Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mom's favorite candy made easy...

When it comes to the holidays each year my friends and family think it is mandatory to have Mom's homemade Turtles.  I will admit I am one of the ones looking forward to getting turtles and pralines even if I am the one making some of them.  They are both very easy to make but when it comes to turtles this year they got even easier.  Instead of making homemade caramel, which is very time consuming although fabulous, I got to try some bulk caramel that was just as good as homemade and actually better when it came down to the ease. 
This wonderful caramel comes in a 5 pound block and it is made by Peter's Candy.  I was able to order it online from a terrific small business out of California called an Occasional Chocolate.  The 5 pound block sells for around $21.00 and is worth every bit.  It is very soft and buttery tasting and super easy to use.  To make your turtles all you have to do is cut or pinch off the amount of caramel you need for the size of the turtle you're making.  Roll the piece of caramel into a ball.  Set down 3 or 4 pecans in the shape of legs and push down the caramel ball onto the top of the nuts, spreading it out so just the tips of the nuts are showing.  Depending on the amount of chocolate you like for your candies either dunk the caramel and nuts fully into the chocolate or spoon some onto the top of the nuts and caramel.  Set on waxed paper to let the chocolate get firm and glossy.  We make some with pecans, which is the traditional turtle nut, and some with almonds but whatever nuts your family loves could be used.  Also available at the Occasional Chocolate is bags of very good Guittard's melting chocolates in Milk, Dark and White for great prices. My favorite is the dark chocolate of the turtles. 
I know you may think this is really a lot of caramel at one time but there are so many more candies you can make with it.  We always wrap some around pretzel rods then dip them into chocolate with sprinkles and nuts on the top. So, so yummy!  The caramel stores very well if you find yourself with any leftover.  We made many turtles and rods so far this year for our holiday use and packaged up many of them for the bazaar at church to sell.  It seems nobody can pass one up and we didn't have any leftovers to save.  This is good stuff and I hope you try it out.  I put a link  to her online business, check it out because I'm sure you will like all the ingredients.
This is not a sponsored promotion for the candy place or the caramel, she doesn't know she is mentioned, it is just that it is really good and the prices are terrific.  Also they ship out right away, can't beat that!.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mama's Sweet Southern Ambrosia...

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners mean turkey and Mama's Southern Ambrosia.  We don't cook turkeys any other time of the year and we don't make ambrosia. My family loves fruit and fruit salads and we make them year round but throwing in those few extra ingredients and calling it ambrosia puts them into a catagory all its own.  It's sweet and tart, soft and crunchy and just plan yummy.  The perfect side for all the rich flavors of your turkey dinner.  It's beautiful served in your fancy holiday bowl and it is great as a left over treat. Try it, I know you'll enjoy it. It's yummy!
Mama"s Southern Ambrosia
1 large can of pineapple chunks – drain off the juice
1 large can of mandarin orange sections – drain off the juice
1 large can of peaches – chopped into bite size pieces and drained
2 bananas – sliced and sprinkled lightly with lemon juice so as not to brown
1 ½ Cups of seedless grapes – sliced in half
1 ½ Cups of mini marshmallows – the pastel ones are pretty in here
1 can or half a bag of shredded sweetened coconut – more or less to taste
1/2 Cup of red cherries cut into half. Can be left out, we do sometimes.
¾ Cup of chopped Pecans – can use more or less to taste
1 pint container of Sour Cream
2 tablespoons of Light Brown Sugar – Stir well into the sour cream and let sit awhile to dissolve

Carefully fold all ingredients together and serve in a pretty bowl. We sometimes use a trifle bowl and it looks so nice that way.  Ambrosia is best after it has set for a few hours in refrigerator and even overnight giving the flavors time to meld.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving sides - Baked Corn Pudding - Family Traditions...

One of the things my family likes best about Thanksgiving dinner isn't the turkey but the sides.  They actually have joked many times about skipping the bird and just having a table full of side dishes.  We have many of the same ones year after year, that include 2 kinds of dressing, regular herb stuffing and a cornbread dressing, petite peas, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with an orange and praline topping, cranberry relish, ambrosia, and if that's not enough, baked corn pudding.
I generally only make this wonderful corn custard two or three times a year and usually only for holidays.  It's rich and yummy and a true southern delight. 

With Thanksgiving so close now I thought I would start to share some of my favorite side dish recipes in case you'd like to try them on your table. This is one that is easy to put together, throw into the oven and let it cook along with the bird.  Try it, I know you'll enjoy it.

Baked Corn Pudding
1 stick of butter – melted
1 cup of cream (have used half and half)
4 large whole eggs – beaten
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of flour
Salt and pepper to your taste (I use about a teaspoon salt)
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 cans of creamed corn
2 cans of corn kernels (drained)
Mix together all ingredients, adding your corn kernels last
Fold the kernels into the batter so as not to break them up.
Pour the corn mixture into a buttered baking dish (will fit a 9 x 13)
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the custard has set and the top is golden brown.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Drum Roll Please... The Winner Is.....

What a wonderful time I have had the past week with my Fall Give-Away and now the week has come to an end and it's time to annouce the winner.  It has been so much fun to read everyone's comments and emails, and boy what a big head I have had for a week, with all the great comments and the new followers on both of my blogs, Sugar Creek Beads and My Southern Touch.

I really enjoy blogging and reading the blogs of others.  It is a wonderful way to meet and enjoy such a variety of people who have like interests.  With the mixture of different interests I wanted this to be a fun gift.  I plan on offering a new and unique give away for each season.

So, this being the end of the fall give away, the winner is...

From Random.org
The winner of your drawing is...

1st Gaston Studio 
Congratulations on the drawing! It was completed on Thursday, 12 November 2009 at 00:27:15 UTC. The winner was drawn from a list of 114 entrants using true randomness, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs.

Whether you keep it for yourself or give it away as a gift I hope you will enjoy it always.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Three days left until drawing time, it's too good to miss...

Don't forget to leave comments with your email address so that you'll be in the drawing for this fantastic, one of a kind Copper and Larimar Blue Crazy Lace Agate Watch and Earring set.  Drawing will be held Wednesday, November 11th at 7pm.  Custom made by me for a special give away for all my blog readers and followers.  Check out my other blog at Sugar Creek Beads, you can have double entries by commenting on both on my blogs.  It's a beautiful give away, don't miss it!

Good luck and I look forward to reading your comments.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's Here, a Give-Away worth waiting for...

In time for the upcoming holidays, and everyday to come, I have picked a really beautiful gift from my Artisan Jewelry Collection. I've been promising something special and I made it for my blog friends in mind. I love it and I hope you do too. This two piece set is one of kind and really great for any wardrobe.

The beaded watch is special with its antiqued copper watch case and a unique stone known as Larimar Blue Crazy Lace Agate. Each oval and coin shaped stone is shaded from the deepest turquoise to the palest Larimar blues with patterns in shades of copper and taupe. Each of the unique stones is set off by shiny copper beads and a matching copper toggle closure. The total length of the watch is 8" so that is fits as a beautiful bracelet.  The matching earrings are just as unique because they are made from antiqued copper circles; hand forged for interesting texture with a single Larimer Blue Crazy Lace Agate oval stone hanging from the middle. They are for pierced ears and hang on an antiqued copper, flattened French ear wire. They can be worn together, apart or even separated and one piece given as a gift. It is up to you, they will come to you in a gift box.

The drawing will be held one week from today, November 10th, 2009, at 7pm by random.org and selected from all comments left this week and will include all of the followers. This Give Away includes both of my blogs; Sugar Creek Beads and My Southern Touch and for extra chances in the drawing check out both of my blogs and comment on each place. If you are a follower in each location you are also counted on both sites.  Important to include your email address so that I may contact the winner.

Good luck and I look forward to reading your comments.

Monday, November 2, 2009

They're Back... and it's wonderful!

Click on photo to enlarge.
Leaving Mom's in Cambridge earlier, I drove by the big pond next to the Choptank River and the view out my car window was the ultimate sign of fall, when it comes to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. No, not the beautiful tree turning bright orange, but the Canadian Geese setting up home by the water. Each year at this time you can see thousands of Canadian Geese, noisily flying south for the winter in their V formations, and landing in the fields, near the water, in Cambridge and other small towns along the shore.  My photos aren't the greatest taken on my Blackberry cell phone, through a car window as I drove, sorry about that people behind me, but I just had to snap the wonderful view. I get so excited each fall when the geese come back.  They are so beautiful and regal looking with always a sentry standing watch over all the groups as they eat.  The sentrys never put their heads down while it is their turn to stand guard, looking around always until it is their turn to eat and a new guard stands watch.  I love watching them and even though they are known to back up traffic several times a day, they waddle back and forth across the road from the field to the river, sentry standing in the middle of the road squawking loudly at the cars, while the rest of his group get across.  The whole scene always makes me happy and I kind of enjoy being a little late watching their special noisy parade.