For New Year’s Day: Armadillo Turkey

a turkey with pineapple skin covering the breast
The ultimate party presentation: Armadillo Turkey

ARMADILLO TURKEY: Do it for New Year’s Day or Super Bowl Sunday

All you need do, is carefully carve the skin from one fresh pineapple, about 1/2 inch thick. Save the flesh for another purpose. You will have 4-6 pieces (try to keep them as large as you can). Prepare and truss your bird for roasting as you usually would.

Carefully cover the breast area with the pineapple skin pieces, skewering them into place with toothpicks or small metal skewers. You will have cracks between the pieces, that’s okay. The spaces can be filled in later with parsley and kale as you can see in the photo.

Roast the turkey according to the instructions. The pineapple will baste the breast and give it a tropical flavor.

When done, let the turkey rest 30 minutes, then garnish by surrounding the bird in curly kale (or use your imagination). I found parsley was perfect for tucking into the cracks between the pineapple pieces on the breast. Don’t skip the presentation, the look on the faces of your guests will be worth the extra effort.


Raisin Walnut Pie

a dark pie similar in looks to a pecan pie
Nadia’s all-time favorite pie: Raisin Walnut

For guilty pleasures, this is my all-time favorite pie. Comfort food and not health food, this recipe has a place at our holiday table. Similar to pecan pie, this is SO good. I saw a version of this recipe in an old cookbook saying it was a Karo Syrup contest winner many years ago. That recipe used margarine instead of butter.

3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup dark corn syrup
½ c. firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. raisins
½ c. chopped walnuts
1 pie shell (9-inch)

Make your own pie crust or use a pre-made shell. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a mixer, beat eggs, add corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Mix in the raisins and nuts. Set aside and bake shell 5 minutes only, not until completely done. Remove crust from oven and pour filling into shell. Return to oven (with foil around the edges of crust) and bake approximately 50 minutes or until pie is lightly set to the touch. Cool completely. I usually serve with vanilla ice cream, but the original recipe suggested unsweetened, fresh whipped cream (doesn’t THAT sound good?).

Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies

Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies
Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies

My new favorite,
Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies

For the Orange Sugar:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp freshly grated orange peel

For the Cookies:
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
½ cup pistachio nuts or chopped walnuts
1 TBSP freshly grated orange peel or more

Heat oven to 350F. Zest one medium orange.

Combine 1/2 c. sugar and 1 tsp finely grated orange peel in a small bowl and mix. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup sugar, butter and egg in a large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add nuts, cranberries, and the remaining orange zest ( it might be a little over a tablespoon) and mix again. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in orange sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten lightly with bottom of glass.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes—only until edges are lightly golden. Cool and remove from cookie sheets.

Refried Beans

refried beans
Refried Beans


2 T olive oil
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large jalapeño – diced and seeds removed
1/2 medium onion – diced
3/4 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
¼ c sour cream (opt)

In a medium saucepan, saute’ onion and minced pepper in olive oil. Add garlic near the end. Puree’ the beans and spices in blender and return to saucepan to simmer until desired consistency and flavors marry. Stir in sour cream and serve warm or room temperature with chips as a dip or as a side dish sprinkled with shredded colby-jack cheese.

This is so easy and fun to make. Take it to a party, it’s the season!

Christmas Crack or Soda Cracker Candy

chocolat, toffee and nut candy
Soda Cracker Candy is also called Christmas Crack

SODA CRACKER CANDY (reminds me of Heath bars)

• 35 saltines (1 sleeve)
• 1 cup butter, cubed
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup chopped toasted pecans (toasting the nuts is optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll/cookie sheet baking pan with foil; grease foil. Arrange saltines in a single layer on foil breaking a few to fit if needed.

2. In a large heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a full boil; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Spread evenly over crackers.

3. Bake 5-7 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cover with foil and allow chips to soften for 5 minutes, then spread evenly over top. Sprinkle with pecans.

4. Refrigerate, uncovered, 1 hour or until set (or put in freezer 20-minutes). Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 2 pounds.

Editor’s Note: To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Prepared Horseradish

white, grated horseradish in a jar
Homemade Horseradish


1 cup peeled, cubed fresh horseradish
¾ cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a good blender (I used an Oster). Blend until

three jars of condiments
Prepared horseradish, kombucha mustard and horseradish mustard, all homemade

creamy. Be careful when removing lid to check, as the fumes will burn your eyes and nose. Place into small jar and refrigerate.

This can be mixed to your liking (but I like it about half and half) with Kombucha Mustard (see previous post) to make a great horseradish mustard. Stir in a little turmeric to make it yellow.

Kombucha Mustard

a natural, beige to yellow mustard in squeeze bottle
Kombucha Mustard

Making your own kombucha mustard is one of the easiest fermented condiments you can make. So here goes. As people have heard me say before, this is more of a method than a recipe and uses only two ingredients.

1 (16 oz.) bottle of plain kombucha

1 to 1-1/2 cups organic mustard seeds

Place mustard seeds in a clean, wide-mouth quart jar with plastic lid. Pour in half the bottle of kombucha and let sit on your counter for a day or two. If you see that the kombucha is completely absorbed, pour in about another quarter of the bottle and let sit another day. You may or may not use the entire bottle.

After 2-3 days, place mixture in a blender and puree, either to a fine texture, or coarse (I like finding the occasional whole seed in the finished mustard) it’s up to you. While you puree, you can add the rest of the kombucha if needed. Once you have the consistency you want, you can refrigerate it in the quart jar, which will be nearly full or portion into smaller containers.