Friday, December 10, 2010

Before the Candle Burns Out

With Christmas' countdown continuing if you guys are like us you have parties and gatherings galore to attend. For us the parade of parties start tonight and that means scrounging around for recipes that would be perfect for each party and it may mean baking for gift giving as well. Hopefully you can look no further than The Pennyless Cook for some ideas for both. For tonight's shin-dig I am making two appetizers and can't wait to share them with you; whether they turn out good or bad I'll let you know depending on how it goes after tonight.
So before the candle burns out (which it may have already) I want to keep my promise for anyone who cares or is listening out there what may favorite dishes were from this past Thanksgiving, and what I made. Some of you may even want to bring some of these dishes to your Christmas or New Year's parties that are coming up, who knows.
I had my indulgent of two, count 'em two Thanksgivings. One which I will forever treasure at my grandparent's house; it may be the last Thanksgiving we'll have with my grandmother as she is currently battling cancer. The cancer continues to win. So I am forever thankful to the Lord for His grace to me this year, and one way is He has blessed me is by the gift of time with Gigi.
Here we gathered with my family, in a way, honoring her. We set down to a massive feast. I contributed dressing made with my grandmother's cornbread recipe, spicy sausage, and sage. I also made my momma's spicy roasted carrots.
My favorites out of this night was probably my step-mom's green beans, yep just green beans, but boy they are good. Beverly's secret......bacon grease. Not good for the arteries, but so good going down! She said they cooked on low all day with sliced onion. If you're going to cook green beans for the holidays that's the way to do it!
My other favorite might be another surprise, my step-sister's banana pudding. It was a modified version of Paula Dean's Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding. Rich, delicious, creamy, delicious, did I mention delicious already? Jessica gave me a "pennyless" tip, she said instead of the Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies that the recipe calls for you can get a similar generic version at The Dollar Store. Those Pepperidge Farm cookies are good, but can get expensive.
After a second helping of the banana pudding, that I shouldn't have had; my bloated gut was quite content thanks to the elastic band in the leggings I was wearing.
The next day we woke up still full from the night before, but our stomachs were stretched out enough to inhale some more Thanksgiving goodness. Next stop, Sharon's house, my father-in-laws friend, where it has been to tradition to gather the last few years. It is always loud, fun, and seriously loving; I could not wait to have my take of her dressing and macaroni and cheese. Her dressing is so moist it almost melts in your mouth, and her macaroni and cheese is no ordinary mac and cheese. She's given me the recipe before, but I have never been able to quite duplicate it. I plan on trying again (I'll let you know how it goes), but I don't know if it will ever get to her caliber. The surprise for me when we sat down to eat was the creamed corn that we had. I assumed that Sharon and her mad skills made that too, and then I was taken back when I found out her son Scott had made it. It was so good! I didn't know he had culinary skills to this level. This corn tasted like the kind you have right off the farm that was creamed from a woman that has been cooking traditionally for 60 years; not from that of a young father that made it for the first time this Thanksgiving!
Have a great month celebrating with friends, family, co-workers and check back for more ideas to help you this Christmas. Have fun cooking and giving creatively, yet generously the "pennyless" way (that makes sense if you think about) this year! Let me know how it goes.

Momma's Spicy Roasted Carrots

1 lb. bag baby carrots
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp seasoned sale (I use Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning)
1 stick of melted butter

This is so easy! Most of the time I double it; usually the carrots are gone before I know it and people are asking for more! Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss carrots in a large bowl with oil and seasoned salt. Spread carrots out on a baking sheet and pour over melted butter. Make sure the carrots are nicely coated. Bake for 30 minutes.

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