Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Coconut Cream Pie



Pie crust- 1 and 1/4 cups  flour, 1/3 cup shortening, 4 tablespoons cold water, and a dash of salt.

Meringue- 3 eggs whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 6 tablespoons sugar.

Coconut Cream Pie filling – 4 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup corn starch, 3 cups milk, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 and 1/3 cup flaked coconut.

I go about this in 3 steps. Crust, filling, and meringue.

Stir together flour and a dash of salt. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in shortening making small pieces. Sprinkle with the water and push moistened dough together forming a ball. Flatten somewhat with hands and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Unroll pastry into a 9 inch pie plate and prick the sides and bottom of the pastry in the pie plate with a fork . Line it with a double thickness of foil. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 5 minutes or till golden. Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling, first separate the egg yokes from the whites; set whites aside for the meringue. Combine the sugar and cornstarch. Gradually add milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. (The bubbling will be slight and your hand will get really tired and hot near the end)

Remove the filling from the heat. Slightly beat the egg yokes with a fork. Gradually stir some of the hot filling into the yokes and stir. Then pour the egg yoke mixture into the hot filling and bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. (Keep it low and at a gentle boil. The filling is hot and sometimes it bubbles out at ya) Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla, and 1 cup coconut.

Pour the filling into the baked pastry shell and spread meringue over the warm filling. (Seal to edge) Sprinkle 1/3 cup coconut over the meringue and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.


Read Full Post »

This recipe calls for fresh cranberries but it also works with those you put in the freezer after the holidays. Make it for Valentine’s Day and enjoy its distinctive orange and cranberry flavor♥  



2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan ( You can also use 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup whole wheat flour)

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

dash salt

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 cup orange juice

1 cup fresh cranberries (or frozen cranberries)

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Add egg and beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until combined. (dough will appear very dry) Reduce speed to low; beat in orange juice. Fold in cranberries and walnuts. Spread batter in prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake about 50 minutes to 1 hour. (tent with foil usually after about 30 minutes to prevent top from browning too quickly) Cool in pan 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack or leave in pan to cool. Cool completely before slicing. 

Cranberry Walnut Bread freezes well so if you are making it with fresh cranberries when they are in season, you can make two loaves and save one of them for another time.

Read Full Post »

Hawaiian Flowers and Leis

Hawaiian Flowers, Leis, and Gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Think outside the heart-shaped chocolate box when shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift. Bring some of Hawaii to her (or him) with a special delivery from With Our Aloha.

With Our Aloha is an Hawaiian company commited to its local heritage. They responsibly use the island’s resources to enhance their local economy. Extra attention is given to special orders and custom requests; their customer service is top-notch.  (Read some of their customer’s compliments on products and service here)

My Hawaiian orchid was carefully packaged (wrapped & staked) and I received it by FedEx next day delivery. It was just beginning to bloom.

Hawaiian Blooming Orchid


‘Pacific Matriarch’


a few days later


Below are their two most popular Valentine’s Day choices:  

Aloha (Love) Tropical Flowers Assortment

Aloha (Love) tropical flowers assortment anthuriums and orchids

and the Deluxe Pampering Sampler Gift Basket For Her.

Hawaiian Women's Spa Gift Basket

With Our Aloha has lots of gift-giving options for your Valentine. Show your love… direct from Hawaii

Notes From Dawn received a beautiful live ‘Pacific Matriarch’ orchid from With Our Aloha in exchange for an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

Read Full Post »

Play For Keeps

Here’s where you can shop for Eco friendly toys to put under your tree!

Play For Keeps has a variety of Eco-friendly toys that are free from BPA, PVC, and Phthalates. Many are also made from renewable or recycled sources.

Take a look at the …..



This eco-friendly Shape Sorter by Green Toys is made in the USA from recycled milk jugs. It features a 2 part elliptical and 8 fun shapes to put inside. The 2 sides easily twist apart to let the shapes out. No BPA, phthalates, PVC, or external coatings, and also meets FDA food contact standards. Dishwasher safe.

Ages 6 months and up

Dimensions: Sorter 8″ diameter

Shapes approximately 1.5″ H


I found this to be an outstanding toy! Sturdy plastic that’s surprisingly lightweight. No sharp edges and the two pieces of the shape sorter twist and lock together easily. The shapes are easy to hold with little eco reminders on each one.


I love the soft colors which are a nice switch from traditional primary colors. 



Play For Keeps has toys for little ones ages 0-7+; shop for safe, fun, and educational toys….and make the world a better place.

I received the Shape Sorter from Play For Keeps to help facilitate the writing of an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received. 

Read Full Post »

Lilywrap is a company in Atlanta, Georgia that offers Eco friendly wraps to replace traditional wrapping paper. Different size wraps make for a convenient and user-friendly option for gift giving. For more information and to view a how-it-works video, visit


Available in 7 color patterns and 3 sizes, this is an interesting product that replaces traditional wrapping paper.  No paper, no tape, and no scissors are needed when you use this re-usable wrap.

Two super reasons to use lilywrap:

It’s quick and easy. Quick for busy moms. Easy for kids and dad, too. Directions are Set, Cinch, and Tie to Give and Reuse.

Perfect for air travel. TSA can open and inspect gifts. You can wrap back up. No harm done.

My major disappointment with lilywrap is the range of what can be wrapped with them. They come in three sizes (small, medium, and large) but I didn’t find the wraps capable of working for items as suggested on the sizing chart. I wasn’t able to make them work for some items. For example, I definitely couldn’t get the large lilywrap to cover a shoe box or a shirt box. The lilywrap look is different from paper, of course. From a presentation standpoint, I can’t say that I’m ready to completely give up the neat crisp look of paper with the unlimited selection of colors and patterns.  While I sometimes reuse my paper, it doesn’t look as nice as the first time around. But lilywrap can be reused over and over and keep that pretty first-time appearance. Consider the lilywrap look this wrapping season for all its advantages.  

I received three sizes of wraps from lilywrap to help facilitate the writing of an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

Read Full Post »

This a great book that’s available from Firefly Books

Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds: More Than 1,000 Photographs

Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds
More Than 1,000 Photographs

224 pages, 9″ X 11″ X 11/8″

more than 1000 step-by-step color photos, index, entertaining diary

wiro-bound concealed hardcover

Published by Robert Rose Books

A gorgeous table begins with beautiful napkin folds.Knowing how to execute a perfect napkin fold is not a skill everyone has, but it’s one you can easily and quickly teach yourself. Napkin folds bring a touch of elegance, whimsy or retro style to your table. And napkin folds take your table setting to the next level with no added expense — you’re just learning dozens of clever new ways to present something you already have.The 100 folds are divided into easy, intermediate and advanced sections, so you’ll know which ones to start with and how to work your way up. Simpler is often better and often the most formal folds, in fact, tend to be relatively easy. And when you’re using napkins with an elaborate pattern or design, a simple fold may show it off the best.The hundreds of step-by-step photographs, detailed instructions and wide array of ideas will make every event memorable — whether it’s a child’s birthday party or a sophisticated dinner party for grownups. And the concealed wirobound hardcover format with its user-friendly approach makes following instructions a breeze.Like a handwritten thank-you note, napkins folds might be less common than they once were, but they’re always noticed, always appreciated and always in style.
Denise Vivaldo is a seasoned food professional who has catered more than 10,000 parties. She’s the founder of Food Fanatics, a recipe-development, food-styling and catering firm. She’s catered everything from the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball to Hollywood wrap parties. She is the author of Entertaining Encyclopedia.

My review:

November welcomes the holiday entertaining season and Napkin Folds is just the book you’ll need to add some pizzazz to your table.

The book starts with easy folds and continues with intermediate and advance folds. The advanced are really not that tricky. Each fold is numbered and presented in color on both pages. A short paragraph intro tells about the fold, napkin material, and color to use;  written directions and photos follow. The photo steps are shown “to the observer”. This was backward to me and I turned the book upside down while I worked on a fold. My suggestion is that the photo steps be presented from the view “of the person folding”. The book’s spiral binding keeps the book open flat.

 Using a perfectly square napkin is recommended but sadly none of the ones I owned were perfect. I’ll be considering that when I purchase more. The intro is where I learned how the napkin ring originated. “The original intent of monogrammed silver napkin rings was to identify the napkin of each household member so his or her napkin could be reused, avoiding the labor-intensive task of daily laundering.” And the last page of the book contains a reproducible entertaining dairy. I love this book with the many creative folds for a specially prepared table. I would recommend it for use with any home economics curriculum. 

My thanks to Firefly Books for allowing me to review this book. This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received.

Read Full Post »