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Holiday Roundup

Hello and Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been cooking up a storm for the holidays.👩‍🍳 The past couple of weeks in my kitchen have been a whirlwind resulting in lots of food but no writing.🌪 So, I decided to play a little catch up by posting some highlights from the Mood Ring Kitchen. See adventures below. I hope that your holidays were joyful and that 2020 will be bountiful in both food and fun in your kitchen and beyond.✌️💜🍴

Candied and “barely salted” pecans 

I kicked things off by roasting pecans because they keep for a long time and you can make extra to snack on. I’ve made a savory, spicy version in years past but decided to go a different route and try my hand at my grandmother’s legendary sugared and salted pecans. The first attempt was salted. I didn’t have her recipe so had to google. The one I found advised to roast the pecans in butter and then add salt after removing them from the oven. I wish I had researched a little further because most of the salt fell right off. At least they are healthier?🤔 After the fact, I found that most recipes instruct you to salt them before roasting. 🙄🤦‍♀️ 

I made the sugared ones next which I actually had the recipe for but could not make sense of what I had written down.😐 So, I consulted googled again for guidance while using the exact ingredients listed in my grandma’s recipe. I strived for a snowy white coating but they turned out shiny brown and thus, candied vs sugared. Both types were good but not great so I mixed them together for a candied/roasted combo to achieve a little salt and sweet in each handful. My father in law approved.👍

I make a few batches of banana nut bread annually and give it to family as part of their Christmas present. It brings me true joy to bake gifts for people. I use my grandma’s recipe which is always good but I struggle with the consistency of the bake. Banana bread is deceptive because I bake it for the recommended time of 50 minutes and it looks like it’s done. However, after sitting for a little while the middle usually starts to sink in.😤🤬

I’m not sure if this is because I only make it once a year and bake several at a time or what?🤷‍♀️ This time around, I had to put my three loaves back in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. They were darker in color but seemed to be good. I didn’t have enough ripe bananas to make any extra but got to taste one that got stuck in the pan on one side and it was yum. These are highly requested so I will keep pressing on. I’ll just have to make one for “experimental reasons” along the year to tweak it some.💡👷‍♀️😋 

Santa’s cookies

I’ve never made Christmas cookies per se so this year was a treat. My daughter just turned two so it seemed like a good time to start this tradition. I found a recipe on Pinterest for chocolate chip cookies with red and green M & M’s and white chocolate chips that looked delicious. Only, I took a shortcut to save time and stress and used the pre-made tollhouse in a tub dough. These cookies were fantastic and festive. We set some out with a letter and a little eggnog for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.🎅 🍪 🥛

Mini cinnamon rolls 

I wanted to make something a little special for Christmas morning to enjoy before all the chaos set in. I didn’t want to just pop a can of cinnamon rolls in the oven which I always seem to burn the bottoms of.🔥 I researched and found this “mostly from scratch” recipe on Pinterest (of course) for mini cinnamon rolls. The only shortcut was buying a Pillsbury sheet instead of making the dough from scratch. They were adorable and scrumptious!

Jezebel sauce with cream cheese

Jezebel sauce is another good ole Southern goodie originating from somewhere along the Gulf Coast. It’s a sweet and spicy sauce essentially made from jelly, horseradish and mustard. My stepmother in law introduced it to me a few years back when she served it with ham for the holidays. She and my father in law like to make and gift canned food and she kindly bestowed a jar of it to me. I chose to serve it over cream cheese with crackers as a Christmas appetizer. It was wicked good! 😈😝🙌

Christmas brunch

I made an assortment of savory breakfast dishes to include breakfast casserole, biscuits and gravy and Cracker Barrell’s copycat hash brown casserole. I also made lil smokies for the first time with grape jelly and Sweet Baby Rays bbq sauce. It was awesome but a bit on the sweet side so next year I may try chili sauce instead of bbq to spice it up a bit. My mother in law made bacon, sausage, meatballs, sausage balls and cheese grits. Everything was spectacular but hard to fit in one shot. I have a plate of leftovers pictured above along with pineapple casserole that my stepmother in law served on Christmas Eve. Leftovers are definitely one of my favorite parts of the holidays. Many dishes taste even better the next day or even the one after that!😍🍽♨️

Bagel seasoning 

Where have you been all my life? My sister has been raving about everything but the bagel seasoning for the past several months but I was in Argentina at the time and had no ability to get it. I kept seeing it pop up on lists of must haves for foodies so decided to order some for myself for Christmas. Y’all, it………………….good! I sprinkled some on cream cheese with toast and scrambled eggs and it was fabulous! After the very first taste, I could tell it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. 🥰🌹💞

I celebrate New Year’s Eve at home now and honestly there’s no place I’d rather be.🏡 I wanted to enjoy a cocktail and fun dip this year so elected to make red wine spritzers and chili cheese dip. It was just the ticket. A classy, simple combo to ring in the New Year with! 🥳🎉😋

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Mood Ring Kitchen

I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.

The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩‍🍳👩‍💻

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