food | Kay Trotter

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Cooking to Relax—Dr Kay’s Christmas Dinner Menus

The Holiday Season can be a stressful time as we all know, and my life is no different then yours. Sometime the demands and time crutch I feel can be overwhelming. One way that I unwind, “self-sooth”, relax is through cooking.

I find that the whole cooking process from planing and researching my menu, creating a cute menu graphic to be placed on everyone’s plate,  the cooking of each hand-picked dish to the grand crescendo…sitting down and enjoying the meal with my family and friends helps me unwind — relax.

Simply Said Cooking Grounds Me

I wanted to share with you four more of my Christmas Dinner Menu from 2009 to 2012. Be sure to watch for my 2013 Christmas Dinner Menu it will be in honor of my mom Sue Sudekum (1932-2013), this will be our first Christmas with-out her. Miss you mom. 

Christmas Dinner Menu 2009Dr Kay Trotter Kaleidoscope counseling

I think everyone’s favorite this year was the Whiskey Crab Soup. However, the Cranberry-Marinated Rack of Lamb was outstanding also.

Poinsettia Cocktail – is a fun colorful Holiday Martini

Fruit and Cheese Tray – if you don’t know what cheese and fruits to use on your cheese tray, I found the Best Fruit and Cheese guide very helpful.

Whiskey Crab Soup – This soup is the perfect way to start off your Christmas Dinner.

Roquefort Pear Salad – Ever since my daughter Kelly and her husband Josh took a trip to France we think and cook differently with pears. We now put them on pizza, salads, pearing with meats of all type. Yep pears are our new go to fruit.

Cranberry-Marinated Rack of Lamb  – We love lamb, and marinated the rack of lamb with cranberry or pomegranate juice was outstanding. This recipe is no longer on-line, please email me if you want it

Almond Wide Rice and sautéed Green Beans

Southern Pecan Pie – this is a Sudekum family tradition and by the way our family recipe is the best ever.

I wanted to share with you my Sudekum family recipe for Christmas Raisin Bread. This recipe has been in our family since the 1800s – maybe even longer 

For more of my family recipes, please check out my Pinterest board Yummy Sudekum Family Favorites Recipes

Also check out my Yummy Holiday Pinterest Board

Dr Kay Trotter

Christmas Dinner 2010

Raspberry Champagne

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip, served with crackers and bread sticks | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine At Home Holiday

Feta & Pepper Dip, Served in a Tuscan bread bowl | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine At Home Holiday

Seafood Chowder | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine At Home Holiday 

Pork Wellington, wrapped in a puff pastry, stuffed with prosciutto, spinach & chèvre (goat cheese), drizzled with roasted mushroom sauce. | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine At Home Holiday

Steamed Broccoli and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Southern Pecan Pie | Recipe courtesy of Sudekum Family Favorites Recipes

Dr Kay Trotter

2011 Christmas Dinner Menu

Raspberry Champagne | Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Seven Layer Salmon Bits, Stuffed Mushrooms | Recipe courtesy of Epicurious

Bloody Mary Shrimp | Recipe courtesy of Gourmet

Gourmet Cheeses Tray

Seafood Chowder | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine Holiday

Rack of Lamb with Marsalis and Crème Fraiche over Spiced Lentils with Roasted Carrots | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine Holiday

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie | Recipe courtesy of Food and Wine

Dr Kay TrotterChristmas Dinner Menu 2012

Cocktails – Disaronno Cosmo | Recipe courtesy of Disaronno

Tapa – Tortellini Caprese Bites | Recipe courtesy of My Recipes and White Bean-and-Back Olive Crostini | Recipe courtesy of

Salad  – Crispy Goat Cheese – Topped Arugula Salas with Pomegranated Vinaigrette | Recipe courtesy of My Recipes

Veggie Mashed Potatoes En Croute | Recipe courtesy of My Recipes

Main Course – Honey-Curry Glazed Lamb with Roasted Grapes and Cranberries | Recipe courtesy of My Recipes

Dessert – Elegant Eggnog Dessert | Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

If you have any problem find these recipes please email me at

On this Christmas I offer this prayer to you and your family

May the Lord bless you and keep you;  

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you;

 May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.


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Christmas Family Traditions – Christmas Raisin Bread

Well we’re still iced in here in Dallas, all morning long I have been receiving emails notifications of closings. The Village Church (my church) canceled tonights and Sunday morning services , restaurants closures, the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade,  even the Dallas Marathon was canceled. So it looks like I get to stay home today and write blogs. So, I thought  I’d stay on a Christmas theme and post some of my “Sudekum Family Christmas Traditions” 

This recipe has been in my family since the 1800s – maybe even longer.

This recipe has been in my family since the 1800s – maybe even longer.

My family has a recipe for Christmas Raisin Bread that has been in our family since the 1800s – maybe even longer. My mom learned it from her Irish grandmother, my great grandmother, and it is always baked at Christmastime and given as gifts to family, friends and neighbors as well as our mailman, milkman, hair stylists and others. As we were growing up, my mom also made it for all of our teachers, which means, with four children in my family, she was baking a lot of bread!

The smell of this bread baking always brings a smile to my face and fills me with lots of happy memories of childhood.

My family traditionally serves this bread as toast on Christmas morning (the brunch menu also includes sliced & sugared navel oranges and some of us like to dip the toast in the orange juice that is left on our plates!). We also use this bread for leftover turkey sandwiches slathered with lots of tangy Durkee’s Famous Sauce plus crisp lettuce and tart cranberry sauce.

My sister, Ann, who lives in St. Louis (along with the rest of my family – yep I am the only Texan), also likes to use this bread to make a decadent Eggnog French Toast with eggnog from Oberweis Dairy, (which she says is the best she’s ever tasted).

While we all know how to make this bread, my mom was the official baker of the Christmas Raisin Bread. And, as her hands lost their strength over the years, she developed a way to make the bread in a bread machine (although, she only let the machine go as far as the dough cycle and then she took it out to form loaves and bake in individual bread pans).


Source: Sudekum Family Favorites Cookbook
Yield: 6 loaves (1 pound each)

4 cup milk
1/2 pound lard
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons salt
4 packages yeast*
4 eggs
5 pounds flour
1 1/2 cups raisin
* Do not use “quick-rising” or “instant” yeast


  • Heat milk in a saucepan until scalding (180° F).
  • Place lard, sugar and salt in a large bowl and add scalding milk. Let cool to around 100-120° F.
  • Dissolve yeast in 1/2-cup warm water and add to milk mixture. Add eggs, half of the flour and raisins. Beat the dough hard with a spoon and then add the rest of the flour. Mix well and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes and place in a large, clean, greased bowl.
  • Cover bowl with a damp towel and let dough rise for 2 hours. (NOTE: the yeast needs to stay warm while the dough is rising, so be sure to place the dough in a warm part of your kitchen.)
  • After the first rise, punch dough down and let rise again for 1 hour.
  • Cut dough into 6 sections. Cover sections with a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Shape dough into loaves, place loaves in greased loaf pans, cover with a damp towel and let rise again.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned.

How to Shape Dough Into Loaves
Roll dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle. Starting from the narrow edge, roll up tightly. At each turn, seal with fingertips or edge of hand. Press down on ends of loaf with sides of hand to make two, thin, sealed strips. Fold strips under loaf (or shape dough into a rectangular loaf, pulling ends together until smooth).

Yield: 2 loaves (1 pound each)

1 cup milk
4 tablespoons lard
1 egg
4 cups flour
1/3 plus 1/8 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 cup raisins


  • Place all ingredients, except raisins, in the dough bucket of the bread machine.
  • Run the dough cycle.
  • When the dough cycle reaches 1:19 (1 hour, 19 minutes), add the raisins and let the dough cycle continue.
  • When the dough cycle finishes, remove the dough from the bucket and divide into two sections.
  • Let dough rest for 10 minutes and shape into loaves.
  • Place loaves in greased loaf pans, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1-2 hours.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

You can find more  Sudekum Family Favorite Recipes on my new Pinterest Board.

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Christmas Dinner Menu Past—Family Traditions

Since I am iced in today (thunder-sleet storms, ice and snow here in North Texas) I thought I would use this down time to create this year’s Christmas Dinner Menu. As I started looking at recipes, I found a few past Christmas dinner menus and thought it would be fun to share a few of them with you.

Cooking Nurtures My Soul – Cooking Grounds Me

166216_1664273120592_6628374_nChristmas dinner is an especially important cooking activity for me. I research recipes, explore food pairings from appetizers to dessert. Then its time to create a fun design for the printed dinner menu.

I like to enjoy the sparkling festiveness of a Christmas-themed dinner table, Christmas dinner table is set weeks ahead of time. Then, on Christmas day, I turn my kitchen counter into a shining, flickering, happy place to munch on this year’s tapas and sip on raspberry Champagne, something that has become a traditional Christmas Dinner cocktail in my home.


Christmas Dinner 2007

Cocktail: Seasonal Breeze • Campari Liquor, Blood Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice • Recipe courtesy of Feast Food to Celebrate Life, December 2004

Soup: Crab Bisque • Blue Crabs with a hint of Old Bay spices and fiery peppers • Recipe courtesy of Gourmet magazine, December 2007

Salad: Poached Pears with Ginger and Port • Ripe Anjou pears, Tawny Port wine and Mascarpone cheese • Recipe courtesy Gourmet magazine, March 1997

Vegetable: Perfect Roasted Potatoes • Yukon gold, red and sweet potatoes, roasted with fresh rosemary sprigs • Recipe courtesy of Gourmet magazine December 2004

Entree: Roasted Duck with Pomegranate-Wine Sauce • Roasted duck, garlic, herbs, white and red wine drizzled with a orange pomegranate molasses sauce • Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetite, December 2004

Dessert: Southern Pecan Pie • Recipe courtesy of Sudekum Family Favorite Cookbook

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 10.17.55 AMChristmas 2008

Appetizers: Raspberry Champagne • Artichoke DipCheese Tray: Brie, Gouda and Mild Cheddar

First Course: Shrimp Cocktail

Second Course: Cream of Mushroom Soup

Third Course: Caesar Salad

Main Course: Garlic Standing Rib RoastGoat-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes With Chives

Dessert: Southern Pecan Pie

I have also blogged my 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Christmas Dinner menus.

As you can see my family loves to cook and we have lots of Family Traditions

For more of my family recipes, please check out my Pinterest board Yummy Sudekum Family Favorites Recipes.

May Gods blessings float down like soft snowflakes on you and yours this Christmas

~  Dr. Kay

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Making Lemonade from the Lemons of Job Loss

 In a previous post, guest author Ann Sudekum wrote about “The Grief & Joy of Job Loss” and how she navigated the stages of grief that occur when you lose a job. She also offered insight into how she got through the process in a positive way and discovered the loss was actually an opportunity to “turn lemons into lemonade” and pursue her love for cooking. Since then, she has started a new business, Ann’s Custom Cuisine, and launched a blog/website: The following is a reprint of her first blog post.

I have asked Ann to become a regular contributor on this blog and I am excited to let you know that Ann will be blogging about the emotional impact our careers play in our day-to-day lives – Welcome Ann

Turning My Passion Into a Profession

Cooking has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom is an excellent cook who put a lot of love in the meals she prepared for our family and we all enjoyed watching and learning the joy of cooking.

I was about 5-years-old when I first stepped up on a stool to peek into a simmering pot on the stove. I was so excited to grab that spoon and stir the yummy goodness inside! I had watched my two older sisters helping mom in the kitchen and was honored when it was my turn. My younger brother, who grew tall quickly, probably stood on that stool before he turned 5.

Mom Baking Lesson

Mom gives a baking lesson to one of my friend's daughter.

My mom’s cooking was influenced by her grandmother’s Southern cook from Mississippi and by a woman she called Mama Mia, an Italian lady my grandmother met through their butcher. Mom has always followed a simple philosophy: great food comes from basic, fresh ingredients mixed with a lot of love for the friends and family for whom you are cooking. And, she made sure to pass along her cooking knowledge and talent to her children and grandchildren – and even some of her friend’s children!

So, during the summer, starting when we were about 10-years-old, my mom would have each of us four kids plan and prepare one dinner a week. We got to choose whatever we wanted and mom would help us put a menu together with vegetables and sides that complemented the main entree. We then learned how to organize a grocery list and went with mom to the grocery store to purchase everything. Of course the fun really began when we returned to the kitchen to create our masterpieces!

Basket of garden veggies

Fresh-picked veggies from my sister's garden.

Summer was also the time for enjoying lots of fresh veggies. Both of my parents were organic gardeners long before it was cool to be organic, and they turned a large area of our back yard into a vegetable garden brimming with tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, bell peppers, jalapenos, radishes, green onions, garlic and carrots. Anything we didn’t grow was purchased at the Soulard Farmer’s Market in downtown St. Louis and, at the end of the summer, we would put aside (aka can) tomatoes, green beans, chili sauce and pickles for the fall and winter.

Over the years I have developed a passion for cooking that feeds my soul. The whole process of planning and prepping and preparing food relaxes and energizes me! So, I decided to turn my passion into a profession and serve up Ann’s Custom Cuisine – a personal culinary service where I create freshly prepared, delicious and nutritious meals that clients can enjoy in the comfort of their own home.

I now embark on this new culinary and career journey with excitement and a little bit of trepidation! I look forward to the challenge and the adventure. . . Bon appetit!

Simmering pots on stoveI hope you will take a moment to browse the content on these pages and be sure to subscribe to my blog so you can keep up with what I’ve got sizzling and simmering on the stove!

Visit Chef Ann’s blog/website at

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