Turkey and Cranberries

Cream Cheese Cranberry Salad

Well, another Thanksgiving is over. Boy, was there a lot of good food AND a lot of over eating. What can I say—it’s a tradition too! Celebrating with friends and family, catching up with everyone and of course EATING…always a lot of fun!

I made two things that were big hits…Chocolate Covered Oreos with Chocolate Transfers (check back later for that post) and my Cream Cheese Cranberry Salad, which I am sharing today…(and if I do say so myself, is great with turkey). I even have requests to make it again for Christmas. Not only is it a yummy and easy, but it’s made ahead—which is always great at the holidays.

Cream Cheese Cranberry Salad

CREAM CHEESE CRANBERRY SALAD
2-3 oz. packages raspberry gelatin
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1-14 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
3/4 cup cranberry juice

Topping
1- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

In medium bowl, combine gelatin and boiling water, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Add cranberry sauce, pineapple and cranberry juice, stirring until mixed well. Pour into 9 x 13-inch dish and refrigerate until firm.

in another bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar. Add sour cream and mix until combined. Spread over chilled gelatin and sprinkle with pecans.

Refrigerate overnight.

Check back soon for step-by-step instructions on making Chocolate Covered Oreos with Chocolate Transfers.

Grandma Y’s Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Grandma Y's Banana Nut Bread Recipe

My son called me the other day from college, asking for Grandma Y’s Banana Nut Bread recipe. He said his roommate was ready to throw out some rotten bananas, which he grabbed announcing he was going to make banana nut bread. His roommates responded with “ewws” and “I’m not eating that!” Undaunted, my son mixed up a batch. As the smell wafted through the dorm, his roommates seemed a little more interested.

An hour later, as the freshly baked bread rested on the cooling rack, his roomies decided they would try just a bite…and that was the end of that loaf!

I’ve made, and tasted, many banana nut bread recipes. And I have to say this is the BEST. I remember when I was a little girl, my brother and I would beg for the first slice…yes, the heel. The edges had an almost caramelized, slightly crispy texture…good and yummy memories.

I have a little secret of my own. It’s not always easy to have perfectly ripened bananas when you’re in the mood to make this bread. My trick is to keep ripened bananas in my freezer. I don’t even put them in a bag. I just throw them in, unpeeled. When I’m ready to make this recipe, I pop them in the microwave and thaw them out. Even though the bananas have more liquid from freezing, my bread turns out perfect every time!

Let me know what you think!

GRANDMA Y’S BANANA NUT BREAD RECIPE
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

In medium bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk and banana. Stir in nuts. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan at 350° for 65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

(20-30 minutes for muffins)

TIP…Always, after creaming shortening, sugar, eggs, etc., when there is a liquid and a powder to add alternatively…start with powder and end with powder.

Monsoon 7 Cocktail

Monsoon 7 Cocktail

It’s a cold Thursday evening and a good time to unwind with a refreshing drink.

The other day I went to an Asian restaurant for lunch with my sister-in-law and we decided to splurge with an afternoon cocktail. I ordered a drink called Monsoon 7. It sounded yummy—two rums, pineapple juice, cranberry juice and grenadine—it didn’t disappoint. So, when my husband came home after working a 12-hour day, I decided to surprise him with my version of the drink. He loved it and we settled down with a good movie and some cheese and crackers.

The next time you’re looking for something a little different, give it a try…cheers!

MONSOON 7 COCKTAIL
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce dark rum
3 ounces pineapple juice
3 ounces cranberry juice
1 tbsp. grenadine.

Chili with Sweet Cornbread

Chili with Sweet Cornbread

What’s better than Chili on a nice fall day! Here’s a very tasty recipe I whipped up a couple of years ago. It’s only mildly spicy, but of course you could heat it up by adding jalapenos or your favorite hot sauce. Me, I only like a little spice, but experiment until it fits your taste.

I also made this sweet, fluffy cornbread. It’s really cornbread made with yellow cake, but I put it together differently than most people. All of the recipes I’ve seen tell you to make each mix separately and combine. No way, my version has less mess and turns out great.

See what you think…

Chili

CHILI
1-1/2 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1-1/2 cup water
1-29 oz. can tomato sauce
1-16 oz. Bush’s Chili Beans, Medium
1 can condensed cream of tomato soup, undiluted
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbsp. sugar (to taste)
1-1/2 cups macaroni, uncooked (optional*)

In large pan, combine ground beef, onion and water. Cook until meat is browned. Drain liquid into a gravy separator; set aside for grease to rise to the top. Add remaining ingredients and reserved water.

Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately

*If you don’t add the macaroni, do not add the reserved water unless you like thinner chili.

Sweet Cornbread

SWEET CORNBREAD
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 box Jiffy Yellow Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup milk

In medium bow, combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Done when toothpick, inserted in center, comes out clean.

Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

I know it’s not Christmas, but I’ve been hungry for Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss bars, so I decided to make some now. I found this recipe last year and it’s awesome. Honestly, be sure to remember these for your Christmas cookie tray…and I’ll enjoy some now!
Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Copycat Recipe

Cranberry Bliss Bar Clone Recipe
(From Todd Wilbur, Top Secret Recipes)

Ingredients
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
4 oz. white chocolate, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. lemon juice

Drizzled Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vegetable shortening

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Mix the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter by hand. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top. Allow the cake to cool.

Make the frosting by combining the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Drizzle this icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or fill a small plastic storage bag with the icing and cut off the tip of one corner.

Cover the cake and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

As I stated in a previous post, I saw these cute ghosts on Pinterest and I decided to give them my own twist and make them this year instead of my usual bats. It’s always fun to shake thing up a bit.

I’m taking them to my son this weekend at college. I think he’ll get a kick out of them since he’s used to getting the bat cookies.

Here’s how they turned out.

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

First thing I did was ask my husband to make me a cookie cutter from a pattern I had made on the computer. He did a perfect job, so now we just needed to get baking. (I used to do 3-4 different cookie designs, but now I just do one to make it easier.)

Here are my baked cookies with rolled fondant for the base. My favorite purchased fondant is Fondarific Buttercream Wedding White. It’s very easy to work with, colors very easily and is the best tasting fondant I’ve ever had.

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

I used the pasta roller attachment for the Kitchen Aid to roll out the fondant. I sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on the attachment to keep the fondant from sticking, then I use one of those flexible cutting boards, spray it with Pam and sprinkle it with a little confectioner’s sugar as well. This is so the fondant won’t stick

Once fed through the pasta attachment, I catch it with the prepared flexible cutting board. I cut out shapes using the same cookie cutter I used when making the cookies.

To apply, simply brush the top of the cookie with water and place the cut fondant on top. Smooth with hands to make sure all fondant is secured and is without bubbles…that’s it. Just keep repeating till all of the cookies are covered.

I wait until the next day to decorate. It gives the fondant a little time to set up, plus it’s a lot of work to do in one day1

Here’s the step-by-step process in photos…

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

I like to put a background color behind the eyes just to make it a little more creepier.

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

Tap a round brush with some orange petal dust on for the cheeks. Cute!

Halloween Ghost Cookies with Buttercream Fondant

Add a smile and you’re done!