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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Turkey and Cherry Sandwich Minis

Every once in a while I read a recipe and just can't get it out of my mind until I make it.  These sandwiches were one of those recipes.  I bought the cookbook a couple of months ago.  One of those cookbooks that I got home and wondered what in the world I'd been thinking.  The Big Book of Easy Baking.  That sounds like something that someone who LIKES to bake would buy.  Except most of my friends who bake do so from scratch.  They use the real stuff.  You know, like yeast.  Me on the other hand, I use stuff someone else has baked!  Much to my delight, the cookbook has some great recipes.  Most use Pillsbury products.  I've used a lot of their crescent rolls in my life and really love the things.  I just couldn't shake this one recipe.

Saturday we worked all day.  Then, Connie dropped me off at the house to start cooking while he went shopping.  I got tapenade, dill dip, mustard dip, cranberry syrup, clam dip, chipped beef dip, roasted walnuts and a deviled cheese ball done.  You see, the Girls Night Out Holiday party is at our house on Monday.  While Connie plays bridge, I'll be hosting.  It's a pitch-in but I still wanted to make sure there's plenty of food available. 

Sunday, I worked on menus for when Connie's boys visit a bit later this month.  And, for Christmas Eve when we host my whole family.  And for Christmas evening when we're here by ourselves for a quiet evening.  And, for New Years Eve when we have our annual seafood fest.  There's a lot of cooking that's going to be going on!!!!

Sunday afternoon was our last home regular season Colts game.  Yes, we won.  Clinched the division title for the 9th time in 13 years.  And, probably watched Reggie Wayne play his last regular season game.  He's a class act.  I'm going to miss him. 

I was already feeling bummed when I got home to find out that yet another friend has died from melanoma.  Rip was a class ahead of me in high school.  His sister, Leesy, was behind me.  Our great-grandparents were friends.  A lot of tears and yet I had a lot of work to do to get ready for GNO.  Connie had run back to the store for a few things we used up or that the other store didn't have the evening before.  I'd had him buy cherry preserves for the day I wanted to make the sandwiches.  We didn't have the right bread but I didn't care.  They'd be perfect.  Easy.  Flavorful.  And, I had all of the ingredients.

What did we think?  FABULOUS!!!  We tried the blue cheese/bacon/mayo mixture on spinach leaves with and without a spot of the preserves.  Equally wonderful.  Connie'd bought four pepper roasted deli turkey.  I usually buy the honey smoked.  I think his choice was perfect for these.  I've already made more of the bacon/blue cheese/mayo mixture so we can have them again for lunch!

Turkey and Cherry Sandwich Minis


16 small rolls or party rye
2 slices bacon, finely chopped (ok, I cheated and used six...)
3 T mayonnaise
1/4 c crumbled blue cheese
1/4 c cherry preserves
8 oz thinly sliced smoked turkey breast
4 large red lettuce leaves cut into quarters (I used spinach)


Now, the real recipe calls for turning a can of Pillsbury refrigerated crusty French loaf into 16 buns.  Ummm, buying them is much easier.  So, I started with a loaf of party rye.  I needed one for the GNO party.  Connie bought three.  Let's use up the excess!  Brown and drain the bacon.  Mash the mayo and blue cheese together.  Stir in the bacon.  Assemble the sandwiches by spreading some of the mayo/blue cheese mixture on one of the buns. 

Spread some of the cherry preserves on the other.  Layer on turkey and greens.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Beef Barley Soup

I had a very happy and full belly at this afternoon.  You see, it's time for the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society and our theme for the month was something your grandmother would make.  I know my grandmother made a LOT of soups.  You see this stockpot?  That was in the stove at my grandmother's house.  I still use it ALL the time. 

So, who was the wonderful blogger responsible for my happy belly?  Azmina from Lawyer Loves Lunch.  She's a mom to two darling children and an attorney.  She's a busy lady who still finds time to cook some wonderful food.  I've been reading her blog and we've been friends for a long time on Facebook so I can attest her blog's delightful to read.  Please go visit:   Lawyer Loves Lunch.  My grandmother also loved to bake.  There were a couple of cakes calling my name.  And, there was a chicken stroganoff that sounded fabulous.  And, lots of other recipes that maybe my grandmother wouldn't have made.  Things that use ingredients that I could easily find.  But, Grammie?  Not so much.  So, beef and barley soup it was.  Here's how you visit Azmina's post:  Beef Barley Soup.

This was super easy to put together.  Brown the beef, add some of the other ingredients and let them brown a bit.  Then, add the rest of the ingredients and allow the soup to simmer away.  Azmina calls for cooking it down to almost stew-like consistency.  I did exactly that and it was fabulous.  Ok, so the confession here...  We had our soup for lunch today.  Connie and I both devoured it.  He dropped me off at the house and headed off to his bridge game.  Since he's not only my office manager but also my husband, we ride to work together.  There's also the issue of the fact that Annie the dog (who goes to the office with us every day) is not welcome to ride in my car.  Something about any other dog within her sight is NOT welcome and woofing and scratching of the car ensues.  So, Connie drops me off and I get busy.  Another load of laundry in.  More Christmas decorations up.  Time for a cocktail.  To the fridge for ice.  Notice the frozen peas.  ARGH!  I left the peas out!  Oh, well. The soup was fabulous without the peas.   LOL, I suppose we all do these things...

Since our theme is something that your grandmother would make, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our persimmon pudding.  Indiana persimmons are vastly different from the Japanese variety.  The majority of folks outside of southern Indiana have probably never heard of them.  We have a persimmon tree and I can guarantee the critters LOVE the things.  Last year I got several quarts of pulp.  That translated into pints of pulp.  This year, the squirrels got them before we did.  Despite the fact that I was diligent and headed to the tree every evening after work. You see, the persimmons are terribly tart if not allowed to fully ripen and fall from the tree.  Next year, you'll see a big diaper in the bottom branches of our tree!  This pudding is probably my first real food memory.  The recipe card below was written by my mother.  The actual recipe comes from my great-grandmother to my grandmother to my mother to me.  Here's a link to my post about persimmon pudding:  Persimmon Pudding.

We've got a wonderful group of bloggers in Blogger C.L.U.E. Society.  Every month we receive the name of a blogging pal and a theme.  It's an opportunity to visit an old friend or make a new friend.  Such a great group of bloggers!  Please stop by and visit my other friends dishes.  The bloggers are all listed below the recipe.  Last month I made about half of the recipes...  My guess is this month will be the same!

Beef Barley Soup


12 cups beef broth
1 lb beef stew meat, cut into small cubes
1 c chopped onions
1 c chopped carrots
1 c peas
1/2 c chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c pearled barley
1 c tomato sauce
3 T tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 T oil
salt and pepper to taste


Toss the beef with salt and pepper to taste.  In a large stockpot, brown the beef cubes in the oil.  Be sure not to crowd them or they'll steam and not brown.  Then, add in the onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Saute them for about 10 minutes.  Add in the balance of the ingredients and allow the soup to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If you leave the lid off, it'll be thicker.  If you prefer a thinner soup, leave the lid on for the first hour at least.  About 10 minutes before it's done, add in the peas

adapted from Lawyer Loves Lunch