Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

PhotoHunt ~ Gather

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'Gather'.
I am remembering the cherries that we gathered at TenutaSantoPietro, we used them as a part of our cooking class.
We all gathered to take the pits out of the cherries . . . and the added lots of sugar.
Quanto Basta
They boiled down to a yummy jelly for our breakfast the next morning.Life in Italy is . . . just a bowl of Cherries~
Check for all the other Gatherings on The Saturday PhotoHunt
Happy Hunting y'all~

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday's Favorites ~I ♥ Stockings

I ♥ our new Christmas stockings. With a new addition to the family this year ~ I decided it was time for new stockings.Now we will use these for the next 20 years!
I searched all over for the perfect 'matchy' stockings, then cut our names out of felt.I am no longer 'mommy'. . . I am LuLu.Little Hope liked the stockings. . . but the Santa hat wasn't quite the hit.
Aren't you glad that LuLu likes to knit??
Happy Friday y'all~

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flavors ~Sweet Potato~ 'Sweet Potato Stacks'

Y'all know by now that the Flavor of the week is Sweet Potatoes.
Finally. . . a flavor we Southerners know something about! In this recipe, I took the flavors that we love with Sweet Potatoes ~ each in individual stacks. (You can add marshmallows if you'd like)You'll find in this recipe the recommended flavors have been Capitalized.
Sweet Potato Stacks
1 1/2 pounds small sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh THYME
2/3 cup heavy CREAM
1 garlic GARLIC, minced
Zest of one ORANGE
2 BAY leaves
ground SALT and PEPPER
THYME and PECAN pieces for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°.
In a small sauce pan combine cream, garlic, orange zest, 1/2 tsp thyme, and bay leaves. Cook on low for 5 minutes and set aside to allow the flavors to mingle.
Without peeling, slice the potatoes thinly.
In a lightly greased 12-cup muffin pan, Layer half of the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and grated cheese. Continue with layers until the potato stacks are slightly above the rim of each cup.
Remove bay leaves from the cream. Pour cream mixture into muffin cups ~about 1 Tbs per cup. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly golden.
Let stand 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around rim of each cup, and lift potato stacks from cups using a spoon or thin spatula. Garnish, if desired.
You can see, I had decided to use my pecans in a pecan pie ~ so a little crumbled bacon went on top of each. I also like the idea of including a layer of proscuitto in the bottom. . . maybe next time!
Join us for the ride on Facebook and our blog Flavors.

Happy Cooking y'all~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A great gift!

While I am posting about great gift ideas. . . here's a crafty one ~ These little jars are filled with a yummy holiday sugar scrub.
It is easy to make at home. . . Vanilla Spice Sugar Scrub
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup raw sugar
2 Tbs coarse salt
2Tbs whole pepper corns
1 cup Sunflower oil
1 Tbs vanilla
Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Spoon into individual jars.These small canning jars work well, but you could also use upcycled jars.
They are pretty and smell great. A little dollop on the hands and warm water will leave you feeling silky smooth. I tied each with a ribbon and included a pretty teaspoon for dipping. Of course I included a little note saying that this is a hand scrub ~ not edible ~
I didn't want anyone putting this on their buscuits in the morning ! ! !
Y'all enjoy~

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Traveling Tuesdays ~ Let's Go!

There has been a lot of traveling this week . . . and for once I am the one staying put.
(Let me make a note of that next time Bill says I am always on the go)No one was traveling by train . . . Those days are long gone in the South.
Here are a few more of the great paintings that Fifi did for me for Christmas gifts.Paintings of the WhistleStop Cafe in Irondale, for the family.
Aren't they precious?
I am wishing I'd kept that Green tomato for my own kitchen!

Now . . . Where are y'all traveling this tuesday
Y'all enjoy the ride~

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blue Monday ~Christmas by Fifi

This is indeed a 'blue Monday'.
The rush of the holidays are over and the house is once again a little to quiet ~ except for the sound of the washing machine.
The good news is . . . now I have time for a little blogging! I have been dying to share my Christmas by Fifi.
Y'all know the artist at Fifi Flowers ~ we have been bloggy friends for years. I contacted her several months ago about doing some commission paintings for me. She did such a wonderful job . . . and many of the Christmas gifts I gave this year were special paintings by Fifi.
I love the touches of blue in this painting she did of the Duke of Wellington Pub, near my sister's flat in London.
You can see them enjoying a pint at their favorite table. This is a special commission of my niece's wedding.
It is a combination of several photos. This painting was for another niece who graduated this year in Hospitality Management ~ I invision her doing this for a career.I could just kick myself that I didn't get pictures of the Paris scene for my 'in-law's', or the cute bench settings that I gave to friends.

It was indeed a Christmas by Fifi !

You can see copies of all of Fifi's art work at her ETSY Shop.
Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Y'all~ and a Recipe

We want to wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas.
This year is such a special year, Its not often we have EveryOne home for the holidays! . . . and That is what it's all about!

This is the perfect morning breakfast, hearty individual casseroles.
No fussin on Christmas morning.
Individual Breakfast Casseroles
5 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1/8 tsp paprika
A pinch of cayenne
A dash of nutmeg
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup salad croutons
1 pkg sausage with sage
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup sweet peppers
6 green onions
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, emmental, or other cheese
In a skillet, brown and crumble the sausage, add sliced pepppers and onions and cook until tender. Add chopped fresh spinach right at the end and remove from the heat. In a blender, combine egg and milk. Add spices and grated cheese; whirl to blend.
Use a Large muffin pan, coat the muffin tins with cooking spray. Evenly distribute among the muffin cups, a crumble of and the bread cubes, meat and vegetables mixture. Pour an even amount of eggs over each pile.Cover the muffin cups with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours. (this is the BEST part!)
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and the eggs set. Allow the mini stratas to cool in the muffin cups for five minutes, remove them, and serve. (Leftovers can be frozen and reheated later)
The BEST part is that these are easily whipped up the night before Santa makes his big ride. Throw them in the oven on Christmas morning and enjoy the day.
Merry Christmas y'all~

Saturday, December 24, 2011

PhotoHunt ~ Surprise

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'Surprise'
Next year she will be a little more excited about the man with the Ho-Ho-Ho's
I 'Hope' y'all are delighted with surprises this Christmas.
Check for all the other Surprises on The Saturday PhotoHunt
Happy Hunting y'all~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Flavors ~ Chestnuts

If y'all followed us during our Pomodori e Vino adventure, you will remember the quest I was on to find fresh chestnuts. It was January and apparently chestnuts are a seasonal item at the Piggly Wiggly. This time I was on the hunt. The minute I saw chestnuts I scooped them up. Now . . . what to do with them? ? ?
I can remember holding a bag of roasted chestnuts while wandering Christmas Bazaars in Germany; not only did they warm my freezing fingers, but they helped dilute the effects of the gluwein. I don't remember them being all that tastey.
I checked the Flavor Bible. . . and the flavors seemed to fit. Why not give raviolli a try? As usual, I have capitalized the flavors that are recommended.
Chestnut Ravioli in Marscarpone Sauce with Sage
Chestnuts In Their Shells (6 ounces)
Ricotta Cheese (6 ounces)
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
3 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
4 Eggs
Mascarpone Cheese (6 ounces)
fresh Sage Leaves
Cut an X in the shells of the chestnuts with a sharp knife. Roast at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool, then peel.
Combine chestnut meat, ricotta, zest of fresh nutmeg and salt in a processor until smooth.
Make the pasta dough by combining the flour and eggs. Roll the dough out in wide strips. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the filling at 2 inch spots along one side of each strip. Folding each strip lengthwise back over the filling and press well around the filling. Cut the ravioli with a press or ravioli wheel.
Cook the fresh ravioli in plenty of boiling salted water for 5 to 7 minutes or until they rise to the surface.
Put the mascarpone in the top of a double boiler. Mince the sage and add to the marcarpone. Heat just until melted. Serve over warm ravioli.
Join us for the ride on Facebook and our blog Flavors.

Happy Cooking y'all~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Traveling Tuesdays ~ Home for the hollydayz

I have been Blog-absent all week . . . as I'm sure y'all have noticed.
I have loved having my family here from Boston. They are headed back this morning. So I guess that is appropriate for a Traveling Tuesday.
Safe travels !Back to the North river...
I wish I were going too!
. . . but I hear it's a little cold up north!

Y'all enjoy the ride~

Saturday, December 17, 2011

PhotoHunt ~ JOY~

The PhotoHunt for this week is 'JOY'

~y'all know love it when I am on the GO~
If you want to play in the Saturday PhotoHunt... click on The Link
You will see all the other bloggers who have decided to join in the fun!

Happy Hunting y'all~

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flavors ~ Parsnips

Y'all can tell that I had absolutely nothing to do with the choices of Flavors we would be cooking.
Not a single Grit on the schedule.
Our flavor for this week is Parsnip.
I didn't even know enough to know that Parsnips should never be eaten raw. I am just glad I never served a veggie dish with parsnips and ranch dressing. This cooking challenge has expanded my horizons.
According to the Flavor Bible, Parsnips go well with Savory flavors and creamy sauces. I was at a loss until I pulled out my cookbook from the Hot and Hot Fish Club. Leave it to the Hastings to come up with a recipe for the humble parsnip! Once again, I have capitalized the flavors that are recommended.

Fall Vegetable Gratin
From the Hot and Hot Cookbook
1/2 stick unsalted BUTTER
1 large GARLIC clove
1 1/2 tsp HERB SALT
1/2 pound fingerling POTATOES
1 small rutabaga
2 large PARSNIPS
1 large TURNIP
1 1/2 cups heavy CREAM
The rutabaga, parsnips and turnip should be peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch slices. The potatoes unpeeled and sliced.
Preheat the oven to 350°
Melt the butter in a small saucepan with smashed garlic clove.Pour 1Tbs butter into an 8x8 baking dish, using the garlic to smear on all sides. Discard garlic. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of salt on buttered dish.
Arrange an even layer of sliced vegetables over the dish. Drizzle 1 Tbs butter, 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp herb salt. Continue to layer vegetables with butter and herbs until almost full. Top with a layer of large round turnip slices.
Pour the cream over the gratin, pressing the vegetables down to coat. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.
Allow to sit 10-15 minutes before serving.

Join us for the ride on Facebook and our blog Flavors.

Happy Cooking y'all~

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Traveling Tuesdays ~ Roma!

This week I am traveling to Rome . . . Not Rome Georgia. Rome Italy!
My friend has recently moved to Rome ~ her blog is Leaping Without A Net.It has been fun to follow her day to day experience. Now that is a Traveling Tuesday.

Y'all enjoy the ride~

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blue Monday ~ Yummy

How 'bout a quick and easy dessert to take to the next Holiday party?
Seriously. . . This light and fluffy Italian dessert can be simple. Especially if you use my friend Gail's recipe.
Gail's Great Tiramisu
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
16 oz Mascarpone Cheese
1 tsp vanilla (or Brandy)
2 boxes lady fingers
1 cup strong coffee
cocoa powder

Whip the eggs and the sugar for 6 minutes until fluffy. Fold in the Masarpone Cheese and blend until smooth. Add the Vanilla (or Brandy) this takes away the eggy taste.

To assemble . . . quickly dip the lady fingers in coffee.
So it doesn't taste overwhelmingly coffee. Layer ladyfingers in a 8x12 baking dish (or souffle bowl).
Cover with a layer of fluffy mascarpone and repeat ending with fluff. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Sprinkle with cocoa powder just before serving.

Is it any wonder I love hanging out in her kitchen, planning our 2012 Great Escape

Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues.
y'all enjoy~

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