Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Here's a great new year's recipe that incorporates that fine old tradition of black-eyed peas and greens. Try it out!

Ham & Greens Pot Pie
  • 4 cups chopped cooked ham 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen seasoning blend (frozen pepper & onion blend) 
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen chopped collard greens
  • 1 (16-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
  1. Sauté ham in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add chicken broth, and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or until broth begins to thicken.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, and add seasoning blend and collard greens; return to a boil, and cook, stirring often, 15 minutes. Stir in black-eyed peas and crushed red pepper; spoon hot mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Mix cornbread mix according to package directions and pour batter evenly over hot filling mixture.
  3. Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown and set.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I will be out of town for Christmas, so I'm taking Friday and Monday off. May you all have a very merry Christmas. See you on Wednesday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Student Discount

I just finished a photography class through our local community college. The professor gave a great tip: when you buy photo editing software, use your student ID number to get a discount. One one particular program he reccommends, the regular price is $288.00. By using the student discount, it can be bought for $88.00. Not bad! Apparently if you take a class, you are considered a student and are elligible for many other discounts as well.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hostess Gift Ideas

Just about all of us will attend a party in the next few weeks. Whether it's someone else's home to celebrate Christmas, or a New Year's party, you will probably find yourself visiting somewhere at least once this season. Your gift shouldn't be large or expensive. Keep it simple and thoughtful with the host's tastes in mind. Here are a few ideas for hostess gifts:
  • A potted plant (Tree-shaped rosemary plants are my favorite!)
  • Homemade apple butter, lemon curd, jam, or other canned homemade goodies.
  • Chocolate truffles
  • Homemade bread
  • Bath kit made with Epsom salts and essential oil ideas from previous posts
  • A bottle of wine
  • A pound of good coffee (try to buy local if you can)
  • A batch of muffins or cinnamon rolls
  • A favorite board game
  • Mulling spices
  • Hot tea sampler
  • A frozen cookie dough log

Friday, December 16, 2011

Adorable Ornaments

My daughter and I made these as little Christmas gifts for her friends. They are surprisingly simple to make and are oh so cute. Try making some today!

Sparkling Lollipop Ornaments:
What you need: modeling clay, Mod Podge, coarse glitter, lollipop sticks
Using 2 colors, flatten clay slightly and layer.
Roll up, poke a lollipop stick into the bottom and let dry overnight.
Brush on the Mod Podge to seal any cracks and sprinkle on the glitter. Let dry. (clay will still be slightly malleable)
Hot glue a string onto the back of lollipop and hang. Remember to tell your child that these are not edible. They look good enough to eat!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Easy Recipe

Here's an easy bar recipe that's perfect for Christmas gatherings:

Cherry Pie Bars
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, softened
1 1/4 cups butter
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 tsp. shortening


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar and butter until crumbly. Set aside 1-1/2 cups for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
  • In a small bowl, combine pie filling and extract; carefully spread over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until edges and topping are lightly browned.
  • In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over warm bars. Cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: 3 dozen.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Snow globes...sort of

All you need for these clever snowball lights are spray glue, fake snow, and a small round glass globe. I'm in love with these...I want them all over my house! The spray glue and fake snow can be found at Dollar General, Walmart, and Michaels, and the glass globes can be found at Dollar Tree.

To make:
Simply spray the globe with glue and roll in the fake snow. It literally took me less than 1 minute to make one. One word of caution, however: do not do this indoors! Not unless you want to appear to be tarred and feathered!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Here is a gift to me from my sister: a blog entry! Enjoy!

The typical pancake breakfast is far from nutritious however; it does not need to be so. Due to my kid’s affection for pancakes, I’ve come up with a few healthy variations that bring happy shouts of “pancakes for breakfast!!”

  • First off, make them from scratch; it’s quick and easy, I promise. And worth it to forego the preservatives, hydrogenated fat and inferior flavor of mixes.
  • When mixing the batter half to two thirds of the amount of flour called for can be substituted with a mixture of whole-wheat flour, ground flax seed, quick oats or oat bran.
  • Low fat or fat free milk can be substituted for whole milk and for the lactose intolerant soymilk and almond milk work nicely.
  • Throw chopped apples, bananas, nuts, blueberries or mini chocolate chips into the batter.
  • In lieu of syrup we often use apple butter, fruit compotes, jams, sliced fresh fruit or yogurt.
Saturday Morning Pancakes

1 cup flour (I do a mix of 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup ground flax seed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 ½ cups quick oatmeal
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¾ cup buttermilk (I use almond milk and add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to make “buttermilk”)
¼ cup oil

Sift dry ingredients into bowl and mix in oatmeal thoroughly. Combine eggs, buttermilk and oil then add to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened.

Fry on hot griddle until browned on each side.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Making a list....

Happy Friday, everyone! While you're unpacking Christmas decorations and wrapping gifts this weekend, make a list of what you'd like to have or are missing from your collection. Some examples are: greenery, wreaths, lights, wrapping paper, ribbon, etc. Stash the list somewhere for a few weeks and after Christmas when stores are having clearance sales, stock up on the things on your list. I have to do this now since I now have about 30 rolls of wrapping paper from over-buying last year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Card Deal

If you still haven't ordered your photo Christmas cards, you're in luck! is having a deal right now where you receive 20% off of your Christmas card order. You may then use the promo code CARDSFS40 at checkout for an additional 40% off plus free shipping! But don't stop there. Use your ebates account (go to first and go to the snapfish website) for 20% cash back from ebates for your snapfish order! I just ordered my Christmas cards and paid $26.42 for 80 cards & envelopes plus free shipping and will be getting $5 back from ebates. Not bad!

*This deal is good through 12/11

On the road again

Driving a long way for Christmas with the kids? Try finding a book or series on cd at the library and print out coloring or activity sheets related to the story. If you're listening to a true story, print out facts and related material to add to the fun. Some suggestions for books to listen to: Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Little House on the Prairie series, Dear America series, Lord of the Rings series, and the American Girl series.

Plan a fun and frugal night out with the family by driving through local neighborhoods after dark to enjoy the lights. If there is a drive-through light garden or light show in your area, check that out too. Bring popcorn packed in individual paper bags and hot chocolate in a thermos to make it special.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Make a fun and festive kissing ball for your entryway this year. Soak a florist foam ball is water and poke chrysanthemum flower heads into it for a fancy look. (This will last about 5 days) You can use a Styrofoam ball and artificial flowers for a longer lasting kissing ball. For a green kissing ball, follow the following instructions:

Wrap a ball like the kid's toy ball here with green fabric and hot glue into place.
Hot glue fir clippings in strips around the ball til' covered.

Embellish with berries or a bow and hang. Look out below!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Unexpected Touches

Try changing things up with your Christmas decor by adding flourishes of color to the otherwise mundane areas of your home. Hang a small wreath on the bathroom door, attach ribbons with bells, greenery, or candy to your kitchen cabinets, or hang a bright wreath on the inside of a window. If you have pictures on your fridge, swap the usual ones out for Christmas photos. Tuck pieces of fir and berries into your china cabinet, or frame a few vintage Christmas cards. Get creative and see what you can do!