Cranberry Relish or Salad

This is a cranberry relish recipe that Mom added some variation to. It is SO good!!!! You don’t even have to be crazy about cranberries to like it. Mom gave me this recipe along with the ingredients. :) There are several different ways to make it and on the recipe she wrote: “It might not always taste exactly the same, but always leaves that crisp flavor in your mouth!”

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Cranberry Relish

Printable recipe coming soon.

2 cups washed, raw cranberries
2 cored apples
1 large peeled orange, or put in some peel if you like OR substitute the orange for crushed pineapple
1 – 2 cups sugar, to your taste
1/2 cup or more chopped walnuts or pecans

Pulse in blender or grind together berries and oranges. Do not over blend to mush. I opted for the crushed pineapple instead of the orange. I LOVE pineapple! I put in about half of a can.
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Shred or chop apples. Add nuts.
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Mix together and keep tasting and adding sugar till happy. I liked it with 1 cup of sugar… didn’t want to interfere too much with the tartness. Don’t miss popping a few cranberries between your teeth for a tart burst of flavor! Makes 3 cups. May be frozen.
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And here’s another variation, which I love! You can also mix in some Cool Whip and cream cheese. Mmmmm! I think this addition would make it a salad instead of relish.
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So there you go, this one or that one… take your pick… you can’t go wrong either way! :)
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Turkey Schnitzel

Don’t you just love the sound of that? Schnitzel. Makes me feel like I’m cooking authentic German food. It’s really good. I’ll give you a brief description and see if you think you’d agree… pieces of turkey breast dipped in milk, then flour, then eggs, then seasoned bread crumbs, then fried in oil and butter. Mmmmmm!

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My mom gave me this recipe, including the ingredients. She does that for birthdays. I love it! She shares my love for trying new recipes, but she’s also got a bunch of tried and true ones.

Turkey Schnitzel

Printable recipe coming soon

1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 lb. turkey slices (1/4″ thick) or strips
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. canola oil

Mom gave me this with the recipe. 
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It’s some GOOD stuff, but I wonder if she knows that things like this are way out of my comfort zone! ;)
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I think the only chunk of meat I’ve ever bought with a bone in it is ham. Oh wait, sometimes I get a rotisserrie chicken at the deli, but that’s easy, all I have to do is reheat it. I’ve never even done a turkey at Thanksgiving! This turkey breast is supposed to be cut into slices or strips. Well, I got various sizes and shapes of pieces! :)  

Place first 4 ingredients in 4 separate bowls.
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Dip turkey slices or strips into milk, then flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs. Place on waxed paper and let stand for 5-10 min. I was out of waxed paper, so I just used plastic wrap.
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Heat butter and oil in large skillet. Brown turkey for 2 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.  
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Serves 4. In Germany and Austria, schnitzels are served with French fries and lemon wedges (to squeeze on meat).

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The meat stayed really moist. And it had a great flavor! Because you can quick fry it up, it’s one of those quick things to make for when you’re staring in the fridge/freezer/cupboards at 4:30 p.m., totally blank for a supper idea. Mom said she even tried it with just the bread crumbs (without dipping it in milk, flour, and eggs) when she was in a hurry and that was good too. It would be good with chicken breast too, I’m sure, although I’ve never tried it, having only made it this once… so far anyway. ;) So, with these variation ideas, the question would be: Would it still be schnitzel then? We sure don’t want to lose that word! :)

Coming before Christmas yet: Cranberry Salad and Fudge. That is 2 separate recipes, by the way. ;)

School Bus Birthday Cake – Happy 7th Birthday, Lexi!

Some of you may have already seen this on my Facebook, so excuse the repeat!

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When Lexi started Kindergarten last Spring, she decided that she wanted a school bus cake for her next birthday. She had also made a bunch of new friends and wanted them all to come for a REAL party instead of the low key family parties she’s had so far. So, unlike all her other birthdays, this one was planned well in advance. That doesn’t mean I didn’t go party shopping earlier than the day before or finish the cake earlier than an hour before the guests arrived! :( Sigh. Oh well, it all worked out great and the party was a success and was a lot of fun for all involved… well, maybe my husband wants to speak for himself on that one. :)

Anyway, the birthday cake. There was a bit of an issue getting started. I decided I wanted the bus elevated a bit to look more realistic and my problem was HOW to do that! So, I looked around the house for something to use. I found these 2 square lids and put them down first. Tiffany saw this and said, “So, you’re using my candy box lid, huh?” I confidently said, “Yup.” and she didn’t protest. Whew!
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They were red though, so I taped strips of black paper around the edges. Then I cut a piece of cardboard the size I wanted the bus to be, cut notches for the wheels and put it on top of the lids. I know, not professional, but it worked great! :)

Then, I took the lids off again and made part of the bus on ‘ground level’ (on the foil-covered cardboard though).
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The first 2 layers are the full length of a 9×13 cake. It’s 5 or 6 inches wide. I used 3 cake mixes for this. The top layer… there’s no reason for that extra little piece on there except that after I cut and stacked it, it looked like the nose of the bus (is ‘nose’ what that part is called?) would be a little too long. Also, it looked a little too tall, so I ended up cutting about a half inch off of the bottom (shown on the next picture). I was glad to get rid of those crazy big holes down there too! Not sure why that happened!

The ‘nose’ is carved (maybe that called a ‘hood’?), and the top of the bus is slightly rounded. Doesn’t look too promising, huh? This is where I felt like dumping it in the trash and running to the local bakery.
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It’s times like this when I love frosting! Now it’s looking more promising!
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Now the yellow fondant gets rolled out… think that’s big enough?
7th10.jpg Sprinkle plenty of powdered sugar on the table/counter and on top of the fondant. Roll it out. Then roll it up around the rolling pin, take it over to the cake and starting at one end, unroll it off of the rolling pin onto the cake. By the way, to get yellow fondant, I bought white ready-to-use fondant and put yellow paste (NOT liquid food coloring) on it, then mixed it in by hand… you’ll see the messy process of doing the black soon.

Ah, it IS big enough! Tuck it in and cut off the excess.
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Now, I’m going to leave you hanging with this picture and flip to something else… the setting for the bus, which is, of course either a highway or a school. I chose the highway. And it’s stopping to pick up Lexi.

First step was to make the road. Here’s the tar. I know, gag. But this technically is edible. Nobody tasted the road though. That stuff actually does wash off, but I think next time, I’ll put plastic gloves on my birthday party shopping list!
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Next I rolled it out onto the ‘cake board’, which was actually an upside down baking sheet with tin foil on it.
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And now, we have a BIG jump in the progress because I either I was so entralled with my project that I forgot to take pictures or I didn’t feel like stopping to wash up to photograph each little step. And the setting is done.
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It’s all made out of fondant (road and white & yellow lines and mailbox), graham crackers (driveway), frosting (grass, plus some under the driveway to hold the graham crumbs in place), and a tootsie roll (mailbox post).

And now back to the bus again, which is another big jump in progress. The reason for the big jump here is because the clock was galloping and party time was drawing near and I was in a hurry.
7th14.jpgThe wheels aren’t on yet (chocolate covered mini donuts). The black and gray are fondant. The letters are frosting piped on. The ‘people’ are flavored tootsie rolls cut into 4ths, then smashed, then stuck on with frosting and a face piped on. The ‘mirrors’ are pieces of graham crackers.

And the cake is now DONE! 45 minutes till party time and my kitchen looks like a tornado hit! Don’t even ask questions like what I’d have done if it would’ve totally flopped because the answer is that I don’t know and that I’m just SO thankful it turned out ok.
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school-bus-cake3.jpg Yeah, so I forgot the lights on the back!

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Lexi had her seven 1st grade friends over. Supper was pigs in blankets, Pringles, cheese slices, and layered finger jello. I was in the kitchen and heard a bunch of quacking coming from the dining room. Here, they were making duck bills with their Pringles! :)
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And here they all are with the cake.
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Back row, left to right: Emily, Victoria, Kaitlyn, Samara
Front row, left to right: Alexis, Candace, Lexi, Sarah

And here’s the aftermath:
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First thing to go was the donut wheels, then they picked off the people in the windows and ate them, then had cake and ice cream.

This bus was pretty easy… very little carving. It was just rounding the top a little and shaping the nose/hood/whatever it is. I only bought one box of fondant (I forget the oz, but it was the smallest of the 2 sizes that were there). Oh, and by the way, the girls standing there is just a toy… not edible! Let me know if you try this! :)

Christmas Cookies – Sour Cream Cutouts

Other than listening to some Christmas music, this is the first thing “Christmas-y” thing I’ve done this year… Christmas cookies. (Decorating my house will hopefully happen this week yet.) These were for a cookie exchange, so I *ahem* didn’t let my eager little helpers in on the fun because I have to say “No licking!” about 273 times in the course of the project and that just sorta wrecks the Christmas spirit. So, I got up early and made & frosted them myself. 

I’m not a fan of sugar cookies, butter cookies, or any frosted cookies like that because I think they’re rather dry and messy and not very tasty. Having said that, these would be about at the top of the list of good frosted cookies that I’ve had. The only better ones I can think of were some that my friend Kim made one time. They had cream cheese in them.

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Sour Cream Cutouts … recipe taken from the Christmas Cookies & Candies cookbook

Printable recipe

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
6 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream

FROSTING:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. milk (I added more so it would be faster/easier spreading)
Food coloring, optional

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (dough will be sticky). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle. (It’s not kidding about this… impatient me tried it without chilling. Bad idea. So, I chilled it for about an hour and the process went MUCH better!) On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters dipped in flour. Place 1″ apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned. (I set the timer for 10 min and they were perfect.) For frosting, beat the butter, powdered sugar, and milk until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Frost cookies. Yield: about 9 dozen.

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Up next: Lexi’s 7th birthday cake. Her birthday was actually today, the party is tomorrow… 7 of her friends are coming after school.