Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rum Balls

Here's a holiday appropriate vintage recipe revisited.

This one was in my Maw-maw's recipe box written on a scrap piece of paper along with other recipes.  Her recipe box is a treasure trove of deliciousness.

Like so many sweet recipes, I sent them up to my ready-made taste testers - Engineer's office.  Engineer's boss loved them.  He loved them so much that he ate almost all of them by himself.

These rum balls are super easy but pretty potent, so they're not really for a tea-total crowd.

Rum Balls

75 Vanilla Wafers
1 1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 c. Pecans
3 Tbs. Light Corn Syrup
1 1/2 Tbs. Cocoa Powder
3 oz. (2 shots) Rum*
Extra cocoa & powdered sugar for rolling

Put the first five ingredients into the food processor and whizz up until finely ground and well mixed.
Add the rum and keep it spinning until it is well combined.
Stir together a few tablespoons of powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl.
With a melon baller, scoop out some dough and roll into a ball between your palms.
Roll in the cocoa/sugar mixture and set aside.
This recipe makes quite a few so it would be great for a holiday party or as part of a plate of homemade Christmas goodies.

*I used dark rum but I think white rum would be fine.  Next time I think I'll try spiced rum or coconut rum to add an extra layer of flavor.

This is part of FPT.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Madly in Love

See that?

That is the fulfillment of my lifelong dream...or at least the fulfillment of an as-long-as-I've-known-there-were-cheese-hats-in-the-world dream.

I mean, c''s a's a hat...that's the stuff dreams are made of!  

Engineer was in Wisconsin last week at a seminar.

Of course I begged asked him to bring me one back with him.
It was no small feat either.  He asked why would I want one.'s a cheeeeeese hat!  That's why!

It was this statement he made that really tickled me:

"But if I get you a cheese hat, you'll wear it to church!"*

Touche my love.  Fair point.  You know me so well.  

1-4-3 EM!

For the record, I do believe that cheese is divinely inspired and therefore would be perfectly acceptable headwear in the eyes of the Lord.  I will however refrain from wearing it in a service out of respect for you and the folks behind me in the pew.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


This week it is full steam ahead.
No, really.
All cliches "The time is nigh," "it's crunch time," "put the pedal to the metal,""it's go time," etc. are entirely appropriate in regards to the upcoming week.

Last week was a blur of meetings and house prep and baking and gift giving and visiting with friends but with Engineer out of town on business, all of those things I didn't want to do dragged on slowly and the things I enjoyed doing went by too quickly.  

This week our sweet friend Georgia is coming to stay with us for Christmas.  She is currently studying at a university in Chicago on an exchange program from a university in Canterbury.  Her family is so very dear to us.  We lived in the same village in England.  I cannot tell you how much we are looking forward to spending some time with this young lady.  She is awesome.  On her previous visit to us several years ago, I tried to convince her to stay and be our au pair.  She felt like getting a degree might be more useful and important for her future.  Maybe so...

Let's look at how far I've gotten on the preparation check list for her visit, shall we?

Do I have a menu plan yet for the duration of her stay?  No.
Do I have a schedule for her visit?  Nope.
Have I done all of the necessary shopping, grocery or otherwise, in anticipation of her visit?  Nuh-uh.
Is her room totally ready to receive a guest? Not yet.

And what about all other Christmas prep?

Caroling party organized?  No comment.
New Year's Day party sorted?  Um...
Presents all bought and wrapped?  Not quite.

What the heck am I doing writing?  I've got to get on the ball!

I hope that your week is calm and bright!

This week we will be eating:

Sunday - Leftovers
Monday - Pumpkin & Sausage Pasta
Tuesday - Antipasto Salad
Wednesday - Trout Fillets & Salad
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Dinner w/Friends
Saturday - Dinner w/Friends

This is part of MPM.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates

I received a sample of Mrs. Cavanaugh's chocolates for
review purposes.  All opinions and thoroughly spoiled
neighbors are my own.

You know it's going to be a good day when you receive an email asking if you'd like to review chocolates.  Ummm....yes please!

Mrs. Cavanaugh's Candy Co. is one of those stories that we like to hear.  How one woman took an old family recipe, put her own spin on it, and with the encouragement of friends and family turned it into a business.  A business that is still going strong decades after it began.

I know, that's a nice story but how do they taste?
After some grueling research painstakingly undertaken by Engineer, our neighbors, and myself, we can give you our honest opinion...they are great!

Mrs. Cavanaugh uses fresh cream and butter and no preservatives!

For dessert one night, we carefully cut each chocolate into fourths and tried them all - for research purposes obviously.

Here are our comments:

  • "Nice packaging"
  • "Not stale like other boxed chocolates"
  • "The chocolate is very smooth and creamy"
  • "The 'Mindy Mint' has a beautiful texture"
  • " I could eat a box of these by myself!"
  • "The caramel is lovely, and I don't like caramel"
  • "The toffee is delicious"
  • "I like the 'Haystack's' flavor but not the texture" (full disclosure, that was from someone who doesn't like the texture of coconut)
  • "The cherry cordial has a strong cherry flavor"
  • "Oh, that white chocolate!...nom nom nom"
  • "I'm not into creams, but that raspberry cream is yummy"
  • "They are a little difficult to distinguish which is which from the picture"

As you can see, we enjoyed them very much and we think you will too!  That's why my readers receive Buy 1 lb Get 1 lb FREE of Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates if you use promo code: usfamily2014  at

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


This week consisted of a:

mammoth baking day
first official book club meeting
quick jaunt around some estate sales (I really must start posting the haul from these)
celebration of a friend's birthday

The mighty baking day came about by happenstance.  As I was taking Diva to school one morning, I noticed that one of our neighbors had thrown out all twenty or so pumpkins that had been used in their fall yard decor.  The pumpkins were in perfect condition so naturally I went over and asked if I could take a couple from their trash...naturally.  They said I could and the rest of the day was spent preparing the pumpkins to make puree then doing something with it.

Diva and her friend in the 'hood have started a school book club.  Their first official meeting was Saturday.  It was such fun listening to them discuss plot convenience and resolution.

Engineer and I joined our friends at Great Raft Brewery for a birthday celebration.  It was a cool place (even to those of us who do not enjoy beer.)  There was an interesting mix of hipsters in ironic t-shirts, doctors in scrubs, hippies in whatever it is they wear, businessmen in suits, and then there was us.  What we did see a lot of though were beards.  Lots and lots of beards.

This week our schedules are out of whack so we will be eating easy stuff:

Sunday - Leftovers
Monday - Muffalettas
Tuesday - Pumpkin Soup
Wednesday - Taquitos
Thursday - Frito Pie
Friday - Dinner w/Family
Saturday - Date Night

This is part of MPM.
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