Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall is Definitely in the Air...

I just love these crisp fall mornings. Sitting on the deck having a steaming cup of coffee with my sweetie.  Life couldn't be better.  This weather is just right for your favorite soups and stews.

Yesterday I was trying to figure out what to fix for dinner.  I rummaged through my freezer and found some sweet Italian sausage.  This is the recipe I came up with.  I hope you like it as much as we did.  It was pretty tasty I must say.

                                                          Italian Sausage Soup 
                          3 links Italian sausage                     3 cups chicken stock
                          1/2 chopped onion                           1 can cream of mushroom soup
                          2 cloves minced garlic                     salt and pepper to taste
                          1 rib diced celery                              Cayenne pepper (we like a little kick to ours )                                       6 medium potatoes diced

Remove sausage from casings and crumble.  Brown sausage in large pot, set aside.  Cook diced potatoes in chicken stock until tender.  Meanwhile, saute garlic, onion and celery in small skillet.  When potatoes are cooked add to pot with Italian sausage (liquid included).  Stir in mushroom soup, heavy cream and seasonings.  If mixture is too thick for your preference add additional chicken stock.  Heat on medium heat until bubbly and hot.

This recipe will serve 4 to 6 depending on size of servings.

Note:  I made homemade garlic bread sticks to go with the soup.


The next recipe I want to share with you is one of my all time favorites.  If you like espresso you will love my recipe for these Espresso Nut Muffins.  The original recipe was in Taste of Home magazine and I tweaked it a little to make it my own. These jumbo muffins are scrumptious!  Serve them warm with a cup of your favorite coffee or hot tea.

                                                    Espresso Nut Muffins

 Makes six jumbo muffins.
                          2 cups flour                                        1 cup strong brewed coffee
                          2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar                 3 Tbsp. espresso powder      
                          1-1/2 tsp. baking powder                    1/2 cup canola oil
                          1/4 tsp. baking soda                           1 egg, beaten
                          1 tsp. salt                                             1/2 cup chopped walnuts
                          1/4 tsp. nutmeg                                   1/2 cup chopped dates
                          1 Tbsp. sugar
                          1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small bowl combine the coffee and espresso powder.  Be sure coffee is cooled to room temperature.  Stir oil and egg into coffee mixture.  Add coffee mixture to dry ingredients and stir just till moistened.  Fold in walnuts, dates and raisins.
Spray jumbo muffin pan with cooking spray.  Use 1/2 cup measuring cup for each muffin.  Top each with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note:  I have used chocolate chips in place of raisins.  I've also used chopped bananas in place of raisins and dates.  This makes an entirely different flavor, but just as tasty.  You can make a mixture of powdered sugar and coffee to drizzle on the tops if you like a little more sweetness to them.

Quote of the day:  Advice is seldom welcome; and those who need it most like it the least.  (funny how that happens)  This is a quote from Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, 1694 - 1773

Nanny's thought for the day Life is what you make it.  Fill your life with love, family and friends. "LIVE"  like there is no tomorrow and "DANCE "like no one is watching.

Every now and then I will share a little family story with you.  These grand babies always make me giggle with their little stories.  So here's the first:  One of my granddaughters was having dinner with her two little girls who are  three and five years old.  The five year old said "momma I want to be a school teacher when I grow up" not be be outdone the three year old pipes up and says "momma I want to be a hillwilly when I grow up.  I got quite a laugh out of that one.  You just never know what they will say.

 Love and Hugs,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So I had this brilliant idea, least I think it was brilliant. I am going to have a guest blogger once a week, who also happens to be my gramma, we call her Nanny. So let me introduce you all to my goes our first Nanny's Corner:

Hi!  My name is Karen, but everyone calls me Nanny.  I am a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother 17 times.  Wow, never dreamed I would have such a large family. 
Having such a large family has given me so much joy and happiness in my life.  I never tire of having little ones around and all the giggles, and fun we have together.

Since I have retired I have filled my days with sewing, knitting, crocheting, crafting of all kinds, scrapbooking and quilting.  I am in the process of making quilts for all our children. I will then start on the grandchildren.  I am hoping that these will be heirlooms  they will pass on someday.

I was so excited when my granddaughter asked if I would like to add some grandmotherly tips and quips to her blog.   I have now added yet another fun thing to fill my day.  Thought I would share things with you like “Tips of the Day”, recipes and ideas for re-purposing items from your home instead of throwing them out.

Okay so here we go: 

One of my favorite sayings is “ Anything worth doing is worth doing right”.

Nanny’s Tip of the Day:  Don’t forget to check the batteries in your fire alarms.I always do mine in the spring and fall…which reminds me, I better check ours!

With Halloween right around the corner here are some ideas for decorating and making pumpkins:

I saw a really cool idea in a magazine the other day where you paint the pumpkin black first (after you have cleaned out the insides of course) then carve leaves on them.  You use an actual pattern of a leaf from your yard for carving.  It was really beautiful.
                Ladies Home Journal

Another way to make pumpkins is:
Take a brown paper bag  (one you get from the grocery store) stuff it with wadded up newspaper, tie near top to make stem, then squish it down to shape you want. You can come up with some really ghoulish shapes or traditional shapes.  Then you can paint and decorate it any way you desire.  Have fun with it.

                                Karey Ellen Designs