I’ve had visions of Candy Canes and Snowflakes
dancing in my head with Nigella Christmas
and The Novel Bakers this week!
‘Tis the Season
for Hot Cocoa. . .
Snowflakes. . .
Candy Canes. . .
and Warm Plaid Layers.
With our recent wintry weather,
I was craving Nigella’s
Hot Schnocolate. . .
A delicious concoction of Hot Chocolate
with Peppermint Schnapps in it!
With plans for enjoying a warm cup of cheer, I mixed up a jar of Candy Cane Cocoa Mix for quick & easy seasonal sipping, and ideal for gift giving!
I found this Anchor Hocking 38 oz. Snowflake Jar at Walmart for $2.97 a couple of weeks ago.
Candy Cane Cocoa Mix
Yield: Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings Hot Cocoa
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy/ candy canes
Layer powdered milk, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and peppermint candy.
This mix will fill a 1-quart jar (12 servings).
The ingredients are layered for gift giving, but the contents are mixed together in a bowl, and put back in the jar to measure out for cups of cocoa.
On the back of the tag, include directions:
“Pour contents in a large bowl, mix well and return to jar or airtight container. For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water.”
Serve topped with whipped cream, additional marshmallows, crushed peppermint or candy canes.
You can find a printable recipe, here.
Little burlap Ho Ho Ho tins were in the dollar bin at Target, ideal for individual buckets of fun to serve and include additions to your Candy Cane Cocoa Mix for a party or gift giving.
Add a mini bottle of
Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka
to add the Ho Ho to your Cocoa :)
You can include mini marshmallows, Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses or chocolate candy of choice, a candy cane to stir or Hot Chocolate Stirring Spoon to go with your Candy Cane Cocoa.
Hot Chocolate or Cocoa Stirring Spoons are quick and easy to make with plastic spoons, candy melts or almond bark and decorative holiday sprinkles.
Melt your candy coating according to package directions. Dip or fill spoon and place on wax paper. Add decorative candy sprinkles or crushed peppermint and allow to harden. Spoons are ready in 15 – 20 minutes.
And Candy Cane Marshmallow Chicks
add some seasonal Peepsonality
to your Hot Cocoa!
For a quick and easy treat with the busy holiday season, I found a Hot Chocolate Cupcake Box Mix from Betty Crocker complete with marshmallows in the mix and a frosting packet!
The cupcake mix makes 12 cupcakes. I used Pillsbury Peppermint Creamy Frosting instead of the packet included for a little additional peppermint flavor and added a *mini candy cane for an edible mug handle on the cupcake!
*If making these cupcakes ahead, add the candy cane right before serving since the moisture from the frosting will cause the candy cane to begin to melt.
‘Tis the Season for Cocoa Details:
‘Tis the Season Plates / Pottery by Santa, HomeGoods, several years ago
Nordic Flatware / World Market, last year
Plaid Dinner Plates/ Pottery Barn, last year
Goblets/ Kohl’s, last year
Chargers & Snowflake Sugar Tin / HomeGoods, last year
Coverlet and Lauren Plaid Throw / Kohl’s, last year
Napkins / Pottery Barn & World Market, last year
Napkin Rings /Pier 1, last year
Snowflake Mugs & Snowflake Jar / Walmart, recently
Visit Jain and Michael Lee for more delicious fun~
The Novel Bakers return on Friday
for more Merry Nigella Christmas!
Thank you for your visit, I’m also sharing at:
Posted in Books, Christmas, Food
Tagged Anchor Hocking Snowflake Jar, Betty Crocker Hot Chocolate Cupcake Mix, Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallow Chicks, hot chocolate stirring spoons, Nigella Christmas, Nigella Week, Novel Bakers, Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka, Vintage Red Plaid Skotch Jug by Hamilton
I’m at the table with Pistoulet Dinnerware by Pfaltzgraff,
a heartwarming collection dinnerware and serveware,
inspired by The Secrets of Pistoulet by Jana Kolpen.
The Secrets of Pistoulet, is an enchanted fable
filled with food, magic, and love. . .
Each piece of brightly decorated Pistoulet Dinnerware has freely rendered flowers and vines influenced by Jana Kolpen’s charming illustrations.
The sunny color palette of Southern France, decorates the dinnerware and rendering of Pistoulet, found on Le Grande Serving Platter.
“There is magic and mystery in the farmhouse known as Pistoulet. Here in southwestern France, Mademoiselle J. discovers the ancient recipes that transform the guests who come to Pistoulet weary and lacking in spirit.”
Stemless wine glasses and square dinner plates
are embellished with a fleur-de-lis.
The magical recipes, including those for ‘potages’, are designed to feed the soul, curing the maladies of the guests who pass through Pistoulet.
A 4 quart Soup Tureen with Ladle
is ideal for serving your potage or soup. . .
Or serving up sunflowers :)
I discovered some of
The Secrets of Pistoulet
And prepared Potage of Passion,
despite the word of caution. . .
”Facial flush may occur due to extreme ecstasy. Guests often fall in love with the cook. Serve with discretion!”
A 5 quart Garden Salad Serving Bowl
is ready to serve weary guests~
And Celestial Croutons,
known to enhance the magical properties of any potage,
are best when prepared under the falling stars. . .
Day-old bread from the most soulful bakers
The most fragrant herbs~ Rosemary, thyme, and oregano from a sun-flooded patch
Aromatic garlic and the best olive oil
A Covered Bunny Serving Dish
adds some whimsy to the table.
And a field of sunflowers can be found
bordering the square salad plates.
Medium and Large Pedestal Cake Plates are stacked for a casual centerpiece of artichokes, a bottle of wine, a baguette, and some ingredients to add to a potage. . . garlic, basil, lavender, along with sunflowers and tomatoes, purchased from a farmer with a twinkle in his eye.
Le Petite Serving Platter
features a basket of lavender.
While a Small Pedestal Cake Plate
offers up tomatoes~
And Tea for One and a Honey Pot are
elevated on a Large Pedestal Cake Plate.
Pistoulet Table Details:
*Pistoulet Dinnerware and Serveware/ Pfaltzgraff
*Flatware/ Salisbury Satin/ Pfaltzgraff
*Stemless Wine Glasses/ Pfaltzgraff
Chargers/ World Market
Tablecovering, Quilt/ Pottery Barn
Napkins / Bed, Bath & Beyond
Be transformed by the Magic of Pistoulet
with 20% off any Pistoulet Dinnerware
item through December 1st here:
“Originally published in 1996, this 15th anniversary edition of The Secrets of Pistoulet tells the gentle tale of the healing power of magical soups and foods, while celebrating the redemptive and sustaining nature of shared meals among friends and family. With fold-out letters, removable recipe cards and pockets, and special vellum pages, The Secrets of Pistoulet quickly became a bestselling gift book. There’s no better time to rediscover its magic.”
You can find the book
from Pfaltzgraff, here.
“Everyone who passes through Pistoulet has a story which unfolds. All who spend time there leave with their hearts and minds transformed.”
*Lifetime Brands’ products have been provided
free of charge in exchange for
Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:
It’s a lazy, rainy weekend here~
Perfect for catching up on
some reading or a nap :)
Apple Week with The Novel Bakers was delicious~
inspired by The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs.
Here is a wrap up if you’d like a
taste of what you might have missed. . .
Layered Apple Walnut Salad
and Savory Apple Pies.
for a Novel Baker with friends~
A Southern Fried Celebration with Red Velvet Cupcakes,
and a host of other birthday wishes and treats!
triple apple flavor from dried apples,
apple cider and applesauce.
Easy and oh so good!
And if you’re looking for a weekend brunch indulgence~
Rattlebridge Farm is serving up
And a quiet life is offering
buckets of delicious fun~
Along with an
More applelicious offerings
from Jain, Michael Lee and Pam~
Hope your weekend
is delicious and relaxing :)
Thank you for your visit!
I’m back with a recipe for a
Apple, Gorgonzola, and Thyme Pies
from my Apple Picnic with The Novel Bakers!
Our book selection and apple inspiration for the week,
freshly picked by Jain~
I filled my individual pies/ turnovers with an Apple, Gorgonzola & Thyme filling but you can adapt this recipe for pocket pies with the filling of your choice, sweet or savory.
My Apple Pocket Pie Mold from Williams-Sonoma is no longer available, but you can find a set of 3 molds with a mini apple pie mold version here.
(Without a mold, you can cut a circle with a bowl as template, fold and crimp the edges with a fork, for a traditional shaped pie or turnover.)
I used the rim of the mold to cut the pastry dough into an apple shape complete with a mini-apple vent in the top crust. Arrange the dough inside the mold, fill the inner pocket with your preferred ingredients, then close the top to seal and crimp!
I used refrigerated pie crusts for these pocket pies but if you want to make your own, there is a wonderful cream cheese pastry dough recipe from Kraft I’ve used for my Pocket Plum Pies, here.
This is a large size mold~
I got 2 bottoms and 2 tops per prepared pie crust, then rerolled the scraps, so I had 12 pies or turnovers out of 2 boxes of refrigerated pie crust, with some filling left over.
Savory Apple, Gorgonzola & Thyme Pies,
Prepared pastry dough or pie crusts
1 1/2 cups peeled, cored, chopped baking apple (Jonagold, Pippin, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Braeburn, Fuji and Pink Lady, Honeycrisp) or use prepared apple pie filling
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola (or similar bleu cheese)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp honey
prepared pastry or refrigerated pie crust
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
*Place diced apples in a bowl, microwave on high for 5 minutes until apples are cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool. (*If using pie filling skip this step.)
Combine apples, walnuts, Gorgonzola, thyme and honey in a small bowl.
Place a solid dough shape in the bottom half of the cutter and gently press the dough into the mold. Fill the center with 1/4 cup pie filling mixture and brush edges of the dough with egg wash. Top with a shape with the vent for the top. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges.
Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Freeze the pies 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Remove the pies from freezer and brush the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until crust is golden and filling is gently bubbling, about 15 – 20 minutes. Transfer on wire rack and cool 10 minutes.
Serve either warm or at room temperature.
Joining The Novel Bakers for Apple Week~
Visit Jain, Michael Lee and Pam for more delicious fun!
Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:
Join us for a Celebration and a virtual
Southern Author, Baker, Gardener, Yorkie Enthusiast!
The Novel Bakers are celebrating her milestone birthday
and literary works today with a little food and fun~
We’re happy to have you join us!
We gathered old and new friends to join
in the fun and celebration,
Teeny is here. . .
We share her love of peaches, copper pots
and Red Velvet Cake!
I had two copies of She Flew the Coop~
Olive Nepper granted me permission to tear out pages
of my second copy and run them through
the printer for a book page birthday banner!
And also use pages for a little
Punched with a
Martha Stewart Birthday punch from Michaels,
also available here.
Help yourself to some salt water taffy~
candy of choice for bingeing,
while we wait for the other guests to arrive.
Our cast iron skillet is seasoned and ready. . .
Caro Clifford and company are here to celebrate
with Piper Maitland aka Michael Lee West~
providing a little vampire lore,
timely with Halloween around the corner!
joining the celebration~
are joining us~
We’re enjoying a Southern Fried Celebration
in honor of Michael Lee’s birthday!
On the Menu:
Sweet Tea, Southern Fried Chicken, Fried Okra, Skillet Cornbread and Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs~
Collard Greens, Fried Green Tomatoes, Macaroni & Cheese and Lima Beans send their regrets and could not attend :)
We married Deviled Eggs with Pimento Cheese,
the Pâté of the South~
along with a little bacon for
Pimento Cheese-Deviled Eggs. . .
And the beverage of choice,
Sweet Tea, a Southern staple~
How to make Perfect Iced Tea,
a girl from a Peach Farm would love. . .
Or celebrate with a cocktail~
We’re serving mini skillets
of corn bread~
No Southern recipe required, one 8.5 ounce box of Jiffy corn muffin mix makes four 4 inch skillets of cornbread~ add cheese, jalapenos, bacon, and/or sour cream if you like.
Teeny’s perfect Red Velvet Cake recipe
can be found on page 318 in
Help yourself to a
Red Velvet Cupcake!
Have your Cake and Drink it Too. . .
Or try an original Teeny-concoction:
Maybe a serving of
Choose your dessert(s) of choice,
and add a sparkler and light. . .
And wish Michael Lee West
a Happy Birthday!
Other friends are celebrating
Michael Lee’s birthday today,
stop by for more
Happy Birthday Wishes and Cake!
Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:
Posted in Books, Food
Tagged apple week, Consuming Passions, Crazy Ladies, Gone with a Handsomer Man, Mad Girls in Love, Martha Stewart Birthday Punch, Michael Lee West, Novel Bakers, Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs, Pinnacle Cake vodka, Red Velvet Cake Martini, Red Velvet Cupcakes, She Flew the Coop, Teeny Templeton
our book selection, freshly picked by Jain~
The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs,
a delicious and quick read!
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs brings readers to the lush abundance of Sonoma County in a novel of sisters, friendship and how memories are woven like a spell around us.
Tess Delaney makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners. People like Annelise Winther, who refuses to sell her long-gone mother’s beloved necklace—despite Tess’s advice. To Annelise, the jewel’s value is in its memories.
But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. So Tess is shocked when she discovers the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. And that she has been named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, a hundred-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel.
The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen. A half sister she’s never heard of.
Against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, Tess begins to discover a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family, of the warm earth beneath her bare feet. A world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable.
so I’m joining The Novel Bakers for a
Fall picnic with apples by the lake~
My apple bucket was found ripe for the picking
from the shelves at HomeGoods,
a couple of weeks ago.
I brought along Redd’s Apple Ale
( ale that reminds me of a hard cider),
to go with an Apple Walnut Salad.
No recipe required for this salad~ good anytime time of year, but especially when Honeycrisp, our favorite apples, are in season!
Fill a jar with layers of sliced apples, chicken (I used rotisserie from the grocery store for quick assembly), spinach, blue cheese, walnuts, and dried cranberries~ serve with your favorite dressing. We like balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette.
I like to use a small cans of pineapple juice, (convenient and sweeter than lemon juice), for tossing apples or pears in, to keep them from oxidizing when I’m slicing them in advance.
There are plenty of tempting recipes in The Apple Orchard. . .
Danish Apple Pie, Caramel Apple Topping, Apple Chutney, Lavender Scones, Grape and Rosemary Focaccia, and Baked Hot Chocolate, to name a few. . .
At the mention of an apple and thyme turnover, I pulled out my Apple Pocket Pie Mold * from Williams-Sonoma, and went in search of a recipe.
*No longer available, but you can find a set of 3 molds with a mini apple pie mold version here.
I found a recipe for a turnover, or pocket pie, that is sweet and savory, with the addition of blue cheese and thyme!
Recipe and directions to come Wednesday.
I couldn’t resist picking The Apple, part of a Country Life Education Series, found in a stack of books and from a dealer closing shop~
The Apple: A practical treatise dealing with the latest modern practices of apple culture. . . in 1915 :)
A little serendipity to find a Gravenstein Apple Box label photo inside~ the legendary Gravenstein, grown in Sonoma, California has a role in The Apple Orchard~
“The Gravenstein apple (Danish: Gråsten-Æble) comes from Gråsten in South Jutland, Denmark. The fruit ranges in color from yellow-green to crimson and has a tart flavor, perfect for cooking and making apple cider. this is an ephemeral variety that doesn’t keep well, so it should be enjoyed fresh from the orchard.”
“A trio cluster of glossy, crimson-striped Gravensteins hung several feet out on a branch above his head.”
“He moved his ladder to the next tree, positioning it for maximum efficiency and climbed to a lofty perch. There, his head above the branches, he inhaled the glory of the morning– the redolence of the air, the quality of light filtering through the mist, the contours of the land and the distant haze of the ocean.”
And another bit of serendipity to find my
were just the right size to serve apple pies~
“Sometimes you stumble across a treasure
when you’re looking for something else entirely.”
The Apple Orchard is a story of family ties—both old and new—and of the moments that connect our hearts.
Joining The Novel Bakers for Apple Week.
Hope to see you again on Wednesday, October 16th!
Visit Jain, Michael Lee and Pam for more delicious fun~
Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:
Posted in Books, Food, Picnic
Tagged Apple Walnut Salad, apple week, Novel Bakers, Pfaltzgraff Plymouth apple plate, Redd's Apple Ale, Savory Apple & Thyme Turnover, Susan Wiggs, The Apple Country Life Education Series, The Apple Orchard
It’s Friday the 13th and with Halloween on the horizon,
I’m giving away two books filled
with Spooktacular inspiration to
Eat, Drink, & Be Scary!
From Matthew Mead’s Halloween Spooktacular:
“Frightfully simple ideas for creepy decorations, terrifying sweets and unique costumes will thrill trick-or-treaters of all ages. Holiday style pro Matthew Mead offers endlessly inventive haunted home makeovers, quick-and-easy ways to reinvent store-bought cookies and candy, awesome themed parties, and more to make, eat, and enjoy in the weeks before, and throughout all hallows’ eve.”
There’s even a section on how to bring
Halloween panache to your pooch. . .
Something that Chloe & Gracie
are pretty dog gone excited about~
Especially when it
involves treats :)
Halloween Tricks and Treats
is one of my favorite sources to spell
some tricks or treats
for a Ghostly Gathering. . .
and where I scared up some
Orange Hot Chocolate for some
And conjured from the pages an incarnation of
Bleeding Berry Pie into
In anticipation of Halloween,
I’m giving away a book (your choice which one)
to two winners and throwing in with some treats
in time for some Happy Haunting!
To throw your name into the cauldron
mention that you’d like to
Eat, Drink & Be Scary!
Subscribers/followers automatically get a second entry.
Subscribe by email or follow on Facebook
and let me know by comment.
For a third chance to win, follow me on Pinterest.
and repin one pin from my ‘Best of’ board
here and leave a comment.
The winners will be chosen September 27th,
in time for you to blend your Witches’ Brew!
This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered.
Giveaway is open to those living in the continental US only.
Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:
I’m joining The Novel Bakers
From lifelong friends, artists, and gardeners, comes a delightful little gift book full of ideas to transform ordinary events into garden parties, complete with menus and recipes.
Gathering in the Garden
begins with a Tomato Taste-Off.
I’m savoring that last bit of summer with
Mr. Hunter’s Tomato Stand, watercolor by Shelley Snow
in Gathering in the Garden
“It was a hot, sultry day, and we situated ourselves in the shade behind the garden shed, conveniently out of sight from anyone else who might want to enjoy a home-grown, red-ripe tomato.”
“We started with just two nice fat ones, never intending to eat every red, round thing in the garden, but we did. At number eight or so, we noticed we were giggling quite a bit.”
“By number ten, we were downright hysterical. However by number fourteen, or laughter had subsided and we were sick as dogs.”
“We stayed that way for several days, just long enough to allow the next crop of tomatoes to turn nice and red.”
Instead of the classic BLT,
we’ve been enjoying
Their smallish size makes
it easy to overindulge,
eating more than you intended :)
No recipe required~ you can use any size tomato, diced, or a medley of cherry or grape tomatoes. Cook and crumble some bacon and shred some lettuce.
For some additional flavor, add some chopped basil to your mayonnaise and slather on a liberal amount on your toasted baguette slices, season with salt and pepper.
Their open-faced BLT goodness
will put a smile on your face :)
“For months we have suffered the insult of dishonest marketers who display signs touting ‘Home Grown Tomatoes’ over mealy, tasteless objects in our produce departments. So, when the real thing comes along, we junkies have to cram into three months what we have waited for the whole year. We slice her, we stack her, we juice her, we fry her, pickle her, bake her, and best of all, slather her with mayonaise, salt and pepper, and sandwich her!”
A little tomato taste-off with some recipes from the archives.
Click on the links to enjoy a taste!
The flavor of summer~ Basil Salt
Joining The Novel Bakers
for Gathering in the Garden, September 2nd – 6th!
Visit Jain, Michael Lee and Mari for more delicious fun!
Tomato salad plates from Pier 1, several years ago
Hope you’re savoring the flavors of summer!
Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:
Posted in Books, Food, Potting Shed
Tagged basil salt, BLT Bruschetta, Elaine Husband, Gathering in the Garden, Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio Salad, Heirloom Tomato Pie, mini tomato tarts, Novel Bakers, Pier 1 Tomato Plates, Shelley Snow