Friday, November 20, 2015

An Old Fashioned Christmas by Ellen Stimson - TLC Book Tour

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Countryman Press; 1 edition (November 2, 2015)

With its snowy streets, pine forests, sleigh rides and woodsmoke curling from the chimneys, Vermont was practically invented for the Christmas postcard. And no one celebrates the season better than Ellen Stimson, author of the best-selling Mud Season, and now the author and home cook behind this cozy new collection of holiday magic.

From warm drinks for the first snowfall to treats for furry friends, from indulgent snacks for carolers to a traditional menu for Christmas day, An Old-Fashioned Christmas will keep you and your loved ones eating, drinking, laughing and baking all through the holiday season.

Anyone who loved Mud Season will remember Stimson’s hilarious and heartwarming stories of life in her small Vermont town—and An Old-Fashioned Christmas brings her trademark touch to holiday memories new and old. Readers will be inspired to begin their own family traditions like the Stimsons’ annual Christmas Adventure, the collection of nostalgic tree ornaments, and of course, the legendary Christmas party attended by friends and family from all over. This is a book you will return to year after year.

A guide to celebrating Christmas in proper Vermont style—from sleigh rides to country stores—rounds out this deeply personal and completely delicious collection. The 98 homey recipes in this book will soon become annual favorites for your family too, including:

Maple Pecan Cookies

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Maple, Fennel, Sausage and Cheddar Meatballs

Chestnut Mousse

About Ellen Stimson

Ellen Stimson is a bread-and-butter homecook…possibly more butter than bread. Her table is usually overflowing with friends, family, and folks who have come just to listen to her stories. Some of those tales made it into her bestselling memoir, Mud Season. She cooks and writes from a farmhouse in Vermont.

Connect with Ellen

My Thoughts

I am so beyond excited to tell you all about this cookbook.  If you've known me for years you know how much I love cooking and collecting cookbooks from all over the place.

This book combines stunning photography with delicious recipes and beautifully told stories that leave you wanting to turn the pages as fast as you can, and the best part?  It takes place in beautiful Vermont.

Ellen Stimson retells stories of her family's fondest traditions, Christmases past and in between shares recipes for good home cooked dishes that are sure to please your family too.

I got the book in the mail, paged through it really quickly and set it aside.  Not because I didn't want to read it, but because I wanted to indulge in it with a big mug of coffee and a cookie, a warm crochet blanket and a glowing fire.  And so I did, the day came and I settled in with the book, and before I knew it, I had been reading it for 2 hours and shushing anyone that tried to get my attention otherwise.

I don't think there is a single recipe on these pages that I will not try, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up and hosting dinners at our house.  If one thing this book did for me was get me in the Christmas mood and now I am literally counting down the days.

So I tried to pick a recipe that I could make today, that would be easy and that would use ingredients I already had on hand, so I settled on the Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies, and oh my word, am I ever happy that I did.

These cookies don't take many ingredients, take only about 5 minutes to get together and then you can pop them in the fridge for 2 hours and go work on something else.  They bake up a dream and taste AMAZING.  My kiddos love them.

Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup powdered sugar, more for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Beat in the egg.  Mix in the rum extract and nutmeg.  Lastly, mix in the cake mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Roll the chilled batter into 1-inch-sized balls and then roll them in powdered sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake 12 minutes.  The cookies will remain soft and gooey.

Cool completely and sprinkle with more powdered sugar (more is always better).

This book would make a great Christmas gift, if you have a family member or friend who love cooking, or collecting cookbooks, then this is it.  I know that if I had received it as a gift, I would have been extremely happy :)

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Macho Nachos

Macho Nachos
Source:  I wash you dry

6-8 large handfuls of corn tortilla chips
1½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1½ cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 (15 oz) can of chili (your favorite brand works)
½ cup sliced black olives
½ cup sliced, pickled jalapeños
½ cup diced tomatoes
¾ cup sour cream
2 green onions, diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In an oven safe pan or baking sheet lay half of the chips, then top with half the can of chili, ½ of the cheddar cheese, and ½ of the pepper jack cheese. Repeat the layering; chips, chili, cheese.

Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and gooey.

Quickly top with the black olives, jalapeños, diced tomato, sour cream, and green onions. Serve hot with a side of salsa. Enjoy!

Macho Nachos