Friday, December 31, 2010

Irish Blessing for a New Year

Today I'm sending you good wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year. May your blessings be great and your troubles be few in 2011!

Irish Blessing

May you neighbors respect you,
Misfortune neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you.

Enjoy a wonderful New Year's Eve. ~Marcia

I'll be at these swaps:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms seem to be one of those delicious little bites that people look forward to at parties where appetizers are served. I thought that with New Year's Eve on the way, I'd share my favorite recipe for them. The important step to note is that I only use Jimmy Dean Low Fat Sausage (every store doesn't carry it, but it's worth the search. When I find it, I buy several rolls and freeze them).

Stuffed Mushrooms

24 large mushrooms, stems removed
1/2 C bulk sausage, fried (Jimmy Dean's is the best!)
1/2 C chopped onion
2 slices bread, crumbled
2 TBSP parsley, chopped

Saute onion in sausage drippings until transparent. Dice the mushroom stems and add to the onion, cooking another 3 minutes. Add bread crumbs, sausage and parsley. Mix well and stuff mushrooms; bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Note: Several years ago my dad told us how good Jimmy Dean sausage was, and once we tried it we never bought another kind. It's delicious and doesn't leave a skillet full of grease!

I will be at these swaps today:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Won Tons

One of my friends from University Church of Christ in Oklahoma gave me this recipe. Carol used to bring these to Family Game Night and they were gobbled up in a hurry! You had to be sure to get one of Carol's won tons on your first trip through the line, or you just wouldn't get one. I was told, by others at church, that Carol's mother, Umeko Wellspring, was also a great cook and used to bring them to church fellowships. Carol was very nice to share her recipe with me. I have to say that while her won tons were always shaped beautifully-mine are not! There's a talent involved with wrapping won tons (if you're not familiar with the method, you can just fold them in half and pinch the edges with a fork like a pot sticker.) I miss seeing Carol, Joe and their daughter, Amy; what a nice family.

Umeko Wellspring's Won Tons

1 pkg. won ton skins (I found these in the produce section at Country Mart)
small pkg. ground chuck
chopped scallions
1 can (14 oz,) chop suey vegetables (drained and chopped)
1 TBSP (or more) fresh ginger, grated
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP cooking sherry
salt and pepper

Brown ground chuck in skillet; drain off grease and add the rest of ingredients except won ton skins. Place a spoonful of mix in the middle of each won ton skin and fold, Fry in deep skillet or deep fryer until light brown. Drain on paper towels. (Good with plum sauce or hot chili sauce!)

I will be at these swaps today:
-Seaside Simplicity

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fresh Spinach and Mozzarella Salad

We've been eating a lot of heavy, rich meals during the holidays and I assume that several of you have, too. So, I thought today would be ideal for a sharing a salad recipe. Enjoy!

Fresh Spinach and Mozzarella Salad
(Bon Appetit magazine Dec. '94)

1 C of your favorite Italian dressing
1 TBSP chopped fresh garlic
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb. plum tomatoes, seeded and sliced
12 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 red onion, thinly-sliced
1/2 10 oz. bag ready-to-use spinach leaves
(and I think leftover cubed ham could make this a main course!)

Whisk salad dressing, chopped garlic, balsamic vinegar and dried oregano to blend in large bowl. Mix in tomatoes, cheese and onion. (Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temp., tossing occasionally.) Add spinach to salad and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

I will be at these swaps today:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Out with the Old/In with the New Menu

This week we will be ending the old year and beginning a bright new year full of promise and hope. My wish for each of you is a year full of God's blessings. If you've never kept a "gratitude journal" you might want to consider it; it is very humbling to write down at least one thing that you're thankful for every day. I've done it before and was amazed at how many little (very important oxygen!) I took for granted everyday. I still need loads of work in this area. I plan to keep such a journal again this year. Gratefulness (and not complaining) is a work in progress for me-like my "healthy eating plan"!
For me, this week of the year is always one of accessing, evaluating and transferring (bits of information about appointments and such from my old calender to the new one). I still need to choose a new calender with large spaces; always look forward to picking out a fresh, new one full of clean, blank squares of unused space.
I love the beginnings of a new year. It's that time when I plan and organize...and for us "list-makers" resetting to a new year is a joy! I know that God is in I like to give the Creator of the Universe something to laugh little list of plans:0)

Here is one of those lists; my menu for the week:

Monday, Dec. 27

B: Irish Oatmeal in Crock Pot

D: Homemade pizzas
Veg. plate-dip

Tuesday, Dec. 28

B: Fried Ham (leftover) and eggs

D: Grilled Chicken
Glazed Carrots

Wednesday, Dec. 29

B: Fruit Salad
Blueberry Muffins

D: Ham and Beans
Hamburgers with onions

Thursday, Dec. 30

B: Cocoa Wheats and Toast

D: Fish
Oven-fried Potatoes
Green Beans
Candied Sweet Potatoes

Friday, Dec. 31

B: Scrambled eggs w/bacon
Fruit plate

D: Aunt Sis' Pulled Pork BBQ
Party foods

Saturday, January 1!

B: Pancakes

D: Pork BBQs
Chips and dip

Sunday, Jan. 2

B: Cold Cereal

D: Chicken Casserole in Crock Pot
Green beans

I will be joining Orgjunkie today for MPM.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Snow Candy Recipe from 1800's

This recipe comes from Pickerton's Wisdom published in East Hampton, Massachusetts in 1893. Every time I have an old cookbook from the New England area, I think of my sweet friend, Lisa. Her grandmother lived in a Victorian house there and Lisa remembers enjoying teatime at her Grammy's house as a child. She also enjoyed a famous last name-Converse; that's right, their family started the shoe company. Merry Christmas to all of my friends (and blog buddies!) far and wide!

My Holiday Scrapbook:

Snow Candy-1893

1 pan of newly-fallen snow
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C butter
4 TBSP molasses
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP vinegar

Boil sugar, butter, molasses, water and vinegar in a large pot until the candy reaches the Hard Crack stage on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove the candy from the heat. Pour thin ribbons of candy over the pan of snow. The candy will harden and melt the snow. Crack the ribbons of candy into pieces and give to the children.

In early days there was a rumor spread by some clever mothers that Santa wouldn't come if the house wasn't clean :0) (I like this-you get your house cleaned the week before Christmas...with plenty of eager helpers!)

I will be at these swaps today:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Old Snowball Cookie Recipe

Marcia's Holiday Scrapbook:

Old Snowball Cookie Recipe

1 lb. Butter or oleo
1 Cup powdered sugar
4 C Swans Down Cake flour
1 Tsp salt
1 1/2 C of nuts (chopped - but not too, too fine)
2 Tsp vanilla

Mix together like pastry - in mixer - shape into balls (after dough has stood overnight, preferably) make the balls about the size of a small walnut. Place on ungreased cookie sheet - Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. Sift a 2 lb. box of confectionary sugar and roll cookies in sugar while warm - then once again after cooled. Will make approximately 12 dozen.

Be sure to check in tomorrow for a special Christmas eve post (with a recipe for Snow Candy).

As Christmas is quickly approaching, I'd like to take this time to thank all of you for the fun experience that your readership in 2010 has provided me. Here's to a safe and happy holiday, and a fantastic new year!

What I'm Reading: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

I will be joining Life as Mom, Prairie Story, and Coupon Cookin' for their swaps today.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

O' Henry Bars

Marcia's Holiday Scrapbook:

O' Henry Bars

1 C light corn syrup
1 C gran. sugar
1 1/4 C smooth peanut butter
6 C crushed rice cereal
1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips

Bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Blend in peanut butter and cereal. In a separate sauce pan, melt chocolate chips, Press cereal mixture into a 13x9" cake pan. Frost with the melted chocolate chips.

Join me at :

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cream Cheese Chipotle Appetizer Is Fast!

My sons are all home for the holidays, so I'm thinking of ways to use my time wisely. Here's my favorite, fastest appetizer.

My Holiday Scrapbook:

Marcia's Cheese Spread

1 block of cream cheese
1/2 bottle Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
Favorite crackers (I like Toasteds)

Pull your most Christmasy serving plate out of the cupboard. Place cream cheese in the center and pour sauce over it. You can put fresh parsley around the sides for greenery if you're "feelin' uptown". Add the crackers, sit down with your Diet Coke with Lime and let the party begin! :0)

I'll be at these swaps today:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Creamy Nog Punch

I think that at Christmas and New Years, a beautiful punch bowl full of a delicious mixture really makes the get-together or party. One of our family traditions is to ride around on Christmas eve to look at the lights and sing carols. When we come home we have punch and cookies. I love that. I look forward to it every year; if there are snow flurries during the drive-I'm in Heaven! I hope that all of you have a blessed holiday enjoying your own traditions. If you're looking for a different punch recipe, I'm happy to share one.

My Holiday Scrapbook:

Creamy Nog Punch
(makes 1 1/2 gallons)

1 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/2 gallon egg nog
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (16oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Scoop ice cream into a punch bowl. Pour eggnog over ice cream and sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in whipped topping. Serve immediately. Stir as needed. Prep time: 10 min.

I will be at these swaps today:
-Designs by Gollum
-Ann Kroeker

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Smoothie" Candy Bar-Very Quick!

These taste like the old Smoothie candy bars that I used to love as a kid. They had little cards in the bottom that you saved up to redeem for free candy. Do you remember them?

My Holiday Scrapbook:


1 lb. white chocolate
1 lb. butterscotch chips
1 C peanut butter

Pour melted candy into small foil cups on cookie sheet (or use a mini muffin pan!) Cool on counter for 2 hours.

I will be at these swaps today:
-Prairie Story

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Italian Bow Knot Cookies

The cookie recipe that I'm sharing today is a soft, buttery cookie; very delicate, so handle them carefully and you'll need wire racks or waxed paper under them for the glaze. Happy Wednesday to everyone!

My Holiday Scrapbook:

Italian Bow Knot Cookies
Mrs. Dan Crisis, Fennville, Michigan

Makes 6 dozen medium cookies

4 C flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
6 eggs, beaten
1 C sugar
1/2 C oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Blend beaten eggs into dry ingredients, following with all other ingredients. Knead until smooth. Roll into pencil lengths and tie into bow knots. Bake on greased cookie sheets in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Glaze when cooled.

Lemon Glaze:

1/4 C butter
1` lb. confectioners sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

Cream butter, add remaining ingredients. Stir until well-blended. If too thin, add more sugar-too thick, add more lemon juice. (I've also made these using vanilla instead of lemon.)

I'll be at these swaps today:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oyster Cracker/Peanut Brittle

I think salty, crunchy and sweet are an unbeatable taste combination. This Christmas brittle recipe has all three, and because you use oyster crackers, it tames the sweetness and the fat calories. This surprisingly-good treat has held a place in my Holiday Scrapbook since 1993; it was clipped from the pages of a Woman's Day magazine. I hope you like it and add it to your list of nice (not naughty) recipes!

My Holiday Scrapbook:

Oyster Cracker/Peanut Brittle

2 C granulated sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1 TBSP butter or margarine
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C salted cocktail peanuts
1 1/2 C oyster crackers

1. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and a metal spatula. Have ready a candy thermometer or glass of ice water.
2. Mix sugar and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Boil 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until candy thermometer registers 300-310 degrees (hard crack stage), or when a small amount dropped into ice water separates into hard brittle threads.
3. Remove from heat. Add butter and soda. Stir rapidly until butter melts and soda dissolves (mixture will foam). Add peanuts and crackers and mix well. Immediately pour onto prepared cookie sheet and press with prepared spatula to 1/4" thickness.
4. Let stand until cool and hard. Break into bite-size pieces. Store airtight w/ waxed paper between layers.

I will be at these swaps today; check them out for more great recipes!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu for Week of Dec. 13

Mon. Dec. 13

Baked Herb Chicken
Fresh Green Beans
Onion Rings

Tues. Dec. 14

Homemade Potato Soup
Lamb Chops

Wed. Dec. 15

2 Christmas Events

Thurs. Dec. 16

Chicken Salad
Hot rolls

Fri. Dec. 17


Sat. Dec. 18

Pork Roast
Mashed Potatoes

Sun. Dec. 19

Tonight-Christmas Event (Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip)

***I will be at Orgjunkie today for MPM.***

Friday, December 10, 2010

Scented Cinnamon Ornaments

If you're looking for a fun craft that you can use as a gift or just decorate your tree with, these little ornaments are ideal. I think the smaller ornaments are cute as package decorations, too. These are easy and inexpensive to make and the scent is wonderful in your house!

My Holiday Scrapbook:

Scented Cinnamon Ornaments

1 C cinnamon
3/4 C applesauce
2 TBSP white school glue
1 TBSP cloves
1 TBSP nutmeg

Combine spices, add applesauce and glue. Stir to combine. Work mixture w/ hands 2-3 min. or until dough is smooth. Divide into 4 parts. Roll out each dough portion to 1/4". Cut into desired shapes. Make a small hole in the top of each ornament w/ a straw(for the ribbon). Allow to dry at room temperature for 3-4 days. Turn ornaments once a day for uniform drying. Thread ribbon through hole in the ornament.

Have a great Friday, everyone!

I'll be at these swaps today; give them a look for lots of great recipes and ideas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aunt Sis' Salted Peanut Chews

My Holiday Scrapbook:

One Christmas when I was little, My Aunt Sis brought these salty, chewy delights to our house when she and Uncle Dave came for one of their annual holiday visits. I'm sure she brought the candy bar-type cookies with my dad in mind; her only sibling loves peanut candy. Every time I eat these cookies they remind me of childhood holidays. Greg, Becky and I would anxiously wait while Aunt Sis and Uncle Dave would unload their Ford (their vehicle was always a Ford!...he was an accountant for the company). Aunt Sis, a high school teacher, loved to bake and try new recipes that she got from her typing students or church friends, and would always bring in goodies. As an adult, I now realize that all of the excitement surrounding their trips in for Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving was certainly not about the treats, but all about them! They were one of our holiday treats! They didn't have children of their own, so we were the glad recipients of their love and attention...what a blessing. My parents enjoyed their company, too. I vividly remember lying in bed as a child of 10 or 11 and hearing the four of them downstairs on Christmas eve giving my "Ants in the Pants" game and my brother's "Don't Spill the Beans" game a trial run before Santa wrapped them. I will always treasure those "moments of Christmas Past" when "joy" meant that Aunt Sis and Uncle Dave had just pulled into our driveway.

Aunt Sis' Salted Peanut Chews

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/3 C margarine
1 egg
3 C mini marshmallows


2/3 C corn syrup
1/2 C margarine
2 tsp vanilla
2 C peanut butter chips
2 C Rice Krispies
2 C salted peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all base ingredients except marshmallows. Press into a 13x9" pan. Bake 12-18 minutes. Sprinkle with marshmallows and return to oven for 2 minutes. Heat topping ingredients until chips are melted. Add rice cereal and peanuts. Spoon over marshmallows and chill. Remove from fridge 2 hrs. before serving.

I will be at these swaps today:


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Julie-Ruth's Creamy Dill Dip

My Holiday Scrapbook:

If you like a creamy dip in the middle of your crackers or veggie tray, I've got one for you! My college roommate and present-day buddy, Julie, gave me this recipe when we were in school at WVU. I've found that it is also a great topping for baked potatoes.

Julie-Ruth's Creamy Dill Dip

1 C dairy sour cream
1 C mayo
1 TBSP minced dried onion
1 TBSP dried dill weed
1/2 tsp seasoned salt or garlic salt

Thoroughly combine all ingredients and chill well to blend flavors. Serve with crackers or raw vegetables.


I will be at these swaps today:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Praline Thumbprint Cookies

My Christmas baking has begun! I have already made my marshmallow fudge that Dana looks forward to every year, but hadn't baked any cookies, yet. Yesterday was the day! I made Peppermint Crunch, Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies (Tues., Dec. 8, 'o9 post) and some sugar cookies. These will go in hostess gifts and to the youth minister and his family. I have to do my baking and candy-making in spurts so that it is fresh for gifts. I usually make our cookies and fudge the week of Christmas. In the spirit of cookie-baking, here is another long-time recipe from my Holiday Scrapbook.

I brought this recipe home from one of the many cookie swaps that I've attended over the years. I remember that these cookies are rich. You might want to have them with coffee or a glass of milk!

Praline Thumbprint Cookies

1 C margarine
1 C powdered sugar
2 C flour
1 C finely-chopped pecans
1 TBSP vanilla

Cream margarine, gradually adding powdered sugar, beating well. Add flour. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Shape dough into 1" balls; place about 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press your thumb in center to make indentation. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes; Do Not Brown! Cool on racks. Spoon about 1/2 tsp praline filling into each cookie.

1/2 C margarine
1 C firmly-packed brown sugar
dash of salt
1/2 C evap. milk
2 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Melt margarine in saucepan; add brown sugar and salt; bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in milk. Bring mixture to a boil. Let boil 2 minutes or until it reaches 232 degrees (candy thermometer). Remove to cool; when lukewarm, stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat w/ wooden spoon until mixture is smooth. Fill centers of cookies.

I will be at these swaps today:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Menu

Lots of running to do this morning so I'm posting late. Here's our plan for the week. Join me the rest of the week as I share recipes from my holiday scrapbook!

Mon. Dec. 6

Chili dogs w/ cole slaw
Macaroni and Cheese
Fruit plate

Tues. Dec. 7

Baked Spaghetti
Garlic Stix

Wed. Dec. 8

Eat out-Christmas Event

Thurs. Dec. 9

Baked Potato
Cole slaw (leftover)

Fri. Dec. 10

Eat out-Christmas Event

Sat. Dec. 11

Eggs and bacon on Wheat Thin Buns

Roasted Pork Loin
Wild Rice

Sun. Dec. 12

Leftover Pork w/ BBQ sauce
Onion Rings

Christmas Event-Eat out

Everyone have a happy Monday!
I'll be at Orgjunkie today.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Holiday Scrapbook: Pistachio/Cherry Fudge

Here's a beautiful Christmas-colored fudge to share with friends and neighbors!

Pistachio/Cherry Fudge

4 C sugar
2 C milk
1/2 C butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C finely chopped candied cherries
1/4 C blanched pistachio nuts

Put sugar, milk, butter and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to soft ball stage (use a candy thermometer if this is tricky for you). Cool fudge til it's lukewarm. Add vanilla and beat until thick and creamy. Fold in cherries and nuts quickly. Pour into a buttered 8" square pan and stand at room temperature until firm. Cut into squares. Makes about 2 1/2 pounds.

I'll be at these swaps today:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Holiday Scrapbook: Christmas-1st Corinthians 13 Style

Here's a favorite clipping from the pages of my trusty holiday scrapbook; great to remember at the beginning of December!

1st Corinthians 13 Style
Author unknown

If I decorate my house perfectly
with plaid bows
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a
beautifully adorned table at mealtime,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and
give all that I have to charity,
but do not show love to my family,
It profits me nothing.

If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and
sparkling snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing carols galore,
but do not remember Christ,
I've missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though hurried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's
home that has
coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to
those who are able to
give in return,
but rejoices in giving to those who

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will be beaten,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the
gift of love
will endure.

I didn't write this, but I wish that I had. What a wonderful reminder of getting our priorities straight as we begin the month of December!

I will be joining Life as Mom and The Thrifty Home for their swaps today.

(Book I'm reading now: Giant by Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Ferber)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Holiday Scrapbook: Lemon Cut-Out Cookies

Although sugar cookies reign supreme as Christmas cookie cut-out favorites, my hubby likes my version which is lemon-flavored. I top them with a vanilla/confection glaze (with various colors and sprinkles, of course!)

Marcia's Lemon Cut-Out Cookies

1/2 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
1 egg
2 3/4 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C fresh lemon juice (or a little less)
Colored sugars or icing

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar; beat in egg. Stir together dry ingredients; add alternately with lemon juice to creamed mixture. Mix well (dough will be soft). Chill overnight (or several hours). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On well-floured surface, roll out 1/3 of dough into 1/8" thickness (chill remaining dough while you roll out this piece). Cut out shapes with floured cutters. Sprinkle with colored sugars, if desired (I like to ice them when they're cooled). Place 1" apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly-browned. Cool, ice and decorate.

I will be joining We are That Family, Krazy Kitchen, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Dining with Debbie, King's Court IV, and Turning Back the Clock for their swaps today.

(Book I'm reading now: Giant by Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Ferber)