Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Turkey-Day Birthday

Today is my 62nd birthday (Happy Birthday to me!). In honor of my birthday, the United States Government will now pay me a monthly stipend for the rest of my life. My first check will arrive in January. Born in 1946, I am among the first of the baby-boomers to tap into Social Security. I just hope there is enough money to see me through my life - or at least enough to last until I move in with one of my kids (just kidding guys!).

Since it is better to give than receive, my birthday present is some wonderful recipes that I want to share.

Cranberry Sauce
This is the best cranberry sauce ever. The secret to a sweeter cranberry sauce is to replace a portion of the fresh cranberries with dried cranberries.

Combine in saucepan:
2 cups cranberries (I use 1 1/2 cups fresh, 1/2 cup dried)
Juice and zest of one orange (I use a nutmeg grater for the zest)
1/4 cup Port (I use a 20 year Tawny - yum!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally.

In a small cup make a slurry with:
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Whisk cornstarch mixture into cranberry sauce and cook, whisking until sauce thickens. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.

Pumpkin Bars (thanks to Paula Deen and the Food Network)
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15 ounce can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking power
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Using electric mixer, combine eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 X 10 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix and bake in 5 x 9 inch loaf pan for 1 hour in 325 degree oven.

Mom's chocolate chip cookies
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/8 cups brown sugar
1 1/8 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda in 3 tablespoons hot water
3 3/8 cups flour (add a little more for high altitude)
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate chips (be sure to use REAL chocolate chips!)

Cream butter, beat in sugars until light and smooth, add other ingredients. Drop from spoon onto buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.


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