Welcome! :-) Whatever brought you here today wasn't an accident, and I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm always glad to have folks drop in my kitchen for a visit and hope you'll feel right at home. We always have an ample supply of fresh lemonade, sweet tea, and a pot of coffee brewing along with a sideboard full of baked treats for you to enJOY while you're here. Relax and take your time as we visit and catch up on the latest news. Don't forget to email and let me know what's going on in your world, as well. And, come back soon!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Pinch of Love, A Smidgen of Joy - Honoring Momma

Momma and me
Last Thursday, December 18, would have been Momma's 60th birthday. It was a bittersweet day, filled with food, sweets, memories, and JOY. She would have loved spending time with her family and friends to celebrate, as we would have loved spending time with her.

Even from an early age, one of my favorite ways to spend time with Momma would be in the kitchen. It's one of the best rooms in the house for conversation, laughs, hugs, and some delicious eats. I have some great memories with Momma in the kitchen over the years...

My family honored Momma on her birthday with poinsettias and Christmas flowers on her grave in Arkansas. And because I am here in Maine and was working that day, I honored Momma by doing something she loved so well - feeding people. I had a Christmas party at work, and I made the appetizers and dessert for the party. I also made Christmas cookies for friends at church and placed them in pretty packaging. It was a special way to give JOY to others on a day that my Momma gave JOY to the world by being a part of our lives for the time she was able.

Here are a few recipes that I made for my work Christmas party, which got great reviews! Also I included one of my favorite cookie recipes Momma would often make at Christmas-time and coincidentally is one of my favorites!

EnJOY cooking and baking for your family and friends! Momma would be happy to know her recipes are bringing delicious JOY to others. :)

Pat's Hidden Valley Ranch Party Pinwheels (pg. 9, "A Pinch of This, A Smidgen of That" Cookbook by Patricia Rains

2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch original dry mix
2 green onions, minced
4-6 (10-12 in) tortillas
1/2 cup diced red or green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced celery  (I omitted this part)
1 cup sliced black olives, drained (I omitted this part)
(I also added 1/2 pound of sandwich-sliced turkey and 1/2 pound of sandwich-sliced ham, dividing it into a few pieces for each tortilla)

Mix the first three ingredients. Spread on tortillas. Sprinkle on remaining ingredients, and lay on the turkey/ham if using. Roll and wrap tightly. Chill for 2 hours. Cut off roll ends. Slice 1/2-inch pinwheels. Place decoratively on serving tray. Makes 3 dozen or more.

I also made sausage stars for my Christmas party, but forgot to snap a picture, and by the time I remembered they were all devoured! Folks love these delicious little treats, found on pg. 9 of the cookbook, or here on the blog post: Hearts and Stars!

Kenda's Cranberry-White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Eggnog
(a revised version of "Ruth's White Chocolate Bread Pudding," found on pg. 100 of "A Pinch of This, A Smidgen of That" cookbook by Patricia Rains)
(Note: makes 2 large casserole dishes of bread pudding)

For pudding:
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup eggnog
1/4 cup butterscotch schnapps 
1 cup sugar
1 large bag of white chocolate morsels
12 whole eggs
2 pkgs. (8 count) hot dog buns, cut into small chunks
6 large cinnamon sugar donuts, cut into small chunks
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup pecans 

For white chocolate ganache:
1 cup eggnog
1/4 cup butterscotch schnapps
1 large bag of white chocolate morsels

For pudding:
Stir whipping cream, eggnog, butterscotch schnapps, and sugar in a heavy saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil; remove from heat and carefully add white chocolate pieces. Allow chocolate to sit and melt for several minutes, then, whisk until smooth. Whisk well together a dozen eggs in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour hot cream/chocolate mixture into the eggs in a steady stream, whisking constantly as you pour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the inside of two 9x13 casserole dishes. Place half of the hot dog bun chunks and donut chunks into the dish. Pour 1/4 of the liquid mixture into one dish and then 1/4 into the other. Using fingers or a rubber spatula, push and swirl the bread and allow it to absorb the liquid. Gradually pour another 1/4 of the liquid into one dish and then the remaining 1/4 into the other. Sprinkle fresh cranberries and pecans over both bread puddings. Cover them with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour; watch it closely. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and it has a nice brown finish to the top of the bread.

For white chocolate ganache:
Bring eggnog and butterscotch schnapps to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and carefully add white chocolate morsels. Whisk chocolate into the hot liquid, melting it and making sure it doesn't stick to the sides or bottom of the pan. Baste over the top of the hot bread pudding, and use any leftover ganache served on the side.

 Snickerdoodles (pg. 156 of "A Pinch of This, A Smidgen of That" cookbook by Patricia Rains)

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white Crisco solid
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons or more granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon ground Saigon cinnamon

Heat oven to 400*F. Mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt together, and place aside. Beat sugar, butter and shortening together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well-mixed. Use a spatula to fold in the flour mixture until all of the flour is taken up. Shape dough by rounded teaspoonsful (or use a cookie scoop) and roll in combination of granulated sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake about 10-12 minutes until crackled and golden, but not browned. Remove immediately from pans to cool.