Monday, December 26, 2011


To seat or not to seat?...that is the question.  Holiday entertaining often means a large group so when it comes to setting a formal table, is it advantageous to also set the seating?  I vote 'yes' but that could be because I enjoy whimsical place settings with placecards or my 'controlling' nature.  My sister opted not to and with 24 guests for Christmas dinner managed just fine.  There was the hesitation of where to sit at first but once settled, people selected seating and enjoyed  most congenial tablemates.  So the answer would be 'depends on the guests' or as my nephew put it 'not overthinking the situation, Aunt Susan'. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chrismoose party

This year's holiday party theme was introduced with the invitation. I hand-colored "Chris", moose, and delivered when possible and emailed when not. The theme was first imagined 3 years ago on a trip to Maine where we visited a 1700lb life-sized moose made of chocolate. pic of Lenny
There I bought cookie cutters and a plush Chocolate Moose.  My moose collection had grown since (9 now) , living in the attic awaiting its debut.

The menu followed the theme with
                 stuffed mooserooms and
                                    moosetard chicken.

         deviled moose there such a thing? 
                 I'm not sure but I see antlers!

                   Labels were created to identify items, 
                            even at the bar

 My version of a mudslide served with the caveat 
 "goes down fast and you could be injured"

Apricot nectar, amaretto and rum

                         Guests got in the spirit 
                                      wearing antlers on                                                            their heads 

and I, eventually, resorted to them on my feet.  

The dessert table featured chocolate moose,
           moose droppings 
                        and moose cookies.  


       Guests left with their favor bags  
            (a box of chocolate covered mint patties).

To all and to all, a good night

Thursday, December 8, 2011


is making your guests feel at home,
even when you wish they were     (smile)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Walt Disney's Birthday

is today.  Walt Disney, the creator of many wonderful movies, incredible characters, and
fascinating theme parks, was born in 1901. Did you know that he once ate a hot dog in
Disneyland and counted how many steps it took to finish it. It took him about 25 steps,
which is roughly the spacing used between trash cans in every Disney park today!
Trivia fact from Audri and Jim Lanford

Sunday, December 4, 2011

National Cookie Day

A festive cookie for the season:  Poinsettia Cookie

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp extract (peppermint or almond)
2 3/4 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
 maraschino cherry halves

In a large bowl beat butter and sugar with mixer until fluffy.  Add egg and extract.  Add flour and salt.  Divide dough in quarters.  Refrigerate until used. Between two pieces of waxed paper roll one piece of dough into 10 1/2 inch square.  Trim edges to 10 inch square.  Cut five 2 inch strips both ways.  You'll have 25 2 inch squares.  Place some on ungreased cookie sheet.  Cut corner in 1 inch towards center.  Fold every other corner in to center making a pinwheel.  Place a cherry in center.  Bake about 15 minutes at 350 degrees until golden.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.  You can tint half the dough red for a colored poinsettia.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December celebrations

  • December is Read a new book month,  Safe Toy and Gift month, and Universal Human Rights month.  You can also have a party to celebrate Frank Sinatra's and Walt Disney's birthdays. or the patents of the phonograph, golf tee, and chewing gum.  In this month the thermometer and bowling ball were invented and the South Pole was discovered.  Whatever your faith, enjoy the blessings of the season and the first day of winter. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I once was told that a lobster turns red because he's embarrassed at being caught naked. do you dress a lobster?  At home, after cooking, there's nothing more decadent than dipping lobster meat into melted butter, letting it drip down your chin, and enjoying it that way.  Plain and simple and simply, plain delicious.  However, you find lobster dressed in a number of ways on menus these days:  lobster nachos, lobster cakes, lobster raviolis, lobster lasagna.   One used to see lobster newburg but not so often anymore.  But that's one of our favorite preparations.  Here's a simple newburg sauce:
Melt 1/4 cup butter and whisk in 1/4 cup of flour making a roux.  Add 2 cups half & half and heat on low.  Do not boil.  Add a dash of cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and salt.  Add 2 oz. dry sherry.  Sprinkle with paprika, for color.  Can be served over shrimp or mixed seafood.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Today is the last tailgating party of the season.  Let's make it easy.  No grill -- pick up a rotisserie chicken.  If you wrap it in foil, it will stay warm for a long time.  While at the market, buy pre-made sides; no preparation time.  No table to set -- package individual place settings in small handled tote bags. Inside will be a disposable plate, napkin, cutlery and a cup.  Once used they are returned to the bag and tossed in the trash. Simplify, cheer on your favorite team, enjoy food with friends and the crisp autumn air.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homemade Bread Day

I don't make yeast breads; just quick breads.  One of the most fun is monkey bread.  You can make it savory or sweet.  Each starts with 2 cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits, each biscuit cut in halves or quarters.  Roll in 3/4 cup melted butter. Then in 1/2 cup sugar & cinnamon mix for sweet version or add herbs to butter for a savory version.  Each of these can be embellished with chopped nuts or grated cheeses, etc. Spray a 12-cup fluted tube pan and arrange biscuit pieces in pan. Bake at 350°F for 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool a bit and then invert onto a serving plate; pull apart to serve.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


In 1999, Autobahn 33, a major German highway, was closed for several hours after a truck carrying 16 tons of apples turned over, spilling its apples all over the highway. The applesauce was four inches thick.  How do you like them apples?   ;-)
Use  far fewer in this recipe:
6 large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 cup water 
3-6 Tblsp. sugar (to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cook covered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally,breaking down apples
Mash to a coarse consistency.  Adding a tablespoon or two of butter gives a richness.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Autumn Harvest Dinner

The table is set and guests' places are marked by a pine cone with their name on a slip of paper.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


A Lithuanian strip mall put together a special space for Valentine's Day 2011: a traditional Lithuanian sitting room made entirely of dark and white chocolate. Almost everything in there is chocolate: the walls,table and chairs, flowers and candles, dishes, utensils and food, even the pet cat!
The roses in particular are exquisitely well done. Only the floor broke the theme: it appears to have been made of plain wood. Oh, well. Check it out
Surprisingly, this work of edible art required only about 660 pounds worth of chocolate to create. It measured 17 square meters (roughly 183 square feet), so it wasn't huge -- but it was as big as most dining rooms. It's the work of sculptor Mindaugas Tendziagolskis and his assistants.
On International Women's Day, March 8, the display was broken into pieces and eaten by visitors -- an excellent fate for any piece of chocolate art, wouldn't you say?  Source:

Monday, November 7, 2011

National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

Really! Now follow this logic...
Chocolate is a vegetable; it's made from cocoa beans, which means it's good for you.
Almonds help to improve your cholesterol levels so they are good for you.
So... together that must mean that bittersweet chocolate with almonds has to be good for you, right?
Celebrate by diving into your favorite chocolate guilty pleasure!

Friday, November 4, 2011

National Candy Day

Make your own chocolate bark:
Melt 2 cups of semisweet chocolate. Spread on waxed paper.  Sprinkle on whatever you like:  crushed peppermints, chopped almonds, dried cranberries, toffee chips, white chocolate bits....Be creative.  I once had some with edible gold - a special holiday treat!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

National Sandwich Day

This day celebrates the birthday of John Montague (1718), 4th Earl of Sandwich, who invented the sandwich in 1762 while playing a 24-hour game of cards at London's Beef Steak Club. Celebrate by eating your favorite sandwich, of course! ;-)  One of mine is the

  • 18 slices bread
  • butter
  • 6 slices ham
  • 6 slices turkey or chicken
  • 12 slices Swiss or Gruyere cheese
  • a little mustard and mayonnaise, if desired
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For each sandwich use 3 slices of bread. Butter one side of bread first, then cover with a slice of ham and a slice of turkey or chicken. Butter both sides of the second slice of bread and spread with a little mustard or other dressing, if desired. Place on top of turkey or ham slice and top with 2 thin slices of cheese. Butter third slice for top; press sandwich lightly and trim crusts. Cut into halves diagonally and secure with toothpicks. Beat eggs with milk and salt. Dip sandwich halves into the egg mixture and fry on a hot skillet or griddle in butter or margarine. Brown on all sides, adding more butter when necessary. Remove toothpicks before serving.   Makes 6 sandwiches, 12 cut triangles, to serve 4.  Source:
 Buzz:  dust with powdered sugar and serve with raspberry jam for dipping

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

National Deviled Eggs Day

Halve a hard boiled egg across the middle.  Scoop out yolk and mash with some mayo and mustard    Fill cavity of egg.   Sprinkle with paprika and add two pieces of red pepper as horns for a truly 'devil'ed egg.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November celebrations

Strike up the band for International Drum Month and Peanut Butter Lover's month.  November also gives us reasons to party on Mickey Mouse and Cookie Monster's birthdays, and the anniversaries of the light bulb patent and the Gettysburg Address.  Since it's Good Nutrition month, eat healthy.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Greetings from Dickens who dressed up as  
           The Party Bee

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October celebrations

                       Last Saturday's party was Octobeerfest

                                                                         Guests were greeted at the door with a warm welcome and a warm cider with brandy....

Then we sampled lagers and ales from all over the world including...

The menu featured franks and brats with regional recommendations  such as ........

Assorted mustards, chili, cheeses and sauerkraut dressed the dogs.  Also, beans baked with brown sugar and bacon were servedYum...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Tea

The invitations set the tone for today's tea.   It will be informal and service will include seasonal sweets:  mini carrot cakes, apple rugelach, coconut macaroons, and pumpkin spice cookies.  Earl Grey and a cinnamon tea will be brewed.  Two of my favorite sites for tea are Teavana and Adagio.

Monday, October 3, 2011

October celebrations

September was lost to back to school adjustments, a home improvement project, and weekends off Cape ( one would never leave in-season.)  So several parties are planned for October:  a Harvest themed dinner buffet, an Autumn tea and a Girls Night In.  For the tea party I xeroxed the invitation on the reverse of a fall patterned paper and traced a cookie cutter in a leaf shape around it.  The dinner, I think, will be on a scroll since I'm able to hand deliver them.  An email might suffice for the five women I want to have in for dinner.  Watch as the details of each party will be posted.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


How many times have you dismissed a recipe because you may not have an ingredient on hand?  Yesterday's cookies called for buttermilk.  Why buy a quart when you need only a half a cup?  To make a cup of buttermilk, put a tablespoon of white vinegar in a cup measure and add milk to the cup mark.
    A teaspoon of Allspice is equal to a 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, and 1/4 tsp cloves.
A cup of sour cream can be replaced by a cup of plain yogurt.
A cup of bread crumbs as a topping can have several substitutions :  1  cup crushed cracker crumbs, or 1 cup crushed cornflakes or 1 cup crushed potato chips

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Homemade Cookies Day

Tonight I'll be attending Candace's Octoberfest party.  She said to bring something German.  I just finished reading a Joanna Fluke book where  Hannah solves another murder while baking throughout.  Her recipe for cookies made with sauerkraut sounds like the perfect post for today's blog  and contribution for tonight's party. 

1 stick butter                                 1 1/2 c sugar
                    2 eggs, beaten   
1 tsp vanilla extract         1/2 cup cocoa powder    
                                                                         1/2 tsp. baking soda     
                                                      1/2 cup buttermilk      2 1/2 packed cups flour              
                                                      1 cup sauerkraut (drained, rinsed, dried and chopped)

Mix together first two ingredients, add eggs, then mix in next 3 ingredients.  Add milk and flour until well incorporated.  Mix in sauerkraut.  Drop 12 heaping teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  When cool frost with chocolate frosting or dust with confectioners sugar and top with half a maraschino cherry.  Makes 4 dozen cookies.

October celebrations

    October is National Apple, Dessert, Pizza, and Popcorn popping Month.  Let's not forget National Roller Skating Month. (I'll probably celebrate the first four.)  Maybe the birthdays of Picasso, the Statue of Liberty or Little Orphan Annie.  But certainly a party is called for on the anniversary of the publication of the Peanuts comic strip or the first airing of Captain Kangaroo.  The month ends with Happy Halloween. Lots of spooky fun!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hot mulled cider

In saucepan or microwave, heat cider and whole cloves. Serve warm garnished with a cinnamon stick.  For a real warmth add a 
splash of brandy.  Mmmm

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Comfort Food

Rainy days call for comfort food and I call for it to be quick and easy.  Rather than preparing one large meatloaf which takes 1 hour 15 minutes to cook, I created mini meat loaves that cook in 20 minutes.  These are soft, mushy loaves just the way we like them.       
1 lb ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup quick oats
1 tbs. horseradish
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup milk
1 package onion soup mix
1 tbs. horseradish
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. spicy mustard
Combine all ingredients well and mix glaze in a separate bowl. Form meat mix into 4 loaves and  place in glass baking dish. Cover each entirely with all of the glaze. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pancake Day

It's also better breakfast month.  Try this single pancake that serves several.
Baked Apple Pancake  
  • 2 1/4 cups pancake and waffle mix
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tblsp sugar
  • 1 Tblsp canola oil 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups cored, peeled, and chopped apples (about 2 small apples)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 10" x 15" rimmed baking sheet with Pam.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the apples; beat well with a whisk. Stir the apples into the batter and pour onto the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the pancake is lightly browned on top. Cut into 9 pieces.  Serve with butter and syrup.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

National Peanut Day

Chocolate Peanut Clusters
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
  • 1 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts 

  1.  Place chocolate chips and shortening in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Stir in peanuts.
  2.  Drop by teaspoons into 1-inch diameter candy or petit four papers. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator. About 2 dozen candies.  Recipe from

Saturday, September 10, 2011

TV Dinner Day

On this day in 1954, Swanson sold it's first TV dinner.  Salisbury steak, anyone?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September celebrations

September is National Chicken, Piano, Honey, and most importantly, Courtesy Month.  You can also celebrate Uncle Sam's Birthday, Rosh Hashanah, the invention of the ice cream cone and the Band-Aid and the first day of Autumn.  And doesn't National Play-doh Day or National Bluebird of Happiness Day cry out for a party?    What fun!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Toasted Marshmallow Day

 Buzz: If you can't be sitting around a campfire, try enjoying these from your oven!
S'mores Brownies

1 pkg Duncan Hines® Chewy Fudge Premium Brownie Mix
1 pkg Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Milk Chocolate Frosting
1 cup graham crackers, crumbled
1 pkg miniature marshmallows
  1. Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions.
  2. Mix graham crackers with Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Frosting and spread generously on cooled brownies.
  3. Cover top entirely with mini marshmallows and broil until golden brown