24 December 2014

Eggnog Fudge

I love fudge and eggnog, so to try this one was a no-brainer!  It is a creamy fudge, rich, and very pretty.

Eggnog Fudge

2 eggs
1 c eggnog
4 T butter, chopped
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 pkg white chocolate chips
1 7 oz jar marshmallow fluff
1 t vanilla or rum extract
fresh nutmeg, grated

Whisk eggs with eggnog.  Place into large kettle and add butter and sugar.  Stir constantly until mixture reaches 234 degrees.  Boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in white chocolate chips, fluff and extract.  Stir until smooth and creamy.  Add 1/4 nutmeg, stir.  Pour into a lined 9 by 9 pan.  Sprinkle more fresh nutmeg to the top.  Place in the refrig until set.  Cut into 1/2 inch squares.

23 December 2014

Pumpkin Gingerbread Coffee Cake

Bob's staff was treated to an Open House at the college since time ran out to have an Open House at our house!  We used some of our tried-n-true dishes that we did at Lewis and Clark.  I lost my recipe for Mexican Mess but a teacher at Jefferson City had the recipe and rescued me.  Thank you!!

Bob took shrimp and our doctored up cocktail sauce (can you say horseradish?), Mexican Mess, Meatballs with sweet and sour sauce, chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies, Cream cheese block with jalapeno jelly, popcorn, chips and salsa and my new recipe: pumpkin gingerbread coffee cake.

I wanted to make a coffee cake to serve as a breakfast treat for the staff.  I couldn't find a recipe I liked, so I created my own. 

Cake is ready to serve!
Pumpkin Gingerbread Coffee Cake

1 spice cake mix
6 T flour
3 eggs
1 c water
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

That pumpkin looks yummy.
Mix together and pour into a 9 by 13 prepared pan.  Make the crumble topping:

3 T butter, melted
1/3 c white sugar
1/3 c flour
1/3 c packed brown sugar

Mix together.  Sprinkle on top of the wet cake. Bake in a 350 oven for 28 minutes or until done.

The cake after baking and before glaze.

Prepare glaze.

Brown Butter Glaze

4 T butter melted and cooked in a pan until foamy and browned (not burned, watch carefully)
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
2 T milk

Mix vanilla and milk, pour over sugar and mix.  Add butter and stir well.  Pour over baked, warm (not hot) cake.  Spread over cake.

Rumor has it that the coffee cake went over very well!  

21 December 2014

Christmas Lights!


Great lights!  Those starbursts move!

Love seeing Santa on the roof!


It is a tradition in our family to see Christmas tree lights!  It has been a bit more difficult these days to get in all the traditions we had from before and doing all the new things that our new city has to offer.  One of the traditions I try to hold on to is seeing Christmas lights.

Driving around our beloved New Town gave one the opportunity to see both lovely and whimsical lights.  I love a combination of sights, not just elegant, but the tacky and gaudy and the ones that are lovingly placed by amateur hands. I love the blow ups and the mixing of colored lights and white lights.  I love it all.

Come along with me for a tour of the lights of New Town.  Some of my photos did not turn out, so forgive me if your lights are not on my tour!


So elegant!

Whimsical, love the sock monkey!!

Lights move to holiday tunes!

Elegant with touches of whimsy!


Love the mix of color and white lights.

Simple yet powerful

But my favorite lights might just be these simple gas lights that surround our neighborhood.  They have been turned off for years but with the help of Laclede Gas and our city councilman Rod Hermann, they were turned back on this year!  They are elegant and add such a complete holiday atmosphere!  Thank you!

The Charles Dickens type lanterns all through New Town

20 December 2014

No Reply Blogger

I have heard that I am a "no-reply blogger."  I have tried to fix this.  I'll find out if it works!

12 December 2014

Mini Pecan Pies


Bob and I were invited to a Christmas party in New Town. I was happy to learn that I could bring a treat! I decided to make mini pecan pies since Bob loves pecan pie so much. Not as much as mincemeat but hey, we won't go that far in this house.

These are very easy when you use the mini fillo crusts. All you have to do is make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350. In a mixing bowl mix together:
1 egg
1 T butter, melted
2 T honey
4 t brown sugar
1/4 t vanilla
1/2 pecans, chopped.  You can add more if you'd like

Chop 1/2 c pecans. Add to mixture. Spoon filling into a package of 15 mini fillo crusts that have been placed on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool.

Serve with or without a dollop of whipped cream or cool whip.


28 November 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We left Saint Charles around 7:30 with cups of coffee and hot chocolate in hand.  Also in hand:  homemade noodles, homemade cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts and a container of cool whip!  Bob turned on Christmas music and away we went!

We met Ashley and Eric in Columbia, where Ashley promptly suggested we stop for coffee at Starbucks.  We did, with coffees for the three of them and a Chai Tea Latte for me.  Bob bought cake pops for all.

We arrived in Marceline in good time, and when we walked in, Tammi, Mom, Pat, Debbie, and Emilee were already there.  The turkey was out of the oven and the kitchen was a bustle of activity.  We refrigerated our food and sat down to talk.  Tammi already had a story to share about the turkey.  Tammi is always looking for ways to perfect the turkey.  She had seen on TV that the first hour or so of cooking should be without foil.  Let the turkey get the perfect color, then cover it with foil.  Mom had already covered the turkey and it was ready to go, but Tammi took the foil off the bird and popped it into the oven.  After an hour, Tammi asked mom to go and get the foil and that's when she discovered that Mom was out of foil!  Somehow they managed to borrow some foil, but not before the turkey got more brown than intended.  After tasting the crispy skin and the wonderful meat, the turkey was declared perfect!

Tammi and I held our annual wishbone pulling contest.  It very well may have been a draw!  Ben came in with a new haircut!  It was so fun to see him, since the announcement of his awarding of the Dean's List!  We are so proud!

A look of surprise at the draw!
Mom made her sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy, and a meatloaf for Ashley.  The meatloaf was wonderful!  Debbie brought a strawberry pretzel salad, Beth brought a broccoli/cauliflower salad and cupcakes, and Rachel brought cheesy potatoes. The rolls were browned to perfection and it was time to eat!

Bob said our blessing and we filled our plates.  We took our food to the living room and talked and ate.  Football was in the background.  The sound of our voices drifted between rooms. 

Chris and family didn't make it while we were there.  Car problems kept them away but they did make it to see the rest of the family.  We left around 3:00 and made our way to Moberly to spend some time with Gary and Joy and Irene.  Irene seemed happy to see everyone.  She told Ashley how pretty she was and it seemed like she knew who she was!

When we left Moberly, we headed to Ashley and Eric's car and then home.  Bob made black bean enchiladas for dinner.  We all watched 22 Jump Street (the movie) together and then off to bed!

Another fabulous Thanksgiving in the history books.

26 November 2014

New Traditions for Thanksgiving


With my mom standing at number 1 on the waiting list for a senior apartment, this very likely could be the last Thanksgiving celebration we have in our family home.  We have encouraged mom to let the house go to another family, as it is too costly for her to maintain.  It took her awhile to get to the place where she was ready to let it go...she raised two girls, had a son, lost her son, remodeled every inch of the place, and cared for her husband while he fought cancer and eventually losing that battle.  The house held a lot of memories, or, was it her?  Of course, the answer is her, wherever she is, so are all the memories.

So we are looking now at closing a chapter on the house on Lake Street.  I hope we will use the Frankoma brown dishes, with all the matching serving pieces.  Those dishes will be divided between my sister and me after Thanksgiving.  Mom cannot take all those dishes with her in her new tiny place.  It would be fun to use them together one last time.  As we wash them up, we can divide them and crate them to take home.

Mom is making the turkey.  She has done this for 50 of my growing up years, as I recollect.  Mom doesn't claim to be a good cook, that's probably because her own mother, my Grandmother Lorraine Wilson Holt, was a fabulous cook.  Mom cooks pretty good, I think.  I love her potato soup and the way she makes hamburgers and fried potatoes.  Yum.   She will make a green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce.  In the past she has made the noodles, but I am going to take on that task this year.

I will admit, I am a bit nervous about making the noodles.  For YEARS Tammi and I have made fun of mom and her noodles.  They are on the chewy side.  Mom said her mother's noodles were always tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture.  Frankly, I like the chewy noodles!  Mom has always liked our teasing, but I am not sure I have the same grit as her.  I guess we will be finding out. 

Tammi always makes the rolls.  She used to use Grandma Holt's recipe, but I believe she has found her own that she likes better.  All I know is, if I have Tammi's rolls, Mom's noodles and a slice of dark meat turkey, I can call that Thanksgiving!

Ashley has had nothing good to say about Thanksgiving food ever since she was able to say, No!  The only thing she would eat were noodles and sometimes a roll.  Now Mom will make her meatloaf, Bob will bring roasted Brussels Sprouts and I have promised to make mini brie and apple quiches. She'll have her own style of Thanksgiving!

Typically I would bring pies but this year mom wanted to order them from a lady in Marceline.  Mom loves her pies and mine usually were squashed by the time we hauled them up to Marceline.  My favorite memory of my pies was the last Thanksgiving when Dad was still alive, I made a pumpkin pie using honey instead of sugar.  He said it was the best pumpkin pie he ever had.  He offered so few compliments that I was really excited about this one!

I am excited about seeing my cousins, my nephews and their families, my sister and mom and spending time with Ashley and Eric and Bob.  Who knows what memories we will be making this year!

19 November 2014

Birthday Wishes

Before Facebook, I would receive a good number of birthday wishes from my students, parents and family.  A few of my friends would remember with cards and phone calls.  Now, the world seems to respond to my birthday. This year there were over 400 Facebook posts alone.  Not to mention texts, phone calls, emails, and a couple of cards.  I tried to respond to each Facebook post and text messages, emails and cards.  It was a bit overwhelming but I wanted to express my gratitude.  To this day, I feel unworthy of all this attention.

This doesn't count the belated birthday wishes, the ones that came the day before or ones that were tagged onto another post.  Still, 394?  Amazing, and I feel humbled by the attention!
 Bob cooked a wonderful meal of a pan fried bone-in pork chop with diced acorn squash that was roasted with a little balsamic vinegar.  He topped this with white asparagus and served it all with home baked garlic bread.  We had a white chocolate cheesecake slice for dessert.

My birthday gift was a tiny Santa charm for my Pandora bracelet.  During my birthday month I have received two University of Missouri tree ornaments, two Pandora beads for my Christmas bracelet and a dinner out to Tenacious Eats to see The Wizard of Oz.  ALWAYS a great time.

When I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, I didn't allow myself to hope that I would have a 56th birthday.  Here I am, stronger, healthier and happier!  Here's to the 57th!

31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

Today the temperature went way down, after having some wonderful fall temps this past week.  The poor trick-or-treaters will be wearing sweaters and leggings under their costumes!

We are ready for our little friends.  We made special baggies for those kids whom we have gotten to know their parents over this past year, who have done favors for us off and on, an who are such wonderful people it gives you hope for the future.  We sure hope they enjoy the treats!

Bob didn't think I purchased enough candy so I made round two this afternoon.  I was able to get chocolate treats for around 19 cents each.  Since we generally give two treats, I felt that 40 cents a trick-or-treater was a reasonable outlay.

As soon as we close the door and turn off the lights, I will be dismantling the Halloween and transitioning to Thanksgiving.  Does anyone else do that?  It's fun to have new decor up and I do save some of my fall stuff for Thanksgiving.

We really don't have a Halloween dinner tradition, in the past we've done pizza, or mummy dogs, or chili. We will have soup and bread tonight.  When Ashley was little we chose between soup and bread and pizza, depending on the amount of time between school and going out.  This year we are having ham and beans and corn muffins.  I was wanting something hearty and this sounded perfect!

I love that Halloween is on a Friday.  We had a fun surprise:  Bob's brother Gary came over to pick up our nephew David at the airport.  After our trick-or-treaters left, we went in to talk and listen to music.  We can take down the lights tomorrow, and throw away our jack o' lanterns.  And thus ends the 2014 Halloween season. 

Bring on Thanksgiving!

26 October 2014

Birthday Tailgate

For many years we have had a birthday tailgate party for Ashley.  Her birthday, being at the end of October, has been the same weekend as Homecoming at Mizzou for a very long time.  When she started college, this made a lot of sense because we could invite her college friends over to help celebrate.  Now that she's been out of college for four years, the tailgate has become just her dad, Eric and me.  From time to time one of her friends will be in town and we invite them over.

The birthday girl!
The tailgate is always so much fun to plan.  We made a Facebook Event invitation and let everyone know where we are going to be.  This year we plan to tailgate by the hospital parking garage.  Hopefully we can park fairly low so that we won't have to cart too many things up and down the stairs.

We are having Buffalo Chicken Chili, corndogs, funfetti cake pops, a sausage and cheese tray, a vegetable tray, jello shots, apple cider tinis  and various drinks.  The food is always fun, and people always bring great things to add!

The Buffalo Chicken Chili was soooo good.  The recipe was simple.  I loved that there were so many veggies in it!

1 large onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 28 oz can chopped chili tomatoes
2 lbs of ground chicken (you can used chopped or shredded chicken, too)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 T cumin
1 T paprika
1/3 c chili powder
1 c Franks Hot Sauce
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can chili beans
1 c water, if needed

Chop veggies.  Fry chicken in olive oil in a large dutch oven.  Add garlic, cook until translucent.  Add veggies, cook until softened.  Add beans, tomatoes, hot sauce, spices and water.  Cook until flavors blend.  Can cook in crock pot for 8 hours on low.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add more (or less) Franks sauce to taste.

You can see a mini corndog in the bowl.  These are so simple and so good on a tailgate.  The recipes calls for 4 boxes of jiffy cornbread mix, a package of cocktail wieners, eggs and milk.  Make up the cornbatter mix, scoop it into prepared muffin tins.  Insert a cocktail wiener into the center of the muffin batter.  Bake at the recommended temperature for the recommended time.  Yummy!

We also made pumpkin fluff!  Ashley loves all pumpkin things so this was a great little snack to have before all the food came out.  The recipe I used was the most simple:  1 container of cool whip, thawed, 1 can of pumpkin puree, 1 T pumpkin pie spice, and 1 box of butterscotch pudding.  Mix them all together and let set in the refridg for an hour.  Serve with vanilla wafers and gingersnaps. So good!

The apple cider tinis were a great hit as well!  I didn't take a photo, my error, but the recipe is very easy:  in a Pampered Chef mix and pour pitcher pour in 1/2 c butterscotch liquer, 1 cup of whipped cream vodka, and fill the rest of the pitcher up with apple cider.  Serve in Mizzou cups for the best flavor!

Thank you for coming to Ashley's birthday tailgate!  David was also at the party, just MIA at the moment!

18 October 2014

Beach District=Halloween Fun

The Beach District at New Town is definitely ready for Halloween.  This year we have even more homes decorated for the holiday.  New Town is into the scary stuff at Halloween.  I still like the cutesy Halloween decorations versus the scary ones.  The Beach District seems to have a little of both.

Our house!

Our neighbors

Fun and spooky!

Fabulous mums!

Cute pumpkin and border

Cute visitor in the rocker!

Great fall color

Cute fall display

Team spirit!!

Several have lights, these orange ones are pretty!

12 October 2014

Pumpkin Pinterest Party

A new New Town friend and I decided to have a Pumpkin Pinterest Party at my house and it has been so much fun planning the event.  I have been buying pumpkin goodies for the guests and have started making some yummy treats.

I make the Pumpkin Cheeseball by Tastefully Simple.  I also made their Pumpkin Beer Bread in muffins.  Both are very easy and very delicious.  I love easy and delicious!

I purchased Pita Chips with pumpkin seeds from Trader Joes to go with my cheeseball.  These chips are pretty and delicious.  Perfect pairing with my pumpkin cheeseball.

At World Market I found pumpkin salsa and black and orange tortilla chips!  The salsa is a bit sweeter than regular salsa but there is definitely a little kick to it.

I made tiny pumpkin tarts using the prebaked shells and instant pumpkin pudding. I made the pudding with less milk to make it thicker.  I topped it with candied bacon, just a smidge.

One of our neighbors has a vinyl business and made monograms for some of us to put on pumpkins.  I had purchased a pumpkin at Michaels on sale to put polka dots and a monogram on.  It was for inside the house. Too cute.

Had a wonderful time with neighbors.  Such a great group of people.

10 October 2014

Homemade Catsup

We have had a great crop of tomatoes this year.  Bob planted an heirloom (Purple Cherokee), a beefsteak, a plum and a cherry tomato plants this year. We ate tomatoes all summer long, gave some away and yes, a few were wasted.  The plants decided to give one big boost of produce last week and I ended up with too many tomatoes to eat at once.

I had homemade catsup on a burger here in St. Louis and I loved it!  So tomatoey, not too sweet with enough spice and vinegar to make it interesting.  So I thought I would make some with the surplus tomato crop we had.

I picked 4 heirlooms, 4 beefsteak, 40 plum and 10 cherry tomatoes and proceed to skin them.  I like the hot water bath/ice soak to skin tomatoes.  That job was done in less than five minutes.  Truly easy with the hot water bath.

I pinch the green stem tops off and then pinch the bottom of the plum tomatoes and the skin comes off in one piece.  It's kinda fun!!


This is about half of the tomatoes I used.  You can see the different sizes, but I did decide not to use the cherry tomatoes.

I placed the tomatoes and 1/2 of a large onion chopped into a crock pot and cooked for an hour on high.  Then I used my hand blender to puree the tomatoes and onions in the crock pot. I made a bag of whole allspice, celery seed, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cloves and placed it in the crockpot.  I added 2/3 c apple cider vinegar, 1/4 c sugar, 1/4 c maple syrup, and 2 t of salt.  I cooked the tomatoes all night on high, without the lid.

In the morning the tomatoes were reduced by half. I took out the spice bag and poured the tomatoes into a pot and cooked down to the right consistency.  I got a clean jar and filled it with my catsup.  Yep, that's right.  ONE JAR.  This stuff better be heavenly.

Even though I got only one jar, it was better than wasting half of the tomatoes.  I am sure we'll love the catsup and even though I don't plan to do it again, it was fun to make it!

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