Sunday, December 25, 2016

On the 12th Day of Christmas

to all my blog readers

May your days be Merry and Bright!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

On the 11th Day of Christmas

I offer you Straight No Chaser singing The 12 Days of Christmas. You must promise to listen to this all the way through because it is different than all the others and truly creative and just totally fun!!!

And today and tomorrow are about FUN, FAMILY and FRIENDS and FOOD!


Friday, December 23, 2016

On the 10th Day of Christmas

Brian Andreas, creator of Story People, makes great whimsical art with wonderful little bitty stories. Sometimes they tug at your heart strings. Other times they are reminders of how good life is. Enjoy this one and do click on the link I have provided to see what other wonderful things he has to offer.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

On the 9th day of Christmas

These are my personal favorite cookies for the Holidays. Enjoy!

Best Ginger Cookies

Best Soft and Chewy Ginger cookies

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups shortening
3/4 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 2 cups granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and molasses. Stir in the flour mixture with the electric mixer.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. You can freeze these now or roll the balls in the 3/4 cup coarse sugar. (Turbinado, which is raw sugar, works well)

 Place about 2-1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are light brown and puffed. (Do not overbake or cookies will not be soft and chewy.) Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

On the 8th Day of Christmas

Today, I will start you with Christmas humor. You might need it if you still have shopping to do. After you've had a laugh, read the recipe for some really good Christmas Wassail and do make it but fair warning...

Recipe for Christmas Rum Cake
  • 1 or 2 qts. of rum
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/8 tsp. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • baking powder
  • tsp. baking soda
  • lemon juice
  • brown sugar
  • nuts
  1. Before you start, sample the rum to check for quality.
  2. Select a large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc. Check the rum again. It must be just right! To be sure the rum is of the highest quality, pour 1 level cup of rum into a glass and drink it as fast as you can. Repeat.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat butter in large fluffy bowl. Add 1 seaspoon of thugar and beat again. Meanshile, it’s important to make sure the rum is of the finest quality—try another cup.
  4. Open the second quart of rum if necessary. Add 1 arge leggs, 2 cups of fried druits and beat till high.
  5. If the druits get stuck in the beats, just pru it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the rum again for cinscistincy.
  6. Next, sift 3 cups of salt and feffer (it really doesn’t matter). Sample the wum again.
  7. Sift 1 pint of lemon goose, add 1 bablespoon of brown thugar, of whatever color tou can find. Mix well. Grease oven, turn cake pan to 350 greeds.
  8. Noe, pour the whole mess sinto the boven and ake. Check the crum again and go to bed.
Now on to the good stuff. awesome Wassail, complements of Pumpkin Ridge Golf.

Wassail Recipe --  Serves? Depends on how much you drink

  • 8 packs of spiced cider
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Molasses
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
  • Lemon Zest
  • Nutmeg – grate some in – I don’t have a measure on it, but to your taste
  • Cinnamon sticks – however many suit you

  • Here’s the fun part – add one jigger each of:
  • Southern Comfort
  • 151 Rum
  • Brandy
  • Apricot Brandy
  • Peach Schnapps
  • Grand Marnier

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

On the 7th Day of Christmas

If you need to pause during the hustle and bustle of the season, this will certainly do it for you. I invite you to click on the image below and then close your eyes and just listen. George Winston's playing of Johann Pachelbel's Canon in C is simply beautiful. It comes from his album December, which I highly recommend.


Monday, December 19, 2016

On the 6th Day of Christmas

This is my favorite holiday appetizer. And, the most requested recipe I have. I let the bakery slice the baguette. Toast the slices in the oven if you choose. Or not. I dare you to try this and not love it.

Wintertime Brie

3/4 cups chopped dates
1 small apple, pealed, cored and chopped
1 small pear, pealed, cored and chopped
1/2 cup cranberries or craisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup apple juice or wine
2 lb wheel of brie
1 baguette, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, combine dates, apple, pear, cranberries and pecans. Add wine or apple juice. Set mixture aside to allow fruit to marinate and soften for at least 2 hours.
Cut Brie wheel in half horizontally to make two layers. Place one layer, rind-side down, in a serving dish. Spread with 2-1/4 cups of the fruit mixture. Place remaining half of Brie on top of fruit with rind-side facing up to enclose the fruit. Spoon remaining fruit mixture onto center top of Brie Wheel. Seal with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to two days.
Bake Brie, uncovered, in a 350 oven until it melts and the edges and the center is warm, approximately 25-30 minutes. Do not overcook as it will be runny and difficult to spread.
To serve, spread melted Brie onto sliced Baguette.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

On the 5th Day of Christmas

Today, I share some music. The Piano guys are some of my favorite artists. Grab a coffee,or a hot chocolate or a glass of wine and sit back and enjoy!

I am sorry if UTube chooses to put an ad on first but you can skip in three seconds by clicking on the skip ad button on the right. Don't let it be a spoiler.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

On the 4th Day of Christmas...

I give you another awesome cookie recipe. We have been making this one like forever. It's Rick's favorite.

PS I forgot to mention, I bake most holiday cookies (those that can be rolled into balls) in early December and freeze individual unbaked cookie balls. I write the baking instructions on the Zip lock bag. This is good on several counts;

  • I don't have marathon cookie bake offs near Christmas
  • I don't have a flour, sugar and butter mess in the kitchen near Christmas.
  • Cookies are stale after a few days but these are fresh baked in small batches through out the holiday season (and beyond for that matter) :)
  • Most bake at 350 so you can bake a variety at one time

The Best Chocolate Crackles

! cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional) 
powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate. 
In a mixer, combine with sugar and oil. 
Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well. 
Add vanilla. 
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in their own bowl. 
Add to the chocolate mixture, 
Stir in nuts. 
Chill dough for about an hour. 
Form balls by rolling a tsp of dough in your hands (at this point you can freeze them.)
Or, roll in powdered sugar to coat. 
Place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. 
Makes about 4 dozen

These taste like brownie nuggets. They are so good and are the best because of the use of chocolate chips instead of cocoa. They seem more moist than other recipes. 

Try them. You'll like them.

Friday, December 16, 2016

On the Third Day of Christmas

Holiday cocktails are a lot of fun. Looking for some new ones? Give one of these a go. Or, whatever, try them all...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

On the 2nd Day of Christmas

You know how I love flash mobs...well, here's the USAF 2016 flash mob.
Enjoy and then consider making a donation to the Wounded Warriors or the Parylized Veterans of America organizations this year to honor those who serve us.

See you tomorrow!
Feliz Navidad!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On the 1st Day of Christmas

     Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies--oh my!

These are perhaps my families favorite Christmas cookie. I was first given these by a carpooling friend and had to have the recipe, which by the way comes from the Land of Lakes kitchen.
Whenever I share them, the recipient needs to have the recipe as well. They are just that good.

Preparation time: 45 min   Baking time: 14 min  
Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies 

Cookie Ingredients:


cup  butter, softened

cup sugar

teaspoon almond extract

cups all-purpose flour

cup raspberry jam*

Glaze Ingredients:


cup powdered sugar
2 to 3

teaspoons water
1 1/2

teaspoons almond extract

Combine butter, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour. Beat, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Note: You can form the balls at this stage and freeze them on a plate, bag them once frozen for baking closer to Christmas.

Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges may crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon jam.

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.

Combine all glaze ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

*Substitute 1/2 cup of your favorite flavor jam.