“Good Morning!”

…can we ever have enough SCONE recipes?…especially when I have…zero!
……..hugmamma.

"On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea"


Weekly Photo Challenge 19 - Good MorningScones, Devonshire Cream and Jam
Not just for mornings!


WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:
“Good Morning!”

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Recipe for Best-Ever Scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whipping cream, divided
Wax paper

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Freeze 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

2. Turn dough out onto wax paper; gently press or pat dough into a 7-inch round (mixture will be crumbly). Cut round into 8 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops of wedges with remaining 2 Tbsp. cream just until moistened.

3. Bake at 450°…

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weekly photo challenge: broken

I would hover…hoping that I’d get to gobble up the broken pieces.

Thanks to the wonderful baking skills of my husband and daughter, I now have a “spare tire”…around my middle…

…which i’m trying very hard……… to deflate………hugmamma.

christmas wishes, more than

Received a wonderful letter from an older sister today. We’ve not maintained regular contact over the years; life happens, even to the best of us. One of the great side effects of my blog is that siblings, and other relatives, with whom I’ve not been in touch consistently, have been regular readers. Having been the youngest of 9, at home alone with my mom when the others had gone on to live their own lives, I often felt like an only child. Friends with whom I’d grown up, knew me better than my own kin. Even through college, interaction with my own brothers and sisters was sporadic. And because I was dating my husband then, his parents and siblings were more like my own family. This isn’t a unique scenario, for sure. Jobs, relocation, children, friends, in-laws, can all cause families to lose touch.

It’s not in my nature to regret and wonder “what if.” I’ve lived my life “in the moment,” making the most of each and every one. My priority became my husband and daughter, because my own family was not close-knit. I wanted to make sure mine would be, and it is. Friends filled in the gaps, sisters, brothers and the like. Of course they weren’t the real thing, but I was content. Forcing kin to connect is not my style. Forcing anyone to do anything, has never been my “modus operandi.” Must be because as the youngest, I couldn’t force anyone to do anything.

Age equalizes. It makes me accept life as it is, tweaking it here and there as necessary. Living my best life is what I strive to do, and what I wish for others, including my relatives. Receiving my sister’s lovely letter, let me know that she’s enjoyed getting to know the me she’s not really known for nearly 40 years. And that’s good.

Happiness for me is found in the small pleasures, and among them are my sister’s Christmas wishes.

Not going to make this a lengthy Christmas letter. Just to let you know how much I enjoy your blogs. I continue to be impressed with how well you express yourself and with the wide coverage of subjects you write on. …I especially look forward to seeing what’s cooking in your kitchen. The coconut cream cake is absolutely out of this world. I baked the first one for my sister-in-law’s 84th birthday, and she couldn’t get enough of it. I’m baking a couple of them this weekend: one for a Christmas block party, and another as a gift for my girlfriend. …several people have already asked me for the recipe. One of these days I’ll try the oven-baked pancake.

   everyday words from one sister to another…special christmas wishes…hugmamma.

any day, pancakes

Sunday morning is when we usually savor a breakfast of pancakes and all the trimmings. These depend upon what’s in the refrig. If you’re ever able to find Portuguese sausage, serve it up sliced and sautéed. Yummy…my mouth’s already watering. An egg, fried, over-medium, is nice, or eggs scrambled with chopped onions, red peppers, mushrooms is very tasty. But the piece-de-resistance is the following recipe for the smoothest, easiest-to-make pancakes. And I don’t like making this usually, difficult-for-me-to-get-right food. My husband’s way better at it, although lately, not so much. We’ve now been opting for pancake houses, like the International House of Pancakes, which can be found in many cities. An absolute favorite is Pancake House in Nashville, where you can breakfast on southern cooking at its greatest. There’s always a lineup of customers, but it moves pretty quickly, and the wait’s worth it. Soooo worth it!!!!!!

But if you’re in the mood for pancakes, and really don’t want all the fuss and bother of watching, and waiting for the right number of bubbles to form before flipping these oft-times, temperamental delicacies, then this is for you. I know there’ll be some of you, maybe many, for whom pancakes is a “no-brainer.” Well then, you’re really, really blest. Wish I had a “white thumb” when it comes to cooking, but sometimes I’m just “all thumbs.” And pancakes is definitely one of those times. I usually blacken them before the insides are cooked. So if you are inclined to share some tips for getting them right, feel free. Like I said, my husband’s not even doing so well with making great pancakes these days. Maybe my lack of “white thumbs” has rubbed off on him. Forty years together, these things happen.

The beauty of this pancake recipe is that you combine all the ingredients in an iron skillet, put it in the oven, and forget about it. Well, not literally, more like 15-20 minutes. But no checking every few seconds to decide when they need flipping, removes the stress, and replaces it with unbridled enthusiasm to sink your teeth into what will taste like a “heavenly cloud,” baked “cotton candy,” French pastry. And you can take all the credit, even though your iron griddle and oven did all the work. Well, okay, you put all the stuff together. Hey! That’s work!

After this buildup, hope this recipe doesn’t fall short. But I don’t think it will.

OVEN PANCAKE

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs ( beaten), salt and nutmeg to taste

Melt butter in iron skillet in oven. Combine flour, milk, eggs, salt and nutmeg in bowl; mix well. Pour into skillet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Garnish with confectioners sugar. Serve with REAL maple syrup which keeps the dish “light,” not heavy. But hey! Whatever suits your taste buds, go for it. Even “Mrs. Butterworth” tastes good, as does blueberry jelly. My favorite way to serve up these pancakes is with a handful of fresh blueberries, lovingly distributed over the powdered sugar.

any-day-of-the-week pancakes, for my family…and now yours…hugmamma.

“easy overnight turkey,” the hard way

Decided to try a different turkey recipe than the one I’ve used for the past several years. The following recipe enticed me away from my tried and true. Choosing recipes entails using my vivid imagination and attention for details. As I peruse the ingredients, I can imagine the look and taste of the finished product. Hope I never lose this ability. It’s always served me well, for I’m inclined to try new recipes on guests. Talk about being fearless!

Looking through the brief instructions for the recipe I used, I could taste its magnificence, glazed to perfection, and succulent. I couldn’t resist replacing my usual way of cooking turkey, for this seemingly, old-fashioned, grandma-tested version. I’ve reprinted it below. See what you think.

EASY OVERNIGHT TURKEY  (Easy for who? Zombies? I sure felt like one on Thanksgiving Day.)

1  20-pound hen turkey (Costco only had “toms,” so I went with that. Wasn’t about to drive around on icy roads, trying to chase down a “hen.”)

1/2 stick butter

1  large clove garlic, slivered

1  large peeled onion, quartered

l large unpeeled apple, quartered

Rinse turkey and wipe dry. Rub inside and out with half the butter. Place remaining butter inside cavity. Place garlic, onion and apple in cavity. Do not salt or pepper the bird. Place breast-side down on rack in roaster. Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees. Turn bird on back and reduce heat to 200 degrees. Bake, uncovered, without opening oven, for 10 to 12 hours. Serves 12.

(Stopped to give my fat cat, Juneau, a bear hug, so he’d stop nudging my hand as my fingers flew over the keys.)

I guess chefs follow recipes to the letter, at least the first time they try a new recipe. I’ m not a professional, just a basic cook. After 40 years of preparing meals, 3 times a day, 365 days a year, I tend to “wing it.” Unlike the early years of wedded bliss, when I cooked an entire meal before guests arrived, and reheated everything in the oven before serving them up. Talk about dried out food. Yikes!

Since I was prepping all the side dishes for overnight refrigeration, to be cooked after the turkey exited the oven the following day, I left “Tom” turkey to my husband. He attacked that bird with gusto! He even lay on the living room couch  through the night, babysitting it as it baked. Funny thing, unlike me, my husband didn’t look like a zombie Thanksgiving Day.

The recipe indicated that the turkey should cook from 10-12 hours. Not having baked a 20-pounder before, we opted for the maximum amount of time. Not having a traditional roasting pan, the large oval ones specifically manufactured for the occasion, my husband made do with the pan that is usually part of a stove purchase. You know, it’s a combo square catch pan with a top that has slits in it. Food’s broiled on top, and the drippings seep through to the pan beneath. Anyway, the turkey fit in the catch pan, so we were good to go.

As we peered through the glass oven door, we beheld a glorious sight, a beautifully, browning turkey. We oohed and ahhed many times over the course of 12 hours. At some point, I wondered if we might recommit to a different cook time, maybe 10 1/2 or 11 or 11 1/2 hours. As the bird continued to deepen in color, I thought it might also be drying out. But, of course, not knowing what the pros know, we stayed our course.

About half-an-hour before dinner, my husband brought out the amazing cooked specimen, setting it atop the counter to “rest.” Then, while I finished baking the remaining dishes, he carved the turkey. It was more like a massacre. Poor, golden, sacrificial bird, it was chopped into smithereens. There were square chunks, rectangular slabs, strips of flesh, everything but nice, thin slices of meat. I was moved enough to vow that I’d carve next Thanksgiving. I hope my brain retains the slaughtered image until then.

So how did it taste? As dry as all those reheated meals I use to serve up in my 20’s. I cautioned our dinner guests to drown the meat in Costco’s delicious gravy. For those who didn’t, I’m not sure how they managed to swallow.

Next time we tackle this recipe, and believe me there’ll be a next time, I’ll try to find a hen turkey, bake it less than 12 hours, and carve it up myself. Oh, and we’ll buy a proper roasting pan, so we don’t wind up cleaning the oven again, because of overflowing juices. I’ll still let my husband help, prep the bird and babysit the thing overnight. We’ll do it just like the pros next time.

I’m open to suggestions, especially if you try this recipe and the results are scrumptious.

Bon appetite!!!…hugmamma.

party sweets, halloween

Something to think about, and plan ahead. If Halloween’s your “trick-or-treat,” then these might intrigue your guests, and keep the conversation howling.

  • Devilish Drink – pour grenadine syrup (as much or as little, to your taste) into a large glass pitcher. Slowly add chillded mango lemonade or your favorite bright orange juice or drink on top. Let stand—layers will separate. Beautifully delicious!
  • Spider Cookie Sandwiches – makes 12 cookie sandwiches: 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tube (16 oz) refrigerated cookie dough (softened), 1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese, 1 jar (7 or 7 1/2 oz) marshmallow cream (such as Marshmallow Fluff), Orange gel food color
  1. Knead cocoa into cookie dough in large bowl. Shape into an 8-in.-long log; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight until firm.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap dough; cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices (you should have 24). Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until set. Let cool slightly on baking sheet; remove to wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add marshmallow cream; beat until fluffy. Remove 1/3 cup, tint orange, and spoon into quart-size ziptop bag; reserve. Spread a slightly rounded Tbsp frosting on half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, pressing gently to sandwich together.
  4. Snip a tiny corner off bag with orange frosting; pipe web design on top and down sides of cookies. Refrigerate until serving.

hugs for ghosts, ghouls and goblins…hugmamma.