Nov 012009

Kitchen Fun With Carol

Carol2009cropHello everyone! It is amazing to me how fast time flies by. My twin boys started college this fall. Josh is studying Mechanical Engineering at Marion Technical College and Steven is studying Industrial and Graphic Design at The Ohio State University. We are so proud of them!

As Nanci mentioned in her newsletter, we have been very busy working on the new website, cooking like crazy testing new recipes, and taking lots of pictures for the new manual. Some days it felt like I was living the movie Julie and Julia! (I can relate to the scene where she sat on the kitchen floor and cried. I tried some recipes four or five times before they were just right.) We are in the final stages of putting the recipes together and I think you will enjoy them! I know that we have already added some new favorites to our family’s monthly menu.

Family Traditions
This time of the year is so special to me. It is wonderful to spend time with friends and family. There are so many special memories that revolve around food. For example, I love the potluck that our small group always has before the holidays. Sometimes we have a “theme dinner” and have everyone bring a dish that goes with the theme. You never know what you are going to get but it so fun sharing. We have also done a progressive dinner where each person hosts a certain course of the meal. We travel house to house to sample each other’s cooking. Some other traditions include making loaves of banana bread and spiced nuts for my Dad at Christmas, my sister-in-law and I competing for bragging rights over who makes the best apple pie, and my mom always making a batch of Cherry Noels just for me every year. My kids always make cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning. I also enjoy spending a day with my girlfriends or my kids making all kinds of different cookies. In the past, my kids have invited their friends over to the house to make iced sugar cookies together. I make the dough and they take it from there. It is such a fun activity and even teenagers enjoy decorating sugar cookies. There are so many good memories.

Chocolate Pecan Pumpkin Bread

Chocolate Pecan Pumpkin Bread

Every family has their favorite recipes that you just can’t do without for the holidays. We sat around the table at my mom’s house and discussed what everyone was bringing to the meal. It was a fun conversation! It was great to hear what recipes everyone “had” to have to make it Thanksgiving. This year I am in charge of breads and the veggie platter with Grandma’s recipe for the dip. I am thinking about bringing Crescent Rolls and Hot Rolls. (I might try making wheat instead of white this year.) They are super easy to make. I am also bringing some Chocolate Pecan Pumpkin Bread (one of the recipes from the new manual) and some Pumpkin Butter. The recipe for the Pumpkin Butter is below.

We always try to plan a craft project for the kids. One of my favorite places for ideas is Family Fun magazine’s web site, Take a look at their Thanksgiving craft page, The tabletop luminaries look great! This would be such a great idea for Christmas as well. Just replace the turkey with Christmas trees, ornaments, or snowflakes.

Bonus Recipes From Carol

AppleCrumblePie_015Apple Crumble Pie

This is one of my all time favorite pies. I like how it forms the crumbles form a crisp topping and the spice mix is great! Here are three of my secrets that I have learned making this pie:

  • Each apple variety is good for different things so pick a variety good for what you are making. I used Gala apples to make my pie. They are good for both baking and freezing.
  • After you pour the apple mixture into the crust, press it firmly down into the crust. You want the apple mixture to be as compact as possible.
  • Also, make sure you limit the amount of liquid used in the fruit mixture. This helps the pie setup properly during baking.

Good luck baking the perfect Apple Crumble Pie!

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter
I always make apple butter in the fall. This year I tried pumpkin butter. It is a great change of pace for the fall. This recipe is especially good on toast and on muffins. It is also a quick and easy hostess gift if you are visiting someone else this holiday. One batch will make three pint size gift jars. Look for the decorative pint jars at your local store.
FYI – I just read an article in our local newspaper this morning about a pumpkin shortage. They are reporting that there will not be much pumpkin availability after November. So if you want to make your favorite pumpkin recipes throughout the winter you need to stock up on canned pumpkin now!


Closing Comments From Carol

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you enjoy the recipes and this holiday season. Enjoy this time with your family and friends. I am looking for your favorite holiday recipes.

You can post your recipes on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page or click here to send me an email. Or do you have any other topics that you would like me to cover? Click here to send me an email. I enjoy hearing from you!

Have fun in your kitchen!


Carol Santee

Carol is the co-author of the Big Book of Freezer Cooking and the author of 30 Day Gourmet’s Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites, Freezer Lunches To Go and Healthy Freezer Cooking eBooks. She is a computer information specialist and works for a computer software company.

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