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My favorite memories have all centered around friends and family enjoying a meal together! It might have been a special holiday or a celebration, or it might have been dinner with friends at a great restaurant. I hope you will enjoy some of my favorite recipes and take time to fellowship with those seated at your table. You might make a memory to last forever!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cake

Last night, I began the process of making my favorite Christmas cake...Layered Coconut Cake!  It is a simple recipe, but it takes a little extra time and love!  I like to make it a couple of days before I plan to serve it, the flavors intensify and it becomes so moist!  I very rarely say that I love a cake, but honestly, I can eat this Coconut Cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Probably not good on the hips...but hey, it's the holidays!  I hope you will find time to bake this moist, delicious cake during the coming year...for a special celebration or just to make someone smile!

Layered Coconut Cake

1 box white or yellow cake mix
2 cups sugar
2 cups sour cream
2 cups coconut
16 oz. cool whip
Extra coconut for top of cake (optional)

Bake cake as directed on box, for two 8 or 9 inch round pans.  Cool completely.  Cut each cake in half, horizontally. Mix sugar, sour cream and coconut; fold in cool whip.  Spread coconut mixture between each layer and on the top and sides of cake.  Refrigerate overnight.

Hints:  I use dental floss to cut the cake layers.  Holding the floss on each end, start on one side and gently pull through to the other side!

I prefer to refrigerate this cake for a couple of days. (If I have time!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Sweets

Today is the last opportunity I will have to make goodies to share with friends!  So, I have been real busy making cookies, candy and cakes!  You probably won't have time to make these recipes before Christmas, but there is always New Years!  Take time to enjoy every minute with your family and friends, it will be worth it! 

Merry Christmas and Blessings to you and your family!

This recipe was shared with me by a friend who has since moved away.  It may sound difficult, but if I can make this, you can!  After cooling, place in decorative tins, unusual glass jars or printed cellophane bags!  Great for gift-giving!

 Caramel Corn

5 quarts plain popcorn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Prepare popcorn and place in a very large baking dish/pan.

Melt butter in a heavy pot; stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Boil without stirring for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda.  (Mixture will become bubbly.)  Pour over popcorn and quickly begin to stir.  Stir until popcorn is coated well.  Bake for 1 hour; stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool and place in containers.

Caramel Corn

You are reading it here first!  I am sharing with you my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that has been locked in a vault for many years!  I'm not bragging or anything, but all who receive these cookies as a treat are more than thrilled!   They truly are delicious; crispy on the outside, but still gooey on the inside!

Stack these cookies in a slender cellophane bag and tie with a brightly colored ribbon!  Perfect for friends and neighbors!

 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (1 bag)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Beat together shortening, sugars, and vanilla until creamy.  Add eggs, beating until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in flour mixture and oats.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop cookie dough by well-rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. (I use a medium Pampered Chef scoop.)  Bake 9-11 minutes.  Cool two minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fudgy, moist, gooey, sinful...a few words to describe my Triple Chocolate Cake!  So easy to make; it starts with a cake mix and boxed pudding!  Once you make this cake, you will be asked to bring it to every get together...holidays, picnics or parties!  I have a very good friend, Pam, who shares the same thought about this cake as I do...PMS!!  Chocolate is always a perfect treat to share with your girlfriend!  Enjoy with vanilla bean ice-cream and chocolate syrup for real decadence!  For a little crunch, top with toasted nuts; or make your cake festive with a sprinkle of crushed peppermint!  Enjoy!!!
Triple Chocolate Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix (no pudding)
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup water
2 boxes instant chocolate pudding
1 large bag chocolate chips (2 cups)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a greased bundt pan.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes; turn out onto serving plate.

Triple Chocolate Cake

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cookies and Milk

Who doesn't like cookies!?  For the past two nights I have wanted a cookie...any flavor, any size...even store bought!  Of course, if I have time, I prefer homemade cookies!  I decided to make each of my son's favorite this week and tonight it was Oatmeal Raisin for Ben!  With the addition of cinnamon, it becomes a comfort food; great for a cold, winter evening! Serve with a glass of cold milk as you snuggle by the fire!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3/4 cup Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled-oats
1 cup raisins

HEAT oven to 350ºF. Coat baking sheets with no-stick cooking spray

Beat shortening, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Beat into shortening mixture until smooth. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

Substitute Ingredients:
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Easy as Pie!

When I first got married and moved to Auburn, Alabama, I purchased a cookbook from a well known sorority.  It has since then become my most treasured collection of recipes!  As a new bride and a rookie cook, I found many of their recipes designed just for me!  It didn't take long for us to decide on our favorite dessert...Fudge Pie!  It truly is...easy as pie!  It is best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream!  To really impress your guests, drizzle with chocolate or carmel syrup and sprinkle with chopped nuts!

Fudge Pie

1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine cocoa, sugar, flour and salt in bowl.  Add eggs and butter; mix well. Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until set.

More Sweet Desserts!

This pie recipe is so easy to make, but your guests will think you are a pastry chef when it is served!  Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie was the most requested dessert during the holidays when I had my small catering business!  Nutty, Chocolaty with a splash of spirits...how could you go wrong!  This pie is a great ending to any meal; and also makes your friends smile when you give it as a gift!  Enjoy!

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

1 unbaked pie shell, chilled

2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup                                                              
2 Tbl. Bourbon
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans in bottom of pie crust. Combine first seven ingredients; mix well.  Slowly pour over nuts and chocolate chips.  Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool before serving.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas and Candy...Great Memories

Do you like to make candy during the holidays?  When I was growing up, my Mother always made many different kinds of candy; filling every Christmas tin with delicious confections!  Today, she still makes the best fudge ever, along with other bite-size goodies!  Since she was treating us with the sugaring delights, I never had the need to learn to make candy!  However, I have tried many different recipes...very simple recipes, with success!  Be brave...try a new candy recipe this year to share with your loved ones!

This is a new recipe for me!  My favorite candy bar is, and always has been, a Butterfinger!  So, of course, I had to give this a try!  This homemade version really taste like a Butterfinger...and uses the most unusual ingredient...Candy Corn!

Butterfinger Candy

1 lb. candy corn
16oz jar peanut butter
16oz pkg. chocolate candy coating
    or 1 cup of chocolate chips plus 1 Tbl. shortening

Melt candy corn in microwave on high 1 minute. Stir and continue cooking in 15-second intervals til melted, stirring after each interval. Stir in peanut butter. Spread mixture in an 8x8 pan lined with parchment. Cool completely. Cut into squares. Dip in melted chocolate candy coating. Lay on waxed paper to set.

 You may think Candy Corn will never melt!  Keep microwaving an stirring!
  Be sure to brush off any crumbs from candy pieces before dipping in chocolate!
      You will get crumbs in the chocolate.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Is Here!

It is hard to believe that the Christmas season is already here!  For me, it is the most wonderful time of year for cooking and entertaining!  We have friends over for drinks and appetizers, office parties to attend and family get togethers; all of which are perfect for fun holiday food!  I personally think "bite-sized" foods are fun; and you get to eat more than one of everything!  Over the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favorite appetizer and dessert recipes for you to share in your home, or take to that special party!  I hope you enjoy trying these recipes as much as I like making them!

Gifts of food are a favorite with everyone and perfect for that "hard to buy for" neighbor, co-worker, teacher, hair stylist, etc.  I will be posting some of my favorite gift ideas along with fun ways to dress up the packaging!

For those of you who have overnight guests, I will be sharing some recipes for dishes that will make entertaining easier.  I know you want to spend as much time visiting as possible and less time in the kitchen!

Enjoy making many special dishes, snacks and desserts this Christmas season.  Each and every one will be made with love and a full heart!

First of all, I am going to share a few of my families favorite appetizers!

Spinach Rolls

1 pkg. flour tortillas
2 pkgs. frozen, chopped spinach; thawed and drained well
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. Ranch salad dressing mix
6 green onions, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can water chestnuts,  chopped fine
1 pkg. bacon bits/pieces
1 Tbl. Cajun or Creole seasoning (optional)

Combine cooked and drained spinach with remaining ingredients. Mix well.  Spread 1/4 to 1/3 cup of spinach mixture on each tortilla.  Roll up and store in refrigerator until time to serve.  Slice each roll into 1 inch pieces.

Spinach Rolls

Ham and Pickle Rolls

2 pkgs. danish ham
cream cheese, softened
Claussen Kosher Dill Pickle Spears, whole

Cut each pickle lengthwise in half.  Spread each ham slice with about 1 Tbl. cream cheese.  Place pickle slice on one end of ham and roll up.  Chill until ready to serve; slice into 1 inch pieces.

Roll-ups can be prepared, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance. Cut into pieces just before serving.
For easier spreading, pat ham slices dry with paper towels before spreading with cream cheese.

Ham and Pickle Rolls


Party Ham Rolls

2 packages (7 1/2 oz each) small party rolls
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons poppy seed
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces thinly sliced ham, chopped
6 ounces Swiss Cheese

Melt butter; add mustard, poppy seed, onion, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over low heat until onions are transparent.

Without separating rolls, slice party rolls horizontally.  Cover bottom half with ham and cheese; replace top.  Pour warm butter mixture over rolls. Wrap each package tightly in foil and refrigerate until ready to bake; one hour to overnight. 

Bake (covered with foil) at 375 ° for about 30 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.  Cut into individual rolls.  Serve warm.

Party Ham Rolls