servings 35

12 oz frozen cranberry concentrate juice
12 oz frozen pink lemonade concentrate
6 oz frozen limeade concentrate
1 bottle chilled white wine
1 ltr chilled 7UP or Sprite
2 bottles chilled champagne
1 sliced lemon
1/2 C fresh mint
OPTIONAL: Make ice cubes out of sparkling water, maybe even put in a very thin slice of lime and/or mint. Your guests will ohh and ahh at the fizzing!

Mix all ingredients together just before serving.

servings 24

3 cans Kern's peach nectar
6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 C peach brandy or schnapps
1/4 C grenadine syrup
1 bottle sparkling water
3 bottles champagne

Mix the first 5 ingredients well. Then add in the last two just before serving.

servings 14

1 bottle chilled champagne
2 ltr chilled ginger ale
2 (10 oz) pkgs partially thawed frozen strawberries

Gently stir all ingredients just before serving.

servings 6

1/4 C orange liquor like Grand Marnier
2 T sugar
1 C chilled orange juice
1 bottle chilled champagne

In a shallow bowl or plate pour in the orange liquor. In another shallow bowl or plate spread the sugar. Now dip the rim of your glasses into the liquor then in the sugar, thinly coating the rim. Divide orange juice among the 6 glasses. Then top off with champagne. Serve immediately.

RECIPE #65: SUPERIOR 'MOLE (aka guacamole)

As requested by Celeste G. from Sandia Park, NM:

When Ryan was undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer, he was on a very strict no iodine diet. You'd be amazed at all the things that have iodine in them...potato skins even! One day he was craving guacamole and because I couldn’t put in everything I normally do, I created this for him.

yields more or less 1 cup

2 mashed avocados
1 medium chopped tomato
1/4 small chopped onion
1/4 to 1/2 chopped cucumber
1 juice of lemon
1/4 to 1/2 t non iodized salt

Mix altogether then serve immediately.

An apron I made for my grandmother for Christmas...

My Mammie is so cute! Unless I'm there with her, I'm pretty sure she never looks at this blog (or any other) so it's pretty safe to post this :)

TIP #38: How to cut an onion without crying

I'm not a big crier but occasionally I'll cry when cutting an onion. I've tried the "bread-under-my-lip" trick and it didn't work for me. Actually I just ended up eating the bread. So here are some tricks I've found that help.

1. Use sweet onions.

2. Peel & cut onions under running water.

3. If you have a gas stove, chop near an open flame.

4. My favorite! Refrigerate your onion(s) for at least 4 hours before cutting. Occasionally, I've even frozen them, although they're harder to cut.

Latest things I've made #2

Some women get flour and splatters on their waist and legs and others get it on the chest. Full aprons were harder for me to make, maybe it's because I REALLY like half aprons. Aprons for Christmas for a friend and one for my cousin.


I was saving this recipe for New Year's as it's good luck to eat black eyed peas then but as I'm not the lucky type nor do I believe in luck, I thought there's 6 inches of snow out, why not?! I didn't really feel like cooking dinner tonight either but I needed to, of course, so I made dips. Yes, I know it's not the best choice for dinner but I chose "healthier" ones and this is one of them. Hey, the boys loved them!

serves 8

1 stick butter
1/2 med chopped onion
8 oz sharp cheddar
2 (15 oz) cans black eyed peas
1 diced & seeded jalapeno
2 small fresh (frozen) green chilies
1/2 t garlic salt

In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add onion & saute until they're translucent. Turn heat to low, add cheese, stir until melted. Add black eyed peas, jalapeno, green chilies & garlic salt. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve hot with chips, pita chips and/or vegetable sticks.


With all the snow we're having, why not have a little fun with the kids and enjoy some homemade snow cones?! We just had a ball...literally...ha ha ha!

12 servings, 2 T per serving

Mix 2 cups baking Splenda or sugar with 1 C water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 1 packet of your favorite flavor KoolAid or other drink packet. Stir well and allow to cool.

Gather fresh snow in a bowl or glass. Add 2 T snow cone syrup to the top or sprinkle 1 T sugar on top. Serve immediately.

02/01/11 - We're snowed in. Made blueberry flavored syrup for the SNOWcones.

RECIPE #62: Sopapilla Cheesecake

Ok, now this is one of the best things I've ever eaten! If you like sopapillas, you'll LOVE this!

servings 12

2 pkgs cream cheese
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 1/4 C sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x12 pan. Mix cream cheese, 1 C sugar, vanilla & 1/4 t cinnamon. Roll out one can crescent rolls into pan. Spread cream cheese mixture on top. Place second can of rolls on top. Pour melted butter on top. Mix 1/4 C sugar & 1/4 t cinnamon then sprinkle on top of butter. Bake for 30 min. Let cool.

TIP #37: Ever get that sticky residue in your dryer?

I don't know about you but I always have tons of stuff to do and my house, my kid, my dog, my husband, and our stomachs never seem to get enough of me. When problems with the house comes up, it's left to me to fix it. So I don't have tons of extra time to spend scrubbing and getting frustrated trying to fix it when what I'm doing isn't fixing it at all...or much.

Do you ever get that sticky residue in your dryer? That stuff will not come up.

Tonight I tried an array of chemicals and elbow grease to try to get that awful stuff off my dryer but nothing seemed to work but one...

Young Living's Thieves oil household cleaner works with swipes instead of tons of pressure & time! Try it, it works!

This also works on that greasy, sticky oven hood too!

                                        Before                                                             After

TIP #36: Needing BUTTERMILK for a recipe & don't have any?


1 C milk
1 T fresh lemon juice

Mix together and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until you see the milk curdle.
Then use where your recipe calls for it.

GAMES with KIDS while traveling

Traveling this season with the kids? We’ll have an 11 year old girl with us for 11 days this Christmas as well as Canaan, of course. We’re driving 14 hours in the car and I and the kids will be flying back. I knew I needed to find some games besides the normal reading, coloring, DVD player, etc. to help both of them behave. Here are some games I found we all might enjoy.

Everyone agrees on a silly phrase. It can make no sense like “Neener-neener-wah-wah-wah!” or it could be something like “Shelly sells seashells down by the seashore.”

One player asks any question like “What your favorite color?” or “What did you eat yesterday?”  The other player has to answer every question with the silly phrase. The trick is not to laugh. Fat chance! Players take turns.

For older kids: Take turns saying anything to make the other person smile.

Everyone smiles and waves to people in passing cars and counts how many people smile and wave back.
1 point = a smile
2 points = a wave
See who can get the most points.

Pick something to count but keep what it is to yourself. Examples: cows, green cars, coffee shops, stop signs, whatever! Tell the kids you’re going to count something that you see outside the window, but you’re not saying what. As you see the item, count the number out loud. The first one to figure out exactly what you are counting gets to be the next secret counter.

Reinvent a few favorite songs. It’s sure to get the kids laughing and dreaming up their own versions. Ryan’s really good at it!

Jingle Bells
Jingle bells, the backseat smells
Someone spilled their lunch
With cracker crumbs
And chewing gum
So many things to munch!

Row row row your boat
Drive, drive, drive the car
Quickly down the road
Wearing a cheeseburger as a beret
And French fries on your feet.

You need an empty water bottle and a crunched up paper wad that can rest on the mouth of the bottle and look as if it could easily be blown in. Challenge the kids to blow the wad in without putting their lips on the bottle. They’ll hug and they’ll puff, but they’ll never get that wad in.

TRICK: the bottle isn’t empty – it’s full of air and when the kids blow the air inside the bottle pushes the wad out.

The fasten seat belt sign has flashed and the plane is about to begin its descent to your destination. The kids are squirming. It’s the perfect time to harness the power of the atmosphere and crush your empty water bottle. You’ll need an empty plastic water bottle. Before the plane descends, open it and then cap the bottle tightly. Place the bottle somewhere the kids can see it. Rub your temples and stare at the bottle as the plane descends. The bottle will be crushed by the time the wheels hit the runway. Stop staring and shake your head as if coming out of a trance.

TRICK: What’s going on is that when you sealed the bottle at the high altitude, the pressure on the inside of the bottle was equal to that outside the bottle. But when you moved from high in the atmosphere, where the outside pressure is not as strong, to the bottom of the atmosphere, where the pressure is very strong, the bottle was crushed.

PACK A BAG for mid-air fun

For Babies under 2 years:
·         A roll of tape
·         Handful of plastic straws – maybe from the beverage cart
·         Small stack of paper cups
·         Old magazines
·         Stick note pad
·         Pipe Cleaners

For Kids 2 - 4:
·         A sheet of sandpaper and some lengths of colored yarn – portable art pad
·         Small metal tray and some magnets
·         Index cards and crayons. Fold the cards in half and they stand up. Make a barnyard, train station, hospital, fire station, kitty boutique – whatever they might like – and set up a scene on the tray table.

For Kids 5 & up:
·         Pack a glue stick, some paper, a pair of kid friendly scissors (if the airport security allows it!), crayons and markers and let them use an in flight magazine to:
o   Select pictures from magazines, glue the onto paper and then write a story connecting the images.
o   If you have more than one kid, have them make their collages then swap and write stories about the other’s picture choices.
o   Make face collages. Cut out lips, eyes, noses, ears and hair and construct a host of faces.
o   Design clothes for paper people. Either cut out clothing, and glue it onto paper and draw people in it or cut out people and draw clothes around them.
o   Mix it up! Cut out the head of one person , the arms of another, and the legs of another and make a bunch of mixed up people!
·         Origami paper and instructions - youtube has a wealth of info!
·         A deck of cards for playing games and learning tricks – youtube has a wealth of info!

Some of these taken or modified from Mama’s little book of Tricks by Lynn Brunelle


My parents took us to Greece & Italy 8 years ago for vacation. I was shocked that every place we ate in Greece, there was no lettuce in the salad. All the restaurants here in the USA always have lettuce in their "Greek" salads. As I'm not a big fan of iceberg and romaine lettuce, I loved it and continue the no-lettuce-salad in our home.

servings 4

3 medium diced tomatoes
1 large diced cucumbers
1 small diced red onion
1/4 C olive oil
4 t lemon juice
1 1/2 t oregano
1 C feta cheese
black olives

Mix all ingredients together well. Serve immediately.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

TIP #35: Fluffing up the down

Late last night Canaan had fallen asleep on our down filled comforter. Ryan was about to move him when he spewed his dinner all over the comforter. As I put him into the bath, Ryan put the comforter in the wash.

This morning I found the comforter in the completed wash completely flat. I put it into the dryer with a tennis ball. It's now back to it's old self, and so is Canaan.

You can also do the same thing with down filled pillows.


servings: 4 to 6

1 1/2 to 2 C uncooked pasta (I used brown rice pasta.)
1 C finely chopped bell pepper or roast pepper
1 medium chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 - 3 C tomato sauce
1 can rinsed and drained black beans
1/2 C shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to it's directions; drain. Meanwhile in a large saucepan coated with nonstick cooking spray, combine pepper, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato sauce and black beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncover for 5 min. stir in pasta. Sprinkle with cheese.

Option for children: Leave out red pepper flakes & only use 1/4 t cumin.

6 RECIPES to make with kids during Christmas & in the winter

This is so easy for the kids to make...just make sure they don't throw them at you!

Roll scoops of ice cream in grated white chocolate and return to your freezer to set.

Yes, it's that easy, a preschooler could do it.

time: 10 min
servings 4

2 C milk
1 box (4 serving size) chocolate or vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
2 C frosted Cheerios
1 bar milk chocolate or white chocolate
Teddy bear shaped graham snacks

Pour milk into medium bowl and add pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk or electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until the pudding is well blended. Divide pudding evenly into 4 dessert dishes. Let pudding set for at least 5 minutes.

Just before serving, pour cereal into a plastic bag and seal. Crush it with rolling pin or can of soup. Chop candy. Sprinkle crushed cereal and chopped candy equally over each dish of pudding. Top each serving with 1 or 2 teddy bear shaped graham snacks.

OPTION: Instead of the candy topping, stick a few animal crackers on the pudding as if they're climbing the "mountain."

time: 50 min
20 snacks

1/3 C sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1/2 C creamy or chunky peanut, cashew or almond butter
3 C frosted Cheerios
1 - 2 T candy sprinkles - the more colors the better
20 small candies (milk chocolate chips, gumdrops, chocolate covered raisins, mini marshmallows, chocolate covered peanuts, etc.)

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Pour sugar & syrup into large saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to boil, remove saucepan from heat. Stir in nut butter until mixture is well blended. Stir in Cheerios until it is evenly coated. Cool for 5 minutes. While mixture is cooling, place candy sprinkles in a shallow dish. Lightly spray your hands with cooking spray. For each snack, Shape about 1/4 C of cereal mixture into a ball around 1 small candy. Immediately roll ball in the candy sprinkles to coat. Place the balls on the cookie sheet. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store the snacks in a loosely covered container.

time: 1 hr 30 min
8 balls

3 T butter
40 large marshmallows
1/2 t green food coloring
1/2 t vanilla
4 C cheerios or rice crispies
small gumdrops, cut into pieces

OPTION: make them any color you'd like all year long.

Place a sheet of waxed paper on the kitchen counter or cookie sheet. Place butter & 32 oz marshmallows in large saucepan. Heat over low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in food coloring and vanilla until mixture is evenly colored. Stir in cereal until it is evenly coated. Lightly spray your hands with cooking spray. For each ball, shape about 1/2 C cereal mixture into a ball around 1 of the remaining marshmallows. Press the gumdrop pieces into the balls to decorate. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Store balls in a loosely covered container.

time: 1 hr 45 min
18 balls

6 T butter
4 1/2 C mini marshmallows
green food coloring
6 C honey nut cheerios
Red Hots cinnamon candies or sliced gum drops

Place a sheet of waxed paper on the kitchen counter or cookie sheet. Pour cereal into a large bowl and set aside. Place butter & marshmallows in large saucepan. Heat over low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in food coloring until mixture is evenly colored. Pour mixture over cereal until it is evenly coated. Lightly spray your hands with cooking spray. For each ball, shape about 1/4 C cereal mixture into a Christmas tree on the waxed paper. Press the candy pieces into the trees to decorate. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store trees in a loosely covered container.

Instead of Rice Crispy Treats, here's an IDEA:
Instead of making rice crispy treats, make them with Cheerios or Fruit Loops. Then use Christmas shaped cookie cutters to cut out bears, Christmas trees, stars, etc.

Activities for the kids so you can get stuff done #3: String & Eat Necklaces

String & Eat Necklaces
make 4

1/3 C Cheerios
1/3 C Fruit Loops
1 roll gummy Life Savers
1 package (1 1/4 oz) pastel colored tube shaped licorice candies
1/2 C colored mini marshmallows
4 pieces red shoestring licorice (I like the strawberry flavored)
1 T flour

String an arrangement of cereal, candies and marshmallows onto each piece of shoestring licorice.

Prevent stickiness: dip 1 end of licorice into flour before poking it through each marshmallow.

When each licorice is 3/4 full, tie ends of licorice together into a double knot to make a necklace. If desired, wrap plastic wrap around each necklace to keep it clean.

Getting the whole family involved this holiday season: Benevolence & Games for the whole family

Add to the fun of Christmas and get the whole family involved in activities such as baking, decorating, art, crafts, games, benevolence, etc.

Teaching our children benevolence leads to being humble, helpful, responsible, caring, connected and gentle. In teaching them benevolence, they need to see your own benevolence with their own eyes. They might not remember many words you've said when they're grown, but they'll remember your actions! ~Kimber

With their own money or with some of their allowance maybe match them to buy a new toy for another child. Take it to your local Ronald McDonald House. Call ahead to ask for a tour of the facilities with your child. Or take the new toys to a local homeless shelter.

Make & decorate cookies or some other goodies OR have the kids draw pictures to take to someone in a nursing home or in the hospital.

As a family, go and serve at a soup kitchen or local homeless shelter.

Contact Goodwill or other thrift type store to see if you and your family can help sort donations in their warehouse.

Go caroling to the elderly or local hospital.

Invite a needy family over for Christmas dinner or breakfast.

You can also look for needs in your area by going to,, or


Hunt the Christmas Card
Cut the fronts of Christmas cards in half. Put one set of the halves in a basket and divide them among the family members. Hide the other halves around the house and ask them to search for as many of the matching halves as possible in a certain amount of time.

Christmas Stocking
Put various objects into a Christmas stocking without the others seeing what they are. Have a mixture of things, some more unusual than others. The children then have to feel the stocking and guess what is inside.
Alternative: Have them reach their hand inside without looking to feel it and guess.

Pin the Nose on Rudolph
I'm sure I don't need to explain this.

Christmas Pictonary
Do I need to explain this?
Option: To make it more difficult, have the person draw the object with the "wrong" hand.

Christmas Song Guessing Game
Play excerpts of various Christmas music (free excerpts on ITunes) and ask everyone to write down the titles of the songs or yell them out. Whoever has the most correct answers is the winner. 

RECIPE #59: Stained Glass Window Sugar Cookie Ornaments

Stained Glass Window Sugar Cookie Ornaments
Makes 25 to 30 cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 C sugar
1 C plus 2 T flour
2 T cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 t milk
18 clear hard candies in assorted colors like Jolly Ranchers
1 tube white writing icing
edible silver balls (found where icing is in the grocery store)

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Sift in flour and cornstarch with the salt and mix together with creamed butter and sugar. Add milk and knead to form a soft ball of dough.

On color at a time and using a rolling pin, crush candies in their wrappers. sprinkle four on a clean work surface and roll out the dough to about 1/4" thickness. Using a selection of Christmas cookie cutters, cut out shapes and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment or other baking paper. Cut out a "window" in the center of each cookie, making sure you leave a good edge at the top and around the sides. Completely fill each cutout area with crushed candies of one color. Make a hole at the top of each cookie using a drinking straw so that you will be able to thread a ribbon through it later.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. While cookies are still warm, check that the holes are still there, otherwise gently push a straw through again. Do not remove the cookies from the baking sheets until they have cooled because the candies need to harden. Once set, gently lift cookies off paper with spatula and cool on wire racks.

Decorate cookies with white writing icing and edible silver balls. Thread ribbon through the holes to make loops for hanging.

RECIPE #58: Rudolph the Red Nosed Baked Potato

Rudolph the Red Nosed Baked Potato
Servings 4

4 medium potatoes
1/2 medium butternut squash
3 T unsalted butter plus some for brushing
1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 t Dijon mustard
2 T milk
salt & pepper
1/4 C grated Cheddar cheese
4 cherry tomatoes
8 cooked frozen peas
8 cheese straw twists or pretzel sticks

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Prick potatoes in several places and place on a baking pan then brush all over with oil. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hr 15 min until they feel soft when pressed. OR bake them in the microwave. Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds and brush with pat of melted butter. Bake for about 40 minutes until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut tops off baked potatoes and scoop out the flesh. Scoop out the flesh of the cooked butternut squash and mash together with the baked potato flesh, Parmesan, mustard, milk and butter. Season with a little salt and pepper. Put mixture back into potato shells, cover with grated Cheddar and cook under broiler for a few minutes or until golden. Decorate with a cherry tomato for the nose, peas for the eyes and cheese straw twists or pretzel sticks for the antlers.


Holiday drinks are always sweet and fun to drink. There are so many different kinds. Here are some of my favorites. If you're looking for eggnog...


2 (12oz) bags cranberries
3/4 gallon water
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
juice of orange
juice of lemon
1 1/2 C sugar

Boil cranberries, water, cloves & cinnamon until cranberries pop, approx 30 min. Drain liquid out into pitcher. Add juices & sugar to liquid. If too strong, add more water.

serves 20

64 oz cranberry juice
4 liters (2 - 2 liter bottles) of Sprite, 7UP or other lemon lime soda
3 sliced oranges
8 C crushed ice

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

servings: 15

2 C water
3/4 C sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
46 oz can cold pineapple juice
4 C cold cran-apple juice
1 liter cold ginger ale

Boil water, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan. Make sure sugar is dissolved. Chill until cold. Just before serving, combine syrup mixture, juices and ginger ale. Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days, just add more ginger ale to up the fizz.

servings: 20

2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 large oranges, thinly sliced
6 oz can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 liter club soda
2 (750 ml) bottles sparkling apple cider
1 T sugar or to taste
2 C ice

Place lemon and orange slices in punch bowl or pitcher. Pour in lemonade then gently stir in club soda and sparkling apple cider. Add sugar to taste then the ice.

servings 15

3 C apple juice
2 1/2 C unsweetened pineapple juice
2 C cranberry juice
1/4 C brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 t whole cloves
2 t ground allspice

Add juices together with brown sugar in a large pot. Place spices in a tea strainer or cheese cloth. Heat over med-high heat for 10 minutes. Serve hot. This will make your house smell SO good!

servings 48

32 oz bottle cold cranberry nectar
(If you can't find the nectar, use OceanSpray Cran-Raspberry Juice.)
12 oz jar seedless raspberry jam
1 1/2 (2 liter) bottles cold lemon-lime soda like 7UP or Sprite
2 tubs or bags frozen sweetened raspberries
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Combine nectar, jam, soda & raspberries and mix well. Using a scoop that will fit into your glasses you're using to serve, spoon half of ice cream over fruit mixture. Stir until frothy. Top with remaining scoops of ice cream to form "snowballs."

servings 4

1 1/2 C coffee ice cream (I use Starbucks)
1 1/2 C eggnog
1 C strong brewed hot coffee
4 T whipped cream
(how to make whipped cream)
4 pinches ground nutmeg

In a saucepan over low heat, add ice cream, eggnog & coffee. Stir until warm about 3 minutes. Pour into four mugs or glasses. Add 1 T whipped cream & 1 pinch nutmeg to each. Serve immediately.

TIP #34: Separate eggs, perfectly!

I usually use my fingers to separate the egg whites from the yolks but sometimes I'll break a yolk or get a small piece of the shell in the whites which I'll have to fish out. I recently found a great way (thanks to Martha Stewart!) to separate eggs perfectly. Put a colander over a bowl and crack your eggs into the colander. The egg whites drip through the colander, while the yolks stay in perfect condition!


Our Sunday morning Bible class is having a Christmas breakfast next Sunday morning. It's a potluck breakfast so I decided to make these for it, but of course this being one of Ryan's favorite things I make, he made me make them for him a test run.

Serves 4

4 slices bacon
1 T butter
4 eggs
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon in a deep skillet on medium high heat until evenly brown but still flexible. Wrap bacon slice around the inside of a muffin cup. Put butter in hot skillet to melt. Place a teaspoon of butter/bacon grease mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup. Drop in an egg. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Place a sprinkling of cheese on top of each one. Bake another 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and egg is cooked.

RECIPE #55 & #56: I should call this "A diabetic's nightmare" fudge & Eggnog Fudge

As I was making fudge tonight, I told Ryan that I should call this "A diabetic's nightmare" fudge. Yes, it's that bad for you. Oh, well, a little won't hurt, unless you're diabetic.

Servings: 48

almost but not quite 1 C marshmallow cream
(I used the homemade marshmallow cream I made about 12 days ago. I need to use it up within 14 days. )
1 1/2 C sugar
2/3 C evaporated milk
1/4 C butter
 1/4 t salt
2 C milk chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 t vanilla

Line your 8x8 pan with foil & set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix marshmallow cream, sugar, milk, butter and salt together. Bring to a full boil and cook for 5 minutes, constantly stirring.

Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan & level. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm.

Servings: 48

2 C sugar
3/4 C butter
2/3 C eggnog
2 t ground nutmeg
1 t ground cinnamon
12 oz chopped white chocolate
almost but not quite 1 C marshmallow cream
1 t vanilla
1/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts

Grease a 8x8 pan and set aside. Combine sugar, butter, eggnog, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to melt the butter. Once mixture reaches a rolling boil, stop stirring & clip a candy thermometer onto the pan. Heat mixture to 235 degrees or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Remove from heat and stir in the white chocolate pieces, marshmallow cream, vanilla and nuts. Beat mixture with a wooden spoon until fluffy and it starts to lose its gloss. Spoon into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Cool completely, then cut into small squares for serving.

RECIPE #54: Red Hot Salad (Jello) & tip on easy unmolding of jello too!

The only thing I ever remember one of my grandmothers ever making was Red Hot Salad. I loved it as a kid and still do. 

1 package red jello
OPTIONS: Lemon jello is my favorite but the color of the salad won't be as red. Cherry will make it the reddest.
1/2 C red hots
1 C boiling water
1 C cold water
1 C apple sauce

Stir red hots into boiling water until melted completely, about 5-10 minutes. Great thing for the kids to do!

Add jello & stir until dissolved. Add cold water and apple sauce.

 Chill until firm, about 3-4 hours.

My grandmother always put it into a glass dish to serve but I prefer to use a mold. Besides, how many opportunities do I get to use my vintage Tupperware mold?
Place it on a platter or plate OR put it in a bowl and sprinkle red hots on top of it.

TIP: If using a mold, you can spray Pam or other vegetable spray on the inside of the mold before you pour in the jello. It will make for easy unmolding!

My mother doesn't like this method because of the slight oil film. She prefers to use the hot water method of letting it sit in a hot water bath for several minutes. I can't get this method to always work for me, so I just use a paper towel and blot the unmolded jello. Although when I don't, I can't always tell the slight film is there.

RECIPES #52 & #53: My favorite homemade ICE CREAM & frozen dessert - Amaretto Ice Cream & Rocky Road Freeze

I'm not sure why I love ice cream in the winter more than I do the summer. Homemade ice cream is so good too! These are two of my favorite recipes that I'll be making this winter.

(You're going to want this to be one serving :) )

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C amaretto
1/4 t almond extract
2 egg yolks
2 C whipped cream
1/2 C toasted nuts (optional - I like pecans)

Milk milk, yolks, amaretto & extract together. Fold in whipped cream & nuts. Pour into a foil lined loaf pan. Freeze covered for 8 hours. Unmold onto a platter and sprinkle with more toasted nuts, if desired.

Servings: 12

8 oz softened cream cheese
1 C cold milk
1 (3.9 oz) pkg JELLO chocolate instant pudding
2 C whipped cream
3/4 C mini marshmallows
1/3 C chopped peanuts
1/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
25 vanilla wafers, coarsely chopped
2 C whipped cream

Line 9" round pan with plastic wrap; set aside. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in milk. Add dry pudding mix; beat until blended. Stir in whipped cream & remaining ingredients except wafers. Spoon into pan. Top with wafers; press lightly into cream cheese. Freeze 4 hours or until firm. Remove dessert 15 minutes before serving. Unmold onto plate. Serve with remaining whipped cream, if desired.

RECIPE #50 & #51: I love me some EGGNOG (or egg nog)

Christmas wouldn't be complete in our family without eggnog. One of the things I miss the most about not living close to my family is that right after Thanksgiving, we put up a large tree in Mom and Daddy's living room. Mom always makes homemade eggnog, Daddy puts on Christmas music and we decorate the tree. Then we sing Christmas songs together and watch a Christmas movie. I miss that SO much!

Here are two recipes for eggnog that are OH SO GOOD!

(no alcohol)
servings: 6

4 eggs (USE EGG BEATERS! It's safer especially for children & elderly. 1/4 C of egg beaters per egg = 1 C)
4 2/3 C milk
6 T sugar
2 t vanilla
ground nutmeg

Using a blender, blend all ingredients together except nutmeg. Chill until ready to serve. Use a dash or two of nutmeg for each serving.

servings: 6

2 C milk
3 whole cloves
1/4 t vanilla
1 t ground cinnamon
6 egg yolks (Try using egg beaters. 1/4 C of egg beaters per egg = 1 1/2 C)
3/4 C sugar
1 1/4 C light rum
2 C cream
1 t vanilla
1/4 t ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 t vanilla & cinnamon in a saucepan. Heat on low for 5 minutes, slowly bringing it to a boil.

In a bowl, mix eggs & sugar. Whisk together until frothy & fluffy. Whisk hot milk slowly into eggs. Pour mixture back into saucepan. Cook on medium, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Do not allow to boil! Strain to remove cloves. Let cool for about 1 hour.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill for at least 8 hours before serving.

Latest things I've made for gifts...

Although I've made several other things, I keep forgetting to take pictures of them before I wrap them. I'll try to remember this week when I make the rest of the Christmas presents.

A few centerpieces for Lunch With Santa made from vintage Reader's Digest. I was lazy and only folded the pages once.

 Canaan's hand print ornaments

14 foot glass beaded garland

Apron made out of a jean skirt for a little girl's birthday.

4 sets of wrapped silverware, this is one set...

Recipe #49: "White Girl" Tex-Mex Rice

I took Spanish Rice to a Mexican themed potluck this evening. A good friend, Monica said it was "white girl" rice. Well, of course it is, I am white! :) Nonetheless, it's good, even though I'm white. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

4-6 T oil
1 C rice
1 small diced onion
1/2 t minced garlic
1 can Rotel
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cumin

In a skillet or pot heat oil on high. Add onion, garlic and rice to brown.

When browned, add the whole can of Rotel. Then fill up the can twice with water and add. Stir in cumin and salt.

When it boils, cover and turn to low. If you're cooking in a skillet without a lid, cover with foil tightly.

Simmer for 30 - 40 min. Until the bubbling water sound stops.

Recipe #48: Strawberry Shortcake

I'm sure you could make yours a lot prettier than mine! :)

Biscuit Shortcake
serves 4

2 C flour
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T sugar
2 T shortening
6 T milk

Sift together dry ingredients. Chop in shortening with a pastry blender.
Moisten with milk. Pat patties to 1/2 inch thickness or pat the whole thing to 1/2" thickness and use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut rounds. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet or ungreased pizza stone. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 min.

Split (optional), butter (optional), and put together with strawberries and whipped cream. (below)

Strawberry Shortcake

1/2 C sugar or splenda
1 pint fresh or frozen strawberries
2 C heavy whip cream
1/2 C sugar

Use fresh or frozen strawberries, adding 1/2 cup sugar or splenda to 1 pint of sliced berries. Let stand at room temperature until juicy, about 30 min to 1 hour.

Pour cream into bowl.
Whip cream on high adding in sugar gradually. Beat until stiff. Now lick the beaters or give them to the's too good to waste!

Layer your serving container with the shortcake, whipped cream & strawberries, saving enough cream and fruit for the top.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.