Cardamom Spice, Recipes To Warm Your Heart

spice jars

Warming and Flavorful Spice for Your Cooking

A warm aromatic spice

While better known today because of its addition to Chai drinks and Indian cuisine, cardamom has long been a favorite in Scandinavian kitchens and in my kitchen, too. It add a “je ne sais quoi” to many dishes ranging from the well known Chai beverages to such diverse cuisines as Scandinavian, Indian, and Israeli.

In fact, it is a favored spice in many Middle Eastern recipes, and is sold in open markets there. One of the best places to purchase the spice here in the USA is from an Indian grocery, although Amazon is quick and easy. And most spice displays in your grocery carry it, too. “Decorticated” ground spice seems more flavorful, although you can also buy the pods and grind them yourself.

For me, Christmas baking just isn’t the same without my Cardamom rolls and Cardamom spiced cookies. I want to share the delightful and fragrant spice with you, whether it is an old favorite or new to your taste buds.

Nutritionally

Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

More about the Health Benefits – Cardamom Spice

  1. Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
  2. The pods are rich in many vital vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C
  3. Improves digestion and stimulates the metabolism
  4. Reputedly used in love potions as found in the tales of the Arabian Nights, which make frequent reference to it.

Scandinavian Cuisine – Cardamom is no secret there…

Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Danes all use cardamom in their cuisine. These cooking traditions are world famous for their baking and coffee drinking is part of their culture. It is common to invite people over for coffee and cakes, an intrinsic part of the hospitable culture. Spicing up the cookies or coffee with cardamom can be one of the delightful elements of this repast. (Try a dash of cardamom in your coffee for a real taste treat!)

The Rolls No One Can Resist

alt=”Warm from the oven” width=”200″ height=”150″ /> Warm from the oven cardamon rolls

A Family Tradition At Christmas

I bake it as a traditional Christmas ritual, and this is a wonderful recipe for anytime you wish to bake it, although for us it is part of our Christmas Eve celebration. My family loves the warm spicy taste of the cardamom mixed with fresh yeasty sweet bread and sprinkled with slivered almonds. I prefer not to glaze the rolls, but sprinkle with an almond/sugar mixture.

Here is a simpler version than the one I bake.

INCREDIBLE In Baked Goods

Ground cardamom flavors yeast breads with a sweet, yet refreshing, nuance. Cardamom bread, a traditional Swedish baked good, is often flavored with a combination of cardamom and almonds.

Serving Size

Serves: 16 rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup unsalted butter + more for buttering pans
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 1/2 cups flour + more for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (about 110°). Let sit until foamy bubbles form on surface, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup butter in a pan over low heat and let cool just until warm. Let remaining 1/2 cup butter soften in a warm place until spreadable.
  2. To the yeast, add melted butter, granulated sugar, eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 4 1/2 cups flour, and salt. Stir or mix in a standing mixer with a dough hook until smooth, 5 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Butter two 9-in. cake pans. When dough has doubled, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 2-ft. square, spread with softened butter, and sprinkle with brown sugar and cardamom. Roll dough into a log, pinching the seam to seal. Cut log into 16 pieces and arrange, cut sides up, in a single layer in cake pans. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove plastic wrap from rolls and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make glaze: Whisk together 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. Remove rolls from pans and drizzle with half of this thin glaze. Add remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar to remaining glaze and drizzle over rolls. Serve warm.

If you are interested in using my recipe I have it online.

Christmas Cardamom Rolls

Cardamom Seeds (Decorticated) Whole

Arabic Flavor

Scandinavians aren’t the only culture to have an affinity for Cardamom- let the Arabic culture show their use of this aromatic spice.

American cooks often are not familiar with this culinary treat. Trying Arabic, Scandinavian, and Indian dishes will familiarize this addition which flavors breads, stews, and desserts with equal flair.

To get you started, an easy and well-loved dish is the following custard variation.

Middle Eastern Dream Custard

alt=”photo by phdstudent on Flickr” width=”240″ height=”180″ /> photo by phdstudent on Flickr

Serving Size

Serves: 4-6

Cardamom and Rosewater Lend Luxury Scent and Flavor

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons custard powder (commercial)
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • Ground pistachios (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put milk, sugar and cardamom into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat.
  2. Mix the custard powder with a little water to make a smooth thin paste. Gradually stir it into the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue stirring until the custard is smooth. Remove from heat and add rose water. Return to the stove and place over a very low heat a few minutes. Pour into custard dishes, and garnish with pistachios. Chill.
  3. ~~~~~~~~wish to make it from scratch?~~~~~~~~~~
  4. Try this variation:
  5. * 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  6. * 1 tablespoon green or white cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  7. * 1/3 cup arrowroot
  8. * 1/2 cup sugar
  9. * 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios or walnuts
  10. Bring milk, cardamom pods, and a pinch of salt just to a boil in a 2-qt heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
  11. Whisk together arrowroot and sugar in a large bowl, then whisk in hot milk mixture. Return to saucepan and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Chill pudding, its surface covered with wax paper, until very cold, at least 4 hours. Serve sprinkled with nuts.

Flavor Your Coffee

Cardamom adds a “je ne sais quoi” to your coffee- it is fabulous in strong Turkish coffee.

My favorite Israeli restaurant uses it in the coffee it serves.

Fabulous Cardamom Cookies – Rich Buttery Cookies

With the secret ingredient of cardamom that will have everyone raving. And such a simple recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • For Decoration:
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease 2 baking sheets.
  2. Combine flour, cardamom and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter until creamy, and add sugar. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flower mixture until well-blended, stir in ground almonds.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and cardamom. Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, coat in sugar-spice mixture. Place 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass into sugar mixture and flatten cookies to 1/2 inch thick rounds. Decorate with sliced almonds.
  4. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Remove sheets to wire racks to cool 2-3 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Fresh Spices Make A Difference

Like most spices, cardamom loses it flavor strength over time. You can refrigerate for longer preservation, but be sure to use your spice and replace it when it seems less potent.

I recommend this Cardamom – Economically priced

If you have looked in your local grocery store you know this food flavoring comes at a premium cost. An organic source that is far more economical is this one, online.

Ground for convenience, use it up within a year. Buy these smaller amounts more often for freshness.

Tandoori Chicken

alt=”photo by my_amii” width=”240″ height=”160″ /> photo by my_amii

Indian cooking uses cardamom in many of its spice mixtures- and no wonder since this is where the spice originates.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 5 hours (marinate)

Total Time: 1 1/2 hour

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (3 lbs.) quartered
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 cups yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 8 garlic cloves- crushed through a press
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper- to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring(optional)
  • Scallions and lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Remove skin from chicken; make two deep gashes in each piece of meat. Rub chicken all over with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lime juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Place in a 12x8x2-inch baking dish.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine yogurt with ginger, garlic, cardamom, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, remaining lime juice and salt, and food coloring, if desired. Pour over chicken and turn to coat. Cover loosely and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for at least 4 hours or overnight to develop flavors.
  3. When ready to cook, light charcoal grill or preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grill over medium-hot coals or bake 40 to 50 minutes, turning and basting frequently with yogurt marinade. Garnish with scallions and lime wedges

Christmas Cookie – Cardamom Pistachio Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter- chilled, (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed using a mortar and pestle
  • 1/4 cup sparkling decorative sugar
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped

Buttery Rounds

delicious cookies
delicious cookies

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for one minute. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks and beat an additional minute.
  2. Sift together the flour and salt. Spoon the flour mixture into the butter mixture and add the cardamom. Beat on low speed, then increase to medium and mix until the batter is combined.
  3. Spoon the dough into a cookie press and press out onto ungreased baking sheets. Or roll the dough into a log, wrap in parchment paper and chill for two hours before slicing into rounds and arranging evenly onto the cookie sheets. In a small bowl, combine the sparkling sugar and the pistachio nuts, then sprinkle some on each cookie.
  4. Bake just until the edges of the cookies start to turn a pale golden color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet, then remove carefully to a wire rack. The cookies will firm up as they cool. When they are completely cool, store in an airtight container. They may be kept frozen up to two months.

Cardamom Extract

More Ways To Start Using This Flavor To Set Your Cooking Apart

“Heavy Table” recommends starting your experience of baking with the flavor of cardamom with addition of an extract. Use it with vanilla or even instead of it.

Use as the flavoring in cakes, cookies and ice cream, pancake or waffle batter. It might become your favorite spice, too.

The flavor of cardamom captured in an extract is the easiest way to infuse its flavor into your cooking.

For custards or entree dishes you may want this form. I like the flecks of the ground spice for my baked goods.

The Cardamom Plant – True Cardamom

botanical stamp of cardamom plant
botanical stamp of cardamom plant

Foundational Facts

Botanical name: Elettaria cardamomum

Family: Zingiberaceae, the ginger family

Cardamom is native to the monsoon forests of India and Sri Lanka, but is cultivated throughout tropical Asia. The plant may be grown as an outdoor perennial in Zones 10 and 11which include southern Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii, in most parts of the USA it can only be grown indoors. If you chose to grow in a container, keep it moist, but not soggy. Place on a a sunny windowsill (facing west or south) and give high humidity, (by way of a bed of rocks or a mister spray).

Culinary Cardamom can be either the true or green Cardamom, which is this plant, or its close relative the black Cardamom. Green, this species, has the more desirable, delicate flavor.

“It is fruity, floral, citrussy and pungent, and its essential oil contains cineole, which gives it a dash of warming eucalyptus” – [1]

History notes:

“It’s a well-travelled spice, too, believed to have been brought from India to Greece by one of Alexander the Great’s soldiers in the fourth century BC, where it was used in both medicinal as well as culinary concoctions. In the ninth century, the Vikings took it from Constantinople to Scandinavia, where it’s still a fragrant favourite in baking and even in some versions of pickled herring.” {1)

Cardamom Cookery – More Recipes

Cardamom Rolls

Your Opinion on this Spice

Used to flavor rice pudding, cakes, chutney and creme brulée, it is included in Indian spice mixtures like Garam Masala. Scandinavians flavor glogg, yule cake or aebleskivers (apple pancake puffs) with generous sprinklings of Cardamom, too.

What do you use Cardamom for?

YOUR FAVORITE SPICE IS… – CARDAMOM OR ANOTHER?

National Cherry Dessert Day and Sour Cherries

red cherries

Among the more obscure nationally proclaimed holidays, were you aware of the day set aside to celebrate cherry desserts? Well there is one! For most of us, that means the tart fruits of the sour cherry tree, the  Prunus cerasus. The pie cherry has been consumed since prehistoric times. The earliest record of the cultivated cherry is recorded as having been brought to Rome by Lucius Licinius Lucullus from northeastern Anatolia, the country now known as Turkey.

Romans introduced cherries into Britain before the 1st century AD, where they became very popular in the time of Henry VIII.

the sour cherry tree
Botanical details of the sour cherry tree.

In America, Massachusetts colonists planted the first sour cherry, ‘Kentish Red’, and they have since become a much loved fruit here. That variety of cherry tree may even have been the one in the famous legend of George Washington, who knows?

Whatever its history, it is the flavor that assures ongoing popularity, and reigns supreme in every type of dessert. For your own celebration, whether on the official day or not, some well loved recipes are included in this post along with the surprising health benefits and a bit of trivia about the fruits themselves.

May 26

It’s a National Holiday for Tart Pie Cherries in Desserts

Even though cherries seasonally ripen in June, the Presidents Day holiday gives February the honor of being named “National Cherry Month”.

luscious cherries
They are tart, or sour, cherries from the tree Prunus cerasus. Their tartness makes them preeminent for the flavor they give baked goodies like cherry pie, cobblers, and other well loved recipes we remember from our mothers and grandmother’s kitchens.

While sweet cherries, from the Prunus avium tree, are best chosen for fresh eating, nothing beats a pie cherry for any recipe that calls for cherries for cooking.

Pie cherries with their tart and tangy taste create the zing that ignites a plain fruit pie into a memorable sweet summer surprise of flavor. Just the right contrast to the flaky crust of a home baked pie, or the biscuit topping of a cobbler.

Those “down home” desserts are only two of the ways you can use pie cherries to give your table a treat in the early summer month of June, or during other times of the year if you freeze or preserve the the cherries.

Tart Cherries Have Health Benefits

Health benefits of pie cherries include the fact that they have anti-oxidants.

 

  1. * Promotes circulation
  2. * May help you sleep better due to the melatonin content
  3. * Helps relieve migraine headaches
  4. * Helps prevent free radical damage
  5. * Helps you heal faster from muscle related sports injuries

 

Facts about Pie Cherries

Life's story on cherries

 

  • Pie cherries keep their bright red color when cooked, naturally
  • Sour cherries, like the sweet, are picked ripe
  • Look for cherries that are plump and brightly colored, cherries do not ripen off the tree.
  • Store in the refrigerator and rinse just before using
  • Cherries are highly perishable: Their shelf life is about four days in the refrigerator.
  • Cherries can be frozen
  • They may reduce the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.
  • 20 cherries a day might keep the gout away.

Of course there are even more cherry facts:

Cherries are one of the foods least often associated with food allergies according to World’s Healthiest Foods.

Findings on Remedying Gout

They are good for preventing gout. It is said, “six cherries a day” will keep the gout away, and it is certainly a delicious remedy to try. Research indicates that cherries have urate lowering properties. Uric acid crystal buildup is indicated in the onset of gout. (This is not medical advice, but information about the research results on the benefits of tart cherries).

More Reason to Love the Tartness

Tart cherries have fewer calories and more beta-carotene than sweet cherries

dessert cherries

Additional Health Benefits

Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that are believed to relieve the pain of arthritis and gout and help fight cancer and heart disease.

At more than 12,000 ORAC units per hundred grams of fruit, cherries have a higher antioxidant capacity than grapes, oranges, plums, raspberries and strawberries combined.

They’re also especially high in the antioxidant melatonin, which may help prevent or reduce brain deterioration associated with aging. And to top it off, they’re high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. [1]

Did you know? Dried cherries are made from the tart cherry variety. They have iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as some melatonin- which is a hormone important biologically.

The Celebrated Pie Cherry

  • Most tart cherries are grown in the state of Michigan in the USA. Traverse City, Michigan is called the “Cherry Capital of the World” and is host to the National Cherry Festival.
  • In Australia, the New South Wales town of Young is called the “Cherry Capital of Australia” and hosts the National Cherry Festival of Australia.
  • Fun Facts About Cherries: Cherry pits have been found in Stone Age caves.
  • Thomas Jefferson, grew cherries on his plantation at Monticello

Harvest Season

Tart cherries ripen two or three weeks after sweet cherries. Look for them in mid to late July.

The Dessert Side of the Story

Desserts are made of this
Cherries are good for you, but all that cream, sugar, and pastry? Maybe not so much… but the taste!
Besides pie, cobbler, or cherry dump cake, how can you fix this fruit as a dessert? Healthier choices to enjoy as desserts.

    Try cherries

  • with yogurt
  • with sherbet or gelato
  • baked into oatmeal

Because of their tartness, most people will want to sweeten them, which makes them ideal for desserts.

classic latticed pie
classic latticed pie

Prepare Your Pie Cherries with Professional Quality Cherry Pitter

During the season when stone fruits are available, you may be buying fresh produce. In order to use them in desserts, it is necessary to remove the pits. If you have ever tried this, you know how much a kitchen gadget makes all the difference.

If you are going to pit lots of cherries this is a professional style of machine to make the job easy. Highly rated and recommended.

Fun for Cherry Dessert Day

Wear a cherry patterned apron, bake a cherry pie or make some quick and easy cherry cobbler to celebrate the day.
May 26

photo by Rusty Clark
Cherry cobbler | photo by Rusty Clark

 

 

Alternative Cherry Pitter Choice
Leifheit 37200 Cherry Pitter with Stone Catcher Container | Cherry Stone Remover Tool

Leifheit 37200 Cherry Pitter with Stone Catcher Container | Cherry Stone Remover Tool

A cherry is a fruit with a hard seed pit which must be removed before using the cherries in baked goods. There are a number of types of gadgets to do the job, which is important to own if you have a large number of cherries to prepare.

 

Cherry Delight Cake

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine- melted
  • 1 egg -beaten
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart or "pie" cherries- lightly drained reserve 1 cup juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts -walnut | pecans | or hazelnuts

Cherry Sauce (see recipe)

  • 1 cup cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • In a medium-size bowl, combine butter or margarine, egg, sour cherries, almond extract, and nuts: add to flour mixture.
  • Bake, uncovered, in an ungreased 9-inch square pan 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cut into squares.

Prepare Cherry Sauce.

  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cherry juice, cornstarch, sugar, almond extract, and butter or margarine
  • Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Serve the Cherry Delight Cake with Hot Cherry Sauce and whipped cream.

 

February is…

National Cherry Month

A Look at the Harvest

Creamy Lemon Turkey Casserole

Turkey: Jeremy Keith on Flickr

Cooking, eating, entertaining, having a good time… it’s why I collect recipes and share them. Plus I’m half Hungarian.

Get Out Your Casserole Dish and Bake This Tonight

Casserole baked in an old style Pyrex baking dish.

My Family’s Favorite Comfort Casserole

Many years ago, a dear friend sent over a meal after I had given birth to my second son. It could be frozen for later or eaten that night.

Indescribably delicious to this nursing mother, whose appetite was ravenous!

When I asked for the recipe, was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was. Consisting of just a few common ingredients, it can be thrown together and simply heated through: a home cooked meal with almost instant preparation time.

This turkey dish became a staple at my house, a favorite of all my children, and a company dish as well. I passed on the kindness when I, in turn, made this dish for the families with new arrivals in the following years.

It is the kind of meal where an addition of a simple salad, some steamed green beans, and a homey apple pie for dessert is just about the perfect All American meal.

Vary It

You can also use this as a base for variations. Try adding some chopped, cooked onion, some steamed broccoli florets, or steamed medley of vegetables.

Serve it over mashed potatoes or stuffing, if you don’t care for noodles, or make it with the addition of rice and some sautéed garlic. There are many ways to vary this, but my favorite has always been its yummy, basic self.

Delicious with Chicken, too.

This is the perfect dish for sharing, as well as good comfort food for your family on a winter’s evening. As if that weren’t enough, it is the ideal way to use up leftover turkey from the Thanksgiving feast.

If you were wondering what to take to the potluck or wanted a good recipe for a buffet repast, start with this easy, economical, casserole dish.

Try Any Poultry

Not just for turkey- it is equally delicious with chicken.

Family Style, From Oven To Table

Corningware French White III Oval Casserole with Glass Cover, 1.5-Quart
Corningware French White III Oval Casserole with Glass Cover, 1.5-Quart

Use a good looking casserole dish to serve what is sure to become one of your favorite recipe. This white covered dish is a classic, making any food look great on the table or buffet.

I’ve used Corningware for years and they keep their good looks and work hard for you family cooks! Easy to clean, and bake up a casserole in superb style.

This is the baking dish I would use for Lemony Turkey Casserole.

What I Love About This Recipe

  • It is easy.
  • It tastes delicious.
  • It uses economical ingredients.
  • Everybody has loved it.
  • You can make it for two or for twenty.
  • You can choose what to serve it with: noodles rice, over toast, with potatoes.
  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 40 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked and diced turkey meat
  • 2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1/2 pint of sour cream
  • Juice of one fresh lemon (about 3-4 T)
  • 1 package Ritz crackers
  • zest of lemon, optional

Instructions

  1. Mix the soup, lemon juice, optional lemon zest, and sour cream in a large bowl; add cooked turkey.
  2. Pour into oven-proof casserole dish.
  3. Crumble Ritz crackers (I use a rolling pin to crush them) and cover the top of the turkey mixture.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until heated throughout in a moderate oven. Heat at 325 degrees F.
  5. Serve over cooked noodles.
  6. Tips:
  7. Medium width egg noodle is good for getting the sauce along with the turkey in delicious forkfuls.
  8. Healthier substitutions for condensed soup include making a “white sauce” with chicken broth base.
  9. Thin down and create more sauce with a splash of milk before adding to the chicken.
  10. More calories? Pour a bit of melted butter over the cracker crumbs.
  11. Directions for white sauce if you find the condensed soup too processed for your taste. Good substitution for Cream of Chicken soup.

<h2″>You Will Love This Recipe

Suggested Variation and Sidedishes

Because this is a favorite of my family, I plan to freeze some ahead for the busy week before Christmas. It is an ideal casserole to make ahead and have ready to pull out of a freezer and heat up in the oven on a busy evening. Add some green beans or a salad, cook up noodles, and it is all ready in about 30 minutes.

____________

Sometimes I use the zest from the lemon to add a little more lemon flavor, and will often reduce the amount of sour cream and add a little milk to make a lighter sauce. This is a very forgiving recipe, and the sour cream could be completely replaced by yogurt for a much lighter version.

Elegant Buffet Dish for a Crowd

Like I said, this is good enough to serve for company buffets and get togethers. It looks special when served in sleek buffet dishes. The recipe is easily doubled for plenty of home-cooked goodness!
Cuisinart 7BSR-28 Stainless 11-Inch Round Buffet ServersCuisinart Stainless 11-Inch Round Buffet Servers

Because this recipe is ideal to make in large quantities to serve a crowd, this server is the ideal way to keep it warm. It is an exceptionally elegant way to serve the humble casserole.

Turkey with Trimmings for a Traditional Thanksgiving Feast

About Me:Cooking, eating, entertaining, having a good time… it’s why I collect recipes and share them. Plus I’m half Hungarian- that explains alot.

Make a Traditional Stuffed Roast Turkey With All The Trimmings

A finely roasted turkey
A finely roasted turkey

You may love ham, or roast chicken, or goose for your holiday dinner, but there is something wonderful and satisfying about the traditional Roast Turkey Dinner that makes it a favorite and traditional repast for the winter holidays.

For one thing, a whole roasted turkey can feed a crowd, and for another it is versatile in how it is served.
all the trimmings
But it is not just about the meat… the entire meal is full of comfort and good memories, it is what we like to call “the trimmings”. For some that is cornbread, either as a bread or making the dressing. The stuffing, or dressing is all important.

There might be a side of cranberries in some way. I like relish, for some it is a jelly, for others cranberries might be included some other ingenious way. And Pies, plural! Pumpkin, Apple, and others traditionally round out a calorie packed meal.

The Best Turkey Roasting Gear

The best thing in many of American minds might be the many ways we use the leftovers from our Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy! Or as the French may say “bon appetit“.

I hope you will love the tips and my family recipes for your own great holiday roast turkey meal.

  1. The main thing for a moist turkeyis to roast slowly and keep those juice sealed in.
  2. Covered pans, injected marinade or butter, roasting bags, all are ways to serve that one single purpose.
  3. The most important thing is to cook thoroughly, and that is why a thermometer is handy.

Turkey Tips

vintage thanksgiving

How to Keep it Moist, Keep it Flavorful

  • remove the neck and giblets from the inside of the turkey!
  • baste the roasting turkey often
  • make small slices in the skin and insert butter
  • rub the entire carcass with oil or butter
  • salt the inner carcass before stuffing
  • insert the stuffing loosely, but fill the inside, don’t forget the flap under the tail
  • tent the turkey with foil or cover

What is Basting?

Using broth or meat juices to bathe the cooking roast. A baster or pastry brush is used to distribute the liquids over the meat.

How do you brine?

Mix brine made of stock, salt, sugar, and desired flavorings. Use turkey size oven roasting bag, place turkey and brine inside, and marinate in the refrigerator. Rinse,pat dry, and roast on cooking day. Full directions,recipe, and illustrations, here.

What is Poultry Seasoning?

A combination of ground spices that enhance poultry dishes, usually sage, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and some other spices.

You can buy it in a jar, or you can make your own, or buy it from Amazon. Almost every grocery sells it with the other spices. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends Poultry Magic

Thawing Time

Time Required to Thaw a Turkey Inside a Refrigerator

8 to 12 lbs. …. 2 to 3 Days

13 to 16 lbs. …. 3 to 4 Days

17 to 20 lbs. …. 4 to 5 Days

21 to 24 lbs. …. 5 to 6 Days

Cooking Times

Weight of Bird
Roasting Time (Unstuffed)
Roasting Time (Stuffed)
10 to 18 pounds
3 to 3-1/2 hours
3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds
3-1/2 to 4 hours
4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds
4 to 4-1/2 hours
5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds
4-1/2 to 5 hours
5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours
Use a cooking thermometer for best results

Buy a USDA-approved Grade-A turkey. Young turkeys, from 4 to 7 months old, are most tender..

My poultry choices are bolded, but you may want to choose one of the other modes of dressed poultry.

Choices for turkeys to roast are:

  • fresh or frozen
  • basted or un-basted
  • organic, natural, free-range, minimally processed, or kosher
  • un-stuffed or pre-stuffed
  • tom turkey or hen turkey

When feeding a large group (like when everyone and extra guests come to my house) I purchase a large Tom turkey.

Today I usually buy a hen turkey of about 12-14 pounds.

Simple Roast Turkey

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 14 lbs Hen Turkey
  • 1 48 oz large can chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to rub inside and outside the turkey
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning

Instructions

  • Thaw turkey if necessary.
  • Rinse, inside and out, and then pat dry. salt inside and rub out side with salt.
  • Gently separate the skin from the meat in several places on the breast and towards the back (tailend) of the turkey and along the legs. Insert butter or oil. Try to not tear skin. I cut very small slits in the skin and insert lumps of butter; some people rub melted butter or oil under the loosened skin. 
  • Rub outside of bird with poultry spices and salt and pepper.
  • Fill with stuffing.
  • Put turkey uncovered in a hot ,475° F, oven for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300-325° F, add broth to the turkey and pan.Then baste, and cover the turkey for its long roast. Baste often by lifting cover and using baster to squeeze the cooking juices over the roasting turkey
  • Roast for number of hours recommended for your size turkey and whether or not it has stuffing.
  • When skin is crisp and brown, and turkey meat thoroughly cooked (only thermometer can be precisely accurate, but if the leg is loose when wiggled that plus time cooked at the proper temperature can be indications)
  • Cooking without stuffing may mean you can use lower temperatures and shorter cooking times.

Notes

Stuffing, basting, and covering are all ways to completely cook and keep meat moist at the same time. Brine marinating is also one method for keeping the meat moist. Many cooks rely on a meat thermometer to insure the turkey is fully cooked.

Keep Your Turkey Moist

Whether you brine or baste, tent, or wrap in parchment, the point is to keep the turkey meat moist.


 

Simple Roast Turkey

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 14 lbs Hen Turkey
  • 1 48 oz large can chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to rub inside and outside the turkey
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning

Instructions

  • Thaw turkey if necessary.
  • Rinse, inside and out, and then pat dry. salt inside and rub out side with salt.
  • Gently separate the skin from the meat in several places on the breast and towards the back (tailend) of the turkey and along the legs. Insert butter or oil. Try to not tear skin. I cut very small slits in the skin and insert lumps of butter; some people rub melted butter or oil under the loosened skin. 
  • Rub outside of bird with poultry spices and salt and pepper.
  • Fill with stuffing.
  • Put turkey uncovered in a hot ,475° F, oven for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300-325° F, add broth to the turkey and pan.Then baste, and cover the turkey for its long roast. Baste often by lifting cover and using baster to squeeze the cooking juices over the roasting turkey
  • Roast for number of hours recommended for your size turkey and whether or not it has stuffing.
  • When skin is crisp and brown, and turkey meat thoroughly cooked (only thermometer can be precisely accurate, but if the leg is loose when wiggled that plus time cooked at the proper temperature can be indications)
  • Cooking without stuffing may mean you can use lower temperatures and shorter cooking times.

Notes

Stuffing, basting, and covering are all ways to completely cook and keep meat moist at the same time. Brine marinating is also one method for keeping the meat moist. Many cooks rely on a meat thermometer to insure the turkey is fully cooked.

Seared Green Beans

My favorite way to serve green beans is to get fancy whole beans in the frozen section, cook them until just done (never overcook!), then douse them with a good Italian flavored dressing like Wishbone or House Italian. Sprinkle with blanched almonds if you want a bit of window dressing.

For those who wish something more je ne sais pas, try this recipe from the folks at NPR.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
  • 1 pound trimmed whole green beans
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic
  • Red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Place a large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat. After about two minutes, add the oil, and swirl to coat the pan.
  2. Turn the heat to high, and wait another 30 seconds or so, then add the green beans and a big pinch of salt.
  3. Cook over high heat, shaking the pan and/or using tongs to turn and move the beans so they cook quickly and evenly.
  4. After about 3 minutes, take a taste test and see if the beans are done to your liking. They should be relatively crunchy, but you get to decide. If you like them cooked a little more, keep going until they’re your kind of tender.
  5. Sprinkle in the garlic and some red pepper flakes, and cook for just a minute longer. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

vintage thanksgiving

Simple Roast Turkey

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 14 lbs Hen Turkey
  • 1 48 oz large can chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to rub inside and outside the turkey
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning

Instructions

  • Thaw turkey if necessary.
  • Rinse, inside and out, and then pat dry. salt inside and rub out side with salt.
  • Gently separate the skin from the meat in several places on the breast and towards the back (tailend) of the turkey and along the legs. Insert butter or oil. Try to not tear skin. I cut very small slits in the skin and insert lumps of butter; some people rub melted butter or oil under the loosened skin. 
  • Rub outside of bird with poultry spices and salt and pepper.
  • Fill with stuffing.
  • Put turkey uncovered in a hot ,475° F, oven for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300-325° F, add broth to the turkey and pan.Then baste, and cover the turkey for its long roast. Baste often by lifting cover and using baster to squeeze the cooking juices over the roasting turkey
  • Roast for number of hours recommended for your size turkey and whether or not it has stuffing.
  • When skin is crisp and brown, and turkey meat thoroughly cooked (only thermometer can be precisely accurate, but if the leg is loose when wiggled that plus time cooked at the proper temperature can be indications)
  • Cooking without stuffing may mean you can use lower temperatures and shorter cooking times.

Notes

Stuffing, basting, and covering are all ways to completely cook and keep meat moist at the same time. Brine marinating is also one method for keeping the meat moist. Many cooks rely on a meat thermometer to insure the turkey is fully cooked.

vintage thanksgiving

Simple Roast Turkey

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 14 lbs Hen Turkey
  • 1 48 oz large can chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to rub inside and outside the turkey
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning

Instructions

  • Thaw turkey if necessary.
  • Rinse, inside and out, and then pat dry. salt inside and rub out side with salt.
  • Gently separate the skin from the meat in several places on the breast and towards the back (tailend) of the turkey and along the legs. Insert butter or oil. Try to not tear skin. I cut very small slits in the skin and insert lumps of butter; some people rub melted butter or oil under the loosened skin. 
  • Rub outside of bird with poultry spices and salt and pepper.
  • Fill with stuffing.
  • Put turkey uncovered in a hot ,475° F, oven for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300-325° F, add broth to the turkey and pan.Then baste, and cover the turkey for its long roast. Baste often by lifting cover and using baster to squeeze the cooking juices over the roasting turkey
  • Roast for number of hours recommended for your size turkey and whether or not it has stuffing.
  • When skin is crisp and brown, and turkey meat thoroughly cooked (only thermometer can be precisely accurate, but if the leg is loose when wiggled that plus time cooked at the proper temperature can be indications)
  • Cooking without stuffing may mean you can use lower temperatures and shorter cooking times.

Notes

Stuffing, basting, and covering are all ways to completely cook and keep meat moist at the same time. Brine marinating is also one method for keeping the meat moist. Many cooks rely on a meat thermometer to insure the turkey is fully cooked.

Additional Trimmings for the Menu – Sides for a Roast Turkey

Maybe you like these, or they might be something I always include- more ideas to create a scrumptious Thanksgiving menu.

Simple Roast Turkey

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 14 lbs Hen Turkey
  • 1 48 oz large can chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to rub inside and outside the turkey
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning

Instructions

  • Thaw turkey if necessary.
  • Rinse, inside and out, and then pat dry. salt inside and rub out side with salt.
  • Gently separate the skin from the meat in several places on the breast and towards the back (tailend) of the turkey and along the legs. Insert butter or oil. Try to not tear skin. I cut very small slits in the skin and insert lumps of butter; some people rub melted butter or oil under the loosened skin. 
  • Rub outside of bird with poultry spices and salt and pepper.
  • Fill with stuffing.
  • Put turkey uncovered in a hot ,475° F, oven for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300-325° F, add broth to the turkey and pan.Then baste, and cover the turkey for its long roast. Baste often by lifting cover and using baster to squeeze the cooking juices over the roasting turkey
  • Roast for number of hours recommended for your size turkey and whether or not it has stuffing.
  • When skin is crisp and brown, and turkey meat thoroughly cooked (only thermometer can be precisely accurate, but if the leg is loose when wiggled that plus time cooked at the proper temperature can be indications)
  • Cooking without stuffing may mean you can use lower temperatures and shorter cooking times.

Notes

Stuffing, basting, and covering are all ways to completely cook and keep meat moist at the same time. Brine marinating is also one method for keeping the meat moist. Many cooks rely on a meat thermometer to insure the turkey is fully cooked.

The Side Menu

  • I enjoy a simple (ok,slightly dressed up) green salad
  • Corn bread muffins
  • Corn Pudding
  • White potatoes. Some people can’t imagine their meal without them.
  • Wild rice and mushrooms, goes great with the roast turkey. Can be substituted for bread dressing.

The Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook

How To Roast A Thanksgiving Turkey – Easy directions for great results

https://youtu.be/c7KiP3jcf6o
https://youtu.be/Vi3w-zL2IJY

Utensils You May Need

Use Thermometer Gauges, and a Baster

Roasted meats should be cooked thoroughly. This is important for health reasons, keeping the meat moist and not overcooked, for taste and enjoyment.

Large baster helps keep your roast meat moist. Handy cleaning tools to make sure it is ready for the next use.

Nifty Home Products Non-Stick Gourmet Turkey Lifter

Good old fashioned roaster is simple, economical, and easy to clean. Useful for Thanksgiving turkeys or for family size casseroles.

Turkey Baster
Roasting Pan

 

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin, Dinner Holiday Menu

beef tenderloin

Christmas Dinner At My House

christmas dinner

Every year, and it is my hope to continue, it is our tradition to have a big family meal together on Christmas Eve.

We keep certain foods on our menu because they are something that say “Christmas” to us in a special way, but we also change around the menu occasionally to include new dishes for excitement.

I want to share some of the foods we love with you, and the menus we have enjoyed as a family.

Sharing the holiday meal together is one of the most treasured ways we have celebrated Christmas.

Toys break, sweaters get stretched out and worn, games are forgotten in a drawer, but memories of enjoying a special meal stay woven within our hearts. Foods that create a part of a celebration together are an important part of that experience.

Dream Of An Old Time Christmas?

Memorable recipes are a time honored way to create a special experience that combines tradition, nostalgic memories, and fresh new excitement into your celebration.

The act of sitting around a table that is decked out in a beautiful setting is quite an unusual thing for many of us. Making it simple, special, and homey recalls old time ways of gathering family together for a memorable meal.

Eating Our Christmas Dinner

 

pear/pomegranate salad
Our first course fo pear/pomegranate salad.

A Festive Christmas Menu

While it is my favorite for Christmas Eve dinner, consider this meal for special times from New Years Ever to Valentines day, and beyond. Anytime you wish to have something to impress your family and guests.
Simply customize the serving amounts.

So what’s on the menu this year?

  • Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
  • German style fingerling potatoes
  • Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  • For Dessert: purchased cream puffs and warm fudge sauce
  • Cardamom Rolls

(The Cardamom roll recipe is long, and it takes some time to make, but it is worth it. I’ve had it online with other Christmas recipes I make….)

Why Choose Beef Tenderloin for the Main Course?

 

Tenderloin is very easy to cook

An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!
An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!

An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!

I know this cut of meat is costly, but if you remember that it is boneless, easy to fix (hard to mess up), and everyone loves it… you might want to consider it as your Christmas dinner menu centerpiece.

It is usually accompanied with a cranberry relish for Christmas, but I sometimes skip that dish , depending on the rest of the menu.

We always have a fruit and a green salad. A side dish of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or noodles is usual; and we always always have the Cardamom rolls that I make only for Christmas Eve.

 

Follow the link for Cardamom Rolls.

Or learn more about the spice, All About Cardamom.

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

This has become our family’s all-time favorite, and the entrée I now make for Christmas dinner. One of the things I like about it is the ease and relatively short cooking time involved.

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

Prep Time10 mins
resting time10 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef roast, holiday entree

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 Tbs fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed ground
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper freshly cracked
  • 2 -1/2- to 3 lb. beef tenderloin roast with excess fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to make a paste.
  • Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub the paste all over the surface of the meat. If necessary, tie the roast at 1-1/2-inch intervals.
  • Put the roast on a rack on a small, rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 °F for rare, 125 ° to 130 °F for medium rare, or 135 °F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt to taste.
  • Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the mustard sauce at the table.

Notes

I found it difficult to locate the ground fennel, and ended up using a spice grinder to grind up the fennel seeds, myself.
One year, I was able to find containers of Devon cream in the store I used that to replace the crème fraîche. Since then, I located both in my local Whole Foods store.
Crème Fraîche
1 ½ cups whipping cream
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) buttermilk
Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well for 2 or 3 minutes. Let stand at warm room temperature for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.

How To Cook A Beef Tenderloin

If you have never prepared this roast for a meal before, you may gain confidence from viewing the how-to video.

German-style Fingerling Potatoes

fingerling potatoes
Fingerling potatoes

This is an easy recipe to make, for something a bit more involved, but extremely tasty, try Fine Cooking’s Glazed Fingerling Potato Salad with Pancetta and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette. This was the original recipe I used;  if you have the time it is excellent with the beef.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 6 (6 cups)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. halved fingerling potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp.olive oil
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • a little chopped parsley
  • bacon can be substituted for the prosciutto

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium high heat until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, drain.
  2. Sauté prosciutto in oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until crisp, 5 minutes -or the bacon cut into pieces.
  3. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return pan back to burner, add vinegar and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add potatoes, simmer 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in prosciutto (bacon bits), add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad

– Refreshing, Colorful, and Easy

pear pomegranate salad
Pear-Pomegranate salad

This is one of my all time favorites. It is fancy looking with its creamy white pears, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and deep pink syrup sauce, yet quite simple.

Ingredients

  • 3 pears thinly sliced – two red pears and one Asian
  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • dark green lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl.
  2. Toss with lemon juice to coat.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.
  5. Serve in individual dishes on a bed of lettuce greens, and garnish with a sprinkling of sliced almonds with a sprig of mint
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 20 min

Whole Green Beans – Simply delicious

  • 3/4 lb whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

Instructions

fancy whole green beans
fancy whole green beans
  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in a colander and pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.

Recipe from Epicurious which is closest to how I make these simple green beans.

Pioneer Woman Talks about Holiday Foods

Some of my best holiday recipes and serving ideas have come from special holiday cookbooks. They are inspirational and come in a wide variety of cuisines to cater to every tradition and taste.

Once I found a set of menus that my family really enjoyed we rotated them through the years. We always seem to have a few things that we can’t do without for our holiday repast… usually the sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad (and of course, my Cardamom rolls).

Christmas Holiday Cookbooks


Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)

This is a book of inspirations for all types of holiday meals and party fare. It includes the menus plus the decorating ideas and everything needed to make it a time to remember.

How to decorate the table festively and work plans to make everything happen without a hitch.

Holiday Settings – Festive Table Trimmings

Christmas Oldtime Dinner

Whether it is a few hand-picked pieces or an entire set of china dedicated to the trimmings of the season, it really brightens the table setting to have plates or serving pieces with iconic Christmas trees, bright ribbons, or snow scenes. Spode and Lennox are just a few of the companies which are famous for Yuletide dinnerware designs.

My sister has a complete set of dinnerware for the season, while I tend to pick up bowls and platters from after Christmas sales. They add a cheering note of pretty color to my all-white stoneware. When fixing a special meal like beef tenderloin, this serving ware really showcases the special foods, economically.

Christmas table setting
Christmas table setting

 

Pretty dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners make the table part of the annual tradition. I always loved to see certain cups and dishes that were reserved for special family times on my grandmother’s table.

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Set a festive table with this fine dinnerware perfect for the Christmas season. Made by one of the best names in fine pottery.

 

Not Christmas Yet?

 

When first writing this, it was far from Christmas time. For Christmas aficionados I know no apologies are necessary. Some people (like me!) are only too delighted for an excuse to plan the upcoming Christmas celebration.

Originally published by Ilona Erwin on 05/10/11

Big Bellydance Index of Articles

Aladdin and Arabian Nights

Everything You Wanted to Learn of Bellydance…but didn’t know to ask

Not just movement, but context and culture, a whole array of topics that took off on a magic carpet ride of writing.

The Challenge

Could blogposts derive from one single theme to involve a large number of related articles?
I don’t know if I succeeded combining thirty related posts in numerous categories that will all revolved around the topic of bellydance, but this is the result of my efforts …

Presented now for you:

Explore the spectrum of “Bellydance” from the Middle East, Africa, and its forms throughout the world.This group spans the articles posted on several sites, which were originally published on Squidoo as a group that centered on many aspects of one topic.

The Dance: Baladi, Gypsy, Etc.

Gypsy inspired belly dance outfits
Gypsy inspired belly dance outfits

The entire genre of dance was once, and sometimes still is, called by the French term ‘danse du ventre’ or what we translated into English, the “belly dance”. In Arabic it is called “Raqs sharqi” which describes the performance of a solo dancer, or “Raqs baladi” which is the “dance of the country”. The latter is what we usually refer to as a “folklore dance”, common people dancing for a festive occasion in a regional style.

There are a number of styles of belly dance, and related genres of dance, as well. These include Gypsy, Flamenco, and Baladi of the Middle East.  Blogposts cover the range of this group of dances, to give an idea of how they relate to one another.

Although the origination of the Danse du Ventre Vol is lost in time, it is the Gypsy culture which carried this form of dance to many regions. It was then adopted  into the surrounding culture and itself influenced by regional styles of folk dance.

Gypsy performers often kept it alive by providing festive dance and music during times when authorities clamped down and discouraged dance performances.

Ethnic Expressions of a Danceform: Ethnic Expression, Exercise, Dance!

Gypsy and Flamenco, music and outfits may not make obvious the connection, but movements and an overview bring out a pattern of cultural influence. It makes an opportunity to explore gift ideas, too.

The Costumes

festival performance costume
Festival performance costume

Dressing the Part

As with any theatrical performance, there is stage makeup, costumes, and footwear, as well as props to think about. That is probably one of the most entertaining aspects of learning to belly dance: creating the fun costumes. And for those who just want to dress up, it isn’t hard to create your own costume, if you know the right components.These lenses cover the dress-up part of the belly dance world.

Costuming

On Hubpages, this overview of the different costume styles ranges from demure Baladi, to the classic Egyptian. You can choose authentic details for your chosen style of dance, gain tips on accessorizing or even make your own apparel items.

You Can Bellydance

Don’t doubt that you can learn how to do the basic moves and even advanced techniques from online sources or classes. Learn how.

DIY Costumes for a Bellydancer

Up the ante on your fitness program by exploring what this form of exercise has to offer.

 

Mideast Wares for Belly Dancers

Just to add an exotic note to your wardrobe, or accessorize a performance. Fringed and beaded scarves, dangly earrings, tribal necklaces and more, are items on wishlists of a bellydancer. Come to the Casbah online to seek your own treasures.

The jewelry is a distinctive folkloric style that often comes into fashion. It creates a Bohemian artistic touch no matter when it is invoked for a special occasion.

 

Dance Performance Ready

Arabic makeup for eyes
Arabic makeup for eyes

The art of decorating your face and body when dressing up to perform bellydance is part of the fun.

Tattoos

You don’t really have to dance to enjoy the practice of using makeup techniques to enhance your eyes or use henna tattoo designs. Or learn about tattoos. Sometimes it is just something you want to do 🙂

Pretty Feet

Pretty feet and hands are something every woman can relate to, but are part of the performer’s whole look. Learn how to give yourself a pedicure.

Makeup

Kim Kardashian popularized this look for many years, but it is a classic eye makeup for important Middle eastern events. Weddings, ance performances, anytime a truly dramatic effect is desired.

Near Eastern Music

Bellydance Instruments and Music
Some of the instruments include:

  • The Arabic flute: ney
  • The middle eastern violin: rebab, rababa, rabab
  • The oud, Arabic lute
  • The oriental piano:  qanoun
  • Drums: bendir, deff and tar
  • Mizmar, zurna
  • Tar, dutar, sitar, shashtar, tambour
  • Santoor
stringed instrument
Stringed Instrument

Read more about many of them, here.

 

Moroccan Decor

Bring the luxurious feel of a Moroccan hideaway into your home. Create a complete interior or just add some touches of exotica with ideas for a Moroccan bathroom or bedroom.

Moroccan Bedroom Oasis

It isn’t just one color scheme or look, but it is gorgeous. Soft textures, rich colors, delirious array of fascinating pattern and fabrics combine in a way that makes you feel pampered.

The Moroccan Bath

moroccan bathExtending the invitation to relax and indulge yourself, this styling of one of your most important rooms of self-care is full of beautiful tile looks, rich detail, and simple comfort.

Serving Mint Tea in Moroccan Glasses

These jewel like tea glasses are perfect for serving Mint tea, but what other uses may they have? Beautiful for weddings, for home decor, and because they delight the eye. A sampling of colors and types and more recipes for refreshing tea.

Orientalism in Art Media

The Middle Eastern Culture – Exotic Sounds, Smells, and Flavors

Loving the food and spices of this region.

The Hafla is a “get together” that combines music, food, and dancing- just for the sheer joy of it. I include some recipes in that article.

 

Mint Tea, Ubiquitous Hospitality

Everywhere throughout the Arab world, mint tea is a sign of hospitality. If you ever wanted to make it authentically, and serve it with panache, this post is for you.

Chicken Tonight Recipes

A wide range of recipes using roast chicken including delicious regional fare from this part of the world. 10 meal possibilities,

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken Variation – unique Moroccan flavor

 

Have A Middle-Eastern Hafla Event

This page on Hubpages, has recipes and ideas for throwing a memorable potluck party.

Extend your repertoire with an exceptional cookbook. The flavors are glorious and cooking this way is easier than you think.

Middle Eastern Cookbook One of the joys of this region is its spices, and the distinctive cuisines. It is gaining popularity and is very often a healthy choice. Whether you get a complete cookbook or simply try one of my favorite recipes, do try to sample this style of cooking.

Cardamom

You may not be familiar with this warming spice, but if you are I bet it is a favorite. Discover more about this ingredient in many exotic cuisines.

Turmeric For Health

By now almost everyone is discovering the health secrets of this golden spice.

turmeric and other spices
turmeric and other spices

If you are holding a Hafla event, you may want to stock on some of these baskets to display Belly dance videos, or present your stock of zills. Perhaps use a basket for holding thank you gifts for your guests.
Or as a bread basket for rolls.

Belly Dance Videos!

– Illustrating the many facets of belly dance

Each blogpost has a number of videos to illustrate Middle Eastern dance and culture. there is also a feature of Hollywood vignettes from films.

In the Movies

It went to the movies and highlighted some favorite films of the past. It has had its own popularity in the Middle East.

Make Your Workouts Fun

Loads of workouts featuring this style of dance are available from all sorts of experts. Find online videos or purchase those you love for in-home workouts. Great alternative to taking classes, if that’s what you prefer.

Halloween Costumes

halloween outfit
Typical halloween outfit for women.

Everyone likes to dress up, that is one of the perks of belly dancing. So it isn’t surprising that a favorite Halloween costume would be one with an Arabian Nights theme.

The costuming articles listed in this index are mainly about creating authentic belly dance costumes: the type that real Oriental dance performers actually use.

In completing a Squidoo quest for a Halloween costume lens, I made this one which conforms to the theme of Middle Eastern topics.

Caveat: But remember that Halloween costumes are necessarily much more simple to make, or if purchased, are much less expensive in terms of time and materials and workmanship.

The price will reflect that and I wouldn’t recommend these costumes for the rigors of a belly dance performance, but they sure are fun for a costume party! They are less expensive by far and made of less expensive materials and workmanship- like any other Halloween dress-up purchase. You can get the best of both better quality and cost savings by following the DIY ideas.

The large number of men’s costume ideas in the Halloween lens will serve to costume the male guests at Hafla events, etc.

1001 Arabian Nights Halloween Costumes

Johnny Depp as a pirateWhat do Johnny Depp’s Pirate look and the Arabian Nights have in common? Find out and get some fabulous costume ideas for the next Halloween Party.ideas

How to put the look together, D-I-Y costume pattern links and pictures, costumes for different characters including both male and female versions of Arabian Nights inspired looks.

Makeup  ideas and accessory inspirations for a complete guide to creating your own star performance .

Musical Marrakesh Adventure

Listen to these intriguing sounds and immerse in the exotic sight before you travel on your magic carpet.

Recipes With Health Giving Turmeric

Start Using Turmeric Today For Brain Benefits

 Source: nutritionfacts.org
Source: nutritionfacts.org

If you have read about the health benefits of Turmeric, then the idea of increasing your cooking repertoire to include more of this golden spice into your diet is a priority. The world cuisines that traditionally value the flavor of this spice provide a wide number of new dishes to try.

Spices can aid your health.

Where Can I Find Recipes That Call For Turmeric?

East Indian Foods

Indian cuisine is a highly developed and distinctive one, so it is easy to find lots of recipes of all types. Start looking at the Yellow curries, since the spice gives foods a nice golden yellow color.

Curcuma longa is grown in mainly in India which is another reason to begin our journey of discovery in the foods of this part of the world.

Indonesian Recipes

Less well known, but greatly loved by many who try it, Indonesian foods often are made with the addition of curry powder. They have their own version of curries, as do Thai foods.

North African Foods

Another richly flavored trove of foods that include the flavorings we are looking for; plus this is another fabulous regional cooking.

Health Food Stores

The well known health properties of certain spices inspire cookbooks that are geared towards an aim of wellness. Those cookbooks are often stocked in health food stores. Check to see if they have a bookshelf of cookbooks that contain recipes for teas and drinks, as well as other ways to include more of an ingredient like this.

Be Experimental With Old Favorites

Love egg salad? Chili? Macaroni and potato dishes? Try adding some healthful spices to those old standbys. You might like them even better with some of the zing that you have added.

Be Sure To Try The Curry Egg Casserole

On this page, the egg and curry dish is easy, tasty, and is great with added turmeric. So healthy if you add side dishes of fresh and cooked fruits and veggies, all on top of a mound of rice.

For British Tastes

The British developed a taste for many of the Eastern spices when they became familiar with the cuisine of their colonies. They also have sizable populations of people with Indian and Pakistani heritage. If you love a British menu, try the menu of many sorts of recipes including Turmeric.

Indian Food Finds Favor

Indian for Everyone: The Home Cook's Guide to Traditional Favorites
Indian for Everyone: The Home Cook’s Guide to Traditional Favorites

More and more people are discovering the delicious flavors of India.

Part of the good news story on this is the way spices are used in the daily dishes of this world cuisine.

Turmeric is strongly represented in many dishes. I love the flavors of Indian food and especially the home cooking of this book.

As one reviewer said, If you have room for only “one go-to book for Indian home cooking on your shelf…this is it”.

A new cuisine can seem daunting with its unfamiliar spices and ingredients, but starting simple with a collection like this is the way to enrich your diet and your repertoire.

  • BBC – Food – Turmeric recipes
    A bright yellow spice that comes from the rhizome of a plant in the ginger family. It is sometimes available fresh, but is usually sold dried and…

Tip:

WHEN MAKING CURRIES, CONSIDER ADDING MORE TURMERIC TO THE READY MADE CURRY POWDER.

Beef Curry

Curried Beef
Source: Wikipedia Commons

Entree’s

Considered As One Of The Tastiest Dishes In The World

Widen Your Culinary Horizons

The North African Kitchen: Regional Recipes and Stories

The North African Kitchen: Regional Recipes and Stories

We can add more Turmeric into our cooking if we try out recipes from those cuisines that traditionally included the spice. Indian, North African, and others often are flavored with it.

Besides adding certain ingredients, the flavorful dishes of this region are exotic enough to be something different, but full of delightful tastes that we will soon find comforting and filling. That means it won’t be just a one time recipe or two- you will be making some of these marvelous flavors as a new part of your cooking repetoire, and add to your health while doing it.

Try It In Egg Dishes

egg salad sandwiches
Source: Season With Spice blog

Easy, Fast, Egg Curry Casserole

This is my standby for a busy day.

Egg Curry Casserole

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Dish
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 slice mild cheese Muenster is good
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1/2 pint dairy sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons curry or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Layer buttered casserole dish with cheese slices.
  • In small bowl mix egg whites, sour cream, milk, and spices until well blended.
  • Evenly space the yolks of the egg over the cheese (unbroken). Then pour egg white and sour cream mixture carefully around the yolks.
  • Bake at 350 until set, about 30-45 minutes. Serve over toast with condiments.
Serve It With:

I like a side of green vegetable… steamed broccoli is my usual choice, although a salad of leafy green or kale would go nicely. Chopped cucumber salad could also be a refreshing summertime choice.

The bowls to accompany the curried eggs are according to what appeals most to you. A dab of Chutney really adds wonderful flavor to all ingredients.

Suggested side bowls:

Chopped fresh tomato
Coconut flakes
Chutney
Chopped Peanuts
Banana slices
Mango chunks
Green onion

Tips For Cooking With Turmeric

  • Add a pinch to oil in pan before sautéing.
  • Use turmeric in acidic recipes: tomato-based dishes, dressings with vinegars, lemon juice.
  • Protect your spices from light damage: keep in a dark place.
  • Add to your grilling marinades; Turmeric inhibits carcinogens.

What should I look for when buying this spice?

Remember to use black pepper with tumeric for better absorption. any fresh spice is the best.

You can look for non-GMO types. Organic or Kosher are also other designations.

Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder, 1 lb.
Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder, 1 lb. Bulk

Not a Cure-all

Use additions of herbs and spices as healthy supplements to your diet, don’t expect them to be cure-alls.

It Does Have Health Benefits

Make A Tea with It

Side Dishes

 Stain Warning

Cleaning:

Turmeric can stain. Careful of your clothes and counters when cooking with it.

*Try equal parts hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing soap to clean.

Cherry Pie Day – Hooray!

pie

An Excuse For 3 Fruit-filled Recipes

The Delightful Cherry Pie Is Celebrated

Why do I love February? Is it the cheery Valentines or the fact that winter is almost over? It certainly isn’t the slushy snow and cold rain that often mark this month in the north of the USA. But one thing that you can always count on is the proliferation of plenty of cherry pies in this month. And there is something wonderfully delightful about this red fruit pie that is sweet to the taste, the nose and the eye! No wonder a day is set aside to celebrate the delicious cherry pie.

Always observed on on February 20th, you can have a special celebration of this tasty pie at your house. But why is cherry pie day celebrated in February?

Step By Step Instructions To Bake Your Own

Cherry Pie Recipes to Try

Delectable Lattice Pie Filled with Tart Cherry Filling

 

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:2]

Show off your cherry pies

A cherry red pie plate is up to the task!
Any pie would look lovely served in this pie plate, but can you picture a lattice topped, tart cherry pie filling peeking through deliciously? Display it directly on the table, or let it stand out when serving desserts.

Cherry Red Pie Dish

Emile Henry 9-Inch Pie Dish, Cerise Red
Emile Henry 9-Inch Pie Dish, Cerise Red

This lovely fluted edge pie plate to accentuate the beauty of your cherry pie is in the appropriate color of cerise (cherry) red.

Oregon Fruits Cherry Pie Video

Cherry Pie Recipe – The one from the Oregon Fruits video shown on this lens

A video with plenty of pie making tips and taking you through the steps of how to make a lattice crust and fill it with a delicious cherry pie filling.

So gather all your ingredients and utensils and get ready to bake your own homemade pie!

Traditional Cherry Pie

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • ½ - 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cans Oregon Red Tart Cherries
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 3 crusts for a 9-inch pie

Pastry

  • 2 cups flour all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 4- 6 tablespoons ice water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the cherries and reserve the juice from only one can.
  • In a saucepan, stir the cherry juice into the combined mixture of the cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Gently stir in cherries and almond extract.
  • Pour filling into pastry lined pie pan. Dot with butter or margarine.
  • Adjust crust, seal and vent. Bake for about 40 minutes. If necessary, cover edges with aluminum foil during last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning.
  • Cool pie several hours to allow filling to thicken before slicing.

Recipe for the Pie Crust

  • Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Mix in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough forms a ball. Do not overmix. Divide dough into two balls.
  • Using a well-floured surface and rolling pin, roll each pastry ball from the center to the edges with long, even strokes.
  • Roll each pastry into a circle large enough to fit in a 9-inch pie plate.

Recipe on Queen of Tarts, http://blog.oregonfruit.com/how-to-videos/cherry-pie-how-to-video/

Your Baking Style

How Do You Make Your Cherry Pie?

KitchenAid Double Oven For All Your Baking

Bake to your hearts delight in a dream kitchen oven. I have used both great ovens and had the unfortunate experience of poor ones. a well equipped kitchen helps make baking for special events a joy and success. I’m not just saying that.

I always wanted double ovens because at Thanksgiving and Christmas there is never enough space for the entrees and pies.
KitchenAid Architect Series II KEBS277SSS.27" Double Electric Wall Oven
KitchenAid Architect Series II KEBS277SSS.27″ Double Electric Wall Oven with Even-Heat True Convection System in Upper Oven & Temperature Probe: Stainless Steel

You need an oven to bake your pies, and this one is one of the best moderately priced for the home cook.

Great cooks use reliable appliances. If you are remodeling your kitchen or looking for an additional or replacement oven, consider the great quality of a KitchenAid.

Tart Cherries for pie

Which is best for cherry pies? Sweet or tart?

I’m sure there are those who have their preference for sweet cherries, but the tang of a tart cherry just seems made for addition to the tender crust and sweetened juices of a fruit pie. There seems to be good reason why sour cherries are also called “pie cherries”.

And while almond flavoring and vanilla extract are often called for to additionally flavor the pie filling, I like a pinch of mace. Try it! Mace is the outer part of the nutmeg and has a somewhat more subtle , but delicious flavor that it adds. Mace particularly complements cherry flavors.

Cherry Slab Pie – Delicious Recipe For A Crowd

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen who got it from Martha Stewart. I don’t know who Martha Stewart got it from. The variation of making a slab pie is ideal for serving a large group- like at a potluck, etc.

Traditional Cherry Pie

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • ½ - 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cans Oregon Red Tart Cherries
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 3 crusts for a 9-inch pie

Pastry

  • 2 cups flour all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 4- 6 tablespoons ice water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the cherries and reserve the juice from only one can.
  • In a saucepan, stir the cherry juice into the combined mixture of the cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Gently stir in cherries and almond extract.
  • Pour filling into pastry lined pie pan. Dot with butter or margarine.
  • Adjust crust, seal and vent. Bake for about 40 minutes. If necessary, cover edges with aluminum foil during last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning.
  • Cool pie several hours to allow filling to thicken before slicing.

Recipe for the Pie Crust

  • Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Mix in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough forms a ball. Do not overmix. Divide dough into two balls.
  • Using a well-floured surface and rolling pin, roll each pastry ball from the center to the edges with long, even strokes.
  • Roll each pastry into a circle large enough to fit in a 9-inch pie plate.

The original recipe is here, http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/07/sour-cherry-slab-pie/.

Sweet Little Tarts

Tart Montmorency
Tart Cherries Are Best For Pies

Pie Making Tips

From the American Pie Council

 Pie Making Tips 
  • Read the entire recipe before starting your pie. Make sure you have all of the ingredients and utensils and take time to understand all the directions. Skipping this step is the major cause of mistakes.
  • Cold ingredients are the one most important matter when making a great pie crust Have cold bowls and utensils for an extra measure of success. Be sure to chill the dough for at least an hour before rolling it out. Keep the shortening cold for a deliciously flaky crust.
  • Don’t overwork the dough. Your shortening or butter should be coated with flour mixture, not blended with it. Over handling and mixing causes gluten to form, and this is what toughens the dough. Cool your hands before handling, if possible (run under cold water and then dry thoroughly).
  • Transfer crust dough into the pie pan with care. Fit the dough into the dish while avoiding stretching. Trim the dough to 1″ inch over hang and tuck it under itself to create a thick rim.
  • With the index finger on one hand, press the dough against the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand; continue around the perimeter of the crust and dish, this is called fluting.
  • Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven, which helps bottom crust to finish baking. another tips is to cover the edges with foil or a crust protector so the edges won’t over brown.
  • Use only fresh ingredients. Make seasonally available fruit pies for best flavor. Cherries are in season during the month of June.

Pie Birds!

Spode Christmas Tree Pie Bird
Spode Christmas Tree Pie Bird Use this on your double crust pies to prevent the juices from bubbling out . It helps you attain that crisp, tender crust that sets your pies apart from the rest.
American Pie Council has lots of recipes to try.

Cherries Are Red

Beautiful Lattice Cherry Pie
Beautiful Lattice Cherry Pie

Which make them the perfect fruit filling for a pie that celebrates Valentine’s Day. AND February is National Cherry Month.

What is Cherry Pie Day?

And Why?

When I was a kid Presidents Day was a big deal in school, and along with that was the day to learn about the first U.S. President, George Washington. What does this have to do with cherries? You must have heard the tale of George’s famous ( albeit legendary and maybe imagined ) confession, “I cannot tell a lie, I cut down the cherry tree”. And cherries were linked to George Washington Day in February (his actual birthday is February 11th by the Julian calendar), now called “President’s Day” and used to celebrate Abraham Lincoln and George Washington; and, well, all the presidents, really. Whew, how complicated! That is an example of what happens when the government gets involved with things, isn’t it?

Who Thought Up This Holiday?


Well, this is not about the debate over President’s Day or the telling of myths and legends, but of something that we can all agree upon… a great cherry pie is worth celebrating. The wonderful thing about this fruit filling is that it is a great way to make a delicious pie any time of the year- even in the tail end of winter, during February. If using tart pie cherries, there really isn’t much quality difference between canned and fresh, unlike many of the other fruits, like peach or apple. Cherry pies are fine tasting using cherries you have canned from the cherry season of June last year. Now there is a taste difference in pie fillings, so if you use canned cherries and not the syrupy canned pie filling, it will produce a much better pie.

Where did National Cherry Pie Day originate? No one seems to know. It must have originated somewhere. My guess is that an organization like the Pie Council that claims authorship of National Pie Day, or the National Cherry Growers Association or some similar marketing group, declared it and set the date to fall around the time President’s Day is celebrated. Organizations quite often lobby for their representative food to have a national day. Besides National Cherry Pie Day, there are days for Cherry Cobbler and Cherry popovers. And there is one for moldy cheese, too, but that is somewhat beside the point.

The point is that you have an excuse to bake a perfectly delectable cherry pie and eat it in celebration of the day!

Don’t just bake a pie… play some games, learn about cherries, make it a fun and different day of celebration.

Girls Original Very Cherry Apron

 

A Game To Play On Cherry Pie Day

CHERRY PIE GAME

~by Kylan from Kansas -5th Grade Teacher

We play a game called Cherry Pie. You stand in a circle and give the first student a word. He or she gives the first letter of the word. You continue going around the circle each person giving one letter. If someone misses they sit down and are out for the game. If the word is spelled correctly the person after the one who said the last letter correctly says, “cherry pie” and they are out for the game. This continues until there is only one person standing. I keep the game moving quickly, and I do no repeats, if they stutter or don’t know where we are they are out. This keeps them listening to every word.

10 Really Cute, Yummy Appetizer Ideas

Let’s Start With Something Savory

Like little dinner entrees, many of the new appetizers are now miniature versions of full size favorites and treats. I like this one for spaghetti and meatballs. then try some of the healthy ones with mainly veggies, or dig into one of the many that feature cream cheese. Even some that serve as little desserts.

1. Tiny Spaghetti And Meatballs


2. Grilled Zucchini And Smoked Salmon Rolls


3. Gussied Up Cream Cheese

cream cheese
Appetizer spread for crackers

Here is an idea from helloluvvy.com with just three ingredients:

  • Flattened and cutout cream cheese
  • Red pepper jelly
  • Jalapeno slivers

Just serve with a selection of crackers.
That sounds really yum, but I have a secret ingredient I like that would be perfect with this:
Harry and David’s Pepper and Onion Relish. Yes, that is what I would slather on top of the darling little cream cheese shapes (which btw, you could use cookie cutters to make any shape you wanted).

Just in case you need an easy access, try this link to the original ( there are other flavors for this popular relish)

I really think you should get it in bulk because over the year you will find all sorts of things that taste better with a dollop of this relish: eggs, sandwiches, cold meats, etc.

4. Lapsang Souchong (Tea) Eggs

5. Caramel Grapes

grape appetizer
Source :fantasticfamilyfavorites.blogspot

Cute AND sweet! These make a nice change from the savories. Little fresh fruit bites are simply large juicy grapes dipped into caramel and then into chopped nuts (just like their big sister caramel apples). Make and serve right on the toothpicks.

6. Little Piglets

Making pigs in a blanket look like the real thing.

pigs in a blanket
Wrap the dough around the sausage, but with ears, eyes, and a nose.

Use this recipe for dough, and assemble around the pieces of sausage.

7. Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

zucchini appetizers
Delicious and pretty healthy

8. Mini Waffles And ?

Southern Living has them topped with chicken, but there are oodles of other things to make an appetizer that really stands out.

mini waffles
Mini waffles – idea and recipe on Southern Living

You will need a mini waffle maker iron for these. worth it if you have children or just want to make these as a regular appetizer base.

Topping could include:

  • Dipped in chocolate and sprinkles
  • Fruit and whipped cream
  • Bacon and scrambled egg with touch of salsa
  • Shredded BBQ pork or Chicken

9. Mini Potatoes

potatoes
via Pinterest

Your favorite potato, baby sized. Cook til golden brown, slice open and fill with your favorite topping. This one is simple sour cream and chives.

10. Fairy Toadstool Eggs

stuffed eggs
Cute for Christmas, Fairy Princess party or Summer get-together

Hard boil small or pullet sized eggs, peel. Prepare cherry tomato halves. either construct using hardboiled eggs or slice off top and scoop out yolk to mix with mayonnaise and mustard. Cap with cherry tomato half. Arrange on bed of Alfalfa sprouts. Crumble some feta cheese and apply to caps.

I hope these cute appetizer ideas get you inspired to add something special to the start of your holiday meals and parties.

The beginning image is from the recipe for tiny lemon tarts on The 350 Degree Oven made from 3 simple ready-made ingredients:
pie crust, lemon curd, and a dusting of powdered sugar.