I leave tomorrow for Dallas to the land of grandkids, mexican food and hopefully some cold weather. Am wishing it will snow one day while we are there. It has been a year since moving here to California. I have to say that it has been a year of mixed emotions. We love it here and love the people God has placed in our lives. We also miss family and friends which have been so dear to us over the years there in Dallas.
We have lost a good friend this year and also Randy’s mom. Moving away from home and family and friends was truly a bit out of my comfort zone, but God was faithful. Our youngest son was married in September and we have another grandchild on the way. We have much to be thankful for, and also some precious memories from this past year.
Merry Christmas to each of you. Thank you for reading this blog. You have been such an encouragement to me to continue writing and I love it when I see comments to the posts.
Wishing you a most glorious Christmas season and may God’s Blessings be upon you!
We had some friends over last night for dinner and I made spaghetti and meatballs fresh green beans sautéed with dill and garlic. Wanting them to have something the minute they walked in, I decided at the last minute to bake some stuffed mushrooms. They took 10 minutes and our friends raved about them. If you are needing a quick, delicious appetizer, try these. They were really good and very easy to prepare.
1 large container large button mushrooms, cleaned and the stem cut out and chopped up in a different bowl.
1 tabels dried onion flakes which I soaked in about 2 tables water, then drained after about 5 min.
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach ( I used fresh baby spinach and just chopped up in skillet as I was sauteing the mushroom stems, which I chopped up in small pieces
4 tables butter
1/2 teas garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic
1/4 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs or just plain bread crumbs if that is what you have.
Melt butter in skillet. Place chopped mushroom stems, onion flakes, spinach leaves and seasonings and saute over medium heat until mushrooms and spinach are tender.
Place whole mushrooms in a baking dish, which I lined with foil and sprayed with Pam. Fill each mushroom with about a tables of filling. Sprinkle a little olive oil over mushrooms and then sprinkle Kikoman sauce over mushrooms. Place about 1/2 teas parmesan cheese over tops and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15-18 min. Serve warm.
This is one of those recipes that you can make without even getting the recipe book out after a couple of times. It has 4 ingredients and we have Debbie Stuart to thank for this little gem….she served it to Leadership Team a few Christmases back and thanks to her, I am now a size larger than I was before I began to continually make this, every time I have an extra 5 mins…..
*You can cut this up into tiny little pieces and use in place of chocolate chips in the Warm Fudge-filled cheesecake that I posted a few minutes ago.
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
3 tabels cocoa
Stirring constantly, bring the above 3 ingredients to a rolling boil and boil for exactly 1 minute.
Pour mixture over 1 cup of peanut butter and 1 teas vanilla. Stir quickly and pour into a buttered 8×8 pan. This cools fast. If you don’t want the chocolate fudge, leave out the cocoa.
You can use crunchy or smooth peanut butter.
This really caught my eye in that it had the word WARM in in along with CHEESECAKE! During the blustery months of winter (well, here in California, blustery means below 70) but for all my sweet friends back in Texas and Virginia, I’m sure that you are wanting desserts that you can savor, sitting right beside the fireplace and believe me, this one is exceptional…..I just had an idea….why not just cup up small little 1/2″ pieces of cocoa peanut butter fudge and use instead of the mini-chocolate chips? Then you could drizzle peanut butter, which you have nuked for a minute over the top of the cheesecake before serving. IF you choose to do this, be sure and use peanuts for the nuts, if you decide to use nuts in the crusts.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tables vanilla, divided
2/3 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or pistachios (even almonds would be great)
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups (a 12-oz package equals 2 cups) semisweet chocolate mini-morsels
Sweetened whipped cream
Garnish chocolate shavings *optional
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar, beating well. Gradually add flour, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in 1 teas vanilla and nuts. Press into bottom and 1″ up sides of a 9-in springform pan. Bake at 350 for 12-15 min or until golden. Cool on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until flight and fluffy; gradually adding 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears and the cellulite has begun to form on our……oops,sorry, just wanted to be sure you were paying attention….
Stir in remaining 2 teas vanilla. Do not overmix.
Pour half of batter into crust; sprinkle with chocolate morsels to within 3/4″ of edge. Pour in remaining bater, starting at outer edge and working toward center. Place cheesecake on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 1 hr or until set. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour. Serve slightly warm with sweetened whipping cream, if desired, (and yes, we always do desire whipped cream, now don’t we?)
*Warm left over cheesecake slices in the microwave 30 sec before serving.
This recipe needed reposting after taking them to a social last Wed evening. I watched as ladies would take a bite and hear their, “oh my gosh, who brought these?” They were the hit of the night. So different from regular pecan pie bars. A great dessert for any Christmas party, or for those nights when you are sitting by the Christmas tree, wrapping presents and want something delish!
This recipe is from a cookbook called The Pastry Queen, given to me by a dear friend that brought this cookbook back to me from the Hill country around Austin, Texas.
These have become a favorite anytime I take them anywhere. Very much like pecan pie, except the coconut and brown sugar adds such a chewy texture.
1 1/2 (12 tables) unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 teas salt
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with butter or Pam.
Using a mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl on medium speed about 1 min. Add the sugar and beat about 1 min, until fluffy. Add the flour and salt; mix on low speed until evenly incorporated but still crumbly. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 15 min, or until golden…do not over bake.
Leave oven on 350.
4 large eggs
3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tables unsalted butter, melted
1 tables vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teas salt
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until blended. Stir in the butter and vanilla, flour andy salt; then the coconut and pecans. Pour the filling over the crust, spreading evenly. Bake until set, 25-30 min depending upon your oven. Cool thoroughly at least one hour before cutting.
*I store these in the fridge in a sealed tupperware container, taking them out just about an hour before serving them. They do “ooze” a little bit of the filling, but that’s what makes them like pecan pie. So grab your fork and a little whipping cream and sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy!
When I tell you that these are easy, trust me on this. Truly they are the easiest. They have never failed me yet…so if you are one who never tries to make homemade rolls, you can make these. If they don’t turn out, just use them as door stops or paint them and use as ornaments on the tree. There is so little cost in them, that you won’t feel bad if they don’t turn out good…..I’m kidding, they are easy, so good that I use this same recipe to make homemade cinnamon rolls.
2 packages of dry yeast
1 cup warm water (be sure that it is just barely warm, too hot of water ruins the yeast)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teas salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick of butter
Grease a large glass bowl with Pam or butter. Set aside. In another bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and stir until yeast is completely dissolved. Add sugar, egg and salt and stir until well blended. Add flour 1 cup at a time. Sometimes, I don’t use the 1/2 cup, maybe just a little of it. You want the dough to be stiff, and not sticky, so add last 1/2 cup until you get this nice stiff dough. Place dough on waxed paper or towel that you have sprinkled about 1/2 cup flour on. Knead for a couple of minutes, just until dough is easily able to be handled without it sticking to your hands. Place in greased glass bowl and cover with a towel. Put in a warm place until double in size (about an hour) (I usually put mine in a closet or on a floor in front of where the sunshine comes in. You don’t want drafts to get to it.)
When double in size, roll out dough to about 1/2″ thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. If you don’t have one, use a glass the size of the roll you want and use the open end of the glass to cut dough into the round circles. Get a 9×13 pan and melt the cube of butter in it. When butter is melted, place each circle of dough into butter and flip it over to where both sides have been dipped into the butter. You might need a little extra butter to finish up all the rolls. When you have used up all the dough, place a towel over the rolls and agin place in a warm place without drafts, until rolls are almost double in size. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 min, depending on what size roll you have made. Brush tops with more butter if desired.
I use this same recipe for cinnamon rolls. After rolling out the dough, I spread softened butter onto the 1/2″ dough and then sprinkle buttered dough with cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll up dough and then cut into slices about 1″ thick. Place in buttered pan and let rise just like above directions. Bake until golden brown and rolls that are in the center of pan appear done. Frost with Powdered sugar glaze. OR….use cream cheese frosting for the ultimate cinnamon roll.
This is an exciting night….4 couples are coming over to experience a true southern fried chicken dinner, complete with homemade rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy and creamed corn. Their entrance fee is that each couple will have to sing a Christmas carol to get in the front door. Frosty and Noel are ready for this big night. We have our reindeer antlers ready to put on our heads, the bread is rising in the utility closet and the Christmas clock has brand new batteries to proudly play a carol on each hour. The phone is set to play, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” every time it rings; merriment will be felt everywhere. Christmas lights are lit, candles will be burning, it will be a fabulous night.
The greatest thing just happened. Frosty had told me to get out the electric skillet for him to fry the chicken. With 10 people here, it will require lots of chicken, and electric skillets will cook it just perfectly. Now, I had remembered that when we moved in we were discovering that the kitchen didn’t allow for little extras, like big skillets, or platters so off I went in search of the electric skillet. I looked under both beds, the trunk of the car and the storage bin in the garage. Then I remembered, maybe I put it in the cabinets in the powder room,which only had “seasonal” things like extra rolls of paper towers, extra cupcake pans, spring form pans,cheesecake pans, etc., so maybe I should try the bathroom cabinets. Well, I didn’t find the electric skillet, but I did find my Christmas tea pitcher that I had been looking for. There was no place else to look, could it be, hum…..surely not, could it be in the kitchen someplace? I went and got the step-stool out of the other bathroom cabinet and climbed upon it and lo and behold, there it was, shinning in all it’s glory….right above the oven in the kitchen cabinet. I am so glad I didn’t bet on that one. This is the first time in a year, since moving here that I actually found something I needed for cooking, in the kitchen and not under a bed or bathroom cabinet. This truly must be a Christmas miracle. So…tonight, we will be sharing a little bit of the south with our Sushi Friends…..who knows, they might just want to come back over for a little slice of buttermilk pie or grits and eggs next weekend. We just need to break them in one pod of fried okra at a time. We will discuss the next Southern menu over a game of Chicken Foot tonight….should they ever want to come back.
I have received this recipe from a most precious dear friend, Cora in Dallas. She cut it out of the Dallas Newspaper and said she made it and it was to die for….so knowing that she loves to eat as much as I do and is sweet to share this, she told me I could post it on the blog. I am going to make it Sunday night when it is suppose to be turning rainey and chilly here…..hope you enjoy it.
1 pound spicy or mild Italian sausage
1 large onion
1 large fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
32 oz chicken broth
2 (15 oz) cans white kidney bans, drained and rinsed (I will be using white navy beans)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with garlic and Italian herbs
10 oz frozen spinach leaves, thawed and drained well (or you can use fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, cut up and brown the sausage over medium high heat. Add onion, fennel and garlic and continue until sausage is crumbled and cooked through, about 7 minutes total.
Add broth, beans, tomatoes with juices and spinach and stir will to mix. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer from 15 min to 45 min until ready to serve. Serve with hot crusty bread and butter.
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