Today is the day to get those last little things done! Called Panera Bread to order 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies for my knit group tomorrow night(check) every year I get choc. chip cookies, put them on a platter along with mini candy bars – my Christmas present to the group. Called Purple Heart to find out why they DIDN’T pick up our stuff Friday (they’re coming tomorrow – now check); took the 21 lb turkey out of the freezer, into downstairs fridge (check); went to Arizona Saddlery to order mooseskin moccasins for husband’s birthday (Jan 23) – check; visited library for the next three books by my new favorite (joint) authors David Preston & Lincoln Child – ended up buying one of their books at a used book sale; they are certainly ‘different’ – their usual theme involves a police captain, an FBI agent and some bad happenings/murders at unusual locations (libraries/museums, etc.) – after about 4 books they’re kinda predictable, but still enjoyable so I plan on reading through their entire collection written thus far (think I’ve read about 4-5 now). Got gas at Clark $1.76/9 – had some trouble with the pump so I had to go inside to pre-pay – told them $22.00, ended up I could only fit around $21.39 in the tank – the remainder (if they use it) is a gift to the next one at that pump – just didn’t feel like trudging back into the building again. OH! Got myself a Christmas present! I’m not usually one to do that BUT – while at Kroger (picking up the few remaining items – especially the stuff to make that Cranberry-raspberry Salad I posted yesterday) I spotted a Christmas Cactus! If you’re a frequent reader of my blog you know that I have a BLACK thumb when it comes to growing things – am really hoping I can keep this alive! My dear friend Mary/Momma on her blog posts photos of HER cactus each time it blooms – I kinda wanted one but had no idea where to even look to find one . . . and there were 2 at Kroger’s: one really bald and the one I bought RESPLENDENT WITH BLOOMS! Score!
isn’t the clearest, but you get the idea
Pralines & Cream Fudge
3 C. white chocolate chips
1 (14.5 oz) can sweetened
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. heavy whipping cream
1/4 C. salted butter (1/2 stick)
1 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. chopped pecans
Line an 8 X 8″ square pan with
parchment paper. Get 2 medium
saucepans – in one add white
choc. chips, sweetened. cond.
milk & 1 tsp. vanilla. Heat,
stirring constantly until completely
melted – Pour half of mixture into
Using second saucepan, pour brown
sugar, whipping cream, butter &
1 tsp. vanilla – bring to boil over
medium heat, stirring constantly.
Boil about 1 minute, remove from
heat. Immediately whisk in powdered
sugar & gently stir in pecans. Allow
mixture to thicken & cool slightly
them pour most of it over first layer
in pan. It will slightly set up – you
don’t have to wait for it to completely
set up before pouring on remaining
fudge then remaining nut mixture.
*If your fudge has hardened – you can
put it back on the stove for a minute &
stir gently to reheat & soften (be
careful not to scorch it). You can swirl
the nut layer into the other layers, if
desired. Allow fudge to set up at least
4-6 hours at room temp. or at least
2 hours in refrigerator before cutting.
You can use a knife to slide around
edges of pan then lift out parchment
& fudge – cut into squares.
Makes 36 squares.
Cheesy Black Bean Spinach Dip
2 T. canola oil, divided
1 (12 oz.) pkg. frozen spinach,
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
2 (15.5 oz, ea) cans black beans,
3 chipotle peppers in adobo
sauce (can) minced plus 2 T.
1/4 C. salsa
8 oz. light cream cheese
6 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
6 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated
salt/pepper, to taste
cherry tomatoes, chopped (garnish)
cilantro, chopped (garnish)
tortilla chips, for dipping
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray an 8 X 8″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Briefly saute spinach until cooked
through. Add remaining oil to skillet; once
hot reduce heat to medium – add onion. Saute
until softened, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic &
ground cumin. Saute, stirring, 1 minute. Add
half of black beans, chipotles & adobo sauce,
3/4 C. water – bring to boil. Cook mixture,
stirring occasionally, until liquid has almost
entirely absorbed & evaporated, 3-5 minutes.
Remove from heat & let cool 2-3 minutes. In
bowl of food processor, combine bean mixture,
salsa & cream cheese – process until only a few
small chunks of bean remain. Add cooked
spinach, half of remaining black beans & half
of cheeses. Pulse until evenly combined but
not smooth. Fold in remaining black beans &
season with salt/pepper. Pour dip into prepared
baking dish, top with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese bubbles & begins
to brown. Garnish with chopped cherry tomatoes
& cilantro. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
*if you are sensative to spice, reduce the amount
of chipotle peppers – you can always add more,
Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Chip Cake
Cake base layer:
1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 C. chocolate chips
1 C. chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease 9 X 13″ pan. In bowl
of elec. mixer combine cake mix,
egg & butter; mix well & pat into
bottom of pan, set aside. Still using
elec. mixer, beat cream cheese until
smooth; add egg & vanilla. Add
powdered sugar & beat well. Reduce
speed of mixer & slowly pour in
butter; mix well. Pour filling onto
cake mixture & spread evenly. Sprinkle
chocolate chips & nuts on top of
filling. Bake 40-50 minutes. (check
with toothpick inserted into center
as to ‘doneness’ – you want the center
to be a little gooey).
(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)
Crockpot Sausage Dinner
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans green beans
4 (14.5 oz, ea) cans whole new
salt/pepper, to taste
1 -2 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
2 (10.75 oz, ea) cans cream of
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
Pour green beans into crockpot;
pour potatoes over beans & sprinkle
with salt/pepper. Place sausage
slices on top & pour soup over
that. Top with cheese; cover &
cook on Low 4-6 hours. Stir before
serving. Serves 8
1 (16 oz) pkg. linguine
1 C. chopped sweet red pepper
1 C. chopped green pepper
1/3 C. chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled/thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 C. olive oil
2 lb. cooked small shrimp, peeled/
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
Cook linguine accordg to pkg. directions.
In Dutch oven, saute peppers, onion,
garlic & seasonings in oil until vegetables
are tender. Add shrimp; cook & stir
2-3 minutes longer until heated through.
Drain linguine; toss with shrimp mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 8
Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Bread
1/2 C. apple juice
4-5 apples, peeled & chopped
1 T. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 T. cinnamon
1 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. flour
1/3 C. oil
1 tsp. salt
Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Mix all ingredients together &
pour into crockpot. Cover & cook on
Low 5 hours until firm. NOTE: the
middle was slow to cook in this recipe
so make sure that the middle is
completely firm before serving.
Baked Jalapeno Popper Chicken Sliders
12 potato rolls (poster used Hawaiian rolls)
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese,
5 strips bacon, cooked crispy & chopped
2 chicken breasts, cooked/shredded
1 large jalapeno, seeded/diced
1 1/2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Remove rolls from pkg. – do not separate.
Use a serrated knife to cut in half horizontally
so all bottoms & tops are separated. Place
bottoms in a 9 X 13″ baking dish. In large
bowl combine cream cheese & 1 C. Jack
cheese. Add bacon, chicken & jalapeno –
mix until ingredients are evenly combined.
Spread chicken mixture over roll bottoms in
an even layer. Sprinkle remaining 1 C. Jack
cheese evenly over chicken mixture. Place
tops on rolls & brush tops with melted
butter. Sprinkle tops evenly with garlic
powder. Bake 20 minutes until butter
bakes into rolls & cheese is melted.
Carefully remove from pan. Use a
spatula to cut between all the rolls,
separating them from each other.
Serve warm. Makes 12 sliders.
NOTE: You can double this recipe-
Cranberry Caramel Bars
1 C. fresh cranberries
2 T. sugar
2 1/3 C. flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 C. uncooked regular oats
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 C. firmly packed light brown
1 C. butter or margarine, melted
1 (10 oz) pkg. chopped dates
3/4 C. chopped pecans
1 (12 oz) jar caramel sauce
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 13″ baking pan with
heavy duty foil – leave a little
overhang so that you can lift bars
out to cut with no problem. Combine
2 T. sugar in small bowl with cran-
berries. Combine 2 C. flour, baking
soda, oats & rest of sugars; stir in
melted butter until crumbly. Reserve
1 C. mixture. Press remaining
mixture into bottom of prepared
pan by placing a piece of waxed
paper over top of mixture in pan &
pressing down to flatten mixture.
Remove waxed paper & bake
Remove from oven & sprinkle top
with dates, pecans & cranberry
mixture. Stir caramel sauce &
remaining 1/3 C. flour together
until smooth & spoon over top.
Sprinkle top with reserved 1 C.
flour mixture & bake an additional
20 minutes until lightly browned.
Cool on wire rack. Lift out of pan
using foil overhang then cut into
24 small or 18 large bars.
Later today I get to pick up grandson from
the bus stop – we’ll have him for a few
hours. They will be coming over Christmas
day for dinner, but this was an extra
Only a few ‘things to do’ left on the list:
dust/vacuum dining & living rooms, dust/
wash glass on china cabinet, bake the 72
sugar cookies & box ‘o gingerbread men
then frost them (Yes, I ‘could’ do that with
grandson, but if you remember I’m a
“Type A” personality with loads of
OCD (obsessive/compulsive behavior) –
read that as “I HATE MESSES!” Baking with
a child is NOT something that rings FUN
to me! Even IF he’s my grandson! Sorry-
no can do! Not much else to do – maybe
a half hour left on the white baby blanket
knitting – I’ve been reading more than I’ve
been knitting these past few days. Oh –
still have to wrap the presents and (on
Christmas Eve) stuff the stockings on the
mantle/fireplace – but we’re pretty much
ON SCHEDULE for the events – YAY!
Hope your plans & dreams are coming
together just as you dreamed/wanted
them to! Remember to get some rest –
everyone needs a little extra ‘zip’ this
time of year!