Friday, December 31, 2010

Slow Cooker Hoppin' John Chowder

1 1/2 cups instant white rice
1 pound ground beef sirloin
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
3 (15.5 ounce) cans black-eyed peas with liquid
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed beef broth
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
1/2 cup water, or as needed

1. Prepare rice according to package instructions, and set aside. Meanwhile, combine the ground sirloin, green pepper and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, and crumbling beef until no longer pink. Drain off grease.

2. Place the rice and beef mixture into a 5 quart slow cooker. Add the black-eyed peas, beef broth, diced tomatoes with green chilies and enough water to cover everything.

3. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours.

Cake Mix Recipes: White Brownies

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix and brown sugar. Add egg and milk; mix until well blended. Stir in the butterscotch chips. Spread the dough evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies pull away form the edge of the pan slightly. Cool in the pan on a wire rack then cut into bars.
Servings per Recipe: 36
Calories per Serving: 96

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Not Only Christmas Day

Lord, this is my prayer
Not only on Christmas Day
But until I see You face to face
May I live my life this way:

Just like the baby Jesus
I ever hope to be,
Resting in Your loving arms
Trusting in Your sovereignty.
And like the growing Christ child
In wisdom daily learning,
May I ever seek to know You
With my mind and spirit yearning.

Like the Son so faithful
Let me follow in Your light,
Meek and bold, humble and strong
Not afraid to face the night.
Nor cowardly to suffer
And stand for truth alone,
Knowing that Your kingdom
Awaits my going home.

Not afraid to sacrifice
Though great may be the cost,
Mindful how You rescued me
From broken-hearted loss.

Like my risen Savior
The babe, the child, the Son,
May my life forever speak
Of who You are and all You've done.

So while this world rejoices
And celebrates Your birth,
I treasure You, the greatest gift
Unequaled in Your worth.

I long to hear the same words
That welcomed home Your Son,
"Come, good and faithful servant,"
Your Master says, "Well done."
And may heaven welcome others
Who will join with me in praise
Because I lived for Jesus Christ
Not only Christmas Day

-- Mary Fairchild

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chex Lemon Buddies

9 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 1/4 cup white vanilla baking chips
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 tsp grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 more seconds or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into a 2-gallon resealable food storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar, seal bag and shake until all the cereal is well-coated.

Raisins or Chocolate Covered Raisins

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cake Mix Recipes: Coconut Sour Cream Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 cups sour cream
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 (8 ounce) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups flaked coconut

Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. Prepare cake mix as directed by manufacturer, adding coconut extract. Bake according to instructions on package. When cake is cool, remove from pans and cut in half, horizontally.

To make the filling, mix together the sour cream and sugar in a medium sized bowl. stir in 1 1/2 cups of the coconut. reserve 1 cup of this mixture and spread the rest between the cooled cake layers. Fold whipped topping into the remaining filling, frost the outside of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top of the frosted cake.

Refrigerate from 1 to 3 days before serving.

Servings per Recipe: 14
Calories per Serving: 473

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Daybreak

Before the paling of the stars,
Before the winter morn,
Before the earliest cock crow,
Jesus Christ was born:
Born in a stable,
Cradled in a manger,
In the world His hands had made,
Born a stranger …

Jesus on his mother’s breast
In the stable cold,
Spotless Lamb of God was He,
Shepherd of the fold.
Let us kneel with Mary Maid,
With Joseph bent and hoary,
With saint and angel, ox and ass,
To hail the King of Glory.

Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gift From Our Christmas Kitchen

I have been busy in the Kitchen this month cooking up some tasty treats for my family, and friends. I love sharing the joy of the holiday with holiday baking. And for an extra measure of homemade cheer, I like to deliver small token festively decorated. It a fun holiday tradition in our family.
are made of
~ Norwegian Proverb~

I love looking at colorful and fun ways to decorate Kitchen Gifts. I enjoyed several books this season from the public library including Gooseberry Patch book 8 it makes for a very festive afternoon read.

Token Gift for My Sister's Family

Token Gift for Youth Group Leaders

Chocolate Spritz with Mint Chocolate M&M's
Butter Spritz with Dark Chocolate M&'s
Token Gift for SWAM (Homeschooled Christian Teen Volunteer Group)

Butter Spritz with Dark Chocolate M&M's
Chocolate Spritz with Mint Chocolate M&M's
Brownie Macaroons

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mint Capped Brownie Cookie Cups

Hershey's Kisses Mint Truffles with Dark Chocolate
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 48 mini muffin cups with paper liners. Beat butter, sugar, water and vanilla in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time - beating between each addition.

Stir together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Gradually add to sugar mixture on low speed - just until blended. Shape dough into 1-inch balls: place in prepared muffin cups. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cookie surface is set. Cookies will appear soft and moist. Don not overbake. While the brownies are baking - unwrap the kisses.

Cool for five minutes on a wire rack. Place one kiss in each brownie. Let cool completely (at least several hours) until the kisses have set completely - dust each brownie with powdered sugar.
Makes: 4 dozen

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cake Mix Recipes: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (20 oz) pineapple slices in juice, drained, juice reserved
1 jar (6 oz) maraschino cherries without stems, drained
1 box yellow cake mix
Vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

1.Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). In 13x9-inch pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange pineapple slices on brown sugar. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice, and arrange remaining cherries around slices; press gently into brown sugar.

2.Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to measure 1 1/4 cups. Make cake batter as directed on box, substituting pineapple juice mixture for the water. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.

3.Bake 40 to 45 minutes (42 to 48 minutes for dark or nonstick pan) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Place heatproof serving plate upside down onto pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake; remove pan. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store covered in refrigerator.

Servings: 15
Calories per Serving: 315

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gumdrop Cookies

1 1/2 cups gumdrops
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick-cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using scissors, cut gumdrops into small pieces; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined. Stir in oats and gumdrops.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, and bake 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

Makes: 4 1/2 dozen

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

~Christina Rossetti (1872)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Greetings and Gift Wrap Station

I just love the Greetings and Gift Wrap Station in Gooseberry Patch book 11 on pages 60-63 of course there are also projects on the following pages.

It inspired me to get crafting for My Greetings and Gift Wrap Station to prepare for the upcoming holiday. My favorite place to craft is my little office so I had to do a little cleanup of that first.
I like to make my collection of bags, tags, wraps, cards, and package toppers using the things I already have at home. If I am a little short on supplies such as small bags I look to see what the Thrift Stores or Dollar Tree has for the holidays before I stop at Wal-Mart. So, I gathered my favorite holiday wrap, scrapbook paper, stamps, fabric, and trims and enjoyed an afternoon of creative gift wrapping.

Gingerbread Gift Tags

Supplies: Brown Scrapbook Paper, Scrap Fabric for Bows, Yarn, Hole Punch, Heart Hole Punch, Scissors, Glue, and Pen

Snowflake Gift Tags

Supplies: Blue Cardstock, Snowflake Paint Stamp, Blue Craft Paint, Yarn, Hole Punch, Scissors, Glue, and Pen
Gift Card Holder

Supplies: Christmas Card, Holly Embellishments, Ribbon, Scissors, and Glue
Gift Bags (for Cookies)

Supplies: Brown Paper Bags, Card Stock, Paper Punch, Edged Scissors, Stickers, Yarn, and Glue

I didn't use any specific ideas in the book but it sure did inspire me to get crafty. Have you made any fun things for your gift giving this year?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Kitchen Decorations

Welcome to my Christmas Kitchen

Christmas is a special time for family and friends to gather together. Its a wonderful chance to celebrate your relationships and the season itself as you prepare your hearts for the coming of the Christ child.

Make yourself at home and enjoy the offerings that I have prepared for your visit on this lovely snowy day.

For dessert we have a moist and gooey Chocolate Turtle Cake.

At the Dessert Bar I am serving:
Peppermint Meltaways
Buckeyes (White Chocolate Dipped & Sprinkled with Sweeten Coconut)
Butter Spritz with Dark Chocolate M&M's
Chocolate Spritz with Mint Chocolate M&M's
Hardtack Candy

Your also welcome to try the Peppermint Patties & Easy OREO Truffles that I have on the counter.

Would you like a cup of Spiced Russian Tea or Warm Spice Tea I could simmer it on the stove for you or choose a Christmas cup and enjoy the offerings at the Cocoa Station.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

I have a pretty Pointsettia on the table to enjoy this holiday season. You may like to visit my post on Poinsettia Care.

I have a jar of peanut if you care to have a spoonful.

My china cabinet even got some holiday cheer added for the season.

Whats more cozy than gathering 'round the table for hot cocoa and a chat?

Submitted to:

Spiced Russian Tea

6 teaspoons Russian blend or any good black tea
1 pinch cloves
1 1/2 pints freshly boiled water

Place tea and cloves in pot, add water, and brew for 5 minutes before pouring.Add sugar and lemon to taste.

Cake Mix Recipes: Chocolate Turtle Cake

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 bag (14 oz) caramels
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 bag (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
Ice cream or Whipped cream, if desired
Caramel and chocolate topping, if desired
Chopped pecans, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease or spray bottom of 13x9-inch pan.

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour half of the batter into pan. Bake 22 minutes (25 minutes for dark or nonstick pan). Refrigerate remaining batter.

3. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat caramels and evaporated milk over medium heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted. Stir in pecans. Pour caramel mixture over warm cake in pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread with remaining batter.

4. Bake 25 minutes (29 minutes for dark or nonstick pan) or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Cool at least 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream, drizzle with topping and sprinkle with pecans. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Serving: 20
Calories: 340

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Warm Spice Tea

8 cups boiling water
6 mandarin-orange spice tea bags
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup honey
1 red and 1 green apple, thinly sliced

In a large saucepan, combine water, tea bags, and cinnamon stick. Let steep 5 minutes. remove tea bags and stir in honey. Let cool 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in apple slices.

Peppermint Meltaways

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, extract and food coloring if desired; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.

Calories per Serving: 90 (1 cookie)

Winter Time

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed, A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit,
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap,
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Poinsettia Care

• When selecting a poinsettia, look for plants with thick, stocky stems, deep, intense color, and dark leaves which grow all the way down the stem. Poinsettias drop their leaves when exposed to sudden temperature changes, so wrap them in paper bags for a fast trip home, preferably on a mild day. To make poinsettias stay healthy and colorful once you get them home, give them the conditions they need.
• Plants should be kept away from drafts (radiators, air registers, and open windows or doors).

• Place the poinsettia in a bright sunny window or the brightest spot possible. However, do not allow the hot afternoon sunlight to shine directly on the plants.

• Do not fertilizer the plant. It is not growing so it does not need the nutrients.

• The soil should be examined daily and watered only when dry. Water should be applied so as to soak the soil to the bottom of the pot, and excess water should be discarded. If there is not enough water applied, the plant will wilt and the lower leaves will drop. If too much water is applied, the lower leaves will yellow and then drop. A soluble fertilizer is recommended, such as is used on house plants, once a month according to the recommendations of manufacturers.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Spritz Cookie Baking

Herein is love, not that we loved God,
but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

This week I found myself sitting at my kitchen table perusing my cookbooks and folders for Christmas cookie recipes.

I made a list of all the things I would like to bake this month and Spritz Cookies was at the top of my list.

Butter Spritz with Dark Chocolate M&M's

Chocolate Spritz with Mint Chocolate M&M's

I had my Christmas Elves helping with the cookie decorating.

I enjoyed a cup of Peppermint Mocha Coffee and warm cookies.

Submitted To:
Tea Time Tuesday

Chocolate Spritz

1-1/4 cups butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Shape dough into a log and place in your cookie press. Press cookies out onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Note: Decorate with sprinkles, candied cherries, melted white chocolate, or sandwich with vanilla frosting.

Makes about 60

Butter Spritz

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Fill a cookie press or pastry bag with dough, and form cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies are golden brown on the peaks and on the bottoms. Remove from cookie sheets at once to cool on wire racks.

Yield: 6 dozen
Servings per Recipe: 36
Calories per Serving: 105 (2 cookies)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Microwave Hard Candy and Lollipops

1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ dram LorAnn flavoring (1/2 tsp.)
liquid food coloring (as desired)
Powdered sugar

Have all ingredients and tools assembled and within easy reach of the microwave. Lightly spray cookie sheet or the cavities of clean, dry candy molds with cooking spray. Insert sucker sticks. (If using two-piece plastic or aluminum molds, insert sticks after candy has been poured into molds.) If using molds, you may also want to spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray. If after pouring the candy into the molds you have excess candy, you can pour it onto the foil.

Thoroughly mix sugar and light corn syrup in a 4-cup microwave-safe glass measure. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

Remove from the microwave and carefully remove plastic wrap. Quickly stir the sugar mixture and then cover with a NEW sheet of plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and 15 seconds.
Remove from microwave, carefully remove plastic wrap and stir with a clean spoon. After boiling has ceased, stir in coloring and then flavoring.

Pour syrup quickly, but carefully using a spoon to control flow, onto prepared cookie sheet and foil or into the waiting molds. As the sugar mixture begins to set up, you may want to score with a large knife to mark squares. Break into pieces when cool. Do not refrigerate.

Cool completely. Lightly dust with powdered sugar on both sides, brushing off excess. Break into small pieces. Store in airtight containers between waxed paper. If making lollipops, place into sucker bags and secure with twist ties.

Peppermint Patties

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar (3-3/4 cups)
1 tablespoon shortening
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
6 hard mint candies, crushed

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the water, corn syrup, lemon juice, and peppermint extract, then sift in half the confectioners' sugar. Add the shortening. Beat on medium, and then slowly sift in the remaining confectioners' sugar until the mixture is well combined.

2. Knead the mixture into a ball (it will be very stiff; if necessary, add 1/2 teaspoon water to make it workable). Use the bottom of a glass pie plate to apply firm, even pressure to flatten the ball between sheets of waxed paper into a circle about 9 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Lay the waxed-paper-covered disk on a cookie sheet and freeze it until it's firm, about 15 minutes.

3. Place the frozen disk on a cutting surface and remove and reserve the waxed paper. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. With a small round cutter (ours was 1-1/4 inches), cut out circles from the disk, then place them on the cookie sheet. Gather the scraps into a ball, use the pie plate and waxed paper to flatten it again, and cut more circles until the entire disk is used up. Freeze the circles for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Coat the patties one at a time: balance each on a fork and dip it (use another fork as needed to flip the patty in the chocolate), then shake off any excess chocolate before returning the coated patty to the parchment. Sprinkle each patty with a bit of crushed mint candy. Add more chocolate to the double boiler as necessary until all the patties are coated.

5. Harden the finished patties in the refrigerator for at least an hour, and preferably overnight. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge, layered between sheets of waxed paper, for up to one month. Include tags with your gifts instructing recipients to keep the patties refrigerated. Makes 5 dozen.