“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Elvis might want a blue one - but - I'll have a PINK CHRISTMAS, please☺

Pink Saturday again! I've participated in nearly all of the Pink Saturdays this year, that's a LOT of pink goodies, even for moi! I honestly think I'll be able to do another year with no problem. Isn't that amazing? This week I am sharing with you portions of my Christmas tree. Did you expect a tradtional tree from Mimi - NOT! It's PINK, of course, and just the sweetest and most darling and utterly precious tree - EVER.

Over the years as a young bride I had trees that reflected the slim budget of the newly married. Trees that were Disney-like appealing to my little sons and to the whimsey in my heart. As time flew by (it always flies, doesn't it?) and the boys grew older, my trees became more traditional - very pretty, really pretty, in  fact, but that changed, too. When I moved into my current home (Edwardian) my tree became Victorian - gilt, heavily ornate - beads, jewels, vintage ornaments.

Then something happened. I went pink! I finally gave in to the ME in me! My boys grew up and I became a kid again! I got my game on and gave myself the tree of my dreams - all pink and white and girly! Ooooo, do I love it. I'll share more of my ornaments and PINK Christmas decorations from now until the new year but thought I'd begin with my tree - my precious tree.

Beverly asked us to show a holiday decoration from the past this week and to tell why it is special. The wreath you see below -  this old, wired, tinseled, not-so-fancy wreath that is about twelve inches in diameter is priceless to me. I don't think there is enough money in anyone's pocket to have me part with this little, kinda-orphan-like wreath. I am the proud owner of a pair of these with original boxes included. The original price was 49 cents from Kresgee's (anyone remember them?) Where did they come from and why are they special to me?

When my father built the sweet brick bungalow for his new bride, true to 1950s style, there was a large picture window in the living room. On each side of that large window there were two smaller windows. Hanging in each of those smaller windows every Christmas until both of my parents passed away were two wreaths, one of which you see now. After both of my parents had passed away those wreaths became mine. If I had nothing, absolutely nothing, to make my home festive during the holidays - all I would need is the set of old, wired, tinseled wreaths that hung in the windows of my childhood home. They represent to me my family and my parents and my roots and my heritage and the love that is passed on from season to season until the end of time.

Someday my wreaths will belong to my sons. I hope that they treasure them as I have and will pass them down to the eldest of their sons. That - dear friends - is what makes Christmas memories special. Not money. Not expensive gifts. Not so much food you can't eat it all. Family and the birth of a little baby - that is Christmas.

If you found my blog today, you may already know about Beverly's Pink Saturday. If you don't, then you are in for a special treat. Take a stroll over to HOW SWEET THE SOUND. There you will find a list of some of the sweetest and most precious people to ever create a blog. They are celebrating with me - and I hope - with you.

And now - a little something fun for you to do this weekend! I guarantee you  - they are fun to make, cute as a button and as sweet as a little girl's kiss.

Cherries in the Snow Vanilla Wafers

16 maraschino cherries with stems
1/3 cup marshmallow creme
1 tablespoon finely chopped maraschino cherries
32 vanilla wafer cookies
4 ounces vanilla-flavor candy coating
*If you want to make a couple varieties, substitute the cherries with crushed candy canes for a hint of peppermint goodness. Instead of topping with a cherry - sprinkle a little of the crushed candy canes that you used for the filling on the tops of your darling creations.


1. Place maraschino cherries with stems on paper towels; drain well. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together marshmallow creme and chopped maraschino cherries. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the maraschino cherry mixture on the bottom of one cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom side down. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies and maraschino cherry mixture.

2. In a small saucepan, heat and stir candy coating over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.

3. Dip cookies halfway into the melted candy coating. Return to baking sheet. Holding a cherry by the stem, dip bottom of cherry into the melted candy coating. Place cherry on top of candy-coated side of one cookie. Hold for several seconds or just until set. Repeat with remaining cherries and cookies. Let cookies stand until candy coating sets. Makes 16 sandwich cookies.

Friday, December 11, 2009

♥Raspberry Red Velvet Triffle♥

Easy and quick to make but my goodness - oh, so impressive! I don't care what time of year it is there is always room for ♥raspberries♥ the queen of the berry! Beautiful dessert to take to a holiday party if you would like to win friends and influence people☺


1 (18.25-oz.) package DUNCAN HINES Moist Deluxe Red Velvet Cake Mix
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 pt. fresh raspberries You can also use thawed, frozen; however, that them in a colander so you will have berries and no juice.
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare cake batter as directed. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan.
2. Bake at 350° for 28 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
3. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer 1 minute or until creamy. Add yogurt, powdered sugar, and lemon zest. Beat 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Cover and chill.
4. Remove cake from oven. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
5. Invert cake onto a cutting board. Cut rounded top off of cake. Trim and discard edges of cake. Cut cake into 32 pieces.
6. Arrange about one-third of cake pieces in a 3-qt. trifle dish. Carefully spread one-third of chilled cream cheese mixture over cake. Repeat layers 2 times, smoothing top layer of cream cheese mixture over cake pieces. Top with raspberries. Cover and chill 1 hour before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ribbons 'n punches 'n plates, oh my! Festive holiday gifting☺

During the Holiday Season, our neighbors and friends tend to be gifted with of our baking and candy making efforts. This is a fun and personal way to share your treats. Nothing says, I care, more than delicious offerings made with your own hands. There is no reason you can't go all the way - presenting your delicious cookies or candies on a plate embellished with l♥ve.

Supplies for Holiday Ribbon Plates
  • paper plates, any color or size (you can use plastic plates, but they’re MUCH  harder to punch)
  • craft or hole punch
  • ribbon, craft ribbon or curling ribbon
  • treats
  • children
  • smiles
  • a great imagination
Punch holes about every inch all the way around. Then pick a spot to start and thread the ribbon through each hole. There are a few ways you can thread the ribbon. It can be up and down or around and around. Both look pretty, so it just depends on your preference. It was easier for the grandkids to thread the ribbon around and around.

Once the ribbon has been through each hole, make sure both ends are even to tie it together in a bow

Now fill them with some of your favorite treats and they’re ready for family and neighbors and teachers and mailmen  and friends!I usually have a little supply on hand to fill with goodies when someone drops by. We sit down for tea and I fill a little plate of cookies for them to carry home.

If you would like to get really fancy you can fill with cookies or treats place one plate on top of the other and thread them closed. When you are set to tie your bow add a gift tag laced through and you are all set! This is a great method when little guys are carrying a holiday gift to school for their teacher. The goodies stay inside and clean!

PS: Yesterday as I was leaving comment on T's Daily Treasures (if you haven't met her, you should visit. A sweeter gal there isn't on this planet) I told her that these plates were cute as a button. That got me thinking - I'm going through my button box for some cute ones to add to the plates - or how about checking out JoAnn's for some Christmas buttons to add to the ribbon edges? Oh heck, just let your imagination run wild! It's good for the brain - keeps it limber and young☺

PS: Don't forget, if you need any hints or terribly delicious recipes for the holidays or for any day of the week, always check out my sidebar. DELICIOUS DECIONS. All of the recipes that I share on my food blog, Standing at the Kitchen Door, are updated here daily. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Santa's favorite Red, White and Green Christmas Tortellini

The Night Before Christmas Santa loads up on this filling but light and airy meal that won't leave you hungry in half an hour. So quick to make, festive and delicious, you will have plenty of time to gather around the tree to sing your favorite carols with family and friends! This dish is so pretty and festive - all wrapped up in one easy to do package☺ Just be sure to leave Santa a serving - he ♥'s it!


1 bag Barilla Tortellini (or other familiar brand) - your favorite filling
1 jar Classico Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo
1 Green or Sweet Red Pepper in thin slices or minced
1 Sweet Grape Tomatoes halved - to taste
Shallots minced
Fresh minced garlic to taste
Fresh basil for garnish
Olive oil in spray container

Prepare pasta according to directions. Add green peppers to a separate pan and spray with olive oil. Sauté till tender. Then add in halved grape tomatoes. Sauté until tomato edges have barely began to yellow. Add to pasta once it has been drained. Add Alfredo sauce and fresh garlic to taste. Serve with minced shallots and basil leaf as garnish.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A teaching tool to Celebrate Hanukkah. Make a Handprint Menorah with Children

I am Christian but I am acutely aware of  Hannukkah during the Christmas Season. The teachings and traditions and history are sobering and beautiful and humbling, to say the very least. Even if you are not Jewish, making this darling Menorah would be an excellent teaching tool for you to talk with the little ones in your life about the importance of Jewish history to all of mankind. After all, Jesus was Jewish - all of His life and until the day He died.

If you're wanting to celebrate Hanukkah with little children, but you don't want them around candles or fire (who does), this is a fun craft to include them in your Hannukah celebration. They can glue on a little fuzzy pom pom each night for eight days of Hanukkah. When this year's eight days are complete, why not tuck this adorable craft away - some day you will be able to pull it out of a box and talk with your grandchildren about the importance and significance of the traditions associated with Hanukkah.

If you are a little rusty when it comes to Jewish history, let your cursor take a walk here. History.com has a lovely presentation titled The History of Hannukkah.

Supplies needed for Handprint Menorah

- cardstock paper
- craft paint or acrylic paint
- paint brush
- paper plate
- fuzzy pom poms
- yellow triangles, mine are craft foam stickers
- hole punch & ribbon

1. Pour a little blue paint onto the paper plate. Using the sponge brush, paint your child or grandchild's hand. I like to paint their hands so it coats all of those chubby, adorable little crevices. You can have them press their hand into the paint on the plate if you would like, but it's a little more messy.

2. One hand at a time, guide and press each child's hand on the paper. Being very careful with the first hand (so as not to get paint on anything), do the same thing again with the second hand: paint, guide, press. You'll want to make the thumbs overlap, so it's only 9 places for candles, not 10. The thumb candle in the middle represents the "shamash" or the worker candle that lights the other candles during Hanukkah.

3. Decorate your paper with Jewish stars forming two yellow triangles on top and opposite of each other (see illustration).

4. To light the menorah for each day of Hanukkah, glue on a fuzzy pom pom. Instead of pom poms, you could also get out some yellow paint and use the child's thumbprint for the flame or they could put on a triangle sticker or simply draw a candle's flame for each night.

5. Add letters to spell Hanukkah on the paper at the bottom. Punch two holes at the top and tie ribbon to make it a hanging banner.

I'm including a suggestion for a fun book to read to children to teach them about Hanukkah: Hanukkah a Counting Book by Emily Sper. Enjoy teaching and celebrating Hanukkah with your children. They'll love being able to help with the process.

PS: Why don't you prepare a batch of Spiced Milk Punch before you sit down the the kiddos. I guarantee - you will ♥ this stuff!

Monday, December 07, 2009

♥Warm up Santa and your friends with Layers of Peppermint & Hot Chocolate Cones♥

Chocolate, conversation, and good friends is a perfect recipe for success. Give the gift of all three this season by making easy Layered Peppermint Cocoa Cones. Truly there is nothing more delightful than sitting with a friend sipping hot cocoa and laughing by the fire while waiting for St. Nick. These are a perfect gift for friends, neighbors, teachers, pastors, mailman, paper-boy - you name it and it will fit the bill!

1/2 cup cocoa mix
2 (6- by 12-inch) cone-shaped cellophane bags
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini marshmallows or white chocolate chips
Crushed candy cane chunks

1. Pour cocoa mix into one of the bags. Close the bag with a clear rubber band, then trim the end of the bag one inch above the band.
2. Place the cocoa-filled bag into the second bag and flatten its top so the end doesn’t stick up. This will prevent the cocoa from mixing with the other layers.
3. Layer the chocolate chips and/or marshmallows, then top with crushed peppermint candy canes. Secure the bag with a holiday ribbon and tag. Quick, fun, easy. Do this with the kids for an evening filled with laughter - making good memories for those times when the world is a little chilly to the soul.

Other fun ingredient layers:
Butterscotch Chips
Mint Chips
Holiday Non-pareils
Cinnamon Sticks
Holiday shaped marshmallows
Reeses bits
Caramel bits

The cone papers? Any pastry shop will have them. I got mine at Walmart in the cake decorating department! Also, call your local JoAnns - they are a good bet, too!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

♥Snow-Capped Gingerbread Chimneys♥

These cakes are spicy and dense (in a good way) with just a tad of lemon cream cheese frosting to complement them. They have the consistency of a cake-y brownie but the flavor of gingerbread cookies. The petite cakes are about the size of cupcakes, but with a touch more style. I baked these as 8×8 sheet cakes and then used a biscuit cutter to punch out small rounds after the cake had baked and cooled.

Makes 9 small Gingerbread Chimneys

2 Cups Flour
2 tsp Ginger
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Molasses (unsulphured, like Grandma’s brand)
2/3 Cup Hot Water
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Egg, optional

*Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Butter
1 lb Confectioner’s Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Zest from 1 Lemon
*I've been known to cheat and use Cool Whip at the last minute. They turn out yummy for the tummy!

Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • Mix the flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Prepare two 8×8 baking pans as follows: grease the pans with butter. Lay a square of parchment paper down in the inside of the pans, cut to fit the bottoms. Butter the paper as well. Use some of the gingerbread dry ingredients you just mixed to flour the pans, shaking/tapping out any extra.
  • Whisk molasses and hot water together.
  • Cream the butter and sugar. Whip the mixture with the egg until light and fluffy.
  • Add part of the molasses mixture and part of the butter and sugar mixture to the dry ingredients. Begin to combine. As the ingredients come together, add more of the butter mixture and more of the molasses mixture until everything has been incorporated. Whisk to remove lumps, but to not over-mix.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared pans. Bake at 350º F for 30-40 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, or the top of the cake, when touched, springs back.
Let cakes cool completely, then remove from the pan. You may need to use a knife to loosen the edges, but the parchment paper should keep the bottoms from sticking.

Once the cakes have cooled and have been removed from the pans, use a small biscuit cutter to cut 9 rounds from each cake. I have also used small cookie cutters in the shape of a star which is absolutely adorable!

Prepare frosting by beating all of the frosting ingredients until well combined and fluffy. Place a small amount of frosting on 9 rounds. Stack the rounds. Place the rest of the frosting in a piping bag and frost the top of each cake.

I garnished the ones you see here with green and red nonpareils, but maraschino cherries would be awesome or chocolate jimmies or a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg! Store in an airtight container until ready to serve. HINT: the gingerbread freezes really well so it isn't a problem for you to make several batches, freeze them, and then decorate when guests arrive!

Now, I know what you're thinking, "What in the world am I going to do with the gingerbread cake that if left after cutting my rounds." Here's what you do: Let the cake sit out for the rest of the day and then crumble with your hands and store in an air-tight container. The next time you sit down with a bowl of vanilla ice cream sprinkle some of your gingerbread crumbs on top or your ice cream mountian and then plop a great, big splot of whipping cream right on the summit. YUM!