Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Treasures in Our Hearts and On Our Plates

I can't believe Christmas is already over and we are counting down until next year.  I have to tell you that I still wasn't ready with all I had to do by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I must admit that I could have done better in the gift department and I vow to do better this year.  Every year I say, "I've had 365 days to prepare for this and I'm still not ready."  Four of those days have already passed until next Christmas and I am already resolved to do better.  One of my problems is that I can't wait to give the gifts I've purchased in advance and go ahead and break down and give them early.  Then I am totally unprepared for Christmas.  I vow not to do that this year.  Now, about what was on our plates.....

Even though I wasn't totally prepared for that either, we ate well.  I want to share some photos and a couple of delicious recipes that we made and hope that you might want to use them for your New Years Eve Party or a future event.  On Christmas Eve, we always have a meal of finger foods, appetizers and goodies.  It's not a formal sit-down dinner, but a buffet style free for all.  Eating begins the minute they hit the door and finishes when they can't eat another bite. 

One of the best things we ate were what we called Muffy Puffy's in the past.  Now they would be called Shrimp Crostini.  It's the very same thing, but an updated name.  They are on the snowman plate pictured above.  Here is my recipe and believe me, the family requests them each and every year.

Shrimp Crostini

Servings: 24 crostini
Cook Time: 10 min
Difficulty: Easy
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees


4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced green onion
24 medium fresh cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
24 toasted French bread rounds


In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except for bread.  Spread shrimp mixture evenly over French bread rounds. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until crispy and brown. Serve hot! Enjoy!

Of course no buffet is complete without an assortment of olives and other goodies to put on a cracker...
Even though Christmas is over this year, we will always have the great memories of an evening spent with family and the love that was shared by all.

The food was amazing, they company even better.  As usual we had too much food to eat and had leftovers for a week.  At this point, I have no desire for any more of this type of food...but give me a month or two and I'll be ready to have another party and find something to celebrate.

Now about what is in our hearts.....

The highlight of the year for us was two things.  One, having my parents back in Florida for Christmas and the winter.  They had been away for 6 years and not able to come back for the holidays.  This was their first year back and I hope the first of many.  There is nothing like having your mother and dad with you for the holidays. 
Of course, if you've been following my blog, you know that the other highlight is our first grandchild, Jack.  Even though he was too little to enjoy or participate, just having him here was such a blessing.  He is our miracle child and we are totally in love with him.  Having Matthew, Trisha and Marshall here and being able to be together is so important to me.  On Christmas Day we were able to have more of our family here, my brother Mark and his wife Marie along with their children, Stephenie, Trevor (Stephenie's boyfriend) and Christian.  Marie's mother and here sister and her family joined us as well. So Christmas was about the real treasures in our hearts.  The birth of the most important baby ever born, Jesus Christ and celebrating that with our family. 

May God bless you all and bring you a healthy and happy New Year.  I vow to you to make this food blog one of the best that there is out there for your to enjoy this year.  I already have some things in the works. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!!!

I Can't believe that Christmas is only a few days away.   This year has brought so many changes.  I am a new grandmother...Gammy for short and I am loving every minute of it.  I can't wait for the day when baby Jack will want to eat Gammy's goodies and maybe even be interested in stirring the pot.  At the least, I know he will want to lick the spoon just like his father did when he was a boy.  Come to think of it, he still loves to lick the spoon.  Here is a photo of my little bundle of pure love and joy!

I am having my annual Christmas Cookie/Candy Baking and Sharing Party this Sunday....I would love for some of you to send me some new recipes to try.  I always stick with some of the same good recipes that my family loves and requests each and every year.  It would be wonderful to incorporate some new goodies.  Chocolate Chip Cookies, Buckeyes, Fudge, Divinity, Bourbon Balls, Date Nut Cookies, Mississippi Mud, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and Rice Crispy Treats are some of the all time favorites.  Very traditional I know, but when you have men in your family, they seem to love the "tradition" of it all by eating their favorites and reminiscing of years past.

I'm going to post photos of the party and ALL of the goodies next week.  Maybe we will be able to give you some great ideas.  One of the best things about foodies, is that they like to share recipes with one another and love to experiment with new things. 

I am posting a new recipe that a fellow blogger and amazing woman, Shannon Imlay, shared with me. Many of you know Shannon and are followers of her blog, Shannon's Shanonigins.  I met Shannon through The Real Women of Philadelphia and we became instant friends.  Shannon and I both went to visit a mutual friend, Nancy Judd, last February and had the best time ever.  Shannon, Nancy and I cooked for two weeks...sharing recipes and lots and lots of calories.  Nancy was an amazing hostess and showed us around her town and we hit all of the very best places.  How would you like to make this very special cake?  Isn't it beautiful?  Shannon has agreed to share the recipe with all of us. 

Here is the recipe for Shannon's 
New Years Wishing Star Chocolate Mousse Cake
9 Inch Spring form pan
Electric mixer

7 ounces semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate
(chips, or chopped)
1/4 pound unsalted butter
7 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whipped Cream Frosting  Recipe Below

1). Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2). Melt butter and chocolate together either in a double boiler, or in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted, and combined. Stir in vanilla, set aside.

3). In large mixing bowl beat egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar until doubled in volume, pale yellow and thick enough to leave a ribbon on itself, this will take 3-5 minutes

4). Fold the egg yolk mixture into the melted chocolate mixture until combined

5). In separate clean mixing bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Once soft peaks form, slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.

6). Fold egg white mixture gently into chocolate mixture. Reserve 1/4 of the mixture for filling, cover the 1/4 chocolate mousse mixture and refrigerate.

7). Put 3/4 of the chocolate mousse mixture into a 9 inch spring form pan. You can line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to make cleaning the pan easier. Cover and refrigerate 1/4 of the chocolate mousse.

8). Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes, do not over bake. When cake is done baking, let it cool completely

9).The cake will fall as it's cooling (like a souffle) take your 1/4 remaining chocolate mousse and fill the top of the cake
10). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let mousse set, you can let this set in the refrigerator overnight

11). Frost with Whipped Cream Frosting

Whipped Cream Frosting
2 Cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Once soft peaks have formed, slowly add sugar, then vanilla until stiff peaks form. Once it has formed stiff peaks it is ready to use.
To Decorate your cake for New Years Eve I placed Glitter Stars at the 12,3,6, & 9 o'clock positions (these are not edible but can be easily removed. You could bake sugar cookie stars and sprinkle them with edible glitter.
Place edible pearls on hour positions
Place edible silver dragees in minute positions, make the clock hands out of silver dragees and place them at the midnight position.
Place seven (lucky) candles in the center of the clock face
Sprinkle cake with edible star glitter
Right before midnight, light the candles and have everyone make a wish for the New Year, count down from 5 and have everyone blow out the candles.
This is a nice family alternative to making a toast because it doesn't include alcohol and everyone can participate. I wish you a Happy New Year and hope all your wishes come true.

Strawberry Heaven

“The “Debbie” recipe – the recipe that is authentically me.
My absolute favorite dessert recipe.”
All I ever talk about loving is strawberries. I am to strawberries as Paula Deen is to potatoes and butter.
When thinking about my absolute favorite dessert, it had to combine cheesecake, strawberries, and chocolate. Chocolate covered strawberries to be exact!!! So I developed a pie that features all my weaknesses. I love a regular pie crust instead of graham cracker so I have used pie crust, topped with a luscious layer of Kraft Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling, followed by 1 pound of ripe, juicy strawberries enveloped in strawberry glaze topped with creamy, dreamy Cool Whip, and followed by 6 GIANT chocolate covered strawberries. This pie would be a strawberry lovers’ most decadent dream. It is mine…now you know what I dream about.

Strawberry Heaven
Prep time: 50 minutes Cook time: 9 minutes
Serves 6 - 8
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 ½ c. Kraft Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling
2 lbs. of strawberries
14 oz. strawberry pie glaze
8 oz Cool Whip
¾ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place pie crust in pie pan and flute edges. Bake at 450 degrees for 9 minutes.
3. Cool pie crust at room temperature for 10 minutes and follow in freezer for 10 minutes to cool quickly.
4. While pie crust is cooking and cooling, prepare other ingredients beginning with strawberries. Wash strawberries, core, and slice in half. Save 6 LARGE strawberries for top of pie. Eat a few and enjoy them while you are working so hard. Save enough for the pie.
5. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for approximately 1 minute stirring every 20 seconds. Dip 6 large strawberries in chocolate about ¾ of the way up the strawberry. Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate and cool the strawberries on the paper in the freezer.
6. After the pie crust comes out of the freezer, spread the cheesecake filling directly on top of crust.
7. Place strawberries directly on top of cheesecake and pour strawberry glaze over strawberries.
8. Pipe Cool Whip over strawberries and glaze and top with chocolate covered strawberries. Place in freezer for approximately 15 minutes and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Strawberry Heaven

Strawberry Heaven
This pie is for the true Strawbery ADDICT and lover.

Mounds of Joy Whipped Pie

Using My Blog

This blog is intended to show you some wonderful recipes and highlight what is happening in the food world. In order to see the recipe demonstrated that is pictured. Click on the photo and you will get to see just how you can make this in your own kitchen.

Cinco de Mayo Layered Black Bean Dip