Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Tag: Christmas

Caesar Salad Dressing

Stephen loves Caesar salad. It is his all time favorite meal. Caesar salad used to be our traditional anniversary dinner. That was until we went to the Pasta Moon in, our anniversary vacation spot, Half Moon Bay and tried their Risotto Sea Scallops and tomato […]

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Onions

Brussels Sprouts notoriously have a bad wrap. Usually those claiming to despise them have never tried them or worse were scarred for life the first time they tried a mushy slimy sprout or cabbage. Brussels sprouts are small little cabbage like sprouts that grow on a stalk. Brussels […]

Cranberry Orange Baked Oatmeal To-Go Bars

Next to pancakes oatmeal is our second favorite breakfast food. What I love most about baked oatmeal however is it is portable. Wrap some up to take on a hike or make a batch for an afternoon snack. Reheat the leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

If your kids are sensitive to robust flavors such as ginger try 1/4 teaspoon the first time. Try some of the variations or make up your own.

Source: My Own Sweet Thyme
3 cups rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup butter, melted
1¼ cups milk
¼ cup orange juice concentrate (or orange juice)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or substitute 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries)
2 Tablespoons whisky (or orange juice)
¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (if desired)

In a small microwave safe container stir together the dried cranberries and whisky or orange juice. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Set aside. (Skip this step if using fresh chopped cranberries)

In a large bowl stir together the oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, ginger and cardamon.

In a small bowl stir together eggs, butter, milk and orange juice concentrate.

Add the egg mixture to the oat mixture. Stir to combine. Fold in the cranberries and nuts, if desired.

Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.

Serve warm with milk and brown sugar or cream and honey

–Swap the pecans and cranberries with toasted almonds and golden raisins.
–Add 1 tablespoon each of wheat germ and golden flax seed.
–Replace the rolled oats with steel cut oats. The night before rinse oats in water. Place in a medium sized bowl. Add two tablespoons yogurt, kefir, whey or buttermilk mixing well. Cover with water to about 1-inch above oats. Cover with plastic wrap and set on counter overnight for at least 12 hours. In the morning drain oats well before adding.

Family Togetherness: A Tradition of Handicrafts

A tradition of family handiwork has a long history. In centuries past mothers passed on the art of sewing to their daughters. Fathers taught their sons to hunt and fish. In today’s society there is a plethora of resources available for instruction in every facet […]

Garlic Prime Rib

The common consensus regarding the proper way to season Prime Rib is a little salt and pepper. The meat is so flavorful that nothing else is needed. I agree. The worst experience I had with prime rib was at a restaurant whose chef covered the […]

Panettone French Toast

Panettone {Pan e toni} (meaning large bread) is an Italian sweet bread, studded with dried fruit that has been soaked in liquor, commonly associated with Christmas. Historians are unclear as to the exact history of Panettone; however, it is said to have originated during the 15th-century in Milan Italy, when the ancient Romans used honey to sweeten breads. Writings dating from the 18th-century associate the bread with Christmas; yet, it was not until the early 20th-century that panettone became a widely shared Christmas tradition. Today Panettone is shipped all across the world and not only at Christmas time but Easter too.

There are just as many legends as there are versions of the bread. The first story tells of a young noble man, Toni, and his love for the baker’s daughter. To win the heart of his true love he disguised himself as apprentice to her father. One day he made a special domed bread that impressed the baker and the daughter so much that the baker sanctioned his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The second tale occurs one Christmas Eve at a lavish banquet held at the court of Ludovico Sforza. The cook accidently burnt the dessert. A kitchen hand, named Toni, saved the evening by making a sweet bread using the remains of the burnt cake and adding dried fruit, spices, eggs and sugar.

How ever Panettone came to be this rich buttery sweet sensation is a world wide Holiday favorite. Panettone is often toasted and served alongside coffee. You will also find recipes for Panettone stuffing and bread pudding in addition to this version of Panettone french toast. Panettone is not a fruit cake although it does contain dried fruit. Freshly made is always preferred over store bought but if it is not available at the local bakery try finding the brands by Bauli or Flamigni.

Source: Williams Sonoma
1/2 Panettone, about 1 pound
3 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Softened unsalted butter for brushing
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Warm Maple syrup for serving

Slice off the end pieces and discard. Cut panettone into 5 or 6 vertical slices then slice pieces in half.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, orange zest, orange juice, Cointreau, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a large shallow bowl; add bread slices. Soak, turning once, 10 seconds per side.

Heat griddle on medium heat; brush with butter. When the butter foams, add a few bread slices. Cook, turning once, untl lightly browned, 3-5 minutes per side. Turn slices over again; cook a few minutes more per side. Transfer French toast to serving plates. Place in oven; turn oven to 200 degrees. Cook remaining slices.

To serve dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Serves 4 or 5.

Keep any left overs refrigerated. Reheat in the oven, spread with butter and eat with a cup of hot chocolate. Mmmmmm.

Family Togetherness: Traditions

Artwork: Home Dinner II (Family Series) by Yau Bee The smell of the hall closet in my home growing up is one of my favorite smells. The closet is where my mom stored all the Christmas boxes. I remember as a child becoming so anxious […]

Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls

In our quest to find the perfect cinnamon rolls we had to take a few important details into consideration. First, the finished dough had to be soft, light and doughy not dry and airy. Second, the filling had to be gooey and buttery. It had […]

St. Francis of Assisi Day of the Creche

St. Francis by Debra A Hitchcock Courtesy of: Fine Art America

Saint Francis of Assisi, Italy (1182-1226) was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. Francis was not a studious boy. During his youth he was most riotous and witty delighting in the pleasures of drinking, women and showy attire.

In the year 1202 when Francis was about twenty years old, a conflict broke out between the Assisians and the neighboring rival city of Perugain. Francis eagerly volunteered to fight as a cavalryman, however; the Assisians were quickly defeated. Francis, a prisoner of war, was forced to spend a year in captivity.

Francis returned to Assisi, but he was not the same free-spirited kid he as before the war. While he was still the life of the party his attentions were turned to caring for society’s cast offs. After experiencing several vivid dreams and various visions he turned away from all the worldly pleasures of his youth to accept a life as a Good Samaritan, including tending to the lepers. Francis sold all his property, gave his clothing to the poor and his money to the church for much needed repairs.

His father greatly disapproved of his son’s new occupation. Consequently he was disowned and his inheritance forfeited. Francis went on to devote his life to serving God. He worked to rebuild tattered church buildings. He cared for the sick and went about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Francis vowed to live a life of poverty even going without shoes and trading his finery for a coarse woolen tunic. His lifestyle caught the attention of other young men and they too chose to leave all their riches behind to follow Francis in serving the poor. Eventually a separate order was formed for women known as the Franciscan Nuns and a second order called Poor Clares, named after a sixteen year old girl who left her home to join Francis’ cause. Thus Francis of Assisi is known as the founder of the Franciscan Order.

It was known that Francis had a special fondness for animals; he especially liked birds. Some say that wild animals did not fear him for they knew of his kindness and would bravely approach him seeking safety. It was his love for the animals that prompted him to ask the king to decree that “all men should provide and care for the birds and animals as well as the poor”.

During the Christmastide (the liturgical Christmas season beginning December 24th lasting 12 days to the eve of January 6th, the Day of Epiphany) in the year 1223, St. Francis of Assisi conceived the idea to honor the birth of the Savoir with a live “Nativity”. He wanted all to experience the lack of luxuries of the Christ child. On Christmas Eve Francis reproduced the manger scene in a cave near the small town of Greccio. He called the scene “The Praesepio, the crib, of Bethlehem”. According to the writings of St. Bonaventure, St. Francis’ friend and colleague, the people were brought to the cave through the woods, up and down hills bearing torches while singing hymns of praise.

Today community churches throughout the world celebrate the Christmas season with a live nativity scene or by hosting a nativity festival showcasing nativity sets from around the world. Families of Christian faith might display the nativity by first putting out the crèche. Then each night leading up to Christmas Eve they fill the manger with straw and place one character in the scene. On Christmas Eve the Christ child is placed in the manger filled with straw. The wise men are not brought out until January 5th the eve of Epiphany. This represents their journey to the stable January 6th being the 12th day of Christmas or Three Kings Day.

In out home we dedicated December 4th as nativity day. Taking cues from the original “The Praesepio, the crib, of Bethlehem” as portrayed by St. Francis we sing hymns and have a short devotional. During the devotional we discuss ways that we can help others in honor of the selfless sacrifices rendered by St. Francis as directed by God who said to love one another. This day is not an official Saint’s day. This is just a fun tradition we have as we like to celebrate traditions from many cultures and faiths around the world.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Every year it is the same dilemma, “what to do with the left over turkey!” We always have turkey soup on Sunday. Then there is cranberry stuffed turkey rolls with left over stuffing and turkey pot pie. Turkey Tetrazzini is another comfort food favorite. I […]