Christmas Classic – Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

You know how you hear certain songs and you can never get it out of your head.  You keep singing it over and over and over.  Well, here is one that is bound to stick with you!  Or least have visions of this every time you hear the song by Nat King Cole.  It made me laugh.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yule-tide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow

Will find it hard to sleep tonight

They know that Santa’s on his way
He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
And every mother’s child is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you

And Merry Christmas to all of our readers!

Matilda

Christmas Traditions

Are you stuck in a rut?  Do you get tired of the same things on your Christmas menu?  Ham and all the fixin’s! Always a favorite.

 

Switch things up a bit.  Try something new.  One year my big family of 20 tried chili.

Slow-Cooker Family-Favorite Chili

We had three varieties all being kept in crock pots.    The traditional beef and bean , white bean chicken Alfredo, and ground turkey 3-bean.  Huge success!

We also had a year, by request, for a baked potato bar.

BAKED POTATO BAR for a fun family meal or party buffet. TheYummyLife.com

PILE ON THE TOPPINGS. Here are some to choose from:

Basics:

  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • butter (try whipped, herbed, or garlic butter)
  • sour cream (I use light) or yogurt

Cheese:

  • shredded cheddar or jack
  • crumbled blue or feta
  • grated Parmesan

Fresh herbs and seasonings:

  • chopped fresh basil, cilantro, oregano, or dill
  • crushed red pepper
  • seasoned salt
  • chopped chives

Meats:

  • chili
  • taco meat
  • fajita chicken or beef
  • pulled pork
  • crumbled bacon (use the real thing–so much better than those bits in a jar)
  • chopped ham
  • smoked salmon
  • chopped salami or pepperoni

Vegetables:

  • chopped scallions or red onions
  • steamed broccoli, green beans, or asparagus
  • grilled corn
  • beans (canned black beans or chili beans)
  • chopped fresh tomatoes
  • chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • sauteed spinach
  • sauteed mushrooms
  • grilled onions
  • roasted red peppers
  • sliced jalapenos (fresh or from a jar)
  • thawed frozen peas (no need to cook them)
  • chopped avocados or guacamole

Sauces & dressings:

  • salsa
  • barbecue sauce
  • gravy
  • alfredo sauce
  • nacho sauce
  • blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
  • marinara sauce – or other red Italian sauce
  • pesto

My loaded potato has chili, light sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, and chopped scallions. Pretty darn tasty considering it was an unplanned meal made from leftovers from my fridge. Fritos sprinkled on top would be a good, crunchy finishing touch.

While they all seemed to work  we find ourselves going back to our “tradition”.  Ham.  Most of us like it the traditional way, but I prefer my ham as a sandwich.  A while back I posted the ham and cheese sliders.  I think I like that for myself.  How about you?  What’s your tradition?  Feel free to share your “family tradition”.

Matilda

Ham and Cheese Sliders………..Yummy!

These Ham and Cheese sliders are simple and crowd pleasing sandwiches. Ham and melted cheese topped with a poppy seed butter sauce.

I know what you are thinking…ham and cheese sliders; does that really require a recipe? The answer is YES it does. These have so much flavor. Sure you have your classic ham and cheese sandwich as the base of the recipe but then you top it with a flavorful poppyseed sauce. The sauce is a combo of Worcestershire sauce, onion, mustard, and butter that makes these anything but ordinary. These can be made ahead for a party and are kid friendly because they are small and familiar.

I hate mustard but couldn’t taste the little bit of mustard in the sauce. I don’t know about you but sometimes I just want to cook something that I know kids will eat without complaining about it.

These are great as an appetizer or make it a meal.

Ingredients
  • 24 white dinner rolls
  • 24 pieces honey ham
  • 24 small slices Swiss cheese
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup miracle whip
Poppy seed sauce:
  • 1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
  • 1½ Tablespoons yellow mustard
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Instructions:
  1. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and miracle whip. Spread onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet. Place very close together.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. You do not have to use all of the sauce! Just use enough to cover the tops. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes or until tops are slightly brown and crispy. Serve warm. Note: Sandwiches can be assembled ahead of time. I don’t like to do it more than a day ahead because they can get soggy from the mayo mixture.

Matilda

 

Christmas Deviled Eggs that WOW!

You will need

  • eggs already boiled
  • vinegar
  • water
  • food dye

Instructions

1) I didn’t have any Easter Egg dye from last year, but I did have food dye. If you want really specific or bright colors, you can hit up the food dye section at a craft store, but I just have regular old 4 pack primary kit from Target. I prepped the food dye by following the box, but it was 1 tsp white vinegar and a half cup of HOT water.

2) Cut your eggs in half and remove yokes. You can prep those anyway you like. I like mine with Hellmanns. Also the reason my eggs yolks are so runny in these shots is because I may have accidentally eaten more yokes than eggs.

Christmas Eggs: Beautiful the Holiday Table with Red and Green Dyed Deviled eggs

Christmas Eggs: Beautiful the Holiday Table with Red and Green Dyed Deviled eggs

 

3) Add your already boiled egg whites into the dye mixture, leave for approx 3 minutes and then rotate up.  Once your eggs have the desired color, remove and pat dry with napkin. Now if you find that your dye isn’t the color you want, I have to tell you that you can put a little on your finger (or a clean paintbrush), rub on the outside of the boiled shell and sit it down for about a minute. Then rinse off any excess. That is how I got this REALLY bright color for photos.

Christmas Eggs: Beautiful the Holiday Table with Red and Green Dyed Deviled eggs

Christmas Eggs: Beautiful the Holiday Table with Red and Green Dyed Deviled eggs

 

Done! Check out my gorgeous Dyed Deviled eggs that are sure to WOW everyone at the holiday table.
colored deviled eggs

 

Matilda

 

 

 

Bacon-Wrapped Smokies with Brown Sugar and Butter

Bacon Wrapped Smokies with Brown Sugar and Butter. I guarantee if you make these, they will be gone! I made them for a gathering and everyone just kept eating them, and eating them until they are all gone. These are one of the best appetizers I’ve ever eaten in my life. So be sure to make plenty of these.:

Description

Salty goodness from the bacon and sweetness from the brown sugar. The best of both worlds.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 Oz. Size) Little Smokies Sausages
  • 1 pound Bacon, Strips Cut In Half
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, For Sprinkling

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the bacon slices in half and wrap each smokie with a half strip of bacon. Place all the wrapped smokies in a single layer in a baking dish, or rimmed sheet pan. Then melt the butter and once the butter is melted, pour it over the smokies. Then take some brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the smokies. Bake for about an hour or until bacon is nice and crisp

I guarantee if you make these, they will be gone! I made them for a gathering and everyone just kept eating them, and eating them.

Matilda

Appetizer Tree

Appetizer Trees are a great conversation piece, they take up very little space, they look beautiful, and your guests will think you’re a genius.

Wrap cone in plastic wrap so your food doesn’t touch the cone.  Get all your ingredients out, and cut the cheese/ham into cubes.  You can start at the top or the bottom, and you can insert the food any way you like.   You can also do one made with gumdrops.

This is what you will need:

  • plate or cake stand
  • styrofoam cone (the larger the party, the larger the cone)
  • tooth picks & a little shot glass for used tooth picks
  • plastic wrap
  • olives, pickles, cheese cubes , ham cubes or rolls, tomatoes, etc. (I used artichokes on the other one, use what you have.)

 

 

Christmas Party Trees

Enjoy!

Matilda

Stuffing In A Bundt Pan

Stuffing In A Bundt Pan

Even if you have already gotten your ingredients for Thanksgiving stuffing, no worries,  you can still make this recipe and bake it in a bundt pan. Any stuffing recipe will work I would just add an additional 3 eggs to your recipe to ensure the stuffing stays moist.

I think this is absolutely gorgeous and will definitely be a show stopper on your dining table!

 

Matilda

Acorn Treats

I made these last year for Thanksgiving and they were such a hit.  I was asked to please, please make them for this year!  So here you go.  So simple!  You only need three ingredients to make these super simple Acorn Treats!

Acorn Treats Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. + chilling
MAKES: 48 servings
Ingredients

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
48 milk chocolate kisses
48 Nutter Butter Bites

Nutritional Facts

1 cookie equals 47 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 16 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.

Ingredients

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
48 milk chocolate kisses
48 Nutter Butter Bites

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Nutritional Facts

1 cookie equals 47 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 16 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.

Directions

In a microwave, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Spread the flat side of each kiss with a small amount of melted chocolate; immediately attach each to a cookie.
Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert a small round tip. Fill with remaining melted chocolate. Pipe a stem onto each acorn. (I found it much easier to stick a chocolate chip or peanut butter chip to the top.) Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets; refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 dozen.

Pecan Pie Bites

Planning your holiday baking? (We are, too.)
Mash-up two holiday favorites – cookies and pecan pie for a fun holiday treat. These bite-sized versions of traditional Thanksgiving pecan pie are a great place to start!

 

40 min. prep time
36 cookies

Cookie

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray 36 mini muffin pan cups with no-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, butter, egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat at low speed until well mixed.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls; place each into prepared mini muffin pan cups, pressing dough onto bottom and up one-third sides of each cup, creating a shallow cup.

Combine all filling ingredients in bowl; spoon 1 teaspoon filling into each cookie.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 10 minutes in pan on cooling rack.

Remove cookies from pans by running small knife around edge of cookie. Place onto cooling rack; cool completely.

Matilda

Apple-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie

Apple-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie

This is the ultimate holiday pie for those who love apple, pumpkin and pecan pie equally. There’s no need to choose-our creation boasts a gooey pecan bottom, a sweet-and-tart apple edge and a creamy pumpkin center. Make it the day before and refrigerate overnight; serve at room temperature or chilled. Less

Apple-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie

 

Gone are the days when you have to decide whether you want a slice of apple, pumpkin or pecan pie. Instead of playing favorites, this crazy-good pie mash-up brings the best of each into one showstopping pie with a gooey pecan bottom, sweet-and-tart apple edge and creamy pumpkin center.  While you are in the swing of baking, be sure to add this delightful recipe to your recipe card.

Total Time:   3 hr 15 min
Prep:   10 min
Inactive:  1 hr
Cook:   2 hr 5 min

Yield:   8 servings

Level:   Intermediate

Ingredients:

Crust:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 prepared pie dough round
All-purpose flour for dusting
1 large egg white
Pecan Pie Filling:
1 1/3 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
Fine salt
Apple Pie Filling:
3 Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving

Directions:

Special equipment: a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan; pie weights, uncooked rice or dried beans

For the crust: Position the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Roll the pie dough out, if needed, into a 10-inch round on a lightly-floured surface (or between two pieces of floured parchment paper). If the dough gets too warm, refrigerate it to firm up. Ease the dough into the prepared pie pan. Fold the overhanging dough under itself and crimp the edges as desired. Chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and bake until golden and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool and separate 1/3 cup; coarsely chop the 1/3 cup pecans for garnish and set aside.

Put the pie pan on a baking sheet and line the chilled pie crust with foil or a large coffee filter and fill with pie weights. Bake until the edges are just barely golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the foil with weights, then brush the bottom and edges of the dough all over with the egg white and continue baking until the bottom of the crust is also just barely golden, 8 to 10 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and cool completely. (Par-bake your pie shell up to 1 day in advance.)

For the pecan pie filling: Scatter the remaining 1 cup pecans in the bottom of the cooled pie shell. Whisk the corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, egg and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the pecans. Bake until just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack until cool to the touch.

For the apple pie filling: Meanwhile, peel, core and cut the apples into 1/4-inch slices. Toss with the granulated sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, then add the apples and cook, gently stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft but still hold their shape, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cool completely. (Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet in a thin layer to help cool faster).

Pile the cooled apple mixture up and around the edge of the cooled pie (directly on top of the pecan filling) leaving about an 8-inch well in the center of the pie.

For the pumpkin pie filling: Whisk together the pumpkin, heavy cream, granulated sugar, egg and spice in a medium bowl. Pour the filling into the center of the pie (directly on top of the pecan filling) with the apples as a border.

Bake the pie until the pumpkin center is set with just a slight jiggle, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If the crust gets too brown, cover with foil or a pie crust shield. Let the pie cool completely on a rack.

Sprinkle the reserved 1/3 cup chopped pecans around the pie, snug up against the apple filling. Slice and serve with dollops of whipped cream.

Happy Baking, and remember only 8 days until Thanksgiving!
Matilda

Turn a Pirate Birthday Cake into a Treasure Hunt

We stashed chocolate coins into various places of the chocolate cake, being sure to stash a Grand Prize trove in the volcano. Let the kids pick where they’d like their slice to come from. The 8 ten-year-old boys at the birthday party loved this Pirate Birthday Cake!

Chocolate coins

Secret cave with big stash of coins

 

Spin the Bottle Meets Polite Dinner Conversation

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We just invented a new party game that should keep dinner conversation flowing. We call it Repartray, and it’s exactly like the picture–a spinning tray with an arrow that points at dinner guests. Simply follow the order of the questions along the edge as you spin it around the table and watch the laughter, tension and fun erupt! “More Cake” can easily be shifted to “More Wine” or whatever suits your mood. “Dishes!” can be whatever miserable or silly task the guests settle on.

Break out Repartray at your next dinner party and I guarantee nobody at the table will have ever heard of it. We literally invented this a week ago! Let us know what you think.

Buy Repartray here!

Pick the winning cake slice!

Turn your delicious cake into a fun game with our Cake Roulette spinning cake platter. Let your guest (or child) know that if they pick the slice with the four leaf clover they win a prize. (What that prize is can be up to you–an extra slice, the cherry on top, or perhaps the privilege of doing the dishes.) Adds an extra element of fun to your cake eating!