Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Momma's super stuffing

Momma makes stuffing the way her grandmother did, the grandmother from Italy.

Momma Explains: Remember, every culture adapts recipes based on their traditions and what ingredients are available. For my Italian side, sausage and eggs were in abundance, hence their prevalence in this recipe. I stuff my turkey with this and it is always a hit. I do not measure but have set out my general guidelines. The key to a great stuffing is a moist stuffing prior to placing it in the turkey. You are going to love this one.

Momma's Super Stuffing: First, cook a pound of regular sausage with out the casing, Bob Evans or similar. Break it up as it cooks so it is crumbled. Let cool. In a large saute pan place a whole stick of butter. ( Yes a whole stick, there is a reason it is called stuffing!) , chop a medium sweet onion and about 6 celery stalks. I use the interior celery as it is more tender. Soften the celery and onion in the butter on low to medium heat. Add some salt for flavor. Let cool and prepare the bread mixture. Take a whole loaf of white bread, none of that healthy grain bread, remember it is STUFFING. Cube the bread, crust and all and place in a large bowl. Add 12 eggs that you have beaten well, mixed with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water. Add about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the onion and celery and the sausage, and mix well. It even looks good raw but wait till you have it in turkey.

You all have a Happy and Holy Thanksgiving, we all are Blessed. Thank you Lord, for family, friends and feast.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Villains and Fairies of Fashion Merchandising

Momma was out shopping at her favorite Department store but was dismayed to fall victim to fashion merchandising.

Momma Explains: I was happily one of the first people to open the local department store for their ONE DAY SALE. Of course there are going to be a lot of one day sales but I wanted first peek at the low costs. I piled myself with Christmas gifts, used my coupons, my % off discounts, my card for extra savings and was about to leave. Then, it happened, I passed the children's department. Standing in the end cap were gorgeous dresses for the holidays. Velvet sleeves, sparkles, tulle, satin, moire, every fabric imaginable. In short, they were a little girl's fairy princess dream. I was smitten since I have grand daughters. The end cap display featured the older girl's sizes, 7 - 16. To my surprise the dresses were 60% off the original price of $48.00, and I was awed. These were prom dress quality at an incredible price and then with a 60% off. I ran, literally, probably took out a couple of mannequins, but made it to the toddler department. The exact same dresses were on display only in the smaller sizes. I quickly perused the rack, picked out the most luscious dresses to make a little girl gush, then sped to the check out. As I stood in line I noticed the price tag on the toddler size dresses- $ 85.00, whoa, there must be a mistake. The size 16 was only $48.00 and it was three times the material. This had to be wrong, but alas, the fairy princess has met the evil villain, fashion merchandiser !! Yes, we can easily get our little , toddler girls to wear fairy princess gowns. In fact every other grand mom was out buying the same thing and was willing to overlook the ridiculous price for a 2T, but we cannot easily convince a 12 year old that velvet and tulle are in, not when their idea of dressing up is to wear jeans with out holes in them. So I sadly had to leave the magic shopping arena, and gaze at the large assortment of size 7 -16 dresses, a steal at a final cost of $20.00, I really considered buying them anyway, after all fairy princesses wear a lot of slips. Maybe someday, 12 year olds will want to be a fairy princess again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beaujolais Nouveau

Momma likes a good fruity wine that is reasonable and they can even be imported.

Momma Explains: Beaujolais is a wine area in France, it is part of the Burgundy Region. Beaujolais wine is made from the Gamay grape, it is a mild wine that shows fruit and flavor. It is best chilled. The best part though is that it is reasonably priced.

Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young as in ASAP . It is a wine that a few weeks ago was sitting on the vine. It is very fresh and released on the third Thursday of November amidst a lot of fanfare and excitement. Despite the price, it is usually a great find and an interesting preview into the more expensive wines that will be made from the same Burgundy Region.

Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be purchased and consumed immediately. What a great Holiday treat. It is best chilled because that brings out the fruit flavor. Look for the Noveau wines to be in your stores soon. There are actually people who fly out to France to be the " first" to taste the new wine when it is released. So if your jet is busy this week, not to worry. You can get a bottle soon, put it on ice and enjoy. Wine should be fun, flavorful and affordable. Beaujolais hits the mark on all three counts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bargains Galore

85% OFF
PLUS 10%

Momma loves to shop, in fact I consider it an art form and investigative skill.

Momma Explains: While the economy struggles to rise, we all are tightening our belts but if we are, then so are the retailers. In a way, since we have less to spend, demand is less and therefore prices fall. Now, I am not the economic whiz that some people are but I can calculate a percent off sale faster than a calculator. Tell me the percent off and I can figure what it will cost in seconds, yes seconds. Hey, when you are shopping against the other professional savers, math counts, as does long arms and quick grabs. Now with the current sales conditions, I have noticed an increase in sales and coupons. My favorite is the free shipping option that Landsend has been offering and many other merchants are offering free shipping as well. Beware the fine print on some of the online gimmicks, their free shipping only applies to certain items.
As the Holidays draw near, I think the merchants will be ready to unload their products at significant savings. After all ,they can only make money if YOU buy something. Keep an eye on an item that you want to purchase. In this economic clime, cashmere is not beyond your grasp. I shop the finer retail stores clearance racks, and I ask the sales personnel if there are any other markdowns which are not out. They are more than happy to clear out the back room. Many people think that to save money then you must shop the discount chains, well I can tell you that I have paid 10% of the original cost of quality merchandise by shopping clearance and multiple sale discount racks. Maybe I am robo-shopper but all the people who receive my gifts are glad that I am. Now, check out the newspaper, cut your coupons and do the math. Shopping is an art form and my idea of competition.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veal and Prosciutto

Momma loves to have a little veal dinner now and then, it is expensive but such a treat.

Momma Explains: Veal is an expensive meat but you actually use a lot less, the weight amount of veal is a smaller amount than beef. I love veal dishes with some Italian accents and a light Italian Pinot Grigio is awesome to sip with your treat. Make sure your side dishes do not overwhelm the veal, a pasta with some olive oil and Parmesan cheese or a simple salad and crusty bread are all you need.

Momma's Veal and Prosciutto: Use thin sliced veal cutlets, you can pound or flatten them with a meat mallet to tenderize. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt and pepper and a little garlic powder on each side of the cutlets. Take a slice of prosciutto and place on each veal strip, then place a thin slice of provolone on too. Fold veal cutlet so that the prosciutto and provolone are tucked inside. I use toothpicks to hold these cutlets together. I then dredge them in a little flour to coat them lightly. Put some butter and some olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium heat. Place the secured cutlets in the oil/butter mix and cook for a few minutes then turn and cook on the other side. This takes only a very short time as veal cooks quickly. Once the veal is cooked, remove from pan and place on a dish. Then lower the heat and add some white wine to the pan to deglaze. Follow the wine with a half cup or so of chicken stock or broth, cook for 5 minutes, and use the reduction sauce to pour over the veal. If you like spinach then cook some spinach with salt and butter and place the veal packets on top before serving. I am getting hungry just talking about this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Momma can't believe how many people now have allergies, including many in her own family. How did the allergy epidemic emerge?

Momma Explains: Have we suddenly become a nation of hypochondriacs, overly sensitive to every allergen and contaminate? I do not think the evolutionary curve has suddenly turned exponential. I do believe we have better detection abilities and more research has uncovered allergic conditions that were idiopathic illnesses in the past. I think many lives have been saved due to better evaluations and medications. However, I also believe we are a community of chemicals. We have so much exposure to chemical agents and processed foods that we are missing the benefits to fresh foods and whole foods. This does create a need for better food supplies without chemical additives and pesticides. In some aspects we have created allergic conditions wile trying to avoid natural products and normal processes. My dad always teased me that my children did not eat enough dirt, because I was always trying to kill germs and sanitize. In some ways he was correct, my children have allergies. I do not remember any of my siblings having allergies and I think we did eat dirt.

Perhaps in our efforts to keep our children safe from the many bacteria and viral agents we have not allowed them to build up an efficient immune system. If this is true, then we have conundrum. Just how do we expose our children to germs without exposing them to danger? I do not have a concrete answer but I do know that I do need to find a balance. The kids who had the continual runny noses as children seem to be very healthy now and allergy free. I guess they got just enough dirt. If anyone has any comments on this challenge, I would love to hear about your thoughts and experience. We are very blessed to have the medical expertise and knowledge in today's world but I hope we still have common sense and natural instincts. There has got to be a better answer to allergies than concstant medication.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Simple Chicken in marinade

Momma likes to have chicken but it is bland unless you can release those hidden flavors.

Momma Explains: Chicken is a meat that is best juicy but the trick is cooking it until it is safely done with out drying it out. A meat thermometer is essential when cooking any meat but especially chicken and pork which can make you seriously ill if under done. I like to marinate chicken for several minutes or an hour if I have the time. Since most of my family prefers white meat, I make this recipe with breasts. Breasts that have the bone in and skin on will stay more moist. If you use boneless and skinless cook them just until done and check them often. This chicken dish is great with a Riesling from Germany, especially a 2006, it was a good year.

Momma's Chicken in Marinade: This recipe may be adapted for any chicken amount, it is all about coverage. So if you are only cooking two chicken breasts then use less of everything, if you are cooking more than 4, use more. I place the bone in, skin on, breasts in a plastic seal able bag, add enough orange juice mixed equally with Italian dressing to cover the chicken. You should premix the OJ and Italian dressing in a bowl or pitcher and then dump in the bag. I add about 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp oregano to the mixture as well. Let marinate for about 30 minutes if possible. After the chicken marinates, coat a roasting pan with olive oil, there should be a layer of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover the very bottom of the chicken. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place in the olive oil. I spoon some of the marinade onto the top of the chicken and then grate orange rind to sprinkle on the top as well. Just a sprinkling will do. Bake the chicken at about 350 F for 40 minutes. ( Boneless breasts may take a shorter amount of time) Your oven cooking speed and chicken breast size will vary so check the chicken, it may be done sooner or later. Use that meat thermometer. Some people find that cooking the chicken at a lower temp helps retain the moisture. You know how your oven functions, so adjust the temperature accordingly. Side dishes often include rice and steamed veggies or a salad. Enjoy this simply refreshing chicken dish.