Thursday, November 16, 2017

Slow Cook Your Holiday Ham the Easy Way

The clock is running and Thanksgiving is a week away and here we are busy figuring out menus.  I am a huge fan of the crock pot.  Anything to save time and allow myself time to join the party and festivities.  I found this ultra simple recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe for spiral ham.  

I personally like Cook's brand ham for the holidays because of it's delicious flavor and it never fails me.  If your ham is too large to fit into the slow cooker, no worries...Place the ham in the slow cooker flat side down, cover with a piece of aluminum foil, then cover the entire top with another piece of aluminum foil and seal around the rim of the slow cooker.  No need for the lid and cooks beautifully.  

7-8 lb. spiral cut ham (if larger, use the foil technique mentioned above
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups pineapple juice

That's all you need...SIMPLE :)

Unwrap the ham and discard the flavor packet that comes with it.  Place the ham flat side down.  Rub brown sugar on all sides of the ham.  Pour the maple syrup and pineapple juice over the ham.  Cover and cook (on low) 4-5 hours.  one hour before serving, baste the ham with the juices from the bottom of the crock pot.  When the cook time is done, carefully remove the ham and place it on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes before carving.  

Just think of all the room this will leave in your oven for your side dishes!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Butternut Squash Soup in the Slow Cooker

Photo and Recipe by Taste of Home

This is an easy recipe that will make 14 servings (great for the next day too!) in your slow cooker.

Takes 30 minutes prep time.  Gives your family a hearty dinner with little prep time when you are busy preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Ingredients:  1 chopped medium onion, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 medium butternut squash (about 4 pounds), peeled and cubed, 3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened and cubed.

In a small skillet, saute onion in butter until tender.  Transfer to a 5-6 quart slow cooker and add squash.  Combine the broth, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon and pour over squash.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the squash is tender.  

Cool slightly.  Discard the cinnamon stick.  In a blender, process the sop in batches until smooth to remove lumps.  Return all to slow cooker and whisk in the cream cheese.  Cover and cook 15 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.  
Thanks for stopping by Soup Tuesday.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The planning of a special birthday bash

Dad's 85th Birthday

We recently hosted a special birthday celebration for my Dad and it was fun from beginning to end.  Each and every birthday should be celebrated, and I feel it's the small and personal touches that make it extra special.  A good starting point is choosing a color scheme. Once you've decided the color, decide what your menu will be and if you will cater, cook your party foods or have guests help with specialty dishes. My Dad's favorite cocktail is a Manhattan, so I set up a make your own Manhattan bar in Dad's honor, and it was a huge success.  And for a special ending, have a sweets table with all of your guest of honors favorites! Below are a few things I did for our party and they can be incorporated into any special event you are hosting.

I liked black and gold because it's so classic.  And the colors went well with my Dad's Halloween birthday.

I found these chalkboard place cards with small easel holders on Amazon to place in front of my food dishes.

Disposable sturdy champagne glasses for our toast to Dad.  Everyone spoke a few words and it brought a lot of smiles.

Check out Etsy for personal signs and banners.

I ordered these take home treat bags from Etsy.

Everyone loved taking candy home from the 30's era.

Our make your own manhattan bar was a big hit!

We made this menu board online and had it printed at our office supply store, placed it in a frame and it added a nice touch to our dinner.

What would a party be without balloon bouquets? Party City is my go to for party products.

As the holidays are approaching, remember the little touches make a difference.

Thanks for stopping in:)

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Easy Soup Tips for Soup Weather

~Here are a couple of tips I use when making soup~

I would be happy having homemade soup every day of my life.  Is there a better way to get your vitamins, vegetables, proteins and/or fiber?  Store bought is always fine, but if you have the time to make home made, here are a couple of helpful tips I've learned over the years.

Q.  Have leftover mashed potatoes or bread that's stale?
A. Stir it into your pot of soup.  When stirred, it becomes a delicious creamy texture.

Q.  Grated all of the Parmesan you can from the fresh chunk of Parmesan?  
A. Put the remaining Parmesan into the hot pot of soup, stir and it will give your soup a delicious flavor with a nutty twist.

Q.  Using store bought broth as your soup base?  
A.  I always purchase low sodium broth and flavor with my own seasonings.  I recommend spices from thespicehouse.  Check it out online.  When you receive your order and open the box, you won't believe the aroma!  I guarantee you won't go back to using anything else.  Grate fresh ginger or garlic into your soup if your recipe calls for it.  

Two pots are always better than one (freeze leftovers) Pictures are my chicken noodle and vegetable soups.

Is there anything better than a hot bowl of soup while in your comfy pjs?
Stay warm!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Autumn Martinis for Weekend Entertaining

Here are a couple of "Autumn Signature" cocktails that are sure to please you this weekend.  Make an Fall-tini, turn on the heat or fireplace and warm your spirits.  


1 serving - 7 ounces pumpkin liqueur and 1 ounce black vodka
Pour pumpkin liqueur into 8 ounce martini glass.  Pour the black vodka on top.  It will appear to float over the orange liqueur

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Martini

3 scoops vanilla ice cream, 2 ounces pumpkin liqueur, whipped cream, freshly grated nutmeg
Blend ice cream and pumpkin liqueur in a blender until smooth.  Pour into a 10 ounce martini glass and top with whipped cream and nutmeg.  

Enjoy and Happy Weekend Everyone!!  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Set Up a Caramel Apple Bar for Trick or Treat

Did you go apple picking over the weekend and not sure what to do with the bushel of apples🍎? Create your own "individual" caramel apple, I discovered an easy recipe to melt your caramel in the crock pot.  No more constant stirring over a double broiler!  Check out the toppings ideas below!  Seriously taking it to the next level! 

Caramel Sauce:  Put 2 (14 ounce) packages unwrapped caramels and 1/4 cup water into your slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.  Stir the caramels frequently. Line a baking pan with parchment or wax paper and butter it lightly to prevent sticking.  Wash and pat dry 8 Granny Smith apples and insert a Popsicle stick (found at hobby stores) into stem of each apple.  Dip apples into hot caramel and turn the apple to coat the entire apple with the caramel.  Place the apple on prepared wax paper.  Dip the apples into your toppings as soon as possible so the toppings will stick onto the melted caramel.  It will begin to harden fairly quickly so top the apples fairly quickly.  Set it all up on a large table and it will be messy, but so much fun and delicious!!

Fun Toppings
M&M's, Reese's peanut butter pieces, Skittles, mini marshmallows, chocolate, white chocolate or butterscotch chips, shredded coconut, chopped peanuts

Over the Top Topping Ideas
Crushed Oreo Cookies, Crushed Vanilla Wafers, Sprinkle, Crushed Butterfinger Candy Bars, Mini Peanut Butter Cups, Crushed Graham Crackers, Cinnamon and Sugar Mixture , Chocolate Sauce to Drizzle on Top

Happy Halloween & Happy Birthday Dad ! We love you xo

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Celebrate Those You Love

This isn't my typical blog post for the weekend but I appreciate you stopping in and reading about my little corner of the world. Soon I will have known my husband 45 years and today we are celebrating being married 43 years.
 Do you find when we are teenagers, we wish time to speed up so we can do everything sooner.  As we get older, time suddenly is passing too quick for my liking.  I celebrate my partner in life who loves all of his family beyond words. I've often joked how our marriage is so happy because my husband traveled for 32 years of it.  The truth is, those were difficult years being apart at times for weeks at a time, but it made us stronger.  When we retired, friends asked how we would handle the time together.  I responded I couldn't be happier because we were making up for the time lost during the traveling years.  As our family grows with the addition of our daughter in law, son in law and beautiful grandchildren, I look around and realize how thankful I am. My husband is one you can call anytime and know he is there with support, love and whatever we need.  I am proud to be his wife and I just wanted to dedicate my blog to letting him know he's appreciated and loved.  Happy Anniversary and may we be blessed with another 40 years togetherđź’•

 photo Lake house lyn signature_zpspevll2ky.png