Sunday, December 30, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! Here's the plan for the start of 2008!

Sunday~ Dh's Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Green Beans

Monday~New Year's Eve~We'll be attending Mass and then going to a hockey game, so we'll grab a bit to eat at the game. After the game, we'll have kraut and hot dogs and some appetizers.

Tuesday~Happy New Year! Dinner at Mom's~ Pork Roast, Kielbassi, Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes and Salad

Wednesday~ Chicken Fingers, Fries and Applesauce

Thursday~Ham Steaks, Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, Green Beans

Friday~ Pizza and Wing Night

Saturday~Awesome Baked Pork Chops, Angel Hair with Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce, Tossed Salad

Have a happy, healthy, blessed New Year!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

In Memory of Keashia

As many of you know, our dog Keashia, passed on. This is a nice memorial to her through In Memory of Pets.

We miss her.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Dinner Table

Tonight I will be having Christmas Eve dinner at our house for my parents. My brother usually joins us, but he has to work this evening. We will attend Mass and then have a dinner of Lasagna and Veal Cutlets. Here's one of my place settings:

I've been collecting the Winterberry pattern for about 10 years now. The red bowls are not Pfaltzgraff. When I bought them, Pfaltzgraff didn't make a red salad bowl. Now they do, but it's a nice mix.
Merry Christmas!

Visit with Santa

On Saturday evening we visited the light display and Santa at Blue Spruce State Park. It was beautiful, as always, and they even added an entire Frosty section with 18 new displays. We visited Santa in the gift shop before our ride through the park. Dear Daughter loved Santa once she warmed up to him. Dear Son shared his list in about 30 seconds!
Merry Christmas!

Menu Plan Monday, December 24th

Merry Christmas! I'm so happy that Christmas is here! The kids are so excited! Here's my plan for the week:
Sunday~ Steak Salads and Garlic Toast
Monday~Christmas Eve Dinner~ Appetizers: Cheese Ball and Crackets, Fresh Fruit, Keilbassi
Main Dishes: Lasagna, Veal Cutlets, Salad, Homemade Bread,
Dessert: Cream Puffs and Assorted Cookies
Beverages: Coffee, Tea, Wine, Soda
Tuesday~Christmas Day Dinner will be at my parent's house
Wednesday~ Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy and Green Beans
Thursday~ Bourbon Chicken over Rice from Mommy Chef
Friday~ My Homemade Pizza and Breaded Wings for Game Night
Saturday~Whole Chicken, Pasta Salad and Coleslaw
Merry Christmas to All! I am also so thankful for all of you and your sharing of great recipes and menu ideas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, December 17th

Greetings from Snowy PA!

This is the plan for this very busy week before Christmas. I'm thrilled to be ready in many departments, so that I can focus on family and the true reason for Christmas.

Sunday~ Italian Wedding Soup and Hard Rolls

Monday~ Smoked Sausage Skillet (Inspired by Mommy Chef's recipe, but I'm using holiday kielbassi in mine.)

Tuesday~Spiced Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf, Green Beans

Wednesday~Tacos, Cheese Fries and Salad

Thursday~ Steak Salads and Garlic Toast

Friday~ Pizza and Wings

Saturday~ Steak and Baked Potatoes with the fixings

Have a wonderful week!


Christmas Tree and Nativity

This is my new Nativity Set from Home Interiors. I have never had a "real" set and was excited to purchase this one. It looks much prettier without the flash, but I'm not having much luck with my camera.

This is our tree and ds's train set. It is filled with years of sentimental ornaments from friends and family.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cake in a Jar

This week I made chocolate cakes in a jar for the staff at dd's daycare and as for extra gifts on hand. Today I covered the lids with homespun ( and 8 inch square for each jar) and added gingerbreadman tags from
Here's the recipe:
Chocolate Cake in a Jar
1 Tbsp. shortening, melted
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup water
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush 5 (12 oz.) sterilized canning jars with melted shortening. Place jars on a baking sheet; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine butter, water and cocoa powder; whisk until smooth. Add butter mixture to flour mixture, whisking to combine well. Stir in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Evenly divide batter between jars, filling each jar approximately half full. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Using kitchen towels, remove one jar at a time from oven, and carefully place lid and ring on each; screw lids on tightly. Cool jars on countertop. Once jars have sealed, store them in a cool place for up to a year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tasty Thursday: December 12th

Here's my recipe for Tasty Thursday's Mouth Watering Treat:

Chocolate Creme De Mente Cake

1 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 cups sugs

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1 cup sour cream

Creme de Menthe Filling

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Garnish: Andes Mints

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) cake pans.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; sift twice. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in sour cream. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans, and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

Spread half of Creme de Mente filling between each layer. Frost top and sides with Creamy Chocloate Frosting. Garnish with chopped Andes mints.

Creme de Menthe Filling

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 Tablespoons of creme de menthe

2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

3 drops green food coloring

In a medium bowl, beat butter and creme de menthe at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add food coloring, beating until incorporated.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in cocoa and cream until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla.


I made this cake for dh's birthday in October. It was very good! It's from Paula Deen's Holiday magazine.

Another Christmas Cookie

Since it is a Snow Day (yeah!) I decided to make one more cookie for my Christmas giving and guests. DH loves the Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, so I made Candy Cane Blossoms from Here's a picture and recipe:

Candy Cane Blossoms


48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Candy Cane Mint Candies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
Red or green sugar crystals, granulated sugar or powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.

2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday, December 10th

Good afternoon! I'm a bit late in posting my menu, but just got home a bit ago. It's been a manic Monday!
Here's the plan:
Sunday: Baked Ham, Ranch Bacon Potato Salad and Italian Rolls
Monday: Cajun Chicken Pasta from Mommy Chef, Rolls and Salad
Tuesday: Wedding Soup, Garlic Toast and Salad
Wednesday: Ham and Macaroni Cheese Casserole
Thursday: Tacos, Mexican Rice and Salad
Friday: Pizza and Wings
Saturday: Hockey Party
Have a super week! Don't forget to visit Laura at for more great menu ideas!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Kids at Christmas

After much to-do we chose these 2 photos for our Christmas Cards:

DS is 9 and DD is 30 months old. These are the days!



Christmas Cookie Recipes from My Kitchen

Merry Christmas! This week I baked a cookie a night in preparation for Christmas gifts and guests. Here are my recipes:

Annie Hall's Butter Cookies by Susan Branch

2 cups butter -- softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer (even the hand-held kind), cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix well. Sift flour and salt together and beat into butter mixture until well mixed. When ready to bake use an ungreased cookie sheet and place cookies 1 inch apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, but do not brown them. Remove cookies from cookie sheet while still warm and cool on sheets of waxed paper. Decorate, if you like. Makes 6 to 8 dozen. Taste fabulous!

I use a cookie press and make about 8 different shapes of looks like you made a bunch of different cookies, but not really. :thumbs-up:

Candy Canes: Divide 3 cups of dough in half. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring to one half. Using about a tablespoon of dough, roll a 4 inch strip of each color (no fatter than a pencil). Place the two colored rolls side-by-side and press lightly together. Gently twist like a rope and place on ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Curve the top like a candy cane and bake about 10 minutes; do not brown. You can sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.

Rolled Cookies: Shape dough into rolls with width of a cookie. Wrap in waxed paper and chill. Before baking, roll in chocolate shots. Slice 1/2 inch thick and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes; do no brown.

Stars, Hearts, Circles and Jelly-Filled: Fill a pastry bag with unchilled dough and put through a 'star tip' (sizes 2 and 7 - 9). Squeeze onto cookie sheet into the shapes you like. For instance, make star, then fill baked cookie center with red jelly. Decorate these cookies with cinnamon hearts, mini chocolate morsels, color sugar, little silver balls, or frosting from a tube. Bake them, same as others. Do not brown.

Cookie Cutter Cookies: Chill dough. Roll out onto lightly floured board to thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut with cookie cutters and bake as mentioned above. Decorate your own way.

Plain Old Drop Cookies: Just drop unchilled dough by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Don't brown. Remove from pans immediately.

Peant Butter Temptations

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bag (10 oz.) miniature Reese Cups

Cream butter, peanut butter and both kinds of sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Blend into creamed mixture to make a dough. Preheat oven to 375. Shape dough into 1/2 inch balls and place in ungreased 1 1/2 inch muffin tins. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately after removing cookies from oven, press a miniature peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie until only the top shows. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from tins.

SWIRLED™ Holiday Snowball Cookies

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® SWIRLED™ Holiday Morsels

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Powdered sugar


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
BEAT butter, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers.

Creamy Caramel Cups Recipe


6 oz. of cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups flour


14 oz. bag of caramels

½ cup canned evaporated milk


½ cup sugar

½ cup Crisco

1/3 cup canned evaporated milk

1 tsp. Vanilla

½ cup chopped nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. To prepare the shells, combine cream cheese, butter, and flour. Press into miniature cup pans to form a shell. Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes until light brown. Remove from pans.
3. To prepare filling, place the caramels and canned milk in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave about 8 to 10 minutes on medium power. Stir. Pour into prepared shells and let cool.
4. To prepare topping, combine sugar, Crisco, canned milk and vanilla in a bowl. Mix until fluffy. I use the whisk on my mixer to make it fluffy. Decorate cups as desired. I prefer a cake decorator. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.


Peanut Butter Blossoms

48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.