Monthly Archives: December 2012

Easy Tasty Bites


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Happy New Year

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New Year‘s Eve bashes! New Year’s Day football frenzies! Fun times, friends, family and fellowship! And wouldn’t you know it.  Your guests want food! Not just chips, cheese balls and onion dip either. They want deliciously tasty bites.  You want EASY.  Feed ’em what they want AND make it easy on yourself while you’re at it.  So I’m here to help you with these five recipes for tasty, sure to satisfy, easy to make bites. SCORE! and WIN!

HOT SEAFOOD DIP

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I prefer Miracle Whip)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1  teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 8 oz crabmeat  (chopped or flaked)
  • 8 oz shrimp (deveined and chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons minced onion (green onion works well)
  • 1 tablespoon chives (optional)
  • ¾  C  shredded cheddar cheese
  • Slivered, sliced or chopped almonds for a crunchy garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

In a medium mixing bow, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth. Add in lemon juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, mixing to incorporate.

Stir in crabmeat, shrimp, minced green onion, chives,and cheddar cheese. Blend well.  Spoon mixture into an appropriately sized oven-proof dish sprayed with cooking oil.

Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.  Top with almonds to garnish.

Serve with crackers of your choice, tortilla chips, pita chips, pretzels, or slices of rye or pumpernickel bread.

NOTE: For a spicier dip, add addtional Tabasco sauce.

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PIZZA PUFFS

Ingredients:

  • 1  lb pepperoni (diced), sausage (cooked & crumbled), or ground beef (cooked & crumbled) ….Or a mixture of these
  • 24 oz.  pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits
  • shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

*Optional additional filling ingredients: sliced olives, chopped onions, green peppers, mushrooms, or spinach (drained well if frozen kind)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.  Press biscuits into the bottom & up the sides  of muffin pans sprayed with non-stick spray.

Brown the ground beef and/or sausage. Stir in the pizza sauce and any additional filling ingredients of choice.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling mixture into the center of each cup. Bake at 375 for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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SPINACH BALLS

Ingredients:

  • 2 pkgs. Frozen chopped spinach (cooked & drained)
  • ¾ C melted butter
  • 2 C packaged stuffing mix
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp. season salt

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together.  Let cool. Shape into balls and freeze. Remove from freezer, place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350* for 20 minutes.

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TEMPTING TENNESSEE HAM DIP

Ingredients:

  • 1 round loaf of bread for bowl (Italian, Rye, Pumpernickel or Hawaiian bread)
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups cooked ham, chopped
  • 4 ounces green chilies, drained and diced
  • 1/4 cup green onion, diced
  • Crackers, melba toast, corn chips, tortilla chips or scoops, bread pieces, etc. for dipping

Directions:

Slice off the top of the loaf and scoop out the inside of the bread, leaving about 1/2 – 1 inch of crust/bread for. (Reserve for dipping).

Blend cream cheese and  sour cream with mixer until smoothh.  Add cheddar cheese, ham, chilies, and onion, blending well.  Spoon mixture into loaf.

Replace the top of the loaf and wrap well in aluminum foil.

Bake at 400* for 1 hour, opening the aluminum foil for the last 10-15 minutes if you want a firmer crust.

Unwrap loaf carefully, remove top and serve with reserved bread and dipping options.

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SUGAR & SPICE DIP

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz jar marshmallow cream
  • 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz. vanilla flavored Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (may substitute w/lemon juice)
  • ¾  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼  teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Mix all ingredients with a mixer until smooth and fluffy.

Transfer to serving dish. Chill for several hours or overnight. Serve with fresh fruit, vegetables, plain cookies, crackers

NOTE:  For an interesting serving option, use a pineapple, coconut, grapefruit, or melon for a serving bowl.

 

Enjoy every moment of making memories in your at home world.

Signature

 

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Sending Our Sympathy, Respects & Support


Sending our sympathy, respects and continued prayers to the entire community of Newtown, CT.

Newtown, CT Memorial

We’ve all been grieved and saddened to levels that cannot be described. We all want to do something, anything to help.  But what?  With our prayers, of course, but also cards, letters, words of encouragement and support can go a long way in the midst of grief, sorrow and emotional devastation. They can bring comfort and aid in the healing process just in the knowing that others care about us and the needs at hand.

If you would like to send your sympathies, respects and words of support to the families, the school staff, the first responders/law enforcement and the residents of the town of Newtown, you can do so at the following address.

Sandy Hook Elementary
12 Dickenson Drive
Newtown, CT 06482

Furthermore, financial support may be needed and greatly appreciated, as this was something that no one could ever have fully prepared for in advance.  Expenses for funerals,  site clean up and erasing as much of  memory of the horrible events of that day for the students and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School will be quite extensive as these families and this community begins to move towards healing.  Likewise, just the investigation alone that is necessary will likely put a huge strain on the town’s budget as well.

An official (and might I add, legitimate) donation fund to help with the many expenses incurred from this tragedy has been established within the town.  If you would like to contribute directly to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the town of Newtown, CT., you can do so at this address.

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main St.
Newtown, CT 06470

With humble regards and deep sympathy,

The At Home Woman family

No One Size Fits All


If I’ve learned anything in all my years, it’s that there is always more than one way to do anything.  There is no one size fits all in day to day life.

The same goes for home education.  In fact, that’s one of the most wonderful things about educating your children at home.  There isn’t a cookie cutter approach to teaching methods, learning processes or even the lessons themselves.  There’s no blanket protocol or massive list of must do or stringent schedules to contend with.

Each day will present a new opportunity to break away from the plan and escape the box that we often find being strongly endorsed.  Even if you have a much planned out lesson agenda and schedule for the day, it’s flexible (or at least it should be).

I didn’t get up this morning with a plan to teach what you’re about to see, but it fell in my lap so I went with it.  What is it, you ask?  It’s one activity, many lessons and loads of fun and learning.

My son has collected wooden Thomas & Friends, Thomas’s Railway and Sodor Island items since he was about a year old.  If you’ve read other blog articles here or know me at all, you know that I’m an avid endorser of children learning through play. So today, when he asked to pull our his Thomas bag, his much loved toys became his school lessons.

Everything offers an opportunity for teaching and learning.

Everything offers an opportunity for teaching and learning.

Here he is, learning about simple angles, directions, mathematics, how steam is produced, elementary physics like cause & effect, basic engineering (suspension bridges, etc.), how to use deductive reasoning, how to problem solve and of course, some history on the railroad system, train engines and train cars.  A Thomas dvd was popped into the dvd player for lessons about acceptable behavior, emotions and reactions to situations (yes, we’re still working on that) and the benefits of teamwork. That’s a lot of learning wrapped up in so much fun!

Minutes turned into hours as my son asked and answered questions, created scenerios that required solutions and we discussed and played.   5 hours to be exact. And we both enjoyed every second of it.  Isn’t that what learning is really all about?  Enjoying the journey to knowledge and understanding.  I think so.  No….make that I know so!

There’s much more to a well rounded education besides textbooks, worksheets and tests.  Of this, I am 100% sure.

 

Until next time…enjoy your at home world!

Ginger Moore signature

 

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Incredible Edible Fruit Cake Cookie Bars


Bricks. Door stops. The gift that you get to pass around…year after year after year after year.  I’m sure you’ve heard all the jokes. Through the years, fruit cake has really gotten a bad rap. I suspect much of this is because of the commercially produced ones that are heavy enough to sink a ship, don’t really taste very good and just seem to last forever.

Those are not real fruit cakes. Real fruit cakes are delicious. In fact, in the early days, they were a highly prized gift for the holidays that allowed one to savor the last of the sweet food available until winter was long over.

Good news! Over the next few posts, I’m going to share REAL fruit cake recipes that you are going to love. Today, I’ll start with a twist on this delectable dessert. I call them “Incredible Edible Fruit Cake Cookie Bars”. This is an easy recipe that’s great for  getting the kids involved, in cookie exchanges and party sweet treat trays.

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Incredible Edible Fruit Cake Cookie Bars – yields 7 dozen

A fruit cake you can love!

A fruit cake you can love!

Ingredients:

¾ C butter, softened

1-3/4 C packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 TBSP pure vanilla extract

1-1/2 C all purpose flour

3 C coarsely chopped walnuts

1-1/2 C candied pineapple, coarsely chopped

1 C red candied cherries, coarsely chopped

1 C green candied cherries, coarsely chopped

1-3/4 C pitted dates, coarsely chopped

Garnish: extra fruit and nuts (if desired)

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 325*.  Grease a 15” x 10” baking dish and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with mixer on medium until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in extract. Add flour and walnuts; mix well. Fold fruit into batter, incorporating throughout.  Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish.  Garnish if desired.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into small bars.  Store in airtight container.

As you can see, this recipe is alcohol free.  Originally, fruit cakes sometimes contained a small amount of alcohol in the recipe and then they were wrapped in alcohol soaked cheese cloth and a small amount of the alcohol poured over it each week for at least one month, as a way of preserving the cake and keeping it moist. These won’t stay around long enough for that to be an issue.

But if you must, you can…..

1.) Increase the flour by 1/4 to 1/2 cup and add up to 1/3 cup of brandy, bourbon or rum into this recipe if you desire.

2.) Add 1 TBSP of an alcohol flavored extract for the slight flavor of it.

3.) Substitute dried fruits soaked in brandy, bourbon or rum at least overnight for the candied fruits fruits in the recipe. Drain before adding to cookie batter.

4.) Make a drizzle glaze from brandy, bourbon, or rum & powdered sugar.

Now…try this recipe and tell me that you still don’t like fruit cake. *wink*

Enjoy your at home baking!

Ginger Moore signature

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