Friday, December 3, 2010

Darcy's Peanut Butter Balls

Today's bit of love comes in the form of a recipe of the most favorite treat at last night's ward party. Darcy was kind enough to run home and get me the recipe for my blog today. I walked around the entire building with a few on a plate, asking, "Did you make these?" And the most frequent answer was, "No, but I want to know who did!" So here's Darcy's very nummy and simple treat.

1/4 cup melted butter or margerine
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all together and make into balls. Chill, then dip each ball into melted chocolate or melted chocolate chips. They freeze well.

However, last night, Darcy had made spread them onto a cookie sheet then frosted them with the melted chocolate. Then, she drizzled or used a frosting tube of white frosting over the chocolate. They were very thin (about as thick as an oreo, maybe) and the little tiny white swirls all over them looked so festive. She'd cut them into about 1 1/2 " squares and had them on a platter. They looked so dang cute and delicate! I wish I'd taken a picture. Seriously, the hit treat of the evening! I'll make them and photograph them asap! Enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Butter Sauce for Salmon

This is an old favorite in our home and I usually prepare the sauce to go on baked salmon. Doug bakes the salmon, so don't ask how to do that. ;) I'm not a fan of salmon but with this sauce, it's awesome!
1/2 pound butter
2Tbsp. Kikoman Soy Sauce
4 tsp. lemon juice
pepper to taste (the more the better, in our house)
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
4 chopped green onions (from the root almost to the end of the stem)
Melt the butter and add the remaining ingredients. Keep warm and pour over baked salmon. I usually serve this sauce with baked potatoes or rice. It's fabulous! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving for the Kids!

Thanksgiving is always such a fun time for cousins to get together and enjoy eachother's company. This year, we had ten children, ages 2 to 15 and I wanted to create a fun but beautiful table for them too! I set up a banquet table and went for it!
I've never used paper plates until a few weeks ago for the Seniors Dinner and since I had some leftover, and had so many people coming for dinner, I thought I'd try it again. The grown-ups got the left over Senior's plates and the kids got more of a youthful themed table. I bought this brown and red plaid paper plates at Target in their Christmas section last week. They were perfect for a Thanksgiving table and were made just to go along with my table favors, the paper cup turkeys filled with what else, but red and brown Tootsie Rolls!
I made these darling little turkeys from brown paper cups (purchased at Hobby Lobby) and used my cricut to cut the leaves/feathers out for the tail. I got the idea from friend, Marilyn, who did not use wiggly eyes. Friend Connie and I trade favors all the time and I'd agreed to make her some too. She picked up the eyes and came home with wiggly eyes. I thought they were perfect! I made nineteen cups in less than an hour, start to finish!
One thing that I didn't have on the table when I took the photos was the tags. I used Staples 1 1/4" circle tags with the metal rings on them. Then, stamped a fall leaf, chalked it, wrote each child's name on their tag and tied it to the handle of the cocoa mugs. The kids thought that it was pretty special!
Seriously, Thanksgiving dinner served on paperplates and chargers was the ticket for this many guests! I didn't have to hand wash the fragile china and clean up was a breeze! With all the beautiful paper goods out there, I may be doing this more often!
A friend commented, "Why do you go to all that trouble when it's over in 30 minutes and no one will remember anyway?" I beg to differ. My kids love to talk about the cool tables that they get to eat at. This will be the "Tootsie Roll Turkey Thanksgiving" for them. Worth every minute of preparation, indeed!

Thanksgiving Dinner Table

When I suddenly had everyone we'd invited to Thanksgiving dinner accept, I decided to use chargers and paper plates. I'm loving it! These were leftover plates from the dinner I'd served two weeks ago to the senior widows in our LDS ward. But, I couldn't create the same tablescape twice, so here was table number two with the same dishes...paperplates from Hobby Lobby.

I used a wine colored tablecloth and when it all came together, I was not loving it, until I remembered these beautiful berry wreathes hanging on the backs of the chairs that go with my antique tablescaping table. Perfection! They brought all of the wines and oranges and golds together.

Friend Connie and I trade favors all the time. I'd made her Thanksgiving stuffing and Tootsie Roll Turkey cups (see Kids Thanksgiving table). Connie made hand-dipped chocolates and caramels, in trade. I think that I got the better end of this deal, for sure!
The leaf garland down the center pulled the fact that I was using two wreathes together. The candles in the center of each wreathe were purchased at Pier One in January a few years ago for $1.50 each when they were 90% off! They've been so versatile! Wait till I share what I'm doing with them for Christmas this year!
The little tags, just paper tags from Staples, were stamped with a little fall leaf and then chalked in to match the berries. (I did them while watching the weather. Literally ten minutes.)
Then, I wrote "We're thankful for" and filled in the names with a Zig Marker. A table favor and name card all in one!
The table was simple, yet elegant! We served Thanksgiving dinner buffet-style. So, the table remained lovely all afternoon! Gathered together with family, we had much to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Stuffing

This is one recipe that I've never recorded before because I've never really measured what goes in it. This morning, I took note of what I was using. It makes a TON of stuffing, but I use it for a casserole with leftover turkey. Besides that, stuffing is one of the best things to snitch a piece of all weekend, right? Especially with cranberry salad for a snack! This recipe could be cut in half or thirds, but here's what I make each Thanksgiving, whether we are having 30 people or 2. It does freeze well, but we never have any left after a few days. It's not diet stuffing!

3 - 12oz. bags of Pepperidge Farms Herb Flavored Stuffing croutons or crumbs
1 large bunch of celery
2 large onions
2 cans sliced mushrooms or 1 large package of fresh mushrooms
1 pound of butter (told ya!)
6 eggs
about 6- 8 cups water
1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
2 regular size cans of chicken broth
salt and pepper

Finely chop the celery, onions and mushrooms. Saute the veggies in 2 sticks of butter until cooked well. In a very large bowl (the large FixNMix Tupperware bowl), pour the sauteed veggies over the bread crumbs and cubes. In a separate large mixing bowl, mix the eggs, poultry seasoning and water and also two more sticks of melted butter. Pour over the bread. Also pour the chicken broth over the bread and veggies. Mix well. Add more water, if desired, to get the bread mixture to the desired moistness and texture. We like it very moist. Pour and spread into three large baking sheets. (I use the Pampered Chef deep baking sheets.) Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until cooked through.

I usually make this stuffing the day before Thanksgiving. Keep it sealed tightly with the foil and reheat. before serving. Cut into squares or scoop into a bowl after reheating to serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Minty Holiday Blossoms

I made the mistake of buying Hersheys Mint Kisses before Thanksgiving. We're now on our fifth bag in this house and it's still another week until Mr. Turkey comes for dinner. Anyway, I had this wild idea and decided to give it a shot. So, here's what I've created for a fun Holiday Cookie. I used Denise's sugar cookie recipe, which has to be one of the best ever and the concept of Peanut Blossoms (my favorite cookies until today). I made a few changes and voila... these delicious treats!

1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. mint extract
8 or so drops of green food coloring
bowl of sugar
2 bags Hersheys Mint Kisses, unwrapped

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour, soda and salt, alternately with milk. Add food coloring until green enough and mint extract. Mix well. Roll into balls (about a teaspoon) and then roll in the bowl of sugar until coated. Bake for 7-9 minutes at 375 degrees. They will look undercooked. Do not overcook. While cookies are baking, unwrap all of the kisses and set aside in a bowl. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and wait about three minutes. Place a Candy Kiss in the center of each cookie. Let cool completely before storing. Makes about 75 regular size cookies. Enjoy!

A few other thoughts...

The girls and I made the recipe without the mint and green to begin with. We just rolled the cookies in the sugar and placed the kisses after baking. Very tasty. BUT, do not place the kisses in the cookies until they've cooled for a few minutes or they will flatten. (That actually works out too, because they are easier to store without the kiss bumping off the top.) I'm also thinking that these would be really cute rolled in green or red sugar crystals for Christmas!

This dough is also perfect for fruit pizza!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall Dinner

A family Home Evening decision a few months ago led to our Fall dinner with nine senior single women, aging in their seventies to mid-nineties.
I've never served on a paper plate in my life! However, at the frequent recommendation from one of my favorite entertainers, "pretty paper plates" are just as fun as the real thing!
When I woke up two days earlier with a back that didn't want to co-operate with me pulling out the dishes I'd been planning on, a trip to Hobby Lobby and some humble pie (from saying, "I'd never!) brought me to these beautiful paper plates! And bonus! They were on sale for 50% off!

Browns, rusts and oranges were the perfect matching candle colors.
Connie, my partner in crime, made handdipped chocolates and caramels for our party favors! How do we rate!?
My favorite goblets, a gift from friend Vikki! Thanks again, Vikki!
The menu:Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole (real comfort food!)Spinach and Craisin SaladHomemade Rolls (served right out of the oven)Pumpkin Bars (Connie's the queen of desserts!)
A few random silk fall leaves scattered on the table and a beautiful white pepperberry garland running the length of the table tied it all together. And besides all that, chargers make any table look fabulous!
Dinner was wonderful. The ambiance was great. The company the best!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apple Nachos

Liza shared this idea with me two weeks ago and we've made them almost every day since. They are to die for and have become our new favorite fall treat. They're even somewhat healthy. Here's how to make Apple Nachos.

Slice apples and dip them in lemon juice, if you are making them in advance. Don't bother, if you'll be eating them immediately. Spread them out on a plate or platter and then drizzle or sprinkle or top them with any or all of the following toppings:

caramel apple dip or ice cream topping
chocolate syrup
Heath English Toffee Bits (found by the chocolate chips in your grocers) A MUST!
chocolate chips
peanut butter
marshmallow cream
brown sugar
cinnamon sugar
cream cheese
Our favorite combo so far is what you see in the photo. Caramel topping, Hersheys Chocolate Syrup, Heath Toffee bits, Coconut, chopped pecans. Doesn't this sound divine? ENJOY!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November Gratitude Table

It's funny. About half way through each month, I start getting excited to put together my next tablescape. Last night, Doug recognized how much joy this little table has brought me. It's a silly thing, but for me, it says "Welcome!" to the new month, to my friends and family; and it reminds me of the blessings I have. There's not only something to celebrate every month, there's tons of reason to celebrate every day!
My inspiration for this tablescape was this ceramic tile. The quote, one of my favorites, from Henry B. Eyring, "Breathe with Grateful Acknowldegement to Him who Grants Each Breath." How much better could we express thanksgiving than that these words.
The colors are perfect for my pumpkin colored living room. Now, Decemeber might be a bit more difficult! And I've not even let myself thnik about July's table yet!
Less candles on this table than usual... I don't consider Thanksgiving a "romantic" time of the year... just abundant.
I love the leaf shaped soup bowls. I have six of them in all of the fall colors. They are huge. Doug's comment was, "You could have one hearty bowl of soup in those!"
My little plastic acorns fit perfectly in the Pampered Chef Pumpkin bowl. Acorns were purchased at Taipan but later found at Michaels too.
These shiny acorns were fabulous must haves for me! I wish I'd have gotten three so that they could be hanging by ribbons above the table. The "spots" on them are translucent, so they reflect light through them. Next year, if I can find another, they'll be hanging!
I couldn't have a Thanksgiving Table without pumpkins. These tiny white ones were perfect!
My life is abundantly blessed!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nikki's Nummy Bread Dip

My new friend, Nikki, brought this outstanding bread dip that was to die for to the Witches Brew last week! I can't wait to make it myself! Later, Doug, who'd dished up a plate of treats to enjoy alone during the party, asked, "WHAT was that?!?!" It was a hit!

8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups grated cheese
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 cup chopped ham
1 can green chilis
1/2 cup green onion

Mix well, put in a greased pie plate and bake for 1 hour. Spiders and Bugs optional! Serve with torn pieces of french bread or chips or crackers. The french bread was AMAZING!! Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Witches Brew

The Witches! Wigs, Warts, Hats and Furs. Quite the motley crew, we were!
Since my home is small and I don't have a ton of room for hosting a large party, I decided to keep it small and invited only fourteen women. The invitation asked them to "come in their best witch's attire and bring a great appetizer to share".

I set the table and lit the candles, using all black and white and orange. I didn't go for the spooky, creepy feel, since we were all such elegant witches.

Using what I had on hand, I created some fun and funky type candle holders, including this orange Pier One decanter (that is awkward to pour out of anyway.) It made a great candleholder by putting a rose vase inside and sitting the black candle on top.

The black and white pumpkins were my new addition to my Halloween collection this fall. Selected by my daughter, Liza, they are two of my favorite pumpkins.

I set out black and silver chargers for the guest to put their appetizers on when they arrived, to keep things going along with the theme.

Of course, a little dry ice added to the punch is a must for a "brew".

This $1.69 cent hat is my most fabulous creation of the year! With embossing powder/glitter, a glue stamp and an awesome swirly rubber stamp, this hat is fantastic and so easy to make! Instructions are on my regular blog, here.

My favorite quote of the season: Eat, Drink, Be Scary! It's written in chalk on a piece of black cardstock scrap.

I debated and debated over whether to serve the brew from goblets or these canning pint jars. Goblets would have looked more elegant but, goblets spill easily and since we were moving about for the games and activities, I went with the jars. The tags, purchased long ago at Staples for a scrapbooking project, were then stamped 1 -14, so that everyone knew who's was who's. The number also indicated who was on which team later in the night for the games.

This Black Hat Society sign was downloaded from the internet and perfect for what we became by the end of the evening... friends connected in a new our black hats.

The easiest way to have a party is let the guests share in the cooking. I asked the gals to bring an appetizer or dessert and we had quite the spread. We could never eat it all, but we did put a good dent in it! Apples and caramel dip, a very delicious bread dip, cheesy salsa dip and chips, pumpkin roll, eclairs, layered chocolate caramel bars, seven layer cookies and beautiful tasty tarts! MMMM!

I served two brews for this party. The lime/pineapple slush, because, as my daughter says, "When else can you serve green drink?" and my favorite old standby with the white grape juice and gingerale!

Black, White and Swirls galore... kind of witchy and magical.

I'd made the large broom and hung the sign on the top,"Broom Parking" then tied these miniature versions of the broom along the banister as little thank you gifts to my guests. They all got to choose a broom as they were leaving. They added to the decor and were a fun little gift, too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baked French Toast Strata

This recipe was a huge hit with the entire family. Lately, I've seen several recipes that were similar and actually had a version of baked french toast last weekend. This one was pretty quick and easy and yet tastes like something that you've worked for hours on. It's a must try! And best of all, it can be made the night before and just baked when it's time to eat. It'd be a great Christmas morning meal!

1 loaf French bread
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt

Tear french bread (I used half Sara Lee multigrain bread and half french) into pieces that are about the size of a large marshmallow. Cover the bottom of a well buttered 9 x 13" pan. Combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a blender and mix until blended well. Pour mixture over the bread slices. Cover the bread totally and use a spatula to make sure that it's saturated completely with the milk-egg mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. (I made it and only waited an hour or so before baking. It was just fine.)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes at 350 until puffy and golden. Serve with maple syrup. Enjoy!