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Archive for January, 2014

Welcome to today’s Book Beginnings post! Please join me and other bloggers over at the site of our gracious hostess, Rose City Reader, for this week’s party.

My beginning today comes from “The Charlemagne Pursuit” by Steve Berry which is the next fourth Cotton Malone book:

“November 1971

The alarm sounded and Forrest Malone came alert.”

Forrest Malone is Cotton’s father and we soon learn that Forrest’s death that occurred when Cotton was 10 years old may not be what the Navy wanted his family to believe.  These books are great adventure stories with history woven in.  The author does takes liberties with the historical parts, but this is fiction and Mr. Berry knows how to spin a good tale.

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Yes, I know last week’s recipe title started the same way this one is, but I promise this is different.  “This” was my contribution to our last Christmas gathering and it was a hit.  I came home with a little bit left over, but not very much.  This dish was so simple and full of holiday flavor that it will definitely go into the “special occasion” rotation.  I think I do need a bigger slow cooker though.  I had to pull out the bones and cut off a little of the ham for it to fit. That’s just not right.

Slow Cooker Orange Cranberry Ham

1 spiral sliced ham (approx. 8 lbs.)

1 can jellied cranberry sauce

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups additional orange juice

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Combine the cranberry sauce, 1/4 cup orange juice and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Pour the remaining orange juice in the bottom of your slow cooker and add the ham.  Drizzle the cranberry/orange sauce over the ham.  Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until heated through.  That’s it!!!  How simple is that?

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Slow Cooker Orange Cranberry Ham

I found the original recipe at Add A Pinch and adapted it for the slow cooker.

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I was so pleased when Lady Behind The Curtain decided to continue her monthly Dessert Challenge, but it sneaked up on me a little bit.  Thankfully the two ingredients that we have to use this month are some of my favorites: hot chocolate mix/chocolate pudding mix and marshmallows! 

Since taking part in this challenge, I have tried to come up with ideas of my own instead of just copying other people’s recipes.  I have had a few failures along the way, but this is not one of them.  I started with my favorite simple chocolate Bundt cake recipe and just upgraded it a little bit.  One thing I had not counted on was the marshmallows melting completely during baking.  Oops!  You can’t see them in the cake, but they are definitely there in these soft little gooey spots throughout the cake.  Yum!!  Hope you enjoy!

 

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1 chocolate cake mix of your choice

3.9 oz. box instant chocolate pudding mix

1 3/4 cup milk

2 eggs

1 cup chocolate chips

10 large marshmallows cut into quarters

1/2 cup chopped almonds

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a Bundt pan by spraying it with baking spray.  I just love my new Nordicware pan that I got for Christmas.  The cake looks like a big chocolate flower.

Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, and eggs.  With an electric mixer, beat on low until just combined and then beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Fold in the chocolate chips, marshmallow pieces and almond pieces.

Bake for 1 hour then cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove the cake from the pan and let it completely cool before slicing and devouring!

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Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

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Brrrrrr!  I hope you are somewhere sunny and warm and I wish I could join you.  The high today in our neck of the woods is in the single digits and tonight’s low is supposed to be below zero.  Yuck!  We are not used to these kind of temperatures and all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a warm blanket.  Can you tell that I am not a fan of winter? 

I have received a few seed catalogs in the mail and I just love to sit and look at the bright sunny photos to dream about Spring. It can’t get here fast enough to suit me.

I didn’t make it to the grocery last week so I am using the opportunity to clean out the fridge/freezer/pantry before I go.  There are several bloggers doing a “pantry challenge” to save money and use ingredients they have on hand already.  I am not actively participating, but I do want to make use of what I have before spending a ton at the store.

Salsa sloppy Joes with chips

Sausage bake with fresh fruit

Enchilada beef dip with salad

Italian stew (new)

Pizza night

Grocery night out (Maybe.  No, I really need to go. I just don’t want to.)

Please join me at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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I know Christmas is over, but bear with me for a little while because I tried so many new and tasty recipes over the holidays that I can’t wait to share with y’all.  This was the main dish for Christmas Day supper with C’s parents and the flavors went together so well.  I threw this in my slow cooker before we left for Christmas lunch and it was perfectly done a few hours later. 

My recipe is adapted from this Kraft recipe.

Slow Cooker Orange Cranberry Pork Loin

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 boneless pork loin (approx.. 4 lb.)

1 14oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce

1/2 cup Catalina salad dressing

1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup orange juice

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Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the tenderloin in the skillet for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Transfer meat to a slow cooker.

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Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the tenderloin.  Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.  Let the loin rest for about 20 minutes then slice and enjoy.

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Slow Cooker Orange Cranberry Pork Loin

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Well, guess what?  You know how I wrote on the last Book Beginnings post about being stuck on series?  I still am.  This week’s subject is the next installment of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon entitled “An Echo In the Bone”.

“The pirate’s head had disappeared.  William heard the speculations from a group of idlers on the quay nearby, wondering whether it would be seen again.”

Doesn’t that sound ominous?  It is, especially for the pirate involved.  While reading these books, I have wondered if the life and times during the 18th century leading up to the American Revolution was very much like the descriptions in these books.  If so, I am very glad to live in this time and not then!

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

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