Hallelujah! It's National Cookie Day and Christmas Cookie Season: Brown Butter Thumbprints!

I am of Dutch heritage and 
thank them for more than 
windmills and tulips! 

The English word "cookie" is derived from the Dutch word "koekie" meaning little cake

Dutch bakers used to test oven temperatures on small amounts of batter so that they wound not waste the entire cake mix if the temperature wasn't right.  It wasn't long before they discovered that these tiny pieces of cooked batter were actually quite tasty.

Modern Christmas cookies can trace their history to recipes from Medieval Europe biscuits ~ when many of the ingredients we use now, such as ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, almonds and dried fruit were introduced into the west.  

By the 16th century, Christmas biscuits were popular across Europe.  Not until the 17th century, when the Dutch brought them here, did we see the early examples of Christmas cookies in the United States.  Gingerbread cookies were among the popular early American cookies.

I for one, am thrilled this practice carried on, as cookies are my favorite sweet treat!

Cookie Monster busy baking his cookies!

In 1976, Sesame Street included National Cookie Day on its calendar for the first time on November 26.  The Cookie Monster also proclaimed his own National Cookie Day in the 1980 book The Sesame Street Dictionary.
Then in 1987, Matt Nader of the Blue Chip Cookie Company out of San Francisco created Cookie Day, celebrating it on today, December 4th.

There is a cookie out there for everyone, and here’s a perfect buttery cookie to add to your Christmas cookie repertoire!

I’ve made thumbprint cookies for many years, and was intrigued when I came across this recipe in the Chicago Tribune for Brown Butter Thumbprints.  

I love that the usual thumbprints are kicked up a notch by using browned butter.  Browning butter adds a new dimension to an already good kitchen staple.  It’s an easy way to change-up a recipe. And the aroma as they’re baking, is magnificent.

Browned butter gives the cookie a nutty caramel flavor that is a perfect complement to blackberry jam.  Choose the jam of your liking, we like blackberry, apricot or is fine also.  

A little cardamom goes a long way; I added one-half teaspoon to the mix; however, if cardamom is new to you, go easy with it, and use a little less for a background note.  It has a distinctive, spicy flavor, maybe a little citrusy, I think it’s great in baked goods and learned about baking with it many years ago from my Swedish MIL.

Allow for additional time when making these, as the butter will have to freeze for a short time.  Then, later, the cookies will have to be refrigerated for a while before baking. 

Give this one a go, bet you'll really like it!

Yield: About 30 cookies

Brown Butter Thumbprints

Here's a perfect buttery cookie to add to your Christmas cookie repertoire!


2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup superfine sugar*
Gold sanding sugar, optional
1 large egg
⅓ to ⅔ cup seedless jam
Frosting, optional


Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
Cook, swirling the pan, until brown flecks appear and the butter smells nutty, about 7 minutes.
Pour into a heatproof bowl.
Freeze, stirring occasionally, until the butter is spreadable, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
Beat the browned butter and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in the egg until combined.
Reduce the mixer speed until the dough comes together.
Roll dough into 1” balls, then roll in the remaining ¼ cup sugar, or gold sanding sugar.
Arrange about 1½” apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Using the tip of your thumb, make a small indentation in the center of each cookie, without going through bottom of dough; pinching together any large cracks.
Refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
While refrigerating:
Preheat oven to 375°.
Fill each indentation with ½ to 1 teaspoons jam.
Bake until cookies are set and lightly browned on the bottom, about 25 minutes.
Let cool completely on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before carefully transferring to wire racks.
Decorate with frosting, if desired.  Add a drop of red or green food coloring to white frosting, if you like variety.


*I sift regular sugar
I rolled the balls in gold sanding sugar. 
Allow 35-40 minutes freezing time for butter.
Allow 20-30 minutes refrigerator time for dough.
Baking time about 25 minutes.


Woo hoo! Oyster Dressing Time is Near!

This recipe appears here every Thanksgiving, 
it's delicious!

If you love oysters, this is the way to go:  oysters, oyster liquor, Club Crackers, BUTTER, half and half, and salt and pepper.  Needs no more, no less. 

This is always a hit at Thanksgiving and disappears as quick as a flash!

As I’ve said before, when Mom made this every Thanksgiving and Christmas, we called it oyster dressing.  Technically, it’s probably scalloped oysters…

Anyway, sadly, it doesn’t make a pretty picture, but it’s the perfect side on the Thanksgiving table, “oyster dressing!”

Mom's Oyster Dressing

Thanksgiving dinner is not complete until this dish is on the table! Use butter, use half and half!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 60 mins


  • 2 pints, shucked oysters, reserving liquor
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 sleeves Club Crackers*
  • 3/4 to 1 cup half and half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish liberally.
  2. Crumble cracks into chunks.
  3. Spread half of the crackers in the baking dish.
  4. Top with one pint of oysters.
  5. Slice butter and dot with 1/2 stick.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Repeat layers.
  8. Pour reserved oyster liquor over top.
  9. Pour half and half over all,  just to top of layers, do not cover completely.
  10. Bake in 375° oven till bubbly and top is brown, about 30-45 minutes.
  11. *Use less crackers for a crisper dish.


Baked Salmon with Robust Creamy Blue Cheese Sauce

Salmon fishing in Oregon

Kind of funny, Bubba (the seafood lover) reminds me now and then of how, when he and Matt were growing up, I used to never like fish or any seafood except for tuna and salmon, the 2 he didn't like at all back then and still doesn't.  And of course those were the only ones I served back then, pleasing Matt.

These days, I like fish and some seafood, serving it most weeks here, with Bill tolerating salmon.
That's when I pep up salmon for Bill and I at dinner time, turning to this piquant sauce uniting blue cheese, cucumber and dill for the salmon.  It's a perfect combo!

There's nothing bland about this little sauce which you can whip up in no time.  In my book, piquant blue cheese always puts pizzazz in a dish!

As salmon is readily available, versatile and simply delicious, the quick prep time of this recipe and its short list of ingredients, makes it an even better dish ~ perfect for a weeknight meal or company too!

Cook this for your dinner tonight:  salmon, with a zesty sauce; a little green salad, and broccoli, maybe a glass of bubbly, and Voila!  You have yourself a great tasty dinner!

By the way, the sauce makes a great salad dressing for a wedge of iceberg lettuce.  

It will make you wonder why you ever ate kale salad, for sure!

Yield: 2-3 servings

Baked Salmon with Creamy Blue Cheese, Cucumber and Dill Sauce

This piquant sauce will jazz up your salmon deliciously!


For the salmon:
  • 1-1/2 pounds slab of salmon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the blue cheese, cucumber and dill sauce:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (light, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (light, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup English cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Dash of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Place salmon on baking sheet, skin side down and brush with oil, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on thickness, and until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile:
  5. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Makes 1-1/2 cups


In Honor of Veterans Day...

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary marking the end of World War I.  Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.

U.S. Army Private Bill 1965

President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American Wars.

As of 2016, there are 18.5 million veterans living in the United States, according to the Census Bureau.  A large proportion of the veteran population, 9.2 million, are aged 65 and older, while 1.6 million are younger than 35.

Odds are that someone in your life has served the military, and my someone is my dear husband, Bill.  He proudly served in the United States Army from 1965-1968, with most of his service time in Bamberg, Germany, ending in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO as Sgt. E5, Machine Gun Instructor.

Sgt. Bamberg, Germany, Sept., 1965

Sgt. E5, Machine Gun Instructor Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo.  1968

Many thanks to Bill and all veterans across the country, who served in defense of our great country, protecting our freedom.  God Bless you all…


Midwestern Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes and My 8 Year Blogiversary!

Spoon chicken and noodles over what?  Mashed potatoes, really!  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

It isn’t soup, it’s not a potpie, it’s a hotdish ~ it’s thick and creamy noodles topping a mound of mashed potatoes.

Creamy, rich gravy smothers bites of savory chicken, chewy noodles and mashed potatoes. You haven’t eaten Midwestern food until you eat this for supper!

We like mushrooms with the noodles, skip them if you don’t.  Chop up and add carrots or celery, if you desire.  I poached chicken breasts, but I’ve also picked the meat off a rotisserie chicken when in a hurry.  

It may not make a pretty picture, but it more than makes up for it in goodness.  And if you have leftovers, it’s your lucky day!

Chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes is a great hearty homestyle one-dish meal for a crisp evening, any day of the week!

As a side note ~ I was recently reminded that I  have been blogging for 8 years now.  I started this blog October 29, 2009, that's a lot of posts!  Back then, I just wanted a way to organize and document family recipes.

I look back and cringe at some early posts, the writing, the photos.  But what makes up for that is the great people I have virtually "met" along the way.  I feel like I truly know many of you who share the same passion I do:  food.

I've seen a lot of blogs come and go over the years and I've learned a lot along the way from reading what you share ~ whether your travels, books you've read, music you like, food from your kitchen or in restaurants, I've enjoyed it all!

Thank you for all for visiting here and your positive comments!  

And I give a special thank you to our older son, Bill, Jr., Bubba here on my blog, for helping me to start it all!  Couldn't have done it without you, son! 

Here's to 8 more years... 

Yield: 4-6 servings

Midwestern Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes

Midwestern hearty chicken and noodles at it's best!


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large jar of Heinz Homestyle Chicken Gravy
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 8 ounces egg noodles
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Enough mashed potatoes for everyone


  1. In a large skillet, or pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms, and sauté until cooked.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup or blender, whisk 1/4 cup broth and flour until smooth, no lumps. Stir into skillet mixture.
  3. Add remaining broth, gravy and soup to mixture, stir well, bring to a boil.
  4. Add noodles. Cover and cook until noodles are almost tender, about 7 minutes. Add more broth if needed.
  5. Stir in chicken and heat through. Add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Serve immediately over mashed potatoes.


Add more broth or water as needed, the noodles soak it up.
This dish should be just a touch soupy, but much thicker than a noodle soup.  
Takes about 1 hour, total time to prepare.


It's Nutter Butter Ghosts Here!

Ghosts, maybe with the exception of Casper the Friendly Ghost, are a whole lot creepy to me; however, the little ghosts here are irresistible and don't bother me at all! 

They're super fast and easy to make...

Dip Nutter Butter cookies in melted white chocolate chips and use two mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave and dip one end of the cookie.  Place the eyes on the ghosts while the white chocolate is still soft.  

Place on wax paper until chocolate sets.  

Voila!  Nutter Butter ghosts for your ghouls and goblins to gobble up! 


Fall's Quintessential Vegetable ~~~ Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Rice

Roasted acorn squash, fall’s quintessential vegetable, is made even better with a hearty mixture of rice, made with Parmesan cheese and a bit of crisp-fried bacon.


This recipe here is pretty much everything I like about fall food cooking.  It’s easy.  It uses fresh vegetables from the market.  It’s tasty delicious.  And it’s cozy and comforting.  The only hard part is cutting the squash in half.

This stuffed squash is good for a week night dinner like we just enjoyed last night, but flavorful enough to serve at a holiday dinner this for company this fall.  

I used white long-grain rice, but wild rice would be great with the squash.  There’s a hint of sweetness in the squash itself, use brown sugar or not. 


Crispy bacon crumbs and Parmesan make for a heavenly addition to the savory dish.  

The flavors of this simple side are so spot on ~ delicious with its amazing flavors and great for these cooler days!

Yield: 4 servings

Roasted Acorn Squash with Rice Stuffing

A good side of stuffed acorn squash with a rice filling that compliments many main dishes.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 20 mins


  • 2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 3 strips cooked crisp bacon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place squash cut-side up on a baking sheet, brush 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the tops and insides of squash halves. Roast in oven until fork tender, about 40 to 55 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it foams, add brown sugar, onion, celery seed, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add broth and rice, bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbent, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and bacon.
  6. Carefully scoop out 2 to 3 tablespoons flesh from each squash half and stir into rice mixture.
  7. Divide rice filling among the roasted squash halves. Drizzle remaining tablespoon of butter over top.
  8. Continue roasting for 5 minutes, until warmed through.
  9. Serve


Christmas cookies and happy hearts ~

that is the way

the holiday starts!


Jules-Alexandre Grun

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

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