Spring Cleaning

The pantry was cluttered with ingredients from holiday baking. A half of a bag of red and green chocolate chips, a half box of red and green Rice Krispies, dried cranberries, some chopped pecans in the bottom of a bag — you get the messy picture. It was time to make room for spring stuff.

Basically, I threw everything into a cookie batter. I know that nowadays you can buy cookies as good as, or even better than, what you can make at home. But, there’s something about warming up the oven and allowing the sweet smell to waft through the house. It all screams, “Mom’s home!”

Hopefully, the sights and smells of a spring day, still cold and damp outside, will linger in the memories of those I love.

House Special CookiesSpring cleaning use this one

These are chewy cookies and you can improvise on how much of what you want to add (e.g. raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.). Use what you have on hand.

  • 1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled outs
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 nuts or 1/2 dried cranberries/raisins

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together in a bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugars together in a large bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, blend until combined.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined. Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Working with 1/4 cup of dough at time, toll the dough into balls and place on baking sheet about 2-1/2 inches apart. Slightly flatten the balls of dough.

Bake until the tops of the cookies are lightly golden but the centers are soft and puffy – about 22 to 25 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer to a cooking rack to finish cooling.

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Ringing in 2016 with Thanks to 50,000+ of You!

Can you hear me screaming? Kelley Hospitality hit the 50,000+ mark in hits in 2015 and I have you to thank for that. We go together like salt and pepper. You wanted to know about all-things hospitality – food, family, friends, and folklore. And I had a passion for writing about it.

What is the All-Time Most Popular Blog Posting on Kelley Hospitality?

Ding! Ding! Ding!…It’s “A Fork Supper.” You needed a delicious meal you could serve at a large party and I had just the recipe! Here it is again for those of you just tuning in.

I wish you the best in 2016 and I look forward to more memories of hospitality recorded in these pages. Thank you and Happy New Year!

 

A Fine Brine

It’s complex, it’s big, it’s tangy, it’s the varietal brine of that sweet, yet spicy, fruit called the Peppadew®. I’ve incorporated these morsels of good in many recipes, but I’m telling you, do not throw away the brine!

Use the Peppadew® brine in place of vinegar when tossing your favorite oil and vinegar dressing on your greens. Use the brine when making slaw dressing for some added tang.

Here’s a dressing I created using the Peppadew® brine to go along with a salad using fall fruits. Pair this salad with any grilled beef, chicken or pork. And remember, don’t throw away that brine!

Pear-Apple Salad with Peppadew Dressing
16-oz of mixed salad greens
1/3 cup Peppadews®, chopped
1 cup Swiss cheese, shaved
1 cup roasted nuts – either pecans or cashews
1 red apple (Gala or Honeycrisp), sliced thinly
1 green pear (Anjou), sliced thinly
Toss together all the above ingredients with the Peppadew Dressing (recipe below).

Peppadew Dressing for Pear-Apple Salad

Morsels of Good

Morsels of Good

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Peppadew® brine
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Process ingredients in a blender or shaker until smooth. Can make ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to one week; bring to room temperature before using.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Patriotic Popcorn

Here’s three flavored popcorn recipes — all dressed up in red, white and blue for Memorial Day. These bags of yum make great gifts. Pop your corn in Canola or coconut oil. No time today to do this? Bookmark it for Fourth of July.

One more thing – thank you to all who served our country in the military and died for our freedom. “Some gave all …”

Popcorn Recipes Picture Here
Chocolate and M&M’s Popcorn – click for recipe

White Chocolate-Peanut Popcorn
This recipe was inspired by Chef in Training who has captured many popcorn recipes from across the blog world. 

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 12 ounces of white chocolate candy melts
  • 1 – 2 cups peanuts, depending on taste, coarsely chop or not
  • Sea salt to taste

Melt the white chocolate candy melts according to package.

Mix half the popcorn with half the chocolate and half the peanuts. Mix the other half together. Salt to taste.

Line two baking sheets with wax paper. Pour the popcorn on the trays so the chocolate can set.

Store in air-tight container.

Salted Caramel Popcorn
Recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff. These girls can cook!

  • 1 cup unpopped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Sea salt to taste

Pop popcorn and place in a large mixing bowl.

In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Add brown sugar and whisk together until mixed. Add water.

Continue stirring until it comes to a full boil and whisk continually for 5-10 minutes, until mixture hits the soft-ball candy stage. (Put a few drops of the cooked mixture in a glass of cold water until the drops form a soft ball.)

Remove mixture from heat and mix in vanilla extract and baking soda. Continue stirring as the mixture goes puffy.

Drizzle cooked caramel mixture over popcorn and lightly stir until evenly coated. Salt to taste.

Cool on two baking sheets lined with wax paper. Store in airtight container

It’s Corny but Yummy

I’m not breaking any ground here because flavored-up popcorn has been a favored treat for a long time. The gourmet stores are charging a hefty price for a bag of the sweet stuff. It’s so easy to make at home for a fraction of the cost.

The Chef in Training blog has captured popcorn recipes from all around the blog world. Check them out. One of the recipes inspired the one I made here.

My hints: I use Wilton Candy Melts instead of chocolate chips for the melted chocolate. I find them easier to work with. You can find similar products in the grocery store produce section.

I don’t prefer microwave popcorn; it’s too full of chemicals and seasonings I don’t want. Pop the corn in a kettle on the stove with either Canola oil or coconut oil. A bag of unpopped popcorn goes a long way.

This isn’t the last you’ll hear from me on popcorn, I’m just getting started!

Chocolate and M&M’s® Popcorn

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 11 ounces of chocolate candy melts
  • 9-ounce bag of M&M’s® Crispy
  • Sea salt to taste

Pulse M&M’s® in a food processor or coarsely chop M&M’s® (put in a plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin).

Melt the chocolate candy melts according to package.

Mix half the popcorn with half the chocolate and M&M’s®. Mix the other half of the ingredients together.

Line two baking sheets with wax paper. Pour the popcorn on the trays so the chocolate can set.

Store in air-tight container (if it lasts that long!).

Nothing Bundt Flowers!

Welcome spring with a flowery, colorful cake! Make your favorite Bundt cake, add some silk flowers, butterflies, garden picks and other spring accents (walk the aisles of Michaels for inspiration), and let your ideas bloom.

Make a two-layer cake by using a smaller Bundt pan for the top layer. Place the smaller cake on a cardboard cake ring. Chocolate lady bugs, mossy grass, and garden picks add some garden fun!

Winter White

The scene along Route 193 is one of brown bare branches against a white background (a cloudy sky or snow, depending on the day) accented with evergreens (holly and pine).These are the stark shades of winter.

Take inspiration from Mother Nature to decorate your table. Use white flowers, white candles, white dishes, all on a palette of browns and greens. Use fresh magnolia leaves, burlap runners, branches, pine cones, and fabrics in greens and browns.

Here I used a simple rectangular-shaped glass vessel and filled it with crystal rocks to hold white flowers in place (both found at Michaels). A brown runner and mossy green tablecloth made the white pop. White candles added a warm glow.

What’s the occasion? Maybe it’s a winter birthday or just a get together for northern folks who need to get out. Here are some ideas for food:

  • Dessert, coffee and a dessert wine or port
  • Soup or stew and crusty bread washed down with a hearty beer
  • Appetizers and drinks
  • A potluck supper
  • A full-course meal

Stay warm!