Monday, December 29, 2014

Snickerdoodle Bread and My Giveaway Win!

 For my tea today, I am sharing the wonderful electric tea kettle that I chose from winning a $100.00 Williams-Sonoma gift card from Michael Lee West at Rattlebridge Farm.  Michael Lee is such a generous and kind person,  and she is also the host of Foodie Friday.  I have a butler's pantry between my kitchen and dining room and I have it set up now as my tea station.

An electric tea kettle is so quick in preparing the tea water.  THANK YOU Michael Lee!  I will think of you each time I use my new kettle, and which for me,  is several times a day! It's so shiny and pretty, don't you think?



I was gifted this pretty mug with a picture of my newest granddaughter.  Isn't this adorable? I'm going to sip some cinnamon vanilla tea from Trader Joe's. 


In looking for a recipe to use a package of cinnamon chips that I had in the pantry,  I found this wonderful recipe at Barbara Bakes .  It has such great flavor and it's like eating a snickerdoodle in bread form! 

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup cinnamon chips (1 pkg. Hershey's)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.   Spray the bottom of two 9 x 5" loaf pans with cooking spray that has flour.  (I actually used 3 mini loaf pans and one 7 x 3 1/2" loaf pan.   Barbara used 5 mini loaf pans.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and 2 cups sugar, until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix to combine. Add flour mixture and mix just until combine. Do not overmix.
  4. Coat the cinnamon chips with 2 tablespoons flour and stir into batter.
  5. Spoon batter into greased pans (Don't fill more than 2/3 full.)
  6. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the batter in the pans.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into a crack in the center of the loaf comes clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Remove from pan and let cool completely before serving. 
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Crockpot Chocolate Candy and Merry Christmas!

I am enjoying some Winter Solstice tea from Peet's Tea along with some yummy chocolate candy, for my angelic tea today.

This Lenox teacup was one that I was gifted in the very first teacup exchange that I participated in and it goes with anything, especially my angelic tea for today.

Angels seem to be an important part of my decorating these days.  The darling Goebel one with the baby Jesus was given to me from my Dad, back in 1979.  

This angel was given to me from a  dear friend that passed away almost a year ago.  I love her skirt which is made from strips of cloth.  Isn't her face sweet?  I look at her and think of my friend.

I have a signed copy of  Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood and I have been wanting to make this recipe for awhile now.  Trisha has such a relaxed easy style on her TV show and her recipes are really good!  If you need some gifts to give to neighbors or friends, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this fabulous recipe. I'll be making this recipe every year from now on!  The Merry Christmas plate came in a set with four different designs that a sweet friend gave me last year.

Here's my adapted recipe of Crockpot Chocolate Candy:


2 pounds salted dry-roasted peanuts
A couple of handfuls of cup dried cranberries (my addition and everyone seems to like it), optional
4 ounces German's sweet chocolate (about 4 squares)
One 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 pounds white almond bark


Put the peanuts in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker.  Add the dried cranberries, if desired.  Layer the chocolate over the peanuts and dried cranberries,  beginning with the sweet chocolate, followed by the chocolate chips and then the almond bark. Set the temperature on low and cook for 3 hours. (I put a piece of paper towel under the lid to catch any condensation).  Do not stir the mixture.

After 3 hours, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop the candy into cupcake pan liners using about 2 tablespoons per liner. Allow the candy to cool completely before removing the cupcake liners.  (I will just drop the candy onto waxed paper the next time I make this).
My kids gave me the Willow Tree nativity set quite a few years back.  I've surrounded it with some large iron angels and I have battery operated lights to add a special glow.

Merry Christmas Blessings to you!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Tree Cheese Ball

I recently took this cheese ball to a luncheon.  The idea came from my Great Balls of Cheese cookbook, which I get inspiration from so often.  I used a favorite cheese ball recipe found here, but you could use whatever is your favorite one.  My recipe actually made enough for two smaller size trees.


Mix the cheese ball ingredients.  If you'd like, you can use my favorite recipe, found here.   Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Take out the cheese ball mixture from the fridge and shape into a cone(s),  to resemble a Christmas tree.  

Roll the ball into some dried parsley and place onto your plate.   Decorate with pomegranates or dried cranberries for ornaments.  You could also use red pepper or pimento, if you like. Use what you have on hand, is my motto.  I used some almond slices, also.  

Cut a star out of a yellow pepper and adorn the top.  

Serve with your favorite crackers

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 Sandi from Rose Chintz Cottage is having an Old Fashioned Tea today and I am sharing some of my old Santas from my daughter and a doll that my Mom gave me.  My little tree is decorated with tiny kitchen utensils that my daughter found for me.  Debbie from Mountain Breaths used a pie bird on her little tree and I'm copying the idea and using mine, too.

 We're having some decaf Chai tea today and some of Ina Garten's favorite cookies that I baked. Can you see the sweet bunny slippers and the nightshirt and cap on my Santa?  He's one of my favorites,  and he has his very own bucket of popcorn!  My Mom gave me the kissing angels years ago to represent my beloved hubby and I.  

 The teacup is Olde English Countryside, by Johnson Brothers.  I love cottage designs as they remind me of bygone days.  I'm just an old-fashioned girl at heart.  I like the look of mixing transferware designs. 

These cookies are the Barefoot Contessa's all-time favorite cookie!  The tartness from the cranberries and the dark chocolate makes for a delectable cookie.

Makes 28 to 32 Cookies

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ cups old-fashioned oats
¾ pound bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt, chopped in chunks bittersweet chocolate (I used a 10-ounce bag of Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate baking chips)
¾ cup dried cranberries
Fleur de sel
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 sheet pans with parchment paper.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. On low speed, add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl again.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix in the oats. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Don’t overbeat it! With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate and cranberries until the dough is well mixed. With a 1¾-inch ice cream scoop (or two spoons), scoop round balls of dough onto the prepared sheet pans. Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until nicely browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: If you prefer cookies thin and crisp, bake them straight from the mixing bowl. If you prefer them chewy in the middle and crisp outside, chill the balls of dough.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Gingerbread Scones

For today's tea, I'm serving Gingerbread Scones.  I'd love to share one with you.
Kathleen from  Cuisine Kathleen is having her challenge for December's Let's Dish! party by copying a design from Pinterest or a magazine, etc., to use for our table.

I choose to copy the cover of Better Homes and Gardens because I fell in love with this glass globe on a cake pedestal.  The people at BHG used a hanging terrarium, but I had a round glass vase and one of my son's suggested to use something flat underneath to hold it in place.

I used a candle cover under my vase in order that I could anchor it.  I had a cottage, fake snow and some green foam.

I taped some green floral foam inside the vase in order that I would have a flat surface for my cottage.

 I didn't buy anything to make this project and I have to tell you that it was such fun to do. After taking apart an old garland, I added some greenery  behind the cottage, and added some pinecones, and a sprinkle of fake snow inside the globe and and around the cake pedestal.  A strand of battery operated lights give a special sparkle at night.  The cottage reminds me of the one in the movie The Holiday.

I'm using my tea service that my youngest son bought for me back in 1996.  Do you see the sweet tea envelope?  A dear friend sent this beautiful handmade one that is adorned with roses and lace. 

This tea cup is Merry Christmas from Johnson Brothers that was a recent eBay find.  The old- fashioned, vintage design reminds a long ago era.

This recipe was found on the Grandma's Molasses website, but adapted it to suit my tastes, by doubling the ginger and cinnamon and adding some cloves.  If you decide to make this, I would cut the scones into eight instead of twelve, as they were rather small.  I wanted a spicy, old-fashioned flavor for today's tea.  These scones are very moist and get even more moist if sealed in an airtight container.  I have to reheat them in an oven. 

Gingerbread Scones adapted from a recipe from Grandma's Molasses
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves 
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/3 cup Molasses
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg (separated)
  • coarse sugar (for sprinkling)
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, combine the molasses, milk and egg yolk until smooth. Stir into the flour mixture until moistened. Turn out onto floured surface; knead gently 6–8 times. Pat into an 8˝ circle; cut into 12 wedges and place 1 inch apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Beat egg white until frothy; brush over scones. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400º F for 12–15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yields 12 scones

This little doll enjoyed her own cup of Vanilla and Cinnamon Tea with me.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Pecan Pie

 Oh yummy, I'm enjoying some leftover pecan pie with my vanilla cinnamon tea today.

 I love getting out my old Target dishes that my late beloved hubby and I searched many stores for years, upon years ago.  I never get tired of these dishes, and they were made in Italy, and are labeled Furio, on the bottom

 Pecan pie is my favorite and my youngest son and DIL came over the day before Thanksgiving with pecans from their trees.  While the baby napped, it took the three of us over an hour to crack 2 heaping cups of pecans.  I have to tell you that it so warmed this Mom's HEART that my son wanted to make pies with me. 

Pecan Pie 

9" unbaked pie crust
1 cup light corn syrup                                                
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 t. salt
2 t.vanilla
1 heaping cup pecan halves, chopped or left whole
In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt & vanilla.  Put the pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie crust.  Pour the filling on top of the nuts.
Bake the pie at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until set.  If the edges of the pie crust start to brown too quickly, cover with foil for the remaining cooking time.  I like to use one of those pie crust protector rings.
Cool the pie for several hours on a cooling rack before slicing.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Good to the last bite!  Yep, it was worth cracking all those pecans!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Impossibly Easy Pumpkin Pie

 I'm having some chai tea with a slice of this Impossibly Easy Pumpkin Pie, recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker.  

This Friendly Village teacup by Johnson Brothers is a favorite pattern of mine for the Fall and Winter months.  

Do any of you remember the "impossible pies" that were a hit back in the 1970's?  The pies made their own version of a "crust" and an ingredient was Bisquick.  One of my sons does not care for the crust in a pumpkin pie.  I decided to try this pie and see what he thought.   I made my own baking mix to use. Guess what? My son loved the pie!!  When I make this again, I will increase the amount of spice.

Here's the recipe for the pie, and I don't think you'll miss the crust! 
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup baking mix, such as Bisquick or a homemade version, found here
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
Whipped topping, if desired


  •   Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease 9-inch pie plate.
  •   Stir all ingredients except whipped topping until blended. Pour into pie plate.
  •   Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. Serve with whipped topping. Store covered in refrigerator.

This is a turkey craft that my son, who is staying with me, created for my younger grandchildren.  I always like to participate, too, and this was my turkey.  He created a stencil and then had the kids (and me) paint the pieces with a folded square of photo quality paper.  We dipped the square into paints and painted our turkeys.  

Happy Thanksgiving blessings to All of You!!

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Homemade Baking Mix

This Homemade Baking Mix recipe comes from King Arthur Flour.  Since I don't use a baking mix very often, I decided to make my own.  This turned out very well and is so easy!  Use it in place of Bisquick or Pioneer Baking Mix.  
Did you know there is Chalk fabric? Yes, there is!  I had some leftover from other projects and cut some out to add to my storage container.

9 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
5 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then cut the shortening in with a pastry blender.  Store the mixture in an air tight container or a large zip lock bag. 

If you substitute whole wheat flour for a portion of the unbleached all-purpose flour, the mixture will need to be refrigerated or frozen  because the whole wheat flour can turn rancid.  

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Miz Helen's Cabbage and Sausage Stew

Miz Helen from Miz Helen's Country Cottage is always fixing up something comforting in her kitchen.  I made her Cabbage and Sausage Stew and am sharing it here for those of you that love cooked cabbage.  I hope you'll try this heartwarming stew and visit Miz Helen and tell her that I said "hi"!

1 1/4 pound Polish Kielbasa Sausage, Sliced (I used 2 -13 ounce packages of Turkey Kielbasa)
2 pounds unpeeled Red Potatoes,  medium chopped
2 medium size onions,  medium chopped
3 carrots chopped
7 to 8 cups cabbage chopped (this was about 3/4 of a large cabbage)
5 to 6 cups chicken broth (I used 5 cups) 2 cloves garlic chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons parsley chopped
1 teaspoon nutmeg (I used freshly grated nutmeg and didn't measure)
dash Cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a hot dutch oven brown the sausage in the oil and remove it from the pot.

Brown the vegetables in the sausage oil then add the sausage back into the pot.

Add the garlic, thyme, parsley, nutmeg, Cayenne, salt and pepper and mix well.

Add the Chicken Broth and mix well. Bring the stew to a boil and then cover, and reduce the heat to low and cook on low for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are beginning to break up.  (I actually put the pot in a low oven (200 degrees) and cooked it all afternoon).

To serve, I added a couple of dashes of hot sauce.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

 My tea today is taking place on the coffee table.'s cold outside!  Would you care to join me for some pumpkin spice tea and a donut?

 Here's a pretty shot of my table runner that I've had for years.  I love the old fashioned scene. 

 I'm using my calico teacup  for I love the color and design of it for Fall.

Pumpkin donuts with pumpkin spice tea is what we're having.  You can make the recipe in either a donut pan or a muffin pan.  The recipe is from King Arthur Flour and they turn into very moist donuts or muffins.  King Arthur recommends not storing them tightly wrapped, but loosely covered.  I had extras and froze the remaining ones.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée (canned pumpkin)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons flour


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. If you don't have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin; they just won't be doughnuts.

2) Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.

3) Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

4) Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you're making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you'll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans).

5) Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you're making muffins, they'll need to bake for 23 to 25 minutes.

6) Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool. 

7) While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them in a bag with the cinnamon-sugar. If you've made muffins, sprinkle their tops heavily with cinnamon-sugar.

8) Cool completely, and store (not wrapped tight) at room temperature for several days.
Makes: 12 doughnuts or 15 muffins.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Baby Pumpkin Bundt Cake in Honor of a New Baby

 Kathleen from Cuisine Kathleen is having a bundt cake challenge this month at her Let's Dish! party,  with a coffee or tea setting.  This is just perfect for me and I set my tea outside on the patio.  You can choose a mug or a teacup to go with our pumpkin bundt cakes.  You can check out the party on November 12th, starting at 7 pm.

I have my "new" antique scale to hold the baby bundt.  A wooden bowl is filled with gourds, pine cones and dried corn.  The leaf tealight holder is from the Dollar Tree and my pewter Williamsburg teapot was given to me from my late Great Aunt Kitty.

I used the recipe from my Colonial Pumpkin Bars to make the baby bundts.   You can find the recipe here. The cake recipe worked out so well in my mini bundt cake pans.  I tried to decorate them like the Nothing Bundt Cakes company does.  Have you ever tried them?  They are so good, but I have to say, I like mine better!!  I put the icing in a plastic bag, cut one corner off and squeezed the icing onto the cakes.  Since I had some pumpkin candies, I decorated the tops with those.  I'm serving them on my Mikasa pumpkin platter.

My special "Blessing" mug is perfect for today's tea for I have a new little blessing in my life!  My youngest son and dear daughter-in-law had a BABY GIRL on November 5th!  This makes my seventh grandchild.  I have so much to be grateful for. 

I am taking two of these baby bundt cakes along with a special meal for the new little family to celebrate the birth of their little pumpkin. 

 Here are the mini bundt pans, which come in handy for so many cakes, muffins, quick breads, etc.  I seem to use these and a set of six mini bundts that are like a muffin pan, for most of my baking.  They make for wonderful gift giving. I prefer them over my bigger bundt pans, which include the Nordic Heart and the Holiday tree. Another recipe to try in a bundt pan is my Chocolate Pistachio Cake, which can be found here.

Welcome to the world Harper Lee!   I loved you before you were even born.  

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