In My Kitchen – December 2019

It will be 2020 in less than a month and I admit to being an anxious mess. I have had to take a news break and stop listening to the radio, TV, reading the paper or jumping at various flash news updates on all my electronic gadgets. The world does not feel like a friendly place at the moment. The Thanksgiving holiday was a welcome respite with its reminder of what is truly important. It was a chance to focus on friends and family (including all our furry four legged friends). I count my blessings for those people and animals in my life.

I recently read an article about morning rituals, one stuck in my head. The idea is to take 30 slow breaths first thing every morning, reminding yourself with each in breath of something or someone you are thankful for. It’s so simple and powerful, a gratitude meditation. But you can do it while dressing, or ordering your morning latte, or feeding the dogs. It doesn’t need to be a big deal. I haven’t been good about starting a meditation practice although I think it is important. My mornings are busy and noisy; the dogs usually get me up fairly early and their mood is one of joyous awakening. I can be thankful for their exuberance at meeting the new day. They are certainly a blessing.

Casey and Quinn

We are so thankful you are finally home

Anyway, on to what’s new in my kitchen.

In my kitchen I have lots of dressing, this year I made three batches because there wasn’t enough left over. The first was a vegetarian version of my regular sausage/cornbread/raisin dressing to satisfy all dietary requirements at Friendsgiving (made with parmesan broth instead of turkey broth). You can read the recipe here.  The second and third (yes three!) batches were with chicken sausage, the recipe is here. I did make some minor changes to both recipes in that I roughly tore the cornbread into pieces and toasted them in a 325 degree F until they were beginning to brown and crisp on the edges. I think that step improved the texture of the dressing.

Demolished

Batch number three…

Finished baked Dressing

It is the best leftover with multiple uses…as a bed for poached eggs, as a thickener for a turkey soup, or just reheated in the microwave as a snack. I only make it at two times each year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, my waistline can’t handle any more.

In my kitchen I have Cornish Game Hens cooked sous vide. You have to spatchcock them before vacuum packing and cooking under water for 1 1/2 hours at 161 degrees F. They were brushed with a mix of garlic, orange zest and paprika before cooking. I broiled them for a few minutes after they were done to give them some color.

Sous Vide Cornish Game Hens

Sous Vide Cornish Game Hens

We were very happy with the results.

With the cooler wet weather I have been craving more carb heavy meals, but at the same time I avoid eating a lot of wheat products. So I am interested to try this paleo grain free flour. Pancakes are in my future.

Paleo Baking Flour

Paleo Baking Flour

Have any of you tried it? If so, what do you think and what did you make?

To go along with those pancakes, some wonderful small batch maple syrup.

Maple Syrup

Runamok Maple Syrup

In my kitchen I have some Artisan crackers, these will be very welcome with cheese in the upcoming holidays.

Artisan Crackers

Artisan Crackers

And lastly in my kitchen I have some toasted tahini. I haven’t tried it but I will be making multiple batches of hummus and will let you know if there is a significant difference to my usual preferred brand.

Obour Toasted Tahini

Obour Toasted Tahini

From my kitchen I can see the lights of our Christmas tree. I’ve been collecting ornaments for many years and inherited them from my parents as well. There are many wonderful memories of past holidays and loved ones connected to the ornaments in the tree.

2019 Christmas Tree

2019 Christmas Tree

I’m connecting this post to a virtual blogging party at Sherrys Pickings. It’s the last “In My Kitchen” of 2019, oh my! Please follow the link to read what is going on in kitchens far and wide.

Happy holidays everyone!

16 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – December 2019

  1. Your cornbread dressing looks delicious. Amazing that you still have some left from Thanksgiving!

    best … mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Hi Mae, well “in my kitchen – December” is actually about November. But that being said, I have a visitor coming this weekend who still remembers a casual dinner of warmed and crisped dressing with a poached egg on top. She has requested a repeat performance.

  2. i love maple syrup but the real stuff is pretty expensive over here. i buy it anyway! dressing? i thought you meant the stuff that goes into a salad:-) then i realised you were talking about stuffing. ah i get it… I’ve been using roasted and unhulled tahini these days – such a great flavour. thanks for joining in this year. have a wonderful xmas break. all the best cheers sherry

    • Hi Sherry, I think stuffing goes into the bird and dressing is baked in a dish outside the bird (or used in a salad dressing). I often do both but have recently cooked the turkey sous vide which makes it impossible to ‘stuff’. And the dressing is wonderful tossed in a salad as well. All that lovely butter and crispy bread, yum.

  3. Oh, hugs to you and those sweet pups. I like the idea of taking 30 deep breaths as a morning meditation. Fingers crossed I follow through! Xo

    • Thanks Wendy, I have even added some prayers at the end in honor of Nancy P. It’s difficult but maybe it will make a difference. Can’t hurt even though it seems impossible.

  4. Liz, I’m with you regarding avoiding the news. What a great idea for a morning meditation/reflection session and one I’ll try.
    I too have just begun to put my toe in the GF baking pool. So far I’ve made GF oatmeal raisin cookies, a loaf of quick bread and Swedish pancakes. I was pleased with all.
    I love the pic of the dogs, it made me smile.
    Happy Holidays and my this next decade bring us all a kinder world.

    • Yes Ron, we need a kinder world filled with compassion. We need to stand up for that. Congrats on the GF baking, it’s becoming easier with all the new products out there. I had a GF pasta the other night and I couldn’t tell the difference. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  5. Ciao Liz. i agree, the news is depressing! i’ve been listening to the 24 hour Christmas music radio station and singing along to all the songs. Hard to be grumpy when you’ve been singing to your destination! My family makes extra stuffing too-and it is never enough. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Ciao, Cristina

    • Christmas music is a perfect ‘cure’. It also reminds me so much of Christmas in the past. They are mostly timeless.

  6. Liz, I so hear ya on “tuning out the news.” Glad to hear you found a way to ignore the angst and refocus your attention on other matters. (Not that I don’t care, but sometimes it gets to be too much.) Thanks for your tip to take 30 deep breaths every morning, too. I recently read that if you can control your breathing, you can control your thoughts. Sounds like a positive way to start out 2020. Can’t do much about the news, but we can breathe! Your dressing looks delicious and your Cornish game head “brush” sounds fantastic, as does your maple syrup and Artisan crackers. Pretty Christmas tree, too! xo

    • Thanks Kim. My problem is that I do care, too much. So I need to tune things out before I get totally consumed. It doesn’t feel healthy. You have a wonderful Christmas, please send pictures of the lake in winter. I remember one from last winter, it was beautiful.

  7. Oh, oh, oh!!! Those faces!!!! Doggie faces. And the markings on the one on the right! Wow!

    I’m going to try your morning ritual idea. I know what you mean about animals. It doesn’t matter how grumpy I am in the morning, the minute the neighbor’s cat shows up on my porch I instantly turn into a smiling, baby-talking, happy little fool. She reminds me that nothing else matters as long as HER needs are met and she’s happily purring or sleeping. Ha ha.

    Your three dressings look delicious! Wow! Sausage and raisins sound like a tasty combo.

    We had cornish game hens, too. Just buttered and roasted but so good and perfect for just me and my 92-yo Mama.

    Looking forward to seeing how it goes with the paleo flour and the toasted tahini.

    What a lovely view of your tree and yard you have from your kitchen!

    • Thank you Jinjer and Happy New Year. I love Cornish game hens as well, they are also good stuffed. Animals are so cheery, they are so happy in the morning and glad to see you. I understand completely. They encourage us to live in the moment.

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