Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Top Recipes of 2013

It's the end of the year and
everyone is making lists - me included!

It's been another enjoyable year
as you've invited me into your homes
and let me share good food
and wonderful music.

I can't thank you enough!

As I look over this list of
2013 posts which have garnered
the most visits, I'm so happy
to see so many of my personal favorites
among them!
There's just something very satisfying
in knowing that others
find your "likes" appealing as well!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Connie's Carrot Cake

Winter Moon by Mindy Gledhill
This is one of the newer additions to my holiday music.  It's from her album of the same name.  The first adjective that comes to mind in trying to describe this song - and whole album, actually - is "charming."  Her voice is easy to listen to and it comes across like you're good friends - there's no pretense or glossy polish.  And, you know what?  She sounds like she's having fun!  It's relaxed.  Just like friends should be.  And that's fitting because I bring you a recipe today from one of my absolute dearest friends on this planet.

My friend, Connie, is a choice woman.
She has shown me, by example, what
being a good Christian person is all about.

We met each other 27 years ago
while living in the same small town in
upstate New York.  
I've never been one of those people who
could just walk up to someone new and
say, "Hi!  My name is Janice!  Are you new?"
But something came over me that day
at church when this lady walked in who
was obviously VERY pregnant.
I had only moved to the area a couple months 
earlier and understood how it felt to be the new person.
I walked over and introduced myself
and we just hit it right off immediately.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bengal Spice Ice Cream

We Three Kings by Kurt Bestor
Kurt Bestor's arrangement of this wonderful Christmas classic has a very exotic and foreign feel to me.  I can picture the Magi as they cross the desert to bring gifts to the sweet baby King - the camels all plodding along to the beat of the music - slow yet grand.  Regal even.  What would I take to welcome the newborn child?  Spices - flavors that tantalize the tongue!  And I'd pack them all into some ice cream!  

The week before Thanksgiving I was spending 
some time with my daughter, Becca.
One day I heard her say that she wanted or was
going to make some ice cream using the Bengal Spice
herbal tea blend from Celestial Seasonings.
(It's one of our favorites this time of year.)

"What a great idea" I thought.
And then said it out loud.
I asked what her methodology would be.
She supposed that she would simply steep 
the tea bags in the warm cream for the ice cream custard base.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fresh Herb Cheese Spread

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
Christmas trees are going up like lightning everywhere!  With Thanksgiving so late this year, some folks jumped the gun.  No judging - just sayin' is all!  So those who wait until Thanksgiving is over, we're scrambling to get all the decorations up so we have plenty of time to enjoy them before taking them down again!  The Christmas tree is such an important symbol of the holidays to me.  It was always such a festive occasion when we would decorate ours.  Music was playing, we'd be singing along, and the kids were all vying to have their ornaments in the highest and most visible spot for adoration.  It was all a great party until the lights were turned off and the finished product would be gazed upon in the quiet darkness of the family room - the twinkle lights of the tree casting its magic all around.  It doesn't matter what kind of ornaments or garland you use.  All Christmas trees are beautiful!  And some are downright tasty!

So, years ago, my husband and I used to throw a Christmas 
get-together at our home for all the people who worked with him.
This sort of thing used to terrify me.
I was so lacking in culinary skills and, year after year, 
something crazy would happen -
like when I attempted to serve a whole meal
and made chicken breasts.
I opted to use these clear plastic yet pretty plates 
on which to serve the dinner.
All was going well until folks started trying to cut their chicken.