Sunday, December 31, 2017

T Stands for Tuesday Snack Recipe, Hand Dipped Dark Chocolates & Happy New Year!!

  Hi everyone, I am connecting this post to T Stands for Tuesday where we share a drink related post hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth. This is a wonderful group of people many of whom are artists and crafters, so I am also learning new to me things while joining in the weekly fun. Find the link in my right hand column

  Here in the Ozarks in Missouri like many in the States; we are experiencing very frigid temperatures.  I have experienced this cold more often when we lived in the Chicago area however since moving and retiring here we just are not used to this frigid cold any more, especially for such a long period of time. Being seniors now is a factor as well.
  Tonight through Tuesday afternoon we will be in the minus temps at night plus very minus feels like temperatures during the days. 
   Sooooo we are not driving anywhere til things warm up a bit-at our ages now I don't think it is even safe for us either. I am only bundling up to feed the wildlife and the birds.

  Well enough going on about the weather smiles.  

   I had not made a Chex mix snack in several years-so weeks back I had bought the cereals and I made a double batch a couple days ago. I froze a big bag of it to have some for later.
  This turned out really good-I changed up the recipe a bit. Most Chex and Cheerios cereals are now gluten free, Aldi stores sells gluten free pretzels and instead of peanuts I used pecan and walnut halves. at the end of the baking time I tossed in some broken up rice cheese snacks.

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Kathy's Gluten Free  Chex Mix Snack

1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herbs spice
1 cup nuts-of choice
3 cups Cheerios I used the multi grain
9 cups your choice of Chex cereal
1 1/2 cups pretzles

Measure out the olive oil in measuring cup and add the spice and stir. In large bowl mix up all the dry ingredients stir in the olive oil and spice. Spread out mix onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. stir every 10 minutes or so. Let cool completely before storing. 250 degree f oven for 1 hour.
  I did not want this snack to be super salty as many are, so no salt has been added. Also I did not want the more greasy butter version. I loved the olive oil in this.

 I had not made any of my chocolate candy for Christmas so I decided to grab a bag of dark chocolate melting discs, and glazed orange peels, glazed lemon peels, dried apricots, dried ranier cherries and dip them--yum  these freeze well too.

  Just a note-the dipped fruits will look prettier if you set them up on racks and let the excess chocolate drip below-you can remelt that excess chocolate I don't always do that extra step-no one seems to really mind.

   I made my dark fruit cakes late this year so they won't be at their best for at least another month. I did need to re saturate the cheesecloths in brandy and re wrap them all. Hubs tested one out today-very moist but they need more "aging"

   With these cold weather days we have been enjoying chili, and soups. Tonight I am going to make a pot of chicken noodle soup with veggies. I am also adding in two quarts of my own canned wild turkey with stock. Good cold weather comfort food. 
      I am going to try a new recipe tonight too-it is a cast iron skillet cornbread with fresh blueberries-sounds delicious.

The beverage I am sharing is a nice big mug of hot chocolate that I made for myself last night with marshmallows of course-   I still had a bit left of my own hot cocoa mix from last winter. It has powdered milk-splenda (instead of sugar) and very dark cocoa. I blend 1/4 cup into almond milk or any milk to make it more creamy.

I have owned this handmade pottery mug from many years now-I had purchased allot of useable kitchen pottery pieces from the early 70s through the 90s. For me comfort is a handmade pottery mug or glass.  Oh and the placemat shown is one of my own handwoven pieces-an overshot pattern. I wove this back in the 90s-I am so hoping I can find time to weave again this coming year.

  I wish you all the best New Year. We were invited out tonight but we are staying in as early evening promises to be -4 degrees f with -15 or more degrees f wind chill--no thank you lol  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Brrrr Very Cold Here Today and Deer Visitors

  Wow it was 4 degrees early this morning with wind so Very cold. We are not used to this kind of cold any more. 
   We are getting older now plus we have had very very warm winters here the past several years so our bodies are just not used to this. I needed to bundle up to get our garbage can out at the end of the driveway for pick up-I almost just walked it down but it was really just too cold and allot of ice on the drive way too. 
   This is the first year since we moved here back in 2003 that I decided to pay for pick up service. This summer the recycle center got rid of their convenient place for me to drop things off. I used to recycle probably 80% of it and then we burn the paper trash-allot of it in the wood stoves. So with that being gone and hub's health I decided it was just time to do this. I still recycle all the foodstuffs in the compost pile though.

   With it being colder we have deer visitors every night and lots and lots of birds coming in too.  
   I took these photos thought the bay window and it was getting darker-so not the best quality.
   We really enjoy our wildlife visitors-I buy 50 pound bags of cracked corn at the farm store so large animals down to the birds can eat it. I also go through allot of black oiled sunflower seeds and thistle too for the goldfinches.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sharing a Couple Christmas Cards

  I wanted to share the two special Christmas cards I received from the T gang.  I was waiting til both received my card before I posted what I made.
   Since my last post was already getting so long I decided to share a post just to feature the cards.

This year I went really simple, I enjoyed stamping the postcards and finding the inks. I think I would like to go back to my handmade papers and see how my stamps would work on them.

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There are really allot of Christmas stamps available so I had a difficult time choosing-so I bought two of them. The reindeer stamp I used silver ink on some and gold on the other half. For another set of cards I used satin rose. All the inks were from encore.

Last week I had shown my two received cards with my drink but they were pretty hidden.

This pretty card is from Erica. She did stamping, and added cut outs-I love it!! thanks so much I love the little person all bundled up.

And this pretty card is from Eileen.very country and I love all the added components on this card too-thanks so much

Sunday, December 24, 2017

T Stands for Tuesday An Ozark's Winter Wonderland & Tamales

Merry Merry Christmas Everyone,

I am posting also for T for Tuesday hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth where we share a drink related post-find link in my right hand column.

  Yesterday (Saturday) morning we woke up to a winter wonderland with a bit of ice here in my part of the woods.  I bundled up early and grabbed my camera as I figured most would melt off by afternoon.
   We did get allot of melt off from roofs and trees and a bit in the grasses, but we are in a deep freeze now so most of the 2 inches is still here and we got another inch today.  I know not allot of snow, but here where I now live we do not usually get a white Christmas. This weather drop is quite a change from the high of 70 degrees f on Friday. Typical for Missouri though these huge temperature drops.

  All photos will enlarge just click on them for much better viewing-one has a lovely reflection in the pond.

:Looking down our 1/4 mile driveway

     Probably around 25 years ago I decided to make homemade tamales a tradition for Christmas Eve. They are fun to make and sooo good. This year we invited our friend Mr L over to enjoy with us.
   Here are photos of the process-tamale dough made with corn flour-masa-shortening or lard-water. For the meat this year I used three different meats-chirozo and spiced pork meat from a Mexican market that a friend brought down last November (I had extra so stored in freezer), and shredded pork loin and of course dried corn husks soaked in warm water for around an hour or so

This is the basic recipe I use

The meats sauted and ready as the filling

I am enjoying a hot cup with cream of my decaf herbal beverage

I have a two layer big steamer that I use for my tamales-they steam for one hour

Refried beans with mushrooms, and green chiles

Tamales out of the steamer

I served with sour cream, my own canned salsa, and melted cheese.

For my Christmas Eve beverage I made Jo's Poinsetta Cocktail-we loved it! thanks Jo   
   This is a keeper recipe-1 part orange liqueur, 3 parts cranberry juice, 3 parts dark red wine

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 17, 2017

T Stands for Tuesday & More Baking and Cooking

    T Stands for Tuesday is where we share a drink related post-You are most welcome to join us, hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth-the link is in my right hand column. 
    This is really a wonderful group to visit with each week. Hugs and Merry Christmas to all of you.

  Since my retirement back in the fall of 2003 I have gotten into lots of fun with the luxury of more free time which gives me more opportunities for crafting, baking and grilling etc 
     I always loved to bake but didn't always have the extra time especially around the holidays as I was always working it seems on the weekends and holidays especially-working for that overtime money.
    At Christmas time there are just soooo many kinds of cookies and candies to make-which do I choose lol.  Over the years I have found some good gluten free recipes too, and I like to try new recipes.
   It has always been just the two of us-hubs and I-and now that he needs to watch his sugars I substituted for that as well-he gets sweets and treats and so do I. 
   These past couple of weeks so far I have made a soft molasses, peanut butter, raisin-oatmeal, tollhouse chocolate chips with mint chips, and my two favorite roll out cookies. No new ones this year and mostly regular cookie favorites, although I did make a kolochky cookie that I have not made in years-mostly because it is mostly butter but so good with the different jams-so that one was our splurge this year. I also have not made any chocolates yet-I may still dip some glazed fruits in dark chocolate this coming week and for New Years weekend may make up the chocolate popcorn--then diet time-lol
  Our friend in the Keys did finally get his big box of cookies late on Tuesday.They all arrived in good shape and I think he has half of them eaten already. lol
  So this past week I made up a couple more batches of the Tollhouse cookie recipe for us but used different chips, Splenda, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and gluten free flour. I love to make the roll out cookies so I dug out the cutters and made gingerbread, and a lemon sugar cookie.

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    -you will see a few Yellowstone animal cookie cutters that I found after my Yellowstone trip. smiles

   Last week was Hanukkah so I made up a dinner for my hubs. I made him corn beef, noodle kugel, latkes, fresh beets, fresh veggies and pickles. I also made him a batch of shortbread with a Hanukkah mold I picked up years ago. 
   There is a Jewish donut I found a recipe for that I had the perfect cast iron mold to make them in on top of the stop. They are filled with jams and dusted with powdered sugar-I did not get to those but we love them so may make them this coming week.

We have a friend-Mr L-that lost his wife this year after many years of illness. I invite him over for dinner at least once a week. He came over a couple times last week.
   I love love my newest cast iron grill pan for grilling meats especially tenderloins. The meat just turns out so juicy. For the three of us I made a turkey tenderloin-in the package there were two so I just grilled both of them. For the sides I served green beans, corn on the cob, and sweet potatoes. I now steam whole sweet potatoes they turn out so nice and then we add a little butter and a splash of pure maple syrup. This year I purchased a meat thermometer-my first ever and it works out so well for me-I am not good at telling when the meat is done.

Since Saturday was full sunshine I decided a perfect day to make some candy. So I made peanut brittle and then also used the same recipe to make a pecan brittle-I just cooked the pecans a shorter length of time than the raw peanuts. One of my favorite candies that I learned to make with my Grandma on her farm.

For the drink I am sharing today I opened up a bottle of wine and have been enjoying a glass of wine in the evenings. This brand was my father in laws favorite wine during the holidays. So this was in remembrance of him and has become a favorite of ours too.

As you can see I have not changed out my fall tablecloth I need to do that soon-my table just got overloaded with lots of stuff it seems. The second photo shows the handmade Christmas cards I received from two friends of our T Party-thanks so much to the two of you, they are beautiful!

Happy T Day and Merry Christmas everyone!