Friday, November 30, 2012

*Best Loved* Derby Pie

Dear Ones, this pie is amazing!!!
I wrote about this recipe 3 years ago when I first started this blog, but it's well worth sharing again!  This derby pie is not only a family favorite on my hubby's side, but has become a personal favorite pie of my own! 
As you may know, derby pie is a Kentucky favorite that originated in Louisville, Ky.  I've seen recipes of derby pie that seems more like a pecan pie with a custard-like texture and others with the addition of bourbon, but I still think this recipe is the best! 
If you love chocolate chip cookies at all, you will go crazy over this!  It's full of pecans and chocolate chips and is a little gooey and very rich!  I used refrigerated pie crust that I fluted or "ruffled" and gave a milk bath followed by a sugar shower.  Yes, it's worth the fuss, for this pie is serious business around here!  I adopted this recipe from my mother-in-love, where we usually have it at her Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  I've had other's children ask me to make this for their birthday, and adults want to pay me to make this derby pie for them!  It is reeeally good!  (And it's super easy to make...ssshhh! ;)
If you want a slice of what Kentucky homes taste like at the holiday season, make this delicious pie!  Please enjoy every day of this beautiful Christmas season the Lord has given us, because I know it will slip away quickly into winter solace.  After just putting our tree up, I'm sitting by it now and taking in the moment! 
*Best Loved* Derby Pie
1 c. Sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) Butter, softened
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 c. Flour
1 c. Chocolate Chips
1 c. Pecans, chopped
1 Refrigerated Pie Crust
Half & Half or Cream
1 Tbsp. Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Get the crust out of the fridge and allow to set 20 minutes before using.  Unroll, arrange crust in a pie pan, and flute the edges.  Set aside.
Mix all of the pie ingredients together and pour in the pie crust.  Spread out evenly.
With a pastry brush brush the half and half or cream all around the fluted edge of the pie.  Next sprinkle sugar on top of the crust to give it a gorgeous sheen and sparkle!
Bake for 35-38 minutes.
Let cool for 30 minutes-- if you can--before slicing and serving!
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beautiful Cranberry Sauce

I want to share with you the deliciously sweet and tangy cranberry sauce I made for Thanksgiving dinner!  It has a beautiful combination of fresh cranberries, orange zest, dried cherries and toasted pecans.  The one apple in this recipe adds a little texture, but also adds natural pectin to slightly thicken the ruby sauce. This dish is actually really easy to make and can even be made the day before, only it might not make it to the dinner table that way! ;)
I like a cranberry dish on the Thanksgiving and Christmas table, not just because I think you should always have cranberries in a holiday meal, but it seems to accompany whatever you serve.  Whether it be roast turkey or pork, glazed ham or rack of lamb, the cranberry's bright flavor will add that zing you want on your plate.  Cranberries are like the pretty little jewels that dress up your dinner with their deep red hue!
My family loved this cranberry sauce so much that I put the leftovers in little jam jars and sent one with everybody on their way. (In this house you never leave empty handed!)  If you're a cranberry lover like I am, I hope you'll find room for this recipe at your next festive dinner! 
 Cranberry Sauce
12-14 oz. Fresh Cranberries
1 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Maple Sugar
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and chopped
Zest of 2 Oranges
Juice of 1 Orange
1/3 c. Dried Cherries
3/4 c. Pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Cook cranberries, sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes or until skins pop.  Add apple, zest and juice and cook for 15-20 more minutes until berries burst and mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and add dried cherries and pecans.  Let cool and serve chilled.
This recipe is slightly adapted from an Ina Garten recipe--love her!--that I changed enough  I actually  just shared with you exactly what I did instead.  I used maple sugar because Papa just gave me some as a gift, but if you don't have that don't worry, just use white sugar!!  :)  Omit the pecans if you're not a nut lover.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

What A Wonderful Weekend

What a wonderful weekend I had!  If Thanksgiving wasn't enough excitement, Saturday was my birthday!  I was actually born on Thanksgiving day, and my parents called me a turkey-baby.  Mom says after she delivered me she immediately wanted some turkey and dressing, because she could smell it cooking in the hospital the whole time she was in labor!  To this day that's one of my favorite things to eat! 
This is my last year in my 20's, and I find it hard to believe!  Where is time going so fast?  Just when I want it slow down for me to savor, it seems to be speeding up!  Anyways, I feel so blessed to see my 29th birthday and have my loving husband, family and friends to share it with.  I celebrated with my hubby being off work and doing some Christmas shopping followed by a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  It was a beautiful cold day that was perfect for me to wear my festive red coat and warm boots! 
I feel as though my birthday continues....
This morning when I got on blogger to check all of the fabulous blogs I follow, I noticed that I won a giveaway at A Delightsome Life!!!!  I won the new book Miss Mustard Seed's Inspired You, Letting God Breathe New Life into Your Heart and Home.  I'm so anxious to curl up by the fire and read this for some fresh insight and inspiration into nesting my home.  I feel like God gave me a little extra-special birthday gift through A Delightsome Life
 (This picture and the next one show you just a small bit of the Christmas explosion that begins to happen before everything finds a home!!  I love sorting through it all!)
Today, I'm in the exciting bustle around the house of Christmas decorating!  The festive music is on, and the twinkle lights are around the house as I'm putting all of my favorite things.  The tree will be the last thing and probably will go up by the end of the week.  It starts off looking like a cluttered mess with all the little Christmas pretties here and there while I decide to put them in the new house, but the end result will be my own Christmas wonderland!
This is one of my favorite things to do, for Christmas is definitely my favorite time of year!!! (Next will be changing my blog over to Christmas!)
I'll leave you with a cozy little peek of my finished decor.  God bless!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Thanksgiving Dinner!

Mr. Cozy took this picture about an hour before everyone arrived.  I think he did a good job of capturing the essence of the moment.....
It was a perfect November day with clear blue skies and brisk cool air.  The Japanese maple just outside the dining room window is fiery red and radiant!  It welcomes family as they come up the walk to the front door.
The candles lit, the table set and my wedding china placed, for this is Thanksgiving dinner! 
 I was so excited to fill up the antique table with 7 place settings for my family!  My sister's hubby is a new addition, and that makes the table as full as it's ever been at our house!  Here's a table about to be overflowing in the tradition and love that my family brings!
I really love my china, though I don't get to use it too often. (That's going to change!)
It's Noritake "White Palace".  The hubs and I both thought the gold trim on it was different and pretty.  There is also lots of raised ivory detail around the edges.  I find it dainty and beautiful!
I used gold chargers for a bit of fancy flair and the ends were flanked with cranberry red ones. The table cloth is filled with rich autumn colors, perfect for Thanksgiving. That was a gift from Mom for us hosting the dinner!
I topped the plates with neatly folded cloth napkins--that I also received at a wedding shower--and each person had their own baby pumpkin! When we took a seat for prayer before filling our plates everybody put their little pumpkin above their plate, and it decorated the table! 
I don't have real silver flatware, so I used out everyday forks and knives.  The stemware are crystal goblets my parents gave us the Christmas after we married.  We drank some delicious "House of Grace" or "9th Street House" fruit tea, which is special to us.  It was also served at our wedding.
The table isn't large enough to have a big centerpiece, but I thought the crystal candlesticks that were Mr. Cozy's great-grandmother's would be perfect for the occasion!  I think they should always be candles lit on the table to set a nice ambiance! Between them was a new leaf-patterned platter, I bought at Home Goods, that held the warm rosemary rolls!
Here's a small side table that was passed down to us that we just began to paint and refinish it last week!  (I'm not completely finished with the top.)  It had a dark wood finish, and I wanted to give it a French inspired antiqued look!  Mr. Cozy was a huge help with this!! 
This was where everyone could come and get a drink of hot spiced apple cider in their glasses where I already had cinnamon sticks in.  The white pumpkin held the delicious maple spiced nuts to munch on while Mom and I finished dinner!
Note: When I took this picture, I had yet to put the cider in or the cinnamon stick....I tried to take a few of these photos earlier that afternoon before things got busy!
The desserts were scrumptious!!!  Mom made her frosty famous lemon cake with lemon drizzle that's always so moist it fall apart on the fork!  We so look forward to it every Thanksgiving.  Faith brought a delicious pumpkin pie that was so cute with a couple of pumpkin shaped pieces of crust on the top.  This was yummy with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon!  I made some easy chocolates that were kind of like a rocky road candy with marshmallows, but also had toasted pecans and coconut.  Yum!  We enjoyed these after dinner while watching The Christmas Carol. :)
I'm sorry I didn't take pictures of much of the food! I was way too busy and hungry to. Our delicious dinner menu consisted of our favorites: herb roasted turkey and creamy gravy, sage dressing, green bean casserole, cooked down Italian green beans, sweet potato casserole with streusal topping, homemade mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese with butter-crumb topping, delicious cranberry sauce with pecans, rosemary rolls with garlic butter and honey butter with House of Grace tea to drink.
Mom and I made the food, and I have to say that it was mouth-watering!  Doesn't Thanksgiving food always taste the best??
I love this cute pilgrim couple standing proudly on the mantle!  I thought they were fun!
As the sun went down, dinner was ready and we were about to eat in the glow of candle light. 
Mom was oh so sweet to say that being there reminded her of what it would be like at Fred's house (From the Christmas Carol!) for one of his cheery Christmas parties! That made my night!  ....I've always wanted us to have a house with that kind warmth and character that's filled with laughter and love when you come over!
 God has been so good to us!  We have each other!
The night was a magical one to remember....
Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Traditional Herb Roasted Turkey

As you know, this past weekend Mr. Cozy and I celebrated our Thanksgiving with the family!  They were gracious enough to offer to come up for the weekend and basically bring our Thanksgiving traditions to us, because my husband won't be off on Thanksgiving day.  We live about 3 1/2 hours away, so what a truly delight it was for my family to drive up here for dinner!!! 
For the first time ever, I hosted Thanksgiving!  It was a blast from the very beginning.  I loved going grocery shopping for it all with Mr. Cozy, preparing our home for family, the dining room for a nice dinner, making chocolates, and all the while having Christmas music wafting through the house!  I'll have another post soon about more of the evening along with more pictures.
I made my very first turkey! 
I'm not going to lie...I was kind of nervous.  I've roasted a chicken before, but this is so much larger, and I wanted the turkey to be moist, delicious and cooked through for such a special occasion!  I really wanted to make the night as special as possible for our family. 
(These pictures were quickly taken before devouring the food!  So much excitement was happening around me, that I didn't get a good chance to take fantastic pictures of the turkey.  I don't think about food pictures as much when in times like this.  I hope you can still see how yummy it looked!!) 
With much researching, I came up with a plan for my turkey. This recipe is one inspired by the latest Southern Living turkey recipe and some advice from others.  It turned out amazing...thank you, Jesus! :)
I will start off by saying that I did some prep work on the turkey the day before. You don't have to do this ahead of time, but because I wanted to make things easy on myself the day of, it worked best for me!
I bought a 11.5 lb. fresh turkey, although I found out I could have bought an even larger one for 7 people.  If I host again, it will be more around 13-14 lbs, but we still had a little meat left over.  I rinsed and dried the turkey and stuffed the cavity the day before.  I wanted to stuff it with aromatics to flavor it from the inside out, and to make the gravy extra delicious.  (It was so easy to do this!)  I squeezed a lemon inside and put lots of salt and pepper.  Next I added one bulb of garlic, onion and couple celery stalks, with a bunch of fresh poultry herbs (rosemary, sage, and thyme).  You can easily find fresh poultry herbs packaged together in the produce at the grocery.  This combination of herbs will make your turkey succulent and flavorful!
I slathered under the skin some herb-butter I made and let it rest overnight in the fridge.  The next day--the "big" day--I took it out of the fridge about an hour before cooking.  I did a drizzle of olive oil,  rubbed more herb butter all over the outside and gave it a good dusting of freshly ground black pepper and salt.  I did use some kitchen string to tie the wings close to the bird, but that's completely optional and only to make it look nice.  I also put a couple of small pieces of foil wrapped around the wing tips to keep them from burning.  Now, the turkey was ready to roast!
I started it out in the oven set on 400 degrees and roasted it there for about 15 minutes, then turned the heat down to 325 for about almost 3 hours or until it reached 165-170 degrees with a meat thermometer.  After turning the temp down, I basted it a couple times.  I did find I needed to add a little chicken broth to the pan to cook with the juices, so I would have more to baste with.  Once I took the turkey out for good, I basted once more before transferring it to the platter and covering with foil.  I took it out of the pan right away so I could use the dripping to the cook the gravy.
(If this all sounds scary, I assure you that it's not!!!  If I can do it, so can you....)
I let it rest about 30 minutes before Papa cut us some beautiful moist pieces.  It's tradition in our family for him to cut the turkey, and he always does a great job!
Roasted golden, tender and delicious, this turkey recipe turned out beautifully!  The butter and herbs really keep the meat moist, and the gravy we made using the pan drippings was rich and savory!!  I'm happy to say that I've now successfully roasted my first turkey, which I think is a milestone in my cooking life. :)
Traditional Herb Roasted Turkey
11-12 lb. Fresh turkey
1 lemon
1 bulb garlic, skin on and halved length-wise
1 onion, quartered
2 celery stalks, cut in thirds
1 pkg. Fresh poultry herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme), divided
1/4-1/3 c. Butter, room temperature
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Chicken broth, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
1. Remove the neck and giblets.Wash and rinse the inside and outside of the bird.  Pat the outside dry.    I placed my turkey on a rack inside a large roasting pan.
2. To make the herb butter, start by putting the softened butter in a bowl.  Take a little of all three fresh herbs and chop up together.  Add this to the butter with a dash of salt. Mix together well and set the herb butter aside.
3. Squeeze the juice of one lemon in the cavity and shower inside with salt and pepper.  Stuff in the garlic, onion, celery and fresh herbs.
4. Gently using your fingers, pry the skin up a bit on the breast of the turkey. Put some butter on your hands and rub the butter as far down the breast as you can go without tearing the skin.  You're rubbing it directly on the turkey meat.
5.  Drizzle just a bit of extra virgin olive oil all over outside, and take the remaining butter and rub all over the turkey skin.  Breast, legs, get the picture!  This savory butter flavors it and makes it brown and crispy!  Salt and pepper all over. 
6.  If you decide to, with kitchen string to tie the wings close to the body of the turkey and secure with a knot at the top.  (You'll cut this off before serving.)  Use a bit of foil to wrap the wing tips.
7.  Place in the oven to roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, then without opening the oven, turn the heat down to 325 degrees F.  After about 30 minutes start basting occasionally.  I cooked it until the internal temperature reached about 165-170 degrees F (or about 2 hr. 45 minutes longer). 
8. Take out of the oven, baste once more and transfer to a platter.  Cover with foil to rest for about 30 minutes. I used a huge bunch of parsley for a quick garnish around the turkey, but I really love the looks of huge bunches of red and green grapes around.
I'm proud to show off my first turkey as I show off my arm strength holding this for pictures! :) There's no greater joy than preparing food you love for the people you love!
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cozy Maple Spiced Nuts

Here's my quick and easy appetizer of delicious sweet & spicy maple glazed nuts! 
When my family comes in this weekend, they can munch on these with some hot spiced apple cider as I finish cooking dinner. I don't think these nuts will last very long, especially if everyone brings their hearty Thanksgiving appetites!
Maple Spiced Nuts
Recipe Adapted from: Health Magazine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly coat a baking sheet with some canola oil and spread out 1 1/2 c. of mixed nuts.  Bake for 10 minutes; remove to cool slightly.  While nuts are in the oven, mix together 1 Tbsp. cinnamon and 1 Tbsp. chili powder in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat 1/2 c. real maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; bring to a low boil and stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter.  Add nuts and stir until coated; let cool.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop the nuts into a bowl and toss in the spice mixture; stirring to coat evenly.  Lay nuts back on the baking sheet and sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Store in an air-tight container for up to 10 days.  Enjoy!
I added 1/2 tsp. of maple sugar (Papa gave me as a gift!) to the spice mixture, but of course you don't have to!  Don't be afraid to play around with flavors here, or leave out the chili powder if you just want sweet nuts. 
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Excitement!

This morning is a very cold and frosty November day outside.  Last night we had the lowest temperatures this season!  I sit here warm under my blanket and in front of the fire with my coffee and my Beth Moore devotional Breaking Free Day by Day.  I truly need to have time with my Lord--my Friend--every morning!  There definitely are mornings that are busy and for whatever reason it doesn't happen, but when I don't make time to spend with Him I don't seem to be as equipped to face the day.  I'm more likely to let things get the best of me.  (It does happen!)  I find it so sweet to know that everyday He has a new anointing, a fresh outpouring of His Spirit for us!  The more time I spend with Him, the more my heart becomes like His... and I want His desires to become my own!
I'm so excited today!  
This weekend my immediate family is coming up to our house for Thanksgiving dinner!   They knew that we wouldn't be able to come home at all for Thanksgiving, so my parents said they would all come to our house the Saturday before because my husband will have time off this weekend!  They're basically bringing Thanksgiving to us!!!
For a family like mine, whose holidays--especially Thanksgiving and Christmas--are extremely set in a well-loved tradition, this is a huge gesture of thoughtfulness!  So my parents, my sister and her new hubby are coming to stay.  My brother lives here already, so it will be 7 that I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for--yay!!!  This will be my first time to cook a turkey, and while I've asked mom to still make her famous dressing and lemon cake, I'll be making all the other sides! Faith is bringing a pumpkin pie that I know will be delicious! 
I'm thrilled to do this. 
It's a busy week for me around here.  I've have my list going to deep clean the house, get out my "special dishes" and have them washed, decorate the table, make a huge grocery run, and prepare the delicious food we look forward to eating year after year!  We'll still celebrate the very same way as we do each year.  Going around to say what we thank God for this year happens right after dinner.  It's usually a sentimental time that recaps our year!  It also gives our tummies a few minutes to settle before filling them up again with mouth-watering desserts. We'll enjoy our pie and cake as we snuggle up in front of the fire and watch The Christmas Carol!!  These are traditions that have been alive almost as long as I remember!  
I feel as though I'm rambling a bit now, but I'm just typing with excitement in my hands.  God is good to provide a way when there seems to be no way! :o)  If I'm not around much this week, that is why!  I'll take pictures and be sure to share with you about the food and fun next week.  Please stay warm today and enjoy the anticipation of the upcoming holiday with joy in your heart!
I want to show you a special little Thanksgiving package my parents sent to me a few days ago!  It was waiting on my stoop for me to open the door and see it's brown paper package surprise!  Mom decorated the box by drawing precious pumpkins around the edges, so cute!!
How sweet of Mom to find these things she knew I would LOVE!!!  It was part of their "thank you" for us hosting Thanksgiving.  They didn't have to give us one thing, but their hearts said otherwise! 
Some of my favorite things:  The new Gooseberry Patch cookbook, The Harvest Table, which has the coziest cover and wonderful recipes inside! (I love that name, and perhaps if I ever had another blog I may use that!)  She also sent the cutest handmade turkey kitchen towel from a favorite local boutique.  This is so cute in my kitchen!!! Also a bag of fall candy to munch on while browsing through the new cookbook.  Yummy!
I can't thank Mom enough for this precious surprise!  She knows me all too well!!!
Enjoy this wonderful day!!!

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