Sunday, November 16, 2008

Colorful Cranberries...Signs of the Holidays!

The holidays are quickly approaching and with them comes the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, decorating and cooking. The most special occassions of the holidays are those spent with the ones we love. Fires in the fireplaces, lights on the trees, hot cider, old stories retold, and the sweater that Aunt Lindsey gave you last know, the one with the snow flakes!

No holiday feast would be complete without an appearance by it's mascot fruit. The cranberry. They are such a colorful addition, whether in the centerpiece, next to the turkey, or in a fabulous dessert.

A few years ago, my Mom introduced a new addition to our holiday feast. Cranberry Date Bars. It is to DIE for!! Quick, easy, and delicious! Perfect for those busy days of holiday prep. Here's the skinny:

Cranberry Date Bars

1 Bag (12oz) fresh cranberries
1 Pkg (8 oz) chopped dates
2 Tbs water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter or margarine, melted

In a covered saucepan, over low heat, simmer cranberries, dates and water for 15 minutes, stirring occassionally until the cranberries have popped. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir in butter until well blended.

Put half of the oat mixture into an ungreased 13x9x2 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Spoon the cranberry mix evenly over this crust and sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture. Pat gently. Return to the oven and bake for25-30 minutes or until browned. Cool before serving to allow to set.


Thanks for visiting! I hope you enjoy the recipe...and all of your holiday bustling! See you next week!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Isn't She Lovely?!

Just testing out my new "skills"! I'd like you to meet my sweet doodle-bug, Lexi. She's quite a character, can't you tell? What a hoot! But snuggly sweet.
And here's my sweet husband, Scott, and our little doodle-bug. Aren't they cute?!?! Snuggling on our sofa in front of a blazing, warm fire. Ahhhhh!

By George, I Think I've Got It!

At long last, I think I finally have my blog up and running! There is so, so much to learn. Thanks for being so patient while I work it all out! My plans are to post once a week and share a little bit about what's new with The Smiling Soul.

Show season is in full swing right now. It definately keeps me hopping! Plans are, right now, for my last show to be in Cumming, Georgia (Chrstmas in Cumming) the weekend of December 12-13, afterwhich, I have firm plans of spending about a week cleaning and straightening up the studio...yeah!!

Work has already begun on the spring show schedule. I'll be posting dates as they are firm. As always, please feel free to share any information you may have about good prospects in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennesse, North Carolina and Georgia. I'm always looking for new and better shows to add to the calendar!
I'm so happy to finally have this blog running. It's been laying on my "to do list" staring at me for way too long, but I've finally catapulted myself into the year 2008! Wonder what fun things 2009 will bring? Oooo, I can't wait to see!

Well, back to the studio! See you again soon!