Perfect Pumpkin Pudding

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This is an adaptation of a recipe which uses brown sugar and half and half that I found here: Pumpkin Pudding

Here is my take on this recipe. You won’t miss the sugar and fat!

Perfect Pumpkin Pudding

“My pie without the crust!”

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 Amber Agave
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 3/4 cups Vanilla Almond Milk

Preparation:

Brush D’Avolio EVOO into a 1 1/2-quart casserole. It also works well in a pie plate. Heat oven to 350°. If you double the recipe, bake longer and check with a knife.In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk or beat on low speed until blended. Pour into the prepared casserole and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If desired, serve with sweetened whipped cream and cinnamon sugar for sprinkling.Serve with whipped cream.

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Sweet Potato Mushroom Roast

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You won’t miss the marshmallows in this one!

Sweet Potato Mushroom Roast

3 Sweet Potatoes  (about 2-2.25 pounds)

4-6 Ounces Mushrooms, coarsely chopped (I used “Gourmet Blend” baby bella, shitake and oyster)

1/2 medium Onion, chopped

D’Avolio Cilantro and Roasted Onion EVOO

1/2 Amber Agave

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush olive oil into a 3 quart oven safe roasting pan. If the oven is hotter reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Peel potatoes and cut into 1’1 1/2″ chunks. Boil for about 5 minutes. Drain.

In heavy skillet heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO and saute onion for about 5-7 minutes until caramelized. Add mushrooms and toss with onions. Cook for about a minute and remove from heat. Add drained potatoes and toss. Add agave and toss.

Evenly place them into the prepared pan and roast for about 30 minutes until they are soft.

Viva Saint Guiseppe!

When my grandparents talked about the old country they were talking about Italy. My mother’s family is from Bari and Calabria and my father’s family is from Sicily. So, I describe my Italian heritage as heal, toe and football if you look at the map.

My Sicilian grandmother used to do a St. Joseph’s Table every year and I have many fond memories of not only the food but the stories of holidays past. You can read more about our tradition at here.

The following recipe is actually my favorite, using a dressing of vinegar and sugar for a sweet and savory pea salad. Anyone who knows me knows I rarely use canned anything. In this case, it is the perfect and easy way to make this St. Joseph favorite.

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Great Gramma’s Bitter Sweet Peas

(I cut this in half and it still is hard to fit into my large cast iron skillet)

6 Large Cans Peas (drained)
1 Large Bunch Celery (diced)
1 Pound Italian Green Olives (pitted and chopped)
1 Large Can Artichokes (cut up)
1 Tablespoon Salt

Dice and cook celery until slightly softened. Drain and cool. Saute onions, add celery, and olives. Take off stove (recipe says to take off the fire but I decided to change that) and add peas and artichokes. Mix lightly with fingers.

¾ Cup White Vinegar
½ Cup Sugar
Warm the vinegar gently in a sauce pan to melt sugar. Remove from heat and add to pea mixture. Toss lightly and refrigerate.

I just made half the recipe and it barely fit into my large cast iron skillet.

 

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All My Old Stuff…

20130303-185140.jpgA few weeks ago I baked a cake. I looked at these pans and I thought, “how did I get old enough to have pans older than my mothers?” Then I really started to think, when I started baking I was about 12 years old. By then my mother had been married for 21 years and, of course, 21 year old anything to a 12 year old is really old.

YIKES! My pans are 32 years old. How did this happen?

Remember juice glasses?

20130303-184420.jpgThey were proper serving size glasses for a 6-8 ounce serving of orange juice. We used them every morning for our perfectly measured portion of juice. Everything is ginormous now, isn’t it?

What we used to use as dinner plates when we were kids are now called lunch plates. Cereal bowls when we were kids are now called snack size. But I have news for you, friends. The proper serving size has not changed. We just eat 3-4 servings at a time now because, hey, they call them cereal bowls.

I was at my mom’s recently when she was mixing waffles for the kids and had these bowls out on the cupboard.

20130303-184152.jpgI even recognized the sound they made when she was stacking them. Just the sound of the bowls brought me back. They were old when I was a kid but they are actually still beautiful today.

Here are my bowls. They were so modern, with their handle and pour rims when I got married back in the day. But looking at them now, heck, they are just old, like I thought my mom’s stuff was years ago.

20130303-185254.jpgPerspective is an amazing thing.

Wedding season is upon us and bridal showers are frequent. I love to sit up front and watch the bride open all her new things. I really laughed a few weeks when one of my mature woman friends did her own brand of bridal shower stand-up.

“Oh look, matching dish towels. I still have matching dish towels…yeah, they all have faded grey stains on them!”

“Isn’t that great? She is starting with a full set of flatware. She should put GPS on her teaspoons. What happens to all of my teaspoons?”

“Oh my God! Someone gave her red towels. I just cannot think about that one.”

If youth is wasted on the young, I say bridal showers are wasted on the engaged. It’s too bad that by the time all of our teaspoons disappear we cannot grab one of those scanning guns at Bed Bath and Beyond, invite everyone’s mothers and throw ourselves a shower.

Have a yummy day!

Sunday Dinner Musings

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Sunday dinner means a lot to me. It’s not just my memories of dinners when I was a kid but its the memories I know I am making for my family today that motivate me to make a pot of sauce on a Sunday. Last year I posted “Musings While Making Sauce”

My son was home for the weekend and along with a Sabres game with his dad we gathered family and friends for a dish of macaroni.

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Sunday dinner is the extra effort meal. Sunday dinner does not need to be sauce and macaroni but in the middle of the winter it was a natural choice. I think that any dish that takes a few more minutes and you would not have the time nor the effort left in the tank after a long work day to prepare is a worthy Sunday dinner meal.

My mother often used to make a rib roast or roasted chickens on the oven rotisserie.

Sunday dinner smells good. I love how the house smells during these cooking sessions and sometimes for days after. If you make something with bacon it’s a gift that keeps on giving for days to come.

Sunday dinner is not complete without dessert. I talk a lot about how my mom used to bake every Saturday and how I remember watching her bake pies. I have some sort of a pastry deficit but still give it a try when peaches are in season.

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I baked a red velvet Bundt cake from a box cake on Sunday. To make it Sunday special I creamed on brick of cream cheese and about 1 cup of confectioners sugar. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and slowly added half and half (I didn’t measure but I think it would have been about 2-3 tablespoons) until the frosting was creamy. I put it on the cake by heaping a spoonful on the top and gently guiding it down the sides. It looked pretty and tasted amazing…

…just like Sunday dinner should…

Let’s talk some more about Sunday dinner. Please feel free click the email link below and give me your story. What do you cook? Who is at the table?

When the meal is special and you’re surrounded family and friends, any day is Sunday. I know folks who work in different service industries who have Monday evening Sunday dinner.

Yesterday I invited my family and as is usual custom in our home there were a few friends I had never met before they came to my home.

That is why I would like to write a book titled “If It’s Sunday Dinner, We Must Be Family.”

Have a yummy day!

Comfort In A Bowl – Jude’s Shredded Chicken Stew

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I love food in a bowl. Macaroni…corn flakes…ice cream…

Each one of those things makes me happy, gives me that warm fuzzy feeling that makes a great bite of something worth the time, expense or both.

When I travel and know I may never return to the area of the world I am I always ask “if I never return, what is the one bite I should remember “insert city name here” by?

In St. Louis the answer was chicken and biscuits. Gosh. That seemed pretty pedestrian but since I asked I took the advice. That bite came so long ago but I still remember the buttery biscuits over a chunky and creamy chicken stew. I was traveling alone for business and remember that evening not just for the meal but because after dinner I went to the lobby bar, busy with folks participating in the Variety Club Telethon. Lou Rawls was the celebrity host and chat with me about the mission of the organization. It was just a few short years after our son died and he was very kind. It was exactly 23 years ago this month because my best memory of that trip, however, was coming home and finding I was expecting our son.

Chicken and biscuits…food in a bowl…warm fuzzy…this is how my mind works.

My friend recently asked me if I had a good recipe for chicken and dumplings. Honestly I had no idea what the difference between chicken and biscuits and chicken and dumplings was. The Internet is a beautiful thing. I did a little research and learned dumplings and biscuits are made from the same biscuit mixture, which varies regionally, but cooked differently.

The chicken is cooked in a liquid (usually water which miraculously turns to chicken broth when simmered with a chicken and other good stuff) and then removed. The biscuit mixture (I saw some recipes where the only biscuit mixture preparation was “pop open the tube”) is dropped in the broth where it turns into moist, dense drops of goodness called dumplings. The broth is then thickened and the chicken and vegetables are added back in and simmered a bit more to cook the chicken and dumplings through.

Chicken and biscuits are a savory chicken stew finished in the oven with biscuits baked on top. If you put the mixture into a bowl, cover it with a pastry dough and bake you’ve just made chicken pot pie.
At our house we like the stew straight in the bowl. I have played around with some ingredients and offer you my twist on this savory chicken recipe which when eaten from a bowl is meant to bring back a memory of home.

Jude’s Shredded Chicken Stew

Servings: 10
Prep time: 1:00
Total time: 11:00
Categories: Chicken & Other Poultry, Soup & Stew
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 4-5 lb Chicken Thighs, bone in, skin removed
• 2 Potatoes
• 3 Parsnips
• 4 Carrots
• 3 Stalks Celery
• 10 oz Pearl Onions**frozen are fine but see below for an easy tutorial on using fresh pearl onions
• 6-7 oz Shitake Mushrooms
• 1 12oz-16 oz bag Frozen Peas

• 2 Tbsp Butter
• ½ c flour

Directions

Peel and cube all vegetables. Clean mushrooms, remove stems, cut in half then chop. Add to slow cooker.

Boil pearl onions for three minutes, rinse in cold water and drain. With one hand remove stem while squeezing onion out with the other. Add to slow cooker.

Season vegetables with about 1 tablespoon coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Mix with hands.

Remove skin from chicken and place on top of vegetables. Season generously with Old Bay seasoning. Cook on low for 9-10 hours.

Remove chicken from slow cooker into a bowl, saving any drippings.

Using a turkey baster, remove as much liquid as possible, at least two cups.

Add frozen peas.

Cool chicken to the touch and remove from bones. With two large forks, shred chicken and add back to slow cooker.

In medium saucepan, over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in ½ cup flour and heat through. Add 2 cups liquid from slow cooker. Whisk gravy until thick. Fold in gently to chicken mixture.

Cover and heat on medium for 15 minutes.

Serve in bowls with bread and butter.

**how to peel pearl onions

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Add to boiling water and cook about 3-4 minutes.

imageRinse.

 

Cut stem.

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Squeeze into bowl.

Easy!!image
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