Category: BLOGMAS 2020
Just a little trivia: From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote the 12 days of Christmas carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.
It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
- The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
- Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
- Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
- The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
- The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
- The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
- Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven fold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
- The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
- Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
- The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
- The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
- The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone – and, remember, the Twelve Days of Christmas are the 12 days following December 25th. The Christmas Season runs until Epiphany, January 6.
THE HOLIDAY SEASON & CHRISTMAS EVE…
Usually the holiday season is an endless list of tasks and errands. Christmas Eve is usually at our house and then Christmas Day many times too. The last several years though the holiday season has been quiet, many times too quiet. This year will also be quiet because of the pandemic, but Santa will still be making his rounds for the little ones.
Merry Christmas everyone!
The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc… and on December 18th they were ahead of schedule and just about finished.
On December 19th a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.
On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.
The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc… to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet.. ‘Pastor,’ she asked, ‘where did you get that tablecloth?’ The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth, but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a house cleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.
The man asked him where he got the Tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.
He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.
He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.
This true Story was submitted by Pastor Rob Reid.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas –oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it — the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma — the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth.. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.
Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.
These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.
Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, ‘I wish just one of them could have won,’ he said. ‘They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.’ Mike loved kids — all kids — and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.
That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition –one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknown to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike’s giving spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.
THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
Christmas is the most important holiday to me and not because Santa comes, though that is pretty important to the kiddos, but more importantly, it’s a caring spirit, a sharing feeling, an attitude that I try to practice all year long. I truly feel good about giving – whether it’s the Angel trees I select gifts for or the smile from the Salvation Army bell ringer as you put your money in their red bucket and wish them Merry Christmas.
For 10 years I chaired an Angel Tree Program for FISH and I loved doing it! I prepared for it every year and I truly believe each year got better and better. The night before we distributed the gifts I would go shopping for the teenage girls. We were ALWAYS lacking in gifts for the teen girls no matter what we tried to boost things up for them. So now when I choose the angels from the trees in the community I seek out the teenage girls specifically.
Christmas means lots and lots of memories of family, some no longer with us, but ALWAYS in my heart when I hang an ornament that reminds me of that person or a recipe that they always prepared like my dad’s, Oatnut Sourdough Herb Dressing or Gram’s Christmas box full of goodies picked out just for each one of us or…
One of the things I try to practice is to make at least one homemade gift each year – nothing extravagant, but just something that says “I MADE THIS with LOVE JUST FOR YOU“.
The years that I host Christmas include a lot of family recipes. But, most importantly, Christmas is the spirit of Love and Giving and it must be felt and shared. Christmas is a gift from above and each year as I grow older I realize more and more that Christmas is about Love, Peace, Sharing, Caring and just being together.
I can only answer for myself, but I assume for those that are not religious, the meaning of Christmas is still a celebration, but one of celebrating friendships and family by gathering to eat together, share their time and share tokens of appreciation in the form of gifts.
This has ALWAYS been a really hard category for me. I LOVE Christmas! There is nothing about this season I don’t like, short of crowds of rude people and Black Friday, but this year with virtually no shopping even available solves some of that. Being a military family on a tight budget I’ve always started shopping early (like in January) to work everything we want to do into our tight budget.
If I had to pick just one tradition though, it would be putting up the tree as a family (usually the weekend after Thanksgiving) while eating leftover turkey sandwiches. When I was a kid we usually put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving and left it until Kings Day, the Epiphany on January 6th. Hubby and I still do that and for that reason we like to go cut our own tree so it’s fresh and lasts the entire time. I use an apple cider/sugar mix that keeps the sap from forming on the cut area and keep the water cool and full. BUT, this year we used our artificial tree, the one I bought the last time hubby was deployed. Honestly it looks REAL!! But, we also decided it has finally served its last year.
When I was a kid one of my favorite traditions was that we did a BIG family get together with a buffet of food and opening our family presents on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, after my dad passed, this tradition fell by the wayside.
Thankfully, I’m not in the botom picture because I remember what I was wearing! But I love my brother’s plaid pants and Monica’s floral blouse. If you don’t hear from me for a few days I’m sure it’s because one them found me and made me pay for sharing this picture again LOL.
Then on Christmas Day we did Christmas morning at our respective homes with “Santa” gifts and just the immediate family and then we would do a BIG turkey with all the trimmings including my dad’s old fashioned stuffing and giblet gravy with the entire family as well as extended family and friends, which included crazy Aunt Louise and Uncle Herb. I replicated dad’s stuffing recipe a few years ago (Oatnut Sourdough Herb Dressing) and that is now a MUST TRADITION for the Christmas meal no matter what the protein is.
Christmases for us now are MUCH MUCH smaller and our newest tradition in the last several years is watching our favorite traditional Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street as well as Hallmark Christmas movies and dreaming about moving to every small town depicted in them, kind of like Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls. We loved that show!
I have to admit I drug my feet on writing this post. I think I must have been in denial about this year being so different to begin with because of the COVID pandemic. I didn’t want to decorate because we were not going to have our 3rd annual Munchkin baking day, nor have anyone over for Christmas eve or Christmas day…
But, hubby convinced me to do a little decorating and as I finished the decorating today, I realized that the best thing I can do for next year is to do less!
With Christmas being my favorite holiday I tend to collect A LOT. So, when I pack up this year I’ll start by separating things into must keep because there is sentimental value and things I can donate. I will label the things I’m keeping and use entirely different decorations, bulbs and ornaments next year. I’ll continue this process over the next couple years until it is ALL organized and sorted.
I originally had this as TAG questions also, but I honestly don’t think any of us are up for that this year so let’s leave it at Winter Musts. 😀
What I CANNOT live without in winter is many many things, but these are my top items! The one thing I am absolutely sure of is that if I have a sore throat, dry skin, cold feet or hands, cold food or catch a cold I am NOT happy.
I drink a cup of green tea every night and try to make very balanced comfort food meals to warm up my family from the inside out.
I also have a favorite new hot toddy, a Lemon Avil Pota Hot Toddy courtesy of McMenamins one of our favorite resort chains.
2 oz. Aval Pota Whiskey
2 bar spoons honey
5/8 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon
- Pour ingredients into a coffee glass or mug and top with hot water.
- Garnish with a lemon zest twist.
Here are a few of our favorite soups and stews links for you.
When do you decorate for Christmas? Do you go BIG or keep it simple? What we’ve done in years past and what we will do this year are entirely different. I honestly just haven’t “felt” the motivation yet this year! COVID has changed so many things in our lives and I hate to admit it has changed this for me too, but it has. There will be no 3RD annual munchkin baking day or munchkins for Christmas dinner… so until I “feel” it, let me describe Christmas past.
I LOVED our tree last year. We bought all new LED lights so I worried a lot less about the lights getting too hot and it was full of all our favorite ornaments. I found a great antique tree topper that I really like. 😀
In reality how I decorate each year changes based on my mood, weather, where we are living, pandemics, etc… so it will never be the same twice! But, it will at least be the same components. This is last year’s tree… hubby is still trying to motivate me into a tree this year…
This is my Snowman Family arranged from 2 different years. They were so much fun to make out of second hand store finds. The were also a lot of work. I only made two families, shipping one to a friend who lives in Florida and never sees snow 😀
We made candle yule logs for Advent craft night at church one year and they were a HUGE success and soooooooo easy to do. The decorations below are a few of my all time favorites, several of which I’ve made over the years.
The ornaments below are some of our homemade bulbs. Several years ago I made quite a few and then did them with my girl scout troop also. Hubby liked them so well that we have now donated all our store bought bulbs and made enough of these for the entire tree.
My cousin that passed away in 2014 made the ornament below for me. It will always be hung by my shooting stars in her honor even though I’m still mad at her for leaving the mess called A HOUSE FROM HELL for me to deal with.
And our handmade ornament by Design Chick Creations.
Well I was hoping to have found my Christmas MOJO by now and be all decorated. Sadly, it hasn’t happened so I’m offering your the outdoor lights from the 2 local festivals, Festival of Lights and Shore Acres that we’ve been to locally over the years. Hubby did “announce” that we will be going to find a parking space to watch the Timber Town Toy Land Electric Light Parade on Saturday and I hope to get pictures that I will update this post with later.
The Festival of Lights is now over 20 years old and a great way to kick off the holiday season. It’s ALL Volunteer and NON-Profit. It began as a fundraiser sponsored by the Rotary Club to help get the city out of debt and then took on a life of its own and now helps with scholarships and special projects. The festival runs every night from Thanksgiving to New Years and was perfect for this year since it is a truly socially distant event. You can drive your own car or take a horse drawn carriage ride (normally and hopefully the carriage rides will be back in 2021) through the displays. They have also coordinated a local radio station to listen to as you view the displays. The night we went through the fog was moving in early so a few of the pictures look a bit “smoky”.
As of that year they have the world’s tallest (41 feet, 16,000 pounds with working jaw) nutcracker built by a local company (unfortunately the nutcracker was a no-show for 2020 because of COVID), 500,00 lights, 90 animated displays, 3D displays, horse drawn carriage rides through the displays and a Holiday Village with Santa, hot cider with a bake sale and a synchronized light show in the courtyard (also closed this year due to COVID). The displays depict fairy tales, the military, patriotism, the local logging industry, local vineyards, local fishing and the traditional Christmas songs and scenes. People come from all over to see it. Unfortunately for locals, it doesn’t change much, but is still fun every few years. The lights were all the same this year though!
Three of my favorite munchkins from next door were coincidentally there that same night we were so had to snap a few pictures of the discussions with Santa. They were sooooo young!
Even the lights with errors turned out cute. It was difficult to get great pictures or continuous pictures of the animated scenes since there were so many cars behind us.
This snowman is on a corner in our neighborhood hugging a light standard.
Last year we went to HOLIDAY LIGHTS at Shore Acres on the Oregon coast. ALL of our travel is “AROUND” Christmas and never ON Christmas. And while it was beautiful I am so glad to be home with nowhere to go until 2020. We arrived fairly early, just before dusk so we could walk through and get the lay of the land before walking through a second time after dark. The displays were animated and themed.
Shore Acres is literally perched on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean and began as a private estate for Louis J. Simpson, a shipbuilder. Simpson developed the 3 story mansion complete with an indoor heated pool and ballroom as his “summer home”. The surrounding grounds included 5 acres of formal gardens full of shrubs , trees and flowering plants brought from around the world by himself and various lumbermen. There is even a 100 foot lily pond and caretaker’s cottage. The cottage still stands and was really decorated cute! I’d live there. I really wish I had seen the original mansion, but it has since been torn down after a fire in 1921 and the rebuild was never finished because of the depression and fell into disrepair. Oregon bought the property in 1942 for use as a public park. The gardens, lily pond and caretakers cottage were restored while the mansion was razed.
Shore Acres Holiday Lights is by decorated sponsors and volunteers. This was the 33rd Annual event. and is famous for its beautiful 7 acre botanical gardens and Japanese lily pond on the Oregon coast among the trees. It has over 350,000 lights, animated displays, Santa, choirs… A beautiful holiday tradition for the whole family.
Even on the years we travel to SIL’s party, we are home by Christmas itself. I love having our tree and decorations with a relaxed Christmas Day schedule. We do try and take 1 trip to see some sort of “City Sidewalks” type event.
These are a few of my favorite pictures from our trip to Holiday Lights at Shore Acres on the coast last year. We took some time to play in a couple of the small towns and stayed over so we didn’t have to drive the windy roads late at night in the rain. We were fortunate to be able to have lunch with an old friend to catch up the next day before we drove home. It was super rainy, COLD as all get out, but ALSO really beautiful. It’s a walking tour so umbrellas were a MUST, but also a hindrance at really seeing the true beauty of it all.
This is another easy topic. The one thing I am noticing as I type each entry is that by doing this, I am remembering so many silly stories and anecdotes about aunts, uncles, cousins and such that keep bringing smiles to my face. These memories are part of what this season is all about to me.
I’d like to say that our table looked just like the one in the picture. Well Christmas day was close, but Christmas Eve was ALWAYS much more casual.One of my earlier memories is of a very warm Christmas Day, a backed up sink/garbage disposal (I don’t think we ever had a holiday in that house where the garbage disposal didn’t have an issue of some sort) and then having to transport all the prepared food from my parent’s house to my grandparent’s house via my grandmother’s RED (kind of like a Christmas sleigh) Chevy station wagon (remember those?) while my uncle and I sat in the back keeping the food from toppling over.
CHRISTMAS EVE – Served Buffet style since this was the night we did most of the present opening and the adults didn’t want to spend all their time in the kitchen – in later years we would have it catered (so to speak – they prepared the food, we picked it up and displayed it) from Rattler’s BBQ. We also began to use “FINE CHINA” as hubs calls it aka as decorated paper plates, bowls and napkins.
- Sandwich makings – roast beef, ham, cheeses
- Potato Salad
- See’s Candy boxes
- Wintergreen ribbon candy
- Chocolate covered cherries
CHRISTMAS DAY – This is where we dug out the REAL fine china and crystal as well as the silver and cloth napkins. I loved setting the table for this meal. There were always enough people that we had a KID’S table too. I hated the kid’s table – all the good stuff was sitting at the grown-up’s table.
- Roast Turkey, Baked Ham or Roast Beef
- Daddy’s Stuffing – now recreated from scratch to taste virtually the same as my Oatnut Sourdough Herb Dressing
- Mashed Potatoes from scratch – it was these potato peels that were one of the biggest garbage disposal problems
- Giblet Gravy
- Cranberry Sauce – my family always used Ocean Spray from a can but nowadays we make my homemade sauce ALWAYS – Cranberry Sauce
- Baked Ham – in later years it was always HONEYBAKED HAM and I loved making Split Pea soup with the left over bone.
- Glazed Carrots
- Green Bean Casserole (THEN) Brussels Sprouts Casserole (NOW) 😀
- Gran’s cranberry salad – she’d make two, one for mom and aunt Liz and one for everyone else.
- Rolls and butter
- Traditional pies like pumpkin, Cherry and as well as Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake.
- See’s Candies
When we go to my SIL’s family for Christmas (or any other big family get together) we do Hor’deouvres style. The family is so big that over the years we have found that if each person brings an hor’deouvre to feed 10+ people that we can make a HUGE feast. We just serve it buffet style (skipping the sit down meal) and mingle and play – it is ALWAYS the best time.
CINNAMON BUN CUPCAKES
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 LARGE eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
- Pre-heat oven to 350°.
- Line cupcake tins with papers.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs for about 1 minute. They will become frothy and lightened in color.
- Add oil and whisk again until combined.
- Add sugar and whisk for about 1 minute.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Add sour cream to the batter, whisking until combined
- Now add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk gently. Whisk batter until JUST until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX!
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
- Make the Cinnamon Swirl: mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of white sugar. Set aside.
- Now start by pouring about 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter on the bottom of each cupcake tin.
- Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the Cinnamon Swirl mixture.
- Top with another heaping tablespoon of batter.
- Now, sprinkle another 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon Swirl mixture over batter.
- Top with another heaping tablespoon of batter.
- Using a toothpick, swirl the batter a few times to create a swirl effect.
- Top already swirled cupcakes with one final 1/2 teaspoon of the Cinnamon Swirl mixture.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking halfway to rotate pans.
- Remove from the oven once cupcakes are lightly golden brown and puffed.
- Cool 10 minutes.
+/- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
+/- 2 tablespoons milk
- Mix powdered sugar and milk together.
NOTES: There are many factors that will affect your glaze consistency. The brand of sugar you use, whether you use a scale or a measuring cup… If your glaze is too thin and runny, add more sifted powdered sugar and test for consistency again. If the glaze is too thick and not spreading, add a very, very small amount (1 teaspoon) of milk at a time, until you achieve your desired consistency.
11 ounce package dark chocolate pieces
1/2 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Creme-de-Menthe Filling (BELOW)
Dark Chocolate Ganache (BELOW)
- In a medium saucepan, melt and stir 4 ounces (3/4 cup) of the dark chocolate pieces, butter, and the unsweetened chocolate over low heat.
- Remove from heat; cool.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Grease foil; set aside.
- Stir sugar into the cooled chocolate mixture in saucepan.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon JUST until combined.
- Stir in vanilla.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring just until combined.
- Stir in the remaining 7 ounces (1-1/2 cups) dark chocolate pieces. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
- Spread Creme-de-Menthe Filling over cooled brownies.
- Place uncut brownies in the refrigerator while preparing the Dark Chocolate Ganache.
- Spread slightly cooled Dark Chocolate Ganache over Creme de Menthe Filling, spreading to the edges with a spatula.
- Cover and chill about 1 hour or until set. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut brownies out of the pan. Cut into bars.
- Place brownies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons GREEN creme de menthe
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.
- Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.
- Gradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar.
- Beat in creme-de-menthe.
- Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. If necessary beat in 1 tablespoon of additional milk to make the filling slightly thicker than a frosting
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 11 ounce package dark chocolate pieces
- In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream JUST to boiling over medium-high heat.
- Remove from heat.
- Add dark chocolate pieces (do not stir).
- Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.
- Cool for 15 minutes.
- Pour over brownies and QUICKLY spread evenly.
NOTE: You can substitute 2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon mint extract, and several drops of green food coloring for the GREEN Creme-de-menthe.
Here are some of my FAVORITE RECIPE LINKS to make for a crowd. They make some pretty impressive foods and drinks for a buffet table.
WOW this is a HUGE category! I HAVE SO MANY FAVORITES!
Because of growing families with plenty of munchkins being born and in-laws to accommodate, one of hubby’s sister’s family traditions is to celebrate the weekend before as a LARGE group and then be at each respective home for Christmas itself or with their in-laws. As the family has grown, Christmas dinner became a larger and larger production. Eventually instead of a “dinner” it became a “cocktail” party with each person bringing an appetizer type dish for 20. So Christmas dinner became a HAPPY HOUR and it has worked out fantastic over the years. Everyone pretty much has a “signature” dish so we end up with a WIDE variety of everything from homemade Egg Nog to Salads and Chicken Skewers on the BBQ with plenty of tasty fudges and goodies too.
A few years back some friends took us to lunch at Jack Allen’s Kitchen when we were visiting in Round Rock, Texas and the food was SOOOOOOOOO good that I bought the cook book and have been experimenting ever since.
One of our favorite recipes is for pimento cheese spread made from scratch. I now make it in bite sized balls so you don’t have to mess with a knife and and all the cracker crumbs.
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 pound Medium Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 large Red Bell Pepper, washed, seeded, roasted and chopped fine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar*
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Vinegar and salt until smooth.
- Blend in the grated Monterey Jack cheese and grated Cheddar cheese.
- Fold in bell pepper until well distributed.
- Chill well.
- Serve with crackers.
NOTE: *I didn’t have any so I used Golden Balsamic Vinegar
We also love to make VAMPIRE SLAYER ARTICHOKE BREAD and cut it into small bites for appetizers. OMG This appetizer replaces any entree – it’s ooey, gooey, cheesy and literally melts in your mouth all the while tantalizing your taste buds from the very first bite!
VAMPIRE SLAYER ARTICHOKE BREAD Adapted from Crumb
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 cup shredded Face Rock Vampire Slayer Cheddar cheese
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
¼ cup sour cream
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
1 package Seattle Sourdough Ciabatta rolls
Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat broiler, and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foamy.
- Add garlic and green onions sauteing until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat, and stir in artichoke hearts, mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan and sour cream until combined.
- Slice the bread lengthwise.
- Place the bread halves on the prepared baking sheet, cut side up, and spoon the cooled cheese and artichoke mixture over top.
- Lightly salt and pepper to taste.
- Broil until cheese is melted and bread is hot.
- Cut each half into pieces and serve right away, while the cheese is still nice and melted.
Another of our go to “PARTY” foods that I tend to only make at Christmas time is Cowgirl kisses.
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons Foothill Salad Seasoning
1 slice bacon per pepper
Raspberry Chipotle Sauce (see below)
- Mix cream cheese and Foothill Salad Seasoning until well blended.
- Clean and remove seeds from peppers.
- Fill peppers.
- Wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon.
- Bake or grill over low heat until bacon is crisp.
- Serve with raspberry chipotle sauce.
RASPBERRY CHIPOTLE SAUCE
1 cup Raspberry Jam
2 tablespoons diced chipotle peppers
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider or rice wine vinegar
- Whisk all ingredients until well blended.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- Warm before serving.