Tag Archives: holiday

Italian Tiramisu Cheesecake

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This gorgeous, easy cake is wonderful for holidays!

Ingredients:

  • 24 lady finger Italian cookies
  • 12 Oreo-type sandwich cookies
  • 1 tsp finely ground espresso
  • 1.5 cups brewed espresso (6 T separated out)
  • 8 T butter, softened
  • 36 oz. name brand cream cheese, warmed to room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 packet of white chocolate instant pudding mix
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (OR)
  • 1 bar dark chocolate for curls
  • Baking parchment
  • Spring-form pan
  • Cake pan slightly larger than spring-form pan
  • Larger pan for water bath

Instructions:

First, preheat oven to 350 and line a 9″ spring-form pan lined with parchment paper (place a round piece on the bottom and a long strip along the sides).

Step 1: Prepare the Crust

  1. Finely grind the sandwich cookies, lady fingers, and espresso powder in a food processor.
  2. Add melted butter and pulse until fully mixed.
  3. Press mixture down onto the parchment on the bottom of the spring-form pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. Turn oven down to 320

Step 2: Cheesecake Filling

  1. Beat 32 oz. of the cream cheese, butter and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth. Stop mixing a few times to scrape down the sides .
  2. Add eggs one at a time while mixing.
  3. Add 6 T of the prepared espresso, vanilla extract, and then flour, scraping down as needed.
  4. Pour half of the cheesecake mixture onto the crust in the spring-form pan.
  5. Dip the lady finger cookies in the remaining espresso and line them up to form a single layer over the cheesecake mixture, cutting to shape as necessary.
  6. Pour the remaining cheesecake mixture on top.
  7. Place in water bath – use cake pan under spring-form pan (to keep water out) inside large, deep pan filled partway with warm water.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 320 degrees. The middle of the cheesecake will still be a little jiggly.
  9. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake reduce temp in the oven for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove it from the oven and let it fully cool on a counter top.
  11. Refrigerate overnight.

Step 3: Whipped Topping

  1. Beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Chill in refrigerator while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining cream cheese, milk, and pudding mix until completely smooth.
  3. Stir the chilled whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until it is fully combined.
  4. Place mixture into a piping bag with a large tip, such as Wilton 2A, and then decorate the top of the cheesecake.
  5. Dust the top with powdered cocoa (OR)
  6. Shave on chocolate curls.
  7. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
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Filed under Recipes, Royal Recipe Collection, Uncategorized

Time to Banish Your Christmas Cactus to the Garage!

Do you have a Christmas Cactus that never blooms at Christmas? Here’s the secret to GORGEOUS Christmas blooms:Flowers 010
This Christmas Cactus is the daughter of my mom’s plant – which is older than I am! She (the plant, not my mom) had a habit of blooming every few years or so in odd times like July. I’d read they need to be ignored in an attic or cellar to prompt blooming, but I never had the heart to force mine into dormancy until a few years ago. I did a little research, gave her a shot of Miracle Gro on the day after Thanksgiving, and banished her to my garage for the month of December, watering only a little bit once or twice a week. Voila! Buds started to form. I brought her back in and gave her nice, warm sunshine – and the buds did nothing. Back to the garage! This time the buds grew. I didn’t bring her back in until the first flower bloomed.

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Now she’s happy as a clam and blooms away every Christmas! It turns out Christmas Cacti need 13 hours of darkness at temps between 50 and 70 degrees F to be prompted into blooming.

 

 

 

Go figure. If you did that to me, well, let’s just say blooming’s the last thing I’d think of doing.

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After the blooms drop off, I give her a pruning haircut to stimulate thicker growth and more blooms for next year, and I’ll send her to the garage again next Thanksgiving!

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Filed under Cool Facts and Ideas, Holiday

I Will Give Thanks!

Lord, let me never forget to give thanks for all Your kindness! I don’t deserve it, yet You’ve blessed me with fabulous family and friends, a wonderful church, and especially the gift of salvation through Your Son’s sacrifice on my behalf. Let me never forget to honor You!

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“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever!” – 1 Chronicles 16:34

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 “In everything give thanks!” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
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 “Give thanks to the God of heaven.” – Psalm 136:26
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“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, His love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:3

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“Enter hHs gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to
 Him and praise His name!” – Psalm 100:4IMG_8095

“Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains.” – Genesis 49:26 IMG_8089

 “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:23IMG_8049“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2

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Christmas in South Carolina

written by my daughter, Karen E. Hall

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

’Twas the night before Christmas; ’twas 70 degrees,
And people went round in short sleeves and capris.
Though decked all in holly and bright ribbons fair,
The windows were open to let in the air.
Downtown in shops was sold candy molasses,
To shoppers in flip-flops, wearing sunglasses.
At home in the neighborhood kids were at play,
In air that felt like Midsummer’s Day

Around the bright tree Christmas gifts lay by,
But the fireplace lay empty; the A/C was on high.
If not for the Christmas songs one well remembered,
One might have thought it was sometime in September.
Then Christmas Eve came, and a cool night it was,
But no one believed for one minute it’d snow.
The kids were snuggled all cozy in bed,
While visions of X-Box games danced in their heads.
Some dreamed of Barbies, and others of guns,
Anxiously awaiting the rising of the sun.
Then up came the sun and not a moment too soon:
Not a kid was in bed any later than noon.
They rushed down the stairs with a bump and a clatter.
Their parents knew exactly what was the matter.
The room was a mess, of course, in due time,
But the children’s glee was perfectly sublime.
Gift-wrappings, ribbons, paper, and bows,
Littered the floor like Siberian snow.
Outside the window the landscape was gray,
But no one quite noticed; they were used to it that way.
The turkey was cooked and the table was set
As the sun shone through the wide-open dining room windows.
There may be snow in those far northern states,
But we Carolinians are proud of our state.
We know it ain’t Christmas to some without snow,
But mark us, we’ll get some, by and by low.
We may have warm winters, brown trees, and clear skies,
But we’ve got warm hearts and streets safe to drive.
So when the weather gets cooler than sixty-and-two,
We’ll wish a Merry S.C. Christmas to you!

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Hope for Poinsettia Killers!

POINSETTIAS

If you’re like me and LOVE beautiful, red-flowered poinsettia plants at Christmas but avoid taking them in because they unfailingly die slow, painful looking deaths in your house after the holidays are over, here’s some helpful info from:http://www.helpfulgardener.com/container/2003/poinsettia.html:

REBLOOMING AND CARING FOR YOUR POINSETTIA

Poinsettias are a widespread Christmas tradition both for gift-giving and holiday decorating. Yet many of these lovely plants end up in the trash once the holidays are over. Your poinsettia will not only make a beautiful indoor plant all year long, but can also be coaxed to bloom again each year in time for Christmas.

Poinsettia Legend and History

Poinsettias (euphorbia pulcherrima) are native to Mexico and Central America. The Aztecs called it cuetlaxochitl. Poinsettias were introduced in the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, and quickly caught on as a popular Christmas plant.

Joel Roberts Poinsett, U.S. Secretary of War, ...

Poinsettias have thin, pale green leaves. When in bloom, they display brightly colored bracts (red, pink, or white) on the top of each stem. Although many mistakenly think that these bracts are flower petals, the actual flowers are the tiny yellow clusters found at the center of the bracts (Bract are simply leaves masquerading as petals). Another common misconception is that the plant is poisonous. Like most euphorbias, the sap is a little caustic and may cause skin irritation, and certainly indigestion if digested, but if you’re going to knock the hubby off for the insurance money (there’s a cheery holiday thought…), find another plant.


Forcing Poinsettias to Bloom

Poinsettias bloom in response to shortening daylight hours. If you wish to coax your poinsettia to bloom in time for the holidays, you will need to put the plant in total darkness for at least twelve hours (fourteen is better) each night for approximately ten weeks (this also applies to forcing Christmas Cacti to bloom). Late September or early October is a good time to begin this regimen. You can place your plant inside a box, a cupboard, or a closet to achieve complete darkness. Be sure to bring your plant out during the day and place it in a bright, sunny spot. After it flowers, gradually decrease the water until the bracts all drop, then allow the plant to dry out completely (like many of the euphorbias, this is a desert plant). Store in a place with cooler temperatures (50 degrees);  remember we are trying to recreate a Mexican Winter, so a 50 degree basement or garage makes a fine location.

When it really begins to warm up again (Late May for us, but just so long as you’re around 50 degree evenings), repot your mummy in the same pot with fresh soil and start to water again (we stopped gradually and that’s a good way to start) and fertilize (also gradually). Around August, cut the plant back by a third and make a decision. Do we want bushy with small flowers or shrubby with big flowers (my pick)? If we choose the latter we cut the plant back to three to five stems and grow it out (remember         gloves if you have sensitive skin). A poinsettia can look quite lovely when planted with foliage plants with contrasting leaf color, shape, and/or size. Don’t prune your plant any later than September, however,         if you wish to force it to bloom for Christmas.

Poinsettia Care

Poinsettias like lots of bright, indirect sunlight and prefer humid conditions (so you may want to mist your plant if your home is very dry due to heating or climate). As for watering, let the soil dry out between         watering. The soil should be dry to the touch. Also, be sure not to let  the plants pot stand in water at the plants base or saucer(A layer of pebbles in the bottom of the tray keeps the plant out of the water and         increases the humidity around the plant). Poinsettias are sensitive to extreme temperature, so don’t place your plant next to a heater or near a drafty window or doorway. A daytime temp of around 65 degrees         and nights around 60 degrees will provide perfect conditions for your  poinsettia. Whitefly can sometimes be a pest for this plant; check your purchase closely. If you pick it up, and things fly, and they’re white,         well, there it is. Pretty easily taken care of with insecticidial soap or my favorite indoor pesticide, pyrethrine (made of daisies; it’s organic and safe if you don’t drink it).Poinsettias

Poinsettias are a beautiful holiday tradition, but your enjoyment of these charming plants does not have to end when the Christmas tree comes down. With just a little effort, you can derive pleasure from your poinsettia all year long and bring it to bloom for many holiday seasons to come.

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Easter Cookie Recipe

Easter Cookies

These Easter Cookies tell the story of how Jesus Christ suffered and died. May we never stop remembering what He did for us!

Ingredients:

1 cup pecan halves, to be broken                    pinch of salt

1 tsp. vinegar                                                             1 cup sugar

3 egg whites                                                                1 Bible 

First, wash and dry everyone’s hands. Gather the ingredients and some adhesive tape. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a cookie sheet.

Place pecans in a resealable bag. Give participants wooden spoons and let them pound the pecans into small pieces.  Set aside.  Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by soldiers. (Read John 19:1-3)

Let each helper smell the vinegar. Then measure 1 teaspoon into the mixing bowl.  Explain that while dying on the cross, Jesus was thirsty and soldiers gave Him vinegar to drink.  (Read John 19:28-30)

Separate the eggs. Add the whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life.  Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. (Read John 10:10-11, 28)

Sprinkle a little salt into each person’s palm, and let each one brush it off into the mixture. Then they can taste their salty palms. This reminds us of salty tears shed by those saddened by Jesus’ death. (Read Luke 23:27)

So far, the ingredients aren’t very appetizing, but now sugar is added, and you must trust that it will have a pleasant result. Explain that the sweetest part of this story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He makes it possible to know Him and belong to Him. (Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16)

Beat with electric mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Point out the pearly white color, the color of purity in God’s eyes for those who have been cleansed from sin by Jesus’ death. (Read Isa. 1:18 and 1 John 3:1-3)

Fold in nuts. Drop rounded teaspoons of the mixture on the cookie sheet.  Explain that each mound resembles a rocky tomb like the one in which Jesus’ body was placed.  (Read Matt. 27:57- 60)

Put the cookie sheet in the preheated oven, close the door, and turn the oven completely off. Hand each participant a piece of tape to secure the oven door.  Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. (Read Matt. 27:65-66)

Time for bed! Explain that they may feel sad and disappointed to leave the cookies in the oven with the door closed. Jesus’ death seemed final to His followers, and they were in despair when the tomb was sealed. (Read John 16:20 – 22)

On Easter morning, open the oven door and give everyone a cookie.  Point out the cracked surface of the cookies, and then take a bite. The cookies are hollow!  On the first Easter morning, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find His tomb opened and empty. He had risen! (Read Matt. 28:1-9)

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