Monday, December 19, 2011

Cranberry Wassail

Every holiday season I frantically search for this recipe (from  It's delicious!

1 (12 ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
11 cups water, divided
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup red-hot candies
10 whole cloves
1 cup orange juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
  1. In a saucepan, combine the cranberries and 4 cups water. Cook over medium heat until berries pop, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Press through a strainer; discard skins. Set cranberry mixture aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, red-hots, cloves, orange juice, lemon juice and 4 cups water. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and red-hots are melted. Stir in cranberry mixture. Add enough remaining water to achieve desired concentration; heat through. Discard cloves before serving.
 Tiff's Tips:  keep warm in a crockpot.  Younger children may not enjoy this drink.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup

I got this from my friend's recipe blog and made it this week.  It was a winner!  The kids actually ate soup and liked their few bites I made them eat :)  Jeff said it was a keeper too!


* 1 lb. spicy sausage
* 4 medium potatoes, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices
* 1/4 cup onion, diced
* 1/2 cup REAL bacon bits (my friend leaves this out and still likes it.  I made it with it and it was good too)
* 1/4 teaspoons minced garlic
* 2 cups kale leaves, cut in half, then sliced
* 2 tablespoons chicken base
* 1 quart water (or substitute water and base for 2 cans chicken broth )
* 1/3 cup heavy cream (I actually forgot to put this in and didn't even notice!  Still so yummy!)


1. If sausage is in links, take out of wrapper (or slice).
2. Cook ground sausage, set aside.
3. In soup pot, saute onion and garlic cook 1 minute.
4. Add chicken base, water, and potatoes; simmer 15 minutes.
5. Add crumbled bacon, sausage, kale and cream.
6. Simmer 5 more minutes, then serve.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Delicious Dinner Rolls

I found a new favorite dinner roll!  I made these last night and I think everyone had at least 4 rolls!  They are so soft and yummy.  And the best part....they are even good the next day!  Some of the rolls I made in the past seem so bready and heavy the next day.  Not these - they are oh  so yummy!

I found the recipe on  They have lots of good ideas and recipes.

Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 cups of warm water
about 9-10 cups of all purpose flour
at least 1 cup of butter

1. Scald 1 1/2 cups of milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of butter, in a microwave safe bowl, for about 2 minutes. Cutting the butter into pieces helps it melt faster. There will probably be some little cubes of butter still floating in the hot mixture, they will melt.
2. We are going to add yeast to this hot mixture, but it will be too hot to just dump the yeast straight in (it would kill it!). To cool it down stir in 1-2 cups of flour, then add 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of salt, and leave it to cool for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, in a measuring cup dissolve 2 Tablespoons of yeast in 2 cups of warm water and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Let it sit for a couple of minutes until it is bubbly.  Make sure your milk mixture is just warm, not boiling and add the yeast mixture!
3.Using a fork or wooden spoon, gradually stir in 9-10 cups of flour (counting the flour you have already added to cool it earlier). I would recommend only adding 2 cups at time and stirring in between. These rolls turn out so much better when they are mixed by hand.At the end the dough will be dense and sticky, and may be hard to stir, you can use your hands to incorporate the rest of the flour if needed. Be sure not to add too much flour. Then smooth the dough out and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave it in a warm place and let it raise.
4.When your dough is close to raising completely, butter 2 cookie sheets and set them aside.
5. Let the dough raise until it has doubled in size.

6.Cover your working space with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Dump your dough out and divide it into 4 balls. Eyeball the sizes, then lift them up and feel the weight of each ball. Try to make them even, but they don’t have to be perfect.
7.Using one ball of dough at a time: roll the dough into a circle on a floured counter. Once it is rolled out spread the top with butter from edge to edge. You will use about 2 Tablespoons per circle of dough.  Cut the dough into quarters using a pizza cutter.Then cut each quarter into 3 pieces. You should end up with 12 triangles from each circle of dough. will roll the dough starting with the wide end of the triangle.Tuck the tail of the triangle under the roll and place it on the buttered cookie sheet. You will make 3 rows, with 8 rolls per row. This will give you 24 rolls per pan. Two balls of dough will fill 1 pan. You will get a total of 48 rolls!

9.Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the pans of rolls in a warm place (on top of the oven if possible) to let them rise. Once they are touching and full in size, cook (one pan at a time) in the oven ’till they are golden brown. About 10 – 15 minutes, It may take longer depending on how hot your oven cooks. Keep a close eye on your first pan to get the right time for the second.While they are still hot and fresh out of the oven run a stick of butter over the tops of the rolls for a delicious buttery glaze.