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It's Not Just Popcorn!

It’s Not Just For Christmas Fudge

(I am reposting this from a few years ago, still LOVE this fudge!)

I used to make this recipe for fudge quite a bit for the holidays when I worked at WLNY in New York. I remember CJ asking for it quite a bit! It’s simple and pretty fool-proof. I could eat the whole pan if it were left in my vicinity! Fudge is good any time of year not just for the holidays so make a batch today and take a break from the diet. If you are allergic to nuts, leave them out. Have fun!

INGREDIENTS:

3 (6 oz.) packages semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 cup chopped walnuts (or other favorite nuts)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Line an 8″ square baking pan with waxed paper or aluminum foil.

2. In a heavy two-quart saucepan, combine chocolate chips, condensed milk, and salt.

3. Cook over low heat until chips melt. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts and vanilla.

4. Spread mixture evenly into lined pan. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Makes 36 pieces

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Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s amazing how when we were little kids, Christmas could not get here soon enough. We counted the days, made our lists, helped decorate the house, searched for the perfect live Christmas tree and just thought it was the most magical time of year. I still think that but Christmas seems to come faster and faster each year as I get older! There just doesn’t seem to be enough days to get everything done. My mother didn’t work outside the home while we were growing up but there were four kids that she had to raise! Somehow she managed to get everything done, on time, every single year. Even the year we bought our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve! (My Dad was being Scrooge that year and Mom waited till the last-minute to get the tree, for $5! The tree was about 5 feet tall, as tall as her, and about 5 feet wide! It was awesome!) Our house was always decked out from top to bottom inside and out! Dad took care of the outside and Mom worked her magic inside. I have so many happy memories of our Christmas holidays.

Cookie Party 2003 (Lake Worth, FL)

Somehow in our busy busy lives, with computers, tv, smartphones and so on, we have less time to enjoy the simple things in our lives. Every year I try and try to recreate that magic. I decorate, I hope, as Mom would have. I hope I am doing her proud!  I feel you can never have too many decorations! (My husband feels differently.) When I moved to Florida from NY I wasn’t able to take any of my Mom’s favorite decorations. I miss them and her terribly. I know she is watching over me though so I can smile while I decorate in her honor.  My sister and brothers have those decorations right now. We always had a real tree too. Loaded with lights and ornaments and tinsel. Lots and lots of tinsel. I used to have a real tree every year till one of my cats decided to eat the tree and drink the water. Bad. And no tinsel because of the cats either. Again, bad. So I do my best with what I have. (I burn lots of balsam type candles)  I also used to be able to decorate all in one day. No more. Why is that?

Cookie Party 2005 (Hobe Sound, FL)

Is my present under here?

When I lived in NY I started doing Cookie Exchanges/Parties. I loved them. There would be 15-20 of us and we’d all make dozens of cookies and exchange. It was wonderful. When I moved to Florida I tried it a few times. My first one went pretty well. But then when I moved to my present home I just couldn’t get enough people to make it as boisterous and festive and fun as I remember them. Don’t get me wrong we had fun but it wasn’t the same. The idea was to BAKE YOUR OWN!!! A few of my guests brought store-made cookies!  Not the same. And if I had 8 people attending that would be stretching it. And of course not everyone remembered to bring copies of their recipes! This never happened in New York so I was confused about why it was so hard to do here. Come on people, almost everyone has a computer these days, type it up and print it out! Or just make a copy somewhere! Maybe it’s just me, but I miss those simpler days. So from now until Christmas I am going to be doing recipes from those parties. (Recipes that I actually have that is) Plus I’ll also be incorporating other holiday dishes, desserts and cocktails. So starting tomorrow, let the festivities begin! Now if I can just get the house decorated by the weekend! Also feel free to share your own stories if you like and I’ll post them!

Where is Santa?

COMING TOMORROW! Rainbow Cookies!

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Savory Stuffing

Even though thoughts of Thanksgiving and turkey are months away it’s never too early to start thinking about stuffing! Stuffing comes in so many varieties so it’s nice to try some new ones every so often. And since we have plenty of time before the holiday season you can try it out now to make sure it’s a hit for your family. And who says you have to wait till Thanksgiving to have a great turkey dinner! I got this recipe from my leader at one of my Weight Watcher meeting several years ago. She had raved about it and I had to try it. It is delicious. It’s a lower calorie version as well so we can not feel so guilty eating it!

Photo is for illustrative purposes only

INGREDIENTS:

½  cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

1 cup fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth

½ cup unsweetened apple juice

4 cups seasoned cubed bread stuffing mix (7 oz.)

½ cup diced unpeeled red apple

¼ cup toasted chopped pecans

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup dried cranberries (6 oz.)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Saute onions and celery in the canola oil.

2. In another pot bring the chicken broth and apple juice to a boil. Pour over the sautéed vegetables.

3. Mix bread, apples, cranberries and pecans into liquid ingredients.

4. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish (or any size dish it will fit in) with oil and place stuffing in it.

5. Cover and bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes.

Serves 12 (½ cup servings)

***ATTENTION*** CHECK OUT MY NEW WEBPAGE http://www.cucinadiandrea.com! It is still a work in progress but it will also link to this blog. Take a peek!

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