Bleu Cheese Kettle Chips will be devoured quickly by party-goers

The crunch of a chip is a happy thing.

From this week's Table Scraps column, I'm sharing my friend Sue Romeo's recipe for Kettle Chips with Bleu Cheese.

Looking for a splashy New Year's Eve nosh?

These tantalizing morsels can be consumed using only your forefinger and thumb. The other hand has its own job, clutching the stem of a wine glass or champagne flute.

Salty, sweet and tangy, these appetizers won't make it until the midnight countdown, so you might want to make a few batches.

Go here to get the recipe and have a Happy New Year!


Crunch time!

Still looking for the perfect something for your perfect someone?

Several years ago I was determined to make the perfect caramel corn. I've tried several different recipes but always come back to Paula Deen's recipe. Oh, yeah. You know it's going to be good!

7 to 8 quarts popped popcorn
2 cups unsalted peanuts, shelled pumpkin seeds, and/or sunflower seeds
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon maple-flavored pancake syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spray rimmed cookie sheets or jelly-rolled pans with vegetable-oil cooking spray. (I use my Silpat mats, so I don't have to spray.)

Place the popcorn and your choice of nuts and/or seeds into a very large bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt, syrups and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the baking soda. The mixture will bubble up. Stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the hot syrup over the popcorn mix. Stir until the popcorn is coated. This is messy; take your time and use a long-handled spoon.

Spread the coated popcorn in the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring several times. The mixture will be very sticky.

Remove the popcorn from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Break big hunks apart while the mixture is cooling. When cooled, the sugars will have candy-coated the popcorn. Store in large, airtight plastic containers.

Source: Adapted from Paula Deen Celebrates! by Paula Deen.


I have a winner!

Congratulations to George Johnson! George, if you will email me privately with your mailing address I will notify Nescafe' and your Titanium Piccolo coffee machine will be on it's way!

Thank you to everyone for entering and sharing your favorite holiday cookie!


Win a Nescafe' Dolce Gusto Titanium Piccolo!

How'd you like to put some coffee cheer under your tree this year?

Thanks to my friends at Nescafe', I'm giving away a Titanium Piccolo gourmet brewing system, which retails for $200.

This compact machine is perfect for make-it-in-a-hurry coffee lovers. Simple to use, the one-cup brewer heats up quickly and in less than a minute your cappuccino, latte or hot chocolate is ready.

As I found out, it's a user-friendly way to make a cup of coffee-house java, minus the barista or potential danger associated with using espresso machines, milk-foaming machines and coffee grinders.

You can enter to win this fantastic system simply by posting a comment telling me your favorite holiday cookie. Hey, how can you have cookies without coffee? Please don't forget to include your email address so that I can contact you if you win.


Prize provided and fulfilled by Dolce Gusto. One entry per person, please.

Enter by leaving a comment by Friday, Dec. 15. Open to U.S. residents only.

One wInner will be randomly selected using Random.org and announced Sat., Dec. 16. Winners will be notified and need to provide me with their mailing address to receive the machine.

Good luck! Happy Holidays, everyone!


Ruskin Woman's Club Christmas Tea

The Ruskin Woman's Club is a well-oiled machine when in comes to throwing a tea party.

Yesterday's annual event at their historic 1912 clubhouse featured a spread the Mad Hatter would surely approve of.

The first course consisted of freshly baked scones served with jam, clotted cream and fresh strawberries followed by savory tea sandwiches and finger foods. For the final course, an assortment of sweets was served. Of course, a pot of tea was close at hand.

Two seatings, 170 guests. Yikes, that's a ton of dishes!