Monday, December 27, 2010

Winner of Pampering Giveaway

Leslie Ann, Hostess of the blog From My Left Hand won the pampering Giveaway!  I thank all of my readers and wish I could give you all a pampering giveaway.  I wish you the best in the New Year! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

The First Noel


My Bath and Body Works Giveaway ends on Sunday.  Click HERE to enter.

I wish you a Merry Christmas!  I want to share with you my Nativity tree on this Christmas Eve.  Years ago when I thought that my children thought Christmas was "all about Santa," I decided to make a statement with my tree.  I changed it from a traditional tree to a tree that was about the real meaning of Christmas.  Yes, I do have Santas and nutcrackers, but I wanted my tree -- one of the most visible decorations of Christmas -- to reflect the real meaning of Christmas.   Every year I add a little -- but it really doesn't change from year to year.

"The first Noel,

"The angel did say"

"Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay..."

"They looked up and saw a star..."

"Shining in the East beyond them far..."

"Born is the King of Israel..."

I want to wish you the Merriest Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch Tablescape

Don't forget to sign up for my pampering giveaway which includes a $25.00 gift certificate to Bath and Body Works.  Click HERE to enter.

A warm Christmas welcome to my Red Couch.

I love the old "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" movie.  Maybe it reminds me of my father at Christmas.  He loved the Grinch movie and he loved ornaments.  Each year, he would buy a new ornament or two.  They were the ornate shaped glass ornaments.  He would hand out these delicate ornaments to us as we decorated the tree.  In the movie, the Grinch even took the one remaining ornament on the tree.

I began the tablescape with simple dishes.  The red glass ornaments are in a cupcake holder.  I thought that it was appropriate that part of the centerpiece should include ornaments.  The Grinch couldn't even leave one ornament in Whoville.

I made the yarn balls for a party for my Activity Day Girls (church).  I thought they looked fun and festive on this Grinch table.

Here's a close-up of the yarn ball.  Before they dried, I sprinkled glitter on them.  Our home has sparkled this holiday season because of the glitter on these balls!

I love this fun and bright colored pitcher.  I have two of them.  I bought three of them last year -- one for myself, one for my mother-in-law Geniel and one for a gift exchange at a family party. The young niece who received this pitcher, preferred the I-tunes gift card that I received, so we swapped.

The whimsical cake server seems to fit into this theme.  I made the ornaments out of ice cream, sprinkled with nonpareils and topped with a Reese's peanut butter cup.  I used holiday trimmings for the ornament ring; you could use red string licorice; I couldn't find it in my area.  They were fun to make and eat.

I dolled up this one with more non-pareils.  I have to tell you that I didn't know how to spell non-pareils -- and I WAS the winner of my third grade class spelling bee!  

Here's a sideview of the table.

Oops the Grinch left this fun hat!

I hope you have the Merriest Christmas!

Table Information:

Place Mats:  Wal-Mart
Red Dinner Plates -- Wal-Mart
Green Salad Plates -- Smith's Grocery Store
Red Ramekins -- Wal-Mart
Napkins -- Wal-Mart
Red Goblets -- Costco
Cake Plate -- Gift from Jacqueline
Pitcher -- Wal-Mart
Little Red Gift Plate -- Wal-Mart
Cupcake Holder -- Wal-Mart

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Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Your Wonderful Life" Party and Giveaway

Welcome to the third, and last "It's Your Wonderful Life" Party!  I am so appreciative to all of my readers and to those that took the time to link up to the parties.  The Linky Party is below the giveaway information.

Winner of Mrs. Christmas Apron
First of all I want to announce that Jamie. hostess of the blog "From My Kitchen to Yours" won the Mrs. Christmas apron!  It's going in the mail tomorrow and with some Christmas Luck it will arrive before Christmas.  I want to thank Jacqueline, my sister, hostess of Purple Chocolat Home for making and giving such a great apron.  I know Jamie will love it!

This Week's Giveaway

In the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" George and Mary buy the "drafty old home" at 320 Sycamore Street.  It's the home that Mary and George throw rocks in the window and make wishes.  The first giveaway gift is a pair of "Socks to Stay Home In."  I have a pair just like them.  Don't you think Mary would have loved a pair to keep her warm in that drafty old home?

At the end of the movie, the town has come with financial donations to help George.  They are standing around a Christmas tree, in George and Mary's home, and they hear a bell ring.  ZuZu says, "Teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings."  It is then that they realize that Clarence has received his wings.  The second giveaway gift is a bell.  I am so glad that Clarence received his wings! 

A local newspaper columnist, Ann Cannon wrote that one Thanksgiving after planning the dinner, making the dinner, setting the table, and calling everyone to dinner, her husband asked HER to give the prayer over the Thanksgiving feast.   Her response was, "I might as well, I did everything else!"  If you are like me, you have been so busy preparing for Christmas, and doing most of the preparations, that you deserve a little something for yourself.  The third giveaway gift is a $25 gift card to Bath and Body Works.  Buy a little something for yourself that didn't come under the Christmas tree.

I have enjoyed looking at your "Wonderful" posts and thinking about the movie "It's a Wonderful Life."  I love its eternal message that each ordinary man and women make more of a difference in the lives of others than they think they do. 

Giveaway Rules

  • The contest will run until Sunday December 26 at 10 pm MST.
  • You must provide a way for me to contact you via e-mail -- either on your blog or in you comment.  You do not need to host a blog to win this contest.
  • Winner will be chosen with the aid of Random.Org.
  • I will contact the winner by e-mail; you e-mail must be readily visible on your blog or in your comments.
You have three chances to win.

1.  First Chance:  This is mandatory to win a prize.  You must be a GFC follower, former or new, to win.  You can become a follower of Red Couch Recipes by clicking on the follower button on the left side of my blog.

Second Chance:  Post an entry to this week's "It's Your Wonderful Life Party."  The linky is below the contest rules.  Tell me in your comment the name of the post.

Third Chance:  Post this contest, along with my giveaway photo, on your sidebar.  Tell me in the comment
that you did post to your sidebar.

In closing, I leave you with a great quote from "It's a Wonderful Life."  In this scene George is talking to Mr. Potter who owns the town's bank and wants to own the Bailey Building and Loan business.

Link Up To "It's Your Wonderful Life" Linky Party!

In closing, I leave you with a great quote from "It's a Wonderful Life." In this scene George is talking to Mr. Potter who owns the town's bank and wants to own the Bailey Building and Loan

Just a minute — just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You're right when you say my father was no business man. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I'll never know. But neither you nor anybody else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was...Why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn't that right, Uncle Billy? He didn't save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter. And what's wrong with that? Why...Here, you're all businessmen here. Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers? said...What'd you say just a minute ago?...They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken-down that they...Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about...they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you'll ever be!"


Christmas Shoes

"If we're open to it, the smallest of miracles can change our lives."

Every girl needs a new pair of Christmas shoes decorated and filled with candy.  These shoes are easy and fun to create and make great holders for little sweets.  Click HERE for the template on Skip to My Lou's website. 

These shoes were inspired by the movie, song, and book The Christmas Shoes.  We just watched the movie, again, starring Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams.  If you like "feel good" movies  -- even though this movie is sad, you will like this movie.  I also love the album "The Christmas Shoes" by New Song, aside from its title song there are also many other great songs like "Light Your World."

I hope you are enjoying the VERY MERRIEST!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Decked Halls

Tonight at 10 pm MST is the deadline for entering my Mrs. Christmas Apron.  Click on the picture at left to enter.

Welcome to my Decked Out Holiday Home at Red Couch Recipes.  I was going to offer you a seat in the chairs, but I think they are a little wet!

My ten year-old daughter has been busy making this welcoming snowman.

The sled sits right on the entry stairs outside my front doors.  My sister-in-law Dawnell made the cute snowman sign, or helped me make it, I can't remember!  The sled is a sled from my childhood -- a Royal Racer!

Red felt Christmas bulbs are in my window .

My Nativity and other related "Nativity" things find a home on my buffet.

My tree has a "Nativity" theme.  I am planning to share the whole tree on a later post.

I hang stars, manger scenes, pictures of Jesus, and other things that are "Nativity-related" on my main tree.

As you might have guessed, I love the color red.  I love this tree just dripping with red.

A lot of the felt ornaments are actually giftcard holders.  It's a smaller tree that is placed in a plant stand during the holidays.

My buffet table serves as a spot for Christmas decorating.

Thanks for coming by the home tour at Red Couch Recipes!

Aunt Ionia's Pecan Cups and Last Day to Enter Apron Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for the Mrs. Christmas Apron.  Click HERE to enter. 

Our Christmas Angel, Aunt Ionia hosted Christmas Eve every year.  After a sumptuous dinner, the men would wash and dry the dishes and silverware by hand!, She would always have fancy Christmas dish towels that they were NOT supposed to use to dry the dishes; each year they would tease her that they were using the fancy towels! 

 After the dish washing, Ionia would bring out a cookie tray.  There would be a least nine kinds of cookies, served with peppermint ice cream.  All of these were made by Ionia; no one was allowed to bring anything to her Christmas Eve feast.  She would store the tins, with Christmas goodness, on the steps leading to her attic.  Pecan Cups were my favorite on the cookie tray. They are buttery, yummy bites of deliciousness.

Recipe for Pecan Tarts

Cup Ingredients

1-1/2 cups of butter
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese
3 cups flour

Cream butter, cream cheese together and then mix flour with hands.  Chill for about an hour.  Make into balls (about 1 tablespoon) and form into min muffin pans to make a crust.  It is better to use non-stick pans as they tend to stick.  You can also use the handle little tool that my mother-in-law Geniel gave me to make the cups.  I think it is a Pampered Chef item.


3 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cups pecans - cut in small pieces
4 eggs
4 tablespoons butter, very soft, but not melted.
3/4 teaspoons salt

Mix all filling ingredients together.  This is the recipe that was given me, but I only use about half of the filling; so half it if you like.  Fill the cups with about a little less than 1 teaspoon of filling.  Bake 325 degrees for about 22-25 minutes.  Like many things, these taste better the next day after baking.

The pecan cups with the filling waiting to be baked.

I hope you make some delicious Pecan Cups for those you love at Christmas!

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes today.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grandma Utahna Felix's English Toffee

Click HERE to enter my drawing for the Mrs. Christmas apron.

I have been making this toffee and giving it to friends and family for years.  It is simply delicious and is the main goodie that I make at Christmas.  Recently, my sister Jacqueline (Purple Chocolat Home) and I had a day of making toffee at my home.  Do not be intimidated by making toffee; this is really the most easy candy to make --- and the most delicious.  It is a vintage recipe of my husband's Grandma Utahna.  I guess you could guess that she was born in Utah and named after her home state.

Utahna, Leo, and LaVar Felix in the 1930's

This is so delicious that sometimes I have made up to 26 batches to give away to family and friends  at Christmas!

I am giving you the recipe  as it was given to me.  Although I use a thermometer with most other candy, I don't with this recipe.  Also, I always use milk chocolate chips.  The brand I love to use is not available anymore.  Jaqueline brought three kinds of chocolate chips and I closed my eyes -- yes, a true blind test -- when tasting.  The Ghiardelli milk chocolate tasted the best -- the chips were sweet and creamy.  Do NOT use margarine!  I always use salted butter.

Can you see me in the bottom right Christmas ball?  Jacqueline is pictured on the bottom left.

Recipe for Utahna's English Toffee

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 cup toasted pecans broken in pieces--Toast in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Milk chocolate chips

Place toasted pecans in the bottom of  8 x8 pyrex pan.  Put butter, sugar, and water in medium heavy sauce pan and cook at high temperature.  I always break up my butter in small pieces in the sauce pan.   Stir with wooden spoon throughout the cooking time.  The mix should always appear fluffy at all times.  Cook until mixture turns an amber color, starts to leave the sides of the pan, and is slightly smoking, take off heat and turn immediately over onto prepared nuts. The cooking time is relatively short, depending on your stove, approximately 7 to 8 minutes with a gas stove and 10-11 minutes with an electrice stove.  These are just approximate times.   Let toffee cool for 8 to 10 minutes.  Then sprinkle with milk chocolate chips.  When chips are melted, swirl around with knife.  Let chocolate dry -- this takes several hours.  When chocolate is dry, turn over toffee on wax paper and break into pieces.

Candy Making Notes:
While stirring, use a wet pastry brush or clean, wet dishcloth to wash down the sides of the pan to dissolve any undissolved sugar crysals.  If you skip this step, the candy might sugar.  Also when you pour the toffee mixture on the pecans, do NOT scrape the pan.  If you do scrape the pan, this could also cause the mixture to sugar. If you are making more than one batch, make sure that your pan and spoon are clean of sugar crystals.  If it DOES sugar, it tastes wonderful broken up and served on a good quality vanilla ice cream.  Also, make sure that your toffee is truly an amber color before you take it off the stove.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Breakfast with the Big Guy!

Click HERE to enter my giveaway for the Mrs. Christmas apron handcrafted by my talented sister Jacqueline, Purple Chocolat Home.  It would look fabulous on you!

Welcome to my breakfast with the Big Guy at Red Couch Recipes!  Every Christmas morning, before we open the presents, we eat a big breakfast which includes the traditional Christmas morning casserole served by my mother-in-law Geniel for many years. I may be posting this later; I have some pre-blogger pictures from last year.

Before I beginI want to extend thank yous as I have experienced Christmas Luck recently in winning blogger giveaways.

I want to thank Sherry from The Charm of Home for the wonderful giveaway package I received this week!  Sherry must have seen the condition of my Christmas hot pad and towels!  I immediately went to my bedroom and began to read this fun book stuffed with decorating ideas.  The candle smells and looks devine.

I also want to thank Beth, Food as Art, for the lovely Le Creuset tart pan -- in my favorite color.  I know a tart will taste better in such a pretty pan.  I had a red pie pan similar to this that I loved.  I took it to a church function and dropped it on the sidewalk after the function ended. I am planning the things I will bake in this beautiful new pan. Love this!

Breakfast with the Big Guy Tablescape!

My sister Jeannie gifted me these dishes about ten years ago.  I love the gold stars and gold rims.

Here is a picture of the backside of the plate.

The "Joy" salad plates are from Wal-Mart this year.  I also have plates that say Hope and Peace.  Can you believe I only bought six of these?  Now they are gone.

I added cream napkins with Style Sisters napkin rings and tucked in a candy cane.

Here's a close-up of the napkin ring.

For glasses I used the tall goblets bought at Costco years ago.  The smaller glass is a vintage Royal Crown goblet. 

My Aunt Ionia, who was our family's Christmas Angel, set the "adult table" every year on Christmas Eve with these glasses. In all the 27 years that I went to my Aunt's for Christmas Eve, I don't think I ever sat at the "adult table." My sisters and I loved those ruby glasses and they created a longing for ruby glasses in us.   Later in life, we all bought a set of the tall Costco glasses. This year Jaqueline gifted me these Royal Crown goblets as a remembrance of those magical Christmas Eve's spent at our Aunt Ionia's home.  My sisters and I didn't inherit the Royal Crown so you can imagine how special it is to have a set of these?

My Aunt Ionia, My Dad, Uncle Bob, and Aunt Mary

Here is a sideview of the table.

Here is an overhead view of the table.  I love the red balls in the ruby footed bowl.  I bought the footed bowl years ago at Tai Pan Trading.

I bought the Santa cookie jar at T.J. Maxx years ago.  He is so jolly and cute.

The Santa canvas is a Susan Comish print.  One year I bought this, and didn't tell anyone.  I brought the canvas out on Christmas Eve when everyone was in bed and told everyone that Santa had brought a picture of himself!  I love her pictures of Santa. 

My Love Affair with Santa

My mother said that as a young girl, I loved "Causie," as I called him, right from the get go. She wrote, "Causie  is the big thing in my life."  When I was only 18 months she wrote that "Causie came -- Ho! Ho! Ho!  Causie is my name for Santa Claus, who was so important to me."  After the Christmas when I was 18 months,  she wrote, "I talked of him for months and laughed like he does. " 

As a little girl, the only present I ever really cared about was receiving a stuffed Santa for Christmas; each year I would receive a new one.  I didn't care for dolls -- I just loved my Santa!   I would carry around my stuffed Santas year round.  When the black boots ripped, my parents would tape them up with electrical tape.  One year, I realized when all the presents were opened, that I wasn't receiving a new Santa Claus.  I was so disappointed!  Then my parents realized that "Santa" had left some packages in their closet.  To my relief, I received a new Santa.  They don't make Santas like that anymore and I wish I still had one.

The big red jingle bells were from a local craft store a few years ago.

I hope you enjoyed my Breakfast with the Big Guy!

Tablescape Information;

Tablecoth -- Can't remember where, maybe Wal-Mart
Placemats -- Wal-Mart
Gold Chargers -- Costco
Red Galaxy Plates -- Gift from Jeannie my sister
Peace, Hope, Joy Salad/Dessert Plates -- Wal-Mart this year
Silverware -- Damask Rose by Oneida -- Wedding present from my parents
Red Goblets -- Costco
Royal Crown Goblets -- Gift from Jacqueline, my sister
Napkins -- Wal-Mart
Napkin Rings -- Style Sisters
Large Jingle Bells -- Roberts Arts and Crafts
Red Footed Bowl -- Tai Pan Trading
Santa Cookie Jar -- T,J. Maxx

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