Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas at Spottswood Place

(click on boxes for larger image)

Martha Stewart I am not.  My home Christmas decorations will never grace the cover of a magazine and I'm really alright with that.  I continue to use the Christmas decorations I have collected throughout the years.   My favorite Christmas decorations are traditional and rustic.  I wish I were I Dream of Jeannie and blink my home into a log cabin located snuggley in the Aspendale mountains of New Mexico.  I grew up going to those mountains as a young girl and the smell of pine always takes me back there.  I had fun decorating the house with my Christmas music playing in the background although I did hate putting away my Autumn decorations, it always makes me so sad.  I pray you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and savored every moment.

Disclaimer: Please excuse the repeat of some pictures in the collages.  I forgot what I had put in one or the other . . . I'm forgetful that way, don't judge ;)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Stock Talk

1 20 lb. turkey
1 stick butter, softened
1 orange cut in quarters
1 garlic bulb
1 med. onion, cut in quarters
1 bundle of Rosemary, Sage and Thyme, tied
1/4 cup fresh chopped Rosemary, Sage and Thyme
Kosher salt
Black Pepper

Preheat oven at 275F degrees.  Place one oven rack in the bottom level of the oven.
 Stuff the turkey cavity with the orange, onion, garlic and fresh herb bundle and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Combine butter, and chopped herbs and add a dash of salt and pepper.  With your fingers scoop 2/3 of the herb butter and spread it all over UNDER the skin, from the breasts to the legs being careful not to tear it.

 Take the rest of the butter and spread it all over the top of the turkey skin including the legs and wings.  Bake uncovered for 3 hours.

 Carefully remove from oven after three hours and baste with it's own juices from the bottom of the pan.  Turn heat up to 350F degrees.  Return turkey to oven.

Bake for another three hours, baste often.  Remove from oven, cover with some foil and let set for 1/2 hour before carving and serving.

Just had to insert the homemade pie I made :)

 After the meal, I told my hubby not to throw the turkey carcass out just yet.  I placed it in a pot full of water, covered it and simmered it for several hours until it fell off the bone.

I let it cool completely, skimmed off the fat and then placed it in a one gallon baggie.  Several one gallon baggies.

I kept one bag out and placed the rest in the freezer.  I had four bags full and I'm set with my own stock for the next several months.

I've been making my own chicken stock for the past several months and it's been so worth it.  I will now forever make my own every time I have roasted chicken or turkey.  I've gotten the idea from several television cooks, seems like most of them use their own stock.  The taste is far better not to mention the pennies you'll be saving.  We had a wonderful time together with family.  I played football with my grandson after our big feast and I wore him out ;)  and vice-versa.  I hope and pray your Thanksgiving was a blessed one and you savored every moment.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hot Chocolate

by who else? but the Pioneer Woman

2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips (best brand you can find)
1 tbsp. sugar (optional)
3-4 medium size mugs
Whip Cream
1 envelope pre-mix cocoa mix

Under low to medium heat, combine the milk and heavy cream.  Stir frequently, making sure the mixture doesn't burn

Once the milk starts to boil turn the heat down to low, stir in the chocolate chips.  Melt completely and taste.  Add more chips if needed or if it's not sweet enough, add the sugar.  Stir and dissolve completely

Pour the hot chocolate into the mugs

 Add the whip cream

Sprinkle on the pre-mix chocolate . . . and enjoy!

 My daughter and I planned a family only baby shower for my daughter-in-law (yes, I'm going to be a grandma again . . . . we're having a granddaughter - can you feel my smile beaming?).  When I saw Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) make this on her show yesterday, I immediately thought this would be perfect to have as a hot drink for the baby shower.  It was so  quick and easy and fun to make.  I bought the mugs at Target just yesterday for only 2.99!!  Have you ever made hot chocolate with semi-sweet chocolate chips??  I never thought of it, you'd think it would click in this hard noggen of mine!?!  Anyway, oh what a difference it made.  It was really smooth, creamy - not too heavy as I added a little more 1% milk than the heavy cream.  When I'm home and make this again, I will add some cinnamon to the chocolate mixture.  I've always liked a little bit of cinnamon in my hot chocolate.  A perfect hot drink for the holidays!! :)  I've had a great weekend and I continue to savor every moment but it sure is going by fast.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hearty Beef Stew

2 lbs. beef tips
1/4 cup flour for dredging
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups beef broth
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, scraped off the stems
2 tbsps. tomato paste
10 small red potatoes cut in half
5-7 med. size carrots, cut 1-2 inches
1 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley

Dredge the beef tips into the flour, shake off excess and set aside.

Heat butter and oil in dutch oven over medium heat.  Add half the beef and brown all sides.  Remove and repeat the step with the rest of the beef.

Add the chopped onion, turn the heat to low . . . .

Stir often until onion is tender and translucent.

Add the minced garlic and stir 3 minutes

Add the broth to the onions an garlic

Add the Worchestershire sauce

Add the thyme leaves

Add the tomato paste

Add  the paprika

Add a pinch of salt

and pepper.  Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.

Now add the cooked meat and stir.

Cover and simmer for 2 - 3 hours.  Check often to stir.  Add water if liquid gets low.

Add the cut potatoes and carrots.  Simmer covered for another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Take a cups of the broth mix it in a bowl with 2-4 tablespoons of flour.  Stir briskly with a whisk and pour back into the pot.  Simmer for another 10 minutes until it has thickened. (I took pictures of this step but for some reason they didn't come through).

Finally sprinkle on the parsley and stir.

Serve with anything you want.  We chose dinner rolls.

What  better way than to spend a chilly day enjoying a hearty bowl of beef stew watching football. Hubby loves it as long as it's thick, almost as thick as gravy.  He loves the big chunks of meat, potatoes and carrots too.  It was a quick weekend, I can't believe it's come to an end.  I hope you had a blessed weekend and savored every moment.

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