Hi Friends!

It’s the wonderful, beautiful, magical Christmas season!

The holidays bring childlike anticipation to all of us. Not the anticipation we felt as children wondering if Santa will come and what he would possibly bring us.

Instead, as adults, we feel a different and deeper type of anticipation. The anticipation of dark, dreary winter nights turning into brightly lit and colorful scenes. The anticipation of decadent foods made only at Christmas time. The anticipation of sappy, sweet Christmas movies. The anticipation of deep, rich Christmas smells. The anticipation of moving, lovely Christmas carols.

And most importantly of all, the anticipation of spending memorable moments with the ones we love!

Each year we look forward to neighborhood Christmas open houses, church gatherings, work parties and family get-togethers. This is a wonderful time for catching up and getting reacquainted. And with each of these gatherings, chances are you will be asked to bring some Christmas dish to share.

Well, I have just the recipe(s) for you. Both of these “salads” are easy to make, very festive and delicious!

Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas Jello

Ingredients

  • 3 (3 ounces each) small packages raspberry flavored gelatin mix
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 10- 12 ounces frozen raspberries
  • 1 (16 ounce) can applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 8 ounce non-dairy whipped topping

Directions

  1. Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water.
  2. Add the frozen raspberries and stir to break up.
  3. Stir in the applesauce and lemon juice.
  4. Pour into a 9”x13” dish.
  5. Chill until firm.
  6. Top with non-dairy whipped topping.

Santa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large tub Cool Whip
  • 1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1 package fudge striped cookies, crushed into small chunks

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and pudding mix.
  2. Gently fold in the Cool Whip.
  3. After the pudding mix is well combined, stir in the mandarin oranges and pineapple tidbits.
  4. Chill the pudding mixture.
  5. Just before serving, stir in the crushed cookies.
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Delish Thursday: Time To Make The Perfect Pie

Photo by Element5 Digital: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-slicing-pumpkin-pie-669734/
Photo by Element5 Digital: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-slicing-pumpkin-pie-669734/
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Hi Friends,

As we feel a chill in the air and the leaves turn their lovely autumn hues, we know that November and Thanksgiving have arrived. Sadly Thanksgiving, that timeless holiday of gratitude, has begun to fade into obscurity sandwiched between the colorful costumes and endless candy of Halloween and the bright lights and echoing carols of Christmas.

My son recently told me that I am the only person he knows who displays Thanksgiving decorations and that ALL of his neighbors put up their Christmas lights and trees the day after Halloween!

I once read that Thanksgiving is the “middle child” of the holiday season. This is oh, so true. Just walk into any store and ask for Thanksgiving decorations. They are nowhere to be found.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think Halloween is so much fun and I LOVE Christmas, but I beg of you not to forget Thanksgiving, if for no other reason than for the sake of your children and grandchildren.

Beautiful, wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, for gratitude and for family. What could be better than that?

It is time spent in the kitchen with your children making pies. It is time spent with loved ones and friends lingering around the dinner table and speaking of things we are grateful for and of people we love.

My friends, it is time for all of us to stand up to the materialistic commercialism that has begun to define the holidays and instead welcome Thanksgiving into our hearts and into our homes.

Let us embrace our families, count our blessings and give our loved ones the “gift” of making memories this Thanksgiving day!

Okay, I will jump off my soapbox now and share with you two of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes: Never Fail Pie Crust and Creamy Pumpkin Pie.

I am thankful for you, my Friends! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

NEVER FAIL PIE CRUST

Yield: 2 to 3 pie crusts

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups shortening (I prefer butter flavored)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons very cold water

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it forms roughly pea-sized clumps.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the egg, water and vinegar.
  4. Mix until well combined.
  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  6. Pour the liquid mixture into the well.
  7. Mix together just until the flour and liquid are thoroughly combined. DO NOT overmix.
  8. Roll the dough out between sheets of wax paper to desired thickness.
  9. Once it is rolled out, remove the top sheet of wax paper and gently turn the dough over into a pie plate.
  10. Trim the edges, pierce the dough several times with a fork and bake according to the pie filling directions.

CREAMY PUMPKIN PIE

Yield: 1 pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger*
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 unbaked pie crust (9 inch)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Add pumpkin puree to a large bowl.
  3. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla, spices, and then brown sugar.
  5. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth.
  6. Pour into the pie crust.
  7. Bake pie for 15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F
  8. Bake for 40 more minutes.
  9. If crust begins to get too brown, cover the pie lightly with foil.
  10. Remove pie from the oven when a clean butter knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  11. Let cool before serving. Keep leftover pie refrigerated.

* -- Note: These three spices can be substituted with 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

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Delish Thursday is a KDXU weekly feature written by local St. George culinary expert Laura Squires. Laura doesn't have a restaurant or bakery, but if you've ever tasted her food, you know that she is one of the best food artists in the world! Laura has been a resident of Southern Utah for  more than 30 years.

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Delish Thursday: Need A Big (Soup) Hug?

VezzaniPhotography
VezzaniPhotography
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Hi Friends!

It is soup season! Hurray! I once read that "soup is a hug in a bowl." I wholeheartedly agree!

What did good old mom always make for you when you were sick? Soup! What did you have to look forward to after a cold day out in the winter weather? Soup! What brings warmth to the body with a plethora of delicious ingredients? Soup! What other food do you know that has a classic tale written about it other than SOUP! (“Stone Soup” - It’s a great story! Look it up!!!)

You can't go wrong with soup!

My mom used to make a killer beef stew. I remember a long time ago when I had come home from college for Thanksgiving break. I brought a couple of friends home with me because they lived too far away to just go home for the weekend, so they came to have Thanksgiving with my family and me.

The first whole day we were home my friends, and I had all types of activities planned. While we were gone for the day, my Mom put together her beef stew and let it cook all day long.

When we came home from our day of winter frolicking, we were greeted with the amazing smell of Mom’s beef stew. We all grabbed bowls and filled our bellies with that delicious stew.

Not too many minutes after we finished eating, Mom came into the room and asked where all the beef stew had gone. Poor Mom never even got a spoonful of it for herself!

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find Mom’s beef stew recipe since she passed. But I have since found some really incredible soup recipes that I make often for my family.

Today I am going to share a recipe for Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup. It’s warm, hearty, comforting and very delicious! Make a pot full for your family on a cold winter day and you will be giving them a big hug in a bowl! Enjoy!!

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and chopped into slices
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds stew beef, browned
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 - 10.5 ounce cans vegetable soup*
  • 1 soup can of water

Directions

  1. Layer the potatoes, carrots, celery and onions in a slow cooker.
  2. In a frying pan, heat the oil and brown the stew beef until no longer pink. Remove from heat and stir in the salt, basil and pepper. Spoon the seasoned beef over the vegetable in the slow cooker.
  3. Combine the tomato sauce, soup and water. Pour over the beef and vegetables.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until the vegetables and meat are tender.

Notes:
* You can substitute tomato soup for the vegetable soup, but we enjoy the extra vegetables from the vegetable soup.

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Delish Thursday is a KDXU weekly feature written by local St. George culinary expert Laura Squires. Laura doesn't have a restaurant or bakery, but if you've ever tasted her food, you know that she is one of the best food artists in the world! Laura has been a resident of Southern Utah for  more than 30 years.

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Delish Thursday: Have A Decadently Chocolate Halloween

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Hi Friends!

Happy Halloween! Dark, cool nights, trick-or-treaters lining the streets, brightly lit pumpkins, doorbells ringing, candy bags bulging, families gathering. Oh, the joy of Halloween.

Some people like the scary side of this holiday. When they think of Halloween, they envision scary masks, creepy clowns, soul-chilling scary movies, and frightening follies.

But not me! I detest scary movies and costumes. Instead, I prefer the “sweet” side of Halloween: the children in cute costumes, the homey decorations, the big bowl of candy, and the delicious baked treats.

It wouldn’t seem like Halloween for my family if I didn’t make them some peanut-nutty Monster Toes, gooey chocolate brownies, rich, buttery sugar cookies or chocolatey Monster Stomp cookies.

So today I will share with you one of our favorites … the recipe for Monster Stomp cookies. They are easy to make but do require a waffle iron.

I leave you with this Halloween wish: When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may fun be yours on Halloween!

MONSTER STOMP COOKIES

Ingredients:
Cookie:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons milk

Directions:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the unsweetened chocolate and butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Set aside.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until fluffy.
  3. Slowly incorporate the melted chocolate mixture into the egg/sugar mixture.
  4. Add the flour slowly.
  5. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Grease or butter the waffle iron.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of the cookie mixture (4 cookies worth) onto the waffle iron and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Remove from the waffle iron and cool slightly.
  9. For the frosting, cream the butter and vanilla.
  10. Stir in the cocoa and powdered sugar.
  11. Add enough milk to make a creamy, spreadable frosting.
  12. Spread the frosting onto the slightly warm cookies.
  13. Store in an airtight container.

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Delish Thursday is a KDXU weekly feature written by local St. George culinary expert Laura Squires. Laura doesn't have a restaurant or bakery, but if you've ever tasted her food, you know that she is one of the best food artists in the world! Laura has been a resident of Southern Utah for  more than 30 years.

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Delish Thursday: Chili Time Of Year In Southern Utah

Chili and cornbread in a cast iron skillet
MSPhotographic
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Hi Friends!

My husband is amazing! He has so many great qualities. One of those qualities being that he is not a picky eater. He will eat just about anything.

There are a few (yes, only a few) exceptions. He hates liver and onions! He despises chewy, sour candy (Unbelievable). He doesn’t particularly like plums. He can’t stand the taste or smell of split pea soup. And he really, really dislikes beans.

For this reason, I hardly ever made chili, which was disappointing because I love chili. But my sweet husband patiently grinned and bore it when I would make chili every year for Halloween (of course, it helped that I promised him we would cook up hot dogs to go with it along with a lot of side dishes).

Over the years I have worked on and modified my chili recipe and have learned to make a really good chili with lots of meat and very few beans. I think my husband can honestly tell you that now he likes chili.

In fact, last time I made it, I think he had a second serving. Now that is something to celebrate!

While we are on the subject of celebrating, this chili makes a delicious dinner for a cool Halloween night. Make a pot to share with your family and friends. It is filling, zesty and oh-so-monstrously good!

Mama’s Meat-Filled Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or 2 pounds stew meat (I actually add both!)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed (More or less depending on if you like beans.)
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 (7 3/4 ounce) can El Pato hot tomato sauce
  • 2 to 4 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt to taste (1 to 3 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 chili seasoning packets
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground beef, onion and garlic together.
  2. Drain and put in a slow cooker. (If you are using stew meat as well or instead, brown the stew meat with the onion and garlic and then put it in the slow cooker.)
  3. Add to the slow cooker tomato paste, tomato sauces, diced tomatoes and water.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, salt (start with a teaspoon and add more to taste as the chili cooks throughout the day), brown sugar and seasoning packets.
  5. Once the seasonings are mixed, stir them into the tomato/meat mixture.
  6. Stir in the liquid smoke if using.
  7. Cook on high for four hours or low for 6 to 7 hours.
  8. Stir every 2 or 3 hours and add a small amount of salt and water if needed.
  9. About an hour before you serve the chili, rinse and drain the beans and add them to the slow cooker.
  10. Cook for one more hour. Serve with your favorite toppings.
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Delish Thursday: It's A Graveyard Smash With This Halloween Treat

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Hi Friends!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

Okay, I know that is a Christmas carol, but it fits for this time of year as well. Who doesn’t love Autumn?

I have to guess that your menu, like mine, changes as the temperatures get cooler. And as we flip the calendar to October it is also a fun time to make our menu a little more ghoulish. (No that is not a typo, I didn’t mean goulash, I really did mean ghoulish! Although ghoulish goulash is not a bad idea!)

I love to make Halloween treats and recipes!

Every October around this time we gather as a family and have a pumpkin painting contest. It is a great tradition that we all look forward to every year.

Our sons, daughters-in-law and grandkids all paint pumpkins and at the end of the evening there are prizes for everyone.

Part of the fun of that evening is the menu. We always have hot dogs, chili, Cheetos Bones, graveyard veggies (raw carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, etc.), Monster Stomp cookies or Monster Toe cookies ( I switch these up, or if I have time, I make both.), Graveyard Crunch and homemade root beer. The food is monstrously delightful.

This month I am going to share some of these recipes with you and encourage you to start your own family pumpkin painting traditions. Enjoy and HAPPY OCTOBER!!!

GRAVEYARD CRUNCH

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 18 (1/2 cup) servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup maple-flavored syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups GOLDEN GRAHAMS cereal
  • 1 cup dry roasted or honey roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup candy corn
  • 1 cup M&M’s candy (Preferably Halloween colors)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Place the syrup, butter and cinnamon in a large microwavable bowl.
  3. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir until the butter is completely melted.
  4. Add the cereal and peanuts; mix lightly.
  5. Pour mixture onto a well-greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan and spread it out evenly.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Break into pieces and place in a large serving bowl.
  9. Add marshmallows and candies.
  10. Mix lightly.
  11. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

* Other ideas you can add to this once the baked mixture has cooled are pretzel sticks or chocolate covered pretzels, Bugles, chocolate covered candies (raisins or peanuts), Reese's Pieces, or mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

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