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December 2012

November 2012

Peppermint Mess

Peppermint mess

    The other night I was looking for a quick, simple, use what I had on-hand dessert.I had some peppermint jo-jo's and decided to dress them up a bit. Have you heard of Eton Mess? It is this layering of meringues, cream and strawberries, creating a yummy mess. This dessert is the same principle as Etons Mess, peppermint jo-jo's, whipped cream and peppermint chocolate sauce. It creates quite a festive, peppermint mess!

Peppermint Mess


3 peppermint jo-jo's (or oreos or chocolate cookies)

whipped cream

simple chocolate sauce*

crushed candy canes (I was out but it would be a perfect topper if you have some)

In a bowl layer a crushed cookie, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Layer again and garnish with third cookie and crushed candy canes. 


* Simple chocolate sauce

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup chocolate (I like to use bittersweet for this recipe) chopped or chips

peppermint extract


Simple put both ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and melt together on the stove set at low heat. When chocolate is melted, stir in s few drops of peppermint extract.

By the way the amount of chocolate to cream does not have to be perfect. I never measure. For the amount of chocolate, I just try to add about half the amount of cream I poured. I just eyeball it!


Happy Thanksgiving Sangria


Well our flooding rains have stopped, David is safely home, I have NO errands to run and tomorrow is our Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for. One of them is all of you. I am very blessed to know each of you. I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and feel blessed. Here is a Thanksgiving Sangria recipe (I threw together last night) for you to toast with your loved ones xox


Thanksgiving Sangria

In a large jar or container add

One sliced apple and one sliced pear

One cinnamon stock, broken in half

One vanilla bean, cut in half

A few whole cloves


Cover generously with white wine. (I am using TJ Charles Shaw chardonnay. Got love good $2.50 wine!!)

Cover and let sit a day, gently stirring now and then!!


Image from Three Little Monkeys Studio

Sabby Apple Give Away

Shabby apple

    I have exciting news for all of you friends and readers, a Shabby Apple giveaway!! A $50.00 Shabby Apple gift card. I love Shabby Apples style, their retro dress have a vintageyyy vibe. They have so many styles, shirt dresses, lace dress, maxi dress, casual dresses. Also tops, skirts, accessories, even plus sizes!!

So how you readers can win, first visit Sabby Apple, pick a favorite item and tell me about it in the comments! 
For additional entries, you can:
-like Shabby Apple on Facebook
-tweet about the giveaway with the hashtag #shabbyapplegiveaway
-post on your blog about the giveaway
 You can leave a separate comment for each item, for a total of 4 possible entries.  Contestants must have a USA shipping address to be eligible for entry.

Also a gift to all of you, for a month you can get 10% off your order. Just use this coupon code storybookwoods10off

I will pick a winner December 3rd. Good luck!!  Give away closed!!


Apple Theme Thanksgiving

Apl thk1

Every year I try to have a little gift at each place setting for my guests. Last year it was paper feathers. The year before that, copper pinecones.

Apl thk2

This year I made paper apples.

Apl thk4

In keeping with the apple theme, I am using golds and reds.The napkin ring is just some pretty ribbon wrapped around a vintage napkin.

Apl thk5

I am am happy with the simple, festive feel of this year's Thanksgiving table!

Apl thk3

PS. speaking of apples I have a great give-away on Monday, so stop by!!!

Simply, Rich Pumpkin Pie (dairy free, GF or not!!)

    Simp pump

    A friend of mine asked about how I make pumpkin pie. She is trying to perfect her's and had read soooo many recipes. Some used milk, some evaporated, some honey, so many recipes and well ... so confusing. I realized as I chatted with her I have not posted my pumpkin pie recipe, which is very simple and rich. But I will share with you what I think is the secret to a good pumpkin pie. It is the ingredients, really more than a recipe. First and for most is the pumpkin. Canned pumpkin will not cut it. You have to use, fresh pumpkin. You also have to use a good cooking pumpkin. Those big carving pumpkins are stringy, not sweet and watery. A good cooking pumpkin is sweet, creamy and does not put out a lot of water. There are more and more kinds of cooking pumpkins out there, so do your research. You can cook and freeze your pumpkin ahead of time. As a mater of fact, you can freeze this filling ahead of time too. I have my uncooked pie crust and filling in the freezer, ready to pull out, defrost, pour filling in shell and bake!!

    Second I think you need good cream, fresh eggs and fresh spices. The fresher and less messed with the better (Like can condensed milk, I am sorry but I do not get that stuff. It does not replace good cream at all). Also how fresh are your dried spices? Is there dust on the bottle? Are they more that a year old? If so, dump it! If you are lucky enough to have a store that sells spices in bulk, then buy small amounts. It is so, so much cheaper and tastes better. I listed the spices in this recipe I like but add/change to your liking. I go a bit light with spice because I do not want to cover up the yummy pumpkin flavor. And I think that is the point. If you hate the taste of the pumpkin, you are using the wrong pumpkin, not the wrong recipe. I have to say, I have had several people tell me they hate pumpkin pie but love mine. So if that helps sell it ;-P


Simply, rich pumpkin pie

Makes one pie

2 cups cooked puréed pumpkin *note
generous 1/2 cup sugar, evaporated cain or coconut sugar
scant 1/4 cup molasses
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups cream or coconut milk **
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried ginger, ground
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brandy or dark rum, I basically in pour a big splosh!

one pie crust ***

Pre-heat oven to 350˚F

In a large bowl mix all together with a whisk or blender stick, until mixed. Pour into pre-paired pie crust and bake for 45-55 minutes. Until center is cooked and crust is browned. Please see note below about making it gluten free.



* My favorite baking pie is long pie, it looks like a giant zucchini. It starts off green but as you get more into December is will turn orange. It is fine to use green but the long you wait, the sweeter it gets. You can also make this with any winter squash or sweet potatoes.

** To make your pie dairy free use coconut milk. You can use any milk or cream but the higher the fat, the richer it is (and in my opinion the better. Heck the holidays only come once a year!!).

*** To make this dish gluten free simple cook in without the crust, like a pudding. I cook mine in a bain marie at 325˚F for 1-1 1/2 hours until the center is cooked. By cooking it in a bain marie and a low temps it keeps the custard soft and silky. You can bake the filling in one big pan or small ramekins. Obviously if you do ramekins, the pudding will cook in a shorter time!

In the picture I have two bowls of filling I am preparing for the freezer. One is regular, which I will bake in a pie shell on Thanksgiving. The other is the GF and DF filling, which I will bake like a pudding. Simple and easy but a delicious alternative for everyone!


Fruitcake Reminder


Well it is that time of year, fruitcake!!! I will be making ours in a week. I always make my chocolate cherry fruitcake. It would not be Christmas without it. If you are not a big fruitcake fan, then you probably will like this one. It does not have a lot of citron (which is what most people hate).My friend Angie makes an amazing fruitcake with lots of dried fruit, it is very different from mine, based off Clear Creek Distillery recipe. Check out her post, she has some great fruitcake tips too.We both swap cakes, so we have a bit of each. It is fun to share. So do you love fruitcake?? If so what kind do you love?

Fruitcake 125