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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving (or Fall) Cocktails ~ Keep it cozy and warm with these cold-weather drinks and fall-flavored cocktails BUT be sure to keep them away from the kids' table!

Apple-Pie Spiced Cider
Here's a delicious way to ward off cold weather: Serve hot cider spiced like an apple pie. Season your cider with the same spices you would use in a pie-cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg-then heat it up. If you'd like, pour in brandy for adults. Add a cinnamon stick to each mug for stirring. Servings: 6
1 1/4 quarts apple cider
3 tablespoons firmly packed light-brown sugar
7 whole cinnamon sticks, (6 sticks for garnish)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Ground cloves
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup Calvados, or other brandy (optional)
Directions: In a medium saucepan, whisk together cider, sugar, spices, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat; pour in brandy, if desired. Strain into a pitcher; discard solids. Serve in mugs, garnished with cinnamon sticks.

Pear-Rosemary Cocktails
Toast the bounties of the Thanksgiving table with cocktail in hand. There's something for everyone in this collection of festive drink recipes that includes hot ciders, crowd-pleasing sangria, sparkling wine cocktails, and nonalcoholic beverages. This cocktail uses smooth, homemade pear-infused vodka that can be made months ahead of time. Pear nectar sweetens the drink while club soda lends it sparkle; homemade rosemary syrup adds a seductive aroma. Yield: Makes 8
6 to 10 Seckel pears
4 cups (32 ounces) vodka
1 cup sugar
12 sprigs fresh rosemary plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pear nectar
4 cups (32 ounces) sparkling water
Directions: Put enough pears into a 48-ounce glass jar to fill. Add vodka. Seal jar, and let stand at room temperature 2 weeks (up to 2 months). Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add rosemary; remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes. Discard rosemary. Let cool completely. Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month. Fill 12-ounce glasses halfway with ice. Add 4 tablespoons vodka, 2 tablespoons syrup, and 3 tablespoons pear nectar to each. Top with 1/2 cup sparkling water. Serve garnished with rosemary sprigs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Abundance and Harvest

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap...” Luke 6:38

Our God is a God of abundance! He wants to pour out His abundance on each of us until we are so full that we are running over! But, notice how today’s verse starts. It says, “Give and it will be given to you.” That’s because our giving sets the blessing of God into motion in our life. When we give, we plant a seed. If we were to plant an apple seed, we wouldn’t just grow one single fruit. Rather,  that one seed grows into a tree that produces an abundance of apples! That’s what happens when we obey God in our giving ~ we get an abundant harvest in return. We can reap so much that we have to give some of it away, and the cycle just keeps repeating itself!

This is the time of year that usually gets us thinking about giving and receiving.  Is there something the Lord is telling you to give? You don't have t have money to give, you can give food, time, clothing, even a hug and smile. Think about it, what do you have that you can bless someone else with?  It's really easy....maybe a co-worker always admires a bracelet you wear, try parting with it for the sake of another.......take that step of faith and open the door to His abundance in every area of your life!  Expect his abundant harvest this season as you bless someone else!

Father, I receive Your Word into my heart today. Thank You for choosing to bless me so that I can be a blessing to others. Show me where I can give to others and teach me to receive all You have for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thanksgiving Decor Ideas to Celebrate the Season ~ From the front door to the table, you're sure to find something that will strike you fancy and please your guests.

Outdoor Homage ~ This outdoor dinner table is outdoorsy perfection with strips of chocolate-brown burlap, groupings of pillar candles on wood chips, gourds of various sizes and colors that come together for a simple yet striking look that complements the table's natural setting.

Colorful Corn ~ A staple element of Thanksgiving, bunches of vibrant corn easily come together to make a wreath.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's time to set aside the paper turkeys and pilgrim hats for something a little more sophisticated.....Thanksgiving ideas for your holiday get together.

Don't neglect the leftovers station. Use a chalkboard to write out a message to your guests so they don't forget to grab their snacks. For a personalized touch, wrap their take-home food in burlap sacks with a handwritten note.

Celebrate fall foliage by collecting colorful leaves and pairing them with straw and berries for an unforgettable place setting.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Surprising Things to Do with Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin Ice Cream
3 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cognac or brandy (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
Directions: In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, about 4 minutes until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot half-and-half mixture into the egg mixture and continue to whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the half-and-half mixture in the pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture coats the back of a large metal spoon, about 4 minutes. Do not boil. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the cognac, if desired, and vanilla. Whisk the pumpkin into the mixture until thoroughly combined. Cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight. Pour the pumpkin custard into a 1- 1/2 or 2-quart ice cream maker; freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Pack the ice cream into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before serving. Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings.

Pumpkin Corn Bread
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons masa harina or corn flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup buttermilk
1 8 ounce carton dairy sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
Whipped butter (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously brush a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of the butter; set aside remaining butter. In a large mixing bowl combine cornmeal, sugar, masa harina, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. In another bowl combine remaining butter, buttermilk, sour cream, egg, and pumpkin; whisk into cornmeal mixture. Pour into prepared skillet. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted off-center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack; serve warm with whipped butter.

Cinnamon-Pumpkin Toddy
5 cups water
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup rye whiskey or bourbon
1/2 cup apple-cinnamon schnapps or cinnamon schnapps
1 recipe Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Ground cinnamon and/or stick cinnamon
Directions: In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine the water, maple syrup, and pumpkin. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours or on high-heat setting for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir in rye whiskey and schnapps. Ladle into mugs. Serve with Cinnamon Whipped Cream and garnish with ground cinnamon and/or stick cinnamon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Stylish and Fun Fall Party Ideas ~ Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Entertaining Naturally ~ Autumn's bounty warms cozy gatherings with family and friends. Put your rooms in the mood for fun with hands-on projects to get your home party-ready.

Small Signs of Fall ~ Dangling from string looped through the grommets of a no-sew tablecloth, these little gourds act as natural weights and add seasonal flair to a casual dinner party. To make the cloth, measure your tabletop and add enough yardage for a 6-inch drop plus a 1-inch hem. Hem with fusible tape and an iron. To make the corner flaps, notch a 5-inch square from each corner and hem using fusible tape. Add grommets with a kit from a crafts or fabrics store.