Happy Thanksgiving

I was visiting Minnesota a few years ago and was walking along the Red River when I saw a real turkey. He looked a lot like this. I was totally gob-smacked. I know what you are thinking: I am such a maroon. I don’t get out much, but that was a real thrill.

So, with that in mind, please take a moment and plan on enjoying an excellent Thanksgiving. I know things have been interesting in our lives lately, but you deserve all the happiness you can get.

Big kiss, from Lynn and Karen’s Whimsy on-line.

Gingerbread

Why wouldn’t you want gingerbread this time of year? When I was younger, gingerbread was a Grandma O treat. I can picture sitting in her kitchen in Portland, smelling spices and molasses. I date my love of molasses to those days. I also love the history of gingerbread. One of the first recorded gingerbread recipes was from George Washington’s mother. I like history with my food.

I love that you can pick it up with a fork or eat it by hand. I was always looking forward to having a piece the next day after school, but there was never any left. Grandma never made hard sauce to go with it, she always made whipped cream. This is one of the few times I like whipped cream on cake.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Plan on baking for 45 to 50 minutes.

Mix together thoroughly: 1/2 cup soft shortening, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 egg

Blend in: 1 cup black molasses, 1 cup boiling water

Sift together and stir in 2 1/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Beat until smooth.

Pour into a well greased and floured 9″ square pan. Bake. Cut into 3 ” squares in the pan. Keep hot and serve piping hot with sweetened whipped cream.

* From the Recipe Box:

I know, shut up, 2 tablespoons of sugar. Yes, really. This is why my diabetic grandma could eat it, but molasses isn’t without issues of its own.

and remember: An adventurous life does not necessarily mean climbing mountains, swimming with sharks or jumping off cliffs.  It means risking yourself by leaving a little piece of you behind in all those you meet along the way. Big kiss, Lynn

Chicken Breasts with Pineapple

Hey all, it’s time to bake things in the oven. I love chicken with pineapple in the summer, so I thought it might be interesting in the winter. We grill chicken breasts with pineapple slices and melt Swiss or gruyere cheese over them. There are some things that will always be a part of my cooking repertoire. They are so versatile and the leftovers are practically perfect. Now that’s what I call a chicken burger.

Gluten-free girl is coming tomorrow so I’m going to serve this with rice pilaf. Both G and I love pilaf. And then I’ll either go with something green or a salad.

Ingredients

1/4 cup good olive oil

3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)

1 20 ounce can of pineapple

8 ounces mushrooms, sauted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the pineapple into 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

*****From the Recipe Box:

Actually the mushrooms are for the pilaf, but I want them for both and you will too.

And I never buy chicken pieces with skin on them. I just don’t do skin.

I also threw in a few yellow tomatoes. Next time I’ll go with red to give them a color variation. Too much yellow, but it was tasty. This is another disappointing picture. Sorry about that.

and remember: Steve Jobs said it best: If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.  Big kiss, Lynn

Baked Apple Oatmeal

We have been so enjoying our baked apples, so I decided to do a little experimentation. Basically that’s what cooking is all about, isn’t it? I never cook oatmeal with milk, buy I decided to give it a go for some added richness.

Basically, I followed the instructions on the side of the Old Fashioned Oatmeal box. Normally, I prefer the steel ground oats, but when I get a bee in my bonnet and want to try something new, I want to try it now. So, in under 10 minutes, I was ready to go.

Next I made baked apples. I basically followed Grandma O’s recipe except:

2 large baking apples, such as Honeycrisp or Fuji

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oatmeal or granola

drizzle with honey

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and halve apples. Core out the center of the apple.

Place a tablespoon of butter in each center.

Sprinkle with brown sugar

Sprinkle with granola.

Drizzle with honey.

Bake until the apples are soft and the filling is browned, 1 hour.

***From the Recipe Box:

These were nummy. Both G and I gave them our seal of approval. Perfect food for a winter day.

and remember: Strong women intimidate boys and excite men. Big kiss, Lynn

Peanut Butter Bites

We spent Halloween with the Arlington kids. The d-i-l made these peanut butter energy bites and we thought G was going to drown in his own spit.

No bake peanut butter energy bites are soft, sweet and a perfect little healthy snack to tide you over until your next meal, especially if you are trying to cut down on your sugar consumption. No baking required and made with just 3 healthy ingredients. G is totally in love.

HOW TO MAKE PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BITES

1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats

2/3 cup peanut butter or any nut butter

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (optional)

Combine all the ingredients.

Take 2 tablespoons of the dough at a time and roll into balls.

Refrigerate for 2 hours, allowing the oats enough time to soften.

Store the energy bites in the refrigerator.

PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BITES CAN BE FROZEN!

These peanut butter energy bites can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about 1 hour until they are frozen solid throughout, then transfer them to an airtight container. (This way they won’t stick to each other).

Place the bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat some they can be thawed in the fridge overnight and enjoyed the next day for a perfect on the go snack or breakfast!

* From the Recipe Box:  

According to G, the chance of them lasting 3 months is ludicrously amusing. Yes, he loved them that much.

and remember:  Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.  Big kiss, Lynn,

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Sorry kids, the soup parade has begun. I’ll try and intermingle it with other food, but no promises. I love me my fall and soup season. Of course, you will also notice we’re back to brown food. I don’t know why my soups are almost always brownish, but c’est le vie.

This was a good one. Both G and I enjoyed every spoonful. There was no meat, but who cared. And fast! I don’t think I’ve ever had a soup come together so quickly.

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon oil

2 onions diced

4 cloves oil

1 1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms

4 teaspoons thyme

1/2 cup wine

6 tablespoons flour

4 cups chicken broth

S & P to taste

2 beef bouillon cubes, crumbled

1 cup cream or 1/2 and 1/2

Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until melted. Sauté onions for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Cook garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add mushrooms and 2 teaspoons thyme, cook for 5 minutes. Add stock, mix again and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium. Season with S & P and bouillon cubes.

Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, stir in cream or 1/2 and 1/2. Allow to gently simmer (do not boil). Adjust S & P and add remaining thyme.

*…From the Recipe Box:

We have just lived through some interesting times. Keep the faith people.

Another lazy butt lesson. Sliced mushrooms make things so easy. Dried herbs are just fine. Sorry Ina.

I ran out of cream, but I think it would be better with it.

and remember what William F. Buckley said: I wouldn’t insult your intelligence by suggesting you actually believe what you just said.    You know who I’m talking to.

Big kiss, Lynn                                                                                          

Chicken Sausage and Kale Soup

Hooray, it’s soup season. I’m not a huge kale person, but this one sounded pretty good. I’m really trying to branch out into new tastes. I really love vegetables, basically all vegetables, but I get really snarky about trends. Don’t even start me on gluten-free.

Did you ever read Clan of the Cave Bear? Have our bodies changed so much that we have turned into delicate flowers? They were just glad to have something to chew. I guess things have changed in 40,000 years.

Wow, another huge digression. I promise I’ll stick with the soup.

In a good soup kettle:

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, cut into thin half moons

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 (8 ounce) package cooked chicken sausage, cut into bite-size pieces

4 to 5 small potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 large tomato, roughly chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 cups torn kale leaves, washed with ribs and stems removed

1/4 cup milk or light coconut milk

2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and chicken sausage then cook until the sausage begins to brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the potatoes, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes then add the kale and cook another 10 minutes until wilted and the potatoes are tender.

Turn heat to low then add the milk and stir in fresh spinach leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

* From the Recipe Box:
 
OMG:  This is probably the best picture I’ve taken so far;  feel free to be totally impressed.  It probably won’t happen again.
 
Walk away from anyone or anything who takes away from your joy.  Life is too short to put up with fools.
 
Big kiss, Lynn