Nut Roast en Croutee with Mushroom Gravy

In CategoryHoliday Ideas
ByMarcy Roberts, CMT

These days I’ll often find a few vegetarians around my holiday table, so this is a delicious entree that I like to make for them. I’ve made it for many years, and it’s always so scrumptious I think, why don’t I make this dish more often! It really is quite easy to make, so don’t be overwhelmed. Your veggie friends will thank you for thinking of them. Enjoy!

Nut Roast en Croutee with Mushroom Gravy

1 lb frozen puff pastry                                                                               1 beaten egg to glaze

Nut Roast:

2 large onions, peeled and chopped (save 1 tablespoon out for the stuffing below)

4 tablespoons butter, use to saute onions

1 lb brazil nuts, finely ground (cashews may be used, if desired)

2 2/3 cups fresh fine breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 eggs (optional)

pinch of – grated nutmeg, ground cloves and ground cinnamon

salt and freshly ground black pepper


2 2/3 cups fresh fine white breadcrumbs (so, 5 1/3 cups breadcrumbs all together, half in nut roast mixture and half in stuffing, which is an entire loaf of Pepperidge Farm‘s white sandwich bread, with the crusts cut off)

¼ cup chopped parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tbsp grated onion

grated lemon rind

1 tsp each dried thyme and marjoram

6 tablespoons softened butter

Preheat the oven to 400F.

To make the nut roast, sauté the onion in the butter for 10 minutes, until soft but not browned.

Remove from the heat and add the rest of the nut roast ingredients.  Season.

Make the stuffing by mixing all the ingredients together into a soft mixture that holds together.  Season.

Roll out the pastry on a floured board to a 12 x 14-inch rectangle. (use both pastry sheets in box, and join in the middle with rolling pin)

Form the stuffing into a sausage about 10 inches long and place down the middle of the pastry.  Pile the nut roast mixture all over the stuffing, covering it.

Fold the ends and sides of the pastry up to enclose the nut mixture completely.  Tuck in the ends, then place on cookie sheet on a piece of parchment paper, folded side down.  Mark a lattice design on the top, careful not to go all the way thru the dough.

Make one or two steam holes, decorate with pastry trimmings if desired and brush with the beaten egg.  Bake for 30 minutes, until crisp.

Serve with Brown Gravy or Mushroom Gravy

For vegans, margarine may be substituted for butter.

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy


3/4 cup white or button mushrooms, chopped                     2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 small yellow or white onion, minced                                    1 to 2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup vegan margarine or EVOO                                          1/4 cup flour

1 tbsp poultry seasoning (or 1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme and marjoram)

salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet, melt the vegan margarine and add onion and mushrooms. Saute for just a minute or two over high heat.

Reduce heat to medium and add vegetable broth and soy sauce. Slowly add flour, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps from forming. Bring to a simmer or a low boil, then reduce heat.

Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, stirring consistently. Allow to cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly until gravy thickens.

Serve in gravy boat next to Nut Roast

Lemon Curd

In CategoryHoliday Ideas
ByMarcy Roberts, CMT

For many years every Christmas I’d shop for a jar of lemon curd for my Mother’s stocking. She’d guard that jar all year, rarely sharing a teaspoon of it. So, when my Sister finally discovered a delicious lemon curd recipe, we decided this would be a great present to make and share with friends and family. Now that Mom knows how to make her own curd, I occasionally get to thinly spread it on my muffin at her house.

Lemon Curd

1 cup sugar

1 stick  butter, melted

To this add the well beaten eggs of

4 whole eggs AND

4 egg yolks

Then add

1/2  cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2  teaspoons lemon zest


Stir all ingredients together in sauce pan and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.

Pour into prepared jars and seal.

Lemon Curd will last for months in refrigerator.

For holidays buy a bit of printed cotton holiday fabric, cut into squares a bit bigger than top of jars, buy elastic ribbon, and wrap top of jar and tie with ribbon for decoration.

Flax Seed Eye Pillow

In CategoryHoliday Ideas
ByMarcy Roberts, CMT

Years ago I bought a flax seed eye pillow and would use it occasionally with my clients. I finally realized I should use it with every client. The flax seeds are flat and have a nice weight. It helps people to relax their eyes and to block out any light. It really adds a nice dimension to deeper relaxation. So, a few years ago I decided to make them for Christmas to give to my clients and friends. I simply mimicked the one I already had. I bought the Flax Seed from a local feed and seed store. They ordered a 25 pound bag for me. I selected a silk-like fabric with a nice design for the front and a black silk-like fabric for the back. Sewed it, turned it, left a small hole in one corner, used a funnel to add the flax, then sewed the corner by hand. Probably made about 40 of them. They were a huge hit. Here is a link on how-to make one. You’ll need approx one cup of flax seed for each pillow. Some people like to add lavender. But I found that the lavender oil can seep thru and be irritating to the eyes. So, I chose not to add lavender to the ones I made. Your choice. Good luck! And have fun!


Almond Toffee with Chocolate

In CategoryHoliday Ideas
ByMarcy Roberts, CMT

Today’s holiday recipe is simply the best. It’s a great gift anytime of the year.

Almond Toffee with Chocolate

If there’s a list somewhere of Top Ten Candy Recipes, this one is high on it. Unbelievably quick, easy and delicious, you’ll even impress yourself. As simple as it is, it’s important to have everything ready before you start.

First, you need about 15 uninterrupted minutes. Don’t answer the phone; don’t answer the door. And you need a good-sized (3-1/2 to 4-quart) heavy saucepan — the heavier the better — and a stout wooden spoon. Ideally, you should have an 11-inch by 17-inch jellyroll pan with a 1-inch lip on it. If you don’t have that, then two flat cookie sheets will do. Line the pan or cookie sheets with aluminum foil, letting the excess hang over the edges, and set them on a heatproof surface. You do not, by the way, need a candy thermometer.

* 2 cups (4 sticks) butter

* 2 cups sugar

* 3 cups whole raw almonds

* 1 package of 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

First, take a couple of Tablespoons of almonds & process them very fine to sprinkle on top of the chocolate layer at the very end.

Put the butter and sugar in the saucepan and, over high heat, stir while the butter melts. Stir constantly while sugar dissolves, and let mixture come to a boil. When a uniform boil is reached, set your timer for 5 minutes. Keep stirring.

At the 5-minute mark, the mixture will start to look light and creamy and will become fluffy. Add the almonds all at once, and start stirring them in. The almonds will cause the mixture to cool, so it will immediately get thick and some of the butter will separate, and you may think you’ve made some terrible error, but persevere. Just keep stirring with that stout wooden spoon.

As you continue to stir, the mixture will really start to come together. The butter that separated out will get stirred back in, and the mixture will begin to darken as the sugar caramelizes. At or around the 5-minute mark, you will begin to hear the almonds popping. The heat causes them to expand, which causes a low, dull popping sound. And then you know that your toffee is ready!  OR you will know by the deep rich caramel color…be sure not to let it get too dark as it scorches very quickly.  (I don’t usually hear the popping sound of the almonds and just go by the color. The toffee will get darker as it cools so, just let it get to a rich amber color.)

Pour the toffee out evenly into the foil-lined pan or cookie sheets. Be very careful; it is extremely hot. If you are topping the toffee with a chocolate layer, wait 5 or 10 minutes when the toffee has begun to set, and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot surface.  After about 5 minutes the chips will be melted enough to become spreadable. Spread the chocolate with a spatula in an even layer over the toffee. Lastly, sprinkle the processed almond crumbs on top of the chocolate.

After a couple of hours the toffee will be cooled completely & can be broken apart. I like to break it into triangles.  Store in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container.


Double Chocolate Biscotti

In CategoryHoliday Ideas
ByMarcy Roberts, CMT

OK, sorry I made you wait a day for this recipe. It’s Martha Stewart’s chocolate biscotti and my personal favorite. YUM! What I love about these two biscotti recipes is that they are soft enough to eat without dunking and getting crumbs in your coffee. And they last for months. Well not in my kitchen. But you get my drift. For those of you who have restraint, they won’t go stale before you eat them. But I suggest storing them in a tin.

ENJOY! And make some for your friends as well as yourself.

Double Chocolate Biscotti

Martha Stewart’s Double-Chocolate Biscotti (complete with the warden’s seal of approval)

(makes 2 dozen)

8 tblsp (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (chips work fine also)

1/2 cup Dutch cocoa

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup whole shelled pistachio nuts or blanched almonds, lightly roasted

1 cup golden raisins, dried cherries, or dried cranberries (I usually opt for cherries or cranberries)

parchment paper

1.  Heat oven to 350. Melt butter & chocolate on a low heat in small pan. Stir until smooth.

2.  Sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt. In electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs on medium speed until lightened. Add vanilla. On low speed, add chocolate mixture, then flour mixture. Stir in nuts and raisins. Dough will be soft.

3.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Form two 9-inch-long-by-3-1/2-in-wide logs on parchment-lined baking sheet.

4.  Bake 30 minutes, until dough sets. Cool 15 mins. Reduce oven to     275. Slice dough on diagonal into 1/2 pieces; place cut side down on baking sheet. Bake 20 more minutes.

5.  Turn over; bake 20 more minutes, until slightly dry.

6.  Let cool on wire race. Store in airtight container.

Low Impact Holiday Ideas

In CategoryHoliday Ideas
ByMarcy Roberts, CMT

The holidays are upon us. For the last several years I’ve made the bulk of my Christmas presents. I enjoy baking and giving a consumable low-impact gift. There’s nothing to dust and very little wrapping to recycle. And my time of making the gift is far more precious than any chotski I could purchase. So for the next few posts, I’ll share some ideas of gifts I’ve made in the past.
A favorite sweet treat I make is biscotti. Given the time, I really love making these delicious coffee biscuits, because they stay fresh for weeks.
I usually make a cranberry almond or pistachio biscotti, and a double chocolate biscotti.
Here are the recipes.

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

3 cups all-purpose Flour 750 mL
1 Tablespoon baking powder 15 mL
¼ teaspoon salt 1 mL
3 eggs 3
¾ cup granulated sugar 175 mL
½ cup melted butter 125 mL
2 teaspoons vanilla 10 mL
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries 75 mL
½ cup pistachios or almonds 125 mL

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
Grease cookie sheet or use parchment.

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder & salt.

2. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, butter & vanilla until blended. Gradually add dry ingredients until a sticky dough forms. Using floured hands, work in cranberries & nuts until evenly distributed & dough is smooth.

3. Divide dough in half. Shape into two logs about 10 inches long, approx 4 inches wide. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until browned.

4. Cool on sheet for 10 minutes, then cut into slices ½ to ¾ inch thick. Arrange slices upright on cookie sheet. Lower oven heat to 300 degrees F & bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until firm & dry. Immediately transfer to wire racks.

Makes about 3 dozen