Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Food Traditions

Do you have any food traditions for New Years Day?  Our families food tradition is for good luck in the coming year.  The only meat we have is pork.  We have fixed pork roast with sauerkraut, pork brats, ham, bacon, it just has to be pork.  This year I bought pork tamales.  To go with the tamales I made a "Good Fortune" Black-Eyed Pea Salad. 

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
4 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (Italian flat leaf parsley can be substituted)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 15oz cans  Bush's Black-eyed Peas with Bacon, drained

Combine the first 6 items in a bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk together rice wine vinegar, canola oil, sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add black-eyed peas and dressing to veggies and mix together lightly.  Cover and store in refrigerator overnight to allow flavors to marry.  Serves 6 to 8

Happy New Year and Talk To You Next Year,

New Years Eve and Reflection on 2011

I never got a chance to get on my blog to wish everyone a Merry Christmas life got busy.  I hope your Christmas was filled with family, friends, love and memories.  Our family had a wonderful Christmas, just the way I like it low key and very special.  

I hope Santa was good to you.  I'm sure you watched him like we did on Google.

Reflections of 2011

January 01 until January 12th were spent at the Holiday Inn with my husband, daughter, our dog and two birds waiting for our escrow to close on our home in Utah.  We actually left California on 12/28/10 and have officially been in Utah one year.  We have experienced our first winter and how crazy we were to move in the dead of winter.  We dealt with our well pump going out and having it replaced.  We were without water for 5 days.  We trimmed and cleared trees, brush, trash and made dozens of trips to the dump.  Proud to say that our property has a park like setting.

BLM and the Utah Forestry came in and cleared hundreds of trees making a fire break to protect our home against a fire.  We are thankful for all of their hard work.  We have made countless trips downtown not only for grocery shopping but to pick up our mail and truck our trash down to the community dumpster. We have stressed about having enough propane to get through the winter and have fallen in love with the wood stove.  (This is all new and foreign for us)

We have enjoyed watching the wildlife just by looking out our living room window, taken hikes through our property.  We have gotten stuck in the snow and unable to get up our driveway due to ice and have had to walk 1/4 mile up our drive to get to the house more times than we would like to admit.  We have explored some of the National Parks that surround us, have gone to rodeos, have been to more parades in one year than I have been to in the last 5 years.  I have walked in snow in 2011 more than I have in my entire life. 

Our dog Whitey of 14 years passed away while we were here.  We welcomed a new puppy Olive into our home and she has captured our hearts and filled our house with joy.

It has been a great year with very few hiccups.  For us our little spread on the mountain fits us and is a journey and a learning experience.  Here's to another great year at Rancho Delux.

Until Next Time,

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Vistor This Morning and Christmas Dessert Recipe

Instead of making the traditional Pumpkin Pie for Christmas Dessert I went for a Pumpkin Tiramisu.

Pumpkin Amaretti Tiramisu

Just a few of the ingredients that are going to make an incredible dessert

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 8oz container mascarpone cheese
1 15oz can pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 cup Amaretto
About 25 to 40 DeLallo Savoiardi Ladyfingers
6 oz amaretti cookies, crumbled

Beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Combine with mascarpone, pumpkin and spices and beat until smooth.

In a small, shallow dish, pour amaretto. Dip each ladyfinger before arranging along the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, overlapping to fit. Spread one-third of filling atop ladyfingers, evenly sprinkle with one-third amaretti cookies and repeat for two more layers.

Smooth top of dessert and wrap tightly in plastic and foil. Refrigerate. Best when chilled overnight. Serves 9


Every morning I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit in my chair in the living room.  I am always looking out the window up the mountain.  Bill asks me what I'm looking for and I told him wildlife.  We have been here almost one year and I got my wish.  I yelled for Bill to come look, a huge buck with two does.  I see doe's and small bucks all the time but to see a 5 point buck was a real treat.  Excuse the one photo you can see part of the window frame but the 2nd photo he is standing there looking down at the house.

Happy Christmas Eve

Until Next Time,

Monday, December 19, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Almost 2 weeks ago Bill and I were on a mission to find our Christmas Tree.  We walked through the snow (some places it was up to my knees) looking for our perfect tree.  We did find some beautiful perfect trees however, I didn't want to cut down a perfect tree just so it would be thrown out later.  We did find a tree that did have some bare areas and I could live with that.

We had some errands to run and would cut down the tree when we got home.  We grabbed the chainsaw and by the time we left the house it was snowing.  The tree was just 100 yards from the house.

Timber our tree is coming down.  You can see Mr. Chainsaw in this shot

Here is Bill dragging our tree home

Here is our tree.  Josh and Anna said it looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree on Steroids.
I bought this yippy skippy tree stand and it would not even hold the tree.  I'm not sure if it was the stand or that the tree is very heavy.  Bill took wire and secured it to the railing in 3 places.

Photo with lights and tree topper

Photo with bulbs. Thank you mom for all the ornaments I didn't even come close to having enough ornaments for a 12 foot tree

Photo with all the ornaments 

Photo of completed tree down to tinsel and gifts.  Filled in the bare spots pretty good

I told Bill that I think a fake tree is the way to go.  He said "Oh, no this is now going to be a tradition.  Finding our tree when it's snowing, 20 degrees and dragging it home and maybe next year it should be 20 feet".  Yeah right!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In Honor of National Brownie Day - Magical Brownies

I had two things on my mind today....Brownies and Magic Cookie Bars.  What is a girl to do when she can't make up her mind?  Combine the two together, well almost.

Magical Brownies
adapted from Hershey's Brownie Recipe

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, melted)
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan

Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs beat well with spoon. Stir together flour, cocoa, espresso power, baking powder and salt. Gradually adding to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Now it's time for the magic.  Remove from oven, top with coconut, pecans and sweetened condensed milk.  Take a knife and swirl around.  Place back in oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Now it's time to frost those babies and you can't beat the frosting recipe on the can of Hershey's Cocoa.

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/3 cup milk

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Add more milk if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups.  (leftover frosting is good on graham crackers, just saying)


Not too much going on around the Rancho still a lot of snow and our day temps have yet to reach the 30's and we have another storm coming next week.  I do enjoy going for walks in the afternoon with Bill and Olive.  Olive loves to go zipping through the snow.  Of course I take my camera with me.  Here are a couple photos from our walk.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candies

Here is a fast and easy candy recipe and you might even have all the ingredients on hand in your pantry. I make these candies every year for Christmas and are a family favorite.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy

Approx 3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 12 oz bag Semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter creamy or crunchy
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

Place 3 to 4 marshmallows in mini muffin cups (1 3/4").  Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a heavy saucepan.  Cook over low heat until melted and smooth, remove from heat.  Spoon into marshmallow muffin cups, sprinkle with Holiday jimmies if desired, place in refrigerator to set.  Makes approx 48 pieces of candy.  Store in refrigerator.

Fill a coffee cup with the candies add a pound of coffee and you have a wonderful gift for family and friends.


Yesterday I had a wonderful surprise a doe with her twins was in my backyard.  Excuse the railing I was trying to get take the photo before mom and the twins took off.   I think it's time to buy some deer feed so they keep coming back.

Until Next Time,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Something New For Christmas Dinner

I made the decision today not to fix a turkey for Christmas dinner.  I received a catalog in the mail from Nueske's Applewood Smoked Meats.  Everything looks so good it was hard to make up my mind what I wanted to order.  Here is what will be served for Christmas Dinner.

Spiral Sliced Bone-In Ham (Large Half 7-8 lbs) No. 521 $63.50

Chicken Cranberry & Sage Roulade (2 1/2 lbs) No. 646 $32.95

Now I'm going to concentrate on the sides and dessert.  I think this Christmas calls for something new all the way around.  I found a recipe for Pumpkin Amaretti Tiramisu which I am thinking will need a Test taste run.  I will keep you posted on the dessert.  I know how to keep my priorities straight.

Today was a beautiful day with just a few snow flurries.  Tomorrow should be the same clearing at noon.  That will make for a very cold Saturday night we are looking at 4 degrees.  Keeping the stove stoked and enjoy the day searching for recipes.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Decorating for Christmas and Cranberry Relish

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had great company, perfect weather and the food was the best.  But now it's time to get ready for Christmas.  Anna and I took down all the Thanksgiving decorations and started to put up the Christmas decorations.  

The mantle between the first and second story was the perfect place for my Snowman collection.

I will be sharing some of our family favorite recipes and the first one is my Cranberry Orange Jalapeno Relish. 

4 bags Ocean Spray fresh cranberries (washed and pick out any soft cranberries)
Zest from 2 oranges
2 oranges sectioned and chopped
1 red onion chopped
1 1/2 jalapenos minced
1 bunch of cilantro (washed and rough chopped)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 cups sugar or to taste

Using a food processor chop up cranberries (leave some whole).  Place in large bowl and add orange zest, oranges, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and ginger.  Mix together well.  Add sugar a little at a time mixing well.  When you get to 2 cups of sugar start tasting and adding sugar until your liking.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Until Next Time,

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