Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Step into Christmas Tablescape

A Merry Welcome to Red Couch Recipes and to my "Step Into Christmas" Tablesetting.  These transferware plates remind me of an old-fashioned Christmas -- snow, a wreath, and tree peeking out of the window.  You just know that as you walk into the home, all the indoor trimmings will match the outdoor trimming.  My sister Jacqueline gave these to me recently -- 16 dinner plates and 16 salad plates -- whoo hooo!  She said I need 16 for all my future grandchildren that are sure to visit in the Christmas season!  

When I was in college at Brigham Young University, right after finals one year, my roommates, friends, and I left to go to California to see BYU play in the Holiday Bowl.  On the way there, it snowed and the mountain pass was closed.  We sat for six hours on the freeway!!  It was at least a 10 hour drive there and then with the added delay it seemed like forever to reach the home of my roommate's parents.    When we came to their home in Southern California, it just looked, smelled and felt like Christmas.  We had just endured this long trip and when we walked into her parent's home I had literally Stepped Into Christmas. 

I am old-fashioned and am still a sucker for green and red at Christmas.

Love these new snowflake goblets.

Crystal and red are always another favorite at Christmas.

I filled the lamp with some festive candy canes.

These are HUGE, OVERSIZED, GIGANTIC napkins -- I love them...

It is just so Christmasy!

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes where the Christmas fun has just begun!

My Hodgson Mill $25 gift code giveaway ends tonight.  Click HERE to enter.

Table Information
White Plates:  Tai Pan Trading
Transferware Plates:  Home Goods and Gift
Red Goblets:  Costco (years ago)
Snowflake Goblets:  Smith's Grocery Store
Flatware:  Home Goods
Napkins:  Target (last year)

Posted with:  Tablescape Thursday

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

Hurray the Christmas baking season has arrived!  Do you feel that way too?  I made these little gems for the first time and we all fell in love with them.   Salty, sweet, chewy, and tasty is how I would describe these -- and they whip up in just a few minutes -- they are made with a Betty Crocker Sugar cookie mix.  Their delicate green coloring is from pistachio pudding and gives the cookies such a pretty color.  These little gems are perfect for any holiday cookie plate or for the "Big Guy's" visit on Christmas Eve.

Leave some out with some milk for Santa.

Recipe for Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
Via Betty Crocker

1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 box (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
1/4 cup flour (See my 'Notes.")
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl stir cookie mix, pudding, and flour. Add melted butter and eggs and stir until incorporated.

Add pistachios and cranberries and mix well.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for about 8 minutes.  They will look like they are not done, but they will be.  Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about two minutes.  Do not over bake!  Cool and eat.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Notes:  Make sure you make a test cookie.  After making a test cookie, I added about 2 more tablespoons of flour to make more of a full cookie.  I also sprinkled the cookies with sugar before baking.

Leave some out for Santa to eat -- oops looks like "The Big Guy" has been here already!

Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes!

Posted with;

Foodie Friday

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving from Red Couch Recipes!

I hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hodgson Mill $25 Gift Code Giveaway

Sure glad you dropped by Red Couch Recipes today.  I am pleased to offer one of my readers a $25 gift certificate to Hodgson Mill's online store.  Hodgson Mill is a family-owned business that has been in operation  for over 125 years providing all-natural, high quality, freshly ground grains and mixes.   At their online store they offer many varieties of flours, such as buckwheat, pancake mixes, and other mixes and much more.  The flours and mixes are reasonably priced and would be perfect for the holiday baking season. Click here to see what is available at their online store.  I have some Hodgson Mill's Rye Flour on my shelf right now that I mix into pancakes and waffles that adds a wonderful taste.

 To qualify to win the gift code to their Hodgson Mill's online store, just leave a comment telling me what your favorite thing to bake for the holidays or what is your favorite grain to use in baking or cooking.  Leave a comment by Wednesday November 30, 2011 to enter to win.  Make sure, you leave an e-mail so that I can contact you.

Disclosure Note:  I have not been compensated to offer this giveaway on my blog.  I was given some flour to use in a recipe that I am developing for a Hodgson Mill Holiday Baking Contest.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Apple Scrap

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes!

Growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, when a new restaurant would open, my Aunt Ionia would often say, "There's a new restaurant I would like to take you to."  Those words were magical to me!  Someone wanted to take me out to dinner!  She still wanted to take me even after I fell off my chair at a fashion show luncheon at an upscale restaurant.  She still wanted to take me even after I spilled my water and it flew onto another's customer's suit, who of course was upset.  Everyone should be so blessed to have an Aunt like Ionia.  So at this time of Thanksgiving, I thank my Heavenly Father for blessing our family with such a wonderful Aunt!

One of the restaurants she took us to was the "The Ovens of Brittany."  At the time, this restaurant took Madison by storm.  In later years, my sister Jacqueline, Purple Chocolat Home, gave me a cookbook from their restaurant.  This recipe for Apple Scrap was included in their recipe book and I have made it over the years.  Today, I would like to share this recipe with you.

Note:  This tastes best when served the second day.
 Apple Scrap

Crust Ingredients
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons orange juice or apple cider

Filling Ingredients
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups, peeled, chopped apples OR pitted sour cherries

Topping Ingredients
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Recipe Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.  To make crust, mix dry ingredients together.  Cut in butter until mixture is of very fine texture.  Mix in liquid until just combined.   Pat into pan.
2.  To make filling, combine all ingredients, except the fruit.  Fold in fruit and spread over crust.  Bake 30 minutes. 
3.  To make topping, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Cut in butter until size of peas.   Stir in nuts.  Refrigerate topping until bars have baked the first 30 minutes. 
4.  Sprinkle topping over partially-baked filling.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Cool and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

I hope you enjoy!  Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes.

There's a warning that comes with this recipe -- do not eat the Apple Scrap warm -- wait until the next day to eat it.  Some things just taste better the second day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Attitude of Gratitude Tablescape

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes and to Tablescape Thursday.

Even if research doesn't suggest, though I  think it might, I believe that those who are grateful, live happier, more fulfilling lives lives.  What a great gift or developed skill being a grateful person is.  Today my table is titled "An Attitude of Gratitude."  These little tiles were given out to all the women at our church at a meeting earlier this year.  I have displayed in prominently in my home to help me remember to be grateful for what I do have and not to whine for what I don't have.

At this point, I don't believe that I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  This is just a fun tablescape that I put together in honor of Thanksgiving. I bought the fall leaf plates years ago at Target.

This table is filled with my favorite things at Thanksgiving time.  The black kettle at the left corn is stuffed with pumpkins and gourds -- love the color and the shapes of them.

The napkin rings were from a giveaway at Cuisine Kathleen's blog.  She is one of the warm and funniest bloggers around.  I think they look so well with the faux sugar crusted pumpkin and spray.

In my other life, I am an aide to 4t h, 5th, and 6th graders for mainly math at my daughter's elementary school.  Today, instead of being an aide, I was asked to substitute for a few hours in a class that I usually am an aide to.  At the end of the period I received a little note from one of the students.  I thought I would share it with you.

"You were a great sub today in class.  One of the best subs in the world.  Even in the universe.  Your one of my favorite subs.  I will give you this letter and I hope you like this.  I will never forget you when I grow up.  You will still always be my favorite teacher."  That definitely put a smile on my face :).

This "little note of gratitude" brought tears to my eyes and I quickly wrote her a return letter.  I was really touched by this sweet letter.  Truly, gratitude can make one's day so much better.

So go make some one's day better by expressing your appreciation!     

Posted with the following:  Wow Us Wednesdays

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Egg-citing News"

We have eggs!  My youngest daughter went to the chicken coop this past week and came back inside and said, "Mom, someone is playing a trick on me!"  When I asked her why she replied, "There are a ton of eggs outside in the chicken coop."  THERE WERE TWENTY-THREE EGGS!  No, not a trick -- her chickens began laying eggs and we didn't realize it.

Zach and Melba

Talley won her chicken, named Zach, in a chicken race this year in Melba, Idaho.  She also took home one of her cousin's chickens, we named Melba, and they finally began laying!  Those little sneaky hens were laying them in a cat carrier that Talley had placed in the coop!  Talley never saw them going in the cat carrier so she never checked!  WHAT FUN!  Those naughty little hens chose the cat carrier to lay -- not the nesting boxes my husband made!  They had almost ran out of laying space!

Just thought I would share this funny story!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cheesy Cabbage Ham Soup

Welcome to Red Couch Recipes! 

We woke up to snow this morning!  It was so fun to see the gigantic (or gigantor as I call them) snowballs the kids joined together to make before school!  This Cheesy Cabbage Ham Soup is a wonderful fix for the cold weather.  It is creamy and delicious on a cold weather day.  Are you a soup person?  Some in my family are and some aren't.  I am surely a soup person.  This recipe was taken from a family cookbook that my sister-on-law, Dawnell, and my mother-in-law, Geniel, spent many hours compiling; the recipe book is a treasure.

Chessey Cabbage Ham Soup


4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bag (16 ounces) shredded cabbage
2 cups chopped onion
1-2 quarts water (enough to completely cover the vegetables)
2 cups shredded carrots
2-3 cups diced potatoes
12 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 cups milk
1 quart half and half -- I used fat free.
2 cups grated cheddar.  I used Sharp.
16 ounces cooked, diced ham.

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, saute onion and cabbage in the olive oil.  Add carrots, potatoes, bouillon and enough water to cover (1-2 quarts) the vegetables.  Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add half and half to vegetable mixture.   In a small sauce pan, add butter, flour, pepper, and paprika.  Add milk and cook on medium heat until thickened and add to vegetable mixture.  Stir in cheese.  Allow cheese to melt into thickened soup.  Season with salt to taste.  Enjoy.

Notes:  You could also replace the bouillon cubes with chicken stock and reduce water.  I used canned potatoes.  For a meat-less meal, leave out the ham.  This makes a huge amount of soup!