Mrs. Twist Gives This — Gifts for the beverage lover

Welcome to part two of my gift guide (you can read part one here).  Today, I will be sharing ideas for the friend that loves iced tea and coffee.  First, the Takeya Iced Tea Maker.  For years I relied on my trusty Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker.  The machine worked fine, but over the years the design of the pitcher to brew the tea  changed and the quality was not the same which meant that each time I brewed tea, the pitcher would leak.  Well, when I was at my friend Pam’s house she used the Takeya Iced Tea Maker and it brewed the most delicious glass of iced tea.  I always have a pitcher of iced tea in the refrigerator ready to go, and second I like to use PGTips loose tea and the Takeya checks both boxes.  You boil a kettle of water and pour it straight into the heat safe pitcher.  Add 6 teaspoons of loose tea to the removable basket and lower it down into the pitcher.  Screw on the lid and let it steep.  No need to add water or ice unless you want to.  It’s a game changer.  It comes in black, blueberry, raspberry and avocado (as shown).  $24.99

Next, I really want this SMEG Italian made coffee maker because it is SO cute and retro. Since I would likely only use it for parties, I probably won’t splurge on it.  But, this is a close second – the Nostalgia programmable drip coffee maker also in aqua.  It looks like something from Disney PrimeTime diner.  I love it.

And if you know someone that just loves to go camping or bought a camper, how about this cutie — the Nostalgia Breakfast Station!  $76And if you want to throw in a bag of coffee for good measure, Pioneer Woman’s coffee is the best.  When I need to make brewed coffee I like to use her whole beans, ground them and it makes a delicious cup of coffee.  If you never want to run out, sign up for their coffee subscription and customize your delivery time and the type of beans you want.  $14 per bag.

I’ll be back soon for installment three — personalized gifts.  Happy giving!

Mrs. Twist’s 12 Days of Gifts — Google Hub and Carl the Snowman

Thirty four days and counting until Christmas. I’ve got a great list of ideas to share with you for gifts – at least I would love these under my tree!

Gift One:   The Google Hub.  I love my Hub.  I am team Google, so everything in my house is compatible with my Samsung devices.  If you love iPhone, there’s a home device out there for you.  I purchased Hub from Target for $149 and since I have a Target Redcard I saved an additional 5%, plus free shipping.  It took less than two minutes to set up and sync to my phone.  Housed in my kitchen,Hub has access to my calendar for the day, my contacts, can scroll through my photos, and is voice activated.  I walk into the kitchen in the morning to make my coffee and I say, “Hey, Google Good morning.”  Hub replies back “Good morning Melissa, here’s your schedule for the day” and then shows a five minute top world news video for the day and shares the weather forecast.  When my hands are full cooking I can ask Hub to look up a recipe on my Pinterest or find a video on how to cut a mango.  If you know someone on your list that loves to stay organized, this would be the perfect gift.

Gift number two:  Carl the Snowman from Kate Weiser Chocolate.  This cutie was named as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2018. Carl the Snowman is a dark chocolate hollow figure filled with hot cocoa mix and mini marshmallows.  Heat up a pot of milk, place Carl in the pot and watch him slowly melt into hot cocoa for the entire family!  He comes with a recipe card for two version of hot cocoa (traditional and thick and creamy).   There are less than 6,000 less to sell and a two snowman limit per order so be sure to snag Carl fast before he melts away.  I picked up one for our Christmas Eve gathering. What a perfect hostess gift!  Carl sells for $38.

I’ll be back next week with more gift ideas.

Newsy Tuesday: These three ladies are making my Thanksgiving

I’m planning my Thanksgiving menu and since I am working more hours this year, I know that I won’t have as much time to cook.  So big news — I’ve hired out my sides and pies!  This is big because not only do I love to cook, but I love my recipes.  However, I’d rather trade the time and effort of cramming in the cooking for a leisure, relaxed holiday.  There. I said it.  And, I am happy.

However, Mr. Bee will still cook his turkey. And the recipe we love to use comes from my sweet friend and super talented hair stylist Mandy Hancock (who is a #bossbabe and owns a super chic salon called Prominence Parlor).

She shared her secret with me a few seasons ago and we never looked back on our turkey prep.  It’s moist, flavorful and delish.  Here’s her recipe:

Mandy’s Holiday Cheer Slow Roasted Turkey recipe!! 🤤

Rub some olive oil all over the bird, season generously with garlic salt and creole seasoning. Garlic cloves and Cheer Beer go in the cavity (fill til it starts to barely spill out). Roast it, breast up, at 500* for 20 min uncovered. After 20 min take out, turn bird breast down then cover tightly with foil and slow roast at 200* for 45 min per pound!!! Don’t expect to be able to slice it though, it will literally be falling off the bone!! Use the juices as brown gravy! Your house will smell soooo good all night and morning!!! I always take all the leftover juices, neck, giblets and carcass and boil it down to make make an insane broth too. OMG sooo good!

*do the math on how long your bird needs to cook first! Big birds can take a long time! I always do mine overnight so it’s perfect by Thanksgiving lunch at noon 🧡

**Shiner Holiday Cheer Beer packaging has changed from this photo but the beer itself is the same!

Now for the sides, my niece is making the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.  Miss Bee put her foot down that she’s making Mother’s sweet potato delight, plus Dorcas Reilly’s famous green bean casserole.  However, I am having my favorite place, Hurley House, make their cornbread dressing and cranberry relish.  Oh, and I snagged a pan of her cinnamon rolls to eat while I watch the Macy’s Parade.  Call 817.349.8934 to place your order.

On to the pies, I have ordered from my favorite pie gal, Lindsey Lawing of Sweet Lucy’s Pies.  On my list are Pumpkin, Pecan, Chocolate Chess and Buttermilk.  Dear Lordy, her pies are so good and frankly better than mine.  Connect with her through Facebook to place your order.

I am so excited to delegate this out.  It will be the first Thanksgiving Miss Bee is home from college and I want to spend as much time as possible hanging out with her.  I’ll still allow myself the chance to set a stunning table, wash my crystal and shine the silver, but the time someone else is taking to make my meal perfection is a gift I plan to savor.

What’s something you can delegate this holiday?

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!

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.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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: 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.

Include:

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.

14 Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Fellas, if you happen to read my blog (hopefully on your own or because your gal says “oh, this? Mrs. Twist told me about it.”) I am sharing some deliciousness to make you look like a King gifting the Queen on Valentine’s Day.  Fourteen ideas…

One:  Sur la Table Cooking Class. She can pick her own class — maybe for a GNO, or baking, or perhaps she will book a couple’s night out class with you!

 

Two:  A limited edition Le Creuset pink heart shaped Dutch oven.  A splurge, but what a way to show her you love her not only on Valentine’s Day, but also when she makes Aunt Helen’s pot roast!

Three:  This is an easy one — Trader Joe’s Chocolate heart-shaped cookies.  They are a shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles.  I took one of my Ikea jars (from this post) and filled it with a box of these cookies.  Such a pretty, inexpensive gift.  Add a gift card to Starbucks and it will be a perfect girlfriend gift.

 

Four:  Hurley House Cupid Corn. Katherine posted this beautiful pic on Instagram today and I knew it would be perfect for my list.  “Candy covered popcorn with sprinkles, packaged in a sweet single-served box.”  Call (817) 349-8934 to place an order for everyone in your office!

 

Five:  Mix Tape.  Kickin’ it old school.  If you have no clue what a “mix tape” is you are probably too young to be interested in Mrs. Twist.  Popular in the 80s and 90s before you could easily download music, you’d make a mix tape (i.e. the dinosaur cassette tape — or as Mother used to refer as Kay-sette) to give to someone you were crushing on.  But, now you could put it on a thumb drive.  Load it with classic love songs and you are good as gold.

Six:  Fizzing Bath Bombs from Whole Foods.  I love to go to their beauty aisle, it smells amazing. Lidded jars full of bath bombs and salts.  They come in six amazing scents — my favorites are Rose Petal and Muscle Soak. And you can package them in cute brown paper sacks.

Seven:  Microwave Popcorn Maker from Uncommon Goods. This little teapot shaped popcorn maker has a port in the top for a pat of butter to melt right onto your corn!  Combine with a good bottle of wine and a Redbox movie and you have a fun date night.

 

 

Eight:  Bird Feeder.  It’s that time of year when birds will need access to food because winter has arrived and soon springtime will mean nesting. This adorable birdfeeder how-to video would be a fun project to do with the kids.  Don’t want to make one, Wild Bird Center has a wide variety of feeders and seed to get her started with bird watching.

Nine:  Diffuser with Essential Oils.  I have practically one diffuser for every room in the house and I take one with me when I travel.  There are all sorts of oils available out there.   I prefer Young Living Essential Oils.  They are a bit more expensive, but they are pharmaceutical grade and the company really does set the highest standard possible with their Seed to Seal promise.

My favorite relaxing scents are lavender and jasmine.  I love Purification and Thieves, but that doesn’t really say “Happy Valentine’s Day” to me.

Ten: Sees Candy.  This “BigAss Elegant Heart.”  I mean I would fly to the moon if Mr. Bee gave me this.

Hello, lover.  I can do serious damage to my hips on this one, but I don’t care.

Eleven:  Professional Organizer Services.  I know this isn’t really romantic, but maybe after you present her with the BigASS Elegant Heart candy box you could say something heartfelt like “I thought it would be nice for you to have someone help you organize the pantry like you’ve been talking about doing.”  Men don’t get how organizing makes a woman’s heart sing.   My friend, Elizabeth, gets it done.  She’s helped me transform most every room in my nest.

Twelve:  Fun house slippers with a pedicure gift card tucked inside. If I could click around the house in these, I might never leave.  I mean one can never have too many mink, turquoise lucite slippers.

 

Thirteen:  Farmgirl Flowers.  They ship nationwide and only use locally sourced farms, not greenhouses, to create a unique bouquet.  Their signature burlap, hand-tied wrapped posies look hand-picked from the garden. Use code SWEETS for 10% off your order.

Fourteen:  Jesus Calling.  I saved the best for last.  Mother had a copy of this book in her room when I was going through her things after she died.  Mother attended church all her life, but I honestly didn’t know she was as faithful to God until after her death.  It’s something I regret not sharing with her.

This beautiful daily devotional lays out words and scripture that Jesus laid on Sarah Young’s heart. It’s no accident when you read your daily passage, that you will say to yourself, “How did He know I was feeling this way today?”  Ask someone who owns a copy of Jesus Calling and they will tell you the same thing.  Since Valentine’s Day is a day of love — why not give her a gift that she can use every single day from the person who loves her the most (behind you, of course).

So, there you are.  Now, go forth and get it done.  You have two weeks and no excuses.  Mrs. Twist saves the day.