I always think of a new year as being a new start! I usually try to make a few resolutions that admittedly I don’t always keep but I have good intentions! Anyway, it is a way of making some new goals. For instance, this year I am going to try to get rid of some of my clutter in drawers and closets. I keep way too much stuff I no longer use and never will. Maybe if I put it down in writing I will be more apt to follow through.
I don’t know about you but I am actually tired of eating the rich cheese balls, snacks and yes even cookies. While I’m at it, I will unclutter my kitchen too. I am going to start by making todays nutritious vegetable soup recipe. It doesn’t call for any kind of meat, its hearty enough without but you could certainly add cooked chicken if you want.
Winter Vegetable Soup:
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium carrots cut in 1/2 inch slices
3 medium parsnips cut in 1/2 inch slices
3 stalks celery cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 small potatoes, cubed
1 can petite cubed tomatoes with juice
7 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup whole barley
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
6 oz. fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in large soup pot, add carrots, parsnips, celery, onion, garlic and thyme. Cook til soft about 5 minutes. Add barley and rice, stir to coat them then add broth, water, potatoes and tomatoes. Cover and simmer 1 hour, then stir in spinach, salt and pepper, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Serve.
I hope that you have a wonderful 2019!
I like to cook and try new recipes all year long, but there are some recipes I only make at Christmas. If I made them routinely they would no longer be a special treat! Such is the case of Finnish cardamom braids. I made two loaves today for gifts, one got too dark on the bottom so I will keep that one for us. This recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine and is pretty much an all day project because I let it rise twice before I form it into braids. Today I had a little brain lapse and couldn’t remember how to braid, I know another senior moment but I did figure it out! We think its worth the time to make.
Finnish Cardamom Braids:
2 packages ( 1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
7-8 cups all-purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. ( I used 7 cups). Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover and let raise in a warm place until doubled, 1-2 hours, punch dough down and let rise again. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half and then each half into thirds. Shape each piece into a 13 –inch rope. Place three ropes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Braid ropes; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough, cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield two loaves. When cool I frost with powdered sugar frosting and decorate with almonds and maraschino cherries. This dough can be used for cinnamon rolls too.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Even though every year I do a little less getting ready for Christmas, I feel that stress creeping up on me! This year I am having trouble getting those Christmas cards going, I have to be in a creative writing mood for that task and so far it has eluded me! I turned to my Christmas therapy book by Karen Katafiasz to see what she suggests doing regarding Christmas cards: “Enhance your Christmas-card correspondence by taking time to add a special note to each person on your list. As you write to your loved ones, hold them prayerfully in your heart.” That sounds time consuming but instead of copying one form letter I am going to try it, maybe it won’t seem like such a chore.
Today’s recipe is old one, but cozy and comforting and good enough for company. I hope that you will like it too.
Golden Chicken Squares:
8 slices white bread
2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 Tblsp. parsley
1/2 cup diced onion
4 oz. can mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. salt, pepper and accent
2 cups milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup shredded cheese
Cut bread into 1/2 inch cubes, place 1/2 of them in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Combine chicken, onion, parsley, mushrooms, mayonnaise and seasonings, spoon over bread cubes, then rest of bread cubes. Beat eggs slightly whisk in milk, pour over bread, cover and refrigerate over night. Just before baking top with undiluted soup, bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Sprinkle cheese over top, return to oven until cheese is melted. Let set for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Take a break from your Christmas preparations, stretch out on the couch with the Christmas lights on and listen to Christmas music for a half hour every day!
Have a great week!
One of the good things about being retired and growing old is that when the snow comes down we can stay home, be cozy and bake Christmas cookies! Back when I was working even if I had the day off, a snow storm meant that some out of town people wouldn’t be able to get into work so of course those of us in town would be called in and really couldn’t refuse, sometimes it meant working a double shift. There were many times I would have much rather snuggled down in my cozy home with my kids! Well the kids are gone but I can now snuggle down in my house with Pa Lloyd and Maggie! Today I got a start on my Christmas baking. The recipe I am sharing with you today was my Mom’s signature Christmas cookie. She always baked them for her Church Christmas bake sale. They take some time but if you like pecan pie you will like these little gems!
1 cup butter ( 2 sticks), softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream butter and cream cheese, add salt and half the four at a time, shape pastry into 2 inch diameter rolls; wrap and chill over night. Slice pastry into 36 inch portions; press into miniature muffin pans, lining cups. No need to grease cups.
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white corn syrup
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 Tblsp. melted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Whisk eggs, then whisk in remaining ingredients except pecans, pour into tart shells, filling 1/2 full, sprinkle chopped pecans on top. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until light brown. Let cool about 5 minutes then remove to racks to cool.
Have a great week!
I'm Kathy Lloyd. I grew up on a farm near Elmore, MN and have lived in Fairmont for over 44 years. I have always loved to cook, even when I was very young. I loved to stay with my Aunt Dorothy during my childhood. She was a great cook and used to give me freedom in the kitchen, teaching me along the way. She made recipes from our Norwegian heritage, along with pies, homemade doughnuts, yeast bread and cinnamon rolls.