Sunday, November 27, 2011

Memories & Recipes

Well the Turkey is gone and so too the leftovers and relatives! The house for a few moments was devastatingly quiet..but after a time, hubby, "Garfield and Odie"(Norman, the black lab and Wrigley the obnoxious, adorable cat)  and I settled back into that, "well, its just us again" least for a few weeks;) It's not so bad, I've decided, though I wouldn't trade the chaos of everyone home for anything-its good to know that they've refueled, refurbished and headed back into the world to build their futures.

It seems only fitting as I sit in the wake of relative removal to consider a glass of wine, a nice lager or perhaps just a cup of egg nog with a sprinkle of nutmeg and reflect on the holiday--and make that list of stuff to get done this week...

Meantime, here is another lovely holiday refreshment from the gifted in many ways--Sahara Kelly,  who is not only talented in her writing, but an officiado of the technilogical world as well an artist in graphic and costume design!! (I try not to hate her;)) She's a joy truly and I am proud to call her friend!

Here is her recipe and editorial on MULLED WINE

Perfect for those icy winter evenings, or for after a few hours of carolling for your neighbors in Victorian attire. (Er, that would be you, not the neighbors. Victorian attire links available upon request, or for ideas, see any Dickensian Christmas greeting card.)


•The wine is your choice...most often a full-bodied red wine is recommended, as this stands up to the spices and complements them, but a white is acceptable, as is a good rich apple cider for those who prefer to avoid alcohol completely.

•NOTE: DO NOT USE AN ALUMINUM PAN. Preferably use a non-stick one.

•For spice pak: Any combination of cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, vanilla bean, bay leaf, anise, and citrus zest (orange and/or lemon). Other spices as desired.
•A smattering of brown sugar as desired if you like a slightly sweeter beverage.


•Pour the bottle of wine into saucepan and add the spices and brown sugar if you’re using it. Warm gently for around 6-8 minutes, being careful to WARM the wine, not boil it. The spices need to infuse into the liquid, but too high a heat and the alcohol will evaporate. The results are not pretty. Or tasty in any way.

•Once the liquid is infused (mulled), ladle into warmed mugs and enjoy. (This also happens to make a wonderful smell in the kitchen. Stop and sniff now and again. Then resume singing Holiday songs!)

**pic to left; Sahara and I at Lora Leighs RAW 2011-Rocky Gap Maryland

A note about spices: Fresh spices are almost always best and this recipe requires them to be in some kind of solid form, since powdered spices tend to glomp messily and not infuse well. Some people like to assemble little muslin bags of mulling spices, and keep their wine strictly liquid. Others like to serve this wine with the spices floating/mixed in. Star anise is an attractive decoration. Sliced oranges can be used as well, and this entire recipe should be adjusted to the taste of those enjoying the wine. There are few, if any, hard and fast rules to this entire process.

**grab hold of Sahara's brilliant books!! Here is her latest, in her signature mix of humor and steam! Dragons, Dames & Video Games!

Mulled wine is one of those “old family” recipes...ingredients change with the generations, but the result is the same – happiness and cuddles in a mug. We recommend spending a couple of weekends testing spice combinations prior to actually serving this wine to guests. If you can run a test at the same time you’re decorating your Christmas tree, so much the better, since apparently tree-decorating releases some kind of primeval hormone which can result in assault and battery charges if you’re not careful. Not sure why, but it does. Mulled wine, however, will mellow the spirits and remove the threat of family garrotting by tinsel.

Happy Holidays,
Sahara Kelly
(All charges pertaining to the incident with the tree-topper and the nutcracker have been withdrawn and the case has been closed.)

What did I tell you? ;)
Happy holidays!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Memories & Recipes

Support your local food banks and family crisis shelters year round!

Our recipe today comes from good friend and author, Patricia Walters-Fischer, RN--a warm and wonderful woman with a heart the size of Texas! She is also an editor and is preparing to launch a new site called SMART COOKIE PARENTS * -launching January 2012!

She shares this decadent and delightful recipe for a Cinnamonly sinful" dessert perfect for topping off any holiday feast!!

Sin-namon Chocolate Cake

1. Mix together in a bowl:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ tsp salt
4 Tbs cocoa (heaping)

2. Put in pan and bring to a boil:
1 stick margarine
½ cup cooking oil
1 cup water

3. Mix together and add:
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix well. Bake in ungreased pan 400° for 25 minutes

1. Sift:
1 box powered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa

2. Melt:
1 stick oleo
6 tablespoons milk
Bring to a rapid boil and pour over sugar and cocoa
3. Add:
1 tsp vanilla

4: Spread:
On warm cake and enjoy!!!!!

Here are some more Holiday traditions! Maybe you will find one that will become one of yours!

Vicki writes; I would say our holiday tradition, weather permitting, is I get up and start cooking and my husband takes our 2 boys and goes fishing while I cook. They love it and it makes it a lot easier on me without them bugging me, lol.

Tia writes; From Christmas Eve to the day after Christmas one of our local radio stations plays nothing but Christmas songs and we keep the radio tuned in for the entire run. That is one of my favorite holiday activities. 

Melissa writes;  My favorite holiday tradition is spending Thanksgiving at home with my immediate family. We go to dinner at a local winery, put up Christmas decorations, bake, and spend technology free time together playing games, doing crafts, etc. It is a great way to reconnect

How do you or your family and friends re-connect at holiday time?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Memories & Recipes

Support your local food banks and family shelters year round!

The holidays hold special memories for each of us--whether poignant or laugh til you cry funny, each is a treasured gem. I encourage you to write down your memories, just like your recipes, and pass them on to your friends and family. Here is a grand memory from reader Sherry,who shares this light-hearted view of the holidays;

Sherry writes; Our Thanksgiving traditions include the usual and the not so usual.

Mom and Aunt used to set the table with Gram's good china while Gram scowled and winced with each piece. You see they didn't just set the table like ordinary folks (but then we were never ordinary ;-). One would stand on one side of the dining room and the other would stand on the other side and they would throw Gram's precious china hurtling through the air for the other to catch and put in it's place on the table.

(*editor insert- is anyone seeing a Ringling Brothers theme, here?)

With each throw you would hear a big Hiyah! Everyone got a kick out of this even Gram, though she would never admit it. In 20+ years, not one china piece was broke.

Friends who were with us for the first time during the holiday get togethers, learned fast how to ask for things. Don't ever say "pass" the butter unless you are prepared to catch flying stick of butter, no dish, just the butter. The proper way to ask was Please hand me the dish of butter. It didn't matter whether it was butter, mashed potatoes, what have you - you had better ask the proper way or be ready for a true "pass".

Of course there were the fights over who gets the heart, liver and tail of dear ole' Tom. And many many fights for the wishbone and don't think it was just the kids either.

Throughout the day there would be much catching up, many hugs and happy tears shared. After dinner we would take walks through the woods to enjoy the beauty of nature and sometimes catch sight of deer, fox or other critters. Then it was back to the house for coffee, cocoa and pie. Afterwards we would play games, cards, boggle, etc.

Some of our favorite recipes are Gram's Cracklin's, Gram's Lemon Sponge Pie, Mom's pumpkin pie and my "Poop" cookies. They are actually Pumpkin cookies but one year my nephew called them poop cookies and it has stuck ever since. To this day nephew all grown up still asks for a big order of Poop cookies all his own.

My pumpkin cookies are such a hit with everyone that I make probably near to 50 dozen and there's still never enough. Recipe included below.  Aaaahhh, time with family and friends, good food, lottsa love , great memories..... Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

(*Editors note: Thank you, Sherry! I will think of you and your story as I set my holiday table this year! LOL It so fits in the "zoo" theme of our house during the holidays;))

Poop (Pumpkin) Cookies

3/4 c shortening
3/4 c sugar
1c pumpkin
2c sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream shortening and sugar, beat in eggs. Add vanilla and pumpkin. Blend in dry ingredients. Drop by spoonful or cookie dough scoop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 12-13 minutes. These are cake-like cookies and are scrumptious warm or room temperature.

Sherry Notes: I have tried both the canned and fresh pumpkin, most preferred the canned but some liked both. I have also found that cooking on parchment paper changed the taste of the cookies and they didn't go over as well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November -Sharing recipes & Holiday memories

Variety they say, is the Spice of Life! Never is that more true than in this wonderfully diverse country of ours Today we're sharing recipes that celebrate the beauty of our diversity! These come from a long-time subscriber (thank you!) and former Home Economics teacher (Teachers rock!!)

The making of the tamale is briefly spreading a prepared corn husk with the masa dough, putting the filling in the center, then folding the husk around the food to make a little packet. Stack the packets in a tamale steamer and cook until firm. (For step by step photos of how-to consult any Mexican food recipe book).

What makes our tamales unique is that we put brown sugar in the dough. They are sweeter than original ones.

In a hot skillet with 2 T lard (substitue with cooking oil) saute 1 medium chopped onion. Blend in 2 C cooked shredded turkey (lean pork can be used) 1 small can diced green chilies/3 T raisins/ 2 T chopped black olives and 2/3 C red chili sauce (substitute with enchilida sauce). Simmer for 30 minutes while you are preparing the dough.

1 1/3 (2/3 #) lard
4 C Masa Harina (Do not substitute-must use this type of flour)
2 tsp salt
2 2/3 C warm poultry broth (or substitute with water)

Whip the lard until fluffy. Blend in the masa flour, salt, and broth until the dough holds together well.

Makes 6 C for 40 tamales.
*Can I get a YUM!!!???
And top these off with this refreshing and easy desert!

Blend together 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 5 T tequilla, 5 T. Triple Sec, and 1/2 C fresh lime juice.

Fold in 2 C heavy cream, beaten stiff and the zest of 1 lime. Pour into a Graham cracker crust. Freeze 4 hours. Serve with thin lime slices or if served at Christmas time put in a couple of drops of green food coloring while blending and top with a couple of red maraschino cherries.
*(Note: I never had my students make this-you can see why) Is very rich and yummy
Delighted however, you chose to share it with us! It sounds amazing!
Happy holidays, Joy to you and yours this season!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

November Holiday Memories & Recipes

The array of recipes I've received recently could fill a cookbook! Here is an exquisite soup for a chilly day alone with salad and bread, or served as an appetizer to your holiday meal! It's sent by the very funny, very personable, and very talented author and full-time mom,  Renee Bernard, who I am utterly delighted to call my friend.

Her Jaded Gentleman series are fast-paced and wonderfully written reads!! If you need a good story to occupy your holidays--follow this series! The release of PASSION WEARS PEARLS, is slated for March 2012 release!

Sherried Carrot Soup
On a cold night and for holiday season special occasions, I love to make sherried carrot soup. It's a creamy carrot bisque kind of thing and the color is nice on a Thanksgiving table--or any table!!...and then I toast and slice french bread to go with it to try to avoid having to use your fingers or lick the bowl ;-) It's a very decadent
dish but Super Easy to Make.

As with all Bernard signature recipes, measurements are simply guidelines. Have fun and make it your own!

Sherried Carrot Soup
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons of butter
8 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth (or water with chicken buillon to taste in a pinch ;-)
1/2 cup medium dry sherry
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
white pepper
chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

In a kettle, cook the onion in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring until the onion is softened. Add the carrots, the ginger and the cinnamon, and cook the mixture, stirring for one minute (to coat the carrots in the flavor and let them know what's about to happen).

Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20-30 minutes or until the carrots are very tender. (Here's where it gets tricky.) In a blender or food processor puree the mixture in batches and transfer it back into the
kettle as it's pureed. Add the sherry and the cream. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Then season with salt and white pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and Enjoy!

More Holiday traditions!
Nothing seems more traditional at the holidays than pumpkin pie! Here are a few memories of that time-honored treat!

Jackie writes;   "My favorite tradition at Thanksgiving time is to bake home-made pumpkin pies. Most of my family would rather eat other foods besides a turkey and all the trrimmings....except...pumpkin pie...they do love the ones I bake. It is a recipe that my grandmother passed down to my mom and then down to my sister and me.
Joanne writes; Pumpkin pie with cool whip a must, cranberrys, sweet pot's, apple cider!!!!!!!!!!! And family and friends!!!!!!!!!

Olga writes; "Here in Canada we have Thanksgiving earlier than the States. One of my new traditions stems from a loss that we suffered this past August. My sister's mother-in-law (who everyone loved) passed away. It had been a long tough year, and we all miss her greatly. She was always the one who brought pie to Thanksgiving dinner; blueberry, apple and pumpkin. My youngest niece and nephew's favourite was pumpkin - and this year I made them pumpkin pie, and I got a wonderful compliment, because it was "almost as good as Nana's".

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Begins at Home

My dad was a WWII veteran in the Army, my older brother in the Navy and then a medic in the Marines. In my extended family are many who have served in the air and on the ground overseas in the past decade or more and to each of them and to those that stand in wait for them on the homefront--thank you is not nearly adequate for all that you do, but it comes from a grateful heart.

This month as we share special recipes and cherished holiday memories, I wanted to feature this one in particular on Veterans Day. There is so much we can do to support our Veterans of War and those still standing in the fray of battle, holding fast the belief that freedom is not free.

GREAT MILITARY SUPPPORT BLOG:  SOS ALOHA is a great blog to find ways of supporting our troops and their families through networking with readers and authors--check out Kim's blog at SOS ALOHA!

Laurie's email touched me in such a profound way, and I hope it does the same for you. It might even inspire you to begin a similar tradtion of your own---

Laurie writes; "For the last 10 years our family tradition is to invite single military airmen over for Thanksgiving dinner. There is a sign up sheet at the base requesting families to sign up and have an airmen come over for Thanksgiving.

My husband was in the military for 25 years and our son for 10 so I know just how lonely it can get when the holiday time is here and you are so far away from home. We bought our very first home 10 years ago here in Biloxi right after our son was sent to Afghanistan. The home and holiday felt so lonely so I decided that we should sign up for the program.

This year we expect 10 young airmen to come. I have already found out what their favorites are so I am going to make a dish that each one really likes as well as the dishes I make each year. I love feeling as if I am making their holiday a little bit brighter and hopefully a little less homesick."

My thanks to Laurie and her husband for sharing the warmth of home & family in this way. May it inspire us all to be as gracious.

More holiday tradtions from readers!
*Note from Amanda-I love that while I've receveid so many diverse tradtions, that some aspects reamin the, community, gratitude, enjoying each other's company--

Carol writes;  For Thanksgiving we now get together at my sisters house where we visit and eat. For as long as I can remember we have always had the same food. We have turkey, dressing (we use Bell's Seasoning), cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, turnips, small white onions with butter, and lots of gravy. We always finish the meal with my grandmothers pumpkin pie. My sister cooks an extra turkey so we can all take some home to enjoy later. I hadn't been thinking about Thanksgiving yet, but now you have my mouth watering for Thanksgiving dinner.

Lisa shares; Our Holiday Traditions just center around eating the best foods, cornbread dressing, fudge, lemon icebox pie, candided yams, and yummy banana pudding. Then we play cards or games and watch football and lie around in the floor and moan because we are all so full. Then playing in the yard with the kids, maybe kickball or dodgeball or flag football. Love it."

Rosie writes; " Every year my family and my uncle's family gets together. All the cousins band together to help cook a huge meal that consists of both American, Vietnamese-style American, and Vietnamese dishes. We eat together, and the next day the boys head to Black Friday to nab deals on electronics. A few weeks prior my brother (who leads the group as head chef) starts a group e-mail training with the menu, and we all put in our two cents"
With Gratitude

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November -Sharing recipes & Holiday memories

Forgive the brief delay in the blog post. Yesterday my house beckoned, pleading "Clean me!" And I figure with the holidays creeping up on me, I had better listen:)

So now on with the recipes and memories!! With the influx of great traditions and recipes being shared by readers and authors, I'm going to have to double my efforts to post them in order to get everyone in this month, which I think is awesome!;)

Here is a sweet treat from a talented friend of mine, author Faith Smith, who swears this is a non-caloric snack!!!! (Not!) Ignore the strange name its given, the proof as they delish and has absoultely nothing to do with the gorgeous six-pack on her Immortal Justice bookcover!!;))

Christmas Crack Recipe
Courtesy of Amy Moon Ware

1.5 sleeves of saltine crackers

1 stick (4 oz) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Arrange the crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet so that there are no empty spaces in between them. Crush any remaining crackers into small crumbs and set aside for now.

3. Place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir while the butter melts, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Once boiling, carefully pour the sugar-butter mixture over the crackers on the baking sheet in an even layer, trying to cover most of the crackers. If you miss some spots, don’t worry as the toffee will spread in the oven.

4. Bake the toffee crackers at 350 degrees for five minutes, until the toffee is bubbling all over. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for one minute.

5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the hot toffee, and allow them to sit for one minute to soften and melt. Once softened, use an offset spatula or knife to spread the melted chocolate over the entire surface of the toffee in an even layer. While the chocolate is still sticky, sprinkle

More Holiday Traditions: I love these ideas!

Barbara writes; "We have everyone write something that they are thankful for about another person and read them out during dinner. And it's all anonymous so it's more of a game to guess who said it!"

Marguerite writes;  "When I was a child, every Thanksgiving morning saw all the guys head out for some quail hunting, while all the gals stayed at the house, watched the Macy's parade on TV and cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

As an adult, Thanksgiving traditions have changed from time to time as my parents aged and the duties of preparing the meal fell onto my generation's shoulders. Now with my children grown and gone from home, traditions have once again changed. 

The one thing that remains constant is the gathering of family & friends and the sharing of a wonderful meal and the fellowship of good company! Memories in the making!"

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories and recipes here at the house of muse! Feel free to leave a comment, or post your favorite recipes or traditions!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November -Sharing recipes & Holiday memories

Talented author, Genella deGrey shares a special recipe that is as "saucy" as Miss G's writing! Known for her vivid, humorous (and sexy) historicals, I invite you to check out The Trouser Game!

This yummy side dish would go well with many a main entree!

Sautéed Squash - from the recipes of Genella deGrey

2 med zucchini
2 med yellow squash3/4 teaspoon dill
Pinch or two ground sea salt3/4 teaspoon or so olive oil

Wash and cube zucchini & squash then place in bowel
Pre-heat pan to a medium-high temp
Add dill, salt and olive oil to veggies and toss
Pour into hot pan and sauté, stirring constantly until lightly browned (not very long, about 2 min.)
Remove from heat and place into serving dish - you don't want your squash mushy.

Serve over pasta or alone as a side dish.

Holiday Traditions:
Nancy shares this holiday memory that is wonderfully familiar to many! "When I was little, I would sit with my mom and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parades, then help with the dinner fixings (I got to tear up bread to go in the stuffing). When I got older, I made the pies. Now that I have grandchildren, I gather them together and we watch the parades (and football) while their parents cook and get things done-sort of the babysitter/referee to keep the peace. But it is always family fun, and we have been doing things together for over forty years now."

I can't think of a better way to spend a Thanksgiving, Nancy! Thank you for sharing this and Thanks to Miss G for sharing her recipe!!

What are some of your favorite holiday tradtions?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Making Memories and Recipes!

Todays recipe is perfect for a chilly evening after a sumptuous holiday meal! Whether watching your fav team on television or sitting around visiting in front of the fire-this rich & decadent recipe will be the hit of the evening!

Cynthia from Georgia writes that she was raised with cooking tradiotional Puerto Rican favorites with their holiday dinners--this traditional family recipe is "sooooo good!"  Just reading it made my mouth water!! Thanks, Cynthia!


•1 cup water

•2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
•15 whole cloves
•1 teaspoon anise seed
•2 tablespoons water
•1/2 cup white sugar

•1 (1 pound) loaf day-old bread
•4 cups evaporated milk
•4 eggs
•1 1/2 cups white sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•3/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 cup butter, melted

1.Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and anise seeds. Cover, and set aside to steep for 15 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons water with 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar completely, but stop stirring once the mixture comes to a boil. Stay near the stove to monitor the color, swirling the pan gently to redistribute the caramel as the sugar begins to darken. Cook to about 310 degrees F (160 degrees C), or until the sugar turns light golden brown, then pour into a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Set aside to allow the caramel to harden.

3.Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

4.Remove the crusts from the day-old bread, tear the bread into cubes, and place into a large mixing bowl. Strain the spice tea through a fine mesh sieve to remove the spices. Add to the bread along with the evaporated milk. Stir to evenly moisten, and set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl along with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the vanilla extract, salt, and melted butter. Stir in the moistened bread mixture until evenly mixed. Pour into the loaf pan over the caramel.

5.Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place the loaf pan on the towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.

6.Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for about an hour, then refrigerate until cold, 2 hours more. When ready, invert the budin onto a serving plate. The caramel will have turned to a syrup and will cover the bread pudding like a sauce.

Holiday traditions:
Patricia writes; We always fix a big Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family.

Our family stuffing recipe has evolved over the years and we like it the way it is now.
Seasoned bread stuffing (I use Pepperidge farms) Cans of chicken broth and stick of margarine per the recipe on the bag. I saute chopped onion, cook sage sausage into small chunks, and add. I add craisins and diced dried apricots. I have been known to throw other things in - diced roasted chestnuts, or even pecans or whatever else I may have on hand and feel like adding. It is nice to have a stuffing that is a bit different and is good as leftovers.  Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Thanks to Cynthia and Patricia for sharing their time-honored memories with us!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November- Making Memories

Along with my talented readers and the delectable recipes you will see all month here at the House of Muse, I've invited a few other talented friends to share their holiday recipes as well as there gifts to YOU this holiday season! With all the new E-readers out there, there has never been a better time (or selection of books!) to choose from in electronic , print or audio formats! Give the gift of a book this year. Its the gift that keeps on giving!

Few of us can deny the passion for chocolate and this recipe answers that call "big time!" My thanks to the talented Comic book and romance writer, Anne Elizabeth for this decadent holiday treat!

My mother and I would often make this recipe together right before Christmas. Then on that special day, we would pull out these succulent treats to share with family and friends. I can still hear my mother laughing as my brother stole a few chocolate chips as we were cooking or when she discovered he snuck down during the night to devour a few of these yummy morsels. My father likes the ones covered in nuts. One giant WARNING, do not inhale as you are eating the powdered-sugar ones or you’ll be coughing up a storm. Enjoy these tasty treats!

Yield: 30 Truffles

1 3/4 cup(s) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

1/3 cup(s) Unsweetened Cocoa

1/3 cup(s) heavy whipping cream

6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the chocolate chips. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into a shallow bowl. Cool, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours.

Using a melon baller or small spoon, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the cocoa, OR YOU CAN ADD A TOPPING OR COATING SUCH AS CHOPPED NUTS, CEREAL, CHIPS, or POWDERED SUGAR. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Find this and more recipes at the GHIRARDELLI wesbite!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November-Making Memories

In my newsletter this month, I asked my readers to share with me their favorite holiday traditions. For many of us, that includes special recipes that evoke memories of holidays past, our childhood, going to grandmas house, or starting your own time-honored traditions! What I'm grateful for this holiday is my gracious readers and talented friends who inspire me daily to do what I do and who so willingly share these fabulous recipes with all of you!

From gluten-free to serious butter-laden recipes that would make Paula Deen smile--please enjoy these mouth-watering recipes and bask in the warm glo of shared holiday memories!!

Linda sends in this organic pumpkin pudding recipe from a site she likes called "The Whole Gang"

Gluten and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pudding

2 Large Eggs, 3 if they are the small organic ones
1/3 cup agave
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 ounce can of organic pumpkin
1 13 ounce can of organic coconut milk


In a bowl mix together your eggs, agave and spices with a whip. Next incorporate your pumpkin.  Now add in your coconut milk and mix. (thoroughly) Now it’s ready to be poured into your pie pan.

Bake at 35o degrees for 50-60 minutes. Start checking around 45 minutes to see if it’s done. I put a knife in the middle to see if it came out clean. It never totally did but I think that’s because I needed more eggs like I mentioned before. It was done and ready to come out of the oven. Let it cool for 15-30 minutes. Scoop it out and serve it however you like.


Now if you eat dairy and want to go the more traditional route, you can use that can of evaporated milk.

You can bake off a sugar pie pumpkin and use that for the pumpkin pudding. One pumpkin usually yields around 2 cups of cooked pumpkin. A can of pumpkin is about 1 3/4 cup so using 2 cups of pumpkin should be fine.

If you don’t have agave and use sugar, 1/2 cup should work.

Thanks Linda, for sharing this yummy recipe!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Value of Face Time

This week I've returned from my first ever RAW weekend. For those not familiar with the term, it is the title given to Lora Leighs sponsored Reader Appreciation weekend. This year was her 5th such weekend and I have to tell you I was won over! The schedule was perfect for a three day weekend, lending itself to quality time spect in conversations with readers and other authors. Something that is rare for a bigger conference to achieve based on sheer numbers. I discovered some great new friends in both readers and authors and established an even greater respect and admiration for both.

**Lora Leighs Race Car with all the RAW 2011 authors on the side! How cool is that!

From the warmth of the Rocky Gap resort to the unexpected gift of a first, magical snowfall-RAW 2011 was a delightful experience that I look forward again in 2012!