Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NYE Menu Planning

I should be de-Christmasing my house, but instead I am on my couch searching for recipes to try on New Year's Eve.  We are looking forward to spending New Year's with some dear friends and these particular friends just happen to like to eat, drink, and be merry as much as we do! We have already decided that we will do fondue, or as we are calling it, "FUNdue".  I'm doing a traditional Swiss fondue with garlic and wine, my friend is doing a sharp cheddar fondue with a dark beer.  I love to dip cauliflower and green apples into the hot, bubbly cheese.  We will also have crusty cubes of bread and some other veggies for the spread.  Instead of doing a chocolate fondue for dessert, we figured we'd be sick of dipping and would be ready to just plate up some sweets.  I'm requesting their famous French Silk Pie, while I think I will make the Strawberry Pretzel Salad  I found on Pinterest.  Since fondue really needs to be eaten quickly to keep the cheese from burning, I figured I'd plan on a few appetizers to have sitting out so we can graze continue the food drunk all night.  What are your plans for ringing in the New Year?  Whatever your plans, I hope you are surrounded by people you love; I know we will be.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Wish

May the magic of Christmas
 be with you today and always!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

This week I went to a Favorite Things Party, thanks Pinterest!  My contribution was my coffee obsession this summer.  Luckily, since it's a seasonal flavor, I found it on clearance at Target so it fit the rules for the gift budget. 
For those of you who think this doesn't sound good, you HAVE to try it when it comes out again.  Not only does it taste so yummy, the smell just takes it over the top!  The party idea was a really fun twist on the old Dirty Santa routine.  We decided to make it an annual event.  I'm no Oprah, but it sure is fun to share my favorite things with some of my favorite people. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cookie Exchange

LoveFeast's Holiday Cookie Exchange
I am linking up to LoveFeast Table's 12 Days of Christmas Cookie Exchange.  Don't you just love an old fashioned cookie exchange?  I sure do, and this virtual kind is easier and kinder to my hips.  I have a dear friend that hosts an annual cookie exchange for the ladies in her neighborhood.  They even do a cookie contest.  I gave her this recipe, which is embarassingly easy, and she won the contest that year.  You probably have had a version of this cookie, but I promise, none of them are as good as this one. 

Peanut Butter Blossoms
1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)

3/4 cup peanut butter

2 cups biscuit baking mix

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar

65 solid milk chocolate candy pieces, unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat EAGLE BRAND® and peanut butter until smooth. Add biscuit mix and vanilla; mix well.

2. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned around edges (do not overbake). Immediately press chocolate candy piece in center of each cookie. Cool. Store leftovers tightly covered at room temperature.

Friday, December 2, 2011

'Tis the Season

Although it's just now beginning to feel like Christmas weather wise, it's been looking a lot like Christmas around here for awhile.  We put our tree up the week of Thanksgiving because we went on our little getaway after Turkey Day and I wanted to come home to the house already decorated.  I haven't snapped any pictures of our decor yet because the past week has been a whirlwind.  I will get some this weekend and share them with you next week.  I'm sure you will be on pins and needles until then.  I have been busy baking every night this week.  I do rum cakes for the holidays and have had several orders come in.  I am also working with a local winery and selling some cakes there, so needless to say, I feel like I could bake a rum cake in my sleep at this point. 

This weekend is Bedlam...GO SOONERS and we get to watch the game with some of our very favorite people.  I'm still deciding what snacks to make for game day.  I know I will do a cheese ball, there's just something about this time of year that makes me want a good ol' cheeseball.  My family has been using the same recipe for as far back as I can remember.  If ever I mess with the original recipe, I regret it.  I recently messed with it.  I immediately regretted it.  Here's the recipe, don't mess with it.

 "Ancient Chinese Secret" Cheese Ball
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I use the sharpest I can find)
8 oz. block of cream cheese (dang, that stuff has gone up in price!)
1 cup chopped pecans
garlic powder to taste (we like things garlic-y, so don't try to kiss me while I'm eating this)
chili powder (sound weird, I know, but remember, I said DON'T MESS WITH IT, trust)
Blend the cheeses, nuts, and garlic well.  Your hands are your friends here.  Just get in there and squish it all together.  Here's where it gets fun, you can make it into a ball shape or roll it into a log shape.  Once you decide and it's all shaped up, pour some chili powder onto some waxed paper and roll the cheese ball in it.  This is best if you make it the day before.  We always serve it with Wheat Thins at my house, if you don't, then essentially you are "messing with it".

BTW, that's not the real name of the recipe.  There isn't one.  I just made that up.  If you didn't grow up in the 70's you may have no idea where that came from.  Sorry.  In this instance, you may mess with the recipe by renaming it anything you would like.
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