Friday, December 18, 2009

Warm chili on a snowy day.

The weatherman was right this time. We probably have about 7" of snow, and it's still falling! What a great day for chili. Chili is one of those things you don't really need a recipe for. Just add what you like. The following recipe is how I made today's batch.

Snowy Day Chili

2 1/4 lbs ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 cup chicken broth (it's what I had on hand, beef broth would be great too)
2 28oz cans diced tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
3 15oz can chili beans, drained
1 15oz can spicy chili beans, not drained
1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
Chili powder to taste (I used about three or four Tblsps)
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Brown the ground beef, then add the onions, green pepper, and celery. You may chop the vegetables as chunky or as fine as you wish, according to your personal preference. Transfer to a large stockpot. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cheese and sour cream. Even if you don't like celery, believe me when I say you don't really taste it in this dish. Cook on low heat for at least two hours. Three or four is okay too.

Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This is a great cookie recipe and with oatmeal and dried cranberries, it has to be good for you!

2/3 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1-1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 ounces Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)

2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds, optional

2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in Craisins and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beautiful Fall

Isn't October glorious? It has so much to offer. The weather is refreshingly crisp and cool, and the colors are gorgeous. Drink them in! Don't think of it as a sad time as I hear some people say. Enjoy it! When winter comes, turn your heart toward home. Dress and organize your nest, and most of all, practice hospitality. What a blessed gift it is. One is very fortunate to have a friend who extends an invitation, and one shall be rewarded if they are a giver of hospitality. Be a cheerful giver.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flowers the color of sunshine!

Mums are prolific in fall and can be found everywhere. It's a nice and welcoming touch to place flowers by the front door. A simple way to add texture is to lay a grapevine wreath on the top of a planter before placing a pot of flowers in the planter. Last year I used these urns, a grapevine wreath , and topped it with pumpkin rather than flowers. Dressing one's nest is so much fun!

Apple Cake

This is an easy cake to make. It taste great, is moist and delicious, and makes the house smell great too! My daughter was visiting when I made this cake. She stated she didn't like apples or butterscotch, therefore she would not like this cake. Well, of course I insisted she try a bite. She was surprised to find she actually liked it a lot, especially since she is not a big sweets fan, unlike her mother. Whipped topping is a nice finishing touch when serving this cake. Bake away!

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup oil
1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all above ingredients together and pour into a 9 X 13 baking dish. The batter will be thick.Sprinkle with a half bag if butterscotch morsels. Bake at 325 for 55 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I had been looking for a fall wreath for the entry door and found this gorgeous Bittersweet wreath in Blowing Rock. I'm sorry, but I just don't like wreaths made with artificial flowers, leaves, and berries. I so love this wreath that I thought I'd research Bittersweet to see if it would be possibile to grow my own. Much to my dismay I learned American Bittersweet is becoming so rare in some areas that it is now a protected species. Oriental Bittersweet is so invasive and destructive that it will quickly engulf and kill other vegetation, including trees. It has been said to have slain many a giant. It seems if I wish to have Bittersweet I'll just have to make a trip to the mountains and buy some.
That's okay with me too!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall has arrived!

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I just wish it lasted longer. I love the cooler temperatures and beautiful colors. It is fun to decorate the house for fall with natural elements, such as the gorgeous gourds below. The are only two for a dollar at the local pumpkin stand. Pumpkins are beautiful. I enjoy finding pumpkins of unusual shapes and sizes, warts and all!