Sunday, December 24, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
My mom and dad were a very handsome couple. That era was so cool. Who nowadays would wear high heels or a coat and tie to walk out on a rock in the middle of a creek?
My mom was a precious lady. She was remarkably beautiful. She also had an amazing voice. She sang in school choirs and church choirs and could bring the house down with her perfect high notes. She sang from her heart and blessed many people with her voice. She was a stay at home mom and was very attentive to my brother and me. She was a great cook and seamstress, and she instilled the importance of leading a godly life in us. She also never criticized me or berated me, even when I messed up, and that was quite a few times. She always believed in me and was very proud of me.
This is Gil's sweet dad. What a great man. He was also a successful businessman. He owned a cabinet shop for 36 years and was a master craftsman. He could be a little gruff at times, but he never was with me. He would always wink at me with both eyes three times. He was a man of great integrity, like my dad, and the two of them really admired one another. Gil takes after him in so many ways.
This is Gil with his mom and dad. His mom was a really unique, generous, funny person. And very talkative. (So THAT'S where Gil gets it.) There was never a dull moment with her. She created many fond memories for Gil and his brothers and sister because she was so hospitable. She often had their friends over from out of town or for dinner. The stories I've heard about it always make it sound like they had a lot of fun.
Gil went through a tough time for a few years, and what is probably the most memorable about his mom and dad was how they loved him through it. They never gave up on him and continued to pray for him until he came back to God. They didn't condemn or judge him. And he has done nothing but serve God since. Gil's dad was a perfect earthly example of God's forgiveness and unconditional love.
This is me with my mom. You can see on her face how much she loved me.
I encourage all of you, if you still have your parents, tell them you love them. Spend time with them. Enjoy them this Christmas. You will not have them forever. I would love more than anything to tell my mom and dad again what a good job they did. I will be able to one day.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate
(you can use an 8 oz bar of baking chocolate combined with 8 oz of morsels if you want to)
2/3 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp kahlua (opt)
2 tbsp marshmallow creme (opt)
2 tbsp chocolate peanut butter (opt)
Melt chocolate with heavy cream in the top of a double boiler over medium heat. Be careful not to scorch it. Whisk in confectioners sugar until well-blended. Add butter and stir until melted. Add vanilla and any remaining desired ingredients. Pour into a bowl and chill at least 3 hours or overnight. When the bowl is removed from the refrigerator, leave it out for about an hour to allow to soften. Roll into small balls (this is VERY messy!) and roll into various toppings. Chill until ready to serve. Yield: about 46 truffles
Melt together in a double boiler:
I chose chopped pecans, chopped pistachios, cocoa, and mini morsels. I chopped the nuts in my food processor. The M & M minis actually didn't work well. I also rolled a few of them in white sprinkles.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
1 lb ground chuck
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp finely chopped onion (opt)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
Combine ingredients, using your hands. Shape into desired size balls. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Drain on paper towels before adding to sauce. Yield: 4 servings
1 jar grape jelly
1 jar chili sauce
Combine and heat in a saucepan or in a crockpot. When jelly is dissolved and sauce is well-blended, add meatballs.
I made the meatballs on the right. My cousin Dana made the ones on the left. Hers look better. And they are lined up perfectly.
I nearly tripled the ingredients and it made 70 meatballs. They have a very tangy, interesting flavor.
Friday, December 15, 2006
2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp butter
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
1 can water chestnuts
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
Saute celery and onion in butter until tender. Combine all casserole ingredients and place in a greased 2-1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
1 recipe cornbread muffins (recipe follows)
1 large loaf white bread
5-6 stalks of celery
5 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth (I use about 1/2 of it)
1/2 tsp sage (too much of this is gross)
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare cornbread. Run cornbread and loaf bread through food processor until fine crumbs. Chop onion and celery coarsely and saute in about 3 tbsp butter until tender. Run through processor until finely ground. Combine all ingredients. The consistency should be very creamy. Pour into a large baking dish (or two small ones). It can be frozen at this point. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Yield: about 15 servings
1 cup self-rising cornmeal (not cornmeal mix)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
Combine ingredients. Pour into a greased muffin tin. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Yield: 12 muffins
You can bake your cornbread the day before and put it in the refrigerator to save one step.
This is how coarsely I chop the onion and celery. It does better if you saute before processing it instead of after.
Here are all the ingredients. Cornbread crumbs, loaf bread crumbs, sauteed onion and celery, soups, etc. Use a huge bowl to mix it together. I add a little dry, then add some soup, and repeat, so I don't end up with alot of dry bread crumbs at the bottom of my bowl.
The texture should look like this. Add more chicken broth if it looks too dry.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I love being around her and I admire her very much. Here is her recipe for frozen cranberry salad:
1(14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 (16oz) can whole cranberry sauce
1 (20) oz can crushed pineapple (drained well
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
12 oz Cool Whip (1-1/2 (8 oz) containers)
Combine condensed milk and lemon juice.
Mix in cranberry sauce, drained pineapple, and nuts.
Fold in Cool Whip.
Spread in 13 x 9 dish.
Freeze until firm.
Remove from freezer 5 minutes before serving.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
You will need:
your choice of spread for filling
M & M minis
First, I started out with two pieces of bread. I used whole wheat, but you can use pumpernickel if you want a darker reindeer. I cut the bread into triangles like this:
Then I spread my desired filling onto the bread. I used a dark chocolate peanut butter spread and marshmallow creme, but you can do peanut butter and jelly, or whatever you want.
Then put the two halves together and put pretzels in the upper corners for his antlers. You could use large pretzels, but I just used two small ones on each side because that was what I had on hand. I found red and green gumdrops (Smith's -Mt Brook) and cut them in half for the eyes and nose, like so:
I placed the gumrops for the eyes, cut side up, because it's sticky, and I placed an M&M mini on top of each eye. This adds a little personality because you can make his eyes look in any direction. I placed his nose sugar side up.This is how they turned out:
The gumdrops fall off, of course, when the sandwich is picked up, but it makes a cute presentation.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
15 large strawberries
1 can chunk pineapple
1-8oz block cream cheese, softened
1/2 c marshmallow creme
mini chocolate chips
For starters, I couldn't find fancy toothpicks. They are the ones with the curly plastic on the top that you see in sandwiches. I ended up a little frustrated, but a kind salesperson at World Market pointed me to these cool Christmas picks (which were also 1/2 price) and I liked them much better than what I was originally looking for. Very fancy.
Wash and drain the strawberries and thoroughly drain the pineapple on paper towels. Cut the leaves off of the top of the strawberry and cut about 1/3 off the bottom. The bigger the strawberry, the better the result. The bottom eventually becomes his hat. It is basically an upside down strawberry with the top 1/3 sliced off. Spear the pieces together as shown. They look a little like tiny aliens at this point.
Poke small holes in the pineapple where you want to eyes to go (I used a pick to do that with), and poke the chocolate chips into the holes. It is slippery and some of them will fall out, but just keep trying. They will eventually cooperate. Let them know who's boss.
Then, beat the cream cheese and marshmallow creme together and put into a decorating bag with a small tip. Pipe around it to form the fur on his hat, his hair, and his beard and mustache. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Aren't they cute?
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Poppy Seed Cake
3 cups self-rising flour
2-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups oil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp almond extract
1-1/2 tsp butter flavoring
1-1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
Mix all ingredients together, beating for about 2 minutes. Pour into 6 greased mini-pans (only about 2/3 full) and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Pour glaze over cake while still hot.
1 c sugar
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp butter flavoring
Stir together and pour over cake.
When I pour the glaze over the cake, I pull the cake slightly away from the sides to allow the glaze to run all the way down:
You can also do these in a muffin tin. I used a mini bundt pan and they turned out nicely. They ended up looking better upside down. I found these cute ceramic loaf pans at Michaels for $1 each. After they cool, you can wrap them neatly with plastic wrap and give them as gifts.
The only problem with this cake is resisting the temptation to eat all of it yourself! Enjoy!
Sunday, December 03, 2006
I got this ornament at Hallmark this year:
I am VERY sentimental. I have Gil, Amby, and Zac's silver baby cups and I polish them every year and put them on the tree. I also have Amby and Zac's baby spoons and forks that I tied on with red ribbon.
My favorite ornament is one I bought from Hallmark several years ago. I love the detail. It connects to the lights and it looks like the oven light is on. There is a pan of cookies in the oven, a pan on top of the stove already decorated, tiny jars of sprinkles, and even a Mr. and Mrs. Santa salt and pepper on the top.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
1 lb box confectioners sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tbsp milk
Mix ingredients with a mixer until blended. The mixture will be coarse crumbs. Knead the crumbs together to make sure it is moistened. You can add a little more milk if it's too dry, or a little more sugar if it's too moist. You should be able to make a small ball and press it into the mold cleanly. Pop the mint out of the mold and allow to dry on a flat surface. Store in single layers with wax paper between each layer. These freeze well.
I lay a large towel over my coffee table and make the mints while I watch a movie. It takes a little time, so it's nice to sit down. The mixture should look like this:
It looks crumbly, but when you smoosh it together it forms a nice, smooth ball. This is how they turned out:
You can color these with food coloring and do them for showers, also. I made some white seashell mints and gave them as favors for a Caribbean b'day party I gave for Gil a couple of years ago. I used plastic molds and I had some of the favor bags left, so I thought I'd show them to give more fun ideas for ways to use mints year-round. I bought the bags at Walmart and put stickers on them.
Have fun with this recipe. Do it now while you aren't so busy and stick them in your freezer. You'll be glad you did.