Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gingersnaps with Orange- Ginger Cream Filling

My first experiment of the season will be a new favorite...
Gingersnaps with Orange- Ginger Cream Filling

These are formed into balls, rolled in sugar...

...and flattened slightly with a glass bottom.

The baked cookies are spread with this amazing frosting.

On their own, these ginger cookies were great- soft- not the crunchy sort. The filling has a gingery flavor as well as specks of orange zest. And when the filling was given its place in between two of these cookies, it brought this cookie recipe to the next level. My husband took one bite and proclaimed them as 'restaurant quality!'

I froze these on a baking sheet, then removed them to layer in a plastic tub and put them back in the freezer. They're probably not good ones for mailing, but freezing them will be fine for a few weeks.

This recipe can be found HERE.

Visit for over 50 holiday cookie favorites HERE.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Cookie Recipes: 25 Favorites

Here are my 25 Christmas Cookie & Candy favorites of last season... Click picture to find the recipe.

My Top Six favorites of the favorites:
(I liked all of them, but here are the tops)
#1: Blackberry- Sage Thumbprints
#2: Bake & Slice Chocolate Swirls
#3: Sparkling Butter Toffee Cookies
#4: Cinnamon Fudge
#5: Macadamia Nut Butter Toffee
#6: Chocolate Mint Wafers

Especially good for packaging and mailing:
Triple Chocolate Cranberry- Oatmeal Cookies
Sparkling Butter Toffee Cookies
Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
Milk Chocolate Chip Gingersnaps
Gossamer Spice Cookies
Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Click on pictures to reach recipes. If, for any reason, the link isn't working, visit's Christmas cookie category for these and a bunch more cookie recipes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Leftover Turkey Recipes: Creamy Mexican Turkey Soup

We cooked up some turkey a little early this year and came up with a wonderful soup for the leftover turkey meat: Creamy Mexican Turkey Soup.

It starts with a simple saute of carrots, celery, onion & garlic. The veggies are then simmered with chicken (or turkey) broth.

The addition of milk, flour and spices make the soup slightly creamy. Mild canned chiles are added too. It's not a *heavy* creamy soup- not made with whipping cream. It's not spicy either. You could certainly make it heavy creamy (add whipping cream) or hot and spicy (add chipotles in adobo).

Corn, turkey, and cilantro are incorporated toward the end of simmering. Just before serving, a cup of Monterey Jack cheese is whisked in until melted. The cheese is what helps make this soup more on the creamy side. Don't you dare leave it out.

We liked this soup the way it was- we're not spicy kind of people. In fact, we loved this soup. Even the child in our house gobbled up every bite. It was very easy to do, and it will be a definite repeater.

Great recipe for using that leftover turkey!

If you're celebrating Thanksgiving today, have a happy one!

This recipe can be found HERE.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amish Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing

Once in a while my boys deserve a special little treat for breakfast. Usually it's pancakes or waffles, or more often than not some kind of muffin. This day, I chose Amish Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing. Perfect for downing with a mug of milk before a morning hike.

I started these the night before, refrigerated them cut and in the pan, and took them out for the 2nd rise the morning of baking.

After prepping the dough via a small amount of mixing, it's rolled out rectangle-style and spread with melted butter.

Then it's sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar. No nuts or raisins are crowding their way into this cinnamon roll.

It's rolled up tightly.

Ends are sealed.

1-inch slices are gently cut.

Slices are placed into a greased 9-inch square pan. This is the part where you can decide if you'd like to refrigerate them overnight or let them rise now and bake.

Cinnamon rolls aren't truly cinnamon rolls without a good dose of icing. This is a caramelly flavored icing... the best kind.

Ready for consumption (and a long hike)!

Our family has a special Thanksgiving morning tradition that I'll share with you. After our special breakfast, we take a hike. And on that hike, we go through the alphabet and we each share things we are thankful for. Dad says, "I've got A. I'm thankful for A____ because _______. Mom says, "I've got B. I'm thankful for B____ because _________. etc... It's really quite a nice way to start the day.

This recipe can be found HERE.

I hope that you all have a wonderful, safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Butternut Squash Rice Paper Rolls with Cranberry- Chile Dipping Sauce

My first foray into a knowingly "vegan" recipe was something that caught my eye and inspired me to pick up Veganomicon on a whim: Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls with Cranberry Chile Dipping Sauce.

I've enjoyed many a spring roll, but never had made them myself. They're incredibly easy- just have all of the ingredients ready to go in assembly-line fashion.

Going into this spring roll: Rice noodles, roasted butternut squash, roasted pumpkin seeds and chopped fresh cilantro.

The sauce recipe given for this appetizer was a soy dipping sauce, but they also suggested a cranberry chile sauce that I thought would be wonderful to try with the butternut squash (especially it being Thanksgiving week and all).

These spring rolls were awesome. The cranberry dipping sauce was a very good call. After the first bite, my husband said, "These are good." After the second bite he said, "Yeah, these are really good." I ended up eating so many of them that I didn't want the stir-fry that I had made for dinner. The butternut/pumpkin seed choice was very different for a spring roll filling, but seasonally appropriate and unique. The butternut squash is lightly caramelized, imparting that delicious flavor, and the pumpkin seeds add earthiness and crunch. Terrific.

This blog is not going Vegan. But this recipe is proof that those Vegan's do eat some good stuff!

This recipe can be found HERE.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cranberry Whole- Grain Muffins with Sweet Orange Glaze (and some winners!)

Oh, Fresh Cranberries...

I love you.

You're so seasonally colorful and blogable. You freeze well and make dishes and baked goods worthy of photographing. And although you're generally tart and inedible on your own, you pair well with sweets to create a blend of sweet-tart that is quite unique and delicious.

I loved you in these: Cranberry Whole-Grain Muffins with Sweet Orange Glaze.

Ok, enough about my love affair with this seasonally gorgeous fruit.

Since I have a 7 year old muffin-maniac living in my house, I'm always on the hunt for muffin recipes that are a tad bit on the healthier side. The kid can down two or three for breakfast, so they might as well be less like cake and more like a nutritious meal. While these have plenty of sugar, at least they're made with whole wheat flour and oats and minimal fat.

The muffin tops are dipped into an orange glaze, which adds a sugary sweetness to every bite. Cranberry + orange = yummy.

These muffins baked up perfectly with a nicely raised muffin top. The flavors were great... tart, sweet, and moist too. The kiddo ate his usual allotment and begged for more. I'd say they were a smashing success.

Don't forget to pick up extra bags of cranberries this season to throw into the freezer for later. They'll keep for a looooong time, and you can enjoy them now and then for several months to come.

This recipe can be found HERE.

And now for the winners of the Gourmet Giveaway!
Many of you were inspired by my husband's Starbuck's experience, and let me just say that I was completely touched by all of the stories of random acts of kindness that you shared as well. My husband has contacted the hotel where that RAK happened to see if they would locate this woman and let her know of this blog post and all of the nice things that were shared. I'm not sure if they bothered to find her (she's apparently a regular at that Starbuck's), but I like to think they did. If you need a boost to your day and would like to hear about all of the good that is happening around us, read the comments here. I wish I could give more, but the random number generator chose:

Two Winners:
#1: The Spice Gift Basket: Comment #84: Deborah of Taste and Tell who shared...
My husband actually started a new job about a month ago, and things have been better than expected. He came home yesterday to let me know that he didn't charge a customer and decided to pay for it himself because he could tell they needed it. It's not something I've done, but I was happy that my husband did that!

#2: The Olive Sampler: Comment #128: Reeni of Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice who shared...
I helped an elderly lady at the grocery pick up a huge bag of kitty litter and put it in her cart even though my arms were full of groceries, and there were 3 or 4 other people around who pretended to be oblivious to her struggling.

Please use the contact form in my right side bar and send me your email address... and your gifts will be on their way!

Thanks to everyone who participated... I hope to do some more great giveaways sometime soon!