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I know..I know. this is a food blog for my recipes and such, but there comes a time when I think something else can be discussed here.  Family, what does it mean to you?  To me it means the people and animals in your life that are most important; those that you would do anything for.  Aside from my loving and caring significant other, of which we’ve been together almost 18 years, our pets are the next most important thing; they rely on us for their care.  The reason I bring this up is that just recently we had to put down our beloved Wesley on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012:

Wesley

He was the 2nd family pet we’ve had to put down in the past couple of years.  You don’t realize how much a part of your life these innocent creatures become.  Wes was a wonderful pet – he never wined, barked or bit anyone and anything anyone ever did to him he just took it. I miss him whole heartedly; still get up early to see if he needs to go out and then I remember; oh yeah – he’s in heaven with my parents and Zeus.  One thing I do believe in is that I will see him and Zeus again.  He’s at the Rainbow Bridge; awaiting his masters.

Wes’ favorite thing to do was to do nothing – he loved to just curl up in the corner on his blankets and pillows and just relax.  He was not a very active pet, but it makes you sit and wonder – are we moving too fast.  Is our society forgetting to stop and smell the roses; as the saying goes.

Goodbye Wes!  You will be greatly missed!

 

Life is short – VERY SHORT!  We do our best to live each day to the fullest because no one knows what tomorrow has in store for us.  I say this in hopes that whoever reads this will take a step back and look at what they have and be thankful for the individuals and animals that have impacted their lives.

For all those who have lost a pet, you have our condolences.  Just remember, you will see them again!

It’s that time of year where I put on my apron and bake a whole lot. This years’ theme is Chocolate. Yes, you heard right – Chocolate. I’ve gone through the majority of my recipes and have pulled out a number of them that involve this wonderful ingredient.

Starting this week the plan is to make a number of different kinds of cookies, fudge, cakes and sorted desserts all around the Chocolate theme.

I think I’ve gathered enough chocolate these past couple weeks to make all of these goodies.

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The ultimate test will be how our friends enjoy these treats this weekend as we have our annual Holiday Party. There’s going to be lots of chocolate and goodies and even a chocolate fountain – how awesome is that?

I can’t wait to get started on Wednesday. The house will smell of wonderful scents and I’m sure I’ll need some taste testers….anyone interested?

So, the other day I had a hankering for my mother’s Saffron Chicken.  It’s a recipe she always cooked that made the kitchen smell wonderful.  She always made hers with Tumeric — but the original recipe uses Saffron.  It’s just the price of Saffron is outrageous and Tumeric gives off the same flavor, at least in my opinion.  I also find that the meal is even better the 2nd day – like a good lasagne – as it has time to soak into the chicken and rice.

Here’s the recipe:

4          boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1          TBS olive or other cooking oil
½         cup onion, chopped
½         TBS turmeric or 1 gram packet saffron
1          10 ½ oz. can chicken broth
½         cup white wine
1          cup heavy whipping cream

Brown chicken breasts in sauté pan for 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan. Add oil to pan. Sauté onions in oil until soften. Add turmeric (or saffron) to onions. Pour chicken broth and white wine over simmering onions.

Return chicken breasts to pan. Cook for 10 minutes until liquid is reduced by ½.  Remove chicken breasts and arrange on a serving platter. Cover with foil while continuing to prepare sauce.

Add heavy whipping cream to sauce. Bring liquid to a boil and allow sauce to thicken. Remove from heat. Serve sauce over chicken or in a gravy boat on the side. This dish is delicious when served with white rice.

So a few years ago I went to my sister’s house back east for the Holidays.  When I got there she had a huge amount of cookies, desserts and treats readily available for the up-coming festivities.  One of these I thought was very easy to make as well as very tasty.  I thought I’d share this treat with you.

So you take a bunch of the small rounded pretzels:

Then you get some icing, whether you use store bought or make your own royal icing.  Either way works, just depends on if you have the time to make it.  I made royal icing and flavored it with mint flavoring – it is the Holidays after all.  I loaded my royal icing into a piping bag and proceeded to pipe the icing on the pretzels:

Before the royal icing has time to dry, I placed your standard Christmas M&M on the pretzel – I used two per pretzel: one red, one green for the festivities:

They turned out wonderfully and were a hit at my very on Holiday Party I had this past weekend.  The salty pretzels along with the chocolate and sweet icing all blend well together.

Give it a try, I’m sure you and your loved ones will enjoy this quick and easy treat.

As the Christmas Holiday approaches so does my need for holiday treats.  One of these treats I remember from my childhood is the Fudge.  My mother always made fudge using Marshmallow Fluff.  Yes, the white stuff that most folks spread on bread with peanut butter as a sandwich I could not fatham.

I’ve always made fudge using the recipe from the Marshmallow Fluff Jar:

  • 2 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 5 oz. can evaporated milk (2/3 c.)
  • 1 Jar (7 1/2oz) Marshmallow Fluff
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 12-oz. package semi-sweet chocolate pieces

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. In large saucepan combine the first 5 ingredients. Stir over low heat until blended. Increase heat to Medium and bring to a full-rolling boil being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Boil slowly, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Measure using the soft-ball test or heat to 235 degrees.  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted.  Turn into greased pan and cool. Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

Some of the variations I use:

  • Instead of using Vanilla try using a variety of other scents like Orange, Raspberry, Pineapple.  All are good with the fudge.
  • Add a cup of Peanut Butter when you add the chocolate to make Peanut Butter fudge.
  • Use White Chocolate or Dark Chocolate instead to make White or Dark Chocolate Fudge.
  • Add a cup of walnuts for Walnut Fudge.

Welcome to my very first blog post!  This site begins an exciting journey for me as I begin to further explore baking, cooking and all there is to know about my passion for all that is culinary.  I’ve always enjoyed cooking; even more so the result of cooking – Eating!

I’ve learned everything that I know from my mother, watching television and reading books.  Cooking is an art and Baking is a more specialized art.  I hope you stay with me as I embark on this journey into food.

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