Thursday, December 22, 2011

Break Time - Christmas Time - Cook Time

Hipolite Fudge

It is finally here...Christmas Break!!!  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  Sarah and Jonathan are both here and in the Christmas cooking mood.  So what are we going to do?  COOK!!!  They are starting with my mother's recipe for Peanut Butter Balls.  It is a family favorite!

I started with Hipolite Fudge ( a recipe from my childhood) and will moving on shortly to White Cranberry Bark with Walnuts.  So what is "Hipolite Fudge" you might ask?   It is a rich chocolate fudge made with marshmallow creme, chocolate, sugar, butter and nuts.  The Hipolite family made candies and confections and their marshmallow creme was called Hipolite.   My mother's recipe card is dark brown and barely legible.  Here it is...hope you enjoy!

Hipolite Fudge

2 sticks of butter
4 1/2 cups of sugar
1 large can of Carnation evaporated milk
1 large jar of Hipolite (of course they don't make this brand anymore...I used Kraft Jet Puffed Marshmallow Creme)
3 bags of chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
1 pound of walnuts

Bring butter, sugar and milk to a rolling boil.  Cook for 6 minutes stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add marshmallow creme, chocolate and nuts.  Pour into buttered pan (9 x 13 glass dish).  Cool completely and cut into squares

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thank you Mr. Two Week Break!!!

I am just finishing a wonderful two-week fall break.  This is probably my favorite break of the year.  The first nine weeks are usually hard.  After the summer break, it takes a few weeks to get my body accustomed to the daily schedule and demands of teaching.  Just when my body and brain is just about ready to crash....along comes Fall Break!  This year, I spent several days completing home projects and was able to spend a few glorious days in the mountains.  Hiking, resting and listening to Sarah sing in the Ladies Chorale at UT Knoxville were all part of our wonderful mountain time. 

With this being my last day before my break ends and all lesson plans and rehearsals completed for the upcoming week, I decided some time in the kitchen would be fun.  With cooler temperatures forecast for the end of next week a great soup recipe sounded good.  After searching through several recipes, I decided to combine a couple of recipes and make my own soup.  The soup is loosely based on an Italian Sausage soup that I made a couple of weeks ago.  Since my homemade vegetable broth was already in the fridge, putting a tasty soup together was easy.

Just a quick note....homemade vegetable stock is super quick.  I use three carrots , three celery stalks with leaves, the bottom of the celery stalk washed and cleaned, red - sweet pepper, one yellow onion and one bunch of green onions all chopped into chunks.  I add a tablespoon of course sea salt, 2 tablespoons of peppercorns, 1 teaspoon of thyme and 1 bay leaf.  Cover with 6 quarts of water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes then cool and pour through a strainer.  This is a wonderful NO FAT stock base for soups.  I usually substitute vegetable stock for chicken stocks in soup recipes.


Quick Soup Recipe

Saute 1 yellow onion, three large chopped carrots and three celery sticks in a large pot.   When vegetables are soft, add one chopped turkey kielbasa and 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic. 

When kielbasa is browned add one large can of diced tomatoes (28 ounces) and two cans (15.5 ounces) of cannellini beans.  Pour vegetable broth over veggies and bring to a boil.  Turn to a simmer for 30 minutes and add a small bag of baby spinach.  This is a wonderful, low-fat soup that is great for quick dinners and to reheat for lunches.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekend Pleasures!!!

What a whirlwind of a weekend!  Thank goodness it is fall break and I have some time to relax and catch my breath.  It is football season around here and with that comes Friday night games and Saturday marching contest.  These are wonderful memory makers but do tend to make this body tired.

This weekend, we played Franklin County.  Great game and we pulled out a win in double overtime.  The band looked wonderful as they marched during halftime. Then on Saturday, we traveled to Nashville for the John Overton contest.  The band was great.  We are very proud of those talented young men and women and what they accomplish.  We were also lucky to have our daugher Sarah home for the weekend.   I am glad Sarah was able to see Jonathan "do his thang."  Her comment was "HE IS GROWN." fast it has happened.

Since we have not had time to get to the grocery store, I had to improvise breakfast.  I decided to make my Mama's Homemade Biscuits.  I remember her making biscuits every Saturday morning and how much fun it was to help her.  She could throw together a wonderful breakfast very fast.  In a few minutes she would have her dough ready and turned out onto her wooden board.  Soon the biscuits would be cut and popped into the oven.  We always had a gas oven and stove.  Mama didn't care to much for an electric stove.  "Gas is easier to cook on" she said.  We always had gravy and her homemade grape jam to go with the biscuits.  I even remember her pear preserves.  They were the best.

So this morning, while everyone was still asleep, I put together my rendition of Mama's biscuits.  I did measure my ingredients and the biscuits were quite good.  Enjoy!

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of shortening or butter
3/4 cup  buttermilk

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Make a "well" in the middle and add shortening.  Crumble mixture with hands or pastry blender to cut the shortening into the flour.  Add buttermilk and mix with hand.  Form dough into a loose ball and turn onto lightly floured surface.  Kneed dough and from into disc.  Roll biscuit dough to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut biscuits and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees.