AN APOLOGY

Writing the Anti-Superbowl Fun blog for the past two days wore me out. I don’t know why it was so draining, but it was. So today I find myself brain dead. I have no ideas on what to write today, so I’m taking the day off. My apologies. I hope that later I will find inspiration so I will have a great post for you tomorrow. Meanwhile, please stay warm, stay happy and healthy and stay tuned. I leave you with a new recipe or two though.

 

 

banana-pecan pancakes

Home Cookin Chapter: BLINTZES, CREPES, PANCAKES, ETC.

Banana- Pecan Pancakes

======================

Yield: Ten to twelve 5-inch pancakes

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 12 min

Ingredients:

1 large egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium)

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional- but so good!)

.

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a whisk until it’s a little

fluffy. Whisk in all of the remaining ingredients, except for the

pecans, and mix until smooth.

2. Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. Spray with

nonstick spray.

3. For each pancake, scoop 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter onto the heated

surface. Cook pancakes until puffed and dry around the edges. Turn

and cook other sides until golden brown.

Source: RecipeGirl.com (adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook:

Bridal Edition) via

http://kickassrecipes.tk/banana-pecan-pancakes/

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

 

gingerbread-waffles-recipe_17081

Home Cookin Chapter: BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH RECIPES

Gingerbread Waffles

===================

Prep 8 min

Cook 10 min

Ready 18 min

Gingerbread Waffles

Ingredients:

3 cup all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated, eyeball it

1/2 tsp salt

4 large egg

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, plus some to grease the waffle

iron

1 syrup, whipped cream, or fresh fruits for topping, to pass at

the table

.

Directions:

Preheat a waffle iron.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger,

nutmeg, and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, then

beat in pumpkin, milk, molasses, and melted butter.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just

moist. Do not over stir the waffle batter.

Brush the waffle iron with a little melted butter and cook 4

waffles, 4 sections each.

Serve with toppings of choice.

source: http://www.kitchme.com/recipes/gingerbread-waffles

Servings: 4

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

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CHRISTMAS DAY 2014

ornament_S4

 

I have never thought about how I would celebrate Christmas if I wasn’t Jewish, but as I was searching for a topic to write about today, I thought it would be fun to fantasize. First of all, I would have a huge beautiful pine tree in my front yard, like the ones we had at our house when I was growing up. I would string green flashing lights all around it. I would put Santa Claus window clings on my living room windows and a reindeer window cling on my front door window pane. I would outline my windows in blue lights and outline the door outside in blue lights too. I love water-related colors. I would have a blow-up Christmas Carousel on the front lawn along with Christmas caroler lawn stakes. On my door, I would have a home-made wreath like the one I have pictured above and I would have lights lining the walkway in welcome.

Indoors I would have a medium-sized real pine tree surrounded by a sheer white organza lace tree skirt and the tree would be decorated in shades of pink glass ornaments and a rose velvet ribbon running through it. The tree would have some meaningful family ornaments scattered around it to add meaning to my tree and to the holiday. I would top the tree with an angel.

My mantel would hold a stocking for each of us and would have been knit by me through the years. And it would have one store-bought old-fashioned stocking filling with Christmas candies. It would be the kind that is full of holes, this is for nostalgia. And I would make sure there was a tangerine or an orange in everyone’s stocking along with all the other stocking stuffers I bought. I would probably have a Santa Claus collection on my mantel too.

I would have been baking and making candy for months. There would be Fran Scarmanach’s Christmas Cut-Out Cookies, Carol Wilson’s Italian Spice Balls, Peanut-Butter Blossoms, Snow-Topped Mint Chocolate Cooks, Snickerdoodles, Gingerbread Men and who knows what else!

I would have cards from all of my friends and families taped to the wall in a tree-shaped design. This would be in a special place so I could see it when I came down the stairs each morning.

I would plan my menu. I would serve a nice dip and crudites and pigs in a blanket. Also would serve something like a tree-shaped fruit and cheese platter, something colorful. For cocktails, I’d make festive punch, one alcoholic, one non-alcoholic. We would begin with French Onion soup, a tossed salad, brown and serve rolls, Let’s see, I think a good Christmas dinner would be a standing rib-roast or a prime rib. With the roast I would serve herb roasted carrots, steamed green beans, and baked potatoes or potatoes au gratin. Have to have a Christmasy jello mold….I’ll have to look on the net and post one here…For dessert, something decadent, perhaps a Yule Log cake. Those always look impressive to me. I wouldn’t forget to put out the cookies and candies I have made. I’d serve champagne with dinner and bubbly apple juice to those who don’t want alcohol or are too young. Of course I’d have lots of pop too. A good coffee and a choice of good teas to end the dinner would be in order.

Can you hear the Christmas music playing softly in the background, the voices of the people surrounding the table and the laughter? There would be lots of laughter as we reminisce. I can hear my favorite  Christmas CD put out years ago by Mason Williams of “Classical Gas” fame. Yes, I really do have Christmas CD’s as part of my music collection at home! Mr. Williams’ CD is called “Mason Williams and Friends, a Gift of Song” and is available from Amazon.com. I am a huge Mason Williams fan. His writings are as good as his music! I think he is a genius.

 

Here is a recipe I copied from Pinterest the other day for a dip that I would love to try:

 

 

easy skillet pizza dip

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: APPETIZERS 2014

Easy Skillet Pizza Dip

======================

Serve this easy pizza dip with Pillsbury™ bread sticks or fresh

veggies for dipping!

Prep time 15 min

total time 30 min

ingredients 3

servings 8

Ingredients:

1 Lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

1 1/2 Cups Muir Glen™ organic garlic roasted garlic pasta sauce

1 1/2 Cups shredded Italian cheese blend (6 oz)

 

Steps:

Heat oven to 375°F.

In 10- or 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat,

stirring frequently, until brown; drain.

Stir in marinara sauce until well combined. Top with cheese.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is

hot. If desired, increase oven setting to broil during last 3 to 4

minutes of baking to brown cheese.

NOTE: Use ground turkey in place of the ground beef, if desired.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1 Serving

Calories190Calories from Fat110

Total Fat12g

Saturated Fat6gTrans Fat1/2g

Cholesterol55mgSodium320mgTotal

Carbohydrate5g

Dietary Fiber1g

Sugars0g

Protein15g

% Daily Value*:

Vitamin A6%

Vitamin C4%

Calcium15%

Iron8%

Exchanges:0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0

Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean

Meat; 1 High-Fat Meat; 0 Fat;

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

COMMENTS:

MelissaPearson:   Just a tip. Don’t cook items with

tomatoes in your cast iron skillet. The acid content of tomatoes

can damage your skillet. That would be terrible considering all

the work you’re gone through to get it perfectly seasoned.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

 

Here are some punch recipes:

 

punch bowl

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: BEVERAGES – NON-ALCOHOLIC

POMEGRANATE-LEMONADE PUNCH

==========================

PREP: 10 mins.

SERVINGS: 10 servings, 1 cup each serving

4 1/2 cups COLD Water

1 packet (makes 2 qt. drink) OR 2 packets (makes 1 qt. drink each)

Crystal Light Lemonade Flavor Drink Mix*

2 cans (12 oz. each) Diet Ginger Ale; CHILLED

2 cups COLD Pomegranate Juice

1/2 cup FRESH Lemon Juice

*NOTE: Crystal Light Packets come in two sizes. Please note

packet size before preparing recipe!!!

.

In a large punch bowl, add COLD water to the drink mix; stir UNTIL

mix is dissolved.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Garnish each glass with FRESH mint, a lemon slice OR a small scoop

of lemon sherbet.

MSS NOTE: Photo shows combination of lemon slices and fresh mint

leaves as their garnish.

SOURCE: pg. 16, Kraft’s “FOOD & FAMILY HOLIDAY 2014” magazine.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

BEST-Christmas-Punch-Recipe-EVER

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: BEVERAGES – ALCOHOLIC

BEST Christmas Punch Recipe: Santa’s Little Helper!

===================================================

A delicious blend of juices and a bubbly mixer make this recipe

perfectly adaptable as alcoholic or non-alcoholic, and it’s SURE

to be the hit of your holiday party, festive gathering or baby

shower!

Author: Carrie

Recipe type: Beverage

Prep time: 5 mins Total time: 5 mins

Ingredients

1 bottle of champagne (OR use a lemon-lime soda like Sierra Mist

to make it non-alcoholic)

1 bottle of Cranberry Juice Blend

1 cup of sugar (try to use superfine sugar if you can find it)

1 c. frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)

1 c. frozen orange juice concentrate (thawed)

ice

water (for amount, see below)

garnishes: lemon slices, cranberries, fresh rosemary sprigs

Instructions

Combine the champagne and the cranberry juice blend. Add the

sugar, and stir vigorously until combined.

Add the thawed concentrates, stir.

If you want a strong punch you can leave as is and just add some

ice. You may wish to dilute with up to three cups of water (add

water to taste) depending on your personal preference. Remember

adding ice will also dilute the punch a bit so don’t go overboard

on both ice and water. 🙂

Add your garnishes– a bag of fresh cranberries, lemon slices (wash

the lemons well if including the peels), perhaps a sprig of fresh

rosemary or two for a fresh kick.

** Note: You can also make this ahead of time– simply add all

ingredients EXCEPT the garnishes and bubbly (either champagne or

soda). Refrigerate for a few hours and add the remaining

ingredients when guests arrive. **

source:

http://makinglemonadeblog.com/best-christmas-punch-recipe-santas-l

ittle-helper/

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

 

Look at what I found for you in my d base of recipes!!! This would be perfect for my fantasy Christmas feast, of course, I would omit the mushrooms!!!  Please note that the prime rib photo below is not part of my recipe.  There was no photo with recipe because I typed it from a magazine.  I found the photo at http://www.caroincarolina.com/2011/01/random-willynillyness-cooking-presents.html.  I strongly advise you check this webpage out before you begin making your prime rib.  It is very informative.

 

 

prime rib

 

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: Beef

PRIME RIB

=========

ACTIVE: 25 mins.

TOTAL: 2 hr. 40 mins.

SERVES: 12-18

PRIME RIB:

4 tbsp. Tricolor Peppercorns (OR any peppercorns)

3 springs Rosemary

3 sprigs Thyme

1/2 cup Kosher Salt

8 cloves Garlic; MINCED

1 10-14 lb. BONELESS Rib-Eye Roast

1/4 cup Olive Oil

YORKSHIRE PUDDING:

ACTIVE: 25 mins.

TOTAL: 40 mins.

SERVES: 12

5 LARGE Eggs

1 cup Half-and-Half

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

Kosher Salt

Drippings from the Prime Rib

BURGUNDY MUSHROOMS:

START MAKING THE MUSHROOMS IN THE MORNING–THEY TAKE 9 HRS FOR

MAKE! IF YOU CAN’T STAY HOME TO WATCH THE STOVE, MAKE THEM IN A

SLOW COOKER ON LOW.

ACTIVE: 15 mins.

TOTAL: 9 hrs. 15 mins.

SERVES: 12

4 lbs. WHITE BUTTON Mushrooms

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter

4 cubes LOW-SODIUM Chicken Bouillon

4 cubes LOW-SODIUM Beef Bouillon

FRESHLY GROUND BLACK Pepper

1 tsp. Dill Seeds

5 cloves Garlic

1 liter Burgundy Wine (OR any Red Wine, such as Cabernet OR

Merlot)

1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Kosher Salt

“Prime rib is the most impressive, seductive hunk of beef there

is.”

PRIME RIB:

1. MOVE THE OVEN RACK TO THE BOTTOM AND PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 500°

F., then start with the seasoning. Grab the peppercorns and throw

them in a big plastic bag and pound them with a rolling pin to

break them open.

Pull the leaves off of the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Throw the

crushed peppercorns into a bowl with the salt and herb leaves and

add the MINCED garlic. Use your finger to toss it all together,

then set it aside.

2. Place the beef, FAT-SIDE UP, on a rack in the roasting pan.

Drizzle the olive oil all over the surface and rub it in with your

hands. Sprinkle the peppercorn-herb-salt mixture all over the

surface of the beef, pressing it LIGHTLY with your hands.

3. Roast the beef 46 mins. for the first stage. REDUCE THE OVEN

TEMP. TO 300° F. AND INSERT A MEAT THERMOMETER SIDEWAYS INTO THE

ROAST. Roast the beef an additional 1 hr. 15 mins. to 1 hr. 30

mins. OR UNTIL THE THERMOMETER REGISTERS 120° F. TO 135° F. IN THE

CENTER for medium-rare. (The meat will continue to cook for a bit

after you remove it from the oven.)

4. REMOVE the beef from the rack and let it rest about 15 mins.

to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. (This is

a perfect time to get the Yorkshire pudding in the oven). When

you’re ready to serve, carve it into slices of your preferred

width.

 

YORKSHIRE PUDDING:

 

1. MAKE THE BATTER BEFORE REMOVING THE PRIME RIB FROM THE OVEN:

Combine the eggs and half-and-half in a bowl and whisk UNTIL

they’re totally combined. Throw the flour and 2 tsp. salt into a

SIFTER and sift them straight into the bowl. Whisk until it’s

nice and smooth, then refrigerate until the prime rib is ready.

2. After the beef is removed from the pan, INCREASE THE OVEN

TEMPERATURE to 450° F. Use a SLOTTED SPOON to remove the

peppercorns, herbs and excess salt from the drippings. Pour the

remaining drippings into a separate container. They should be

speckled and lovely!

3. Pour a small amount (about 1/2 tsp. or so) of the drippings

into each cup of a standard muffin pan and place the pan in the

HOT OVEN for a couple of mins. OR UNTIL JUST BEFORE THE DRIPPINGS

BEGIN TO SMOKE.

4. CAREFULLY REMOVE THE PAN FROM THE OVEN AND IMMEDIATELY FILL

THE MUFFIN CUPS ABOUT 1/2-2/3 FULL.

Bake 13-14 mins. OR UNTIL THEY’VE “POPPED” about as much as they

can pop. Serve them in a basket with a pretty napkin right next

to the prime rib.

 

BURGUNDY MUSHROOMS:

 

1. Throw the mushrooms in a LARGE POT WITH the butter, bouillon

cubes, 1 tsp. pepper, the drill seeds AND garlic. Add the wine,

Worcestershire sauce AND 2 cups BOILING water. Bring the mixture

to a BOIL OVER MEDIUM-HIGH heat, then REDUCE THE HEAT TO LOW,

COVER THE POLT AND LET IT SIMMER for 6 hrs. (Yes, I said 6

hours!)

2. After 6 hrs., REMOVE THE LID AND CONTINUE SIMMERING for

another 2-3 hrs. (Yes,I said 3 hrs.!)

3. After the 8-9 hrs. cooking time, season with salt to taste.

The mushrooms will be very dark in color and exceedingly luscious.

Ladle them into a serving dish and get ready for the best

mushroom experience of your life.

SOURCE: Ree Drummond, pg. 159-160, food network magazine,

December 2014, Vol.7, Number 10.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

 

Christmas Ribbon Mold

 

 

 

From Kraft Foods, I found this beautiful jello mold:

Home Cookin Chapter: JELLO

CHRISTMAS RIBBON MOLD

=====================

360 minutes to make

Cook time is chill time.

Ingredients

2 cups boiling water, divided

1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Cherry Flavor gelatin, or any other

red flavor

1-1/2 cups cold water, divided

1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O lime Flavor gelatin

2 cups JET-PUFFED miniature marshmallows

.

How to make it

Stir 1 cup of the boiling water into dry red gelatin mix in medium

bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the cold water.

Pour into 5-cup mold.

Refrigerate 2 hours or until set but not firm (gelatin should

stick to finger when touched and should mound).

Meanwhile, stir remaining 1 cup boiling water into dry lime

gelatin mix in medium bowl at least 2 min. until completely

dissolved.

Stir in remaining 3/4 cup cold water.

Refrigerate 30 min. or until cooled; gently stir in marshmallows.

Spoon over red gelatin.

(Marshmallows will float to the top.)

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.

Unmold and garnish with additional marshmallows, if desired.

Store any leftover gelatin in refrigerator.

source: Recipe and picture courtesy of Kraft Food & Family.

Servings: 10

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

 

I found this incredibly gorgeous Yule Log Cake on the internet. It actually doesn’t look as intimidating as some that I have seen!

 

 

yule-log-cake-recipe.jpg.pagespeed.ce.nIvp3P7E8B

 

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: CHRISTMAS 2013-2014

Buche De Noel

=============

Yule Log Cake Recipe

This yule log cake recipe is one of the simplest ways to make a luscious,

rich bûche de Noël at Christmas time. Fashioned to look like a yule log, a

bûche de Noël is most times just a jelly roll dressed up for the holidays.

If you come to France in December, you will find people eating many different

sorts of this “classic” dessert (which is actually a fairly modern take on

the French yule log tradition).

These days in France you can find a yule log cake recipe in any flavor that

might suit your fancy. There have even been chefs that have dreamed up savory

bûche de Noëls, served as an entree, but a more down to earth yule log cake

recipe might use:

Ice cream. I suspect that this is what a lot of French people will be having

this year if my grocery store freezer section is any indication.

Chestnut Puree. Usually a very rich mixture of chocolate, butter and sweet

chestnut cream.

Genoise Cake. This is a very light airy cake that rolls up nicely without

breaking. It is made with an incredible variety of fillings. The French favor

chocolate, vanilla, praline, orange liqueur, and coffee flavors but the only

limit is your imagination.

My Yule Log Cake Recipe

I made quite a few bûche de Noëls, testing which would be the best yule log

cake recipe to share with you. One I made had French buttercream frosting,

but although this was absolutely delicious, it was just too rich I believe.

So here’s my compromise: an easy (don’t be afraid, you can do it) genoise

cake with very easy chocolate buttercream frosting, which I find more

digestable then the French version. You’ll need a jelly roll pan to

successfully make this yule log cake recipe.

Bûche de Noël

Prep time: 40 minutes with assembly

Bake time: 10 min

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs (these have to be at room temperature)

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cake flour (sifted before measuring)

DIRECTIONS

Butter a 10 X 15 inch jelly roll pan. Line with parchment paper and butter

that as well. Preheat oven to 400° F.

In a mixer (a hand mixer and sturdy deep bowl work as well), beat the eggs

until they are very thick and light colored (this takes about 7 minutes).

Continue beating and add the sugar in 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each

spoonful to mix in before continuing with the next. Beat in the vanilla as

well.

Stop the mixer and sift 1/2 cup sifted cake flour on top of the batter. Using

a spatula, gently stir the flour into the batter. Sift the final 1/2 cup

flour on top and then very gently fold this into the batter. You want to stop

as soon as all the flour is integrated into the batter. This will give you a

light and airy cake.

Pour and spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for just 10

minutes. Do not overbake or the cake will be too stiff to roll without

breaking.

As soon as you take it out of the oven, turn the cake out onto a clean

dishtowel (I’ve seen people recommend that you put powdered sugar on the

dishtowel so that it doesn’t stick, but I don’t find this necessary). Remove

the parchment paper and allow the cake to cool for a couple of minutes. While

it is still warm, roll the cake up from one of its short ends with the

dishtowel inside (this way the cake gets used to being rolled and won’t tear

when you fill it and roll it back up). Allow the cake to cool completely.

Unroll the cake, and spread about 1/2 of the chocolate buttercream (recipe

below) evenly on top. Carefully roll the cake back up and neatly place on

your serving dish, seam side down.

Optional: To enhance the yule log effect, cut off the ends at an angle and

use these to create stubs on the log (they’re supposed to look like cut off

branches), attaching them with some buttercream.

Frost the outside of the log and, using a fork, trace irregular lines in the

frosting to give it a woody effect. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes to

set the frosting, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to “age”

in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Before serving, decorate your cake however you wish. I’m sure you have some

cute little Christmas ornaments that will do the job. In France you might

find Santa Claus, an ax or a saw, mushrooms (made from meringue), or elves

dancing on the cake.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup soft unsalted butter

3 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup buttermilk

DIRECTIONS

Whip the butter in your mixer until is is light and creamy. Sift together the

sugar, cocoa and salt and add this to the butter. Beat until well mixed then

add the vanilla and buttermilk. Beat until very smooth. This makes just the

right amount of buttercream for the yule log cake recipe above.

source: http://www.easy-french-food.com/yule-log-cake-recipe.html

I know these recipes are late for your Christmas celebration this year, but perhaps you can print it out and save it for next year, or perhaps for a New Year’s Eve celebration. Let me know what you think!

 

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE:

Wreath photo:  http://craftysisters-nc.blogspot.com/2010/12/oh-my.html

Punch Bowl photo:  http://uncorked.winterthur.org/consumption-equipage/punch/:

Prime Rib photo:  http://www.caroincarolina.com/2011/01/random-willynillyness-cooking-presents.html

LAST NIGHT OF CHANUKAH – CHRISTMAS EVE

Merry-Christmas-Animated-image

 

 

Chanukah is coming to an end tonight. I am always sad to see it end. I love holidays. But, Christmas is making it’s entrance tonight. A thought just came into my mind…Jewish holidays always begin the night before it says on the common calendar because our holidays always begin at sundown. Is this why Christians celebrate Christmas Eve? Does anyone know? I’d be interested to learn why. Anyhow, this is not the topic I chose for today. I am choosing the topic of violence and war. I just learned about the execution-style killing of two New York police officers and the Berkeley, Missouri fatal shooting of a black teen. To the family of these people, I offer my sincerest sympathy.

I also read that there is a project of delivering cookies to police precincts in support of our peace keepers. Isn’t that the role of police, after all? To protect the people and keep the peace. Unfortunately, many people don’t see police that way at all. Police, historically, have endured bad reputations, and in many cases they are well deserved. But, on the whole, police are like everyone else. There are good cops and bad cops. They have a hard job to do and their lives are in danger everyday. I wouldn’t want their job, that’s for sure. I have known many police officers as I took a police science course and a course in penology in college and met many there. In my role, many, many years ago as a probation-parole officer, I worked with many police officers. I am glad to say I never met one I didn’t respect. Yes, there is a difference. I was a colleague and I am a white female. But even so, I saw how they related to my caseload. They gave their honest opinions on people. In most cases they were the same opinions that I had and I am a liberal do-gooder type of person, or try to be. I am a bit more conservative these days as I am older and have seen more in my life than I had seen in those days, and, truthfully, those days did color my opinions. I used to be against the death penalty in all cases. Now I am not so sure. I would be for the death penalty if there was no such thing as human error. My fear is that an innocent person would get the death penalty and perish unjustly. That is the only thing that holds me from not going totally pro in the death penalty debate. Anyhow, I would like to come out in support of this cookie project. I think it should be done not just at Christmas-time, but all year round. I think it’s appreciated most when it is not expected. I also think the same thing should be done for our fire-fighters, ambulance crews and postal workers. I know that after 9/11 I took donuts to our town’s ambulance crew and boy were they pleased. I figured that the fire-fighters would be the obvious for everyone to donate goodies to, so I wanted to let the EMTs know that they too were appreciated. It felt great to give to these people. So, maybe once a month or once every few months, do something for people in these essential professions. But, cookies were not my topic, back to the main thread of my thoughts…

There is war around the world in so many places, the Ukraine, Israel, Iraq, South Sudan and Syria, to name just a few. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could begin the Christmas season and New Year 2015 with world peace? I wonder if we start a cookie project as a friendship project world-wide if that would help. I doubt it. First of all, the cookies would probably be crumbled by the time they reach an ordinary person in say South Sudan. Would the recipient see the crumbled cookies as an insult and make things worse or would they see it as what it was meant to be, a token of friendship, but one that went wrong? Better would be to anonymously pay someone’s bill, but how would you get a name of a common person in Syria and know where to send your donation? What would your idea of taking a step towards peace be? Perhaps we need to begin in our own neighborhood. Perhaps there is a new immigrant down the street that you can give a gift of welcome to. Perhaps there is a person who is a different religion or race than you are that you have not offered friendship to. Perhaps you can rectify that situation and now offer that friendship to him/her/them. Send them a holiday card if you know what holiday they celebrate. I know it’s late, but my motto is “better late than never.” If we all decided to take just one step to rid ourselves of our own prejudices (yes, even I have one or two), that would make a difference in our world. It would be like giving the world a Chanukah or Christmas present. I think that would be awesome. I have to think about what I can do and when I have done it, I will let you know. I hope you will do the same. I would be interested in learning if this post has had any affect on you.

On to a different topic, one more in line with the Christmas season. I just read that archaeologists think they have discovered the location where Jesus taught. The discovery was made in the ancient town of Magdala — thought to be the hometown of Mary Magdalene — on the western shore of the sea of Galilee. Jesus is believed to have spent most of his life in the area. The site is an ancient synagogue. Isn’t that exciting! I just find archaeology fascinating. The priest who was interviewed for the article said that he can see the people sitting around studying the Torah. I can feel that somehow and I’m not even nearby. But I’d like to see it. I would have found it fascinating to attend one of Jesus’ study sessions. I do believe Jesus was a good Jew and was just ahead of his time. No, I do not believe he is the Messiah or god-like. But that’s because to believe so would go against my religious beliefs. I do believe he was a scapegoat used by the Romans to be an example. How horrible those leaders were. Death by crucifixion. What kind of monster thought of such a thing? I think that the Jesus we know via Christianity is a good role model for anyone. A man of compassion, a man of wisdom, a man of learning and a man of the people. There have been other great rabbis who also fit this description and many have been made scapegoats. So what is it that made Jesus different? That is the mystery I would like to see solved. I’d also like to know if he and Mary Magdalene were indeed married. I would like to believe so. After all, in the Jewish religion, rabbis are allowed to marry and are encouraged to do so, so why would Jesus not be married? And I’d hate to think of this nice, good man, all alone without a soul mate. I would also like to know what he would think of Christmas as we know it today. I think he would be proud to be celebrated, but at the same time, I’d think he’d be too humble of a man to be comfortable with it. I am sure he would like to see the celebration toned down a bit, but I’d have to disagree with him there. I love the hoopla that is Christmas. I love the decorations and the music, although both begin much too early in the retail world, at least here in the U.S. I love giving wrapped gifts. I love the cookies. I love the idea of what Christmas is supposed to bring, love, joy, hope and peace. I only wish it did. It seems this only happens on a family level, not a world-wide level as it is supposed to. But, like Chanukah, it at least brings families together and it breaks up the winter a bit. It also gives us a brief respite from reality and for many, it brings time off from work and gives one a mini-vacation which is always nice. And it gives me a chance to wish all of you a Merry, Healthy, Happy, Prosperous Christmas and New Year! To help along in your celebration and to help kick off the cookie project I am going to give you not one, but three cookie recipes. Hope you enjoy them. They are among my favorites!

 

 

 

marshmallow brownies

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: MARILYN’S RECIPES

Gladys Gooding’s  Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

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Gladys Gooding, a friend from the Monroe County Branch of the New York State

Home Bureau, made this for our annual pot-luck picnic in August of 1994.

These bars were the hit of the picnic! I just fell in love with them. I have

not made this recipe yet. Gladys belonged to the Bayview Chapter and I

belonged to the Nosheri Too chapter, which I began. ~ Marilyn Sultar

Ingredients

BARS:

3/4 cup Margarine OR Butter

1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

3 large Eggs

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

3 tablespoons Baking Cocoa

1/2 cup Nuts; chopped

4 cups White Miniature Marshmallows

TOPPING:

1 1/3 cup Chocolate Chips

3 tablespoons Margarine OR Butter

1 cup Peanut Butter

2 cups Crisp Rice Cereal; (i.e. Rice Krispies)

Directions

BARS:

PREHEAT oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

GREASE 13“x9”x2″ pan.

Cream 3/4 cup butter and granulated sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat

until fluffy.

Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder salt and baking cocoa. Add to

creamed mixture. Stir in chopped nuts.

Spread batter into GREASED 13“x9x2” pan. Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 15-18

minutes. Take pan out of oven and sprinkle marshmallows evenly over cake.

Return the cake to the oven for 2-3 minutes.

Using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows evenly over the

cake. COOL.

TOPPING:

Combine chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter in a small saucepan. Cook

over LOW heat, stirring CONSTANTLY, until melted and well blended. Remove

from heat; stir in cereal. Spread over bars. Chill.

MARILYN’S NOTE: For the topping, I would combine chocolate chips, butter and

peanut butter in a MICROWAVE SAFE POT OR BIG BOWL. I would heat in microwave

for 1 minute on HIGH, stir and if not all melted and smooth, I would put into

microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until everything is melted

and smooth, and mixed together thoroughly.

Source: Gladys Gooding via Marilyn Sultar

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

 

 

 

snow-capped chocolate mint cookies

 

Home Cookin Chapter: MARILYN’S RECIPES

Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies

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Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies

These cookies are awesome and are one of Paul’s and my favorite cookies. We

can go through the entire batch of cookies in one sitting, if we let

ourselves!! I made these for the first time to take to Chuck and Sue

Ireland’s house for Christmas 1991. ~Marilyn Sultar

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1 (10-ounce) package (1 1/2 cups) Nestle Toll House Mint Flavored Semi-Sweet

Chocolate Morsels; divided

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) Butter; softened

1 cup Sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2 Eggs

Confectionery Sugar

Directions

Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Melt 1 cup of Nestle Toll House Mint Flavored Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels.

Cool for a minute.

(MARILYN’S NOTE: I melt mine in the microwave–HIGH for 1 minute. Unless you

know how long it takes you to melt chocolate in your microwave, start with 30

seconds and go up 10 seconds until melted.)

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add melted mint chocolate and vanilla;

beat in eggs. Add the flour mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup Nestle Toll

House Mint Flavored Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels.

Refrigerate dough for 1/2 hour–45 minutes covered with plastic wrap. (The

original recipe says to freeze for 20 minutes but I like the refrigerator

method better. But if you choose the freezer method, you have to wrap the

dough in plastic wrap–I didn’t want to be bothered.)

PREHEAT oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Shape dough into 1″ balls. Place on

UNGREASED cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies from oven.

After you remove the cookies from the cookie sheet, while they are still

warm, roll them (top and bottom) in confectionery sugar. (MARILYN’S NOTE:

Recipe says to do the rolling in sugar before you bake them, but I roll after

they are cooled as if you roll them in the sugar before they cool, they don’t

come out as pretty–the sugar melts. If you do it after they are cooled, you

see the white of the sugar.)

Source: back of package of Nestle Toll House Mint Flavored Semi-Sweet

Chocolate Morsels via Marilyn Sultar

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

 

christmas-sugar-cookie-clipart-christmas-cookies-santa-eps-11713502

 

 

 

Home Cookin Chapter: MARILYN’S RECIPES

FRAN SCARMANACH’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS COOKIES

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These are a cakey cookie, which is one reason that they are my very favorite

cut-out cookie. The other is their incredible flavor! I have been making

these cookies since I was about 12 years old and this is my favorite cut-out

cookie recipe. I call these my Italian Christmas Cookies as the recipe came

from an Italian family friend who we used to visit every Christmas. In fact,

the husband was my father’s partner in a grocery store business called

Rabin’s on Park Avenue in Rochester, New York. Their names were Fran and Tony

Scarmanach. Their children were Tony Jr., Chrissie and Elaine. This is also a

favorite as all my high school friends and I would congregate one day a year

after ice skating at Cobbs Hill to bake and decorate these cookies. So they

became a real tradition for me. Of course our main goal was to eat them!!!

Ingredients

Cookies:

1 1/2 cups Shortening

2 cups Granulated Sugar

6 Eggs

1/2 cup Milk; at room temperature

2 teaspoons Lemon Extract

2 teaspoons Orange Extract

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

7 cups All-Purpose Flour; sifted

7 ROUNDED teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Salt

Frosting:

Confectionery Sugar

Water OR Milk

Directions

Cream shortening and sugar well. Add eggs, one at a time. Then add milk,

lemon, orange and vanilla extracts, flour, baking powder and salt. (Add

flour, baking powder and salt to liquid mixture.)

Refrigerate for an hour. Roll a portion of dough at a time, keeping the other

portion of dough in the refrigerator.

Cut with your favorite cookie cutters.

Bake cookies at 350° Fahrenheit. Take the tray of cookies out IMMEDIATELY.

Let cool on wire cooling rack. (Put wax paper underneath rack!) Let cool.

After cookies are cooled, front with confectionery sugar mixed with water to

desired consistency. Decorate as desired.

Source: Fran Scarmanach via Marilyn Sultar

MSS Note: This recipe makes a lot of cookies!!! In my “old” age, I have

begun to make half the recipe.

Servings: 0

Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)

 

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE:

Merry Christmas graphic:   http://www.christianwallpapersfree.com/2012/12/merry-christmas-animation-clip-arts.html

Santa’s Cookies graphic:  http://www.clipartpanda.com/