Tag Archives: Food

Recipes: Spiced Cranberry Sauce

I don’t like cranberries. They need enough sugar to choke a horse to make them edible in my view, and the jellied stuff that my mother loved and that my daughter loves… just no. A few years ago, I decided to research recipes for something better, and I came up with my Spiced Cranberry Sauce, which I actually like. I only make it once a year, so clearly, it’s not chocolate or anything, but in my picky view, these are the bomb.

Here's what you need.
Here’s what you need.

1-12 oz bag of cranberries
1/2 cup honey
2-3 T firmly packed brown sugar, or to taste
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg, or more if you like it
3/4 cup water

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Put the cranberries in a colander, and root through them. They sometimes have little stems attached, and there are often rotting ones that need to be picked out. Rinse them well too, just like any fruit or veg.

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Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, lower the temperature to simmer, put a lid on it and simmer away until the berries pop and the sauce thickens. This usually takes between 15-20 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Stir often and don’t let it burn.

My grandma's pressed glass bowl.
My grandma’s pressed glass bowl.

Once it cools, pick the cloves out, but you can leave the cinnamon sticks in there for a little garnish. I like to put it in a crystal bowl, or a pretty glass one, like this oldie that belonged to my grandma, because the color is so beautiful. Stick a spoon in it and you’re done!

Top view when it was still pretty warm.  It'll thicken up more as it cools.
Top view when it was still pretty warm. It’ll thicken up more as it cools.

In case you are wondering about the honey I use, here’s a picture of it.

We get it in Gatlinburg.
We get it in Gatlinburg.

And a short explanation of why it’s so dark.

I haven't tried the honey drink recipe on here, but it sounds good.
I haven’t tried the honey drink recipe on here, but it sounds good.

So there’s my recipe. It’s really simple, and it’s good. I hope you give it a try.
I hope all of you out there have a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. If Uncle Joe gets drunk, or Aunt Sally is crazy, don’t let it get under your skin. One of these days they’ll all be gone and only when it’s too late, will you find the humor and family lore in it all. Here’s to full hearts and full bellies. Be good and careful and kind to one another. ūüôā

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The Obession With Food Continues… My Yummy Yummy Chili Recipe

Alrighty then, last time, I was kinda complaining (well ok, not kinda, I just was) about the never-ending food demands of my family.¬† I briefly mentioned that I liked easy recipes like chili, so that got me thinking that I should MAKE some of my chili, which I did and while making it, I decided to take some pictures of it and share the recipe.¬† I’m no Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray, but my food is pretty good and made with easily available stuff and my kids eat it.¬† So, please try my chili and I hope you enjoy my accompanying comments and extra directions.

1 Can Dark Red Kidney Beans – The brand is unimportant

2 14/15 oz cans tomato sauce or tomatoes

1 1/2 pound ground beef

1 small onion finely chopped

1/2 green pepper finely chopped

2 cloves crushed garlic

1-3 Tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

First of all, if you like turkey chili, you can make this recipe with turkey, I’ve done it, it’s pretty good.¬† I’ve also made it with a combination of turkey and beef and that was better.¬† All beef is best.¬† Don’t buy cheap beef (anything labeled ground meat should be suspect, if you go with chuck, drain it after you¬†brown it). ¬†You can also make it with soy if you are a veg.¬† The flavor is just fine, but as has been previously established, we have texture issues in this house, so the rubbery balls of soy didn’t go over too well, but if you like it go for it, again, the flavor is fine.

Finely chop the onion and green pepper.¬† Don’t whine and tell me you don’t like green pepper.¬† If you chop them fine, you won’t even know¬†they are in there.¬† The undertone of their flavor is crucial to the success of the dish, so man up and put them in there.¬† My kids hate GP and they have no idea that this chili has any in it.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet with the green peppers and onions.¬† If you or the kids are super hungry, you can put a little of this well cooked mixture on a piece of folded bread and have a little snack while you wait for dinner.¬† It’s super good and my mom used to do it for me.¬† While the meat and veg are browning, drain your beans.¬† The toots are in the liquid.¬† It is gross and stinky and will make you stinky if you don’t drain them.

If the grease in your meat doesn’t cook away, drain the mixture and put it in a big pot.¬† Add everything else.¬† One comment on the tomatoes.¬† Again, due to dislike of slimy things, we don’t care for canned tomatoes.¬† They result in yucky lumps of stringy tomato gooze in the final product and we don’t like that, so I use tomato sauce.¬† Either one will work.¬† Also, if you don’t have actual cloves of garlic, use garlic powder or something like Tastefully Simple’s Garlic Garlic.¬† I usually put in about a tablespoon and then if I want more in it, I can add it.¬† Just remember, once it’s in there, you can’t get it out,¬† but you can always add more.¬† With regard to chili powder.¬† You need at least one tablespoon to make it taste like chili.¬† I usually use two and it isn’t too spicy at that level.¬† Three, and the kids don’t like it.

Stir it all together, bring it to a bubble, turn the temp to low, put a lid on it and let it meld together for 45 minutes or so.¬† You need to check it every so often and stir it so it doesn’t stick or anything.¬† If you think it’s too thick, add some water.¬† I usually fill up one of the tomato sauce cans and dump it in before I put the lid on because it WILL thicken again as it cooks.

If you have picky children, who would eat chili, but not vegetables, one of my favorite additions to this pot is to finely grate a large carrot and put it in with all the other ingredients.  If you grate it on the little holes on the grater, they cook down so much, they are not noticeable and they do not change the flavor.

When it’s done, serve it with shredded, sharp cheddar cheese and crackers.¬† It is delicious, easy and comforting.¬† This recipe doubles or triples well if you are feeding a crowd.Enjoy and be kind to one another ūüôā

What Do You MEAN You’re Hungry Again?

As has been previously established, I have two children and a husband.¬† We go through a lot of food.¬† The husband doesn’t eat as much as the kids, so we’ll focus on the knee-biters.

They aren’t really knee-biters¬†anymore I guess, they are 15 and 10.¬† A girl and a boy and they are always hungry.¬† They are not uncared for, so I really don’t get where the endlessly empty bellies come from.¬† They get a decent if quick breakfast, they are either given money for lunch or a lunch is packed for them.¬† They have an after school snack and dinner and sometimes an evening snack.¬†¬† Yet in spite of this well-fedness, the most common phrase in my house is “do you know what we are having for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack?”¬† It is also one of the most dreaded phrases in my house because although I am a good cook, and every so often I actually feel like doing it, I generally¬†DON’T feel like it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love food.¬† All kinds of food.¬† Healthy, unhealthy, I can find a place for all of it; but I’m tired a lot.¬† It doesn’t seem to matter how much sleep I get, I’m tired.¬† I used to think it was because I had some creepy undiagnosed disease, but then one day I sat down and THOUGHT about said day and I realized that I am tired because I am busy.¬† I only work outside the home on a part-time basis because I am a substitute teacher, so if nobody is sick or in need of a mental health day, or if my husband is out-of-town, I don’t work.¬†¬† You’d think that would make me less tired, but it doesn’t, because on those days “off,” I do about four thousand pounds of laundry, vacuum, run kids everywhere, do bills, you get the picture, and make food.

The minute they walk in the door after school, they look at me and ask what we are having for dinner.¬† For some reason, I get a flash of irritation that is immediate, I make a big heavy sigh/grunt and snap, “OMG, (insert kid’s name here)¬† I don’t know, it’s only three o’clock!!¬† You just walked in the door, I just walked in the door!!¬† GIVE ME A FEW MINUTES!!”¬† At this point, I actually either stomp off to some other part of the house, or I continue to mumble and grumble under my breath as I slam cabinet doors trying to find food.¬† It’s not that we don’t HAVE food, we have plenty, we just don’t have anything that can magically prepare itself.¬† You can only subject your family to so many “eat whatever you want nights” before somebody comes down with rickets or scurvy from eating crappily unbalanced meals.¬† Now if we were pirates, that might be just fine, but the school authorities would probably frown and call child services if my previously healthy children got rickety or jaundiced.¬† So I have to find them some vittles.

One problem that we have is that none of us like leftovers.¬† There are a few things we’ll eat leftover, like my cheesy¬†tuna noodle casserole, but most leftovers acquire¬†interesting textures and smells all most right away and we just end up throwing them away, so I try to make just enough food so there ARE no leftovers.¬† We are not slimy texture fans around here, so I can’t have leftover night, which would probably be a nice thing to do.

Another problem that we have is that we are not rich enough to eat out every night.¬† Now THAT would be nice.¬† But alas, we usually only go out one night a week, Wednesday, to kid’s night at Skyline Chili, even though neither of my kids can eat free anymore, it’s a thing we started years ago and we keep doing it.¬† So that night is my favorite as I have to do NOTHING.

My favorite kind of dinners are homemade chili and tacos and breakfast because they are either easy, and/or you put them on early and let them simmer and then when it’s time to eat, you grate a little cheese, and fill up a bowl.¬† You can also put all kinds of things in chili like finely grated carrots so it really IS a complete meal in a bowl.¬† If you are a weirdo, you can make it out of soy chunks.¬† Tried that once.¬† Did I mention we have texture issues??¬† Yuck.

In conclusion, I have to¬†say, that once my kids are grown and living in their own homes, I will live on things like peanut butter spread on apples, scrambled eggs and toast, mac and cheese and various varieties of veggie/dip trays from Kroger.¬† When I need meat, I’ll go to Longhorn and Wednesday night will forever be Skyline night.¬† For all you health food folk out there, I’ll be taking vitamins and eating lots of raw veg, so I won’t die.¬† All that money NOT spent on food can then be re-directed to books and art supplies where it belongs.

Be kind to one another ūüôā