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Friday, December 30, 2011

How we fondue on New Year's Eve

Tomorrow night, our little family will have our 4th annual NYE Fondue Feast!  My kids love fondue - we enjoy the Melting Pot when we are lucky enough to get Groupon gift certificates, but when we can't afford that kind of night out, we drag out our two fondue pots and enjoy dipping our dinner at home! : )

Here are a few pics from last year's feast, to give you an idea of how we do it.  It's SO easy, and you can find fondue pots at Goodwill, garage sales, or from friends or family who have them sitting in a cabinet unused!  We received one pot as a wedding gift almost 9 years ago, and a second from a friend who gifted us her mom's cool vintage 1970's pot! 

We try different recipes each year ~ last year was a cheddar/beer cheese fondue served with crusty french bread and apple slices.  YUM!   This year, I bought a tried & true - the fondue cheese pack from the Deli at Publix.  It costs $14 - steep, but we tried making our own swiss fondue one year and it cost much more than that for all of the ingredients!! (The beer & cheese fondue contained about $12 worth of ingredients)

We also have a dessert fondue.  Obviously, it's the favorite part of the meal for the kids, ha!

Last year. our dippers were: cherries, angel food cake,  marshmallows, strawberries, pineapple & mini-nutter butters.  So good! 

My chocolate fondue is easy peasy.  No real measurements, I just taste/eye it til it's right.  Chocolate chips,  a little butter, a little half & half.  Heat over a double boiler, then pour into fondue pot, serve with dippers.

This is one easy way to get my kids to eat their fruit!

See?  Check out that chocolate mustache!!  : ) 

When I was a kid, my mom made a big pot of spaghetti every NYE.  We always stayed home.   I've never gone to the Peach Drop down in Atlanta (NY drops a crystal ball, Atlanta drops a peach!), but one day I'd like to do that.  I confess to being very leery of being out on the roads on New Years -  the idea of many more people drinking and driving scares me to death! So for now, we stay home, safe & sound.

What are your family traditions regarding New Years Eve?  Leave me a comment & share, pretty please!  Hope you have a very safe & super-fun New Years Eve, and that 2012 is full of blessings and wonderful things for you and yours!! xoxo ~

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Cookie French Toast Recipe

Merry CHRISTMAS!!   I hope you've all had the most wonderful day!!

We had a great day, both kids are feeling so much better, and that made this mama SO happy.  : )

I wanted to pop on here to share the most incredible french toast recipe ever!! Last week, a Facebook friend had a status about making French Toast with Cinnabon flavored coffee creamer.  I was very intrigued!  Sadly, Publix was out of that flavor when I went to get our Christmas day fixins', so I had to improvise.  I ended up choosing Nestle's Coffee Mate in Warm Cinnamon Sugar Cookie flavor.   This morning I wanted a quick breakfast, and that's what I got! 

Am I the only mom who loves buying seasonal/holiday paper plates for my kiddos?  Dollar Tree has them for every season/holiday/occasion - I'm a sucker for fun tableware!

 I mixed 4 eggs with the entire container of creamer, plus a liberal dash of cinnamon.  I used 10 pieces of store brand white bread.   It was sweet and delicious with a swirl of maple syrup on top!  We also had a pan of Sister Schubert's pigs n blankets, and some turkey sausage patties and links, served with orange juice and hot cocoa.  Perfect Christmas morning breakfast! : )   It would also be perfect on New Year's Day, or Valentine's Day!

Next time I shop I will try again for the Cinnabon flavor, or I'll just pick a different flavor to try this recipe with!   If you try it, let me know what flavors you enjoy, too!!  

Here are a few pictures from today - my kids didn't get a lot this year, but they did get things they wanted, and we were all home together - and to me, that is the best part of celebrating Christmas - family, and celebrating the birth of Jesus!!  So Merry Christmas, friends, and Happy Birthday, Jesus!!  xoxo

From Santa this year,  Katie got a tablet and a nice purse, plus a bunch of little things.  David got a metal detector and a big Lego Star Wars set, plus lots of little things too!

My sweet boy wanted a Mario game for the Wii - he was positively gleeful when he opened this!

Being almost 18,  we got Katie some really nice jewelry this year - these are pearl and topaz earrings, and she got a matching necklace.  Her brother and her boyfriend also gave her jewelry!

Friday, December 23, 2011

How to make Nutter Butter Truffles

Time for another sweet recipe that makes a quick and perfect gift!

I had one of those "hmmm, would that work?" moments at the store Monday.  I planned to make chocolate covered Nutter Butters for my friend Renea who LOVES those.  But Ingles (not my favorite store, but the closest that day), didn't have any.  Not one package!! What to do? 

I looked around and found the bags of mini Oreos and other cookies.  There, I found teeny tiny Nutter Butters.  The label said there were 80 mini cookies.  Good golly, would that have taken FOREVER to dip 80 mini cookies!  I  looked at the Oreos and got an idea...I make oreo truffles, why not try them with the mini Nutter Butters?  Well folks, a little experimenting later, here is a great new recipe that Renea loved and my kids too - these are in my recipe box now!


1 bag of mini Nutter Butters
3/4 block of cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat version)
2 TBS peanut butter, divided
1 tsp cinnamon sugar
6 squares white almond bark, melted

Crush the cookies in a food processor or blender.

Mix in cream cheese, cinnamon sugar & 1 TBSP of peanut butter.  Form into balls (I got about 3 dozen small ones from this), and chill for 30 minutes.  Melt bark in microwave, add in remaining peanut butter, stir well. 
Dip each truffle into the bark, swirl to coat completely.

Chill until set.  Yum, yum, yum!!

I made a second batch today for my friend Deb with the real deal - yes, I  finally found a package of regular sized Nutter Butters at a different store.  I used 1/2 of the pkg, plus the same ingredients above - but swapped the white chocolate bar with about 10 squares of Baker's semi sweet chocolate.  I also dipped some of the whole cookies in the chocolate - delicious!! This batch did get sprinkles - they really popped on the chocolate!  I didn't think the white bark batch would look as cute, so they were not sprinkled!

 Isn't that bag adorable?  At Dollar Tree earlier this week, I found these hanging with the treat bags and such.  I wish I had grabbed more!! It had two trays, two bags, two ties and two tags - for $1!

Merry CHRISTmas, y'all!! xoxo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daphne Oz's Coconut Pecan Poundcake Recipe

Hey y'all!! It's been a little hectic with the last week of school for my kiddos, office parties,  get-togethers with friends, and then both kiddos have been sick since the weekend.  Trying to get all the last minute things
done now!

Today I made the most amazing pound cake.  The plan was to bake this delicious cake for a get-together we had planned for Friday with my family, and bake another for a luncheon on Saturday with my in-laws. Then a third one for my Dad when he comes down from Charlotte.   But today, the pediatrician suggested we stay home, as the bug the kids have is quite nasty.  She said to stay away from elderly folks, and babies.  Both of which we would have seen this weekend.  So we have cancelled our plans, and will be staying home to rest and recuperate.  I decided to go ahead and bake one of these to send to Randy's office for them to enjoy.  Oh. my. is oh-so good!!

The recipe came from Daphne Oz on The Chew, which is my favorite daytime show ever! They have great recipes, tips, and more - and the hosts have such amazing chemistry together. Do y'all watch it?  Anyhoo - back to this fab recipe:  I tweaked it a tiny bit by adding some vanilla extract to both the cake and the glaze,  but will probably try it with almond extract next time I make it! It's moist in the middle, crusty on the outside, and deliciously glazed on both top and bottom - seriously delicious, y'all! 

Coconut Pecan Pound Cake


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk (I used lowfat)
1 cup flaked coconut, unsweetened
1 cup pecan pieces (or chopped)
1 tsp vanilla extract


1/2 c water
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Prehat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour bundt or other pan. 
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar and butter and beat with an electrical mixer until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes.   In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in three parts to batter, mix gently until just moistened.  Stir in coconut and pecans.  Pour batter into cake pan, bake for 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Five minutes before cake is finished baking, make the glaze.  Combine water, butter and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, stir well and cook for 5 additional minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.  Slowly pour half of the syrup over the cake,  invert cake onto serving plate.  Pour remaining syrup over the top and sides.  Can dust top with confectioner's sugar or serve as is - let it sit for at least 10 minutes, serve warm!!

I hope to have another Christmas treat recipe up tomorrow, or Friday at the latest - sorry for the sporadic blogging, but sick kids and too many holiday plans have kept me hopping!

sweet, gooey goodness on the bottom, a crusty top and side, and moist cake in the middle.  Coconut was in almost every bite, with the occasional chunk of pecan.  Absolute perfection!!  


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reminder: Cookies Across America this Saturday!

I wanted to remind y'all that Cookies Across America is this Saturday, December 10. It's a day for families across our country to hold cookie exchanges, or just bake cookies on your own to share with others in your community!  Wrap them up and drop them off with someone you know who may be having a tough time financially this year, or perhaps an elderly neighbor or relative.  That plate of cookies will bring so much happiness!

Another option is to either buy or collect baking ingredients to donate to a local church or community food pantry so those who can't afford to bake this year, will have the opportunity to do so. (I stocked up on Nestle Chocolate Chips, brown sugar and Crisco baking spray to donate to our local church food pantry!)  Can you imagine not being able to afford the ingredients to bake with your kiddos? I know many families have super-tight budgets, and buying extras like cookie ingredients just isn't an option this time of year.  Consider buying an extra of each ingredient for your favorite cookie when you shop today or tomorrow, and then drop them off at a food bank or pantry ~ you will be a blessing to someone!

Here's another really yummy cookie recipe to try - it's another one that would be great to share with others!  Don't they look delicious?!  Nothing better than dark chocolate, ooey-gooey cookies!

Once you decide how many cookies you can make to share, like the Cookies Across America facebook page, and fill out the pledge widget (under the Learn More tab).
Let's all try and make the holidays a little brighter for those less fortunate in our communities ~ a simple gift of homemade cookies will help lift their spirits and fill their tummies, too! Hope you all are able to participate!

Disclosure: As a Taste of Home Power Panel member, I received a package from Nestle containing an apron and coupons for free Nestle products to try these recipes and share information about Cookies Across America. No monetary compensation was received.