My Tuesday evening Bible study had their Christmas party last night. We had a wonderful time! It was a potluck. Now, when I host a potluck, I never assign dishes to anyone, nor do I have anyone sign up to bring something, carefully listing the items they intend to share. I know how life often gets in the way. You sign up to bring one thing & then something comes up suddenly & you don’t have time to make your favorite dish, the one you SWORE you were going to bring! Nope. None of that for MY potlucks. Instead, I just tell everyone to bring whatever they want & if we end up with all desserts, YAY! I have never had an event where we end up with only salads, nor have I had an event where we end up with only desserts (BOO!)
Last night worked out great. We had an excellent mixture of food from casseroles to appetizers to veggies & salads. And we had CAKE! (You knew there was a reason I was telling you this, didn’t you?) Jan brought 2 cakes and they were FABULOUS! One was angel food topped with a frosting made with Cool Whip & pineapple. The second was the one I had. It was yellow cake frosted with a delicious topping made from Cool Whip, pudding & egg nog. Yum! And guess who was lucky enough to bring the rest of the cake home with her! 🙂
Jan shared her easy recipes for both cakes with us last night. Today, I am share cake recipes from Southern Living. Every celebration deserves a cake! Enjoy!
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, as the song says. Christmas also goes by in a blur. Time seems to speed up, leaving us gasping & wondering how we are going to get it ALL done! Betty Crocker to the rescue with a selection of recipes you can make ahead. Being able to prepare dishes ahead of time calms me. I feel a bit more in control of the situation, whether or not I really am. So take a breath & take moment to decide which of these delicious recipes might give you more time to celebrate Christmas! Enjoy!
Christmas is a time for traditions. The things you do with your family through the years make an impression we may not see until our children are grown. Growing up, I made cookies with my mother each year. After she passed, I continued to share our favorite cookies with family & friends each year. When The Child came along, WE began making cookies together. Oh, we made some changes as life got busier. Some years, we only baked the cookies that come in rolls from the store but we baked! Then, one year, I came home late from work to find a huge stack of chocolate chip cookies on the counter. The note on the stack said “DO NOT EAT!” The next day, Katy wrapped dozens of stacks of cookies & handed them out to her friends! A tradition that continues.
Good Housekeeping offers you & your family some new traditions to add to your Christmas season. Whatever you do, the things you do together stay with you & your children all your lives. And THAT’S a Simple Joy money can’t buy! Enjoy!
Here in SoCal today, it is very rainy & cooler than normal. The thought of sitting by a cozy fire with a Holiday beverage appeals to me! With the weekend just a few hours away, it might be the perfect time for YOU to enjoy one of the tasty treats from Country Living. They may be just the thing to chase away the winter chill!
Not everyone has the time to deck ALL the halls during Christmas. Not everyone has the space to deck all those hall either. Time, space & money can all be factors when trying to decide how much is too much. You want everything to look festive but there are limits. Or perhaps you are having a Holiday party & want to add a few more simple touches to your event that can be easily removed, or simply moved, when the party is over. What to do?
BHG to the rescue with these quick & easy ways to decorate for Christmas. I LOVE the vintage ornaments on the candlesticks. You can find all the candlesticks you want at the $ Store along with tubes of ornaments that can be used. I used these ornaments all over the house. They come in different sizes & colors. They are also easy to paint & glitter should you need them in colors that are different than the ones offered.
Avoid Christmas stress with simple ideas like these & put the JOY back into Christmas!
Creating a fabulous centerpiece for your Holiday table doesn’t need to be expensive or hard. You don’t even have to buy a centerpiece. You can make it yourself!
These days, a Christmas centerpiece isn’t just for company. You can create a centerpiece that decorates your table all season long! When company comes over, put together a different look for your table based on the occasion. The centerpiece in the photo above is simple & beautiful! It doesn’t take much for you to create a lovely table this Christmas. Country Living is ready to help you with their guide of 33 table settings & decorations! You might want to try something different every night! Now that’s a Simple Joy!
Things are not always so jolly during the Holiday season. Stress often rears its ugly head taking the joy right out of our Christmas. Fortunately, I’m not the only one working to help you reduce stress this Christmas! Good Housekeeping has identified some of the things that cause your stress levels to go up. ANS they offer 6 ways to help you beat that Grinch of a Christmas Stress! Take a breath. Then take a moment to read this fantastic advice. But remember! It only works if you do it!
Butter Rum Cake
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups sifted flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon rum extract
Cream butter until light. Gradually beat in sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternating with milk, beat thoroughly after each addition.
Turn into greased bundt pan. Bake in 350 oven for 70 minutes or until cake springs back when tested. Place cake in pan on rack to cook. Pierce cake with fork. Pour hot sauce over cake. Cool thoroughly before removing cake from pan.
To prepare sauce: Heat sugar, butter and water in pan until butter melts, do not boil. Add rum extract.
Jean’s Beans Chili
I began making this dish for my friends who are vegetarians. However, many of my meat loving guests also enjoy my special chili. It is made with 4 kinds of beans and plenty of spices to make it thick and flavorful.
- 1 large can chili beans
- 1 large can pinto beans
- 1 large can kidney beans
- 1 large can black beans
- 1 cup frozen chopped onions
- 1 cup frozen chopped green pepper
- 1 large can crushed tomatoes
- 1 small can of tomatoes with chilies
- 1 large can of tomato sauce
- 1 box vegetable broth
- garlic salt
- chili powder
- hot sauce
- salt and pepper
Pour chili beans into large crock pot. Drain and rinse other beans. Add to crock pot. Mix. Add onions and green peppers. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season to taste. Top pot with broth, making chili stirrable but not “soupy.” Simmer on low 4-6 hours adding broth as needed.
Orange & Spice Doughnuts
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tablespoons shortening, softened
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Blend in orange rind, juice and pumpkin.
Sift together dry ingredients. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture, stirring until blended. cover and chill 2 hours.
Roll 1/3 of dough at a time to about 1/3 inch thickness on floured pastry cloth. Cut with floured doughnut cutter. Let stand 15 minutes.
Fry in deep hot fat, 375 degrees, until nicely browned on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Roll in sugar or frost as desired.