It's November...beautifully colorful,sweet smelling, cozy November, that is also the home of the most delicious holiday...Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving (partly because I love to cook & bake)and anticipate its coming even though it is sandwiched between,and often overshadowed by Halloween and Christmas. November really starts my baking season, and is the return of some of the most comforting meals that I love to cook...I thought I would share a few of them with you. Check back later to see what I decide to make for Thanksgiving, & for some crafts & decorating tips. Enjoy...

P.S. on a side note I am preparing for my first craft fair & the restocking of my etsy store....look below for a sneak peak (and let me know what you think).

Perfectly Roasted Chicken
...it's not as hard as it seems, really no one needs to be daunted by the task of roasting, I think it's one of the easiest ways to cook. Here is my favorite way to go about it...

you will need:
1 whole roaster chicken, to fit the size of your family
1 whole head of garlic, chopped in half (peels and all)
1 lemon,cut in half
A few sprigs of fresh herbs...Thyme is my favorite
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat your oven per instructions on the package of chicken. Clean your chicken, take the neck & little package of gizzards,etc. out (I discard these), rinse the cavity of the chicken out. Generously salt and pepper the inside of your chicken (make sure you have a small bowl of salt and pepper to use, you don't want to cross contaminate). Stuff the halves of garlic and lemon and the fresh herbs into the cavity, tie the legs together with kitchen twine (no need to truss the whole bird) and place it in a roaster. Drizzle olive oil over the skin and rub in, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for the specified time (I like to tent in the last couple of minutes if the chicken is browning to much, but usually I don't need to). Enjoy!
Hot Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwiches
to me this dinner oozes of fall goodness, its warm and hearty and fulfilling...I love it, and by chance it is easy to make.

you will need:
1 roast, again to fit the size of your family (I generally go for a bottom round or chuck roast (or whatever is least expensive)...it cooks all day so that is perfect
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery,roughly chopped
3 whole garlic cloves
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 dried bay leaves
veg or canola oil
salt & pepper
2 cans beef broth
2 Tb. butter
2 Tb. flour
thick sliced bread
(or if you are a potato person, mashed potatoes)

Preheat your crock-pot to high, preheat a large pan on the stove with a few tablespoons oil on high or medium-high (you want the pan really hot for a good sear...you might want to turn on your exhaust fan too). Trim your roast, cut away any unwanted fat, salt and pepper generously. Carefully place in the hot pan and brown on every side. Meanwhile, add all the vegetables and the bay leaves to the crock pot. Add roast and the two cans of beef broth. Cover and allow to cook, mine usually goes all day, the longer the better, for at least 6 hours. When ready to serve remove roast to a cutting board and let rest. In a large sauce pan melt butter and add flour to make a roux, let it cook for about a minute then slowly strain the broth from the crock pot into the pan, whisk broth with roux and bring to a boil to thicken. Shred or slice the beef (it should just fall apart). I usually don't keep the vegetables, they are just there to flavor my sauce (I don't care for cooked celery and carrots), but if you like chop them up and add them to the gravy with the meat (be sure to remove the bay leaves), stir to combine and serve over bread (or mashed potatoes).
My Mom's Fantastic Double Braided Bread
this is a stand out in my food memories...every holiday meal, or any other meal that welcomes a warm loaf of bread, mom made this, and of course we all loved it...

you need:
3 Tb. sugar
1 pkg. yeast
3 Tb. butter
6 cups flour
2 cups water

Mix sugar, yeast and salt. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix well. Heat water and butter and add to flour mixture. Mix well. Add remaining four and knead until smooth. Let rise to double. Divide dough in half and each half into thirds, braid, starting at the center. Stack the two braids and let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Maple Bars (my favorite donut of all time)
I think my love for maple doughnuts is all nostalgia, I remember when I was young and we were visiting my Grandma in Seattle, and Dad took me for a walk one morning and we got a maple doughnut...I have loved them ever since...

you need:
2 pkg. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
a little sugar
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups flour, plus more (about 6 cups total)
2 eggs
Dissolve yeast and sugar in the 1/2 cup warm water, let proof. Mix together 2 cups hot water, butter, sugar and salt. To hot water mixture add 2 cups flour, eggs and yeast mixture. Mix well. Add additional flour until it resembles a bread dough. Knead until smooth and let rise once. Roll out and cut into bars (or doughnuts if you like) and let rise a little. Fry in hot oil (a oil & candy thermometer is a must here...to hot gooey centers, too cool oily doughnuts). Drain on a rack over paper towels.

For icing mix together 2 Tb. softened butter, 2 T. half and half, 1 tsp. maple flavoring, and powdered sugar to make desired consistency...frost cooled doughnuts & enjoy!

Here is what I have been working on (and still have much, much more to do). I have been playing with an idea for "appliqued" cards, decorating notepads, and making elastic bookmarks (that stretch over your cover and stay in place) I will also be making some birthday party kits...and more cards among other things. I will keep you updated...FYI the craft fair is Nov. 21st & things will be up on etsy shortly after. Let me know what you think!


KayC. said...

Looks great! Keep on doing the great work.

Janee said...

Wow! These all sound so delicious! I'm going to try them! Thanks for posting! LOVE this blog by the way :)

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