Tasty Thursday

Help your little ones make these cute-as-can-be wands to wave when the clock strikes midnight—it may just make for a magical night! This is just one of many precious recipes found in the Pink Princess Cookbook by Barbara Beery.

Magic Fairy Wands 
4 ounces vanilla candy coating or almond bark
Powdered food coloring* (optional)
8 large pretzel rods
Assorted colored sugars, sprinkles, and sugar candy decorations

Melt white candy coating according to package directions. Add powdered food coloring if desired. Stir to blend.

Dip or drizzle pretzel rods with candy coating. Place coated pretzels on a foil-lined sheet pan that has bee sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Decorate with sugars, sprinkles, or candies while candy coating is still warm.

Place sheet pan in freezer for 10 minutes to harden candy coating. Remove and eat immediately or store in an air-tight container for several days.

Makes 8 wands.

*Liquid and paste food colorings cause candy coating and chocolate to seize.Powdered coloring is found in craft or cake decorating stores.


A Rockin' Holiday Party

This year's annual Holiday Celebration at Gibbs Smith began with a delicious turkey-with-all-the-trimmings lunch, followed by an afternoon of rocking out alongside John, Paul, George and Ringo. Isn't Beatles Rockband just the best!?!
Here are some great photos from the celebration...

Muriel (l to r), Brian and Christopher sing along as Jill keeps rhythm.
Looks like Christopher really wants to start dancing!

Megan concentrating on lead guitar.

Jill wielding those drumsticks.

Jared hamming it up on bass guitar.

Recipes for Every Month of the Year

Holly Herrick is at it again! She has teamed up with the South Carolina State Farmers Market to share recipes from her book Southern Farmers Market Cookbook. Every month, a new recipe from the book will be featured that highlights a seasonal ingredient. Get your copy of the recipes here and if you like what you see, get the book too!


Tasty Thursday

Throw this dish together tonight and then bake tomorrow for a fantastic Christmas breakfast without all the hassle. Another great recipe from French Toast by Donna Kelly.

Christmas Morning Casserole
2-1/2 cups eggnogg
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large loaf French bread

Cranapple Compote
1/2 cup butter
3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 container (12 ounces) frozen apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the eggnog, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Pour half of the eggnog mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Cut ends off bread and discard. Slice bread into 8 slices, each about 1-1/2 inches thick, and then place in pan. Pour remaining eggnog mixture over top, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator and turn each slice over in pan with a wide spatula; bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Carefully turn slices over with a wide spatula and bake 10-15 minutes more, or until puffed and browned. Serve with Cranapple Compote. Serves 6 to 8.

To make the compote, melt butter and saute apples for 2 minutes in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cranberries and sugar and stir until cranberries pop, about 2 minutes more. Stir in juice concentrate, corn syrup, and brown sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups.


Yee haw!

There doesn't seem to be much common sense left in the world—at least not in the big cities full of people crowding each other out. But if you stop a moment and think of the cowboy way of life, things seem to simplify a bit.

Take Brian Dalton, for instance. He's a busy man as the facilities manager for Gibbs Smith. But he recognizes the importance of taking things in their own time, appreciating small moments.

Now those who want to learn a bit more of cowboy wisdom should take a look at the books right there beside Brian. Common Sense. That's what the display says, and that's what these books offer.

Among the sage advice:
Don't Squat with Your Spurs On (Excellent advice if you ask me.)
Never Ask a Man the Size of His Spread (Plus, I really don't want to know.)
Sit Down, Shut Up, and Hang On (I'm in for a wild ride.)
Cow Chips Aren't for Dipping (If only someone would have told me that sooner.)
Don't Whiz on an Electric Fence (Yowza, that'll sting.)
Just One Fool Thing After Another (You never know when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex.)
Don't Dig for Water Under an Outhouse (Someone ought to tell the planning commission.)

Spread a little bit of common sense this coming year and see if we can't make a difference. If not, it's always good for a laugh.

Now, a cowboy like Brian requires hearty grub. His favorite? Mountain Man Breakfast cooked in a Dutch oven. While Brian uses his own secret recipe, fear not, because 101 Things to Do with a Dutch Oven provides a delicious variation.

Mountain Man Breakfast
Dutch oven size: 12-inch

1 pound bacon
1 pound sausage
2 packages (24 ounces each) frozen southern-style hash browns (not shredded)
1 container (8 ounces) sour cream
4 eggs, beaten
1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese

Brown bacon and sausage in Dutch oven. Stir in has browns about 5 minutes before they are done. Cover and let cook 5 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through. When done, remove lid and sprinkle cheese over top. Replace lid until cheese melts. Makes 20 servings.

Dig in and enjoy!


From the Gibbs Smith Family to Yours...

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!


Tasty Thursday

Make this holiday season extra fun with a themed cake from Easy Christmas Cut-Up Cakes for Kids by Melissa Barlow.

Candy Cane
Pans: 1 (8-inch) round pan
   1 (8-inch) square pan

1 white cake mix 
White frosting 
Fruit by the Foot and red licorice ropes or red M&Ms

1. Make cake mix according to package directions. Evenly divide the batter between both pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 27 to 32 minutes and then carefully remove from oven. Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes, and then invert and cool completely on a wire rack.

2. Cut the cakes according to the diagram below. 

3. On a large serving platter or foil-wrapped board, stack the two round halves on top of each other to create a two-layer cake, frosting between the layers. Stack the two long strips together with frosting in between. Position the strip to make the long part of the candy cane. Stack two of the smaller squares to finish off the “hook.” You can eat or throw away the unused piece. 

4. Frost the entire cake smoothly with white frosting. Press the Fruit by the Foot and licorice or red M&Ms on the candy cane to create the stripes.  

Serves 10 to 12


From the Editor's Desk

Joy in the form of a book

There are some books that capture my attention and don’t let go. I become obsessed, proclaiming my love for this book to all of humanity. Sometimes people don’t listen, and they are the worse for it.

So hear me now: there is a book I’ve fallen head over tailbands for, and my love is unquenchable. The diminutive size of this book says nothing about the pages contained within the covers. Each word, each line, is wonderful, but there is more to it than that. This book speaks to me and asks me to respond.

Today, the advance copies of this book arrived, and I could not contain my excitement. Neither could the author, who screamed, then cried, then did a little happy dance. That excitement is completely justified, as the book is absolutely adorable. I love this book.

In the months I’ve worked on it, my fingers have been itching to get a finished copy. I want to hark back to the days of my youth, remembering my childhood dreams of becoming a princess or a movie star or a singer. So you can probably guess what I’ll be doing tonight: I’ll be taking my crayons and bringing life those dreams.

Some may say this book is for children. Bah! I say. There is some part of me that will always be a child, that will always need to color in my hopes and desires. It is to those of you with similar inclinations that I speak. Let out the inner child! Let your own child be a child! Work together in a frenzy of doodling!

Join me, compatriots, and get your doodle on!

Pocketdoodles for Girls by Anita Wood will hit store shelves in March 2010. Reserve your copy today.

-Michelle Witte, Editor


Tasty Thursday

These cake-like muffins are moist and delicious, not to mention easy to throw together. This recipe from Muffins by Cyndi Duncan and Georgie Patrick is definitely a favorite! 

Maple Pecan Muffins
1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1-3/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously spray muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice in a large bowl. Stir in pecans.

Whisk brown sugar, butter, milk, syrup, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl.

Make well in center of dry ingredients. Add butter mixture to well; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Makes 12 muffins.



Peter Moruzzi's "Palm Springs Holiday" in the LA Times

Author Peter Moruzzi is interviewed in this video for the travel section of the Los Angeles Times on the historic hotel hot spots of Palm Springs. For the entire article, click here


Tasty Thursday

Warm yourself from head to toe with this spiced cider from Small Parties by Marguerite Marceau Henderson. It's the perfect beverage to serve at any holiday gathering!

1 quart apple cider
1 quart cranberry apple juice
1 can (12 ounces) orange juice concentrate
1 quart water
12 whole cinnamon sticks
12 to 15 whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 oranges, thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced

12 to 15 whole cinnamon sticks
12 to 20 orange slices

In a large stockpot, bring the apple cider, cranberry apple juice, orange juice concentrate, and water to a simmer. In a 12-inch-square piece of cheesecloth, wrap the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice and tie with a piece of kitchen string. Place in the pot with cider and juices and add the ground nutmeg and orange and lemon slices. Simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, to allow spices to infuse the juices. Serve the wassail in mugs with a cinnamon stick and orange slice as a garnish. Makes about 4 quarts.