Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year, New Mercies, and YUMMY Appetizers

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."
Lamentations 3:22-23 (New Living Translation)

Wow! I cannot believe it is almost 2010! I am looking into this New Year with a heart full of hope and gratitude. This coming year, my awesome hubby and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary on May 28th! I feel so thankful to God for blessing me with such an amazing man to share life with. If you would like to see just how awesome he is, you can read my previous post at http://butterflykissesntastydishes.blogspot.com/2009/11/gods-great-gift-to-my-heartmy-husband.html
My Hubby and I have a heart full of desires and hopes and dreams and we are lifting them up to God in this New Year, and we are expecting His Love and Blessings to pour over us. I love that the God we serve is not suprised by any trial that we face, any hurt that overwhelms us, any desire that goes unfulfilled in our "time line", or any worries and fears that weigh us down. One of my favorite verses is Lamentations 3:22-23, "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." Two things I can always count on-God's love for me is UNENDING, and His mercies are fresh every morning. Lately, I have been imagining His love pursuing me, chasing me, surrounding me, enveloping me, washing over me, and consuming me. Two of my newest favorite songs are by Tenth Avenue North. The first is called, "TIMES." Here is a link so you can listen to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAVHeVDML5k
The second song is called, "Hold My Heart." The link to that video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry6udsW9leA&feature=related
Please take some time this week to listen to these songs and allow God to overwhelm you with His love and His promise of His presence and new mercies this New Year.

Now, I know many of you will be hosting or attending New Year's Eve Parties and I wanted to give you some ideas for a couple of appetizers to make or bring. Both are fairly easy, and super yummy. Hope you enjoy! Happy New Year! Thanks so much for reading my blog!

Postively “Melt-in-Your-Mouth, Do-the-Happy-Dance” Peanut Butter Fudge
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup peanut butter
1- 7 oz jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla
Combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk in a heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Add the peanut butter, stirring until melted. Next, add the marshmallow creme and vanilla; beat until well blended.Spread in a buttered 9 x 13 x 2 - inch pan. Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate. Cut into squares when firm. Enjoy! I promise that you will not be able to stop at just one piece ;-)!
Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
This recipe was given to me by my BFF in North Carolina who guest posted for me on my birthday http://butterflykissesntastydishes.blogspot.com/2009/10/carolina-blue-birthday-wishes-pumpkin.html
She is a SUPERB baker and an even more SUPERB friend.

1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
½ cup butter, soft
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup mini chocolate chips finely chopped/shaved chocolate

Beat together butter and cream cheese. Mix in sugars and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Shave chocolate with a vegetable peeler to roll the ball in. Cover and chill 2 hours. Shape into ball, wrap with saran wrap, and chill 1 hour. Roll in shaved chocolate before serving. * Serve with graham cracker sticks.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Southern Style" Mexican Food

During the month of December many people welcome family and friends into their home for fun, fellowship, and laughter. After the holidays, most people are tired of eating turkey and pumpkin pie and are looking for something quick, easy, and affordable to make for dinner. Not only does this meal meet those qualifications, it is also very yummy and is the most requested "meal" I make. We live near the border of Texas/Mexico where Mexican food is the standard and desired food of choice. Now, I must confesss this Southern girl does not have a taste for Mexican food, but I have been told that I could pass for a Mexican Senorita who can cook a mean enchilada ;-). So, invite some friends over for dinner and try these "Easy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas" and "Dessert Tacos". Let me know what you think.

Easy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup salsa
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast meat
1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto or black beans, drained
9 (6 inch) flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
2 cans Enchilada Sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream cheese and salsa. Cook, stirring until melted and well blended. Stir in chicken and pinto or black beans. Fill tortillas with the mixture, roll and place into the prepared baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top and spread with a spatula. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil.
3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with your favorite toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes, or sour cream.
NOTE: If you are in a hurry, you can use 2 large cans of shredded chicken.
Dessert Sundae Tacos
8 frozen round waffles, thawed
1 qt. chocolate ice cream, softened
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup hot fudge sauce, warmed
1 can Whipped Topping (Redi-Whip)
8 maraschino cherries, with stems
Warm waffles in the microwave for 10-15 seconds; do no toast. Gently fold each waffle in half. Set in a 13x9 inch baking pan, open side up, keeping the rows tight so that the taco shape is maintained. Mix the ice cream and marshmallows in a large mixing bowl. Spoon the mix into the waffles. Cover the pan with foil and freeze until firm-about 1 hour. Before serving, drizzle the tacos with warmed hot fudge sauce and top each with a dollop of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Serves 8. Enjoy!
NOTE: You can easily swap any flavor of ice cream or sauce that you prefer. Be creative. Let your children "design" their own taco.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Morning Muffins & Coffee Cake

Matthew 1:21
"And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Every Christmas morning when we were kids, my mom would make blueberry muffins that we would eat before we opened our presents. I know that many families serve a Christmas Egg Casserole dish or special holiday breads. I am including two of my favorite Holiday morning breakfast dishes below. The Blueberry Cream Stresuel Muffins were posted in an earlier entry, but they are so good that they deserve a repeat :-)! The second recipe is called Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Coffee Cake-with a name like that it can't help but be simply delicious!

What is your favorite thing to serve on Christmas morning?

Blueberry Cream Streusel Muffins

4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sour cream
2 cups blueberries

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, chilled

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2. In large bowl beat eggs, gradually add sugar while beating. Continue beating while slowly pouring in oil. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda.
3. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with sour cream. Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over unbaked muffins.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.


Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Coffee Cake


1/4 lb butter (1 stick)

8 oz. cream cheese

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

6 oz chocolate chips


1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped pecans

(Makes one large bundt cake, or two medium bread-size loafs, or 4 small (individual size) loafs.)

Mix together the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl till creamy. Add the remaining ingredients, continually mixing. Add in the flour in small batches to make it easier to mix. Add the milk last. You may not need the whole 1/4 cup of milk, or you may need a little more. Batter should be creamy but not runny. Gently stir in chocolate chips using a large spoon.
Spoon mixture into pan(s). If using a bundt pan, fill half full. If using bread pans, fill about half to 3/4 full. Prepare topping by combining sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in a small bowl. Sprinkle topping over the batter before baking. Bake at 350° (F) for 50-55 minutes. Cakes will rise and become golden brown. Test by inserting a knife or toothpick. When done, the knife will come out almost dry. This tastes great served warm! Enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Jaythan-3 Years Old!!

Happy Birthday Jaythan! My Big Boy is 3 now. You make Mommy's Heart SMILE!! I LOVE YOU to the Moon and Back!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Very Best Blueberry Cobbler

My parents are coming today to spend the next week helping us celebrate Jaythan's 3rd birthday and the holidays. I am very thankful for my parents. They are loving, supportive, and very giving of their time, resources, and love. One of my dad's favorite things to eat is Blueberry Cobbler. This is the best recipe by far. It has a biscuit topping (even cakey), and you could even use other berries or even peaches. The ooeey, gooey delicious blueberries burst out from below the crunchy topping. Be sure and use fresh blueberries for the best flavor. This tastes great served warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Blueberry Cobbler
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 lemon, juiced (3 tsp lemon juice)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons white sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch ground cinnamon

1.Lightly grease an 8 inch square baking dish. Place the blueberries into the baking dish, and mix with vanilla and lemon juice. Sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of flour, then stir in the tablespoon of melted butter. Set aside.

2.In a medium bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups of flour, baking powder, and 6 tablespoons sugar. Rub in the 5 tablespoons butter using your fingers, or cut in with a pastry blender until it is in small pieces. Make a well in the center, and quickly stir in the milk. Mix just until moistened. You should have a very thick batter, or very wet dough. You may need to add a splash more milk. Cover, and let batter rest for 10 minutes.

3.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spoon the batter over the blueberries, leaving only a few small holes for the berries to peek through. Mix together the cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar; sprinkle over the top.

4.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool until just warm before serving. This can store in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Monday, December 14, 2009

CUTEST APRON EVER & Holiday Cookie Contest Entries

One of the magazines that I subscribe to is hosting a Holiday Cookie Contest which immediately sparked excitement within! I have been perfecting my entries, and these are the two that I will be submitting. Try them out and let me know what you think. Even if I do not win, it is always so much fun to experiment and create.

ButterScotch Apple Pie Cookies

1 box spice cake mix (I used the Duncan Hines brand)
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 can Apple Pie Filling
11 oz bag of Butterscotch Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease three cookie sheets. Mix dry spice cake mix with one egg and ¼ cup of oil. Add 1 tablespoon flour and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice. Stir in the can of apple pie filling. Mix well and then fold in the butterscotch chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F in the middle rack of your oven for approximately12-14 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling rack. This recipe makes 36 large cookies. They can be enjoyed both warm and cool. They taste just like a slice of Apple Pie! Enjoy!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip PIE Sandwiches


1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Maple Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 ½ Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Place 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 ½ Tablespoon pure maple syrup in the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate. Next, combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg in a large bowl with a whisk. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Add vanilla and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling rack. Once the cookies have cooled, spoon a heaping tablespoon of the Maple Whipped Cream on half of the cookies. Top with the remaining pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to make pumpkin pie sandwiches. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These even taste yummy frozen...like a holiday ice cream sandwich! Enjoy!

Now, on to the CUTEST APRON EVER...

I know that I have mentioned my fascination with cute aprons before, but seriously, I think I am in LOVE. I recently discovered the store, Anthropologie, and they have the most BEAUTIFUL aprons I have ever seen. Unfortunately, we do not have an Anthropologie store here in Southern Texas, but I was blessed with the opportunity to visit one when I was in NC over the Thanksgiving holiday. I was also blessed with a VERY PATIENT BFF (God Bless You, Charity!) for waiting somewhat patiently with me as I perused the store for 1.5 hours plus :-). I left with only one apron, because, frankly, it was very difficult to decide on the perfect one. Check them out and see for yourself....


Now, I was right, wasn't I?? I literally would love to own each and every one :-)! But, alas, the budget does not allow, and therefore, I chose only one...what do you think of my choice? Don't you just love the crocheted pocket and trim? It makes me smile everytime I walk into my kitchen, fueling baking passions deep within.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

God's Umbrella & Eggnog Cake

I was recently given an amazing devotional book that has blessed me just within the first week of reading it. It is entitled "Rain on Me-Devotions of Hope and Encouragment for Difficult Times" by Holley Gerth. My dear friend, Mari, sells this book through Blessings Unlimited: http://marinegrete.blessingsdirect.com/Products/Directory/CUST043/ProductDetails.aspx?prodid=849&cid=300

In the introduction it says, "Wherever you are and whatever your storm might be, know that you are not alone. God is with you, and he is whispering messages about the rain to your heart that will change your world forever if you ony dare to believe them."

One of this week's excerpts was entitled "Where is God When it Rains", and it talks about staying under the shelter of God's umbrella in the midst of a storm. I must admit, when the rain pours down in my life and things seem overwhelming, like on the days when I miss Savannah so much that it physically hurts inside, I want to run far away into the rain as fast as I can. On days like that it often seems so hard for me to see God, to feel His presence. But, it is on those days that He is simply telling me, "I am here, and I am giving you my umbrella of Love to cover you; I am walking through the rain with you." I am learning that I have to make a choice everyday...to stay as close to God as possible, wrapped in His loving arms, shielded from the storms around me.

God has also shown me through the unconditional love and support of my precious husband and dear friends that we are not meant to go through storms alone. Grief, loss, hurts, burdens, and sorrow lose strength and power over us when they are shared with others. Holley Gerth has also written the words of a Hallmark Card that perfectly describes what my husband and kindred spirits have done for me this past year.

"I wish I had a big yellow umbrella

that would keep all of the rain out of your life.

I would hold it over your head,

and the drops would splash, splash,

and you would never even feel them.

But, I don't have a big yellow umbrella,

so I'll walk through the rain with you."

I know that several of my dearest friends are hurting deeply now, and I pray that God will show me how to love them and help me to encourage them to find strength under God's umbrella. I encourage you to "walk through the rain" with your friends. Listen to them, sit with them while they cry, and love them in extravagent ways. Be a "foul-weathered" friend.

2 Corinthians 1:4

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."

On a different note...

One of my hubby's favorite things during the Holiday Season is Eggnog. We buy the fancy-smancy type...Promised Land's Organic Homemade Eggnog. I decided to experiment with the eggnog this year, and the result was a Eggnog Spice Cake that my hubby declared "DELICIOUS!" So, if you are a fan of this popular holiday beverage then try this recipe out. It would be a great addition to a Holiday Party or a perfect Gift for friends and neigbors. Just package it on a pretty holiday plate (available at the Dollar Tree) and you have a yummy and inexpensive gift.

~Eggnog Spice Cake~

1 package spice cake mix

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups eggnog

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon vanilla

Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. GENEROUSLY butter and flour a standard Bundt pan (or use cooking spray that contains flour.
3. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat five minutes, on medium speed with an electric mixer.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Cool 10 minutes and invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

This goes great with a glass of eggnog or a cup of coffee or cocoa.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Goodies and Gifts

I love to give gifts! Nothing brings me more joy than finding or making the perfect gift for someone. I have a gift cabinet where I store these "perfect" gifts and they wait there until God whispers in my heart to give them away. During December, I especially love baking holiday treats to give to my neighbors, church friends, and family. Over the next few days, I will be posting recipes of some of my favorites.

One of my most requested treats is the homemade hot cocoa that my wonderful Mom taught me how to make. This is WAY better than the packaged cocoa that you buy and tastes delicious topped with whip cream or marshmallows. I also love to drop a peppermint candy in the bottom of a steaming mug of this cocoa...pure deliciousness!

Nothing goes better with cocoa than a big container of "puppy chow" or "reindeer munch" as I like to call it during December :-). I posted the recipe to this a few weeks ago, but I thought I would share it again since I have already made two batches as gifts this week. Enjoy!

Be sure and remember that the Greatest GIFT we all have is the gift of Salvation and the PERFECT Love of our Heavenly Father. Oh, How He Loves us!!!! Check out this awesome song by the David Crowder Band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWgeUrD4MHI&feature=fvw
Puppy Chow
(Monkey Munch/Reindeer Munch)

This is such a fun snack for kids to help make and help eat. It is very addictive so eater beware :-)!

9 cups Corn, Rice, Wheat, or Chocolate Chex Cereal (or combination) or Crispex
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Into a large bowl, measure cereal; set aside. In 1 qt microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal stirring to coat evenly. Pour into a 2 gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
Heavenly Hot Chocolate
1 box (8 qt) powdered milk
1 lb. powdered (confectioners) sugar
1 jar (6 oz) Cremora
1 lb. chocolate Nestle's Quik
5 Tablespoons cocoa
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Store in sealed containers. Use 1/3 cup mixture to 1 mug hot water or milk. Delicious!
NOTE: I double/triple the recipe to make a HUGE batch and spoon the mixture into cute holiday storage containers to give as gifts to friends. Just attach the instructions on how to prepare.