005.  My fathers sister died of lung cancer the Christmas before and I was determined to quit and I did.  I have not touched one since.  I know it is ultimately the choice of that person and that person alone but, for a happier healthier life.  I hope for strength of those who want and are ready to quit to do so.

We will be carrying on the tradition this year of fishing and swimming and crab legs, sauntering through the narrow streets of St. Augustine on a warm summers evening smelling gourmet popcorn and fried shrimp as our sun burn skin collects the salty humid night air.

The sun is out and I have the overwhelming urge to put on shorts and a tank top so I can feel as much sun on my skin as possible.  But, I will instead go put on my warm boots, some jeans and a sweater and charge my camera battery because although it is winter we are going trail riding out on state land this morning.  I will take my camera and try to get some good picture to share.

My intention was not to write such a lengthy post but it just happened, it poured out of me like an emptying river, I guess I need to remove this from my soul so I could go on.  So, my original intent was to post my breakfast and say “have a happy, healthy, glorious Saturday.

1 c. Almond milk

1 c. granola banana nut cereal

1/2 c. blueberries

1/2 c. strawberries

sprinkle of unsweetened coconut

 

Voila!

  

 

Warm woolen socks, soft mittens and Norwegian printed tights.  The cold weather has finally arrived and I have brought out my favorite attire.  My Daughter and I went shopping yesterday and found knit hats and sweaters, tights and leg warmers. We wanted to buy them all, we settled on our favorites and then went to lunch a quaint little Italian place nearby.

It has been a busy week of taking down holiday decor, preparing the den for remodeling and replacing our water heater which decided to start leaking on Christmas morning, of course.  The den is now down to minimum contents, the water heater has be replaced by my wonderfully handy husband and oldest son and all is right with the world once more.

The den I fear will have to wait for spring along with the other rooms to be remodeled, the weather it too cold at the moment to air our when painting as we will need to use Killz on some of the darker shades of red, yes the previous owner had, lets just say, a bright color palette. I love the cranberry red in our bedroom and plan to decorate using that as my base but, some of the other colors I want to soften through the house.

This chilly weather always initiates my seasonal crochet addiction.  I completed a lovely infinity scarf, in a soft lavender double half crochet.  I wanted the thickness for warmth.  I am just not warm unless my neck and feet are.  I have now embarked on crocheting several potholders for myself and family.  I’ve found a wonderful pattern that is simple and minimal.  I purchased some sturdy wool yarn for this task.  I will update including pictures when they are complete.

On to the topic at hand, Chicken and Dumpling.  There are several variations of this tried and true dish, the one we have settled on in our family is the large fluffy dumplings that cover the top of the pot soaking up the fragrant flavors within.  I have made the flat noodle style Southern dumplings for many years which were fathers absolute favorite.  He had to have a pot at least once a week, especially this time of year.  I do like them very much and I have my fathers favorite recipe and I will make and share in a future article.  But last evening was a perfect marriage of chicken, vegetables, spices and dough that would be a shame to keep to myself.

Begin by browning the chicken thighs in a large dutch over in grape seed oil, while they are browning and seasoning the pot chop the celery, onion, garlic, carrots and fresh thyme.  After removing the chicken sauté the vegetables and spices until they began to soften, about 7 to 9 minutes. Then add the chicken, 10 cups of water, 2 bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste.  Here I added a teaspoon of “Better than Bullion” just to add a bit of extra flavor to the dish. Let this simmer for about 30 minutes.

Then remove bay leaves and chicken, for the chicken let cool, then remove the skin and bone, shred meat with a fork and add back to the simmering pot.  Next, thicken the broth by using about 2 cups of the soup stock and 3 heaping tablespoons of flour, whisk thoroughly and incorporate  back into the pot of broth.

For the dumplings, whisk together the remaining flour baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add milk, buttermilk is also and option here, butter and parsley until a dough forms.  Roll the dough into 8 equal balls or just drop by the spoonful into the broth.  Cover and simmer until the dumplings become full and firm, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Garnish and serve.  This is a warm family favorite that everyone will enjoy.

IMG_1333

The fire has dwindled to sparkling orange embers and I must take a trip to the market to gather ingredients for my next great cooking adventure.  Hoping everyone has an amazing day.

 

 

Hearty Chicken and Dumplings


 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp grape seed oil

6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on (about 2 lbs)

Salt and pepper

4 stalks of celery

4 carrots

2 small onions

2 Tbsp fresh thyme

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

2 cups plus 3 Tbsp all purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup milk (buttermilk can be used also)

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

 

Directions:

In a dutch oven heat oil over medium heat.  Add chicken and let brown turning once.  Remove chicken from pot and add chopped celery, onions, carrots and garlic to the pot.  sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 7 to 9 minutes.  Add the chicken bayleaves, 10 cups of water and “Better than Bullion”, let simmer on until chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken and bay leaves from pot, remove bone and skin from the chicken and shred with a fork, add back to pot.

Remove 2 cups of liquid from pot and add 3 Tablespoons of flour, whisk until smooth then incorporate back into pot to thicken.

In a large bowl mix Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  Add milk butter and parsley mixing until dough forms.  Roll the dough into 8 equal balls or just drop by the spoonful into the broth.  Cover and simmer until the dumplings become full and firm, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Garnish and serve.  This is a warm family favorite that everyone will enjoy.

(adapted from www.realsimple.com)

Family Night

Tonight our family ventured into Nashville for a bit of holiday sightseeing.  We had attempted to attend Opryland’s yearly bacchanalia before Christmas for my daughter 16th Birthday, but truly had no luck getting near the resort due to traffic.  It was then we contemplated our after Christmas trip, thinking the crowds would have surely dissipated by this time, so we set out.  The traffic was not terribly bad, and the parking was a pleasant surprise as well.  We were able to get only 4 rows out from the event pavilion.

IMG_0624

As we walked into the magical wonderland there were people roasting marshmallows on an open fire, snow tubing and ice skating in the background, lovely holiday music and delectable sweet smells filled the air and people everywhere.

IMG_0610

As we made our way through crowds and across busy crosswalks there were several people on hover boards, adults and children alike.  This was, I’ve been told, the “must have” gift for this season.

First thing, we  made our way to the immense Christmas tree in the atrium to take our traditional family photo, then on to walk through the maze of paths and stairs to view the most beautiful of Christmas lights displayed.  Of course, being in the Music Capital there would no doubt be a symbol of the towns heritage.

IMG_0627

It was so enjoyable to experience the beauty of the lights, the sights, sounds and smells tantalized our senses and as always, it was such a wonderful experience that our family cherishes attending each and every year.  We also attend the many holiday events the resort hosts but tonight, tonight was to immerse ourselves and be amazed at all the wondrous holiday displays before us.

And, as a courtesy for my daughter, I give honorable mention to the many Starbucks Coffee Stations placed strategically throughout the resort.

 

IMG_0608

If you ever have the opportunity to venture to Nashville during the holiday season, I strongly recommend you visit this wondrous display of lights, sights and sounds for yourself.  It has become a yearly tradition for our family and a gem worth sharing.

Eggnog pancakes

As the solemnness settles in during the days between Christmas and New Years Eve, I sit in the quiet kitchen pondering what magic I can yield from all the leftovers.  My Daughter absolutely loves pancakes, in fact, when she can think of nothing to say she just simply says “pancakes”.  This has lead to our family  somewhat becoming pancake connoisseurs.  We’ve attempted many variations so when I realized we actually had leftover eggnog, yes a Christmas miracle I know, I decided to make eggnog pancakes.

They were a huge success and did not last long at all.  The aroma of these pancakes were in keeping with the season, I just wish the weather would cooperate.  It feels like summer outside and has been difficult to keep the holiday spirit when it feels as if we should start the grill and BBQ  instead. Shorts are usually not caroling attire, but the rains are heading our way and there is cooler weather beyond that so New Years Eve will be chilly, we cannot wait.

To make these delicious pancaked whisk the dry ingredients together, then the liquids.  Then blend those just until mixed, do not over stir this.  using an ice-cream scoop  I drop the batter into a medium temperature pan lightly coated with oil.  Cook these slowly on a lower setting, due to the eggnog they tend to  brown a bit quicker over high heat. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, add butter and pure maple syrup for a delicious breakfast.

IMG_1321

Eggnog Pancakes


 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tbsp of sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 eggs room temperature

1 1/4 cups eggnog

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp melted butter

maple syrup and powdered sugar


Directions:

In a deep bowl Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder salt and nutmeg together, Then, in a separate bowl whisk eggs lightly, add eggnog vanilla and melted butter until well blended.  Combine all ingredients just until mixed, do not over stir this. Using  an ice-cream scoop drop the batter into a medium temperature pan lightly coated with oil.  Cook these slowly on a lower setting, due to the eggnog they tend to  brown a bit quicker over high heat. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, add butter and pure maple syrup for a delicious breakfast.

Wishing everyone a joyous holiday this season from my kitchen to yours….

 

 

Christmas Eve Pies

In my kitchen, we have been baking all afternoon, and how the house smells of sweetness and warmth with a hint of Christmas.  And of course, wonderful Christmas music wafts through those delicious smells, the mixture creates a “warmth” around the entire house. The fire place embers still twinkle orange  like starlight on a black and grey clouded sky from this mornings fire, which took the chill from downstairs.

With the holidays moving so quickly and zero hour (Christmas Eve) upon us, I knew I needed to sit down and slow my busy pace for a few moments. As the golden sun fall below the ghostly tree line and evening sets in I pluck my pecan pie from the oven, the deliciously sweet and warn caramel fumes fill my kitchen.

For the pie, I made a simple shortening crust, mixing flour shortening, I use butter flavored, and just a splash or 2 of cold water to soften and form it.  I split that in two halves, wrapped it in cellophane and let it rest in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes.  Meanwhile I mixed the sugars, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter and eggs. Blend this well.   Prepare your pie crust in desired dish.  cover the bottom of the pie crust with chopped pecans, about 1 heaping cup, then pour your custard mixture over them evenly.  Cover this ever so lightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes.

With Christmas moving as if Santa’s reindeer themselves were pulling through the sky I did not have the opportunity to take amazing photos of the “oh so delicious pies”.  I have however, managed to capture a tiny sliver of the aftermath and I submit them for your tantalizing enjoyment.

The crumbly goodness of my Souther pecan pie using chopped pecans was well received.  The pie formed a crisp, crunchy, nutty shell topping as it baked while the crust became flakey and buttery .

IMG_0588

Simple pie crust:

2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour

3/4 cup shortening (I used butter flavored)

1/2 cup cold water (more or less)

Directions:

In a large bowl cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender until it forms small pea like beads.

Here I transferred the mixture to my kitchenaid mixer, using the dough hook I slowly added cold water by the tablespoon until a soft smooth dough formed.  If dough becomes sticky add a sprinkle of flour to bring it back to a soft dough.

Divide in half, form a disc, wrap in cellophane and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out to pie plate size and lay in greased, floured pie plate.  Fold edges as desired.

Southern Pecan Pie

Prepared crust

Southern Pecan Pie filling:

1 cup of sugar

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup of corn syrup

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup melted salted butter

3 large eggs well beaten

1 cup (heaping) chopped pecans

Directions:

Whisk together the sugars, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter and eggs. Blend this well, you should see it cream together into custard type filling.  Prepare your pie crust in desired dish.  cover the bottom of the pie crust with chopped pecans, about 1 heaping cup, then pour your custard mixture over them.  Cover this ever so lightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes.

My oldest son loves to bake and cook but mostly experiment in the kitchen.  This is his second attempt at the ole Southern staple chess pie.  The first he did on Thanksgiving 2014, the Thanksgiving of the smoked turkey, it has come to be known.  Although that year his chess pie tasted absolutely to die for there were some discrepancies in the crust and topping.  This years chess pie was a home run, he hit it out of the park and this recipe will be going into the family cook book for generations to come.

IMG_0589

 

We used the other half of the pie crust recipe above for this pie.

Southern Chess Pie

Prepared crust

2 cups sugar

2 Tbsp corn meal

1 Tbsp all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk

1 Tbsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp vanilla

4 large eggs lightly beaten

Directions:

You must bake the pie crust slightly before adding the filling.  Line your crust with aluminum foil and add pie weights or beans.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, blend together all ingredients starting with sugar and ending with beaten eggs.  Mix this well until a smooth silky consistency is reached.

Layer the bottom of your crust with copped pecans evenly, these will rise to the top as the pie bakes created a magnificently crisp topping.

Pour mixture into pie crust, cover slightly with aluminum foil or a pie crust ring and bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Christmas In Connecticut…

This afternoon while reviewing recipes trying to decide what to do on my next post I decided to put on my favorite holiday movie ‘Christmas in Connecticut”.  This movie is a funny, heartwarming and romantically delightful one that was also an inspiration for my writing a food blog.

Christmas-in-Connecticut

I absolutely love the premise of a romance blossoming in the surroundings of a Connecticut farm house, right down to the community dance and impromptu sleigh ride.  The farm house was alas nothing more than a set built for the movie.  But, a girl can still dream, hang on to the notion that that modern stone farm house with its rustic fencing, New England charm and immense stone fireplace, logs burning and cracking briskly still sits nestled in the Connecticut countryside where baseball is played in the yard and apple pies cool on the window sill in the summer.  Where carols are sung, suckling duck is roasted and the countryside wears a blanket of white sparkling snow in the winter.  I am however perfectly content in my Georgian Colonial home settled in the hills of Tennessee outside of Nashville, for now at least.

And speaking of romantic ,my husband and I had decided to marry on Christmas Eve in a private outdoor ceremony with family and a few close friends at a rustic log pavilion with an inviting fireplace on a sparkling Lake.  We had to, of course, take care of the actually legality ahead of time due to the holiday ceremony so, on December 14th we were “officially” married at the courthouse.  Sadly I came down with a severe bout of the flu 3 days before Christmas and our Christmas Eve ceremony had to be cancelled which truly broke my heart but we did manage to drive out to the lake and in front of the unlit fireplace we exchanged our vows and rings, just the two of us.  So, I did marry the most wonderful man and we have since officially celebrated our anniversary on December 14th but always on Christmas Eve we privately celebrate our exchange of vows, just the 2 of us.

Our family, like many during this time of year spend December watching a cornucopia of holiday movies and I recommend “Christmas in Connecticut” to anyone with nostalgic tendencies.

,

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza

It’s Sunday Morning and I have gotten up to sit comfortably in front of a crackling fire in the fire place with a hot cup of Cinnamon Dolce` to write.  The house is quiet “all the whos still asnooze” as was said.

Yesterday was my daughters 16th birthday and we seem to always end up going to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for their yearly Christmas extravaganza and this year we’d hoped was no different.  Her boyfriend joined us and we all sat down to a lovely home cooked dinner with cookie pizza for desert, loaded up in the family car and headed to Opryland.  Our excitement and joy was soon turned to horror and despair when the traffic cam to a stand-still over a mile from our destination.  It seemed everyone else in Nashville has decided to head to Opryland as well.  We thought we’d try a sneak attack and come in from the other side but, when we drove past and seen the parking situation we decided to reschedule for weeknight.  We drove around looking at the beautiful Christmas lights of Nashville, returned home and had a warn cozy bonfire in our back yard fire pit with Laughter and reminiscing.

IMG_0557

I wanted to share with you the huge chocolate chip cookie pizza I baked for my daughters Birthday.  She requested cream cheese icing on top of this cookie so of course, I did just that.  The recipe is an old one I use to make for my oldest son when he was a child.  It has been my tried and true “go to” chocolate chip cookie recipe for over 20 years now because of its versatility.  It can be baked up moist and chewy  or with just a few extra minutes in the oven crisp and ready to be dunked in a cold glass of milk, just the way a cookie should be. I used my Grandmother’s pizza pan which is over 50 years old.  It came to my kitchen via my mother and it’s well seasoned charm will be passed on to another generation some day.  This recipe is not of my own doing but one I found on a Butter Flavored Crisco container as a young Mother.  But worthy of sharing non the less.

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie 

3/4 cup Butter Flavored Crisco

1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp milk

1 Tbsp pure Mexican vanilla extract – (my secret ingredient)

1 large egg

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour – King Arthur is what I use

1 teas.  salt

3/4 teas. baking soda

1-2 cups of chocolate chips

-or-

1 cup of chocolate chips

1 cup of chips or nuts of your choice

 

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet do not grease, you can however use a silicone mat.

In mixer on medium speed cream together crisco, brown sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Add egg and bled well.

In a separate bowl blend all purpose flour, salt and baking soda. turn mixer to lowest speed, add flour mixture to your creamed mixture blend just until it is weak incorporated.  Add your ships and nuts if desired and mix slowly just until well blended. I suggest this be done by hand to prevent crushing the chips and nuts.

Drop cookie dough but the round tablespoon full 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.

to make the cookie pizza, pour dough onto pizza pan and spread evenly, this is very important as not to let the edges get too crisp and brown before the center cooks well.

Bake for 11 to 13 for crisp cookies, 8 to 10 for chewy cookies  and 15 minutes for the pizza.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy.

 

Welcome to my first edition of “Weekend Krumbs”. I thought is would be nice to add a little variety to my baking blog by sharing other facest of life to the mixing bowl. “Happy Birthday” to my beautiful, wonderful, bright Daughter Kaytlyn who is turning 16 today! She has requested a “giant” chocolate chip cookie with cream shees icing for her special day. I will post the Krumbs on that very soon.
I wanted to tak this opportunity to give everyone a few highlights of our Thanksgiving with our family furhter South. We spent Thanksgiving with my inlaws who are nestled in a beautifully untouched rural community in Southern Alabama. We drove down with the children (teenagers) on Wednesday evening. Traffic was a bit hectic for a moment there leaving Nashville but we made it safe and sound without a terrible amount of roadrage.
Thanksgiving morning myself my mother-in-law – Miss Judy, my daughter Kaytlyn and her two cousins, Makalya and Sarah got up and we began to cook. I just want to say at this point that I am so very proud of my Niece Makayla, at 17 she has developed a passion for cooking and baking that filled my heart with so much happiness. she had the honor this year of baking our Thankgiving turkey and what a wonderful job she did. It turned out completely moist and delicious, she also baked a Maccoroni and cheese casserole and prefect cast iron turley gravy. She truly made our thanksgiving meal one to remember and I want to giver her a warm Southern “Thank You Ma’am” with much Love!
Aunt Elaine whom lives two door down provided us fresh sweet potatoes from her garden and I could not wait to to turn them into a decadent Southern sweet potato casserole. I did not have the opportunity to get any photos of the making of it, I did manage to get one decent photo of it with my phone but alas, somone had already taken a taste.

Below is my recipe and I hope to take better photos in the near future.

For the casserole
5-6 large Peeled and precooked sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
28 oz can of Sweet potato pie filling
1 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
½ stick butter, softened, (do not substitute margarine)
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup canned evaporated milk

For the topping
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup all purpose flour
½ stick butter, melted, do not substitute margarine
1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a very large bowl, mix mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, eggs, softened butter, vanilla and evaporated milk together using a mixer on low to medium speed or by hand.
Spread mixture into a 9 x 13 un-greased casserole dish evenly.
Now prepare topping by mixing brown sugar, flour, melted butter and nuts with a fork in a separate bowl.
Sprinkle topping over casserole, making sure to entirely cover the casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes

I’ve decided it’s time to brush off my dusty blog, stretch my fingers and get back to baking, cooking and blogging. I have gathered many wonderful recipe ideas over the past several months. during my hyatius I’ve found renewed inspiration and a plethra of new projects that I am so eager to share with you. As I sitting in fromt of a cracling fire with the warm glow of the christmas tree lights splashings light from between the trees branches illuminating the room setting the mood for my return blog so, lets jump right into it.

This evening while the buzz of my family discussing their days buzzed around the Kitchen I whipped up some deliciously tender chicken cutlets. I Llightly sprinklied the cutlets with flour, paprika, yellow curry, a pinch of salt and pepper and a dash or two of Tarragon. lightly frying them in Grape seed oil then topping them off with capers. Accompanying the chicken this evening were homemade garlic mashed potatoes and saute`d spinach.

My younger son has declared every night this week that we should all sit down and watch a Christmas Movie so tonight we did just that. We’ve started our yearly Christmas Movie Marrathon off with “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” starring Jim Carry. Of course popcorn was made, pillows and assorted blankets were strewn around the family room making a perfectly cozy evening in our home.
My daughter brought up decadent recipe she found on facebook for “crockpot hot cocoa” we will be making in the very near future with some personal modifications I’m sure.