Sunday, December 19, 2010

Artichoke Dip, anyone?

This recipe is a favorite from my most-used cookbook, The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. When I serve it at parties, I'll often use my pretty butter-colored Gail Pittman pie plates on a two-tiered stand -- the dip on top, with another pie plate on the bottom filled with water and one lit tea candle to keep the dip warm. I like to serve with Triscuits -- you choose your favorite cracker!

Baked Artichoke Dip

1 (14-oz) can artichoke hearts or hearts of palm, drained and chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp hot sauce

Combine all ingredients, stirring well; spoon into a lightly greased 1-quart casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with melba toast rounds. Yield: 2 cups.

Note: I used Parmesan/Romano from a jar, and used Texas Pete's for hot sauce.

Photo: Willow House Riverstone Stacking Platters  (41483; set of three -- Available January 2011)

Note: I linked to this recipe on Eat at Home.

Cookies that just say "Christmas"!

One of my mother's heirlooms that was passed to me was her Betty Crocker Cookbook. It was definitely her most used cookbook, and after 50 years of use, it was literally falling apart by the time I got it. I was so glad to find a brand new but unrevised version at Books-A-Million a couple of years ago that I can use without fear of further damage.

One of my favorite recipes in this cookbook is one my mother made every Christmas -- and lots of other times, too. Molasses Crinkles have always been a favorite; the fact that they are both simple to make and delicious to eat makes them a must over the holidays!

Here's the recipe:

Molasses Crinkles

Mix together thoroughly:
3/4 cup soft shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Sift together and stir in:
2-1/4 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger

Chill dough. Roll into balls the size of large walnuts. Dip tops in sugar. Place, sugared-side-up, 3" apart on greased baking sheet (I just use parchment paper). Sprinkle each cooky with 2-3 drops water to produce a crackled surface. Bake at 375 10-12 minutes, just until set but not hard (these should be soft when you eat them). Makes 2-1/2 to 3 dozen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cinnamon Christmas Memories

Growing up in my parents' home, December was always a special time of year. It seemed there were so many things to look forward to! Mama had hand-painted a nativity, as well as the carolers shown here, and it was fun to unwrap them and set them up in their special places. There were cookies to bake and decorate -- especially Mama's special buttermilk cookies. And the parties! I think we usually spent Christmas Eve with friends at the Machen's, and there were always tamales. New Year's Day was an unbridled feast of food, football, and rummy tiles at the McClard's. But somewhere before Christmas, Mama always threw a party, too.

She would bake pies, the famous buttermilk cookies, fried cheese balls (how I wish I had that recipe) and her hot punch -- which was not only warm and delicious, but just made the whole house smell like Christmas. She served it in a glass and sterling carafe which seemed to exist only for this purpose!

When we have holiday get-togethers, my daughter always requests Mam-ma's hot punch (served in that same carafe). And she always hopes there is some left over for her to enjoy as she does schoolwork on cold winter mornings. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine has!

Hot Punch
(Recipe from Anna Wheelis)

1 gallon apple cider
1 quart ginger ale
Small package red hots
1 stick cinnamon

Pour all into stock pot and simmer 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Crunch

This was served by Brooke at her recent Willow House party. We all enjoyed its sweetness and crunch as we sat around the fire and visited. This was a holiday favorite around Brooke's home as she grew up, and she kindly agreed to share the recipe with us. Thanks, Brooke!

Pumpkin Crunch

16-ounce canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 eggs

Mix all ingredients and pour into a 9"x13" pan sprayed with Pam

Sprinkle a yellow cake mix on top
Pour 1-1/2 sticks of butter over the cake mix
(Optional: add 1 cup nuts on top halfway thru baking time)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Serve with cool whip on top, if desired.

(Note: it was still warm when Brooke served it at her design workshop -- so yummy! Easier than pie, and just as good.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Presentation may be everything, but it doesn't have to be hard!

I'm always looking for beautiful ways to wrap gifts, and my daughter loves to make cards. In this post by The Happy Homemaker, we both found realistic DYI inspiration!

Make a Gift Mix: Triple Chocolate Cake!

Triple Chocolate Cake Mix
(adapted from recipe for Triple Chocolate Cake found in “Cake Mix Miracles” from Oxmoor House)

Mix together the following dry ingredients:
1 (18.25-ounce) package chocolate cake mix (we tested with Duncan Hines)
1 (3.9-ounce) package instant pudding mix
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
½ cup chopped pecans
Place dry ingredients in a festive container or holiday zippered bag. To make your gift extra special*, include a dessert server, mixing spoon, or holiday plates. Include the following instructions with your gift:

To make your Triple Chocolate Cake, spray 12-cup Bundt pan with baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dump dry mix ingredients into large bowl. Add 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream, 4 large eggs, ½ cup water, and ½ cup vegetable oil. Mix together until ingredients are blended. Bake for one hour or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove cake from pan, and cool completely on wire rack. Sift a small amount of powdered sugar over top of cake, if desired. Enjoy!

 For extra special add-ons for this gift, visit my Willow House Store and e-outlet!

I linked to this on Eat at Home!


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