Saturday, December 7, 2013


"Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—
the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth
to those with whom God is pleased.'"
Luke 2:13-14

Today I hosted a Christmas Tea for a group of women that serve together to bless others.  We had a delightful time as we met to plan for the future, look over the past, praise God and celebrate the birth of our Savior!!  We also used a unique way to exchange Christmas ornaments – we passed our gift to the “right” or “left” as I read about an Herbal Christmas home:

            Anticipation is high as we approach this special home during the holidays.  Right when we enter, we are met with the unmistakable fragrance of simmering spices.  Then as we turn left and enter the heart of the home the real explosion of the senses begins.  To the left of the fireplace is a basket full of bunches of herbs waiting to be placed on the dying embers and across the mantelpiece is a garland of dried fruit, bay leaves and cinnamon.  Additional garlands of suspended bunches of herbs are at the windows to the left and right of the fireplace.clip_image004  Across the room, right in front of the bay window is a large tree decorated with all natural ornaments including cinnamon stars, decorated pinecones and herbal tussie mussies.  To the right, in the kitchen, the adventure continues as we notice a culinary herb wreath representing the bounty of what’s left of this year’s harvest surrounding the punch bowl.  Finally we enter our destination - the dining room – with a huge table set for our holiday feast.  clip_image006A centerpiece of flowers and herbs held in a glass vase filled with fresh cranberries sparkles in the light of candles to the left and right and is surrounded by clove studded oranges, lemons and limes.  Our individual places are marked with our names attached to bundles of cinnamon sticks wrapped with raffia and decorated with herbs and berries right above our plate.  At each place setting there is also a napkin to the left of the fork tied with ribbon holding a sprig of fresh rosemary.  Right then, as I think nothing can be more perfect, out comes the turkey on special see-through platters revealing a design of herbs and flowers pressed right between the two dishes.  A great way to impress your guests. right????

Enjoy the recipes and links for the tea-time, most of which use herbs and spices:


1pkg Grands butterflake rolls       
8oz cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1/4c chopped onion
9oz cooked chopped spinach
1/4c chopped tomato
1c shredded mozzarella cheese
            Grease muffin tins.  Separate each roll in half and press into muffin tins for shell or cut into quarters for mini muffin tins.  Combine cream cheese and eggs then add onion, spinach and herbs and mix well.  Stir in chopped tomato and cheese and then divide between shells.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 mins. or until golden.  Serve warm or cool, wrap in foil and freeze.  To serve, place frozen shells on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 mins.


DEVILED EGG & OLIVE SANDWICHES: Hard boil 6 eggs, shell and cool. Finely chop eggs and combine with 1/4c mayonnaise, 1tsp Dijon mustard, 1tsp VEGGIES & MORE gourmet seasoning, salt & pepper.  Add 10 chopped olives.  Spread between 2 slices of white bread, trim crusts and cut into 4 triangles.  Sprinkle with paprika.

SPICED BERRY SPREAD PINWHEELS:  Combine 8oz softened cream cheese, 1/2c cranberry chutney, 1/4c orange marmalade, 1/2tsp HERBAL ESSENCE gourmet blend and 1/4c toasted slivered almonds in a food processor.  Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors then spread on flour tortillas, roll up, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  To serve, cut into slices


CUCUMBER SANDWICHES: Peel, seed and chop a cucumber into small pieces.  Salt and set aside in a strainer to drain overnight in refrigerator.  Blend 8oz cream cheese with 1Tbs DELIGHTFUL DILLY gourmet blend, then add the chopped cucumber. Spread between 2 slices of multi grain bread, trim crusts and cut into 4 triangles.


HERBED TURKEY SALAD CUPS:  Combine 2c cooked turkey with 1/2c chopped celery, 1/2c dried cranberries, 1/2c chopped toasted pecans, 1tsp POULTRY PLUS gourmet blend and 1/2c mayonnaise or plain yogurt.  Season with salt and pepper and chill overnight to blend flavors.  Fill phylo cups with chicken mixture and garnish with dried cranberries.


BASIC SCONES: Combine 2 c flour, 1/3 c sugar, 1tsp baking powder, 1/4tsp baking soda and 1/4tsp salt in a mixing bowl.  Cut in 8Tbs butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add 1c sour cream or yogurt to dry ingredients until they are moistened.  Knead on floured surface until dough holds together.  Divide dough in half and pat out each into a 1/2 inch thick circle and cut into 6-8 wedges.  Place on greased baking sheet, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 mins or until golden brown.
            Pumpkin Spice Scones: Follow directions for basic scones replacing 1/2c of sour cream/yogurt with pumpkin puree plus add 1tsp SWEET SPICE gourmet blend.
            Cranberry Pecan Scones: Follow directions for basic scones adding 1/2c dried cranberries and 1/2c toasted pecans to crumb mixture.

CRAN-ROSEMARY NUT BARS:  Combine 10Tbs butter, 1 1/4c flour, 2/3c brown sugar and 3/4tsp salt until crumbly.  Pat into a lightly buttered 9x13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 12 mins.  Cool slightly then sprinkle with 1c slivered almonds and 1c dried cranberries.  Beat 3 eggs with 1c brown sugar then blend in 1tsp vanilla extract, 1/2tsp almond extract, the zest of one orange, 4Tbs minced fresh ROSEMARY, 1/2tsp salt, 1 1/2tsp baking powder and 1/4c flour.  Top the bars with the batter and bake for 20 mins.  Cool and cut.

imageORANGE-COCONUT BALLS:  Melt 1/4 c of butter.  Mix 1 c graham cracker crumbs, 2 c powdered sugar, 1/4 c frozen orange juice concentrate and melted butter and set refrigerate 10 mins.  Roll into 1 inch balls and then roll in coconut

MINT MERINGUES: Combine 2 egg whites, 1/4tsp cream of tartar and a dash of salt and beat until soft peaks form.  Add 2/3c sugar gradually and beat until stiff.  Add 1Tbs SPEARMINT, green food coloring and a 6oz pkg of chocolate chips.  Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Drop cookies onto greased sheet, place in oven and turn off.  Leave light on overnight.

Have a blessed Merry Christmas!


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