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winter shortcake

sweet potato cranberry shortcakes

The final Thanksgiving leftovers recipe of the season is a dessert, using up the last of your mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and whipped cream. It’s a wintertime take on strawberry shortcake.

If your sweet potatoes weren’t mashed, mash them before making these biscuits.

powdered buttermilk

Oh, and did you know that you can buy powdered buttermilk? I’m not certain if I’ve mentioned this product before, but it sure is handy to have when you have all the ingredients for a recipe … except buttermilk. And isn’t that the point of using up leftovers – being able to use what you have and not having to make a special trip to the grocery store? It’s simple to use. Just as with powdered regular milk, you just mix with water.

butter bits

One last note – One of the secrets to light and flaky biscuits is to not overwork the dough. When handled with a light touch you should be able to see specks of the fat, whether that is butter, as in this recipe, or vegetable shortening or lard. Less is better when it comes to biscuits.

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December 2, 2013   1 Comment

turkey gumbo

I usually use the leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make enchiladas, chili or tacos. This year… Turkey Gumbo!

The thing about gumbo is that you have to start with roux. The thing about roux is that you have to stir constantly … for a long, long, long time! And the thing about stirring constantly, is that I hate having to do that!

auto stirring piece of crap

Several years ago I received an automatic pot stirring thing-a-ma-jiggy, called the StirChef Saucepan Stirrer. It has sat in the box and never been opened … until yesterday, when I made this gumbo. I’ve had it so long that the batteries that were included – were corroded.

how many pots

Guess what, I should have left it in the box. It was useless. It only fit into the smallest of my saucepans and the paddle turned so slowly, seriously ridiculous!

Here are some of the reviews I found on Amazon:

“I spent one dollar on this at a thrift shop and I still feel like I was ripped off. It is no surprise they are already out of business. The thing doesn’t even fit on all but one of my saucepans.”

“I just set this up for the first time to make a roux… what a joke!
It fit the pan and that is THE ONLY thing that was a positive. As soon as those worthless paddles hit that hot oil and flour, they began to dissolve!”

“Attaching the StirChef to my new 4qt saucepan, I turned it on to stir some chopped vegetables for 10 minutes at low heat. After about 4 minutes the flimsy plastic blades began to melt, adding an interesting but unwanted taste to the vegetables.”

bad gadget

Evidently this lame product is a collector’s item of some sort. On Amazon it sells for nearly $90 new and $60 used. Mine has only been used once. I’m willing to sell it for a mere $45.99.

Any interested buyers out there? No? OK, maybe you’ll be more interested in my Gumbo recipe.

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November 30, 2013   1 Comment

Thanksgiving leftover trio – part one

If you watched the live Food Network Thanksgiving show last week, you might have seen the round-table discussion at the end of the show. I didn’t see it live, but caught a bit of it online.

Thanksgiving eggs benedict

Some of the leftover ideas the chefs tossed around sounded fabulous – Thanksgiving Eggs Benedict” w/Gravy, Sweet Potato-Cranberry Shortcake, and Turkey Gumbo. Since this was a rapid-fire sort of affair – as in “everyone was talking over everyone else” – there were no recipes given.

Those were the three dishes that caught my fancy, so I thought I’d use their suggestions and create the recipes myself.

Today, the “Benedict” breakfast.
Tomorrow, the gumbo.
The shortcake on Sunday.

Get those leftovers out and make these recipes along with me…

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November 29, 2013   No Comments

Pecan Pie for Karen

In the comments of the “help me, help you” post, Karen asked for “Pecan Pecan Pecan stuff!”  There are pecans in some of my Thanksgiving recipes.

My favorite Thanksgiving recipe with pecans is my stuffing. Man, I really love that stuffing recipe!

But I double checked and realized I did not have a recipe up for pecan pie. I haven’t made a pecan pie in years… it’s just so rich … and our family really loves pumpkin pie, so I figure, why bother?

But Karen asked, and I shall deliver!

And not just with any old pecan pie, but a pecan pie with chocolate … and with bourbon … and Cinnamon Whipped Cream … BOOM!

pecan pie 2

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November 22, 2013   5 Comments

Pinterest Peekaboo Cake

peekaboo cake

Last November, I found and pinned this adorable dessert recipe on Pinterest. Like so many things I pin, I didn’t get around to making, as planned, last holiday season.

But, also like so many wonderful things I find on Pinterest, it was there when I wanted it (that is the joy and wonder of Pinterest!) and I got around to not only making it this year, but also sharing it with others at the cooking class I taught last night at Les Gourmettes Cooking School.

I’ve rewritten the recipe to be a little more clear and detailed.

pumpkin cutters

When I first tested the recipe, I used two different size pumpkin cookie cutters. A 3×3-inch cutter that made the most of the pumpkin bread cutouts. And a smaller 2×2-inch cutter.

big vs small

I was surprised to find that the cutouts from smaller cutter looked nicer when the cake was sliced.

batter on bottom

This is a photo of the second cake I made, once I’d figured out the tricks and tweaks. All other photos are of cake number one.

I found that covering the bottom of the loaf pan with a thin layer of the pound cake batter, then arranging the pumpkin bread cutouts on top, created a cleaner and more defined pumpkin look.  This is something that could not be done with the larger cutter, because the cake would be too tall and not covered with enough pound cake batter down the center, on the top.

There is a bonus TIP at the bottom of the post. Just in time for all of your Holiday Baking. You are gonna LOVE it!

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November 21, 2013   1 Comment

by request: pumpkin bread pudding

On Thursday I asked you to help me, help you with your Thanksgiving menu. There were plenty of wonderful comments and questions, but only one actual recipe request.**

Marissa and Sharon asked for a bread pudding recipe. More specifically – for pumpkin bread pudding. Today I give you the recipe.

pumpkin bread pudding

At the same time that I was working on this, I was testing a recipe I found on Pinterest for a “Peekaboo Pumpkin Pound Cake.” I’ll be making the cake on Wednesday, in the classes I’m teaching at Les Gourmettes. I will give you the cake recipe later in the week.

I mention it because I used the scraps from the pumpkin bread that was used for the cake recipe, in this bread pudding recipe.

If you don’t want to make your own pumpkin bread, go ahead and buy a loaf of pumpkin bread. I’ve seen it in all the grocery store bakeries and at Trader Joe’s.

pumpkin bread scraps

The pudding would be too dense and heavy if only pumpkin bread was used. So we’re using three large croissants for two-thirds of the total bread needed.


Both the pumpkin bread and the croissants need to be torn into bite-size pieces and left out to dry for at least 24 hours before making the pudding, so plan accordingly.

3 to dry

Crème anglaise is a custard used as a dessert cream or sauce. It is a mix of sugar, egg yolks and hot milk, often flavored with vanilla. It is also the base for vanilla ice cream. The pudding is especially delicious served with crème anglaise. Instead of going to the trouble and effort of making it from scratch, we’re just going to let some vanilla ice cream melt and call it Quick Crème Anglaise.  It can’t get much easier than that!

Note: When I make this again for our Thanksgiving dessert, I will be adding 1 cup of toasted chopped pecans to the bread in the baking dish before pouring the custard on top. I think the pudding needs that little crush and texture that pecans will add.

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November 18, 2013   3 Comments

a burlap & silver tablescape

Since Marissa and Dave’s mom fly back home today and Connor heads back to school, Thanksgiving is officially over at the Hopkins’ home. Let’s take one last glance back before the Christmas holiday crush begins.

My 2012 Thanksgiving tablescape and buffets were a lovely mix of pumpkins, silver and burlap, vintage and new.

To begin, I laid my burlap runner diagonally down the center of the table and placed a burlap placemat at seat.

I hollowed out one of the blue-green Jarrahdale pumpkins and used it as the container for the central floral part of the centerpiece. Originally I planned to set it atop a Bordallo Pinheiro Cabbage Leaf pedestal plate, but it was too high and would have prevented guests from seeing each other.

It was the perfect height on an oval maroon Bordallo Pinheiro grape leaf platter.

A silver charger was set down at each place and then every other placesetting received either this vintage Johnson Brothers Native American Wild Turkey dinner plate or…

… this Johnson Brothers “Wild Turkeys” dinner plate.

More Johnson Brothers plates were added next – a Friendly Village bowl went atop the dinner plate and the Johnson Brothers Friendly Village square salad plate was placed at the top left as a bread plate. Mixed pattern flatware and a stag horn steak knife were set in their proper places.

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November 24, 2012   5 Comments

lovely day

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We upheld all our traditions and had a new guest at our table. It was the first Thanksgiving Dave’s mom has ever spent with us and it was a joy having her here!

Just a few of our many Thanksgiving day traditions: Dave and the kids hike Pinnacle Peak while I get the turkeys into the oven and onto the grill. I always make two turkeys, not that we ever feed more than six people, it is just what we do! My dad arrives to cut up the giblets for the gravy. I make two pans of gravy, one with giblets for my dad, Dave, and this year, for his mom too. And another pan without giblets (Yuck!) for me and the kids.

We play games outside in the warm Arizona sunshine.

Dad brings the Beaujolais Nouveau, our traditional Thanksgiving wine. Connor and Marissa help me serve, get everything onto the table, and clear the plates between courses. Then they cheerfully help clean up until the last dish is dried and put away. And I’m not being sarcastic when I say cheerfully, they are the best!  To finish it all off it, at the end of the meal, my dad always says, “You done good.”

Yes, there is a lot to be thankful and grateful for!

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November 23, 2012   2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012   No Comments

epic fail!

When you read all the recipes on here, do you ever think to yourself, “I wonder if Linda ever makes something that tastes just horrible? Or if she tries a recipe that just doesn’t turn out?”

Um.. Yeah! Of course, it happens!

Let’s say I create a dish and it just isn’t all that. Well guess what? We eat it but it doesn’t show up here.

Or if I see something on the web, let’s say on Pinterest, and I think, “Oh that looks So Good! I’m going to give that a try and post it for my readers.”

Same thing, if it’s good, I share.  If it’s not, I don’t. Well, that’s about to change…

Let me share with you a little story about yesterday’s epic fail:

I’ve been planning on doing a series of recipes called “The 12 Gifts of Christmas” – you know, food gifts from your kitchen. There was this particular recipe I saw on Pinterest and it appeared to be the perfect fit.

Here is the LINK to make Maple Cream, also know as Maple Butter. Go check it out and then come back here.

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November 14, 2012   3 Comments