Sweetest Dish on the Thanksgiving Day Table

{Editor’s Note: I don’t recall from where this recipe originally hailed, but it now owns prime real estate on our annual Thanksgiving day table. I planned my menu last night, and the shopping will begin this weekend all in preparation for the day in which we all look to with gratitude, blessings – and an elephant-sized appetite! It goes without saying, this item was #1 on my list! Try it, I promise you won’t regret it!}

I sit here dreaming…

…until Thanksgiving, when I can pile-drive my fork into this dish full of heaven and close my eyes, letting the sweet taste melt in my mouth…

I am talking about my favorite Thanksgiving side dish.

Sweet potato casserole.

A new tradition on my Thanksgiving day table…

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup brown sugar (if you are watching sugar intake, you can omit this altogether)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:

Combine first 6 ingredients.

Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish.

Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.

Serves 6 to 8.

{Or one.

They’ll have to fight me for it.

Enjoy!

Not sure I can wait until next week…}

Best Thanksgiving Side Dish – Sweet Potato Casserole

{Editor’s Note: Sexy Hubby is off to learn how to be “safe” leaving me to entertain myself! Love that. I will spend the weekend organizing and taking inventory of my Thanksgiving table decor, dishes, glassware and flatware. Also, see below for one of my favorite recipes and one that is certain to don my table in a few weeks.}

I sit here dreaming…

…until Thanksgiving, when I can pile-drive my fork into this dish full of heaven and close my eyes, letting the sweet taste melt in my mouth…

I am talking about my favorite Thanksgiving side dish.

Sweet potato casserole.

A new tradition on my Thanksgiving day table…

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:

Combine first 6 ingredients.

Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish.

Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.

Serves 6 to 8.

Or one.

They’ll have to fight me for it.

Enjoy!

 

(Not sure I can wait that long!!)

Trying To Learn New Tricks

For most of April, I’ve been moonlighting.

With encouragement from my boss, I’ve been trying to learn a few new tricks – called Illustrator and Photoshop. And since I can’t lie within this authentic space, I must say, it’s a miracle I haven’t pulled every newly coiffed hair out of my head.

Learning new tricks at my age is nothing short of painful. And frustrating beyond imagination.

However, I was able to compile this object d’ art. It’s a scanned copy of a hand-written recipe from my Grandma Helen – and one that surely came from the old country – and a photo of her younger self. The reason it’s so endearing and mostly unusual, the recipe is written on an envelope.

Of course, to G-ma Helen, there was no waste, so the unused envelope seemed a perfectly legitimate vehicle to transcribe a recipe upon. And she didn’t give a hoot once she ran out of room top to bottom, left to right, if she had to turn and write along the edge of the envelope.

The following image is my homage to my new skills (I’m using that word very loosely), my dear, sweet Grandma Helen and her delicious Potica (paw-TEET’-tzah) recipe from the Christmases of my past.

{My grandma used to come visit us in California every Christmas from her home outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She would often lament how “spoiled” my sister and I were when we didn’t eat all of our dinner. In fact, as a child of the Depression Era, she never wasted a morsel. Not one. Prior to dumping dishes into the sink for their proper scalding, she would eat every last bite off our plates. Oh, we’d laugh at her in our snotty, childish way, but damn, she was a wise woman.}

Since I couldn’t completely decipher the envelope recipe to include herein, I found one similar from Better Homes & Gardens  if you are interested in some good, old-fashioned Russian baked treats!

Not bad for an old dog.

Spring Flowers + Cake Pops

Wishing everyone a weekend filled with family, food, fun and lots and lots of brightly-colored eggs – or delicious cake pops!

I ate German Chocolate Cake Pops at a party and seriously thought I’d died and gone to sugar heaven!

Bliss, it was!

This gal is a new source for local treats.

Give her a call – and order Cake Pops!

 

“Wine-ing” in the Rain

There is a certain amount of humor in getting older.  (Humor, or sadness, and since I’m trying to create a positive spin, I’ll go with humor.)

Growing up in wine country, I can literally count the times I’ve gone wine tasting with both hands. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, and acquired a haute appreciation for various varietals, wine tasting is akin to being a kid in a candy store. Especially in Sonoma County.

This weekend, I spent a day visiting with some old friends, drinking some fabulous wines, and retelling of stories from our past.

With over 300 wineries in this county, we made it to exactly three.

Either we started too late, or the wineries closed too soon, or we simply can’t drink like days gone by. (I’m going with theory that the wineries have better than banker’s hours, and closed much too soon.)

 Taylor, our designated driver (there was a day when we drove him around!)

…until next time. I need a nap.

Chocolate Fest – Take 3

{Editor’s Note: It is because of my sweet mother-in-law, Jeanine Loiseau Walters, that I participate on this committee. She died from Parkinson’s Disease on May 8, 2008. My 41st birthday.}
You’re Cordially Invited to the Third Annual
April 14, 2012
6:00 – 9:00pm
The Story Mansion
Fundraiser for the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Bozeman’s Parkinson’s Disease Support Group. Sponsored by XL Country, The BoZone, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Montana Party Rentals
 Taste amazing chocolate creations from:
Unique chocolate beverages provided by Plonk.
Bid in the “Montana Experiences” silent auction to try unique adventures like skydiving, whitewater rafting, wine tasting, gourmet dining, or a weekend trip to Philipsburg, plus so much more!
Tickets are $25 each and available at www.chocolatefest.eventbrite.com or at either of La Chatelaine’s locations on West Main Street or downtown in the Baxter Lobby.
The ticket price includes 3 food tastings and 1 free drink. Additional tastings and drinks can be purchased at the event.
Follow the details at www.chocolatefest.eventbrite.com

Reason #234 Why I Love This Place

There are so many reasons to love this place.

Off the top of my head I can think of several; the weather, the history (my history!), the people (my people!), the food, and the wine – oh, the lovely wine!

Last weekend, I took a quick and impromptu trip to a winery that came highly recommended (and since I am in the heart-land of wine making, and the winery of note was literally 5 minutes down the road – I grabbed my girlfriend and away we went!)

More details on the winery to come, suffice to say, the photos speak volumes!!

Wishing you a happy day, from the stems of one of the most fragrant wine growing regions – EVER!

And if Ben loves it – what’s not to love??

Ram’s Gate Winery

Cornerstone Gardens

I met with a few old {read=known since junior high} gal pals for lunch recently at a new, undiscovered spot.

I love exploring new places – local spots that glorify the bounty of the county – Sonoma County that is. The county of my upbringing.

Although I was hoping for California “spring-like” weather, it was rather blustery and chilly, even by Golden State standards. Nonetheless the food was local and fresh, as was the wine, and the scenery.

Enjoy the vistas from Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, California.

I love the eccletic assortment of jewels adorning my friends fingers.

 

Shopper self-portrait

This is the sales person from Zipper. He was so tre chic, I had to snap his photo (with permission of course!) What a fabulously fun shoppe – Zipper Gifts 

New Year’s Eve Festivities

While preparing for our humble New Year’s Eve celebration, I realized, I own exactly two champagne flutes – the same two used on our wedding day!

In my effort to reuse (read=spend as little as possible) I made my way to the local thrift store and picked up four champagne flutes – for 50 cents each! It doesn’t matter that they don’t “match” – in fact, I selected a few various funky pieces, specifically because they didn’t “match!”

I love the Millennium glasses with festive little stars!

Random Broker Restaurant flutes – they have a cool “2000” embedded in the stem. Not bad for 50 cents!

You can’t see it clearly, but my name and wedding date are engraved herein.

This vase is filled with champagne corks I’ve saved over the years – corks that represent anniversaries, holidays and special events with special friends.  I try to write dates and information on the corks to remember with whom we celebrated. What a fun and festive way to showcase mementos – also, it’s a recycled decorator item!

We (mainly me) killed three of the four bottles showcased above.

Notice the mini-cheesecake? It’s my new favorite super-easy, crowd-pleasing dessert – and perfect for any event! I cheated and used a No Bake Cheesecake (yep, from a box) placed in cupcake tins, and topped with fresh raspberries.

It’s not a NYE party without a NYE popper! I purchased generic silver and gold holiday poppers (on clearance for 50% off!) and used as part of the NYE decor. Each are filled with a festive hat (notice the purple number on party attendee), a prize and a list of jokes and riddles. (My popper included a dainty, non-working watch!)

Funny cocktail napkins – purchased on super-clearance – add a hint of sarcasm to any party!

Wishing all my gentle readers a very Happy New Year!

Can’t wait to see what Twenty-Twelve holds!!

How to Cook Fresh Crabby Goodness

After sales meetings in Las Vegas, I was lucky enough to have a quick stop-over in my homeland for a weekend filled with holiday  parties and visits with friends and family.

During this visit, I was invited to feast on crab that was hours fresh. Dungeness crustaceans that were swimming west of Bodega Bay at 2pm, were on my plate by 7pm.

It was crab-tacular!

How to Cook Fresh Crab

Begin with extra-large stock pot, fill with water, add sea salt, and olive oil.

Add crab to boiling water.

Cook for no less than 14 minutes.

Remove crab from pot and clean (remove outer shell, and innards. Wash with cool water.)

Remove legs from body, place crab pieces in large serving dish.

Serve with butter or sauce as desired.

Notice, there are no “after cooking” photos available of the crab.

I very speedily moved from the “photography” stage to the “cracking and eating stage.”

And eating, and eating, and eating…

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