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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Soup in a Bag for Gifts for Coworkers

I was thinking of what to give as gifts to my coworkers this year and since we always have tons of candy and sweets at the office, I decided to go with something different.  I did a search for soup kits and found this one for Friendship Soup online that definitely had the right name linked to it.  There were several positive reviews and some tips that I liked, so I went for it.  I did a test run a week ago or so, and did a few of my own changes.  I tasted the broth, but the actual soup I sent to my daughter's house for them to all have to dinner and give their opinion's on.  It was a thumb's up, so went about gathering all the ingredients to make the 15 packets and am adding a can of Rotel cilantro and lime tomatoes and a box of Jiffy cornbread mix so they have a complete meal in the busy season coming up if they choose.  I designed a combination greetings card and instruction sheet on how to assemble it for in the bag too.  It's kind of a southwestern flavored soup and here is how I made it..for the packets I layered in each one (I put the clear cone bags in tall glasses with the top folded down a little to keep it open)

3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp powdered beef base
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup dried black beans
1/3 cup pearl barley
1/3 cup dried kidney (red) beans
1/3 cup great northern beans

Layer all of the above in a cone bag or 2 cup jar.

To turn mix into a pot of soup:  In a large crockpot add:
either: 1 lb hamburger or ground turkey browned with salt and pepper, or a ring of smoked sausage cut up in bite size pieces (I used turkey smoked sausage), spicy chicken sausage-a lot of reviews said this was really good, or leftover roast beef etc.

THINGS YOU NEED TO ADD: a can of Rotel cilantro and lime tomatoes, 4 cups water, a quart (4 cups) of beef stock, 1/4 cup catsup, a small onion diced, 1 stalk celery diced, and 1 carrot, cleaned and diced. 

Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.  Mine was cooked on low and actually took about 9 hours for the beans to soften correctly so allow enough time..I baked the Jiffy cornbread so it was still warm when it was eaten. 

You can cook this on the stove also..they said it would take about 9 cups of water for about 2-1/2 hours.

You can add more water if it looks too thick, a little at a time.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

King sized quilt for my Daughter Shellie's log bed

Shellie asked me in the spring of this year if I would make her a new quilt for her bed.  I had made one for her about 17 years ago, but although it's still intact, it's starting to fade and show that it's been well used and loved.  I vowed I'd never make another King sized quilt, but I caved, plus I have tons of fabric in my stash that I've barely made a dent in, so I said I would make it for her birthday and Christmas gift..well, now Christmas is around the corner and I finally got the top done to take to a machine quilter tomorrow.  I still have to piece the flannel backing tonight, per her request..she loves the cuddliness of flannel, especially here in Minnesota.  It's a Thimbleberries pattern by Lynette Jensen in one of her books.  I generally find her patterns easy, but for some reason this one kind of was a struggle.  Maybe because I haven't made a full quilt for a long time now.  I've been more into crocheting.  Anyway, here is a photo before the quilting and I will post one of it quilted also.  Makes such a difference! Thinking she will like it, especially since she picked out the pattern!  LOL

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pineapple Prezel Salad

I am doing some "night before Thanksgiving" prep, and decided on making this salad.  A coworker, Paul, made it for a Christmas brunch we had and I really liked it.  I've made it a few times since, and decided to make half a batch for tomorrow.  I am the main person who likes "fluffs" as I call them.  I also am having a small batch of cranberry/pineapple/marshmallow fluff, so I am hoping most of them will be gone that way so I don't take a spoon on Friday and eat them all myself!  This salad is so good.  the pretzels taste like pralines in it.  Another item I could just eat with a spoon-in fact I know a person who did do that!  Here goes:

Pineapple Pretzel Salad (full batch)

1 stick melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup crushed pretzels

Mix ingredients and back on a sheet pan in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. cool and crumble them up again.

Mix 8 ounces of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar

Then Add a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple that has been drained well and 12 ounces of Cool Whip. 

Add pretzels before serving. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lemon and fresh Cranberry Scones

I saw a posting from one of my favorite food bloggers..Smitten Kitten and decided to make these.  I had some frozen cranberries (which she said could be used if you thawed them first) and a few fresh lemons for the zest.  I was actually kind of afraid that they would be super sour when biting into the fruit, but they aren't.  the only thing I did differently was using the frozen berries- a little less than her recipe- and before baking brushing on a little cream and coarse sugar just in case they were bitter.  They were really light and you could definitely taste the lemon zest and cranberry.  I thought they were super good.

Here is the recipe:

1-1/2 Tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (I used a plainer) but she said you could peel and chop finely off the lemons.
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 Tablespoons to add to the finely chopped cranberries.
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold butter (I used salted, but she suggests unsalted), cut in tiny bits
1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries (thawed), then cut in small pieces. (she used 1-1/2 cups)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In a larger bowl add flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest.  I used a pastry blender and worked it until it resembled coarse meal, but you can also use a blender for this step.

Toss the cranberries with the 3 remaining Tablespoons of sugar and add to the flour mixture .

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and the yolk and stir in the cranberries.  add this to the flour mixture and stir until just combined (I had to use my clean hands). 

On a well floured surface with floured hands, pat dough into a 8 inch square that is about an inch thick.  cut into 4 squares and then cut each of those into a triangle so you have 8 scones.  put on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  If desired you can brush with milk or cream and sprinkle some coarse sugar on them before baking.  green sugar would be pretty with the cranberries during the holidays!  You could also cut them so you have 16 tiny ones if you are having a brunch with other foods.  I was planning on eating half of one though and am now already going in for the other half..soo good.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

I had a bag of Hershey Kisses that I had broken into when I was having a chocolate frenzy and decided to make peanut blossom cookies today to use them up, plus Dave has been on a cookie craze lately and he can definitely use as many cookies as he can get into him to bring his weight up, so I have been trying to keep them around for him.  He takes them in his shop and wraps them in aluminum foil and warms them on his wood stove after supper. Anyway, I just used the recipe on the back of the kisses bag this time.  I usually have used an old one from one of my cookbooks, but was not in the mood to look for it, so used this one.  I thought they were really good flavored and textured cookies so posting it in case they ever take the recipe off the bag or I just want it for a chocolate star or something to put on top instead..My daughter's guy cleaned my gutters today so I sent them home some fresh from the oven and they looked like they weren't going to last really long!  Such a nice young man.


Cream together:
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Then add:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
(cream all until smooth)

1-1/2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

this will be a stiff dough.

roll into smaller balls, (I use a small cookie scoop), roll in either colored sugar for Christmas, or white granulated sugar and place on cookie sheets (I do 12 per sheet, but you could use more because they don't spread a lot), and bake at 375 or 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and press an unwrapped kiss into the center.  I personally think these are best when the cookie is still warm and the chocolate is soft and melty, but are good anytime. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pumpkin Spread

I tried this spread this morning..super quick and easy and I actually had all the ingredients for it in my cupboard.  I used more spices than the recipe called for because I wanted a more pumpkin pie taste though..thought it was kind of bland beforehand.  Here's all I did..


2 sticks salted butter, softened
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt

put all the ingredients in a mixer bowl..using hand mixer beat just until smooth and fluffy. 

keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Would be good on waffles or pancakes with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, or on a piece of toast or warm biscuits or pumpkin muffins..

Sunday, October 22, 2017


I got this recipe when I was in my 20's and working for what used to be called Control Data.  There was a janitor who used to live in the south and also was a cook in the army that gave me the recipe after we had been talking food one day.  Yes, I talked food a lot even back then!  It takes half a day to make it and so you do have to be around, plus it's not a Dave Boudreau thing, but I love it and so does some of my other family members.  It freezes well, so can be packed away for another meal or bring to lunch at work easily.  I like it with just some fruit or applesauce on the side.  It kind of is like a hot dish, has everything you actually need in one dish.  It helps a lot to prep all your ingredients before actually putting it together so you can just dump them all in when ready.  It really is worth the trouble..delicious.


Bring 2 quarts water and the following ingredients to a boil:
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped

Boil for 10 minutes, then add a medium-large whole chicken that has been washed inside and outside, and cook until done-1-1/2 hours?  (legs will separate from the body a little and the breast will easily accept a fork when poked in it).  Remove the bird, skin and debone.  Strain the stock and RESERVE.

In the same pot, add a little butter and one ring of smoked sausage that has been chopped in bite sized pieces.  brown on lower heat until some of the grease has been cooked out.  Remove sausage and set aside. In the remaining grease and more butter if needed add:

1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (I use yellow or red)
1 cup chopped celery
the other half of the green onions chopped
1 garlic clove chopped finely or pressed

once they are cooked down well add:

one 1-pound can of whole tomatoes (I take each tomato and remove any hard core/stem pieces, squash them with my hands and put them in the kettle).
2 cups raw white rice
5 cups of the chicken broth
1 heaping Tablespoon for chicken "Better than Bouillon"
1 Tablespoon sugar
salt to taste
cayenne pepper-go lightly, can always add more if desired
black pepper as desired.

Cook over medium heat, stirring often but gently until rice is thoroughly cooked.

Serve, eat.