Showing posts with label Cooking for the Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cooking for the Holidays. Show all posts

Sunday, September 30, 2018

An Alternative to a Double Oven when Cooking for a Crowd

Counter-Top Roaster Ovens - "Very handy to have on hand"
Counter-Top Oven Roasters are a Practical and Affordable Solution

If you don't own a double oven it can be tricky to cook for a large crowd. 

For most of our life our homes have had one oven. Our family is quite large and cooking for family events, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas, takes creative planning.

It's certainly possible to plan a large dinner with one oven, but having an extra oven makes the job so much easier. 

For 20 years or more we've owned a counter-top roaster oven. It's stored away for most of the year, but come the Fall the oven gets hauled out and used.

I Didn't Want One!

Not being one for a lot of kitchen appliance clutter, I was against getting another kitchen gadget. Clutter is not my thing.

However, I was absolutely wrong.

Our counter-top oven roaster has been one of the best choices in kitchenware we've ever made. Big family meals would be impossible for me without it now! Don't take my oven-roaster away.

The Brand We Use is 'Nesco'

I've featured a few 18 quart Nesco oven roasters below.

An 18 quart oven roaster typically fits a turkey up to 22 pounds. The non-stick cookwell is also removable which makes it easy to clean. If you use it to cook a large chilli for a party, put the entire oven on the table and keep the temperature on low. You can also remove the cookwell and bring it to the table.

In terms of the temperature gage, it operates like a standard oven. As an example, for our Turkeys, I start cooking the Turkey at 400 and then after about an hour turn it down to 350 to 375.

I'll also put oil and butter on the top of the Turkey and it does brown enough for our taste. However, if the top isn't brown enough for you, just lift the cookwell out and place it in the oven to broil the top to the color you like. The roaster also comes with a rack with handles allowing you to safely remove your Turkey.


It's over 20 years later, and I'm still using our Nesco Oven Roaster. Come to think of it, we've never had one single problem with it. That's rare. Hopefully the newer models last as long as my older model has. As far as my own experience, 'reviewed and recommended'.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

October is Pizza Month: Reviewing Our Favorite Pizza Recipes

Making homemade pizza actually is pretty easy, especially if you follow one of the favorite pizza recipes you'll find here.

These days, ordering a pizza is as easy as pulling out your phone and opening an app. But, let's face it, it's hard to beat homemade. Besides, preparing a pizza at home doesn't require waiting for (and paying for) delivery or going out again if you're already at home.

Making homemade pizza actually is pretty easy, especially if you follow one of the favorite pizza recipes that we're going to tell you about, all tried and true. It's a fun activity, too, one that's perfect for involving the kiddos.

Kid-Friendly Pizza Recipes


Quick and Easy Pizza Bun Recipe from Ladymermaid
Photo from Ladymermaid
With just the tiniest bit of planning you'll always have the ingredients on hand to make this Quick and Easy Pizza Bun Recipe from my friend Lorelei aka Ladymermaid.

Pizza sauce from a bottle or jar should be a staple in your house, along with plenty of mozzarella cheese.  A toaster oven is perfect for making these individual pizzas using bread or hamburger or hot dog buns. Kids, especially, love adding the cheese and toppings to the buns and popping them into the toaster oven for a few minutes. Adults enjoy these, too, perhaps with more sophisticated toppings. For a family or a crowd, use a baking sheet and the regular oven to turn out enough pizzas for everyone.



Spider Web Pizza Recipe perfect for October and Pizza Month
Photo from Cooking for the Holidays

Since it's October, I absolutely had to include the recipe for this fun Spider Web pizza from Review This Reviews' own Sylvestermouse. She's absolutely right about families' needing a quick but filling meal before trick-or-treating on Halloween evening. And, as her family has done, making this Spider Web Pizza a tradition for October 31st is a great idea.

Only a few simple ingredients are required to assemble a delicious pizza that your family will love. Adding a creepy spider to the top is optional, but where's the fun in that? Read all about decorating a pizza for Halloween at the link.



Healthy Pizza Recipes


Artichoke Zucchini White Pizza Recipe from RecipesForRealPeople
Photo from Recipes For Real People
If you love pizza but want something a little different from the traditional red sauce topped with pepperoni, try this Artichoke Zucchini white pizza recipe. I call it "A to Z Pizza" for short.

I use packaged crust and jarred Alfredo sauce, along with sliced fresh zucchini, a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, some onion, garlic, and black olives, and top it all off with a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Yes, it tastes as good as it sounds! It's good for you, too, if you go easy on the sauce.





Basic Dough Recipe, Perfect for Homemade Pizza Crust, from Sam's Places
Photo from Sam's Place

To turn any of these pizza recipes into true homemade pizza, you'll need a good pizza crust recipe. Get it at Sam's Place! Here's his easy homemade all purpose dough recipe, and he also includes links to his own homemade pizza and pepperoni bread recipes. Prepare to be impressed as Sam is a wonderful cook. (Update: Hot out of the pizza oven is Sam's latest, Fresh Tomato Spinach Pizza. Don't miss this delicious recipe!)




Pizza When It's Too Hot to Cook

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven: Read the Review
Author Photo
Pizza is perfect food around the calendar, but when it's hot outside I don't like to heat up the house by turning on the oven. That's why I'm thrilled with the Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven that joined our family several months ago.

Whether I'm in the mood for a quick pizza from the freezer, if I pick up a fresh pizza from the deli, or even if I make my own pizza from scratch, the Pizzazz allows me to prepare it without heating up the house. This awesome appliance also saves time since there's no preheating required. It works for other foods, too, as you'll learn when you read my full Pizzazz Plus review.




So, are you hungry yet? 


These recipes should get you through October's Pizza Month celebration or any month, year, or day of the week that you find yourself in the mood for a slice of one of America's favorite foods. I'd love if you leave a comment to let me know which of these is your favorite pizza recipe.

~Susan 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Food Review: Southern Good Luck Foods for the New Year


Set the table for a down-home New Year's Eve party. Give your family and friends the best of wishes with these Southern good luck foods for the New Year.

The Deep South of the United States is filled with good people, good times, and good food. Along with this goodness is an air of superstition and food symbolism. And, the New Year is no exception. On New Year's Eve, Southerners have three favorite dishes that are more than just good luck charms. These foods are plentiful and inexpensive.

Here are the three foods you'll find on a Southern table for New Year's Eve dinner. Serve these dishes to your party guests in the hope that y'all will gain wealth, health, and happiness in the coming year.

Serve black-eyed peas to grow your wealth

Don't go making the mistake of calling these dried packages of protein beans. Any Southerner will tell you that these are not beans, these are peas. Black-eyed peas, in fact, and they symbolize good luck.

It is believed that eating black-eyed peas will help expand wealth because the peas swell up and expand when cooked. Also, black-eyed peas can endure the rough spots. These peas grow in the harsh southern summer sun when many other plants wither and die.

Black-eyed peas are served often at our house. It's easy to cook black-eyed peas and there are so many ways to prepare these staple foods.  We make a simple black-eyed pea and vegetable soup with onions, carrots, and collard greens.

Patrick and Gina Neeley, from Down Home with the Neeleys on the Food Network, have an awesome recipe for Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork. Their recipe calls for chicken stock. If you are looking for a low-sodium and vegetarian soup stock, save your vegetable scraps and make your own homemade vegetable soup stock instead.

Add a side of collards to have hope for better things to come


Collard greens are the color of money, the color of hope, and the color of new growth. How can you go wrong with the triple crown of good luck?

This West Coast girl had never heard of collards until moving to the South. The bitter taste and tough texture weren't to my liking. Then we started growing collards in our garden and picking the young leaves for our dinners. The flavor is much milder and the leaves are much easier to eat.

Another popular Southern cook, Paula Deen, has a simple dish for a Quick Collard Green Saute that is delicious. If you don't like collard greens, you can substitute any of the cooking greens such as spinach, mustard greens, bok choy, or Chinese cabbage.

Clean your plate with cornbread to keep your good fortune

Leqenik by Violetamyftari. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
As my best Southern Gentleman would say, "Gotta slop up all those peas and collards, can't let the good luck go to waste." And a slice of golden cornbread is just the way to save your good fortune. The golden yellow of the cornbread symbolizes riches and because the cornbread rises as it cooks, it is a symbol of increasing wealth.

Add a touch of golden happiness to your New Year's meal with this Buttery Corn Bread Recipe from Taste of Home. This is a simple recipe that just takes a few minutes to mix together and 30 minutes to bake.

Sit back and enjoy your holiday get-together


After dinner, sit back and enjoy the Southern hospitality. Spend quality time with your family and friends. Share some laughter. Sing some happy songs. And, have hope in a prosperous new year.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Food Review: The Best Simple Snacks for Santa

Food review of the best simple snacks for Santa (by Coletta Teske)

When Santa stops at your home, treat him nice with some special treats. Find a food that will please in this food review of the best simple snacks for Santa.

During the holidays, Santa is one busy person. Going from home to home, visiting all of the good girls and boys can sure work up an appetite. When Santa stops at your home, show him your hospitality and offer Santa a snack to warm him from his frosty nose to his icicle toes.

These snacks are made with real foods and can be served to unexpected visitors in just a few minutes. With a little advance preparation, these snacks can be heated up quickly to give you more time to spend with friends and family. And Santa, of course!

Offer Santa something hot to drink


Santa will enjoy a hot chocolate to drink after being out in the cold snow

After being out in the cold and snow, Santa will enjoy this delicious Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe. Dash to the pantry for some milk, cocoa powder, honey, and coconut oil. Then, turn on the stove and warm up the whole mix. In five minutes, you'll have a hot chocolate that's sure to bring Santa back next year.

This simple snack for Santa is so much better than the pre-made packaged hot cocoa mixes. The best part about his recipe is that you control the amount of sugar in the hot cocoa.

Set out a plate of Christmas cookies


Offer Santa a favorite Christmas cookie, the gingerbread cookie

Santa loves cookies and he'll be looking for that plate of cookies near the fireplace. Cookies give Santa a jolly feeling. This year, give Santa a traditional Christmas cookie made from real foods and made by hand.

These White Chocolate Dipped Chewy Gingerbread Cookies (www.jamhands.net/2013/12/white-chocolate-dipped-chewy.html)from Jam Hands will have Santa coming back for more. And, he may want to take the whole cookie jar home with him. These cookies aren't the hard and stale gingerbread men that stand guard over the gingerbread house decorations. These cookies are moist and chewy. And, the cookies can be dipped in white chocolate or almond bark for added flavor.

Send Santa on his way with a handheld snack


Santa will enjoy these simple snacks of meat pies and vegetarian pies

Santa has a busy night ahead of him and he'll need something hearty to fill his belly before he heads back out into the cold. Send Santa up the chimney with a savory snack that he can hold in one hand and eat along the way. Savory meat and vegetable pies will surely keep Santa from getting hungry as he makes his rounds all around town.

This Mushroom, Gorgonzola, and Caramelized Onion Hand Pies Recipe (www.10thkitchen.com/2013/11/mushroom-gorgonzola-caramelized-onion-hand-pies-recipe) can be made in advance and frozen until you're ready to feed Santa his Christmas feast. If you're afraid of making pasty dough, this recipe has an easy crust recipe that uses sour cream as the secret ingredient.

If you don't want to fuss with a crust, try these Crustless Mini Quiches (www.wickedgoodkitchen.com/crustless-mini-quiches-gluten-free-self-crust/) from Wicked Good Kitchen. These mini quiches are so easy to put together. Just pour the ham, bacon, cheese, and whipped eggs in muffin tins and bake. These quiches can be made in advance, stored in the freezer, and warmed up when you're ready to serve this simple snack for Santa.

Simple snacks for simple holiday pleasures


Be prepared for visitors this holiday season. Keep your refrigerator and pantry stocked with ingredients that can be mixed up and heated up quickly. Fix a few hearty handheld snacks in advance to keep dish washing to a minimum. Keep your holiday foods and beverages simple. You'll have more time to enjoy the season.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Thanksgiving Turkey ~ Part I of Thanksgiving Recipes on Review This!

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ~ Photo by Julie on Flickr.com

I absolutely love Thanksgiving and all of the Thanksgiving dinner recipes!  For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been a family gathering time.  

My mother and I always prepare our traditional Thanksgiving recipes in anticipation of the family members flying, driving or riding in for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We never know exactly what to expect or what will happen when everyone is together, but we know what we will eat.


Preparing for Thanksgiving

The week before Thanksgiving, I go to the grocery store with my list.  The holidays are probably the only time of the year that I really enjoy grocery shopping.  Not because of the food I am buying, but because I know that food will be prepared for the holiday celebration and the people who make it all worthwhile.

My Grandmother & Brother ~ Holidays Past


Sometimes things get hectic and I get a little stressed, but I do try very hard to make the holidays easier by adhering to my own advice offered  in my article, Ten Ways to Make the Holiday Easier.

I want to enjoy the time I get to spend with my whole family and I want to have wonderful memories to reflect on throughout the years.  I also want them to enjoy the holidays in our home and to have fond, pleasant memories of time well spent.


The Main Course

When I was growing up, my grandmother and mother prepared the Thanksgiving meal.   Now, my mother and I cook the dinner.  Occasionally, my sister or one of my sisters-in-law will arrive in town early enough to help.  That is always guaranteed to be amusing and entertaining!

http://cookingfortheholidays.com/bake-a-turkey/

It is my job to prepare and cook the turkey.  I try to beat everyone else out of bed so I can shower and dress for the day.  By the time I am in the kitchen to start washing the turkey, Mom and Dad are usually here to chat with me while I get started.  Once the turkey is in the oven, Mom joins me and we work together for hours of cooking, laughing, cutting up and sometimes just talking.  It is a fabulous day.  I have always maintained that it is my favorite day of the year.  Sure, we get tired, but I wouldn't change a thing.

I share my recipe and tips for How to Bake a Turkey here:  Cooking for the Holidays


What's Next

Now that we have the turkey out of the way, be sure to join us here again next week.  We will be sharing the side dishes and desserts for the Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes Menu on Review This!


Be sure to check out additional Thanksgiving tips on Traveling Food - Holidays and Potlucks




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Wicked Brews & Beverages - Part III of Halloween Recipes on Review This!

Wicked Brews & Beverages - Part III of Halloween Recipes on Review This
Sometimes we focus so much on the food, that we forget that the Halloween wicked brews and beverages can be just as much fun on a Halloween buffet as the food itself.  From eerie colors to  floating body parts in our punch, one that that is for sure, they all exude the Halloween spirit.

I am going to start with the "mildest" Halloween punch, but do beware!  The further you go in this article, the more wicked the brew.


 
Halloween Orange Sherbet Punch

Sherbet punch is one of the easiest and delicious party drinks.  I am going to share my own personal recipe for Halloween Orange Sherbet Punch right here, right now.  No need to go any further to discover an awesome Halloween punch suitable for any party or any age.  I opt for Orange Sherbet, but green or raspberry would be awesome for Halloween too.

Flickr.com cc
Easy Sherbet Punch Recipe Ingredients by Sylvestermouse

  • 1/2 gallon Orange Sherbet
  • 2 Liters Ginger Ale

Instructions


  1. Let Sherbet soften for approximately 45 minutes.
  2. Cut Sherbet into small squares or scoop into round balls. 
  3. Place Sherbet squares / balls in large punch bowl
  4. Slowly add Ginger Ale


Brew-Ha-Ha Punch Recipe

Photo: Ralph Anderson; Styling: Buffy Hargett
The Brew-Ha-Ha Punch recipe is a really neat Halloween punch that is family and kid friendly.   

By mixing a potion of green drink mix (like Kool Aid), pineapple juice & Ginger Ale, you will delight everyone with a cool green punch for Halloween.

Complete Brew-Ha-Ha Recipe can be found here:  MyRecipes.com





Black Halloween Punch

Featured with the recipe at Allrecipes.com
A black Halloween Punch would be totally awesome for any Halloween Party!  

With a mixture of grape and orange drink mixes with ginger ale, you too can easily create this ominous looking Halloween punch.

 Black Halloween Punch Recipe Here:  Allrecipes.com

Create that smoky effect under the punch by pouring water over dry ice in a larger, separate bowl.  

Rules for Using Dry Ice ~ Know the Rules Before You Play with Dry Ice

  1. Wear Gloves!  Never touch dry ice to skin
  2. Never Drink Dry Ice
  3. Never Put Dry Ice directly in a drink or your mouth
  4. Do Not Put Dry Ice in Freezer ~ Use within 24 hrs. of purchase
  5. Keep Dry Ice Away from Children


Halloween Ice Cubes in Any Punch

You can add a touch of Halloween to any punch with shaped ice cube molds.  You can freeze water for traditional ice cubes or you can freeze the actual punch in these molds to avoid watering down your punch.  Either adds the thrill of Halloween to your punch while keeping it cool.






Eyeball Punch

I am featuring this particular Eyeball Punch recipe because of the authors ingenious way of creating the eyeballs.  

She shares her really neat trick with everyone on her blog.  You will need to scroll to the bottom of her post to see her pictorial directions, but it is well worth the visit.

See the Eyeball Punch Recipe by Heidi:  HappinessIsHomemade.net  


Shrunken Heads in Cider

MarthaStewart.com
This Shrunken Heads Cider is fabulously awesome.  My hat's off to Allison DiNatale for creating and sharing this frightfully cool recipe on the Martha Stewart website.

Would you believe those shrunken heads are simply Granny Smith apples?!!!

Very, very cool indeed!

This recipe can be made for children, but she has also included the portion instructions if you care to spice it up with rum.

See the Complete Shrunken Head Cider Recipe by clicking the following link:   MarthaStewart.com




 For Adults Only ~ The Following Recipes Contain Alcohol



Purplicious Potion


In complete honestly, I cannot attest to the taste of this Purplicious Potion.  I simply thought it looked appropriate for Halloween, plus I love the color purple.  

I will need some of my friends to test this "potion" and report back to determine if it tastes as awesome as it looks.

But, I must ask you, isn't that photo spectacular!

Try this Purplicious Potion Recipe.  It can be found at:  FamilySpice.com




Halloween Cocktails


Or, you just might want to give this one a shot!  


Cheers to my "spirited" friends and collegues

Recipe & Photo Jay'sCatering.com




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halloween Desserts - Part II of Halloween Recipes on Review This!

Halloween party planning is in full swing. As part of our series for Halloween Recipes on Review This, I now feature dessert recipes for the fun of Halloween. And I found some for those amazingly creepy and ghoulish parties, as well as for those charming fun parties.

A Creepy Looking Snake Cake

This one, I just couldn't resist. Snakes are the one animal that really creep me out. That means a snake cake is perfect for a Halloween party dessert. Not only does this look incredibly real, but it will delight you guests with how good it is when you can actually break down and cut the cake.

The snake cake tutorial is from Sylvestermouse, so we know the instructions are easy to follow and the tips are perfect to make sure we can duplicate the look. She is always so careful about that. But, she did more than just this scary and perfect-for-Halloween-desserts snake cake.

 Halloween Ghost Castle Cake


Sylvestermouse has a great talent for creating unique and interesting cakes. Her Halloween Ghost Castle Cake is ideal for those parties that feature the fun side of Halloween. Charming, sweet and completely edible, this ghostly castle makes a wonderful centerpiece for your party table.

This Ghost Castle Cake would also make a perfect addition to the kids' school parties. Can't you just picture the children's faces of delight when you bring that cake into their party? 

And believe me, you can make this cake yourself! I know because I've done it. I followed Sylvestermouse's instructions carefully and it turned out perfect. So enjoy a little of the fun side of Halloween, too.

Ghoulish Chocolate Candy Molds 


As long as you are preparing fun stuff for your Halloween buffet, try adding in some brain candies, skull and cross bones shapes or even a few chocolate spiders. Halloween candy molds are easy to use to create some extra little desserts for your party guests. 

My favorite trick is to tuck some of these chocolate candies around and under the dessert platters and cake stands on my buffet table. Yes, I can creep out my guests with the spiders, but that's part of the fun of a Halloween party. 

(www.web-surfing-with-susan.com/halloween-candy-molds)

Spooky Spider Cupcake


No Halloween dessert review would be complete without cupcakes. Thanks to CherylFay, we have some spooky spider cupcakes for you. Of course, she makes it easy to follow her great tutorial. And these are easy to do. Using both Oreo cookies and M & M candies you end up with a perfect treat for just about anyone.

These cupcakes would make a great addition to your Halloween buffet table. Set them up on a cake plate stand so they add visual appeal to your table. Then stand back and watch your guests enjoy themselves. 

More Halloween Recipe Reviews


Be sure to check out more of the Halloween Recipe Review series. We started with Appetizers that will delight your guests. Some truly creepy and some just for fun. Keep a watch as we prepare you for the best Halloween party!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Appetizers - Part I of Halloween Recipes on Review This!

Halloween Appetizers - Part I of Halloween Recipes on Review This!
Finding the best Halloween recipes and most appropriate food for our Halloween parties can often be a daunting task.  

Therefore, we will be focusing on helping our readers by featuring the delicious food for Halloween that we have found across the web.  I do believe there is something here for everyone.

We will start with the party starters themselves, appetizers!



Jack-o’-Lantern Sandwich Bites

Jack O Lantern Sandwich Bites Recipe
Jack-o’-Lantern Sandwich Bites by Frank P. at Delish.com

These cute little pumpkin sandwich bites are perfect for the whole family including children!   They are not too scary in appearance, but would be delectably delicious.  

Since they use our everyday favorite meat and cheese, they are sure to be a hit and something that the kids will also eat. 
 

You can find the instructions for constructing these cute little pumpkin sandwiches on Delish.com by clicking here.   

   

Halloween Deviled Eggs


Deviled Eggs are always one of my own personal favorite appetizers to eat, so I an constantly on the lookout for new and interesting ways to prepare them for parties.

For the Halloween party, I have found two ways to prepare Deviled Eggs to serve as appetizers.  You choose which one best suits your personal tastes in ingredients.  Either would be fantastic to look at sitting on the Halloween buffet table.  

 

Devils on Horseback



 Devils on Horseback by DecoratingEventsTo go with your "deviled" eggs, you may wish to also include Devils on Horseback.  

This is a completely new idea for my Halloween party buffet table.  I had never heard of Devils on Horseback until I read this article and recipe by DecoratingEvents.

The Devils on Horseback look perfect for a Halloween appetizer, but the recipe actually sounds delicious.   

In the article, she also includes a recipe for Devils on Horseback featuring shrimp instead of bacon & cheese.

The perfect combination for the Halloween party!


Wonton Bats 

http://www.firstforwomen.com/posts/wonton-bats-65988#.VD_Y2cnSn7F
Wonton Bats by First for Women
In my search for great Halloween appetizers for our Halloween party, I also discovered these cute little guys!

Bats and Halloween just seem to go together. Adding edible bats to my Halloween buffet seems like a wonderful idea.  

Now, I just wonder, will my guests be able to eat these cute little bats!  I might have to close my eyes to keep from looking into those little bat eyes myself.

When I consider my guests, I seriously do have images in my mind of them trying to "fly" the bats across the room at each other.   We do enjoy playing with our food, especially on Halloween.



Halloween Skull Veggie Platter

Now this Halloween vegetable platter is ingenious and was clearly created with the vegetarian in mind.

It is beautifully creative and artistically designed.  This will most likely be the food centerpiece on my Halloween buffet table at this years Halloween party.





More Halloween Appetizer Recipes

We are still searching for more great Halloween Appetizer Recipes.
 
If you have published a Halloween Appetizers Recipe that would be great additions to our table, please share you link in our guestbook below.   We are always on the lookout for great new articles to feature.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Halloween Pizza

I love Halloween!  All of the fun costumes, the eerie decorations, the spooky music and the creepy food all add to creating a fun filled evening once a year.

When our children were very young and anxious to go out trick or treating, I would willingly defer to my husband and allow him to prepare dinner for the family.

He makes excellent pizzas and pizzas are perfect for Halloween.   We could easily grab a piece of pizza, eat it before we went out and finish dinner after we returned.  But the real reason we always loved our Halloween pizza was simply because it was so much fun to see what he would do to freak me out and entertain the children simultaneously.  


Halloween Spider Web Pizza


Have you ever had spiders on your pizza?  I have!!!

Spiders don't normally freak me out too much.  Since I grew up with four brothers, none of the creatures that normally frighten females really bother me much.  However, having spiders on my pizza really did get to me the first time my husband decided to decorate our pizza with spiders.   I don't believe I had ever screeched at that volume or in that fear filled high octave previously.

Now he adds a spider on the pizza each year in hopes of getting the same initial reaction he sparked the first time.  I always hate to disappoint him so I have to "act" like the spider is such a surprise and so very awful, but I have never been able to repeat my mournful wail. 

It doesn't look very frightening in the photo, but I assure you, if you are eating by candlelight, that spider looks down right evil!  Oh,  and those horrible rubber hairs on his legs just send chills down my back when I reach for a piece of pizza and accidentally touch the spider.  Eek!  



If you want to have a bit of harmless eerie fun this year on Halloween, try decorating your pizza with spiders!  
 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cooking for the 4th of July

Family and friends gather in our home every year to watch the 4th of July fireworks and celebrate Independence Day.  Long before dark and fireworks, the table is always laden with a variety of food in order to accommodate the various preferences, health issues and diets.


Appetizers  to Start

 

Fruit is the one food choice we all have in common and is part of every holiday menu.  However, for our 4th of July celebration, we also get to include Watermelon and Cantaloupe.  We have several family members who enjoy creating shaped bowls from the watermelon rind and filling it with a variety of fresh fruit balls and berries.  Ct_mom shows us all how to do that in her article Fun Carved Watermelon Ideas.  She even included how to make a watermelon keg in her article, which is something I have never done before and would love to try myself this year.



Main Course for Our 4th of July Meal

 

http://food.squidoo.com/homemade-barbeque-recipe-for-the-best-barbeque-sandwiches
For many years now, I have made my own special barbeque recipe for sandwiches simply because it is my husband's favorite sandwich meal.  

For our vegan daughter, we will prepare Grilled Black Bean Burgers.   I was rather excited to discover that Black Bean Burger recipe by Tvyps since I am always searching for a meat alternative to serve for our daughter.



Drinks & 4th of July Dessert 



http://sylvestermouse.hubpages.com/hub/4th-of-July-My mother always brings the 4th of July Flag Cake.  She started making that cake for the 4th of July when I as a little girl.  Here we are decades later and it is still a family favorite.  

I also make homemade, fresh squeezed lemonade for our gathering.  My lemonade recipe is really very easy to prepare and is the most requested summertime drink in our home, but it is always fun to add a little fun to the mix with Mocktails by hlkljgk.




http://sylvestermouse.squidoo.com/homemade-lemonade-recipe

Write & Share Your 4th of July Recipes


The Fourth of July celebration is truly a blast in our home!   I am always looking for new ideas and recipes to serve and share.  

If you have a recipe for the 4th of July celebration that you would like to share, simply leave your link in the guestbook below.   



If you are planning a party for the 4th of July, you will definitely want to visit "Patriotic Party Time" for a wealth of suggestions and tips.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Holiday Cookbooks: Perfect for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to pull out your favorite cookbook and plan a special treat for mom.  

If you or your mom love cooking for the holidays, or anytime, a holiday cookbook is also the perfect gift for Mother's Day.  I know I personally have a collection of specialty and holiday cookbooks that I absolutely love and frequently grab for reference.  I enjoy "pouring over a cookbook", as my own mother would say, reading recipes, making a grocery list and planning to try a new recipe.


The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays


Our very own pioneer woman, RenaissanceWoman2010, reviewed a fabulous cookbook for all of us recently in her article entitled, I'm Spending the Holidays with Ree.  I was so impressed by her review, that I simply had to purchase my own copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays.

I have my own grandmother's Pecan Pie recipe that I use, but the recipe and featured photo were all I needed to see to know I had to have the cookbook!

The Pioneer Woman's Holiday cookbook is chock full of some great recipes and while I don't know Ree personally, I do know she will now be a part of my holidays too.


May You All Have a 
Happy Mother's Day!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Special Easter Treats Equal Special Easter Memories

I have always enjoyed creating fun food for holidays, birthdays and special occasions, but Easter treats are especially delightful.  There is something inherently fun about bunnies, lambs, chicks, and decorated eggs.  

They all represent the celebration of new life and spring, which make them most appropriate for our Easter celebrations.  


Making Special Memories While Making Special Easter Treats

In our home, everyone gets involved in making special Easter treats.  One of my all time favorite Easter memories was actually when my son was in college.  He called to ask if he could come home for the weekend before Easter, bring a friend and make Easter cupcakes for a charity bake sale.   

There are many reasons why that request thrilled my soul, all of which I am sure any mother of college age children could understand.   I had a wonderful time drinking coffee, taking pictures and watching the guys "create" their special Easter treats.   It is truly amazing what all you can learn about your children if you simply listen to their conversation while they decorate cupcakes.  

The faces they put on the Easter bunny and lamb cupcakes were simply downright hilarious.  Needless to say, their cupcakes sold out at the bake sale and I never even got to taste one myself, but I know for a fact, they were delightful.

Cupcakes in photos were created by using
  the Wilton Mini Cakes Bunny Rabbit Pan Mold 
 and the Wilton Lamb Mini Treats Pan



More Special Easter Treats Suggestions 

Stepping out of my own kitchen and into the homes of other  authors, I find there are several awesome Easter treat suggestions that would truly be a lot of fun for the whole family.  

http://hubpages.com/food/easter-cake-pops-recipe
Andreaberrios  invites us to make this gorgeous and creative Easter Cake Pops.  

She offers suggestions and recipes for chicks, bunnies and Easter egg cake pops.  I am certain any of these would be extra special Easter treats.





Seeking More Special Treats 


If you are like me and you are constantly on the lookout for special treats.

Now tell us, do you have a special Easter treat story full of special Easter memories to share?



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cooking for Easter


For many families, Easter is a day for tradition and celebration, but traditions have to start somewhere.  

Most of the Easter traditions in our family were started by my mother, and her chicks have simply followed her example throughout the ensuing years.  

However, any of us can start a new Easter tradition without having to terminate the family traditions we hold so close to our hearts.  I have found several things in the following articles, that I would like to add to our Easter family traditions.

Some changes are just for fun, while others are for dietary needs.


The Easter Menu


https://hubpages.com/food/carrotcake-2
The traditional Easter menu in my childhood home was similar to Treasures-by-Brenda's Traditional Easter Dinner Menu.   The one main deviation that Brenda makes from our family menu is a luscious carrot cake.   As I read her article, I wondered why I have never had a carrot cake for Easter.   It just makes since.  Easter bunnies need Easter carrot cake!  

Therefore, a new tradition must be started in our home this year.  We need carrot cake on our menu.


Easter Recipes for Vegetarians & Vegans


As the "chef" for holidays, I vowed to try to find ways to make cooking for the holidays easier.  

One of my personal favorite tips is to do as much in the days before the holiday as possible.  Then, you can focus on enjoying the actual day.

KateHon published a totally awesome :"Do Ahead Easy Easter Brunch Ideas" article.   This article is packed with recipes for just about everyone.  She even has recipes for Vegetarians and recipes for Vegans!   Discovering this article thrilled me beyond description.  You see, my daughter is a vegan and I have been quite challenged to find recipes that are actually vegan friendly.   

Therefore, a new tradition and addition to our Easter dinner will be her Vegan Spinach and Mushroom Quiche Recipe.  Since my husband is the Quiche chef of the family, I will get help in the kitchen too!

So Sorry!  Kate's Article is no longer published
 


Easter Desserts

I love all of the fabulous specialty desserts for Easter.  Frankly, the pleasure derived from making and serving the desserts far outweighs eating them for me.  

As you can well imagine, I actually had a difficult time selecting the dessert article to feature.  

In the end, I selected two articles that really stood out because they both offer a variety of fun ideas and recipes.  

Barkely's article presents several really beautiful Easter cake Ideas and IdeaDesigns focuses solely on fabulous Easter cupcakes.   

Both of these articles have gorgeous Easter desserts and IdeaDesigns included several awesome recipes!

It is truly a difficult decision.  I just might have to have multiple Easter desserts this year.  

Now that really would be a new Easter tradition! 



Please Share Your Easter Menu Ideas and Articles

We would love to hear your menu ideas, suggestions and tips for making the Easter holiday easier, and Easter Recipes.  Please share your Easter recipes and tips links in the guestbook below.  

I look forward to hearing from all of you!    





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.