Friday, December 30, 2011

Stuffed Jalapenos Ole'

I'm so excited about the upcoming "junk food festival and parade/football marathon" that New Year's Day/Eve brings! I only hope that it's chilly out so we can have the fireplace blazing for the day. There's nothing like a lazy day with the family, having New Year's snack food and watching all of our favorite college teams. And then....the Cowboys play a big game, too! It's going to be a great weekend. Hope you have some exciting, or just relaxing plans, as well. A very Happy New Year to everyone.

My Adventure in Texas: Took our three sons to Fort Worth yesterday to see the historic Stockyards and watch the cattle drive that proceeds down the cobblestone streets everyday at 11:30 and 4:00.
The Stockyards and the rodeo (every weekend) are American iconic events that you don't want to miss. I highly recommend this trip, especially if you have little ones that are going through their "cowboy phase". Be sure to let them wear their hats, boots, chaps, whatever; they won't look out-of-place, believe me! Real cowboys and cowgirls ride their horses down the street cracking leather whips and looking rugged, and for a price, you can ride in a stage coach or sit on a longhorn steer to have your picture taken. Did I mention that steakhouses and Tex Mex food places are in abundance? You gotta go to Fort Worth and check it out.

Here's my offering for a New Year's snack:

Stuffed Chicken Jalapenos

20 medium fresh jalapenos
2 C chopped cooked chicken
1 C Mexican Cheese Blend
1/2 C mild Rotel, drained
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with Pam. WEARING LATEX GLOVES, cut jalapenos in half to remove seeds and membranes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine chicken and other ingredients. Spoon mixture evenly into jalapenos. Place on baking sheets and put in oven for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Break out the Diet Coke with Lime and enjoy!!

-Designs by Gollum

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Ham in the Crock Pot

This is "Countdown Week"; Sunday is Christmas!!..... and if you're starting to look for shortcuts to make sure that you get everything done in time, join the club! Here are some shortcuts:

-Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough is just as much fun for little ones to cut into shapes as homemade dough
-You can make gingerbread houses using graham crackers "glued" (with icing) to a cardboard base and a waxed milk carton. Let kids put on frosting and place candies, as usual
-peanut butter refrigerated dough also rolls into balls that can be topped with a Hershey's Kiss
-Candied dills can be made by draining a jar of dill spears, dumping in a cup of sugar and putting the lid back on the jar; set in the fridge for a day
-you can wrap packages with comic papers, old maps, or pretty dish towels if you run out of wrapping paper at the last minute
-kids loooovvveee to receive money!!!
-pets would enjoy extra playtime (or one of your well-worn throws or blankets with your scent on it!) rather than "things" from the pet store
-give your favorite college student a jar of quarters (trust me on this one!)
-give anyone who's extremely busy, or just has a hard time getting to the post office, a roll of Forever Stamps
-No time or energy for a tree? string tiny lights on a large potted houseplant

If you're thinking, "wow, Marcia, really?!" Don't be so quick to judge, sometimes the clock is running out and it's much better to keep your composure and your smile on than to be perfect....and stressed-out. Not preaching here, just sharing a lesson-learned :0)

Here's one more for today, fix your ham in the crock pot to save oven space for Christmas dinner:

Christmas Ham in the Crock Pot

1 boneless fully cooked ham (3 to 4 lbs.)
1/2 C apple jelly
2 tsp prepared mustard
2/3 C ginger-ale, divided
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
2 TBSP cornstarch

Score surface of the ham with a knife. In a bowl, combine jelly, mustard and 1 TBSP of ginger-ale; rub over scored surface of ham. Cut ham in half; place in a 5 qt. crock pot. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours, or until meat thermometer reads 140 degrees and ham is heated through. Baste with juices toward end of cooking.
Put cherry pie filling in a sauce pan. Combine cornstarch and rest of the ginger-ale. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 min. Pour over the ham to serve.

Please remember, as you go about completing your finishing touches this week, that Christmas doesn't have to be perfect to be memorable. Children, family members, pets, neighbors, fellow shoppers and store service people will remember the time and courtesy that you afforded them long after wrapping paper and bows have been thrown away. Enjoy your exciting week-before-Christmas!

-Miz Helen's Country Cottage
-This Chic Cooks
-Ani's Favorite Things
-Brambleberry Cottage
-Life as Mom
-Dining with Debbie

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Old Smoothie Candy Bar Recipe

If you're of a "certain age" you might remember buying Smoothie candy bars at the candy store, They were shaped like a Reeses Cup but had a different flavor. The candy cup had kind of a light butterscotch taste with a crunchy texture. When I had allowance money or "pop bottle return cash" (oh, you are in my age bracket!!) my brother, Greg, and I would go down the street to Berthie Doak's Grocery and buy candy: Smoothie bars; little wax pop bottles with juice inside; Pumpkin Seeds with the Indian Chief on the box or Boston Baked Beans. If you didn't have enough for these larger items, there was a bunch of penny and nickel candy in that glass case that was just as good: jawbreakers, tootsie rolls, gum and Charm pops....oh, and my favorite, blue wax lips!! Anyway, the maker of the Smoothie cups put little cardboard coupons with points inside and if you saved up so many points, you got "free" candy. I was seven or eight and not an "A student" in math, so this seemed like a good deal, at the time! :0)
Here's a recipe that is just like the flavor of those Smoothie candies. You'd better make a batch for Christmas, because I don't think you can buy them anymore.....if so, I'm sure they're not ten cents!

****Congratulations to Darcie Brady who won our cookbook drawing****

Smoothie Candy

1 lb. white chocolate. broken up
1 lb. butterscotch chips
1 C crunchy peanut butter

Microwave and stir ingredients so they're completely blended. Pour into small foil candy cups on baking sheet. Let cool on counter for 2 hours. Take some next door and impress the neighbors!!

-Designs by Gollum
-Home is Where My Story Begins
-Simply Sweet Home
-Fingerprints on the Fridge
-E Kat's Kitchen
-Comfy in the Kitchen
-Amy's Finer Thing
-My Sweet and Savory

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Holiday Scrapbook: Maraschino Cherry Bread

Here's an old recipe from Christmases past! Don't know really how old this "receipt" is, but I had to reinforce it with a piece of cardboard because the paper was crumbling. If you make this bread into little loaves, it's very pretty to give as hostess gifts (in a basket with fancy teas) for Christmas parties. Enjoy!

Maraschino Cherry Bread

1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/3 C melted Crisco or oil
2 eggs, beaten
8 oz. bottle maraschino cherries and juice
1 C chopped nutmeats

Sift together dry ingredients. Combine remaining ingredients and add to flour mixture, stirring just until mixed. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until bread tests done. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

*****The winner of the Southern Heritage Cake Cookbook is Darcie Brady. Congratulations Darcie! You may leave your address in my comments box or put it on my wall at my Frugalhomekeeping page on FB. I'll mail that out to you, pronto! Thanks to all who entered.*****

-Home is Where My Story Begins
-Designs by Gollum
-Simply Sweet Home

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Menu: Dec 5-12

I'm washing clothes today as I jot down my menu for the week and get ready to bake. I hope you have a good start to your week, and a you don't feel overwhelmed by all of the items on your December to-do list :0) Here's what my clan is eating this week:

Blueberry pancakes

Pork stir-fry

Cauliflower with cheese sauce

Eat out

Creamed Chicken and Biscuits
Steamed Asparagus

Scrambled eggs w/ bacon
Wheat bagel

Eat out

Lemon pepper squash

Swaps you Might Enjoy:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Funnel Cakes at Home

It's the holiday season, and in just a couple of short weeks you are probably going to look across your breakfast table at your sweetie (who's off from work); your kids (who are home on Christmas break); or other visiting "loved-ones".
During most holidays at our house, everyone wants to sleep-in and they each get up at different times, so we have brunch at 10:00, 10:30....11:00 or whatever, and then just have a nice dinner that evening. You're preparing two meals instead of three and everyone thinks you're great because you let them sleep-in and.... had brunch ready when they got up! I'm not the "hostess with the mostess" when it comes to breakfast. I have just never been a breakfast person. So here are some of my ideas for easy breakfasts:

Egg Casserole (assembled the night before)
Irish Oatmeal (cooked all night in the crock pot)
Selection of cold cereals with bananas
Pan of (frozen Pillsbury) biscuits (microwave sausage patties)
Yogurt with fun toppings
Muffins and fruit salad (made ahead)

You can dress these basics up by adding several toppings, a bowl of fresh fruit, a couple of juices or special coffee (I don't skimp here, I grind it in my coffee grinder right before brewing for that super aroma!) Good coffee is like a good dessert; it will cover a multitude of sins at the end of a meal. The cook's inadequacies will be overlooked if the meal ends with a perfect cup of coffee or a cake that melts in their mouth. Believe me, there are just times that dinner doesn't turn out like you envisioned it.
Back to the subject of brunch for your bunch! How surprised would they be if you fixed them a funnel cake for that special holiday wake-up meal ? Here's a recipe. Please make sure that you have strawberries (either fresh or strawberry pie filling will do); whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar available for each person to make theirs the way they like.

Funnel Cake

2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 C milk
2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 C cooking oil

In a batter bowl with a pour lip, combine eggs and milk. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add egg mixture; beat smooth with mixer. Test mixture to see if it flows easily through a funnel. If too thick, add milk. If too thin, add flour.
In 8" skillet, heat oil to 360 degrees. Cover bottom opening of funnel with your finger and release batter into hot oil, swirling the funnel to make a spiral shape. Fry until golden. Use tongs to turn cake over. Cook 1 minute more. Drain on a paper towel; sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Makes 5 cakes.

***********************************************************************************Marcia's Adventures in Texas: Dove Creek Cafe in Roanoke for chicken-fried chicken and homemade Blackberry Cobbler!.....oh, and a very good Elvis impersonator who gave a 2 hour concert, including requests from the audience. (He's there twice a month, but you have to have reservations :0)

***A BIG THANK-YOU to my son, Ben, who was sooo helpful in bookmarking and linking all of the recipe swaps that I list for you each week. That has made linking up so much more efficient as I write every day. Ben has been crazy-busy with the new app that he created called YUMMMBOX. It was accepted by Apple this summer and is available on Iphone in the Apple Store. He has been working feverishly to advance his business, and I'm very proud of him for his great ideas and follow-through!***

Next Friday is the drawing for The Southern Heritage Cake Book. Make sure you're signed on as a follower and Like Frugalhomekeeping on Facebook for a chance to win!

Swaps :
-Blessed with Grace
-From Mess Hall to Bistro
-Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
-Permanent Posies
-Hearth and Soul
-All the Small Stuff
-33 Shades of Green
-My Sweet and Savory