I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!

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I know, right? This looks like the plate of fries you order, put in the middle of the table, and share among four friends. But, there is something very special about these. First of all they aren’t fried. Secondly, they aren’t potatoes!

There’s an old saying from Saint’s family. “If you plant turnips by the 24th of July, they’ll make turnips, rain or dry.”

It must be true because, for a couple of years, now, we have scattered seeds randomly in our gardens and the turnips have been very prolific.

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And it just takes a couple of these babies to make a batch of turnip fries. I happened upon this idea one day when I had harvested several turnips, washed and peeled the veggies, and we had to leave before I had time to cook them. I decided to slice them up like this to store them in the refrigerator more easily.

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And after seeing roasted sweet potato fries, I thought, why not? These sat in the refrigerator for a day or so, and I drained, rinsed, and patted dry. Then I lined my favorite old cookie sheet with foil, drizzled a bit of olive oil onto the foil and swirled it around with my fingers. Next, I added a single layer of turnip slices, drizzled a bit more olive oil over the top…not too much, now, and tossed the “fries” to distribute the oil evenly. I sprinkled them generously with kosher salt and placed them in a 470 degree preheated oven (next to top rack) and let them cook until the bottom sides started to brown.

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The time for this will vary according to your oven, but it took about 10 minutes for mine. With long handled tongs, I turned the fries and cooked an additional 8 to 10 minutes, allowing them to caramelize a bit on top. I removed them to a paper towel to drain, and Wow!

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Yep! I ate the whole thing. And I don’t even have to feel guilty about it. Very healthy and low carb!

If you are a turnip lover, this is like icing on a cake. If not, try these. You might just become one of us!

Just a few hints:

  • If you dry them well with a paper towel, they will crisp up better. Any extra moisture tends to make them steam.
  • When they look like they are browned, leave them a bit longer. That carmelization assures more flavor.
  • I added more salt after they were cooked. I like salt.
  • Try adding some fresh rosemary leaves or maybe some garlic cloves while cooking.

Do try this at home!

It works. It really works.

I should buy stock in Heinz. Not because of Warren Buffet, but because everything I have tried using vinegar…well, almost everything, has worked. (I do not recommend using the hot water, Dawn, and vinegar on hardwood floors.)
Yesterday I cleaned my oven. Yes, I do have a self cleaning oven, and yes, it was the perfect winter day for the high temp cleanse, but I don’t like the smell, and I read that it shortens the life of your oven. My oven has been here since construction. I don’t know how old that would be in dog appliance years, but I use my oven a LOT and am not interested in a new one right now.

I would have been embarrassed humiliated to post a before picture after all the holiday baking, but I did take this shot after a shoddy minimal effort at cleaning using this recommended method.
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Why did we ever waste money on harm our environment subject our bodies to all those toxic chemicals of spray-on oven cleaners when we could just do this?

Open your oven door.
Sprinkle the door and bottom of oven with baking soda. (Swish it around to cover all surface area.)
Spray vinegar over it, and let it fizz.
Cover it with an old rag kitchen towel. (Synonymous in my kitchen)
Put in a load of laundry unload the dishwasher check Pinterest for 15-30 minutes, depending upon filth degree of burned on debris.
Wipe up with the towel. Difficult areas may require a light scrub with a scratch pad, but seriously, this is amazing!
For the sides, I sprinkled threw some baking soda on, and sprayed some vinegar. Next time, I will mix up a baking soda/water paste and then spray on the vinegar.

Chalk up another win for vinegar!

It’s a Wrap!

I wish! Oh, how I’d like to say that I have everything done and am anxiously awaiting our Christmas celebration. Not so, this year. But, I’m getting there, and, due to this lingering cold, I have had to be somewhat resourceful.
Since much of our time is spent shopping for that perfect gift, wrapping, and cooking, I thought I’d share a few helpful tips. Now, I can’t help with that perfect gift. If any of you have tips for that, please share come do my shopping!

But, for wrapping, I am using whatever I can find. I admit to going to the Dollar Tree for some wrapping paper, though. Now, I love the Dollar Tree, but there are some things that are better not purchased there. Wrapping paper is one of them! Talk about cheap paper. It ripped when I plopped placed the gift on it. I had some better quality paper left over from last year, so I am making do. So, at the end of the cheap paper, you get a tube, but at the end of the more expensive paper, you get this.

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It’s a really nice, heavy piece of paper. I decided it would make a cute “wrapper” of some sort. I folded the ends down like a little pocket and tied it with some leftover ribbon. I added a Dollar Tree embellishment, also left over from last year, and it turned out surprisingly cute.

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And I’ll bet you would never guess what is wrapped up in there. I would tell you, but it’s a secret.

Another thing I have had left over for six years are the wine glass tags I made for our daughter’s wedding. (In an earlier post I mentioned that I was so busy I forgot to have the tags handed out.) Welllll, perfect for a Christmas tag. I made them by printing out a photo in sepia tones and using Golden Gel Medium to transfer the image onto a manilla tag.

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So, here it is attached to the package.

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And I always have jute twine. I saw some really cute twine flowers on Pinterest. You can find the tutorial here.http://www.thebugbytes.com/2012/02/twine-flowers.html. I didn’t have the right kind of needles, and anyway, I don’t sew much, you know. So I just looped, gathered, and tied.

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I could embellish with an antique brooch. But, I just pinned this one to a Kraft paper bag with jute handles.

Who says Christmas paper must be red, green, or gold? Look in your leftovers for birthday paper. Here, and excuse the lighting, I used a Tiffany blue patterned paper. Don’t have a bow? Roll your own using a strip of leftover paper. If the paper is not double sided, just fold the strip over and secure it together before you make the roll. Look through fabric scraps and vintage lace. I found this crocheted doily, gathered into a snowflake like form and taped it to the wrapping paper. The monogrammed tag was a freebie from http://www.weddingchicks.com/freebies/custom-monograms/mini-antique-monogram/
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And now, for the cooking time-saver. My “go to” appetizer has gone from cheese ball to roll-ups. You can make them as simple or festive as you wish. Our favorite is the dried beef roll up, but we also love the chili-olive ones. The staple is cream cheese and the wraps are tortillas. I’m making both of them this year, along with this variation that is a bit more festive.

Dried Beef Roll-ups
2 8oz cream cheese (softened)
1 small container French Onion Dip (I like Hiland brand)
1 jar dried beef-cut into small shreds
Garlic salt to taste (I like lots-1/2 tsp, but taste as you go)
Mix all together and spread on tortillas. Roll up and refrigerate at least an hour before slicing.

Chili-olive Roll-ups
1 8oz cream cheese
1 small can green chilis (I use the already chopped ones)
1/4 cup sliced green olives
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
Follow same directions as dried beef ones.

Cranberry Feta pinwheels.
1 small package dried sweetened cranberries
1 8 oz container cream cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
4 large flour tortillas or 4 large wheat flour tortillas

Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/cranberry-feta-pinwheels-16213?oc=linkback
I toasted half a cup of pecans and chopped them into the mixture. That makes it a bit harder to spread, but oh, so worth it.
Since we are celebrating Christmas this weekend, I made these spreads today and stored them in zip lock bags. I’ll take them out in a couple of days, spread them, roll them up, and slice them. Easy peasy! Enjoy!