Now that Thanksgiving is done. I can start posting my Christmas cookie recipes without feeling guilty. You won’t feel guilty making these cookies either because each batch makes 12 -18 cookies because no one needs dozens of cookies laying around when you are the only one around to eat them. Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting the treat recipes that are traditional for me or for my family.
Fruit cake has a horrible reputation. If you have only have had fruitcake from a grocery store it probably deserves it’s horrible reputation. In my family, my dad and I love fruitcake. The rest of the family not so much. So every year, I try to find a I recipe to change the rest of the family’s minds about fruitcake. This year I found a recipe for fruitcake cookies that use just enough candied fruit to remind you they are supposed to be fruitcake. I really like the resulting soft, slightly chewy cookie.
Fruit Cake Cookies
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 TBS lightly beaten egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract, optional
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup chopped candied green cherries
1/4 cup chopped candied red cherries
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl until blended. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat well to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the creamed butter mixture and beat well. Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold in the pecans, dates and candied cherries until evenly distributed.Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto prepared sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container
I loved, loved, loved broccoli and rice casserole when I was a kid. When I asked my mom for the recipe and made what she gave me, I was so disappointed. The recipe was not the way I remembered it at all. I don’t know if it is my memory that’s faulty or the recipe. It just wasn’t what I remembered having as a kid. So I have hunted down and tried dozens of recipes for broccoli and rice casserole over the years. While I have found some good recipes none of them have been exactly what I have been searching for.
A few weeks ago, Audrey over at My Lady, Melady: My Castle; My Food posted recipe for Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa bake and I found the recipe from my childhood I had been looking for. Thank you, Audrey.
Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Bake
6 TBS quinoa
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 1/2 cups cooked chopped chicken
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup cheddar cheese; shredded
1/4 cup mozzarella; shredded (or any cheese of choice)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook quinoa with chicken broth,according to package directions. Sauté diced chicken in a large nonstick skillet heated with a drizzle of oil. When no longer pink, place in a bowl and set aside. Sauté onion or shallot in another drizzle of oil in the same skillet. When lightly browned add broccoli and sauté for a few more minutes.Add chicken, cayenne and paprika and cook for a few minutes to heat through. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in quinoa and heat for several minutes. Stir in cheeses.Place mixture into sprayed casserole dish, sprinkle with a little more shredded cheddar and place in oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
There are three days until Thanksgiving so it is time to post the center piece of our Thanksgiving feast …. turkey and stuffing. This year I went traditional for the meat part of my meal. I found a 3 pound turkey roast that was just the perfect size for one. I know that it isn’t the prettiest when it come out of the bag because it is made up of pieces of turkey rather than a whole turkey breast. Once you rub it and cook it, roast looks just as nice as a whole breast without all the leftovers. You will have plenty of time to thaw the turkey roast too. It only takes a day or so in the fridge.
Brown Sugar Rubbed Turkey Breast
1 3 lb turkey roast
2 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat the turkey with paper towels to dry. Mix the brown sugar, parsley flakes, paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cinnamon, pepper and ginger in a bowl. Pat the rub all over the turkey. Arrange the turkey in a baking pan and roast until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours Let rest before slicing.
For the stuffing this year I used wild rice and my favorite, cranberries. Since this recipe is a little heavy on the prep time cook the Wild and Basmati rice the night before and finish it off in the oven Thanksgiving day.
Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries and Walnuts
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
1/2 cup uncooked Basmati rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 TBS chopped walnuts
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in Basmati rice, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir in cranberries, parsley, thyme, and walnuts, cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with pepper and additional salt to taste. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Transfer rice mixture to dish and bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Last weekend my best friend, Steph, came to see me and gave me this angel made from Cockatiel feathers. Isn’t it beautiful?
Today has been a rough day. It started with a trip to the vet with my beautiful Budgie, Annie, to confirm what I already suspected. My Budgie boy has fatty liver disease. Annie’s liver cells are slowly, thank God, being replaced by fat cells which will eventually cause liver failure. There is no way to stop it or treatment to slow it down. All I can do is make sure to trim Annie’s beak when it over grows ( a symptom of fatty liver disease is an over grown beak. Healthy parrots never need their beaks trimmed), so he can continue to eat and make him as comfortable as possible when the end comes. Right now you couldn’t tell Annie is sick, he is eating and squabbling with his cage mates and doing what happy Budgies do. So I am going to keep on caring for him and loving him just like I always have.
It’s always hard for me to mentally deal with a sick animal. I always feel like it’s my fault they are sick. I could have done something to prevent their illness. In my head, I know that isn’t true but it takes longer to convince my heart that there is absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent Annie from getting fatty liver disease.
So after getting home from the vet I sat with Annie for awhile and gave him a special treat then I went to kitchen and started cooking and baking. I don’t know why but the kitchen is my happy place. When I am there nothing seems too overwhelming or out of reach. The kitchen is the only place I have total control. I made a batch of birdie bread for the birds, gerbils and rats and a wonderful dinner for me. The dinner included these wonderful roasted Brussels sprouts. I am going to include them is my Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t have balsamic vinegar so I substituted apple cider vinegar. You could substitute any vinegar for it, except maybe, distilled white vinegar.
Balsamic Honey Brussels Sprouts
3/4 – 1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 TBS olive oil,
1/2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
Preheat oven to 425°F. Trim off the outer, dry leaves, cut the bottom off and slice sprouts lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon olive oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to coat thoroughly. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Place Brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste and season with kosher salt if necessary and serve.