Tag Archives: food

Happy New Year!


It’s almost 2011! Hard to believe, but I’m excited for the New Year and hope that you are, too! Hopefully, it’s filled with lots of good times spent with friends and family…and of course, good food.

Black-eyed peas are a traditional New Year’s dish, thought to bring good luck. I just think they taste great–if they happen to bring some luck, too, I’m not going to complain! If you want to make a dish with these tasty legumes for the holiday, here’s a good recipe adapted from southernfood.about.com:

black eyed peas

New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas

Serves 6.


  • 2 28-oz cans black-eyed peas
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce


1. Brown sausage and chopped onions in a skillet over medium heat. Drain excess fat.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a 3-quart casserole dish. Add the sausage and onions. Bake at 300° for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Do you have any special New Year’s recipes? We’d love to hear what they are!

Holiday Baking Ideas

What’s one of the best parts of the holidays? Baking, of course! Cookies, pie, cake, bread…there are so many delicious things to enjoy this time of year. It’s also an opportunity to carry on family traditions. Perhaps you remember a relative’s scrumptious pie or secret cake recipe, or maybe you help your kids make a recipe you yourself learned as a child. My family, for example, made sugar cookies every year that we’d decorate with brightly-colored, powdered-sugar icing. As a kid, I loved mixing food coloring into the bowls of icing, and then drizzling it over the cookies in fanciful patterns. I also remember my great-grandmother’s cookies–she made dozens of them every Christmas. My favorite were her potato chip cookies (don’t knock ’em until you try ’em!). What are your favorite holiday baking traditions?

Keep up with your family’s baking traditions or start some new ones this year! Here are some handy products to make your holiday baking more fun.

Cookie Cake Pans

Cookie Cake Pans: the best of both worlds! Make a chocolate cake with vanilla icing in the middle for a jumbo-sized Oreo-style cake!

Holiday Baking Pan by Paula Deen

Fun holiday shapes are yours to decorate with the Holiday Baking Pan by Paula Deen.

Cookie Press

Make perfect spritz cookies in a variety of patterns with this Cookie Press.

POURfect Measuring Bowls

POURfect Measuring Bowls make it easier to pour ingredients in the bowl without spilling. Especially handy if you have kids in your kitchen!

Animal Pot Holders

Animal pot holders are so cute, they’re sure to make you smile.

Homemade Christmas Cookbook

Looking for some new recipes? Homemade Christmas Cookbook from Gooseberry Patch has some deliciously simple ideas.

Jolly Wink Santa Cake

Or if you want to let someone else do the baking, try bakery food gifts from The Swiss Colony!

Pumpkins, roadside stands & soup

On my drive to work every day, I pass by a lot of farms. Several of these farms have roadside stands, selling fresh produce like tomatoes, zucchini and corn during the summer. Now, they’re overflowing with gorgeous pumpkins and squash.

Squash & pumpkins at a roadside stand

I stopped by one of the stands to pick up a few for my family (we love squash…or at least the adults do. The six year old scrunches up her nose when she tastes it). I was amazed by the sheer variety they had for sale–so many different shapes, textures and colors!

Squash & pumpkins at a roadside stand

There are so many ways to enjoy pumpkin: there’s the classic pie, of course, but also soups, stews, casseroles, quick breads and pasta sauce.  Many of us think of pumpkin as something for dessert (probably because pumpkin pie is sooo good!), but it’s equally tasty in savory dishes and main courses like this recipe for pumpkin soup. It might sound odd if you’ve never tried it, but it’s surprisingly yummy. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

This recipe calls for canned pumpkin. If you’re interested in trying it with fresh pumpkin, here’s how to cook it.

Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. light stick butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-oz.) can unsweetened pumpkin (or 1 3/4 cup mashed cooked pumpkin)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. radish, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring constantly.
  3. Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk.
  4. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  5. Purée mixture, in batches, in an electric blender.
  6. Return to saucepan and cook until thoroughly heated.
  7. Garnish with parsley, chopped cilantro, chopped radish or nutmeg (optional).

4 Slow Cookers to Fit Any Budget (Plus a Recipe)

Fall weather is the perfect excuse to whip up a scrumptious meal in your slow cooker. Nothing says “comfort food” like coming home to a hot, ready-to-eat meal! I love my slow cooker–it helps me put healthy, inexpensive and delicious meals on the table no matter how busy I am. Which got me thinking: how in the world did anyone ever get by without one?!

Hay-Boxes and Bean Pots

Before there were slow cookers, there were hay-boxes. These clever devices were just wood boxes filled with hay–nothing fancy. The cook would get a meal boiling on the stove, then remove the pot from the heat and place it directly into the hay box. The hay would retain the heat so that the food could keep cooking until dinnertime. What a great idea!

The first modern slow cooker was introduced in 1970–the “bean pot”. Little did they know that someday, families everywhere would be using slow cookers for so much more than beans!

An old-fashioned Hay Box An old-fashioned hay box

Slow Cookers for Everyone

These days, there are plenty of slow cookers to fit your family’s needs and budget. There are even digital versions like the one below–all you have to do is set the programmable timer and walk away. The cooker selects the right temperature and self-adjusts to warming mode at the end of the cooking time.

Ginny's 6.5 Quart Digital Slow Cooker Ginny’s 6.5 Quart Digital Slow Cooker

Some people prefer to keep it simple with just “Hi” and “Lo” settings…and a pretty pattern to liven up the kitchen!

Ginny's 6.5-qt Decorator Slow Cooker Ginny’s 6.5-qt Decorator Slow Cooker

Or maybe one cooker just isn’t enough for your big family or frequent potlucks.

3-in-1 Slow Cooker 3-in-1 Slow Cooker

Here’s a cooker that has two different inserts, one for roasting and one for slow cooking, doubling the possibilities.

Ginny's Roaster/Slow Cooker Ginny’s Roaster/Slow Cooker

And of course, if you’re taking it to a potluck or family dinner, you’ll want a travel bag to transport it easily with no spillage!

Slow Cooker Travel Bag Slow Cooker Travel Bag

All this talk of slow cookers is making me hungry…how about you? Here’s a mouthwatering recipe from one of our customers. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out!

Slow Cooker Chicken with Dumplings

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned & cut into small chunks
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4-cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • Two 10-oz. packages refrigerated biscuits
  1. Combine all ingredients, except biscuits, in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
  2. 30 minutes before serving, tear biscuit dough into 1-inch pieces. Add to your slow cooker, stirring gently.
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH for an additional 30 minutes or until biscuits are fluffed up and cooked through.
  4. Serve and enjoy!