Monday, December 13, 2010

Say Cheese!

If you have ever been to a swinging Christmas soiree in the South, I can guarantee you will see form of the recipe below on your gracious hostess' table. Whether your Granny calls them cheese straws, cheese bits, or cheese nibbles, no matter how you cut it- they are just down right delicious! (Excuse the crass pun but I just couldn't resist!) This is one of my all time favorite holiday recipes and I have VOWED never to make them any other time of year except during the Yuletide. These naughty nibbles accompany cleverly crafted cocktails and vino oh so well or make the perfect pre-dinner snack. Even if you don't get around to baking up these bits immediately, the dough will store in the freezer for up to a month. I hope these little pieces of pleasure bring a little spice and flavor to your next holiday ho-down! 

Cheesy Cocktail Bits


1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
1 cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup grated Smoked Gouda Cheese
2 cups All Purpose Flour
Pecan Halves
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Salt to taste


Pre-heat oven to 350*.

Cream butter and cheeses. Slowly add your flour, Cayenne, salt and mix well. Form mixture into tiny balls and press half of a pecan on each ball to flatten. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 17 minutes until golden and crisp. Allow to cool before serving.

*If you are feeling fiesty, change up your cheeses and see what develops!

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Beginning to Smell A Lot Like Christmas!

As we enter the second week of December, the holly jolly holiday season is in full swing for many of us! Our heads begin to fill with visions of sugar plums or the twinkle of the Menorah lights while the sounds of silver bells chime in our ears. Along with the sights and sounds of the holiday, don't forget those nostalgic smells! Unless you are Martha Stewart or June Cleaver, I doubt you spend your days trimming your mantle with fresh evergreen and pine, baking an army of gingerbread men, or tending to an oak fire burning in your hearth every moment of the holiday season. Just because you don't have the time to devote to those yuletide traditions, doesn't mean you cannot bring those memory evoking smells into your holiday home any time you please! This year, don't bother piddling away your pennies on artificial sprays, pricey soy candles, or an antiquated potpourri array (that after a few martinis may be mistaken for party mix...) Begin with a small pot of water on the stove, add in a few heaping teaspoons of cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, maybe some nutmeg too. If available in your refrigerator’s crisper, toss in a few orange slices or maybe a pinch of fresh or ground ginger. After your brew is made, bring your seasonal scents to a simmer and watch the house come alive! Keep an eyeball on your Christmassy concoction though assuring the liquid hasn't boiled completely out of it- the only thing you want roasting are those chestnuts on the open fire! Feel free to cover and store your mixture for several days, rejuvenating it with a little more water and spice to simmer on for your next swanky soiree.

With my sincerest "scentiments", Happy Holidays Divas!