Monday, November 26, 2007

Frog light

A double post from Doc Thelma's House, but I wanted everyone to meet the frog light.
My mom sent me this picture today from her tree. She has an strand of antique Christmas tree lights that came from my paternal grandmother's house. Once, the strand had an assortment of shaped bulbs: a zeppelin, a Chinese lantern, a Santa head. For my dad the herpetologist, however, the frog was the favorite; he remembered it from his earliest Christmas, which would have been about 1930. Every year, we would put the strand on the tree and wait with bated breath to see if "the froggy" was going to light and every year, so far, it has. Best guess is this is Froggy's 77th Christmas, at least. The frog and the Chinese lantern are the only novelty bulbs left on the strand; the rest of them are the traditional plain bulb shape. Given how hard it is to find replacement bulbs, who knows how long the strand will last. But 3 1/2 years after his death, my father's light is still burning.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mulled wine

I think this is what Clarence requested in It's a Wonderful Life.
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6-8 cloves
Mix in wine, brandy and sugar in saucepan. add flavorings and simmer over low heat until steaming. Do not boil. Serve hot.

Turkey Divan

Here's another dish I look forward to after Thanksgiving. The recipe is originally from my high school dietitian and it was voted the student's favorite. Don't worry, this was a prep school, well-known for its delicious food.
  • 2 10 oz. packages frozen broccoli
  • 2 cups diced turkey
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
Cook and grain broccoli and arrange in greased casserole dish. Add turkey. Mix soup, mayo, lemon juice and curry, pour over turkey and broccoli. Cover with cheese. Combine last three ingredients, sprinkle over all. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cinnamon Spice Craft Dough

With the holidays coming up, it's time I share one of my favorite crafts. This dough makes wonderful ornaments that smell great during preparation, hold their shape and bake into hard, long-lasting shapes. Paint them with a little glitter gel and they look like brown sugar cookies. A wonderful Sunday School project. Not edible!
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
Mix dry ingredients. Add water gradually, until mixture is like playdough. Role to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. If hanging, make a hole with a drinking straw. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Monkey Bread

My 7-year old son prepared this for a Cub Scout requirement. Delicious hot from the oven. Halving the recipe gives a good, family- sized loaf; use the full size for a crowd. Fun with kids because there are lots of little dough balls to roll.
  • 3 10-oz (or 4 7.5-oz.) cans refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
Separate biscuit dough and divide each piece in fourths. Mix sugar and cinnamon in bowl; roll each dough ball to coat. Drop in a greased and floured bundt pan. Melt butter and mix with brown sugar; I dump any leftover cinnamon sugar into to mix. Pour brown sugar mixture over dough balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool 5-10 minutes in pan, then invert onto plate. Break pieces off to serve.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Classic Lasagna

My Girl Scouts made this last night for our assistant leader, who just had a baby.
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 14.5 oz can stewed tomatos
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  • 12 oz cottage cheese
  • 12 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese
8 oz lasagna noodles (I use the kind you don't have to boil first.)
Brown and drain beef. In saucepan, mix tomatoes, water, tomato paste and spices, add beef and heat until bubbly. Blend cottage, ricotta and Parmesan cheese with beaten eggs.
Put 1/2 cup meat sauce in bottom of greased pan. Layer 1/2 each of noodles, meat sauce, mozzarella and cheese sauce. Repeat layers, top with extra Parmesan if desired. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Simply Delicious Cheesecake

A recipe from my mom. Simple but elegant and wonderful tasting.
  • 2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
Combine cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter, blend well. Assemble springform pan using flat bottom: pour crumb mixture into pan; press crumbs onto bottom and up sides to within 1 inch from top.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Beat eggs until light, fluffy; add sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Add softened cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice; beat thoroughly. Pour into crumb shell; spread evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees F. Note: top will not be brown and center may appear slightly underdone at end of baking period. Remove from oven; cool about 1 hour.

  • ½ pint dairy sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Nutmeg
Combine sour cream, sugar, vanilla, spread evenly over cake. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Note: top will still not be brown. Sprinkle top with nutmeg, cool, chill. 12-16 servings.