Grandma B’s Fruitcake Cookies

The pictures of my fruitcake cookies on social media have been receiving a myriad of comments — everything from “Yuk” to “Yay” to family stories! I love the stories so keep them coming in the comment section below!

A cake once revered, is now the butt of many holiday jokes—and with good reason. Have you tried some of the things they sell as “fruitcake”???? 😳

The fruitcake is traced back to at least Roman times and is often the cake choice of royals. Did you know that Charles and Diana’s wedding cake was a fruitcake with cream cheese frosting.

We are the third generation to make these cookies. Christmas would not be Christmas for Mr. G without these cookies. For me they were an acquired taste, but I have crossed over the line and totally love these cookies too.

The recipe is so simple!

IMG_7295

Five ingredients:

  1. 1 lb candied fruit (mixed) chopped in small pieces.
  2. 1/2 cup self rising flour
  3. 4-6 oz of shredded coconut
  4. 2 cups chopped pecans
  5. 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • Dredge fruit through flour
  • Add coconut, nuts and milk
  • Bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • 300 degree oven

Makes approximately 4 dozen.

Store uncovered — as much as possible.

Note: If you have trouble finding candied fruits … check here.

Give the cookies a try and let me know what you think!

Christmas Cran – A Holiday Tradition

Many of you have asked for the cranberry sauce recipe that my daughter affectionately named “Christmas Cran.” For my rose friends, Elena Williams tried this recipe and is a big fan!

I was introduced to this recipe when I bought my first microwave and was given the gift of a free microwave cooking class!

Several of the recipes I learned in the class I still make — but none more consistently than the cranberry sauce! Our family enjoys “Christmas Cran” every Christmas AND every Thanksgiving!

Sweet, citrusy goodness….

3/4 – 1 Cup of Sugar
1/4 teaspoon each of ground cloves, cinnamon and allspice (I usually add more cinnamon)
1/2 cup of apple or orange juice  (This year I used the juice from the tangerines I had on hand and it was fab.)
1 lb of whole cranberries
1 medium apple – peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (They go in AFTER the cooking process.)

Combine SUGAR, SPICES and JUICE in 2 qt casserole. STIR. Add CRANBERRIES and APPLES. STIR.

COVER

Microwave on HIGH for 9 – 10 minutes.

Remove and add NUTS. STIR. (Caution: This is screaming hot!)

Pour into pretty dish and COOL.

Stirring up some Christmas Cran...
Stirring up some Christmas Cran…

Hope you enjoy and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Even though we love our traditional recipes, we also love trying new things! Share your family favorites for the holidays!

Keeping it Cool: Rose Ice Cream

Denise Schreiber, garden friend and author of Eat Your Roses, shared a wonderful, super easy rose ice cream recipe with me recently.

ROSE PETAL ICE CREAM

¾ cup of dried edible rose petals
1 quart of good quality vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon of rose syrup (I used Monin)
½ cup of finely chopped pistachios 
1 teaspoon of cardamom (Optional)

Soften ice cream. Crumble in your hand the dried rose petals (from roses that have not been sprayed with chemicals) as you would dried herbs. Stir in slightly then add rose syrup. Taste test first to see if you desire more syrup. Refreeze then serve. 

For more recipes like this one, check out Denise’s Facebook page here

What a treat! I used Rugosas petals in our ice cream and it was delicious! Yes, yummy rose flavored ice cream is a great way to enjoy summertime in the rose garden.

IMG_7191.jpg

Do you have recipes that use roses and other flowers?

Bloom Thyme Friday: Garden 2 Table

I love the concept of garden 2 table … cooking with the fresh food you grow yourself. My mother was a great gardener and she grew just about everything we ate. Because she canned and froze the extras we had food from our garden year round. (You can read more about her here.) But, if I am honest, my veggies keep getting inched out by roses and a couple of honey locust trees that are devouring our garden. However, we still have room for herbs and tomatoes — Mr. G makes sure of that. So, around here we are extremely grateful to area farmer’s markets to provide us with the other produce we love.

So many of my friends tell me they rarely cook anymore since their time is so limited! But, good news, there is someone who is inspiring us to get in the garden and in the kitchen by teaching us just how easy, fun and nutritious  Garden to Table  can be. My friend P. Allen Smith. Allen grows an acre of the most beautiful organic veggies you have ever seen and he is always testing new plants and gardening ideas. PLUS, he is a creative master in the kitchen.

PAS Veggies

What’s even better is that he shares his garden experiences and his mastery in the kitchen with all of us. Whether it is via his television shows (check out this listing for dates and times in your area.)

images
His latest book…

Or through his wonderful books, digital publications and you tube videos. Take advantage of all of these easy-to-use resources to be a master in your kitchen, especially if you are like me and spend most of your extra time in the garden and need all the tips and tricks in the kitchen you can get.

Follow Allen’s Garden Home Facebook page here  for regular updates on what he’s cooking up in the kitchen and what’s going on in the garden.

SOMETHING NEW AND DEEEELISH

Don’t miss Allen’s most recent video for a Squash & Zucchini Casserole with Quinoa … can you say, “healthy comfort food you can feel good about.” I can’t wait to make this one! Take a look here.

 

And, yes, I did find enough room in the herb garden for zucchini! 🙂

THIS WEEK IN MY GARDEN

Around here we are having rain every day and boy are things lush even though the blooms are surely taking a hit. I did manage to get some pretty pictures after one of the rain storms earlier in the week…

Coral Drift ... I first saw growing in P Allen's herb garden and just had to have!
Coral Drift … I first saw this rose growing in P Allen’s herb garden and just had to have!
IMG_3263
Poseidon Floribunda from the Simply Brilliant collection from Certified Roses. Check out their roses here.
IMG_3265
David Austin’s lovely Claire Austin.
IMG_3312
The healthy blooming machine … Amber Carpet Rose.
IMG_3264
Another shot of Poseidon. I can’t get enough of this rose!
IMG_3273
Etoile des Violette clematis … perfect paring with New Dawn Rose.

Have a fun week in the garden! And…

Bloom Thyme Friday

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

P. Allen and Pesto

For weeks I have been in the mood for pesto! Maybe it’s because I saw a video by P. Allen Smith for Arugula Pesto and I love Arugula! Or, maybe it’s because my garden friend, Diane LaSauce, posted recently about Kale Pesto (recipe here) and about the pesto she makes and takes to her local farmer’s market.

I decided this weekend was the perfect time. But, when I looked at my trusty food processor, I knew I wanted to upgrade. So, I asked my garden/cooking friends on Facebook Garden 2 Blog page what food processor they would recommend and everyone said Cuisinart.

A quick trip to Costco and I had my shiny, new food processor and was ready to get started.

P. Allen has a super easy video on making the Arugula Pesto…

This was SOOOOO delish and so easy. Give it a try.

Pesto

 

What do you think I should make next in my shiny, new food processor!

Now We’re Cookin’!

The great folks at Le Cruset offered those of us attending Garden 2 Blog 2013 one of P Allen Smith’s favorite baking dishes … all we had to do was chose our favorite color.

Look at this beauty…. Have you ever seen a more beautiful dutch oven? LeCreuset_001One of my very favorite things to eat is rustic bread and as I thought of what my first recipe would be in the dutch oven, I kept thinking it would be a bread. But, just the right recipe.

You see, I spend so much of my free time in my garden that what I wanted was yummy bread that was easy to make and a winner every time! And, a recipe that could be formatted to include a myriad of flavors and recipe tweaks.

I FOUND IT!

Based on a recipe I found on the Simply So Good website, here is my rustic bread baking experience.

BTW: You will most definitely want to check out this website. It has quickly become one of my go to sites for yummy things! (Read on.)

IMG_2599
Gather your dry ingredients…

3 cups of white unbleached flour
1 3/4 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon rapid rise or instant yeast

And, by the way, doesn’t my beautiful Le Crueset look smashing with my Sur Le Table sunflower bowl! I am completely crazy about them both!

IMG_2601

Whisk the flour, salt and yeast together.

Pour in 1 1/2 cups water

IMG_2603
Stir to make a sticky, shaggy mess! At this stage you can add some flavor. I added about 1 tablespoon of rosemary and 1 teaspoon of chives but it wasn’t enough to have the robust flavor I wanted, so I will experiment by adding more next time. At SimplySoGood.com you can read about many other flavor combinations that people have tried!

IMG_2608
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let set for 12 – 18 hours. I let mine set the entire 18 hours as it fit best with my schedule.

IMG_2612This is what my bread looked like after 18 hours. Yes, it is as sticky as it looks, but that is the way it is supposed to be.

Now it is time to get things heated up!

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and put your pot with the lid in the oven and pre-heat the pot for 30 minutes.

As soon as you put your pot in the oven, dump the dough onto a heavily floured surface. I used my pastry sheet (I love this thing!).

With floured hands, form the bread into a rounded ball and cover the ball with flour and let it rest for the 30 minutes the pot is pre-heating.

Once the pot in pre-heated, it’s time to dump the bread into the pot and place the pot with lid back in the oven for 30 minuted.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.

IMG_2635I didn’t oil the pot or anything and it came out perfectly clean! What you see in the pot is a little flour that fell off the loaf as I removed it.

The Masterpiece

IMG_2646
Wish you were here to share a piece of this yummy stuff. Cooking with Le Creuset is not just cooking … it’s an experience and I couldn’t have been more pleased with this experience!

Do you have any suggestions on what my next Le Creuset cooking experience should be?

A Cup of Christmas Tea

A post from 2012 but the recipe is still delish & the book is fantastic. . . . . 

For as long as I can remember, every year we had Christmas Tea. I’m not sure where my mom got the recipe, but we all loved it! It is warm and citrusy and good!

THE TRADITION…

Making Christmas Tea is a tradition our family continues. Each year we make tons and tons of tea to share. Last night was my 2nd round of tea making.

All packed up and ready to go…

Christmas Tea

THE BOOK…

In the 80s Tom Hegg wrote a book called, A Cup of Christmas Tea.

This book tells the story of a young man’s “obligation” turned into a great blessing. When my children were still at home one of our traditions was to slow down for an evening, read the book and enjoy a cup of tea together.

It is a short and sweet book and if you’d like to hear it read, check out the YouTube video below…

THE RECIPE…

2 cups Tang
1 1/2 cups sugar (white)
1/2 cup instant tea powder
1 cup powdered lemonade mix
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well and store in an airtight container.

Use 1 -3 T of mix in a mug. Stir in boiling water. Adjust to taste.

Sit down and relax and enjoy a cup of Christmas tea.

 

 

 

Caramel Dip Recipe

I have been making this caramel dip for 25+ years and never one complaint! Many people have asked for the recipe, so here it is…

1 Package of Kraft Caramels (NOTE: Through the years the packages have gotten smaller. I think I use about 40 caramels. Use your best judgement.)
1 Stick of Butter
1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

That’s it! Stir over low heat until everything is melted and blended. This takes about 20 minutes or so. Do stir constantly … this mixture BURNS VERY EASILY!!

I love packaging it in little jelly jars … 30 seconds in the microwave and it is perfect for a single serving! I store jars in the refrigerator.

One Christmas I gave out about 50 jars as gifts. They were very popular! 🙂

If you try it, let me know how you like it!