Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brown Sugar Vanilla/Almond Scrub

These homemade scrubs make wonderful gifts.  They're so easy to do and people really love receiving and using them.  You can use them on your hands, feet, elbows or wherever you need some tender lovin' care.  The scrub smells so good, you almost want to eat it!!  You could keep a few to have on hand for hostess, friend or teacher gifts.  (Guys even like them, too.)  Here's the recipe:

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup oil
  (I used 1/2 c. olive oil and 1/2 c. coconut oil)
1 T. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract

Mix the sugar together until there are no lumps.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
Package into jars and decorate with ribbon and a tag.  A little spoon or a shell is helpful for scooping. 
You may want to use a plastic container if you're worried about breakage in a bathroom.

I am sharing with:

Mix It Up Monday!
Make It Pretty Monday
Tips, Tutorials and Tidbits
Recipe Box
Full Plate Thursday
Weekend Potluck
Foodie Friday
Home Sweet Home
Homespun Christmas Link Party
Seasonal Sundays

Monday, November 26, 2012

Date and Nut Bread

My tray is set with a red napkin,  my old Target dishes and a iron votive holder from my sweet Mom.  I'm having a cup of French vanilla tea....mmmmm!

This quick bread is a family favorite and one I've been making since high school.  If I'm not mistaken, the recipe came from the back of the Dromedary date box.  It's the perfect sweet for breakfast or tea.  If you love dates, I hope you give it a try.

3/4 cup chopped nuts
8 ozs. of pitted dates, chopped
1 and 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup shortening (or butter)
3/4 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 cups sifted flour

Combine nuts, dates. soda and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add the shortening and boiling water.  Allow this mixture to stand for 15 minutes.  Stir to blend.

Beat the eggs slightly, add vanilla.  Stir in the sugar and flour.  Add this to the date mixture.  Do not over mix.

Place in a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven.  Cool before removing.

NOTE:  I made 4 mini bundt + 1 mini loaf pan and baked  the bundts for about 25 minutes and the mini loaf for about 35 minutes.

These are perfect to wrap and freeze and have on hand for quick gifts!!

I am sharing this with:

Mix It Up Monday                                                                                                                                
Tea Time Tuesday                                                                                                               

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spiced Piecrust

Our coffee table is set for dessert for two.  A pumpkin bird house is perched  on a stack of books.
This table runner I've had forever, which has an  old-fashioned scene farm scene.
Recently Kathleen from had a giveaway and I was the lucky winner!  Thank you so much for sending these, Kathleen!!  I had so much fun using them and will continue to enjoy them for years to come and will think of you when I do.

I have never tried adding spices to pie crust, but when I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to try it with my pie crust cutters that I won in Kathleen's giveaway!  Although I tried America's Test Kitchen's recipe for their vodka pie crust, I wasn't overly thrilled. This recipe from Dash chef Jon Ashton was a dream to work with. Too much water in a pie crust actually forms gluten and can make the pie crust tough.  Vodka replaces some  of the water and makes the crust moist and easy to roll,and it turns out flaky and tender.  Do not worry about an alcohol taste,  for the ethanol in the vodka evaporates in the oven. You could leave out the spice, but for pumpkin pie and even pecan, it's really tasty, and really enhances the flavor of the pie.  I will try other spices for other pies for sure.

Extra leaves were baked separately for decoration.
2 cups flour
1 t. Salt
2 T. Sugar
2 t. Pumpkin pie spice
8 T. cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" slices
4 T. shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup water
2 T. vodka

Combine 1 cup flour, salt, sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a food processor until well mixed.

Add butter and shortening and process just until dough starts to from pea-size clumps.

Add remaining 1 cup flour and pulse 5-6 times. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add water and vodka to mixture. Mix with hands using a folding motion, pressing down on dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together.

Divide dough into 2 balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap, then flatten into 4-inch discs. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

When ready to roll out, make sure your work area and rolling pin are well floured. Roll dough to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Carefully transfer and crimp edges.

I followed the recipe for pumpkin pie from the back of the Libby's can, only adding some freshly grated nutmeg in addition to all the other spices.

                                  Happy Thanksgiving blessings are sent to all!

                                                                   I am sharing with:
                                                                 Mix It Up Monday!
                                                               On the Menu Monday
                                                                  Tea Time Tuesday

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

Oh! My! Goodness!!  I saw this recipe recently in the Dallas Morning News and they gave the recipe source from www.  This cake is perfect for a meal ending, for breakfast or with a cup of coffee or tea.  My dear darling gave it a "5-Star"!!!  I hope you try it this holiday season.

 I'm having this with a cup of Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea.
1/3 cup water
1 (15-oz) can pure pumpkin
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 (18-oz.) box yellow cake mix
1 t. baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
4 T. butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped  walnuts (I used pecans and more like 1/2 cup)
Brown Sugar Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with butter.

In a large bowl mix together the water pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.  Add the cake mix and baking soda and mix until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, melted butter and nuts.  Use your fingers to sprinkle mixture over the top of the cake.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Poke holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick.  Pour warm glaze over the cake, making sure to cover all surfaces.  Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

Brown Sugar Glaze:  (make while cake is baking)

In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 t. vanilla and 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved. 

                                                               I am sharing this with:

                                                                   Mix It Up Monday!
                                                                On the Menu Monday
                                                                  Tea Time Tuesday

I was feaured at:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

I had forgotten how good beef stroganoff is until I thought to make it the other day.   I used top sirloin, but you could use less tender cuts of beef and just simmer longer until it's tender.  Cook some noodles and you're ready to go!   Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 lbs. top sirloin, cut into strips about 2" long and 1/2" thick.
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
2 T. butter, divided
1 T. olive oil
1 T. flour
1 cup beef broth
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 T. sour cream, at room temperature

Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. 

In a large skillet, heat 1 T. butter and 1 T. olive oil.  Add half the meat,  half the onions and half the mushrooms and quickly brown on all sides.  Remove to a platter.  Add the remaining butter to the skillet and brown the rest of the meat, onions and mushrooms.

Return the rest of the meat, onions and mushrooms to the skillet.  Sprinkle the flour  over and scrape the bottom of the skillet.  Add the beef broth and stir, bringing to a boil.  Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until meat is tender.  Stir in room temperature sour cream (sour cream will curdle if it is cold, making the sauce grainy) and heat through, but do not boil.

Serve over buttered noodles.

                                                                I am sharing this with:
                                                                 Mix It Up Monday!
                                                                On the Menu Monday
                                                                  Tabletop Tuesday

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pumpkin Log

  Although we are going to our son and DIL's for Thanksgiving, along with the rest of our family, I thought I'd set up a dessert tablescape for the two of us.  Aren't the battery operated candle that are on timers, the best?  My lantern came from Target, which I adorned with some fall faux leaves and a bow.  Dried corn, which I keep from year to year, add a Fall touch, along with my pilgrim couple.  I used a minky throw that I made.  The flip side is a quilt-as-you-go, which I'll share another time.  The mini pumpkins sprinkled about were sent to me from my dear sister.
If I had to name one of my very favorite desserts, this would be one of the top!  What's not to love with pumpkin and a cream cheese filling?  It's great for Thanksgiving or Christmas. My family is always happy if this is an ending to a meal.

I'm using my Johnson Brother's  Friendly Village for dessert and tea.
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped pecans
2-3 T. powdered sugar

Cream Cheese Filling

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 t. vanilla

Preheat ovens to 375 degrees.

Grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly roll pan. Line with wax paper and grease and flour that.  Set aside.

Combine eggs, sugar, and brown sugar; beat on high speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Add pumpkin, mixing well.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring well. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until smooth.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly (batter will be thin).   Sprinkle batter with pecans.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched.

Sprinkle 2 T.  powdered sugar evenly on a clean tea towel. Loosen edges of cake and carefully invert onto towel. Remove the wax paper. Roll up cake in towel, beginning with short side.   Cool cake completely on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile make the filling. Combine the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

Unroll cake and spread with cream cheese filling to within 1/2 inch of edges. Carefully re-roll cake without towel; chill before serving. 

NOTE:  Sometimes the cake cracks when it is re-rolled because it's so thin.  Just pipe some whipped cream on top and you're good to go!

Makes 8-10 servings

                                                                     I am sharing with:

                                                                 Mix It Up Monday!
                                                               On the Menu Monday
                                                                  Tea Time Tuesday

Sunday, November 11, 2012

1 Minute Eggs

Since I eat an egg every morning, sometimes I like a really quick version, without having to get out a skillet.  This one is made in a ramekin or a custard up and popped in the microwave,  which makes clean up a breeze!!  My hubby and I actually have breakfast in bed every morning.  Since Mr. Kozy was gone for the weekend, one of my granddaughters spent the night.  She enjoyed breakfast in bed, too.

Friendly village plate and mug
1 slice Canadian bacon
1 egg
shredded cheese
salt and pepper
any additional garnish, such as chives or other herbs

Place Canadian bacon in the bottom of the buttered ramekin. 
Crack the egg into a small bowl.  Add about a Tablespoon of water and whisk or mix with a fork.
Add the egg on top of the Canadian bacon.
Put into the microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir and return to the microwave for 15-30 seconds.
Top with shredded cheese and salt and pepper and any other garnish.

Happy girl having tea with Nana and breakfast in bed!

                                                                   I am sharing with:
                                                                 Mix It Up Monday!
                                                               On the Menu Monday
                                                                 Tea Time Tuesday

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Southwest White Bean Soup

For my Fall table for two, I flipped my Big Star Quilt that I made to the underside.  It has a pretty vine pumpkin pattern on it.  My corn candles are from long ago. 

My Fall soup tureen is from Sur La Table, where I also worked part-time.  I would buy deals when we had a 40% off sale!! 

I just love these soup pots that I bought for 25 cents at a garage sale.

This soup recipe comes from The original recipe can be found here.    Miz Helen is a dear, sweet friend that I met through blogging.  She posts wonderful recipes and has a linky party called  Full Plate Thursday.  She also posts her weekly menu every Monday, if you'd like to check that out.

Here's my adapted version of Southwest White Bean Soup.  Miz Helen calls this a stew, but mine was more like a soup.  It would be a wonderful recipe for vegetarians.  We happen to love ham, so I added a ham hock.  Next time I will use an even meatier ham bone.  It's a  soup that packs some heat and really warms the tummy on a cold night.  It's delicious with a slice of cornbread, found here. 
Southwest White Bean Soup
1 1b. bag of dry Great Northern Beans
2- 10 oz. cans of Rotel
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ham hock or 2 cups ham, chopped, optional
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. cumin
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sort through the beans making sure all the beans are good. Rinse the beans well. 
  • Bring the dry beans to a rolling boil in 8 cups of water. Boil for 2 minutes, cover and take off heat. 
  • Let the beans sit covered for 1 hour. 
  • Pour the beans and water (making sure you have 8 cups of water) into a slow cooker.
  • Add the onion, garlic and Rotel.
  • If you are adding the ham hock or chopped ham, add it to the slow cooker at this time.
  • Cook on low 8-10 hours, or until beans are cooked through. Remove the ham hock or ham bone and pick through and add the meat back to the slow cooker. 
  • At the end of the cooking time add the salt, pepper, cumin and cilantro.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the seasonings to set.

I often don't need a whole bunch of fresh herbs.  Here's My tip for saving fresh herbs, having read this in Good Housekeeping  magazine:
Process fresh herbs in a food processor until chopped (or just chop by hand).  Add a drizzle of olive oil.  Spread this mixture out flat onto waxed paper and freeze.  When frozen, put in a freezer proof food bag.  You can then break off big or little bits to add to soups, etc.
                                                                  I am sharing with:
                                                                 Mix It Up Monday!
                                                                On the Menu Monday
                                                                   Tabletop Tuesday

Monday, November 5, 2012

Biscoff Scones

For my  Fall tea for one,  I used my green leaf plate and cup from Kohl's. I'm having a scone and some Bentley's French Vanilla Tea, from Homegoods.  All those who are still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
My teapot is from Ross.
Delicious Biscoff Scones
I finally purchased my first jar of Biscoff Spread because I wanted to make scones that I saw at  These scones are so tasty and perfect with a cup of tea.  If you haven't tried Biscoff Spread,  it's kind of a caramelized, cinnamon  flavor. Maybe you've had the Biscoff cookies on airplanes.    Here's the recipe for the scones,  if you'd like to try them:


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff Spread, smooth or chunky
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half

Biscoff glaze

  • 2 tablespoons Biscoff spread
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk (I needed more)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, or prepare your favorite scone pan.
2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. Whisk well to remove any lumps.
3) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
4) In a bowl, combine the eggs, Biscoff Spread and cream until well blended. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
5) Scrape the moist dough onto the parchment and pat into an 8" round, about 3/4" thick. Use a bench knife or scrape to divide in to 8 equal wedges.  (At this point, I put the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, following another recipe from King Arthur Flour.)
6) Bake the scones in a 425°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The edges will become a crisp deep brown, and the center will not longer look wet.
7) Remove the scones from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes while you prepare the glaze.
8) Blend the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until soft and creamy.  (I needed to add some extra cream or milk to actually make a glaze.)  Spread over the warm scones.
9) Yield: 8 large scones

To make the  fabric pumpkins: 

1.  Cut a rectangle of fabric.  I used homespun, for a rustic Fall look. 
2.  Sew a seam up the back.
3.  Gather  the fabric at the bottom and pull up tightly and knot off.
4.  Fill the bottom 1/4-1/3 with rice, to weight down the pumpkin.  Fill the rest with polyfil to the top.
5.  Gather the top, just like you did the bottom, turning under the top edges.
6.  Sew on some patches by hand and decorate with buttons.  You want a rustic look to this!
7.  Insert some twigs on the top, tie some raffia on and hot glue some silk leaves or other      embellishments.



Sew a seam up the back
Gather at the bottom.
Sew on some patches and buttons.
Gather and sew the top, insert twigs and decorate.
                                                                  I am sharing with: 

                                                                 Mix It Up Monday!
                                                                On the Menu Monday
                                                                  Tea Time Tuesday

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Chicken 'n Chips Casserole

My first job out of college was a Home Economics teacher at a Junior High in Columbus, Ohio.  I taught there until our first child was born.  We then had three more children and I was busy with them.  We later moved to Michigan for a brief time and then on to Texas.  In Texas, I had various part-time jobs and then I landed a part-time job at Frito-Lay, where I worked for almost seventeen years.  Frito-Lay was one wonderful company to work for!  When I first started there, a friend gave me this recipe.  It's an easy casserole to throw together and I always think of her and our times together.

4 chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, or a Mexican blend
2 cups Fritos (I use broken Tostitos)

Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

Mix together soup, sour cream and salsa. 

Layer half of  each of the chicken, soup mixture, cheese, then chips.  Repeat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.

I am sharing this with:

Mix It Up Monday
On the Menu Monday
Make It Pretty Monday
You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
Cowgirl Up
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday
Potpourri Friday
Weekend Potluck
Seasonal Sundays

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