Alphabet Printable Valentine’s Cards

There are so many different ways to tell your spouse or child you love them. But instead of giving them the typical card, consider creating an entire book telling them all the ways you love them—from A to Z. Not only does it force you to be really creative, but it gives your partner, child, or even BFF a list of traits that make them unique. And it shows how much you care!

Thanks to my nice friends from Shari’s Berries, who happened to like my post on “Finding the Perfect Valentine Gift based on your love language” here, they offered to share this Alphabet of Our Love book with HWT readers! 

Instructions for Alphabet of Our Love

  1. First, download the alphabet cards. 
  2. Print out the cards on either hard cardstock or regular paper.
  3. Write out one reason you love your partner or child for each letter of the alphabet on each card. For example, for the letter “A,” you could write “Always ready to help me out” or “Advocate for family time.”
  4. Once you have finished writing the alphabet of love, laminate the cards. If you chose to print on cardstock you may skip this step.
  5. Bind your cards together using a binder clip or ribbon. You can do this by hole-punching a hole in the left corner of the cards and then looping a ribbon or clip through the holes so it flips like a book.
  6. Give your sweetie their alphabet of our love book!

What a fun way to do something as a family!  Wouldn’t it be fun tonight to work on this project together, then share the cards on Valentine’s Day!

Just a Minute Centerpiece

I have an easy Valentine’s Day centerpiece to share.  You could do this for any occasion, like a birthday party, ice cream social, baby shower or July 4th by changing up the colors of the flowers.

What you’ll need:

Carnations — I love Carnations and I think they get a bad rap.  They are fragrant, inexpensive and can go a long time without water which is perfect for this centerpiece project.  I bought three bunches at $3.99 each from Central Market.

Red Hots — I bought several scoops from the bulk bin at Central Market, or you could buy a large bag in the candy aisle.

Ice Cream Sugar Cones — I used nine cones which was one box.

Glass Cylinders or Vases – You can find these anywhere.  I just used ones I had in my vase stash.

I cut the carnation stems short enough to fit in the ice cream cone so the bottom petals of the carnation set just around the rim of the cone.  I put all one color in each cone.  As it worked out, I had enough to make three cones for each of the colors.  A rule of thumb, tablescapes always looks better in odd numbers — in this case three vases, three cones per vase.

I filled the bottom of each cylinder with red hots.  You don’t need to measure, just pour enough in each vase so it looks even.  Then, nestle the cones down into the vase.  That’s it!

The carnations went without water for 24 hours, and I put them into water the next day.  They are still fresh a week a later.

I styled the vases on top of cake pedestals I found last year in the dollar section of Target along with sweets we had.  My milk glass collection is always a perfect backdrop for the yummy treats from McKinley’s Bakery. The cute little chalkboard menus are from the Container Store.

These centerpieces would be so cute lined up on an ice cream sundae bar for July 4th, a baby “gender” reveal party or birthday!  If you put love into it, everything turns out amazing!

Vintage Memories of Christmas and Mother’s Cheese Grits

If you could go back to any point in time at Christmas when would it be?  Mine would be in the late 60’s, early 70’s during the “wonder” years, when I was little and I knew for sure there was a larger than life, fatherly man coming down the chimney after midnight.

Here are the top things I remember:

Tons of Friends Coming Over for Parties:

People like Mary, Rhoda and Lou were always at our house. Mother had such
great friends (just like me) who never had to come up with a reason to
throw a party.    Mother and Daddy would have parties for their employees,
a Christmas Eve party for close friends, neighbors and family, then get
together for Christmas day with family for an entire day of eating,
playing, and celebrating.  Not to mention the luncheons and coffees with
close friends she’d host mid-week.  I remember going with Mother to the
Winn-Dixie to load up grocery carts of jams and jellies so she could make gift baskets for people who dropped by.

Playing Christmas Records on the stereo:

It’s really Christmas for me when I hear songs by Perry Como, Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams.   Their smooth musical stylings and TV Christmas specials were the best way to spend an evening.

Christmas Decor:

Mother decorated every room in the Meadowbrook house.  She had a storage area that housed all of her decor and would hand me things telling me the room they were to be delivered to.  By the end of the day each room in our house was transformed into Christmas magic.  BTW — this could easily be her on the ladder decorating the tree…and I swear she had every party supply in this picture, including that rad percolator.

I don’t think we ever had an aluminum tree, rather it was always a giant white flocked tree from Hilscher’s Nursery on East Lancaster.  Mr. Hilscher would call Mother right after Thanksgiving to ask her what kind of tree she wanted delivered and within a few days the biggest, most fragrant tree would arrive!

Cheese Grits on Christmas morning:

This was a Christmas brunch staple in our house.  Mother would serve her grits in a lovely copper chafing dish on her beautifully decorated buffet
complete with a long centerpiece of greenery and candles down the middle of the table.

Here’s Mother’s recipe
from Jane Justin’s cookbook “Prescriptions for Hunger” copyright 1968:

Preheat Oven to 350
Put 8 cups of water in a large saucepan and add 1 TBL of salt.
When water starts to boil add 2 cups of grits
Cook slowly until grits are thick
Pour grits into a large bowl and add:
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 Cup of whole milk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp black pepper
3 TBL melted butter
1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix well and pour into a greased casserole.
Sprinkle with more grated cheese and a few dashes of paprika
Bake one hour at 350 degrees.  She usually served the grits with fruit, scrambled eggs, tiny link sausages and a yummy coffee cake she would get from the bakery.

Merry Christmas!

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Bread Recipes

To say that Miss Bee loves bread is an understatement.  She has been known to ask my Sister Bee to bring several pans of rolls for Thanksgivings — one pan for her, and one for everyone else.

She’s been helping put together our menu for next week and we have a few recipes to consider.  We have had good luck with this recipe Easy Garlic Butter Hawaiian Rolls.  I like them because they are also perfect for making turkey sandwiches later that evening or the next day.

Twist:  For recipes where butter is the star, I only bake with European-style butter. Plugra is one brand and Land O Lakes also has a great product. European-style butter has higher milk fat and a richer taste and creamier texture than regular butter.


1  package of King’s Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, divided in half.

1 TBL garlic, minced

Sea salt flakes, coarse sea salt or Kosher salt


Preheat over to 350.

Heat 1/4 cup of butter (4 TBL) in small skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles.  Add garlic and reduce heat to low.  Cook 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup butter in the bottom of 8×11 baking sheet.

Place baking sheet in the oven until butter is melted.  Remove baking sheet from the oven and place rolls in the pan.

Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut a deep “X” into the top middle of each roll.

Brush the rolls with garlic butter and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Rolls can be cooled and reheated.

Garlic Parmesan Rolls

A recipe we want to try is for Garlic Parmesan Butterflake Rolls.

4 Rhodes Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold,
    or 12 Texas-Size Rolls
2 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbl. Mayonnaise
1/2 – 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
3 Tbl. grated Parmesan cheese  

Place 24 frozen rolls in a 9×13-inch baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, combine two thawed rolls and roll into a ball.  Using clean kitchen scissors, cut four or five deep cuts, almost to the bottom of the roll.  Place in a greased muffin tin.  Repeat with remaining rolls.

Combine melted butter, Mayonnaise, garlic powder, dried parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.  Generously brush all over the rolls, covering every last bit and getting into all the slits.  Spray plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover rolls.  Allow to rise until doubled.

When rolls have risen, remove plastic wrap and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Serve.  Makes 12 rolls.

One Hour Dinner Rolls

And click on this link for One Hour Dinner Rolls using yeast.  They sound delicious.

I’ve got lots more recipes on my Breads and Muffins Pinterest Board.

Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving: Make Pies Your Centerpiece!

I came across an inspiration on Pinterest in my quest to share ideas with you to prepare for Thanksgiving.  The article is “Last Minute Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas” and immediately a light bulb went off!  Why do the pies always get put on a side table or the counter when they are the best part of the meal?  Flowers, gourds and pumpkins are nice and the Pilgrims did them justice but, this is 2017, let’s put a twist on it!  Use your pies, some clippings from the yard and create a beautiful, eye-catching, conversation piece.  I guarantee your guests have never seen dessert as the centerpiece.

For this challenge, I enlisted the help of Sweet Lucy’s Pies.  Lindsey, the owner, has been my go-to pie gal for a while now.  Her recipes are delicious and inventive using the freshest ingredients she can source and her crust is buttery and flaky.  Hands down, she makes the best peach fried pies you will ever eat in your life!  You’ve probably seen her at the Clearfork Farmer’s Market with her spunky adorable daughter.

The stars in this parade are:  Salted Honey Pie, Pumpkin Meringue, and Cranberry Buttermilk.

Once I got the pies home, I went shopping around my house and yard pulling together the parts of my tablescape — Mother’s green glassware and her Friendly Village dishes, vintage thermos containers you could fill with iced tea, napkins, silverware, glassware from the cabinet,  pumpkin plates I picked up at Target in the $1 section last season, Thanksgiving poppers from Williams-Sonoma, and a vintage tablecloth I turned on the diagonal.

Anatomy of a Tablescape

Once I got the table set, I put three cake pedestals down the center of the table and placed a pie on top of each one.  Then my favorite part — clipping pretty things from the garden like holly, fig leaves and mums.  On either end I put three fig leaves under each pie and filled in with mums and for the center pie, I surrounded the pie with holly clippings.

Look how beautiful Lindsey’s pies are!  By keeping the tablescape simple, your pies can shine!

For each place setting I went old-school and tucked the linen napkins inside the water goblets.  I remember when I was little and my parents took me out to dinner, I always thought it was so fancy to sit down and have the waiter pull the napkin out of the glass and place it on my lap!

Don’t be afraid to layer different dishes.  I mixed in pumpkin plates and little bowls that say “Give Thanks” and used two completely different styles and colors of glassware.

What is the takeaway from this tablescape?  The only investment was the cost of the pies.  Everything else I used was from my own collection of vintage and modern serving pieces and clippings from my own yard.  The best part, the centerpiece is edible! The clippings can be enjoyed for a while and them composted.  I think it’s perfect.

If you are interested in placing orders for Sweet Lucy’s Pies, be sure to check her out on Facebook and Instagram.   She is very responsive with messages.  These are her pie offerings for Thanksgiving…

If you want more inspiring tips from my Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving, check out this post here.


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Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving: Breakfast Recipes

Since we eat later in the day on Thanksgiving, I like to prepare a breakfast we can enjoy while finishing up the last minute cooking and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television.  Today I am sharing four tasty, Twist-Lab tested recipes that are wonderful!

Cranberry Christmas Cake

The taste-testers in the Twist Laboratory love this recipe for Cranberry Christmas Cake which you can find here on my Pinterest board.


It’s starts with a 12 oz bag of these ruby jewels.  During the fall and winter season I stock up on fresh cranberries because they freeze really well.  Tip:  If you freeze them don’t wash them first or they will get soggy.  Just keep the bag intact and tuck inside a ziplock bag and throw into the freezer.   You can add a handful of cranberries to your muffin recipes and throw a palm full into your oatmeal while it cooks on the stove.

Cranberry Christmas Cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour *
12 oz fresh cranberries

* Gluten Free Substitution:
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.

Spread in a buttered 9×13 pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. (I baked mine for 43 minutes.) Let cool completely before cutting.


It wasn’t even cooled when the Twist Lab assistants converged onto the cake.  They both ate two slices and said this was a winner!  And, for a twist, I made a smidge of powdered sugar and cream icing and drizzled a little on a slice.


This cake is a MUST for your holidays.  I could easily see this cake divided into two 8×8 square disposable pans, tied with ribbon — perfect as homemade gifts!

The next recipe I just tried when Sister Bee was here for a visit is this recipe for Egg, Potato and Sausage Skillet from Six Sisters’ Stuff.

It was easy and delicious and a nice change from the traditional breakfast casserole.  What I liked about it is you put everything into the skillet and let it cook while you finish up the rest of breakfast.  It makes alot, too.  There were six of us and we had a few servings left over.

You can’t go wrong with the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cinnamon rolls.  I found this recipe several years ago and make them all the time.  Even if you have never made cinnamon rolls, you can duplicate this recipe with ease and be so proud of yourself! And, as you can see, it makes about 6 pans of rolls you can freeze for company or as gifts.

Pioneer Cinnamon Rolls

And last this retro dish that I just love — Hot Curried Fruit.  I mean what says retro more than pears and maraschino cherries!  This is a recipe similar to one Mother used to make for her famous brunches.  Look at the bubbly, buttery brown sugar sauce!

Hot Curried Fruit


1 29-oz can cling peaches

1 15-oz can pineapple slices (I used chunks)

1 29-oz can pear halves

5 maraschino cherries without stems, halved

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar

4 tsp. curry powder (I only used 3 tsp.)

Preheat oven to 350.  Drain fruit.  Pat individual pieces of fruit, with paper towels, until thoroughly dry.  Arrange fruit in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Melt butter.  Add brown sugar and curry.  Spoon over fruit and bake 25 minutes.

This can be made a day ahead, refrigerated and then baked.  It serves 10-12.

If you missed previous posts in my “Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving” click here for Part One and here for Part Two.  I’ve got more to share so be sure to sign up for my newsletter on the right-hand side of my webpage.  My posts will be delivered right to you email in box each morning!

Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving: Recipe Week

This week I will be sharing some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes.  Sweet Potato Delight is a dish Mother and Sister Bee have served for many years at our Thanksgiving table.  I love it and the meal wouldn’t be the same without it.  In fact, Miss Bee always has it at the top of her “wish list” too.  It’s almost like dessert with the buttery, crumbly topping.

Sweet Potato Delight

1 large can of sweet potatoes (I usually double the recipe)

Heat potatoes and juice and mash thoroughly.  If you want to bake sweet potatoes ones you can, but this tastes just as good.

Mix together:

One stick of melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup of sugar

1/3 cup of evaporated milk

2 beaten eggs

Combine all of the ingredients and pour into a buttered 9×13 dish.

Top with the following mixture:

1 cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup of flour

1/3 stick of melted butter

1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set.

Apparently I don’t mind my food touching.

Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Period.  I love the food and the focus on family.  I’ve got lots of experience hosting Thanksgiving meals from watching Mother do it with ease, grace, and in heels, both at home and on our farm back in the day.

This guide includes several links to a series of posts I have written — including gathering your recipes, creating shopping lists, recipes, breakfast ideas and wine pairing.  Click on each link to find the topic.

Gather all your Recipes:

Prepare a recipe booklet with all the recipes you plan to prepare.  This idea, which is brilliant, came to me from bestie.  She has a packet with all the dishes she prepares every Thanksgiving and a timeline for prep.

Now, this might require more effort this year, but think how easy it will be to pull this out next year and take the guesswork out of wondering what you will make and where you stuck that recipe.  For today, just pull all the recipes together — stack cookbooks with sticky notes on the pages, find loose pages with all the recipes, whatever your filing method.  If you have a photocopier, copy every piece of paper or put everything into a tote bag and go to the office supply store.


Beverages — including non-alcoholic and cocktails

Appetizers — Do you need these — because the entree and sides speak for themselves?  But, if this is tradition for you, then by all means include them.

Entree – Where are you going to order your turkey and/or ham

Sides – something new or tradition

Rolls – A holiday doesn’t exist for Miss Bee if there is no bread represented at the table.

Desserts — I have a few standards I like, but I also love chocolate cream pie and I order this from a local bakery.

In my family, Mr. Bee always makes the turkey, I enjoy trying to make a few sides and the desserts. If this is your method, make note who is bringing what.

And, I know there are people that prefer to cater their meals.  If this option makes the holidays less stressful, then go for it!  Start thinking about who you want to order from and place your order this weekend.

Time Saver:  Here’s another time saving trick inspired by bestie — chopped vegetables she needs for cooking!  This way she gets all the chopping and prep done, then can store the veggies in the freezer until they are ready to be used for the recipes.  Mr. Bee is my Ninja chopper which is good because this is my least favorite thing to do when cooking.

Prepare Your Shopping List:

Go through each recipe and start recording what you need.  Work on this list for a few days so you can add extra things you always forget.  If you do the bulk of your shopping now you will miss the crazy crowds. Here are a few resources I found to help prepare your shopping list:

From Southern Living – The Ultimate Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping List here.

From Martha Stewart — The Classic Thanksgiving Shopping List here.

From Parents Magazine — Grocery List for the Easiest Thanksgiving Dinner here

Bon Appetit magazine — The 36 Hour Thanksgiving Grocery List here with a downloadable printable you can use.

Want a great recipe for Sweet Potato Delight — then visit this post for the recipe.

Want breakfast ideas for Thanksgiving morning?  Then go here for part three of the Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving.

Want ideas for picking the perfect wine for your Thanksgiving meal?  Then click here.

Everything I have mentioned in this post can be found on Pinterest where I have started a Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving so you can save these ideas.

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It’s Finally Fall — Create Your Bucket List!

I love everything about fall — the cooler weather, decorating the house with autumnal colors, the smell of cinnamon, pumpkin spice lattes and the list goes on.  Which makes me think of Mother.  Every season, especially in the summer, she would have me write a “bucket” list of things I wanted to see, do, or accomplish.  It was a lot of fun for us to draw a line through the things we did.  What are your “musts” for the season?  Here’s my list for fall…

  • Buy a cart full of pumpkin spice foods at Trader Joe’s.
  • Wear boots.
  • Have a fire in the fireplace.
  • Watch TV outside by the fire.
  • Sleep under a pile of blankets.
  • Lounge in sweatpants.
  • Brew pumpkin spice coffee.
  • Bake and eat pumpkin bread (Trader Joe’s sells the best box mix).
  • Burn fall-scented candles.
  • Decorate the house and porch for fall.
  • Start putting together my Thanksgiving menu.
  • Shop for Halloween candy.
  • Open windows in the house to bring in the cool breeze (done a few weeks ago)
  • Change out bed linens to fall blankets and pillows.
  • Visit a pumpkin farm (did this last weekend in Granbury.  Picked fresh from the vine at Arison Farm)
  • Go on a hayride (ditto)
  • Carve a pumpkin.
  • Eat pumpkin seeds (Trader Joe’s is supposed to have whatelse — pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds).
  • Make pumpkin pie (or any kind of pie for that matter).
  • Watch countdown to Christmas on the Hallmark Channel.
  • Start listening to Christmas music on November 1.  Don’t be shocked.  I have done this for about 20 years and it makes me happy.
  • Use my crock pot more to make soups.
  • Bake cookies — of all kinds.  I am an equal opportunity cookie maker and eater.
  • Wear my houseshoes.
  • Make breakfast for dinner while the fireplace is going (reminds me of my childhood for some reason).
  • Watch the movie Halloween.
Lily and Val

That’s it for now.  But, we’re not done!  You have to comment what your “must” is for fall.  It’s not fair if I told you and you don’t share.  I love to read your comments!  And it might inspire me to try something new. Happy fall y’all!

Whimsical Appetizers for Easter

My little Easter bunny niece is coming for the weekend and I’m picking out fun appetizers for the adults to enjoy during her egg hunt.  Now that Miss Bee is a teenager, I’m looking forward to pulling together ideas for a little one.

First are these cute, devilish chicks.  They are a twist on a deviled egg. The eyes are capers and the beaks are nibs of carrots.  How cute!  If you are needing to take a dish to an Easter gathering, you will long be remembered for these peeps.

Next, how delightful a platter of Tomato Tulips would be.  Just quarter grape tomatoes almost all the way through, then use a toothpick to attach each to a trimmed whole green onion. Fill a plastic bag with garlic-herb cheese; snip a corner and pipe into buds.




And, I think Miss Amelia would love to wake up on Saturday morning to a plate of Easter Bunny pancakes.  Only 3-ingredients go into these hotcakes — a banana, self-rising flour, and eggs.

All of these recipes were inspired from the latest issue of Good Houskeeping and are pinned to my Appetizer Pinterest board.