Saturday, December 29, 2012

Yummyday Tuesday - Homemade Pound Cake Recipe

And here it neighbor's famous Pound Cake Recipe (be sure to top it off with the Chocolate Gravy or Grand Berries recipes from last Tuesday's post!)

Renee's Famous Pound Cake
Shift Together:
Flour 3 ½ C
Salt ¼ Tsp.
Baking Powder ½ tsp.

Cream together short. & Sugar
Shortening 1 ½ C
Sugar 3 C.

Add Milk
Milk 1 ¼ C

Fold in eggs
Eggs, Beatened 5

Add Vanilla
Vanilla 2 tsp.

Mix Well
Bake in Bunt Cake Pan 325 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Serve warm with toppings!

For more great receipes visit

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Worry? Wednesday - Packing Up Your Holiday Decor

Recyled post from December 2009:
AFTER Holiday but BEFORE New Years, TIPS
Now that the holidays are over, don't just stuff your trimmings in a box or take your trash to the dump - THINK about how you can re-think the way you end this holiday season and how it carries over to next year. When you only have a couple of days off - it's easy to throw it all back in the box but DON'T! Read through the following tips to tweak your routine in order to start the year off right - and get yourself better prepare for next Christmas!
Use these simple steps as a starting point to a great new way of Simpler Living...
As you starting pulling down your tree and gathering your other holiday decor, designate one area to collect and put everything there. I use the dining room table. I pull all my empty storage bins, tissue paper for wrapping delicate ornaments and my camera to the room. I go from room to room, gathering all the things to store and take them to the table. I try to separate the items into "piles" that will be stored together or stored by what room they go in. Example: All Christmas balls go in one storage bin so they are placed together. Everything that I use in the kitchen (cookie cutters, hand towels, etc) goes in one bin, so next year, when I start my holiday cooking , I can pull this one bin out to use if I haven't put up my other decor yet.
After I have been to each room and EVERYTHING is on the table (or surrounding floor!), I begin to pack. Each item is checked for damage and put in the "donate" pile if damaged or unwanted. Sometimes I go several years without using an item - when this happens I may keep it separate for a few years to see if I still want it. After a few years of not using it , I will offer it to my brother or it goes in the "donate" box. Last year my friends and I had a "Unloved Holiday Ornament Swap" where we exchanged good decorations with each other. I also make a list of what I may need for next year (lights, etc).

By carefully packing UP your items this year, it will make Unpacking them next year a breeze. I photo the inside of each bin and place the photo on the outside with a label. This helps me find items later.

TAKE STOCK NOW - not next December! Take a minute to make a mental list of what you need to restock for next year. Holiday wrapping supplies can be found at drastically reduced prices in January. Place gift wrap in tall kitchen trash cans that can be easily stored. Keep all your holiday wrapping supplies separated and stored with your holiday decorations. This keeps it from combining with your everyday wrap and handy when the holiday comes back around.

ORGANIZE your WRAP - Take loose rolls or scraps of ribbons and roll them around an empty paper towel cardboard roll. Use a paper towel stand to stack rolls of ribbons that have their own holders.
Use a clean small trash can to stack the long rolls of wrapping paper up. To keep rolls from unrolling and getting crushed, roll a rubber band around each roll, instead of taping the ends. This makes it easy to pull out what you need. Take a sturdy shoe box and fill it with everything you need to wrap - extra Scissors, multiple tape rolls, gifts tags, pens, etc. Any torn or unusable ribbon, save for kid's crafts in a clear tub. They can be used for homemade cards and crafts next year.

SORT your DECOR, as you put it away - Go through an examine each item before you store it. If it's broke, get rid of it. If it still holds sentimental value - then store it with other valuable items, NOT with your usable ornaments. Do you have tons of things you keep but don't use? Don't put it back in the closet. Collect these unwanted treasures in one box and donate them to a children's shelter for their use next year.
ORGANIZE your DECOR - Use everyday household items to retire your decor for the year. Egg crates can hold delicate ornaments. Tissue paper and gift bags from this year's gifts can be packed with holiday tins, towels, stuffed decor. Put all kitchen holiday utensils such as cookie cutters, snowman salt and pepper shakers and holiday paper plates all together and store OUT OF THE KITCHEN and with your decorations. You only use them once a year, keep them with the other holiday items. Keep all the same holiday items in clean, matching, PLASTIC tubs. Label the outside with a picture of the contents.
DONATE unwanted gifts - It's sounds terrible to "re-gift" but if you don't love it and it's only going to end up in the closet - move it out. Take it to the women's shelter. Donate to the military overseas. Give it to your mother - just move it from your house! This is YOUR year to de-clutter, don't start by keeping unwanted gifts.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Yummyday Tuesday - Lemon Scones, Chocolate Gravy and Grand Berries

The following post is a contiuation of my Simple Party Planning Course and the menu items are from my Simple Brunch.

Final week in the Simple Brunch Menu Series. Links to the previous recipes and your printable grocery shopping list is at the end of this post!

My Secret Lemon Scones

You would not believe how many people BEG for this recipe - lucky for me, there' nothing to it!

One box of Duncan Hines Blueberry Muffin Mix
One Box of Duncan Hines Poppy Seed Muffin Mix
Bake the blueberry muffins, as directed, LEAVING OUT THE BLUEBERRIES, and use mini muffins cups
Use the Lemon Glaze out of the Poppy Muffin Box on top of the mini scones.

That's it! I came up with this recipe after I bought the Poppy Seed mix one time and forgot to put on the glaze. The next time I made scones and needed a glaze, I remembered the left-over glaze and used it. It was a hit and nothing I make compares!
Chocolate GRAVY - Serve warm on top of homemade Pound Cake (that recipe is for another day!)
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1/4 Cup Milk
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Stick Butter
1 box Powdered Sugar
Melt butter in milk on LOW - stirring constantly. Add sugars and cocoa - stir until melted. Add vanilla. You are now in Heaven!
Grand Berries - serve chilled on top of homemade pound cake (sorry - you still have to wait for that one!)
24oz Fresh blackberries - frozen will work if you must
1 MINI Grand Marnier
1 Tbsp Honey
Mix well and marinate overnight.
  For more great receipes visit

Hot Russian Tea

Smoked Salmon

Served with Capers, Red Onions and Lagniappe

Maries' Cheese ball

Served with Artisan Crackers

Spicy Tomato Grits

Thick Cut Bacon and Sausage Patties

Sautéed Spinach with Onions and Garlic
Lemon Glazed Scones

Coffee Bar
Grocery List
Fruit & Produce Section
Orange Slices – Three Oranges, sliced into circles
1 Lemon - or Lemon Juice
Grapes – Several Large bunches
Red Onion – One Medium, finely chopped
Onion – One large onion finely chopped
One large bag fresh spinach (apx. 2#)
Fresh Garlic – 6 cloves finely chopped, but not minced
Baking Goods Isle
Sugar - 4 Cups
Cinnamon Sticks – 3
Whole Cloves – 10-12 pieces
Lady & Sons Seasoning – see recipe
Accent – 3 Tbsp.
Worcestershire – 3 Tbsp.
Cheesecloth – for Tea
Grits – 1 cup QUICK-Cooking, but not instant
Blueberry muffin mix – Do not add the berries!
Poppy Seed muffin mix – Do not make the muffins, just need the glaze
Sugar Cubes
Mini Muffin Cups
Meat & Seafood
Beef Slices – See Recipe Notes
Bacon – One Package THICK CUT
Sausage – Two packages of 8 patties
Smoked Salmon – One large pre-packaged SMOKED
Dairy & Refrigerated Section
Cream Cheese – 4 oz. for the salmon plus 3 8pz. Bars for cheese ball
Eggs – 2, slightly beaten
Milk – 1 ¼ Cup
Velveeta – 6 oz.
Cheddar – 2 ½ Cup, shredded
Orange Juice – 2-64oz. Juice plus one Frozen OJ
Other Items
Capers – One small Jar
Rotel – 1 Can
Crackers – 1 large box of assorted crackers plus one box Tollhouse
Coffee & Tea Isle
Coffee – Foldgers Classic Roast or Blue Mountain
Individual Creamers
Tea – 1 Box of Regular Tea Bags

Champagne - 2 bottles

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Okay, Okay! Here's the Oreo Ball Recipe!

Funny thing, that how you're working on something and all the sudden you are bombarded with requests for the recipe/how to.

Luckily, I LOVE to share... I am finished with my bazillion Oreo balls for this season so have at it!

This original recipe comes from the famous so be sure to check out all her cool recipes too. There is also a slide show "how-to" on my website.

Ingredients: Makes apx. 3 dozen balls
1 Package of regular Oreos
6oz. Cream Cheese
1 bag of Chocolate Candy Melts (Hobby Lobby)

Twist the Oreos apart, leaving the cream on the cookies. Put into food processor and grind until they become fine crumbs. You do not want any large pieces. (Surprisingly, the crumbs will be dry even with the cream.)

Put the crumbs in a large bowl and add the softened cream cheese ½ at a time. Mix well WITH YOUR HANDS! Roll gumball sized balls in the palm of your hand and place on wax paper. FYI – These are really rich so if you make them any larger – it’s almost too much of a good thing.

Melt the chocolate melts according to package instructions. Put 4 or 5 balls in the chocolate at a time and roll them around to coat evenly. Using a fork and a spoon, remove the balls individually, tapping the excess chocolate off as you place them back on the wax paper. Before they harden, sprinkle with your favorite topping, if desired.  No need to sprinkle them as soon as you put them on the paper.You can usually dip an entire bag before they dry out. Eat them all yourself or wrap them up and give away as gifts.

Green Tip:
For my teacher gifts, I dove into my clean recycle stash for wrapping ideas. I covered Velveeta cheese boxes with tissue paper, wrapped the Oreo balls in colored saran wrap and placed them in the box. Then I put the box in a gift bag. You can also reuse the original Oreo cookie plastic container (see photo). Just cover them with colored saran wrap and top with a bow. Easy and inexpensive!

For more great receipes visit

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thinking Thursday - Party Countdown- Part 3 in a Series

Thursdays are for "thinking" out of the box. Together with Yummyday Tuesdays and Why Worry? Wednesdays - Thursdays are a part of the Simple Party Planning Series I am posting this month.

Party Countdown Schedule - if you've been following the entire series - this countdown will help you prepare for your Holiday Brunch

The 10 days to 1 Week Before:
Make a guest list for 5 to 6 couples – what ever your table will comfortably accommodate. For a simple last minute brunch, no need to mail invites. Call, but do not email, your guests.

Look through your kitchen to see what items you have on hand and make a list of what you will need (use LIST below for recipe items.)

Check all dinnerware, crystal and utensils and wash everything that needs it. Use real dinnerware, not disposable for small intimate gatherings – it makes your guests feel important.

Polish any silver you plan to use

Two Days Before:

Survey your front walk and front door, use simple decorations

Iron your linen tablecloth and go ahead and place it on the table.

Set your table with correct place settings, add place cards for an added touch

Set up the food table – See HINT #2, chose what serving dishes and utensils you will need, place on table and label with a post-it note

HINT #1: When setting up the food table, go ahead and place the serving dish and serving utensil needed for each item on the table. Using a note card, label each piece so you know where everything will go. This will allow an early guest to help place food on the table while you are doing last minute things in the kitchen.

HINT #2 - Never deep clean your home before a party. The only time your guests will be alone to take note of your housekeeping is in the guest bathroom. Be sure to deep clean here, but the rest of the house should just get a light cleaning.

Go to the grocery store. (See Shopping List Below)

The Day Before:
Follow the Prep list below:
Slice the oranges into circles, cover and refrigerate
 Chop Red Onion into fine pieces, place is small bowl. Cover – refrigerate

Put capers on a bowl that matches the red onion bowl, cover and refridge

Mix 4oz. Cream cheese with a dash of salt, pepper and garlic powder

Make the cheese ball - see recipe

Prep the grits, but do not bake yet

Bake the Scones - see recipe

Setup the coffee and tea station - Get the coffee pot ready, set out sugar, stirrers, and cups

Place a carafe for the tea

Chill the champagne

The Morning of:

HINT: If your brunch is set to start at 10:30, go ahead and shower first thing in the morning. Put on work clothes until 9:30, then change. If your party is a late brunch, wait until 1 ½ hour before starting time to shower – you’ll feel refreshed. You need to be dressed 1 hour before start time to ensure you have time to do all last minute details w/o worrying about finishing your makeup!

Make the Russian Tea – See Recipe – When finished, place in carafe

Bake the Grits – once done, leave in warm oven until time

Set out cheese ball so that it can come to room temp.

Place crackers on appropriate tray by the cheese ball

Set out capers, red onion and cream cheese dip

Place additional crackers near the salmon tray

Sautee the onions and garlic for the spinach – reserve for last minute

Bake the bacon IN THE OVEN – Line the pan with parchment paper, preferably on a rack. Be sure to use a pan that has sides to catch the grease.

Cook the Sausage – keep in warm oven until time

Last minute:

Start the coffee

Place Salmon on appropriate tray. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary
 Take grits, sausage and bacon out of the oven and place on table

Pour the lemon glaze on cold scones, and then warm the scones in the microwave

Put the grapes around the cheese ball and salmon for garnishes

Sautee the spinach with the pre-cooked onions and garlic, drain on a paper-towel and add to table.
 Double check that everything is out on the table

Open the front door if you have a storm/screen door

Last check to make sure the bathroom is freshened

Take a last minute look around, put on some lipstick, make yourself a mimosa and enjoy!

Next Thursday.....Final Notes..... For more party planning tips visit The Kendal Companies