Recipe: Pickled Onions

FG Pickled Onions

Pickled onions are one of those excellent finishing touches to so many savory recipes.  They add a bit of brightness to salads, wraps,  or a side dish of white beans.  Really, for a recipe that is so fast, it gives you lots of return on your time investment.  How long does it take for a pot of water to boil?  That’s the max time that this recipe requires.

Pickled Onions

While the pot of water boils, slice up your onions and prepare the pickling mixture.  Here I used 3 T. cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey with a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Cutting onions makes me cry every time, but something about this onion was so potent I was afraid I’d slip with the knife and cut my hand.  I’ve heard that you can wear swim goggles to protect your eyes while cutting an onion.  And come to find out, they actually make onion goggles.  I’m seriously thinking of getting a pair to wear in the kitchen.  How dorky is that, right?  Oh well, the struggle is real.

Speaking of struggle, I’m soooo excited because this week I’m taking a knife skills class at my local Central Market! I have never been trained on how to use a knife properly, so I probably have horrible technique.  And if you look closely at this onion, you will see that even though I tried to slice consistently, it’s just not great.  I’m excited to learn a lot and pass that knowledge on to you!

Pickled Onions-2

See my inconsistent thicknesses… sigh.

Pickled Onions-3

Pour the pot of boiling water over the colander of onions.  The amount of water here is not precise so don’t sweat it too much.

Pickled Onions-4

Give them a good shake every now and then when you open the fridge for the rest of the day.

Pickled Onions-5

One day later, you will have gorgeous hot pink pickled onions to add to all kinds of dishes.  They last for weeks in the fridge and only get better with time!

Follow me on Instagram to see how I use them this week!

Cheers,

Keri

p.s.  Y’all.  I got the flu last week, it kicked my butt.  Thanks for your patience for this week’s post, cause the only thing I felt like doing last week was making tea!  And just in case you are suffering with the flu or another virus, did you know that Elderberry is a natural antiviral?   My doctor told me about it because I was outside of the window for Tamiflu, but apparently it’s just as effective of an antiviral.  My doctor takes it as soon as she starts to feel a little under the weather, or sometimes even as a preventative if her family members are sick.  So, word to the wise- get thee some Elderberry and wash your hands!  Click on the picture below to see the stuff I bought, and it’s even cheaper now, lucky you!


Pickled Onions

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 3 T. vinegar, I used apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Fill a medium pot with water and boil.
  2. Slice the onion and place in the sink in a colander. Mix the vinegar, honey and salt in a jar.
  3. Pour the boiling water slowly over the onions.
  4. Add the onions to the jar and give it a good shake to coat the onions.
  5. Refrigerate the onions and give them a shake whenever you open the refrigerator for the first day.
  6. They are ready to eat after an hour, but I like to wait a day. Use on sandwiches, wraps, meat, salads, etc. Enjoy!

Recipe: Instant Pot Egg Bites

FG IP Breakfast Egg Bites

Have you had a chance to try Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites?  I would eat six in one setting if I could.  They are so yummy!  It’s something to do with the velvety texture that comes from sous vide (pronounced sue veed) cooking.

I had no idea what sous vide cooking was before Starbucks came out with their egg bites. After tasting them, the first thought that came to me, after “omg, I would eat these every day,” quickly followed by “too bad they are so expensive,” was that I had to figure out how to make them at home.  Come to find out, you need special equipment.  And right now, I think my hubby will kill me if I get another kitchen appliance.  Ha!

IP Breakfast Egg Bites-4

So I decided to look for ways to get a similar texture using what I have at home.  The key to sous vide cooking is maintaining an exact specific temperature, usually with water immersion and food in a vacuum.  It’s hard to replicate that without the right equipment.

BUT! Never fear, my fine friends, because this recipe is outright amazing and you will love it.  My hubby said that these Instant Pot Egg Bites are quite addictive, and he has even requested that I make another batch mid-week because our teenage son has discovered them as well and loves them.  I love it when my family eats my food!

IMG_8156.jpg

Fill the jars just over half way!  Trust me, they will poof!

This recipe is so much healthier than the Starbucks one, by the way.  Starbucks lists several non-food ingredients such as carrageenan, carbon dioxide, natamycin, and oddly, potato and rice starch, which is unusual in a menu item that caters to the low carb crowd.

Here’s the recipe that I tweaked from many, many copycat Starbucks recipes that I found online!


Instant Pot Breakfast Egg Bites

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice, I use cheddar
  • 1/4 cup cream or half and half
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 slices crumbled, precooked bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of onion powder

Variations:  This recipe lends itself to so many variations.  If you don’t have cottage cheese, I’ve successfully used sour cream or ricotta.  Try pepper jack cheese, or adding in some parmesan to the mix.  You can make them without bacon.  Try chopping in green onion or a small amount of softened onions and red peppers.

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients except bacon until combined.
  2. Add one cup of water into the bottom of the instant pot and set in the rack that came with it.
  3. Butter 5 1-pint mason jars, or use cooking spray.  Crumble one slice of bacon equally in each of the jars, then fill with egg mixture until just over half full.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon over the egg bites.  Cover loosely with foil and set onto the rack in the instant pot.
  5. Close and seal the instant pot and set on steam for 8 minutes.  When it’s finished,  naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the hot jars using tongs.
  6. When they first come out, the tops may have puffed out over the top of the jar, but as they cool, they will shrink back in.  Let cool, put lids on, refrigerate and enjoy throughout the week!

 

So what I want to know is, do you have an instant pot?  And if so, what’s your favorite thing to make in it?  I caved a year ago on black Friday when they were on sale on Amazon, ha!  This is the model that I have, and I highly recommend it!  I use it all the time to prep rice and beans.

Recipe: Best Ever Crockpot Roast

So, calling this roast the best ever sets the bar HIGH.  This recipe is absolutely worth it and will not fail you!

I’ve been learning a lot from my new textbook, er, cook book, er… thesis… whatever called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.  It’s a lovely book by Samin Nosrat that teaches the basic elements of cooking.  I have been reading it word for word, and I love it.  Now, it is a long book at over 400 pages and I realize not everyone will want to read it.  Never fear, I’ll pass on the best lessons I’ve learned so you don’t have to read it.  Unless you want to.  And I highly recommend it!

The most important thing I’ve learned so far is to correctly salt your food.  For a roast, Samin Nosrat recommends a little over a teaspoon per pound of meat, and she recommends that you salt your roast a day ahead of time.  Don’t skip this part!  The time involved here gives the salt a chance to spread further into the meat and also works it’s tenderizing magic.  Also, it does seem like a lot of salt, but remember to coat all sides and nooks and crannies.

IMG_8079.jpg

Do this a day in advance and wrap it back up and put in the fridge.

The next day, take your meat out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.  While the meat is losing it’s chill, go ahead and prep your veggies.   I chunk up an onion and several carrots.  This time, my hubby requested some mushrooms, so I grabbed some Monterrey Baby Bellas at H-E-B.  And the scraps that you see in the background will be added to my ziplock bag of broth goodies in the freezer to make homemade broth later.

IMG_8074.jpg

Heat up a cast iron skillet with some olive oil slicked on the bottom over medium high heat.  Wait until the skillet is hot before placing the meat in it.  We are looking for that sizzle and browning of the outside of the meat.

Oh, and a side note.  Do you have a cast iron skillet?  If not, you have to get one.  It makes the food taste amazing!  I’m not sure how, but it is just magical!  I was always intimidated by cooking with cast iron and had previously always used nonstick cookware.  But I promise, cast iron is worth it!  I recommend this one from Lodge.

IMG_8081.jpg

Perfect sizzle!

IMG_8082.jpg

This is the color you are going for.

IMG_8084.jpg

And yes, literally brown it on all sides, even if it means holding up the meat like this!  Ha!

Place your veggies in the crock pot, along with some roasted smashed garlic cloves and some fresh rosemary or thyme if you have it.

IMG_8080.jpg

IMG_8092.jpg

The meat goes on top of the veggies.  Meanwhile, deglaze the pan with the juice of a lemon or a splash of wine if you have it and some broth.  Before I got a cast iron skillet, I never really had all those brown bits that people talk about all the time on cooking shows.  Now, I get what they are talking about!

IMG_8090.jpg

Add that liquid on top of the meat in the crock pot.  Add more broth until the liquid covers the meat about a third of the way.  Put the lid on, turn the cooker on low, and wait 6-8 hours for heaven!

IMG_8093.jpg

I promise, all these extra steps will make the roast so delicious that you just won’t want to skip any of them.  Enjoy the cozy, warm meal!  This one is for Karen, a friend who wanted me to post something warm and cozy this weekend!

Cheers,

Keri

Recipe: Garlic Mushroom Soup

FG Garlic Mushroom Soup

If you are in Texas, you know that we are having a REALLY cold winter.  We don’t usually have too many freezing days, but it’s already snowed here twice!  Now, the first time, there was maybe a half inch accumulation on the ground and that was a huge deal.  My northern hubby wasn’t as impressed, but my son and I went out and had a real snowball fight.  His first!  Of course, I had to show him how it was done.  He figured out on his own that packed snowballs hurt.  But I had a few tricks up my sleeves… or should I say, I had a few tricks that landed under his shirt.  Ha!

IMG_7794.jpg

A snowball sized snowman on top of our grill!

So even though we haven’t gotten much snow compared to many parts of the United States, we had our first real snow in years.  That means it’s ideal soup weather!  It’s a good thing I’ve been working on my Garlic Mushroom Soup recipe.  I designed this one to please my garlic and mushroom loving husband.

Garlic Mushroom Soup

It starts with a ton of fresh mushrooms, lots of heads of roasted garlic, and fresh herbs.  I have used both sage and rosemary with great results.  Pictured here is sage, which was particularly good.

Garlic Mushroom Soup-2

For maximum flavor you have to roast the mushrooms in the oven with butter and lemon zest.  They turn hot and crunchy and chewy and so flavorful.  And while they are roasting, you whip up the base garlic soup.

Once the soup is done, serve with the mushrooms on top, some fresh herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan for garnish.  It is so good!


Garlic Mushroom Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought broth
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced thin
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced thin
  • 1 T. olive oil, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 4 T. butter, divided
  • 2 lbs. any type of mushroom, roughly broken to be equal size
  • 1 can of northern beans, drained
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 4-5 heads of oven roasted garlic (faster if prepped in advance)
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 2-4 inches of Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1-2 tsp. lemon zest
  • salt and pepper
  • several stems of fresh sage or rosemary

Directions

  1. In a cast iron skillet or other oven proof dish, break up mushrooms with your hands until they are roughly the same size. Scatter in 5 cloves of roasted garlic, dot with 3 tbs. butter, sprinkle on lemon zest, and add salt and pepper.
  2. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until nicely browned, stirring a few times during cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, saute onion and celery in 1 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter in a large pot until the onion is softened and translucent.
  4. Place onions and celery with beans and broth into a blender and blend until well combined, about a minute. Alternatively, use an immersion blender.
  5. Transfer the soup back into the pot if using a blender. Add the heavy cream and Parmesan rind, and simmer on low until you are ready to eat, but at least 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove mushrooms from oven and discard herb stems. Stir to combine flavors. Spoon mushrooms generously over each serving of soup and garnish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Let me know if you try this recipe out! You can snap a picture and post it to Instagram, tagging @kitchenwithkeri. Also, if you haven’t yet done so, enter your email address on the right hand side of this page and I’ll make sure to send you an email when I post something new! I promise not to flood your inbox with spam!

Cheers,
Keri

Recipe: Baked French Toast

Merry Christmas, lovely people! I hope today finds you happy and healthy and surrounded with family and friends. And food. Lots of yummy food!

You know I typically like healthy, whole food recipes. But balance is the spice of life! This morning, my family kicked things off right with this easy baked French toast. The recipe theoretically serves 9-12, but the four of us ate the whole pan. 😳 We weren’t stuffing ourselves by any stretch, either. So plan on using a super deep dish and doubling, or use a denser bread than wonder bread. Ha!

<<<<
riginal recipe is an overnight French toast recipe from GeniusKitchen.com, but we prepared and baked the whole dish right away and skipped the overnight part with no problem. If you use a denser loaf of bread, you may want to prepare it and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Or, if you'd rather not fuss with everything in the morning, you can layer and prepare everything the night before, then pour on the egg and milk mixture before it goes in the oven in the morning. Either way, expect this recipe to poof up in the oven quite a bit. It will flatten once removed from the oven during resting time.

If you haven't already, enter your email address on the right to be notified when I post new recipes. I hate spam, too, so I promise to keep your address private.

<<<<
ipe]

"Baked

  • Servings: "4-6"
  • Difficulty: "easy"
  • Print

"A

<<<<
fied from: GeniusKitchen.com<<<<
cipe-notes]<<<<
ipe-ingredients]<<<<
cup butter<<<<
lices white bread, crusts cut off if desired<<<<
cup brown sugar<<<<
aspoon cinnamon<<<<
gs, whisked together<<<<
2 cups milk<<<<
cipe-ingredients]<<<<
ipe-directions]<<<<
lt butter in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.<<<<
ver the bottom of the pan with 6 slices of bread.<<<<
rinkle half of the brown sugar and cinnamon over the bread.<<<<
d another layer of 6 slices of bread.<<<<
a bowl, combine eggs and milk until well blended.<<<<
ur over bread, sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon.<<<<
ke covered at 350F for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for 15-30 minutes longer, until set and browned.<<<<
cipe-directions]<<<<
cipe]<<<<
gt;

Winter Hot Chocolate Round Up!

One of my favorite indulgences this time of year is a cozy mug of hot chocolate.  There’s something so comforting about the chocolate-y warming goodness.  Since I strive to avoid highly processed white sugar, and limit my sugar intake overall, that pretty much eliminates the packets of hot chocolate available from the grocery store.  Sigh.  Sometimes I miss the convenience, but honestly, making a mug from scratch is not even that hard!

I’ll share my personal favorite no sugar hot chocolate recipe with you next week ON CHRISTMAS DAY.  Is anyone else panicking a little bit over the fact that Christmas will be here in one short week?!?  And I’m working all the way up to Friday!  Holy smokes!  When is it all going to get done?  Deep. Breathing.  In 1-2-3, out 1-2-3.

I’ve had to be very intentional this year about enjoying  holiday time.  It seems that life is so busy and we cram so many things in, all with good intentions.  But one of the vital things on my to do list this season is to spend time appreciating simple holiday pleasures.  Like looking at my Christmas tree ornaments when the lights are on and the house is dark and enjoying the magic.  Or taking the time to pause and enjoy silly and sentimental Christmas songs.  Or, spending an hour reading a Christmas novel with my feet up and a hot beverage at my side.

I asked some of my friends to share with me what their favorite hot chocolate or other warming winter beverages are, and here are the top 5 that they shared with me, in no particular order!

 

Alexa’s Feel Good Turmeric Latte

feel-good-turmeric-latte-9

Alexa’s Feel Good Turmeric Latte

This turmeric latte was so much fun to make, and was the perfect excuse I needed to finally get a french press.  Ha!  Alexa recommends using the french press to it’s full advantage for foaming your milk, and that’s such a good hack!  I will be using that tip more often, for sure! And I didn’t make a shot of hot espresso for this drink, but I did use a packet of instant espresso powder, and that worked great.


Feel Good Turmeric Latte

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Credit: Alexa Peduzzi

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. sweetener of choice (I really like honey)
  • optional: 1-2 oz. hot espresso or strong hot tea

Directions

  1. Add almond milk. cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, and coconut oil to a small pot. Heat over medium-high, whisking frequently, until it boils. Add sweetener, whisk to combine, and remove from heat.
  2. Pour into a french press. Insert the press and quickly push it down, then pull it up continuously for 15-25 seconds, or until the latte is frothed to your liking. I like a lot of froth, so I do this for the full 25 seconds.
  3. Add optional espresso or tea to the bottom of a large mug, and then pour frothed milk into the mug. Don’t lift the press while you’re pouring – it’ll strain out the grainy spices. Enjoy immediately.

Sep’s Golden Milk Hot Chocolate

Sep1

Sep’s Golden Milk Hot Chocolate

This lovely hot chocolate includes the ever popular turmeric powder as well, and is just the right consistency and sweetness.  And thanks to Sep, I tried organic cacao powder, the less processed version of cocoa powder and now I’m hooked!


Sep's Golden Milk Hot Chocolate

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Credit: Sepidah from SepCooks.com

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (coconut milk may also be used) + 2 Tbsp almond milk to make a paste
  • 1/2 tsp (add 1 full teaspoon if you don’t mind the flavor) ground turmeric
  • small pinch of black pepper (this helps your body absorb the nutrients in turmeric!)
  • 2 tsp raw cacao powder (this is different than cocoa powder which has been more heavily processed)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3-4 tsp of maple syrup or raw honey (amount can be adjusted to your taste)

Directions

  1. Pour the 1 Cup of almond milk into a saucepan and heat gently over medium heat. Keep an eye on the milk and make sure it doesn’t burn or bubble over.
  2. While the milk is heating up, prepare the chocolate paste. In a small bowl, combine the turmeric, cacao powder, and cinnamon. Whisk as you slowly add 2 Tbsp of almond milk to transform the powder into a paste.
  3. Once the almond milk is hot but not boiling (if you dip a metal spoon into the liquid, steam should come off of the spoon) gently pour the hot liquid over the paste, whisking continuously to get a smooth mixture.
  4. Add the desired amount of maple syrup or honey 1 teaspoon at a time, tasting to get the sweetness that you prefer.

Kendall’s Chestnut Hot Chocolate

best-chestnut-hot-chocolate-recipe-holidays

Kendall’s Chestnut Hot Chocolate

I love trying new things, and this recipe had me trying chestnuts for the first time in my life!  I recommend getting them already roasted and peeled, because it saves a lot of time!  This is the richest, thickest hot chocolate I have ever made, and it was like drinking dessert!  So if you are in the mood to really indulge, try this recipe! If you want it less thick, add fewer chestnuts and more milk. If you are going to make this recipe, don’t skimp on the real vanilla bean and for sure add the orange zest.


Kendall's Chestnut Hot Chocolate

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Credit: Kendall Vanderslice of Foodal.com

Ingredients

  • 5 oz pre-cooked chestnuts (about 1/2 cup)
  • 12 oz milk, (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 oz dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • mini marshmallows, optional

Directions

  1. Finely chop the chestnuts and place in a saucepan. Add the milk.
  2. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the pulp. Add orange zest, and cinnamon to the saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Finely chop the chocolate and add to the saucepan, stirring until it is completely melted. Add the honey and stir to combine.
  5. Blend the mixture in a food processor or blender until completely smooth, and divide between two mugs. Top with marshmallows if you like, and serve immediately.

Sebrina’s Feel-Good Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Feel-Good-Hot-Chocolate

Sebrina’s Feel-Good Peppermint Hot Chocolate

I’m really picky about mint.  As in, I only adore peppermint, and can’t stand any other kind.  So peppermint hot chocolate is right up my alley.  I love that Sebrina uses peppermint tea in this recipe, and the peppermint whipped cream is not to be missed,  so don’t skip that part!


Feel-Good Peppermint Hot Chocolate

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Credit: Sebrina from Blumenutrition.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 peppermint tea bags
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons 72% dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup organic whipping cream, (or coconut cream)
  • 6 drops peppermint extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon honey (optional)

Directions

  1. Steep 2 peppermint tea bags in a cup of water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Combine peppermint tea, coconut milk, coconut sugar, and cacao powder in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the sugar and cacao powder dissolve and the milk is hot. Do not boil.
  3. Whisk in chocolate pieces until melted.
  4. For the peppermint whipped cream, pour ½ cup organic whipping cream in a glass container. With a hand blender, start blending the cream, when it starts to thicken add 6 drops peppermint extract and honey.
  5. Pour into two mugs and top with peppermint whipped cream.

Lauren’s Creamy Gingerbread Cashew Coffee

Gingerbread-Cashew-Coffee-5

Lauren’s Creamy Gingerbread Cashew Coffee

This might just well be my new favorite thing!  If you know me at all, you know that I thrive on my coffee in the morning.  Which is  just a nice way to say that I am probably (definitely) caffeine addicted and you can pry my coffee out of my cold dead hands.  Wow, that got serious fast.  Ha!  BUT.  You might might convince me to swap my regular morning coffee for this delicious coffee, instead.  Seriously, I’m a gingerbread nut, and you have to try this!


Creamy Gingerbread Cashew Coffee

  • Servings: 2-4, depending on how big your mug is!
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Credit: Lauren from Hungerthirstplay.com

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ cups freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: agave to taste

Directions

  1. Carefully transfer hot coffee to blender. Add cashews, molasses, and spices. The cashews do not need to soak before blending, the hot coffee will take care of softening them so the blend up fine.
  2. Blend on high for a full 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the strength of your blender.
  3. Optional: add agave, or a dash of your preferred sweeter, to taste.

    -If your life is cold brew or die, soak the cashews for 2 hours before blending. Be sure to drain and rinse before adding to the blender.
  • The blend time will vary depending on the strength of your blender. You can also substitute a food processor, but be sure not to overfill. Splashing hot coffee everywhere is definitely NOT recommended.
  • If storing in the refrigerator overnight for iced coffee in the morning, the cashew cream will separate. Just give it a thorough shake in the morning and you’ll be good to go.

Recipe: Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry-6

Your search for the perfect cranberry sauce has ended, because here is what I like to call Christmas in a Jar.  The spices are seasonally on-point, and the color is just gorgeous.  It really is so easy, too!  There’s no reason to open a gloppy congealed can of cranberries when you can have this fresh, citrus-y sweet and tart combination.

Cranberry-2

My favorite way to eat cranberry sauce leftovers- in yogurt for breakfast!

My old recipe called for 2 cups of sugar, which is just an absolute ton!  It was so sweet that it overpowered the tartness of the cranberry.  I’m really trying to cut out all refined sweeteners and just stick to significantly smaller amounts of the more natural ones, like honey or maple syrup.  So this recipe lightens up the amount of sweetener to just a third of a cup of maple syrup.

My ten year old niece, who was a devoted cranberry-from-a-can fan, tried this when I brought it to Thanksgiving and she loved it!  She loved the cinnamon in it.  I was trying to play it cool on the outside, while secretly rejoicing inside!

Cranberry-3

I love my new bowl from Mud Pies Pottery in Salado!

So the next time you are headed out for a holiday meal, bring this homemade cranberry sauce.  People will be so impressed and think that it was so hard.  It’s okay, you don’t have to tell them how easy it really is!

Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Christmas in a jar!


This recipe is lower on the sweetness side than regular, so I recommend making it as is, tasting, and then adding extra sweetener to taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag, or 4 cups, fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, or the juice from two small oranges
  • zest from one orange
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Directions

  1. In a medium pot, combine all items and cook over medium high heat until the cranberries pop, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.
  2. Lower heat to medium, and cook for another 20 minutes while the sauce thickens and reduces, stirring frequently.
  3. Let cool and store in the fridge to chill until serving. This can be served at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe: Tahini Sauce

Tahini Sauce2-2

I’m a huge fan of peanut sauce.  I could eat it every week.  But sometimes, it’s good to mix things up!  So for the sake of variety, I’ve been playing around with a tahini sauce recipe.  I didn’t know what tahini was for the longest time… come to find out, it’s just a paste made from sesame seeds!  It’s kinda like peanut butter, but made with sesame seeds instead.  So the tahini paste becomes the basis of this mild and smoky sauce.

Tahini

I’ve been loving it on my roasted vegetables.  In fact, I may have found a new obsession in roasted eggplant.  Move over roasted broccoli!  Just kidding, broccoli, I will love you forever.

untitled

This sauce can be made thicker for dipping veggies into, or thinner for drizzling over roasted veggies, like I did for my lunches last week.  A sprinkle of smoked paprika over the top adds an even deeper smoky flavor.


 

Tahini Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A mild sauce perfect for roasted vegetables.

This recipe can be made thicker using less water if you are wanting to use it as a dip. For a true drizzle-style sauce, add more water.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 roasted garlic cloves, or 1/2 t. powdered garlic
  • 1/4 c. tahini paste
  • 1/4 c. very warm water
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/4 t. fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 t. ground cumin
  • pinch of salt, or more to taste

Directions

  1. In a wide mouthed container that will fit an immersion blender, add all ingredients except water.
  2. Slowly add water and blend until it is the consistency that you desire.
  3. Store covered in the fridge until ready to use. This will be good for up to a week.

Favorite Things 2017

For those of you who have been hanging around for a year, you may remember last year’s Favorite Things party.  If you are new, let me fill you in!

favorites-9

Does anyone remember Oprah’s Favorite Things show where she would give away one of her favorite things to each audience member?  The idea is the same for the party.  All through the year, we think about what our absolute favorite thing is, and then we buy one for each of the other six friends who come to the party.  There are a few rules: the guest list does not change.  Everyone makes the party a number one priority on their calendar for the year.  And finally, there’s no dollar limit imposed.

Favorites-8

How much is that doggy in the window?

As the creators of Christmas magic in our families, we felt a smidge overlooked when several of us said we were even buying stuff for our OWN stockings.  In an effort to bring a little bit of magic to the season for ourselves, we started this gathering, and now it has been 12 years.  Some of us only see each other the one time a year, others, much more often.  But one thing that has been unchanging is our dedication to the event and each other.

Favorites-13

So welcome to the 12th annual Favorite Things at Sherry’s house!  I’ll give you an inside peek into the party.

Favorites-3

Every year, the table looks amazing!  My mom does such a great job with this part.  All the little finishing touches are just right.  There’s usually a small gift at the table for each person, and this year, there were two- the placecard picture frame and a custom made wooden hanger on the back of each chair.

Favorites-4

My mom’s house is always so beautiful.  I took several pictures.  Here are a few to enjoy!

Favorites-6

I love the “stay awhile” frame and the pine cone print in the entry way.

Favorites-11

Beautiful fall mantel decorations

Favorites-10

Favorites-12

She has such a green thumb!  I wish I had inherited that!

Favorites-20

It was a gorgeous fall day, so even the outside was decorated!

favorites

I couldn’t resist photographing my gift and my mom’s gift before everyone came over.

When everyone arrived, we put the presents on my mom’s bed and gathered for drinks and appetizers.

Favorites-14

Did I mention the other unspoken rule?  Everyone wraps their gifts beautifully!

We played a few fun games (no toilet plunger this year, darn it) and had a blast.  Then it was time for dinner.  I wish I had taken a picture of the entire spread, but it was amazing!

Here’s a snapshot from Instagram of the main course, though:

IMG_7576.jpg

Creamy Chicken Alfredo

So what was in those pretty packages?  Here’s a peek at some of the gifts: