"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


Promises to keep...............

 I saw on Paula Deen's blog where she said "lookin' back keeps me lookin' forward."  What a simple but very true thought.

I started this blog a year ago, when I promised my husband I would write every day. I didn't write on the blog every day, but I came pretty darn close to some form of writing each day. 
On the same Paula blog from where I got the quote above, she also said she doesn't make resolutions, but she makes "promises to try".  Now she is really talking my language! So, one of my "promises to try" again this year is to keep piddlin' away on the blog.
Here's to looking back to 2010, so that we can look forward to 2011.  A fresh new year to begin all over again! Happy New Year!


Well Butter my biscuits!

For Christmas gifts for friends and neighbors I made Apple Butter and Cinnamon Butter.  Both of them were extremely easy to make.  One of my sons was home when I made it and was "gracious" enough to try out the finished products for me.
Then he tried it out again, "just to be sure".  Schewww!  It passed inspection and we were free to give it away!

Really, the recipes could not have been easier to make. I put them in little jars, attached a label, and sacked them up. I also went to the bakery and bought fresh bread to put with the butters.

These would be a perfect gift any time of the year.  They are good for the elderly, for a hostess gift, or for any potluck you might go to. 

I made two batches of the cinnamon butter. One recipe of the apple butter made a TON!  The cinnamon butter has four ingredients. It is a cinch to make. The apple butter ingredients are put into the crock pot and left to do their thing. Another cinch to make.

I have already had requests for more product OR the recipe, so I thought I would pass the recipes on. Some like the cinnamon butter the best, and some like the apple butter best. My sons are still taste-testing to see which one they like best!  Either way, they are easy to make and just enough to show someone you are thinking of them. Enjoy!

Apple Butter 
  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples
  • 2 (3-pound/50-ounce) jars unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice


Peel, core and cut the apples into small chips. Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low overnight, about 8 to 10 hours. Remove the cover, stir and taste. Add more spices or sugar, if desired. Continue cooking for a few more hours, uncovered, until some of the liquid is reduced and the butter has cooked down a bit. Pour into sterilized jars and refrigerate.

Serve over hot biscuits, toast, scones, or just eat it out of the jar if no one is looking!

Darby's Cinnamon Butter
2 sticks butter (room temp)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup honey
2 tps. cinnamon
With your mixer, whip the softened butter. Add the powdered sugar, honey and cinnamon.  Whip it all together. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and whip again. 

I put both of my butters in 8 ounce jars.  The apple butter made about 15.  The cinnamon butter made 4 jars per batch.


Mad for Plaid.................

Plaid is one of my very favorite ways to decorate for the season. I am publishing one of my old tablescapes this week. Hopefully, by this time next week my house will be a clean, beautiful, Christmas wonderland!
My Christmas break has been full and BUSY!!  We managed to have five different Christmas celebrations by the time we were through. 
Our oldest son Fielding, and his new wife Kelly,
both had to work on Christmas (firefighter and nurse).
So we held an impromptu Christmas Eve brunch
inviting both sides of the family
so Fielding and Kelly could have a Christmas celebration
with the family.
 Because there were so many people, we served the brunch buffet style.  And since we decided at the last minute to have the brunch, I decorated very casually. (Excuse the pink ornaments on the end of the table. Those were a Christmas present that got opened that morning and were set there momentarily!)
 I threw together my collection of plaid tins.  Some are vintage, some are Target, some are Wally.  I added a couple of plaid ornaments I had (from Kohl's). I piled everything on a plaid piece of fabric that I folded under and used as a runner.
 I have four different plaid sets (of four each) placemats. I mixed and matched the placemats throughout the different tables.

 I got the green holly dishes at Nell Hill's about 6 or 7 years ago.  Then I found very similar ones at Target the next year.  I invested in those as well. I like to mix and match them together. They look like they were meant to be together. The biggest difference in the sets would be....$$$!
I also used my red (100 piece set!!) of dishes my husband got me for Christmas several years ago.
 I have written several times about my love for all things cardinals.  They make me think of my grandparents.  My daughter Taylor got me this tea set as well as a few cardinal plates for Christmas this year. She insisted I open them early (and I was glad to!!). She got the dishes at Cracker Barrel. 
They blended in perfectly with the different holly and reds!

 The red dishes are from my 100 piece set from JC Penney's. The first holly dish is from Target. The second holly dish is from Nell Hill's.  The charger is from Dollar General.  What a price variation these dishes are...Yet, they blended together beautifully!

 I filled three plaid mini gift bags with greenery and put them in the wire basket.  I added pinecones every chance I got as well.

 I had holly mugs for coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate, and I had red and crystal stemware for the brunch punch.

 By mixing and matching my  (cheap) holly, (expensive) holly, cardinal and red dishes, I had plenty of china for my large crowd.  I had a variety of cloth napkins in velvet, holly and different plaids as well, that all seemed to blend into my plaid and woodsy theme.
 I found these plaid letters that spelled out MERRY CHRISTMAS at Target for $3. I had already taken them down when I remembered to take the picture!
 A close up of some of my plaid placemats. I got them all at a garage sale this summer for $4. Total. Sixteen large, very nice, starched placemats for $4. I waited half the year to use them!
 I added red candles throughout the dining room as well.

Between a variety of plaids, holly, red birds and pinecones, I was able to pull off a Christmas brunch that looked like I had planned it for hours.  The food was good and the morning was great.  Isn't that what Christmas is all about?
I'm linking to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Go by and see the amazing tables.Also check out Centsational Girl and Holiday Tablescapes.


Appetizers worth Applauding

Sausage balls and creamy fiesta dip...but WAIT before you click away.  These aren't your usual recipes. Did you really think I would give you a recipe you can find a thousand times in blogland?
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. herb seasoned stuffing
1 egg, beaten
1 roll sausage (regular sized roll)
Melt butter in water in saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir into stuffing, then add egg and sausage. Blend thoroughly. Use your hands! Chill for easier shaping.
Roll into small balls. Place in shallow pan and bake at 350 degrees until brown. They smell heavenly and taste even better!
I got the recipe from Southern Living over 30 years ago. It is tried and proven!

This recipe I got from one of my students, Lizzie, about ten years ago. It is also tried and proven. My husband took it to work not long after I got it, and the girls at his work asked for the recipe. He called me and I gave him the recipe over the phone. I found out later that he dubbed the dip, "Lori's a Dip Dip". ha. ha.!!  It's been called that ever since!
It is not attractive looking, but it is beyond delicous!

Lori's a Dip dip!
1 8 oz. block cream cheese (room temp.)
1 carton 12 oz. sour cream
1 envelope Ranch DIP powder
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

With mixer, blend cream cheese and sour cream together.  Add Ranch dip powder. Mix.
Add can of Ro-tel. I like to drain some of the juice first before I add it. 
Add shredded cheese. I usually use cheddar or a Mexican blend.  Mix in well. Chill.
Serve with chips, veggies, crackers or spread on tortilla's.
Oh my goodness the deliciousness!
Enjoy these two 
Perfect for Christmas parties or Christmas Eve gatherings.

****Edited to add--These would be PERFECT for any New Years celebration or football game-watching-day!
Check out other great recipes at Foodie Friday.


Sweet Nothingness!

Have you seen these? One of my sons brought it home to me just because he thought I would like them. He was right. How cuuuuttteee! Chocolate fudge cake. Red velvet cake. There is also pie. He bought them at Target.

 Next sweet nothing.....Are you looking for a quick (and cheap) gift?  I made these for all my teacher friends. I used a pun on their names, but you could personalize them anyway you wanted to.
 The label is on the inside.....
 Figure out how I did it? 
A great gift for teachers and all the germs we are around every day!
There you go. Two cute inexpensive gifts... Just enough to let people know you appreciate them!
OK...how I did it...I typed up my design on the computer and printed it off. I then used transparency paper and put it through the copy machine and copied my images on to it. I am sure you could probably put transparency paper through a good printer. Cut out your image and put it in the Germ-X. My students try every single day to figure out how those letters are just dangling in the Germ-X gel! ha!
I am linking this to Funky Junk Interiors!


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