Monday, December 31, 2012

Sugar-Free Cocoa Mix

Happy New Year!  I hope the beginning of the year finds you well and ready to enjoy the moments that 2013 has to offer.  My resolutions?  I'm going to attempt to not drink pop (that's "soda" for you non-West Virginians) and to  read my Bible every day.  I've found that the simpler and more concise I make my little deals with myself, the better it goes!  When I was younger I used to make a list of 10...way too many resolutions for me to remember them on a daily basis.  I figure that if I make 2 and keep them that I'm doing better-than-usual!  I've also ruled out impossible life-changing attempts over the giving up chocolate.  That's just a crazy birthday's in January;  having no chocolate just isn't going to work!  So how about some chocolaty cocoa with no sugar?

Sugar-Free Cocoa
1 1/2 C Splenda
1 C powdered non-dairy creamer
1 C dry milk powder
3/4 C cocoa powder (unsweetened)

In a blender or food processor, combine all dry ingredients.  Mix well and store in an air-tight container.  To serve, put 2 to 3 TBSP in a mug filled with hot water and stir.
2 TBSP = 51 calories;  1.8 grams fat;  1 mg cholesterol

Favorite Christmas Gift:  Having family here !

Adventures in Texas:  I bought some ornaments at half price in Macy's at the Dallas Galleria;  cowboy hats, spurs, boots, stars...great on the tree!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Last Minute Cookies for Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone!   We enjoyed having my sister, Becky, and her family here last week and so I've already gotten one of the best presents ever!  We went to Dallas one day, Fort Worth for one of the days, Six Flags for Holiday in the Park, Babe's, Texas Motor Speedway and Southlake Town Square...many of  the Texas hotspots!  Now all three of our sons are is good!
 This Christmas has been fast-paced so far, so I haven't gotten the cookies and fudge done that I usually do by Christmas eve.  That got me to thinking that many of you might like a very quick recipe for cookies, as well.  So today, I'm sharing my Aunt Hazel's recipe for Date Balls.  Eat some of these delicious cookies  with your "kith and kin"...yes, we did watch Christmas Vacation with the Williamson crew while they were here!

Aunt Hazel's Date Balls

1 C sugar
1 stick butter
1 C chopped dates
1 egg
Mix well; bring to a boil.  Remove from heat;  cool and stir in 2 C Rice Krispies cereal, 1/2 C chopped nuts.  Form into small balls and roll in shredded coconut.  Very good!  

I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!        ~Marcia

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Curry Dip

I'm happy to say that the tree's up, decorations are done, lights are in the front yard and ...well, most of the gifts are wrapped.  We've been working our way down that Christmas check list!  True, the angel just went into her spot at the top of the tree last night because it required Hubby hoisting up our tallest ladder to place her there.  No cookie baking has begun, yet. I usually bake right before,  because they like the cookies really fresh.  Picky, picky, picky, I know!
Along with having our sons home, we are very excited to have out-of-town company coming, as well,  and I've been getting their rooms and bathrooms ready.  I've also been planning the menu to have while they are here.  Ben, our youngest son, got in from college last night and promptly started "cleaning out" the refrigerators (Hey, Mom, is this leftover pork roast?!)
During  our guests' brief visit,  we plan to see Holiday in the Park at Six Flags and eat out at a Texas-style restaurant.  One night will be the viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and I plan to fix party food for that movie night at our house. The crock pot will have the sausages in BBQ sauce, crunchy chicken bites in the oven, cheese ball with veggies and crackers and chips and dip. As I was going over my list, I realized that you probably  have a Christmas party or some company, too, so here's a great dip recipe!

Curry Dip

1 C mayonnaise, plus 1/2 C sour cream 
3 TBSP ketchup
3 tsp curry powder
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp onion juice (or onion powder)
salt, pepper, and crushed garlic

Mix first six ingredients until well-blended.  Add salt, pepper and crushed garlic in small amounts (about 1/2 tsp each) to taste.  This is great with shrimp.  Put a small bowl of dip in the center of a large bowl filled with cracked ice.  Place shrimp, raw cauliflower, celery, carrots and ripe olives on the surface of the ice.  Very pretty in the center of the buffet! 

Great Christmas Movie:  The Preacher's Wife (or older black and white version:  The Bishop's Wife) Both are great!!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Old Southern Fruitcake Recipe

'Tis the season for a really good fruitcake;  nothing tastes better with a hot cup of  tea or coffee!  I have a recipe from a friend (Freda Handley), given to me years ago, called Texas Lizzies, but they are fruitcake cookies.  I may share that recipe with you  before the holidays are over.  However, if you are a true fruitcake-lover, as I am, you have to have the loaf type cake filled with nuts and candied fruit at Christmas. If you don't bake, Claxton White Fruitcake can be a semi-homemade substitute.  I would also like to add that many locally-owned  restaurants often bake fruitcakes for sale, but you must order early!   My dear mother-in-law, Louise, used to order each of us a fruitcake from The Wren's Nest, a Mom and Pop Restaurant near St. Albans, WV,  that was known for good food (and jazz night)!  We were a small fruitcake-loving club of  2 at the Davis' when Christmas time came;  thoughtful Louise had ordered the cakes for us to enjoy way before she got busy at Thanksgiving!
 So many jokes have been made about gifting unwanted fruitcakes, but if it's a great homemade fruitcake with the right ingredients, there is no better food gift!!  Here's a wonderful old recipe from a southern family;  it's the only Christmas cake that the lady who cooked for their family  made for decades.  Enjoy!

Big Mama's Fruitcake
(Shreveport, Louisiana) 

1 C butter
2 C sugar
6 eggs, separated
4 C flour (save 1 C for flouring the fruit)
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 C good Kentucky bourbon
2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
1 lb. candied cherries
1 lb. pitted dates
1 lb. raisins
1 lb. pecans
1/2 lb. English walnuts
1 lb. candied pineapple

-Cream butter thoroughly, then add sugar gradually.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks one at a time.  Sift and measure three cups flour;  resift three times with the baking powder and salt.  Add alternately (flour first and last) with the whiskey.  Add nutmeg and vanilla.
-Flour fruit with remaining cup of flour (sifted) and fold into the batter.  As this needs a very large container, you can use a roasting pan, and use your hands to mix the fruit into the batter thoroughly.  Finally, fold in egg whites, which have been beaten stiff but not dry. 
-Put batter into tube, loaf, and other deep pans, greased and lined with waxed paper.  Bake at 275 degrees for 2 or more hours.  Test with a toothpick or clean broom straw for doneness of batter;  you do not want cake to be too dry!
Makes wonderful Christmas presents
Yield:  1 large and 2 small cakes

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