Category Archives: Holidays

Æbelskiver!!!

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Also spelled æbleskiver, if you’ve never heard of this, it’s a Danish/Scandinavian treat mostly made for breakfast and is popular around Christmas. It’s pronounced  A-bell-skii-ver and IT IS DELICIOUS! It’s sort of like a cross between a pancake and a popover.

Most Americans have never heard of it unless you live in the upper Midwest where loads of Scandinavians settled. My Nashville native husband had certainly never heard of them. I was usually only able to have them when we visited my Grandparents in Minnesota as you must have a special pan in which to cook them. They don’t sell a lot of these pans anywhere, but especially not in the South. My mom found a cast iron one in a country store several years ago and they didn’t even know what it was. 

Well, for my birthday this year, I finally got my own pan! I’m so excited to use it, especially since it’s Christmastime. I was going to make them this morning but, alas, no milk and only 1 egg. You can be assured we’ll be going to the store today so I can finally prepare them myself! Therefore, I leave you with pictures we took and the recipe we used when we last visited my MN Grandmother in May…

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Here’s the tried and true, super easy, recipe my Grandmother uses (created by her sister, My Great-Aunt Norma):

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Here’s how to turn them in the special pan (thanks for modeling the technique, mom):

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Note, you can use a bamboo skewer, a knitting needle as mentioned in the recipe above, or a fondue fork (like she’s using in the picture) worked perfectly for us.

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Trust me – they are wonderfully, light, little balls of deliciousness! You MUST give them a try, if you can find a pan or, you know, go to Denmark 🙂

Enjoy!

Jennifer

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Super Moist Stuffing

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This is a super quick, super easy recipe. I actually stole it from the demonstrators at Costco. They were sampling it one day and I thought it was delicious! I’ve been making it this way ever since.

Now – be forewarned – this is NOT “dressing”. I’m not sure that there’s technically a difference between stuffing and dressing or if it’s just regional preference. That said, I personally think the Stove Top variety is stuffing and the homemade, cornbready type with celery hunks, and whatever else weird things people add, should be considered dressing. Now – if everyone would just follow those rules, that’d be great!

This is another recipe for a beginner cook or someone who has A LOT of things to cook, like on Thanksgiving, that you don’t have a lot of time to commit to a side dish but still want something good to feed guests. This recipe fits that bill:

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Super Moist Stuffing

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chicken broth (28 oz total or about 3 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 sixteen oz. bag of stuffing mix

You can halve this recipe (like I did) and use one 6 oz. box of Stove Top Stuffing mix.  If you do that use 1 can of broth and 1/2 can of soup.

Directions:

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1) In a medium saucepan, mix soup and broth together with a whisk. Heat until bubbly (not really boiling).

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2) Put breadcrumbs into a bowl.

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3) Add hot soup mixture a little bit at a time to the breadcrumbs – mixing it well. It will be really moist as it will take 5-10 minutes to absorb all the liquid.

NOTE – If you’re using the 6 oz. Stove Top box you will NOT use all the soup mixture. I used most of it but had about 1/4 of a cup leftover.

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Fluff with a fork and serve!

Since I don’t like the “cornbread dressing” type stuff – this is my absolute favorite stuffing. Again, nothing fancy but ooooohhh so good.

Enjoy!

Jennifer

Peg’s Scalloped Potatoes

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My family has a tradition. Every Easter – you MUST have scalloped potatoes. It’s like a rule. It’s a rule so much that my sisters and I got into a “discussion” about it a few years ago.  It went like this:

Jennifer

Kelly had talked about mashed potatoes and gravy but there is no roasted meat with which to make gravy and we never have mashed potatoes and gravy at Easter. We always have mom’s home-made scalloped potatoes and I would like to specifically request that as it’s the only time of year I get it and I’m selfish. I can make mashed potatoes any old time.

Kelly

My oven will have a ham in it which is why I said Mashed potatoes and I was doing those and mac and cheese and mom is getting drinks. Don’t be changing the hostess’ menu chick’s…lol.

Michelle

I THINK THAT IT IS A LAW IN TENNESSEE (MAYBE AMERICA) THAT THE POTATOES MUST BE SCALLOPED FOR EASTER, I THINK IT IS THE WAY THAT JESUS HAD IT THE DAY HE WAS ARISEN.

I DON’T THINK WE WANT TO MESS WITH THE J’MAN…HE RULES MORE THAN WE CHICKS… 🙂

Kelly

Jesus fasted so we don’t need dinner at all. I have three freakin’ kinds of potatoes to make all parties happy so shut it!!!!!

Jennifer 

We do not need 3 kinds. We only need the scalloped kind.

Michelle

Jesus didn’t fast – he feasted! He feasted on scalloped potatoes!!!

She made scalloped 🙂

That said, I thought I’d share my mom’s scalloped potato recipe with everyone:

Peg’s Scalloped Potatoes

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Note – the picture above is only for a HALF recipe – make sure you read the ingredient amounts!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds potatoes – sliced or diced the same size (so they cook evenly)
  • 1/4  to 1/2 cup onion, depending on your taste – diced fine (can use jarred minced onion if you forget like I do sometimes)
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons milk (if you use more or less make sure the flour is the same amount)
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste (not pictured but it REALLY needs the salt so don’t skip it)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350° F

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2) Place diced potatoes in a greased (can use Pam) casserole dish. Make sure it’s plenty big as this has a tendency to bubble over. You can place a cookie sheet underneath to catch any drippings while it’s in the oven just in case your container is a little small.

Tip – I usually dice them as that’s the way my mom always did it. My dice is about the size of a dime – pretty small as that helps on the cooking time. We have prepared them with a mandolin slicer on the thinnest setting. That time they cooked way faster and were almost over-cooked. Be sure to test your tenderness while cooking as size affects the cooking time greatly!

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3) Make a roux by placing butter and flour in a small pan on the stove over medium heat.

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4) With a whisk, stir butter and flour together and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until caramel in color and smooth.  Cook it long enough to get the raw flour taste gone.

5) In a separate bowl, mix milk and cream of mushroom soup together with a whisk.

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6) Add milk and soup mixture to the roux. Cook for several minutes and allow to thicken (this is what a roux is supposed to do).

7) Add salt and pepper to the soup mixture.

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8) Once thickened, pour the entire mixture over the diced potatoes. Mix well.

9) Cover with a lid and bake for 90 to 120 minutes depending on how you’ve diced your potatoes. Remove the lid the last 30 minutes of baking to brown the top.

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My smaller dime-sized diced cooked in about 80 minutes total – 60 minutes and then an additional 20 with the top off. The thinner you slice or the smaller you dice them will shorten the baking time.

These are a basic, easy-to-make, nothing fancy scalloped potato recipe that you can prepare for a whole horde of people (I made it for 20 this past Easter) that most people will like as there’s nothing weird (ie green) in them. If you wanted to get fancy then you could do scallions or green onions but – they’re pretty good as written.

Enjoy!!

Jennifer

Thanksgiving “Schedule” – Awesome, Right?

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I hosted Thanksgiving this year for a much smaller group than usual – only 8 people. There were no kids and no clumsy people so we even decided to use actual CHINA for a much more fancy dinner than we’ve ever done before. We rarely use our china so it was neat to have it all laid out with the stemware. The table was really lovely.  Although being the  total loser I am, I didn’t take a picture of it, so you’ll have to just take my word. Just imagine real cloth napkins, a lovely white tablecloth (made of actual cloth), matching flatware and we made place cards out of brightly colored leaves. The table was only decorated with candles so it was all very lovely.

Trying to avoid what my daughter so lovingly calls “Horrible Holiday Mom”, I wanted to be very organized this year and have a decisive plan. Hubby helped tremendously the day before and we cleaned the floors, cooked and even set the table all the day before. In an effort to make sure everyone knew what needed to be done when, I created this and posted it on the fridge:

This way,  Hubby and my daughter could look at the time and check the schedule and they could just start preparing the next item without any instructions from me. I prepared it the day before and proudly walked over to show it to Hubby who promptly exclaimed, “You are a big dork.”

So, what do you think? Amazingly awesomely organized or…  a huge nerd?

Eating & Fathers’ Day

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I read something today that Fathers’ Day was intended to be written as plural possessive (which means the word father was intended to be plural and it was their day) so it should be written as “Fathers’ Day”. Who knew? Totally makes sense though. Therefore, I have decided I will forevermore write it as Fathers’ Day and fully expect that people will think I’m misspelling it.

And, by the way, I want to say here and now that I don’t know why the word misspell is so dang hard to spell. You would think that would be an easy one since it inherently means you can’t spell but some big meanie decided to make it hard just to punish people who can’t spell even further. I’m actually a rather good speller. I find that if you read a lot it greatly improves your spelling ability. However, I am a terrible typist so there are often many misspelled (ggrrr) words in my posts but it doesn’t mean I don’t know better – it’s that my fingers are rebels and refuse to be tamed (which is in no way a Miley Cyrus reference because that girl needs to have her head examined and her parents need their butts kicked but I digress).

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, Fathers’ Day. My father lives far away. I don’t get to see him often and I miss him terribly. I spoke to him on the phone yesterday and it makes me miss him more. I think I’ll call him on the phone again next weekend just to chat.  🙂

Yesterday I spent most of my day preparing to have people over for dinner. This has really become my tradition for most holidays. Why is that? My daughter came over and helped cook everything and even washed all the gross pots (this is usually Hubby’s job but she did it for him since it was Fathers’ Day – ain’t she sweet???). It was nice to spend several hours with her. When she went off to college two years ago she really WENT. We see her about twice a month during the summer and even less while she’s in school. Funny thing is, she calls me almost every day. She’s still my little sweetie.

So, my daughter made a strawberry cake from scratch which Hubby said was THE best strawberry cake he’d ever had. I was impressed considering I had made him a scratch strawberries & cream cake a couple years ago and I have apparently been usurped by the kiddo. Okay, I’ll pass that baton since I really don’t bake and she can make all the cakes from now on . That will show her!

The rest of the menu was meatloaf (which I really don’t like but is Hubby’s most favoritest so I made it), mashed potatoes with loads of Irish butter to make them extra super yummy, green beans with bacon & onions & chicken broth, fresh sweet corn-on-the-cob and parkerhouse style rolls. The guests were me, Hubby, daughter, daughter’s boyfriend, daughter’s boyfriend’s dad, Hubby’s sister and nephew. Weird crowd, huh? It was actually a lovely evening and the kitchen was cleaned, the dishwasher whirring and the pots were washed and everything put away before everyone left so it was REALLLLLY nice for me.

Oh, I have recently discovered just how much I love eating dinner outside. That is, as long as it doesn’t feel like you’re eating on the surface of the sun which it has felt like around here lately. However, several weeks ago we ate dinner outside at two different restaurants and it was truly lovely. Watching the people go by, feeling the breeze and having gentle conversation. It was very enjoyable and made me decide if I ever open a restaurant (which I have no hopes or dreams or delusions of ever doing so it’s really not relevant), my imaginary place would have an outdoor dining room. Perhaps something like this:

How can you not have a nice dinner in a setting like this?

Jennifer

Easter Potato Addition

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My daughter was (thankfully) spared the potato drama yesterday.  Apparently my sister Kelly shared the string of e-mails with her.  Thought I’d share her thoughts …

From: Bridgette 
To: Kelly; mom; chelle; Grama
Sent: Wed, March 31, 2010 11:14:15 PM
Subject: Re:Easter dinner menu

May I just say, I want Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes that you warm up in the

microwave- I know for fact that this is what Jesus ate the day he left on his

trip cause he was hungry and in a hurry so he needed something that would

be ready in 5 minutes and tastes excellent. He didn’t have time to slave over

a stove or oven!!

Bridgette

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I guess being a complete potato weirdo runs in the family!

Easter Potatoes

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What is it with family traditions? They are very important to me but I’m not sure exactly why. Perhaps is just comforting.  In my family there are three adult daughters. In the last couple years we have gotten really good at trading off holidays so we each host one big one each – Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, my little sister got Easter and today she was trying to work on the menu. She talked about it with my older sister and my older sister discussed it with me. The following is a series of e-mails where we attempt figure out what kind of potatoes to eat on Easter.  Enjoy…

From: Jennifer
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 1:45 PM
To: mom; Kelly; Chel Chel
Subject: Easter dinner menu

 Here is the menu Michelle and I think we should have:

 Ham – Mom

Macaroni & Cheese – Kelly

Scalloped Potatoes – Mom

Deviled Eggs – Michelle

Green Beans – Heath

Cream Corn Casserole – Jennifer

Dinner Rolls – Tim

Shell Salad – Michelle

Brownies – Bridgette

Cupcakes – Michelle

 Kelly had talked about mashed potatoes and gravy but there is no roasted meat with which to make gravy and we never have mashed potatoes and gravy at Easter. We always have mom’s home-made scalloped potatoes and I would like to specifically request that as it’s the only time of year I get it and I’m selfish. I can make mashed potatoes any old time.  Thoughts?

 —–Original Message—–
From: Kelly
To: Jennifer; mom; Chel Chel
Sent: Wed, Mar 31, 2010 2:06 pm
Subject: RE: Easter dinner menu

My oven will have a ham in it which is why I said Mashed potatoes and I was doing those and mac and cheese and mom is getting drinks. Don’t be changing the hostess’ menu chick’s…lol.

 Kelly

 From: michelle
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 2:43 PM
To: Kelly;mom; jennifer
Subject: Re: Easter dinner menu

 I THINK THAT IT IS A LAW IN TENNESSEE (MAYBE AMERICA) THAT THE POTATOES MUST BE SCALLOPED FOR EASTER, I THINK IT IS THE WAY THAT JESUS HAD IT THE DAY HE WAS ARISEN.

 I DON’T THINK WE WANT TO MESS WITH THE J’MAN…HE RULES MORE THAN WE CHICKS… 🙂

—–Original Message—–
From: Kelly
To: michelle; jennnifer; mom
Sent: Wed, Mar 31, 2010 3:01 pm
Subject: RE: Easter dinner menu

Jesus fasted so we don’t need dinner at all. I have three freakin’ kinds of potatoes to make all parties happy so shut it!!!!!

 Thanks and have a great day!!

Kelly

From: michelle
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 3:12 PM
To: Kelly
Subject: Re: Easter dinner menu

 JESUS DID NOT FAST ON THE DAY HE ROSE, HE ATE BIG TIME.  (AND HE ATE SCALLOPED POTATOES) BUT I WON’T TELL JENNY…

 I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE GREAT HATFIELD & MC COYS POTATO FEUD.  I LIKE POTATOES IN ANY FORM ACCEPT ROASTED HERB RED WHATEVER ON EASTER, WE ARE NOT TANNED ITALIANS, WE ARE WHITE NORWEGIANS. (THEREFORE ALL HOLIDAY FOOD MUST BE BLAND)

 —–Original Message—–
From: Kelly <kelly.krantz@hrblock.com>
To: michelle
Sent: Wed, Mar 31, 2010 3:21 pm
Subject: RE: Easter dinner menu

Jesus did not eat at all the day he rose – he did not stick around he went to heaven – HHEELLLLLOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Thanks and have a great day!!

Kelly

—–Original Message—–
From: michelle
To: kelly
Sent: Wed, Mar 31, 2010 3:27 pm
Subject: Re: Easter dinner menu

He had not eaten in 3 days, he was very hungry when he woke up, he ate scalloped potatoes and left. And that is how it is written. 🙂

After this, we sent a text to my mom and told her to make Kelly use her brain. We are having both scalloped and mashed potatoes on Easter.  What traditional thing will you be eating and doing?