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23 December, 2012

Last Minute Christmas...Easy Family Recipes

IMG_9729I have shared these super easy Christmas recipes with you before, but since we are in a holiday time crunch and these are my favorites that have stood the test of time...50 years for one of them!...I thought I would share them again! Enjoy!

I was busy baking for my family Christmas celebration this past weekend and I realized that I have a few quick and easy recipes that I might share with you. I will be assisted by our guest co-hostess Vanna the Christmas Mouse since Baby Kitty is busy wrapping the Christmas gifts for the staff.
The first one is a simmering potpourri…not intended to drink, although it wouldn’t hurt you since it’s all natural, but intended to make your house smell wonderful and Christmasy! I don’t know about you, but the smell of oranges and cinnamon just says Christmas to me!

IMG_9726It’s so simple that you probably already have all of the ingredients!
  • First bring a quart of water to a boil. 
  • Next add half of an orange cut into smaller sections (I usually squeeze the juice into the water and then add the peel).
  • Finally, add two cinnamon sticks, two bay leaves and 20-25 whole cloves.
Let it boil for a few minutes, then turn it down to a simmer and leave it on the stove. In about 30 minutes, your whole house will smell wonderful! You can put it in the fridge and reuse it for several days. I have even frozen it and pulled it back out on a really cold night to make the house feel cozy. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level when the potpourri is simmering. It is so easy and inexpensive compared to store bought potpourri!

IMG_9737 The second is intended to drink…instant Russian tea! I keep it in my snowman jar. Here in the South, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Russian tea! My sister makes a big batch of it whenever we come over during the holidays. She makes the real thing (click here for that recipe), but I like the instant kind because I can make as much or as little as I want and I can make it as strong as I want. I will give you the recipe, but you have to promise not to laugh because you will know how old I am when you see the ingredients!

IMG_9749 Instant Russian Tea
1 one lb container of Tang (It’s actually 1.4…I just don’t use it all.)
1 pkg instant unsweetened lemonade
3/4 cup instant tea
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients well. Place in a tightly covered jar. Place 2 teaspoons in a cup of boiling water. (I like to use 3 teaspoons.) Enjoy!
I love this stuff! It's the Tang that dates me! You may have to hunt it…maybe on the bottom shelf! It seems that the astronauts don’t drink it so much any more! lol  You ladies my age will remember that! 

IMG_9752 My third recipe is a very easy candy recipe…chocolate butterscotch granola candy. Those are the ingredients, too! At my house we call it Uncle Larry's candy because it’s his favorite. I actually got this recipe from one of my students in the '70s…yikes! I’ve been using this one a long time! The butterscotch gives it an extra little yummy taste.
Chocolate Butterscotch Granola Candy
about 3/4 of a box (or about 21 ounces) of Quaker Natural Granola Oats, Honey and Raisins ( The box is bigger than it used to be.)
one 12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
one 12 ounce bag of butterscotch chips
Melt the chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the cereal and stir until coated. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper and allow to cool. (I cool mine in the fridge.) Cover tightly to store. I keep it in the fridge and take it out shortly before serving, but you would not have to once it has cooled.

 One final quick and easy recipe is from my mom’s friend Bonnie who gave it to her about 50 years ago, so we call it Bonnie’s cheese ball. Hmmm…we seem to name all of our old family recipes after people. It has certainly stood the test of time! I posted this recipe last year, but it bears repeating.
Bonnie's Cheese Ball
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 (4 ounce) package bleu cheese
6 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (I use Cracker Barrel)
1 tablespoon freeze dried chives
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt (to taste)
chopped pecans
1 olive
Let the cheeses soften at room temperature. Mix together adding the chives. Add the garlic salt to taste starting with about 1/2 teaspoon. Mine usually wind up with about a teaspoon. Even if you think you've added too much, you probably have not. Drop the mixture onto wax paper and refrigerate until it is easier to handle. I usually divide the recipe into 2 balls because one is usually enough and the other one freezes great! Take them out of the fridge and form them into nice round balls. Roll them on a plate where you have put the pecans and the paprika until they are covered. I usually have to shake on a little extra paprika to make them pretty. Top each with 1/2 olive to decorate. I always serve it with Nabisco Sociables crackers.

IMG_9731 That’s it! Thanks so much for stopping by! And thanks also from the Plate Addict staff to Miss Vanna for taking time out of her busy schedule to give us a hand! I hope that at least one of these recipes will help to make your Christmas holidays a little easier! 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my Christmas recipes! Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants! 
Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday

Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

A Stroll thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up! on Tuesdays

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Tuesday's Treasures

Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
DIY by Design for Fall into Fall

The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays

Stone Gable for Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits on Thursdays

My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday

At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday

Craftberry Bush for Happy Hour on Friday
Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special

See you next time! A la prochaine!

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  1. Ohhhh, that cheese ball looks so yummy. Pinning it. A lady in an antique store told me that she gave them as gifts one Christmas with antique silver butter knives tied on with a ribbon. Thanks, Debbie Merry Christmas!

  2. No doubt the potpourri smells wonderful Debbie! Merry Christmas to you, your family and the Staff-enjoy:@)

  3. They still make Tang? Seriously? LOL!
    I will try the recipe for Russian Tea! Thank you!

    Merry Christmas!



  4. Merry Christmas Debbie! Everything looks delicious and thanks for the recipes! ~Delores

  5. Thanks, Debbie! I used to make the Russian Tea, jogged my memory!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!


  6. We use to do the same potpourri. Remember Tang well and this recipe. Nice stroll down memory lane. Merry Christmas!

  7. Debbie, Your Christmas mouse is a cute host...well, not as cute as your "staff", but cute. Thanks for the recipes. Love that cheese ball and the simmering potpourri.
    Hugs to you and your family. Have a great Christmas.

  8. Debbie,
    Thank you for all the "family" recipes...the're always "The Best"!!! A special thank you to Miss Vanna for co~hosting with you at this special Christmas time! I'm sure you've filled all the Staff stockings with feline treasures as they have been exceptionally GREAT on your list of co~host this past year!!!
    Merry, Merry Christmas, dear friend!!!

  9. I will have to try to simmering potpourri. I love for the house to smell good when friends and family arrive.

  10. I am going to do that summering potpourri, Debbie. Thanks for that recipe. I used to have a bag of something similar, but I think I used it all. I love the way Christmas simmering stuff smells.

    I had made one pass through earlier and left you a little message, but I don't think you can ever say Merry Christmas enough. LOL

    Hope yours is the best!



  11. Well, we love anything with cheese in it, so I will have to try your cheese ball recipe. Love the mouse as well--so cute! Merry Christmas to you, too, Debbie!

  12. Thank you, thank you! I love these quick and easy recipes. They are wonderful. I love the potpourri -have done something similar but without the bay leaf...aha...THAT is what I was missing- xo Diana

  13. I love quick and easy recipes. The granola candy and cheese ball sound delish. I'm doing quite a few simple dishes. Merry Christmas.

  14. I think I may have the same Russian Tea recipe! I've never made it, but remember my mom making it every Christmas. For some reason, I only make cheese balls at Christmas, not sure why- they are so yummy. Thanks for sharing your easy recipes, they all look wonderful. Have a wonderful Christmas, Debbie. :)

  15. I made this exact tea for quick Christmas gifts one year. I presented the bag in a cup for each person. It was simple to make and wonderful to drink.

  16. I love your blog and wish you and your furry staff the best of holidays. Peace and Blessings!

  17. Merry Christmas, Debbie! We are slaving away in the kitchen now, ticking off the list of dishes to make for tomorrow! At least the car will smell goof on the way in!
    SH is rolling his Rugelach out now, wouldn't be Cmas without it!
    Enjoy your family!

  18. I love the recipe and your blog is so cute. It's the first time I've been here. I have a link party called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop and would love to have you share this with everyone. It runs from Wednesday through midnight Sunday. Here is the link to the party.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above
    Marci @ Stone Mountain Cottage


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie