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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Old Ozark Secret...How to have your cake and eat it, too!

Home for the holidays, Ozark style!  The beautiful Lights of the Ozarks will be turned on at the Fayetteville Square in downtown Fayetteville on Thanksgiving.  What a beautiful sight (over 450,000 lights) it is to see!  #3 and me will be headed that way to take our annual Christmas photo.  The romantic Lights of the Ozarks also prompts lovers to pop that special question...or maybe be part of a wedding vow renewal ceremony like the one that #3 and me participated in a while back. Yes, if you have romance or Santa or horse drawn carriages or just about anything else on your mind...visit the Square around the holidays. There is something exciting to be shared by all!

Another wonderful tradition at our home around the holidays includes some traditional Southern cooking and entertaining! Actually, we feast all year long, but the onset of the holiday season seems to justify our over indulgence for rich treats! In fact, let me make you privy to an old Ozark secret of how to eat your cake and have it, too. Host a Cookie Exchange! Yes, just follow these simple instructions or make up your own and you will be able to eat your cookies and everyone else's, as well:

  • Invite about 8-10 'special' people...I sometimes do the girlfriend only thing and other times I choose a theme like the mother/daugter motif...whatever you choose is fine. Be creative! Check out this different kind of cookie exchange:

  • Tell the guests to bring 1 dozen cookies for each guest that is coming...for example, if you are going to have 8 guests, then bring 8 dozen cookies AND also bring 1 dozen extra to eat at the event.
  • Tell the guests, if possible please bring printed sheets or notecards of the recipe. Have some pads and pens availble for recipe writing, too.
  • Provide cute little boxes with festive tissue paper, zip lock baggies, or paper sacks for the guests to take their treats home in. Being the over achiever that I have always been known to be (and usually well criticized for), I go all out and come up with something original for my special guests. For instance, I might go to the Dollar Store and get some simple white shirt boxes and tissue paper.  I would then decorate the top of the box in a special way and put their name on it.  Again, go wild!
  • Display each take home cookie with recipe sheet/cards beside it in its own container or provide platters if needed.  Use your kitchen countertop or a table for the guests to go single file or gather around to ooh and aah all the different cookies as they fill their goody boxes/bags. 
  • Set up another area or table for your refreshments with the extra cookies the guests have brought to eat.  Arrange the cookies randomly on beautiful serving platters.  Add some festive colorful punch (recipe below) and napkins and no more fuss is needed when you have such a beautiful display of cookies! Remember to have some fun, too!
Easy Punch
3 envelopes unsweetened Kool-Aid (all one flaovor)
1/2 cup Real lemon juice
3 cups pineapple juice
3 cups sugar

Put ingredients in order given into a gallon jar.
Stir well until sugar has dissolved.
Add water to make a gallon.
Chill before serving
Wonderful recipe for making up ahead of time! So colorful and INEXPENSIVE!

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