Monday, December 28, 2020

New Year's Cabbage and Peas

 Have you ever heard of the tradition of eating black eyed peas on New year's Eve? It's actually a pretty huge tradition in Southern USA, and it has come to mean many things, but mainly health and prosperity. It’s very often served with collard greens, since collards are green like money, and the peas would serve as a stand in for coins. If you serve it with corn bread, it’s meant to represent gold, and if they’re stewed with tomatoes, it’s meant to represent health and wealth.
 Being from the Northeast USA, I was never familiar with these traditions. I happened upon them just because I love delicious food! So when I saw Miss Lori on Whippoorwill Holler (one of my favorite youtube channels) making this, I immediately added it to my to-do list. Actually, I think I made it that very day! It turned out to be so delicious and so flavorful, I couldn’t stop eating it! Not even kidding. It’s true that she uses cabbage instead of the collard greens, but either way works for me! And I think the cabbage was my favorite part of the whole dish. And it was so easy! You just brown some ground beef, and while that’s happening you just throw everything else into a large slow cooker. That’s literally it! Nothing difficult or fancy, but OH SO GOOD!
 Will making this dish for the new year bring you health and prosperity? Who knows? Anything’s possible! But one thing is for certain, it will definitely give you a warm full belly. This is absolutely now one of my favorite dishes of all time. Do give it a try!
And have a safe and happy new year!


1 lb ground beef
1 head cabbage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 whole garlic bulb, minced
32 oz. chicken stock
1 c. water
16 oz. frozen black eyed peas
1 tbs chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbs oregano
I small can of tomato paste
1 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 can rotel tomatoes and chilis
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef in a skillet until no longer pink, drain excess fat.
Place browned beef and all remaining ingredients in your large slow cooker.
Cook it on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

Be sure to taste it and adjust the seasonings as you like. I found that it needed just a little extra salt when all was said and done. Maybe you might want some extra cumin, or maybe you'd like a little extra garlic. Or maybe you'd like to leave the cumin out altogether. Season it the way you like it!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Cranberry Christmas Cake


 This week's recipe comes from my dear friend, Gina, who found it on a website called She said it was so good, it was already half gone as she was sending me the recipe! (btw, she also took the picture for me too! Thanx Gina!)
 I love how simple it is. Only a few basic ingredients that you probably already have on your pantry. And then the fresh cranberries (which are always stocked in my freezer, just like the author does.) Oh, and no need for baking soda or baking powder, just whip the eggs for the leavening. Cool, huh?
 So festive too. It screams Christmas, doesn’t it? Better add this one to the Christmas repertoire!

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
12 oz fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. The sugar and egg mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl.
Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined.
Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.
Spread in a buttered 9×13 pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into small slices.

Variations/Tips from the author:
Blueberries swap nicely for the cranberries. Adding nuts to the recipe works too.
The addition of orange zest, orange extract, or almond extract works nicely as well.
The cake can be made in a variety of different cake pans. It can also be made into cupcakes and mini loaves. Watch the baking time and adjust as needed. One of the most frequently asked questions is whether you can bake this in a bundt pan. I do not personally recommend that. Yes, many people have said that it works, and I’ve tested it in a bundt twice myself, however, it isn’t the same cake that way. (Once it fell apart on me and another time it worked fine.) If you do decide you must use a bundt pan, grease the pan HEAVILY with butter and then flour the pan generously.
The biggest downside to baking this cake in a bundt pan is that you will miss out on the best part, that lovely crust that forms on the top of the cake.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Butter Bread



 Here we have another recipe from Half Baked Harvest via my niece, Casey. I figured since the chocolate chip pumpkin butter cookies were such a hit, why not do the same thing with a bread? (or is it cake? You decide!)
What’s not to love? Pumpkin with warm spices and chocolate chips… it’s the perfect thing to cap off this year’s “pumpkin season.” Serve it for dessert, or toast a slice of it in your toaster oven and have it with coffee.  Serious yum!

1/2 cup pumpkin butter*
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup melted salted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp plus 1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a (9x5 inch) bread pan.
 In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin butter, pumpkin puree, melted butter, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt, mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
 In a bowl, combine the granulated sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.
 Spoon half the pumpkin batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, reserving 2 tablespoons of sugar for topping the loaf. Add the remaining batter over the sugar. Run a knife down the center of the loaf 1-2 times to gently swirl the sugar. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over top of the batter.
 Transfer to the oven and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the center is just set. I usually cover the bread with foil at the 30 minute mark to prevent the top from burning.
 Remove the bread and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting...or just eat it warm with a smear of butter (you should do this!). Enjoy!

*Recipe note from the author:
Pumpkin butter substitute: you can use 1/2 cup additional pumpkin puree plus 2-4 tablespoons all purpose flour. Start with 2 tablespoons flour, then add 1-2 tablespoons more of the dough feels a little too wet. Don't add more than 1/4 cup additional flour.

Joey’s tips:
-Buying spices can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re only buying them to try this recipe. Instead of buying all four, you can just use a pumpkin pie spice blend. It won’t be EXACTLY the same result, but it’ll be pretty darn close!
-Since you’re only using 1/2 cup, what will you do with the rest of the can of pumpkin? Simple! Make two loaves and freeze one!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Egg Nog Pie


 OK, here’s a question for you… Do you like egg nog??
It’s a simple question, right? But who knew it would be so divisive?? It’s almost as crazy as the great “pineapple on pizza” conversation (which I LOVE, btw). If you bring up the topic of egg nog on social media, you’ll see an onslaught of comments ranging from one extreme to the other. Either people LOVE it, or they find it to be absolutely repulsive. Such was exactly the case when my fabulous friend, Audrey, recently posted, not that she didn’t like it, but that she has “never tried it, and never will.” Well, when it comes to food, I would always say to at least try it!
 And yes, of course I am, have always been, and will always be Team Egg Nog.  It’s sweet and creamy and tastes like a milkshake! What’s not to love? And I love to bake with it too! If I can find some new egg nog dessert every year, then it’s a good Christmas, I say.
 I’ve done egg nog cupcakes, egg nog ice cream, egg nog fudge, egg nog trifle, egg nog cookies, egg nog quick bread, even an egg nog French toast casserole. I simply can’t get enough! But somehow or other, I’ve never gotten around to making a fabulous egg nog custard pie…..until now!
 It’s just exactly what you think it will be: rich sweet delicious custard made with egg nog, and a little pinch of nutmeg to go over the top. Perfect with a little swirl of whipped cream. It also comes together in a snap because you just stir it all together and pour it into your pie shell. Easy!
 So if you love love LOVE egg nog as much as I do, I think you should try this pie. And Audrey…. well, maybe this pie will change your mind! 

1  1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups eggnog
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 (9 inch) prepared, unbaked pie crust, thawed

Heat oven to 350ºF
Mix the sugar and flour together in a mixing bowl. Beat in the egg nog, eggs, and vanilla to make a smooth mixture. Stir in the butter. Pour into the prepared pie crust.
Bake until the custard is set, 45-55 minutes. Cool before serving. Top with whipped topping, if desired.

Btw…I found this recipe on All Recipes . com and frankly, I have no idea who the author is. And of course, this is my tweaked version. Whenever I make egg nog anything, I always add just a little rum extract. It makes it taste more like egg nog! Also the original recipe said to bake it for 35-45 minutes which was nowhere near enough. You’ll know it’s done when the center puffs up a little and is no longer liquid.