“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, January 09, 2010

What do you do with your left-over Candy Canes? You feature them on Pink Saturday☺

This Pink Saturday, instead of just showing you pink goodies around my house, and in the holiday spirit, I decided to do some internet sharing and gifting. Please, if you knit, feel free to grab the pattern for the adorable Christmas tree.

Left over Candy Canes in the house? Who doesn't? I'm sharing some of my favorite, and easy ways to use them after the Christmas tree is out the door. Don't forget - those red, pink and white hues are perfect for Valentine's Day and that is just around the corner! Enjoy! (Click on the photo of the recipe or project you would like to print.)

Fun Fur Kitschy-mas Tree Pattern

For large green tree:  1 skein Lion Brand Homespun in Pink (185 yards bulky weight); 2 skeins Lion Brand Fun-fur in Pink. (approximately 120 yards of novelty yarn).  Polyfill. 
Finished measurements:  Height: approx. 18 inches    Width/Diameter at base: approx. 11 inches.

With both yarns held together and size US 10 needles, cast on 5 stitches.
Knit 1 row. Join and continue to knit in the round.  Every third row you’ll want to increase 5 stitches by knitting in the front and the back of that stitch.
Row 1:  * k1fb *
Row 2 and 3:  k all
Row 4:  * k1fb k1 *
Rows 5 and 6 :  k all
Row 7:  * k1fb k2 *
Row 8 and 9:  k all
Row 10:  * k1fb k3*
Row 11 & 12:  k all

Continue these 3 rows, increasing 5 stitches every 3rd row as established until desired height is achieved.  For the tree in the photo, continue knitting until you run out of novelty yarn.  Bind off during a non-increasing row.

The base of the tree is single crocheted with the bulky yarn only, in the round using a size K hook (or hook size to give you a fairly stiff base. Loose is not the effect you’re looking for here.) until diameter of the base is the width of the tree. Sew the base to the tree, leaving an opening large enough to stuff with polyester stuffing. Once stuffed, finish the tree by sewing up the opening.  Fluff.

Small ornaments can either be hung, or sewn to the tree.  The tree is sturdy enough for a short string of lights as well. I like to leave mine 'naked' just cause it looks so cute when it is bare as a baby's bottom

Candy Cane Marshmallows

1 cup powdered sugar
5 teaspoons water
6 candy canes (ground)
1 bag of jumbo marshmallows
cookie sheet lined with wax paper


1. Pour powdered sugar in a bowl.
2. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time until you've created a thin glaze.
3. Place candy canes in a blender and blend until finely ground.
4. Place a toothpick in the end of marshmallow.
5. Roll marshmallow in glaze; covering botton and sides.
7. Roll marshmallow in candy canes until glaze is covered.
8. Place in freezer. They are done when the marshmallow pops off easily from the wax paper.

Store leftover in a bag in the freezer.Great treat to add to your hot chocolate! (Don't forget to remove the toothpick first.)

Candy Cane Instant Hot Chocolate 


  • 1  cup  powdered milk
  • 1  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  cup  miniature chocolate chips
  • 1/2  cup  crushed peppermint candy canes


Layer the ingredients for homemade cocoa in a jar, add a ribbon and a tag, and you have a simple but stylish gift. This mix will fill a 1-quart jar (12 servings), but if your containers are different sizes, just keep the ratio of ingredients constant. On the back of the tag, write: "Mix contents in a large bowl. For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water. Store remaining mix in airtight container."
Yield: Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

Candy Cane Cool Whip

This stuff is really magic because it disappears in seconds when served to guests and family. Grab your uneaten Christmas candy canes and unwrap. Break in to chunks (the kids ♥ this part) and using your blender, crush them to powder with a little chunk here and a little chunk there left to add interest and texture.

For 16 oz. of whipping cream or Cool Whip, I use 1/2 cup of powdered peppermint candy folded in gently. It makes a fun pink cream with some tiny chunks. Make your hot cocoa and plop a nice, fluffy dollop of this fun topping into your cup. To store left over cream, just place it back into your emptied Cool Whip container and pop into the fridge or you may freeze again if you don't think you'll be using it up soon. If you need to store leftover peppermint powder, pour into a container with a tight lid and place in the cupboard away from heat.

Stop over to Beverly's HOW SWEET THE  SOUND for a list of more blogs that are participating in this fun weekend event. You'll be glad you did

Friday, January 08, 2010

Keep your New Year's Resolution Chocolate Meringue Kisses

At ONLY 8 calories each, these little sweetie pies will help you keep your New Year's Resolution and satisfy your need for a little something for dessert without breaking the calorie bank for the next day and week and month! I know they might look a little fussy, but really, they're not. When my boys were little I'd let them just plop the meringue by teaspoon onto the cookie sheets. Not fancy but they tasted just as delicious! The only caveat is that you cannot make them in damp weather - they never dry out and get a nice crunch.


* 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
* 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa


Preheat oven to 225°F. Line 2 large rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, increase speed to high and whip until mixture forms soft peaks. Gradually add granulated sugar and continue beating until whites are stiff and shiny.

In a separate bowl, sift confectioners' sugar with cocoa to blend. Working in thirds, sprinkle cocoa mixture over egg whites and gently fold in until thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to a large ziplock bag. Seal bag, pinching out excess air. Snip off a small piece of one bottom corner of bag. Pipe out meringues through hole onto cookie sheets, forming small "kisses," about 2 inches in diameter. Bake for 1 hour, until meringues are firm and dry. Turn oven off and let meringues sit in oven overnight.

Gently peel kisses off parchment paper. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Not completely what you would call a health food☺but certainly a little better than most goodies that we consider to be an indulgence. Whole wheat flour, egg whites, flaxseed all come together to produce a delightful biscotti that is at home with your favorite latte or cup of tea. This makes a lovely presentation for company and special family events.  


9.5 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (such as Hershey's)
3/4 cup unsalted almonds


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, flaxseed, soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine sugars, egg whites, and egg in a bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes. Add vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir until combined. Fold in chocolate and almonds. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6-inch-long roll. Arrange rolls 3 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pat to a 1-inch thickness. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until firm.

3. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut rolls diagonally into 30 (1/2-inch) slices. Place, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325°; bake 7 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake 7 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Ultimately Sinfully Delicious Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake

I've been a good girl. I've been giving you healthy and nutritious recipes since the first of the year. Now, sadly, I am falling off the wagon and must share with you my ultimate PASSION - chocolate and peanut butter! I'm not going to tell you that this cake is calorie free or good for you or quick to make but what I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt is that it is sinfully delicious!


1 (18.25-ounce) package devil's food cake mix without pudding
2 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
1 (10-ounce) package peanut butter morsels
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
chopped roasted peanuts


Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into 2 lightly greased 8-inch round cakepans. Bake according to package directions. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely.

Combine 2/3 cup whipping cream and peanut butter morsels in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until morsels melt and mixture is smooth; remove saucepan from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, and cool 25 minutes.

Beat 1 1/3 cups whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Stir one-third whipped cream into peanut butter mixture. Fold into remaining whipped cream. Spread between cake layers; cover and chill.

Bring remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Add chocolate morsels; remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir until morsels melt and mixture is smooth.

Pour glaze over cake; garnish, if desired. Serve warm, or chill and serve at room temperature.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits: Cut cooled cake layers into cubes. Layer 8 Parfait glasses evnly with two-thirds peanut butter mixture, cake cubes, and half of cocolate mixture. Top with remaining peanut butter mixture and chocolate mixture; sprinkle each parfait with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Thick, Rich Bacon Potato Soup with a Cheesy Twist

If just reading this recipe doesn't cause your cholestrol to hit the ceiling - then this soup is FOR YOU. I don't make it often, but when I do I treasure each and every little sip and sniff. The aroma is remarkable and it is so, so pretty in a bowl with steam swirling around it like early morning fog. You're gonna ♥ this. I promise!
  • 5 cups potatoes, diced into small cubes
  • 1-1/2 cups carrots, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cup Velveeta cheese, cubed (don't use generic)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • pepper to taste
  • 8 strips bacon (get the good stuff), fried, diced and well drained
Combine potatoes, carrots, and onion in large saucepan or stockpot. Add salt and enough water to cover the veggies. Gently boil for 20 minutes or until veggies tender. With a potato masher, slightly mash some of the veggie, but not all.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring until all are incorporated and it is slightly bubbly.

I served this with a big green salad and some garlic toast.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Lasagna Soup - whoda thunk it☺

The tomato-y broth, brimming with sausage and pasta, melts the mix of cheeses placed in each bowl before serving. A quick swirl of the spoon ensures diners will get a bit of gooey cheese in every bite. All you need is a loaf of good, Italian bread, a couple of candles on the table and you are good to go. I've also found that little ones, who usually run away from soup, like this! Now, that's a soup I can ♥.


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (bulk or with casings removed)
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
8 ounces fusilli pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
8 ounces ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella Instructions

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package. Discard the bay leaves, then stir in the basil. If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, the Parmesan, the 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pinch of pepper. To serve, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in each bowl, sprinkle with some of the mozzarella, and ladle the soup on top. Makes about 13 cups.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

North Woods Bean Soup with a Polish twist

Adding Polish sausage lends this soup a rich, slow-simmered flavor. Puree a portion of the recipe for a velvety consistency, and stir in fresh spinach after the soup is removed from the heat so it retains its bright color. Add a loaf of crusty bread and you are set for a satisfying meal that tastes good and is good for you.


cooking spray
1 cup baby carrots, halved
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 ounces Polish sausage , halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach leaves


Heat a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, and sausage; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; cook 15 minutes. Add the broth, Italian seasoning, pepper, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Place 2 cups of the soup in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Return the pureed mixture to pan. Simmer an additional 25 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Add the spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.