Recipe Flashback! Best Christmas Cookies Ever! | barbara stroud

These are the tastiest Christmas cookies in all the land. THE ONES that put the biggest smile on Santa’s face! Perfect for those of you who are uber creative! Each cookie is a blank canvas and you can get as fancy as you like… or you can just squeeze on the colorful frosting, and that’s beautiful as well! The recipe has been in our family since I was teeny tiny and has become a yearly tradition! My parents found it in a magazine… wonder which one? Click here to read the last post about these wonderful cookies!

Click HERE to print the recipe as shown below… | barbara stroud

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Split Pea Soup Recipe with Sweet Potato and Bacon Garnish!

Tyler Florence's Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potato and Bacon Garnish

Tyler Florence’s Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potato and Bacon Garnish

I ran across the best recipe for Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potato & Bacon Garnish in People magazine! Tyler Florence‘s recipes are always fabulous and this is no exception. We had a bag of organic split peas from Whole Foods, yet hadn’t used them… actually, I have never used split peas. Neither of us are big on thick soups. So the one thing I changed? I didn’t blend part of the peas after cooking (which thickens the soup), it still thickened itself somewhat, it was just perfect! The garnish made it over the top good. Cutting up a few slices of good bacon and putting it on a baking sheet along with sweet potatoes cut up small… oooowie, magic happens I’m telling you! It is unbelievable to me how much taste is in split peas! As you see below, in the actual soup part of the recipe, there are split peas, salt, pepper, lemon juice, (I didn’t have thyme leaves, so I did not use, and I only used parmesan once, could barely tell a difference). Yet those pretty green peas are TASTY with a capital “T”!

There aren’t a lot of ingredients – this is simply too easy! There is no soaking of the peas before hand. Another step that makes it that much easier!

Click HERE to print the recipe (as shown below!) | barbara stroud

Catch you back here tomorrow!

How to make pot roast with potatoes and carrots – can’t get easier than this!

Smells heavenly doesn't it?

B E A U T Y !

Most everyone loves a good pot roast. The taste is so wonderful, like you’ve been slaving away for hours and hours, when in reality, it basically does most everything itself. Some people prefer to make mashed potatoes, if you’re on of those people, you can certainly pull the veggies and pot roast out when done, and maybe stir in a little corn starch/water mixture and and to pan, heat to thicken the gravy. I don’t bother, the juice is just that good. I usually throw my carrots and potatoes in the pot instead of making mashed potatoes, it’s just too easy this way!

I follow this recipe from Cooking Light magazine – not exactly, but its a starting point. Add more of what you like, less of what you don’t!

My notes on the recipe below… I rarely use wine, I just like the taste of pot roast best without it, same with Thyme… garlic I use occasionally, but rarely… I buy a large container of Kitchen Basics Beef Broth (unsalted), and use about 3/4 of it. I don’t measure I just make sure it covers most of the veggies… I use a lot of carrots and a few potatoes. For a 1.5# roast, I usually bake it for about 45 minutes, then add the potatoes and carrots (I put the roast on top) and bake another hour. It’s perfect when the meat falls apart easily.

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine!

Classic Beef Pot Roast (with Potatoes and Carrots)


1 teaspoon olive oil 
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups coarsely chopped onion 
1 cup dry red wine
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth $
1 bay leaf
4 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces $
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.

Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.


MyRecipes is working with Let’s Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Jeanne Thiel Kelley,


Ok, now for my step by step shots!

Sear the meat first!

Sear to lock in juices on all sides

Sear to lock in juices on all sides

Since there are only two of us, I usually go to Whole Foods or EarthFare and buy a pot roast (chuck roast) and if it’s really thick i have them slice it in half lengthwise, I usually end up with about a 1.5 pound roast, but if you have more than two people in your family (this is several meals for us), then you may opt for the larger cut, just keep it in the oven longer.

Start by adding a little olive oil to the pan so it won’t stick, get the pan nice and hot so you hear SIZZLE when you put the roast in the pan… you aren’t cooking it through just browning on all sides, at medium high, I even sear the sides… keeps all those juices where you want them to be! Once it’s seared, move it to a plate…

Sautee onions...

Sautee onions…

Now sautee the onions… smells wonderful doesn’t it?

Add seared roast and beef broth to pan

Add seared roast and beef broth to pan

Now add the seared roast and the beef broth to the pan – cover and bake OR… go ahead and add potatoes and carrots (If roast is small) and bake all together for around 1.5 hours or until it starts to fall apart! I tuck the potatoes and carrots all around the roast… you can check on it a time or two, splash a little more broth on top… a few hours later (and a WONDERFUL smelling house)… you have…

This is what BEAUTY Looks like when you pull it out of the oven… oh. my. word.

Smells heavenly doesn't it?

Smells heavenly doesn’t it?

Too good for words!!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Recipe Flashback: Thanksgiving and a special treat – homemade hot chocolate!

Homemade Hot Chocolate!

Homemade Hot Chocolate!

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Thanksgiving day! Now, if for some reason you aren’t full after a Thanksgiving Day feast, and you would like a little treat, that really feels like a treat… Try this… it’ll warm you up too!

Hot chocolate, made from scratch. YUM! Yet one more thing to be thankful for on a chilly day, right? There are only a few ingredients, you can heat the milk however you like (stove or microwave) and instantly you have wonderful hot chocolate that warms you from the inside out! Click on that link to be taken to the original recipe complete with photos!

Enjoy this Thanksgiving Day. Whew, I have so much to be thankful for… all of you, my family, friends, health, Charlie (woof) and Fred just to name a few.

If you’re feeling blessed (as I am), do something to make someone smile. This time of year can be hard on so many people for a variety of reasons. Do you have a neighbor who may be eating alone today? Invite them over, or maybe take them a hot chocolate and have a visit. We all get busy in life, but we have to keep those in mind who don’t have family and may be struggling with something going on in their lives.

Make. Someone. Smile.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll catch you back here tomorrow!

Recipe flashback: Homemade Cranberry Sauce – it doesn’t get better than this!

Image via Martha Stewart!

Image via Martha Stewart!

Can you believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving? Are you looking for something to make as a side to go with the turkey? Would you like to make something that is quick, easy, beautiful and tastes out of this world? Ahhhh, then this is the recipe for you! This is from Martha Stewart! I posted this several years ago (and would never buy canned since I saw how easy this was to make).

Yes, there is sugar in this recipe, but unlike canned sauce there is no high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup (2nd and 3rd ingredient listed, eek!)

Thank you to Martha Stewart for the photo and the recipe (Everyday Food, November 2008).

Basic Cranberry Sauce

Yield Makes 2 cups


  • 1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup water


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, lemon zest, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool to room temperature.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Thanksgiving Recipe: Rustic Apple Tart (beautiful and so easy!)

Rustic Apple Tart

Rustic Apple Tart

This week I’m bringing back recipe favorites that I think may be a great match for Thanksgiving! This Rustic Apple Tart (click on link to see original post complete with photos as well as a video!) is easy, and so beautiful. The secret is the glaze and it couldn’t be easier!

This is a Martha Stewart – Everyday Food recipe.

Click HERE to print the recipe only.


Puff Pastry (1 sheet)
3 Granny Smith Apples
1/3 cup sugar (or a little less)
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp water
Defrost puff pastry in refrigerator.
Once defrosted, leave folded and roll out to 8×14 on a lightly floured surface.
TRIM EDGES – need a clean edge, otherwise it won’t puff up, she used a pizza cutter
Place on baking sheet and PUT IN FREEZER 10-15 minutes (this is very important)!
Peel and core 3 Granny Smith Apples, cut into 1/4″ slices
Add 1/3 cup sugar (or less) and mix.
In separate bowl, mix 1 large egg YOLK (discard white) and 1 tsp water, set aside.
Dough out of freezer.
Brush on egg wash (don’t let drip down the sides, it could inhibit it from rising)
Create border 3/4″ from edge, cut halfway through dough with a knife.
Arrange apples within border.
Dot the top of the tart with 2 Tablespoons of butter.
Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes.
While tart is still warm mix up this glaze…


2 Tablespoons of apricot jam or apple jelly
1 Tablespoon water
Mix and heat until warm.
Brush this mixture on the tart while it’s still warm.
Cut and serve!

This is perfect for a smaller gathering! Enjoy!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Thanksgiving Recipe… Couscous with Cranberries and Pecans!

T A D A ! !

Couscous with Cranberries and Pecans ! !

Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. Can you believe it? Seems like it was just summer a few days ago? Crazy how fast time flies!

This week I’m bringing back a few recipes that I’ve shared with you throughout the years, maybe one of them will sound good for your Thanksgiving!

Cranberry & Nut Israeli Couscous Salad is a fabulous recipe (click on that link to see the original post, complete with step by step photos). This is a fabulous cold salad with dried cranberries, fresh oranges, tasty pecans… oooh, I think this is one you will enjoy, and I’m thrilled that I ran across the recipe again, as I had forgotten about it, sigh…

Here’s the recipe – Click to print this recipe from Epicurious

 israeli couscous with cranberries and pecans


2 cups Israeli couscous, uncooked
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted pecans, quartered
2 scallions, minced
3 tbsp canola oil (I used olive oil)
1.5 tbsp champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1 orange, zest
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: I added 2 1/2 oranges, cut into wedges (the other half is juiced in the above steps) – this made the recipe over the top good!


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the couscous. When it’s done (roughly 8-10 mins, or when it’s al dente), drain it but do not rinse. Set aside and let cool while you mince the scallions, toast and chop the pecans, and make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, vinegar, orange zest and juice, spices and salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the couscous, cranberries, pecans and scallions. Pour the well-whisked dressing over it and toss to combine.

Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours to blend the flavors.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Whole Foods Market – you won’t believe what they do!

WF Mkt Mt P Customer Advisory Panel

Pictured from left to right: Amy Dillmann, Marketing Assistant; Tracey Trombino, Director of Catering; Celia Ballou, Prepared Foods Supervisor

Whole Foods Market Mt Pleasant Customer Advisory Panel – did you know there was such a thing? Well there is, and it’s quite amazing. Whole Foods selects a group of people each year to inform and share information with them about their store. It’s amazing information. You would not believe all the work that goes into making that store so very amazing! Specifically, I’m referencing the Mount Pleasant, SC location.

They want to know what we think. What they can do better. What they are doing that we like. What would we like to see in the future? Each month there is a new topic. The first meeting was PRODUCE. It was EYE OPENING to say the least. After learning of the care that is involved with being a certified organic grocery store, we want to buy all of our groceries at Whole Foods! We are buying more since being on this panel, I guess after you learn all the work that goes into getting the produce where it is, and how the organic produce is treated very carefully. Special cleaning techniques are used in those areas, temperatures are taken as they are taken off the truck, storage is handled separately for organic and conventional fruits/veggies. They are not just inspected by DHEC, they are also inspected by EVERCLEAN because they are a certified organic grocer. It’s an impressive list of accomplishments that they strive for every single day. Quality is number one! It’s no easy task. That store runs like a well oiled machine. There are massive amounts of teamwork involved. No doubt about it!

You know how it is when you buy something that you think will taste good and then you get home and it’s just not your taste? Whole Foods will let you sample just about anything in the store, just find a store associate and ask them if a package can be opened or if you can have a sample. Fruits and veggies aren’t excluded… wonder what that Honeycrisp apple taste like? Wonder no more! They will give you a slice and ahhhh, you will see why they are about the most amazing apple on the planet!

I think a lot about a company that wants to strive, year after year, to make things the best they can be (despite being profitable anyway!)… Whole Foods not only wonders, they care, they WANT TO KNOW, they spend a great deal of money and effort to get our opinions. Just last week we had an entire Thanksgiving Dinner, the topic was PREPARED FOOD, and we tasted all of the sides that are available for Thanksgiving, and let me tell you… YUM! They even send us home with a Whole Foods bag packed with goodies from whatever the current topic is. Brilliant. Now I buy those same products that they gave us. Just think I might have never tried them otherwise! Now I am hooked!

On top of it, the people who work for Whole Foods are about as nice and sincere (not to mention FUN) as they get.

There were better photos to be taken, I was trying not to cause a scene… therefore you are missing photos of their Thanksgiving spread, which was the best EVER! Each and every dish we tasted was out of this world! So if you are wondering about Thanksgiving, give them a call (or order online) and order your Thanksgiving, it couldn’t be easier!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Pompeian Spray Oil – a wicked cool find!

Image via

Image via


First of all, you aren’t going crazy… you have reached the same blog… art. food. home. by barbara stroud… some changes have been made in the look of the blog, let me know what you think!

Have you read the ingredients in spray oil? You know the stuff you spray baking pans with? Yikes! AND if you’re supposed to steer clear of soy, most of it has soy in one form or another, so this was a welcome sight. There are a few brands now available and this is great news! Keep an eye out for them! Also gluten free for those of you who need that!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

How to make homemade Chicken Salad!

Chicken Salad - Too Easy!

Chicken Salad – Too Easy!

Owie… chicken salad. Yum! It’s so quick and easy to make, and you can put in it what YOU like! You have options (I love options!), you can use mayo, or Greek yogurt, or a mixture of the two… you control your own destiny… woohoo!

How to make it… there really isn’t a recipe exactly, you put in it what you like…

How to poach chicken: Place a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a wide pan. Be careful to not put too many in the pan. Depending upon the size of your pan, 2-4 chicken breasts should fit. Next… add water, covering the chicken by a few inches (note: some people use chicken broth and spices, veggies, etc. I didn’t). Add a little salt.

Bring the water to a boil and then turn the burner down so that it is slowly simmering (where you see a few small bubbles, but not a big rolling boil)! I’ve done the rolling boil thing before and it’s basically… chicken jerky ;) Not good!

Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat. COVER the pot and let the chicken sit in the water for another 15-20 minutes (depending upon the size of the chicken breasts). After 20 minutes poaching in the pan, take them out and shred with two forks (is how I do it). Cubed chicken wigs me out. It’s not right. But it is easier and quicker, so if you can eat chicken cubes, go for it!

Making the chicken salad… Decide what you want in it… I used a little mayo the first time, but I’ll try Greek yogurt next time (if I’m going to eat it all the same day). I used chopped walnuts, chopped celery and grapes (I cut some in half but left some whole), use any spices that you like (I used a dash of curry powder, which turns it a little yellow which is nice). It’s great to eat alone, or as a sandwich, with crackers, etc. Great protein, and only as much fat as you add to it!

Catch you back here tomorrow!