Family & Friends

As the holidays grow closer it reminds us to stop and enjoy life.  Talk with family, reunite with old friends and appreciate what you have.

I recently lost a life-long friend to cancer.  It really puts life into prospective.  People come and go in your life and you may have a lot of acquaintances but how many true friends do you really have?  Something to ponder.

My Dad taught me growing up to always find the good in people; be positive and truthful; remember that when others are mean or sad there is something going on in their lives that is making them that way; and most of all, always take time for friends and family!!!

So my recipe I am sharing today is one that you can share with your friends and family anytime of the year.

PEANUT BUTTER PIE

Ingredients:

  • 1 graham cracker crust
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding (or white chocolate)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 8-oz block cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, chopped fine (optional)
  • Chocolate syrup for drizzling (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Whip the pudding and confectioner’s sugar together. Set aside.
  2. Whip together the peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Sprinkle a little of the peanut butter mixture on the graham cracker crust. (less than 1/4 cup)
  4. Fold in half of the whipping cream into remaining peanut butter mixture and mix until blended.
  5. Pour into the graham cracker crust.
  6. Top with whipping cream.

    Optional:  Sprinkle nuts on top when ready to serve and drizzle with chocolate syrup.  Or you can reserve some of the peanut butter and sugar mixture and put on top (see picture below).  Store in refrigerator.

peanutbutterpie1

 

Reflection

People come and go in your life but a true friend is always there.  No matter how long it has been since you have seen them or spoken with them.  Take time to make that phone call or drop them a letter.  Do it now while they are still here!!!

Today, I am sharing two of my favorite holiday recipes for you to share with your friends and family.   I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends do.

Holiday Eggnog

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites

INSTRUCTIONS:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg yolks until they light in color. Gradually add  1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve. Top with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cool whip (optional).

eggnog

Milk Gravy and Biscuits

INGREDIENTS:

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat bacon/sausage drippings in a skillet over medium heat; whisk flour into drippings until smooth. Reduce heat to low and cook the flour mixture until it turns a caramel brown color, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes. Be careful, the roux burns easily. Stir in salt and black pepper.

Whisk 1/2 cup milk into the roux until thoroughly blended. Continue whisking milk into the gravy, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking in each amount of milk completely before adding more. Bring gravy to a simmer and whisk constantly until thick, smooth, and bubbling.

Add crumbled bacon or sausage then serve over biscuits or toast and enjoy.  I have this for any meal of the day!!!

cropped-30499_buttermilk_biscuits_sausage_gravy_3000-e1491858919883.jpg

Quick & Easy Apple Crisp

One of the best recipes I have for apples is one of the easiest.  With Fall upon us, I thought I would share it.  Hope you enjoy……

Quick Apple Crisp

INGREDIENTS:

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 – 9 oz. pkg. yellow cake mix

2 tbsp. sugar

1 – 2 tbsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sliced apples in greased and floured pan. combine remaining ingredients. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples. Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until apples are tender.    Can add Vanilla ice cream or thawed whipped topping when serving. Great served cold or warm.  For a change, use any fruit like peaches, strawberries, etc.; quick and easy recipe.

apple crusp.jpg

BACON CHEESEBURGER CROCK POT DIP

Great for a game day or party dish.

bacon cheeseburger dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of lean ground beef or turkey
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, cubed & softened
  • 2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles – do not drain
  • 6 oz package of real bacon bits, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Nacho Chips

Instructions:

  1. Brown meat, drain and place in large skillet
  2. Over low heat, stir in cheeses, tomatoes and bacon bits except for 2 tablespoons
  3. Cook while stirring frequently until well blended and heated
  4. Pour mixture into a 2-quart crock pot
  5. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally
  6. Stir in parsley and sprinkle with remaining bacon bits just before serving

Serve as an appetizer or main dish with Nacho Chips.

National Creme Brulee Day

I just read an article that today (July 27) is National Creme Brulee Day.  What a great day!!!  So in honor of this, I am sharing a delicious recipe; hope you enjoy it.

chocolate creme brulee.jpg

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Ingredients:
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 ounce chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva Liqueur)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 ounces dark cocoa powder
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (the better the quality, the better the taste)
11 large egg yolks

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add heavy cream, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla. When mixture is warm add cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until blended.
Place egg yolks in large stainless steel bowl.
Slowly add warm chocolate mixture to eggs a little at time while whisking.
Strain and pour into individual porcelain ramekins.
Place ramekins in a large baking pan.
Pour enough hot water into pan to come half way up sides of ramekins.
Bake until firm in center, about 30 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool completely.
Place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Dust with sugar and caramelize with propane torch. Serve immediately.

Homemade Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

Shrimp cocktail sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

Instructions:

Stir all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Taste and season with more pepper as needed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.  Enjoy!!!!

Sugar Alternatives to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Thought I would try a healthy blog for this one; hope you learn something and enjoy it!

Craving sweet flavors is something we all have from time to time but there are alternatives to conquer those cravings without the calories!

A lot of the way highly processed sugars such as granulated sugar and high-fructose corn syrup have popped up in foods where we do not expect them like breakfast cereals, dairy products, salad dressings and nut-butter spreads. These sugars are highly processed and have been zapped of nutrients during refinement.

Luckily, there are a variety of foods that contain natural, unprocessed sugars you can enjoy.

RAW HONEY

This is honey from flowers that still contains healthful vitamins A, C, D, E and K, various B vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium and live enzymes that are removed when honey is heated, filtered and processed.

Raw honey is also rich with bifidobacteria, a group of bacteria associated with digestive and immune health. An effective probiotic, raw honey stimulates bifidobacteria growth in the intestine and aids in digestive health.

raw honey

MAPLE SYRUP

Similar to honey, maple syrup contains antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients not found in refined sugar. Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees and also contains trace minerals absorbed from the ground by the trees.

maple syrup

DARK CHOCOLATE

Not all chocolate bars are created equal, and dark chocolate — containing more than  70% cacao — has a higher quantity of superpowered cacao than chocolate bars, which contain more milk and sugar. The cacao portion of a chocolate bar is made by grinding the nibs in cacao beans. The nibs are dried, then fermented and ground for making chocolate. The percentages you see on a chocolate bar wrapper are indicative of how much cacao is in each bar out of 100% by weight. So, if you read 45% on the bar, it means the bar is 55% milk and sugar and only 45% cacao. But a 75% bar contains only 25% milk and sugar, making it a lower-sugar choice. A bar that reads 100% would be made entirely of cacao nibs and cacao butter without added refined sugar or milk solids.

dark chocolate.jpg

COCONUT PALM SUGAR

Similar to the way that maple syrup is harvested, coconut palm sugar is made by harvesting the sap of a coconut plant. Then, the sap is dried to evaporate the liquid out,  leaving the natural sugar crystals behind. Coconut palm sugar is lower on the glycemic index than both honey and maple syrup and is a great substitute for granulated sugar in baking recipes.

coconut palm sugar

DRIED FRUIT

Dried blueberries, cherries, peaches, apples, dates — even kiwi and mango — are all great options when you’re reaching for something sweet. Dried fruits are made by evaporating the juices out of fresh fruit, leaving concentrated flavors and natural, unprocessed fruit sugars behind. But be warned that in addition to being a concentrated source of flavor, dried fruit is also concentrated in calories, so once again, a little goes a long way.

 

dried fruit