Monday, April 17, 2023

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake


How sad that months have gone by since I posted here!  This weekend I tried a new recipe and thought it might be a fun possibility for Christmas breakfast or brunch, although I served it as a dessert.   So I thought I would put that recipe here!  It might also make a nice kitchen gift.

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake is by Sue Moran at The View from Great Island.  I have learned that I can't go wrong with one of Sue's recipes.  

Blueberries were on sale this week and I also needed to find a dessert recipe to serve to guests at Sunday lunch.  I wanted to find something simple and good, not super fancy or a lot of work.  I turned to The View from Great Island as I often do.  The recipe index and search feature is so easy to use.

I had made Sue's cranberry breakfast cake previously and thought the blueberry lemon one sounded yummy.  I had bought a couple of lemons earlier in the week, so I even had a lemon in the house.  

The cake was easy to put together and smelled scrumptious while it baked.  Instead of sprinkling coarse or sparkling sugar over it, I reserved some of the lemon sugar from the recipe (which I had done without a food processor) to sprinkle on top.  Just a couple tablespoons.  It looked pretty when it came out of the oven and added a nice crunch to the top.

Since I was serving this as dessert, I wanted either vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream, to serve with it.  We are trying to watch our carbs, so I chose whipped cream.  I sweetened it with only 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.  That was plenty sweet enough and it was so good with the cake.  Our guests were impressed with homemade whipped cream -- and it really did turn a simple cake into a wonderful dessert.

This would make a yummy breakfast item any time of year.  Hope you enjoy the cake if you try the recipe!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The actual Christmas candy list


 Yes, I mentioned some candy in my post about kitchen gifts, but not all that we made.  So, here goes with a list of candy we actually prepared for Christmas 2022.

Heavenly Delight is always at the top of our candy list.  Originally known as Double Decker Fudge , this is a layered chocolate-peanut butter fudge that is a huge favorite in our family.  It is in the center of the tray below.

Another big favorite with certain people  (and so it must go on our candy list every year) is Special Holiday Fudge, which is chocolate filled with nuts and raisins.  It tastes somewhat like an old-fashioned Chunky bar.   


Arlene's Easy Fudge is another favorite of ours.  I don't think I have a photo of it, but it's just a good, incredibly easy fudge that you make by just melting together a few ingredients.  It's possible that's what Sam is preparing in the photo below.

The  Chocolate-Dipped Orange Slices

have become a must for our family and friends.  I like to add them to a cookie tray for interest and color, but also because they are so delicious and festive tasting.

Of course we also did some candy making with four local grandkids.  You see my blog post and my note (miraculously located!) from 2021.

The Easy Salted Caramel Fudge from Something Swanky is just one step beyond Arlene's fudge, as it's the same simple type of recipe with baking chips and sweetened condensed milk.

The peppermint-drizzled oreos were simply purchased oreo-type cookies drizzled with white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed peppermints.

We didn't get to the other varieties of candy on my tentative list, but hope springs eternal for next year.  I used to make peanut butter balls nearly every Christmas.

And that was our Christmas candy making for this year ... although Mr. T continues to produce batches of Heavenly Delight as we proceed through the winter months!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The actual Christmas kitchen gift list


So I really need to edge my way back into the Christmas kitchen and talk about kitchen gifts.  I think 2022 may have been one of those rare years when we gave every one of the kitchen gifts that were on our tentative list.  This list doesn't include candy, but it does include a few specific cookies that we gift to certain people every year.  

Sacher Torte Cookies go to one lady on our list; Eggnog Logs go to two others.  Chocolate Mint Crisps go to a male friend and also to a teenage boy.  You can do a search for any of these cookie recipes here on the blog, and they may even be in my post about what we do with all these cookies.

Christmas Granola is simply my old favorite Homemade Granola with dried cranberries and shelled pistachios stirred in at the end.  My son-in-law and several others get jars or canisters of it.  It always seems to go over well and makes a nice gift for a family.

My walking partner gets her very own loaf (or more than one, if the loaves are mini size) of Apricot Cake.  It's sort of a cross between a bread and a fruitcake.

Both Eggnog Logs and little Apricot Cakes are in this photo.

I enjoy wrapping the little loaves up in a pretty way for kitchen gifts:

This year I tried a new recipe for Caramel Cinnamon Chex Mix to use as a kitchen gift instead of the Cinnamon Pretzels I've made for years.  I was very pleased with how it turned out, and will be making it again next Christmas and for the foreseeable future.

And that's the kitchen gift report for 2022!

Monday, February 13, 2023

A little bit of new decor ... and something old


 Just a quick post to share a couple of my new-for-2022 Christmas decor items.  There is a fun story about that sweet metal sign above.  

One afternoon before Christmas, I spent a few hours at my daughter Carrie's home, crafting with her and her girls.  This is something we desperately wanted to find time for, and we managed to shoehorn it in.  I'm sure I wrote about it at the time, either here or on my Kitchen Table blog.  One of the things we did was to make the lovely yarn Christmas tree garlands below.

As I looked admiringly at Carrie's Christmas decor, I spied the adorable, very vintage-style metal sign hanging on a wall.  I immediately asked Carrie (who was out of sight in the kitchen) where she had found such a treasure.  "Wal-Mart!" she snickered, coming around the corner with a gray plastic bag in her hand.  "I knew you would love it, so I got one for you, too!"

What a wonderful early Christmas gift!  She is so incredibly thoughtful.  The photos are of the metal sign on my own wall.  I simply adore this sign.  It speaks to my heart and says so much of what I feel about my Christmas memories.  And the sign itself is a lovely memory of our afternoon together.

Another new sign has a much more prosaic source -- Dollar Tree.  This is in our front hallway hanging among all the Christmas cards.  Through the doorway you can glimpse our living room and photo wall.


Below you see the cropped photo giving a much closer look at the sweetness of this sign.  I really like that except for the "Christmas Trees" part, this is really more of a winter sign.  You can't tell, but in spite of its shabby look it has many touches of glitter.

And just one more thing to show you.  This is not new, but it's my first time displaying it: a vintage mint tin found at my childhood home.


I put this out for February with a nod to red Valentine sweetness, even though it isn't a Valentine item.  I tucked it in a corner of my hutch with non-vintage jadeite style sugar and creamer and a sparkly card from cousins, with a wintry scene.  If you can't read it (I know the photo is a bit blurry), the writing on the tin says "Snow Drop Mints."

Decorating for Christmas, then winter, just makes my heart glad.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

The actual 2022 Christmas cookie list

 January was certainly busy!  I didn't find a minute to get in here as I usually do to report on the actual holiday output of the Christmas kitchen.

At the top of the post, you see our tentative Christmas cookie list.  Of these my hubby baked:

Lemon Shortbread Thumbprints

Secret Spice Cookies

Chocolate Mint Crisps

Whipped Shortbread

Chocolate Spritz

Almond Raspberry Thumbprints

Eggnog Logs

Christmas Tree Spritz

Sacher Torte Cookies

Gingerbread Men

He made multiple batches of most of these.  He also baked several varieties of cookies not on the list:

Macaroon Kisses

Lemon Spritz

Peanut Blossoms

And I made a few cookie varieties  myself:

Chocolate No-Bakes

Chocolate Nutters

Chocolate Orange Cookies

Mint Chocolate Spritz Trees

(Hmmm ... I am sensing a theme in the cookies I chose to bake. 🤔)

And that's a wrap on this year's cookie baking.  I have no idea on total numbers, and no wish to know just how many pounds of butter were used. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

"What do the two of you do with all those cookies?"


Inquiring minds seem to ask this question every year.  Yes, that is a wooden glider on our screened front porch, stacked with many cookie containers and a couple of fudge tins!  We live where it gets very cold in December, so this is a workable way of storing cookies for the season.

My hubby started working on Christmas baking in November.  By November 25, he had already made three batches of Heavenly Delight fudge, along with double batches of Secret Spice Cookies, Chocolate Spritz, and Chocolate Mint Crisps, and a large batch of Whipped Shortbread.  By Christmas he had made Lemon Shortbread Thumbprints, Macaroon Kisses, Peanut Blossoms, Lemon Spritz, Christmas Tree Spritz, Eggnog Logs, Sacher Torte Cookies, and Gingerbread Men.  I had made Chocolate Nutters, Christmas No-Bakes, Chocolate Orange Cookies, and possibly another kind.  I forget.  Most of his varieties were double batches.  There were several kinds I had hoped to make that there just wasn't time for.

Hence the question: What do the two of you do with all those cookies?

Well, we do share a lot of them with other people.  Some wing their way to family in Nevada.  Several people on our list get a special, personal plate of their very favorite cookies.    Like the plate below of lemon shortbread thumbprints.

We give cookie plates to several of our neighbors.  (The plates below are examples from previous years.)  If we hear that a friend or family member is stopping by, we prepare a cookie plate for them to take home.  And Mr. T has been taking a cookie tray whenever he goes to his volunteer job at The Wilds of New England.  I took a plate to the staff at my dentist's office.

We take a cookie and fudge tray to Christmas dinner, where it is often all the dessert that's needed.  Below you see a partially depleted tray.
And below you see how it might have looked before anyone had dessert.  This was last year.  Just have to brag on Julia, who made those amazing caramel thumbprints, which taste even better than they look.

And she made them again this year, but this photo is from 2021.

We also served a cookie tray when our two older granddaughters came on Tuesday for their Christmas with us.  Christmas No-Bakes are one of their favorites.  Below is an older version.  This year's were simply drizzled with white chocolate, but I didn't get a picture.  Truth to tell, I'd forgotten about the marshmallow variation.

And of course, when we are invited to a Christmas party or there's an event at church or elsewhere, a cookie and fudge tray comes along with us.  There have been several such events this year.  Below you see a cookie tray and then a cookie and fudge plate, both ready to head out the door for Mr. T's work Christmas party.

And that is what the two of us do with all those cookies!

Friday, December 30, 2022

A festive breakfast

  Prior to our candy making and craft adventures,   these four of our grands -- three teens and an 8-year-old -- came to our house for breakfast.  (The photo is from the fall.)  Astute readers will notice a resemblance (but not an exact one) to last year's menu.

I kept breakfast simple but hearty with breakfast sliders and a Hash Brown Casserole.  The hash brown casserole is always a big favorite with this crowd.  The little one wasn't sure ... but she tried a serving and came back for more!

The sliders were from Jamie at My Baking Addiction.  I had made these for our friends Syd and Cyndy back in November and we all loved them, including some of these very same teens who snacked on the leftovers.  I made homemade sausage patties instead of using purchased sausage.  I used sliced cheddar for the cheese component.

Photo by Jamie at My Baking Addiction

I imagine some readers might like to have the homemade sausage recipe.  I have posted it here before, but it's been a few years.  So here it is:


1/4 cup water
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
2 lb. ground pork

In a bowl, stir together water and seasonings. Add pork and mix well. Shape meat mixture into eight 4” patties (or a larger amount of smaller ones). In a skillet over medium heat, cook patties for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink in the center.

This is such a yummy recipe for homemade sausage! I often cut the amounts in half to make a smaller batch. This sausage is very lean and not at all greasy.  For these sliders, I used about 1 1/4 pounds of ground pork, which is what I had, and used half the amount of seasonings specified here.

 Along with the sliders and hash brown casserole, I also served some Cinnamon Fried Apples.  This is a recipe which my Nevada daughter sent me.  It tastes similar to, maybe better than, the Cracker Barrel fried apples.

As before,  every scrap was eaten.  I just made a couple of changes to the recipe as written: rather than cut the apples in bite size pieces, I sliced them; and I used only 2/3 the amount of cinnamon called for.  I used three Ginger Gold apples and 2 Cortlands, all a little on the soft side.  I didn't peel them.  A good use for apples that are on their way out.

That was our breakfast!  It fueled us up for a fun and busy day.