Category Archives: Cooking
First real cold weekend of the season has settled on us in North Alabama. The thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas are in the air. In the air as well is the smell and thoughts of seasonal foods. Yesterday my thoughts were on hot soup. In cold weather hot soup is a comfort food for many folks including myself. I wanted to cook a healthy and tasty soup so I decided on vegetable soup. I have made vegetable soup only a of couple times and was not pleased with it at all. I decided to give it one more try.
I really enjoy trying new recipes. I have got quite a collection of cookbooks. I have recipes clipped from magazines and papers. I have jotted down recipes from friends and from magazines. They are stuffed into boxes, slipped between pages of cookbooks.
Recently I found a solution to my mess of recipes. I found on Amazon THE BLANK COOKBOOK by James Laymond Publishing. This book has titled sections for ingredients, preparation directions, cooking directions, serving notes and a section titled “family memories of this recipe.”
I am enjoying getting my recipes organized in this neat book. It has been fun thinking of memories of the recipes.
I also thought of what a great gift it would make for a new cook. Just wanted to pass this find onto everyone. You can buy it on Amazon.com for around $8.
I have enjoyed cooking since I was a young girl. I remember being in the kitchen with my mom when she would be cooking. I enjoyed watching the way she put her meals together. My mom was very quick in the kitchen. She would have dinner on the stove cooking before most people could get the ingredients out of fridge. My mom was a great cook. She was a very basic cook never anything complicated or “fancy”. I remember my mom getting up and cooking a big meal for breakfast. Many mornings our breakfast would consist of fried chicken, fried potatoes, tomato gravy and biscuits. Other mornings maybe it would only be chocolate gravy and biscuits or bacon, eggs and biscuits. As I grew older I do remember we would have cereal some mornings. Yes my mom was a great cook and teacher. I however enjoy the “fancy, complicated and experimental recipes. I enjoy going into the kitchen, getting out a cookbook, finding a new recipe, and trying it. One of my favorite ways of cooking is to just get ingredients and see what I can create. Thus coming up with a new recipe. This is what happened this week. For a couple of weeks I had been planing on making chicken stew and potato soup for a gathering of friends. Well, on Wednesday I went to lunch with some friends and we all had Pork tenderloin stew. It was great stew. I could not stop thinking about how to make my version of this stew. On Thursday I decided to try it. I bought the pork tenderloin and came up with “Veronica’s spicy Pork tenderloin stew”. Served it to our friends. They all loved it. Thought I would share my recipe with you. Serve with cornbread and ice tea. A great meal for these cold winter days.
I guess everyone has their own New Years Eve and New Years Day traditions. Probably the most common is the food we prepare and eat on New Years Day. In the South you will find people consuming black eyed peas, greens, pork and cornbread. Of course I have to mention the tradition of watching ball games. Bowl games are on all day. Most stores have begun having New Years Day sales. So the more recent tradition that was added is shopping.
Eating black eyed peas has been tradition for over 1500 years. This tradition was started to celebrate the Jewish Holiday known as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Black eyed peas was thought to bring good luck during the new year. Folklore says the tradition of eating black eyed peas begun after the civil war. Black eyed peas were and still are so inexpensive they were considered to be a poor mans food. It was thought eating them would bring humility and lack of vanity into ones life. An old saying that stemmed from eating black eyed peas was “Eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year.” Also the loose peas seem to resemble coins. Once dried peas are placed in water they expand thus symbolizing expanding wealth.
Wanted to share a couple of my favorite party recipes. These are a couple of my tried and true treats for holiday parties. Both are quick and can be fixed at the last minute. These are both great for pop in guest. Keep these ingredients on hand during the holidays and you will be covered for last minute snacks.
I have been cooking in a kitchen since I was probably 10 years old. When I reached Jr High School level I really got interested in cookbooks. I enjoyed finding a recipe and trying it. I remember the first recipe I tried from a book was Eggs Benedict. This was breakfast for my parents, brothers and sisters. Since we did not have English Muffins I improvised and used plain toast. Some of the surprisingly best meals are made with substitutions. I have always enjoyed cooking especially when everything is neat and in order. I have to admit most of my meals are made without recipes. Most of them are made from memories of being in the kitchen with my mom, my mother-in-law, with aunts and friends. Of course I do have some favorite recipes passed to me from friends and family and sometimes from a cookbook.
Eight more days to prepare my Thanksgiving dinner. I have my sweet potato casseroles ready and in the freezer awaiting topping on Thanksgiving morning. I did under estimate the sweet potatoes I needed for three casseroles. I will make one more if time permits. If not I will make the one I had planned for Christmas closer to that holiday.
Next in line was going to be the strawberry salad. However, I have decided to change that to a Cranberry Fruit Mold instead. I remembered how much my mother-in-law liked the cranberry one. I will make the Strawberry Salad for Christmas and will share the recipe with you then.
I would like to invite you to follow me over the next few days as I prepare my Thanksgiving meals. I will be sharing memories, recipes and tips on preparing my Thanksgiving meal. I will be preparing meals for two different settings this Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law always begun in September preparing for the holiday meals. I do not begin that early. I usually wait until the day before. This year I have decided to begin a little bit earlier, twelve days earlier to be exact. I am going to work on some part of my meal each day. Today I am going to make sweet potato casseroles. Since this dish freezes very well, I am going to go on and make three, two for Thanksgiving meals and one for Christmas. I am going to use a recipe from a lady (Ms Vernice) who has passed on but left cooking tips and recipes in the hands of many.
Tonight my 11 year old grandson and future chef made dinner.
He had left a shopping list for me when he last visited a few weeks ago. I shopped yesterday and picked up the items he requested. I am including his list for interested readers. At the top of the list he put IMPORTANT.
His list is as follows: Chicken breast, buns, franks red hot sauce, fresh lettuce, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, red onion and mustard.
After a discussion about baked or fried chicken and the major weigh down plan I am on, he decided to bake. I had no idea what a treat we were all in for.
His plan was to make his SPECIAL SPICY CHICKEN SANDWICHES. I am including his recipe for you to try.
In the fall we begin to see roadside apple stands. This is the time of year the apple orchards are harvested. Fresh apples just plucked from the tree are crisper and tastier. When I was a child the only time you got the opportunity to eat a caramel apple was when you went to the county fair or your mom made them at home. They are more readily available now. Caramel apples are seen at most groceries during the fall. Making caramel apples at home is a fun and easy family event. Most caramel candies have a recipe on the back of the bag. Warm apple cider is also another treat of fall. You can juice your own apples or purchase a jug of cider at the roadside stand. Warm in a pot on top of the stove. Do not use the microwave oven. Add a cinnamon stick for flavor and to use as a stirrer.