Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Greetings to all!

Christmas Greetings to all of you in blogland. I hope Santa brings you everything you want. Of course, in this economy, he might have had to lay some elves off, and production is down.
I will be traveling to Michigan, (Yes the car maker state). I will post when I can, so until then....

Have a wonderful Holiday!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas 1965

Here we are at Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa, I am the cute little blonde on Grammy's lap. (I knew I was always her favorite...LOL). My grandparents are not with us anymore, but it is great that I have found this picture to post. These are the first of the grandchildren, as there were more to come after us. My grandparents had 8 children, so that makes for many grandchildren.

The oldest in this picture turns 51 years old this year, hard to believe. Where has the time gone? There are so many happy memories that I have of my grandparents and the gatherings that they had at their house. They didn't have much money, but made up for it in the love they had for their family. It was wonderful to get a new pair of socks and $2 in a card. Made us so happy!
These were special times indeed....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baked French Toast...for Christmas Morning


Another great breakfast brunch idea that would be delish for Christmas morning.
I mix in blueberries and cream cheese chunks,
That will melt right in when it bakes......
Yummy!!

BAKED FRENCH TOAST

INGREDIENTS

**NOTE : You can mix in Fruit if you like...
1 lb. (approx.) French bread, cut into cubes
6 eggs, beaten
1-3/4 to 2 cups milk
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

**Place bread cubes in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.

**In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, 3/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; pour evenly over bread.

**Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

**Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Combine melted butter and
remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar; drizzle over the top.

**Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow it to cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow is coming....Get Ready!


To all my East Coast Friends who have already been hit:

Snow is coming our way, and we're excepted to get a foot plus+++ So we will soon be house bound like you. I stopped into the supermarket earlier to just get a few things to tide us over until next week, and boy was it crowded. When snow is announced here in the Northeast, everyone goes crazy. Schools are closed the night before, and the Governor comes on the TV to tell all employers to suggest the employees stay home, if you work in the city.

It is the last weekend to shop for the holidays, and the stores will be devastated. The economy was bad enough , then the weather is bad to boot! This is a picture of Boston, getting plowed out during a bad storm , same time last year. People were stuck on the freeway for 5 hours, because the city wasn't prepared for the storm, and everyone tried to get out at the same time.

So I'll keep on baking, and making....First, I think I'll start my Broccoli Cheddar Soup sounds like a good cold weather meal. Yummy!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cissy Bars


These are a super easy bar type snack to make to
add to your cookie platter.
I found this recipe last year.....and have no idea why
they call them Cissy Bars.

The kids love them, and they did well at the bakesale too!

Some of you might have seen them made with saltines.






CISSY BARS (or Praline Bars)


INGREDIENTS
24 graham cracker squares (or as many as it takes to cover the sheetpan)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans




DIRECTIONS
**Heat oven to 350ºF.

**Arrange graham crackers in single layer in ungreased jelly roll pan, 15 1/2x10 1/2x1 inch.

**Heat brown sugar and butter to boiling in 2-quart saucepan. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

**Pour sugar mixture over crackers; spread evenly. Sprinkle with pecans.

**Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly; cool slightly. Cut between graham crackers into bars. Or you can wait until the cool over night and break them apart by the line that was originally formed on them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

English Muffin Casserole

This is a wonderful brunch item for Christmas Day. Let it sit over night and pop it in the oven the next morning. It's just that easy! I made this for a recent Parent's Brunch for school and everyone loved it. You can add just about anything you like, you don't have to put in just what I did. So give it a try, I'm sure they'll love it!!!



ENGLISH MUFFIN CASSEROLE
INGREDIENTS
5 English muffins, split and cut into cubes whole grain or regular
1/2 c. low fat cheddar cheese
1/4 sundried tomatoes
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. honey ham, sausage, or turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. shredded potatoes, dried or frozen
You can also add cut broccoli, asparagus, spinach
-----------------------------

6 eggs
1/2 c. low fat sour cream
1 c. low fat milk
2 T. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
**Spray a 13 x 9 pan

**Starting with the cubed English muffins, layer the top 7 ingredients.

**In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream, milk, mustard, basil, and S&P.

**The night before you want to serve or an hour before baking, you can pour the egg mixture over the muffins layered with goodies. So that it will soak in.

**Cover and place in fridge.

**Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, it will be nice and puffy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who is Your Secret Crush....


When it comes to music, this man is my secret crush. I have loved his music forever. His music was played as our first dance when we were married, and I have seen him a few times in concert. He doesn't live too far from me now, about an hour west. And he has a summer home on Martha's Vineyard.
James calls Massachusetts his home, and loves everything about it, even though part of his life was spent in Chapel Hill, NC. He has had some tough roads in his earlier days, but now has come into his own, as a father of 8 year twin boys. His 61 year old voice is so soothing, and his lyrics are wonderful. He seems like such a down to earth person, it would be great to sit down and chat about music and life.....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Chanukah!!

Happy Chanukah!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pecan Sables



This week's TWD choice of Sables comes from Barbara of Bungalow Barbara.
Just in the right time...during my holiday baking.
These cookies can last for awhile- - - - if you hide them!

I decided to add some ground pecan to Dorie's original recipe.
If you do this, bring the flour down to 1 1/2 cups,
and add 1/2 cup of ground pecans.
You will love them with a cup of tea.
To find the recipe check out Barbara's blog HERE
We give this 5 glasses of milk ,
for utter goodness!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Run, Run, Gingerbread Man...


Run, Run, as fast as you can! You can't catch me , I'm the Gingerbread Man! I'm sure that's what they were all saying. But, unfortunately for them, they were being eaten by everyone in the house!

I love gingerbread and the smell of gingerbread baking. I collect vintage gingerbread cookie cutters, which are hard to find right now. I started a long time ago, and am glad I did. I put them on a feather tree ,which I will post later. I thought I would pass along this recipe to you that I found on a Christmas card several years ago, and have used it ever since. It is so simple and de-lish!

GINGERBREAD COOKIE
INGREDIENTS
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. shortening
1 egg
1/2 c. molasses
2 c. flour
2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp gropund cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees

**In a medium bowl , mix together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, b.soda, and b.powder, then set aside.

** Cream together the shortening, sugar, molasses, and egg.

** Add in the flour mixture, mix to combine. Will be a little stiff. Wrap in refrigerate fopr 30 minutes.

** Remove from fridge and roll out onto a floured surface, and cut into shapes. Place on Parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
**When they come right out of the oven I put red hots on for the buttons, before they cool, and then when they cool I use royal icing to decorate the outline.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chocolate Ginger Snowballs


You know how I love a good cookie.......
So I couldn't help but join in Jessi's Cookie Exchange again this year.
Last year was so much fun!
These cookies are a hit with everyone,
especially with the little zing they give you.



I receive the Rachel Ray magazine each month, which isn't too bad. I exactly enjoy trying out the recipes, and looking in celebrity fridges, which she has in the back of each issue. She combines a chocolate crinkle cookie with ginger, which gives it a little zing. Then I put my 2 cents in, by not using the unsweetened chocolate squares, which I never have on hand, and I just combine the cocoa powder with butter after it has melted to make a thick paste.


After you have mixed all ingredients, the dough will be sticky. I put it in the fridge over night then scoop and ball it the next day. After rolling it into a ball, I roll it in granulated then powdered sugar, so that it will stick better after baking. It will also make them a little crinkly crunchy....


INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
granulated sugar and confectioners' sugar for rolling

DIRECTIONS
**Sift together the flour ,baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 c. cocoa and ginger; set aside.

**In a medium bowl, stir 1/3 c. cocoa powder into melted butter until melted and smooth.

**Mix in the sugar, eggs and vanilla.

**Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips.

**Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.


**Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.


**Roll the chilled dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in granulated sugar then, confectioners' sugar.


**Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.


**Bake for 9 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops are cracked. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Teen Room On A Budget

The week before Thanksgiving was spent turning my daughter's deep purple room into a brighter room. She had inherited a rich deep purple and gold room, with antique dark oak furniture. We didn't have much of a budget to work with, so she would have to do with what we could find. We put all the antique furniture into storage, took away the gold drapes, and kilzed the walls before painting them a lighter shade.

I was able to find all the maple furniture on separate trips made over a weekend to the dump's swap shop. I took off all the handles, sanded and then filled holes. Then I painted them a creamy white which I had on hand. (All FREE) Then I spray painted the green furniture from the furniture I had used outside. ($4) I used a cheaper paint at Lowes that they now offer. ($14 gallon), the lighter purple was a mis-mix oops!(Scored for $5 a gallon). For the border, I taped off 5 inches and painted with white and blue that I had left over from other work around the house.


After painting it was on to decorating with found objects around the house and a little help from the Dollar Store. The curtains are dish towels and the pillows made from placemats from the Dollar Store. ($8) Window seat made from fabric picked up at JoAnn's. ($6) All stuffing came from pillows that were repurposed.

The big ticket item was the quilt and sham set bought from KOHL'S , half off with a 30% off coupon and free shipping. ($45) Art work by me with folk art paint that I already had. I just had to purchase canvas on sale at AC Moore (3/$24).
My daughter is so very, very happy with her NEW room. Hopefully she will keep it as neat and tidy as it is now :)


$106 Makeover.......Priceless!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fruit Tart

This week's choice of Rosy Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart was chosen by
Lauren of "I'll Eat You"

As you can see, I veered away from the pack and decided to make a basic fruit tart without the added pistachios (not in my budget). And using leftover fruit from a weekend catering event. I don't think the kids would have enjoyed the wine poached pears as much as I would have.

This particular dessert is popular around the holidays here in New England. Probably because of the Italian influence.Check Spelling The Italians are famous for their pastry cream. Some people find it hard to make , but I have found a trick to making the perfect cream. I use a strainer when adding back in my tempered egg mixture and continuously whip. This allows for a very smooth consistency. You can find the recipe here on Lauren's site or in Dorie's book.

Even though I didn't follow the recipe to the tee......
We give the 5 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!