Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

Tonight we will roll in the New Year with friends. Nothing exciting~ but a little prosecco, some yummy food, and some noise makers.
Bill may even get a chance to break in his new game... 'Name that tune'.

But... Lest you think we are old fuddie-duddies, New Year's Eve should be exciting.
What makes this particular year exciting?... Tonight is a Blue Moon.

As in 'once in a blue moon'~ that happens on New Years Eve every 29 years or 'Blue Moon' by Frank Sinatra (maybe I will get one question right)
Either way we will get a chance to share an evening at home with friends and say goodbye to 2009.
Now that only happens once in a blue moon!
Happy New Year y'all~

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pralines in a bottle

This is our new favorite treat... "A little dab'll do ya!"

Praline liqueur drizzled on a Pecan Tassie with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.
In fact, a drizzle of pralines on just about anything is yummy.

Can you believe that I had a whole container of these tassies in the freezer, and couldn't find them when everyone was here for the holidays. I thought I was loosing my mind... or that maybe Bill had eaten them when I wasn't looking. (more likely I would have eaten them without looking)
This is a sure sign that it is time to clean out that freezer... New Years Promise #1?
I will have to work on the rest of that list.

In the mean time we have dessert for our New Years Party!
Y'all enjoy~

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Season's Eatings~

I was excited to take part in this years' Season's Eatings. Katie at Thyme For Cooking is once again hosting this bloggy food event. Several months ago, we sent our names in and she took care of hooking up the swaps.
The idea is to send (and receive) something that is a 'local' food or spice. The recipient then has to create a dish using the secret ingredient.

I was very lucky this year to have Simone from Briciole as my Secret Santa. She is a wonderful Italian cook, and has such a fun blog. She sent a large bag of dried white beans and a small collection of Italian spices.
I decided to forgo the recipe that Simone sent (for now) and use the white beans in a pot of White Christmas Chili. This is a recipe that is in my Starting Fresh Cookbook and is the perfect thing for that weekend after Christmas. I made use of the leftover turkey, and made a hearty pot that we can eat on for a few days.
White Chili
1 pound turkey meat (or chicken)
5 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbs butter
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 cups dried white beans
1 can green chilies, chopped
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs cilantro
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1 tsp Tabasco (to taste)
In an large pot saute onions and celery in butter until tender. Add broth and dried beans and bring to a boil. Add turkey pieces and spices. Bring to a low boil and cook until beans are tender and done.
Serve with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream or salsa.

I can't wait to see what everyone else did with their secret ingredients. I sent grits to the Philippines... this will be fun!
Y'all enjoy,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Treats~

Since I got my brulee torch, I have worked on perfecting my Creme Brulee. I just think this is a great little dessert. Sure it is rich and high in calories, but just a tiny bite is more than enough.

This is a recipe from Blue Bunny it uses a little ice cream to add to the flavor. If you go there now you can also download a Christmas song for Free!

Peppermint Egg Nog Crème Brulee
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 cup of peppermint ice cream
Raw sugar and crushed peppermint candies for topping
Preheat oven to 325°
Slowly heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles form along the sides of the pan; remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until fluffy. Slowly add the cream and peppermint ice cream to the sugar/yolk mixture and whisk until well-combined.
Arrange 4-6 ramekins in a pan. Pour the custard into the ramekins. Set pan inside pre-heated oven. Carefully pour water into the baking dish, filling up to about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekin. Bake until just set, about 40-45 minutes. (Actual baking time will depend on the oven.)
Remove ramekins from pan and cool to room temperature. When cool, cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 8 hours. Just before serving top with a thin layer of raw sugar and torch, or brown under the broiler. Sprinkle with tops with crushed peppermints. Everyone will think you slaved . . . only we will know the truth!
Happy New Year y'all,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Small bite~ Lentils

The small bite for this week is Lentils
What can you do with lentils?
I got busy on my favorite Cooking Light food search site and found a recipe for lentil hummus. I then changed it so much that it doesn't even resemble the original. It really turned out amazingly yummy. But then again~ on warm pita chips with sea salt... even wall paper paste would be good.

Red Lentil Hummus
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dried small red lentils
1 T olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1 T minced fresh garlic
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbs tomato paste
5 (6-inch) pitas, each cut into 8 wedges with sea salt

Combine broth and lentils in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Remove from heat; cover and set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, mustard seeds, and red pepper, and cook 5 minutes or until onions are tender and seeds begin to pop, stirring constantly. Add cumin, turmeric, coriander, and black pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste, and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add lentils, cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. The lentils will 'smish' as you stir and reach a nice consistency. Cool to room temperature.

Serve with toasted pita wedges, sprinkled generously with sea salt.
It is low cal and healthy... just what I need after all the eating we have done this past week.
Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky.
Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Eggplant~~~

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Photohunt ~ 12

The photohunt for this week is 'twelve'
I kept my eyes open while in London.
Guess what time the Queen's mail runs?

Happy Hunting y'all

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas y'all~

We will be leaving our cookies out for Santa. The stockings are hung, the lights are twinkling, the gifts are wrapped and beautiful.

We will head over to Mom and Dad's for Christmas with the kids... that's when things will get exciting. In the mean time we are ready to settle in for our long winters nap. ~Pa in his kerchief and I in my cap.

I have been very nice this year... that's my story and I am sticking to it.

Merry Christmas y'all~

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Links

I love having my favorite links on the side of my blog. When I am crazy busy~ like these past two weeks~ it is so easy to keep up with what is happening in the blog world.

Some of my favorite sweet links are going to help me put on a Christmas party....
Sugar & Spice has made a gingerbread house... we can all go there for our Christmas dinner.
Just A Beach Kat can bring the dominoes.
Rhoda has made some chicken pot pie.
Kathy has been on a cookie roller coaster, and The Diva can bring her Sicilian cookies and Palma is making all kinds of Italian cookies.
Karla needs to bring a few of her candles to dress our table.
Pat@MilleFioriFavoriti has beautiful Christmas music to entertain us.
Jerry has a few festive drinks he can mix up for us... That sounds like a party to me.

We spent the weekend with family, while it was wonderful to have everyone here, it was a very somber reason. We went to Auburn to leave a part of our souls under the shade of an Alabama pine tree. Dad is with the rest of his family now and has 'joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds'. Soar on...

Merry Christmas y'all,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Egg Nog Time!

Egg Nog comes just once a year. A sip is usually enough for me~ that leaves a quart of eggnog sitting in the fridge until the expiration date.
This is the perfect use for the leftover egg nog!

Egg Nog CheeseCake
1 cup gingersnap crumbs
1 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup eggnog
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
Dash ground nutmeg
In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour and eggnog until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined to avoid bubbles. Stir in extract and nutmeg. Pour over crust.
Place in a large baking pan; add some hot water to the large pan to make a water bath.
Bake at 325° for 50-55 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, remove sides of pan.

You could serve a sliver of this holiday cheesecake with a few crumbles of peppermint, a curl of chocolate, or a orange compote.
The orange compote is 1/4 cup of apricot jam and 1 cup of sliced orange pieces. Heat in a small saucepan until smooth. Sprinkle with fresh nutmeg.

Just like the perfect sip of egg nog.
Merry Christmas y'all~

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Photohunt ~Fast

The photohunt for this week is 'fast'

Here we are coming in fast over Pisa, Italy.
Happy Hunting y'all!

Friday, December 18, 2009

'Tis the season~

The family is coming in this weekend. We have flights arriving from London, Boston and Charlotte. The family is all coming together for our dad's service on Monday... Not a happy reason, but it is nice to have everyone together.

We will celebrate with a little sip of eggnog... Papa would approve!
Don't you love these candy cane shot glasses? They get a little sticky after the first glass~ but they are festive.

Merry Christmas y'all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Christmas Cookies!

I have found a new Christmas cookie. Well... new to me anyway! Y'all know I have this deep-rooted need to make Christmas cookies every year~ actually it borders on an irrational compulsion! Christmas just isn't the same without a plate (or 2) of homemade cookies.
I found this recipe for Orange spiced cookies that don't need to be iced. That will cut 'cookie time' in half. I have to say; they don't scrimp on flavor. The orange zest and cardamon give these shortbread cookies a holiday flavor.
Orange Spiced Cardamon Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs orange zest
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbs heavy cream
Whisk together flour, zest, cardamom, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream. At low speed, mix in flour mixture a bit at a time just until a dough forms. When smooth for a ball, then chill, wrapped separately in plastic wrap, until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350° Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. You can see the flecks of orange zest! Cut out as many cookies as possible with cookie cutter (chill dough again if necessary), reserving and chilling scraps. Sprinkle with golden raw sugar before baking. Bake until edges are golden-brown, 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then slide cookies, onto a rack to cool completely. (Add red hots right after baking) Only one tree, half the cookie time, online shopping.... I just might make it this year. Now is the time to sit back and reflect on the Glory of Christmas.
Merry Christmas y'all,

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. This has been a hard year to get into the holiday spirit. Holly sent me a beautiful wreath to get me started. I love the magnolia's and hydrangeas... the pomegranates and berries make it special. I added a bow for the festive look!
The tree is up and decorated... just one this year. One Christmas tree should be more than plenty!
Now I need to get the flour, sugar and butter out.... I've got some baking to do!
Merry Christmas y'all,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Small Bites~ Artichoke

This weeks small bite is 'artichoke'. I really didn't want to do a dip or spread... but this one looked to yummy. It started with a recipe from Cooking Light~ I used all low fat products and it tasted great.
I used Boar's Head sliced smoked turkey, but I'm sure some of that left over turkey from the holidays would work just as well.
Asiago Artichoke Spread
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 cup sliced green onions
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
freshly ground black pepper
Melba toast
Preheat oven to 350°
Mince garlic, turkey and artichoke hearts. Dice green onions. (this can all be done in the food processor if you want a creamy consistency.)
Combine mozzarella, Parmesan, Asiago, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and pepper in a large bowl. Add turkey mixture; stir until combined. Spoon mixture into a shallow 1-quart casserole dish. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Serve hot with Melba toast rounds.

I took my turkey and artichoke spread to my friend Rhoda's last night and everyone raved. My dishes were pale in comparison to her fabulous Christmas decorations. That girl knows how to decorate! My favorite line of the night was when someone asked Rhoda how everything she touches turns to gold... I said 'Spray Paint'! Rhoda and Peter know all about Southern Hospitality. Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky.
Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Lentils~~~ (EEK!)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Photo hunt ~Undesirable

The photo hunt for his week is 'Undesirable'. But, the way I am eating my way through the Christmas season...
I'll be spending my time here.

Happy hunting y'all,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a little ho-ho-ho

Do you ever get an email that really makes you laugh out loud?
I can't explain it... but I am still chuckling.
Merry Christmas y'all,

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A very Sad day~

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings...

I posted this poem last month for Veterans Day. 
Today, I found these words to be especially comforting.
Bill and I spent the day trying to remember special words of advice from 'The Colonel'. Here are just a few~~
*Always fill the gas tank when it is half empty.
*There is no need to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
*If you need help go to the catholic priest (this from a Methodist preacher's kid)
*Don't sweat the small stuff.
*Start and end your speech with a joke.
*Don't even start smoking.
*Every good pilot needs a navigator.
*If you're going to wear shoes, they may as well be cowboy boots.
*It's only money.
*You are either going to be making new car payments, or car repair payments.
*War Damn Eagle!

Being a good air force man (and U2CIA guy), most of the other words of advice were a little more political and a lot more colorful~ But that was the papa we loved.
He was quite a man!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Easy Briezy

Since Brie was our Sunday Small Bite yesterday, I decided to go ahead and post a few more appetizers. I was amazed at the recipes everyone posted. Not a single scoop and serve appetizer! These are 'easy briezy'. They might just come in handy for the holidays!

This first recipe was in Southern Living this summer. We stopped in at Petals From The Past to pick up our jar of Muscadine Jelly... but if you cant find it pepper jelly works well too.
Brie with Muscadine Jelly
1 round brie
1 jar muscadine jelly
1/2 cup pecans
Prepare in the same way as the next recipe. Serve with crackers or warm pita bread.

Spicy Brie
1 round brie
1 jar Honeycup mustard
1/2 cup pecans

Peel the edges off of a round of brie. Place on a serving dish. Spoon mustard over the cheese. Top with pecans. Serve with ginger snap cookies.

These are both amazing and easy appetizers. I am almost embarrassed to admit how simple they are. Take one along to your next holiday party!

Y'all enjoy~

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Small Bites ~ Brie

I have just gotten home and I am so behind on bloggy stuff. I have been keeping up with most of you, but just not leaving comments. I do want to get around and see every one's Christmas decorations. Bill forged the forest for me and brought the tree down. YEA! Now to get the old broken lights off and new ones on... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
I still have more photo's to post from London and Scotland... that can keep us busy during the winter months.
Back to bidness...

It was my turn to pick the challenge for this week's small bite. I was excited to see what everyone could to with Brie.

Brie Pouches with Apricots and Pecans
25 pecan halves
8oz brie
fillo pastry sheets, thawed
1/3 cup apricot preserves
Apricot Sauce
3Tbs apricot preserves
1 Tbs Grand Marnier
In a measuring cup microwave the preserves for 30 seconds until liquefied, combine Grand Marnier and stir until smooth. Set aside.
Toast pecans at 350° on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Remove the rind from the wheel of Brie, cut into 1 inch cubes
Butter a large baking sheet. Unroll dough and cover with damp cloth to keep moist. Cut pastry into 5 inch squares. Using 2 pieces of dough, place a square of cheese, then spoon a dollop of apricot preserves, top with toasted pecans.
Fold the pastry over and crimp the top with moistened fingertips. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes until lightly brown.
Serve each tart with a drizzle of apricot sauce.Now, let's see what small bites we get from the other 'nibblers'. Leave your link on Mr Mcklinky. Y'all enjoy!
Next week's secret ingredient ~~~Artichoke~~~

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Photohunt ~Curved

The phtohunt for this week is 'curved'. Check out the curves in Burrough Market.
Happy hunting y'all!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Land of OZ

This year Harrods has transformed to HarrOzs for Christmas.
The green Christmas lights have transformed it into the Emerald City. The windows are a fascinating display of the Wizard of Oz. Where else would you hope to find some ruby slippers, except at Harrods in London? What size would you like? Since we went to see 'Wicked' at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, we know the real story of the wicked witch and Galinda the good witch. It is a fabulous show!
Now I can have a pair of slippers of my very own.
Cheers y'all!
Related Posts with Thumbnails