Every year after Christmas I make turkey tetrazzini with the turkey leftovers. It is a favourite with us all but not with Megan. She does not like creamy any thing or mushrooms, but she politely, well almost politely ate her dinner tonight. It is a great way to use up leftover turkey.
3 to 4 cups chopped leftover turkey (you may also use chicken)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 16 oz. pkg. spaghetti, or any shaped pasta you want to use
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 cups chicken or turkey broth ( I always added the leftover turkey gravy)
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2, or milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander. Spread out evenly in a buttered 9" x 13" baking dish.
In a large saucepan melt the 2 tbsp. of butter and saute the onions and mushrooms until soft and they are starting to brown.
Add to chopped turkey in a large bowl, stir together.
In the same saucepan, melt the 1/2 cup of butter. When melted add the flour and nutmeg, whisking until smooth. Gradually whisk in broth, and cook, stirring until mixture has thickened. Add 1/2 & 1/2 and any leftover gravy you may have, a long with the onion, mushroom turkey mixture. Cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon this mixture over the spaghetti in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and a little paprika.
Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 30 minutes or until the spaghetti turkey mixture are thoroughly heated and the surface is golden and bubbly.
Yesterday I woke up to the snow falling heavily. The day warmed up and the snow turned to rain. Rain on snow is not the best thing to happen in the winter. I am already dreading to go out the door, it will be very slippery. It rained most the night, not heavy rain but steady. I woke this morning to pea soup fog, it has lifted a little but it does seem strange at this time of year. Eerie.....
view from my back door
I will have to go down to the basement and see if I can find my cleats that slip onto my boots. I do not have very good balance on the best of days, I really do not want to fall.
Quiet days here.. Mark is back to work... the kids sleep in... I am feeling a deep urge to weave... but it will have to wait a week or so..
I am whipped, totally tired, but very happy! Nice to have my family all home! Thomas arrived home late last night, after a long aggravating journey! Thank goodness he got out of Vancouver when he did...
I tried over and over to get a photo of our tree.. it is a beauty!
Recipe for the first day of winter, Marks favourite, coconut macaroons, very very easy, two versions. He loves coconut, and these cookies!
3 - 200 g pkgs flaked coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
Preheat oven to 325° F. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto well greased baking sheets. Bake on middle rack of oven, 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool slightly. Remove to wire racks, cool completely. Store covered at room temperature. Makes about 4 dozen.
Omit almond extract. Add 1/2 cup of cocoa, proceed as above.
We finally have a wreath up, on the outside of our house!! The Christmas season is slowly seeping in... about time, the days are running out. Now we have to find a tree for the inside tomorrow, seems to be a hard job for us this season for some reason. I should think about baking cookies...
I have never been so ho hum about Christmas. The spirit has not caught me yet.. I still have a few days. I will start my baking soon. I started transforming my messy loom room back into Megan's bedroom today, I am almost there. A quick vacuum and a dusting, clean bedding and we are all set. She will arrive home late tomorrow night. I will tackle Thomas's room next .. seeing he was just home a month ago, his is not as big of a job.
My cookie recipe for today, a square, a simple little square. The recipe is also from Gourmet, I am a Gourmet magazine kind of girl! Gourmet December 1999. The recipe is called "Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch."
For Shortbread Base
1 1/4 cups flour
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
3/4 stick butter
1 tbsp. golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 13" x 9" baking pan.
Make shortbread base:
Sift togetherdry ingredients and blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press evenly into bottom of pan (base will be thin). Bake in the middle of oven until golden and crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Make topping just before shortbread is done:
Melt butter in a small saucepan and whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring, 30 seconds.
Remove shortbread from oven and pour topping over, tilting pan to cover shortbread evenly. Cool in pan on a rack, then cut into small rectangles (8 rows lengthwise and 8 crosswise).
A new rug, not woven at midnight.. maybe I will change that habit of mine. I woke up very early this morning to finish this pale pretty rug. It is a combination of off white, cream and tan, but has an unexpected splash of colour from the patterns on the front of three of the sweaters. I just listed this beauty in my Etsy shop!
My Christmas cookie recipe for today. Megan's other favourite cookie, coffee shortbread. I found this recipe years ago in a magazine at my sisters. I have baked it every year since. The instructions are very abbreviated... I copied it out quickly.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp. instant coffee powder
1 tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
Cream together butter and sugar.
Dissolve coffee powder in water, and beat into creamed mixture. Add almond extract. Combine flours and almonds and stir into creamed mixture.
Roll out to 1/2" thickness, cut with your favourite cookie cutter. I use a small fluted round cutter. Prick cookie top with a fork, you may sprinkle the top with coarse sugar. Bake at 375° F for 25 to 30 minutes.. watch for colour. They should stay pale and not brown. Cool on a rack, and store in a tightly covered container.
My midnight madness struck again.. headed up to bed last night and veered into my loom room, thinking I was going to start tidying up in there for Megan's arrival this weekend. I discovered I had enough bits and pieces of wool cut to start a rug. I suppose in way I did start to tidy.. I have less wool to stash whenever I do start to turn my loom room back into a bedroom.
I listed this gorgeous multi grey, mauve, purple, pale green and gold rug in my shop this afternoon.
up close and personal
boot shot in the front porch, my new winter photo taking space
I am going to list my favourite Christmas cookie recipes one by one, till I tire of it, every other day. When I was baking to sell, this was one of the favourites, most requested. It is quite yummy, who can resist chocolate, hazelnuts and caramel, yum! I found this recipe in Gourmet, December 1999.
Chocolate Caramel Treasures
1 stick, unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
For caramel filling:
10 plain caramels, unwrapped
2 tbsp. heavy cream
For chocolate drizzle:
3 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Beat together butter, sugar, yolk, milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended. Sift in flour, cocoa, and salt and beat on low speed until mixture forms a dough. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Roll scant tbsp. of dough into balls, then coat with egg white, letting excess drip off, and roll in nuts to coat. Arrange balls, as coated, 1 1/2" apart on greased baking sheets and press your thumb into center of balls to flatten, leaving a depression. Bake in batches in middle of oven until puffed slightly but centers are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press centers of cookies again ( we used handle end of a wooden spoon). Transfer to racks to cool.
Make filling while cookies are cooling:
Heat caramels and cream in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and mixture is smooth. Spoon into centers of cookies and cool completely.
Make chocolate drizzle:
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Cool to warm and pour into a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag. Seal bag and snip 1 corner to forma small hole. Drizzle chocolate over cookies and let stand until set, about 30 minutes.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies. Store in a sealed container in a cold place, they may be frozen.
We are having our biggest blizzard of the season, snowing and blowing to beat the band. I am tired of the sound of the wind, it has been howling since last night.. it sounds as though it is trying to huff and puff and blow our house in... it just roars down the fireplace chimney.
I went into my iPhoto and started looking longingly at my summer flowers photos. Funny, winter has not even officially started, well it has weather wise, but I am craving warm sunny days already. It will be a long winter.
These yummy pralines are Thomas and my favourite Christmas treats! Yes you do have to shell a lot of pistachios, but it is well worth the bother. I found this recipe in Gourmet, December 1998 issue.
1 1/2 cups (8 oz) shelled natural pistachios
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350° F. Oil 2 large baking sheets and line with parchment paper.
In a baking pan spread pistachios evenly and toast in the middle of oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. In a bowl toss hot pistachios with butter and granulated sugar and cool completely.
In a 4-quart heavy saucepan cook brown sugars, cream, and salt over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and washing down any sugar crystals clinging to side of pan with a brush dipped in cold water, until sugars are completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 238°F.
Remove pan from heat (leave thermometer in pan) and cool mixture until thermometer registers 220°F, about 5 to 10 minutes. With a wooden spoon stir in vanilla and vigorously stir mixture until creamy and beginning to to lose its sheen. Working quickly, drop mixture by teaspoons onto baking sheets and top each praline with 3 pistachios. (If mixture becomes too stiff to spoon, warm it over low heat, stirring, until just workable.) Let pralines stand at room temperature until firm, about 1 hour. Pralines keep,layered between sheets of parchment paper in an air tight container at cool temperature or chilled, 1 week. (my note: you can also store them in the freezer, and of course they will last longer.)
A few times a day the starlings line the telephone wire at the back of our yard, waiting and hoping that the dogs will have left some food for them. The raven sits atop the old dead birch, waiting and hoping... a winter routine.
This is Megan's favourite Christmas cookie recipe, I guess I better start baking soon. Not sure where this recipe originated from, it was my dads recipe.
1 lb. butter
3 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup icing sugar
Cream butter and add sugar. Add remaining ingredients. (For best results mix with clean hands first) Beat with electric mixer until the consistency of whipped cream. Drop by teaspoonfuls or roll in balls and press with a fork. Bake at 350F. for 12 minutes.
Enjoy. They keep well in a sealed container, in a cool place, for weeks.
With Christmas soon upon us, coming faster than I can believe, it is time for me to dig out some old favourite Christmas cookie recipes. I found this recipe when my kids were very little and I have baked these gingerbread cookies every year since. They are a family favourite and a tradition! I hope you will enjoy them too!
2 cups light brown sugar
1 tbsp. each of cinnamon and ground ginger
1/2 tsp. each of allspice and salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses
4 1/2 cups flour
Measure sugar, spices, cocoa and baking soad into a very large bowl. Add boiling water and stir until sugar is dissolved and spices are evenly distributed. Then, stir in butter until melted. Stir in molasses.
Gradually stir in about 3 1/2 cups flour. Then, stir in remaining flour, about 1/4 cup at a time. When dough becomes too stiff to stir, flour your hands and sprinkle flour over dough. Knead in remaining flour until dough is firm enough for rolling out. Dough can be rolled right away, or wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for several weeks. Or you may freeze it if you wish.
Rolling and Cutting:
Bring dough to room temperature. Preheat oven to 300° F. Cut off 2 cups of dough and place on a lightly floured board. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness.
Use your favourite cookie cutters and cut out dough. Place cookie cutouts on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake gingerbreads in centre of preheated 300° F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until they feel firm to the touch. Remove baking sheet from oven. Leave cookies on sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
When cool, you may decorate them with royal icing. Store cookies in a tightly covered container in a cool place or refrigerate or freeze. Enjoy!
I did it again.. went up to bed last night and got called into my loom room. There is something exciting about weaving late at night, when the house is quiet... well except for the banging and clanging of my loom, the whirring of my sewing machine... . I don't really think Mark is impressed with this new found habit of mine. I finished the rug this morning.
Gorgeous new rug, love the combination of greens, blues and purples in it. I just listed in it my Etsy shop.
I have finally wove a new rug for my shop. Gorgeous earthy tones, a range of colour, from beige through brown to green to dark green. I love it, but then again, I would as I am an earthy girl.
handwoven felted wool rag rug
Last night, I actually turned off the computer, finished cutting sweaters, carried the piles of wool up to my loom room. I set about to cutting the strips of wool, to the measurement I was going to use, and then before I new it, I was warping the loom, then weaving. I really didn't mean to start last night, I had an insanity moment take over.. poor Mark. When I finally went to bed hours later, he said boy you have been busy. I was having such a great time I didn't realize I was making a racket and keeping him up. This morning was his first shift back after a month lay off. He will be tired tonight.
I had an energy about me today, excitement at being back at the loom and working with wool and colour. I knew I was missing it but didn't really realize how much. My elbow is by no means healed but I will sneak rugs in every once in a while. I would like to build some inventory back up in my shop.
I just finished weaving a custom rug, with black and grey felted wool sweaters. I do not accept many custom orders as I do not have the choice of colours. I get what I get. I will accept an order if I have the right colour of sweaters on hand. Of course if a person is willing to wait, I can order bales and hope for the right colours.
Yesterday we got more bad news, Marks Uncle from the Island had a heart attack, making it the third family member in one week. From what we have heard he was also transferred to Sudbury and is in ICU. We are hoping he will be okay, and that it stops now with the three of them.
I just finished a custom rug order. I screwed it up terribly. I took it off the loom and forgot to account for loom shrinkage. It is much shorter than what was asked for, but the very gracious customer bought it anyway!
handwoven felted wool rag rug
I am out of practice but have learned a hard lesson... stressful day for me.
I have been working on a custom rug order for the past week, taking it really slow. I was almost finished weaving it when i got it in my head that it was too narrow. I unwove it, twice, then realized I had done it right the first time. I will weave it again tomorrow and get it off the loom. It is going to be a gorgeous rug, the colours are so wonderful together, beige, taupe browns, burgandy, red and purple... I will post a photo of it tomorrow.