Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating: Cousins and Cold Plates!


As I have said before, I had an ideal childhood. I grew up in a small, lazy, southern town surrounded by lots of cousins! I had 4 cousins belonging to my dad’s sister right around the corner that I spent lots of time with. I had 2 cousins from Memphis that I didn’t see as often, but when we did it was a special treat. Then I had 3 more cousins around the corner that I always (and still do) called cousins. They are my aunt’s husband’s brother’s kids (now that’s a mouthful) and even though they are not really related, we always claimed each other as cousins! And, because we lived so close, whenever there was a family gathering, it was usually a combined event. Over the years I don’t see them as often, but we‘ve been able to catch up on good ole’ Facebook!

So it was a rare treat when several of us were able to attend a luncheon for my Aunt’s birthday (who is aunt to both families). We had my Aunt Mona, her daughter Deb, cousin Heather, my “faux” family, Aunt Peggy, her daughters Elaine and Beth and Elaine’s adorable granddaughter Kiley, SIL Niki, niece Ava and Mom who hosted us all at her home. We missed my sister Charlene and cousin Maleia!

It was an impromptu gathering, but Mom was up for the challenge! She prepared a “cold plate” for us all that would rival the Ritz. In fact, in my opinion – much better! A “cold plate luncheon” is a very old southern tradition that I’m afraid has been forgotten over the past years. Many years ago there were several fine dining establishments or tea rooms that featured a cold plate during lunch time. I’m proud to say that Mom is famous for HER cold plate luncheons! We “Gray” girls love any opportunity to entertain and this was no exception!

One of mom’s latest additions to her cold plate is this wonderful salad.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 cups crushed pretzels
1 ½ stick butter
2 TBS sugar
½ cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz cool whip
2 3 oz packs strawberry jello
2 cups hot water
2 10 oz frozen strawberries partially thawed

Melt butter. Add 2 TBS sugar and pretzels. Press into 9 x 13 pan and bake at 375 for 8 minutes. Cool. Mix ½ cup sugar, cream cheese, cool whip, Spread over pretzels, seal at edge. Let cool. Mix jello, water and strawberries and pour over cream layer. Refrigerate.

You HAVE to make this one day. I can just about promise that you will not be disappointed!

Ya’ll come back!


May the Lord bless his people with peace and happiness and let them CELEBRATE! Psalm 64:10

Monday, September 24, 2012

Celebrating: Lizzie!

As you all know, I celebrated  my 1st "blogoversary" and had a drawing for my followers. Thank you all for reading my little blog and I am in hopes of many more!

 The lucky winner - Lizzy!  Liz has her own blog "That Skinny Chick Can Bake," and it is terrific! 

Thank You All!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Celebrating - A little Hint of Fall!

There is a very brief hint that Fall is just around the corner!  It’s just the little things, a leave or two floating in the breeze, daylight is shorter, the morning is crisp and Pumpkin Spice coffee is back at Starbucks! I love Fall, it is my favorite time of year – that is until Spring arrives!  I seem to be very fickle when it comes to the seasons!

Since Fall and apple season is quickly approaching, Mom, Aunt Mona and I went to Jaemore Farms on Saturday .  We always love to go there and I am looking forward to spending the day with them.  I have company coming for dinner Sunday, so I’m sure several fun things will go into my buggy!

My dinner guests will be my neighbor, Linda and her houseguest from Germany, her good friend Inge.   Linda and I have been neighbors for 10 years now and honestly if she moved, so would I!  She has become a special friend and I truly appreciate her friendship over these years.  And, Linda is not only my neighbor, she also keeps me straight in the office, where she is the part time bookkeeper, computer whiz and “fixer” of many other things that I don’t like to deal with!  Inge is visiting from Germany for 2 weeks and from what I understand, she has been doing her best to help our struggling US economy!  They have had great fun hitting the shopping trail!

We began with an “appy” of Peach Sangria, Havarti Cheese, Grapes and Crackers


Dinner will start out with a Fall Favorite salad  that I got from the Contessa Board. (thanks Hilary!).


Followed by Squash casserole, mashed cauliflower, (I may never have mashed potatoes again), rolls and orange glazed BL/SL chicken thighs.   I also spied something interesting at Jaemore’s…a jar of Dilly Green Beans. I thought that sounded like an interesting addition to our plate! And, I was right, I put 2 beans on our plate for some color…it was just enough.  I prepared our plates, and I must say – they looked scrumptious.


Dessert  was Fresh Apple Cake, drizzled with caramel and topped with cinnamon whipped topping.


Fall Salad

Maple Dressing

¼ cup mayo
¼ cup maple syrup
3 TBS white wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
½ cup vegetable oil

Combine 1st 4 ingredients. then add vegetable oil, and whisk til gradually thickened.

This is a great versatile salad dressing.  I fixed individual salads of baby Greens, sliced pears, cranberries and toasted walnuts.  Hilary’s original recipe calls for Granny Smith apples and Dried Cherries, which I have also prepared and is equally as good.

Dinner was a success!  Good Drink, Good Food and GREAT company!

Ya’ll come back!

May the Lord bless his people with peace and happiness and let them Celebrate!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Celebrating: Sissy Celebrates!

Happy Birthday Sissy Celebrates!  I cannot believe that a year has passed since my first blog, August 20, 2011.  I also cannot believe that it took me so long to begin!  Starting this blog has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Never did I imagine what joy and completion it would bring me.  I have discovered that I “crave” writing sometimes.  And yes, there have been blogs written, but gone unpublished simply because it just felt good to express myself. Turns out, it is good for the soul, or mine at least!   When my “blogs” were deleted last month, it literally felt like I had lost a friend.  In fact, I felt a little like I had lost my “mojo.”  Niki, again, you don’t know how much I appreciated getting my words back!  It was kinda like a second chance!

Its funny, the intent of this blog was to be cooking and entertaining related, and by chance it has evolved into a glimpse of my life.  It’s not glamorous or action packed, but it’s my life and I have taken great pleasure in telling my stories!  I thank you all for indulging me!   I do want to incorporate more recipes, so it is my goal to leave you each time with some of my favorites!

To celebrate my 1 year anniversary, I’m having a Blog “Giveaway.”  Become a follower of Sissy Celebrates to be entered in the drawing.  I will pull a name in September  20, so stay tuned!  My “Giveaway” is a Cheese Knife set, perfect for entertaining!  I have one myself!

Thank you for reading my blog!

One of my favorite easy appy’s!  It takes a little time – but so worth it!

Cracker Bacon Wraps!

36 club crackers
12 slices bacon
½ cup parmesan cheese

Cut bacon slices in thirds.  Wrap cracker with bacon.  Place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle cracker with cheese.  Bake 2 hours at 250.

Ya'll come back!

May the Lord bless his people with peace and happiness and let them CELEBRATE! Psalm 64:10