Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tea on Tuesday: Apple Cakes with Lemon Sauce

2 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg white
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded peeled apple
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons butter

In a small bowl, beat shortening and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg white until combined. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; add to shortening mixture just until combined. Fold in apple and pecans (batter will be thick).

Divide between two 8-oz. ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2-3 minutes or until thickened, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and butter until blended. Spoon over warm cakes.

Yield: 2 servings.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: tasteofhome.com~~

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A beautiful Snowbird!

My friend Jan at Rose Haven had a "STROLL THE SHOPS" Feature on her blog the first of December. Every day, Monday thru Friday, through Friday, December 11th, Jan was strolling through some Etsy, eBay, Bonanzle and Blog shops that she had bought from, had been busy "peeking" in or otherwise drawn to. There were links to follow to the shops, where you could see what they have to offer...learn a bit about the seller and even peek at some of the "pretties" Jan's purchased.
One of the beautiful giveaways was from Cathy Scalise of Treasured Heirlooms! I can't believe I won one of her sweet creations! I have admired her work in Romantic Homes magazine and I drop by her blog to check out her dreamy creations all the time.

Here she is...a beautiful pink and aqua birdnest creation...how lovely! She really is too lovely to hide away and only bring out at Christmas, so I'm going to leave her out year-round!

Thank you Jan and Cathy for offering this wonderful giveaway!! I truly hope all my friends had a lovely Christmas and I wish you much happiness and joy in the New Year!!
Hugs to all,

Friday, December 25, 2009

It's Christmas Day!

Wishing you a day full of Joy, Love, Family, and Happiness! from our House to Yours!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tea on Tuesday: English Trifle

I make English Trifle every Christmas--but last year I did a "light" version and it was just as good! I always make it a day or two before we plan to eat it because the flavors blend together and become awesome! You can save some calories, and we'll be the only ones who know! :) ENJOY!

* 1 package (.3 ounce) sugar-free strawberry gelatin
* 1 cup boiling water
* 1 cup cold water
* 1 prepared angel food cake (8 ounces), cut into cubes
* 1 cup mashed strawberries
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened pineapple chunks
* 1 cup sliced firm bananas
* 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
* 2 cups cold fat-free milk
* 1 package (1 ounce) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
* 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
* 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
* 1 fresh strawberry

* In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in cold water. Pour half of gelatin mixture into a small bowl; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until slightly thickened. Let remaining gelatin stand at room temperature.

* Place half of cake cubes in a 3-qt. trifle bowl. In a small bowl, combine mashed strawberries and sugar; spoon half over cake.

* Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Cut pineapple chunks in half; arrange half over mashed strawberries. Toss banana slices with reserved pineapple juice; arrange half of slices over pineapple. Top with 1 cup sliced strawberries. Spoon refrigerated gelatin over fruit. Refrigerate trifle and remaining gelatin mixture for 20 minutes.

* In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Spread half of pudding over trifle. Repeat all layers. Top with whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, sprinkle with almonds; garnish with the strawberry.

Yield: 12 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup equals 155 calories, 2 g fat (trace saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 274 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: tasteofhome.com~~

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Yep, it's that time of year again...that glorious time of year when I acknowledge I'm 39.999 again today. :)

When I was younger, birthdays seems spoiled because of it being so close to Christmas...you know how it went, birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper and the yearly "oh we just got you this for your birthday because Christmas is next week". Somehow I always felt gypped, you know.

But the older I am, the more I like having a birthday around Christmas. It's makes the two inseparable with holiday lights, Christmas lights, holiday music. Everyone seems to celebrate. Now that I'm older, and my family has passed on, it's a sad time of the year for me, one full of memories. So I'm happy to have the lights and music and even the funny memories of years gone by.

I was supposed to be in Pigeon Forge, TN, this weekend. My husband and I have made it a tradition to go down and look at all the Festival Lights every Christmas & do a bit of shopping. Nothing like creating new memories and new traditions with someone you love. However, the weather had different plans for us this year! We are supposed to get atleast a foot (yes, 12"!!) of snow starting around noon today!! So I will be "snowed in" for my birthday this year. I can't even remember the last time we got more than a few inches of snow, especially in December! And they're saying we might just see more snow on Christmas Eve. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!
I hope you're having a wonderful holiday season!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From the Kitchen: Vision of Sugarplums...

Looking for something a bit lighter at the holidays? The average American gains ATLEAST 10 lbs from Thanksgiving to Christmas! WOW. Here's a lighter choice of 'cookie' and no one has to know! :)

* 1 package (15 ounces) raisins
* 1 package (12 ounces) pitted prunes
* 1 package (8 ounces) dried mixed fruit
* 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
* Sugar

* In a food processor, coarsely chop raisins, prunes, mixed fruit and pecans. Transfer to a bowl, mix well. Roll into 1-in. balls, then roll in sugar. Place on waxed paper and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours. Store in an airtight container. Roll in additional sugar before serving if desired.

Yield: about 8 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (2 each) equals 83 calories, 3 g fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 3 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: tasteofhome.com~~

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tea on Tuesday: Fruitcake Cookies

My mother-in-law makes these every year at Christmas and they are awesome! I hate fruit cake, but these are sweet! (no pun intended there!)

* 6 cups chopped pecans (about 1-1/2 pounds)
* 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
* 1-1/2 cup raisins
* 1-1/4 cups chopped candied cherries (about 1/2 pound)
* 1-1/4 cups chopped candied pineapple (about 1/2 pound)
* 4-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
* 1/2 cup evaporated milk
* 1/4 cup butter, cubed
* 1-1/2 cups flaked coconut

* In a large bowl, combine pecans, cracker crumbs, raisins, cherries and pineapple. In a large saucepan, combine marshmallows, milk and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted.
* Pour over pecan mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls and roll in the coconut.

Yield: 7-8 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (2 each) equals 196 calories, 13 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 49 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: tasteofhome.com~~

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cookie Recipe Swap!

Hello! Today is the cookie recipe swap over at Rose Haven so I had to join in the fun with Jan!

These are three yummy recipes I love and had to share with you!

First we have:

* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 egg
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* Milk chocolate kisses or stars
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie's center. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes 54 cookies.

To store: Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: from bhg.com~~

And, I just can't leave out:

* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates, (8 ounces)
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups toasted rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
* 1 cup shredded coconut

1. Combine butter, sugar and dates in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted, the sugar is no longer white and the dates are mostly melted, 8 to 15 minutes. The mixture should be a shiny, brown sticky mass. Remove from the heat.

2. Add salt, vanilla, cereal and coconut; stir well to combine.

3. When cool enough to handle, squeeze and roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until chilled.

Makes about 4 dozen.

* Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: eatingwell.com~~

And my favorite "gift" cookies/candies:

* 4 egg whites
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
* 1/8 tsp. salt
* 1-1/3 cups sugar
* 1 (14-oz.) pkg. flaked coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. In
large mixing bowl beat egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt with electric
mixer on high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a
time, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold in coconut.

2. Using an ice cream scoop with 2-inch bowl (or scant 1/4-cup measure), drop coconut mixture in mounds on prepared cookie sheets. Place on separate racks in oven. Bake 20 minutes. Turn off oven; let cookies dry in oven 30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Makes 28 cookies.

Note: For small cookies drop dough by teaspoons. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand and cool as above. Makes 60 cookies.

4. Store in airtight container in single layer at room temperature up to 3 days. Freeze up to 3 months.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: recipe.com~~

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tea on Tuesday: Old-Fashioned Stollen

This has always been a favorite of mine at the holidays--along with my Irish grandmother's Christmas Cake! Stollen is actually a traditional German Christmas yeast bread. The fruit-filled loaf topped with a confectioners' sugar icing and candied cherries. Yum! Enjoy! :)

* 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
* 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
* 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
* 1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
* 3/4 cup butter, softened
* 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
* 6-1/4 to 6-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/2 cup diced citron or mixed candied fruit and peel
* 1/2 cup sliced candied cherries
* Melted butter
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 5 to 6 teaspoons milk
* Blanched whole almonds and additional candied fruit

* In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the milk, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs, egg yolks,remaining sugar and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in the raisins, citron, cherries and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

* Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.

* Punch down; divided into thirds. Roll each piece on a floured surface into a 10-in. x 6-in. oval. Brush with melted butter. Fold one long side over to within 1 in. of the opposite side. Press edges to seal. Place on greased baking sheets. Brush with melted butter. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

* Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. For icing, combine confectioners' sugar and milk; spread over cooled bread. Decorate with almonds and fruit.

Yield: 3 breads.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 slice) equals 172 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 35 mg cholesterol, 156 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: tasteofhome.com~~

Saturday, December 5, 2009

From the Kitchen: Homemade Gumdrops

Your friends and family will remember these chewy fruity candies long after they've licked the last bit of sugar off their fingers! They're a great gift!

* 2-1/2 cups sugar, divided
* 1-1/3 cups applesauce
* 2 packages (3 ounces each) red or green gelatin
* 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice

* In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups sugar, applesauce, red or green gelatin, unflavored gelatin and lemon juice; let stand for 1 minute. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Immediately pour into a cold 11-in. x 7-in. pan coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.

* With a spatula, loosen gelatin from sides or pan. To remove, invert onto waxed paper. Using kitchen scissors or small sharp cookie cutters dipped on hot water, cut into 1-in. squares or shapes.

* Place on waxed paper. Dry at room temperature for about 8 hours or until slightly sticky. Roll in remaining sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: About 1-3/4 pounds.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 35 calories, trace fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 3 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, trace protein.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: tasteofhome.com~~

Friday, December 4, 2009


I love the first snow of the season! Finally, we are expected to get 2-5 inches tomorrow! Yipeee! I have some major plans too. I hope to stay at home all day in my pajamas and craft! :) Well, that's sounds like the dream plan to me. Hope you stay warm in your corner of the world.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

CROCHET HOW-TO: Easy Vintage-style towel hanger

How about a super easy-peasy Christmas gift? These are easy to whip up in no time and I love to hang one or two on my oven handle--perfect for those quick clean-up for messes or to wipe your hands on. You can do holiday towels or maybe your special person has a "theme" kitchen like gingerbread men, birds, sunflowers, teapots, etc. It's so easy to find those theme-printed towels and do a few for a Christmas gift! :) I'll be making some of these soon--next on my "to do" list. Enjoy!!

photo and directions from crochetspot.com:


You may either start by crocheting on the towel using a very small crochet hook or you can sew the finished topper onto your towel when you are finished making it.

Skill Level: crochet skill level easy
Finished Size: 5 1/2″ (14 cm) tall, 5 1/2″ (14 cm) wide when flat
crochet towel topper

Medium Weight Yarn (small amount)
Crochet Hook J (6.00 mm)
Crochet Hook US 7 (1.5 mm) – only if crocheting topper onto towel
Sewing needle and thread – only if sewing topper onto towel
crochet yarn size 4
Crochet Pattern: Towel Topper
Row 1 (sew topper on towel method): with crochet hook J (6.00 mm), ch 36, sc in second ch from hook and in each ch across: 35 sc
Row 1 (crochet topper on towel method): using US 7 (1.5 mm) crochet hook, 35 sc evenly across top of towel: 35 sc
Row 2: with crochet hook J (6.00 mm), ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across: 35 sc
Row 3: ch 2 (counts as 1 dc now and throughout), turn, (dc in next sc, skip 1 sc) across, 2 dc in last sc: 20 dc
Row 4: ch 2, turn, (dc in next dc, skip 1 dc) across, 2 dc in last dc: 12 dc
Row 5: ch 2, turn, (dc in next dc, skip 1 dc) across, 2 dc in last dc: 8 dc
Row 6 – 17: ch 2, turn, dc in each dc across: 8 dc
Finish off.
Attach yarn to lower corner of towel topper. Sc around side to top to other side of towel topper. Then finish off. Do not sc across bottom of towel topper since towel is (or will be) attached there.
Sew button to towel, aligning it at the lower center of the handle such that the center of the last row can be used as a button hole. If you did not crochet the topper directly onto the towel, use thread and a sewing needle to sew the topper onto the top of the towel.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December already?? I've been a busy bee!

I know, I just can't believe it! Where have the past few weeks gone? I've been busy as a bee, that's for sure! I still have some "crafties" to finish, but thought I'd go ahead and post what I've been making. :)

I have to start with my latest creations! I am really getting into these and think they make cute pin keeps (as in the black one below) or jewelry holders (as the turquoise one below). I think they will become a regular in my stores.Punch needle galore! More Christmas baskets!

And of course, since I've been doing more punch needle, I've had to make Christmas stockings!

And with the holidays you have to have cutsey bird ornies!

OH, and I almost forgot my scarf! I have one finished and I love it because it's sooooo soft!

Whew! I still have to finish my embroider-ed pieces this week and a super soft pink scarf! And I have to study for my final exam too. I just love being an "older" student. ;) But I've decided to not take a class in the spring (January) and just focus on work full-time and my part-time craft business. that's enough, isn't it? ;)

Hope you're feeling crafty! What have you been making? Have a blessed Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tea on Tuesday: Holiday Truffles

I LOVE making these for the holidays! They are super, super simple and make an impressive gift! I made these for my in-laws last year and what a presentation they make in a cute Christmas tin and little gold foil wrappers.

* 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* Finely chopped toasted nuts, flaked coconut, baking cocoa, powdered sugar, or red and green sprinkles

* In a microwave, combine chips and milk. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring after 1-1/2 minutes; stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Chill for 3 hours or until firm.
* Shape into 1-in. balls; roll in nuts, coconut, cocoa or sprinkles. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in a refrigerator.

Yield: 6 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (2 each) equals 103 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 16 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: tasteofhome.com~~