Month: November 2011

Chocolate Syrup

Makes 1 Qt. chocolate syrup (4-cups)

1 1/2 cups Cocoa
2 3/4 cups Rapadura (experiment with more or less, or substitute another sweetener)
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
2 cups Spring Water (or filtered)
4 tsp. Vanilla (REAL vanilla, not imitation)

Combine everything except for the Spring Water and Vanilla into a medium saucepan. Gradually add the Spring Water to the dry mixture in the pan, stirring well, until smooth.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and once at the boiling stage allow the mixture to cook for at least 3 minutes (all the while stirring!) You can cook it longer if you prefer the syrup thicker. [I have used double the water once, and let it simmer for a long time to thicken, getting rid of the extra water, and it turned out really nice, without stirring it the whole time, though I’d not recommend doing this!]

Remove the sauce pan from the heat and stir in the Vanilla. Pour into a clean container that has a sealing lid. Like a wide-mouth Quart Jar (canning supplies) and allow to cool, uncovered. Once cool, cover well and refrigerate.

Use to make chocolate milk of whatever dark or light version is your preference. Also good as an ice cream topping. Yummy over homemade vanilla ice cream!

Thanksgiving & Next Day Birthday Over

Thanksgiving Day went well. It was chilly but sunny in the morning, warmed up but not too much during the day, staying Sunny all day.

We had dinner later than I had wanted to. My hubby got me playing Warhawk in the morning and I quit when I realized it was 12:08pm and got going on getting things done.

Even with the turkey done ahead, and the stuffing … I had to make cheese sauce, white sauce, gravy (meant to do it ahead, but didn’t get to it) and cauliflower, green bean casserole, cook sweet potatoes, peel and cut into pieces and make a brown sugar syrup to candy them with. Also had potatoes to cook and mash. Then get out the turkey and stuffing and re-heat.

It was a big feast. We had cloverleaf rolls, my almost 13-year-old daughter got that done with my supervision. Getting all that done and ready to be served at the same time isn’t HARD just complex and tedious to a degree of, it takes kitchen talent to pull it off.

So I was pooped after all that. I made whipped cream to go with the pumpkin pie later that evening.

The next morning I had to get up and get things going for the birthday that day. I make banners for each child, put on the fireplace … they expect it now, and it has to be good πŸ˜‰ I had one nearly ready, but I hadn’t connected all the pieces to hang yet. So I finally decided what to do, and struggled with it as the eyelets I was using just weren’t playing nice with me. Augh! I got it done, it wasn’t fully the best it could have been, but that’s more my own criticism of my own project more than anything.

I made a yellow layer cake with very chocolate buttercream frosting, with chocolate curls (from a container of drinking chocolate curls I have) all over the top and at the base of the cake all around. On the sides I put Pearls in an offset pattern. It was nice, not perfect, I wasn’t going for perfection, but it sure did look nice. I took time to put the pearls on, it was tedious feeling, but really didn’t take much time considering everything. It’d be worth it to put more oomph into it another time.

My daughter loved her presents and the cake was really good and the homemade ice cream (which I made the day before Thanksgiving Day.) It was a good day. We had turkey quesadillas for supper, and played Monopoly after that, with cake after that.

It was all fun, but I’m glad it’s all over for this year. It’s less than a month to Christmas Day, and I have MORE to do! At least it’s awhile until some of it, and some of it longer, but lots of it more necessary for sooner than later, just not all of it. Phew!

Thanksgiving Day 2011 Menu

Today we are having:

Turkey: Roasted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 – Free Range Organic Fresh turkey from Whole Foods Market. Sliced, chunks, etc. Vacuum sealed that night, refrigerated. Will put the turkey into French White casserole dishes along with some gravy, and re-heat in the oven.

Gravy: I saved the juices from the turkey I roasted on Tuesday. Today I am making gravy, right now a light version to use for the turkey re-heating. In a little bit I’ll make a “darker” version, more turkey juices and also make the roux browner. This will then stay warm/hot until dinner.

Mashed Potatoes: Peel, quarter and boil later. Drain, fork mash a bit, then put into KA Mixer bowl with paddle and beat with butter and sour cream and salt. Change to Wire Whip and turn to highest speed for 3 minutes. Put into a casserole dish and dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika, put into warm oven until dinner (one of the last things to make.)

Stuffing: Already made, inside the Roasted turkey on Tuesday. This is in a French White casserole and will be re-heated when the turkey is in the oven today for dinner.

Cauliflower: an organic whole head of cauliflower, will steam in an inch of water just a bit before dinner. To go over it will be a cheddar cheese sauce, which I’ll make soon, and warm it up for pouring over the cauliflower before served.

Green Beans: GB Casserole made soon, from scratch (except for the onion thingies) put into lower oven to slow bake/keep warm.

Sweet Potatoes: Parboil/steaming them first (right now) and will peel and candy, maybe in the oven, or on the stove, not sure.

Rolls of some sort, homemade, need to get some stuff into the bread machine to make the dough (easiest way to make something when lots to do)

I guess that’s all. I mean, to cook.

Thanksgiving Day Dinner 2011


Roasted Free Range Organic Turkey in Turkey Gravy

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Free Range Organic Turkey Gravy

White Spelt Onion, Sage, Raisin in the Bird Stuffing

Glorified Cauliflower

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Homemade from Fresh Candied Sweet Potatoes

Organic Cold Cranberry Jelly Slices

Homemade Spelt Yeast Butter Rolls


Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

Today started nice and chilly. Sunny, clear blue skies. Frost on rooves, grass, tops of things. Very Autumn-Thanksgiving-Like.

Temps are said to be getting to 66 F. later, we’ll see. Hope not. It’s been too warm lately. Cooler air came in late afternoon yesterday.

This morning I made cinnamon pastry with left over pastry dough (pie crust pastry.) I rolled out a piece to a basicly thin thickness to fill the size of a large cookie sheet, not tailored, just rolled out unconstrained in shape. I melted some butter and with a brush spread it over the dough. Then using 10x sugar and cinnamon mixed together I sprinkled the buttered dough generously, then using the back of a large spoon gently pressed the sugar/cinnamon and smoothed it out to totally cover all areas. Baked at 325 degrees F. (convection) in the oven for about 10 minutes, give or take.

I took another piece of left over pastry dough and rolled it out extremely thin. I used softened (but not melted) butter, spread all over the dough, then sprinkled the same sugar/cinnamon as above over everything. I didn’t shape this one particularly either, but I knew I wanted to roll it up jellyroll style, so it was wider one direction from the other. So taking the dough as a jellyroll, on the long side rolling the dough until fully rolled up, sealing the edge by pinching the dough gently. Cut about every 1-inch, place on cookie sheet cut side down. I baked these in the same oven as above, same time, approximately a couple more minutes though. (Took first pastry piece out, cut it, then looked at the “rolls” and left them in another minute or so.)

Both versions were so good! Flaky as the day is long, as much as someone is flaky too πŸ˜‰

Both were different, though made from same ingredients, just like pasta in different shapes.

This is the recipe:

Pastry Dough

For enough dough to make 2 generous pie crusts

Put 3 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 tsp. baking power (non-aluminum) into food processor, pulse a few times to mix well. Add 10 tablespoons of cold butter cut into pieces (1 stick plus 2 tablepoons) and pulse to food processor to mix the butter with the flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Then sprinkle cold water over the top of the mixture and pulse the food processor several times to mix. You will need 5-8 tablespoons of water. Start with half, or 4 tablespoons, then add more water up to the limit as needed. You are looking for a texture that is thick, holds together when pressed. Don’t over process! You are not looking for one large lump, nor anything close to that. The less processing the lighter, flakier your dough will be. If you want it dull, heavy, coarse, tough, process it over and over and over and again and again. So don’t do that, just do enough, (a few pulses at a time, less at a time as you go forward) until you get what water is needed in the mixture to form a dough that isn’t sticky nor is dry.

Sounds more complicated than that. But it’s not. Put the mixture on a clean surface and gather into two pieces, rounds that you flatten into discs (makes it easy to roll out later for a pie crust) wrap in plastic and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Roll out on a floured surface, flour your rolling pin too.

Form and bake your crusts as any others for any pies or whatever you have, whatever is normal.

When I make pies I flute the edges by taking my index finger on the right, pushing the edge of the dough from the inside of the pie pan towards the outside, very gently, and taking my left hand and using my thumb and index finger very gently pinching the dough around my right index finger, and releasing. It makes and lovely edge to do that all around.

Here’s a photo of the pies that I made yesterday afternoon. Photo from this morning. They cooled and were covered with plastic wrap and in the fridge overnight. I meant to take a picture of just the crusts, and then filled with pumpkin mixture before baked, but I didn’t. πŸ™

Pumpkin Pies 2011

Pumpkin Pies 2011

I’ll be getting my dinner plan ready in a bit, just not yet. I’ll make a new post for that.

Two days until Thanksgiving – Prep Plan

Today is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2011. The day after T-day is a birthday, my daughter will be 13!

Today I need to make the stuffing, then stuff the Free Range Organic Fresh Turkey (15+ lbs.) and roast it in my Electrolux oven on Perfect Turkey setting with the probe.

Then start the gravy making a roux or two (light and dark, for instance) and finish it after the turkey is done, taking the drippings and using chicken stock.

The stuffing will go into freezer bags, then into the fridge until Thanksgiving Dinner time. (It’ll be heated in Corning Ware French White casserole dishes with lids or foil over the top in the oven.)

The Free Range Organic ROASTED Turkey will be allowed to cool, then it will be carved and the different types of parts will be put into Food Saver bags and processed (vacuum sealed) and put into the fridge until Thanksgiving Dinner time. (The turkey slices, (and chunks) will be put into different oven vessels with gravy (covered) to be heated in the oven.)

More gravy will be heated on the stove top (I make lots and lots of gravy for this holiday!)

Tomorrow will be Wednesday, and that is Pie Day. I try to always make the pies the day before. I need to rummage up all my pie dishes and figure out if I need a new one or now. My grandma’s pie plate broke a few years ago. It was one of the worst days of my life. It was an 8-inch wide Fire King – so pretty, deep dish, and so historical for me: it was my grandmas from way back. She died in the early 70’s, it was hers for I don’t know how long, but I’d always known it. It just suddenly fell apart one day (not on it’s own, mind you.) It wasn’t treated right at that time, dropped by someone not authorized to touch it. Anyhow, it broke horribly and I screamed and screamed and screamed and felt so sick about it. I still feel that way.

So then, pumpkin pies and I don’t know what else.

On the day I’ll make rolls of some kind. Last year I was so organized and full of good things, it was the double holiday on 1 day year (every so often the stars align …) I made what became known at the time as 1-up Mushroom Rolls and Tom-Kitten Rolls. I’d forgotten that until I read my post-thanksgiving/birthday blog post from last year this morning. I don’t know if I’ll make any of those for this Thanksgiving, but I’ll have to remember to re-tool the ideas and get them made on purpose some times.

I’ll have yams or sweet potatoes, canned, and I’ll candy them on the stove top (Candied Yams.) I’ll make a Cheddar Cheese Sauce, with that and cauliflower I’ll make Glorified Cauliflower. The obligatory Green Bean Casserole will also be made. (Green Beans, Chicken Flavored White Sauce, Fried Onions.)

I used to make the turkey on Thanksgiving Day, but found it too much with a birthday nearby since 1998, plus my hubby isn’t a good carver so it’s a task best done by me beforehand. It makes everything so much easier to spread the things that need done into the days before the holiday, then on the day it’s reheating and making the veggy things.

Oh, of course, the mashed potatoes. Can’t forget them. I LOVE them with Turkeys and Beef Roasts (and gravy from the particular bird/meat) I love them how I make them. The main secret is, forget any method but using a big Kitchen Aide Stand mixer (or something like it) and first put cooked potatoes into the KA bowl, use a fork to break them up some first, then put the paddle attachment and bowl on the KA Mixer and turn to stir and add salt, butter and sour cream, turn the speed up to 6, allow to mix for 3 minutes. Turn off, scrape the sides, put the wire whip attachment on the KA Mixer and turn the speed to stir, then slowly up to full speed, and leave it to whip for 3 full minutes. Voila! Wonderful Mashed Potatoes!

These work well then to be put into an oven-able serving dish and dot with butter, sprinkle with paprika and stick in a warm-hot oven until ready to serve (not an oven that is baking or roasting something, but this should be done when stuffing and turkey and green bean things are already heated and being held to stay warm.

This is then when the veggy other things for the stove top can be made, and then everything is ready to be served without feeling like it’s killing you. πŸ™‚

The one thing I like and most of us here do, is canned Cranberry Sauce, jellied variety. It’s tart and sweet and cool and smooth and whoa! What a combination with turkey and gravy and stuffing and … oh so good! It says THANKSGIVING! It pulls it all together, makes the most Thankful statement that can be. All the stuff without it is good, OK and all that, but not the same without that cranberry jellied cold smooth tartness. πŸ™‚

Thanksgiving Meal 2011 Prep

I don’t feel like doing this, but I am.

Thanksgiving Day is less than 3 weeks away now.

I have a chicken I could make, and told my husband that’s all I’ll make (no turkey) to save money. I can make stuffing with what I have now too. I have potatoes and frozen brocolli and enough cheese to make a sauce. I can make rolls. Gravy. What more is needed? Nothing really.

That should do it.

Anyhow, I have a daughter turning 13 the next day.

Thanksgiving is hardly ever about Thanksgiving Meal to me since 1998. Not really, but really. I might talk the talk, but don’t feel it.

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