Category Archives: Recipes

Non-Alcoholic Festive Drinks

Here are some of my favorite festive drinks — non-alcoholic so you can enjoy them anytime!

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

The Mary Christmas In  a glass with ice, pour in mandarin orange seltzer. Top with cranberry juice cocktail. Sprinkle a pinch of ground cloves on top. I also add a twist of orange peel (when I eat an orange, I freeze the peel and store it in a freezer bag). This drink smells and tastes just like Christmas 🙂

The Holly Jolly This is nice to drink if  you are at an office party with an open bar and you don’t want to drink alcohol. Ask the bartender to make you a spritzer of plain seltzer topped with cranberry juice (plain seltzer with cranberry juice) and add a wedge of lime. It looks festive, it’s refreshing, it’s low calore and most importantly, non-alcoholic! Tip: If you are making this at home, try freezing some whole cranberries and fresh rosemary sprigs in some ice cubes for an extra festive touch.

Mom’s Mocktail My mom likes this. Mix cranberry cocktail with gingerale. Yes, they make this flavor. B ut the blend you make yourself is more tasty! To make this even more festive, rim the glass with green sugar.

The Rudolph In a glass with ice, mix coca cola with a little cherry juice from the maraschino cherry jar. Add a cherry. Bonus points if you rim the glass with cocoa or chocolate syrup.

The Clarice In a glass with ice, mix Sprite with a little cherry juice from the maraschino cherry jar. Add a cherry. Bonus points if you rim the glass with pink sugar!

Three Wise Men In a glass of ice, add a couple of splashes of tart cherry juice and an equal amount of pear juice (you can use the pear syrup from an individual cup of pears or pear nectar). Fill the rest of the glass with plain seltzer or mineral water, mix and add an anise star.

Partridge in a Pear Tree Smoothie

I was reminded of the song, On the Twelth Day of Christmas, when I thought of the idea for this pear smoothie. You know, the patridge in a pear tree?

This drink will give you lots of energy. I like it as an afternoon pick-me-up. This makes one serving.

In a blender, add, in this order:

  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup canned pears in juice, mashed (you can also use very ripe, fresh pears. I left the peel on mine)
  • A splash of the juice from the can (use water or apple juice if you are using fresh pears)
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cap of almond extract
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • If you have it and you like the taste, a pinch of cardamon
  • A squeeze of honey

Blend and enjoy! By the way, this beautiful Partridge in a Pear Tree ornament is made by Old World Christmas.

Pre-Shopping Cranberry Smoothie

Photo by Max Fischer on Pexels.com

Leftover cranberry sauce? Put it in a smoothie! This makes one serving. It’s refreshing and filling (yogurt has protein) so it will keep you going through a morning of Black Friday shopping.

To a blender, add, in this order

  • 6 ice cubes
  • Splash of juice: cranberry, apple or pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (or any kind)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Small dash of ground cloves
  • Orange zest

Blend and enjoy!

Bavarian Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes)

When I grew up in the 70s in Richmond, Virginia, our community was not super diverse. If we saw a car with out-of-state license plates, we stopped and stared at it, slack-jawed, as if it were an escaped zoo animal, until it disappeared from sight. Continue reading

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

This reciped came from the back of Target’s “Market Pantry” Baked Whet Thins box 🙂 Check out these other cheeseball recipes..

  • Ingredients
  • 2  8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredde Chedddar cheese
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled. (Or use Wal-Mart Great Value real bacon crumbles, toasted)
  • 1 small packet dry ranch dressing mix, buttermilk recipe
  • 2 green onions, sliced (for a more delicate flavor, swap in chives)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix all ingredient except pecans in a bowl. Shape into a ball or log. Roll ball in peans to cover. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in referigrerator at least one hour or overnight. Serve with crackers.

Add seasonal seafood to your Thanksgiving feast

When we think of Thanksgiving, we think about turkey, corn, green beans and pumpkin pie. But did you know that seafood is also a traditional component? It’s believed that seafood was served at the first Thanksgiving.

An extra bonus: it’s protein. I don’t know who had the bright idea of having Thanksgiving dinner in the late afternoon but if you’re like me, by the time the turkey is finally ready, you’re HUNGRY. If you offer an appetizer, soup or early first course of seafood, not only is it unexpected and elegant, it also staves off hunger pangs that can cause grouchiness.


Much of it is also easy to prepare. Oyster stew, for example, takes just minutes.

Just keep in mind: turkey will keep, but seafood won’t. So, let people fill up on shirmp cocktail, crab dip or oyster stew. It won’t be good the second day like turkey will.

In Virginia and Maryland, crabs are still in season in November and oysters are also in season. Maryland restaurants offer crabs along with their carry-out Thanksgiving feasts. Nantucket Bay scallops and Atlantic Little Neck clams come into season in November. The biggest hauls of Canadian lobsters are also in November. Here are some regional recipes to try for your first course/appetizer…let me know if you have made any of these before!

Oyster Stew

Old Bay Hot Crab Dip Recipe (tip: add a teaspoon of lemon juice and a dash of Tabasco to this recipe, garnish with chopped chive)

Waypoint Seafood and Grill (Williamsburg, VA) Scalloped Oysters

Eastern Shore Oyster Stuffing

Chincoteague Fried Oysters

Tangier Island, Virginia Crab Cakes

Maine Lobster Bisque

Legal Seafoods Little Neck Clam Chowder

Bay Scallops Gratin Appetizer

 

For Thanksgiving: A Turkey Cheese Ball

turkey-cheese-ballI think this is pretty darn cute. It’s a standard cheese ball — nothing fancy in the way of ingredients — cheddar, chives, cream cheese, a little pepper and Dijon Mustard — but, ah, it’s the way you decorate this cheese ball that takes it into sublime territory.

My only worry is that people will not want to mess it up. But it sounds delicious! Put this out with your crudites this Thanksgiving!

From your friends at Hallmark. Download the recipe and decorating instructions.

Cool Yule Recipe: Candy Cane Brownies

A candy cane hanging on a Christmas tree

Here’s a holiday recipe from Sara Ayyash, pastry chef at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia.

Candy Cane Brownies

Yields: 2 dozen brownies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 candy canes, finely crushed
  • 2 York ® peppermint patties, chopped

In the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring every 30 seconds till melted.

Let the chocolate cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 13×9 inch pan.

All at once, add the sugar, eggs, flour, salt, and vanilla to the cooled chocolate. Stir until completely
combined.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the crushed candy canes and chopped peppermint patties on top.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Thalhimer’s Spoon Bread

My mom used to make this for us, as a breakfast dish.  I can’t wait to make it.

Finding Thalhimers

In today’s Food Section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, I noticed that they had included a recipe for Thalhimers’ Richmond Room Spoonbread in a “Recipes Remembered” column. What a great holiday side dish! Here it is for you to make at home. Mine never tastes as good as the ACTUAL Thalhimers’ spoon bread, but memories are always romanticized with the passage of time. Let me know how it works out for you by sharing your results on the Finding Thalhimers Facebook page!

THALHIMERS’ RICHMOND ROOM SPOONBREAD  

(courtesy: Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Makes 9 servings

1/4 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup white cornmeal

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (Must be Rumford brand, according to Thalhimers’ staff)

1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour butter into an 8-inch-square baking pan. Place cornmeal in…

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Winter Berry Salad Wreath with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Isn’t this a gorgeous salad for the holidays?

winter berry salad wreath

Full recipe and assembly instructions here:

Winter Berry Salad Wreath w/ Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing.