Saturday, December 29, 2012

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

This wonderful recipe comes from Ina Garten and it's the only way I fix shrimp now for shrimp Cocktail.  I don't even need a recipe because I've made it so many times. Here's how I do it:
This is great for a crowd!

2 lbs. uncooked shrimp (21-25 per lb. size)
about 1 T. olive oil
freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a large foil-lined baking sheet, with sides, place the shrimp, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Toss together and then lay the shrimp out flat, without stacking.

Roast for 8-10 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink.  Let cool and then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cocktail Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup (about)
1/2 cup chili sauce (about)
3 T. of horseradish sauce (or more to taste...I can never add too much for my hubby!)
a dash ofWorchestershire Sauce
about 1 T. of fresh lemon juice
1-2  dashes of Tabasco sauce
some freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together and chill until serving time.

Happy New Year blessings for health and happiness!!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Peppermint Ice Cream Dessert with Cookie Crust

My dear hubby brought back  some old barn wood from Kansas.   It was waiting in the garage for a project.  After seeing so many pretty centerpieces from bloggers, I knew what I wanted him to make me.  Isn't this box so pretty?  I LOVE it and see so many possibilities throughout the year!  The box measures 30" long x 6" high x 6" wide.   Thanks, Honey!!

I put some faux greenery inside and used my battery operated lights along with some candles that are lifted on top of some glasses for height.

Yes, I'm using my old Target dishes again, along with red Cambridge flatware .  I like adding a colorful topper over a cream colored tablecloth.  I used my King's Crown cordials because I love them!  I made Christmas Crackers, by saving empty paper towel rolls, cutting them and using  as place cards, filled  with surprises, wrapped and tied on the ends  with pretty ribbon.

For our Christmas Eve dessert, we had Peppermint Ice Cream with a cookie crust.  It's a perfect ending to a delicious meal.  One of my DIL's said, "This is my favorite dessert"!

Here's the recipe, which you can change up with different ice creams:

15 cream-filled cookies (Oreos)
1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 gallon of peppermint (or any favorite flavor) ice cream, softened in refrigerator.

Hot Fudge sauce, recipe found here.  Or, you can use store-bought fudge sauce, but the sauce recipe is easy and oh, so good!

Crush Oreos in food processor (or in a food storage bag with a rolling pin).  Add the melted butter and mix well.

Put in the bottom of a springform pan (if you don't have a springform pan, you can use a pie pan or even a 9 x 13" pan) and pat down.   Freeze.

Add half the ice cream on top of the cookie crust.  Put in the freezer for about an hour, while you make the hot fudge sauce.  Return the other half of the ice cream to the fridge.

Take the springform pan from the freezer , add half the fudge sauce and return to the freezer for 20 minutes.

Take the pan out of the freezer, add the other half of the ice cream and and the rest of the fudge sauce.  Cover with foil and freeze several hours. 

When ready to serve, let the dessert sit on the counter for 15 minutes.  If needed, you can run some warm water around the outside edges of the sprinform pan, to unmold.   If using a pie pan or 9 x 13" pan, just cut and serve. 

Yes, we did have a "White Christmas" in the Dallas area!!

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas!

Recently my hubby and I went to the Dallas Arboretum to enjoy the Chihuly Lights.    It was a warm evening and it was so nice to walk the beautiful property and see the gorgeous glass sculptures, which have been there since May and will end on December 31st.    It's impressive to see them lit up in the evening.  If you ever get to the area, the Dallas Arboretum is a real gem.
Here's another shot of one of the sculptures.  There were over a thousand nativity sets set up in the home on the property.
Here's all the grandkids at the Lifetime Fitness Breakfast with Santa.
Merry Christmas to all my dear friends.  Thank you for your sweet comments, inspiration,  kindness, motivation, thoughtfulness and sharing of ideas and recipes.  I appreciate you very much and am wishing you a wonderful 2013!! 

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Seasonal Sundays

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snacks on the Coffee Table

We're going to enjoy some snacks on the coffee table.  I've set up my two plates from Homegoods, which are the Home pattern by Royal Stafford.  We have wine glasses, also , from Homegoods, red napkins, and a green topper that I made. 

My chef Santa is presiding at the head of the table. I made the canning jar scene, which you can find here.


The plates that I was able to find at Homegoods.  Isn't this a pretty scene?

 I also made the Santa wine sack a couple of years ago, which is made out of red minkee, white fur and a velvet belt with pretty rhinestone buckle. 

I make this pinecone cheeseball every Christmas. You can find the recipe here.   It's so good, easy, but looks impressive.  I'm serving it on my Wilton Armetale platter, with a Santa spreader.

How about some Texas Millionaires for the sweet tooth?  The recipe can be found here.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Special Gifts from a Giveaway

Recently, Nancy of had a giveaway and I was the lucky recipient!  I would like to show you the wonderful gifts that Nancy so lovingly packaged. 
Along with a beautiful teacup card, Nancy mailed a darling book, called Afternoon Teas, a miniature teapot and teacup, a beautiful lace doily, tea party guest towels and six adorable tea related push pins. 

Thank you, dear Nancy, for these special gifts!  As the box of pins says, "A Sip of Tea Warms the Heart".  My heart is warmed by your thoughtful kindness.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to sit by the fire with Santa and enjoy my new book and a cup of Holiday Spice tea. 
My Royal Windsor teacup goes beautifully with my lacy doily, don't you think?

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Tea Time Tuesday
Friends Sharing Tea

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Texas Millionaires

When I first started working at Frito-Lay back in 1990, a dear lady shared this recipe with me.  I enjoy making these yummy candies at Christmas time. When we visited our friends in Arkansas we were able to pick pecans in their pecan orchard.  When you pick pecans, you use a contraption which looks like a slinky-type roller on the bottom of a stick.  You roll this pecan picker along the ground and it picks the pecans up and traps them.  I'm telling you, it's mesmerizing to do this!!  Our friends shared their pecans with us and I wanted to use them for these candies.    Here's the recipe:

4 T. evaporated milk (or heavy cream)
65 caramel candies, unwrapped
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1- 8 oz. bar chocolate candy
1 T. shortening (the original recipe called for 1/4 bar of paraffin)

Combine milk (or heavy cream) and caramels in saucepan.  Heat and stir until melted and smooth.  Stir in pecans.

Drop by heaping teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheets.  Chill.

Melt chocolate with shortening.  I do this in the microwave, a minute at a time, on 50% power until smooth. 

Dip the candies in the chocolate with a fork underneath the candy.  Shake off the excess and return to cookie sheet,  Let stand to harden.

Package in airtight container.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012


For all  the shooting victims and their families in Connecticut...our prayers are with you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peppermint Frosted Chocolate Yummies

My centerpiece is in an old wooden bowl with my glass holder from Target which is filled with pinecones and surrounded by a berry garland and mini battery operated  lights that are on a copper strand.
The start of the blue hour!
My Target plates that my dear hubby and I scoured for around 20+ years ago.  I made the Big Star quilt topper. 
My Mom gave me these cute little s & p shakers.  Isn't their vintage look sweet?
Mmmmmmmmmm these cookies are so perfect for Christmas time!  I copied this recipe several years ago, while at the hair dressers.  I think it came from Woman's Day or Family Circle.  I took it to a cookie exchange and the ladies loved it.  I hope you try these delicious little morsels.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
2 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup flour

Beat butter for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, vanilla and salt.  Beat until combined, scraping bowl.  Beat in egg and chocolate.  Beat in flour.

Drop by rounded  teaspoons (I roll them into small balls) 2" apart on ungreased sheets.  Grease bottom of glass and dip in sugar and flatten cookies.  You will need to keep dipping the glass into sugar. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.  Cool 1 minute and then transfer to racks to finish cooling.

NOTE:  At this point, you can freeze the cookies, unfrosted for 3 monuths, thaw and then frost.


1/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t. peppermint extract
2-3 T. milk
red food coloring, optional

Beat butter for 30 seconds.  Add rest of ingredients and tint pink, if desired.  Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.


In small saucepan, heat and stir 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 2 t. shortening.  Drizzle over cookies.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Tree Spritz

How about some tea and cookies by the fire?  The wooden Santa was made by our second youngest son when he was in 10th grade.  It's made from a fence post and then he painted it.  I made the hat and made a beard and hair for Santa out of a mop.   

Our youngest son gave me this tea set when he was a little tyke.  He bought it at Wal Mart and I think it's the cutest set for Christmas time. 
Our daughter bought this adorable baking Santa.  Isn't he cute with his chef's hat and apron?  I love the basket of french bread and the cherry torte.  She also bought the mini utensils for my tiny tree. 
I love making spritz cookies.  You can find my favorite recipe here.  This cookie has so much flavor with the orange zest and the cinnamon. This time I added a glaze.
Powdered Sugar Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 T. water
Mix ingredients together and dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze orjust spread it on.   Add sprinkles immediately before the glaze hardens.
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Canning Jar Decor

Carlene's is in a rustic pail.
The inspiration for my rustic canning jar came from Carlene at I saw this cute decoration that she made back in the Fall and knew that eventually I wanted to make one for Christmas. I found the candle at a local shop and went to work. I had the canning jar, some leftover fake snow, stuck a sprig of greenery in and a pinecone, sprinkled some more snow, put the candle in and voila, a cute, homey decoration for my kitchen.

Mine is in a basket, with a sprig of greenery, a pine cone, the battery operated  candle and
some faux snow, surrounded by mini ornaments.

Battery operated candle!

I am sharing with:
Make It Pretty Monday
 Holiday Knock Off Decor Party
Tabletop Tuesday
Countdown to Christmas Link Party
Centerpiece Wednesday
Tips, Tutorials and Tidbits
Home Sweet Home
Pink Saturday

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hillbilly Spaghetti Pie

For my tablesetting, I used my trio of iron angels that I bought years ago at a local trade days.  They are holding star tealight holders from Wal Mart.  I used my little trunk that I fix seasonally.  It is filled with greenery and berries and a big bow.  My grandmother's gorgeous lace tablecloth is scrunched up underneath.
I love doilies and used two as placemats for our cozy dinner for two. 

I used my Old Britain Castles with my Target plates, by Furio on top.  I love the mix of colors and patterns.  Flatware is my red Cambridge from Homegoods.  Crystal is our wedding pattern, Elyse by Franciscan.

The pretty cordials are Ruby King's Crown tied with a little ornament, with our names.  These make great placecards for our whole family!

A poinsettia with a ribbon is tied around a green ribbon. 

I had this recipe saved for quite awhile before I made it.  What took me so long??!!  It was originally found on Sugar Pie Farmhouse.  It really isn't a pie that you cut and serve, but more a scoop out and serve.  The wonderful thing about this meal is that  everything, including the spaghetti noodles, is done in the same skillet.  When I first made it, I used my cast iron skillet, but everything barely fit.  When I made it again, I used my largest skillet.  I don't think I'll ever make spaghetti the old way, after trying this.  It is dee-lish!!!

This is truly delicious!
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage (I actually use all sausage)
4 cloves, garlic, minced
3 T. fresh parsley, chopped
14 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t. dried oregano (I used 1/2 t.)
1/4 t. Italian seasoning (I used 1/2 t.)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
8 ounces spaghetti, broken into 3 inch pieces (not angel hair) (I use Dreamfields pasta to save carbs)
4 T. fresh basil
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

In an 11-inch or larger cast iron skillet (or skillet with a heat proof handle), saute onion in olive oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add ground beef and sausage and cook over medium-high heat.  When almost brown, drain any grease, then add garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, oregano, and Italian seasoning.  Once the ground beef and sausage is browned, stir in the crushed tomatoes, water, sugar, and salt.  Add broken spaghetti, pushing down into the liquid. and cover for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes, stir pasta so the noodles don't stick together.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 6 minutes,  or until pasta is al dente.  Add basil, Parmesan cheese and cream, stir well.  Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese, put in oven to broil until spotty brown (watch carefully!!).

NOTE:  This can be made in a big pot and then poured into a 9 x 13" pan.  However, if it is pyrex, do not broil, just bake at around 375 degrees until cheese is melted.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Snowball Cookies

I set up a vignette in our bedroom with a little tree all decked out in snowmen ornaments that I've collected over the years. For the tree skirt,I used snow cover that I had saved from my snow village. The tree is set on my childhood sled, which I used a lot growing up in Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Oh, what fun we had sledding down all the hills and meeting with friends!!  The sled doesn't get much use here in Texas, although it occasionally snows!

My daughter bought me this Santa years ago.  He's really cute with his embroidered jacket and mittens.  The lantern  is from Target and it's holding a battery operated candle inside and some greenery and a bow on top completes it. 
I really LOVE having a Christmas tree in our bedroom!  The grandkids love it, too.  It's easy for them to check out since it's their size and it's so sparkly at night. 
Snowball Cookies
These cookies are also known as Russian Teacakes, and Mexican Wedding Cakes, from my old Betty Crocker Cookbook.    I'm using a platter from TJ Maxx (old) and a snowman mug with my new FAVORITE tea...Bigelow's Eggnogg'n.  If you love egg nog, but not the calories, then this is, as they say,"An' Eggceptional' Winter Tea".  Oh my, is it ever tasty and perfect with a melt-in-your-mouth snowball cookie!
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I toasted mine)
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix thoroughly,  the butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Work in flour, salt and nuts until dough just holds together.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Place on ungreased baking sheets (I use parchment that stuff!).
Bake 10-12 minutes or until set, but not brown.  While warm, roll in powdered sugar.  Cool.  Roll in sugar again.
Makes about 4 dozen (I only get around 40)
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