Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Latest Cookie Creations

 The fall is always a busy baking time. Here are a few of the platters and sweets I have been working on.

 I made many, many Halloween themed chocolate covered Oreos.
 Lots of Halloween sweets....bats,ghosts and loads of pumpkins. Then, it was all about the turkeys. I will have many more Thanksgiving themed goodies to share soon.

I also had an opportunity to make and send cookies overseas to a soldier through the Operation Cookie Takeover Program. I have participated in this program twice, and look forward to doing it again in the spring. It's a great way to show appreciation for the men and women who serve our country.
October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This platter was a special request and I love the way it turned out.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Tip # 3 - Essential Thanksgiving Tools

Hosting and preparing a Thanksgiving meal can be less stressful if you have the proper kitchen tools. There is a multitude of gadgets to choose from, but really only a few are absolutely necessary to get the job done. Below is a list of "must haves" as well as some extras that will help you create a wonderful meal with minimal stress. Planning ahead, and checking to see what tools you may need is key, after all, who wants to run out Thanksgiving morning in search of a vegetable peeler or a roasting pan?

Essentail Tools:
-roasting pan
-medium saucepan( 2 or more)
-baking dishes(for sides)
-large mixing bowls
-large spoons for mixing
-vegetable peeler
-meat thermometer(more accurate than the pop up button)
-carving knife
-cutting board
-measuring cups(liquid and dry)
-measuring spoons
-potato masher
-colander(to drain your potatoes)
-oven mitts or dish towels

Many people get caught up in buying all of the gadgets in the holiday catalogs, and if you enjoy doing that, then feel free. The items listed above should be sufficient, but if you really want to go all out, then here are a few more that may be helpful.
-kitchen twine
-fat separator
-food processor(works fast, but a knife works well too)
-turkey lifters
-mandoline(for slicing vegetables)
-potato ricer

However you decide to equip your kitchen, your prep will be easier if you stick with the essentials. Be sure to have them where you can find them too, no need to spend two hours searching for your whisk when it is time to make the gravy! Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tip #2 - Stocking Your Pantry

It is that time of year again! The smell of turkey is in the air. For some, the stress is mounting, but that can be alleviated if you plan ahead. A well stocked pantry is the key to success in the kitchen. Below is a list of suggested items to keep on hand. Again, these are only suggestions, you may need more or less than what I have listed.

Essential Pantry Items:

-cooking spices(sage,rosemary,thyme,salt,pepper)
-baking spices(cinnamon,cloves,ginger,nutmeg,pumpkin pie spice)
- pure vanilla extract(no imitation)
-cranberry sauce(if you enjoy the canned cranberries)
-stuffing mix(if that s your preference)
-dried fruits(cranberries,cherries,figs,apricots)
-baking soda
-baking powder
-chicken stock
-dried mushrooms(great in a pinch,a little water and they are ready)
-bread crumbs
-evaporated milk
-sweetened condensed milk
-cocoa powder
-instant coffee
-chocolate chips

   These are just basic pantry staples. Be sure to make lists for your personal needs, and shop as far in advance as possible. With a bit of planning and a well stocked pantry, you are on your way to a terrific Thanksgiving!