Fall has finally arrived, bringing along the familiar chill and windy days. The leaves here are now in their full autumn splendor. Each year as the days grow shorter and cooler, I always go into comfort food cooking mode. Last week I made homemade chicken soup while my hubby was under the weather. We enjoyed some of it, and I froze the rest to be used at a later time in the winter. I am sure I will like that if either of us catches a nasty winter bug. I also made Kelli’s wonderful Pumpkin Gingerbread. If you have not tried the recipe yet, you really should! I first saw it last fall, and never took the opportunity to make it until now. Since it is just the two of us, I cut the recipe in half and made only one loaf…but when adding the spices I forgot to halve the ginger. I love ginger, so this just made the loaf even better.
Last year I posted recipes for some favorite comfort foods: Shepherd’s Pie (my husband’s favorite meal), Friendship Tea (hubby’s favorite drink – are you noticing a trend here?), and my very own Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, all of which I plan to make this week. I hope my waistline does not expand too much over the holidays, but I am really looking forward to the Thanksgiving feast this year!
My current knitting project is the Wool Peddler’s Shawl from Folk Shawls. I was inspired by Kirsten’s version and just had to make one!
*Update: The link to my Shepherd’s Pie recipe was incorrect. I fixed the problem and now it links to the correct recipe.
We made it home safely from our long weekend, and I will post details and pictures later this evening.
My husband has been begging me for two weeks to share my recipe for “Galactic Cowgirl Coffee,” so share it I shall. There really is no coffee in the drink, and name was given by a college friend of mine (she thought it was catchy) to a homemade hot cocoa drink with a peppermint stick added as a holiday treat. So I shall share my recipe for my mom’s homemade hot cocoa mix with peppermint (optional), a.k.a. Galactic Cowgirl Coffee.
Hot Cocoa Mix
- 8 qt. box of powdered milk
- 7 oz. dry cream
- 1 lb. Nestle Quick
- 1/2 lb. powdered sugar (I use less)
- cinnamon (to taste)
Use 3-4 tbsp of mix per mug of hot water.
For an added treat or special holiday drink, add a peppermint stick or small candy cane to the hot cocoa.
This recipe is excellent for those chilly fall evenings and cold winter nights, a “comfort food” or stick-to-your-ribs type meal that is so satisfying in cool weather.
- 2 lb ground beef
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1-2 cans beef broth
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tbsp catsup (I sometimes add more to taste)
- 3 dashes garlic salt
- mashed potatoes
Saute onions in oil. Brown meat. Drain excess oil.
Add remaining ingredients (except potatoes) and simmer for ½ to 1 hour. (I do not used instant potatoes, so I normally cook and mash the potatoes while the beef/gravy mixture is simmering.)
Now most people place the meat in a casserole dish with the potatoes on top and then bake it for a bit, but our family does it differently. We eat it “messy style” or “homestyle” by putting mashed potatoes on each plate and topping it with the meat/gravy mixture. It is faster and tastes wonderful.
At first my husband was turned off by the “messy” look of the meal, but after I convinced him to try it, my Shepherd’s Pie became his favorite meal.
Note: This recipe may be halved. The whole recipe can feed a good sized family, like the family of 8 that I grew up in. I cut it in half and have enough for my husband and I, as well as leftovers for lunch the next day. Green beans make a great complimentary vegetable, or you can lighten up the meal with a salad.
This pie crust is perfect for apple and pumkin pies. My family always requests pumpkin pies in pecan crusts at Thanksgiving. I have even used this recipe for a lattice crust, but the dough is a bit thick for that so I prefer to put a crumb topping on my apple pies. Another decorative touch is to use a cookie cutter to cut out leaves and decorate the rim of the pie with those.
- 2 c All-purpose flour; unsifted 1/2 c Pecans; very finely chopped (I use a food processor.)
- 3 tbsp. Sugar
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 2/3 c Vegetable shortening; chilled
- 4-5 tbsp. Ice water
- In a medium bowl, combine flour,pecans, sugar and salt.
With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir lightly with a fork just until a soft, manageable pastry forms.
Divide pastry into 2 balls. Roll out between 2 sheets of floured waxed paper. Makes enough for 2 open pies.
A good friend from college (how I miss her, and miss Florida) shared this recipe with me. It is a great fall treat with a cup of hot cocoa or coffee.
Pumpkin chip cookies
- 1½ c. butter, softened.
- 2 c. brown sugar
- 2 c. sugar
- 15 oz pumpkin
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 c. flour
- 2 c. quick oats
- 2 tsp soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 c. semi sweet chips
Cream butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, oats, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Then add to creamed mixture. Add chips. (Pecans can also be added, if desired.)
Drop by tbsp on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 min. Cool in wire rack.
Makes 10 dozen. (Recipe may be halved.)