Sunday, December 20, 2015

ChristmasTaffy Apple Salad



This treat is great anytime of the year, but it is a nice lighter addition to your holiday dessert table which will balance nicely against all the heavy sweets. This is not necessarily a diet friendly recipe, but it is not so rich and heavy which has come as a welcome relief to our family as we have been bombarded with sweet things here lately!

*This needs to chill thoroughly for best flavor overnight in the fridge, however it is still good chilled for just a few hours if you're like me and can't wait!



YOU WILL NEED:

1/2 cup sugar
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. lemon juice
1 egg
1 cup pineapple chunks (drain- save juice)
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip (you can use the lite version- both are good)
2 med. red apples
2 med. green apples
2 cup mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts

In pan, heat sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, egg and juice from pineapple until thick after boiling (about 5 minutes).
Cool.
In Large bowl, combine all other ingredients. Toss lightly. Refrigerate overnight (or at least several hours).




Have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

We're making memories...literally.


This post is from 5 years ago... it bears repeating.


It's Christmas Eve morning....most of my baking/cooking is done and treat trays are prepared to give to my neighbors. The house is all decked out and all of my sons will be home for Christmas!

This evening, my next-door neighbors and my family will once again enjoy our holiday tradition of exchanging gag gifts and treats, and my sons will (hopefully) spend the night and we will all enjoy Christmas breakfast together.

I host the big family dinner here (around 30 are expected) and we will eat, and laugh, and hug, and clean up spills and watch the teens and tweens roll their eyes at their parents and us "oldies but goodies"!

This year, we will enjoy an Italian Christmas feast.

Our menu is buffet style and will include Home made Spaghetti and meatballs (Tyler Florence recipe), Mostaciolli w/pepperoni, Fettuccine Alfredo, a big Italian Salad, garlic bread,Italian Cheese Ball, Italian Creme Cake, Italian Pizelle Cookies and a few appetizers, and of course, a vast array of Christmas cookies and candies.

If you scroll down through previous posts, you should find recipes you may want to serve at your feast!

Remember, though, it's not WHAT you serve but WHO you serve that matters!

Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas holiday and I pray for PEACE to all of you. In your hearts and in your home.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Crock Pot Ham



Need a simple but DELICIOUS ham recipe for Christmas or Easter but think it will involve too much of your time watching the oven and testing for doneness?

Try this CROCK POT recipe that I found at this wonderful crock pot recipe site.

If you find yourself hosting a large family dinner in your home, this is a perfect recipe that will need no tending to- once it has started the slow cooking.

And it extremely moist. NO MORE DRY HAM!

Only a few ingredients:

7-8 pound bone-in spiral-cut ham

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup all natural maple syrup

2 cups pineapple juice



The Directions.


Use a 6-7 quart slow cooker. Unwrap the ham, and discard flavor packet. Place it into your stoneware, flat-side down. Rub brown sugar on all sides. Pour on maple syrup and pineapple juice. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If possible, baste ham with collected juice from the bottom of the crock an hour or so before serving. When cooking is done, remove carefully and let it rest on a cutting board for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Now, how easy is that?

And your house will smell DIVINE!

Vanilla Coffee Punch



Several years ago,  I was asked to coordinate the Open House for our new Home town College, MORTHLAND COLLEGE. This was a celebration of receiving the state board approval to open the college in the fall of 2011. (Something like this happens once every 50-100 years!)

I was asked to make a "nice punch" to serve with gourmet cookies for the guests that would be touring the administrative offices and this recipe was the first that came to mind. I found it at TASTE OF HOME.

Not too sweet, and has an elegant look. DELICIOUS tasting- even if you're not one that loves a cold coffee flavor. Actually, everyone who tasted it was giving it rave reviews! It was being compared to drinks at STARBUCKS, and it also reminds me a bit of my favorite drink at Dairy Queen, a MOO-LATTE (but fancier).

Honestly, I have never received so many compliments on a punch, and several recipe requests.

You must give it a try.

YOU WILL NEED:

* 4 cups brewed vanilla-flavored coffee, cooled
* 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
* Ground cinnamon

Directions

* In a large container, combine the coffee, milk and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved. Spoon ice cream into a punch bowl; pour coffee mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve immediately. Yield: 2-1/2 quarts.
Serves 13

Enjoy!

PEPPERMINT PUNCH



The gorgeous photo and delicious punch was found on tasteofhome.com, so I made it to serve in the teacher's lounge at my school. LOTS of recipe requests for this refreshing and festive punch.

2 liters of lemon-lime soda
1 10 oz. jar of strawberry jelly
2 quarts peppermint ice cream (I used Kroger brand)
candy canes *Optional

Heat jelly in 2 cups of the soda on stove till jelly is melted. Set aside to cool.
When cooled, add to punch bowl, along with ice cream and soda--stir well.

You can place candy canes on the side of the bowl, and/or on the side of the cup it's served in, like I did in this photo.

YUM!

Lisa's Asparagus Rolls



I presented a New Year's Eve presentation on the Local news this morning,(click here to view the segment) and I featured a recipe shared with me by my facebook friend Lisa Laird--she said it was her most requested recipe that she takes often to parties, potlucks, etc.

This is the Perfect Holiday recipe to take to any party and to serve as a light appetizer at your News Year's Eve celebration.

I prepared it the other night for my man, and Big AL gave it two thumbs up! (He ate SEVERAL of them)

ASPARAGUS ROLLS

1 Bunch of Fresh asparagus (thin)
1 block of cream cheese or a small tube of Garlic flavored Cream Cheese
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli salami
sea salt
pepper
Parmesan cheese

1. Take one asparagus and bend it, it will snap where it needs to be cut off. Cut the remaining spears in the same place.

2. In a pot of boiling water plunge the asparagus for 1 min (longer if thinker asparagus is used)

3. Immediately place the asparagus into a bowl of ice water to shock it, which stops the cooking process and keeps it bright green

4. Dry the asparagus with a paper towel and season with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese

5. Take a slice of the Salami and spread a thin layer of cream cheese over it



6. Take about 3 asparagus spears and wrap the salami/cream cheese around the spear.

Stack on a platter, chill 15-30 min and serve.
You can also sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.

Enjoy!

Cheater Version Homemade Cinnamon Rolls



As if you can't tell from the photo, this is one of the MOST DELICIOUS treats I've ever tasted! You will be SHOCKED at the taste, the texture and presentation--it truly tastes like a "from-scratch" recipe...and all it needed was a little help from a friend!

My friend Gail shared this recipe with me last Christmas. She brought the warm pan, fresh from the oven to my home for me to serve to my family for Christmas Eve breakfast.

It was a special time for us. My middle son had just graduated from boot camp and was home on leave. And Gail herself had just learned she had breast cancer, but was still going about her business, doing what she does best...cooking up mouth-watering recipes!

We share a love of food--and feeding those we love--along with many other interests, including writing. (Gail and her husband, Michael are the publishers of GOOD LIVING IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS and GOOD LIVING IN WEST FRANKFORT magazines and I am one of the freelance writers.)

* UPDATE: She is now finished with her treatments and is doing very well. She has a great prognosis and amazing strength! I'm honored to be counted among her close friends.

Okay, before I start tearing up, here's the recipe you MUST try--you can thank us later when you WOW your friends and family!

YOU WILL NEED:

1 frozen Bag of Rhodes cinnamon rolls (12)
3/4 cups nuts-broken
*take out the 2 bags of cream cheese icing that comes with rolls (to use in another recipe later)

Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam.

Melt 1 stick butter and 1 cup to 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar. Melt in saucepan until it bubbles. Then add broken nuts.

Pour over bottom of a 13x9 pan. Take slices of rolls and lay flat in pan.
Let rise (about 3 hours if frozen-till they meet together)

Bake at 350 degrees till golden on top (20-25 min.)

Run knife around sides, flip upside down.

Serve warm.

Take a bow.

THANK YOU GAIL!

Italian Pizelle Christmas Cookies. (A repost)


-Photo Jordan Murphy-SQUARED VISION PHOTOGRAPHY

I want to introduce you to the best Southern cook I know. This is my mother, Rose.
My son took this photo of us for a Mother's Day Gift 3 year's ago.
She is a 77-year-old homemaker extraordinaire.

I'm going to be featuring many of her best recipes that she has passed along to me and I'm here to tell you- if I put her name in the title of a recipe...you need to make it. Her food is ALWAYS delicious! Not necessarily the healthiest dishes, but THE BEST recipes.
This is where moderation is key.

Some are pretty simple, but no matter the time it or technique it takes to put one of her dishes on the table, it's ALWAYS worth it.

My Mom was a stay at home mother while my brother and sister and I were growing up. She cooked 3 times each day- DELICIOUS Homemade breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We rarely ate out.

She loves to cook with lots of real butter, full fat chicken broth and cheesy sauces!


But I'm starting off with a traditional Italian pizelle cookie that we make together annually. It's actually not a fattening as most cookie recipes. It's beautiful, crispy and on the lighter-tasting side. This recipe was passed down from her late mother-in-law, my grandmother Amelia, a wonderful Italian cook.



First, you must have one of these. A Pizelle cookie maker.



But don't dispair if you do not own one. These cookies can also be made on a cookie sheet for the same great flavor, they just won't be as pretty.


You will need:
6 eggs
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 cups flour
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. anise oil


Beat eggs and sugar well. Add melted cooled butter. Add anise oil, then dry ingredients. Mix well with a mixer on med. speed. till smooth.




With floured hands, roll dogh in ball (2-3 heaping teaspoonfuls). Place dough slightly off center - just a tiny bit back- close lid and cook for about one minute.

*It is okay to open lid to see if they are done- it will not affect the cookie to check a few times.




They should be slightly golden brown.



They lift very easily off the griddle with spatula.



Cool on flat surface, then start stacking them.








These are delicious served just as they are.

They are also great sprinkled with powdered sugar (especially at Christmas time- they'll look like a big snowflake cookie!)

You can also shape them to make a waffle cone for ice cream, but you need the proper form for this. You can form it to the bottom of a cup, let it cool that way, then it will be a perfect cup to fill with ice cream, drizzled with chocolate...yummmmm.

*Remember to take my cookie challenge and share the wealth!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Devil's Food Cake Mix Cookies!


Simple and so good- these are great to add to your cookie sampler platter for Christmas.

It's always good to have a box of cake mix handy for those unexpected times when cookies are needed.

I make them with and without nuts, with and without powdered sugar--and they're always a hit.


1 box devil's food cake mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. water
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1/2 c. chopped nuts
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cake mix, eggs, water and shortening until well blended. Stir in nuts. Shape into small balls, then roll in powdered sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 48 cookies.

O balls....a 3 ingredient recipe! (a repost)


An Ever so simple recipe to make with the kids! Delicious and makes 75! Let the kiddos give them as gifts!

My co-worker, Sally, served these in the Lounge at school a couple of years ago, and I had forgotten how simple and delicious they were. Now they are back on my Christmas list of fun treats to make. (You can also make them with the MINT Oreas, and the Peanut butter flavored ones)

A great recipe to make with the kids.

WARNING! These are very rich!


YOU WILL NEED:

1 package Oreo cookies(1 lb. 4 oz.)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
20 ounces almond bark,melted




Directions:

Crush 1 pkg. Oreo cookies. Mix with softened cream cheese. Roll into balls; chill. Dip in 18-20 oz. melted almond bark to coat.

*You can also crush Oreo's in food processor and add in cream cheese cubes to mix. * chill this mixture before rolling into balls.

*You can drizzle with chocolate if desired.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cranberry Pineapple "muffins" (a repost)



I found this little tangy tart sweet in a magazine, which sent me to Kraftfoods.com for the recipe.

I love the presentation. It's perfect to serve on your Holiday table- SO festive!. A tasty side to any chicken, turkey or pork recipe. The Thanksgiving turkey or the Christmas Ham would love it as a sidekick!

When I served it, it was delicious and a big hit, however, I did not have luck removing them from the liners, but I still thought they were very pretty presented in the foil muffin liners. It can also be made in a large glass baking dish.




1 can (20 oz.) DOLE Crushed Pineapple, in juice
2 pkg. (3 oz. each) JELL-O Raspberry Flavor Gelatin
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
2/3 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts
1 DOLE Apple, chopped


DRAIN pineapple, reserving juice. Add enough water to juice to measure 2-1/2 cups; pour into saucepan. Bring to boil. Add to gelatin mixes in large bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved.

STIR in pineapple, cranberry sauce, nuts and apples. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

REFRIGERATE 2-1/2 hours or until firm. Remove desserts from liners before serving.


You may also prepare these by using JELL-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin or JELL-O Raspberry Flavor Sugar Free Gelatin.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mocha Mix ( a repost)


My good friend Debbie gave me this recipe many years ago, and I always save it for our first REAL snow (you know, the kind that sticks and cancels school and shuts down businesses).

But it's also perfect for a cozy evening at home, when I curl up on the sofa and read a good book, and of course, it is perfect for gift-giving and when entertaining friends.


Debbie's beautiful Mother, Lynn, passed away from breast cancer, and this recipe makes me think of her. So when you make yourself a cup, drink up...in honor of Lynn, who fought a courageous battle and has left behind a wonderful family.

Lynn was a stay at home mother whose life revolved around her family. So, in her memory, make a batch for your bunch to warm up their bodies after a cold day outdoors, and give them a hug to warm their souls!

YOU WILL NEED:
2 cups Swiss Miss powdered Mocha
2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
1 c. instant coffee granules
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sugar

Blend all till well mixed. Store in covered jar. Use 2 tsp. mix per cup of boiling water.

Stir well, top with marshmallows.
*If you'll notice in the photo, I sprinkled some little "snowflakes" I had leftover from some Christmas baking supplies I had on hand. I love the touch it added.