Cranberry Sauce

Since Thanksgiving is just days away, I thought I would re-post my Cranberry Sauce recipe. It is by far the best I have ever made!!
But this year, I think I might change it up and use pomegranate juice instead of the apple cider.
I love using the leftover sauce over my turkey sandwiches too!!
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Kartwheels in the Kitchen

According to some conversations I’ve heard, you are either a fan of homemade cranberry sauce or canned.  And this is true as there have been many members of my family that will only eat one or the other.  For me, it has to be homemade.  My Mammaw taught me how to make her recipe and for years that’s exactly how I made it.  Until about the last 7 years.  I started to cook the berries on the stove and each time I made it I would vary the ingredients.

But this is by far my favorite!

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1 bag of Cranberries

1 cup Apple Cider (or water)

1-1/4 cup Sugar

Pinch each of Nutmeg and Ground Cloves

1/8 tsp Cinnamon

1 T Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp Vanilla

Zest from an orange, and the juice

Wash, drain and pick through the cranberries.  Place the berries in saucepan and add the cider (or water) and cook…

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Easy Homemade Crusty Bread

I don’t know about you, but not only do I love freshly baked bread, but I also love the way my house smells when it’s baking!

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Even better is a slice of the bread with a big glob of butter melting over it!!  And the yummy hard crust is heaven!

This recipe is so easy, quick to put together, and so delicious, you have to try it 🙂

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I used bread flour, I haven’t tried it with regular flour but I am sure it would work as so many recipes out there call for just regular flour.  Here’s what I did:

1 and 1/2 cups very warm water

1 tablespoon yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups bread flour

I put the warm water in a very large bowl and add the yeast.  I left that sit for about 5 minutes and then added the salt.  I used my wooden spoon to gently swirl it around to make sure it was mixed.  Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow the dough to rise, it will double in size!!

Then I added the flour, stirring with the same wooden spoon.  The dough will be wet and sticky!  If you need to add a little water or flour to get the right wet sticky dough, go ahead just do a very small amount at a time.  Don’t worry about it too much.   Mine was too wet so I added some flour then I thought it was too dry so I added water….  It still baked up well!

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Cover with plastic wrap, put in a warm part of your counter and forget about it for a couple of hours.  I went to the market, when I returned home the dough was doing its thing so I just left it there while I made my soup.

All in all, it probably was on my counter for about 3-4 hours.

When you are ready to bake your bread, remove the plastic wrap and get your hands in there!  You might want to make them wet or coat them with flour, be prepared….it is sticky dough.  Divide the dough into 2 rounds.  You can bake them both if you want or put one in the fridge for laer in the week.  The dough should last about a week in a container that is tightly sealed.

On a piece of parchment paper place one of the dough balls, work it into a round and keeping any seams or folds on the bottom.  Let that rest for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and put a pizza stone in the oven to heat up.  Set the timer for another 20 minutes.

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After the bread has rested for a total of 40 minutes, put about 3 deep slices in the dough.  I sprinkled the top with sea salt and a little ground thyme, you do not need to do this step.  Carefully, because the oven is screaming hot,  place the bread still on the parchment paper on top of the pizza stone.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the loaf is a light toasty color, remove from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

I have heard that an upside down cookie sheet works in place of the pizza or baking stone, I’ve never tried that.   I love my stone. it’s a good investment.

I have also placed a pie pan full of water in the oven while it is preheating and while the bread is baking, I did not notice a difference.

Hope you love this crusty bread as much as I do!

Live well!

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

I am notorious for over baking my granola!  I always think I have time to go throw some laundry in the washer or check my email.   I can promise you… if you can focus and stay with the oven for about 20-30 minutes, the end result of this Pumpkin Spice Granola is worth the time spent hovering over a toasty oven.

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Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  I line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl put in 2-1/4 cups oats, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg and a good pinch of ground cloves.  Stir it around a little to mix the spices into the oats.  Then add 1 cup slivered almonds or your favorite nuts, and 1 cup of raisins, dried cherries, or whatever dried fruit you want!  Oh, and don’t forget to stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of pumpkin seeds!!  Stir around to combine.

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In a measuring cup pour in 1/2 cup of good maple syrup, 2 T agave syrup or honey, and about 3 T of pumpkin puree.  I’m sure pumpkin pie filling would work too but you might have to adjust the spices.  Use a fork and stir to blend.

Then pour the syrup mixture over the oats.  You can stir with a spoon or do what I do….use your hands!  Divide the granola between the two cookie sheets.

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Now, here’s the time consuming part.  I put the cookie sheets in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes and I stay put!  After the first 10 minutes, pull the sheets out and gently stir the granola, pop it back in and set the timer for another 10 minutes.  Again pull the sheets out and stir the granola.  Put the sheets back in the oven and do the same thing now at 5 minutes, two more times but you can take the granola out of the oven as soon as it has toasted nicely but it NOT over toasted and crunchy!

Do no over bake!!!  Carefully remove the parchment paper with the granola from the cookie sheets and place on your counter to cool. When completely cooled, place in a container that seals tightly.

This recipe makes about 6 cups of granola.

Here’s the recipe again:

2-1/4 cups oats

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

good pinch of ground cloves

1 cup slivered almonds or your favorite nuts

1 cup dried fruit, cherries, raisins, your favorite….

1/2 to 1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup good maple syrup

2 T agave syrup or honey

3 T pumpkin puree

Bake at 325 degrees on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Set timer for 5 to 10 minute intervals, stir and bake until toasted.  Cool and store in a tightly sealed container.

Enjoy!

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Luscious Creamy Hot Chocolate

Considering the very frigid cold snap that has most of the US in a state of shivering, tonight I thought I would re-post this hot chocolate recipe because it would be a good night to give this recipe a try!!

I have never liked those packets of hot cocoa that you just add water!  YUK! For me, my choice was always just simply Hershey’s Coco powder, sugar and milk.  I have stepped it up a bit!

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It’s thick, rich, creamy, just completely sinful!

For two servings you will need:

2 squares of bittersweet chocolate or semi-sweet if that’s what you have

1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk

1 T cocoa powder

1 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp vanilla

2 cups of milk

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In a small bowl, add the 2 squares of chocolate, the cocoa powder and the sweetened condensed milk.  Place in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Stir to make sure the chocolate has melted and blended together, if you need to put it back in the microwave, only do so for about 5-8 seconds.  You don’t want to over heat this mixture.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat.  Do not let the milk over heat or boil.  When the milk is warm, add the chocolate mixture and the sugar , stir for about a minute to blend together, I used a small whisk~that works wonderfully!  Immediately turn off the heat and move the pan from the hot burner.  Add the vanilla, give it a quick stir and serve immediately.

You can top with whipped cream or marshmallows and a drizzle of chocolate sauce!

You will want to cuddle up with whomever you share this with, its just that romantically good!!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I am going to share a recipe from a friend at work.  She baked these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  They were so tasty that I could not control myself AT ALL!!!

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I thought my usual one cookie would suffice, it did not!  I am pretty sure I had at least three!!

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Here is Rhonda’s recipe:

1 cup butter flavored Crisco

1 cup white granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

15 oz can of pumpkin puree

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream the sugars and Crisco until fluffy, add the eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla and pumpkin.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour,baking soda, salt and spices.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the moist ingredients, blending as you go.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoon sized balls onto a cookie sheet sprayed with a non-stick spray.  Bake at 350 degrees 15-20 minutes.

You need to give these a try, you will NOT be disappointed!

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