Cranberry Sauce

This recipe will have your salivary glands singing!

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
a little under 1/2 tsp allspice
a little under 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 small orange zested and juiced

In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, and water. Stir and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to simmer and add cinnamon stick, allspice, and nutmeg. Stir in spices and allow to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the orange juice and zest. Stir and allow to cool before serving.

I adjusted this recipe to work for a 12 oz. bag (since that is how they are sold), while the original recipe is for a pound (or 16 oz.) of cranberries. See the original recipe from the food network site.


Homemade Maple Syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tsp maple extract

1. combine sugars and water in a sauce pan. stir until clear while bringing to a boil. turn down heat and simmer 15 minutes.
2. remove from heat, stir in maple extract and serve. refrigerate in a glass container.


Chili Blanco

holy smokes. this soup is so good it's addicting (i'm not exaggerating). from New Mexico Linds.

2-3 chicken breasts
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large inion, chopped
2 or 3 small cans hot, fire roasted green chilies, diced if possible*
4 cups chicken broth
4 cans beans (all white or 2 white and 2 black)**
1 pint sour cream

1. place chicken breasts in a medium pot and cover with as much water as the pot can hold without boiling over. add 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil. lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. add more water if necessary. shred or cut cooked chicken into small pieces. (i know there are other. less time consuming ways to boil chicken but this is the only method i know of that leaves the chicken tender instead of rubbery).
2. heat oil in a large pot and sauté the garlic and onion until tender and slightly transparent. add the chilies and cook a few more minutes.
3. add the broth, beans and chicken and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. stir in sour cream until completely incorporated (don't let soup boil once sour cream has been added) and serve with warm bread.

* if you can't find the pre-diced chilies just dice them up yourself
** i like using both white and black beans for the contrast (since the soup is so white) but if you do, make sure to drain and rinse the black beans.

Mushroom Barley Soup

a robust flavorful soup for any time (but of course fall is such a great time for soup).

1/2 cup barley
olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
8 oz mushrooms (white or baby bella), sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cups beef, chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp thyme leaves, crushed
1 by leaf
salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. add the barley, lower heat, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
2. meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the garlic and onion for about 7 minutes minutes. add carrots, celery and mushrooms cooking for a few minutes between each addition.
3. add the broth, drained barley, peas, thyme, salt and pepper and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. take bay leaf out before serving. enjoy with your favorite bread!


Ham and Brie Sandwiches

inspired by a sandwich we had in Sante Fe, New Mexico, this is delicious

For 2 sandwiches
1 baguette
8 slices of ham (you can either go deli or quality thin meat)
6 slices of Brie (be very liberal with the brie)
spinach leaves
honey mustard
caramelized apples

Recipe for caramelized apples:
4 apples, sliced
2 T butter
1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
salt to taste
Melt the butter. Saute the apples over high heat until a light brown. Add apple cider, simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in sugar and allow to simmer until apples are translucent and liquid has thickened to syrup. Stir in cinnamon and pepper. Season to taste with salt.

Place ham, cheese, mustard, and apples on a baguette. Toast in the toaster oven until cheese melts. Add fresh spinach leaves to sandwich.



these are so quick you can make them on a whim, not to mention a special occasion!

1 cup flour
just less than 1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened but still cool, cut into six pieces
2 eggs, room temp
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

1. preheat oven to 350°. line muffin tin with 12 baking cups.
2. whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. mix eggs, sour cream (or yogurt or milk) and vanilla together in a small bowl with a fork.
3. add butter to dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the flour and butter clumps together and looks sandy and pebbly.
4. add about 3/4 of the wet ingredients and mix at low speed until incorporated, then beat at high speed until light and fluffy, about one minute. add the rest of the wet ingredients in a steady stream while mixing until thoroughly combined.
5. divide batter evenly among the cups using a spoon. bake for 20-24 minutes when inserted toothpick comes out clean. cool completely on a wire rack and frost.

* * frosting * *
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch salt
2 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla

beat butter in a small bowl until light a fluffy. add 1 cup powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and 1 Tbsp milk. mix slowly as the sugar incorporates then faster as is becomes smooth. add remaining sugar and milk and repeat mixing. beat until smooth and creamy. add more sugar or more milk to achieve desired consistency (but no more than 1/4 sugar or 1 tsp milk).


Hot Fudge

1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
6 oz (1/2 can) evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla

1. melt butter in a large, heavy sauce pan.
2. whisk sugar and cocoa powder together in a different bowl. add to melted butter and combine well (makes a thick mixture).
3. stir in evaporated milk and bring to a boil for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and allowing to bubble high.
4. remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

keep refrigerated in a glass container. to reheat, warm in a pot of simmering water.

recipe from my old pal Alyse Erickson


Haystacks (a.k.a No Bake Cookies)

1/2 cup (one stick) butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 heaping cup baker's cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups regular rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut chips (optional)
3 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

you can get as creative as you'd like with what you mix in beyond the oats. give it a try... that's how i came up with coconut and sesame seeds.

1. combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and milk in a large saucepan. bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and boil for one minute.
2. remove from heat. stir in peanut butter and vanilla until well combined.
3. add oats, coconut, sesame seeds, nuts and mix well.
4. drop by spoon fulls onto wax paper. allow to set up and cool - approximately 20 minutes. store in an airtight container (and in the fridge during the hot months).


Peanut Butter Cookies

so delicious: slightly crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle. oh, and good for dipping.

1 cup butter, softened but still cool
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup peanut butter*
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla
11/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1. Beat butter until light and fluffy - this is key.
2. Add sugars, blend well (2-3 minutes). Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla, blend until creamy.
3. Combine flours, soda, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Add a little more than half to the creamy mix and combine. Add the rest of the flour mix and combine.
4. Form rough balls, place on cookie sheet, crisscross tops with a fork and bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack (if you can wait that long).

* Contrary to popular belief you can make these cookies with natural peanut butter (like Adam's). Just make sure the peanut butter has been stirred really well and refrigerated at least overnight.

This dough also refrigerates and freezes great when formed into a cylinder, wrapped in some wax paper and sealed in a ziploc bag.


Tilapia with Almond Butter

This recipe is quick, simple (which I really dig these days), light and delicious.

3 cups snow pea pods, trimmed
4 4-5 ounce fresh skinless tilapia fillets
Sea Salt (in truth, sea salt is better in this situation)
Freshly ground black pepper (which I now have thanks to ash)
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cups sliced almonds

In a large saucepan bring lightly salted water to boiling. Add pea pods. Cook for two minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, season fish with salt and pepper; sprinkle with flour (err on the side of more, not less). In a large skillet cook fish in hot oil over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes or until fish is easy to remove with a spatula. Gently turn fish and cook for 2-3 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Place peas on serving plates; arrange fish on top of peas and keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium. Add butter to skillet. When butter begins to melt, stir in almonds. Cook and stir for 30-60 seconds or until almonds are lightly toasted (do not let butter burn). Spoon mixture over fish fillets.

Hint: I used frozen tilapia which was also delicious. To thaw fish, rinse and let sit in cool water for a few minutes. The recipe also suggest using perch, sole, or other white fish fillets.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens
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Pork Tenderloin Marinade

So easy, yet you feel gourmet when you make it...

1 lb. pork loin chops, boneless
3 T white wine vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
1/2 c sour cream
2 T Dijon mustard

Place pork loin chops in bowl or plastic bag. Combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and crushed garlic cloves. Pour over meat.* Let marinate. Grill or broil until well-cooked. Serve with mustard sauce. For mustard sauce, combine sour cream and Dijon mustard.

*you can freeze the pork at this time if desired. When ready to prepare, thaw meat then grill.


Mapple-Glazed Salmon with Pineapple

This salmon recipe is simple, uses ingredients you may already have on hand, and does not take much time to prepare.

1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (doesn't need to be kosher)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 fresh pineapple (you can also used canned)
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups cooked white or brown rice
Heat broiler. Whisk together the maple syrup and mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Place the salmon in a foil-lined 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Season with the salt and pepper. Slice the peel from the pineapple half and cut it lengthwise into quarters, then cut each quarter in to 1/2 inch thick triangles. Scatter the pineapple and jalapeno around the salmon. Brush the salmon with the syrup mixture. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily with pricked with a fork and the inside is the same color throughout. Serve the salmon and pineapple with the rice and drizzle with the remaining glaze, if desired.
Suggested serving tips:
Slice the other half of the pineapple left over from this recipe, brush it with maple syrup, and broil until it bubbles. Serve with ice cream.
Recipe received from Gail Busby.



these muffins are easy and very tasty. you can use fresh, dried, or frozen fruit (don't thaw frozen fruit) and nuts if you'd like.

1 ¾ cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt

½ cup butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup milk, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg, room temp
1 ¼ cup fruit

1. Heat oven to 400°. Grease muffin tin.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
3. Whisk wet ingredients and sugar in another bowl.
4. Fold wet ingredients then fruit into dry ingredients.
5. Scoop ¼ cup into muffin tins, sprinkle tops with granulated sugar.
6. Bake 15 – 17 minutes.