Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kute Koozies

My friend, Kilie, and I enjoyed doing craft projects together.  Last year, we came up with this idea to do as a little Christmas treat; we were really planning ahead -- and so proud of ourselves . . . and then, she moved!  So!  I sat at the table today, by myself, working on this idea!  I'm not sure if it's as cute as what she did in Tennessee!  Either way, if you're needing an easy teacher gift, a party favor, or a simple "winter day" project with your cherubs, here is one that throws together in a snap and won't break the bank!

Kute Koozies!

1 koozie of your choice
12" of trim (spider, fringe, pom-poms, whatever you like)
Tacky glue
Embellishments (if desired)

Measure around the koozie and cut your trim to fit, over-lapping just a bit.  Put a little tacky glue on and inch the trim around  . . . repeating this step until you have wrapped completely around the koozie.

If putting on an initial, jewels, etc . . .use a bit more tacky glue and strategically place where it looks good (or to cover up a little "oops!").

Let dry over night.

If giving as a teacher gift, stuff with their favorite canned beverage and deliver!   . . .UMMM!  If you are a teacher of a McNeece kid, well, "Merry Christmas!"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Bundle . . .of Green Beans!

My family loves green beans and the basic kind are our veggie staple.  However, recently I made Green Bean Bundles and they were nice for something different!  While there is a little prep time involved, it's not difficult and does seem to communicate, "Look!  I did something a little special!"  Now, will your family rise up and call you blessed?  Probably not -- but oh well, dinner will look great and taste even better!

Green Bean Bundles

1 package bacon
3 cans "whole" green beans

8 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place bacon on a large cookie sheet, lined with foil.  Bake until partially cooked. Drain, cut each piece in half, and set aside.

Open the green beans and drain well.  Take a bundle of green beans (6-8; using "good" pieces) and wrap them with a 1/2 piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick if necessary. Place the bundles in a shallow baking dish.

In a small bowl add the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, butter, brown sugar, and garlic powder. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour the sauce over the bundles and bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 20-30 minutes or until the bacon is done.

Makes about 14-16 bundles. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Little Pumpkin Cookies

We got home from my mom's and we're meeting my cute 6 month old nephew tonight for dinner . . .ok, his parents are coming too!  I'm taking a dessert, and although I had planned on taking a pumpkin crisp, this afternoon that didn't sound like something I wanted to mess with!  Do you ever get in one of "those" moods?  My mom told me about a pumpkin cookie that tastes VERY close to the pumpkin cookie at City Bites . . .well, that's all she had to say!  We simply L.O.V.E those pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting!  While these cookies don't have cream cheese frosting -- they do have cream cheese in the cookie mix . . .so however you get in the cream cheese, it doesn't matter!  These whip up in a flash and I baked them with my large 1/4 cup scoop and baked them for 15 minutes.  It was just perfect!  With a little sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the frosting -- they're good to gobble!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cookies with Frosting

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
2 cups chopped pecans (if desired)

**this recipe for frosting isn't enough to frost the cookies the way I wanted to do so -- either go easy on the frosting or make additional frosting!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Quick Cranberry Salad

Today I joined Greg at Primetime, a monthly Senior Adult event at church.  We heard a great speaker and enjoyed a pot-luck lunch.  The weather is cool outside and all of the yummy sides hit the spot as we go into the holiday season!

One of my many choices was a cranberry salad.  I do love cranberry salad (or sauce or relish), and I particularly love the homemade kind.  I made a great pick today!  The cranberries were yummy with just a touch of orange and spice!  Matter of fact, it was so delicious, I stood out by the "pot-luck table" WAITING for the rightful owner of the dish to claim it so that I could brag on it and ask for the recipe!  Don't you know, after a small wait, her she came . . . and I got the coveted recipe!  I didn't ask if I could share it -- actually, I forgot!  But I don't think she'll mind!

Cranberry Orange Salad

1 container of cranberry orange salad from the deli of
Tom Thumb grocery store

Open container and dump into a pretty serving bowl.  Serve chilled.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Yum Yum" Candy is Yummy!

Oh, this is bad!  I was flipping through some old recipes when I found this yummy recipe for "Yum Yum Candy."  I first tasted this several years ago when Linda B. brought it to the Couples Retreat we used to go to at Lake Texhoma!  This stuff is addicting!  It makes quite a bit . . .so call a friend over and share the recipe -- you'll not only have fun making it with a friend, but you'll be glad you did when you go to put your jeans on!

Yum Yum Candy
3 lbs. almond bark (1/2 vanilla and 1/2 chocolate)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
3 cups dry roasted peanuts
4 1/2 cups rice krispies
1/2 a bag (or so) of mini marshmallows

Melt the almond bark and stir in the peanut butter.  Add marshmallows and cereal and stir well.  Add peanuts and mix.  Drop on wax paper to cool -- be sure to lick your fingers!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coffee Caramel Cupcakes

Who would have ever thought that a cupcake would rise to stardom!  I mean, really!  Now the cupcake is so vogue -- it's appearing center stage at weddings and galas and parties and premiers!  All that to say -- I love cupcakes!  However, with all of the cupcake stores that have popped up, I have yet to find one that I really like.  I've tried several -- but never return for a second purchase . . .until last week!  Right there, in Times Square, I spotted it -- "Crumbs!"  After looking at the beautiful delights -- I indulged in the Chocolate Pecan Pie Cupcake (can there be such a thing?)!  I was SO sorry that I shared with Greg!  But don't worry -- the next night we just "happened" to go back . . .I mean to pass it and we meandered in to indulge in our own!  Greg feasted on the "Half baked" and I tried "Carmel Apple."   We were not disappointed! 

So what do I do when I return home; set out to create some yummy cupcakes!  Getting the right recipe AND the right decorating are hard to do -- but I'm working on it!  I wanted to share with you the recipe I've tried, with a few minor changes, and perhaps it will inspire you to try something new!

Coffee Caramel Cupcake

1 French vanilla cake mix
1 small package French vanilla instant pudding
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all of that together and pour into your lined cupcake pan (you can do the regular size or for a real treat, use a 6 count jumbo pan -- they make for a "gourmet" sized cake).

Bake for 18-28 minutes, depending on the size of your cupcake.

Let cool.

Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 TBSP butter, softened
2 TBSP strong coffee (or substitute milk if you don't prefer coffee)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese, butter, and liquids until well mixed.  Slowly add in powdered sugar until well incorporated.


1 can La Lechera, "Dulce del Leche" (by Nestle, on the Ethnic aisle)

Scoop out a small amount of cake from the center of each cupcake and fill each center with the warmed La Lechera.  I warmed the filling in a bowl and put in a piping bag and squeezed in the center.  You can do the same with a ziplock bag and snipping of a small amount of the corner.

Frost the cupcake and roll in heath bits and drizzle with a bit more of the caramel filling on top.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Aut"yum" Pies

Not too long ago, I headed over to Paula's house for a women's night out with other ladies from my Bible Fellowship class.  The whole point of the evening was to let the men take care of the children while we learned new and easy Fall entertaining ideas.  It was a great evening and Paula does a wonderful job of "fast and festive."  That night, she showed us an easy "hand pie" that I want to pass along to you.  But, when I tried it today, I decided that I'd try something new!  I'll share that with you too!

Aut"yum" Pies

1 package refrigerated pie crust
filling; such as
  • mini chocolate chips
  • carmel bits (the new unwrapped, ready-to-use carmel)
  • pumpkin pie filling
  • really, anything that can go in an unbaked pie crust; it just needs to be heated and not cooked
1 egg, mixed well with a bit of water for you egg wash

Unroll the pie crust and cut out in shapes with your cookie cutters, making sure to have an even number of shapes. 

Drop a small amount of filling in the middle of one of the shapes.  Brush the edges with egg wash and top with the matching shape and gently press together, as though you were crimping a pie crust.

Brush top with the egg wash for a nice color and if desired, sprinkle colored sugars on top. 

Bake at 425 in over for 10 minutes or until golden brown and pie crust is cooked thoroughly.

Now -- I tried a new venture and I painted the top crust of each mini pie with food coloring; like you'd find from Wilton or from a baking goods store.  Since I did sunflowers for this trial, it was very easy:  a brown center and golden petals.  I let it dry before assembling the mini pies; following the same steps as above.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Italian Bread Pizza

For dinner in a hurry that is sure to be a pleaser, this is for you! 

Italian Bread Pizza

1 pound mild Italian sausage**
2 TBSP olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup pizza sauce
1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 Italian bread loaf, or your favorite French bread
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Remove sausage casings and cook sausage until it crumbles and is cooked thoroughly.  Add onion and garlic (if necessary, add 1 TBSP of the olive oil).  Cook about 5 minutes or until onions are tender; careful not to burn the garlic.  Remove from heat and stir in pizza sauce and Italian seasoning. 

Cut bread in half, lengthwise, scooping out center of bread but leaving a 1/2 inch border.  Fill each bread half with half of the meat mixture, topped with 1/2 of the cheeses on each.  Drizzle pizzas evenly with remaining 1 TBSP olive oil, if desired. 

Bake at 425 degrees for 5-6 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

**If you don't have Italian sausage, substitute hamburger meat or Canadian bacon, or another meat of your choice.

Serve with a Greek salad (Romain lettuce, Kalamata olives, sliced purple onion, Greek dressing) and enjoy!