Italian Lovers, Oooh Yes!

CHEESY GARLIC BREAD MEATBALL SLIDERS

YIELD: Makes 12 sliders

INGREDIENTS:

For the meatball sliders:
1 lb. ground beef
1 large egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons chopped basil
1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 cup marinara sauce
1 package dinner rolls, sheet of 12 rolls
12 slices mozzarella cheese

For the garlic butter:
4 Tablespoons melted butter
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons chopped basil
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS:

For the meatball sliders:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Halve individual dinner rolls; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine beef, egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Parmesan, and chopped basil. Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Shape mixture into 12 golf ball-sized meatballs; set aside on a plate.

Set a large pan to medium-high heat. Once hot, add meatballs and cook 1-2 minutes per side, then flip. (They do not need to be fully cooked at this point.) Remove meatballs to a paper-towel lined plate; drain excess fat in pan.

Pour marinara sauce into the pan and place meatballs in the sauce. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping meatballs occasionally, until sauce has reduced to a thick consistency. Remove from heat.

Place one meatball inside each halved dinner roll. Top with sliced mozzarella, then cover with dinner roll top. Place on a large baking sheet.

For the garlic butter:
In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, basil, and parmesan, stirring until evenly mixed. Pour garlic butter mixture over top of the sliders. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown and cheese is melted. Cut into individual sandwiches, and serve.

“Letters to Santa”….Strikes Every Emotion!

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A couple of weekends ago, my Mom and I went to some of the little shops in my hometown of Broken Arrow, OK. It’s full of Christmas spirit right now in what is known as the Rose District. Wreaths with ribbons, garland, lights and decorated store fronts are abundant down Main St. Christmas is everywhere including the boutiques, restaurants, and gift stores.

As we entered one gift store that is full of wonderful memories of days gone by, I walked into one little room and my eyes went right to a book that was laying among vintage Christmas decorations. It was simply called “Letters to Santa”. The cover was eye catching enough for me to pick it up and thumb through it. It was full of letters that had been sent to the town of Santa Claus, Indiana where thousands upon thousands of letters have been sent there from children all over the world. The first letter I read brought tears not only to my eyes, but my Mom’s as well.  I immediately knew this book would be the next piece of Christmas to come into our home.

I sat down after dinner that evening and read this wonderful book from beginning to end. I was in awe of each and every letter sent to Santa. I was also humored by a few men and women who wrote to Santa looking for that special someone. There were letters written from children who were obviously writing letters for the first time, to letters from children who obviously had their parents write their letters. There were also parents who wrote letters to Santa pretending to be their child in hopes Santa would help them out.

Every letter was unique. Some did not ask for gifts but just for Santa to have a safe flight and stay warm. Others asked for socks for their siblings, and also apologized for being mean to their brother or sister. It’s comical how kids realize how close it is to Christmas and turn in their naughty hats for nice! HAA! It was adorable. One little boy went into great detail on the worst thing he did every month for the whole year, and admitted in his own little way, though it was near Christmas, he probably wasn’t stopping there. He was just “that” kid!

This book is written by the daughter of the man who was known in this town as Santa Claus. He would actually sit down with family and friends to reply to each and every letter they received. She tells their complete story and it goes beyond wonderful. I myself, will someday visit this magical town. I cannot lie, at 57 years, I “Still Believe”.

No matter how old we are Christmas lives in our hearts, as does the man this season is focused on. Life is a gift and I am thankful I have created more gifts, and they have continued to create their own gifts as well.  Christmas is never ending and will remain in us forever.

Hugs, Love, Peace & Roars,

Lion Queen

Christmas Past…Such Memories!

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57 years old, and here the Lion King and I sit watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Last week, we took time to sit and watch the cartoon version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.  Soon to be coming on TV “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”. Year after year we do not hesitate to watch these all time favorites. Is a matter of fact, tonight when Luke changed the channel he said “Hun if you want to watch something else, you can change the channel.” I instantly hushed him and told him “No way! We are watching Rudolph!”. No argument there on either side.

We might be in our fifty’s, but these Christmas shows are the ones we grew up on and bring back memories after memories from our childhoods. Even my Mom at the age of 87 still watches all of the classics. She absolutely loves them!

I met  Luke four years ago. Our first encounter was not in person but via text message and an immediate phone call. This was all due to a mutual friend, and I was off to Michigan for a visit with my son and  family before we met. When I returned Luke and I met for lunch and things sparked. However, he lived quite away from me at that time, so seeing him was very sparse. He text me one evening before he left to go to his band practice for the church he attended in the little town of Inola, OK  which is where he lived at the time. He asked me what I was doing and I said “Actually I am watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas” with a bit of hesitation about what his come back would be. No one will ever know the abundance of relief I felt when he said “So am I”! That was my first confirmation, this guy is a keeper! Then, once I found out his very favorite Christmas movie was “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, that pretty much cinched it for me! HAA! We actually celebrated our one year anniversary of dating by going to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center musical of “White Christmas”, it was magical! Our favorite memory of that night is when they began singing White Christmas at the end of the musical, had the audience participate by standing up singing with them and then snow began to emerge from the darkness. Oh my! It was like we were actually a part of that most amazing movie even though it was a play!

There are many things that trigger memories in our lives.  I have to admit my life as a child was exceptional, I am so thankful for that.  Luke had to struggle with some things during his childhood but  he has shared with me  his Christmas’s with his Mom, Brothers, Aunt & Uncle. It sometimes makes me wish I had been in that small town of Hancock, NY. However, I would never trade all the Christmas’s when I was young with my family, including not only my immediate family, but my Grandma, Grandpa, and Great Grandma. They along with all of the wonderful Christmas shows back in the day is what made Christmas, Christmas.

Reflecting back on Christmas shows and movies  are just a small part of Christmas past. But I have to say they are the memories that keep me going every year. I only hope in 30 years when I am my Mom’s age, they will continue to be a part of our lives, and the things that get us going and motivated to keep the Christmas traditions alive.

Hugs, Love, Peace & Roars,

Lion Queen

One More Recipe…Spicy Cranberry BBQ Meatballs! Great Party Appetizer!

Spicy Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs

Ingredients
  • 2 14-ounce packages frozen meatballs (if using homemade, about 55-60 small)
  • 1 14-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 17-ounce bottle spicy barbecue sauce
Instructions
  1. Combine sauces over medium heat in a large deep skillet and cook until bubbly.
  2. Add meatballs in a single layer and stir to coat completely. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until meatballs are heated through; about 15 minutes for frozen.
  3. Remove cover and continue to cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced and completely coating the meatballs.
  4. Serve on their own as an appetizer, or as a main dish over rice.
  5. For slow cooker method, place meatballs in the slow cooker and pour sauces over. Stir ingredients together and cook on low for a few hours or until ready to serve. Stir again just before serving.

Coconut-Pecan German Chocolate Pie

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My daughter-in-law suggested I make this for Thanksgiving. I am a great cook, but not when it comes to baked goods. But, I did tell her I would attempt this. However, I will have a frozen pie back up in case I fail…LOL!!!

Stay tuned to see if I nail it or not! I will let you know the day after Thanksgiving how it panned out. 😉

Hugs, Love, Peace & Roars,

Lion Queen

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. + chilling Bake: 35 min. + chilling
MAKES: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold lard
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • FILLING:
  • 4 ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix flour and salt; cut in lard until crumbly. Gradually add ice water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice.
  3. Bake 11-13 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Remove foil and weights; bake 6-8 minutes longer or until light brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 350°.
  4. In a microwave, melt chocolates in a large bowl; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk in milk, egg yolks and vanilla; stir in pecans. Pour into crust. Bake 16-19 minutes or until set. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, cream and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Cook 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens and a thermometer reads 160°, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla; cool 10 minutes.
  7. Pour over filling; sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate 4 hours or until cold. Yield: 8 servings.

What Happens on the Road to Vegas….

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Who has a bucket list? I do, I do! I have accomplished some of those things on that list but I have one that I have wanted to do for years. First you must understand I am a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe. I love everything Vintage, and I have never been to Vegas.

One of my bestest friends Tammy had, back in the day, a little convertible sports car. When we both had a day off we would hop in that car, the top would be down, and we would end up who knows where. It was a crap shoot. But no matter where we would end up we had fun getting there. Top down, hair blowing in the wind, sunglasses, music blaring, and didn’t have a care in the world. Those adventures lead me to thinking.

I decided many years ago, to my bucket list I would add, a trip to Vegas. Not any trip, but a road trip. I want to rent a nice sporty convertible car, keep the top down the whole time, except of course during rain or dust storms, put on my biggest pair of sunglasses, do the scarf wrap around my head and neck, be in a most comfy sleeveless sundress and sandles, and drive, drive, drive. Take the most scenic route, stop and take lots of different pictures on the way of the things that truly catch my eye, photography is another love of mine, until I reach Vegas. I am not going there for the gambling, or the shows, or not even to sight see, I am going for the thrill of the drive, the moments I capture along the way, and the good times and laughter with whomever might be with me! It might be my hubby, my Mom & Sis, my bestest friend, and I would be willing to go numerous times so they could enjoy that journey as much as I know I will! But whoever does go with me must understand the top stays down, and when I need to stop for a photo shoot, we will stop. I would like to take this trip with no time limit, and no there will also be no conditions attached. This is my bucket list dream, and I plan on making it happen. Honestly I don’t care if I am in Vegas for a only a day or two stay, it’s all about the road trip.

 

I am getting older and life is flying by at an extremely fast rate. It’s time to take hold and continue with the fun times until the end. Those are the ones that keep us young!

What happens on the road to Vegas, stays on the road to Vegas. 😉

Hugs, Love, Peace & Roars,

Lion Queen

 

 

 

So Many Christmas Stockings…So Little Space!

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As my family has grown in the past few years, so has the amount of Christmas stockings I have been hanging. It got to be a bit cluttered and no more room along the fireplace mantle. I decided a couple of years ago I would utilize wall space, and then last year I decided they would be adorable hanging up in the front windows. I now have stockings hanging up through out my house.

I know traditionally they should be hung on the mantle, but families grow and room runs out. I love seeing ours throughout the house in each room. I make sure the Lion King and my stockings are hung on the mantle, but as far as everyone else, they hang randomly on walls, windows, and hat racks.  Use your imagination and hang them in your favorite rooms. The ladder ideal is great and even dangle them from your dining room chair covers. Headboards and foot-boards would be great in a child’s room as that would be the first thing they see on Christmas morning. Oh the excitement of knowing Santa snuck in their room while they were sleeping!!! EEEEEK!!! Sounds of little people excitement!

It’s right around the corner my friends….yes…Christmas! I love Christmas!

Hugs, Love, Peace & Roars,

Lion Queen

Fifties and only Beginning