Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days of Holiday Recipes - Day 6 - Party Potatoes

It has to be good if it has 'party' in the name, right? I think the first time I had these I was a teenager and we were eating at a friends house. I love potatoes and this was so delicious I could have eaten the entire casserole dish full. It has made an appearance at most of our family holiday dinners since then only absent in the presence of gouda potatoes :) 

My mom is making these on Christmas so I opted not to and snagged this photo from Simply Potatoes
Party Potatoes

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 lbs. Ore-Ida frozen cubed hash browns - sometimes I use shredded hashbrowns like Cracker Barrel's hashbrown casserole. 

Mix first 4 items together with salt and pepper, combine with frozen potatoes, put in greased 9x13 pan. Top with 2 cups of corn flakes and 1/3 cup melted butter together.Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.
You can add some chopped onions if you like. These are also good with crushed Ritz crackers instead of the corn flakes, in fact, next time I make these I may use some French's Fried Onions on top :)

12 Days of Holiday Recipes - Day 5 - Cranberry Punch

We went to a holiday potluck Friday night and one of the items I signed up to bring was a drink.... I debated back and forth between apple cider or picking up a 2 liter of soda but after our Ladies Christmas fellowship at church I settled on this. Quick and easy (are you seeing a theme here?) with just 2 ingredients it was a perfectly festive choice.

Cranberry Punch
  • 1 Lg bottle of cranberry juice - This can be regular cranberry, cran-raspberry, cran-whatever, I'll be using my favorite - Cranberry - Pomegranate
  • 1 2 liter of Ginger Ale

Don't add the ginger ale until you're ready to serve. To make it pretty you can add a skewer of sugared cranberries or place some cranberries in ginger ale and freeze it to make ice cubes or an ice ring. Simple. And sparkling :)

Now, mine did not look quite as pretty as the photo above (courtesy of because I just served it in a clear pitcher. I also attempted an ice ring of sorts by using a washed can and filling it about an inch with the punch and some cranberries and letting it freeze, then adding another layer of punch and cranberries to make a cylindrical ice ring. I started it too late and add a 15 min car ride to the mix and the 'ring' was mush by the time we arrived.... at least it tasted good.

12 Days of Holiday Recipes - Day 4 - Hot Cocoa Mix

Now we all know I'm a coffee gal through and through but when the weather starts to get colder I do find myself craving a snuggly cup of hot cocoa. This recipe makes a VERY LARGE amount. So grab your biggest mixing bowl (or even like a big roasting pan) and make you a batch :)

Hot Cocoa Mix

1 box dry milk - 8 qts.
16 - 20 oz jar powdered coffee creamer
2 lb box instant Nestle's chocolate
1 lb powdered sugar
1-2 TBSP Cocoa - to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a LARGE mixing bowl. Store in airtight containers - 2 coffee cans work well, or Ziplock gallon sized bags. To serve fill a mug 1/3 to 1/2 way full with the mix and add boiling water.

I like mine nice and rich so I use a very healthy heap. I purchased a 3 lb container of Nestle's at Costco and just kind of eyeballed it all. You can totally tweak this by adding, removing, adjusting amounts based on your personal tastes. I love that it's not an exact science. I tend to not fail at those kinds of recipes :) This recipe makes SO much we plan on packaging it up in some cello bags and including them in some gift baskets we are making for neighbors and some family members. A bow and a candy cane and these are fabulous!

12 Days of Holiday Recipes - Day 3 - Butterscotch Party Mix

Mackenzie was drooling just over the photo. Courtesy of*

Each year during the holidays we extend an open invitation to our friends who might not have family in the area and are unable to make it home. They become honorary 'Dunninites' and are treasured guests at our table. I love this tradition.

Last year our dear friend Russell was able to join us and with him came this MAGNIFICENT treat. Now, I don't like butterscotch or caramel very much but this snack has been renamed "Crack" by our friend Coy because of it's addictive qualities. And as always it is so easy to make...

Butterscotch Party Mix
  • 2 cups cereal squares - like Chex
  • 2 cups small pretzel twists
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup caramels, unwrapped, coarsely chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) Butterscotch Flavored Morsels
COAT 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

COMBINE cereal, pretzels, peanuts and caramels in large bowl. Place morsels in medium, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave uncovered on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10 to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Pour over cereal mixture; stir to coat evenly.

SPREAD mixture into prepared baking pan ( or just some wax paper spread out on the counter); let stand for 20 to 30 minutes or until firm. Break into small pieces.

Note: I was able to find these little caramel pellet looking things at Target when I made it, taking out the caramel unwrapping/chopping step. You can also throw some white chocolate chips in there too.

Seriously good stuff. 

*Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a camera and after a trip to the store I can actually make and take pics of the recipes :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Days of Holiday Recipes - Day 2 - White Chocolate Popcorn

photo from Taste of Home
When the holidays roll around there is never a shortage of munchies around. This one has become a favorite in recent years. It's quick, easy, and tasty. :) I made it for our Mother/Daughter Christmas party last week.

Here is the recipe:

White Chocolate Popcorn
(Originally published as White Chocolate Popcorn Deluxe in Healthy Cooking December/January 2010)

  • 8 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 2 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
Place popcorn in a large bowl. In a microwave, melt white chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Pour over popcorn mixture and toss to coat. Add the cranberries, nuts and salt. Spread onto waxed paper. Cool until set. Store in an airtight container. Makes 2 quarts.

Now.... This is what I do: 

Pop some popcorn in the microwave. Plain popcorn, no butter. This last time I actually used regular popcorn that you'd use in an air popper and popped in the 'wave in a brown paper bag like they explain here. Put it in a large mixing bowl. Then you take a couple squares of white almond bark and microwave it in a glass measuring cup, 30 seconds at a time, until it's just melted. Pour over popcorn and stir. It will clump together as the chocolate hardens which isn't a big deal unless you want it to look pretty. If so, then spread it out on wax paper to 'dry'. If you want to be festive you can add some dried cranberries, red & green m&ms, or for non holiday occasions you can add a few drops of food coloring to the chocolate. For Kenzie's last birthday I added some red to make 'PINK' corn. No need for the butter or salt...unless you just want it. Store in an airtight container and it keeps for a while.


Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Days of Holiday Recipes - Day 1 - Potato Chowder

My friend Sarah has an awesome blog and during the month of December she always does something fun. Last year it was 25 Days of Cookies. Each day she and her boys, she has 5, would make a batch of cookies and then deliver them to someone. This year she's doing Crafty, Salty, & Sweet where they make something and she shares the recipe or the craft tutorial. It's always lots of fun to read. It also encourages me to seize these moments with my own kiddos and take the opportunity to make memories.It also makes me a little jealous, I mean, she's got time to blog regularly and she's so smart to think of this stuff ahead of time, instead of like me when it's almost halfway through the month and I'm trying to squeeze stuff in.

Anyway... I thought it would be fun to share some of the wintery goodness that I like to fill my tummy with this time of year. Today it's Potato Chowder. The weather is cold, sort of, and while I'm not a 'soup' person I totally dig a steamy bowl of this chowder with some dipping bread. Mackenzie was my kitchen helper and we got to try out my new Cuisinart can opener that I got for free by collecting stamps from my shopping trips to Albertson's over the past few months.This gem is from the Calvary Bible Church cookbook courtesy of Emily Scheffler.

Elise's Potato Chowder

1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
& link sausage cut into bite size pieces

2 cans Campbell's Potato Soup
1 can cream corn
1 can corn
1 can diced green chilies
2 cans milk

Heat thoroughly. Garnish with shredded cheese.

That's the recipe, which I think is how I made it the very first time except I used diced ham instead of the sausage. I do it a little different every time. Today I just did the 'cans' part. No onion, pepper, or meat. I wasn't sure how well rice milk would taste in it and I only had some powdered milk on hand so I used that and it worked fine. You could also skip the potato soup and use diced potatoes and make your own 'soup' by making a roux with a little butter, flour, and milk.

I served mine with a little cheese and some crescent rolls. Quick, easy, and totally hit the spot.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Favorites for the Week

During Black Friday I was able to get some great deals on household items and it reminded me that I wanted to share some of the deals I like best. Couponing doesn't have to be super hard and when I look at how much money I've saved it encourages me to keep it up. I feel like I'm being a better steward of what God's given me. I can't buy hardly anything now without using a coupon. In fact there will be times when Graham comes home from the store with items and I say "I have a coupon for that." We could have saved a buck here and there and those bucks add up!

Here are some of my favorite deals for this week:

Wholly Guacamole
We have been eating a lot of guac lately because it's a great alternative to cheese and sour cream on our mexican dishes and it's a quick and easy snack when you've got some tortilla chips handy. And the company is right here is Saginaw!

This is from their Facebook page -
"Soooo, we need to decorate our wholly guacamole office with some christmas/hanukkah/kwanzaa spirits. so since this is a season of giving, if you send us your holiday card with a self-addressed envelope WITH postage, we will send you back 2 bogo coupons ($12 value). cards must hit our office by december 15th.

The coupons are good until dec 31st, so you have to use them quickly (remember, we freeze well). can not wait to see what the mailman brings us!! HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!"

Here is the address: marketing, wholly guacamole, 300 burlington road, saginaw, tx 76179

It is a little strange but if it's something you know you're going to buy anyway then why not? And if it's too weird for you they also have a $1 off coupon you can print. Just click 'Coupons' on the right hand side of the facebook page.

Muir Glen

This is something else we've been buying a lot of lately. There are actually 2 different printable coupons floating around out there. One is for 75¢ off and the other is for 85¢ off. I'm not sure where the 75¢ off one came from but these are better anyway. You can print 2 total.

$0.85/1 – Muir Glen, any flavor/variety – ($0.85/1 – Muir Glen, any flavor/variety – (

These are two deals you can use this coupon on:
At Walmart:
Muir Glen Organic Tomato Paste, 6 oz $0.92, Regular Price
Use $0.85/1 coupon
This makes the final price $.07!

Or at Whole Foods:
Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce, 8 oz $1.19
Use $0.85/1 coupon
This makes the final price: $.34!

I like to buy the pasta sauce. It's pretty tasty. These coupons won't make them super cheap like it does the sauce and paste but it's still a good value coupon. A few weeks ago they have a $1 off coupon out and I got some diced tomatoes and fire-roaster tomatoes which should make for some pretty yummy homemade salsa!

Conair Ceramic Hot Rollers

 These rollers are on Roll Back right now at Walmart for only $22..77, plus there is a $5 coupon HERE that you can print. PLUS you can send in for a $5 MIR HERE. 

Conair Extreme Heat $22.77
Use $5 coupon HERE
Total: $17.77
Then submit for a $5 MIR HERE
Total: $12.77

I've been looking for a good deal on hot rollers for a while so for me this is awesome!

American Greetings Cards  
On the CVS website there is a printable coupon for $2.00 off 3 American Greetings cards (excluding boxed sets). They have lots of $.99 cards. Buy 3 and pay only $.32 each!! You can print this coupon twice meaning 6 cards for the price of less than 2. I snagged a couple Thank You cards and Birthday cards to have on hand. This is a GREAT DEAL! (there is also a good Glade coupon on the website too for $2 off of 2 and if you act quickly they have their room sprays on sale for 99¢ through Saturday 12/3)
And lastly...

Proctor & Gamble Products

Would you like to have over $35 worth of coupons good for things like Cascade, Dawn, Swiffer and more?  If you said yes, then click here to register or log in to get your coupon booklet!  The FREE Procter & Gamble Gather Together coupon booklet (previously Organize in Style) is available now.  Just allow four to six weeks for delivery.

You can request one of these every 60 days and you don't need to re-sign up every time. I've been getting them consistantly for almost a year now. It makes for a nice little surprise when it comes in the mail :) 

Thanks to The Krazy Coupon Lady, My Dallas Mommy, and I Heart the Mart for the deal details!