Christmas Cookie Number Two!

I decided to try Eggnog Cookies tonight. Overall they are a very soft cookie and with the icing, they are just delectable!

Eggnog Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum or rum extract
1/2 cup eggnog
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Combine butter and sugars in a bowl. Mix until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time. Then put in the vanilla, rum and eggnog.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add slowly mixing after each addition.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes of until lightly browned. Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack.

When cool spread frosting on the top and sprinkle with additional nutmeg. Enjoy!

Frosting

1/2 cup butter softened
1 tsp rum or rum extract
3 tbsp egg nog
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Mix together to desired consistency.

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Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Christmas cookie number one was this gorgeous and simple cookie. They were so easy to make and can be changed to whatever flavor you desire. Enjoy!

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup butter softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour

Blend butter and sugar until fluffy. Add extract and mix until combined. Slowly add the flour. Mix just until combined.

Roll in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour. It needs to be chilled completely so they don't crack.

Roll dough in one inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet about two inches apart. Use a finger to make an indentation. Using a small spoon place about 1/4-1/2 tsp of desired jam into the indention.

Bake about 10-15 minutes. Remove when edges just begin to turn brown.

Remove to a cooling rack. Once cooled drizzle with glaze.

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 tsp almond extract
2-4 tsp water

Mix until consistency is easy to drizzle. May need more or less water. Allow glaze to dry before stacking.

Fall Favorite #4

Growing up in Tennessee, family gatherings were not sparse. We got together for any occasion and then just to get together. With sixteen, grandchildren I can only imagine the chaos we caused my grandmother.

My Aunt Sue always had a Christmas morning breakfast. It wasn't just family, it was neighbors and friends gathering to celebrate the holiday. As kids that was the best morning. We opened presents, then got dressed to head to her house for the most amazing breakfast.

She has gorgeous Christmas china. I have had a fascination with it ever sense. Maybe that's why I now have not one set, but three. She had powdered donuts on the tiered platters. I know it doesn't seem that special, but when those little white rings are on Christmas china, they look pretty darn good.

One thing she always had was sausage balls. My mom didn't like them, so she never made them. Aunt Sue always had them. She would make them ahead of time and freeze them. So they are ready in a jiffy.

This is one of those foods that bring back memories, smells, and feelings of Christmas morning at her house. Try them today

You can find a ton of different recipes for sausage balls on the web. The pioneer woman has a spicy variety that is delicious. This time I just made the basic. To be honest, I don't measure. I just dump it in. Here is my best guess.

Sausage Balls
1 of of sausage
1 -1.5 cups bisquick
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix all in a large bowl. Using a cookie scoop to make them the same size, scoop out a ball and roll with your hands.

Bake at 375 until brown and the sausage is cooked.

Enjoy!

Hot and Creamy Jalapeño Dip

I found a recipe Saturday morning to take to a little party friends where having. It was a jalapeño Dip that was served warm with bread.

Having never made it before, I had no idea what to expect. It was okay! Nothing great, not really terrible, but not what I wanted.

Today I made it again and added all the things that I thought would amp it up and make it an amazing Dip.

It turned out perfectly spicy and delicious. I put it on allrecipes as my first submission. Check it out.


http://allrecipes.com/personal-recipe/64660174/hot-and-creamy-jalapeno-dip/

Enjoy!

Amazingly Soft PB Cookies

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I am not a peanut butter cookie fan. However I found this recipe and decided I was going to give it a try. What could it hurt? My family lately loves cookies and I have been trying to keep my cookie jar full. That in itself can be a hard task when cow work seems to be happening daily. The guys love a snack of cookies or brownies when we take a break doing cow work.

Anyway, I found this recipe and I adapted it a little bit to make it fit my needs. It turned out to be a wonderful little cookie. It is a peanut butter dough that you roll in sugar and bake it until they just crack on top. This leaves a very soft cookie on the inside but kind of an outer shell. You must give this recipe a try.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Servings: 24-28 small cookies
  • Print

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Granulated sugar for coating

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Mix peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl, add brown sugar and beat until well combined. Mix in eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Beat until creamy

3. Add the baking powder and salt. Beat until just blended. Then add the flour in small increments. Mix just until combined.

4. Put the granulated sugar in a small ball. Using a small ice cream scoop or cookie scoop, skip out one portion of cookie dough. Role in your hand to make a ball, and then roll it in the granulated sugar. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Place cookies 2 inches apart.

5. Bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or just until the edges are browned and the tops begin to crack. DO NOT OVER COOK! Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then move to a cookie rack.

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Don’t tell me I like Wassail!

In the South during the holidays there is a certain smell that lingers in stores and homes almost everywhere. It is detested by children but loved by adults. It brings the holiday atmosphere to peak performance. There is just something about Wassail that says, “Home.”  It has a very distinctive aroma that can be singled out in a room full of goodies.

As most children will say Wassail is the most disgusting drink ever dreamed up by mean adults. It is worse than apple cider. I was one of these small children and even young adults who kept good and clear of this potion. When we would visit our local Civil War Mansion called Glenmore, I would hate the smells from the brewing pots of apple cider and Wassail. It just tasted like adults and the weird drinks that they are always fussing over. Oh, it tastes so good.  Blah, Blah, Blah.

Then I became one of the adults. It was on a trip to Biltmore Estates with my Mother, my Aunt Jo, and my cousin Julie when I decided this is the best drink in the world. My mother is constantly buying Wassail mixes. She will then bring you a glass and say “Oh, try this it is so good,” and then she starts the MMMM, MMMM, MMMM. As her child, I must try what she brings me. So I do. Well at Biltmore they had some made and I tried it. I don’t know why, I have always hated this nasty stuff.  How was today going to be any different from the countless other times she asked me to try this drink.

I let the warm liquid slide down my throat and I waited for the Yuck factor to begin. I waited, I waited. It was delightful. It was good. Well that it, I have officially crossed over. I am old, I am a true adult. I am one of the ones that makes the food at holidays. I am no longer the younger generation. So it is only befitting that the enjoyment of Wassail has begun.

Oh dear, what next! How in all my 35 years have I let this drink go to the wayside. Why did I not enjoy it. Well, I’m not sure, but it is delicious. I have made it countless times since that trip. It reminds me of my mom, of holidays past. I reminds me of loved ones who are gone and it brings the holidays into my home no matter what time of year.  The smell alone can make me curl up on the couch with my mug, and close my eyes to feel those memories.

Now I have taken to making my children try it. Let me say, they hate it. Of course they would, it is something you must grow into. But the smell, will be engrained in their minds. Then that one day when they are older, with their own children sitting around the fire, they will make Wassail and cherish the taste and memories it brings.

Please give this a try. It is such a part of the South and a part of the holidays. It is a drink to share with friends, family, and for children to grimace at. Look at that pot. It makes me want to make some right now, and I can’t. I don’t have any of the ingredients and I am 33 miles from the nearest store.  I am in the worst dilemma. Someone make this for me, and bring it to me!!!

Southern Wassail

  • Servings: 12-15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 2 quarts Apple Cider
  • 2 cups Orange Juice
  • 1 can (46 oz) pineapple juice
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1/3 cup Honey

In a large pot combine all the ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a crockpot or beverage warmer to serve.  Serve warm.

Enjoy!!

The Quest for Lasagna

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I started cooking for our hunters in 2012, before this we had hired a cook because I was teaching school.  Cooking for eight to ten people can make a person a little nervous.  I am definitely a perfectionist when it comes to cooking. I want everything just right.  I know it’s silly. My husband is always telling me that the guys won’t care because they are just happy to eat after sitting in a blind all day. Phew! Everyone enjoys a good meal and not just a mediocre one.

Let me just say I had to cook this meal of lasagna and cheesecake for some guys from New Jersey. I was really nervous about the cheesecake because they can get amazing cheesecakes there. But then one of the guys came through the kitchen and said his wife was from Italy. OH NO!! Would this be up to par. It was! I received rave reviews and have every time I have made this.

This cooking OCD I have, inspired me to find the best lasagna I could. I can not tell you the number of recipes I looked at, read reviews on, printed out, and searched for. Let me just say there are hundreds, no thousands of recipes for lasagna. I think everyone has their own recipe that they have been handed down, found, claimed, revamped, whatever.  I however did not have one. I am more of a fried chicken type girl. Italian food is a little out of my genre.

Well as I was looking it became pretty clear that for good lasagna you have to have a good sauce. Am I right? And good sauce is homemade. Am I right again? So therefore I decided upon a recipe that looked pretty easy and I was going to give it a try.  It turned out pretty darn good. Then with some revamping of my own. It has become my staple.

This recipe gives the most amazing sauce I have ever eaten. Yes, we eat it out of the pot as it is cooking. If you walk by the kitchen when this is simmering. You will not be able to keep your self from getting a spoon, and trying a little sample.

I will say it is a little bit of work, but the benefits are so worth it. I have also found that you MUST use diced tomatoes. I pour a little into my hand over the pot and smash around. Then pour another handful and repeat until it is all smashed.   I tried whole tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. They just don’t work. For some reason, it just makes the correct mixture to crush by hand.

This makes a ton of sauce. I mean you will need a large pot for this.  I usually double it, so that I can make two lasagna pans. One for that meal, and another to freeze. I am really into freezing for future meals. Makes life so easy sometimes.  You can also freeze the sauce to use in spaghetti and other pastas.

Werner Hunting House Lasagna

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

  • 1 pd sweet italian sausage
  • 1 pd ground beef
  • ½ cup onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, crush by hand
  • 2 (6.5 oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1-1 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, divided
  • 12 lasagna noodles or 2 pkgs lasagna sheets
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup parmesan cheeses, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. In a large saucepan cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basic, fennel seeds, italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley and 1/2 tsp salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Tope with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make are the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!