Oatmeal Muffins

Muffins are the perfect breakfast treat or anytime snack, especially when you have company.      I have been making these muffins for years.  Always quick to assemble and you can add any mix-in you might have.  I added dried cranberries to this batch; dates, walnuts, or any other dried fruit would be great to add.  Chocolate or cinnamon chips would also be delicious. Everything is mixed in one bowl and can be assembled in less than 10 minutes.

I promise you, you will be happy you tried this recipe.  Always a popular treat.

oatmeal muffins

Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup dried fruit and/or chopped nuts

Preheat oven 400 °

Mix all ingredients and spoon into greased muffin tins.

Bake 15 – 20 minutes





Holiday Greetings/Table for 21

/Christmas Eve

Holiday Cheers!  After a delightful couple of days of celebrating, I have finally gotten back into a routine.  The above photo was taken on Christmas Eve, when we host our annual fondue party.  It is always a fun evening with friends and family.  I hope you enjoyed a festive celebration this holiday week.

Here is our Christmas Eve menu


Oysters, pate, cajun dip and savory rugelach


Beef tenderloin fondue with teriyaki and curry dipping sauces

Caesar salad


Four cheese pasta

Ice cream sundaes and assorted Christmas cookies for dessert


Nancy’s Christmas Trifle

I have had a busy weekend with friends and family, celebrating the holidays.  I always love the Christmas season because I get a chance to visit with friends that I do not see on a regular basis.  Another highlight is to see beautiful homes decorated lavishly with wonderful holiday decor.  Oh and did I mention, wonderful food!  Yes, this is the time of year that I get inspiration from others and relish tasting new food creations.  One of the best this weekend was my friend, Nancy’s, gingerbread trifle.  I had to take a photo since it looked fantastic and it tasted even better.

Nancy trifle


Nancy’s Trifle

Using parfait glasses, pour 1 tablespoon of bourbon in each glass and swirl.  Then crumble pre-made gingerbread into each glass.  Add one dollop of lemon curd (you can purchase in most grocery stores) and then additional dollops of whipped cream.  It also might be fun to soak a few raisins in bourbon and add to each trifle.  Easy, delicious, and elegant.

Macaroni and Cheese

Everyone loves Macaroni and Cheese.  There was a restaurant in Clifton, VA called Heart in Hand that served this marvelous macaroni and cheese recipe.  I found this recipe when looking through my recipe cards this week.  It brought back memories of when this restaurant was open; it was one of the places we would always take out of town guests.  I remember also reading in the local paper when Nancy Reagan would frequent this restaurant as an excursion from the White House.

macaroni and cheese

Heart and Hand Macaroni and Cheese

1 – 8 oz. package of macaroni, cooked

2 cups creamed cottage cheese

1-8 oz. container sour cream

1 egg – beaten

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Combine all of the above ingredients.  Place in a greased baking dish.  Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 – 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.


Red Truck Stollen

I read the Washington Post everyday and especially on Wednesday, when the Food Section is included.  My interest was peaked when I read the article below about the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, VA.  Since I love to try new recipes, I decided to give this one a try.  It sounds like a perfect treat to serve this festive week of Christmas.


All of the ingredients were easy to find in my local grocery store.  I must admit that being a avid bread baker, this was the first recipe I encountered that required a step to make a pre-ferment sponge.   The directions were very easy to follow, if you are seasoned baker.  I must say, if you are a novice baker, this recipe could be challenge.  I highly recommend using a  Kitchen Aid Mixer with the dough hook attachment. Don’t let that stop your interest in making this stollen.  Give it a try, that is how you learn.  I even used a ruler when shaping these loaves, just as instructed.  The stollens are absolutely beautiful and delicious.  The photos of my stollens are below.

Red Truck Stollen               stollen photo

If you don’t have time to make this delicious stollen, you can order them online; check out their website.


Butterscotch Salted Nut Bars

The combination of salty and sweet is fantastic in this recipe.  A great combination of flavors and very easy to make.  After a wonderful meal, many times just one small sweet is all you need to finish a meal.  I like to serve small bites for dessert and these are perfect.  These would pair great with a Tawny Port after dinner.

butterscotch nut bars butterscotch bars 2

Butterscotch Salted Nut Bars

Preheat oven 350°.

1 1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 unsalted butter, softened

Combine flour, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender.  Press mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake 15 minutes, cool 5 minutes.

2 cups salted mixed nuts

1 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Chop nuts slightly.  Sprinkle over cooked crust.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and heat over low heat until all of the chips have melted.  Drizzle mixture over nuts.  Bake 5 minutes.  For ease in cutting, cut bars while warm.

Broccoli Pasta Salad

The holidays are coming and there is nothing better than to have a salad prepared and ready to serve. This recipe was handed down to me from my mother, who was a terrific cook.  This was one of her favorite salads and is perfect for entertaining.  Serve with warm crusty rolls for lunch, serve with grilled meat or fish and you have a dinner entree.

broccoli pasta salad






Broccoli Pasta Salad

6 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoons sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 # fusilli pasta, cooked and drained

3 cups chopped broccoli, blanched

1 10 oz. package frozen peas, thawed and drained

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

1 large green onion, chopped

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine first four ingredients in a small container, mix throughly.  Pour over cooked pasta, add remaining ingredients and combine. Serve at room temperature.  Serves 6 – 8.



15 minutes

Getting ready for the holidays and entertaining can be a daunting task.  This weekend when visiting Philadelphia we stopped at Di Bruno Bros. and I picked up a great assortment of meats and cheeses.  One of my go to appetizers is a meat and cheese try that you can put together in 15 minutes.   Below is just a sampling of items I purchased.

Interesting cheeses Rosemary Manchego and Drunken Goat cheese;  Fig and Acacia Honey Jam, Hot and Sweet Soppressatas and Pepperoni.  I combined these items with things I had on hand; crackers, bread sticks, dried fruits, nuts, fresh rosemary and orange slices.

appetizer ingredients

15 minutes later…

meat cheese photomeat cheese 2

Be creative and add any type of meats and cheeses that you have.  I added the fresh rosemary to add color, grapes are also a wonderful addition.

Open a great bottle of wine – let the holidays begin.

Food Finds in Philadelphia

After exploring the food scene of Philadelphia, I can definitely say it is a great town for foodies.

First stop, Steve’s for a cheesesteak. Leaving the Ritz Carlton we asked the bellman where he would recommend we go for a cheesesteak. He directed us to Steve’s. What a great tip. The sandwich was loaded with thinned sliced steak, perfectly grilled onions, and Cheese Wiz, all piled on a delicious bun. I would highly recommend their sandwich to anyone.


MC900432617  Entertaining Idea
I immediately thought of how I could transform this experience into a fun entertaining experience. Serving cheesesteaks Philadelphia style would be a great entree and very fun to serve family and friends. Adjust amounts to the number of servings you are planning.  For one sandwich I would sauté  1/2 cup chopped onions until they are carmelized, in a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat sauté 4 – 6 ounces thinly sliced lean beef seasoned with Montreal steak seasoning in 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Heat  1/2 cup of Cheez Wiz. Pile all of the above on a crusty roll, wrap in parchment and serve your guests your version of a Phildelphia cheesesteak. Thinking this would be perfect football viewing food. What fun!