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It's not "life's illusions", but "life's infusions" that I recall!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bourbon Balls & Velveeta Cheese Fudge

One year in the late 1960's when we were poor, newly married and college students,  we decided to give all our family Bourbon Balls for Christmas.  These were popular with our friends and we had lots of fun making them !  They are easy and fast and just need a day or two to blend all the flavors.

My daughter & son-in-law gave me a sweet little Christmas with Paula Deen book, full of stories and recipes...my favorite kind of cookbook !  The most unusual recipe in the book, and maybe the most unusual recipe I've ever seen, is the "Chocolate Cheese Fudge.  It calls for Velveeta Cheese !  I mean, if you are from the South, Velveeta Cheese is a staple !  But I have never heard of it being used in a recipe for Fudge !!  I had to try it.  It's tasty...not really a gourmet fudge, but good and quite unique!

Hope you enjoy the recipes and may your Christmas be full of joy and peace and lots of tea !!

Bourbon Balls

1 box vanilla wafers
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate--finely chopped
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup light corn syrup
⅓ cup Bourbon or Brandy
pinch salt
2 cups pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted & finely chopped

Crush the vanilla wafers until fine. Use a food processor or place vanilla wafers in a heavy duty plastic bag & crush with a rolling pin.

In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, bourbon & salt & stir to blend. Stir in the crushed vanilla wafers & half & half.

Spread the remaining pecans on a plate. Shape the dough into 1" balls. Roll the balls in the nuts & coat thoroughly. In a container that can be tightly sealed, layer the balls, separating them using wax paper. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Makes approximately 4 1/2 dozen 1" balls.

To toast pecans or walnuts
: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts evenly on a cookie sheet. Toast for 8-10 minutes. Cool before chopping.

Velveeta Cheese Fudge



½ pound Velveeta Cheese, sliced
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts
2 -16 ounce bags confectioner's sugar-sifted
½ cup cocoa

Lightly spray the bottom of a 9 " square baking pan with vegetable oil cooking spray

In a sauce pan, melt the cheese & butter together over medium heat. Stir continuously until smooth. Remove from the heat. Add the vanilla & nuts.

In a large bowl, sift together the sugar and cocoa. Pour the cheese mixture into the sugar-cocoa mixture, stirring until completely mixed. Candy will be very stiff. May need to use your hands to do the final mixing.

Remove the candy from the bowl and press it evenly into the square pan. You may need to pat the top of the candy, because of the amount of butter.

Refrigerate until firm. Usually about 30 minutes. Should make about 36 small squares.

Joy and Peace and May everyday be your cup of tea !

Happy Infusions,



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hot Tea-Toddy--- Hot "My-Chai" and more....

'Tis the season for gathering, celebrating, eating and drinking.  Tea, that versatile, cooperative, beverage is easily incorporated into a myriad of cocktail  drinks.  This time of year, I am especially fond of hot drinks.  An old favorite...the Hot Toddy made with tea is warm and toasty.  Most black and green teas mix well with honey and lemon, and experimenting with a Toddie recipe can elicit a whole repertoire of hot tea mixed drinks.

In this blog, I've included  a recipe for  a Hot Tea-Toddy, a Hot "My-Chai" tea, and a White Russian also using chai tea.  My daughter introduced me to a simple way to use tea in mixed drinks with Tea-Forte's  collection of cocktail infusions.

We wish you a beautiful, happy and very Merry Christmas !



Hot Tea-Toddy


1 ounce brandy, whiskey, or rum
1 tablespoon honey
¼ lemon
1 cup hot water
1 ounce tea or 1 tea bag (black or green--your preference)

Steep the tea in the hot water for 3-5 minutes. (Depending on the tea and your preference..the longer the steep, the stronger the tea.

Use the honey to coat the bottom of a mug. Add the brandy, whiskey or rum and the juice from the lemon.

Pour the hot tea into the prepared mug, stir and enjoy !

Hot "My-Chai"


1 ounce or tea bag Chai tea
8 ounces hot water
3 ounces milk
1 ounce bourbon
¼ ounce amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
¼ ounce Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)
1 wedge lemon
3 whole cloves

Brew the 1 ounce of loose chai tea (placed in an infuser) or the 1 chai tea bag in 8 ounces of hot water for 3-5 minutes, depending on your preference. The longer the steep (brew) the stronger the tea.
While the tea is steeping, put the cloves into one end of the lemon wedge & set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the tea, milk and simmer, stirring gently.

Pour the tea/milk mixture into a tea (or coffee) mug. Add bourbon, amaretto & Grand Marnier. Stir briefly.

Add the lemon wedge, with the cloves dipping into the hot "My-Chai".  Enjoy !

Chai White Russian


1 ounce or tea bag Chai tea
2 ounces rum
2 ounces light cream or half & half
1 ounce sugar syrup

Place Chai tea bag or tea infuser with 1 ounce of Chai tea in a glass. Pour rum over tea infuser or tea bag and steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on your preference. The longer the steep the stronger the tea. Add cream and sugar syrup and gently stir. Add ice.  Enjoy !

Tea Forte Exotic Cocktails

tea_forte_front_of_box These are very pretty drinks and easily made.  We've sampled several and can

recommend them with confidence !


Again, Happy, Merry Christmas !  May you be blessed and may everyday be your cup of tea !



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh my, I love Sweet Potato Pie !

I don't remember the first time I tasted it.  It must have been in the South someplace.  My Grandmother didn't make it, and not one of my Aunties made it. My Mom didn't either.  One day, somewhere, at some time, I tasted it and fell in love. And I have held Sweet Potato Pie in high regard ever since !

I adapted this  recipe from a storybook full of recipes: Sweety Pies by Patty Pinner. She says, "What a woman cooks is a window into her womanly personality---what she thinks, how she behaves, how she feels about herself and the people she cooks for."  I'm still mediating on this little quote, wondering what the full implications could be ? If she means, what a woman cooks, when she cooks, well then, that might open a window into my "womanly personality".

Frankly, sometimes, I don't cook.  I eat cottage cheese and yogurt or a bolonga sandwich with mayo.  I use whole wheat bread though.  I think this means I'm flexible, healthy and maybe not in the mood to clean up a cooking mess !  I am blessed though..... I have a Sweet Husband who is an excellent cook and he enjoys it.

When I do cook, I love to bake this Sweet Potato Pie.  My family and friends keep coming back for seconds.  If there is any left, we have pie for breakfast !   I'm sure your family will want second helpings too.


Sweet Potato Pie


9" Pie crust

3 medium sweet potatoes

2 large eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon lemon extract

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup butter, melted

½ cup half-and-half or evaporated milk

1-2 tablespoon bourbon (optional)

Cover the sweet potatoes with water and boil until tender. Drain. Let them cool.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pie crust.

After sweet potatoes have cooled, peel and mash in a large bowl until smooth.

Add the eggs, sugar, lemon extract, bourbon (optional), salt, and nutmeg and beat together until blended and smooth.

Add the melted butter and half and half and beat until creamy. Pour into the pie crust.

Place in the oven. I usually put it on a cookie sheet, just in case it spills over.

Should cook about 45 minutes. Test the center for doneness. Set on a wire rack and cool completely.

Can be served with whipped cream or plain. I think its perfect plain.