Last Weekend of the Year

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Today finds me at my computer, printing about 50 copies of my special needs group’s January/February newsletter. Not a bad ‘job’, just a bit boring waiting for the copies to come out of the printer to be stapled together and later folded & stuffed in envelopes, to be stamped & return address labeled, then run to the post office. That will keep me busy for most of the day.

Was just reading my friend Mary’s blog (Momma) and she was mentioning company for New Year’s Eve – guess I must be ‘out of it’ because I really didn’t even THINK about the pseudo-holiday! I might grab a few snack foods for my husband & I; am guessing our boys will all be out ‘partying’ that night, now that they’re all 18 and up. I can remember years back when we were ‘without children’; the excitement for the evening was us watching TV together – funny. As far as ‘snack foods/appetizers’ – I have lots to share with you!

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Broccoli Dip
(crockpot)


1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped broccoli
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
3/4 stick margarine
2 rolls garlic cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 medium can mushroom pieces
1 can sliced water chestnuts
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Cook broccoli on stove until
tender. Saute celery & onion
in skillet using 3/4 stick margarine
until tender. Place broccoli &
sauteed vegetables in crockpot,
add mushrooms, cheese, & soup.
Stir well, cook on Low until cheese
is melted. Add water chestnuts &
Worcestershire sauce & stir. Serve,
warm, with chips or crackers.

(recipe: carolsrecipes77-Slowcooker
Digest)
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Ham Roll-Ups
(appetizer)


1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 lb. smoked cooked ham sandwich meat
1/8 tsp. horseradish
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dill weed
1 jar dill spear pickles

Mix cream cheese, horseradish,
Wors. sauce, & dill weed together.
Spread mixture on ham slices, then

lay a pickle across ham slice and roll
up. Place toothpicks about 1 inch
apart in rolled up ham, cut between
toothpicks, making bite sized pieces.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
———————————-

Cajun Pecans
(crockpot)

1 lb. pecan halves

4 T. butter, melted
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne powder

Combine all ingredients in
crockpot; cover & cook on
High 15 minutes. Turn to
Low, uncovered, stirring
occasionally for 2 hours.
Transfer to a baking sheet
to cool completely.
(recipe: Slowcooker digest)
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Cheesy Bacon-Ranch Dip

2 pints sour cream
2 packets Hidden Valley Ranch dip MIX
1 C. sharp shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2  C. bacon bits

Mix sour cream & ranch packets together. Add
shredded cheese & bacon bits. Refrigerate
1 hour before serving to enhance flavors.

NOTE from poster: be careful with the

bacon- if you add too much it gets extremely salty –
she recommends you mix it “to taste”

NOTE: she also says: “Best served with
potato chips

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
———————————-

Chicken Fiesta Dip


4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. sour cream

1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix
1  1/2 C. cooked, chopped chicken

1 C. (Kraft) Mexican-style finely
shredded 4-cheese, divided
4 green onions, sliced
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 C. sliced black olives
crackers

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients in medium bowl.
Stir in chicken, 1/2 C. shredded cheese

& onions; spoon into 9 inch pie plate*. Bake
25 minutes or until heated through. Top
with remaining shredded cheese, tomatoes
& olives. Serve with crackers.
*can use a 1 1/2 Qt. casserole dish instead

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Mexican Fiesta Bites
(appetizers)


24 wonton wrappers*
1 C. cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
1/2 c. chunky salsa
3/4 C. (Kraft) Mexican-style shredded
4 cheese with a touch of Phildelphia
1/4 C. sour cream
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro**

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place 1 wonton wrapper in each of
24 mini muffin cups sprayed with nonstick

spray, with edges of wrappers
extending over tops of cups. Bake 5
minutes. Meanwhile, combine sausage &
salsa; spoon mixture into wonton cups.
Bake 10 minutes or until filling is heated
through & edges of cups are golden
brown. Top with cheese; bake 1-2 minutes
or until melted. Top with sour cream &
cilantro. Makes 24 servings.

* You can locate won ton wrappers in the
produce section of grocery store.

** You can substitute chopped green onions
for cilantro.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Bruschetta ‘n Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts


1 (14 .5 oz) can diced tomatoes w basil/garlic & oregano
1  1/4 C. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
1 (6 oz) pkg Stove Top stuffing mix-chicken
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 C. (Kraft) Italian Roasted Red Pepper salad dressing

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine tomatoes, 1/2 C. cheese & basil in medium bowl.
Add stuffing mix; stir until just moistened. Place 2 chicken
breasts in freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound
chicken to 1/4 inch thickness; repeat with remaining
chicken breasts. Place chicken, top sides down, on cutting

board, cover with stuffing. Roll chicken breasts up, starting
at one short end. Place, seam-sides down, in 9 X 13 baking
pan; drizzle tops with dressing. Bake 40 minutes or until
chicken is done (165 degrees F.). Top with remaining cheese,
bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serves 8

Variation:
Use diced tomatoes with bell or jalapeno peppers, chopped
fresh cilantro instead of basil and Kraft Mexican-style shredded
cheese instead of mozzarella.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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‘Shake ‘n Bake’ Coconut Shrimp


2/3 C. flake coconut, toasted
1 pkt. Shake ‘n Bake chicken coating mix
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 egg
2 T. water
1 lb. uncooked extra-large shrimp,
peeled with tails left on, deveined

Heat oven 400 degrees F.
Combine first  4 ingredients in pie plate,
set aside. Whisk egg & water in separate
pie plate, until blended. Dip shrimp,
1 at a time, in egg, then in coconut mixture,
turning to completely coat both sides of
each shrimp with egg before coating with
coconut mixture, place on baking sheet
sprayed with nonstick spray. Press
coating mixture firmly onto shrimp to
secure. Bake 10-12 minutes or until
shrimp are done. Makes 16 servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Meatball Sub Simmer
(crockpot)

1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 C. water
36 frozen fully-cooked meatballs (1 lb)
6 sandwich buns, partially split
1/2 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese


Mix spaghetti sauce & water in crockpot;
stir well. Add meatballs, stir gently until
evenly coated, cover with lid.
Cook on Low 6-8 hours or High 2-4 hours.
Fill buns with meatballs & sauce, top
with cheese. Serves 6.

(recipe: Kraft Foods)
—————————————–

Garlic Shrimp Cups
(appetizer)


2 eggs
1/2 C. water
24 Triscuit Roasted Garlic Crackers
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. milk
24 uncooked, medium shrimp
(about 1/2 lb) peeled & deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs & water in pie plate until
well blended. Add 12 crackers; let
stand 4 minutes, turning after 2 minutes.
Press 1 soaked cracker onto bottom &
up side of each of 12 mini muffin cups
sprayed with nonstick spray. Repeat
using remaining crackers. Bake 8-10
minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully
remove cups from pan using metal
spatula; place on baking sheet sprayed
with nonstick spray. Bake 30-35 minutes
or until crisp. Cool completely.
Mix cream cheese, zest, juice & milk. In
nonstick skillet, cook & stir shrimp & garlic
on medium-high heat 3-4 minutes or until
shrimp turn pink. Fill cracker cups with
cream cheese mixture; top with shrimp.
Serve immediately. Makes 24

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Shrimp Cocktail Dip


1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
3/4 lb. cooked, cleaned shrimp*, chopped
(about 2 C.)
3/4 C. cocktail sauce
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 green onions, sliced

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of a shallow
bowl. Toss shrimp with cocktail sauce; spoon
over cream cheese. Top with remaining
ingredients. Serve with crackers.

*Can substitute 1 (8 oz) can imitation crabmeat
coarsely chopped

(recipe: Kraft foods)
=============================

Yes, this blog post was mostly appetizers & dips – there are more coming, just in case YOU have party plans for New Year’s Eve! Things are going fine here, mostly just getting things done that need doing – nothing big. Delivered another 9 chemo caps to the cancer center yesterday (had to go in for a 3 month check up). So far, so good – I think. Have to have another mammogram next month then a visit with my Radiologist – another check up.

Weather-wise we’ve been LUCKY! No new snow, temps have been pretty low, though – yesterday I drove to the doctor’s in 12 degrees F. weather – pretty chilly! Right now it’s 25 and clear – just read the report: snow showers tonight of less than 1 inch accumulation, same tomorrow – oh, joy . . .

Well, dears – enjoy your day!

Hugs;

Pammie

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Project for a Snowy Day

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Crocheted “Popcorn & cranberries” Tree Garland

Not the best of photos, but this project took about 2 hours, total. I had some red wooden beads (circa the 1970’s from macrame projects) and used a skein of white worsted yarn. Viewing a video on YouTube helped me get the idea of how to crochet using beads, and then I was off . . . I’ll try to take a photo of it on our tree later, but for now I’m happy with the finished project. Taught myself a new (to me) crochet stitch: bobbles – not hard!

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On the tree- next year I’ll be able to string it up BEFORE the rest of the tree is decorated, which will make it easier AND it will be more ‘centered’ on each branch, but it will do for now.

How’s your weather? I think I read we got something like 5 inches yesterday; I know our driveway was pretty awful – luckily for us, none of us had to drive anywhere. Today our neighbor’s snow removal truck cleared the drives (we have a connecting semi-circular drive) – YAY! Our temperatures have been hovering at 27; just checked the weather guide and we’re due for more snow the next 2 days – oh, joy . . . sigh.

How are you doing on leftovers? Have lots more yummy recipes, this time in preparation of those New Year’s Eve parties!

======================

Jalapeno Popper Pinwheels
(appetizer)

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. Kraft shredded Triple Cheddar
cheese with a touch of Philadelphia
1 large fresh jalapeno pepper,
seeded & finely chopped
1 (8 oz) can refrigerated crescent
dinner rolls

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients until blended.
Unroll crescent dough; separate into

4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations
and seams together to seal; spread
with cheese mixture. Roll up each
rectangle, starting at one short end;
cut into 4 slices. Place on baking sheet,

flatten slightly. Bake 15 minutes or until
golden brown. Cool 1 minute before
removing from baking sheet. Serve
warm. Makes 16 servings.

TIP: sprinkle pinwheels with a dash of
ground red pepper (cayenne) before
baking.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
—————————————–

Mini Spinach-Artichoke Appetizers

6 eggs
3/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. Miracle Whip dressing*
1 T. flour
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts,
drained & chopped
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach,
thawed & drained
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 C. finely chopped red peppers

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease 32 mini muffin tin cups
with nonstick spray. Whisk first
6 ingredients in large bowl until
well blended. Add remaining
ingredients; mix well. Spoon
1 1/2 T. mixture into each muffin
cup. Bake 15-18 minutes or until
toothpick inserted into centers
comes out clean. Makes 32 servings.

*can substitute mayonnaise for
Miracle Whip

NOTE:
These can be baked ahead, cooled

then refrigerated up to 4 hours. When ready
to serve, cover loosely with foil then
reheat in 350 degree F. oven 5-10
minutes or just until warmed.

IF there are any empty muffin cups in

the pan – fill each empty cup with 1 T.
water so the appetizers will bake more
evenly.

(recipe: Kraft Foods)
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Loaded Baked Potato Soup
(crockpot)


8 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 T. flour
1 (32 oz) carton chicken broth,
divided
3 lb. large baking potatoes (about 6)
peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 (8 oz) pkg. Kraft shredded Triple
Cheddar cheese with a touch of
Philadelphia, divided
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. sour cream
1/4 C. chopped fresh chives

Cook & stir bacon in large skillet on
medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon
from skillet, reserve 2 T. drippings in
skillet; drain bacon on paper towels.
Refrigerate until ready to use. Add
onions to drippings, cook & stir 5
minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in
flour; cook & stir 1 minute. Add 1
C. broth; cook & stir 2 minutes or
until sauce comes to a boil & thickens.
Pour into crockpot. Stir in remaining
broth & potatoes; cover with lid.
Cook on Low 8-10 hours, or High
5-6 hours.
When ready to serve:
Use a slotted spoon to transfer 4 C.
potatoes to medium bowl; mash
until smooth. Add 1 1/2 C. cheese to
remaining mixture in crockpot,stir
until melted. Stir in mashed potatoes
& milk; cook, covered, 5 minutes or
until heated through. Place bacon on
paper-towel covered microwaveable
plate. Microwave on High 20-30 seconds
or until heated through. Serve soup
topped with bacon, remaining
cheese, sour cream & chives.
Serves 8, 1 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Tuna Cakes


2 (5 oz, ea) cans chunk light tuna in water,
drained & flaked
1 (6 oz) pkg Stovetop stuffing mix for chicken
1 C. shredded mild Cheddar cheese
3/4 C. water
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 C. mayonnaise
2 T. sweet pickle relish

Combine ingredients, refrigerate 10 minutes.
Heat a large nonstick skillet sprayed with
nonstick spray on medium heat. Using an
ice cream scoop, scoop mixture into skillet
in batches. Flatten scoops into patties with
back of spatula. Cook 6 minutes or until
golden brown on both sides, carefully
turning patties over after 3 minutes.
Serves 6.

To Make as Appetizers:
Prepare tuna mixture & refrigerate as
directed. Form into 26 small tuna cakes,
using about 2 T. tuna mixture for each.
Cook, in batches, in large skillet sprayed
with nonstick spray, on medium heat,
3-4 minutes or until golden brown on
both sides, turning halfway through
cooking.

NOTE:
For easire handling in skillet:
Mix all ingredients, shape into patties &
place in single layer on baking sheet.
Refrigerate 1 hour before cooking.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
———————————————

Chai Tea Recipe

16 whole cardamon pods, smashed
2 tsp. mixed peppercorns
2 T. fennel seed
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. whole cloves

4 cinnamon sticks, broken into
large pieces
4 star anises
1 C. loose black tea
2 T. finely chopped candied ginger
2 T. dried orange peel (optional)


Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In a pie tin, combine smashed cardamom
pods, peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander

seeds, cloves, cinnamon & star anise. Toast
spices in oven 4-5 minutes, until fragrant.
Remove from oven; let cool When cool,

smash lightly using a rolling pin
or crush with a mortar & pestle. In a small
bowl, mix together tea, candied ginger, orange
peel & toasted spices. Keep in an airtight
container; use within 6 months. To serve:

steep 1 T. chai spice mix in 1 C. boiling water
for 5 minutes. Makes 24 servings.

(recipe: HomeMadeSimple – aly m. cleary)
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Chai Latte (using above recipe)
(1 serving)

1 C. water
1/2 C. milk
1 T. chai spice mix
honey, sugar or sweetener of your choice,
to taste

Spoon 1 T. chai spice mix into a fillable tea bag
or tea ball; add to boiling water. Let steep 5
minutes. While tea is steeping, gently warm milk
on the stove or in the microwave. Remove tea bag
or ball, add milk & sweeten to taste.
TIP:
For an iced chai, follow above instructions but don’t
heat the milk. Serve over ice

(recipe: HomeMadeSimple – aly m. cleary)

NOTE: This chai spice mix makes a nice gift.
Spoon mix into a small glass jar, tin or container &
tie with a decorative ribbon. Include a card with
instructions on how to prepare. You could also
include a reusable tea ball or fillable tea bags.
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Salted Nut Squares


3 C. salted peanuts (no skins), divided
2 1/2 T. butter
2 C. peanut butter chips
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 C. miniature marshmallows
(kosher salt or sea salt, optional)

Place 1 1/2 C. peanuts in bottom of an
ungreased 11 X 7 pan. Melt butter &
peanut butter chips in a large saucepan
over low heat; stir until smooth & remove
from heat. Stir in condensed milk &
marshmallows. Continue stirring
until smooth & well-blended. Pour
peanut butter mixture over peanuts
in pan. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 C.
peanuts over top. If saltier bars are
desired, sprinkle lightly with salt.
Cover & refrigerate until chilled.
Cut into bars; bars can be served
chilled or at room temperature.
Makes 30 bars.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
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Saucy Crockpot Party WIngs
(appetizer)

3 lb. chicken wings, split at joints, tips
removed
1 C. barbecue sauce
1/4 C. orange juice
2 T. honey

Heat oven 400 degrees F.
Place chicken in foil-lined 15 X 10 X 1
pan; Bake 30 minutes. Transfer chicken
to crockpot, discard drippings.
Mix remaining ingredients; pour over
chicken, stir to evenly coat. Cover with
lid & cook, on Low 5-6 hours or High
2 1/2 – 3 hours).

NOTE: Cann add 2 tsp. hot sauce or
chili powder to ingredients just before
serving.
Serves 18

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Peanut Butter Pie Bars


CRUST:
2 C. flour
1/3 C. sugar
2 sticks margarine (1 C.), softened
1/4 tsp. salt

FILLING:
2 eggs
3/4 C. light or dark corn syrup
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. creamy or chunky peanut butter
2 T. margarine, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. dry roasted peanuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
FOR CRUST:
 In large bowl, using elec. mixer, beat flour,
sugar, margarine & salt until mixture resembles
coarse crumbs. Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick
spray; firmly press crumbs into bottom & 1/4
inch up sides. Bake 15 minutes or until crust
is golden brown.
FOR FILLING:
In large bowl, beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar,

peanut butter, margarine & vanilla until well blended. Stir
in peanuts. Evenly pour mixture over hot crust.
Bake 20 minutes or until filling is firm around
edges and slightly firm in center. Cool completely
on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 32 bars.

(recipe: Unilever)
——————————————–

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore


3 lb. bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with Italian
seasoning
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/4 C. chicken broth
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1/4 C. dry red wine (or water)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients in 3-4 qt. crockpot. Cover
& cook on Low 6-8 hours until chicken is
thoroughly cooked & tender. Serve with hot,
cooked pasta, if desired. Makes 6 servings

(recipe: Carolsrecipes77-SlowCooker digest)
—————————————————

Roasted Cauliflower


8 C. cauliflower florets
3 T. margarine, melted
1 T. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped pinch ground black pepper
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Arrange cauliflower, margarine, lemon juice, garlic & pepper in
9 X 13 pan; toss to coat. Roast
45 minutes or until cauliflower is golden & tender. Sprinkle with
cheese. Serves 6

(recipe: Unilever)
———————————

Buffalo Chicken Chili


1 1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut
into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 C. sliced celery
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can Hunts Fire-Roasted Diced
tomatoes with garlic, undrained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 T. Tabasco sauce
1/3 C. crumbled blue cheese

Spray large saucepan or Dutch oven with nonstick
spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken &
celery; cook 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is no longer
pink, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans, undrained
tomatoes, tomato sauce & Tabasco; bring to boil.
Reduce heat; cook 10-15 minutes or until chicken
is tender & flavors are blended. Top each serving
with blue cheese. Add more Tabasco, if desired.
Makes 6 servings (1 C. each)

(recipe: readyseteat)
—————————————–

Chinese Beef Casserole


2 lb. ground beef
1 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped celery
2 (10 3/4 oz, ea) cans cream mushroom soup,
undiluted
1 (14 oz) can bean sprouts, undrained
1/4 C. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 C. uncooked long grain rice 1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 C. frozen peas, thawed
1 (5 oz) can chow mein noodles

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet, cook beef, onion & celery
over medium heat until meat is no longer
pink; drain. Stir in soup, bean sprouts, soy
sauce & pepper; bring to a boil. Pour into
a greased 3 qt. baking dish. Stir in rice &
water chestnuts. Cover & bake 30 minutes.
Uncover, stir in peas & sprinkle top with
chow mein noodles. Bake 15-20 minutes
longer or until heated through. Makes 8
servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
===================================

 

Just finished the layout work on the next 2 month issue of my special needs group’s newsletter, just have to wait on my ‘leader’ for final details on scheduling dates, then I’m ready to print! Got the house cleaned up some, the Christmas cards taken down, some dishes washed/others put in the dishwasher; that pretty much sums up my energies for today.

Hope you are having a nice WARM day – remember to RELAX a little and ENJOY your time!

 

Hugs;

 

Pammie

 

The Day After

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2012 Kris (29), Eric (18) & Ben (23)

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Kris’s Family: Kris, Kristen & Kaden (6 1/2)

So – how was your holiday? Did you have a GREAT time with family, friends, those you loved? Did you enjoy the gifts, food and fellowship? We had a nice time with our boys; the food came out just great (Yay) and, except for ONE hitch, all went well. Did you have any ‘hitches’? I almost titled this post: “It’s Always Something”. To explain: I was bent over the oven, basting the ham when: POOF! I was blind in one eye! Why? Suddenly my left lens in my glassses popped out of the frame and landed in the oven, between the oven element ‘curves’! My husband is yelling: “Shove it in! Shove it in!” (meaning the rack of the oven, so we could get to the lens). Problem was: the lens is PLASTIC and we were worried it would MELT because of it’s location. After much efforts, we got it out and husband spent a good half hour trying to get the lens back in the frame. It didn’t melt, but apparently the screw holding the lens in was ‘stripped’. Fortunately, I had a ‘spare’ pair of glasses, so we proceeded from there. Now, this ‘spare pair’ is from at least two lens changes ago, so wearing them allowed me to traverse the areas I needed to go somewhat easily BUT I felt like I was underwater – the prescription had changed that much. Long story short – we made it through just fine. Whew! Today sometime I’m going to Pearle Vision in hopes they can replace the screw and fix the frame. There’s ALWAYS SOMETHING – right?

Today I’m very stiff and tired but happy the day went well; nothing much to do today except load the dishwasher and clean up the food preparation dishes. Question: What do YOU do with your Christmas cards? Do you display them – hang them up, lay them out in a nice basket or just read them, them put them aside? In our house it’s a ‘tradition’ to tape them up on the archway. I usually use duct tape, as it holds the best with the least damage to paint. This year, be it the ‘quality’ (or lack there of) of the duct tape, my cards are committing ‘Card-i-cide’ – falling off the walls in numbers. Woke up today to 5 on the floor! I’m guessing it’s either the tape OR the strength of the new humidifier, which is located very close to said wall. Ah, the fun.

Did you have any ‘mishaps’? Christmas morning I went about turning on all the various Christmas lights only to discover that the little fiber optic tree in the dining room wouldn’t light. I took apart the base and husband & I discovered that the bulb had burned out. This tree is about 3-4 years old, so having it finally give out was rather amazing. We looked up the ‘bulb’ on line (it’s like a fancy camera bulb) and good old Radio Shack has them for $6 – not bad! According to the facts, the bulb is guaranteed for 3,000 hours! Such a simple set up for so much enjoyment. I bought said tree, on sale, at Big Lots for $9.00 (they were usually $19), so I think we’ve really got ‘our money’s worth’, wouldn’t you say? To pay $6 for another 3-4 years is not bad at all!
Ah, now to ‘the leftovers’! Lot’s more recipes for you, with every day ones thrown in (for fun).

===================

Breakfast Casserole
(Paula Dean)


4 slices white bread
butter, for greasing
1 lb. mixed mild & medium sausage
2 C. Half & Half
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch pepper
dash Hot sauce
6 eggs, beaten
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 1/2 C. thinly sliced, cooked unpeeled
red potatoes
1 C. grated Cheddar cheese
1 C. grated Monterey Jack cheese

Cube bread & place in a lightly greased
8 X 11 X 2 inch casserole dish. Fry sausage

until almost browned; drain on paper towels.
Mix Half & Half, dry mustard, salt, pepper, hot
sauce & eggs together. Layer sausage over bread
& top with a generous layer of potatoes. If you are
using mushrooms, layer them in before the potatoes.
Sprinkle top with cheese; pour egg mixture over
top. Cover & refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

TO bake:
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bake casserole until set & does not jiggle in middle,
30 minutes. Serves 8

————————————–

Pumpkin Spice Cookies


2  1/2 C. flour
1 C. rolled oats
4 tsp. baking powder
1  1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. butter (softened)
1  1/3 C. light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/2 C. applesauce
1 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Grease 2 baking sheets. Mix flour, oats,
baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin
pie spice, ginger & salt in a bowl. Mix butter &
& brown sugar in large bowl with elec. mixer
until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then add
vanilla. Add pumpkin & applesauce; continue
beating. Mix in flour until just incorporated.
Fold in walnuts, mixing just enough to evenly
combine. Drop by spoonfuls, 2 inches apart,
onto prepared baking sheets. Bake about
12 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
Allow cookies to cool on sheets 1 minute;
remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 56 cookies

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
———————————-

(this recipe is from my friend Brenda –

she makes it every year – very smooth &

creamy – YUMMY!)

Tiger Butter
(choc/peanut butter fudge)

1 lb. chocolate wafers
1 lb. white chocolate wafers
1 C. peanut butter

Melt chocolates separately. Mix peanut

butter into white chocolate. On a waxed
paper-lined cookie sheet, layer chocolate-

pour white chocolate mixture over chocolate
and swirl it around  with a knife. After
approximately 5 minutes, score the
chocolate into squares so that when it
sets, it’s easier to cut.

(recipe: Brenda)
———————————-

Cheesecake Dessert Salad

1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 small box cheesecake pudding mix (dry) 3 (6 oz, ea) containers strawberry yogurt
1 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced
3 bananas, sliced
miniature marshmallows

Mix together, in large bowl, Cool Whip,
yogurt & pudding mix. Let stand in refrigerator
for at least an hour before serving. Wash &
slice strawberries. Fold in bananas, strawberries &
marshmallows just before serving. Serves 10

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————-

Bourbon Street Chicken


2 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into
bite-sized pieces
1-2 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp. ginger
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 C. apple juice
1/3 C. light brown sugar
2 T. ketchup
1 T. cider vinegar
1/2 C. water
1/3 C. soy sauce
(cooked rice)

Heat oil in large skillet; add chicken
pieces; cook until lightly browned.
Remove chicken; add remaining
ingredients; heat over medium hat
until well mixed & dissolved. Add
chicken to skillet, bring to a hard
boil. Reduce heat, simmer 20
minutes.
Serve over hot rice.
Serves 4.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe
Exchange)
————————————

Really Good Soup


1 lb. navy beans, cooked
3 C. smoked ham, diced
2 cans Campbell’s Cheddar cheese soup
2 lb. potatoes, diced
1 large onion, chopped

Drain & reserve liquid from cooked beans.

Cook potatoes & onions together
just barely covered with water. When beans,
potatoes & onions are done, combine with
cheese soup & ham. Add liquid from beans,
to taste.

TIP: Goes great with corn muffins or corn sticks
(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
—————————————–

Fajita Turkey Nachos


3 T. oil
2 T. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

3 1/2 C. cooked, diced turkey

1/4 C. diced green bell pepper
1/4 C. diced onion
4 C. Tortilla chips, warmed
1/4 C. cilantro leaves
1/4 C. sliced green onions
1/4 C. diced tomatoes
2 T. sour cream

Queso Salsa
1 C. Velveeta
1/4 C. salsa
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 C. evaporated milk


Nachos:
Combine oil, lime juice & spices in a bowl.
Add turkey, green pepper & onion. Pour
mixture into a re-sealable plastic bag.
Marinage in refrigerator 1 hour, turning
occasionally. Heat a large skillet on
medium-high heat. Add marinated mixture.
Cook & stir 3-5 minutes or until turkey is
heated through & vegetables are tender-
crisp.
To make Queso Salsa:
Combine Velveeta, salsa, paprika, hot
pepper sauce & garlic powder in a bowl.
Bring evap. milk to a simmer in a medium
sized saucepan on medium heat. Stir in
cheese mixture; simmer until cheese is
melted, stirring frequently. Keep warm.

Place warm tortilla chips on a large
serving platter. Spoon hot turkey
mixture evenly over chips. Top with
Queso Salsa. Sprinkle top with cilantro,
green onions & tomatoes. Top with
sour cream. Serves 4

(recipe: Butterball co.)
———————————————

Stuffed Green Pepper Casserole


1 lb. ground beef
2 1/2 C. cooked white rice
1 T. olive oil
2 large green peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 (14 oz,ea) cans tomato sauce
2 (14 oz, ea) cans corn, drained
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Brown ground beef; drain & set aside. Add oil
to pan, cook peppers & onions until tender; add
beef. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn,
garlic powder, salt & pepper; stir well. Bring to
a boil, reduce heat, simmer 10 minutes. Add
rice, mix well. Transfer mixture to a 9 X 13 baking
pan; bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————————

Balsamic Corn & Tomato Relish


4 ears corn on the cob, kernels
removed (about 4 C.)*
1/2 C. chopped red onion
3 T. margarine
1 C. grape tomatoes, halved
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 T. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Heat 12-inch skillet over medium-
high heat; cook corn with onion,
stirring frequently, until vegetables
are starting to toast, about 5
minutes. Add margarine; stir until

margarine is melted. Stir in tomatoes,
vinegar & black pepper. Cook until
heated through, about 1 minute.
Stir in basil. Serve hot, room
temperature or chilled. Serves 4

NOTE* Use 4 C. thawed, frozen corn
instead of corn on the cob

(recipe: Unilever)
———————————–

Monterrey Jack Casserole


1 lb. ground beef
1 T. instant minced onion
1 (8 oz) pkg. corn chips, crushed (3 C.)
1 (15 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In skillet, brown ground beef; add onion – reduce
heat, saute 5 minutes. Drain fat. Place 2 C. crushed
corn chips in bottom of greased 1 1/2 qt. casserole
dish. Layer ground beef over chips; pour enchilada
sauce over beef; top with cheese. Bake 20-30
minutes or until bubbly & heated through. Sprinkle
remaining corn chips over top of casserole, bake an
additional 5 minutes. Top individual servings with
sour cream, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
———————————————-

Magic Cookie Bars


1 1/2 C. corn flakes
3 T. sugar
1/2 C. margarine or butter
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. flaked coconut
1 C. chopped walnuts or pecans
1 C. sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Melt butter in 9 X 13 pan. Crush
corn flakes; add sugar & press firmly into bottom of pan to form
a crust. Add remaining ingredients in
layers. Bake 25 minutes or until
lightly browned around edges. Cool
& cut into bars.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe
Exchange)
==========================

Hope you’re enjoying a nice, relaxing ‘day after’ – our weather here has been ‘forgiving’ – no NEW snow yesterday BUT I hear we’re in for 3-4 inches some time in the next day or so (oh, goodie . . . sigh). For now, the roads look clear, it’s 28 degrees F. (a heavy coat/hat/ gloves-mittens day).

Big Hugs;

Pammie

A VERY Merry CHRISTmas to you, all!

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Published in: on December 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm  Comments (2)  

Christmas Eve – “The Day” is almost here!

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So – how are you doing with your holiday preparations? Around here it’s been abit busy, but not hectic; I decided that I WOULD NOT make myself so exhausted that I couldn’t enjoy Christmas, so I’m taking it EASY today! Finished up the cookie baking (& 1 pumpkin pie) – grand total? 12 DOZEN choc. chip/ peanutbutter/ oatmeal cranberry-raisin/ and gingersnap cookies – all from ready-made tubes or packages! YAY, me! After much speculation, I decided that I would hold off on baking the big box of already-cut out Gordon Food Service sugar cookies, just because from start to finish (information gathered from many years of doing this same thing) it would be a good 3 hour project and I’m just NOT up to that today. The kids & my husband will ‘live’ without eating those cookies on Christmas morn!

I’m also delagating responsibilites this year! Another “Yay, me!” Asked husband if he would mind vacuuming the living room & diningroom – he said sure,he’d even do the bedrooms! Great!

Left to do: drive youngest to his work 4:30-9 p.m., cards to finish up (either Thank You or Merry Christmas) even though they’ll be ‘fashionably late’, wrap presents then stuff stockings. Not a bad ‘to do ‘ list – it’s definately DO-ABLE for me! (am also supposed to put together the cranberry orange relish but think I’m going to sort of ‘forget’ it – ie: tomorrow: “Where’s the relish?” OH – I forgot to make it!) Sneaky but I just don’t feel like dragging out the food processor, putting it together, grinding the cranberries & orange, cleaning the food processor and jamming it all back in it’s box and stuffing it back in the bedroom. Can you tell – I don’t use it very often and we just don’t have the storage room for it.

Found a pretty easy-sounding pattern for the crocheted ‘popcorn’ Christmas tree garland. Think I’m going to buy some red wooden beads (if I can find some) and string them in between the ‘popcorn’ on the strands; that’s an AFTER Christmas project, for sure. I see that JoAnn Fabrics is having a 25% off all yarns sale going on this week. Not sure, but think I have more than enough white yarn for this project, but we’ll see. Do you have any ‘last minute’ projects you’re hoping to finish before tomorrow? Post a note here and tell me about it!

====================

Cherry-Almond Trifle


2 (3.4 oz, ea) pkgs. Jello cheesecake
instant pudding mix
2 C. cold milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed &
divided
1/2 C. sour cream
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/3 C. sliced almonds, toasted

Beat pudding mixes & milk in large
bowl with whisk 2 minutes. Stir in
1 C. Cool Whip & sour cream. Cover

bottom of 2 1/2 qt. bowl with cookies;
top with pudding mixture. Mix cherry
pie filling & extract; spoon over
pudding mixture. Cover with remaining

Cool Whip. Refrigerate 1 hour. Sprinkle
top with nuts just before serving.
Serves 12, 2/3 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)
————————————-

Appetizer Wreath


3 (8 oz, ea) tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. sour cream
2 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried onion flakes
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
2 C. chopped, fresh broccoli florets
1 1/2 C. finely chopped celery
3/4 C. finely chopped sweet red pepper-
NOTE: reserve enough red pepper to create
a bow for the wreath
cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Remove crescent dough from pkg but DO NOT
unroll it. Cut each tube into 10 slices (rather than
8). Arrange in a circle on an ungreased 16 inch
pizza pan. (suggest lining pan with parchment
paper before).

Arrange remaining crescent rolls
n a smaller circle just inside first circle.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool
5 minutes before carefully removing to a serving
platter; cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream,
dill, garlic powder, dry onion, Worcestershire
& salt until smooth. Spread a little under the
wreath to keep it form sliding off the platter.
Spread mixture over wreath; top with broccoli,
celery & sweet red pepper. Create a bow using
the sweet red pepper to garnish wreath. Sprinkle
cherry tomatoes around wreath.
Slice into 28 or more servings.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
———————————

Lemon Snowdrops
(cookies)

8 oz. unsalted butter, room temp.
2/3 C. confectioners sugar
2 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 tsp. lemon juice
pinch salt
2 2/3 C. flour
1 C. confectioners sugar (for rolling
cookies in)

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Beat butter & sugar together with
wooden spoon or mixer until creamy.
Add lemon zest, lemon juice & salt;
mix until combined. Add flour; mix
until just blended. Shape dough into
1-inch balls, set them 1 inch apart
on ungreased cookie sheets (
or parchment-lined). Bake until cookies
are light golden and give slightly when
pressed, 18-20 minutes. Let cookies
cool slightly on baking sheet; while
still warm, roll them in confectioners
sugar and transfer to a rack to cool.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

————————

Easy Apricot Chicken

(crockpot)

12 dried apricots

8 medium chicken thighs

(about 2 1/2 lb.)

salt & pepper

2 T. unsalted butter

2 T. vegetable oil

1 onion, sliced

1 C. chicken broth

Rinse apricots & scatter

them in bottom of crockpot.

Pat chicken dry; season with

salt & pepper. Melt butter in

oil in large skillet over

medium-high heat. Cook thighs

until golden brown, 3-5 minutes

per side. (brown in batches to

avoid crowding skillet). Arrange

over apricots. Pour off all but

1 T. from skillet. Add onion &

cook until just soft, 2-4 minutes.

Add broth to skillet, turn heat

to high & bring to boil,loosening

browned bits. Pour contents of

skillet into crockpot; cover &

cook on Low 4 hours.

Carefully transfer thighs to a

serving dish; cover with foil to

keep warm. Pour remaining contents

into a saucepan. Boil, stirring

often, until reduced & thickened,

about 10 minutes. Pour over chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

(recipe: RDJ 09/27/12)

——————————-

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

1/2 C. flour

1/2 C. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1/2 C. packed brown sugar

1/2 C. canned pumpkin

2 T. vegetable oil

2 t. butter, melted

1 T. grated orange rind

3/4 C. raisins

1/2 C. grated carrot

1/3 C. dried cranberries

2 T. coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Combine flours & next 4 ingredients (flour-

salt). Place egg & white in large bowl; beat

with elec. mixer on medium speed 30 seconds.

Add brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, butter & orange

rind; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture

to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist.

Stir in raisins, carrot & cranberries; spoon

batter into 8 inch square pan coated with nonstick

cooking spray. Sprinkle top with walnuts. Bake

25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center

comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on wire

rack; remove from pan. Cool completely before cutting.

Makes 9 servings.

(recipe: DDJ-10/09/12)

—————————-

Crab & Broccoli Chowder

 

1 1/2 C. small broccoli florets (about

1 small head)

1 C. chopped onion

2 C. cubed, peeled red potato

1/2 C. dry white wine

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. dried rubbed sage

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. pepper

dash hot sauce

3 (10.5 oz) cans chicken broth

5 T. flour

2 1/2 C. milk

1/2 C. (2 oz) shredded extra-sharp

Cheddar cheese

3/4 lb. lump crab meat, drained & shell

pieces removed

2 T. lemon juice

Steam broccoli, covered, 2 minutes or until

tender. Coat a Dutch oven with nonstick

spray; place over medium heat until hot.

Add onion; saute 4 minutes. Add potato &

next 8 ingredients (potato-broth); bring to

a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered 30

minutes or until tender. Place 3 C. potato

mixture in blender; process until smooth.

Add puree back to potato mixture in pan;

stir well. Place flour in bowl, gradually

add milk; stir with a whisk until blended;

add to potato mixture. Cook over medium

heat until thick, about 10 minutes, stirring

constantly. Stir in cheese. Add broccoli,

crabmeat, & lemon juice; cook until thoroughly

heated. Makes 7 servings.

(recipe: RDJ – 10/09/12)

——————————

Almond Eggnog Pound Cake


6 T. butter or margarine, divided
2/3 C. sliced almonds
1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 1/2 C. commercial eggnog
2 eggs
1 tsp. rum extract
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 10 inch tube pan with
2 T. butter. Press almonds onto
bottom and sides of pan; set
aside. In large mixing bowl, beat
using electric mixer:
cake mix, eggnog, eggs, rum
extract, nutmeg & melted butter
on low speed for 2 minutes or until
smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 40-50 minutes or until
a wooden toothpick inserted
into center, comes out clean.
Cool 15 minutes

————————————–

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars


Snickerdoodle Layer:
3 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 C. packed brown sugar
1 C. butter, room temp.
2 eggs, room temp.
1 T. vanilla

Pumpkin Pie layer:
1 C. flour
1 C. white sugar
1 stick butter, room temp.
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*(see below)
2 eggs, room temp.
1 1/2 C. canned pumpkin

Topping:
2 T. white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Drizzle:
1 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan; lay a piece of
parchment paper across pan so that it extends
the pan slightly. The parchment paper is an
optional step, but it will make it easier to get
the bars out later.

Snickerdoodle Layer:
Sift flour, baking powder & salt; set aside. In
large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg &

vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until
well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
Mixture will be thick & cookie-like batter.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
In elec. mixer with paddle attachment, mix butter
& sugar. Add rest of ingredients; mix until well
combined. This layer will be less thick & more pourable.

Pour over snickerdoodle layer, smoothing
out the top. Combine white sugar & cinnamon in
a little bowl, evenly sprinkle this mixture over top
of batter. Bake 33-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into
center comes out clean. Let bars cool completely,
about an hour. (they will deflate a little bit & remain
a bit pie-like on top layer. bars closer to edges will be
a bit more firm.)
After bars are completely cooled, place chopped
white chocolate into a bowl or zip-lock bag; melt
on low power in microwave. When completely melted,
add pumpkin pie spice; mix or knead if using a zip lock
bag. Use a spoon or cut a small corner off bag &
drizzle melted chocolate over top of bars; let bars
cool & harden. Use the parchment paper to lift bars
out of the pan. Place on a cutting board; cut into bars.
Store in a covered container.

*Make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice:
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Mix together.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
—————————————–

German Sweet ‘n Sour Green Beans


1 lb. fresh green beans, cut into 2 in. pieces
or 26 oz. frozen beans
6 slices bacon, diced*
1 medium onion, sliced
4 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 C. water
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. apple cider vinegar

Place green beans in saucepan; cover with water &
bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender,
about 10 minutes; drain & set aside. Cook diced bacon
in skillet over medium heat, until crisp. Drain bacon on
paper towel, reserve 2 T. drippings. Add sliced onions to
pan; cook until transparent & tender. Combine cornstarch,

salt, mustard & water in a small bowl; stir until smooth.
Pour into onions; bring to a boil. Cook & stir about 2
minutes or until thickened. Stir in sugar & vinegar. Add
green beans & heat through. Sprinkle top with bacon
and SERVE IMMEDIATELY while still warm. Serves 4-6.

*Posters says she usually doubles bacon amount
NOTE: If using frozen green beans, omit covering with
water; cook accordg. to pkg. directions, in microwave.

(recipe: Rose Mary-justapinch.com)
——————————-

Hershey Bar Tarts


1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed & divided
6 (one 4-oz pkgs) single-serving graham cracker
crumb crusts
1 (5.0 oz) Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, broken into
pieces

Place candy bar pieces in medium microwave-safe
bowl. Microwave on Medium (50%) 30 seconds;
stir. If necessary, microwave an additional 15 seconds
at a time, stirring after each heating, just until
chocolate is melted & smooth when stirred. Cool
slightly. Fold 2 C. Cool Whip into melted chocolate;
divide evenly into crumb crusts. Cover; refrigerate
several hours or until firm. Top with remaining
Cool Whip. Garnish as desired. Makes 6 tarts.

(recipe: Hershey website)
——————————————–

Dijon Ham


1 (5-7 lb) boneless ham
1/2 C. Dijon mustard
4 T. whole cloves
2/3 C. orange marmalade
1/2 C. maple syrup
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar
2 C. red wine
2/3 C. club or lemon-lime soda

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Place ham in a shallow baking dish.
Spread with mustard & stud with
whole cloves. Spoon marmalade over
top. Mix together syrup, vinegar, wine &
soda; drizzle over ham. Bake 2 hours,
basting every 15 minutes or until a
thermometer inserted into ham reads
140 degrees F. Let stand 15 minutes
before slicing.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————————————

Gingerbread Bars with Cream Cheese
Frosting


1 1/4 C. flour
1 T. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 C. sugar, divided
1 egg
1/3 C. molasses
3 T. water
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Line 9 X 13  baking pan with foil. Spray
foil with nonstick spray. Mix flour,
ginger, cinnamon, baking soda & salt;
set aside. Beat butter & 3/4 C. sugar in large
bowl with elec. mixer until light & fluffy.
Beat in egg until well blended. Gradually
beat in flour mixture until well mixed. Stir
in molasses & water just until blended.
Spread evenly in prepared pan.

Icing:

Beat cream cheese in large bowl with
elec. mixer until smooth. Beat in remaining
1/2 C. sugar & vanilla until smooth. Reserve
1/2 C. of icing; refrigerate remaining icing.
Spoon dollops (about 1 tsp. each) of reserved
icing over batter in pan. With knife or spatula,
swirl icing through batter to marbelize. Bake
30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in
center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes
then life out of pan using foil. Cool completely
on wire rack. Invert & peel off foil. Spread
refrigerated icing over bars; cut into bars.
Store in refrigerator.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————————–

Italian Peas & Tomatoes

– 3 T. margarine, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 C. frozen green peas, thawed

2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 C. loosely packed fresh basil
leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)

Melt 2 T. margarine in 1/2 inch nonstick
skillet over medium-high heat; cook onion,
stirring occasionally, until tender, about
10 minutes. Stir in peas, tomatoes, garlic
and pepper; cook, stirring frequently,
until tomatoes & peas are tender, about

3 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 T. margarine
& basil. Serves 4.

(recipe: Unilever)
===========================

Well, that’s about all the recipes I can pack into one post without totally putting you to sleep.  Hoping you are happy with your preparations – remember to REST when you can, so that YOU can enjoy the holidays.

Hugs;

Pammie

DONE! (finally) . . .

100_2478

Our ‘little’ tree on top of the piano

finally decorated.

Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

When in doubt . . . START OVER!

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Ok – today’s post could be titled: “GO with your instinct” (OR) “How I Love the Internet!”. Let’s start with last night – I had decided to bake the three ‘breads’ for my neighbors; not being a very adventurous person, I buy the bread mixes. This time I had three different flavors (and two different baking companies): Cranberry-Orange (Betty Crocker), Banana Walnut (Krusteez) and Blueberry (Krusteez). No problems with the baking companies BUT I should have thought before ‘doing’. Made up the Cranberry Orange – it came out perfect – ONE DONE for my neighbor Shirley next door, YAY! Made up the next two, same baking temperature: 425 degrees F. NOW, if you’ve been baking for any length of time you KNOW that’s too high a temperature for baking a loaf/bread, BUT . . . I was rushed and didn’t pay attention. Baked them both the alloted time (something like 50 minutes). SHOULD HAVE checked them! Open the oven and I have two of the nicest BURNT tops & sides loaves you’de ever want to see! GREAT . . . NOW what do I do? Let them cool off, cut off the tops, sides & bottoms and our family won’t mind eating them (warmed up a little with a dab of butter – they’re great). Since I had the night to think about it, I began remembering I have a slew of recipes I’ve saved that were either: easy, few ingredients or just sounded really good – I hit them. End result is: Raspberry Shortbread bars (for Shirley’s daughter & her family who live 2 houses down) and Applesauce Spice Bread (for Willie & Katie – a really sweet older couple who live on the other side). I had the ‘option’ of jumping in the car and racing to the store to see if I could locate more ‘instant’ breads but really didn’t want to face grocery stores this close to Christmas. I had a tiny ‘sample’ of the Rasp. shortbread – it’s really good. The Applesauce Spice bread is in the oven right now. My neighbors are getting used to me being ‘almost on the holiday’ when it comes to delivering their goodies; somehow I just can’t seem to get my baking done EARLIER! NEXT comes the main tree-(No, it’s not ‘up’ yet). After I rest a bit here with you I’m tackling that tree, lights, decorations, etc. It WILL be up today!!!  Middle son stopped by last night and stayed for meatloaf & baked potato dinner; that was nice (leftovers tonight).

Weather-wise it’s stayed the same: no new snow, just a little cold & blowing (temp 29 degrees F.). As I’ve said MANY years, I don’t mind cold – it’s the driving in snow or slush or ice that I don’t care for.

Craft-wise, I was remembering a project I’d copied but never did: it’s either crocheted or knitted ‘popcorn’ strings for the tree, done with white yarn.

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These ideas are both crocheted, adding red beads for the ‘cranberries’ – I like the idea and will probably ‘attempt’ it after Christmas.  Our main tree is very small, around 4 foot; it stands on top of our baby grand piano in the living room. In order for it to fit, it HAS to be small, so all of the ornaments are small, also. Through the years I’ve collected all sorts of hand-made ornaments: small crocheted white angels, tiny Swedish ‘flags’ that were embroidered by a friend, various plaster ones painted by my sons, a small nativity ornament carved in olive wood brought home from Jerusalem by a friend – I treasure each one. Do you have particular ornaments you really like? (If so, please write a comment – I’d love to hear from you!)   Oh – as to craft ideas, just ran into this site, it’s mostly crocheted items, but there are TONS of ideas for various crafts: wreaths, garland, ornaments, even a Santa costume for one of those cement geese! You might want to just look it over:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Crochet+Popcorn+Garland+Pattern&rxc=15&FORM=IDFRMS

(the only comment I might make here is: when I clicked on the above photos, I wasn’t able to locate the actual PATTERN for them – it just kept routing me to another page of photos. I think I can figure it out for myself, but just wanted to give you a ‘heads up’ in that area, in case you were searching for a particular pattern)

RECIPES! I’m going to start you off with the two I just made – see what you think!

===================

Applesauce Spice Bread


1 1/2 C. applesauce
1 egg
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 T. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 C. chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 1/2 X 5 1/2 X 1/2 inch
loaf pan with nonstick spray. Combine
applesauce, egg, sugars, butter &
vanilla in large mixing bowl. Stir in
raisins & pecans & pour into prepared

pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until bread
tests done. Cool 10 minutes before
removing from pan. Makes 1 loaf.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
—————————————-

Jam Shortbread


1 (18.25 oz) box buttery cake mix
1/4 C. butter, softened
1 egg 1 (10-12 oz) jar apricot preserves

Glaze:
1/2 C. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 tsp. water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour a 9 X 13 pan.
In large bowl, combine cake mix, butter &
egg using elec. mixer on Low speed until
crumbly. Press mixture in prepared pan
& spread out, as a crust. Spread crust
with preserves. Bake 20-25 minuts or
until edges are light brown. Combine
Glaze ingredients until smooth. (If
needed, add water, a drop at a time,
for desired consistency) Drizzle over
warm shortbread. Cool completely;
cut into bars.

NOTE: I didn’t have apricot preserves, so

I went with raspberry – about 1 – 1 1/2 C.

and also substituted vanilla for the almond

in the glaze. (I put my glaze on too soon and

now it doesn’t even ‘show’ on the bars – oh,

well . . .)

———————————————-

No Bake Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies


3 T. butter
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. milk
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C. peanut butter
3/4 C. Nutella hazelnut spread
(or 1 C. chocolate chips)
2 C. rolled oats

Mix all ingredients together,
roll into balls & place on
waxed paper to set up.
Makes approximately
2 dozen cookies

(recipe: justapinch.com)
———————————–

Honey Roasted Pork Loin


2 lb. pork loin (boneless)
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 C. honey
2 T. orange juice
2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 C. chicken broth
– Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Season pork, place in roasting pan. In
separate bowl, mix together honey,
juice, oil & thyme; pour over pork.
Add broth to roasting pan; bake
until internal temperature reaches
150 degrees F. (45-60 minutes.)
Baste frequently. Strain pan juices
into a saucepan; heat until
juices reduce – and are slightly
thickened.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
———————————-

Snowball Cake
(looks like a big Hostess Snowball dessert)


1 (2 layer) box devil’s food cake mix
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
2 T. granulated sugar
1 (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding mix
1/4 C. powdered sugar
1 C. cold milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 C. flake coconut

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix cake according to pkg. directions,
using a 2 1/2 quart ovenproof bowl.
Beat cream cheese, egg & granulated
sugar until well blended; spoon into center
of batter in bowl. Bake 1 hour 5 minutes
or until toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cool cake in bowl 10
minutes. Loosen cake from bowl with
knife; invert onto wire rack & cool
cake completely.
Beat dry pudding mix, powdered sugar &
milk in bowl with whisk 2 minutes. Stir in
Cool Whip; refrigerate until ready to use.
Place cake on plate; frost with pudding
mixture. Cover entire cake with flake
coconut. Keep refrigerated. Serves 16

(recipe: Kraft foods)
—————————————

“Skippy” Truffle Cookies


1 C. (Skippy) creamy peanut butter
1 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients except chocolate
chips, in small bowl until blended. Stir in
chocolate chips just until combined. Drop
dough, using slightly rounded teaspoonfuls,
2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets
(do not flatten). Bake 9 minutes or until
cookies are puffed & golden (cookies will
be very soft). On wire rack, place baking
sheets and let stand 5 minutes. Remove
cookies from sheets & cool completely.
Makes 4 1/2 dozen

(recipe: Unilever)
————————————

Golden Mashed Potatoes w/fried onions &
bacon


3 1/2 lb. large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled,
quartered
1/2 lb. carrots, peeled & coarsely shredded
6 slices smoked bacon
1 T. oil
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 C. buttermilk, at room temp.
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

In large saucepan, cover potatoes & carrots with
2 inches cold water; bring to boil over high heat.
Reduce heat, simmer until potatoes are tender,
about 20 minutes. Cook bacon in large skillet
over medium heat until crisp; drain on paper
towels. Discard all but 2 T. drippings; add oil &
onion to drippings, saute 10 minutes or until
softened & lightly browned. Stir in thyme, cook
2 minutes longer. When potatoes are fork-tender,

drain into collander & transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Add buttermilk,butter & salt; mash until potatoes are

smooth, with small flecks of carrot visible; stir in

onions, crumble bacon over top.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
——————————–

Candy Cane Fudge


2 (10 oz, ea) pkgs vanilla baking chips
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 1/2 C. crushed candy canes
1 dash red or green food coloring

Line an 8 inch square baking dish with
aluminum foil; grease foil. Combine

vanilla chips & sweetened Condensed milk
in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir
frequently until almost melted, remove
from heat & continue to stir until smooth.
When chips are completely melted, stir
in peppermint extract, food coloring and
candy canes. Spread evenly in bottom of
prepared pan. Chill 2 hours, then cut into
squares.

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe Exchange)
—————————

Speedy Orange Chicken & Rice


1/2 C. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves,
about 1 1/4 lb., cut into strips
1 1/2 C. orange juice
2 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 C. Minute (white) Rice, uncooked
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1/2 C. mandarin orange segments, drained
1/2 C. pineapple chunks, drained

Heat 2 T. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip in
a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken,
cook, stirring 5 minutes or until no longer pink;
drain. Reduce heat to medium. Mix remaining
mayonnaise, orange juice & sugar, stirring to
combine; add to skillet. Add rice & green
pepper, bring to a boil. Remove from heat,
add orange segments & pineapple. Let stand,
covered, 5 minutes.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

———————————–

Almond Eggnog Pound Cake


6 T. butter or margarine, divided
2/3 C. sliced almonds
1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 1/2 C. commercial eggnog
2 eggs
1 tsp. rum extract
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 10 inch tube pan with
2 T. butter. Press almonds onto
bottom and sides of pan; set
aside. In large mixing bowl, beat
using electric mixer:
cake mix, eggnog, eggs, rum
extract, nutmeg & melted butter
on low speed for 2 minutes or until
smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 40-50 minutes or until
a wooden toothpick inserted
into center, comes out clean.
Cool 15 minutes before removing
from pan to a wire rack.
Makes 12-14 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys
Recipe Exchange)
——————————-

2 Ingredient Truffles


8 oz. best quality bittersweet
chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 C. heavy cream
(Coatings: crushed peppermint
candies, toasted sweetened
shredded coconut, finely
chopped pistachios or other
nuts, or cocoa powder)

Place chocolate in medium bowl.
Bring cream to boil in small
saucepan over medium-high
heat; pour over chocolate. Let
sit 2-3 minutes, then whisk
until smooth. Refrigerate,
uncovered, until somewhat
firm, about 1 hour.
Spoon mounds (2 level
teaspoons each) of chocolate
mixture onto a large baking
sheet lined with parchment or
waxed paper; return to
refrigerator 15 minutes.
Place desired coatings in shallow
bowls. Using your hands, roll
mounds into balls, then in coatings,
pressing in & covering completely.
Return to baking sheet, chill until
set, about 30 minutes.
Makes 24

(recipe: Martha Stewart/Shine)
======================

Just thought of another ‘thing’ – do you have particular item/thing you have at your house for the holidays? Example: my husband LOVES cinnamon candy canes. Every other year I was able to find them – at a grocery store, hardware store, drug store – you name it, I found them . . . NOT THIS YEAR! It’s too late, now, to go ‘on line’ and see if they might be obtained (ALTHOUGH that gets my brain working: his birthday is January 23rd SO . . . I just might see if I CAN locate them on line! It’s a thought!). When I was growing up my mom always used to make Rum Balls for the neighbors – the longer they sat in that little tin, the ‘rummier’ they became. For my dad, who was Canadian, it was “Finnan Haddie”: (description, via Yahoo: ‘A very old, very Canadian recipe: dried smoked haddock in a cream sauce.’) I remember my dad LOVED it, but BOY, did it STINK UP the house! YUCK! I tried it, but you couldn’t get me to actually EAT it! Funny . . . traditions. Also, each year wasn’t Christmas unless he made Scotch Shortbread – I LOVED that stuff! (full of calories, but very buttery & rich). If I remember, the recipe was only something like three ingredients: (just looked it up:  1 C. butter, 3/4 C. sugar, 2 C. flour & 1/2 tsp. vanilla).

Anyway, dear hearts, the day is ‘getting on’ and I’m late at getting that blasted TREE done! The Applesauce bread just came out of the oven so I’ll use that ‘cooling down’ time to get those lights on the tree, then it’s wrap up the goodies & deliver to the neighbors. I asked our youngest if he would ‘do the honors’ for me and he said: “Those people don’t know ME! Last year one of the asked “JUST WHO ARE YOU, ANYWAY???” As this son explained, he said “They see YOU all the time, but they don’t know who this pierced, black-wearing punk kid is.” Too bad – they’re such nice neighbors – but they’re older and it WAS their older SON (who no longer lives there ) who answered the door. Guess it’s another of my “jobs” – deliver what you made.

Have a GREAT day! Enjoy whatever weather you have, it’s only a few days now until the BIG DAY! Happy Birthday, Jesus DAY!!!

Hugs;

Pammie

Still Here (Mayans Be CRAZY)!!!

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As the rest of you have no doubt realized by now, we’re doing JUST FINE without relying on the Mayan calendar thing – I wasn’t worried. I did, however, wake up to a yard full of ‘white’ – it was pouring rain all day yesterday and I kept thinking I hope it doesn’t turn into snow, as that would make the roads awful. When I got to my car, the windshield was thickly coated in ice, with an over coating of snow. There WAS one good thing, however – youngest son was with me and told me to: “Get in the car, Mother!” (then he proceeded to clean off all the windows – neat, huh!). I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t have to go anywhere today, but then I realized that there were still errands to run, so off we went. Since I’ve had a bit of ‘extra’ time, I had knit another of the ‘net’ scarves – this one for the very helpful bank teller (dropped that off today). Ran to the Post Office to mail a bunch of cards and Thank You’s for the gifts from the special needs group party; quick trip to the drug store and I’m back home (YAY!). Decided to treat my husband & I to Whopper Juniors & Tim Horton’s coffee, so we’re both happily filled and warmed.

Gas Prices – yesterday I filled up my car at $3.15/9; today I passed that same gas station and was surprised to see $3.25/9 – WOW! A 9 cent jump overnight – must be the Mayans again (hey, gotta blame something on them, right? They’re not here to defend themselves . . . )

Question: Have you ever re-gifted something? This year found me doing that more than ever. Not because I didn’t LIKE the gifts I was given, BUT because when I saw them I thought: “That would be just PERFECT for _ _ _”. For example, one of my special needs families gave me a $10 gift card to Kroger; I know of a 2 person family that could really USE (and NEED) that, so off it went in a card. I also was given TWO poinsettia plants – one is on my diningroom table, the other was given to another person, to cheer up their holiday. Another person gave me some really nice smelling Peach hand cream – that got included with the scarf for the Bank lady. Another family (that usually goes with Kohl’s for gift cards) gave me a card to Parisianne store (really up-scale ladies clothing). Now, not criticizing BUT I’m NOT UP-SCALE. . . this one went to my oldest son’s girlfriend, who will use it to it’s full value, I hope. It makes me happy that these gifts were well thought out by the givers AND that they will be given to people who will really like them. We (my family & I) have been really blessed this year – we have what we need (and then some!) and even ‘want’ – and we’re grateful.
Write or comment here on your views on this subject.

=====================

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies


1 C. butter, melted
2 C. sugar
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1 T. red food coloring
1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Layer:
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Brownie Layer:
Place 1 C. melted butter, 2 C. sugar &
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa in large
bowl;  mix until well combined, about
2 minutes. Crack 1 egg & add to batter;
mix until egg is incorporated. Repeat
using remaining eggs, mixing them into
batter one egg at a time. Add 2 tsp.
vanilla to batter, mix. Place 1 1/2 C.
flour & 1/2 tsp. salt into small bowl,

mix with fork to combine; add to batter,
mix until well combined. Add 1 T. red

food coloring to batter, mix until batter
is red. Add 1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate
chips, mix until combined. Line a
9 X 13 pan with waxed paper, parchment
paper or tin foil; spray with nonstick spray.
Spread batter evenly into pan.

Cream Cheese Layer:
Place 1 (8 oz) pkg. softened cream cheese into
stand mixer or medium-sized mixing bowl;

beat until smooth. Add 1/2 C. sugar, 1 egg & 1 tsp.
vanilla; mix until well combined. Drop cream
cheese mixture onto red velvet layer in spoon-
fuls. Drag a knife through both layers to create
a marble effect. Bake 45-55 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Let cool on wire rack, lift out of pan, cut & serve.

(recipe: Jamiecooksitup)
———————————–

Brie with Balsamic Pears
(appetizer)


2 medium pears, cored & thinly sliced
1/2 C. balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing
1/2 C. toasted chopped walnuts
2 tsp. sugar
1 (8 oz) piece Brie cheese
(crackers or baguette slices)
– In 10-inch skillet, cook pears over

medium- high heat, stirring occasionally,

2 minutes.Stir in salad dressing, walnuts

& sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally,

4 minutes or until pears
are tender. On microwavesafe serving dish,
microwave cheese on High 30 seconds or until
cheese is slightly softened.
To serve, top cheese with pear mixture and eat
on crackers or baguette slices.
Serves 4.

(recipe: Wish Bone)

————————————

Buffalo Onion Ranch Dip


2 C. cooked, cut up chicken
1/4 C. cayenne pepper sauce
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1/2 C. buttermilk 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
(optional: crumbled blue cheese)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Toss chicken with cayenne pepper

sauce in microwavesafe bowl. Stir
in remaining ingredients & turn
into a 1 1/2 quart shallow casserole
dish. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes
or until bubbling. Sprinkle crumbled
blue cheese over top before serving.
Serve, if desired,
with celery or fresh veggies.
Makes 3 Cups dip

(recipe: Unilever)
———————————-

Bacon-Spinach Mashed Potatoes


2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 6),
peeled & cut into chunks
5 slices bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (9 oz) pkg baby spinach leaves
1 (8 oz) tub Kraft Philadelphia
Chive & Onion cream cheese spread

Cook potatoes in boiling water in large
saucepan 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Cook bacon in large skillet on medium heat
until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet,
reserving 1 T. drippings. Place bacon on

paper towels. Add garlic to drippings, cook 2

minutes, stirring frequently. Add spinach,
cook & stir 1-2 minutes or until spinach is
wilted; remove from heat. Crumble bacon
& stir into spinach mixture. Drain potatoes,
return to pan. Add cream cheese spread;
mash potato mixture, then stir in spinach
mixture. 12 servings, 1/2 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)
——————————–

Pistachio Fudge


1 lb. white baking chocolate*
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
3 C. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/8 tsp. green food coloring
1/2 C. chopped pistachios
(additional pistachios for garnish,
if desired)
=
Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, allowing
foil to extend over sides of pan. Spray with
nonstick spray. Melt chocolate as directed
on pkg. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with
elec. mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in
sugar on low speed until well blended. Add
melted chocolate, extracts & food coloring;
mix well. Stir in chopped pistachios. Spread
evenly in prepared pan. Garnish with additional
pistachios, if desired. Refrigerate at least
1 hour or until firm. Use foil to lift off pan onto
a cutting board. Cut into 25 (1 1/2 inch) squares.
Store in refrigerator.
*One (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips can be
used as a substitute for white chocolate squares

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
—————————————

Christmas Biscuits (overnight recipe)

1 lb butter
4 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 lb. sugar
1 C. sour cream
flour

Cream butter & sugar thoroughly; add eggs
one at a time, beating well after each. Dissolve
soda in sour cream, then add to mixture. Sift
in flour until dough is stiff enough to handle.
Chill overnight.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Roll out dough thing on floured board, cut
with cookie cutters. Bake 10 minutes.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

————————————————-

Ham & Beans


1 (16 oz) bag Great Northern beans (dry)
1/2 lb. diced, cooked ham
1 small onion, diced
1 large handful brown sugar
2 tsp. chicken bouillon
salt & pepper, to taste
dash cayenne pepper
1 T. dried parsley
water

Rinse & sort beans according to pkg. directions.
Place in large pot with 8 C. water; let stand
overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain & rinse
beans. Add ham, onion, brown sugar, bouillon,
salt & pepper, cayenne & parsley to pot; generously
cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat &

simmer 1 1/2 – 2 hours until beans are tender. Add more water
if necessary during cooking time (re-season with salt,
pepper & brown sugar, to taste).

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
——————————–

Buttery Vegetable Gratin


5 T. margarine, divided
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled &
thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F. In shallow

2 quart casserole dish,
grease lightly with 1 T. margarine.
Sprinkle half of garlic in bottom of
dish. Arrange half of zucchini slices,
half tomato slices, half potato
slices, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle
with half of salt & pepper, dot with
4 T. margarine; repeat layers. Bake
50 minutes. Sprinkle top with
Parmesan cheese, bake an additional
5 minutes or until vegetables are
tender. Serves 6

(recipe: Unilever)
—————————————

Sweet Potato Soup


3 T. butter
1/4 C. shallots, chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 C. chicken stock
a pinch nutmeg
1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled,
diced into 1 inch pieces
1 C. Half & Half
white pepper, to taste
1/2 C. walnuts, chopped finely
– Melt butter in large saucepan. Add shallots,

onion & celery; cook over
low heat about 6 minutes, stirring
frequently. Add chicken stock, nutmeg,
sweet potatoes; bring mixture to a boil.
Lower heat, simmer about 30 minutes.
When potatoes seem tender, pour
mixture into a food processor or blender
& mix until smooth. Season with pepper &
continue to heat but don’t bring to a full boil.

Place walnuts in a small dish & have
each diner sprinkle the chopped walnuts
into their soup bowls. Serves 6.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
——————————————-

Pineapple Banana Hummingbird Loaves


1 (2 layer) box yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding & pie filling
4 eggs
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained –
reserve 1 C. juice
2 medium ripe bananas, well mashed (1 C.)
1/2 C. chopped pecans (or walnuts)
cream cheese glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine cake mix, instant pudding, reserved
pineapple juice, eggs & oil in large bowl; mix
using elec. mixer 2 minutes or until blended.
Add crushed pineapple, bananas & nuts; mix
just until blended. Pour into 5 foil mini loaf
pans sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake 40
minutes or until toothpick inserted into center
of loaf comes out clean. Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Glaze
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. milk
1/2 C. powdered sugar

Combine cream cheese, milk & powdered
sugar; drizzle over cooled loaves.
Makes 5 loaves
NOTE: VARIATION: substitute 1 C. maraschino
cherries, drained & halved for bananas &
omit the cinnamon.

(recipe: newspaper flyer)
————————————————–

Cheddar-Bacon Bread


3 1/2 C. flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 T. butter, softened, for dough mixture
1 T. butter, softened, for top of loaf (more
if necessary)
4 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1 3/4 C. buttermilk
1/2 lb. bacon, thick sliced

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Grease two 5 X 9 loaf pans.
In large frying pan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain
excess grease on paper towels. Cut strips into
bite-sized pieces. In large mixing bowl sift salt,
baking soda & flour together. With your fingers,
combine 2 T. butter with salt mixture,
until thoroughly combined. It should look like sand.
Stir in cheese & bacon until well mixed. Add buttermilk
until dough just comes together. Divide dough evenly
between both loaf pans. Smooth tops. With a knife,
cut a thin slice down middle of each loaf. Thinly
slice remaining butter & put in the slices, using
more if needed. Bake until tops are golden brown
and a tester comes out clean, approx. 25-30 minutes.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Makes
2 loaves.

(recipe: Leslie-justapinch.com)
———————————————-

Peanut Butter Cups
(candy)

3 C. powdered sugar
2 C. graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks butter, melted
1 C. smooth peanut butter*
1 (12 oz) pkg chocolate chips

Mix sugar, crumbs, butter & peanut butter

well. Spread into a 9 X 13 pan or 12-count muffin tin
NOTE: Poster said she filled 15 muffin tins with
this mixture.
Melt chocolate chips & spread over peanut
butter mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour
before serving.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
——————————————

Chocolate Eclair Cake


2 small boxes French vanilla pudding
3 C. milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip
1 box graham crackers
1 jar hot fudge ice cream topping
1 jar maraschino cherries
– Using electric blender or wire whisk,
in a large bowl blend pudding mix &
milk until smooth. Stir in Cool Whip
until well blended & creamy. Line bottom
of 9 X 13 pan with graham crackers.
Pour & spread half of pudding mixture
on top of graham crackers. Add another
layer of graham crackers on top of
pudding mixture; spread remaining
pudding mixture over graham crackers.
Add another layer of graham crackers.
Place hot fudge topping in a microwaveable
bowl; heat 1 minute. Stir & heat 1 minute
more. Stir again & pour over top layer
of graham crackers; spread until smooth.
Garnish top with maraschino cherries.

Refrigerate at least 6 hours, or overnight,
for best results.

NOTE: Poster also reports you can
switch out pudding, Cool Whip &
hot fudge for SUGAR FREE with great
results.
(recipe: Penny R-justapinch.com)
================================

Have a great day – remember to rest a bit in between all of your ‘adventures’!

Hugs;

Pammie

Published in: on December 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Beginning to Slow Down . . . a Bit

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Last night was our special needs group’s Christmas ‘Gathering’ – for starters, it was the LARGEST we’ve ever had – well over 100 people! (sorry, no photos – it was just too hectic!) My partner & leader of the group and I figured out approximately how many people we had last year and added another tray of cookies & sandwiches. Let’s just say, people kept coming & coming & coming – our other ‘silent’ partner was in the kitchen and said: “Do you want me to go to Costco and get 2 more trays of sandwiches? I could be there and back in about 20 minutes!” YES! I ended up raiding our snacks cupboard for more potato chips (thank heavens we had a few small bags – at that point I didn’t CARE that they were KETTLE and CHEESY, they got one bowl of each after totally wiping out two really BIG bags of Lays chips!) I was amazed there were any cookies left – I was SURE they would be all gone. One thing I kept telling people: “We have LOTS of cucumbers!” (we ran out of ranch dip, but had cherry tomatoes & lots of sliced cucumbers left!) Too funny. I think it went over VERY well – next year we’re going to have to figure out some sort of RSVP system – gone are the days of 20-30 people!

Tuesday was Knit group & our little Christmas gathering: there were 19 for that. I bought Panera chocolate chip cookies and brought the mini wrapped Snickers candy bars to put on the trays with the cookies. Two of our ladies went in together and brought a meat & cheese tray and one member brought her famous ‘Tiger Butter” – read that as REALLY CREAMY peanut butter & chocolate fudge – killer! (I’ll give you the recipe below).

Tonight is baby sit my grandson for a few hours – I’m MORE than ready for an easy-going night; just got home from another quick 2 grocery stores/gas station/bank run. Went to Kroger’s yesterday SPECIFICALLY to buy their Snowflake dinner rolls – they had 1 bag (12 rolls) – I wanted two. Asked the Bakery ladies and they said one woman came in and bought up almost all they had (“So glad you like them, please come back another day to pick up more!” very cheerfully said to me). When I went in today there was ONE tray of them left – we’re talking around 10 a.m.!!! Usually they’re sold in a bag of 12 for around $2 – 2.50 a bag; the tray was 12 VERY BIG ones for $3.99 – I gave up and bought them – no more trips to Krogers! Also ‘caved’ a bit and bought some packages of the already made up cookie dough (the ones you just break off and bake) – I’m just not feelin’ the extra energy this year to go all out and hand-make dozens & dozens of cookies. Oh, another grocery-store related thing: when at Krogers I looked at their fresh cranberries – the only ones they had were ORGANIC, for $2.39 a bag (at Thanksgiving the regular ones were something like $1.29 a bag) – so I looked for the non-organic, they didn’t have any. I said to myself: “I’ll just look at the next store.” Next store – ONE BAG-$2.49! I ended up paying 10 cents more – who knows if they’re EVEN organic – and, at this point, WHO CARES!??? I was trying to find some sort of already made up cranberry-orange relish but no-go, so it looks like we’re going to make up another batch of fresh next week. TIP FOR YOU: If you’re going to grind up cranberries, it’s MUCH easier if you freeze them first.

GAS PRICES around here: $3.16/9 a gallon! I just filled up – now watch; they’ll probably drop another 10-15 cents in the next few days. Oh well, I needed gas.

Christmas decorating: All is ‘up’ except the main tree. I don’t remember if I blogged about the episode with trying to get an entire string of lights to work – short story: husband worked at a string for a good hour or more, ended up throwing them out. (those were the lights for the fireplace). I turned on the string for the main tree, only to find that every fourth light is ‘out’ – replaced each fourth light with brand new ones – still don’t work – I GIVE UP! WHEN I get some energy, they’re going on the tree, getting decorated and put up – I DON’T CARE!!! I’m done shopping, and almost done decorating. Baking & wrapping presents comes next – at my leisure.

RECIPES! Here ya go . . .

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Cola-Basted Ham


1 (10 lb.) precooked ham (not cured or canned)
1 Liter cola
1 C. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 T. dry mustard
2 T. prepared sharp mustard (Dijon)
2 C. fine dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Place ham, fat side down, in shallow pan.
Pour cola into pan to 1/2 inch depth. Bake
about 2 hours, or until ham can be easily
pierced with fork, basting with cola every
15-20 minutes. Center of ham will read
140 degrees on a meat thermometer when
properly cooked. Remove from pan & cool.

Cut away rind & fat with a sharp knife. Combine
sugar, mustard, bread crumbs & enough cola
to form a thick paste. Place ham on roasting rack
in pan and pat all over with paste. Add remaining
cola to bottom of pan. Increase oven temperature
to 375 degrees F.
Bake ham 45 minutes longer, basting every 15-20
minutes until sugar-mustard paste has melted
into a dark glaze. Let stand at room temperature
20-30 minutes before slicing. Serves 12-15

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
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Frozen Dessert


20 Oreo-type sandwich cookies, crushed
1/3 C. butter or margarine, melted
2 Qts. sherbet, Your choice of flavor,
slightly softened
2 squares baking chocolate
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 C. pecans, chopped

In bowl, combine crushed cookies &

melted butter. Press into 9 X 13 baking
dish. Spread sherbet over crumb layer,
freeze until firm.
In top of a double boiler, combine
baking chocolate, sugar & evaporated
milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until

smooth. Cool, then drizzle over sherbet;
sprinkle top with chopped pecans. Keep
frozen until served. Makes 16 servings.

(recipe: KS Tabby-Marys Recipe Exchange)
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Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
(crockpot)


2 lb. potatoes or 6 medium,
thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 T. butter
1 (10 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
4 slices American cheese
1 C. water
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Toss potato slices in water & cream of
tartar; drain. Put half of potatoes in
greased crockpot. Top with half of
onion slices, flour, salt & pepper.
Add remaining potatoes & onions;
sprinkle rest of flour on top. Add
butter & undiluted soup. Cover &
cook on Low 7-9 hours or High 3-4
hours. Add cheese 30 minutes before
serving. Recipe may be doubled

(recipe: lovetocook-Marys Recipe
Exchange)
———————————

Applesauce Spice Bread


1 1/2 C. applesauce
1 egg
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 T. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 C. chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 1/2 X 5 1/2 X 1/2 inch
loaf pan with nonstick spray. Combine
applesauce, egg, sugars, butter &
vanilla in large mixing bowl. Stir in
raisins & pecans & pour into prepared

pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until bread
tests done. Cool 10 minutes before
removing from pan. Makes 1 loaf.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
—————————————-

Ginger Crinkle Cookies


2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 C. vegetable shortening
1/4 C. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. molasses
1 large egg
1/4 C. plus 1 T. turbinado sugar*

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour,
baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon,
salt, allspice & cloves. Add shortening,
butter, brown & granulated sugars to
bowl of a standing mixer fitted with
paddle attachment. Beat on medium
speed until light & fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
Slip in molasses & egg; beat until well
incorporated. Add flour mixture by
scoopfuls, beat until combined. Add
turbinado sugar* (can use regular
granulated sugar) to a small plate or bowl.
Roll dough into balls 1 inch in diameter
(1/2 oz each), then roll in sugar. Place
12 balls on baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating halfway
through baking time. Cool on sheet
4 minutes, then continue cooling on
wire racks. Repeat with rest of dough.
Makes about 4 dozen.

(recipe: Jamie Dean-FoodNetwork)
———————————-

Warm Reuben Spread
(appetizer)


4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. Thousand Island salad dressing
1/4 lb. sliced deli corned beef, chopped
(about 1 C.)
3/4 C. well-drained sauerkraut
1 (8 oz) pkg. Swiss cheese slices, chopped
(suggested: Triscuit crackers)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix cream cheese & dressing in medium
bowl; stir in all remaining ingredients
except crackers. Spread onto bottom of
9-inch pie plate or shallow dish. *Bake 20
minutes or until heated through. Serve
with crackers.

*Can use microwave instead of baking
spread. Assemble dip as directed in
shallow microwaveable dish. Micro-
wave on High 2-3 minutes or until
heated through.
Makes 2 1/2 C. spread or 20 servings,
2 T. spread and 6 crackers each.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
————————————

Peanut Brittle Cookies


1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1/4 C. margarine or butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1/3 C. milk
3/4 C. flour
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
6 oz. milk chocolate chips
1/2 C. finely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cream peanut butter, margarine &
sugar; mix in lemon juice. Add milk,
stir in flour, soda, baking powder &
nuts. Spread evenly in 9 X 13 pan.*
Bake 30 minutes.
Spread milk chocolate chips over
hot crust, spread to  make a thin
layer. Top with finely chopped peanuts.
Cut into squares.

*NOTE: If you want them thicker,
use an 8 X 8 pan.

(recipe: Pattie-justapinch.com)
———————————

Butter Pecan Fudge


1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. heavy whipping cream
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. confectioners sugar
1 C. pecan halves, toasted & coarsely
chopped

In large heavy saucepan, combine butter,
sugars, cream & salt. Bring to boil over
medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil
5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove
from heat; stir in vanilla. Stir in
confectioners sugar until smooth. Fol
in pecans. Spread into a buttered
8 inch square pan. Cool to room
temperature. Cut into 1 inch squares.
Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

(recipe: Mary Free-Mary’s Recipe Exchange)
—————————————–

Quick Crescent Pecan Pie Bars

1 (8 oz) can refrigerated crescent rolls

Filling:
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. corn syrup
1 T. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles; place in
ungreased 9 X 13 pan. Press over bottom &
1/2 inch up sides to form crust. Firmly press
perforations to seal; bake 5 minutes. In
medium bowl combine all filling ingredients.
Pour over partially baked crust; bake an
additional 18-22 minutes or until golden
brown. Cool completely; cut into bars –
makes 24 bars.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————————-
Corn & Onion Pudding


2 T. margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10 oz) box frozen whole kernel
corn, thawed
1 C. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. mayonnaise
2 T. sugar
1 T. flour
pinch salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt margarine in 10-inch
nonstick skillet over medium-high
heat. Cook onion, stirring frequently,
until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir
in corn; cook, stirring frequently,
until toasted, about 3 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat; set
aside. Combine remaining
ingredients in large bowl with
wire whisk, stir in corn mixture.
Turn into greased 1 quart shallow
casserole dish. Bake 1 hour or
until golden. Serves 6

(recipe: Unilever)
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Vidalia Onion Dip


1 large Vidalia or Walla Walla onion,
coarsely chopped 1 (7 oz) pkg. (Kraft) shredded Italian
Three Cheese blend cheese
1 C. mayonnaise
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients; spread onto bottom

of 9 inch pie plate; sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve
with crackers. Makes 24 (2 T. each) servings or
3 Cups dip.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
———————————————–

Balsamic Glazed Carrots

10 carrots (1 1/4 lb.) peeled, quartered lengthwise
1/4 C. balsamic vinaigrette dressing
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. butter
1 T. finely chopped fresh parsley

Cook carrots in boiling water in large saucepan
on medium heat 4-6 minutes, or until crisp-
tender. Cook dressing, sugar & butter in small
saucepan on low heat 3-5 minutes or until
thickened, stirring occasionally. Drain carrots;
return to saucepan. Add sauce, stir. Cook 2-3
minutes or until carrots are heated through and
evenly coated with sauce. Sprinkle top with parsley.

Makes 8 servings, 1/2 C. each.

(recipe: Kraft Foods)
———————————————–

Double Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
(appetizer)


16 large fresh mushrooms
2 T. butter
2 T. finely chopped onions
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. (Kraft) Philadelphia Chive & Onion
cream cheese spread
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
14 butter crackers, finely crushed (about
1/2 C., divided)

1 T. finely chopped fresh parsley, divided

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Remove stems from mushrooms; set aside.

Using a melon baller, carefully scoop small
amount of flesh from each mushroom cap.
Finely chop removed flesh & stems. Place
caps, hollowed-sides up, on parchment-
covered rimmed baking sheet. Melt  butter

in large skillet on medium heat. Add chopped
flesh, stems & onions; cook & stir 5 minutes
or until tender; remove from heat. Stir in
next 3 ingredients and half each of the
cracker crumbs & parsley; *spoon into
mushroom caps & top with remaining
crumbs. Bake 25 minutes or until heated
through; sprinkle with remaining parsley.

NOTE: for best results, use mushrooms with
caps that are about 2 inches in diameter.
*You can also use the melon baller to portion
the filling into the caps.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
==============================

 

I’m sure there will be lots more holiday recipes coming up soon. How’s your WEATHER? It’s been ‘decent’ here, clear & in the mid-30’s, not bad BUT today things are changing. Right now it’s 36 degrees F., VERY WINDY, gray and raining; I’ve heard predictions that snow is in the very near future for our area (hope not). We’ll just have to wait & see (for me, it’s now ‘hat, scarf & mittens’ weather).

Hope things are going well for you in your holiday preparations. Yesterday I suddenly thought of another person that I ‘might’ make a scarf for (our head bank teller); we’ll see how the next few days go on that one.

Enjoy your days!

 

Hugs;

 

Pammie

 

 

One Week Away . . .

C

Here we are one week until Christmas! How are YOU doing with your preparations (shopping/baking/wrapping/etc.)? Like my last post, I’m slowly ‘getting there’ – accidentally found the window ‘decals’ that I usually put on the bathroom mirrors and on the back door window – they were stuck to the underside of the Christmas placemats! Strange, but it made me happy – I’d been wondering where they went! ALMOST all of the decorating is done – the main Christmas tree stands in the livingroom awaiting it’s lights before being lifted onto the piano top. Yesterday found my dear husband patiently trying to figure out why only half of a strand of lights worked (the ones that used to be on the garland over the fireplace). He patiently worked at checking each individual light and socket, only to finally say: “Throw these out!” I told him we could just buy a new strand, but he’s diligent and frugal (at times), so he persevered. The new strand of lights is up on the fireplace, the garland & lights are on the secretary, lighted wreath in the window, ceramic lighted trees up – all that’s left is the main tree. Not sure, right now, just ‘when’ that will get done; husband just got home from an early morning trip to the car dealership to have our 2010 Dodge Ram van checked out – routine maintenance, then a quick trip to our appliance dealer to buy new plastic shelf supports for our over 30 yr old fridge. We have a Fridgidair – it’s been a real workhorse for us BUT there’s one manufacturing ‘FLAW’ – they made these flimsy plastic braces for the ‘in the door’ shelves; the braces/clips, whatever they call them have very THIN hooks that fit into the door – after approx. 2 yrs the plastic gets fragile and snaps – another trip to buy more. Each time we go to this place they can’t seem to find the part. My husband took down all the information and then ended up calling me: “Will you check the inside of the fridge for the model #?” I had it all written down for him, but . . . after his verifying the info. with the lady, she said: “We don’t have that # with an ‘H’ at the end!” Anyway, he just came home with two new braces – YAY! Now our ‘in the door’ “stuff” (ketchup, mustard, Miracle Whip, salad dressings, etc.) are back in their old places, not inter-mingled with all of the top shelf ‘stuff’ in the fridge! YAY! (Aren’t you glad you now know that? Didn’t that just enrich your day??? hehehe).

Hey, how about the GAS PRICES lately? Don’t know about your neck of the woods but here they are down to $3.17/9 a gallon for the lowest grade – WOW! Yesterday I was amazed when I saw $3.29, then later in the day it had dropped to $3.19 – husband said it’s $3.17 today! Hope it stays that way for the holidays – lots of people are traveling and that would really help them.

Food/recipes/baking, etc.: still haven’t managed to get any baking done BUT did figure out a shortcut for our mail lady. Sunday was my turn to bring Sunday School snacks – I’d gone to WalMart and found those little mini-frosted cupcakes and some nice fruit breads. When we got home Sunday afternoon, there were still LOTS of the cupcakes so I decided to wrap some up along with some mini gingerbread men and some mini candybars thrown in for fun. I try, every year, to leave some treats for our mail lady – she’s very nice and always seems so surprised to get them. (guess not many people think of their mail people – to me, they do a much needed service and deserve something!) Tomorrow is the ‘appointed’ day for grocery shopping – have on my list “Christmas Bread mixes” – so that’s not far off (those are for our neighbors – they seem to like getting ‘homemade’ breads each year.) Just got 3 ‘very ripe’ frozen bananas out of the freezer to make banana bread, just to have it on hand. With middle son not living here, foods don’t get eaten like they used to. (Sent about 12 mini cupcakes home with him the other day – I’m always looking for opportunities to ‘send food home’ with him – helps with leftovers, too!). Lots of holiday recipes coming – my job is just to post them for you!
=================================
Pumpkin Gingerbread


1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 C. pumpkin puree*
1/2 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. dark brown sugar
1/2 C. molasses
1 T. finely minced candied or fresh ginger
(optional)
2 eggs, beaten
3 T. water
1/2 C. raisins (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan with nonstick spray
or butter. In medium bowl, vigorously whisk flour,
salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon & nutmeg. In
another bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together
pumpkin puree, melted butter, sugar, molasses,
fresh/candied ginger, eggs & water. Combine wet &
dry ingredients. Add raisins (if desired) Stir only to
incorporate. Pour batter into pan, bake 50-60
minutes (when wooden toothpick inserted into
center of loaf comes out clean). Remove from oven
let cool in pan 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around
edge of loaf, invert onto a wire rack; let cool 30
minutes or longer. The loaf’s flavor will improve
with time. If you cut it while it’s still warm, it may
be crumbly. Makes 1 loaf.

*To make pumpkin puree:
Using pieces of leftover pumpkin, roast or boil
pieces until tender, then remove skin. Smash
cooked pumpkin with a fork. If using whole
pumpkin, sugar pumpkins work best. Cut in
half, scoop out strings & seeds, bake pumpkin
halves 350 degrees F. on a foil-lined baking pan
until soft, about 45 minutes-60 minutes. When
cool, scoop out flesh & mash with a fork.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————————–
Chestnut Turkey Stuffing


2 lb. chestnuts
1 C. chicken broth
2 T. butter
1/4 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper
1/2 C. fresh bread crumbs
1 beaten egg

Slit chestnuts, bake or roast 20 minutes. Remove
both skins; place in a pan with the broth, using
only enough to cover them. Continue cooking
chestnuts until tender & almost dry, shaking to
prevent burning. Rub through a fine sieve; add
remaining ingredients & mix together.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
———————————————
Rum Balls


1 (6 oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 C.)
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. rum
3 T. light corn syrup
2 C. crushed vanilla wafers (44)
1 C. ground walnuts
confectioners sugar (to roll balls in)

In a saucepan melt chocolate over low heat.
Stir in sugar, rum & corn syrup. Fold in wafers &
nuts. Shape into balls, using 2 T. of mixture for
each ball. Roll in confectioners sugar. Store in
an air-tight container for several days before
serving.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————————-
Gingered Squash & Apple Soup


3 T. vegetable oil or butter
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 scallions, white part only, chopped
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1 large green apple (Granny Smith,
Pippen, etc) peeled, cored & diced
5 C. chicken stock
1 C. apple juice or cider
2 lb. (about 8 C.) peeled & diced
butternut squash
salt & pepper
1/2 C. chopped chives

Heat oil in large pot; cook celery & scallions
over medium heat, until soft, about 3 minutes.
Stir in both gingers, pepper & apple; cook until
fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add stock, apple
juice & squash. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Partially cover & simmer about 20 minutes or
until squash is very tender. Puree in blender or
food processor until smooth. (If consistency is
too thick, add water or stock). Taste for salt &
pepper. Serve, sprinkled with chives. Makes 8
servings.

(recipe: MomsMenu.com)
——————————————
Watergate Salad


1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice,
undrained
1 (3.4 oz) Jello Pistachio instant pudding mix
1 C. miniature marshmallows
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1 1/2 C. Cool Whip, thawed

Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl,
stir in Cool Whip & refrigerate 1 hour.
Makes 8 servings, about 1/2 cup each

(recipe: Kraft foods)
————————————
Creamy Crab & Red Pepper Spread


2 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
1 (8 oz) tub cream cheese, softened
1 (6 oz) can lump crabmeat, drained
1/2 C. shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
1 T. Dijon mustard
crackers

Reserve 2 T. onions. Mix remaining onions
with all remaining ingredients except
crackers. Refrigerate 1 hour. Top with
reserved onions & serve with crackers.
Makes 18 servings, 2 T. cheese spread &
5 crackers each.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
————————————–
5-Minute Fudge Ring

(READ RECIPE BEFORE MAKING,
TIME-SENSATIVE DIRECTIONS)


1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
9 oz (3/4 of a 12 oz bag) butterscotch morsels
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8 oz) can walnut halves
1/2 C. currants
8 inch cake pan, lightly greased with
softened butter
Candied cherries, red & green, for garnish
(optional)

Place a heavy pot on stove, preheat over low
heat. Add chips & milk; stir until chips are
melted & milk combined. Save empty condensed
milk can. Stir in vanilla & remove fudge from heat.
Add nuts & currants, stir in immediately. Cover
empty condensed milk can with plastic food wrap,
center it in greased cake pan. Spoon fudge into pan
around can, making sure to recenter can if it drifts.
The fudge will set up ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. Garnish
can only be added in first minute or two the fudge
is in the pan, so work quickly. Decorate your wreath
with ‘holly’ made from cut candied red & green
cherries. You can also decorate the wreath with a
fabric bow when serving. Chill, covered, in
refrigerator and slice fudge very thin when ready
to serve – very rich fudge. Makes 2 lb./32 servings

(recipe: Food Network)
———————————————-
Triple Chocolate Fantasy Bars


1 (18 1/4 or 18 1/2 oz) pkg. chocolate cake mix
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 C. chopped nuts
1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand CREAMY CHOCOLATE
sweetened condensed milk (NOT evap. milk)
1 (6 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix,
oil & egg; beat on medium speed until
crumbly. Stir in nuts. Reserving 1 1/2 C.
crumb mixture, press remainder on bottom
of greased 9 X 13 baking pan. In small
saucepan, combine Eagle Brand with
remaining ingredients. Over medium heat,
cook & stir until chips melt; pour evenly
over prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved
crumb mixture evenly over top. Bake
25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Cool
thoroughly; cut into bars. Makes 24-36
bars.

(recipe: Mary Free-Mary’s Recipe Exchange)
—————————————-
Spicy Deviled Eggs


12 hard-cooked eggs, shells removed
1 packet Ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 T. sweet pickle relish
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. Ranch salad dressing
1 tsp. yellow mustard
paprika, for dusting

Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully
scoop yolks into a bowl; mash with a
fork until they reach a grainy
consistency. Stir in salad dressing mix
then cayenne pepper. Add pickle relish;
mix well. Stir in mayonnaise, ranch salad
dressing & mustard. Pipe egg mixture into
the egg white halves using a pastry bag
OR a zip-top bag with a small corner
snipped off. Arrange on serving platter &
dust tops with paprika. Chill, covered,
until serving time. Makes 24 halves.

(recipe: Kroger)
———————————————-
Spinach Appetizers


1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
cooked, drained & cooled
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/3 C. Parmesan cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
garlic powder, to taste
flour tortillas

Blend all ingredients well. Spread on
tortilla shells. Roll up & chill. Slice
about 1/2 inch thick & serve.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys
Recipe Exchange)
—————————–
Cheesy Bacon Chicken Breasts

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 T. vegetable oil
1/4 C. barbecue sauce
2 T. prepared mustard
4 slices bacon, cooked until nearly crisp
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt butter or margarine in large
skillet over medium-high heat. Add
chicken breasts; saute until just cooked,
don’t brown. Place chicken on a lined
cookie sheet. Spread a little barbecue
sauce, then mustard, evenly on top
of each breast. Arrange a bacon slice
on each breast, then cover all with
cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until
chicken is cooked through & juices
run clear.

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe
Exchange)
————————————
Honey Carrots with Toasted Almonds


1 lb. baby carrots
1/4 C. golden raisins (optional)
2 T. margarine
2 T. honey
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
1/4 C. sliced almonds, toasted

Steam carrots & raisins on stovetop
or in microwave until tender; drain.
Stir in margarine, honey, lemon juice
& ginger. Spoon into serving bowl &
sprinkle top with almonds. Serve hot.
Serves 4

(recipe: Unilever)
————————————–
Lemon-Basil Roasted Vegetables


3 T. margarine, melted
2 large zucchini and/or yellow squash,
chopped
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, seeded & chopped
1/4 C. loosely packed fresh basil
leaves, thinly sliced
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 450 Degrees F.
Toss margarine, zucchini, red
peppers & red onion in shallow
roasting pan. Roast until vegetables
are tender, about 45 minutes. Toss
hot vegetables with garlic. Arrange
tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, lemon
peel & black pepper in large bowl.
Combine roasted vegetables with
tomatoes. Serve warm, room
temperature or chilled. Serves 6

(recipe: Unilever)
————————————
Mashed Potato Layer Bake


3 1/4 lb. baking potatoes (about 9), peeled
chopped & cooked
1/2 lb. sweet potatoes (about 1 large),
peeled, chopped & cooked
1 (8 oz) tub Philadelphia Chive & Onion
cream cheese spread
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. (Kraft) shredded Triple Cheddar
Cheese with a touch of Philadelphia

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Place potatoes in separate bowls. Add half each
of cream cheese spread, sour cream & pepper to
each bowl; mash until potatoes are creamy. Stir
half of Parmesan into white potatoes, then stir
half of Cheddar into sweet potatoes. Layer half
each of potatoes in 2 qt clear casserole dish;
repeat layers. Bake 15 minutes; top with
remaining cheeses, bake 5 minute or until
melted. Makes 14 servings (1/2 C. each)

NOTE: Can be made ahead; Do not add cheese
topping. Refrigerate casserole & cheese topping
separately up to 3 days. When ready to serve,
bake casserole, uncovered, as directed, increasing
baking time as needed until casserole is heated
through. Top with remaining cheeses & continue
as directed.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
—————————————–
Slow-Cooker Chunky Chicken Chili


1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans,
rinsed
1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans,
rinsed
1 1/2 C. thick & chunky salsa
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
2 T. chili powder
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs,
cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 C. frozen corn
1 C. (Kraft) Mexican-style finely shredded
Four cheese

Combine beans, salsa, tomato sauce & chili powder
in slow cooker. Top with chicken, onions & corn.
DO not stir. Cover & cook, on LOW 6-8 hours,
or High 4-5 hours. Stir just before serving. Serve,
topped with cheese. Makes 8
(1 C. each) servings

(recipe: Kraft foods)
————————————
Caramel Apple Bites
Filling:
1/3 C. finely chopped unpeeled apple
1/3 C. evaporated milk
1/3 C. sugar
1/3 C. chopped walnuts

Dough:
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 C. flour

Topping:
1 (14 oz) pkg. caramels
2/3 C. evaporated milk
wooden toothpicks
1 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In small saucepan, combine filling
ingredients. Cook & stir over medium
heat until thickened; set aside to cool.

In large bowl, cream butter & sugars until
light & fluffy. Beat in egg, then vanilla.
Combine flour & salt; gradually add to
creamed mixture; mix well.

Shape dough into 1 in. balls; flatten &
place 1/4 tsp. filling in center of each. Fold
dough over filling, reshape into balls. Place
1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly
browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In small saucepan over Low heat, cook
caramels & evaporated milk until
caramels are melted; stir until smooth.
Insert a toothpick into each cookie & dip
into caramel until completely coated;
allow excess to drip off. Dip bottoms into
chopped nuts; place on wire racks to set.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
=========================

Well, dears, that’s the news for today. I’m finding I’m posting LOTS of sweets recipes and not so many savory recipes, but that’s just what’s ‘coming down the Pike’, so to speak. Health-wise I’m doing good/well-was almost expecting today to be a day of tired (lots of down on the floor sitting Indian-style, on my hands & knees under the baby grand piano, etc.) – lots of movement, but surprisingly, I’m doing GREAT! Tonight’s the Knit group Christmas gathering so I’m trying to ‘lay low’ on the extra activities, just so I have enough energy for that. Been knitting baby hats in between doing all the decorating; it helps me relax and recoup my strengths.

Stay healthy – enjoy the days ahead!

Hugs;

Pammie