Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Wish

A friend of mine sent this picture of home (WV), and I couldn't resist putting it on the post as I wish all of my family, friends and blog buddies a very Happy Christmas! I will be enjoying my family and the holidays and wish the same for all of you.


Hot Mulled Cider-Time to Relax!

My brother, Greg, has a Christmas Pot Luck Party every year. Everyone brings a dish and he furnishes some of his homemade goodies and punch. Unfortunately, I've only gotten to enjoy this get-together a couple of times because of distance and circumstances. I know that one of his parties that I enjoyed had a punch bowl full of a warm cinnamon apple drink that Greg called, "wassail".

I looked through my books and Holiday Scrapbook, but the closest that I came to wassail was this recipe for cider that you fix in the crock pot. I thought, now that we're only 2 days away from Christmas, it would be a good recipe to share. It's time to relax in front of the fire (or just at the kitchen table) with a warm mug of cider and reflect on the year while we count our blessings! Love you, Greg.

Hot Mulled Cider

1 tsp whole cloves
1/4 C brown sugar
One 3" long cinnamon stick
1 orange, sliced

Tie cloves in cheesecloth or put in a tea strainer. Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cover; cook on low for 3-6 hrs.

Another option:
1 gal. cider
2 lt. ginger ale
4 oz. Red Hot Candies

Cook in crock on low for 3-6 hrs.

I'll be at these swaps:


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fudge: Traditional Way-Easy Way!

Fudge is my favorite Christmas sweet! Iced sugar cookies are a close second, but how could any confection made with a pound of butter not be the "Queen of Sweets"?!

My Mom sent me a recipe when the boys were little that is such a fast way to make fudge, that there's no excuse not to. It's become such a safety net recipe during rushed holidays that it has an honored spot in my Holiday Scrapbook. It's an old clipping that she converted into a microwave version with her gracefully handwritten side-notes. "Marcia, I used white chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave oven. -Mom M." If you like, you can substitute chocolate or peanut butter chips to make two more varieties of Mom's speedy fudge. It is simply a great fudge recipe!

Another high point of the Christmas dessert table was my Aunt Vivian's fudge. She gives complete credit to someone named Parks, but in our family, it will forever be "Aunt Vivian's White Fudge". It is a creamy white fudge that's loaded with nuts. The down side is that it's finicky. It has to be made on a dry day (little humidity) and the beating time, "is a Bear!" She said to put 2 1/2-3 hrs. as the prep time. I've made this fudge, and she's not kidding! She told me, over the phone last night, that she's worn out three electric hand mixers, making this fudge; I recommend Black Walnuts if you're in for the work that it takes to make this delicious fudge!

Fudge: Traditional Way

Aunt Vivian's White Christmas Fudge

1 bottle clear Karo Syrup
5 3/4 C sugar
1 lb. unsalted butter
1 large can Pet Evaporated Milk
1 lb. chopped nuts

Put all ingredients except the nuts in a heavy pan. Cook, stirring frequently, to soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer until it starts to gather around the beaters. Mix in chopped nuts and pour into greased pans. Let it set up; cut into squares. Prep time: 2 1/2-3 hrs.

Fudge: Easy Way!

Mom's Lightening Fast Microwave Fudge

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
4 C confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. white chocolate (Mom melts white chocolate chips in the microwave)
3/4 C chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. In a double boiler, melt chocolate (microwave for faster results). Fold into cream cheese mixture with pecans. Spread into 8-in. baking pan. Chill until ready to serve. Cut into squares. Yield: about 48 pieces.

I will be at these swaps:

RFW KellytheKitchenKop

Monday, December 21, 2009

"This is the Week!" Menu Plan

It's here! The week of Christmas, or better known as, "countdown week" for most moms! Time to start thawing large menu items from the freezer; sitting in the closet and counting the number of gifts for each person (and what might still be needed); checking for batteries for the camera and new unopened items that will require them; and wrapping, baking, hunting addresses down in order to mail stray Christmas cards... and anything and everything else that's not complete! Christmas is Friday! Put a smile on and enjoy it, though, because it won't come around for another whole year (some say, "That's a blessing!")

Here's my menu for the week:

Monday, Dec. 21

Bisquick Chicken and Dumplings
green beans

Tuesday, Dec. 22

Cornbread muffins

Wednesday, Dec. 23

Corn Chowder (Mary Engelbreit Cookbook)
Crackers/Cheese ball

Thursday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve)

Steaks on grill/shrimp
baked potato bar
punch and cookies

Friday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day)

French Toast
Fresh fruit

Baked Ham
Homemade Cheese Potatoes
Corn/Brussels Sprouts
Sweet Potatoes
Hot rolls
Iced tea
Red Velvet Cake

Saturday, Dec. 26

Irish Oatmeal (crock pot)

Pot Roast w/ vegetables (crock pot)
French garlic bread

Sunday, Dec. 27

Lunch: Homemade pizzas

Dinner: Leftover Buffet

* Don't miss tomorrow's post! Fudge: Traditional Way (My Aunt Vivian's Park's Fudge!)-Easy Way! (My Mom's Lightening Fast Microwave Fudge!)*

I'll be at Orgjunkie today for MPM!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Aldi's Home for the Holidays Cook Book

For those of you who might not have an Aldi's grocery store in your area, it is a store that specializes in private label groceries that are of good quality, but lower in price. There is also less overhead, because the customer brings her own bags and loads the groceries herself, kind of like a "grocery warehouse". I used to shop at Aldi's about once every month when we lived in WV because there was one close-by. This holiday cook book that I'm reviewing today was offered by Aldi's one year between Thanksgiving and Christmas; you know me...I'm a easy-sell when it comes to cook books!

This book turned out to be one of my favorites because of its simplicity and full-color photos of the recipes. There are only 91 pages of recipes-all baked goods and holiday desserts. As you open each beautiful 2-page spread, the left-hand page is the recipe, and the right-hand page is the full-color photo of the finished product. Told you! Simple formula, but very well-done. The recipes themselves are the stars of the book; each one is great from the Mexican Wedding Cookies (La Mas Rica) to the Coconut, Cherry and White Chocolate Bars. I chose a recipe for a holiday quick bread for our sample recipe. Its publication date is 2005 by Publications International and the ISBN is 1-4127-2271-3. It also gives a website for Aldi's:

page 50 Friendly Farms Cherry Eggnog Quick Bread
(makes 3 mini loaves)

2 1/2 C Grandma's Best all-purpose flour
3/4 C Sweet Harvest granulated sugar
1 TBSP Baker's Corner baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 C Friendly Farms dairy eggnog
1/2 C (1 stick) Happy Farms butter, melted and cooled
2 GoldHen eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp Spice Club pure vanilla
1/2 C chopped Southern Grove pecans
1/2 C coarsely-chopped candied red cherries

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 5 1/2x3" mini loaf pans w/ Ariel No-Stick Cooking Spray.

-Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and nutmeg in a large bowl. Combine eggnog, butter, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl; stir until well-blended. Add eggnog mixture to flour mixture. Mix just until all ingredients are moistened. Stir in pecans and cherries. Spoon into prepared pans.

-Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire racks. Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature.

I will be at these swaps today:


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cookies: Traditional Way-Easy Way!

Both of these cookie recipes are winners! Both come from a neighborhood cookie swap that was an annual event on Sherwood Circle. My past neighbors and I would get together and have a great time over punch and coffee the week before Christmas. All that you needed for admission to this "bash" were several dozen homemade cookies and copies of the recipe to pass out.

Santa's Whiskers (Traditional Cookie)
Jennifer Ferguson (fellow-mommy from the neighborhood play group)

1 C butter or margarine, softened
1 C sugar
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 C flour
3/4 C chopped red and green candied cherries
1/2 C chopped pecans
3/4 C flaked coconut

Cream butter; gradually add sugar until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla; beating until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients except coconut. Shape into 2 cylinders (8x2"), roll each in coconut. Cover and chill 3 to 4 hours; cut into 1/4" slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheets; bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes. Cool an wire racks. Yield: about 4 1/2 dozen.

Potato Chip Cookies (Easy Cookie!)
Karen Spradlin (neighbor across the street)

4 sticks butter (or 2 sticks butter/2 sticks margarine)
1 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 C flour
1 C crushed potato chips

Cream butter and sugar; add vanilla and flour. Mix well and add potato chips. Drop on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on racks.

I will be at these recipe swaps today:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Easy Meatball Stew!

Here's a quick fix to the question, "What's for dinner? I really need some of these kinds of recipes during the month of December! And, another great aspect of this recipe is that it contains an ingredient that most cooks already have in their freezers around the holidays-frozen meatballs!

Meatball Stew
Iris Schultz, Miamisburg, Ohio (Old Taste of Home Magazine)

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 pkg. (16 oz.) fresh baby carrots, quartered
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, sliced
1 pkg. (12 oz.)frozen cooked meatballs
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) beef gravy
1 C water
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 tsp beef bouillon granules

Place the potatoes, carrots, onion, celery and meatballs in a 5 qt. slow cooker. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over meatball mixture. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or until vegetables are crisp tender. Makes 6 servings.

I will be at:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chocolate-Pecan Turtles: Traditional Way-Easy Way!

My mom is a fan of Turtle Candy. Each year someone in the family usually springs for a box of the gooey pecan treats to hide under the tree for her. After all, who can resist the combination of pecans, caramel and chocolate?! Mom is always willing to share, therefore, her offspring grew up loving turtle confections, too. Today, I'd like to share both my more time-consuming version, as well as my spare-of-the-moment-type turtle recipes. Turtle candies look great on a cookie tray or in gift boxes, but beware, they won't last long!

Caramel-Pecan Snappers
(Hershey Ad)

3/4 C sugar
1/4 C shortening
1/4 C butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 C Gold Medal Flour
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C chopped pecans
36 caramels, unwrapped
2 TBSP milk
1 C Hershey's Chocolate Chips (6 oz.), melted

-Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, shortening, vanilla and egg. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

-Shape dough into 1" balls. On ungreased cookie sheets place balls 3" apart. With greased bottom of glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls slightly. Press 1 tsp pecans into each cookie.

-Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until set but not brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

-In small microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and milk on High for 2 to3 minutes, stirring every minute until smooth. Spoon caramel over cookies; top with melted chocolate. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

TO MELT CHOCOLATE: Use small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until melted. Or microwave chocolate chips in a small microwavable bowl on High 1 to 2 minutes, stir until smooth.

Turtles-The East Way!
(Old Taste of Home Magazine)

1 pkg. 14 oz. caramels, unwrapped
1/4 C butter, cubed
2 TBSP water
5 C mini pretzel twists
1 jar (18 oz.) chunky peanut butter
26 oz. milk chocolate candy coating (Almond Bark, or melted chocolate chips with a little paraffin will work, too)
1/2 C chopped pecans

-In a microwave-safe bowl, melt caramels with butter and water; stir until smooth. Spread one side of each pretzel twist with 1 tsp peanut butter; top with 1/2 tsp caramel mixture. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until set.

-In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate coating. Using a small fork, dip each pretzel into chocolate coating until completely covered; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper. Sprinkle tops with chopped pecans. Let stand until set. Store in air tight container in a cool, dry place. Yield: 8 1/2 dozen

I will be at these recipe swaps today:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan for the Week

Monday, Dec. 14
Spicy Sausage and Rice
Caesar Salad

Tuesday, Dec. 15
Tuna Casserole
Sweet Potato Bake

Wednesday, Dec. 16
Potato Soup
Grilled cheese sandwiches on wheat
Apple pie-after church

Thursday, Dec. 17
Chicken and Dumplings-guys
Green Bean Casserole

Friday, Dec. 18
Spaghetti w/ sauce in crock pot (meatballs)-guys
garlic toast

Saturday, Dec. 19

Buffalo Chicken-guys
Cocktail wieners-crock pot
veg. tray and dip
Pizza Bites

Sunday, Dec. 20
Pot Roast with vegetables
hot rolls

Leftover Buffet

I will be joining Orgjunkie for MPM today!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mary Engelbreit's 'Tis The Season Holiday Cookbook

Our cookbook for review today is a Christmas treat. Mary Engelbreit is a favorite writer and artist of my friend, Julie. Engelbreit is well-known for her whimsical art full of charm and vibrant colors. She is a self-proclaimed, "Queen of the Kitchen" even though she admits that her husband, Phil, is the chef in their house. This holiday cookbook has all of the sweetness and pop that you would expect of "Queen Mary".

If you don't cook much, but you enjoy Engelbreit's art, this would still be a great addition to your book shelf. If you do love to cook, you're in luck! This book, published in 2000 by Andrews McMeel Publishing is full of great recipes. Surprisingly, it isn't all about the cookies and fudge! There are actually more recipes for your dinner table during the holidays than there are recipes for sweets. This will be especially good news for those of you who have sugar restrictions. All of us have to continue to put meals on the table every evening, even amidst the hustle and bustle of shopping, school plays and other social events. Our sample recipe for today is a great "hurry-up and get back-out-the-door night" recipe for Corn Chowder. Oh, the ISBN, for those of you who might want to hunt this one down, is 0-7407-0586-5.

Page 28 Corn Chowder

5 slices bacon, cut cross-wise into 1/4" strips
1 large onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, cleaned and diced
1 poblano pepper, cleaned and minced (Opt.)
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, to taste, minced
4 C chicken stock or two 14 1/2 oz. cans low-sodium chicken broth plus 1/3 C water
1 lb. Yukon Gold or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
3 C fresh or thawed frozen corn
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp freshly-ground pepper, or to taste
3/4 C heavy cream
3 TBSP finely-chopped fresh cilantro

-In Dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, leaving about 1 TBSP of bacon drippings in pot (pour off excess.)

-Add peppers and onions to the pot, stirring frequently, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add stock and potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and boil gently until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook until the potatoes are tender but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes.

-Reduce the heat to low. Transfer about 1/2 C of the corn and potatoes, along with about 1/2 C of the broth, to a blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to the pot and stir until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the cream and reserved crisp bacon. Heat the soup through (do not let boil). Stir in the cilantro and serve.

I will be at these recipe swaps today"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cheese Ball: The Traditional Way-The Easy Way!

When you get together with friends over the holidays, nothing goes better with punch or Coke with Lime (my favorite drink on the planet!) than a good cheese ball. Sometimes you have the time to make an old-fashioned creamy cheese ball like my mom's Beef and Horseradish Cheese Ball, and sometimes you don't. A cheese spread with some fancy crackers around it will do, it just has to taste great and nobody will care if it's in a ball-shape! Here are a couple of cheese-based goodies for your Christmas party-take your pick!

My Mom's Beef and Horseradish Cheese Ball-The Traditional Way

1 jar of Dried Chipped Beef, diced
3 large packages of cream cheese
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce (I like a little more)
1 small onion, diced fine
Approx. 4 TBSP horseradish

Mix all ingredients together with half of the diced chipped beef. Roll into a ball. Garnish by rolling it in the rest of the diced beef and topping with a well-drained maraschino cherry. Serve with Toasteds or your favorite cracker.

Cheese Spread-The Easy Way!

1 large package of cream cheese
1 jar of raspberry chipotle salsa, hot pepper mustard or you own favorite salsa

Put cheese on platter and allow to come to room temp; just get the chill off. Pour salsa over top and put crackers around it.

I will be at these swaps:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Punch: Traditional Way-Easy Way!

Here's a couple of my favorite punch recipes. On the one, there are instructions to make a floating ice ring; it is worth the effort! That ice mold makes any punch look beautiful!

Make-Ahead Punch for 50-The Traditional Way

Two 3 oz. pkg. of Jello (desired color)
2 C hot water
2 C sugar
2 C water
2 qt. pineapple juice
2 C Real Lemon Juice Concentrate
1 oz. almond extract
3 qt. ginger ale or Sprite

Mix together Jello and hot water. Add sugar and 2 more cups of water (not hot); mix, adding pineapple juice, Real Lemon, and almond extract. Mix and freeze in 1/2 gallon milk cartons or plastic jugs.

Take out of freezer about 2 hrs. before serving, depending on the weather (temperature). Add ginger ale or Sprite. Serves 50.

Christmas Punch-The Easy Way!

5 C pineapple juice
1 bottle (24 oz.) sparkling apple juice

Chill punch ingredients; combine in punch bowl. Float molded ice ring in punch when ready to serve.

Ice Mold:
1 can (20 oz.) undrained pineapple chunks
1 orange, sliced and quartered
1 pint strawberries
mint sprigs

Combine undrained pineapple, fruit and mint in a 6-cup mold (Bundt pan will do). Add enough water or juice to fill. Freeze until solid. When ready to use, release ice from mold gently by dipping bottom of mold in warm water.

I will be at these swaps today:


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies: The Traditional Way-The Easy Way!

Have you started your cookie baking, yet? If you have, you're ahead of me! We've been busy with other things around completing the Christmas cards and getting decorations from the attic. We have yet to get the tree up! Maybe this weekend. In earlier times, it was a tradition in some parts of Europe to put the tree up and decorate it on Christmas eve (don't think I want to wait that long!)

The recipes that I'm anxious to share today are two versions of peanut butter cookies that I use for holidays. The first one is an old-fashioned, peanutty cookie with criss-cross design on top, just like grandma's and the second is a quicker version.

I made the quicker version for Ben's pre-school Christmas party years ago. I pressed the dough into elongated triangles. After they baked, and while they were still hot, I pressed mini twisted pretzels at the two corners of the triangle for antlers, and added two chocolate chips for eyes. A red gumdrop, in the third corner of the triangle, made a nose and... Rudolph appeared! Some of his little classmates were so thrilled with their cookie, that they wanted to carry it home to, "show Mommy" instead of eating it! You could make these Rudolph Cookies with any cookie dough that you like, but I think peanut butter is a little more substantial, and holds together better.

Peanut Butter Cookie-The Traditional Way

2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C margarine
1 C peanut butter
1 C sugar
1 C firmly-packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat margarine and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in sugars until well-blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture and combine. Chill dough. Shape into 1" balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 2" apart. Flatten with floured fork, making criss-cross pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 min. or until lightly-browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes 6 dozen.

Peanut Butter Cookies-The Easy Way!

1 C peanut butter
1 C sugar
1 egg

Combine ingredients; mix well. Shape into 1" balls and flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 min. (be careful not to overbake!) Makes 3 dozen.

I will be at BlessedwithGrace and and TimeOutTuesdays today for the swaps.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Menu-Week of Dec. 7

Thank a WWII Vet for your freedom!

Congratulations to all of the winners and participants in this weekend's Wichita Mountain Classic. The young people who show those beautiful animals have a real grasp of the concepts of responsibility, determination, and what it means to have goals. A big "Thank You" to the wonderful volunteers and sponsors who make the show possible every year!

We enjoyed a very busy weekend. Between the Wichita Mountain Classic and St. Barbara's Ball, we didn't slow down much! We wrapped-up the weekend on Sunday evening by relaxing and reacquainting ourselves with our family over pizza (yes, we happily broke from the "leftover buffet" tradition this week). Now, I have to get back to my usual Monday list of projects with some holiday items thrown into the list (I'm proud to say that I'm almost done with the Christmas cards!)

Monday, Dec. 7

BBQ Chicken Breasts
Macaroni and Cheese
Caesar Salad
Glazed Lemon Cake

Tuesday, Dec. 8

Fiesta Meatloaf
Scalloped Potatoes
Green beans

Wednesday, Dec. 9

Ham and Pinto Beans
Corn Bread
(Crescent Dogs)

Thursday, Dec. 10

Blueberry Pancakes
Turkey bacon

Friday, Dec. 11

Garlic toast

Saturday, Dec. 12

Grilled Pork chops
baked potatoes
Broccoli and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken (for guys)
carrots/celery sticks w/dip

Sunday, Dec. 13

Chicken and Noodles
mashed potatoes
Spinach Casserole

Leftover Buffet

I will be at Orgjunkie for MPM today.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Cookie Book

At the Pine Grove congregation where we attended in WV, our boys had a pair of "substitute grandparents" named Mickey and Lee; just one set of many doting "church grandparents" in that group!

Although there was an age discrepancy, Mickey and I were buddies in our cooking pursuits. We were very unevenly-matched; she was much more skilled at cooking and baking. This was a woman who made homemade Angel Food Cakes for church luncheons! One year, she surprised me with The Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook. It meant even more to me when I realized that she had saved up and used-up all of her Pillsbury UPC points that year to get it for me. What a sweet friend!

When Mickey learned that we would be moving out-of-state, her response was to pass to me some of her very sentimental possessions-two of her favorite cookbooks; one was "Mammaw" Larck's cookbook (that I've mentioned before) and this cookie book. The Cookie Cookbook was a gift from a friend who worked with her husband, Lee. Before he retired, Lee was a teamster. He drove large trucks for many years. One of his delivery stops was to K-Mart where he befriended a man named Sam Wood. At Christmastime, Sam would send along a gift to Mickey every year (she didn't say, but I'm sure that she was good to him with her baked goods all year; she was like that to everyone!) Our "Old Cookbook" today is one of those Christmas gifts from years ago that Sam sent to Mickey.

This book, written by Deloris Kitchel Clem, was published in 1966 by Castle Books. Just as its title implies, it is a straight forward book that doesn't waste time on stories or even pictures! There are only a couple of black and white photos of the cookies. However, what it lacks in embellishment it makes up for in good ol' cookies that you might remember Mom or Grandma baking in Christmases past. There is a recipe for every type of cookie; rolled, filled, drop, pressed, molded and formed! There are even some old German recipes for traditional holiday cookies from the author's grandmother's collection. The sample recipe that I've chosen is from page 268, because I plan to get out my cookie press and make come cookies that I remember from past holidays. Good luck finding this one!

Pg. 268 Holiday Press Cookies

2 C cake flour, sifted
3/4 C butter, soft
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 egg yolk, unbeaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
candied cherries

Measure sifted cake flour and sift. Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolk to creamed mixture; beat well. Add sifted flour, a small amount at a time, to creamed mixture; mix thoroughly after each addition. Blend vanilla into dough.

Chill dough. Press chilled dough through cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate cookies with candied cherries, multi-colored sprinkles, silver dragees or nuts. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes. Makes 6 doz. cookies.

I will be at these swaps today:


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip; Traditional Way-Easy Way

On a personal note: A big salute and Thank You! to Mr. Kenneth Gregory who attends church with me. He makes the greatest Green Tomato Salsa that I have ever eaten. Christmas came early when he brought us a jar last night!!

Speaking of Hot!, my boys all like Buffalo Chicken Wings, so this is very popular when I make it. I took this to two Christmas parties last year and it was a hit at both! Both versions are very good, but one's a little easier.

Buffalo Chicken Dip-The Traditional Way

Boil 2 chicken breasts; cool and shred the meat. Set aside.

2 pkg. cream cheese
12 oz. bottle of Kraft Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
3 oz. of hot sauce (original recipe calls for 6 oz. but that was too hot)
1 C shredded cheddar cheese

Spread mixture of cream cheese, blue cheese dressing and hot sauce into greased 13x9 dish (I use a quiche dish). Layer shredded chicken on top, and put shredded cheddar over all. Bake 25 min. at 350 degrees. Serve with tortilla chips.

Hot Wing Dip-The Easy Way!
Braum's Holiday Recipe Pamphlet from '07

8 oz. Braum's Cream Cheese, softened
12 oz. Frank's Red Hot Sauce (I cut this waaaay down!)
20 oz. canned chicken, drained well
16 oz. Ranch Dressing

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Pour into 9x13 greased dish and microwave until hot! Serve with chips or crackers (I like it on celery!)

I'll be at LifeasMom and JoyofDesserts for the recipe swaps today.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peanut Butter Fudge; The Traditional Way-The Easy Way!

In my scrapbook of holiday recipes, this is the traditional version of peanut butter fudge that I use. It is my son, Blake's favorite and that is, of course, noted along with, "sent to Japan '07 and '08".

Peanut Butter Fudge-The Traditional Way
Della Armstrong, Pine Grove Church of Christ

4 C sugar
1 can evaporated milk
2 sticks butter

-Cook over medium heat. Boil to soft ball stage (about 20 min.)

-Remove from heat. Add:
1 C peanut butter
One 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream

-Mix until desired consistency, with mixer. Pour into buttered 9"x13" pan.

-Add one 12 oz. package of chocolate chips in place of peanut butter for chocolate fudge.

Peanut Butter Fudge-The Easy Way
(Very rich)

-1 regular-sized jar of peanut butter
microwave in glass bowl until pourable consistency(about 1 1/2 min.)

-Stir in 1 can of sour cream or vanilla flavored frosting and mix until blended.

-Microwave 1 1/2 minutes and pour into buttered glass baking dish.

I will be at these swaps today:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas the Traditional Way-Christmas the Easy Way!

I'm so excited that the month of December is here! I can now start my new topic featuring recipes that I've made the traditional way (there will be some old collectible recipes, here), and the short-cut, easy recipes that will get you through the holidays while "saving face" if you're short on time.

My two oldest boys are 21 months apart, and were both really babies at the same time (lots of money on diapers at that time!) Then, when they were both in elementary school, we had another baby, so I found myself as homeroom mother to two classes, while toting the youngest along with me. I'm sure that you've all had similar situations where a part of your life is unusually busy, but you maintain... until the holidays come along and throw you into a tail-spin! During these hectic patches, we've got to rely on some quick recipes and time-saving ideas.

I have made the traditional versions of these recipes, and now, I'm back to a more even pace and can make them, again. But, I still love the short-cut recipes that I found during that wonderful,messy, busy time in my life (they are as much a part of my Holiday Recipe Scrapbook as the recipes from the moms, grandmas and aunts in our family.)

Today's recipe to kick off 'Traditional Way-Easy Way' will be for Divinity, or what used to be called, "Sea Foam". My sister, Becky, loves this kind of candy, and I think of her every Christmas when I make it.

The traditional recipe comes from an old Schreiber Thermometer pamphlet from the late 1920's.

Divinity or Sea Foam-The Traditional Way
(using a candy thermometer)

2 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C corn syrup
1/2 C water
2 whites of eggs

Beat whites of 2 eggs stiff and set aside. Cook sugar, syrup and water to 230 degrees. Pour 1/2 of this into the whites of eggs (beaten stiff), and mix well. Cook the balance to 250 degrees. Then pour it into other half and beat until creamy and white. Pour into buttered dishes or drop from spoon.

Easy Divinity-The Easy Way
(Betty Crocker recipe)

1 package of Betty Crocker Fluffy White Frosting Mix (dry powdered kind)
1/3 C light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C boiling water
4 C powdered sugar
1 C chopped nuts (I like pecans for this)

-Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil. Beat dry frosting mix, corn syrup, vanilla and boiling water in small bowl on low speed until blended. Beat on high speed about 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

-Transfer to large bowl. Gradually beat in powdered sugar on low speed. Stir in chopped nuts. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake 5 minutes; remove from oven.

-Let stand about 4 hours or until candies feel firm. Turn candies aver, and allow to dry at least 12 hours. Store in air-tight container. Makes 5 to 6 dozen candies.
(Imagine how easy these would be if you have to have 6 dozen of something for a cookie swap! Been there-done that!)

I'll be at these recipe swaps today: