November 26, 2008

Pumpkin Cookies!

Bake up a batch of these, it's easy, quick and the kids love 'em! I have seen a few recipes for pumpkin cookies, but decided to use Marilyn Moon's recipe since it has been tried and tested through a few generations!  

Follow the directions on her card, above, as I did!  I made a simple butter frosting and frosted half of the cookies.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  Cream sugar, crisco and eggs.  Add vanilla and pumpkin.  

Add flour mixture a bit at a time.  Mix well.  You can add chocolate chips (baby or regular size) at this point if desired.

Drop spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet.  We used a tablespoon amount of dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

We doubled the recipe and made enough to fill a large and a small tin.  Freeze what you don't plan to use within a day or two- it keeps the cookies fresh.  I iced half of them with the following simple butter frosting recipe:

1/3 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound (3 1/2 cups) sifted confectioners sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk  

Frost after cookies have cooled completely. Let the cookies sit on the counter for a few minutes until frosting hardens.

Happy Thanksgiving...and the eggs.

November 19, 2008

Toasted Spiced Pecans!

It's the most wonderful time of the year... time to start planning and baking and dreaming about those foods we pour our hearts into during the holidays. This year, my holiday baking started with a trip to Robert is Here and bags of fresh pecans!

4 cups shelled pecans (do as I say, not as I do)
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon Lowery's seasoned salt
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce

Shell the pecans. This takes finesse. Finesse that I thought I had but found out that I don't. Hopefully you bought shelled nuts.  The close-up was meant to hide the fact that most of the nuts were in pieces instead of halves.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add salt and Worchestershire sauce. Mix. Add pecans. Stir until well coated. Spread them out on one layer in jelly roll pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring after 15. Place on paper towels to dry and cool.

As you can see, these are quite easy.  When you taste them (as long as you bought shelled), you realize they are deceptively easy- the people you share them with will think there is a lot more to making them than there is.  These are a real crowd pleaser!  If you aren't going to eat them within a couple of days, place them in an airtight container in the freezer.  One holiday recipe down, many more to go- pumpkin cookie recipe coming next...and the eggs.

November 15, 2008

Jim's Steaks-the forgotten post!

During a recent trip to Philadelphia, we decided to stop by Jim's Steaks, in Northeast Philadelphia, for a cheesesteak. During our last trip, we went to Chink's Steaks on Torresdale Avenue, which is in my old 'hood. I knew that Chink's Steaks would be nearly impossible to top.

The menu.

The grill!

Our steaks!

As it happened, they were good- but nowhere near as good as Chink's. If you want a Philly cheesesteak to remember, go to Chink's. It's not that these were bad, but they were bland and the grease didn't do anything for the steak like it does elsewhere. There is a happy medium in cheesesteak world where you need just enough grease but not too much- and the flavor of the steak should be predominant on the taste buds. While I have to admit that none of the sandwich went to waste, I would have to give Jim's a C- for texture and flavor.

It's not hard to make a good steak at home- I did it a while ago- see the post here. For you low carbers out there, try just the filling w/out the bread. Hey- half a cheesesteak is better than no cheesesteak at all...and the eggs.

Jim's Steaks on Urbanspoon

November 8, 2008

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing (Low Carb!)

One of my favorite salad greens has always been spinach- but I needed a new recipe to put some life back into the routine. This did the trick- and it's low carb to boot. Bacon and spinach are a match made in heaven (what doesn't taste good with bacon??!)

Cook 4-6 slices of chopped up bacon over medium heat- slowly enough so that the fat renders and the bacon cooks without burning. Remove bacon to drain- leave bacon grease in pan.

Mince about a half of a large onion and saute in bacon grease for 3-4 minutes. Add one clove minced garlic and leave in for less than a minute. You want it to cook a bit but not to burn!

Add 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar and stir. Add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of Splenda. Add a dash each of salt and pepper. Stir to dissolve Splenda and remove from heat.

You should already have a bag of baby spinach waiting in a salad bowl. Time to pour the warm dressing over the spinach and toss thoroughly. Add the pieces of bacon and some hard boiled egg slices (if desired) and give it all a good toss.

This salad was gone in minutes. Next time I will make double! It was delicious- a great balance of sweet and sour. Tasted just like the one I used to make with sugar. Even TLMM, who doesn't much like salad was loving this! So whether you are watching your carbs or not, try it, you'll like it...and the eggs.

November 4, 2008

Ben and Ashley

Carillon Beach, just outside of Panama Beach, Florida, is the perfect spot for a wedding. This is especially true during this time of year since the beach community is just entering off-season and you can practically have the place to yourself. The fact that the days are warm and picture-perfect and the nights are cool is just icing on the wedding cake. Having traveled north from Miami, I can't imagine why anyone would want to go there during the heat of the summer!

The wedding events were all centered at Carillon Beach- the rehearsal dinner was held at Graffiti's on Friday night, and on Saturday night for the main event, we gathered close by at this beautiful small chapel which held 40 people. There were cocktails and hors d'ouvres just outside the chapel on a huge deck overlooking the water, and then dinner materialized- buffet style- on the other side of the chapel. Tables were set up in the chapel and on the deck as dinner and more drinks ensued. Here is a taste of what we tasted:

Being on a low carb regimen, I just had to take what I could eat when I saw it- not knowing what was down the line! Well, there was plenty down the line, and this is the plate I ended up with!

This is one of the most intimate gatherings I have ever had the pleasure to attend. Experiencing a small wedding made me realize how much the meaning of the event is enhanced by having the people who mean the most to you (and who the wedding means the most to) by your side. It was a gorgeous event in every way. Thank you and congratulations, Ben and Ashley...and the eggs.