Sunday, November 27, 2011


I love pie.  I really do.  But sometimes I'm to full from eating a big meal to enjoy a slice of pie for dessert.  Yet, I still want a little something sweet.

Today, my sister, brought home a lovely surprise for me.  It's See's pie truffles.

See's candy has got to be my all time favorite candy.  It's so creamy and each piece is still hand made.

To think I could have full pie flavor and not feel full was exciting. 

There is four different flavors in this box.  There is Apple Pie, which really does taste like you are eating apple pie only better.  It's dipped in white chocolate.  YUM!

Then there is a wonderful Cranberry Orange Pie.  There is a perfect blend of cranberries and orange and it's dipped in a dark chocolate.  I admit, I am not a big fan of dark chocolate.  Yet, this truffle screams for dark chocolate to balance out the tangy center.  A great blend between the two flavors.

Pumpkin Pie is full of spicy flavors and you can actually taste the cinnamon and all spice mixed in with the pumpkin.  This is dipped in milk chocolate.  A lovely combo.

The Pecan Pie is also mixed with the white chocolate and has a delicious Bordeaux mixed with roasted pecans and also a full pecan on top.  Oh my!

The only bad thing about these wonderful Pie Truffles is that you want to eat all of them, they are so good.

Yet, at the same time, you don't want to eat them because you want them to last as they are only sold for a limited time.

No, I didn't get paid for this review.  I'm writing it just to share with you how good these are. 

If you live near a See's candy then you know how wonderful the candy there is. 

If you don't, then you must go on line and order some to be delivered to you.  You won't be let down.

I only wish I knew about these before as I think they are about sold out for the rest of the year.  The Apple Pie truffle is sold all the time though.  Only the other three are seasonal.

I'm so lucky to have such a thoughtful and wonderful sister.  Thanks Patty for buying these for me. 

Friday, November 25, 2011


Thanksgiving is over and so that means it's officially Christmas time! 

Yes, I know there have been songs playing on the radio, the stores have been selling Christmas things for months, Christmas movies have already been on the TV.   But, to me, it's not really Christmas time until after Thanksgiving.

That's when I can start to decorate, bake cookies, wrap presents and send out my cards.

Normally, I have everything planned out.  This year, I have not planned anything.  I have no idea how I'm going to decorate.  I think I'll do simple this year.  More child like.  With a touch of Disney style.
Or maybe I'll do gold.  Lot's of sparkles.  Though I have been thinking about doing red with the turquoise blue.  More retro style.

Who knows.  I guess I'll figure it out once I hit the storage area and start to go through boxes. 

Heck, I have not even picked out my wrapping paper.  I'll do that once I figure out what theme I'm going with. 

I can't believe in one month it will be Christmas and I have not started to plan.  YIKES!  I better get to work.

How about you?  Do you know what you are doing yet?  I know several of you already have your decorations out and everything. 

Well, one thing I have done already is, I've talked to Santa.  I was at the mall and no one was around him.  As I walked by the guy working there said my sister and I should go in and say hi to Santa.  So, we did! 

I have always had a soft spot for Santa.  Every time I see him I feel like a kid again.  I love Santa!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Do you love cinnamon rolls as much as I do?  I go nuts over warm, fresh from the oven, homemade cinnamon rolls.

They can really take a lot of time to make though.  So most of the time, I settle for store bought or even the ones from the can.

I'm going to share with you an easy way to make these. No one will know you didn't spend hours and hours making them.

There are a few secrets to making these yummy treats.

First, start with one loaf of thawed, frozen bread dough.  It saves all the time you would spend making it from scratch and trust me, no one will know the difference. 

But, if you want to make the dough from scratch you can surely do so.  These will taste wonderful either way.

Roll the dough into a rectangle.  This is the hardest part as sometimes bread dough doesn't want to roll out. 

Brush the rolled out dough with 3 tablespoons of softened butter.

In a bowl combine 2/3 cup of brown sugar, 2/3 cups of chopped nuts (I used walnuts) and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. 

Sprinkle the mixture over the buttered dough. 

Roll up dough like a jelly roll.  Start with long edge. 

Cut the rolls into 12 slices.  Place rolls into a lightly buttered 9x13 inch cake pan.  Cover with dish towel and let sit for about 1 1/2 hours so they can rise about double in size.

Here is the 2nd secret to making these the best cinnamon rolls. 

When ready to go into the oven, poor 1/3 cup of heavy cream over the rolls.

Bake at 350 degrees for 24 mins.

While they are baking, combine 1 1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon heavy cream and a tsp. of vanilla.  Mix well, add a bit more milk or cream if to thick.

Drizzle over the rolls while still warm.

Makes 12 large cinnamon rolls.

Of course if you don't like icing on your cinnamon rolls then just don't add it.  I happen to love the icing.

Here is the recipe all in one spot if you want to print it out.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed -  or make homemade dough
3 tablespoons softened butter - more for pan
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/3 cups sifted powdered sugar (be sure to sift so you don't have lumps)
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Roll dough into a rectangle.  Brush with softened butter.  Combine brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon in bowl.  Sprinkle over rolled out dough. 

Starting at long edge roll up like a jelly roll.

Cut into 12 slices.  Place into 9x13 inch lightly buttered pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size.  About 1 1/2 hours.

Pour cream over the rolls and bake at 350 degrees for 24 mins.

While rolls are baking, combine powdered sugar, milk, cream and vanilla.  Add a bit more milk or cream if to thick. 

Drizzle over rolls while still warm.


Makes 12 large rolls.

I'm linking up with Tip Junky for Homemade Projects

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I love going to Tree Lighting ceremonies.  To me, it brings back memories of years gone by and also makes me feel like the Christmas season is really here now.

Tonight I went to Fashion Island in Newport Beach for their yearly tree lighting ceremony.

I got there just as the sun was going down.  The clouds were starting to come in and of course being right by the beach, it was chilly.  Perfect for a Christmas celebration.

Being nighttime, it made it hard to find the right setting on my camera so most of my photos came out blurry.  This one was actually much darker so I lightened it up so you can see the clouds and the tree before it had all the lights turned on.

The tree this year is a 90 foot tree and beautiful.

They also had about a 45 minute show before the official tree lighting took place. 

The cast from the Musical Theatre University sang several different Christmas songs.  Each time they changed into a different outfit.

Then some of the favorite Disney characters came out and entertained us.  Mickey and Minnie Mouse, along with Goofy, or should I say Santa, sang songs and asked everyone to join along.  The whole place was singing Jingle Bells and It's a Small World.

Then it was time.  The big count down to the tree lighting.  Everyone cheered when the hundreds and hundreds of lights on the tree lit up.

In typical Disney fashion, it started to snow.  It may not have been the cold snow that some of you are having, but it sure looked and acted like real snow and I can almost guarantee that it's the only snow that will be falling from the sky in Newport Beach this year.

So that's it!  It really is Christmas time now!  I know, I know, we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet but, now when I hear the Christmas carols playing on the radio at least I won't think "already!".

Sunday, November 6, 2011


It seems like everyone has their favorite Christmas movies they love to watch every year.  You can find rows and rows of Christmas theme movies at all the stores now. 

Though for me, it's still a bit early to start watching them.  I don't want to get burned out before Christmas is even here.

But, I do love holiday movies.  So, I'm going to start enjoying movies about Thanksgiving.    What?  You didn't know there were Thanksgiving movies?  Seems like a lot of people don't. 

Yet, you can now load up your video library too with all these fun movies and watch them year after year.

I'm going to give you some of my favorites.

 I love, love, love this movie!  It is heartwarming, funny, sometimes sad and very entertaining.  If you ever had a big family gather at Thanksgiving, you will enjoy watching this movie.

It is about four different families celebrating Thanksgiving in Los Angeles.  They all come from different ethnic and economic backgrounds.

Of course, they all their own problems to deal with.  Very interesting to see the difference in the way this Holiday is celebrated in different families.

This is a movie that not everyone may enjoy.  However, I adore.  It is not for little children.

Talk about a dysfunctional family!  If you ever thought you had a crazy mixed up family this will make you very happy to see how normal your family is.

A single mother loses her job and goes home for the Holiday.  Only to have to deal with her family and all the day to day life that she has managed to escape by moving away.

I found that I was laughing throughout the whole movie and I'm once again, looking forward to watching this movie this year.

Yet, what could be a better family movie that both children and adults will love?  Of course Charlie Browns Thanksgiving.

Peppermint Patty invites herself and all her friends over to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving.  Good 'ol Charlie Brown does his best to throw a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner for all.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles is another Thanksgiving Day classic.

All poor Neal wants to do is get home to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family.  Yet, his flight has been cancelled due to bad weather and he finds himself hooked up with a stranger that he can't really stand to be around. 

The two of them have a long journey home with all sorts of mishaps.

Funny and yet very heartwarming.

I'm not normally a Katie Holmes fan but I really did enjoy her in this movie, Pieces of April.

It is about a wayward daughter, living in New York, who has invited her dying mother and the rest of her family over for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Her oven doesn't work, her boyfriend that is not liked by her mother, is trying to find a suit to look nice and her mother is very hard to please.

This movie is enjoyable to watch and shows how families can make or break a Holiday.

I hope I have given you a few ideas of how you too can watch some great holiday movies without getting burned out by Christmas movies.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Here in California we have birds all year long.  In the Winter we don't have as many as in the Spring but still we have a lot.

So, feeding them in Winter is important.  The food supply from bushes and trees are much less in the Winter.

This year, I'm having my Girl Scout Troop make bird feeders out of pine cones.

They are very easy to make...though they can get messy.

Tie or glue a string, ribbon or yarn to the top of a pine cone.

Cover the cone with peanut butter.  You can add some cornmeal or ground up oats to make it not so sticky if you like.  However, straight peanut butter is ok for birds to eat.

After your cones are fully covered with peanut butter (you may wish to leave a little of the top part of the cone uncovered so the bird can sit on it while it eats) roll the cone in bird seed.

Just find out what kind of birds you have in your area and use the right kind (or make several cones with different kinds of seeds to attract different birds).

Then hang them up outside.  You can hand them on hooks near windows so you can watch the birds from inside.  You could hang them in the trees.  Hang them all over and anywhere you like.

The birds will thank you.

Plus, you will get hours of enjoyment watching the birds enjoy their homemade Winter feast!