Assorted Spiced Nuts

When I was a child my aunt and uncle owned several hundred acres of walnuts, apricots and
Italian plums not far from our home. We were fortunate to always have a supply of these treats in our house and at holiday time the walnuts were dressed up a bit.
As far back as I can remember my grandfather and mom would make Candied Walnuts with cinnamon (my favorite). In later years I came to appreciate the Rosemary Walnuts as featured here.

This time I prepared walnuts, cashews and almonds ~ each spiced in a different way.

The Rosemary-Walnuts are drizzled with a little melted butter infused with rosemary (fresh or dried), cayenne (as much or a little as you like), salt and a sprinkle of garlic powder if desired, then roasted until golden.

Curry powder, garam masala, cumin and cayenne are the seasonings for the
Savory-Spiced Cashews.

The Sweet & Salty Sesame Glazed Almonds I have blogged about before. My dear friend Monique introduced the recipe to me. Absolutely delicious!
Honestly, these should come with a warning as they are highly addictive.

Each of these spiced nuts go together very quickly and they make nice little gifts when put in jars, topped with a bow. Make any one of them, or all three I hope you enjoy!
If you would like the recipes:

You can find the recipe for the Rosemary Walnuts HERE.
Click HERE for the Cashew recipe.
And Monique's Sweet and Salty Sesame Glazed Almond recipe HERE.
Have you entered for a chance to win this Willow Blue tea set yet?

Click the image for details!

Happy New Year friends! xo


600,000 Blog Hits and a Drawing for Willow Blue Tea Set

Photo courtesy of Wedgwood /Johnson Bros. China

As the year comes to a close I've been reflecting upon how 2009 has been such a wonderful blogging year for me, making new friends and reconnecting with old friends.

It amazes me to see visitors from nearby, and all around the world! I'm so appreciative of the inspiring connections I've made via the internet since I began blogging, and all that I've learned from others.

I'm in awe that we're fast approaching 600,000 blog hits in such a relatively short period of time. I want to thank each of you for your support through your visits, emails and especially those of you who have signed up to follow my blog, and those who take the time to leave such encouraging comments.
I would like to show my appreciation for all of your incredible support.*

If you follow my blog you probably know my love of blue and white China ~and as a token of thanks I'm having a drawing tor this lovely Willow Blue tea set by Johnson Brothers.
The classic Willow Blue china pattern was first popularized in England more than 200 years ago, it is made of fine earthenware.

The set includes 4 teacups, 4 tea saucers, 1 teapot, 1 covered sugar bowl and creamer, and the hatbox is also included.

----> To enter the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and
tell me about one of your favorite cold weather comfort foods. <----

~ Bonus!! ~

If you are a follower of my blog, mention it in your post and your name will be entered in the drawing TWICE.
And if you are not a follower, what better time to sign up to follow to double your chances?!
The pesky details:

* ***Important Note:***
Unfortunately, due to shipping restrictions, the drawing is only open to entrants in the contiguous 48 states of the United States, and is void where prohibited by law.

Cannot be shipped to P.O. Boxes.

Entries will be accepted until January 30th, at 9:00 PM, Pacific Time.
Winner will be announced the following week.
(Winning entrant will be chosen by automated random integer generator.)

Winner's information (except internet name) will not be shared, period.

Please free to tell your friends about the drawing.
The more the merrier!

I wish each of you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Thank you again for being a friend of

Once Upon a Plate.

xo ~m

Please click the the logo to go to Susan's "Between Naps on the Porch" lovely blog to see all of the Tablescape Thursday entries!


Fabulous Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Of all the Blueberry Muffin recipes I have tried this is my all-time favorite.
I discovered the recipe back in 1995 in "The Taste of Home" magazine.
I haven't made them in a while, but warm from the oven they were the perfect treat on Christmas morning. :)

Be ready for lots of compliments if you make them. They always receive rave reviews when I make them, and they don't last long~ everybody loves these muffins.

You can use fresh or frozen berries (don't thaw); this time I used fresh, and if they are available that is what I prefer.

The only change I made this time was to bake the muffins in individual crumb cake pans. Similar to muffin top baking pans they are a bit deeper and wider. There are also paper crumbcake pans like THESE.

Of course you can use any size muffin pans you like ~ but do try them, they are seriously good.

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe you can find it on the OUaP recipe blog by clicking HERE.

If you try them, I hope you love them as much as we do.

And... If you would like a chance at winning this Willow Blue Teaset,
as pictured below:

CLICK on the image for details!

Thanks for stopping by today.


Steak House Style Creamed Spinach

If you like creamed spinach you know how good it tastes, trying to make it LOOK appealing is something else entirely..... :)

And if you don't like it, you'll probably want to skip this post entirely..... :p

This version is my favorite, it's very similar to the kind served at Ruth Chris' Steak House; perfect with grilled steaks, roast chicken, or roasted meats. But it's also vegetarian friendly.

Like many cooks I usually add a little fresh nutmeg to most cooked spinach dishes and this one is no exception. But I also add minced shallot, a bay leaf and one whole clove to lend an interesting nuance to the usually plain tasting dish.

I like to serve it in individual au gratin dishes for neater serving on the plate. Sometimes I sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan and place under the broiler.
The broiled cheese finish firms it up a bit for those who may be squeamish about the texture of plain creamed spinach.

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe, please click HERE.

If you're still with me... thank you for stopping by today!


Merry Christmas !

From our Home (and Kitchen) to Yours. :) ~

What do we love about Christmas;
Does our delight reside in "things" ?

Or are the feelings in our hearts
The real gift that Christmas brings.

It's seeing those we love,
And sending Christmas cards, too,

Appreciating people who bring us joy
Special people just like you .

Best wishes for a very happy holiday, friends !

* Poem by Joanna and Karl Fuchs


Caramel Popcorn with Fleur de Sel

I first learned of the basic recipe for this utterly delicious caramel popcorn from my friend Em on her blog The Repressed Pastry Chef. Em's blog was one of the very first I began following, even before I started blogging myself ~ it still remains a favorite.

Unlike some caramel popcorn recipes this one does not require a candy thermometer, you just mix and boil the simple caramel ingredients for 5 minutes, then stir in a little baking soda and vanilla and pour the mixture over the popcorn, place in the oven and slow roast, stirring occasionally until the corn is evenly coated and nicely crisped.
I am not a huge fan of caramel popcorn, but I LOVE this version.
Crispy and light, not heavy or sticky. I think you might love it, too.

The recipe calls for peanuts (an optional ingredient), I used pecans this time. You could use most any nut you like.

The popcorn made according to the recipe is delicious, and is not overly sweet. Since I tend to prefer salty tastes over sweets, I took the liberty of sprinkling the finished caramel popcorn with Fleur de Sel. Perfection!

This is a delightful snack and makes a nice little gift at holiday time, too.

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe you can find it
HERE on my recipe blog.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate !

Thank you for stopping by to visit my blog today ~
I appreciate any comments you would like to share.

Come visit Foodie Friday @ Designs by Gollum


Silky Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Soup

I love a warming soup on a cold, rainy or snowy day, do you?

This one goes together rather quickly, and there is no long simmering.

Even if you or yours don't care for cauliflower you may like it prepared this way. It's the way one of my favorite aunts used to make it for me.

It is reminiscent of that childhood favorite good old macaroni and cheese ~ without the macaroni. Kids have been known to love this soup, adults too.:)

I like to use sharp cheddar and add a little extra cayenne pepper to make it slightly spicy, but of course you can use a milder cheddar and skip the hot pepper if you prefer.

I usually serve it with buttered toast or crispy English Muffins, it's so good!

If you think it is a soup you might like, you can find a printable copy of the recipe on the OUaP recipe blog ~ click HERE.

Thank you for stopping by today!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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