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Twelve Days of Christmas Tea Party


Last year, my daughters and I hosted a Twelve Days of Christmas Tea Party at my grandma's house. 

Our youngest daughter took care of the decorations,

while I handled the menu. 

We found these gorgeous Victorian Graphic 45 Twelve Days of Christmas scrap booking pads online that we based our decorations on. 

You can find the pads HERE, or they can also be found on Ebay. 

Below are some of the special foods that I made, including the Pimento Cheese Tea Sandwiches and Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches pictured above.





For games, we had a scavenger hunt, played Christmas Bingo, and sang the Twelve Days of Christmas, with solos for each day. It was lots of fun. See more Tea Party ideas HERE. 

Crock Pot Ham and Eggs



Here's a recipe I made when I had some leftover ham at Christmas. Delicious and so easy! 

3 cups frozen hash browns, thawed
2 cups cubed ham
8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Spray large crock pot with cooking spray. Place hash browns on the bottom. Then layer the ham and cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, onion, mustard, and black pepper until well mixed. Pour over ham and cheese. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours until eggs are set. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.


Christmas Chicken Pie



Although this recipe takes some time to prepare, it's very good and has become a Christmas tradition at our house. I usually serve it with Cream of Vegetable Soup and crescents or dinner rolls.

Crust:
1 prepared pie dough

Filling:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon sage
6 chicken thighs - poached and shredded
1 pound ground pork - browned
5 slices bacon - cooked and broken into 1-inch pieces
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Press one half of pie dough into the bottom and sides of a greased 2-quart baking dish. For gravy, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook until mixture thickens & bubbles. Gradually stir in chicken broth, salt, pepper, and spices. Cook until thickened. In bottom of baking dish, layer half of chicken, sausage, bacon and top with remaining chicken. Pour gravy over meat. Top with remaining rolled-out pie crust. Trim and crimp edges. Cut slits in top for steam to escape. Bake 1 1/2 hours. Combine egg yolk with water and brush over top of crust. Bake 5 minutes more. Makes 8 servings.

Christmas Breakfast Ideas

I always try to serve our family something special for breakfast on Christmas morning. Here are a few ideas to share with your family this holiday weekend. 














Click HERE for more holiday breakfast ideas. Enjoy the moments . . .

Candied Sweet Potatoes


Here's an old family favorite for the holidays. Enjoy!

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
water
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 cups miniature marshmallows

In a large saucepan, cover sweet potato chunks with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5-7 minutes until slightly tender. Drain and place in a greased baking dish.
Top with slices of butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Top with marshmallows. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven until marshmallows are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Stollen ~ Christmas Loaf


Here is a traditional German recipe for Stollen, including the surprise marzipan treat in the center. I hope you'll enjoy it!

1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped candied fruit
2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon rum
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup warm water
2 packages yeast
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6-7 cups flour
10 oz. marzipan

In medium bowl, combine raisins, candied fruit, orange juice, and rum. Let soak for 1 hour. Add almonds and toss with 2 tablespoons flour. 

In glass measuring cup combine warm water and yeast. Let stand 3-5 minutes. Melt butter and add milk. Heat until warm (110 degrees). In large bowl, stir together yeast and milk mixture, sugar, eggs, salt, lemon rind, almond extract and nutmeg. Stir in 5 cups flour.

Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead 5-8 minutes, adding remaining flour as needed to make dough smooth and elastic. Knead in reserved fruit mixture, 1/3 cup at a time. Shape into a ball and place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down on floured surface and divide in half. Roll each into 8X14 oval. Roll the marzipan into a rope and place in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it; pinch the seams together to seal. Place the loaf, seam side down, on a lightly greased 15X10 baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Let loaves rise for 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Transfer to wire racks and cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.Makes 2 loaves.

Rose McCauley's Gooey Brownies

Rose McCauley has been writing for over a decade and has five books published. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over forty years, she enjoys their growing family of three children and their spouses and five lovely, lively grandkids! She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website www.rosemccauley.com

Rose's latest book release: Christmastide at Bald Head Island
 
Literature weaves its way through the hearts of the Jordan family women. Matriarch, Grace Jordan, has a particular affinity for William Shakespeare. Just as his play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, spins a tale of the planning of one wedding but ends with three ceremonies, Grace and her two daughters, Rosalind and Miranda, discover rekindled love while planning Rosalind's daughter, Jane Anne's Christmas wedding. In a twist of fate, ceremony plans change. However, just like Elizabeth Bennett and Anne Shirley from Jane Austen and Lucy Montgomery's respective classic tales, all four Jordan women discover what—and who—will make them truly happy

Rose's Gooey Brownies

1 Devil's Food cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter (softened)

FILLING:
8 oz. package cream cheese (softened)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter (melted)
1 16 oz. box powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first three ingredients and mix well. Pat into lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. 

To prepare filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Add butter; beat. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Spread over cake mixture. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and chocolate chips. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't over bake. 

Herbed Parmesan Spread


Here's a delicious recipe to make this holiday season. Serve with your favorite crackers. It's also great added to your favorite mashed potato recipe or served over a hot seared rib-eye steak.

1 garlic clove, minced
4 oz. salted butter
8 oz. cream cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped dried chives
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dill weed
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon dried ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper


In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and pulse until it forms a ball when mixed. Transfer to a small serving bowl or form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Greek Pot Roast

I love when it starts to get colder outside--time to turn on the oven and bake breads, casseroles, or cook roasts in the dutch oven. Here's a recipe I like to serve my family. Enjoy! 

3 1/2 pounds boneless chuck shoulder or rump roast
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup water
6 medium potatoes, quartered
6-8 whole mushrooms
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 green peppers, seeded and cut in squares

Heat oil in dutch oven and sear meat on all sides. Remove meat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In dutch oven saute onion until transparent. Add tomato sauce, red wine, brown sugar, wine vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, and cumin. Stir together and add water. Bring to a slow boil. Return meat to dutch oven. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours, until tender. Add more water as needed. Add vegetables. Cover and simmer another 30-40 minutes until potatoes and carrots are tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 6-8.

Wine Recommendation: Francis Coppola Director's Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Christmas Baking Ideas

Here are a few ideas for some Holiday Baking this week:










Orange-Glazed Cranberry Fruitcake




Here's a recipe I made for the first time last Christmas and absolutely LOVED. It makes 4 small loaves, so I kept one for myself and gave the rest as gifts, which were received with glad reception. It seems, even those who don't care for fruitcake, enjoy this recipe! Yay! 
Here's to Fruitcake!!

2 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried chopped pineapple
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped figs
1/2 cup chopped golden raisins
1/2 cup rum
10 oz. candied red and green cherries, chopped
1 cup salted butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia (This stuff is amazing...buy some today. It lasts a long time.)
4 eggs
3 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup orange juice
2 cups chopped pecans

Glaze: 
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons rum

To prepare the fruit, in a large bowl, mix cranberries, pineapple, dates, figs, and raisins with the rum. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. Stir and set aside to cool. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease 4 small loaf pans. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add Fiori di Sicilia and eggs, beating one-at-a-time. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to egg mixture alternately with juice. Add to this the undrained fruit, candied cherries, and pecans. Spoon the batter into each loaf pan, filling about three-quarters full. Bake for 45-55 minutes until cakes are golden brown at the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack. 

While the cakes are baking, prepare the glaze in a small bowl. Combine sugar, orange juice, and rum, stirring often until sugar has dissolved. Brush the tops of the warm cakes with a coat of glaze on the tops and sides. When the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 24 hours before serving or giving as gifts to let the flavors fully blend. May refrigerate cakes for up to a month--but if they last that long, brush with sugar syrup or rum weekly before serving. Makes 4 small loaves. 

Russian Tea Cakes

This is a recipe I like to make during the holidays or for special tea parties.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raspberry/apricot preserves
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In mixing bowl, cream together butter and powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Blend in flour and salt and mix thoroughly. Roll tablespoons of dough into 1 inch balls. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Press down center with thumb or spoon. Fill center with a teaspoon of preserves. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. When cool, dust with powdered sugar. Makes 2 dozen.

Martha Roger's Mammy's Southern Pecan Pie

Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and multi-published author from Realms Fiction of Charisma Media and Winged Publications. She was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009. She is a member of ACFW and writes the weekly Verse of the Week for the ACFW Loop. ACFW awarded her the Volunteer of the Year in 2014. Her first electronic series from Winged Publications, Love in the Bayou City of Texas, debuted in the spring of 2015. 

Martha is a frequent speaker for writing workshops and the Texas Christian Writers Conference. She is a retired teacher and lives in Houston with her husband, Rex. Their favorite pastime is spending time with their eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Visit Martha online HERE. 

Martha's Latest Book Releasle: Christmas at Stoney Creek

News reporter Tom Whiteman befriends a homeless man, Joe, and brings him home to Stoney Creek, a town that accepts people for who they are and not how they appear. Tom’s journalistic instincts suggest there’s more to the old man than appearances tell. A carpenter by trade, Joe works at odd jobs around town and makes many new friends including Faith Delmont, a girl who grew up with Tom. 

Contradictions in the man’s manners and way of speaking whet Tom’s nose for news and raises even more questions. As he and Faith seek the truth, they learn that God’s love can turn tragedy and loss to triumph and true love comes to those who seek it. Buy the book HERE



Martha's Mammy’s Southern Pecan Pie

1 cup brown sugar, packed                               
1 tablespoon flour                                                  
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup Karo (light or dark)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter                                                           
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans (halves or chopped)

Mix sugar and flour, blend in softened butter. Add eggs and syrup, beat well. Add butter, vanilla, and pecans and mix well. Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream or just plain. Good either way.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Here's an easy recipe to make when you want a little something different for your meal. Loaded with vitamin C! 

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup salted butter
1/4 cup half and half cream
1/2 teaspoon sea sat
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In large saucepan, cover sweet potatoes with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain. 
Add butter and cream to potatoes and mash with a hand masher. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of butter. Serves 4-6. 

Molasses Crinkles


Here's an old recipe we enjoy when we want something with a little spice. Baking these will make your kitchen smell wonderful.

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

In medium mixing bowl, cream together shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and molasses and mix well. In small bowl, combine flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture and beat well. Roll into balls the size of large walnuts. Dip tops in sugar. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake until set but not hard 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Tanya Eavenson's Cinnamon Pecans

Tanya Eavenson is a bestselling author who enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Word Weavers International, and writes for Christ to the World Ministries. You can find her at her website http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/ 

Tanya's Latest Book Release: RESTORED

Sometimes love arrives when you least expect it.

Dr. Steven Moore is known nationally for saving lives. If only he could save his own. Unable to deal with his cancer prognosis, he retreats to a happier time in his past—to the woman who once stole his heart.

Four years after the death of her beloved husband, bookstore owner Elizabeth Roberts still struggles to sustain her faith and joy in the Lord as she raises her two sons. She strives to find a way through her family's grief, never suspecting a man from her past might offer hope for her future. But how can there be a future when he's only come to kiss her and says good-bye. Buy the book HERE. 


Tanya's Cinnamon Pecans

·       1 cup pecans
·       ¼ cup white sugar
·       1 teaspoon cinnamon
·       ¼ teaspoon of water
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·    
·       Place cinnamon, sugar, and water in a medium-sized skillet. Mix, allowing the mixture to heat to a light boil. Add pecans and stir to ensure full coverage. Remove from heat and continue to stir. As the mixture begins to cool in the pan, add vanilla extract and continue to stir. Allow to cool.

Be warned! The hardest part of this recipe is allowing the pecans to cool prior to eating. Enjoy!