From My Kitchen: Turkey Soup

For the first time in a few years, I finally found a good recipe for using leftover turkey from our traditional Thanksgiving meal, so I thought it would be nice to share it with you.

turkey soup

Here’s the recipe:


2 quarts chicken broth

Leftover turkey, cut into small pieces (I had about a quart leftover from Thanksgiving)

1/2 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

4 small potatoes, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 garlic clove

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Frozen mixed vegetables, half bag


1. Pour olive oil, garlic, and onion into crock pot and heat on low.

2. Add turkey, carrots, potatoes, and broth. Add bay leaf.

3. Cook on low for at least 4 hours. Add mixed vegetables and cook for 30 minutes more.

4. Remove bay leaf.

5. Serve in your favorite soup bowl with your favorite bread roll or crackers.


A Market That Began As A Fruit Stand

I went on another food adventure, with a visit to Brennans Market last week. A lot of people around here shop there and love this market, but for some reason, I haven’t been there in years. It was time for me to catch up!

The owner began his business in the mid 1940s as a fruit stand, buying direct from the growers. He later added cheese to the selection. In the late 1960s, Brennans Market was opened in several locations, offering fresh produce, cheese, wine, beer and speciality foods. The coolest tidbit about this market is learning that the family personally visits and inspects every farm, orchard, vineyard, microbrewery and cheese factory they do business with, from the United States to Canada, as well as Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Ireland.

Beautiful selection of seasonal Fresh Fruit

Fresh Vegetables

The most amazing selection of Cheeses

Dreamy selection of speciality cheeses

Beer Island, which was also a fun place to admire clever labels.

Some varieties of Porter I want to try

Wine, local, domestic and international

They have notecards lying on the tables with a nice selection of recipes using ingredients conveniently laid out on the table for you. My mouth is watering just imagining their classic fondue recipe, using Emmentaler and Gruyere cheeses. Can’t wait to try that!

All under one roof. What more could a market need! I appreciated the clean, open environment; samples of fruit, cheese and sausage at every corner; and helpful staff at every corner, just waiting for you to ask for a recommendation so they could offer some expert advice. It was especially fun to visit a market that is always bustling with activity!

A Productive Saturday

I love productive Saturdays. Of course, it helps me stay focused when it’s cloudy and rainy outside.

While Dave raked leaves, I painted a few extras sets of checkers for some new checkerboard sets in my shop. I sold a few sets last year during the holiday season, so I wanted to restock for my upcoming craft show and the gift-giving season.

I like to mix up the king side with crown stamps for some sets and leaf stamps for other sets, which go along with my Patchwork Trails brand.

Then I was feeling motivated to make a batch of pumpkin cookies, the melt-in-your-mouth kind!

EDIT: here is the recipe for the pumpkin cookies, if you’re interested:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 can pumpkin

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Vanilla baking chips (as many as you want)

Milk chocolate baking chips (I used minis)

1 container cream cheese frosting

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease baking sheets.

2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until smooth.

3. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well blended.

4. Stir in baking chips.

5. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

6. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Cool for one minute on cookie sheet, then remove to cooling racks.

7. Spread frosting on warm cookies.

– – – – –

To keep all that domestic momentum going, we enjoyed chicken pot pie for dinner.

We started with a recipe from the Midwest Living magazine, December issue, which called for puff pastry sheets on the top but we also added a layer of pie crust to the bottom. It was divine!

EDIT: here’s the Pot Pie recipe, if you’re interested:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

3 cups cooked, diced chicken or turkey

3 cups frozen mixed vegetables

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons herbs (parsley, thyme and/or oregano)

1/2 package of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheet (1 sheet), thawed

1 pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Whisk egg and water in small bowl.

3. Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and broth, stirring until mixture thickens. Add chicken and vegetables. Pour into pie crust.

4. Unfold pastry sheet and place over filling. Press pastry to rim to seal. Brush pastry with egg mixture and sprinkle with herbs.

5. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

– – – – –

I’m off to my sewing room now to play. Hope you had a productive day too!

Fresh Squeezed Juice Makes Me Happy

I recently discovered how happy fresh squeezed  juice makes me.

I’ve tried fresh squeezed orange juice before, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever done it myself. Two oranges resulted in my juice glass being full to the brim!

It was a lot of work with that little hand juicer, so I am going shopping for a better juicer gadget. I don’t want to have another appliance; maybe just this juice press or this juice pitcher. It was worth the effort to get that explosion of fresh flavor!

Valentines Day – Our Plans

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with flowers and chocolates or just think it’s a Hallmark holiday of consumerism, it’s a great time to tell those closest to you that you love them!

pile of felt hearts

I don’t usually do much for crafts or decorations for Valentine’s Day, but I did manage to make this pile of felt hearts and the felt heart pins pictured below, one of which I have been wearing on my jacket all week.  A little flair in the corporate office never hurts!

felt heart pins

We are going to enjoy this day because it’s our favorite day of the week – Saturday!  We’re off to the Irish pub for lunch to use a gift card we received for Christmas.  Tonight we are going to make turkey crepes for dinner and watch this movie.

Happy day to you and your loved ones!

Homemade from My Kitchen

I spent Saturday morning making yummy things in my kitchen.  I adore strawberries, so I stocked up on them over the summer, freezing them for a winter smoothie or some other concoction.  I decided to make this strawberry jam adapted from a recipe in Barefoot Contessa’s new Back to Basics cookbook, which I got for Christmas.

granola and jam from Ina's new book

Easy Strawberry Jam

3 pints fresh strawberries

3 cups sugar

2 T. Grand Mariner or other orange-flavored liqueur

½ Granny Smith, peeled, cored, small diced

½ cup blueberries

Rinse strawberries. Drain & hull. Cut large ones in half. Place in kettle & toss with sugar and liqueur.  Bring to boil, stirring. Add apple & blueberries and continue boiling until mixture reaches 220 degrees with candy thermometer, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in canning jars for longer term storage.

homemade jam

I changed a couple things in that recipe.  I only had 1-1/2 pints of strawberries in the freezer, so I reduced the amount of sugar.  I didn’t have the liqueur so I used brandy instead, which believe it or not, turned out quite tasty.  I also used the entire apple because I didn’t read the directions closely – turned out just fine.

pan of granola

I have been wanting to make granola for awhile too, since my stash of my favorite organic granola from the last outdoor farmers market in November is gone now. 

jar of granola

Cherry, Almond and Cinnamon Granola

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut

2 cups sliced almonds

1-1/2 cups dried cherries, chopped

½ cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup good honey

2 tsps. Ground cinnamon

Reheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, coconut, almonds and cherries together in a large bowl.  Pour the vegetable oil and honey over the oat mixture. Add the cinnamon, and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated with the liquids. Pour onto a sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Remove granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Again, I changed a couple things in this recipe.  I’m not a big fan of coconut so I left that out, and I had dried craisins in the house so I used those instead of the dried cherries.   I didn’t have enough of the almonds to I added chopped pecans to get to the 2 cups.  While the granola was baking, I set the timer for every ten minutes so I wouldn’t forget to stir it to keep it from sticking to the pan.  I use the timer a lot in the the kitchen because I am usually doing something else at the same time as cooking or baking, and because I get easily distracted and forget what I was originally doing!

Next I would love to design a cute label for these jars because I will definitely make these again, maybe even give them as gifts.  I don’t have Illustrator yet and my drawing is still in the very beginning stages but definitely making progress.