Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Blog Of 2013

  Well, I must be excited about the coming new year. I woke up and looked at the clock and it said 5:00 a.m. So I decided to get up and have some coffee and check my e mail. I stumble..LOL back to bed got on my computer and there it was..the clock said 2:20 a.m. So I was going to talk about my Christmas present to everyone. Now I am going to save that for another time.                                                                                                                            This year has been a bit hard for some and I am sure saying goodbye to the year of 2013 will be a bitter sweetness for some. Good times and the hard times we can reflect and look forward to the coming year with hope in your eye's, love in your hearts, faith in your souls. Until next year enjoy the day and this evening. Love and hugs,Echo

Monday, December 30, 2013

Frosted Cream Cheese Walnut Scones Recipe

  Okay you caught me! I have been loafing since the holiday. I am gearing up with anticipation of the coming year 2014. How about you? I was looking for a recipe for the New Year to try and came across something that sounds very good. I am sharing with you all.
  This wonderful scone recipe and photo were shared with me by my sister, Carol Arroyo, and her website called The Baking Pan. Recipe was adapted from The Prepared Pantry web site. http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/CreamCheeseWalnutScones.htm
   Breakfast, lunch, dinner; almost anytime is an excuse to eat these yummy scones. They are loaded with walnuts, and both the scones and frosting are made with cream cheese.

Frosted Cream Cheese Walnut Scones Recipe:

Recipe Type: Scones, Quick Bread, Afternoon Tea and High Tea
Yields: 8 scones
Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 15 min

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
5 ounces cream cheese, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, chilled*
1 large egg
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
* Learn how to make a Buttermilk Substitution.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Baking sheets may be ungreased, or lined with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar; whisk together to mix.
With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter and cream cheese into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, stir the buttermilk and egg together. Add the liquid mixture and walnuts to the flour mixture; stir just until mixed. The dough will be stiff and slightly sticky. If necessary, turn the mixture onto a lightly floured board and knead gently until the flour is combined. Do not over-knead as this will make a tougher scone.
On a lightly floured surface, shape and pat the dough into a circle or rectangle about ¾ inches thick. Cut into wedges, squares or circles with a floured knife and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
Note: Scones can be cut into any shape you desire. Use a drinking glass to make circles, or cut into squares or wedges with a knife. Dip the edges of the cutter in flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Do not pat the edges of the scone down; instead leave the cuts as sharp as possible to allow the scones to rise in layers.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the scones are lightly browned. Remove scones from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.
Makes 8 scones.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Add enough milk to make a good spreading consistency. Frost the scones while they are still warm. 
Here is another helpful tip:
Freezing Scones Courtesy of Debbie Anderson of Victorian House Scones LLC.
Freezing baked scones:  When the scones are cool, wrap airtight and hold at room temperature for up to one day or freeze to store longer. To reheat, unwrap scones (thaw wrapped, if frozen) and place onto a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degrees oven 8 to 10 minutes or until warm.
Freezing unbaked scones: When the dough is made and patted into circles or cut into 8 wedges/circle, place on a cookie sheet and place, uncovered in the freezer. It will take about an hour for the dough to freeze firm. Once the dough is firm, put frozen scones into a zip-lock bag and return them to the freezer.
When you are ready to bake the scones, simply take out as many as you want to bake and let them sit on the kitchen counter on aluminum foil or parchment paper while you preheat the oven. They should only be allowed to thaw as long as it takes the oven to preheat. Once the oven is preheated, place the scones onto a fresh sheet of aluminum paper or parchment paper and bake. It will be necessary to extend the baking time by a few minutes (it could easily add up to 4 to 5 minutes to the baking time—just add it in 2 minute increments until you are sure of your times).

Friday, December 27, 2013

Orange-Cherry Champagne Cocktails

From Country Living
This recipe has been tested by Country Living

In China, citrus is given at the New Year as a sign of prosperity. In a champagne cocktail, sweet-tart oranges balance the flavors of the alcohol and other fruit.

orange cherry champagne cocktailsKate Sears
Yields: 8 cocktails
Total Time: 10 min
Prep Time: 10 min
U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 3 seedless oranges, halved and juiced
  • Peel of 1/2 orange, cut into 8 thin strips, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup(s) red cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 cup(s) sweet vermouth (such as Carpano Antica)
  • 1/4 cup(s) blended Scotch (such as Famous Grouse)
  • 1 bottle(s) champagne or other dry sparkling wine (such as Domaine Saint Vincent Brut), chilled

  1. Transfer orange juice to a blender. Add cherries and blend until fruit is pureed. Strain juice into a pitcher. Stir in vermouth and Scotch.
  2. Divide cocktail mixture among 8 glasses and top off each with about 1/3 cup champagne. Garnish with orange peels.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The History and Words of Auld Lang Syne

In sentimental American movies, Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne is sung by crowds at the big New Year finale . . . in Bangkok and Beijing it is so ubiquitous as a song of togetherness and sad farewells, they presume it must be an old Thai or Chinese folk song . . . while in France it is the song which eases the pain of parting with the hope that we will all see each other again Oui, nous nous reverrons, mes frères, ce n'est qu'un au revoir. Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland's gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours' hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.
It is one of the many folk songs from the great Lowland Scots tradition collected and fashioned by the pen of one of the world's greatest songwriters. Burns devoted the last years of his life to the song tradition, and often a mere fragment from some old ballad was transformed by his alchemy into a memorable love song or Scots poem. With Auld Lang Syne, though, the brilliance was already there; this is the Bard's first mention of it in a letter to Mrs Dunlop in 1788:
"... Light be the turf on the breast of the heaven inspired Poet who composed this glorious fragment."
One of the most interesting facts is that the Auld Lang Syne tune which is sung from Times Square to Tokyo, and has conquered the world, is not the one Robert Burns put the original words to. The older tune though is still sung by traditional singers. It has a more douce, gentle, nostalgic feel to it than the popular tune a mood evoked by the subtle use of the traditional air sung by Mairi Campbell in the first Sex and the City movie. However, whichever tune it is sung to, and wherever in the world it is sung, Auld Lang Syne retains the great emotional resonance of the original traditional song of the Scottish people of those days in the distant past. Lets leave the last word to Burns himself...
"... is not the Scots phrase, 'Auld Lang Syne', exceedingly expressive - there is an old song and tune which has often thrilled thro' my soul".

The words to Auld Lang Syne

Fancy singing along yourself? Here are the verses, and a translation of the words to Auld Lang Syne:
Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn,
Frae mornin' sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.
Long, Long Ago
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.
And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago
And surely youll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I'll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.
We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we've wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.
We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.
And there's a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we'll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.
Chorus    http://www.scotland.org/features/the-history-and-words-of-auld-lang-syne

Happy New Year

Wishing you all a beautiful 2014! Love and hugs,Echo

Friday, December 20, 2013

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies
Recipe by ourbestbites.com


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 C butter (2 sticks)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 C powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 T milk
pink food coloring

Chocolate Glaze:

6 oz (about a cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips ,you could also use dark
6 tablespoons real butter (I suggest unsalted just for this step)
1/2-1 C crushed candy canes (Use Bob’s or Brach’s, I don’t recommend Spanglers)
First, the Brownies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roughly chop baking squares so they’ll be easier to melt, then place them in a microwave-safe bowl along with the 2 sticks of butter (also chopped).
Melt in 30-45 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Set aside. Don’t accidentally stick your finger in the melted butter and chocolate combo because it will laugh at you for forgetting that it is unsweetened.
In a stand mixer or with electric beaters, beat eggs for about 3 minutes until thick and frothy.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat to combine. Then add in the melted chocolate and butter that you set aside. Combine flour and baking powder and whisk into brownie batter by hand until just combined. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 pan. If you want to make the job much easier, line your pan with foil first.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness and don’t over bake! When brownies are done, cool on a cooling rack. When completely cool, pop in the fridge to chill. (makes the frosting spreading easier).
Next layer is the frosting:
Combine all frosting ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Add extra milk by teaspoonful if you need a little more. Spread evenly over cooled/chilled brownies and place back in the fridge to chill again while you do the final step.
Chocolate Glaze:
Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in 30 second intervals until smooth.
Set aside for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, so it can cool off just a bit. Remember in the first step when I told you to not accidentally let your finger fall in the chocolate butter mixture? Totally doesn’t apply to this chocolate butter mixture. Quickly spread on top of brownies. I say quickly because the frosting is cool and the chocolate is hot. If you take your sweet time and over do it, you’ll make a big gooey mess. Just spread it on quick.
Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top and return to the fridge until chocolate is set on top.
Remove from fridge a few minutes before serving. Cut into squares, eat, ooh and ahh, and then eat another one. Or two.

Christmas Quotes

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!  ~Author Unknown

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  ~Charles Dickens

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.  ~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.  ~Washington Irving

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.  ~Peg Bracken

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Plum Pudding

Julia Child shares this classic holiday pudding recipe (which has no plums!), served flaming with a zabaione sauce. It is loaded with raisins and spices. Be sure to read the flambe tips before beginning.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 20 minutes


  • 3 cups (lightly packed down) crumbs from homemade type white bread, a 1/2-pound loaf, crust on, will do it
  • 1 cup each: black raisins, yellow raisins, and currants, chopped
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Few drops of almond extract
  • 1/2 cup bitter orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup rum or bourbon whiskey, heated before serving
  • Sprigs of holly, optional
  • 2 cups Zabaione Sauce (recipe included herein)
  • .
  • Zabaione Sauce:
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup rum or bourbon whiskey (or Marsala or sherry)
  • 1/3 cup dry white French vermouth
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Special equipment suggested:
A food processor is useful for making the bread crumbs and chopping the raisins; an 8-cup pudding container, such as a round bottomed metal mixing bowl; a cover for the bowl; a steamer basket or trivet; a roomy soup kettle with tight-fitting cover to hold bowl, cover, and basket.

Timing note:
Like a good fruitcake, a plum pudding develops its full flavor when made at least a week ahead. Count on 6 hours for the initial, almost unattended steaming, and 2 hours to reheat before serving.

The pudding mixture:
Toss the bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl with the raisins, sugar, cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg. Then toss with the melted butter, and finally with the eggs, almond extract, orange marmalade, and rum or bourbon. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding more spices if needed.

To microwave Plum Pudding:
Butter the dish you are cooking the pudding in, then cover the bottom of the dish with a buttered piece of wax paper. Pour in batter. Cover dish with plastic wrap and pierce the plastic with a knife in several places. Cook at "defrost" (low speed) for 30 minutes. If your microwave oven does not have a carousel which turns the dish during cooking, stop the process several times during the cooking and rotate the dish manually. Finally, cook at 5 minutes on "bake" (high speed). Let the pudding set for a few minutes before unmolding. The pudding is ready when it is firm to the touch. The microwaved plum pudding is somewhat paler than its steamed counterpart.

To steam a Plum Pudding:
Use a special pan made for this purpose. You must have a container with a very tight lid on it which will stay sealed throughout the cooking. Steaming -- about 6 hours: Pack the pudding mixture into the container; cover with a round of wax paper and the lid. Set the container on the steaming contraption in the kettle, and add enough water to come a third of the way up the sides of the container. Cover the kettle tightly; bring to the simmer, and let steam about 6 hours. Warning: check the kettle now and then to be sure the water hasn't boiled off!

When is it done? When it is a dark walnut-brown color and fairly firm to the touch.

Curing and storing:
Let the pudding cool in its container. Store it in a cool wine cellar, or in the refrigerator. Ahead -of-time note: Pudding will keep nicely for several months.

A good 2 hours before you plan to serve, resteam the pudding -- it must be quite warm indeed for successful flaming. Unmold onto a hot serving platter and decorate, if you wish, with sprigs of holly.

Flaming and serving:
Pour the hot rum or whiskey around the pudding. Either ignite it in the kitchen and rapidly bring it forth, or flame it at the table. Serve the following Zabaione Sauce separately.

Zabaione Sauce:
Whisk all the ingredients together for 1 minute in a stainless saucepan. Then whisk over moderately low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the sauce becomes thick, foamy, and warm to your finger -- do not bring it to the simmer and scramble the eggs, but you must heat it enough for it to thicken. Serve warm or cold.

Ahead-of-time note:
The sauce will remain foamy for 20 to 30 minutes, and if it separates simply beat it briefly over heat. If you wish to reform the sauce, whisk in a stiffly beaten egg white. Makes about 2 cups.

Yield: 12 servings

Recipe Source: The Way to Cook by Julia Child (Alfred A. Knopf)
Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Granola With Cherries,Granola, Chocolate and Pistachio's

Homemade Granola with Cherries, Chocolate, & Pistachios
Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites from Melissa d’Arabian

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (try to find the stuff that smells/tastes like coconut; this is what I use)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup honey (or 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup real maple syrup)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups whole oats (not steel cut or quick-cooking)
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, divided (sweetened or unsweetened, depending on your preference)
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup salted pistachios (or salted nut of your choice; macadamia nuts or cashews would be delicious!)
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries if you prefer); if using cherries, measure first, then roughly chop them
Preheat your oven to 300. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
Place the coconut oil in a small, microwave-safe mixing bowl (or a large cereal/soup bowl) and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until melted. Whisk in the cinnamon and ginger, then add the honey, water, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, 1 cup coconut, Rice Krispies, and wheat germ. Drizzle the oil/honey mixture over the oats and toss well to combine. Spread the mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes (be sure to get all the corners and edges because they’ll be the first to get crispy), until the granola is golden (by and large, it won’t come together like commercial granola, and it will crisp up after it’s cooled off. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
When the granola has cooled, add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut, chocolate chips, cherries, and nuts. Toss well to combine. Stir in an airtight container for a few weeks; it will last longer if you refrigerate or freeze it. Eat it straight as a snack, sprinkle it over yogurt, or pour milk over it and eat it like cold cereal. Makes about 8-9 cups.

Christmas Ornaments To Share

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Corn Flake Christmas Wreaths

30 lg. marshmallows
1/4 lb. butter
2 1/2 tsp. green coloring
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. corn flakes
Stir butter and marshmallows, until melted in a double boiler, add coloring and vanilla and keep stirring until green. Add corn flakes by folding in gently until all flakes are coated. Drop by teaspoonful on wax paper and decorate center with cinnamon candy. Let set 30 to 35 minutes before eating.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

More graphics!

So very busy!

I am so busy now with less then 10 days away. So I have decided to post "Merry Christmas" graphics for you for the next 8-9 days. So I hope you enjoy them. If you like them go ahead and snag them. Hugs Echo :) 

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Remember the days of Christmas when it was decorated with everything you could find for an ornament. Pinecone, popcorn,tinsel,old big bulbs school photo's with stick frames..?? Well I always loved those trees as the memories are so dear to my heart. They were the best! I have done many trees thru the years in pinks,blues,silvers,with bows,ribbons, and expensive bulbs. All in symmetrical  fashion and they did turn out beautiful. Yet my heart tugs at those days where that tree was awkward, maybe lopsided without as many ornaments. To me that was the true meaning of Christmas. So to honor those old days gone by my family and I are going to make a tree with each of us bringing one ornament that means something special to each of us. It is not going to be a store bought window tree. It will be a tree like Charlie Browns maybe. But oh so much fun and love.... Hugs Echo

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Candy Cane Dessert Minis

What You Need

cups  boiling water
pkg.  (3 oz.) JELL-O Raspberry Flavor Gelatin
 mini candy canes, crushed, divided
tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

Make It

ADD boiling water to combined gelatin mix and 1/3 cup crushed candy in medium bowl; stir 2 min. until gelatin mix is completely dissolved and candy is melted.
RESERVE 1/2 cup COOL WHIP. Add remaining COOL WHIP to gelatin mixture; whisk until blended. Spoon into 12 (2-oz.) shot glasses. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
TOP with remaining COOL WHIP and crushed candy just before serving.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

How to Garnish Desserts with Remaining COOL WHIP
Spoon remaining COOL WHIP into resealable plastic bag; snip off one corner from bottom of bag, then use to garnish desserts.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Good morning it's coffee time! Quite cold here in Ohio at 14 deg. I have the Fire going. I also started my list for the holiday coming up. Christmas has always been a favorite of mine. I love the decorations, children getting excited about Santa Claus, wonderful treats with good food, along with our family and friends to share in the spirit of Christmas. I will be making some things for close friends this year. It is always nice to give that extra special personal touch to the ones that are close to you. I remember growing up and my Mother always giving like that for all 7 of her children. A remarkable woman that loved the holidays. It has rubbed off onto me now. I carry on the tradition with great joy in my heart. Have a wonderful Sunday my friends. Luv and hugs,Echo

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I live in Ohio and I have to say it is a strange state with weather that can be 20 degrees and the next day can escalate to 50. This morning it is 43 and the snow has melted. Today I am starting to get some ideas abut re doing my bedroom. Maybe Shabby Chic....with pinks,creams, of some sort. Here is some pictures I found that has inspired me. I will share with you my own pictures when I finish this project. I will be starting this after the holidays. Now I am off to get some coffee. Everyone have a wonderful day. Hugs Echo