I’ve been looking forward to this day! I have many many recipes, but these are the closest to my heart. Grab a cup of my SIL’s homemade hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows and join me while we chat.

My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year special for me.  My cousins and I would wait out on the front steps for her arrive just to see them, the wreaths that is. She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect!  Aunt Louise was just plain crazy it seemed to me.  I can’t pinpoint any one thing that made me think that, but as the years wore she continually proved it.  Let’s just say if the made a movie of her life, Shirley MacLaine would play her part.  Aunt Louise reminds me of Shirley’s character Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias.

(these are better when they are made a few days ahead)
30 large marshmallows (or 1 jar marshmallow cream)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon green food color
3 1/2 cups cornflakes
Red Hots

  • Combine marshmallows, butter, vanilla and food color in top of double boiler. Heat and stir frequently until well blended.
  • Gradually stir in cornflakes until well blended.
  • Drop onto wax paper and arrange into wreath shapes. I plop them onto the wax paper and then push out from the center to form the wreaths.
  • Decorate with red hots.
  • Let cool.
  • If your house is warm – chill in refrigerator until set.

Many Christmases ago I stood in my childhood kitchen watching my dad prepare the stuffing for dinner.  Daddy never stuffed the Turkey, but instead made the “stuffing” like a big casserole.  The stuffing was always my favorite part topped with daddy’s giblet gravy – YUMMY.  I can taste it like it was always those years ago again.

Several years ago my brother asked me to try and reproduce the recipe as a scratch recipe and VOILA’, I did it! This wasn’t easy since daddy started with a box of Mrs. Cubbinson’s cornbread dressing cubes and then started winging it from there.

10 slices Brownberry or Oroweat OATNUT bread, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 loaf sourdough French bread, cut into bite size chunks
1 large sweet onion, chopped fine
1 small bunch celery (leaves and all), chopped fine
1/2 bag baby carrots, chopped fine
1 box mushrooms, chopped fine
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups hot water
2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon Chicken base
2 tablespoons Buttery Herb & Garlic Mix (I believe McCormick makes it)
4 teaspoons minced garlic, Jar

  • Cut bread into bite sized chunks and spread out in a thin layer over cookie sheets.
  • Bake at 200 degrees for 3-4 hours until pieces are actually hard.
  • Chop all the vegetables.
  • In a large cast iron pan melt 1/4 cup of the butter.
  • Add the onions and saute until translucent. The add the celery and carrots and continue sauteing until crisp tender. Add the garlic last as it will burn first.
  • Whisk together the water, better than bouillon chicken base and all of the seasonings.
  • Add the melted butter.
  • In a large pan toss the bread slices together.
  • Add the sauteed vegetables and toss again.
  • Add the liquid mixture and toss again until well absorbed.
  • Fold entire mixture into at least a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Bake uncovered 1 hour.
  • At this point I use a small portion for our dinner that night and freeze the rest.
  • When it’s time to cook it again, I defrost it, put it back in the same baking dish and bake it again, but this time covered with foil until the last 15 minutes so it doesn’t dry out. We like it crisp on top so I remove the foil the last 15 minutes.

Now there is much debate over Gran’s cranberry salad recipe, but one thing was for sure she’d have to make a double batch, one for my mom and aunt and another for everyone else.  Now while I usually helped prepare the above recipe, I hated it!! One year she even decided the grapes needed to be peeled – need I say more?

I much prefer the recipe below.  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but I’ve already eaten a whole batch by myself.  In my defense it was while I wasn’t feeling good and had a sore throat.

1 package (3 ounces) cherry Jell-o
1 package (3 ounces) black cherry Jell-o
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 can (14 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups seedless green grapes, quartered
chopped pecans (optional)

  • Dissolve the jell-o in the boiling water in a large bowl.
  • Fold in the pineapple and cranberry sauce.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Fold in grapes and pecans if desired. 
  • Refrigerate until firm.

Now on to the REALLY yummy stuff!

    3 cups crushed pretzels
    1/2 cup sugar
    scant 1 cup butter, melted

    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    • Line a 13×9 cake pan with heavy duty foil, leaving plenty on the edges to use as handles later.  This will make clean-up so much easier.
    • In a medium mixing bowl stir together the pretzels, sugar and melted butter until well blended.
    • Press the pretzel mixture evenly into the bottom of the cake pan.

    1/2 cup butter
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    11 ounce package caramel baking bits (or 14 ounce vanilla caramels, unwrapped)
    2 cups honey roasted peanuts

    • In a medium saucepan melt butter over a medium heat.
    • Whisk in the whipping cream and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved.
    • Stir in caramel bits, stirring constantly until bits are melted and sauce is smooth.
    • Add in peanuts to coat well.
    • Immediately pour over pretzel layer, spreading evenly.

    1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
    1/2 cup peanut butter chips
    1/2 cup butterscotch chips
    3/4 cup Heath milk chocolate toffee bits

    • Scatter each of these over the caramel layer.
    • Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges are bubbling.
    • Cool in pan on a wire rack.
    • Lift foil edges to remove bars from pan.
    • Cut into bars.
    • Layer between wax paper in an airtight container.  I store them in the fridge, but the can also be frozen for 3 months.

    Ritz crackers
    creamy peanut butter
    almond bark

    • Spread peanut butter on ritz crackers and top with another cracker. 
    • Melt almond bark in the microwave. 
    • Dip each cookie in the almond bark and set onto wax paper to harden. 
    • If you’re using sprinkles do so before the almond bark hardens.

     A few more favorites are:


      I found this awesome new jello salad recipe over at Mennonite Girls Can Cook called Special Salad. This will quickly become a new family favorite! We have even given it a new name and a few changes.

      1 box orange jello (next time we’re going to try wild strawberry)
      1 box lemon jello (we used pineapple)

      3 bananas, sliced (next time we’re going to use 2 and add a kiwi)
      1 small can mandarin orange segments, well drained, reserving juice (we used a large can)
      1 14 oz can crushed pineapple, *well drained but reserving the juice and adding enough of the mandarin orange juice to make 1 cup
      1/2 bag mini marshmallows

      1/2 pint whipping cream
      1 tablespoon sugar
      1/2 teaspoon vanilla
      1/2 cup sugar

      2 tablespoons flour
      1 egg, well beaten
      1 cup pineapple juice*
      3/4 cup FINELY grated cheddar cheese (next time I’m going to try toasted coconut)
      • Mix the two boxes of jello powder together in a large glass mixing bowl and stir in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Mix well until jello has dissolved.
      • Add 2 cups of cold water.
      • Place mixture in the refrigerator until partially set.
      • Mix together the orange segments, pineapple and banana slices.
      • Fold into the partially set jello.
      • Top the jello-fruit mixture with 1/2 bag mini white marshmallows and then put jello back in fridge.
      • Whip together the whipping cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla until thick, cover and place in fridge.
      • Stir 1/2 cup sugar, *1 cup pineapple juice, egg and four together in a microwavable bowl and heat for 1 minute at a time, stirring between until mixture is thick (2-3 minutes) or you can also cook this on the stove top, stirring constantly.
      • Cool this mixture completely and then fold in the whipped cream mixture. Spread over the marshmallow mixture.
      • Layer the 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese on the top.
      • Return to the refrigerator and chill thoroughly.