Gingerbread Latte

1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp molasses

Strong brewed coffee or Espresso
Steamed milk 
whipped cream, optional

Combine the syrup ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer for ten minutes.
Brew the coffee and steam the milk.

To assemble the drink:
Place ¼ cup gingerbread syrup in a tall mug.
Brew the coffee and pour into the mug with the syrup. Stir to combine.
Pour the hot milk over top and stir.
Top with whipped cream, if desired. Other options are to sprinkle some pumpkin or apple pie spice over the whipped cream, sprinkle some holiday sprinkles on the whipped cream. Add gingerbread marshmallows to the cup.

source: Friday Cake Night

Pigs in a Blanket Christmas Wreath

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Mini Sausages (32)
Refrigerated Crescent Dough Rolls
Italian Seasoning
1/3 cup Butter
Red Bell Pepper, optional

Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on the package of Refrigerated Crescent Dough Rolls. Unroll the crescent dough and separate at the perforations to create 4 rectangles. Press together the remaining perforation in each rectangle. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips making a total of 32 strips.
Wrap one strip of dough around each mini sausage. Lay out the crescent-wrapped sausages with their sides touching on an ungreased cookie sheet in a circle forming a wreath shape.
Bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown. Melt 1/3 cup of butter and brush the butter on top of the crescent-wrapped sausages. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning on top of the butter.
Cut a red bell pepper into a bow shape for garnish, if desired.

Pinecone Cheese Ball

Holiday Cheese Ball
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8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Softened
8 ounces, weight Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 ounce, weight Dried French Onion Soup Mix
1-1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard
3/4 pounds Whole Almonds

Place cream cheese, shredded cheddar, French onion soup mix, and ground mustard in the food processor. Pulse until the mixture is well combined.

Scoop the cheese mixture out of the food processor and form with your hands into the shape of a large almond. Place on a platter.

Press the round ends of the almonds into the cheese ball with the points slightly leaning toward the pointed end of the cheese ball form. Cover the cheese ball completely with almonds.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish the platter with fresh herbs and serve with crackers or cut vegetables.

source: Pioneer Woman

Smothered Pork Chops

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1 can (14.5oz.) Diced Tomatoes [or Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Onion], not drained
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. sugar
2 Tbsps. olive oil, divided
1 cup diced onion
4 bone-in pork chops
Salt and black pepper, optional

Combine tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and sugar in a medium bowl; set aside.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion 8 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add onion to tomato mixture; set aside.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper, if desired, and cook on one side 2 minutes. Turn, top with tomato-onion mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 20 minutes or until pork is tender. Remove chops to dinner plates or serving platter.
Cook sauce, uncovered, 5 minutes over medium-high heat or until sauce is slightly thickened. To serve, spoon sauce over pork chops.
Serve with green beans and mashed potatoes.

source: Delmonte

Spicy New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

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2 pounds fresh,jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 tablespoons Heinz Chili Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke (hickory)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Add all of the ingredients except the shrimp in a saucepan, stir and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and let cool.
Arrange the shrimp in an oven- proof casserole dish and pour the sauce over the shrimp.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake shrimp for 15 - 20 minutes.
Serve immediately with crusty French bread, new potatoes and a crisp salad.

Punjabi Eggplant and Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

slow-cooker-Punjabi-eggplant-with-potatoes
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2 medium eggplants, stem end removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice (approx. 10-12 cups)
1 large Idaho or Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium yellow or red onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ginger paste (or grated fresh ginger root)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced, optional
1 tea. ground cumin
1 tea. ground red chile pepper
1 tea garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp kosher salt, or to taste
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

Combine eggplant, potato, onion, ginger, garlic, jalapeño peppers, cumin, ground chile pepper, garam masala, turmeric and oil in a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker. Stir as best you can to distribute the spices and oil. (The smaller cooker will be frighteningly full, but don't worry; the eggplant will cook down.) Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, stirring after 1 hour.

After the first two hours of cooking, stir well. There should be a nice amount of moisture in the cooker, and the eggplant should have collapsed a bit. If there is plenty of liquid in the pot, continue cooking on LOW for 30 minutes, uncovered. If there's not much liquid, cook on LOW for 30 minutes with the cover on.

Add the salt and cilantro, to taste. (Salt added during the cooking will draw more moisture out of the eggplant, so it's best added at the end.)

Serve over rice.

White Hot Chocolate

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White Hot Chocolate

3 cups milk
1 cup half and half or heavy cream (or you can substitute milk and use 4 cups of milk)
8 ounces white chocolate chips
1½ teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

Add all ingredients to a medium pot over medium heat. Heat, whisking frequently, until the chocolate chips have melted and the hot chocolate is smooth. Do not allow the hot chocolate to boil. Serve warm with whipped cream or marshmallows and enjoy!

source: Yellow Bliss Road

White Hot Chocolate in the Crockpot

2 cups whipping cream
6 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz pkg white chocolate chips


Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
Heat on low for 2-2 1/2 hours or until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot, stirring occasionally.


Pinwheels (or similar type cookie)
white chocolate chips
spearmint leaves candies, cut in half lengthwise and then in half width-wise
mini M & M's or other small red candy

Start by melting the white chocolate (In the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, mixing in between to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn.)


Take a Pinwheel and swirl upside down in the chocolate to get a nice even coating.

Top with mini M and M's and spearmint leaves either, arranged attractively on the chocolate.
Let sit to firm up. 

Banana Spice Cookies



1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tea. baking powder
1 tea. vanilla
1/2 tea cinnamon
1/4 tea baking soda
1/8 tea. cloves
3 bananas (1 cup), mashed
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Beat butter with mixer 30 seconds. Add half the flour, all the sugar, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, soda and cloves. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Beat in bananas. Stir in nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2" apart on greased cookie sheet.
Bake 375 F 8-10 minutes

Makes 60 cookies

source: Betty Crocker

Welch Cookies (Welch Cakes)

12 cups all-purpose flour (51 oz.) (More may be needed to achieve a stiff dough)
¼ tsp. Salt (if you use unsalted butter increase to 1-¼ tsp.)
4 cups sugar
1 lb. Butter
1 lb. Lard
6 eggs
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 lemon or orange zest
2 tsp. Vanilla
1-½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tarter
4 tsp. baking powder
1-½ cup currants (I substituted dried cranberries once, delicious but not tradition!)

Cream the butter, lard and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, nutmeg, zest, and vanilla and combine thoroughly.
Mix the flour, salt and other dry ingredients; whisk to distribute evenly.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the currants. Work gently, only until a homogenous, stiff dough is formed; don’t overwork it. Note: the original recipe calls for milk if the dough feels too stiff. That’s never happened for me. I always need to add a bit more flour to achieve the desired stiffness.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces, roll into balls, and flatten into 1 inch thick discs (just like pie dough). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours. (I sometimes leave it overnight.)

Work with one disc of dough at a time, leaving the others in the refrigerator. Roll out evenly to ¼ inch thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut out cookie size circles. (You can use a 2-3/8 inch diameter biscuit cutter or Welch’s grape jelly glass)

Preheat your griddle. I use an electric, non-stick griddle, with the temperature control set to 175-350°F.  It varies, so you will have to experiment. On a non-stick surface no oil is needed. Fry until deep golden brown on both sides, turning once. Do not try baking Welsh cakes. Cool thoroughly. Expect a light, almost flaky texture, and a clean taste with hints of citrus and nutmeg.

This recipe makes about 10 dozen. The cakes freeze very well.

Peanut Butter Blossoms


45-50 Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Additional granulated sugar, for rolling (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer until well combined. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, if desired. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a Hershey Kiss into the center of each cookie. Allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: (45-50 cookies)

Vietnamese Pickled Vegetables

1/4 lb. cucumber, julienned
1 lb. daikon, peeled and julienned
1 lb. carrots, peeled and julienned
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 tsps salt
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Make sure the vegetables are fairly dry (pat them dry) so they don’t dilute the pickling liquid with excess water. Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water together until the sugar dissolves. Place the vegetables in a jar large enough to fit them all and pour the pickling liquid into the jar so that all of the vegetables are submerged. Store them sealed in the jar in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Orange Italian Cream Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Fresh Orange Curd (recipe below)
3 cups Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (optional)
Glazed Pecan Halves (optional)

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until blended.
Combine flour and soda; add to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in 1 cup flaked coconut.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Fresh Orange Curd
Yield: Makes about 3 cups

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups fresh orange juice (about 4 pounds navel oranges)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon grated orange rind

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan; gradually whisk in fresh orange juice. Whisk in lightly beaten eggs. Bring to a boil (5 to 6 minutes) over medium heat, whisking constantly.
Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter and grated orange rind. Cover, placing plastic wrap directly on curd, and chill 8 hours.
Spread 3/4 cup chilled Fresh Orange Curd between layers; spread remaining Fresh Orange Curd on top of cake. (The Fresh Orange Curd layer on top of cake will be very thick.) If desired, loosely cover cake, and chill 8 hours. (Cake may be frosted with Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting immediately after adding the Fresh Orange Curd, but the cake layers will not be as steady. Chilling the cake with the curd between the layers helps keep the layers in place and makes it much easier to spread the frosting.) Spread 3 cups Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting on sides of cake, reserving remaining frosting for another use. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted coconut over top of cake, if desired. Arrange Glazed Pecan Halves around top edge of cake, if desired. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Arrange Boxwood Garland around bottom edge of cake before serving, if desired.


Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: Makes about 4 cups

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed until smooth; stir in pecans.

source: Sugar and Spice by Celeste

Hamburger Hash Brown Casserole

2 lbs. Ground beef
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1 can condensed cream of cheddar soup
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 package hash browns
salt and pepper, to taste

Brown ground beef. Mix together in a large bowl, Cheese, soup, milk, butter, salt and pepper. Add in the hash browns.
Layer ground beef in the bottom of a Casserole dish or 9x13 baking dish.  Spread mixture over the ground beef.
Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour.

Source: This Girl's Life Blog


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