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Massachusetts, United States
I am a happily married 1st grade teacher who loves to eat!

An Apple for the Teacher

An Apple for the Teacher

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12.22.2011

Cookie Chaos

Success!



The SullyGirls Cookie Exchange produced massive amounts of holiday treats. Spice cookies, sugar cookies, drop cookies... there was just too much to list here on one page. But it was all delicious! I came home with two cookie tins stuffed to the brim. What to do with all these cookies? Well, I ate some and gave the rest to co-workers! It's a genius idea, really. I create miniature tins to send to Hub's bosses and my own at school. Hence, I look as if I've slaved away over a hot stove all day to bake 20 varieties of Christmas cookies when in reality I ate massive amounts of food, mingled with cousins and spent 2 hours helping my Great Aunt from her Assisted Living home to the party (despite the fact that it should only take 12 minutes door to door...). 

As always, I try to come away with one new recipe from any party I attend. I am going to surprise you all by saying that I did not come away from the Cookie Exchange with a cookie recipe. Instead, I picked my Aunt's brain about her delicious Squash puree! The secret? She purees a butternut squash and turnip mix. Genius! I am a big fan of turnip myself, though some find it to be too bland both in name and taste). Mixing the two root vegetables, now that is something that I have to try! 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

As for Christmas dinner, I promised to bring corn casserole and Pecan Pie. I am a traditionalist, but while searching for a good version I came across this baby - 



Deep Dish Pecan Pie! Now that looks dynamite. I think I will make one traditional, and one of these. I should stop now, I am getting too wild for my own good. Before long I'll be googling variations on Apple Pie, that's enough to Gramma Sully a heart attack.

3 days left!!

12.15.2011

Delight-mint!

Phew! These molasses peppermint cookies were super easy and SUPERBLY delicious!


They really epitomize all the tastes of the season - a gingerbread-like base and an icy peppermint frosting. I know it sounds like a funny combo, but it works!

Now this is a recipe that will be come a tradition in our house... despite the fact that Hubs dislikes mint... he'll just have to suck it up.

12.14.2011

Improv in the Kitch

Yikes! Those Samoas did not go as planned. I baked 5 dozen shortbread rounds... the photo does not convey their pure buttery deliciousness, but they do look pretty!



The next step in the recipe called for a caramel coconut mixture made from vanilla Kraft caramels. I've tried using Kraft caramels before. I didn't like them then, and I now know I don't like them now! Ugh, they have a grainy texture and a bad after taste. Ina Garten ruined me with her homemade salted caramels, after trying my hand at those, Kraft just doesn't cut it! I wish I could trade places with Jeffrey for a night so she could make me a batch before bed...

Wait, you're not getting the Food Network reference? If you're not a foodie, the only other reason you're reading this blog is because you are related to me, but hey, no complaints here! I love the Sully faithful.

Rather than tossing out all of those beautiful shortbread rounds, I improvised! I sliced and diced some baking chocolate and melted it in a double boiler (baker's secret - add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the melted chocolate to make it nice and shiny when it hardens!). I dipped each cookie in chocolate and sprinkled the top with crushed candy canes. Success!



I'll be whipping up 5 dozen more cookies tomorrow night, hopefully the Molasses Peppermint cookies will go more smoothly.... if not, I'll bring the dregs to my firsties. I'm telling you - those kids will eat anything.

12.11.2011

Yuletide Prioritizing

Yikes! Christmas is two weeks away! I've spent this past week ironing Christmas Pageant costumes for the firsties and wrapping their Christmas gifts - a copy of Snowmen at Christmas, so cute!


OF COURSE I give books as a gift. Even more important, I also give the gift of the ability to read, that is my job after all and I'll take all the credit for their mastery of short vowels this fall. Thank you very much.

On Tuesday night we perform the Nativity at the school Christmas Pageant. One problem, Mother Mary has a broken arm. I've tried my best to finagle (LOVE that word!) her costume to hide the injury as best I can, but instead of hiding it, I'm debating on maybe just bedazzling the sling instead. Now that is one way to make this pageant our own. The Nativity has been performed over 1 million times (a guess, but I'd be willing to put money on it), it's hard to make it original, but I can't imagine it has ever had a bedazzled, broken-armed Mary. Now that is innovative.

We did fit in a trip to Boston for Brunch on Charles Street and a walk through the Common. So beautiful even with the greenery faded until next Spring!



Despite a busy beginning of the week, Hubs and I have four Christmas parties to attend next weekend. I have numerous Yankee Swap presents to wrap by Friday, not to mention 5 dozen cookies to bake for the annual Cookie Exchange on Sunday! I'll be baking up a storm on Wednesday and Thursday, but I've done a little prepping so that the baking will go a little more smoothly!

I've crushed candy canes in preparation for my Molasses Peppermint cookies - a funny combination, I know, but absolutely delicious!

I found a copycat recipe for Girl Scout Samoas (now called Caramel DeLites in order to avoid any animosity from Samoans, though I have got to say, all of you Samoan people should be damn proud of any association with this delectable cookie). I tediously unwrapped 50 caramels and toasted a bag of flaked coconut tonight in preparation for this baking experiment.

Thanks to Mama Sully, I have a gorgeous container of Paperwhite bulbs sprouting in my kitchen. Next to cooking, gardening is my favorite hobby and it is so nice to be able to watch flowers bloom in the dead of winter. I'll be sure to post updates on their progress!

11.29.2011

Besame mucho!

It was Italian night in our house last night. For me, that just means cooking meatballs and speaking with an atrocious Italian accent (as in "passa me the moozadella"). While I am not a big fan of pasta (don't get me started, noodles are not my thing), I love tomato sauce. Paired with meatballs or chicken cutlets, tomato sauce is a staple in the D-family's household pantry. I have made my own version of Giada DeLaurentiis's turkey meatballs. The only reason I stray from the original recipe is because of what I do (or do not) have available in my pantry!

These turkey poultryballs are so fab that you'll never miss ground beef, and that's a promise! While I am no Italian, I am related to a few and they also are big supporters of the turkey meatball (shout out to Sara and Joe!). Here's the dynamite recipe ( a variation of Giada's original):


1 package of ground turkey ( I use extra lean, but if you want more flavor - do otherwise!)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons milk
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley OR 1 teaspoon dried parsley
pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Roll tablespoon size turkey balls and set aside (should be enough for 12-18 balls). Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Working in batches of 5 or 6, cook on each side for 3 minutes. Keep cooked turkey balls in the oven on 200 to keep warm. Serve over spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce (I promise I'll follow up with my easy-peasy tomato recipe!).

Even Mona wanted a taste!



Voila! Wait... that's not right, "Ecco!" (I think?) Either way, enjoy!

11.24.2011

The Dilemma

Happy Thanksgiving! If you can believe it, I am up early to finish baking before heading to the Earn Your Turkey 5k in Wakefield Center! And boy am I going to need that run before digging into the goodies that await later today. Look at this decadent goodness -



I offered to bring dessert to my mother-in-law's for Turkey Day. Now I need to give you some background info before delving right into my list of desserts. My own family is one of tradition. We've had the same 10 foods at every holiday meal, and dessert is not something we alter. My grandmother's pies are a staple, as they should be - they are heaven in your mouth! We have an array of homemade apple, pumpkin (actually, we only refer to this as squash), chocolate cream, pecan and (gasp!) mincemeat (for the strong stomachs). As tradition dictates, plenty of vanilla ice cream and homemade whipped cream is served on the side. And then I got married...

My husband's family is NOT one of tradition, though I am not sure they are even aware of this fact. While they do stick to the "basic" turkey (fried, of course) for dinner, dessert is another matter. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the dining room on my first Thanksgiving with the in-laws 3 years ago to find NOT ONE PIE ON THE TABLE! Instead there was an array of cheesecakes, Christmas cookies, brownies, chocolate covered pretzel and ... Jell-o? Yes, Jell-o. For a moment I wasn't sure we were celebrating the correct holiday.

Since that first holiday spent with my in-laws, I have seen the occasional pie or two, but it is by no means a staple to the D-family's Thanksgiving. While I miss my Grandma's squash pie, I have to say, a slice of Turtle Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory is really not so bad.

When I offered to make dessert for today I put a lot of thought into my decision. If I was traveling to my own family's Thanksgiving I would have whipped up a variation on tradition - maybe a pumpkin streusal pie or an apple crisp. But for the in-law's I had to take a tradition and make it completely un-traditional. And so... the Candy Bar Pie. A perfect blend of tradition and downright rebellion.



I got this recipe from a co-worker just yesterday as I was in a panic about what to bring!  She told me about this pie and I knew it would fit right in o the D-family's holiday table. It's pretty simple, and I highly recommend making it with an old family pie crust recipe (my Grandma's is so flaky!). The refrigerated Pillsbury pie crusts work well too if you are in a hurry.

Grandma Sully's Pie Dough
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 c shortening
3 T cold water

Sift dry ingredients. Add 1/2 c shortening and knead until fine. Add the final 1/4 cup shortening and knead until less fine. Gradually add 1 Tablespoon of water at a time until the sough is a comfortable consistency.  Chill 1 hour before rolling.

Have a happy Thanksgiving! I'l leave you with some fun first grade level Thanksgiving facts -

Did you know the main course of the first Thanksgiving consisted of deer, lobster and clams?

In fact, the Wampanoags in a way, crashed the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims invited Massasoit to join them for a harvest feast, not knowing he would bring along 90 of his closest friends!

The first Thanksgiving lasted for THREE DAYS. It was changed because the coined term Black Friday sounded much better than Black Sunday, which is easily confused with Black Sabbath, not appropriate for a holiday soundtrack. Enjoy!

11.17.2011

A Clean Sweep

Yikes! I actually did it - deleted my entire blog and started over! I actually deleted over 2 years of time consuming blogging (which was very well written I might add). Sometime though, hitting the delete button causes just as much relief as stress. I'm still trying to decide what direction I want to go in with this new set up. Wow! Such freedom! Shall I write about school? Housewifery? What strange thing my neighbors are up to this week? With a new blog, I could write about it all! The one thing I know that will come up regularly is... food! Baking, cooking, serving and eating - it's all too good to pass up!

One thing I would really love is a new camera so that I can take pictures of the goodies I am whipping up (and putting down!). Maybe Santa will bring me something special... One thing that really pushed me in the direction of re-vamping (pun intended) my blog is this - tonight is the opening of the fourth installment of the Twilight movies, Breaking Dawn.

That was a joke, I was simply bored! But hey, this new template is looking pretty good, though I am still unsure about the font, is this making anyone else dizzy?

Enough small talk. Onto food, this is the creative genius of a constantly Rumbling Tummy, after all. I promise a festive Thanksgiving entry before T-Day (c'mon people, Turkey Day). BTW (Mom, that means "by the way"), my *firsties are putting on a Thanksgiving skit in honor of Abraham Lincoln (don't know of his contribution to Thanksgiving? Check it out here!). We will have included in the audience the K-8th grade students and teacher, parents and 29 Korean teachers visiting from Seoul (don't ask, but for this reason we will be "singing" a song in sign language, which is universal... right??). So, the pressure is on. After Tuesday I'll be much more rested and ready to post. Until then, have a snack.

*firsties = first graders, but a much cuter way to say it!

11.15.2011

New and Improved

Given the fact that I teach first graders by choice you should know that I have a short attention span. Therefore... new blog, new design!

I needed a refreshing change. Hope you like it!