Our weather lately has really been C-O_L_D! The regular temperatures don’t sound so bad until you factor in the WIND CHILL – example: today it was 10 degrees outside but with the wind chill it felt more like 9 below! BRrrrrrr! I was really glad I didn’t have any place special to go – stayed inside & read, took a quick nap (and woke up wondering just WHAT I was supposed to be doing – I thought it was 3 p.m., it was only 1:30, I’d probably been napping about 10 minutes! Weird!) Today I decided that THIS YEAR I’m going to attempt to only knit things I LIKE knitting! With that thought in mind I totally unraveled about 2 feet of knit bright pink baby blanket. Why? Because it was regular worsted weight yarn that was really difficult on the needles – felt like I was knitting with telephone cables – very awkward. I kept thinking: Do you REALLY want to keep going for another 5 feet or more? NO! Out it came and the yarn got put back in the ‘donated yarn’ box for someone else to use! I started a teal scarf with a really simple pattern: just one row repeated over & over – not bad. Knit two baby hats, just for the fun of it; they’re quick & easy and sort of mindless – I can think about other things and still produce a nice product! The recipient of the knit boot toppers got her gift today and was really happy with them. Am contemplating going for another baby blanket but am sort of holding back – we’ll see. It’s not like I don’t have any YARN for it! HA!
Condensed Milk Cookies
1 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. + 4 T. sugar
1/2 C. sweetened condensed milk
3 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl cream sugar & butter
until creamy; mix in cond. milk.
Sift flour & baking powder
together & mix, in batches, int
batter; mix in vanilla until a soft
dough forms. Place dough in a
cookie press – (or roll into small
balls & press tops down with a
fork). Place cookies on a cookie
sheet & bake 15 minutes until
they start to brown. Cool.
Crockpot Cheesy Bacon Cauliflower
2 lb. cauliflower florets
1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 C. milk
1 1/2 C. grated mozzarella cheese,
3 oz. bacon crumbles
Place cauliflower in crockpot. Melt
butter in saucepan over medium heat;
stir in flour, salt/pepper. Add milk all
at once & cook, stirring constantly, until
mixture thickens & bubbles. Remove from
heat, add 1 1/2 C. cheese – whisk until
smooth – pour mixture over cauliflower
& stir. Cover & cook on Low 3-4 hours.
Stir in bacon, salt & pepper to taste.
Ham & White Bean Soup
1 lb. dry white beans (cannellini or
Great Northern) about 2 1/2 C.
2 quarts water
2-3 lb. smoked ham hocks or
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 T. olive oil
1 C. diced onion (1 small)
1 C. chopped celery (2-3 ribs)
2/3 C. chopped carrots (about
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)
Soak dry beans in hot water
accordg. to pkg. directions. Drain.
Place ham hocks or shanks in large
pot & cover with 2 quarts water;
add Italian seasoning; heat on High
heat until water simmers then lower
heat. Partially cover & simmer about
1 hour. Heat oil in small saute pan on
medium-high heat; add chopped onions-
cook 5-6 minutes. Add garlic & cook 1
minute more. Once beans have soaked
& ham has simmered 1 hour, add beans,
vegetables & broth to ham broth. Cook
40 minutes, uncovered, until vegetables
are soft & ham meat easily pulls away
from bone. Remove bones (discard); pull off
any meat (chop into small pieces) &
return to soup. Add several drops of
Tabasco, salt & pepper to taste. Serve
with pinch of chopped fresh parsley.
One-Pot Cheesy Italian Pasta
8 oz. baby spinach leaves,
1 C. sun-dried tomatoes packed
in oil & Italian herbs, drained
(about 7 oz)
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 lb. uncooked boneless, skinless
chicken breasts cut into 1/2″
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb. dry linguine
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 C. (32 oz) chicken stock
1 C. (8 oz) chardonnay wine*
4 oz. fresh Parmesan cheese,
Combine half of spinach with tomatoes,
onion, chicken, garlic, linguine, Ital.
seasoning, salt, pepper & crushed red
pepper in 5 qt. Dutch oven over medium-
high heat. Pour chicken stock & wine over
top, cover & bring to boil. Cook 7-9 minutes
until pasta is al dente. Toss pasta with tongs
occasionally to keep pasta from sticking to
bottom of pan. (There will still be a little
liquid in bottom of pan when pasta is done-
this is the base for cheese sauce)
Turn off heat; add cheese to pasta & toss
using tongs until cheese melts into pasta.
Toss in remaining spinach & serve.
*you can substitute wine with chicken
stock, white grape juice or lemon water
(1/2 C. fresh lemon juice & 1/2 C. water)
Mom’s Beef Pot Pie
3/4 lb. beef top round, cut into
1″ inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped
2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
1 medium potato, peeled/cut into
1/2 inch cubes
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables,
1 (10.5 oz) can beef broth
1 (8 oz) pkg. refrigerated crescent
dinner rolls (8 rolls)
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 inch pie plate with nonstick
spray. In medium bowl combine beef,
onion, flour, salt/pepper – mix well.
In large, deep skillet heat oil over
medium-high heat. Place beef mixture
in skillet & cook 3-5 minutes until no
pink remains in meat, stirring frequently.
Add potato & mixed vegs – cook 5 minutes.
Add broth & bring to boil. Reduce heat
to medium & cook 10-12 minutes until
potatoes are tender & liquid has thickened.
Pour beef mixture into prepared pie plate.
Separate crescent rolls into 8 dough
triangles. Starting at wide end, roll up
each triangle halfway – place over beef
mixture with wide ends touching the
outside rim of pie pan & pointed ends
touching in the center (making a pin-
wheel shape). Bake 16-18 minutes until
crust is golden. Serves 4
1 lb. elbow macaroni cooked/drained
1 lb. bulk mild or spicy pork sausage
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped (1 C.)
1/3 C. butter or margarine
1/3 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 C. milk
3/4 C. water
4 C. shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (6 oz)
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
20 slices pepperoni (from 3 oz pkg)
small fresh basil leaves, optional
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray 3 quart casserole dish with nonstick
spray. In large nonstick skillet cook sausage
over medium-high heat until no longer
pink; drain. Add to skillet bell pepper &
onion, cook 5 minutes until crisp-tender.
In 4 qt. saucepan, melt butter over medium-
low heat. Stir in flour, salt & 1/2 tsp. pepper
flakes; cook & stir until smooth. Gradually
add milk & water, stirring constantly until
thickened. Gradually add Cheddar cheese;
stir until melted. Add cooked macaroni,
sausage & onion mixture – toss to coat
then spoon into casserole dish. Sprinkle
top with mozz. cheese & bake, uncovered,
30 minutes until bubbly. Top with Parm.
cheese, pepperoni & remaining 1 tsp.
pepper flakes. Bake 2-4 minutes longer until
lightly browned; garnish with basil, if desired.
Crockpot Cinnamon Bread
1 T. yeast
1 T. honey
1 C. warm water
1 C. chopped apples
2 3/4 C. flour
1/3 C. plus 1 T. granulated
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 T. olive oil
Mix warm (not hot) water, yeast &
honey – let stand 1 minute for yeast
to foam. Stir flour, 1 T. sugar, salt &
then mix with yeast mixture & olive
oil, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Knead mixture 5 minutes, either by
hand or using a stand mixer with
hook attachment. Mix remaining 1/3
C. sugar & cinnamon together & fold
in apples. Gently fold apples into
bread dough & form dough into a
ball. Line crockpot with parchment
paper & place ball in center. Place
paper towels on top of crockpot &
cover with lid very slightly ajar;
this will help absorb some of the
moisture so top of bread is not
mushy & wet while bottom is crisp.
Cook on High 1 1/2 hours until bottom
is browned (you can just lift it out
with the parchment to check how
brown the bottom is).
Preheat oven on Broil/High
Remove from crockpot, place on a
baking tray. Broil bread 2-3 minutes
until desired brownness. Makes 1 loaf
Banana Bread Brownies
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. sour cream
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 3/4 C. ripe bananas (3-4)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. chopped walnuts (optional)
Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 C. butter
4 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 T. milk
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Grease & flour 15 X 10″ jelly roll
pan. In large bowl beat sugar, sour
cream, butter & eggs until creamy.
Blend in bananas & vanilla. Add
flour, baking soda, salt – blend 1
minute; stir in walnuts. Spread
batter evenly in pan. Bake 20-25
minutes until golden brown.
Heat butter in large saucepan over
medium heat until boiling. Let butter
turn a delicate brown & remove from
heat. Immediately add powdered
sugar, vanilla & milk – whisk together
until smooth (should be thicker than
a glaze but thinner than frosting).
Using a spatula, spread over warm
bars (frosting will be easier to spread
when bars are warm).
(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)
Hope you’re enjoying the first days of this
new year – it feels ‘funny’ not having
the cheery colorful Christmas lights in
the house – I’ve heard of some people
who just leave their tree up and then
decorate it for each coming holiday –
like putting hearts on it for Valentines
Day – just a thought.
Stay warm & remember to do something
for YOU – doesn’t have to be anything big,
just a little something (even as little as a
5 minute nap!).