Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas -- The Star Carol

Merry Christmas!  I would like to bring to you the words of the song "The Star Carol" by Alfred Burt .
"Long years ago on a deep winter night,
High in the heavens a star shone bright,
While in a manger a wee baby lay,
Sweetly asleep on a bed of hay.
Jesus, the Lord was that Baby so small,
Laid down to sleep in a humble stall;
Then came the star and it stood overhead,
Shedding its light 'round His little bed.

Dear baby Jesus, how tiny Thou art,
I'll make a place for Thee in my heart,
And when the stars in the heavens I see,
Ever and always I'll think of Thee."
Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Snowmen

Dear Red Couch Readers, welcome to my Christmas Snowmen Table.  I have had these cute snowmen salad plates for a long time, but haven't featured them in a table for several years.  I love them, they just make me smile :).  I also have matching mugs, but didn't use them today!
Here is a photo of the stack.  I added some little red bowls which we use all the time.
The centerpiece is my red lantern, festooned a bit for Christmas.
Just a close up of the festooning.
What would Christmas be without my red goblets.  For years our Christmas Angel, Aunt Ionia, would host Christmas Eve at her home for all the Culp clan.  At the "adult" table, she always used her King's Crown goblets.  My sisters presented me with these red goblets in memory of those magical evenings.  Later my sister Jacqueline sent me some King's crown that she purchased on ebay.
The plaid of the napkin is different than the plaid of the tablecloth, but I think it works -- at least for me.  The other day after my daughter's Christmas recital, I found some pinecones on the ground, and began to gather them.  One of my daughter's helped -- we made a funny picture in our dress clothes scrounging for pinecones.
Right behind my table is my red and white tree; I love the boldness of this tree, and especially love all the felt ornaments.  There are red lights on this tree.
Another shot of the tree.

A side view....
Thanks for dropping by Red Couch Recipes where I will be posting this at Tablescape Thursday.
You might wish to check out this recipe for White Chicken Chili.  It is delicious, and an easy recipe to throw together during the busy holiday season.
Table Information:
Red Dinner Plates:  Wal-Mart
White Chargers and Salad Plates:  Tai Pan Trading
Snowmen Salad Plates:  Grocery store, many years ago
Red Hob Nail Bowls:  Michael's
Red Goblets:  Costco
Flatware:  World Market
Napkins and Tablecloth:  Marshall's, after-Christmas last year
Napkin Rings: K-Mart, on clearance this year
Lantern:  Pier 1 Import

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

White Chicken Chili

I know, I know, I should be doing a Christmas post, but I have been making this soup lately, and my children love it so I decided to share this yummy and quick recipe for a warming soup.  During the holiday season it is so nice to have a break from the sweets, don't you think?   It is creamy and soul-satisfying.  Make it with chicken or make it without, or use fat-free half and half if you are watching your fat. 

White Chili Chicken Recipe
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
In a large stockpot or dutch oven sauté the garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until onions are transparent.
Then add the following ingredients:
1 can white chicken (12-1/2-ounce)
3 (15-1/2-ounce) cans white beans (Great Northern)
1 can (4-ounce) chopped green chiles
1 can (14-1/2-ounce) chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
 1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Bring the ingredients in the dutch oven or stock pot to a mild boil, and then simmer for 30 minutes.  Then add 2 cups half and half -- nonfat is fine.  Heat the mixture and then add 1 to 2 tablespoons corn starch to 1/4 cup cold water.  Stir cornstarch mixture into soup, and then heat until thickened.  This soup only gets better the next day; it also thickens more. 

If desired, garnish with cilantro, green onions, and white cheddar cheese, and corn chips.
I adapted this recipe from my sister Jacqueline.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gingerbread Dreams Tablescape

A jolly welcome to Red Couch Recipes where I am showing a fun Gingerbread Table that I put together just for fun.  I promised my youngest daughter at Halloween that I would make a gingerbread house so this table spotlights the gingerbread house.  This year I went for a red and white house.  Don't you just love the smell of gingerbread cooking in the oven?
Just another look...
I set the table with brown reactive ware dishes that reminded me of gingerbread.
I put a brown ornament in each bowl and a little gingerbread man.  See, he is peaking out on the left.  He doesn't want to be seen --- he might get eaten.
I jazzed up the setting with some whimsical Christmas napkins and used bamboo napkin holders, which also reminded me of gingerbread.  I put a larger red plate underneath the brown reactive ware.
Do you like this angle better?
Of course I added a bit of bling with the red picks.
Here is the place setting.
Here is a close up of the red tall mugs at the table.
I propped up Mr. and Mrs. Ginger against the gingerbread house; I have had these little sweeties for over 20 years.  I bought them at Target when I when I was newly married.
Are you ready for the gigantor gingerbread man?  My children want to eat him, but I want to give him away.  Let's see what happens?
You can't catch me, I am the gingerbread man....
As I am writing this, the gingerbread house and gigantor man are near me -- what a wonderful smell.  Christmas is indeed here!
Thanks for visiting my Gingerbread Dreams table.
Table Information:
Red dinner plates, silverware, and napkins:  Wal-Mart
Napkin Rings:  Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Red Hobnail Bowls:  Michael's
Reactive Ware Plates and Red Mugs:  Tai Pan Trading
Tablecloth:  I am not sure, probably Ross or TJ Maxx
Mold for Gingerbread House:  John Wright metal mold purchased online
Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread:  Target, at least 20 years ago
Large Gingerbread Pan:  Wilton pan bought at Wal-Mart several years ago.  I think they still have them this year.

Posted with Tablescape Thursday

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

It finally snowed some here in the high deserts of Utah  It was pretty, but treacherous.  I made some delicious popcorn to go along with the season.  The white popcorn reminded me of snow.  It is just a simple recipe to throw together
Pop some white popcorn.  I made one batch in my air popper.  You could also use two bags of microwave popcorn, but then you won't get the white look that I desired.
In a large bowl, add the popcorn, some salt, and some melted butter, and mix well.  Then spread out popcorn on cookie baking pans or jelly roll pans.

Drizzle with some melted milk chocolate chips ( I used about 2/3
's of a 12-ounce bag) and then add some crushed peppermint sticks.  I always like the Bob's peppermint sticks that come in the little blue package; they are much softer than regular candy canes.

Add a cup of toasted pecans, cut in small pieces.  Make sure you add the crushed peppermint sticks and pecans when the chocolate has not hardened, and press the crushed peppermint and pecans to help it adhere to the melted chocolate.

Wrap it in a cellophane bag, and give it to someone you love.

Thanks for dropping by the couch.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fudge Caramels

Well, we are on to the wonderful Christmas stretch.  I took a long Thanksgiving break.  Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 
I have wanted to make Fudge Caramels for quite some time.  On occasion I have made other caramels, licorice and normal, but have never made chocolate caramels. They are a fun treat to make for the holidays.  they are soft and full of chocolate flavor, made with ingredients you have in your kitchen.  Yes, made with good old Hershey's cocoa powder!  The recipe is from a Hershey's Chocolate Treasury Cookbook.

 Fudge Caramels Recipe
2 cups sugar
2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Butter a nine-inch square glass pan; set aside.  combine sugar, cocoa, salt, and corn syrup in a heavy 3-quart saucepan.  Then add evaporated milk and water.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.  Cook, stirring frequently, to 245 degrees (or firm-ball stage) or until syrup, when dropped into very cold water, forms a firm ball that does not flatten when removed from water.  Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla, blending well.
Pour into prepared pan.  Cool; cut into 1-inch squares with butter scissors or pull into pieces.  Wrap individually in waxed paper or cellophane wrappers. 
Candy Making Tips
 Always adjust your thermometer.  For example, I live at 5700 foot altitude.  Mixtures boil at a lower temperature at this altitude, which means that if I don't adjust the temperature, my candy might cook too long and come out hard.  Find out what temperature water boils at with your thermometer, and adjust accordingly.  Always use a  heavy saucepan.  While stirring, use a wet pastry brush or clean, wet dishcloth to wash down the sides of the pan to dissolve any sugar crystals.  Also when you pour the caramel mixture into the buttered glass dish, 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. 
You can wrap these in waxed paper, for an old-fashioned look, but I always wrap mine in the clear cellophane wrappers.

Last night I had a discussion with my children how we can bring Christ more into our Christmas celebration.  They had some good ideas.  My idea is, and has been for awhile, is to make candy at Christmas for those I love.  I seldom make candy at any other time than Christmas, and I do make it with love and package it prettily. 
What candy are you making this Christmas?  I seldom make candy during the rest of the year, but Christmas really brings out my desire to make candy.
I make Grandma Utahna's English Toffee.  Sometimes I have made up to 24 batches.  It is the vintage recipe of my husband's Grandmother; she was named after her home state of Utah.  A no-thermometer recipe that is sure to please!
I also make Almond Rum Balls.  This is a much requested treat in our home; we obtained from my sister Jacqueline.
Sometimes I make peanut brittle.  This is a spiced up version of normal peanut brittle.  I have made this at Halloween too, thus the Halloween background.
Growing up my mother used to make the best Black Walnut Divinity.  It also seemed like we used to make endless batches of cream cheese mints. 
I would love to hear what you are making.

Thanks for dropping by the Couch!