Fiesta Foodie T.V. Hash: Foodie Christmas Gift #8

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  T.V. Hash, Chex Mix, Party Mix, Snack Mix, Nuts and Bolts:  Whatever you call it, it is a holiday classic.  As long as I can remember -starting in childhood and on into my own household- limitless quantities of t.v. hash have been available from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year's Day.  We eat so much of it that we don't want to see another little rice, corn or wheat square for another 10 months.  Then the cold wind blows and the holidays begin and a primal urge for salty, crunchy and buttery takes hold.    Our favorite version makes a huge amount.  It'll feed a crowd at a party or provide snacks for a large family (read: my size family or five hollow-legged boys) for a few days.  Fiesta Foodie T.V. Hash combines taco and Ranch flavors.  In our house that's always a winning combination.   Time Required For Project:   The prep time for making Fiesta Foodie T.V. Hash is about 5 minutes, give or take a bathroom break.  The baking time is about 1 hour and 20 minutes.  It can be served warm out of the oven or cooled completely and packed into decorative bags or jars for gift giving.   The Cost Breakdown:   I'm warning you now.  My recipe is not for those with the appetites of birds.  This makes a roaster pan full -and I do mean full- of t.v. hash.  Plenty to eat and give!  We usually fill a couple sandwich bags and put those in a decorated paper bag tied with a ribbon.  The kids decorate the bags with crayons and markers.  But if you … {Read on...}

Golden Crunchy Pickled Onions: Foodie Christmas Gift #7

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These golden rings of crunchy, flavorful pickled onions are just about the perfect thing for topping salads or roast meat sandwiches,  adding a unique touch and pop of color to buffet spreads and antipasto trays, and accompanying cold meat loaf.  Plus, when you've fished the very last onion ring out of the jar, the leftover oniony, pickly syrup makes the base of the world's best corned beef glaze.  A jar of this, suitably decorated, makes a beautiful, unique (the good kind of unique- not the "That's unique" kind of euphemism my Mom uses when she doesn't want to hurt someone's feelings), and memorable holiday gift.  This is the kind of pickle you can create year-round, but this is an especially good time for the project.  Grab a bulk bag of onions and these end up being an incredibly budget friendly pantry and gift item.  As I have never seen a comparable product on store shelves, I don't have a 'homemade vs. purchased' price breakdown.  I can still give you an idea of what the project will cost.   Cost Breakdown: $7.99    A dozen pint canning jars with two piece lids $6.00   Six pounds small to medium mild onions in bulk bag $3.50   Cloves, peppercorns, turmeric, ground cinnamon, mustard seed and celery seed purchased in bulk $3.50  One gallon cider vinegar $1.50  Four cups sugar from a five pound bag $0.30  Salt Grand Total:  $22.79 for a dozen finished jars ($1.90 per jar)   Golden Crunchy Pickled Onions:  Foodie Christmas Gift … {Read on...}

Viennese Rounds: Foodie Christmas Gift #6

The first time I had these cookies was in the home of a friend in a little college town I lived in for several years. Houghton, NY was the town, and Barbara Woolsey was the friend.  We have lost touch with each other since I left Houghton several years ago, but every time I make these cookies I think of her and her lovely family. And I thank her for sharing this recipe!   These are simple cookies, but take a little more time than some. Like the cookies mentioned in my last post, these are nut and butter cookies, no eggs involved, but they are sandwich cookies and take a little more time to form and decorate. But they are certainly worth it. The one change I have made is to toast the nuts before grinding them.   Viennese Rounds   1 cup butter 1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar (divided) 1 1/2 c. flour 1 t. vanilla 1/2 cup ground toasted filberts (hazelnuts) red food coloring 1 c. red raspberry preserves   Cream butter and 1/2 c. sugar until well blended in large bowl; stir in flour, vanilla and nuts. Roll into teaspoon sized balls and place 2 inches apart on creased cookie sheet (or use parchment if you have it). Lightly grease bottom of measuring cup and dip in sugar, pressing each ball to a 1 inch round. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until goldn around the edges. Remove from cookie sheets to wire racks and cool.   Beat remaining 1 cup of confectioners sugar with a few drops of water until smooth, tint with a drop of food … {Read on...}

Browned Butter Cardamom Cookies: Foodie Christmas Gift #5

First, let me apologize for the continued lack of pictures. As soon as I have camera action again, we'll get pictures of these up.   One of my favorite Christmas cookies to eat or to give claims many lines of descent:  Swedish nut balls, Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding cakes--I know I'm missing some other names--these are simple butter cookies, shaped into balls and rolled in confectioner's sugar after baking. Lovely bite sized cookies, always melt-in-your-mouth with a nice crunch at the same time.  Another plus is that they freeze well, and with another quick toss in the sugar before serving, they are as good as to eat as when they were first made.   I've always made them with finely ground pecans or almonds, but this year I came across a recipe that does not use nuts, and the flavor comes from an unusual mix of browned butter and ground cardamom. These are both a couple of my favorite flavors, and to combine them in a cookie just felt like the right thing to do. And now that I've made them, I've gotta say I'm glad I did!    I would definitely encourage you to try these out, and play around with the spices if you don't like cardamom. They are a good holiday cookie to share with friends who may have problems with nut allergies, and these cookies, as well as all the nutty variations I mentioned above, would be a nice treat for a friend of mine who is allergic to eggs.   Hope you enjoy!  This recipe was taken straight from the Land O'Lakes website, … {Read on...}

Homemade Marshmallows: Foodie Christmas Gift #4

Last year I made homemade marshmallows for the first time. For years I felt too intimidated to make the attempt, not sure why, but I'm so glad I finally gave it a whirl. These need to be started at least a day before you need to serve them or package them for gifts, so be sure to give yourself some leeway. The only change I made to the recipe I found was to use confectioners sugar alone for the coating, rather than mixing with cornstarch. I don't like the feel of the cornstarch, and with corn allergies being an issue for some, I felt it was better without.   This recipe is for your basic vanilla flavored marshmallows, but I had success with flavoring in other ways--raspberry flavoring with a touch of red food color, mint flavoring with green, orange flavoring with a touch of yellow and red color together.  I also made a spiced marshmallow, adding some ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg to the marshmallow, and also mixing some of the same spice into the confectioners sugar coating. All turned out wonderfully well.  Hope you enjoy these as much as we have!   Homemade Marshmallows Scroll to the bottom for an easy-print version of this recipe! .75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin) 1/2 cup cold water 2 cups granulated sugar 2/3 cups light corn syrup 1/4 cup water 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon vanilla extract Confectioners sugar, Cornstarch (optional) Line 9 x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it. Set aside. In the bowl of an … {Read on...}