"Things as They Really Are" taught by Melanie Ewell

Hi everyone,

Here's the link to Elder Bednar's talk on the importance of our physical body:

One great quote I didn't get to was (and this is Elder Bednar speaking):

"I have raised a voice of warning about only a few of the spiritual hazards in our technologically oriented and rapidly changing world. Let me say again: neither technology nor rapid change in or of itself is good or evil; the real challenge is to understand both within the context of the eternal plan of happiness. Lucifer will encourage you to misuse and to minimize the importance of your physical body. He will attempt to substitute the monotony of virtual repetition for the infinite variety of God’s creations and convince us we are merely mortal things to be acted upon instead of eternal souls blessed with moral agency to act for ourselves. Deviously, he entices embodied spirits to forfeit the blessings and learning experiences “according to the flesh” that are made possible through the Father’s plan of happiness and the Atonement of His Only Begotten Son."

When I read that I just want to soak in life - every breath I take, every time I kiss my baby, every beautiful thing I see-the list could go on if you think about it. I think what he's talking about here is our freedom - and he's warning that Satan will actually try and use technology to take it away. I never want to be "acted upon", instead of acting for myself, as he stated in that quote. This talk made me really think for the first time of technology as a potential thief of my quality of life - and my children's lives. And I think some of it is healthy and fine - as long as we're still the ones in control of it, and we're not being sucked into a techonology coma. It was a great talk and I love that our leaders are so inspired. We are so blessed to have the gospel and to have the scriptures and modern day prophets as our guide.

Thanks for sharing if you were in Relief Society yesterday - I loved it! And if you weren't there, we missed you!


Lesson #36: Receiving the Ordinances and Blessings of the Temple, July 12th

Favorite quote from Emily Francis

“The question is frequently asked, ‘Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances, etc.?’ I would answer, No, not the fullness of salvation. Jesus said, ‘There are many mansions in my Father’s house, and I will go and prepare a place for you.’ [See John 14:2.] House here named should have been translated kingdom; and any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.”

“If a man gets a fulness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. …

“All men who become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ will have to receive the fulness of the ordinances of his kingdom; and those who will not receive all the ordinances will come short of the fulness of that glory.”

Joesph Smilth


Temple Lesson Review-from Marci Madsen, July 5 lesson

“I promise you that all who faithfully attend to temple work will be blessed beyond measure. Your families will draw closer to the Lord, unseen angels will watch over your loved ones when satanic forces tempt them, the veil will be thin and great spiritual experiences will distill upon this people.”

    Vaughn J. Featherstone

If we are a temple-going people, we will be better people, we will be better fathers and husbands, we will be better wives and mothers. I know you lives are busy. I know that you have much to do. But I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed, life will be better for you. Now, please, please, my beloved brethren and sisters, avail yourselves of the great opportunity to go to the Lord’s house and thereby partake of all of the marvelous blessings that are yours to be received there.

Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

***These two quotes are two of my favorites regarding the temple and the amazing promises and blessings that are ours if we choose to go!

***This is one of my favorite stories told about the temple! You cannot help but be in awe when you read of the sacrifice of these saints. You cannot help but ask yourself- Is the temple that important to me?

The Punta Arenas Chile Stake is the Church’s southernmost stake anywhere on this planet, its outermost borders stretching toward Antarctica. Any stake farther south would have to be staffed by penguins. For the Punta Arenas Saints it is a 4,200-mile round-trip bus ride to the Santiago temple. For a husband and wife it can take up to 20 percent of an annual local income just for the transportation alone. Only 50 people can be accommodated on the bus, but for every excursion 250 others come out to hold a brief service with them the morning of their departure.

Pause for a minute and ask yourself when was the last time you stood on a cold, windswept parking lot adjacent to the Strait of Magellan just to sing with, pray for, and cheer on their way those who were going to the temple, hoping your savings would allow you to go next time? One hundred ten hours, 70 of those on dusty, bumpy, unfinished roads looping out through Argentina’s wild Patagonia. What does 110 hours on a bus feel like? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that some of us get nervous if we live more than 110 miles from a temple or if the services there take more than 110 minutes. While we are teaching the principle of tithing to, praying with, and building ever more temples for just such distant Latter-day Saints, perhaps the rest of us can do more to enjoy the blessings and wonder of the temple regularly when so many temples are increasingly within our reach.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland


Recipes from May 21 Enrichment

by Tara Morris

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed (these totally make the dish!)
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

This meal tastes great with pasta or my personal favorite, couscous. Peas or broccoli also make a great side dish.

by Melanie Ewell

Flank Steak (buy as much as you think your family will eat)
Red and Green bell peppers and onion
Salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and lime juice to season steak

Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Pico De Gallo Salsa
Rice and Beans

For the steak:

Heat up the grill, drizzle olive oil on the steak. Cut the onion and the bell peppers in half. Once grill is nice and hot, grill the meat and the peppers and onions to your liking (medium should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is). Once steak is cooked to your liking and the peppers and onions are tender, place steak on cutting board and cover with foil, let rest for about 10 minutes. This seals in the juices and locks in the flavor. Slice peppers and onions in strips. Slice meat against the grain (this keeps it very tender) and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and lime juice. Serve meat and veggies in warm tortillas with shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

For the beans:

Pinto beans
Garlic cloves
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Ham hock

Soak pinto beans the night before in a pot of water. The next morning, rinse well and refill the pot with water, enough to cover the beans. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil, salt, pepper, 3-4 minced garlic cloves, and a ham hock for flavor (if you have it). Bring the pot to a boil, stir, and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer uncovered all day, checking during the day to add more water if beans become too thick. Add salt and pepper as needed and remove ham hock. Serve either as whole beans or mash for refried beans. By the way - I like to make a lot of beans and freeze portions of them in freezer ziplocs - then they're on hand for other meals later!

For the rice:

2-3 T. Butter
½ Onion chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1 C. long grain rice

2 C. (1 can) beef or chicken broth

1 can petite diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in saucepan, and add onion, season with salt and pepper; sauté 5-10 minutes until onion is tender. Add rice and cook for 5 more minutes, then add broth and tomatoes and about a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, put the lid on the pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20-30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Pico De Gallo Salsa:

2 medium rip tomatoes (squeeze out the juice or the salsa will be too runny)
1/2 c. canned tomato sauce
1/4 medium onion
leaves from 3-4 sprigs cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 juiced lime
1 jalapeno, roasted

Chop (by pulsing) in a food processor or hand chop until finely diced. Taste with a chip and adjust the seasonings. I usually double this recipe for our family so it lasts for more than one dinner!

To roast the jalapeno:

Just put it on parchment paper (you have awesome time-saving parchment paper, right?) on a cookie sheet and broil it in your oven for a few minutes. Then put the jalapeno in a grocery produce bag (like the one it came home from the store in) and let it sweat in there for a couple of minutes, just on your counter. Then peel the skin off and put either chop or put in chunks in your food processor. Two words of caution - jalapeno gets on your hands and it will burn your eyes, etc. after you've handled it. Either wear gloves when you handle it or wash your hands several times after ytou've worked with it, cause it's rotten to get it in your eyes. The other is to add just a portion of the jalapeno-like a quarter or half, unless you want it really hot. It can be really spicy! But it's great roasted, and I roast several at a time and put the rest in a freezer ziploc in my freezer, to make salsa or use in recipes whenever I need it!

Homemade Guacamole:

3 avocadoes, peeled and cored and placed on cutting board
1 lime
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. chooped onions, or you can add salsa if you like, or a bit of jalapeno for heat

Mash all ingredients together with a fork. Taste with a chip and adjust seasonings (and hopefully stop eating it so it can be served for dinner).


Salad from Visiting Teaching Conference

Salad from Visiting Teaching Conference

(adapted from Ina Garten’s Salad with warm goat cheese which is below this recipe-someone needs to make the warm goat cheese and tell me about it – it sounds divine!)

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons good cider vinegar
2 tablespoons good Champagne vinegar (Trader Joe’s)
Pinch sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 cup good olive oil

For the salad:
Enough mixed salad greens for 6 servings
Chopped red onion
Dried cherries (or craisins)
Crumbled goat cheese
Candied Pecans (recipe below)

For the dressing, place the vinegars, sugar, salt, pepper, mayo and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and blend for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until the vinaigrette is thickened. Season to taste. (or use an immersion blender or whisk)

Toss the salad greens with enough dressing to moisten and place cherries, cheese, and pecans on top.

Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans
Bon Appetit, September 1999

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 tablespoons light corn syrup (or maybe honey instead)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (or brown sugar)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon (generous) freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine corn syrup and next 4 ingredients in large bowl. Stir to blend. Add pecans; stir gently to coat. Transfer to baking sheet.

Place large piece of foil on work surface. Bake pecans 5 minutes. Using fork, stir pecans to coat with melted spice mixture. Continue baking until pecans are golden and coating bubbles, about 10 minutes. Transfer to foil. Working quickly, separate nuts with fork. Cool. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Here is Ina Garten’s recipe:

Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
Copyright, 2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, All Rights Reserved
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 servings
1 (11-ounce) log plain or herbed Montrachet
2 extra-large egg whites, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Fresh white bread crumbs (for fresh bread crumbs, cut the crust off white bread, cube it, and pulse in a food processor fitted with a metal blade for 15 seconds, until finely crumbed)

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons good cider vinegar
2 tablespoons good Champagne vinegar (Trader Joe’s)
Pinch sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large egg yolk (Trudy-I used 1 Tbsp. mayo instead)
Trudy-I added 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup good olive oil (Trudy-I used ¾ c. instead of 1 cup)
Enough mixed salad greens for 6 servings
Olive oil and unsalted butter, for frying

Slice the Montrachet into 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. (The easiest way to slice goat cheese is to use a length of dental floss.) Dip each slice into the beaten egg whites, then the bread crumbs, being sure the cheese is thoroughly coated. Place the slices on a rack and chill them for at least 15 minutes.
For the dressing, place the vinegars, sugar, salt, pepper, and egg yolk in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and blend for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until the vinaigrette is thickened. Season, to taste. (or use an immersion blender or whisk)
Toss the salad greens with enough dressing to moisten, then divide them among 6 plates.
Melt 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until just under smoking. Cook the goat cheese rounds quickly on both sides until browned on the outside but not melted inside. Top each salad with 2 warm rounds and serve.

Printed from FoodNetwork.com on Thu Apr 9 2009
© 2009 Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved


Crepe Bar Recipes

For Rachel's Famous Crepe Recipe directly from France
click HERE

Sauce Recipes

Raspberry Sauce (from “America’s Test Kitchen”)

Fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, blackberries, or hulled, thinly sliced strawberries can be substituted for the raspberries. Serve with a slice of cheesecake or pound cake, drizzle over ice cream, or serve with pancakes.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
3 cups fresh raspberries (15 ounces) or thawed frozen raspberries (18 ounces)
5 tablespoons sugar , plus extra for seasoning
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. Combine the berries, sugar, water, and salt in a large saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the berries are heated through, about 1 minute.

2. Process the mixture in a food processor until smooth, about 20 seconds. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing the solids to extract as much puree as possible. Stir in the lemon juice and season with sugar as needed. Cool to room temperature before serving, about 1 hour.

To Make Ahead

The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Stir to recombine before serving.

Hot Fudge Sauce

This is a very thick sauce, not too sweet. It will turn chewy and even thicker when served over cold ice cream.

1 c. heavy cream
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/8 tsp. salt
¾ c. strained Dutch-process cocoa powder

Place the cream and butter in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Stir until the butter is melted and the cream just comes to a low boil. Add both sugars and stir for a few minutes until they are dissolved.
Reduce the heat. Add the salt and cocoa and stir briskly with a wire whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Serve warm. Makes 2 cups. Refrigerate leftover sauce. May reheat.


Valentine's Coupons - by Marci Madsen

So one of my favorite things to do for Rick and my kids for Valentines Day is Valentine Coupons. For Rick I would do things like: Coupon good for 1 free back massage or foot rubs or cuddling on the couch or breakfast in bed etc. For my kids I do things like: Coupon good for a movie night or an after school slurpee or an extra bed time story or a trip to the dollar store etc. I'm sure there are many more creative things you could do just depending on what your husband and kids like.

{I created some coupons you can print out if you don't want to make your own. If you need the PDF version click here.}


Making your husband feel special-by Melanie Ewell

First of all, check out this:

And this:

You won’t be sorry. Very good stuff.

Valentine’s Day is the day before my husband Larry's birthday, and it’s also my son Harrison’s
birthday, so between celebrating Harrison and romancing me, Larry can get a little lost in the mix. It’s not that we don’t celebrate his birthday, we do; it’s just that we’re celebrating everything right then and I think it’s hard to tell what’s really meant just for him. But I’m determined not to let him feel like he got the short end of the stick. The kids and I are going to make sure Daddy feels special this year. We have a fun Valentine date night planned (that involves some Phantom of the Opera tickets bought with the local’s discount), so we’ll do that, but for his birthday I have something else planned.

This year for his birthday I’m going to give my husband a day of his favorite things-go see a movie he picks, go to a restaurant he wants to try, give him free time to do what he wants (no honey-do lists from me), some fun time with the kids, and then a break from the kids. I’m also going to buy something that is just for him; something that says I was thinking about him (this is a suggestion from “The Love Dare”). The kids can pick things out too (doesn’t have to be expensive), and we’ll have a celebrate dad day on Sunday and put the things around the house (his bathroom counter, his desk, on his tie rack, etc). For instance-Larry loves the jerky with the Indian (sorry, Native American) on the package. He loves the mini donuts with the crumbly brown outside. He loves Ruby Red tangerine juice. He loves to wear nice cologne (and if we all say we picked it after smelling a whole bunch then he’ll like it even better). He wants some new workout shoes, and he wouldn’t mind a new tie and white dress shirt. I haven’t thought it completely through, but I’m thinking it’s a good plan!

What are you going to do for your husband this year for Valentine’s? Share your ideas – it will be great inspiration to me and others!


Homemade Valentine Kisses - by Jennie Slade

Oreo Kisses

1 package oreo cookies (divided… use cookie including the cream center)
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
chocolate bark

1. Finely crush all but seven cookies in a food processor or place them in a ziploc bag and crush into a fine consistency.
2. Stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.
3. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
4. Then, begin to form the shape of a kiss. Flattening the bottom and forming a point at the top. (Mine ended up about 1.5" tall)
5. It helps to put the uncoated balls in the freezer for a few minutes to keep the mixture from starting to fall apart when you drop into the melted chocolate.
6. Melt chocolate as directed on package and then dip "kisses" one at a time into chocolate, tap off extra and slide them off spoon onto wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry.
7. Once dry, refrigerate and enjoy! Oh yeah, just eat the extra seven cookies.

1. Handwrite your messages or create them on the computer. Cut out the strips (about 1/4" tall and however wide you need).
2. Cut up some square sheets of aluminum foil (about 5.5" square)
3. Place dry kiss in center and start wrapping the foil around the base. Insert message near top and secure it by pressing the foil together at top.

Quilled Valentines by Jennie Slade

The look of these quilled Valentines are so unique and easy for anyone. For the full instructions go here.


Bread Recipes

Wheat Bread Recipe
(this recipe can be doubled if you are using a bosch mixer)


3 cups warms water
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1/3 cup Honey
1 Tbsp SAF Instant Yeast
1 ½ Tbsp Dough Enhancer
1 ½ Tbsp. Vital Wheat Gluten
1 Tbsp. Lecethin
1 Tbsp milk (or powdered milk)
1 Tbsp Salt
5 -7 Cups Freshly Milled Whole Wheat Flour (You can substitute a portion of the wheat flour with white flour for a lighter texture, if you like.)

Pour warm water into Mixing Bowl. Then add oil, honey, and yeast. Then add enough flour (2-3 cups) to cover the water, oil, honey, yeast. These ingredients will cool the water appropriately.
Next add Dough enhancer, Vital Wheat Gluten, Lecethin, milk, and salt. Add 2 cups of fresh milled wheat four on top of liquid, then blend well, (use the M switch if you are using a bosch.) Turn the machine to speed 1 and continue to add wheat flour, only until the dough begins to pull away (clean itself) from the sides and curved bottom portion of the bowl. (Do not add too much flour) Set a timer and let the dough knead for 10 minutes.
When kneading is completed, oil or grease cutting board and hands. Remove dough from bowl onto countertop or cutting board and divide into equal portions…. (makes 3-4 loaves). Shape into loaves and put into well greased pans immediately. Cover with saran wrap sprayed with cooking oil, and let the loaves rise until they are doubled in size, about 30 to 60 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans when done and cool on a wire rack. Rub tops of hot bread with butter.


Easy, yummy freezer jam tips

1. Buy pectin at any grocery store (in our Albertsons it's in the same aisle as the paper towels)
*Note: There's the regular pectin and the low sugar pectin

2. Buy any kind of fruit you want, either fresh or frozen (some of my favorites are raspberries and peaches, or raspberries and blackberries, or strawberries)
*Note: If you buy frozen fruit let it thaw out before you make the jam - if the fruit is too cold then the sugar doesn't dissolve well and your jam will be grainy

3. Buy lemons, sugar, and small disposable tupperware containers (buy several-one batch of jam will make several cups!)

4. In the box of pectin are the directions for freezer jam-just combine the right amount of sugar and fruit, boil the pectin in water, stir it into the fruit/sugar and squeeze in
some lemon juice (even though the instructions don't always say to) for a nice tartness, and you're done! Put in containers, let it sit out on the counter for 24
hours, and then you can keep it in your freezer for up to a year! You'll never buy store bought jam again, it's so yummy.

Terilyn’s Dinner Rolls

2 T yeast
¼ C warm water
2-3 eggs
½ C shortening
½ C sugar
1 C warm water
4 ½ C flour
2 t salt

Soften the yeast in ¼ C warm water (105-115 Degrees) and sprinkle with sugar. Combine the eggs, shortening, sugar, softened yeast, 1 C warm water, salt and 4 ½ C flour. Beat until smooth. Add remaining flour to make a soft dough. Cover and allow to rise until double. Punch down and roll out and let rise again. (Or place in refrigerator overnight. Take the dough out 3 hours before baking. Roll out and let rise.) Divide the dough into 2 balls. Roll out each one to an inch thick. Cut into 12 pizza shaped pieces. Roll each piece starting at the large end. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes.

Option 1: Orange rolls:
Top the rolled dough with mixture of:
1/3 C melted butter
½ C sugar
Grated rind of 1 orange

Option 2: Cinnamon Rolls:
Top the rolled dough with mixture of:
½ C Brown Sugar
½ C softened Butter
2 T corn syrup

Cream Cheese Frosting for Cinnamon Rolls
1 pkg cream cheese frosting
6 T butter
2 C powder sugar
1 t vanilla
Beat together until smooth.

Jennie Slade’s Orange Rolls

3 Tbs. Dry yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1 cup butter, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups milk, scalded
2 eggs, beaten
6 cups flour
14 Tbs butter, softened
1cup sugar
Grated peel of 2 oranges

• Dissolve the yeast in the water in a small bowl.
• Combine the chopped butter, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the hot milk and mix to dissolve the butter. Let stand until lukewarm.
• Add the yeast, eggs, and flour and mix well to form a sticky dough. Let rise, covered, in the refrigerator for 8 or hours longer.
• Remove from the refrigerator 2 to 2 1/2 hours before baking.
• Divide the dough into halves and roll each on a floured surface.
• Mix the softened butter, 1cup sugar and orange peel in a bowl.
• Spread on the dough. Roll up to enclose filling. Cut into 1-inch pieces with dental floss (or thread).
• Place in greased muffin cups (or just right into the greased muffin tins).
• Let rise until doubled in bulk. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.


101 ideas for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Click here to go to some fantastic Christmas Ideas!!

Christmas Stencil Plates

by Nicole

you can find written instructions here

Caramel and Cookies on a String

by Holly


2 cups sugar
2 cups corn syrup

Cook until yellow

3 cups whipping cream
½ can Borden’s Eagle Brand milk

scald (can microwave)

Slowly laddle milk mixture into sugar mixture. Must boil all the time and stir constantly.
Cook on medium Heat to 235 degrees

Add dash of salt and 1 Tbsp. vanilla

Pour into a well buttered 9x13 or a little smaller pan depending on the thickness you want in the carmel.

(I use a glass pan)

Before cutting take entire pan of carmel out of pan. Score and cut with pizza cutter.

Christmas Cookies on a String

Sugar Cookies - can make from scratch or from a box and decorate

Gingerbread Men - can make from scratch or from a box and decorate

Holly Wreath Cookies - Melt in large heavy saucepan 30-34 large marshmallows and 1 cube butter. Stir until well blended. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 tsp. green food coloring. Remove from heat and add 4 1/2 cup corn flakes. Blend well. Pour onto wax paper. Shape with finger into wreaths and dot with red cinnamon candies.

Lay out plastic wrap and place cookies, then place another sheet of plastic wrap on top of cookies and tie a knot with ribbon and curl between each cookie and hang.


Painting Gingerbread Cookies

Painting Gingerbread Cookies – Terilyn Taylor

Good Housekeeping December 1999

Gingerbread Cookies

1 t baking soda
1 C molasses
1 C butter (2 sticks) softened. No substitutions.
1 C sugar
2 t ground ginger
½ t salt
1 large egg
5 C all purpose flour

Preheat oven 375 degrees.

In cup, stir baking soda into molasses; set-aside until pale brown and frothy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter with sugar, ginger, and salt until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. At low speed, beat in molasses mixture and egg. It may look curdled. Gradually add 4 ¾ C flour; beat until just blended, occasionally scraping bowl.

On lightly floured surface, knead dough until thoroughly mixed, kneading in remaining ¼ cups of flour if necessary. Divide dough in half; wrap half of dough with plastic wrap and set aside.

On floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll remaining half of dough slightly thinner than ¼ inch. With floured 3- to 4-inch assorted cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; reserve trimmings. Place cookies, ½ inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. Re-roll trimmings and cut out more cookies.

Bake cookies 8-10 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

When cookies are cook, prepare Ornamental Frosting: use to decorate cookies as desired. Allow frosting to dry completely, about 1 hour. Store cookies in tightly covered container up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Ornamental Frosting

1 package of confectioners’ sugar (16 ounces)
3 T meringue powder
Assorted food coloring (color pastes are the best)

In a bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, and 1/3 cup warm water until blended and mixture is stiff enough that a knife drawn through it leaves a clean cut path. (About 5 minutes)

Tint frosting with food coloring as desired. Keep covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Makes about 3 cups.

Make 2 batches of Ornamental Frosting. Divide frosting among several small bowls. Tint frosting in each bowl using food color paste. Start with small amount of coloring and gradually add more if necessary, using toothpick to mix it in. Keep bowl covered with plastic wrap to prevent icing from drying out.

Draw outlines of your design on the cookie, using a pencil if you don’t plan to eat it, thinned food colorings if you do. Paint background colors first, using an artist’s brush and frosting thinned with water to the consistency of think paint. Or outline the edges first, using a disposable pastry bag (or self sealing plastic bag with a corner cut off) filled with each color of frosting, then fill in the interior spaces, using slightly thinned frosting and an artist’s brush. (Prop the bag into a glass to make ti easier to fill-about half way is enough- or it will be hard to control.) Pipe on details using a pastry bag.

Whatever method you follow, let frosting dry between each stage of decorating to prevent colors from running together.

After frosting is completely dry, wrap cookies in plastic wrap or between paper towels and store in an airtight container if not using right away.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Make a hole in the top of each cookie. String a fishing line through the hole, make a loop so cookie can be hung on tree.

Cinnamon Hard Candy

by Mary Sue

3 3/4 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C lite Karo Syrup
1 C. Water
2 tsp. Cinnamon Oil
Red Food Coloring
Powdered Sugar

1. Mix sugar, syrup, and water together in saucepan and boil without stirring, until 290 to 300 degrees F.
(use a candy thermometer), about 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Take off stove when boiling has ceased .
3. Add 2 teaspoons cinnamon oil. Add a few drops of red food coloring until dark pink.
4. Put in greased cookie sheet and as soon as you are able to handle it, begin cutting it with scissors into small, bite size pieces. Cut the pieces over a bowl of powdered sugar so that they will be covered. Put into candy jars or whatever you want.

I like to put this candy in little mason jars and tie a red ribbon around it to give to neighbors at Christmas. You can also put it into small baby food jars and spray paint the baby food jar lid red or green, tie a cute ribbon, and use a christmas transfer sticker for the jar. cheap.


Handmade Ornaments

Recycled Tree: Ornaments and Garland

Two circles fit snugly together to form one ornament. To make, cut two disks identical in size from a card; you can use a circle punch, or trace a round object and cut with scissors. Cut a slit halfway across each disk. In one circle, punch a hole near the edge opposite the cut with a hole punch. Hold the disks so that the slits face each other. Slide the slit of one disk all the way into the other (you should feel the disks "lock"). Thread string through the hole, and tie a knot. Make a garland by using disks popped out of cards with a circle punch (you can also trace a round object and cut out). They're attached to heavy thread with stickers; to make sure they're secure, rub with a craft stick.

Clothespin Snowflakes

Learn how to make these snowflakes HERE.

Christmas Eve Meal.

by Melanie

Baked Fish (Halibut is best)
Bread, Pitas
Grape Juice
Cheese—Feta, Cheddar
Tabbouleh Salad
Greek Olives
Tartar Sauce (not authentic, but good with the fish)
Apricots (dried)

Baklava (optional)


Combine the following ingredients and mix well:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 c. Bisquick
½ c. cornmeal
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
Optional seasonings: Seasoning salt, Cajun seasoning, granulated garlic and/or onion, black pepper, lemon pepper

Combine in a bowl or shallow pan:
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk

Dip your choice of fish fillets into egg-milk mixture to dampen. Roll fillet in flour mixture. Deep fry or pan fry in hot oil or shortening until golden. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

NOTE: for extra thick fillets, such as halibut, you may need to fry until golden, then bake in 350o oven for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking through.


courtesy Tyler Florence and JoAnn Cianciulli
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 cup bulgur wheat (fine-medium grind)
2 cups hot water (NOT boiling)
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch green onions, white and green part, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2 large bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup), optional
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put the bulgur in a large bowl and pour in the hot water. Cover with a dish or plastic wrap and let stand for about 30 to 45 minutes to rehydrate. Drain in a strainer, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much water as possible.
In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, cucumber, parsley, and mint. Toss the salad well to incorporate the ingredients; season with cumin, salt and pepper. Add the bulgur; moisten with the lemon juice and olive oil. Fold everything together to incorporate the ingredients. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours. Serve at room temperature.


We recommend Joyva or Krinos tahini and Pastene chickpeas (see related tasting). The hummus can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 5 days. If you do not plan on serving it immediately, refrigerate the hummus and garnishes separately. When ready to serve, stir in approximately 1 tablespoon of warm water if the texture is too thick.

Makes about 2 cups
3 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons tahini , stirred well (see note)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas , drained and rinsed (see note)
1 small garlic clove , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
1. Combine lemon juice and water in small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.
2. Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
3. Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and cilantro over surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Trudy’s Notes
I added extra garlic cloves, maybe a couple, and also more lemon juice, about 1-2 tablespoons. It also may need a little more salt and cayenne.

Christmas Origami

check out this website for great Christmas Origami


This game is great for those living in neighborhoods. First, you drive/walk around the neighborhood and identify houses that have unique Christmas decorations. Then you write down clues describing each house. Example, I'm a two story house dressed in red and white lights. Group your guests in pairs, then give them the sheet of clues and a pencil. Have them walk around the neighborhood guessing which house is described in the clues. The first team to identify all of the addresses correctly wins.


Divide into groups. All groups must return by this time:
The group with the most items wins.
Supplies needed:
This list, grocery bag, watch, pen.
_______ 1 holly leaf, real or artificial
_______ 1 piece of wrapping paper with a snowman on it
_______ 3 strands of silver tinsel
_______ 1 yellow Christmas tree light
_______ 1 metal ornament hook
_______ 1 pinecone
_______ 1 small piece of tree garland
_______ 1 mistletoe leaf
_______ 1 sticky gift tag w/ backing still attached
_______ 1 red poinsettia flower
_______ 1 chocolate gold coin
_______ 1 package of dry hot cocoa drink mix
_______ 1 piece of chocolate fudge
_______ 1 tablespoon of eggnog in a zip-lock baggie
_______ 1 piece of green, curled ribbon
_______ 1 homemade Christmas cookie
_______ 1 picture of a nativity scene
_______ 1 piece of coal
_______ 1 candy cane
_______ 1 silver jingle bell

Christmas Games

Purchase alphabet macaroni. Divide into 2 teams. Divide the macaroni into 2 bowls. Each team has to come up with the most number of Christmas themed items spelled out on the table.

One game we play at different occasions is an ice breaker. Write Christmas songs on slips of paper (2 of each song). Then put as many pairs of songs as you have pairs of people in a bag. Let each person draw a slip of paper out not showing it to anyone. Instruct the people that they are to begin humming the song on their slip of paper when you say "go". The object of the game is to locate the other person humming the same song that you are humming. When the partners find each other they hold hands and begin to sing the words to their song! They win the prize! It's great fun with a large group. Make sure you spread everyone around the room to begin with and mix up the slips really good. Have fun! p.s.for a baby shower we did this and used children's songs, church group used old hymns, etc.

Two people sit back to back. One person is given an object,e.g. a kitchen whisk or a small ornament, and the other given paper and pencil. Without revealing what the object is, the person with the object has to decribe to the person drawing it what they have to draw. i.e. draw an oblong at the top left hand corner. Now draw a straight line diagonally across the page etc.
What the final picture ends up like will depend entirely on how well the person describes and how the other person interprets the instructions!


Read fairly slowly pausing at punctuation.
The group forms a circle or sits in a straight row (separate circles or rows if males and females are present). Each holds the gift he brought to the party. While the poem is being read, each person passes his gift to the person on his right when reader says RIGHT; when reader says LEFT, each passes the gift he has to the left. The gift each person has in his hands at the conclusion of the poem is his to keep. NOTE: No one will receive the gift he brought if all pass gifts as directed.
Twas the night RIGHT before Christmas when RIGHT through the house
Not a creature was LEFT stirring, not even a mouse--
The stockings were hung RIGHT by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be RIGHT there.
The children were nestled RIGHT snug in their beds,
while visions of sugarplums danced RIGHT in their heads,
And mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled RIGHT down for a long winter's nap,
When RIGHT out on the LEFT lawn there rose such a clatter,
I sprang RIGHT from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the RIGHT window I LEFT like a flash;
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
LEFT a luster of midday to objects RIGHT below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleight and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver RIGHT lively and quick;
I knew RIGHT in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came;
and he whistled and shouted, and called them RIGHT by name:
"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen!
To the RIGHT top of the porch! To the LEFT top of the wall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash RIGHT away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
when they meet RIGHT with an obstacle, mount RIGHT up to the sky,
So up to the housetop the coursers they LEFT flew,
with a sleighful of toys and St. Nicholas, too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard RIGHT on the roof,
the prancing and pawing of each little RIGHT and LEFT hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning LEFT around
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, RIGHT from his head to his LEFT foot,
and his clothes were all LEFT tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung RIGHT on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His RIGHT and LEFT eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was LEFT drawn up like a bow,
and the beard LEFT on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held RIGHT in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a round little belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was RIGHT chubby and plump, a RIGHT, RIGHT jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his LEFT eye and a LEFT twist of his head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went RIGHT straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk
And laying his finger to the LEFT of his nose,
and giving a nod, he LEFT up the chimney he rose.
He sprang RIGHT to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
and away they all LEFT like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he LEFT--out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!"


1. The apartment of 2 psychiatrists.
2. The lad is a diminutive percussionist.
3. Decorate the entry-ways .
4. Sir Lancelot with laryngitis.
5. A B C D E F G H I J K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z.
6. Present me naught but dual incisors for this festive Yuletide.
7. The smog-less bewitching hour arrived.
8. Exuberation to this orb.
9. 288 Yuletide hours.
10. Do you perceive the same longitudinal pressure which stimulates my auditory sense organs.
11. The red-suited pa is due in this burg.
12. Stepping on the pad cover.
13. Uncouth dolt has his beezer in the booze and thinks he is a Dark Cloud's boyfriend.
14. Far back in a hay bin.
15. Leave and do an elevated broadcast.
16. That exiguous hamlet south of the holy city.
17. Behold! I envisioned a trio of nautical vessels.
18. Listen, the winged heavenly messengers are proclaiming tunefully.
19. A joyful song relative to hollow metallic vessels which vibrate and bring forth a ringing sound when struck.
20. As the guardians of little woolly animal's protected their charges in the shadows of the earth.
21. Frozen precipitation commence
22. Monarchial triad
23. Oh, member of the round table with missing areas
24. Boulder of the tinkling metal spheres
25. Vehicular homicide was committed on Dad's mom by a precipitous darling
26. Wanted in December: top forward incisors
27. We are Kong, Lear, and Nat Cole
28. Cup-shaped instruments fashioned of a whitish metallic element
29. Oh small Israel urban center
30. Our fervent hope is that you thoroughly enjoy your yuletide season
31. Parent was observed osculating a red-coated unshaven teamster
32. May the Deity bestow an absence of fatigue to mild male humans
33. Natal celebration devoid of color, rather albino, as a hallucinatory phenomenon for me.
34. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals.
35. Tranquiltiy upon the terrestrial sphere.
36. Have hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their belief.

1) Nutcracker Suite
2) Little Drummer Boy
3) Deck The Halls
4) Silent Night
5) Noel
6) All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
7) It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
8) Joy to the World
9) 12 Days of Christmas
10) Do You Hear What I Hear?
11) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
12) Up On The House Top
13) Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
14) Away In A Manger
15) Go Tell It On The Mountain
16) Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
17) I Saw 3 Ships
18) Hark The Herald Angels Sing
19) Carol of the Bells
20) As Shepherd's Watch Their Flocks At Night
21) Let It Snow
22) We Three Kings
23) Oh, Holy Night
24) Jingle Bell Rock
25) Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
26) All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth
27) We Three Kings
28) Silver Bells
29) O Little Town of Bethlehem
30) We Wish You A Merry Christmas
31) I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
32) God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
33) I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
34) Frosty the Snowman
35) Peace on Earth
36) Oh Come, All Ye Faithful