Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Decor Hints

Today's first hint comes from Courtney Thomas, my sister-in-law. Courtney is a MOST incredible floral designer and decorator. She is vice-president of Allied Professional Floral Society in Houston and owns a progressive florist in North Houston.

  • Create holiday florals by adding poinsettias to existing greenery in your home.
  • Battery operated flickering tea lights look great and saves $$ and clean-up time.
  • For a pretty table display place artificial snow flakes in bottom of apothecary jar top with a few ornaments. My awesome decorator assistant, Carrie Blair, placed one on a couter in my kitchen. It simply has snow in the bottom of a jar and 2 red glittery ornaments with an approx 3 inch silver glittered snowflake----simple beauty!!!
  • Use things from the past. (grandparent's, childhood, etc) On our den tree I display my children's Christmas art. Remember they are now in their 20's! Also my Mom gives them an ornament every year. There are 43 Grammy ornaments!!! Redonia is a teacher and gets ornaments. Some are not pretty but have great sentimental value. I taught school for six years 18 years ago. I have ornaments on the tree from some of my students, too. The memory tree is the perfect place for those ornaments. On one of my tables in the living room I have a red bowl placed on its side. The dish was one that my grandparent's kept on their counter. Papaw emptied his pockets in the bowl. It is probably a FTD container from the 70's! I can't part with it and use it every Christmas. My cousin, Judy, made Mamaw a macrame tree one Christmas in the 70's. Mamaw hung it every year at the head of her dining table. It is another of my price inheritances. I hang it on the door pull of my China cabinet. It should really be hung on a wall but since I don't have a wall space at the head of my table the china cabinet works! I tell all our guests during the holidays about the pretty tree. It means so much
  • Love fun Christmas dishes? I do too! I have both dressy and casual. Currently I have fun snowmen plates on gold chargers. The chargers helped to set the plates off for my otherwise dressier table decor. It's Christmas....mix the fun with the pretty! Be brave do something different.
  • Add ornaments to your china in your china cabinet.

Side note: OH MY GOODNESS you can't believe how awesome our church foyer looks. We have a 8.5 or 9 ft snowman, several trees, lit garlands, and snowy night backdrops.Thanks, Courtney, you are an awesome sis. I love you!!! Keep watching this blog or my other blog for are going to be AMAZED!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Etiquette

Eat today diet tomorrow!!!!

Don't make excuses for what you serve. If it isn't too bad to be served then you shouldn't say this isn't as good an normal or any other negative remarks.....Serve you food with a smile!

Remember be sociable regardless if you are host or guest. Guests don't enjoy feeling like an intruder. Hosts don't enjoy serving people who don't seem pleased to be there.

Remember on Thanksgiving its customary for EVERYONE to help in the kitchen not just the host.

Find time alone with God. Let him know you are thankful!!!!

Enjoy a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vegetable Dishes

Green Beans Amandine
2 cans French style green beans
8 to 10 slices bacon
2 Tablespoons minced onion or 1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons browned, slivered almonds

Drain beans early in day and set aside. Fry bacon, dice and save. Brown onions in bacon fat; add beans, vinegar, salt and pepper. Heat ingredients, then refrigerate all day. Just before serving, add bacon and almonds and heat.

Sauted Whole Green Beans
1 stick margarine
3 cans whole green beans, drained
1 small pkg sliced almonds
2 tablespoons minced onion
Salt & Pepper to taste

In skillet melt margarine over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.

Favorite Au Gratin Potatoes
serves 6
3 cups Potatoes (sliced and peeled)
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups CreamSalt and Pepper (to taste)
Green Onions for garnish (optional)

Layer potatoes in baking dish, sprinkle with minced onions & garlic powder. Top with cheeses. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cream over all. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with green onions if desired.

Corn Casserole
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 (8 1/2 oz.) corn muffin mix
1 (8 oz.) cream corn
1 (8 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded cheese

Combine eggs, muffin mix, cream and whole kernel corn, sour cream and butter. Spread in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake 10-15 minutes more.

2 lb. peeled and diced potatoes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 cup heavy cream or half & half

Cover potatoes with water sufficient to cover in a heavy-bottomed pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain potatoes and set aside. In a separate pan, bring cream to boil (do not allow to curdle; remove from heat immediately when it starts to boil). Mash the potatoes, beating in the butter and cream, garlic, and salt and pepper, until potatoes are smooth and fluffy.

Note: If you prefer a more garlicky taste add a little more at a time until sufficient to taste

Spicy Corn Casserole
2 tablespoons margarine
8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
2 - 16 oz cans whole kernel corn, drained
4 oz can chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons minced onion
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic
Cayenne pepper to taste, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt margarine in 2 qt casserole dish. In mixing bowl mix remaining ingredients. Pour into casserole dish. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.


Taste of Texas Pecan Pie
1 Pie Shell
1/2 cup Dark Karo Syrup
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Eggs
2 cups chopped Pecan

Begin by melting the butter- Do Not Burn! While it is still hot, put in small mixing bowl and add syrup and sugar. Mix with a wire whip until smooth (until sugar had dissolved). Add the eggs and vanilla and whip for about two minutes. Pour this mixture into the pie shell and top with pecan halves. Bake at 325° for 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in refrigerator before serving. Serve with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.

French Coconut Pie
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup milk
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, flour, sugar, coconut, and milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake until firm, about 45 to 60 minutes

Chocolate Pecan Pie
9-inch pie crust, unbaked
2 squares bitter chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup cream, whipped

Melt chocolate and butter over hot water. Combine syrup and sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil 2 minutes. Add chocolate mixture. Pour slowly over eggs, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and nuts. Stir to mix well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool. Top with unsweetened whipped cream.

Taste of Texas Snickers Pie
Graham Cracker Crust
3 cups Crushed Graham Crackers
1 stick Butter
1/2 cup Sugar

Mix all the ingredients together by hand or mixer. Press in spring pan and bake for 7 minutes to firm it up at 350°.

First Layer
2 Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup un-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup Butter
1/3 cup Self Rising Flour
1/2 cup Sugar

In mixing bowl, mix eggs, and egg yolk, and sugar for 4 minutes. For 4 minutes in microwave, melt chocolate and butter on 70% power. Have flour, baking powder, and salt mixed together and ready to use. When egg mix is whipped well, add chocolate mix and mix well, then add the flour mixture to it. Bake this layer at 350° for 15 minutes. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes before doing next layer.

Final Layer
4 Snickers Bars (crushed)
6 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Heavy Cream

In a mixer, add cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whip for about 6 to 8 minutes at medium speed. Add egg, mixing well. Then add heavy cream. Mix for 2 minutes. On top of chocolate baked layer, add the crushed snickers. Then pour this layer over the snickers layer. Put the pie back in the oven at 300° for 30 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seasonal Snack Mix & More....

2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
2 cups small pretzels
2 cups Apple Jack Cereal
1 cup candy corn for fall or Christmas mellowcreme candies
1 cup dried cherries or raisins
1 cup salted peanuts
1 cup Traditional colored for fall or Christmas Colored M&Ms-brand chocolate candy

In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients.

Last night Kent and I made cups and cups and pounds and pounds of the Fall variety. It is very good!! We put 1 cup of mixture in medium size cellophane goodie bags. Then I tied with fall colored curling ribbons. We are going to distribute at our Thanksgiving Service.

Additional we have 2 giveaways for our Thanksgiving Service. Often we do giveaways for visitors for special events. Of course we have drawings for Mother's/Father's Day. Tonight one winner will receive a Thanksgiving basket of vegetables, cranberry sauce, soups, etc - everything for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The other winner will receive a 20 lb turkey. Our bank frequently does drawings for various prizes. Kent won the Thanksgiving drawing. We decided to share the gifts in our service tonight with 2 blessed persons.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy cooking.... don't dread holiday baking and cooking. If you don't have some traditions that you prepare start this year. Also, try to add some new recipes each year, too. This will show your family you care and work hard to find new things they may enjoy!


Monday, November 24, 2008

More Holiday Recipes

3 cups canned sweet potatoes, mashed
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick margarine, melted
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon Vanilla
½ cup Coconut

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, eggs, margarine, milk, coconut, and vanilla (can use mixer to make smooth. Pour into greased 2 or 2 ½ quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with topping.
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans
½ cup flour
1/3 stick melted margarine

Melt margarine and mix in remaining ingredients. Sprinkle on top of potatoes. Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes.

Whole Seasoned Baked Carrots - Nancy Foster
I DETEST carrots. However, when Nancy prepared these I LOVED them. They tasted very good, the texture was great, and they looked very pretty on the plate. These are the 3 most important ingredents for a recipe - taste, texture, & appearance.

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Line a sheetcake pan with foil
  • Wash and cut the ends off carrots
  • Place the whole carrot in the pan and drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over each carrot
  • Sprinkle each carrot with Mrs. Dash Original Table Blend
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until carrot is tender but not mushy.
Pepperidge Farm Chicken
This recipe is delish!!!

2 sm pkg Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix
1 stick margarine melted
8 oz sour cream
1 can Cream Mushroom Soup
boiled, deboned chicken
2 ½ - 3 cups chicken broth

Mix stuffing mix and butter. Place 1/2 of this mix in casserole dish. Top with chicken. Mix sour cream and soup and pour over chicken. Add remaining stuffing mix. Pour broth over all bake at 350 until brown and done

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fudge Recipes

We LOVE fudge....

It's Redonia's MOST favorite candy!

It was the first candy I learned to make.....

Fudge is sooooo wonderful....

Holidays wouldn't be complete without it...

Fantasy Fudge
1-1/2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
12 oz pkg chocolate chips
7oz jar Marshmallow Crème
1 tsp. vanilla1 cup chopped Walnuts or pecans (optional)

Place sugar, butter and milk in heavy 3-quart saucepan. Bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes over medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until melted. Add marshmallow crème and vanilla; mix well. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 13x9-inch pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares.

Peanut Butter Fudge
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
1 (16-ounce) jar chunky peanut butter
1 (1-pound) package confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the margarine in a saucepan. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the confectioners' sugar gradually, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Cook over medium heat until heated through, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Spread on a baking sheet or in a 9x13-inch glass dish. Cool completely before cutting into small squares.

Frosting Fudge
Place one 12 oz bag of Reese's peanut butter chips in a glass bowl, microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Remove and stir well. Add one can of vanilla frosting (NOT WHIPPED), stir well and microwave for 1.5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and pinch of salt. Pour into a 8x8 inch or 9x9 inch buttered pan. Cool in refrigerator for 20 minutes before slicing.

Candy variations :

Chocolate chips/chocolate frosting (this is for the die-hard chocolate-lovers)

Peanut Butter chips/chocolate frosting (tastes like Reese's Peanut Butter Cup)

Chocolate chips/vanilla frosting (not as chocolately)

Mint chocolate chips/chocolate frosting (tastes like Andes mint)

Cherry chips/chocolate frosting (tastes like a chocolate covered cherry)

Vanilla chips/any flavor frostingMilk chocolate chips/coconut pecan frosting

Add 1/2 - 1 cup of chopped nuts to any of the variations

Easy Pumpkin Decor Ideas

Mini pumpkins
Sharp knife
Tea lights

1.Wash and thoroughly dry mini pumpkins.
2.Cut a hole in the top of the mini pumpkins.
3.Scrape out seeds and strings.
4.Insert tea lights.

Mini pumpkins
Seasonal branches

1.Put a few mini-pumpkins in a tall cylindrical, glass vase.
2.Nest dried seasonal branches, leaves and dried grasses as desired, being sure to anchor them firmly.

Small pumpkin
Pumpkin carving saw
Fresh flowers
Small glass

1.With a pumpkin carving saw, cut a hole in the top of a small pumpkin large enough to fit a small glass or other container to hold water.
2.Scoop out seeds and strings.
3.Insert the small glass into the pumpkin and fill ¾ full with water.
4.Trim fresh flowers to tuck inside you pumpkin vase.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chicken & Dressing ----- World's Best (Mom's) REVISED

This week Mom was employed to cater dressing for my brother's company. She decided to measure her ingredients for a more accurate recipe for each of her children. Previously I posted what she had given me a few years ago. Of course Mom just makes it with a little of this and a little of that! Thanks, Mom, for actually measuring your littles for us!!!!

1 stick butter
1 large bunch celery
2 bunches green onions with blades
½ jar (3.75 oz jar)Wyler’s Instant Bouillon chicken granules
1 pound saltine crackers
Chicken broth
Fully cooked 10 lbs chicken leg quarters boiled and deboned
Cornbread (recipe follows) prepare as directed bake in 9x13 pan
Black Pepper

Very finely chop celery & onions. (I put mine in food processer) Put in pot to cook and add just enough water to cover and 1 stick of butter. Cook until tender. Crumble cornbread & crackers. Add celery & onion mixture to crumbled bread and bouillon powder with the hot veggies in order for the granules to dissolve. Use enough broth until a good texture. Mix all ingredients well using potato masher. (Don’t make too soupy) Add a lot of black pepper but NO SALT.
Mix in chicken. Do NOT ADD sage!!!

Bake uncovered 1 hour and 30 minutes @ 400 degrees (if using a large aluminum pan) ovens may vary cook until firm and golden brown. If using a regular baking pan cook @ 425’ and may not need to cook but one hour. I test to make sure done dip out a teaspoon in the middle of pan and make sure not soupy and hot.

Corn Bread for Dressing:
7 cups Self–rising Yellow Corn Meal Mix or 6 cups self-rising yellow meal and 1 cup self-rising flour
10 eggs beaten well and add enough whole milk to be the right texture

Mix all ingredients. Remember cornbread mixture should be slightly thicker than pancake batter. Pour into oiled 9 x 13 pan bake till golden brown @ 450 degrees

Dressing can be made ahead and frozen before cooking. Just allow extra time to bake if cold. May have to reduce temperature so as not to burn.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Must Read

A blogging friend, Karen Hopper, has a wonderful post entitled Entertainint-House or Home Style. When I finally got my achy self out of bed just before 7:00 am my thoughtful husband told me Sis. Hopper has a Charming Hopsitality post that I would enjoy.

Sis. Hopper, thanks for your post! If we want to feel like we are in a 'sterile' environment we can opt to go to a restaurant or some other place of business. Dinner parties, dessert parties, family gatherings, open houses, etc should all be accompanied with the warmth of a genuine welcome. The welcome should not end at the front door with a formal greeting but should continue until the last guests departs for the evening.

I usually achieve this by having one or more persons helping me with keeping the kitchen clean and iced tea glasses filled. I want to be free to make every guest feel valued in our home. Kent and I truly feel our home is a better place because it's been shared with many. Sure my carpets are not spotless and my walls have a few marks but my home is warm and inviting. What good is it if you have carpet that can't be walked on or walls that can't be touched? Keep the shoes on please when you visit me! We want your footprints left on our floors. This house will pass away but hopefully I can help make a difference in someone's eternal home.

Thanks, again, Sis. Hopper!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


The holidays just aren't complete without a variety of candies. My earliest memories of holidays is with Mom making lots of candy. My favorites were Peanut Butter Fudge and Martha Washington Balls.

My very first candy I learned to make was Peanut Butter Fudge. We had a candy thermometer but Mom also made me double check my tmeperature by using the 'cup method'. I learned to tell the difference between a hard and soft ball stage. Mom still has the old pot that was my favorite fudge pot! I think I'll sneek it out of her kitchen before too long! lol

Check out this CANDY SITE for some awesome recipes! Some of them I intend to try....

Thank you Glenda Martin for sharing the site with me. Thank you Deadra for making it work! Who needs a Computer Book for Dummies when you have Deadra, Redonia and Bro. Weldon? They are always rescuing me!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

MaMaw Ingram's Jelly

The following jelly is really easy to make. You can buy the little bitty jars @ Wal-Mart and use the jelly for teacher gifts, etc. One year I made it and gave to each church family @ Thanksgiving. It is delish! I sat here in my living room invisioning the many breakfasts I enjoyed at Mamaw's table. The homemade biscuits were soft and fluffy. She fixed eggs to order. We always had sausage patties and bacon. She would fix grits for me and I added lots of sugar and butter. Of course she made coffee on her stove top in a perculator. I'm so hungry just thinking about the wonderful southern breakfasts on 5th Street in Bessemer Alabama. More than my hunger for her big southern breakfasts is my homesickness for her. I had such an incredible Mamaw. What an awesome cook, homemaker, and hostess she was!

Please do try her jelly. Help me keep her alive in the since of her canning. You can use canned or frozen juices just make sure it is natural with no sugar added! I personally have always enjoyed squeezing and smashing the berries!

4 cups prepared berry juice (about 2 ½ lbs rip berries)
4 ½ cups water
1 box Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
½ tsp margarine (optional)
5 cups sugar, measure into separate bowl

Wash jars and screw band rings in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Bring saucepan of water to boil. Add flat lids and rings and turn off heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use.

Place washed berries in large saucepan. Add water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crush cooked berries. Place 3 layers of damp cheesecloth or jelly bag in large bowl. Strain prepared fruit in cheesecloth. Squeeze out juice being careful not to let pulp into bowl. Measure exactly 4 cups prepared juice into 6- or 8-quart saucepot. (If needed, add up to 1/2 cup water for exact measure.)

Stir pectin into juice in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars in canner or large pot of water. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil for 5 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Etiquette

Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving according to Emily Post

As a Guest:
Let your host know right away if you can come or not. If you received a “family” invitation, let him know how many of you can come. Don’t show up with uninvited guests. There is usually room for one more at Thanksgiving, but this is something you must discuss with your host ahead of time.

Offer to contribute to the meal – but don’t dictate the menu. Your best bet is to make your offer open-ended and follow your host’s direction. If you or your ‘party’’ have special dietary needs, it is very gracious to offer to bring a dish that meets those needs. “Grace is a vegetarian – I’d love to bring a delicious tofu dish if that’s OK with you.”

Dress appropriately. At the very least, clean and pressed. As a true sign of consideration, dress one notch up. Your hosts are probably going all out, and your attire can either say, “I appreciate the effort you are making for all of us,” or “I thought you were ordering take out.”

Arrive on time. Yes, it is a day of feasting, but that turkey is going to be done at some point and your hosts are trying to plan around that magic moment. If you arrive late, don’t expect anyone to wait for you.

Help with the clean-up. Family or non-family, this is one day where it is a great idea to pitch in.

Avoid controversial or painful family subjects. This is a day to be together in a spirit of generosity and thankfulness for all you do have. Let it be so.

Leave on time. If you are a houseguest, stick to the agreed begin and end times of your visit.

Say thank you. A phone call or, better yet, a hand-written note of thanks to your hosts shows your appreciation for all their hard work.

As a Host:
Extend the invitation
at least a month in advance, longer for those who might be traveling. If out-of-town guests are staying with you, set a beginning and an end for the visit. Three days is usually the optimum.

Be as accommodating as possible to ‘extras.’ “John and I would love to come, but our friend Tanya will be spending Thanksgiving alone – is it possible to include her?” If you have the room, of course they should bring Tanya! (Be creative – fit in as many as possible. This is the celebration that exemplifies the generous spirit!)
Have a flexible menu plan. Because Thanksgiving is a bit of a pot luck affair, be prepared to be “coordination central.” Accept all offers for special diet accommodations – see ‘Grace the vegetarian’ above

Review the guest list with everyone in your household. Clueing your immediate family in on who will be sharing Thanksgiving with you can help set the tone for the day. If little Joey greets Great-aunt Miriam with a big smile and a “Hi, Aunt Miriam,” just imagine how welcome she will feel!

Assign tasks. Greeters, hors d’ouevres passers, ‘bar tenders’, ‘circulators and introducers,’ servers – even though most guests may be family members, give them the red carpet treatment.

Take a tip from the airlines: serve and seat young children and the elderly first.
FHB – an acronym to be whispered to immediate family ONLY! FHB means “Family Hold Back.” If there is a critical shortage of a critical food item, discretely whisper to family members, ‘FHB the dark meat.” It’s the secret signal that guests get first dibs on the dark meat.

Turn off the TV during Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving has been around long before football or television. VCR’s, TVo – use the technology! Focus your attention where it belongs – on the lovingly prepared food, your family and your friends. When the dishes are done, EVERYONE can enjoy the games (or the chat in the other room!) Remember this is from Emily Post.....I've never owned a TV or VCR. My parent's don't nor do my in-laws. This isn't something we combat @ Thanksgiving!!!

Say thank you
. Don’t forget to thank everyone who participated in the planning, cooking and cleaning up.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I confess I'm southern but did that happen???? The simple answer is it's Mom's fault. It's her fault because she didn't feed me everything when I was an infant and/or toddler. It's also her fault because she is a cook extraordinare. Just any food will not do!

I'm not a big turkey fan. I do enjoy it smoked and fried. Otherwise I can't tolerate most people's turkey. If I am going to eat turkey it has to be Mom's. Turkey tends to be dry especially the turkey breast and I detest dark meat. Following is a recipe Mom began using when I was a little girl. It is really good. Try it I'm pretty sure you will like it!!!

Mom’s 1 Hour Roasted Turkey

Up to a 20 lb turkey MUST BE COMPLETELY THAWED all giblets removed
1 stick of butter
Salt & Pepper
1 Quart VERY HOT water

Preheat the oven to 500` F. Place the turkey, breast side up, (leave feet tied together) in a large roasting pan. Rub the butter on the outside and in the cavity of the turkey. Sprinkle salt and pepper on inside and on the outside of the turkey.
Pour the HOT water into the pan. Cover with a tight fitting lid and put the pan in the PREHEATED OVEN (must be preheated to 500).

After closing the oven door allow the oven temperature to return to 500 degress and bake the turkey for exactly one hour. Then turn off the oven. ONCE THE TURKEY IS PLACED IN THE OVEN DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR FOR ATLEAST 6 HOURS. Leave the turkey in the oven until the oven cools, about 6 hours. Once you open the oven the turkey will be moist and golden brown.

Hint: Mom cooks her turkey around 11 pm the night before she plans to serve it. She goes to bed and the next morning she wakes up to a beautifully roasted, moist turkey. She then anxiously awaits Kent to carve the turkey. He does it so pretty!

The recipe makes a delicious turkey! You will never cook the old, long drawn out way again. The only time in 38 years Mom’s turkey was not totally done when she got up. Was when she baked a turkey which was NOT completely thawed. Of course that one time she had to cook it a little longer the next morning. She suggests finish thawing the turky in a sink filled with water the day you plan to cook the turkey.

Ok, I've only prepared the recipe a couple of times. There really isn't a reason for me to cook it because Mom does such a wonderful job. Thank you, Mom, for sending it for all the readers to enjoy. If you have questions just leave a comment. Mom will check back often and reply!!! Ok, Mother, don't let all our friends down....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Party Games

Games are appropriate for some holiday venues. Have you ever found yourself in need? Following are a few you may enjoy:

Christmas Wrap
Pick 2 teams (2 persons per team)
Provide each team with the identical items of each of the following:
Gift wrap

Each team plays with only 1 right hand and 1 right left hand (provide long scarves to tie other arm behind their backs) The team that wraps their gift first (fully wrapped) wins!!!!!

Name those Logos
Go through several magazines and cut out advertisement symbols (ie. the 7up dot, but not the word 7up). Paste each on the white side of a 3×5 card and have everyone go around the room with an answer sheet and try to identify as many of the symbols as possible. Another version would be to create a PowerPoint and have guests guess the logos.

Who am I?
Pick a category such as cartoon characters, animals, vegetables, etc. Pin the name of one of these items on the back of each guest as they arrive. Tell them that they need to find out who they are by asking other people for help.

Rules of the game:
yes or no questions only
answer questions with yes or no only
no removing your own name tag to find out.
If you ask, anyone will help you find out your identity by giving you hints.

If you need people seated or grouped up this may be a good way to do it. Have place cards at the seat of each item. Or have a few different categories of item to guess. Then when it comes time to group up have the cartoon characters go here, vegetables there, etc.

Name that Christmas Song
Play a few lines of a song and the person that guesses the Christmas tune first, wins a gift. It is ideal to try and find old songs that are rarely played so that guests have to put their thinking caps on.

Association Game
Put the following items on a table. Have guests match the statements on the list with the items on the table. Be sure to not disclose the answers that are in parenthesis. Another version would be to type both lists rather than display the items and have guests match them.

A calendar
The letter “K”
A match in a bottle of water
Jar of 16 candies
Buttercup (Reeses?)
the letter “N”
2 dice on a dish of dirt
An Iron

End of pork (”k”)
A bunch of dates (Calendar)
A swimming match (match in the bottle)
Sweet sixteen (Candies)
Never borrowed, never lent (toothbrush)
Seen at a ball game (pitcher)
Out for the night (candle)
The ending of a Biblical Character (Salt)
Branching of a river (Fork)
On of the causes of the American Revolution (Tacks)
A spring flower (buttercup)
The end of ambition (”N”)
Ready to be licked (Stamp)
A paradise on earth (dice)
Birthplace of Burns (Iron)

Christmas Alphabet
Give each guest a piece of paper that has the letters vertically written from A to Z. Your guests must then come up with a word for each letter that relates to Christmas. The first one that completes the list with legible words wins a gift.

I Have Never
Each person receives several counters (toothpicks, pennies, etc.)
Then take turns around the circle. Each person tells of something they have never done (example: I have never broken a bone or I have never traveled out of the country). Anyone who has done this must give the speaker one of their toothpicks or pennies. After going around the circle several times, the person with the most tokens wins.

Christmas Carol Quiz I
Figure out the Christmas Carol title from the clue
1. Not here in an animal’s dish
2. Smack the Passageways
3. Move and speak towards the elevated plains
4. Yahweh sleep you happy dudes
5. Hey! The #1 angelic beings belt it out.
6. It showed up on a cloudless 12 at night
7. Shaking Chimes
8. Happiness to the planet
9. 12-25 shrubbery song
10. Get here if you’re reliable
11. Like a strainer + time when the sun is down
12. Small city of Christ’s birth song (O’ Little Town of Bethlehem)
13. Quiet non-day
14. The premier not 12th letter of the alphabet
15. XII 24hrs. of 12-25
16. Not down on the roof of the home
17. Us Trio that’s royalty from China (exist)
18. Us dream not us a happy December 25th
19. Spill the 411 on the baby
20. Small percussionist lad
21. Tim Allen’s movie character will appear in a hood
22. Song about a hoofed animal with a crimson schnozola
23. Chilled the crystallized H20 male
24. Don’t stop the winter precipitation
25. Traversing in a 4th season amazing country

ANSWERS to Christmas Carol Quiz
1. Away in a Manger
2. Deck the Halls
3. Go Tell It on the Mountain
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
5. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
6. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
7. Jingle Bells
8. Joy to the World
9. O’ Christmas Tree
10. O’ Come all Ye Faithful
11. O’ Holy Night
12. O’ Little Town of Bethlehem
13. Silent Night
14. The First Noel
15. The 12 Days of Christmas
16. Up on the Housetop
17. We 3 Kings of Orient (Are)
18. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
19. What Child is This?
20. Little Drummer Boy
22. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
23. Frosty the Snowman
24. Let it Snow
25. Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Christmas Carol Quiz II
Read the descriptions below and then write the name of the carol.
1. Bleached Yule
2. Castaneous-colored Seed Vesicated in a Conflagration
3. Singular Yearning for the Twin Anterior Incisors
4. Righteous Darkness
5. Arrival Time: 2400 hrs -- Weather: Cloudless
6. Loyal Followers Advance
7. Far Off in a Feeder
8. Array the Corridor
9. Bantam Male Percussionist
10. Monarchial Triad
11. Nocturnal Noiselessness
12. Jehovah Deactivate Blithe Chevaliers
13. Red Man En Route to Borough
14. Frozen Precipitation Commence
15. Proceed and Enlighten on the Pinnacle
16. The Quadruped with the Vermillion Probiscis
17. Query Regarding Identity of Descendant
18. Delight for this Planet
19. Give Attention to the Melodious Celestial Beings Top of Form
20. The Dozen Festive 24 Hour Intervals

1. White Christmas
2. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
3. All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
4. O Holy Night
5. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
6. O Come, All Ye Faithful
7. Away in a Manger
8. Deck the Hall
9. Little Drummer Boy
10. We Three Kings
11. Silent Night
12. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
13. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
14. Let it Snow
15. Go, Tell It on the Mountain
16. Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer
17. What Child is This?
18. Joy to the World
19. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
20. The Twelve Days of Christmas

Christmas Poem Mad Lib
Ask your audience for the parts of speech in order of the parenthesis. Then read “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” like a Mad Lib. Don’t let the audience know what you are doing. Just simply ask them to give you a noun, another noun, a plural noun, etc.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all the the (noun),
not a creature was stirring, not even a/an (noun).
The (plural noun) were tucked, all snug in their (plural noun),
while visions of (adjective) plums danced in their heads.
Then up on the (noun) there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my (noun) to see what was the matter.
It was St. Nicholas with his little (adjective) belly,
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of (plural noun).
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the (plural noun), then turned with a jerk.
And laying his (noun) aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the (noun) he rose.
I heard him exclaim as he (past tense verb) out of sight,
“(adjective) Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

DeSSert PaRtY

Ever thought of turning a gathering into a drop by after you shop dessert buffet nite? My cousin, Jesslyn, shared the idea with me several years ago. Her husband is quite a succesful lawyer/politician in Alabama. She wanted to host a party for some professional friends but knew everyone's holiday schedule gets cramped.

The party can be hosted from 9 - midnight. Your beverage menu can be coffee with various sugars and creams, wassail, & punch. Offer a variety of desserts. This doesn't have to be difficult desserts either.

An easy suggestion is purchase a Pepperidge Farm Chocolate cake. Thaw and garnish the sides with peppermint sticks. Also, the Pepperidge Farm Coconut cake can be garnished with blueberries, lemon slices twisted, and mint leaves.

Make a large pound cake or purchase a large Angel Food Cake. Serve with homemade Devonshire Cream and fruit.

Make homemade bark. Peppermint is always a favorite and adds red to your table. To make bark simply melt the chocolate and pour onto wax paper very thin. Top with your favorite toppings. Let cool and break into bite size pieces. White chocolate and sprinke crushed peppermints ontop. Lightly press the topping into the chocolate. You can drizzle melted red or brown chocolate on top if you desire. Various colors candy melts can be bought in a Wilton Cake Decorating area of many stores.

Microwave the chocolate and add your favorite nuts. You can spoon into small candy cups or onto wax paper by teaspoonfuls. Of course you can pour the same mixture onto wax paper. Break the candy into bite pieces when cooled. You can use any variety of mix ins or toppings. (Peanut butter pieces, Heath bits, coconut, nuts, etc) Remember if you mix in chocolate or peaut butter chips they will melt. It's best to press them into the chocolate once it is spread onto wax paper. Drizzle alternating colors for special effects.

It wouldn't be the holidays without fudge and divinity. Remember these are very rich. Cut fudge really small. Drop divinity small, too. A little bit goes a mighty long way.

Every dessert party needs pie. Choose at least one variety.

For fillers try some of the following:

  • pour blueberry pie filling over an 8 oz bar of cream cheese and serve with graham sticks
  • purchase chocolate hazelnut nuetella (usually stocked near peanut butter) serve as a fruit dip
  • cookie trays (bought or homemade cookies or a combination of both)

You get the idea....a little of this and a little of that and you have a wonderful dessert party. Your friends will LOVE it! Do it before Christmas and the left overs can be used for your family Christmas gatherings. Desserts save well! Ok, they save well if you don't have a midnight snacker in your home!

Mock Devonshire Cream
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt; stir until well blended. Stir in whipping cream. With an electric mixer, beat mixture until stiff. Store in refrigerator.

Nutty Peanut Butter Caramel Bars
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cups self rising flour
2 1/2 cups pecan halves
14 ounces unwrapped caramels
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces milk chocolate chips
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Beat in egg until well combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into sugar mixture and beat until dough forms. Scoop out dough into a 15x10" baking pan and press it out to fill the pan. Scatter pecans evenly over dough. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Set on a wire rack. In a heavy small saucepan, add caramels and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Drizzle caramel mixture over pecans. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let cool completely and cut into bars.

Lavender-Lemon Bundt Cake
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs. dried lavender flowers
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest

For the glaze:
2 Tbs. honey
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour 10-cup Bundt pan; tap out excess flour. To make the cake, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and lavender and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the lemon extract. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the yogurt and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon zest.Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the batter so the sides are higher than the center. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the honey until runny. Place the 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar in a small bowl, add the honey and lemon juice and stir to blend.

Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving. Serves 16.

Apple Nut Cake
1-1/2 cups oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups self rising flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups unpeeled, cored, chopped apples
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a large tube pan.. Combine oil and sugar; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, soda, cinnamon and salt together and add to egg mixture. Add vanilla; mix well. Fold in apples and pecans. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes if baking in tube pan, or 45 minutes if sheet cake pan. Allow to cool 10 minutes in pan before removing. When cool glaze with cream cheese icing.

Crispy Carmel Treats
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2-1/2 cups Miniature Marshmallows
2 cups pretzels sticks, broken or 5 oz can chowmein noodles
12 KRAFT Caramels
1 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. peanut butter

MELT butter in heavy saucepan on low heat. Add marshmallows; stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
ADD broken pretzel sticks; mix lightly until well coated. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet.
MELT caramels with water in heavy saucepan on low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Add peanut butter; mix well. Drizzle over treats; cool

Easy Chocolate Peanut Clusters
2 pounds white almond bark
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces German's Sweet Chocolate
24 ounces dry roasted peanuts

Meltthe white candy coating or almond bark, German's Sweet Chocolate, and semisweet chocolate chips. Stir in roasted peanuts, mixing well. Drop peanut clusters by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper; let stand until set. Store candy at room temperature. Makes about 3 to 4 dozen chocolate peanut clusters.

Fantasy Fudge
1-1/2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12 oz chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

Place sugar, butter and milk in heavy 3-quart saucepan. Bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes over medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla; mix well. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 13x9-inch pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares.

1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup peanuts
2 cups chow mein noodles

Microwave the butterscotch chips and peanut butter on 50 percent power for 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend to coat noodles thoroughly. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.

Oreo Truffles
1 pkg Oreo cookies
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pkg white almond bark
1 pkg chocolate bark

Using a blender crush Oreos. Mix cream cheese and crushed cookies together. Roll into walnut size balls. Chill for 1 hr. Melt chocolate. Dip into either white or brown chocolate. Let chocolate set. Drizzle with opposite color.

Peanut Butter Fudge
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
1 (16-ounce) jar chunky peanut butter
1 (1-pound) package confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the margarine in a saucepan. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the confectioners' sugar gradually, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Cook over medium heat until heated through, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Spread on a baking sheet or in a 9x13-inch glass dish. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

YIELD: 3 dozen

Peanut Butter Snowballs - Susy Roen
2 c. creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. crispy rice cereal
16 oz. package white melting chocolate, chopped

Blend peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar. Add cereal and mix well. Shape into balls by teaspoonfuls. Set balls on waxed paper and freeze for several hours or even overnight.

Melt white chocolate in a double boiler over medium low heat. Stir until smooth. Dip balls into melted chocolate and return to waxed paper until set.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen.

Peanut Clusters
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 (11.5-ounce) bag butterscotch morsels
1 can salted peanuts
5 cups corn flakes

In a large saucepan, melt peanut butter and butterscotch morsels on medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in peanuts and corn flakes. Mix well and drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Chill until set.

Makes 4 dozen confections.

Quick Divinity
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Dash of salt
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

PLACE sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt in heavy 1-quart saucepan. (Do not stir.) Bring to boil on high heat, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 248°F.
BEAT marshmallow creme and vanilla in small bowl with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Gradually add hot sugar syrup, beating at medium speed until well blended. Beat on high speed 5 minutes or until mixture just begins to lose its gloss and hold its shape when dropped from spoon. Stir in pecans.
DROP teaspoonfuls of the marshmallow creme mixture onto sheets of wax paper. Cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Reindeer Food
6 cups Crispix cereal
1 cup peanut butter
12 oz chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (1/2 cup or more to taste)

Melt chocolate chips on low. Once melted, add peanut butter, mixing well. Once a little cool, pour over Crispix cereal. (Pretty much the same idea as rice krispie treats, but different ingredients). Let sit for about 5 minutes and put the mixture into a ziploc bag that contains the powered sugar and shake to cover the cereal.

Rocky Road Bark
1 pkg Chocolate Bark
1cup coconut
1 cup pecan pieces
2 cups mini marshmallows

Melt chocolate according to microwave directions. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well. Pour onto wax paper. Spread thin. After candy sets, break into bite size pieces. Store in airtight container.

Toffee Walnut Bark
1 pkg White Chocolate Almond Bark
1 pkg Heath Toffee Bits
2 cups walnut pieces

Melt chocolate according to microwave directions. Add toffee and nuts, stirring well. Pour onto wax paper. Spread thin. After candy sets, break into bite size pieces. Store in airtight container.

Toll House Party Mix
2 cups toasted cereal squares
2 cups small pretzel twists
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
20 cup caramels
1 (12-oz.) package milk Chocolate chips

Coat13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine cereal, pretzels, peanuts and caramels in large bowl. Microwave morsels in medium microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10 to 20 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Pour over cereal mixture; stir to coat evenly.

2 (12 oz.) pkgs. chocolate chips
1 can condensed milk
2 c. peanuts
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt chocolate chips into top of double boiler, stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Drop by teaspoon on waxed paper and allow to dry.

Vacuum Cleaner Bars
1/2 cup Margarine, melted
1 package Yellow cake mix *
3 Eggs8 ounces Package cream cheese, softened
1 pound Powdered sugar
1/2 cup Flaked coconut
1/2 cup Chopped walnuts or pecans
* Use plain cake mix without pudding added.

Combine margarine, cake mix and one egg. Stir together until dry ingredients are moistened. Pat mixture into bottom of well-greased 15x10 inch jellyroll pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 325~F. Beat remaining two eggs lightly then beat in cream cheese and powdered sugar. Stir in coconut and nuts. Pour over mixture in jellyroll pan. Bake at 325~F for 45 to 50 minutes or unti golden brown. Cool to room temperature before cutting into squares.

Mound Bars
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped nuts
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 Tablespoon cocoa (Optional)
7 ounces coconut, flaked
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) package chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, eggs, nuts, sugar, flour and cocoa together. Pour ingredients into a glass 13 x 9 inch pan and bake for 25 minutes. Combine coconut and milk and spread over first layer. Bake again for 10 minutes. Spread melted chocolate chips over bars and bake for 5 minutes. Chill before cutting.

Reunion Blueberry Cobbler
3 cps fresh or frozen blueberries
2-8 oz cans crushed pineapple (undrained)
¾ c sugar

Mix and pour into 13/9/2 pan

Melt 1 stick of margarine and pour over fruit mixture

Mix the following ingredients:
Yellow cake mix
1 cup pecans
½ cup coconut
¼ c sugar

Sprinkle over fruit mixture bake at 350 degrees for 30 -45 minutes

Whipersnaps Cookies
1 lemon cake mix (strawberry or chocolate is great, too!)
1 (4.5 oz) cool whip
2 eggs, beaten
½ to 1 cup powdered sugar

Combine dry cake mix, whipped topping, and eggs. Drop by teaspoon and roll in powdered sugar. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake @ 350 degrees 10 – 15 min.

Sour Cream Cookies
1 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
Sugar, for sprinkling

Heat oven to 375. Grease 2 large baking sheets. In a bowl, beat butter and sugar 2 minutes. Beat in egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until well blended. Beat in sour cream. Add flour slowly, until combined. Drop the dough by 1/3 cupfuls 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake in lower third of oven 15 minutes or util cookies spring back when pressed lightly. Let stand 3 minutes on baking sheets; cool completely on wire rack.

Makes 9 cookies

Sky-High Lemon Icebox Pie
9-inch pie shell, baked
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons lemon juice (more for tart flavor)
Grated rind of 2 lemons
3/4 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
4 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 pint cream, whipped
Lemon slices, twisted

Place egg yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, salt and lemon juice in top of double boiler; cook over boiling water, stirring until thick; add lemon rind and gelatin which has been soaked in cold water for 5 minutes. Let mixture cool. Beat egg whites until stiff; slowly add 2/3 cup sugar. Beat until
creamy. Fold egg whites into cooled lemon mixture. Place in baked pie shell, sky-high; chill at least 6 hours or overnight. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with lemon slivers.

Taste of Texas Pecan Pie
1 Deep Dish Pie Shell (I prefer Marie Callenders frozen)
1/2 cup Dark Karo Syrup
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Eggs
2 cups chopped Pecans

Melt butter while it is still hot, put in small mixing bowl and add syrup and sugar. Mix with a wire whip until smooth (until sugar had dissolved). Add the eggs and vanilla and whip for about two minutes. Pour this mixture into the pie shell and top with pecan halves. Bake at 325° for 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in refrigerator before serving. Serve with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.

Decadent Triple Layer Mud Pie
1 Ready Crust Chocolate Pie crust
2 sq semi sweet baking chocolate, melted
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 cups cold milk
2 pkgs (4oz size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mixes
8 oz whipped topping, thawed

Pour choclate and sweetened cond milk into bowl; stir til smooth. Pour into crust. Press nuts evenly onto chocolate in crust. Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Pour milk into large bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat until thickened and smooth.

Spread 1 ½ cups of the pudding over chocolate in crust. Immediately stir ½ of the whipped topping into remaining pudding. Spread over pudding in crust. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate 3 hrs or until set.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fork, Knife, Spoon Where Do You Go???

My kids had to recite 'fork, knife, spoon' so many times that they finally learned that is the order utensils are placed on the table. Of course forks are to the left of the plate and the knife and spoon to the right. Just get it in your head and you will never forget it! Always set the utensils properly on the table even for hot dogs, burgers, or sloppy joes! If you slip one time it could be the only time your child(ren) are observant!

Please, please set the table nice for your family. Why should guests deserve better treatment than your own family? Besides if you don't do things properly when it is just family, when you have dinner guests your children will not have proper table manners.

Allow me to share a funny story. My first holiday married @ my in-laws it was my duty to set the table. My Mom-in-law, Joye Smith, gave me the utensils, china, and cloth napkins. Of course I had been taught to set a table correctly; however, I got nervous and absolutely couldn't remember. Had cell phones been in that day I would have gone to the bathroom and called Mom. I was about in tears because I KNEW there was a correct way but was so nervous that I couldn't remember. Of course at that time I didn't know if setting the table correctly was a Smith tradition or not. I stressed, got all nervous, probably broke out in hives, too. I prayed ever so briefly and silently that the Lord would help me. Well, I looked up and hanging on the wall near the dining room table was a beautiful picture of the Lord's Supper. Whew....I was in business again!!!! I had a sample to follow!!! I shared this little story with my Mom-in-law last week for the first time. We both got a big laugh!! The positive thing about my story is if I wouldn't have known the right way I wouldn't have even worried about doing it wrong!

Use the image as a sample. Excuse the wine!!! No, we haven't gone to drinking....Think of one being for sweet tea and the other for water!!!

Dinner plate: This is the ‘hub of the wheel’ and is usually the first thing to be set on the table.
Two Forks: The forks are placed to the left of the plate. The dinner fork, the larger of the two forks, is used for the main course; the smaller fork is used for a salad or appetizer. The forks are arranged according to when you need to use them, following an ‘outside-in’ order. If the small fork is needed for an appetizer or a salad served before the main course, then it is placed on the left (outside) of the dinner fork; if the salad is served after the main course, then the small fork is placed to the right (inside) of the dinner fork, next to the plate.
Napkin: The napkin is folded or put in a napkin ring and placed either to the left of the forks or on the center of the dinner plate. Sometimes, a folded napkin is placed under the forks.
Dinner knife: The dinner knife is set immediately to the right of the plate, cutting edge facing inward. (If the main course is meat, a steak knife can take the place of the dinner knife.) At an informal meal, the dinner knife may be used for all courses, but a dirty knife should never be placed on the table, placemat or tablecloth.
Spoons: Spoons go to the right of the knife. In our illustration, soup is being served first, so the soupspoon goes to the far (outside) right of the dinner knife; the teaspoon or dessert spoon, which will be used last, goes to the left (inside) of the soupspoon, next to the dinner knife.
Glasses: Drinking glasses of any kind – water, wine, juice, ice tea – are placed at the top right of the dinner plate, above the knives and spoons.

Other dishes and utensils are optional, depending on what is being served, but may include:
Salad plate: This is placed to the left of the forks. If salad is to be eaten with the meal, you can forgo the salad plate and serve it directly on the dinner plate. However, if the entrée contains gravy or anything runny, it is better to serve the salad on a separate plate to keep things neater.
Bread plate with butter knife: If used, the bread plate goes above the forks, with the butter knife placed diagonally across the edge of plate, handle on the right side and blade facing down.
Dessert spoon and fork: These can be placed either horizontally above the dinner plate (the spoon on top with its handle facing to the right; the fork below with its handle facing left); or beside the plate. If placed beside the plate, the fork goes on the left side, closest to the plate (because it will be the last fork used) and the spoon goes on the right side of the plate, to the right of the dinner knife and to the left of the soupspoon.
Coffee cup and saucer: The coffee cup and saucer are placed above and to the right of the knife and spoons. At home, most people serve coffee after the meal. In that case the cups and saucers are brought to the table and placed above and to the right of the knife and spoons.

Hopefully these little guidelines will help someone!!! If you haven't mastered table setting copy, cut and paste and print this blog. Store it in your kitchen near your plates or utensils. Start today setting the table correctly. NEVER set it wrong again!!!! Also, refrain as often as possible from using paper products. I only do that for large parties. I love pretty dishes and cloth napkins!!! Your family and guest will, too. (Well, if it's a teen's job to do the dishwashing he or she may complain! lol)

"Let All Things Be Done Decently and In Order." I Corinthians 14:40.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Following are wonderful recipes to make your Thanksgiving southern and yummy. Of course we would add a butt portion ham (not spiral nor shank portion). Yummy yeast rolls and butter should be added, too. I cheat and buy the frozen little 'balls'. Prepare per the instructions. Delish! Most certainly we add lots of yummy sweets, too. I will add recipes for some of them in a later post.

I hope at least one of these can find their way to your Thanksgiving table. Mom's dressing is simply the VERY best. Everyone who has ever had it will agree. Of course she or Popsie makes Giblet Gravy, too. Why ruin the dressing with gravy? We always have Cranberry Sauce, too. Kent and Redonia's favorite is deviled eggs. I don't fix them that's Mom's job!!!! We always celebrate Thanksgiving with the Smiths. Mom saves dressing for us and puts back 1 dozen eggs for Kent and Redonia. Yes we are spoiled!!!! Oh she saves me Italian Creme Cake, too. Thank you, Mother. Admist shopping or decorating the day after Thanksgiving we always find time to eat lunch or dinner with Mom.

Mom's World’s Best Dressing
1 stick margarine
3/4 cup of water
1 large bunch celery
1 large or 2 small bunches green onions with blades
3 or 4 tbsp chicken bouillon instant powder
1 pound box saltine crackers
Boil large chicken & debone
Chicken broth
Cornbread (recipe follows) or 4 pkgs Cornkit Cornbread Mix prepare as directed bake in 9x13 pan (shhhh don’t tell Mom!)
Black Pepper

Crumble cornbread & crackers. Very finely chop celery & onions (use food processor if possible). Combine water, margarine, celery and onions and sauté until tender. Add celery & onion mixture to crumbled bread then add bouillon powder. Mix with broth until good texture. Mix all ingredients well using potato masher. (Don’t make too soupy) Add a lot of black pepper but NO SALT. Mix in chicken. Do NOT ADD sage!!! Bake uncovered in roasting pan for 45 min @ 425 degrees ovens may vary cook until firm and golden brown. Serves 20

Corn Bread for Dressing
4 cups Corn Meal Mix OR 3 cups self-rising meal and 1 cup self-rising flour
8 extra large eggs
Whole milk

Mix all ingredients. Remember cornbread mixture should be slightly thicker than pancake batter. Pour into oiled 9 x 13 pan bake till golden brown @ 450 degrees

Hash brown Casserole
1 Bag Ore Ida potato Shreds hash browns
1 Tablespoon minced onions
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
3 tablespoons margarine
½ lb grated Colby or Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Mix potatoes, onion, celery and mushroom soups, and 1/2 of the cheese. Coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with spray oil. Spread mixture into dish. Sprinkle other 1/2 of cheese evenly over top. Dot margarine evenly on top of the cheese. Bake at 350*F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until cheese starts to brown at peaks. Serves 6

Green Bean Bundles
8 slices bacon
2 (16-ounce) cans whole green beans, drained
6 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the bacon slices into halves. Wrap each half around 6 to 8 green beans and secure with a wooden pick. Place in a baking dish. Melt margarine in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat until the brown sugar dissolves. Pour over the green bean bundles. Bake covered for 40 minutes. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes longer or until the bacon is brown. These are yummy! Most guests will eat 2 bundles. Serves 5

Candied Yams
2 large cans Trappey’s Sugary Sweet Yams
½ melted butter or margarine
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup of chopped pecans
Marshmallows (Opt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with Pam. Drain yams, cut in half and place in casserole dish. Combine remaining ingredients except marshmallows. Pour over yams. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and top with marshmallows, if desired. Return to oven to melt marshmallows. Remove once slightly brown peaks form. Serves 6 - 8

Southern Iced Sweet Tea
1 family size Lipton Tea Bag
1 1/3 cups of sugar
Sliced lemons (optional)

Bring tea bag and 3 cups of water to boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep (sit) for about 5 minutes. Pour tea into 2 qt pitcher. Add sugar. Finish filling pitcher with water. Mix well. Serve over glasses filled with ice. Garnish each glass with lemon if desired. Southerners feel iced sweet tea should always be sweetened before iced or served otherwise it is hard to dissolve the sugar or sweeten adequately.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holiday Planning

Parties, family gatherings, romantic dinners for the immediate family, game nights, shopping nights, practices, church, how do we juggle life and enjoy the holidays? Simply put it will require some strategic organization and planning. There are more fun things to do than there will be available evenings and weekends.

Organize, plan, schedule
For starters grab a calendar and put all the necessary items on the appropriate dates. You know the church program practices, banquet, small group parties, etc. Don't forget to mark family and company parties, too. Include a target date to finalize the Christmas Cards. Year around maintain an address list (I prefer using Microsoft Excel). This will make your holidays easier. Cards can be signed and envelopes addressed while sitting at the dentist or waiting on your part at play practice.

Lights, trees, décor….
Think about the finished result you want for your decorated Christmas abode. Create a place to display a few memories. While my husband jests that I make floral arrangements rather than Christmas trees, I do endeavor to maintain memories from the past. Mom gives all the grandchildren a Christmas ornament each year. She tries to depict their age or personalities the year she presents the ornament. The year they are married they receive a special ornament to honor the momentous occasion. For the past couple of years I have decorated our upstairs tree using these ornaments. Additionally, I have the many ornaments constructed during art classes in elementary school. Yes, some are construction paper. I cherish each memory. Redonia has grown to love the ‘memory tree’, too.

Establish your budget for gifting. Then establish a list for whom you will purchase gifts & gift suggestion/ideas. Try to beat your budget. If you establish a $25 range for nieces and nephews think of the $25 value but make it a game to only spend $15 or $20. It works for me most every time! Don’t add to the gifts just to spend your money. Ok, Mom that hint was just for you! Those grandkids won’t know the difference and we parents don’t care! Be southern about giving remember it’s not how big the gift but rather the gift was carefully planned and purchased or made with love. It’s obvious when a gift is given from the heart versus grudgingly given. If you plan and organize this year Christmas does not have to be a chore. In our part of the world lines are long and parking lots are full. Don’t make unnecessary trips. Plan…organize…think!

You still have to eat…
Plan simple meal times to avoid stress. Soups, stews, and salads make great easy meals. This can be made ahead if desired. They are great for leftovers after, too. Keep cornbread mixes. Hot bread and sweet tea makes a complete meal for soups or stews.

Do aheads…
Gather recipes a head of time. I store mine electronically on my laptop. This makes it easy to cut and paste into Word documents for shopping lists, too! Think towards the holidays and begin gathering spices, sugars, chocolates, and nuts for all the holiday baking. Go ahead and pick up parchment paper, too. A few good staples to keep on hand for the holidays are apple juice and mulling spice mix for a quick spiced hot drink, maintain a few cookies and homemade candies, too. These make easy desserts for meal times or place a few pieces on a disposable tray to take to the office or holiday gathering. Bell peppers and onions can be chopped and frozen for future use.

Taper candles can be purchased ahead of time for those candlelit dinners. Go ahead and freeze them to avoid the drips. Leave frozen until just before guests arrive. Don't forget to trim the wicks!

Gather all your gift wrap supplies ahead of time. Keep scissors, tape, tags, tissue, ribbons, wrap, and embellishments in storage container in a central location for the entire family’s use.

Give of yourself...
Remember give freely during the holidays. Share baked goods. Annually I share homemade goods with the families of CUPC at the close of our Thanksgiving Service. Though the individual family gift may be small it is my simple way of sharing my love and appreciation. Hot chocolate mixes, spiced crackers and pretzels, chocolate dipped pretzels, homemade jelly, candies, cookies, and strawberry bread are a few of the items I have made and distributed. This tradition began our first year of starting the church. Now with more than 60 families and 17 Thanksgivings later the tradition continues. For Christmas CUPC is hosting a toy drive for our outreach kids. We will create a family Christmas morning with all these children at the close of service Sunday, December 21st. I have visions of all the gift wrap thrown across the altar area. It will be great. Our church will be blessed by sharing!

This is only a small list to get you thinking. Why not make a pledge to yourself to enjoy the holidays and minimize stress this year? Careful planning can make the holidays more enjoyable for all.

My goal...
Hopefully this site will be a blessing during the holiday season and through out the years to come. Recipes, etiquette, decor ideas, and party attire ideas will be shared. Proper table setting is a must for any gathering even if it's a simple dinner for the immediate family. Tips and styles will be give soon.

Romans 10:10-13 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality

I Timothy
3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober,of good behaviour, given to; hospitality,
apt to teach;