Have A Cuppa Tea

Well, since we are guilty of providing so many gorgeous cookie recipes, you might as well consider washing them down with a good old-fashioned cuppa tea, the second most consumed beverage after water.  With about 3,000 varieties of tea around our world, there’s got to be at least one for thee: white, black, oolong, puerh, and green.

I couldn’t decide which one I like best, so for your listening pleasure I’ve included three for tea…

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Hurrah! Brussels Sprouts for Christmas!

Every year people have a love/hate relationship with Brussels Sprouts.  Cooking them is a bit tricky and the aroma conjures up a few ‘Oh no,  it’s them again’ feelings of resistance.  Well, rather than boiling them into tasteless oblivion I’d like to share an easy recipe with you that just might change your mind about these little green powerhouses.  Take that as you will.   😉

The key is to not overcook them because that’s when they revolt and become, well, rather revolting.  If you eat a whole grain alongside the sprout you will have a complete protein, so a side of whole wheat pasta, a rolled oat cookie, couscous, etc., will give you all of the amino acids your lovely body requires.  Why not try this ahead of that all-important dinner and judge for yourself.

Braising is an excellent method for cooking Brussels sprouts. Braising refers to cooking food with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.

Braised Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Butter
1 pound small, firm, bright green Brussels sprouts (look for them to be about the same size)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Check each head, peel off any loose or discolored leaves. Using a paring knife, cut an X through the core end of each head.  This will ensure even cooking.
Bring sprouts, water and salt to the boil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Lower heat, cover and simmer. Shake pan once or twice during braising to redistribute sprouts.
Cook until just tender 8 to 10 minutes. Test by piercing with a knife tip. Drain well.
Melt butter in a large skillet of medium heat. Whisk in mustard until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.
Add sprouts to skillet, coating well with the butter mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 3 to 4.

If, after trying this recipe you decide a love affair with b. sprouts isn’t for you, next year consider making this wreath — oh so festive!

image by apartmenttherapy.com

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Circles Circling Circles Circularly 😉

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Where’s My Whipped Cream?

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December Is Diabetes Friendly

Here’s to Your Good Health.  For my friends who deal with diabetes, attached from diabetesdaily.com are free recipe books and tips in case you are just starting to change your eating habits, or just want some fresh ideas:  Diabetes Daily – 7 Day Meal Plan with Diabetes

Foods that have little-to-no impact on your blood sugar: free-foods

A good snack-food list (I can recommend sliced apples spread with peanut butter, a personal favorite): diabetes-snacks

Champagne with cranberries doesn’t sound so deprived to me!  In case you like to give thanks all-year ’round, recipes for that, too:  ThanksgivingCookbookLQ-20091111

With cheer, Susan Marie

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Not the Only Oyster…

The See Food diet, courtesy of Our World at Your Table.

FRIED OYSTERS WITH CITRUS JUICE AND MASHED VEGETABLES
1 to 2 cups dry pancake mix
1 pt shucked oysters, drained
vegetable oil for frying
3 Tbsps lime juice, 2 Tbsps lemon juice, 1 Tbsp orange juice mixed together
sea salt

serves 4 (8 oysters each)

Put pancake mix into large shallow bowl. Add oysters, a few at a time, and toss lightly until well coated. Shake off excess breading and fry in pan with 1-2 inches of hot oil, turning oysters until browned. Repeat until all oysters are cooked.
Drain on paper towel, salt lightly, and dip into individual small bowls of juice mixture as desired.

MASHED VEGETABLES

Any two or three of the following:

sweet cassava tubers (also called manioc, or yuca)
red or white potatoes
sweet potatoes
taro (also called cocoyam)
yams
plantains
sea salt

Wash, peel, and cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces.
Heat water and salt (to taste) to boiling in a saucepan. Add all ingredients. Cook until tender.
Drain water from pan, and mash (like mashed potatoes).

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The Coffee Song

Just because….THANKS KEN!

The Coffee Song

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St. Andrew’s Day

St. Andrew was a fisherman who, along with his brother Peter, became disciples of Jesus Christ.  Andrew was crucified by the Romans on a X-shaped cross in Greece, and the Saltire is known as St. Andrew’s cross.

While probably most recognizable as the patron saint of Scotland, he is also the patron saint of Greece, Barbados, Russia, and Romania, a surprise to me.

If you’re a fishmonger, singer, spinster, maiden, old maid, or a woman wishing to become a mother, St. Andrew is your man.  He’s also handy with gout and sore throats, though I haven’t unearthed why…

Enjoy St. Andrew’s Day with this Scottish Shortbread recipe from my cookbook, Our World At Your Table. Guess they’re making these in Barbados today, too.  They’re simply good and an all-time favorite.

Ingredients
6 oz plain flour
2 oz caster sugar
1 oz icing sugar
2 oz rice flour
5 oz butter
pinch of sea salt

Steps
Preheat oven to 140°C (280°F or Gas mark 2).
In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and the butter.
Sift in the flours and salt: work by hand to a stiff dough.
Roll out the dough to ½ inch thickness.
Shape into a round or into ‘fingers’ and prick with a fork.
Bake in the oven until light golden brown, around 30 – 40 minutes.

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Giving Thanks for Good Harvests

While it is Thanksgiving Day today in the United States,  Canada and other countries around our planet also give thanks for the bounty of a full harvest.  I am very thankful for the people in my life, past, present and future, and for the relative ease in which I can access food, water, and shelter for daily sustenance.  It is easy to take for granted our natural resources, so I would like to propose reflection on just how generous Mother Nature is to us, and to give thanks for all we have been provided with.   As Nature provides for us, we have a duty of care to protect and love her.  Providence.

I wouldn’t be a cookbook author if I didn’t share another great cookbook that I love and feel is completely appropriate for the spirit of giving thanks, written by a woman in the Mennonite community: More With Less by Doris Janzen Longacre.

This book was printed on chlorine-free paper and its production saved the equivalents of roughly 5 tons of trees, 1 swimming pool’s worth of water, 1 garbage truck’s capacity of waste, and the greenhouse gas emissions of one car for an entire year’s usage.  While it seems today many many people have turned away from faith because of human foibles and scandals (which I completely understand) let us remember what faith is in its purest form: a love and respect for those things seen and unseen that manifest in and guide our existence.

It is my sincere wish that people respect one another’s ideologies irrespective of one’s faith, sex, identity, race, or class; each one brings something beautiful to the tapestry we call Life; let us be thankful for the cornucopia of spiritual paths to help us along the way to enlightenment and, ultimately, peace.  Giving thanks for all roads open to us, peace to you and yours.

Happy Thanksgiving.

image by graphicalnuances.com

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Fly Me to the Moon

Coping with sunless, cold, and dreary days…

Good for cooking, too!

via Julie London – Fly me to the moon – YouTube.

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