A Cookie A Day Until Christmas!

A Cookie A Day 'Til Christmas Link HERE.

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Use up that leftover turkey! Turkey Pot Pie

You can see how flaky and tender the biscuit crust is!

A recipe I started making in 1996 and haven't found we like better yet to date.  A great way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!  I will make this and then freeze the rest of the leftover turkey to make something in about 2 weeks.  We aren't big turkey fans so too much turkey within a week or two is just too much!  This recipe however is 'gobbled' up immediately.  (Sorry, couldn't resist). 

Turkey Pot Pie

1 10 oz. package mixed carrots and pea's (or assorted veggies)
1/4 c butter
5 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t poultry seasoning or sage
1/8 t pepper
2 c chicken or turkey stock (or use 2 cups water and 2-3 boullion cubes)
1 c milk
3 c leftover cooked and diced chicken or turkey
1/3 c chopped onion or 4 green onions, chopped and cooked tender in a bit of water
1 c cooked and diced potatoes (or use canned or dice and cook them with the onions)

Prepare the pea's and carrots (or mixed veggies). I like to cook them in the microwave while I prepare the rest. Melt butter in saucepan. Blend in flour, salt, poultry seasoning or sage, and pepper. Gradually add stock and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and smooth. Add vegetables, turkey and cooked onions and potatoes. Pour into a greased shallow baking dish. Make a biscuit topping and top the vegetable mixture. Bake at 425 degree's for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. About 6 servings.

Biscuit Topping;

1 1/3 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Cut in
2 T butter
3 T shortening

Add 1/2 c milk (scant) and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. If it's too wet and sticky add one or two more tablespoons of flour. Pat down on a lightly floured surface and roll out to the shape of your baking dish. If you prefer you can cut into wedges or squares and simply top the vegetable mixture that way too. (Up to you!).

The hot vegetable mixture
before the biscuit topping is put on

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3 Layer Pumpkin Bars - (sugar free option available)

This time of year I crave pumpkin.  Cinnamon and spice infused pumpkin... anything.  Breads, bars, pound cakes, pancakes, lattes...   Last night I decided I really needed to use up the 1/2 can of pumpkin I had leftover in the refrigerator from another recipe.  I decided on these bars because I had a random yellow cake mix in the pantry as well as a 2nd can of pumpkin.  It comes together so quickly because you bake all three layers at the same time.

I made my version sugar free since my cake mix was sugar free and I used Ideal Brown Sugar Substitute for the filling and Just Like Sugar for the white sugar in the topping.  I will link to those products at the end of the recipe if you are interested.  Otherwise, this is just another 'Grandma' style recipe from the heartland of the USA where I grew up!

Triple Layer Pumpkin Bars

1 yellow cake mix, divided. Save 1 cup out for top.
1/2 c real butter
1 egg

2 eggs
3/4 c milk
20 oz. pumpkin
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla - liquid or powder
2 t pumpkin pie spices

1 cup of the dry cake mix reserved from bottom layer
1/4 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c butter

Combine the bottom layer ingredients; dry cake mix, butter and egg.  Press into a 9X13" pan or the equivalent sized pan.  I used 10X10.  Mix together the filling ingredients by hand, whisk or electric.  When blended smooth spread over the bottom layer.  Mix together the reserved 1 cup dry cake mix with the sugar, cinnamon and butter.  When crumbly, sprinkle over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Cool completely and preferably chill before cutting. 

Press the bottom layer in a pan

Add the filling on top

Make the crumble topping

Ready to go into the oven to bake

You might be interested in sugar free products;


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For Thanksgiving or Christmas; a bright and beautiful (and yummy) salad - Spinach Salad with Craisins and Feta

Spinach Salad with craisins and feta before I add the balsamic vinaigrette just before serving

This is a re-post regular readers might remember, but I'm reposting not only because it's one of my favorite side salads, but hello... it is Thanksgiving next week and wouldn't be this be a beautiful salad option for the meal!?  I think so but maybe that is my love (and craving) of feta cheese and the crunch of the almonds in this dish.  It's an obvious favorite for Christmas as well with the festive and brilliant red and greens!

Spinach Salad with Craisins and Feta

1 package or desired amount of fresh baby spinach leaves
Feta Cheese, crumbled
1/2 c Craisins (**or consider other flavored of dried berries!  I've used pomegranates and fresh strawberries in the past) 
Balsamic dressing of your choice (original, creamy, raspberry, pomegranate, etc.)
Pecans or toasted, sugared almonds, chopped

*other dried fruits - consider blueberry, pomegranate, cherry (or cranberry w/ cherry)

Start with a bowl or serving plate of desired amount of spinach leaves.  Sprinkle on feta and dried fruit and nuts according to how it looks and how much you desire.   See my photo above for the amounts that I like to add.   Just before serving drizzle with the dressing. 

Start with with fresh spinach



To quickly make sugared almonds, add about a 1/2 cup sugar to 1 cup chopped almonds in a medium hot pan
Stir the almonds continuously while cooking until the sugar melts and caramelizes

Place the almonds on buttered foil and break apart and let cool

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Repost from last year: PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS! Yum!

Ready to go into the oven!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 c water
1/2 c milk
1/4 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 1/3 c pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin)
1/2 c warm/barely hot tap water
2 pkg. yeast (or about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 eggs
7 c flour
2 t cinnamon
1 3/4 c brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 t powdered vanilla (optional if you have it)
1 1/2 sticks butter (about 3/4 c)

In a microwavable bowl, place the water, milk, butter, brown sugar, salt and vanilla.  Microwave for a minute or two until melted.  Add the pumpkin and stir or whisk smooth.  In a mixing bowl pour the warm tap water and add the yeast.  As soon as it's foamy, add the 2 eggs and the pumpkin mixture.  Mix just until blended.

Add about 5-6 cups of the flour and the 2 t cinnamon.  Using your bread dough hook, mixing and kneading.  (I often make my dough in the bread machine as well;  just use your 'dough' setting).  As soon as the flour is incorporated, add the last 1 1/2 cups (or so) until your dough is no longer sticky.  When it is forming a nice ball and isn't sticking, let it machine knead about 4-5 minutes more or take it out and knead it by hand.  Let it rise in the bowl under plastic wrap until doubled in size.  Punch down.  Divide in half.

Mix the last brown sugar, cinnamon, powdered vanilla (if you have it) and butter.  Mix with your fingers (or cut in with two forks) until crumbly.  

Roll out the half dough ball to a large rectangle.  When it's roughly about 12 inches by 16 inches, spread half the topping mixture over it.  Starting with the longer 16 inch side, roll it up and squeeze the end to form a log.  Use a sharp knife or utensil to cut equal slices.  You slice them as thin as 1 inch or as thick as 2-3 inches.  It depends on how thick you like them and how many you need to make!  I like them about 1 1/2" side and get about 12 of them this way.  Place in  a greased baking pan (anything around 9X13" size works fine).  Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let them double in size.  Bake at 375 (ish) around 20 minutes.  They will be golden brown and bubbling.  Let the rolls cool for at least 7-10 minutes before adding icing if you wish to top them.  Can be served as they are or with an icing recipe or even store bought frosting.

Easy Icing:
Start with 1 to 1 1/2 c powdered sugar. Add 2 T soft butter and about 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Turn on the mixer and mix until completely smooth. If it's too thick add more cream (or milk) but only 1 teaspoon at a time as you don't want to add too much and have 'soup'. Frost the rolls and serve warm.

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Over a dozen pumpkin recipes... just in time for Thanksgiving

Here are over a dozen recipes from my website that I've posted over the years.  From cakes to cinnamon rolls, pasta to griddle cakes.  There is something here for everyone - as I even have an amazing pumpkin bread that can be served to those doing sugar free or low carb way of eating.    Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Cake with Broiled Coconut Topping
Perfect Pumpkin Bread
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Mexican Pumpkin Dip
Flaxseed Pumpkin Bread (sugar free and low carb too!)
Pumpkin Butter Pie
Pumpkin Pie with an Oatmeal Crust
Homemade Pasta
Pumpkin Bars
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Griddle Cakes
Pickled Pumpkin
Pumpkin Dessert
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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Chewy, Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe - (no eggs and no oil)

When I see a new sugar cookie recipe I can usually tell just by looking at the list of ingredients what it will taste like.  I know the texture and flavor based on if the recipe calls for shortening, butter or oil.  Some use milk, some don't.  The amount of flour changes the entire cookie texture as well.

Yesterday I was looking through my copy of Cookie Indulgence: 150 Easy Cookie Recipes on my eReader and came across a sugar cookie recipe I hadn't tried.  Instead of eggs or oil, it uses mayonnaise.  I knew from looking at the ingredients it would be a nice basic cookie with a crunch on the outside and a chewy center.  Because mayonnaise is made from eggs and oil, this is what takes the place of those two ingredients.  If you are out of eggs and out of oil or shortening or even butter, this is a great recipe to keep on hand if you or your family get a craving for sugar cookies.

I didn't take a picture because frankly, they look like every other basic, round, sugar sprinkled sugar cookie out there.  I will say I had one fresh from the oven last night and I had 2 more this morning with my coffee.  The texture and taste of the cookie after cooling and setting overnight is preferable to straight out of the oven. 

Sugar Cookies

1 cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/ 4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white sugar

Mix mayonnaise and vanilla together.

Combine flour, salt, baking soda and sugar and add to mayonnaise mixture. Mix well.

Roll into 1” balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press down lightly on cookies and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.  

You might also be interested in;

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Thanksgiving Gravy

You would think after years and years (and years) of making this gravy, I would have some awesome pictures of it...  I don't.  But I've posted this recipe many times over the life of this blog (the first was back in 2006!) and there are small images on some of the posts.  Back then 'food blogs' didn't really exist like they do today, and doing 'photo shoots' of your food just wasn't a big deal.  I suppose maybe this year I should take a couple pictures.  Ya think?  

This gravy is awesome not only because it tastes so good - but because it's a "MAKE AHEAD" gravy that does not gel up and get a gross texture when reheated.  You can make it earlier in the week and then after your turkey is done on Thanksgiving day, heat the gravy up, add the drippings from the roaster pan that you cooked the turkey in, and it flavors the gravy perfectly.  Yes... perfectly.  My mouth waters just thinking about this and the stuffing; my two favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving Gravy

6 T butter
3/4 c flour
6 c broth - homemade or bought

Mash the butter and flour together until it's a paste and break into 4 chunks.

Bring 6 c chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk in flour chunks one at a time, whisking until thick and smooth. Boil 3 minutes. Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed within 2 days. If longer, be sure it's in an airtight container in the coldest part of the fridge. Can also freeze until needed and slowly cook and reheat to thaw before continuing.

When you make your gravy;
After your turkey is done, add the pan drippings - at least 3/4 - 1 cup (up to 2 cups) heat until hot and serve!

*homemade broth*

6 c chicken broth or liquid from simmering chicken (6 c water with 6 bullion cubes or teaspoons is fine)
2 lg. onions, chopped
1 c sliced fresh carrots
1 c water or dry white wine
1/2 c celery leaves and stems

Mix all ingredients in a soup pan and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Strain through a wire strainer and disgard vegetables. Add water if needed to make it 6 cups.

Save for gravy.

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Brown Sugar Cinnamon Baby Carrots (Sugar Free version too)

One of the perks of having the house to myself during the day (during the school year) is I can eat lunch whenever I want and I can make whatever I want.  More often than not I want vegetables.  Lots of yummy vegetables!!  This week there was a day when all I could think about was my current favorite carrots.  Butter, salt and pepper season baby carrots with a hint of brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sounds like it might take some work, right?  Wrong!

Using Torani flavor syrups I make these carrots in mere minutes!  It's as easy and cooking the carrots, draining, and adding a bit of butter, salt and pepper.  Done.  Ready for the table.  How?  Because the Torani syrups infuse the flavor during cooking.  And better yet?  They offer sugar free versions so you can serve this dish without spiking anyone's blood sugar counts! 

Let me just say... perfect for Thanksgiving too.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Baby Carrots

Torani Syrup (Torani Brown Sugar Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice flavor - sugar free or regular)
Salt and Pepper
Water to cook carrots

In a pan, place as many carrots as you wish to serve.  Add enough water to cover and with a ratio of roughly 1 cup water to 1/2 cup Torani syrup, add the flavored syrup.  Bring to a boil and reduce to  simmer.  As soon as the carrots are tender to your liking, drain, place in a serving bowl and top with butter, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.  Seriously easy.

You might be interested in Torani Brown Sugar Cinnamon or other flavored Syrups;

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I planted a pineapple in potting soil. Now, I'll update you in about 3 years. (Updated 12/16/13)

Ok... it's planted.  I'll update you in about three years.
Yes. Three (3) years.
Apparently, that is about how long it takes to grow a new pineapple!  Who knew!?  Quite a few people obviously, but not me.  I just learned about growing pineapples about 7 or 8 months ago.  Hadn't thought about it before that.

This past week I happened to have bought a pineapple at the grocery store and remembered hearing that you could plant the top of the pineapple after you cut it, and within 2-3 years it would grow a new one.  Some say you have to set it in water first to start root growth before planting in soil, but other sources said that was unnecessary and just pop it into some nice potting soil.

I could do that.  I also happened to have a #10 can on hand, AND a bit of potting soil.  

After I had planted it, I realized I really didn't want to look at a a metallic silver can for the next two or three years so I took a random piece of fabric I had as well as some spray adhesive, and wrapped the can in fabric and just folded the excess under.  I would suggest covering your container before planting though!  It would have made it easier to manipulate.

Updating already in December because Mr. Pineapple is not going to be living in my house for the next three years.

When researching planting the top of a pineapple, there were two basic ways to do it.  One has you dangle the top over a bowl or glass of water with the bottom just touching until roots grow and then planting.
The second was to just pop the top into good quality soil and let it go.
I opted for that one.
I'm not impressed.

As you can see in the picture, the pineapple, although kept watered, had a lot of dying brown tips and bottom leaves.

I wasn't too concerned as I figured perhaps the bottom or 'old' leaves would die off as new growth sprouted, as you can tell from this picture, there are nice little 'newer' green 'baby' growth inside;

If I lived farther South (say... Florida) I'd have put this guy in the ground and let him grow... however since my climate is too cold for that, he has to live in the house in this pot.

As I inspected him this morning I realized he didn't smell all that great.  I wiggled the plant a bit and it easily came straight out of the soil.  The smell was a little stronger then!  And I saw a little 'fruit fly' type gnat crawling around on the soil.  (You know the pesky ones you get on ripe peaches and bananas left in your fruit bowl?)

Looks like the pineapple is just breaking down and composting like it probably should... and I'd be happy to let it do it's thing outside, but since we are inside... I'm just not going to live with an ugly, brownish plant that smells a little ripe and apparently is hosting a little gnat on it's soil.

My pineapple plant is heading to the bin today...  but should the Lord see fit to relocate us to a warmer climate any time soon, I'm GOING to plant as many little pineapple tops as I can - outside - and will see how it goes. 

For the record;  If and when I do this again I'm going to go with the FIRST researched way of 'starting' the plant;  putting just the 1/4 bottom in fresh, clean water and waiting for some roots to grow before planting in the soil.   I wouldn't recommend this method even though some people on the internet say they've tried it and it worked.

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