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 . . .

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

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)
————————————-

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)
——————————

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)
————————————-

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

 

 

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