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19 December, 2011

Oldies but Goodies...Easy Christmas Recipes

IMG_9729I 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.

IMG_2561 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! 
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Fall into Fall
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Fabulous Fall Fun
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Jen at Tatertots and Jello for the Weekend Wrap-up Party
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special

See you next time! A la prochaine!


  1. Everything looks so yummy. I have to go find something to eat! Debbie thanks for your comment on my blog. I've been hoping for someone to say hi every once in a while. thanks, Cindy

  2. Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful recipes Debbie. I think I'll make the cheese ball....sounds delicious.


  3. I make Russian Tea every year and put it in a pretty jar with a measuring spoon tied around the neck of the jar. It makes about 3 jars full, enough for my girls and me. And, yes, Tang was one of my favorite drinks! :@

  4. I have not made Russian Tea. My friend JoAnn makes it and I have it at her house.

    Loved seeing these recipes, Debbie.

  5. I love your recipes! I can just smell that potpourri! Going to have to try the Russian tea. My neighbors are Ukrainian and they make tea using a mix of lemons and sugar pulverized in the food processor, sort of like marmalade but not cooked. It's so good in hot tea.
    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Debbie!

  6. Some great oldies but goodies! I must say your mouse friend is a cutie! I want to make some potpourri!

  7. Debbie,
    I have the same Tea recipe!!! My is titled...Christmas Tea! Great recipes...all keepers! That little dressed mouse is adorable...but I did miss catching a glimpse of that handsome Baby Kitty!

  8. Great recipes. I make my own potpourri with apples, oranges, cloves and cinnamin sticks. I LIKE THE RECIPE WITH THE GRANOLA AND CHOC.

  9. So many yummy recipes, Debbie! I do love that recipe for the Spiced Tea. You've reminded me to make some potpourri to make my house smell all Christmasy!!!

  10. Everything looks great, wishin' I had the cheese ball to much on now! Merry Christmas Week:@)

  11. I remember all these recipes! The only one I didn't like was the cheese ball. But I was a little kid. And we used those Chinese noodles instead of granola.( granola was for hippies back then!)

  12. I've got a sweet tooth. I may just have to get some ingredients and make that granola recipe!

  13. Russian tea sounds pleasant, cheese balls are yummy, all are appealing. Hummm, I can smell the very good smell of potpurri. How great to name it after a family member. Remember their love and how the good time together !
    Merry Christmas !
    Terrie from Hong Kong

  14. I love easy recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Debbie, thanks so much for sharing these! I love the smell of orange and cinnamon, during the holidays, as well! Merry Christmas to you!

  16. I can smell the fragrance from here just looking at your images. Vanna is a cutie! Glad you have some help in the kitchen while those kitties are off doing other things.
    You are certainly a busy bee these days. I'm loving all your Christmas posts. Holiday Hugs ~ Sarah

  17. I had forgotten about Russian tea and that homemade potpourri. Have not seen those recipes since I was growing up. I am intrigued by that oat cookie recipe. We always made one that looked like that, but you used cocoa, sugar, margarine and oatmeal and could add peanut butter as an option. I bought a bag of butterscotch chips to try with my recipe b/c I have never seen oatmeal w/ honey and raisins for sale here (maybe I just need to get out more). Loved this post. Brings back good memories. Love that toile tree skirt, too! Hope you had a good time at the family Christmas party!

  18. Wonder if they make sugar free Tang....thanks for the recipes!

  19. Thank you, kindly, Miss Vanna, for sharing these lovely entertaining recipes! They all look very special! You are a perfect host! :)

  20. All the goodies look utterly delectable, and Miss Vanna is the consummate Southern hostess.

    Did you dress Miss Vanna yourself?


  21. Debbie, I am going to make every single thing! Your post was a step back in time for me and those times were magical. Thank you. Now I am even MORE excited for Christmas to come!...Nancy

  22. I had forgotten all about the Tang recipe...definitely going to run out and get those ingredients and have a sweet memory sipping Russian Tea from my Winter Greetings Lenox mugs! I have the same ones and LOVE them because they are perfect all winter long.
    Merry Christmas!

  23. We're having an open house tomorrow night. Wish you could stop by and help me out! Yikes!

  24. Looks like it is going to be a yummy Christmas at your house. Richard from My old Historic House.

  25. I remember some of these goodies from your other Christmas post. I love that they are family staples for your Christmas celebrations. I know your family really looks forward to having each and every one of these delights. xo Kathysue

  26. Oh Debbie, you are really something else.LOL. I adore Miss Vanna and you can tell her that. I hope miss Kitty gets the packing done in time. I love that smelling recipe. I am definitely going to try it. It sounds great.
    Have a wonderful time this week and I wish you and your family


  27. Great recipes and would you believe they were "demo-ing" Tang at Costco today. The cartons were pretty large and would probably make enough Russian Tea for an army. Your Winter Greetings mug is perfect for that and I remember that cheese ball. Yummy. Looks like you're having lots of fun indoors. Better than being out in the rain.

  28. Thank you for the tea recipe! I lived on that while I was pregnant and couldn't drink coffee, and had lost the recipe a long time ago. I have so enjoyed all of your Christmas creativity! I must tell you too, I really love the Marie Claire Idees newsletters that you gave the link to. Now it's a bit of a challenge because I don't speak a single word of French, but I love to play the videos anyway just to listen to their beautiful accents, haha! Have a wonderful Christmas Debbie, and I look forward to seeing what you will come up with in the New Year! Hope the staff is getting their fair share of catnip in their stockings this year :)
    xoxo, Andrea

  29. Thank you for all the recipes! They look wonderful..and that overstuffed MOUSE looks like she has been nibbling a few too many goodies...especially when I look at the way her skinny little legs are splayed out from her STUFFED body!;>) xo Diana

  30. I made the Russian tea this year too! My recipe is a bit different from yours- There were so many recipes to pick from on this! I thought Tang waS going to be hard TO find but hubby picked some up at Walmart!

    bee blessed

  31. That looks fantastic! I love granola candy with oats! Now I have to make some!!!!

  32. I love Russian tea!!! It wouldn't be Christmas here without it either. I make the instant too. Tang! It's what the astronauts drink!

  33. Thank you for sharing your lovely recipes at Potpourri Friday! Have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful Holiday Season!

  34. Love your potpourri recipe. Pinning it right now and plan to use it next year for teachers' gifts! :) Merry Christmas.

  35. All great recipes. We make a similar cheesball here and give them away as gifts and my hubby LOVES the Russian tea drink as well. He is a huge fan of Tang! Thank you for joining TTF last week. I hope you are enjoining the last few days of 2011!

  36. Everything looks so delicious and one in particular brings back fond memories. I use to make a jar of the Russian Tea every year when we lived in rainy Oregon for a nice little pick-me-up in the afternoon. Can't have the sugar now, but I am going to make the simmering potpourri. Thanks for sharing, Debbie!


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