Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Homemade Candy Canes

I have never tried this recipe but it sure looks like a fun activity to do during the Christmas season and the kids will love you. Who doesn't like candy canes? Try this recipe for a very tasty Christmas candy treat!


1 cup of corn syrup
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
½ teaspoon peppermint oil
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Red food coloring
Powdered sugar
A metal cookie sheet
A metal saucepan

Prepare your cookie sheet

Sprinkle your cookie sheet with a single layer of powdered sugar. This will sweeten your candy and keep it from sticking to the sheet.

Combine your ingredients.

Add your cup of corn syrup, cup of sugar, and ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar to your one cup of water in your metal saucepan. Stir to combine them thoroughly.

Heat your ingredients.

Heat the saucepan containing your sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and water over medium heat until it reaches the soft crack stage which is between 270 degrees and 290 degrees Farenheit. At this stage, your mixture should form hard threads which are pliable when removed from the water.

Add your peppermint flavoring and coloring.

Once your mixture has reached the soft crack stage, add a half teaspoon of peppermint oil. Divide into two parts and add 2 drops of red food coloring to half of the mixture.

Pour your mixtures.

Pour your red and white mixtures in strips onto your powdered cookie sheet. Allow your strips to cool until you just cool enough to handle.

Form your candy canes.

Roll your strips into rolls and twist one red roll with one white roll. Form a "u" shape at the top and lay them out on the powdered cookie sheet to dry. Your candy canes will harden as they cool.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Eve Oyster Stew

Here is a recipe that we like to make on Christmas Eve. It is very delicious and a good change of pace for most people. If you like seafood you will love this stew from Alton Brown.


  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pint oysters and liquor, separated
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves, chervil, or chives
  • Salt and pepper


In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream and oyster liquor from the oysters to a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the celery and a pinch of the salt and sweat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and continue cooking until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery seed, hot pepper sauce, and oysters and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters start to curl.

Transfer the oysters to the carafe of a blender and add enough of the cream just to cover.*

Puree until the mixture is smooth. Return the remaining cream to medium heat, add the pureed mixture, and cook until heated through.

Just before serving, add the lemon juice, chopped herbs, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Soup

Here is a very tasty Christmas Soup from the Food Network:


  • 1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4-inch thick on bias
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound red kidney beans, soaked at least 4 hours and up to overnight
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 pound red bliss potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 ounces fresh kale, approximately 4 handfuls
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the kielbasa into a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat. Cook until the kielbasa has browned well and rendered its fat, approximately 15 minutes. If you do not have at least 2 teaspoons of fat, add enough vegetable oil to make 2 teaspoons. Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the beans and the chicken broth and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, add the potatoes, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Wash, rinse and trim the kale and tear into bite size pieces. Add the kale to the pot, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or just until it is tender, but not mushy.

Add the red wine vinegar and black pepper and stir to combine. Evenly distribute the kielbasa between 8 soup bowls. Laddle the soup into bowls and serve.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Peppermint Bark

Everyone will love this christmas candy treat. Who can resist chocolate and peppermint? I know I can't.


  • 8 ounces (about 1-1/3 cup) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 8 ounces (about 1-1/3 cup) white chocolate, chopped
  • 6 peppermint candy canes


1. Unwrap the candy canes and place them in a food processor. Pulse several times until the candy canes have been chopped into small pieces. You could also place the candy canes in a large Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Use a rolling pin to smash the candy canes until they are the size you want.

2. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with smooth aluminum foil.

3. Melt and temper the dark chocolate. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet, use an offset spatula to spread it to a unform 1/8” thickness. The chocolate does not have to reach all sides of the sheet, as it will be broken up later. Place the tray in the refrigerator to firm up for 15 minutes.

4. While the dark chocolate hardens, temper the white chocolate.

5. Remove the tray from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate in an even layer over the dark chocolate.

6. While the white chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the chopped candy cane pieces over the entire surface evenly. Press down very slightly to ensure they stick. Place the tray back in the refrigerator to firm up for 30 minutes.

7. Once bark is completely set, break into small, uneven pieces by hand.

Cook Time: Approx. 25 minutes

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Annie's Fruit Salsa

I don't know Ann Page but I do know her recipe for fruit salsa and cinnamon chips and it is delicious. A perfect snack during this holiday season.


  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 ounces raspberries
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • 2 cups cinnamon sugar


  1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture