Monday, November 30, 2009

Paperwhite Tablescape

I forgot to take pictures of my tablescape and had to reset it up with less than half of the original amount of stuff. I had four pots of paperwhites on the original display but I gave them away as thank you gifts to the directors of the play my kids were in. I remembered the next day so I tried to recreate it but much smaller. Click here to see the paperwhite before pictures.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fluffy Fruit Salad

1 (20 ounce) can unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (8 ounce) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
Lettuce Leaves (optional)
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted

In a bowl, combine pineapple, cranberry sauce and oranges. Fold in whipped topping and orange peel. Serve on lettuce if desired. Garnish with pecans just before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Simplifing Christmas

Starting December 1st...I am going to be participating in a "meme" called "Simplifying Christmas" throughout the whole month of December right up to Christmas Eve. The goal is to encourage and be encouraged to keep Christmas Simple. Hope you will join me!

The plan is to have a post everyday about your Christmas preparations, and how you are keeping things simple. Then everyone can post their related "Simplifying Christmas" topic in the McLinky, and we can all get encouraged!♥

You can go by and sign up to participate if you'd like by going to this link HERE.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

General Mills Restaurant Favorites

I am a member of the General Mills Pssst... Club and look what they sent me in the mail a couple weeks ago and I finally got a change to use both of them last week during our busy week of play preformances.

I really enjoyed trying something new and getting the coupons to pass out to friends and family and random strangers in the grocery store. My family would not normally buy something like this because it is about $5.00 per box. The box says that it has 6 servings at 1 cup each and since we are a family of 6 the pictures show how much of a serving was on each plate. I personally thought that it was a lot of work for a quick side dish. It would probably be good for 2 people as a full meal.

Orange Chicken from Wanchai Ferry
We liked this resturant favorite except it was a little bitter. We don't like the rind taste.

This was very good my family liked it they did think it was a little sour it was probably the wine in the sauce. They are not use to the wine taste since I never cook with it. I served it with a side of corn.

Paper Harvest Tablescape

I made the little pumpkins from the idea of the Paper Harvest I found on the Econobusters website. I used scrapbook papers that I had on hand. I plan to use the pumpkins again as placecards in another tablescape.

The white silk flowers came to me out of desperation for some floral foam that I needed for a mini pumpkin flower project that I was doing in September. I could not find any foam at any of my local stores so I went to a thrift store and bought a basket of white silk flowers so that I could use the foam from it. It cost me $3.00 but then I wasn't sure what to do with the flowers or the basket. I saved them because I didn't want to waste my money and I knew something would come along that I could use them. I used them on this tablescape and another tablescape that I will show later that I am calling Paperwhite Tablescape. I also used them on Paperwhites that I gave to my kids Director's for the play they were in this past Saturday "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe".

The pinecones and the basket I got at the Clothes Closet for free. At a thrift store this summer I bought a set of 6 brown cloth napkins for $1.29 and I used one to line this basket. I also bought the tablecloth and tablerunner for $1.99 each.

The green candles came in a box with 6 candles. I bought it at the Family Dollar for $0.60 when they had a going out of business sale last fall.

The nut jar I got at a thrift store last fall for $3.00. I think it is cute and my kids love to eat the nuts in it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Turkey Gravy

5 cups turkey stock with pan drippings
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Bring the turkey stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in soup, and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer.
Warm the milk in the microwave, and whisk in the flour with a fork until there are no lumps. Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Be careful not to let the bottom scorch.

Roasted Turkey

1 (12 pound) whole turkey
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 tablespoons seasoning salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rinse and wash turkey. Place turkey in a roasting pan. Sprinkle parsley, minced onion, and seasoning salt over the turkey.

Cover with foil, and bake in the preheated oven 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 180 degrees F. For the last 45 minutes or so, remove the foil so the turkey will brown nicely.

Herbed Broccoli w/ Mushrooms

1 pound fresh broccoli, cut into spears
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large fresh mushrooms, sliced

Place 1 in. of water and broccoli in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until crisp-tender. In a skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion salt, basil and oregano in oil for 1 minute or until heated through. Drain broccoli; top with mushroom mixture and stir gently.

Submitted to:
Life as Mom

Thanksgiving Dinner

Click the links for the recipes

Spiced Tea
Orange and Raspberry Sparkle

Roasted Turkey
Turkey Gravy

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing
Sweet Potato Casserole
Herbed Broccoli w/Mushrooms
Green Beans and Garlic
Broccoli Salad

Cloverleaf Rolls with Pecan Butter

Pumpkin Pie with Homemade Pie Crust
Cranberry Crunch Squares

Oatmeal Banana Bread
Easy Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is....

Thanksgiving is a
time of gratitude to God,
our Creator and Provider,
whose guidance and care
go before us...
and whose love
is with us forever.

Thanksgiving is a time
to reflect on the changes,
to remember that we, too,
grow and change
from one season of life to another.

Thanksgiving is a time
of changing seasons,
when leaves turn golden
in Autumn's wake
and apples are crisp
in the first chill breezes of fall.

Let us remember the true meaning
of Thanksgiving.
As we see the beauty
of Autumn, let us acknowledge
the many blessings
which are ours...
let us think of our families
and friends..
and let us give thanks in our hearts.

~~Author Unknown.~~

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Green Beans and Garlic

2 lb. fresh green beans
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Snap or cut the stems off the green beans. Rinse well and pat dry. Place oil in skillet and set heat to medium-high. Add green beans and garlic slices. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, until green beans turn a brighter green. Serves 8-12.

Submitted to:
Life as Mom

Cranberry Crunch Squares

1 (16 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
2 1/3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 5/8 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and butter. Stir until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread the cranberries into the bottom of one 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle crumb mixture over top.
3.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Pumpkin Pie

1 can (29 oz.) or 3 1/2 cups pumpkin
2 cans (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk*
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Whipped topping and nuts optional
2 (9”) unbaked pie crusts, frozen deep dish, refrigerated or homemade pie crusts

If using 2 (12 oz.) cans Evaporated Milk, add 1 ½ cups granulated sugar.

Preheat oven to 450oF. In a large bowl, combine filling ingredients, mix well. Pour into pie crusts. Bake 15 minutes at 425oF. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool pies before cutting. Garnish with whipped topping and nuts, if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes two 9-inch pies. If using shallow 9-inch (2 cup volume) frozen pie crusts, recipe will yield 4 pies

Sweet Potato Casserole

6 medium sweet potatoes or 1 (29 oz.) can sweet potatoes
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cups milk
½ cup margarine or butter, melted

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons margarine or butter melted
1/3 cup chopped pecans, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Boil potatoes 45 minutes until tender. Let cool; peel and mash.
3. Mix potatoes with all ingredients except topping and beat at medium speed until smooth.
4. Combine topping ingredients.
5. Spread the potato mixture in a lightly greased 9” x 13” pan; sprinkle topping over it. Bake 30 minutes. Serves 8
Alternate Topping:
¾ cup crushed cornflakes
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter

Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing

6 cups toasted bread cubes
3/4 lb sausage
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion
1/2 cup butter
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
salt & black pepper
2-3 tablespoons sage

Brown sausage, add ½ butter, celery, onions, and mushrooms. Sauté over low – med heat. Add remainder of butter, and ½ can of chicken broth. Add in a separate bowl, or pan, the breadcrumbs. Season with salt, pepper, and sage. When vegetables are tender, add to breadcrumbs, and mix well, add remaining broth as needed to sufficiently moisten stuffing.

Easy Cranberry Sauce

24 oz. fresh or frozen whole cranberries (washed and picked over)
2 C. sugar
2 C. water
2 whole cinnamon sticks

Mix sugar and water in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar and add cinnamon sticks. Bring to boil, add cranberries, return to boil, reduce heat. Boil Gently stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the berries begin to pop. Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and refrigerate.

Yield: about 4 1/2 cups
Cranberry Tips:

* When the recipe says "cook until the cranberries pop", don't expect popcorn. This simply means the berry's outer skin will expand until it bursts

* Do not wash cranberries until ready for use, as moisture will cause quicker spoilage.
* When washing, look for bright, plump cranberries and pick out any soft, crushed, or shriveled berries.

* Peak season is September through December.

* Fresh cranberries will keep in the refrigerator for 4-8 weeks.

* You can freeze fresh cranberries for longer storage.

* You can substitute frozen cranberries in most recipes calling for fresh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Give Me A Grateful Heart, Lord

Give me a grateful heart, Lord,
For each small favor granted.
As years unfold, may I behold
Life, still, through eyes enchanted.
Let me find beauty in all things,
Not be too blind to see
The goodness in my fellowman,
That he would find in me.

Grant that my ears remain attuned
To hear the smallest sigh,
And may I lend a gentle touch,
To those less sure than I.
Let me remember lessons learned,
To profit from the past,
And may I build a bridge of dreams,
That shall forever last.

Let me rejoice in simple things;
I need no wealth to buy
The scent of pine upon the wind,
A burnished copper sky,
Scarlet roses on the fence,
Sunrise through the trees –
Oh, grant that I may not outgrow
Affinity for these!

Give me a grateful heart, Lord;
Let me be satisfied
When days are less than sunny
And plans lie at low tide.
Life is a sweet adventure
That will lead to who knows where,
So, give me a grateful heart, Lord,
That I may always care.

by Grace E. Easley

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Free Holiday Hosting Guide

Are you hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas this year and stressing out about it? Download a free Holiday Hosting Guide from Smithfield & Paula Deen here. While there are no guarantees that it'll take your stress away, but maybe you'll learn a thing or two. :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'll Be Home For Christmas

I'm dreamin' tonight of a place I love
Even more then I usually do
And although I know it's a long road back
I promise you

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
If only in my dreams

Watch I'll Be Home For Christmas - Josh Groban on You Tube.

Veteran's Day

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer."-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Golden Corral Restaurants across the nation is offering free dinner to all veterans on Monday, November 16, from 5-9 pm. Call your local Golden Corral to make sure they are offering this fabulous resource!

As we honor the military and their families let us remember that the men and women in the service not only give of themselves, but their families do as well--dealing with the moves, the separations, the uncertainty. As we head into the holiday season some will be without their loved ones as they serve. I encourage you to send a care package to someone serving our country and remember to offer support to your local families. Thank them because Freedom isn't free.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Free Music Download of "Veteran's Day Honor"

Get a FREE download of 12 songs on the album called Veterans Day Honor.

Thanksgiving Quote

Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness. ~Robert Casper Lintner

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Find Us Faithful

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

~Steve Green

Gaither Vocal Band - Find Us Faithful

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recycled Sweater Pumpkin

This is my inspiration photo of some knitted pumpkins. Since I don't know how to knitt I used the photo to give me a idea of how to use old sweaters to make some cute little pumpkins. I used free sweaters and supplies I had at home.
Orange Sweater
Green Sweater
Embroidery Thread
Green Felt
Fiber Fill
Brown Buttons
Tacky Glue
Craft Stick

Cut the arms off the orange sweater and use a plate to cut out a circle of fabric.

Cut a strip for the stem.

Sew around the circle and then pull the thread to form the ball of the pumpkin. Put fiber fill into the pumpkin. Sew the green fabric along the edges. Poke the green stem into the top hole of the pumpkin. Cut out a leaf shape from felt and glue it to the front of the pumpkin. Make a bow with twine and glue on top of the leaf. Glue a button on top of the bow.

Cloverleaf Rolls

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup shortening
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Beat in milk, sugar, egg, shortening and salt and 2 cups of flour until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a 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 hour. Punch dough down. Roll into 90 balls; place three balls each in greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

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Happy eating!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Homemade Butter

1 clean quart canning jar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
herbs (optional)

Add heavy cream to the jar and put the lid on. Cover the top with a cloth to keep from leaking. Shake the jar until the butter forms which takes about 20 minutes. Add the salt or herbs when most of the shaking is done. You'll know when it's almost a whipped consistency. After draining excess buttermilk off of the butter, rinse the butter in cold water.

Honey Butter

1 stick butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup honey

Mix together until smooth. Store covered in the refrigerator. Makes 1 cup.

Pecan Butter

2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

Mix together until smooth. Store covered in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.

Submitted to:
Life as Mom

Buttery Rolls

1 cup of warm milk

½ cup butter or margarine softened

¼ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ tsp salt

4 cups bread flour

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast

In bread machine pan, put in all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer and select dough setting. When cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 24 portions and shape into balls. Place in a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan and then cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes. Bake at 375 for 13-16 minutes or until golden brown.