Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vintage New Year Greetings

I came across these sweet vintage postcards wishing a Happy New Year:


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blessed Christmas

I want to wish everyone a very Blessed Christmas and many Blessings in the New Year!
It's been a pleasure visiting each and every one, and it's been wonderful getting to know you through your informative, entertaining, appetizing, instructive, beautiful, spirit-filled blogs!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Hot Chocolate

My husband is allergic to chocolate but he can eat white chocolate, and I wanted to find a recipe for white hot chocolate. I happened to be watching The Food Network the other day and Sandra Lee had a recipe for white hot chocolate on her Semi-Homemade holiday cooking show (semi-homemade is my kind of homemade!).

First thing I did was assemble all my ingredients:

Then melt
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
(Sandra's recipe calls for whisking together on the stovetop one minute, but I put mine in the mircrowave on high for two minutes, whisking after one minute and then again when it was done).

Then add
4 Cups Half-and-Half
(I heated that another minute in the microwave)

Then add
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (I didn't add the peppermint since I was going to be using the Peppermint Schnapps).

Add (to taste)
White Chocolate Liquor (optional)

Peppermint Schnapps (optional)
I used both the White Chocolate Liquor and the Peppermint Schnapps (but first I put aside a cup of non-alcoholic hot chocolate for my grandson!).

Top with vanilla flavored whipped cream, and Sandra's recipe calls for crushed bits of peppermint for garnish on top, but I topped it with cinnamon.

It was a delicious treat on this cold, snowy evening, and along with some wonderful cookies my daughter had received at her job from an Italian Bakery in Manhattan (which she of course shared with us), this really hit the spot!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tablescape Thursday ~ St. Lucia Day

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps On The Porch for Tablescape Thursday and I am celebrating the Swedish Feast of St. Lucia with my tablescape.

Although St. Lucia Day is not an official holiday in Sweden it is a popular celebration marked by a ceremony where a girl is elected to portray St. Lucia, wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of girls, each holding a candle. The candles represent the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned. The girls sing the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia.

After this song is sung, Christmas carols are then sung in Swedish. St. Lucia Day is celebrated on December 13. Since my husband's roots are Swedish and St. Lucia Day fell on Sunday this year I decided to invite the family and celebrate in Swedish fashion.

I used the traditional red and white colors of St. Lucia Day for my centerpiece, and I used the red tulips that my husband bought for me and I put them into three small white vases. I hung three red heart ornaments on the vases.

I used my Johnson Brothers Christmas tree plates and Castle plates, and since there were too many guests for a sit-down dinner, I set everything up buffet style.

We feasted on Swedish meatballs, lada, gravy, lingonberry perserves, two different cheeses, crackers and crispbread.

And for dessert my husband made Aland pankake served with a choice of lingonberries, applesauce, fresh fruit, powdered sugar, or whipped cream. He also made individual pumpkin/cheesecake muffins, and we had heart shaped pepparkakor cookies (Swedish gingersnaps).

I like my pankake topped with whipped cream and a few raspberries.

Some of the pumpkin cheesecake muffins were topped with cinnamon sugar and some were topped with powdered sugar and raspberries.

Please join Susan @ Between Naps On The Porch for more tablescapes!

(And just in case anyone is interested in any of the recipes they are listed HERE)


(My mother-in-law's recipe)
Swedish Meatballs (makes 30 meatballs, adjust for party crowd)

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 Cups soft bread crumbs
1 Cup light cream
1/2 Cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Egg
1/4 Cup parsley
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
Dash ginger
Dash nutmeg
2 Tablespoons butter

Soak bread crumbs in cream five minutes. Cook onion in 1 Tablespoon butter till tender.
Mix meat, crumb mixture, onion, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, ginger, & nutmeg. Beat five minutes at medium speed with electric mixer. Shape into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. (Wet hands or chill mixture for easier shaping). Brown meatballs in 2 Tablespoon butter. Remove from skillet.

To Cook In Gravy:
Melt 2 Tablespoons butter with drippings in skillet. Stir in 2 Tablespoons flour. Add 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1 1/4 Cup boiling water and 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee. Cook and stir until thick and bubbling. Add meatballs. Cover, cook slowly about 30 minutes, baste occasionally.

I did not cook the meatballs in gravy, I oven-fry them after browning. 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

And I used both the brown gravy and a cream sauce gravy.
Cream Sauce Gravy:

1/2 Cup Cream
1 Cup Beef Stock
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
Salt & White Pepper to taste

Melt butter and sprinkle in flour, stir til smooth.
Add beef stock and stir.
Add cream and stir til thick and smooth.
Add soy sauce and stir.
Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer five minutes.

(another recipe from my mother-in-law)

3/4 lb. macaroni
3 Cups milk
3 eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
salt and cinnamon to taste

Cook macaroni (longer than called for, until limp & starchy)
Mix all ingredients together
Place in baking dish
Bake at 35o degrees for one hour

Aland Pankake
(this recipe is from my husband's grandfather)

2 Cups milk
1/3 Cup farina
(boil a porridge of milk & farina)

2 Cups milk
1/3 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup flour
3 eggs
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cardamon

After boiling the porridge of milk & farina, stir into it 3 beaten eggs, milk, flour, sugar, butter, salt, and cardamon. Pour batter into large baking dish. Bake 350 degrees 80 minutes until it has good color. Cool and serve with lingonberries, whipped cream, powdered sugar, or applesauce.

Mini Pumpkin/Cheesecake:

18 paper baking cups
18 gingersnap cookies
12 ounces cream cheese softened
3/4 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 Cup canned pumpkin
1/3 Cup light corn syrup

Line muffin pans with 18 paper baking cups.
Place one gingersnap in each cup.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, conr starch, and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer.
Add eggs, mix well.
Add pumpkin and syrup, beat one minute.

pour filling into baking cups, dividing evenly.
Bake in preheated 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until just set.

Chill for one hour.
Garnish as desired.

We didn't have time to bake the gingersnaps so these were store-bought.
Here is my mother-in-law's recipe for the

1 1/2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
(Sift all these together and set aside)

1/2 Cup butter (cream until softened)
3/4 Cup sugar (add to creamed butter)
1 egg, well beaten (add to sugar & butter)
1 1/2 teaspoon dark corn syrup (add to creamed mixture)

Blend the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture by fourths.
Chill several hours.
Remove, place on lightly floured surface.
Roll about 1/16 inch thick.
Cut with cookie cutters (a symmetrical flower shape is best, I could never get my hearts or my gingerbread men to look nice).
Bake at 375 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes.