Monday, November 29, 2010

Peppermint Crunch Double Chocolate Cookies

Hi everyone!  I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!  All you wonderful bloggers out there have been tempting me with your yummy Christmas cookies -- I have finally succumbed and made some Christmas cookies.  If you like peppermint and chocolate, these cookies are for you -- double servings of chocolate and peppermint make these taste divine.

Don't forget to link up to my "It's Your Wonderful Life!" party on the first three Monday nights in December.

Recipe for Peppermint Crunch Double Chocolate Cookies
1 cup butter 
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips 
1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips
1 cup walnuts -- optional
Crushed Peppermint to decorate
White chocolate to decorate

In a medium bowl, cream sugars with butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and add vanilla. Add baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Next add flour, one cup at a time, beat in well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Roll tablespoons of dough into rounds and bake in 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake! Cool on wire rack for 2 minutes. Decorate with crushed peppermint and white chocolate drizzles.  Hint:  Press the crushed peppermint on cookie right after it gets out of the oven so that it can stick on the cookie.

Thank you for dropping by my Red Couch today.

Posted with the following:
12 Weeks of Christmas, Weekend Wrapup, Made By You Mondays, Market Yourself Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Home For the Holidays, Show and Tell, Christmas Cookie Exchange, Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranberry Cake

If you are looking for a last minute dessert that is a sure crowd pleaser -- cranberry cake will fit perfectly in your Thanksgiving feast.  This cake is so delicious that I even like the edges to gnaw on.  The almond extract in the cake complements the cranberries so well and the cake is sweet enough to tame the tartness of the cranberries.  I was given this cake as a "welcome to the area," when we first moved here to our present home.  It is a Taste of Home Recipe developed by Marilyn Paradis of Woodburn, Oregon.  Thanks Marilyn! Everyone who tries it, loves it!

Before I give you the recipe, I want to remind and encourage you to join in my "It's Your Wonderful Life" linky party.  Click HERE for more details.  There weill be a few giftie giveaways.

I really hope you try this recipe.  It is one of my favorites.  There is something special about the texture of this cake -- it's almost like a brownie texture and consistency.


3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
2/3 cup chopped pecans

Whipped cream, optional


In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until slightly thickened and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes -- make sure you do this!  Add butter and extract; beat 2 minutes. Gradually stir in flour just until combined. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Spread in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream if desired. Yield: 16-20 servings.

Thanksgiving Challenge

Today will most likely be my last Thanksgiving Challenge for the season.  I am thankful for those of you who  "played along."  Today I am especially thankful for my parents who gave me life.  My mother passed away over 20 years ago and my father passed over over 15 years ago.  I wish that they could have got to know my children and that we could have spent many more years together than we did.  Nevertheless, I am thankful for them and for the many sacrifices that they made to raise me.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Posted with the following:

Tasty Tuesday

Monday, November 22, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Birthday Party and Tablescape

My daughter Talley turned 10, (double digits!) last week and we held a "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief" birthday party.  The Percy Jackson books, and movie, are very popular around children her age.  Talley helped plan most of the party; she had lots of good ideas.  In the books, Percy's mom always liked to make him blue food; so blue was the color of the evening.  Percy's father is the son of the mythical character Poseidon, God of the ocean, so I guess the blue signifies the ocean, Poseidon's realm.  The girls were so cute and we had such a fun time!

I am including reminders of my "It's a Wonderful Life" Link up Party on all my posts.  Share all the "wonderful" holiday things going on in your life!  Click HERE for more details.  There will also be a few giveaway gifties!

Talley and I made these string balls together; we thought they looked like bubbles in the ocean.

Here is a long view of the table.

I placed lightning bolts in the glasses.

We served blue Hawaiian punch.

An individual place setting.  The girls loved the candy cane tucked in the napkin ring.

Here's an side view of the table.

The candy centerpiece was fun to put together.  Who knew there were so many kinds of blue candy?  At the end of the party, the girls took home a cellophane bag filled with the blue candy.

We added some pictures of the Greek "Gods" to the candy centerpiece.

What would a party be without a cake?  Talley said she wanted a lightning bolt cake so that is what she got!  Tati (Polka Dot Pantry Sweets) and I made the cake by just drawing a lightning bolt freehand and then cutting around the pattern.  We just used one cake baked in a 9x 13 pan and cut it out twice.  Next time, for ease, I would make two 13 x 9 cakes so I could make a larger cake.

I piped "blue" ice cream (just vanilla with blue food coloring in it) into a little ramekin for each girl.  I softened the ice cream before piping and then put the ramekins back in the freezer.

Percy Jackson Treasure Hunt
Talley planned a treasure hunt for the girls.  She adapted the clues from the website "Make it Do."

The First Clue
The first clue was hidden under one of the dinner plates.  This clue said the following:

"Ares is the god of war, he loves to fight and not much more.  He's hidden a clue in orbs untold.  To find them out, you must be bold !  So take his weapons and use them well , within the orbs a clue may tell."

In one of the orbs (balloons), the next clue was found.  The girls used sharp pencils, and just one hand, to pop the balloons.

The Second Clue
In the balloons the second clue was found and it read as follows: 

 "Look above, beyond the wall
In the sky Zeus rules all.  Climb to his realm and do not fall.  If you’re lucky you’ll feel no jolt from Zeus’ mighty Lightning Bolt."

These lightening bolts were hung from my shower curtain. The girls took turn choosing lightning bolts.  One of the bolts was marked with a clue. We did this by candlelight.

The Third Clue
The clue on the designated bolt read as follows:

"There's much to fear in Hades' home, for in his kingdom the dead to roam.  Descend, descend to darkest black, and if you survive a clue bring back."

The girls then headed down to our basement.  But first, to enter they had to throw gold drachma (gold coins) into a pot, before they could cross the River Styx.  Then they found the third clue in Hades -- in my laundry room; rather ironic because when the wash is backed up, it feels like Hades.  Here is  the skeleton they found the fourth clue in.

The Fourth Clue

This is the clue that Talley devised:

"It's quite frightening to see the bolt of lightning.  If you can see it, it won't strike.  It might be something you like, so go ahead and eat your treat and know forever that you can defeat."

Hidden in the laundry room was the lightning bolt cake. We also darkened the basement and searched for the fourth clue by candlelight.  We took the cake and went upstairs for cake and ice cream.

The girls were then given a"blue pearl" necklaces to celebrate their "Victorious Quest."  This,is just a blue bead strung on waxed string.  In the movie, the kids were given blue pearls as they traveled on their quest to find the lightning bolt.


Each girl was able to take home one of the "blue bubbles."

I really enjoyed this party, and so did the girls.  I might suggest adding a Percy Jackson Trivia Quiz, we didn't do this, but it might be fun. 

Table Information

Trusty Placemats:  Wal-Mart
Square Plates:  Tai Pan Trading
Napkin Rings:  Wal-Mart
Napkins:  Ross
Bubble Glasses:  Tai Pan Trading
Silverware:  Oneida Damask Rose
Silver Candlesticks:  Target
String Balls:  Home Made

Today, and every day, I am thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ who made all good things possible. He made it possible for us to repent and to live again with all our loved ones.  Not that I want to leave this life anytime soon, I am really looking forward to that great reunion in Heaven where I can meet loved ones.  What conversations we will have!

Thank you for dropping by Red Couch Recipes today!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Turkey Cupcakes

Your little gobblers will gobble up these cupcakes or they might even help you make them.  They would be fun for the kids to make Thanksgiving morning before the guests arrive.  You can either make the tail feathers with candy corn or Swedish fish; I like them both.  I adapted this idea from a 2003 Martha Steware magazine for Kids.

Ingredients and Instuctions

Cupcakes -- your favorite recipe or a cake mix
Butter Cream Frosting -- your favorite recipe or canned frostingToasted Coconut -- See note below.
Coconut Marshmallows
Swedish Fish or Candy Corns -- You will need five or six per turkey.  You will need some orange Swedish Fish for their mouths. 
I used the brown part of the Candy Corn to make the eyes -- you could pipe it or use brown jimmies.

Notes:  To toast coconut, place desired amount on jelly roll pan in a 350 degree oven.  Toast for about 10 minutes and occasionally bring the coconut from the outer edges to the center of the pan.  The outer edges have a tendancy to toast in less time.  Watch carefully as coconut can burn easily.
Frost the cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting.

Roll frosted cupcakes in buttercream frosting.  If necessary, press down coconut into frosting so it sticks to the frosting.

Attach one marshmallow to each cupcake by spreading a little Buttercream frosting on the bottom of the marshmallow and pressing the marshmallow into each cupcake.

Attach tail feathers by just pushing the candy into the cupcake.  Either use Candy Corn or Swedish Fish for the tail feathers.  Cut a triangle-shaped Swedish Fish for the mouth of the turkey.  Either pipe brown frosting for eyes or use chocolate jimmies attached with frosting for eyes.  I used the brown part of the candy corn rolled into little balls and attached the eyes with frosting.

Here is my rafter of turkeys.

Create some cooking memories with your children or your grands by making these turkey cupcakes.  I made these with my Activity Day girls.  They turned out fine except that some of them didn't like coconut, but they all liked the cupcakes.  One little girl ate FOUR cupcakes!  Oops, I hope the cupcakes didn't spoil her dinner!

Thanksgiving Challenge

Today, I am thankful for my family.  I am thankful for my husband who accepts me and loves me with all my faults.  I am thankful to my husband for working hard and supporting our family.  I am thankful for  my children who bring joy into my life.  Because of our children, my life has become much broader and richer.  They are fun to be around, they are positive, and they have a lot of enthusiasm for life!

Thank you for dropping by the Red Couch!

Posted with the following:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turkey Cranberry Wreath

This recipe has been around for awhile and it is one that I pull out from time to time.  It is a great recipe to employ to use up your leftover turkey.  I received the recipe from a lady at church, but I think it was most probably a Pillsbury recipe.  Have fun making this delicious wreath in the kitchen.  It whips up quickly.  The cranberries and honey  mustard give it a kick and the swiss cheeese gives it balance.  This is always a hit with my family.

Turkey Wreath Recipe

2 packages crescent roll dough
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 cups cooked, turkey, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup celery, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 egg, separated

Combine all the ingredients except the crescent rolls and the egg. 

Open the crescent roll tubes and separate the triangles.  You should have 8 triangles in each tube.  Take 8  triangles and place the wide ends in the center in a circle on your baking sheet.  It should look like this.

Take the remaining 8 triangles and line up the wide ends to the wide ends of the first 8 triangles.  The points of the triangles should face the center.  The points of the first 8 triangles faced outward.  Seal only, by pressing down with your fingers, where the two wide parts meet.

This is what I mean by lining up the wide ends of the triangle.  I drew it out on paper, because the photo I took didn't really show the wide ends meeting.

 Scoop the turkey mixture, where the wide ends meet, in a circle.  Weave the dough, outside piece, inside piece, alternating all the way around to make a wreath.  I didn't do a great job doing this and it turned out just fine.  As you do the weaving, tuck the ends of the triangle underneath the wreath.  There will be portions of the turkey mixture visible, this is fine.  Take the white from the separated egg and brush over the pastry wreath.

The wreath ready to be baked.

 Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Note:  If you don't have leftover turkey, try making it with chicken or a good quality deli turkey, bought in a chunk.  I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did!

Thanksgiving Challenge

Today I am thankful for good teachers.  My son has a nice Driver's Education teacher who worked with him to get his license.  The Driver's Education teacher takes his job seriously and put in extra time and effort with my son.  Yesterday, my son passed the test for his Driver's license.  I am also thankful that I don't have to wake up at 5:20 a.m. to get him to drive with his teacher anymore!

Posted with the following:
Foodie Friday, I'm Lovin' It, Feature Yourself Friday, Tickled Pink, Weekend Wrapup, Made By You Monday, Tasty Tuesday

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Abundant Thanksgiving Tablescape and Thanksgiving Memories

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to Tablescape Thursday and Centerpiece Wednesday. I am not making the Thanksgiving turkey this year, so I set up this Thanksgiving table today.  I haven't actually hosted the Thanksgiving dinner many times at my home.  The times I have hosted, I really enjoyed making the turkey.  Of course, the stars of my table this week are the turkeys.  This was my mother's turkey; I believe she always served stuffing in it.

I picked up the amber turkey somewhere.  I think it was Mervyn's.

One year we invited a student from China over for Thanksgiving dinner; he had never eaten turkey or celebrated Thanksgiving before. We took a picture of him carving a turkey.

The individual placesetting.

I tucked an Autumn spray in the napkin ring; there are leaves embossed on them.   I bought these last year at Wal-Mart on clearance.

The salad plates and bowls are the Furio brand from Target bought years ago.

I love the little pumpkins on the salad plates.

When I was in college, we hosted a Thanksgiving turkey dinner.  None of us had ever cooked a turkey before.  When we tested our turkey while cooking, we couldn't understand why it had a pink color.  After such a long time of cooking; it should have been done!  I called my mother to ask for some advice!  Some of our guy friends, who procured the turkey from the BYU turkey farm, failed to tell us that it was a smoked turkey!  Even though we overcooked it a bit, it was such a good turkey!  We set up long tables in our apartment hallway and invited broadly.  That is a warm and funny Thanksgiving memory.

My favorite turkey memory was at Christmas, not at Thanksgiving.  My husband's uncle invited us over for dinner on Christmas day.  He, a nurse, and his son, in medical school, had baked the turkey.  They had closed up the turkey, not with skewers, but with 6 or 8 straight pins.  When the turkey was done, they had a hard time finding the pins!  It was such a funny thing to see the nurse and doctor "operating "on the turkey.  They used a flashlight to catch the glimmer of the pins.  Luckily, they remembered how many pins they had put in the turkey!  No harm was done and it gave us such a funny memory. 

I love the sun shining in through the windows.

What's for dinner?  Turkey, of course.  Have a slice of the Turkey Cranberry Wreath.

Thanksgiving Challenge

Today I am, and every day, thankful for Talley our youngest daughter.  In her words, she finally turned two digits!  She was born on a snow flurry day ten years ago.  We are so happy to have her in our home.  She is kind, funny, and smart.  She loves to draw, loves outdoors, and loves animals.  I am especially thankful for her today as she is helping me take care of our neighbor's dog.  She gets up early to help me; I am afraid of dogs!  Happy Birthday Talley.  We had our traditional donut tower this morning to celebrate her birthday.

Thanks for coming to sit on my Red Couch!