Never Fails To Surprise And To Please

This Decorated Cookie Cakes recipe has oatmeal but these are not the typical oatmeal cookies with spices. This cookie is iced and layered and iced. It has a deliciously surprising flavor, vanilla with a hint of almond. No almond meal or nuts. I acquired this recipe, given to me years ago, and have never come across anything like it since.

Decorated Cookie Cakes

The cookies are decorated and it is time to let you in on the secret.

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A Casual And fun Presentation

Dessert Bar

When you have dessert options this allows guests the opportunity to try a taste of each. Highly recommended for the holidays. Pictured are three traditional pies, apple, pecan and pumpkin. Served with a dollop of ice cream or whipping cream, or not. My guests will be happy. The chocolate cream pie will have to wait until the New Year.

Innovative, Simple And Classy

Last Minute Table

As a single mom with limited resources (and time) innovation was high on my list! I have to admit I have had help with my ideas. I was always looking around me for ideas, value ideas … formerly called cheap ideas. I would look at magazine covers while waiting in line at the grocery store … iPads were unheard of … Computers, yes, but not with the search engines there are now. I knew more about what I didn’t like for my dining table.

When it came into vogue to have several mismatched place settings and mismatched dining chairs I loved it! I could easily do this! The secondhand store was a friend. Love the idea of mismatched sterling settings for the table. And how cheap, oops, are the plants and trees growing in the yard for filling in what is missing in an arrangement! Love it!

I can do the china thing now but I still love the homeyness of Portuguese ceramics. Now I mismatch more purposefully. The budget still needs managing.

Innovative Place Cards







You forgot the place cards! Try this. I did this one Thanksgiving when I had a very large group. My daughter was in college … So, about 15 years ago. I don’t remember where the idea popped up! But it might have been Martha. It was quite a conversation piece for my guests.

Still trying to make memories!


Pinot Noir is great with turkey. But not all are equally light. Make sure you can see through the Pinot Noir wine. The wine will be more likely made with Pinot Noir grapes only.

Light the candle wick before guests arrive. Light (without letting the candle burn), then blow out, wait for the wick to cool and trim. Just looks more finished.

Start A Tradition

Hot Chocolate Bar

If not a tradition why not create sweet memories. This is so easy and fun. Adults will enjoy it too.

My first exposure to making hot chocolate from a  chocolate candy bar came from viewing an episode of Family Affair, a 1960’s TV series. Mr. French, Uncle Bill’s butler, is snow bound in Vermont with Uncle Bill’s niece and nephew, Buffy and Jody. And the only food they have is a chocolate candy bar. Yep, Mr. French makes hot chocolate with the candy bar and water.

I hope you will enjoy this richer version of hot chocolate.

If not into hot chocolate the tips on whipped cream may be new to you.

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London Broil Recipe – Dinner Menu for Family & Friends

Economical Dinner Nice Enough for Birthdays

London Broil Recipe - Dinner Menu

Meat and Potatoes, these guys are still around! And this one is having a birthday today. This London broil meal can be fixed in a jiffy. And is so economical … not to worry about how many guests he brings! Pair it with a good tasting economical wine. This is a London Broil Complete Dinner for Four!

Good cheap wine choices are out there, and it makes good sense to pair this meal with a value wine instead of something you would serve with filet mignon. The wine … spicy Cline zinfandel. All this is a hungry man’s delight! Oh, and French apple pie for dessert!

Three recipes here … Well, four if you include the mushrooms smothering the meat … London broil with sautéed mushrooms, twice baked potatoes, and  balsamic salad dressing.

The sequence of putting the meal together could go like this.

  • Marinate the meat overnight
  • Make salad dressing up to the day ahead
  • Potatoes can be made the morning of the dinner. Baking for the last time just before serving.
  • Put the salad together the morning or afternoon on the same day. Add tomatoes and avocado, if using, as well as dressing just before serving.
  • Prepare the mushrooms at the time of the meat being broiled.
  • Uncork your value wine while the meat is broiling. Two bottles for 4 people. Just 20 bucks for two bottles of this wine.

Come join us, wine or beer or even diet cola to celebrate Stephen’s birthday!

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Cream Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Italian Cream Cake Undone

Cream Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

This delicious yellow cake is a simple version of my Italian Cream Cake. When the coconut and pecans in the original recipe are removed the crumb of the cake changes to a light fine texture. Coconut is a taste and texture not all appreciate. The cream cheese frosting has been changed as well for the same reason. Yep, this was changed up for a special birthday.

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A Last Minute Get together

Antipasto for the Last day of summer

Bruschetta with wine can be dinner. This took some rethinking on my part. In fact, I had to develop a taste for raw tomatoes, specifically Roma. Roma tomatoes are mild in flavor and the texture is firm. These facts made this easy. My taste for wine had not fully developed either. This was Ed’s favorite meal. The recipe is one he put together many years ago.

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Delicious, rich, cinnamon Spicy

cinnamon cocoa Sheet Cake

Cinnamon Cocoa Sheet Cake

This rich cake is a favorite of Aubree’s. Dressing up a sheet cake is difficult because the batter is very rich and meant to be baked in a thin layer. But if it is a special birthday what do you do? I have layered this cake … Not so pretty. Here I used a 12 section quiche pan with 12 false bottoms. And at the end of baking I had twelve blobs of very cooked batter at the bottom of the oven. Small cupcakes did pretty well. So, this is what I suggest for a birthday if this is the favorite cake, a tower of cupcakes. This recipe will make 24 small cupcakes.

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