Not Quite The Farmers Daughter

Not Quite The Farmers Daughter

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Health and Safety Tips 2012

The Holidays are coming, the Holidays are coming!  Are you ready?  Are you stressed out?  Tis the season for all the Holiday stress to have a negative impact on our immune systems.  So as your dutiful cook and nurse here are some great tips from the CDC for a safe and healthy Holiday Season!

Holiday Health and Safety Tips

decorative banner image
The holidays are a time to celebrate, give thanks, and reflect. They are also a time to pay special attention to your health. Give the gift of health and safety to yourself and others by following these holiday tips.

Wash Hands Often

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

Stay Warm

Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. Stay dry, and dress warmly in several layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing.

Manage Stress

The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending. Balance work, home, and play. Get support from family and friends. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook. Make sure to get proper sleep.
Travel Safely

Whether you're traveling across town or around the world, help ensure your trip is safe. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t let someone else drink and drive. Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to his/her height, weight, and age.

Be Smoke Free

Avoid smoking and breathing other people's smoke. If you smoke, quit today! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or talk to your health care provider for help.

Get Check-Ups and Vaccinations

Exams and screenings can help find potential problems before they start. They can also help find problems early, when the chances for treatment and cure are better. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Schedule a visit with your health care provider for a yearly exam. Ask what vaccinations and tests you should get based on your age, lifestyle, travel plans, medical history, and family health history.

Watch The Kids

Children are at high risk for injuries that can lead to death or disability. Keep a watchful eye on your kids when they’re eating and playing. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, choking hazards (like coins and hard candy), and other objects out of kids' reach. Learn how to provide early treatment for children who are choking. Make sure toys are used properly. Develop and reinforce rules about acceptable and safe behaviors, including electronic media.

Prevent Injuries

Injuries can occur anywhere and some often occur around the holidays. Use step stools instead of furniture when hanging decorations. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Wear a bicycle helmet to help prevent head injuries. Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or skateboarding to help prevent head injuries. Keep vaccinations up-to-date.

Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended. Don't use generators, grills, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage. Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. Test them once a month, and replace batteries twice a year.

Handle and Prepare Food Safely

As you prepare holiday meals, keep you and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly. Do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.

Eat Healthy, Be Active

With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting foods. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sparkling Cherry Chutney for Christmas Please!!!

It's hard to believe we are already in the full swing running towards Christmas.  I know like many of you I have many lists being made, one for gifts and several for meal plans for all the dinners and parties that my family will be having or attending.  This year we are on a tight budget, so I have challenged myself to be as creative as possible to create gifts of food for family and friends.  This year I decided I wanted some sparkle and I created a wonderful chutney packed full of flavor.  This one is easy to can or just make up a batch for dinner.  It's wonderful on hot sliced roasted turkey or wonderful on a sandwich filled with all your dinner leftovers.

Sparkling Cherry Chutney

1 10oz jar of cherry preserves
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp crystallized ginger
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup Moscato

In a small sauce pan over medium heat add all your ingredients except the Moscato.  Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to a simmer.  Stir often because this will thicken fast as the water from the orange juice boils off.  Once this coats the back of a spoon add your Moscato and take off the heat.  The coolness of the Moscato will cause your chutney to thicken quickly.  If you want a thinner chutney add more Moscato 1 tbsp at a time to get desired consistency.  Pour into a bowl to cool and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving to let flavors mingle.  If canning, pour into your clean, sterilized jar and put in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove from hot water bath and let cool.  Make sure lid sucks in for a good seal. 


**I use Ball Canning Guidelines for Jams and Jellies for canning this chutney.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cookies and Cream Bites and Salty Toffee Nut Candy

The holidays are fast approaching!  Thanksgiving is tomorrow and everyone is on high speed to start dinner preparations and get ready to travel.  Need a last minute dessert that will be done in a flash and look spectacular at the same time?  Read on my friends, I have something special for you!

So many of us are looking for the last minute treat that we can take or put out prior to dinner that will have everyone's mouths watering.  The following two recipes can be done in less than 30 mins.  This is definitely one for your personalized cookbook and should be placed in the front pocket of the dessert section.  I promise you will use these over and over again every year!

Cookies and Cream Bites

1 pkg (1 1/2lb) Oreo cookies crushed in your food processor, divided
1 8oz pkg softened cream cheese

Mix 3 cups of Oreo crumbs with the softened cream cheese.  This is easiest with your hands.  Use a melon ball scoop or tiny ice cream scoop and make balls.  Place them on a foiled cookie sheet.  Once done rolling into balls, roll in the leftover cookie crumbs and put tray into the freezer for about 30mins until firm.  I recommend keeping in the freezer in a tin until ready to serve to let the flavors mingle.  This makes about 2 dozen Bites.

Salty Toffee Nut Candy

1 sleeve honey graham crackers broke into bit size pieces
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups chopped pecans
Sea Salt for sprinkling

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Using a 13x9 baking pan lined with foil, place evenly as possible your graham cracker pieces.  Cover with your chopped pecans and then sprinkle Sea Salt over the top.  In a sauce pan over medium-low heat melt your butter and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until bubbly and no butter fat is floating on top.  Take off heat and pour over graham crackers and nuts.  Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before handling.  Once completely cool, break into pieces and put in a tin for storage.  Keep in fridge.  I usually make double batches of this because it doesn't last long in my house!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gingersnap Christmas Balls

Ahhhh it's that time again!  Time to start making all those wonderful Christmas time desserts that we all crave this time of year.  From Cookies to Candies what more could anyone ask for during the holidays.  So this year I have managed to get started a little bit early.  I am taking a momentary break from all that is savory and have begun my sugar plum journey as we approach the Christmas Holiday.  Now for all you Black Friday shoppers, this is a great time to stock up on your cookie tins and other sweet treat gift giving containers.  Most craft stores like Michael's and Joanne Fabrics will have these on sale early Friday morning as well as some of your bakers chocolates and hard to find bakers tools to make that extra special treat!

So this year I have decided to branch out and make some new recipes along with our traditional family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.  My goal is to make a recipe a day while on my vacation this week.  So here we go, let's bring on the fun and yum!

Gingersnap Christmas Balls

1 box white or yellow cake mix (make according to package directions)
1 container white frosting
1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs
2 bags white chocolate chips
1 bar cooking paraffin
1/2 cup demera sugar

Make cake according to package directions.  Let cool slightly and crumble into a bowl.  Add your gingersnap crumbs until well incorporated.  Let completely cool.  By mixing the cookie crumbs with the slightly warm cake will allow the moisture to soften the crumbs and will help the mixture stick together later.  Once cookie and cake mixture is cool, take your container of frosting and place in a microwave safe bowl and put in microwave for 1 minute to liquefy.  Pour into your cake crumb mixture and stir together thoroughly.  I used a small cookie dough scoop the size of a melon ball scooper and start making your balls and put on a foiled cookie sheet.  Once your sheet is full put in the freezer for at least an hour.  Once your hour is up, start melting your white chocolate chips over a double boiler.  Use 1/2 paraffin bar per bag of chips to make the chocolate thin for coating your cake balls.  I recommend using a spoon for dipping to avoid cake breakage into your dipping chocolate.  Once your cake ball is dipped return to your cookie tray and sprinkle with demara sugar.  When done return your tray to the freezer to let your Christmas Balls harden.  Store in pretty Christmas tins in your freezer until ready to use!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Let's Talk Turkey Safety 101, Let's Have A Healthy Thanksgiving!

Food safety is important all year round.  As we head into the holidays everyone with various levels of experience is in the mind to impress family and friends.  So I thought the best way to start the week is to talk Turkey!  If you haven't started thawing your turkey you need to get that bird out of the freezer and into the fridge today.  And depending how large your bird is, you may need to prepare a cold water bath Wednesday if it is not completely thawed.  Below is a great Turkey Tool from the USDA on Turkey Safety that is great for the beginning cook and a great reminder for the pro that may be prone to distraction with a busy cooking schedule.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Turkey Basics: Safe Cooking

A food thermometer should be used to ensure a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F has been reached to destroy bacteria and prevent foodborne illness.

Many variables can affect the roasting time of a whole turkey:

• A partially frozen turkey

requires longer cooking.

• A stuffed turkey takes longer

to cook.

• The oven may heat food


• Temperature of the oven

may be inaccurate.

• Dark roasting pans cook

faster than shiny metals.

• The depth and size of the pan

can reduce heat circulation to

all areas of the turkey.

• The use of a foil tent for the

entire time can slow cooking.

• Use of the roasting pan’s lid

speeds cooking.

• An oven cooking bag can

accelerate cooking time.

• The rack position can have an

affect on even cooking and

heat circulation.

• A turkey or its pan may be too

large for the oven, thus

blocking heat circulation.


1. Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
Preheating is not necessary.

2. Be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Times are based on fresh or thawed birds at a refrigerator temperature of 40 °F or below.

3. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep.

Optional steps:

• Tuck wing tips back under

shoulders of bird (called


• Add one-half cup water to the

bottom of the pan.

• In the beginning, a tent of

aluminum foil may be placed

loosely over the breast of the

turkey for the first 1 to 1 1/2

hours, then removed for brown-

ing. Or, a tent of foil may be

placed over the turkey after the

turkey has reached the desired

golden brown color.

4. For optimum safety, cook stuffing in a casserole. If stuffing your turkey, mix ingredients just before stuffing it; stuff loosely. Additional time is required for the turkey and stuffing to reach a safe minimum internal temperature (see chart).

5. For safety and doneness, the internal temperature should be checked with a food thermometer.

The temperature of the turkey and the center of the stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

6. Let the bird stand 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.


(325 °F oven temperature)

(time in hours)

4 to 6 lb breast........ ..1 1/2 to 2 1/4

6 to 8 lb breast....... ...2 1/4 to 3 1/4

8 to 12 lbs.......................2 3/4 to 3

12 to 14 lbs......................3 to 3 3/4

14 to 18 lbs................3 3/4 to 4 1/4

18 to 20 lbs................4 1/4 to 4 1/2

20 to 24 lbs......................4 1/2 to 5

STUFFED (time in hours)

8 to 12 lbs.......................3 to 3 1/2

12 to 14 lbs......................3 1/2 to 4

14 to 18 lbs......................4 to 4 1/4

18 to 20 lbs................4 1/4 to 4 3/4

20 to 24 lbs................4 3/4 to 5 1/4

More Ways to Cook a Turkey

For other cooking methods, read the publication "Turkey: Alternate Routes to the Table" at

Call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline


For automated responses via the Internet 24 hours a day and a live chat during

Hotline hours.

Year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET (English or Spanish). Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Send E-mail questions to

The USDA is an equal opportunity

provider and employer.

Reviewed September 2011

FSIS encourages the reprint and distribution of this publication for food safety education purposes. However, USDA symbols or logos may not be used separately to imply endorsement of a commercial product or service.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! Let's make it spicy!

Happy Halloween Everyone!  Tonight is the night of ghouls and goblins wisping up to your door to give you a big BOOO! If you are lucky enough to be home for all those Trick or Treaters coming to your door or if you like to have a casual but festive gathering, I have some yummy treats for you!  There is nothing like a hot bowl of Jambalaya with some jalapeno cornbread...ohhh soooo good!  Serve it up with some hot mulled cider or even hot chocolate for the cold fall evening.  I was inspired to make this dish after going to a baby shower a couple of weeks ago.  I just had to have more!  I have never made Jambalaya before so I went on a search of recipes.  I found one from Emeril Lagasse and made some adaptations to make the recipe my own.  It was a success!  I was so excited and it makes enough for a crowd when done in my 6Qt crock pot.

Northern Jambalaya

2lbs chicken kielbasa chopped into bite size pieces
1lb pork sausage
1 onion chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper, yellow pepper, orange or red pepper
3 cups white rice
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup white wine
1tbsp plus 1 tsp Creole seasoning
olive oil to coat your skillet
6 dashes hot Tabasco sauce (optional)

In large hot skillet brown sausage chopping into pieces as you cook so it is crumbles.  When cooked add chicken sausage and let brown, add 1 tsp of the Creole seasoning and stir around.  When this is done add to your crock pot.  To the same skillet add some olive oil to coat your skillet let heat for a minute then add your vegetables and 1tbsp of Creole seasoning.  Cook until caramelized and add to the crock pot.  Now add your wine to the skillet and let cook for about 3 mins stirring around to pull up any leftover tastiness left in your pan.  Add to your crock pot.  To your crock pot add your rice.  Stir your rice around and let it get coated.  Then add your broth and water. Add your 6 dashes of Tabasco sauce.  Cover and cook for 4 hours on high heat.  Mine was actually done in 3 hours but crock pots can vary depending on how old or depth.  The addition of Tabasco did not make it too hot but gave it a definite depth and just enough to help clear a stuffed up nose :)  We loved it and we hope you will enjoy it as well!

Jalapeno Cornbread

2 1/2 cups White Lily Self Rising Cornbread Mix (or whatever brand you prefer)
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 12 oz  can Del Monte Summer Corn
1 egg
2 tbsp honey of your choice (I prefer raw honey)
1 tbsp chopped dried jalapenos
1 large spoonful of bacon grease if available

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  I use a well seasoned 10 inch cast iron skillet.  Let it preheat in the oven.  Add your bacon grease to your skillet while in the oven.  Mix together the rest of your ingredients.  Add to your hot skillet once oven is preheated.  Bake for 25-30mins or until golden and solid on top.  Serve hot with butter and honey!  Tastes wonderful crumble up in the bottom of the bowl covered with Jambalaya...woooweeee yummmy!!!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chili for Chilly Weather

There is nothing that says Fall like a hot steaming bowl of chili.  Whether it's for a football game or just a comfort need you can always find a recipe to suit your mood.  Now at my house we have vastly different opinions on how to make the chili.  Me, I like that sweet style of mixing the chili powder with cinnamon and nutmeg.  My husband on the other hand, likes the savory and spice of aromatic chili powders and jalapenos!  So most often I will whip up my hubby's favorite chili and make iron skillet of golden jalapeno corn bread to go along side.  The combination of corn bread with melted butter and that steamy bowl of chili just makes my mouth water thinking about it.  Today I am sharing my recipe for a pot of chili packed with chili powder punch!

Chili Me Chili

2lbs lean ground beef
1lb ground country style pork sausage
2 12oz cans chili ready tomatoes (I usually use Red Gold)
1 32oz can tomato sauce
2 32 oz cans Brooks Mild Chili Beans
1 16oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion chopped
1tbsp ancho chili pepper powder
1tbsp chipotle chili powder
1 tbsp chili con carne chili powder
1tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp no heat jalapenos
olive oil enough to coat the bottom of your pot
salt and pepper to taste

Brown you ground meat and sausage together. Drain in colander. While meat drains, in large pot add olive oil and turn to medium heat. Once hot add your chili powder, garlic powder, jalapenos and onions. Cook for about 3 mins. Warming your spices before adding them to your food makes the flavor really pop!  Add your chili ready tomatoes and sauce. Warm through. Add your meat and beans. Heat through then salt and pepper to taste. If it's not saucy enough, just add another small can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes. If you don't have either on hand you can add a cup of beef broth. :):)
I get all my spices from Penzey's.   Add shredded cheese and sour cream for extra yumminess!


Spices At Their Best

I wanted to share a link to my favorite spice store.  It is called Penzey's.  They have locations throughout the US and catalogue ordering available.  I  have had several emails requesting where I get some of the unusual spices such as Chinese Mustard and Chili Con Carne Powder, so I wanted to share.  If you have the opportunity to give this store a try I promise you will be hooked.  Much fresher than anything you get at the grocery and very reasonably priced.

Penzey's Home Page


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Hump Day Comfort Series...Spicy Mustard Crock Pot Chops

Happy Hump Day everyone!  I have been on a short hiatus for a couple of weeks but now back and cooking!  I hope all is good with everyone out there.  I have seen some absolutely wonderful recipes on some of the other blogs. 

All the Fall festivals are in full gear and Halloween is a week away.  Today is a gray, rainy day here, but I am going to pack it full of sunshine and flavor for tonights dinner.  A recipe that I came across many years ago in a Williams Sonoma cookbook was a mustard chicken dish.  It is absolutely wonderful, full of flavor and of course full of fat.  So I have adapted the ideas in the recipe to a pork chop crock pot meal.  I generally serve it with No Yolks Egg Noodles.  But it also tastes great with a brown/wild rice mix.

2 1/2 to 3lbs pork loin chops (mine are cut about an 1inch thick)
3 cups self rising flour
4 tbsp chinese dried mustard powder
1-2 tbsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups vegetable stock
1 10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 10 3/4 oz can cream of celery soup
1 10 3/4 oz can cream of onion soup
1 cup chopped onion
olive oil for your frying pan
1 cup white wine

Mix in a large dish or freezer back your flour and seasonings.  Put aside 1 tbsp of the flour mix.  Heat your skillet and add olive oil.  Just enough oil to coat the bottom.  Dredge your pork chops in the flour mix and brown in the skillet.  While doing this, mix together the soups, tbsp of flour mix and vegetable broth in your crock pot.  As your chops are browned add to the crock pot.  When the last of the chops are browned add your chopped onion to the skillet.  Let them carmelize in the renderings for a couple of minutes then add your wine. If you don't have much in renderings its ok to add a tbsp of butter to get them carmelized.  Let the wine cook down for about 3mins and add all of this to the crock pot.  Place on low for 8-10hrs.  Serve with noodles or rice.  I hope you will enjoy this as much as we do!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Happy Monday Everyone!!! Well here in Central Ohio we have another gray, rainy day.  I found myself looking for comfort in a bowl today.  Mondays are always a busy day at work and there is nothing like a hot bowl of chicken soup to take some of the work stress away.  Well that is, at least for about however long your break is for lunch!  So here is my quick and easy recipe to comfort in a cup or bowl.

Kelli's Chicken Soup for the Soul

48oz water
32oz box of chicken broth (I use the store brand organic)
1/2 cup orzo
2 12.5oz cans chicken or use 2-3 cups chopped up leftover chicken from a previous dinner
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried rosemary

Bring your broth and water to a boil and add your orzo.  Let boil for about 10mins then turn heat down to medim low and add the rest of your ingredients.  Let simmer for about 15mins and serve hot.  The great thing about this recipe is you can add more of less of everything on the list depending on how rich you like your flavors.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

There is nothing better than hot coffee and some yummy spice cookies to dip!  October is almost here and it's getting to be pumpkin "everything time"!  Here in Central Ohio, October is a big month for flavor.  In Circleville there is the Pumpkin Show and in Groveport there is Apple Butter Day.  Wow! Talk about both being mouth watering experiences of sugar and spice and everything nice!  If you are going to be in Ohio in October, I would encourage to you look up both festivals.  They have great homespun crafts and music too. 

So with that said, my cookie recipe for our Happy Hump Day Comfort Series, week #4 is Pumpkin Spice Biscotti.  What a wonderful treat!

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3  teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup mashed canned pumpkin
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 (6oz) bag of white chocolate chips for melting

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl; stir well. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla, stirring well with a wire whisk. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Mixture will be very crumbly; it will gradually become moist after stirring.)  Knead or gently stir cooled nuts into dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. Lightly flour hands and shape each portion into a 1 x 15" long log. Place logs 3" apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 23 minutes; cool logs 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300. Cut each log diagonally into 1/2" slices using a serrated knife. Place slices on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks
When cooled, melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat until smooth.  Take a spoon and drizzle over your cooled biscotti and let dry.

These look great in clear cellophane bags tied with a colorful ribbon to give as a gift to someone...that is, if you don't eat them all first!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Fall Snacking! Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dip and Caramel Apple Candy Mix

Many of us have high energy children that require lots and lots of nutrition.  I don't know about you, but my grocery bill now that I have a teenage boy in my mist is crazy!  So I am always looking for ways to make snacks stretch for the least amount of money, this can be quite the challenge, especially when you want to keep things on the healthy side. 

My son is known for his sweet tooth.  He could devour a large bag of peanut butter cups every day after school if I would let him.  He enjoys the traditional fall favorite of apple slices and caramel apple dip, but it's not always portable enough for him with his sport packed lifestyle.  So I made a play on a simple snack my mom to this day still makes.  Candy corn and peanuts.  It has the sweet that my son loves with a nice little pack of protein and fiber from the peanuts.  Another plus, you can really make this stretch!

3 12oz bags caramel apple candy corns
1 12 oz can of skinned, salted peanuts

Mix together in a bowl and you are ready to go!  For a party or just for kids on the go, fill medium sized wax paper bags half way with this yummy treat!  This will help with serving sizes so no one just sits down and eats a whole bowl, which is very easy to do!

Another fun and easy dip is anything made with pudding.  You can take the following recipe and change it up to suit your needs.  This is great for any party or afternoon sweet tooth craving!

3.4oz box of pumpkin spice pudding made according to pie directions
12 oz whipped topping thawed
8oz cream cheese softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
chocolate graham crackers for dipping

Take pudding made to package directions for a pie, let setup for about 10mins in the fridge.  Whip in cream cheese and peanut butter, no lumps.  Then fold in whipped topping until mixed through.  Back in the fridge for at least an hour to let flavors mix.  Serve with chocolate graham crackers for added flavor and crunch.  This is also yummy with sliced apples or cut up celery!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Leftovers...bring on the next meal! Curry Mash

Leftovers are always an area of contention in our house like many others. I can only eat the same thing for a couple of days.  My husband on the other hand can eat the same thing everyday all day long and then my son, "don't even think of feeding me leftovers".  So as a mom, leftovers become an art form when it comes to creative meal preparation

The best thing about leftovers for me is how to challenge the creative part of my mind.  Especially when it begins in the early hours of the morning.  For example, this morning was our traditional Sunday morning Farmer's Breakfast, bacon, eggs, biscuits, fried curried potatoes and, for extra fall kick, fried cinnamon apples.  Can we say, "MMMmm, mmm Good!"  Since this morning was a hurried morning with my husband going to work, we ended  up with quite a bit of leftover curried potatoes.  All I could think about was that wonderful sweet curry smell and how I wanted to have it for dinner.  Hmmm, what to do, what to do?  Off to the fridge to check out what else is leftover and where this road is going to take me.   Let's see, some chicken broth, shredded chicken, misc frozen veggies...sounds like a meal to me!  I decided to call this Curry Mash.  Using the same pan I cooked the curry potatoes in makes the broth/sauce for this extra wonderful!

3 cups leftover curried home fries
3 1/2 cups chicken broth/stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen okra
1 medium can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup shredded chicken
salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat add the chicken broth to your pan that you originally cooked your curried home fries in, the dripping will give you lots of flavor to your broth.  Cook until it comes to a simmer.  Mash your left over home fries and add to the broth mixing well.  Add your frozen veggies, mushrooms and season with your salt and pepper to taste.  Let simmer until it thickens to your liking and veggies are heated through.

This is wonderful as a stand alone soup.  Or thicken and serve over rice, more mashed/smashed potatoes or even noodles.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Food Poisoning, let's avoid it! Here is Food Temp 101

I think we all have had that unfortunate circumstance of having food poisoning or know someone who has at some point in our lives.  When eating out it come sometimes be hard to determine if the food you are getting ready to devour has been properly handled or fully cooked.  Here in Central Ohio the Health Department has visual rating on all the entrances to local eateries.  This lets you know if there are any problems with food management or environmental management.  That one wonderful and quick way to avoid a food poisoning experience.  Most of the time it's not that simple.  It can be anything from a food preparer not washing hands to poor temperature control regarding food storage. 

So I have compiled a list of proper temperatures for different meats that could possibly make you or someone you know quite ill.  Remember to always wash hands when handling any raw foods and in between handling different foods so not to cross contaminate.  To avoid being the cause of any food poisoning mishaps as the chef, besides hand washing, definitely invest in a meat thermometer.  There are many different kinds to fit all levels cooking expertise as well as your wallet.

I saw the following poster on, and I just had to share it with you!

Beef, lamb, duck breast, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts (USDA minimum: 145F) *
Raw Less than 125F (52C) Bright purple-red, cool, stringy, slightly juicy
Rare 125-130F (52-54C) Red center, warm, tender, juicy
Medium rare 130-140F (54-60C) Pink center, warm, firm, can be juicy
Medium 140-150F (60-66C) Tan with hints of pink, firm, not very juicy
Medium well 150-160F (66-71C) Tan center, firm to tough, little juice
Well done more than 160F (71C) Tan to brown center, tough, little juice
Ground meats, burgers, meat loaf, and sausages (USDA minimum 160F)
Safe 160F (71C) or more Tan-brown (no sign of pink)
Pork steaks, chops, and roasts (USDA minimum: 160F)
Raw Less than 125F (52C) Bright pink center, cool, stringy, slightly juicy
Rare 125-130F (52-54C) Pale pink center, warm, tender, very juicy
Medium rare 130-140F (54-60C) Creamy with a slight pink tinge, tender, juicy
Medium 140-150F (60-66C) Cream colored, firm, slightly pink juices
Well done more than 150F (66C) Cream colored, firm to tough, clear juices
Pork ribs, pork shoulders, and beef brisket cooked low and slow at 225F **
Tender and juicy 190F (88C) Pale white to tan center, tender, clear juices
Pre-cooked ham and hot dogs
Safe 140F (60C) Purple-pink meat
Turkey (USDA minimum: 165F)
Safe and moist 165F (74C) Cream colored, tender, clear juices
Chicken (USDA minimum: 165F)
Safe and moist 165F (74C) Cream colored, tender, clear juices
Fish (USDA minimum: 145F)
Medium 135F (57C) Slightly translucent meat, flakes easily
Well done 145F (63C) Opaque, pearly meat
Unpasteurized eggs (USDA minimum: 160F)

Safe cooking everyone!!
160F (71C)

Solid yolks

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Hump Day! Let's Get Comfortable Series Week #3

Happy Hump Day!!! That means just two days until Friday! I don't know about you, but as always the week just can't go fast enough.  Today is an extra special day in our house, my hubby is celebrating his birthday today.  So with our annual festiveness, it's all about Dad today and all of his comfort cravings.  This most likely will be ice cream cake and anything from pizza to potato soup.  So in his honor today I am sharing his favorite Fall soup recipe.  This is one of those comfort soups that fills you up and keeps you feeling warm and fuzzy all day long!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Dad's Favorite Mashed Potato and Bacon Chowder
1-2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 bag, 32 oz frozen cubed hash brown potatoes
1 bag, 12 oz frozen mixed veggies with okra
5 cups chicken stock or  broth
1 bunch Chopped green onion
½ lb bacon fried and crumbled, reserve 2 tbsp of bacon dripping
3 cups heavy cream (use more if you want extra creamy)
1 1/2 cups Shredded Colby/Monterey Jack Marble cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp Arrowroot or cornstarch (if using starch dissolve in some room temp broth before adding to soup) 
1tbsp Garlic powder
Sea salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Chipotle chili powder  (optional, but gives great flavor) 
Small sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional but gives depth to the soup)
Olive oil and 3 tbsp butter

In soup pot coat bottom with olive oil, butter and 1 tbsp bacon rendering (optional), heat on medium.  Add seasonings and warm until fragrant, add frozen veggies and arrowroot(cornstarch).  Add 3 cups of chix broth and cook on medium high until veggies are thawed.  Once thawed add mashed potatoes and rest of chicken broth.  Add bag of cubed hash browns and put heat on medium.  Add bacon and 1 ½ cups cream.  Heat through.  Taste and season accordingly.  Once all heated through and potatoes soft, add green onion, cheese and sour cream.  Heat until thickened slightly and serve. 

This is a great recipe to double and put in a crock pot for a big family gathering.  Serve sides of croutons, extra crumbled bacon, shredded cheese and chopped green onion.  Great to make the day after Thanksgiving when you have a ton of leftovers and can serve with toasted turkey sandwiches!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Puffs to make your day wonderful!

I am dedicating today's Blog to my mom, Queen of the traditional whipped cream puff drizzled with chocolate! I can remember as a little girl these wonderful delicacies made by my mom.  My sister and I would watch her stir the glistening dough on the stove and turn these little dough mounds into a sinful delight filled with real whipped cream and covered in chocolate...makes my mouth water just thinking about them!  So now it's my turn as mom to create wonderful memories through sweets and treats for my family.  So I have made my own cream puff creation for Fall.  Cream puffs filled with a creamy and fluffy pumpkin filling and drizzled with a maple cream glaze.  It sounds complicated, but it's one of the simplest desserts you will ever make.

The Puff

1 cup water
1 stick butter (do not use margarine)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  You will bake your puffs for 10 mins at this temperature, then turn heat down to 375 degrees for 15-20mins or until puffs are golden brown.  If you take them out of the oven and they quickly start to deflate, lower your oven temp to 325 and bake for an additional 5-10mins, keeping watch over them.  Weather such as high humidity will play with your puffs.  Once out of the oven transfer to a wire rack and cut open tops to let steam escape and cool before filling.

Using a pot over medium heat, pour in water and add butter.  Bring to a boil.

Now add your flour, salt and sugar.  Stir until dough starts to ball up.

Remove from heat and quickly stir in one egg at a time until dough becomes shiny.

Once all your eggs are stirred into the dough.  Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon and place 6 large dollops of dough on your cookie sheet.  I use non stick foil to cover my cookie sheet and prevent sticking without burning.

Pumpkin Cream Filling

1 3.4oz pkg pumpkin spice pudding (usually available in the Fall and around Holidays)
1 3/4 c milk
8 oz whipped topping

In bowl mix together pudding and milk blending thoroughly.  If you can't find pumpkin spice pudding mix, you can use butterscotch or vanilla with pumpkin pie spice added.  Let chill for about 15mins in the fridge.  Now fold in 8oz of whipped topping and place back in the fridge until ready to fill your puffs.

Maple Cream Glaze

1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1tbsp real maple syrup

Mix together all ingredients and let sit to the side until you put your puffs together.

Enjoy your little piece of pumpkin heaven!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tip of the week: Fall Garden Clean Out

As many of us know the our gardens are coming to an end.  This is a great time to begin cleaning out your garden for winter.  Currently I still have tomatoes growing, but I know as soon as the first frost hits they will be done for the year.  So what I would suggest is start cutting back over grown herbs that have gone to seed, start cutting down your sunflower stalks that the birds have picked free and clean out vining plants like cucumbers and zucchini that appear to have completed all their production.  If you do composting put all this plant material in your composter, it will make a nutrient rich compost to mix in your soil for the next planting season.

Here are some additional tips you might consider if you have a large backyard garden:

The following is an easy list of things to do:
  • Rake leaves. Left on the lawn, they will cut off sunlight to the grass and trap moisture, encouraging fungus diseases. But don't discard them if you have a place to start a compost pile. Shredded and broken down for a few months, they are prime organic matter to improve your soil.
  • Spread finished compost on perennial, vegetable beds or on the lawn to enrich the soil and make room for the new crop of leaves. Half-finished compost should go back in the pile with the new leaves as well as old annual, perennial and vegetable plants.
  • Weeds may die when frost hits, but their seeds survive in the soil. So pull all you see and discard them in the compost or put them into the landscape waste.
  • Tidy up. Any plant you suspect might be diseased should go in the landscape waste including diseased tree and shrub leaves. Otherwise, removing the stalks and foliage of perennials is a matter of taste: Cut them down if you are the neat type, or leave them if you like the look. Most people leave ornamental grasses standing.
  • Clear out the vegetable garden.
  • Put diseased plants in the landscape waste and the rest in the compost. Dig composted manure or other organic matter into the vegetable bed so by spring it will be nicely broken down in the soil. And once you've tidied up, plant your winter crops.

If you are someone that does a container gardening make sure to take out all dead plant material and dirt.  You will want to wash out your pots and store them for next year.  When doing container gardens you will want fresh dirt every year to ensure healthy growth of your new plants and seeds.

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Busy mom, quick and easy meal to feed the masses!

What a gorgeous Saturday in Central Ohio! Nothing better than a crisp fall day and Ohio State Buckeye football!  Since we are doing a night game tonight our house is bustling with the sounds of housework and lawn mowing.  Now my men are HUNGRY and want fed NOW! Nothing spells quick and easy more than soup and sandwiches that are filled with true "stick to your ribs" ingredients.

Lean ground beef and ground sausage are staples in my freezer.  Check out my earlier Blog about stocking a Fall Pantry for ideas on what to keep on hand for fast and easy meals.

Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

3lbs ground beef browned and drained
3 18oz cans Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce
American Cheese slices
Toasted hamburger buns

You can imagine why I like this, just mix your meat and sauce, pile on the bun, add cheese and you need nothing but some lip smacking and a napkin to clean up your saucy smiled family and friends!

Sausage Chili Soup

1lb pork sausage browned
4 cups beef broth
29oz can tomato sauce
14oz can diced tomatoes
11 oz can Delmonte Summer Crisp corn
21 oz can Bush's Grillin Beans, Black Bean Fiesta flavor
2/3 cup orzo pasta

Use a pot to brown your sausage in, once brown add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer for about 20mins or until orzo is soft.  Then serve with your Sloppy Joe's! 

What a great combination on a cool weekend day! It's fast and easy and your family will love it!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Kitchen Clean Out and Stock Up

Well the weekend is here!  So what are your plans for the weekend?  Most people are busy with football Friday night and Saturday college game day tailgates.  But by chance if your favorite team isn't playing or you just have that urge to purge....this weekend is as good as any to get started!

Twice a year, usually around the season change or time change, I clean out the house.  In the Spring it's looking around the house to de-clutter and clean out closets.  In the Fall it's all about switching out the Summer attire to the cool weather attire.  And of course, the BIG refrigerator clean out and pantry reorganization and winter restock.  I find that the months going into the holidays we tend to entertain a little more than normal.  Grilling out once the weather changes isn't always convenient, so I like to have ingredients ready for a yummy comfort meal for guests that show up for a visit.

Cleaning out the refrigerator is something that should be done, in my opinion, a couple times a year when it comes to a total removal of everything for inspection.  I do a weekly clean out for leftovers that may be done whether anyone wants to eat them or not.  Wiping down shelves and bins keeps your fridge smelling good and keeps any bacteria growth to a minimum.  It is also a great time to get rid of out dated condiments that might make you or someone else sick.  Doing this will help you manage your fridge space much better and you will find that it is easier to have space available when you need it.

There are many ways that you can stock your pantry.  One thing that I do when stocking my pantry is sit down and write out names of recipes that I make often and recipes that I like to make when I have pop in guests.  If you think this might work for you, write down the ingredients you will need and make sure you have enough in your pantry to make two of everything.  Here is a list of some staple items you might want to consider having on hand all the time.

Flours – unbleached white, wheat, rice, cake
Sugars – brown, cane, powdered, turbinado or demerara
Dry Pastas – a few different shapes and sizes
Grains – couscous, rice(white, brown and wild), barley, oats, cornmeal
Oils – olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
Vegetables – onions, potatoes, garlic
Canned/Jarred Tomatoes – sauce, diced, stewed, paste
Spreads – peanut, almond & hazelnut butters, jam, jelly
Natural Sweeteners – honey, maple syrup
Vinegars – balsamic, white, red wine, apple cider, rice wine
Specialty Sauces – hot sauce, Tabasco, oyster sauce, mirin, rice wine, soy sauce
Nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, coconut
Dried Fruit – raisins, apricots, dates, cherries, cranberries
Dried or Canned Beans- black, navy, pinto, kidney
Canned fish/seafood - tuna, salmon, clams, sardines, anchovies
Specialty Items – artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives
Herbs and Spices – oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, cumin, peppers and many more
Salts – kosher, sea salt, pickling salt, rock salt
Baking Ingredients – baking powder, baking soda, yeast, cream of tartar, chocolate
Extracts – vanilla, almond, lemon, peppermint
Beverages- coffee, tea, cocoa
Stock- boxed chicken, beef and vegetable broth

Some things to keep stocked in your freezer include any kind of cut up fresh veggies and fruit.  Great for quick soups or pies!

Thank Heavens for the Weekend!!

Welcome to Friday everyone!!! We finally made it through another week and I have no doubt that I am not the only one completely exhausted!  I thought and thought about what I wanted to bring to everyone today, but I felt after such a long week and feeling my brain just cramp from all work it's done, I would just keep it to KISS. Keep It Simple for Saturday!

Who feels like cooking on a Saturday morning after the hustle and bustle of a long week.....well I do! Cooking has always been a great source of stress relief for me.  Much like running 12 miles is to an active runner, I could cook for 12 hours and feel the same satisfaction.

So here it goes for my Saturday morning simple luxury food that is cheap to make but feels so glamorous on the palate.

Hot Ham and Cheddar Scones with Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice! What is great about this recipe is you can buy the ham already chunked up at the store and the cheese already shredded.

2 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar (I like to use about 2 tsp raw sugar when I can instead, adds more flavor)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt (but 1/2 tsp regular salt will do)
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and diced into small pieces, plus 2 tbsp butter melted for brushing the tops after they come out of the oven
2/3 c heavy cream, plus some for brushing before putting in the oven
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (tastes amazing if you can find white cheddar)
1 cup cubed ham (cubes or pieces should be small)
fresh ground pepper to taste

The trick to a tender scone is not to over mix your batter.  Heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowel combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt using a pastry blender or two knives (use scissor method), cut mix until it is crumbly. Stir in 2/3 cup heavy cream. Add ham, cheese and pepper.  Gently knead with your hands to mix cheese and ham through forming a ball.  Then flatten on a foil covered baking sheet until about 1 inch thick disk.  Cut into quarters.  Brush with leftover heavy cream to coat and pop in the oven for about 30mins or until golden.  Brush with melted butter when they come out and they will be ready to serve!

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

How many oranges will depend on how many people you are serving.  So you can either go the easy way and go to your local Whole Foods Store and buy it already squeezed or get that juicer out that you never thought you would use!  About 5lbs of oranges will serve about 2-3 people depending on how much they will drink.  Me, I am a cheater....I buy it already juiced at the local organic store!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Not Quite The Farmer's Daughter: What a chilly morning! Let's Warm It Up!

Not Quite The Farmer's Daughter: What a chilly morning! Let's Warm It Up!: Fall has definately settled into Central Ohio this morning. Chilly, gray and rainy is the weather recipe of the day. I have definately fel...

What a chilly morning! Let's Warm It Up!

Fall has definately settled into Central Ohio this morning.  Chilly, gray and rainy is the weather recipe of the day.  I have definately felt the tug of the blankets trying to lull me back into a lazy slumber.  Unfortunately duty calls and time to get my husband and son off to work and school.  And time for mom to get some things done around the house before heading to work.  But not before I take my time out before enduring a chaotic day and feeding this hungry soul with some well deserved comfort food!

So this morning it's time to break out some baked eggs, crusty bread and sweet curry potatoes!

Baked Eggs

1/2 tsp butter
1 egg
1 tsp whipping cream
salt and pepper
minced fresh basil or chives

Prepare a 6oz ramekin or custard cup with the 1/2 tsp butter. Break egg gently into prepared ramekin.  Sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tsp cream over egg.  Place ramekin in a shallow pan with 1 1/4 inches of water in the bottom and bake at a preheated temperature of 350 for 25mins or until egg is set.  Top with your fresh basil or chives when ready to serve.

I usually always have boiled potatoes and eggs in the fridge ready to be used.  My husband absolutely LOVES potato salad.  And he also LOVES curried potatoes.  So I started making this dish for him a couple of years ago and it finds it way to our table for breakfast or dinner!

2-3 Large potatoes pre-boiled until soft but not mushy, they will need to be cubed
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp sweet curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
smoked chipotle powder (optional

Heat a skillet on medium heat and add butter until it melts coating the bottom of your skillet.  When the butter starts to bubble add your curry, salt and pepper (and chipotle powder) to warm in the butter.  The warming of the spices really releases some great aromas and flavor!  Add your potatoes and cook until they are golden brown or a little crisp depending on how you like them.

*I purchase all my spices from Check out their website and see if they have a location near you. It's well worth the trip!

So now I will finish my creation off with some crusty butter bread and some Chai Tea....oohh so good!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Hump Day!....Let's Get Comfortable Series

Happy Hump Day everyone!!!! I decided that Wednesday deserves to be a day of comfort because it's the middle of the week and we all need a break in the middle.  Let's just take a moment to let out that BIG *sigh* and concentrate on what makes us comfy and happy!

One of my favorite comfort meals as a child was breakfast for dinner.  I remember my mom making chip beef on toast, scrambled eggs and, one of my personal favorites, PANCAKES!!!!  I can say this has to be one of the most comfort giving foods I have ever experienced.  Adding fruit or nuts is what our mom's and grandmothers often did to make our mouths water.  Now it's not just about fruit and nuts, but adding in proscuitto and asparagus drizzled with Hollendaise sauce.  Other pancake dishes include making pancake sandwiches.  The Wig Wam in Canal Winchester, Ohio is known for their wonderful Pancake Record Sandwich, two HUGE pancakes with bacon and eggs sandwiched in the middle drizzled with hot melting butter and maple syrup....oooo yummy!

Today I thought I would share my recipe.  My mom used to make these pancakes for me as a little girl and when I got old enough I started adding to it to make it my own.  Now my son's friends ask to spend the night on the weekends just because they know they will have a wonderful pancake breakfast to enjoy the next morning.

Mama Worley's Old Fashioned Flapjacks

3 eggs
1 c all purpose flour
3tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c buttermilk
2 tbsp butter melted

In large bowl beat eggs until fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, salt and both sugars.  Beat until smooth.  Add wheat germ, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla and buttermilk and butter.  Stir in until smooth, don't over mix.  Heat your griddle/skillet, throw on more butter to give your cakes some crust and use a 1/4 cup measure for your batter....or larger if you want bigger pancakes.  Flip once the batter starts to make bubbles on the top.  Cook until golden.

Mixed Berry Syrup

Take two cups berries and mash in a pan.  Add 1 c sugar and heat over medium heat.  Can turn up to medium high and cook until mixture thickens and bubbles. Pour through a strainer and add 1tsp vanilla.  Serve over your cakes and add fresh berries and nuts.  If not sweet enough after mixture thickens add some powdered sugar.  Pour over your hot flapjacks and sprinkle with extra berries.  Ohhh sooo good!