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Reader's Recipes

Candy Cane Cookies
• 1 cup shortening
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 teaspoon almond

Color 1/2 dough red. Roll small amount of each color between hands, twist one of each color together to form little round braid. Shape into candy cane. Bake 9 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 to 375 degrees.

Karen Dragomier, North Redington Beach
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Cherry Cheesecake
• Vanilla wafers
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
• 3 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1 can cherry pie filling

Line muffin tins with liner. Put one vanilla wafer on bottom. Combine softened cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with cherry pie filling.

Deb Sorensen, Pinellas Park
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Christmas Coffee Cake
• 2 cans biscuits
• 2 cups maraschino cherries
• 1 cup melted margarine
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup raisins
• 1 cup chopped walnuts

Take 1/2 cup melted margarine and brush sides of pan and leave remaining margarine in pan. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar, press with fork and spread evenly. Distribute 3/4 cup of cherries evenly. Do the same with 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of walnuts. Add biscuits singularly around pan. Spread 1/4 cup margarine over biscuits. Spread 1/4 cup brown sugar evenly. Add 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/2 cup cherries. Put the remaining biscuits on top. Put remaining margarine and brown sugar on top evenly. Add 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup raisins and 3/4 cup cherries. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until biscuits have risen and browned.

Cindy Cook, Largo
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Christmas Gingerbread Men
• 2 3/4 cups flour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/3 teaspoon salt
• 1 scant pinch ginger
• 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa (for color and flavor)
• 2/3 cup dark molasses
• 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix first five ingredients together. Add remaining four ingredients to form soft dough. Shape into approximately 18 4-inch high gingerbread men (or cut into various shapes). Bake on greased pan at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. These can be decorated with frosting or colored sugar.

Rolaine Little, Pinellas Park
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Christmas Jell-O Mold
• 1 large package Lime Jell-O
• 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
• Maraschino cherries
• Walnuts

Make Jell-O. Separate into two bowls. When slightly solid, add one bowl to mold and add maraschino cherries. Whip second bowl with cream cheese and walnuts and top first layer. Refrigerate until done. Remove from mold and place on platter with lettuce leaves.

Geraldine Ulatowski, Largo
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Christmas Morning Casserole
In a lightly greased baking dish combine in layers in the order below:
• 2 cans of corned beef hash
• 6 hard boiled eggs, sliced
• 1 jar sliced pimento
• 1 small can sliced mushrooms
• 3 cups white sauce or substitute
• 2 cans mushroom soup
• 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (white is nice but not necessary)

Bake in 350-degree oven until casserole bubbles, about 45 minutes.
For a Christmas flourish, cut unsliced pimento in the shape of a poinsettia flower petal. Use green pepper slices as the leaves on top of the casserole.
Serve with fruit, juice and sweet rolls. Make the casserole on Christmas Eve, then put it in the oven on Christmas morning while opening gifts.

Louise Robinson, Belleair
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Christmas Trifle
• 1 1/2 prepared pound cakes (about 10 3/4 ounces for each cake)
• 1/2 cup raspberry jam
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 3 egg yokes
• 2 1/2 cups milk
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
• 6 tablespoons cream sherry or marsala
• 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
• 10 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed and drained, halved
• 10 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed and drained

Cut the cakes into slices 1/4 inch thick. Spread out flat for several hours to dry. Spread a think layer of jam on half of the slices. Top each with a plain slice. Cut these “cake sandwiches” into 1-inch squares and set aside.
Whisk the granulated sugar, cornstarch and egg yokes in a saucepan.

Slowly whisk in the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened to the consistency of custard, about 12 to 15 minutes. Whisk in 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Set aside to cool completely.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Beat in 3 tablespoons of the confectioners sugar and the remaining vanilla. Continue beating until stiff. Chill until ready to use.

Assemble the trifle. Spread 1/4 cup of the custard on the bottom of a large glass bowl (2 1/2 quarts, or 10 cups). Scatter 1/3 of the cake squares on top, pressing down slightly to make an even surface. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons each of the sherry and almonds. Pour 1/3 of the remaining custard evenly over the cake. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of the confectioners’ sugar, and then spoon them over the custard. Follow with 1/2 of the remaining cake, 2 tablespoons each of sherry and almonds and 1/2 of the remaining custard.

Toss raspberries with remaining confectioners’ sugar and spoon over custard. Cover with remaining cake 2 tablespoons each of the sherry and almonds and remaining custard. Spoon reserved whipped cream over top. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 10.

Nancy Hodges, Madeira Beach
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Cranberry and Cherry Gelatin Salad
• 6-ounce box cherry gelatin
• 1 can Bing cherries, drained (reserve juice)
• 1 15-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
• 1/2 cup chopped apple
• 1/2 cup chopped nuts
• Celery (optional)

Use juice from drained cherries and add water to make 2 cups of liquid. Heat to boiling and dissolve gelatin. Cool slightly, add remaining ingredients. Chill until firm.

Debby Frakes, Clearwater
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Cranberry Chutney
• 2 cups fresh cranberries
• 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
• 1/2 cup light raisins
• 1/2 cup celery, chopped
• 1/2 cup apple, chopped
• 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
• 2 tablespoons finely snipped candied ginger
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon onion salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

In a large saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Store covered in refrigerator. Serve chilled. Makes 3 cups.

Gary Rogers, Largo
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Cranberry Jell-O Salad
• 2 small packages or 1 large package cherry Jell-O
• 2 cups hot water
• 1 13-ounce can crushed pineapple
• 1 16-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
• 1/2 pint whipping cream

Mix Jell-O and hot water together. Let cool. Add pineapple with juice, cranberry sauce and walnuts. Place in refrigerator until jelled but not firm. Fold in whipped cream and return to refrigerator to jell. Cover with plastic wrap.

Gale Taylor, Seminole
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Cranberry Relish
• 3 cups cranberries (1 12-ounce bag)
• 1 cup apple juice
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1 large apple, cored and chopped

Combine cranberries, apple juice, sugar and allspice in medium pan. Bring to boil. Simmer 5 minutes uncovered. Add apple and cook 5 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.

Jean Hadley, Pinellas Park
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Cranberry Relish Ring
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 3-ounce package cherry flavored gelatin
• 1 3-ounce package raspberry flavored gelatin
• 1 1/2 cups boiling water
• 1 12-ounce can lemon/lime carbonated beverage
• 1 8 1/4-ounce can crushed pineapple
• 1 small orange, quartered and seeded
• 2 cups cranberries
• nuts (optional)

Dissolve sugar and gelatins in boiling water. Add beverage and undrained pineapple. Chill until partially set. Grind unpeeled orange and cranberries. Fold cranberry mixture into gelatin. Chill until firm. Makes 12 side-dish servings.

Mrs. Cletus Lothamer, Largo
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Dolly Date Bars
• 8 ounces chopped dates
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup water

Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to slow boil. Boil 3 to 5 minutes.

• 3/4 cup butter
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 3/4 cup oatmeal
• 1 1/2 cup flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Crumb dry ingredients and pack 3/4 into the bottom of a 9-by-13 inch pan. Pour date mixture over the top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 dry mixture over the top. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Dust with powdered sugar.

Michele Kasler, Clearwater
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Doritos Salad
• 1 bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos Tortilla Chips
• 1 bag of lettuce (or 1 head of lettuce)
• 2 large tomatoes
• 1 large onion
• 1 16-ounce block cheddar cheese, chopped or shredded
• 1 bottle of French dressing

Chop lettuce, tomatoes and onion. Mix all together. Great for all occasions.

Ronda Brock, St. Petersburg
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Easy and Irresistible Chocolate Fudge
• 8 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet baking chocolate
• 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
• 3/4 teaspoon flavoring (vanilla, peppermint schnapps, etc.)
• 1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Microwave chocolate squares and sweetened condensed milk in medium microwave-safe bowl on high power for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave additional 10 to 20 seconds, stirring until smooth. Stir in nuts and flavoring. Spread into greased 8-by-4 inch or 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with holiday decorations or crushed green and red M&M’s. Chill until firm. Cut into chunks.

Marianne Lameyer, St. Petersburg
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Easy Fruit Cake
• 1 box raisins
• 2 cups sugar
• 3 cups water
• 1/4 pound butter

Boil about 15 minutes. Cool.

• 4 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon cloves
• 2 teaspoon cloves
• 1 pound fruit cake mix/fruit
• 1 pound nuts

Add dry ingredients to liquid. Bake in two loaf pans 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Rose Link, St. Petersburg
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Fresh Apple Cake
Sift together:
• 3 cups flour
• 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine with:
• 1 1/4 cup Wesson oil
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 3 cups diced apples

Pour into pan. Do not grease or flour pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Jackie Schuyler, Pinellas Park
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Holiday Breakfast
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup butter
• 2 tablespoons corn syrup
• 5 eggs
• 1 1/2 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 loaf French bread

Mix and melt brown sugar, butter and syrup over medium heat. Pour into greased baking dish. Arrange thick bread slices over syrup mixture. Mix eggs, milk and vanilla and pour over bread. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Barbara Johnson, Clearwater
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Holiday Eggnog
• 1 quart vanilla ice cream
• 6 eggs
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 4 cups milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/2 cup brandy or rum
• Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

Scoop out ice cream into six balls. Place on a cookie sheet and refreeze. In a large saucepan, beat together eggs, sugar and nutmeg. Stir in two cups of the milk. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon with a thin film (about 140 degrees). Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 2 cups of milk and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (several hours or overnight). Just before serving, add brandy or rum. Pour into serving bowl. Drop the ice cream balls on top and dust with nutmeg. Makes six to eight servings.

Melanie DeTone, Clearwater
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Jean’s Ricotta Pie
• 3 pounds ricotta cheese
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 6 large eggs, beaten
• 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup cooked pastina

In a large bowl combine ricotta, pastina, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Pour into a 9-by-13 inch glass baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours until top is firm. Makes 10 servings.

Jean Beatty, Seminole
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Kentucky Bourbon Candy
• 1 1/4 box powdered sugar
• 1/3 cup bourbon (Kentucky bourbon)
• 1/2 stick melted butter

Set aside powdered sugar. Mix all ingredients, add remaining powdered sugar to stiffen the mixture just enough to roll into ball-shaped candy. Place on wax paper. For topping, roll in powdered sugar and/or dip in chocolate. Chill in refrigerator.

Pamela Bickett, Largo
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Lil’s Holiday Cheese Balls
• 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 4-ounce package Treasure Cave blue cheese, room temperature
• 1 8-ounce container cold pack cheddar cheese, room temperature
• 1 firm green bell pepper, chopped fine
• 1 large jar pimentos, drained and chopped fine
• Lots of garlic powder
• A few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
• Chopped pecans or walnuts to roll cheese balls in

Mixed all ingredients, except nuts, in a bowl. The mixture will be too soft to form proper balls, so refrigerate for an hour or so. Depending on the size of the balls, each batch should produce four to five cheese balls. Roll in nuts then wrap tightly in saran wrap.

Lil Cromer, Belleair
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Mashed Cauliflower
• 1 head cauliflower
• 8 ounces white cheddar
• 3 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook cauliflower in chicken broth; cover and simmer. Once done, remove lid. Allow a little broth to evaporate. Mash up cauliflower and add cheeses.

Deborah Vines, St. Petersburg
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Microwave Peanut Toffee
• 3/4 cup finely chopped unsalted peanuts
• 1/2 cup butter or margarine
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 cup peanut butter and milk chocolate morsels

Spread 1/2 cup of the peanuts into a 9-inch circle on a greased baking sheet (or use a pizza pan).

Coat top 2 inches of a 2 1/2-quart glass bowl with butter. Put remaining butter in bowl. Add sugar and water – do not stir. Microwave on high for 8 minutes or just until mixture begins to turn light brown. Take out and pour over peanuts on sheet.

Sprinkle with chocolate and peanut butter morsels. Let stand 1 minute. Spread melted morsels over peanut mixture and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup chopped peanuts.

Chill until firm. Break into bite-size pieces and store in an airtight container. Makes 1 pound of candy.

Vicki Probst, Pinellas Park
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Party Loin of Pork
• Loin of pork
• 1 cup ketchup
• 1 cup honey
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 can crushed pineapple (drained)

Roast loin of pork for 3 hours at 325 degrees. Drain fat. Baste with ketchup, honey and soy sauce. For the last 10 minutes, add pineapples with a little juice.

Serve immediately with sweet potatoes and apple sauce.

Teresa Fama, Clearwater
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Pecan Dream Cookies
• 1/2 pound salted butter
• 8 tablespoons powdered sugar
• 2 teaspoons water
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 2 cups flour
• 1/2 pound pecans, cut

Mix together and bake 25 minutes at 250 degrees, then raise to 300 degrees for another 25 minutes. Put one pan on rack on top of the other, change pans around in 25 minutes. While hot, roll in powdered sugar.

Sharon Schlemmel, Largo
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Pineapple Cheese Cake
• 3 packages ladyfingers
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 11 ounces cream cheese
• 1 pint heavy cream (or 1 8-ounce container of Cool Whip)
• 1 can pie filling (pineapple or any flavor)
• 1 cherry

Line sides and bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with ladyfingers – rounded side out. Whip together sugar and cream cheese (save 1 spoonful). Whip heavy cream and fold in to cream cheese mix. Pour 1/3 cream cheese mix over ladyfingers. Pour 1/3 of pie filling over cream cheese mix. Repeat second layer. Layer ladyfingers. Pour remaining cream cheese mix over ladyfingers. Pour remaining pie filling over cream cheese mix. Place spoonful of cream cheese in the middle and top with a cherry. Chill overnight.

Patricia Sullivan, Pinellas Park
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Poorman Cake
• 1 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup shortening
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup chopped nuts
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon soda
• 2 cups flour
• 1 egg, well beaten

Cook raisins in water and use juice as liquid. Add shortening to hot juice, add sugar. In large bowl add flour, soda, spices and raisins. Add egg and nuts. Spread on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Frost with confectioner sugar frosting.

Mary Double, Redington Shores
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Pumpkin Heaven
• 5 eggs, beaten
• 1 29-ounce can pumpkin, solid
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 13-ounce can evaporated milk

Mix together and pour into ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan.

Add:
• 1 box yellow cake mix, dry
• 2 sticks butter, melted
• 1 cup pecans, chopped

Sprinkle cake mix over pumpkin mix. Pour melted butter over cake mix. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
Top with whipped cream if desired. Yum, yum, yum!

Tammy Bibelhauser, Seminole
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Pumpkin Pie Cake
Crust
• 1 box yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup)
• 1/2 cup melted margarine or butter
• 1 egg

Filling
• 3 cups pumpkin pie mix (1-pound 14-ounce can)
• 2 eggs
• 2/3 cup milk

Topping
• 1 cup reserved cake mix
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 or 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 cup soft margarine or butter

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Grease bottom only of 13-by-9-inch pan. Reserve 1 cup cake mix for topping. Combine remaining cake mix, margarine and egg; stir until mixture leaves the side of the bowl. Press into the pan.

Prepare filling by combining all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour over crust.

For the topping, combine all ingredients and sprinkle over filling. At times the mixture will not be crumbly – just mix well and pinch off small pieces and cover the top of the filling.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until knife inserted comes out clean.

Jeanne Ebling, Seminole
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Rice Casserole
Melt one stick of margarine in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish in microwave.

Add:
• 1 can beef consommι soup
• 1 can French onion soup
• 1 can mushrooms, drained
• 1 cup converted rice

Mix together and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce (if desired). Bake at 350 degrees (covered) for 1 hour.

Lorine Barnett, Clearwater
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Strawberry Pretzel Salad
• 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
• 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pretzels
• 3/4 cups melted margarine

Mix the above together and press into the bottom of a 9-by-13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.

• 8 ounces cream cheese
• 1 egg
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 9 ounces Cool Whip

Beat together above ingredients. Spread over crust and chill until well set.

• 2 small packages strawberry Jell-O
• 2 cups boiling water
• 2 packages frozen strawberries

Mix together. When slightly thickened, spoon over above mixture. Chill until set.

Janet Meling, Seminole
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Swedish Pickled Shrimp
• 2 pounds fresh uncooked shrimp (in shells)
• 1/2 cup celery tops
• 1/2 of a 1 1/2-jar pickling spice
• 2 cups sliced onion
• 8 bay leaves
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup white vinegar
• 3 tablespoons capers with juice
• 2 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
• 4 drops hot sauce

Bring pot of water, celery tops and pickling spice to a boil. Add shrimp, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse, peel and de-vein shrimp. Layer shrimp, sliced onion and bay leaves in shallow glass dish. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over shrimp. Cover and chill at least 24 hours or more.

Spoon marinade over occasionally. Will be best after 48 hours in refrigerator. Will keep well.

Christine Strzelecki, Pinellas Park
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Sweet Potato Casserole
• 4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 stick margarine

Cut sweet potatoes. Boil until tender. Add all ingredients and mash. Pour in casserole dish.

Topping
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup flour
• 1 cup pecan pieces
• 1/3 cup margarine

Mix topping and crumble over the top of casserole. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Terri Doheny, Clearwater
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Sweet Potato Surprise
• 4 sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup margarine, melted
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, sugar, margarine, milk, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined. Transfer the mixture into a 2 1/2-quart baking dish.

Topping:
• 1 cup grated, unsweetened coconut, dried or fresh
• 1 cup pecans
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup all purpose flour
• 1/3 cup margarine

In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients with a pastry cutter or fingertips until crumbly. Distribute the topping over the sweet potatoes. Bake the casserole for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serves six to eight people.

Juli Betterman, Seminole
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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Turnip & Carrot Side Dish
• 1 package carrots
• 1 large, purple headed turnip
• Salt and pepper (to taste)
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• Butter or margarine

Cook carrots and turnip together with salt, pepper and sugar. Drain and mash together, adding butter or margarine and a little sugar. Color is very pretty on holiday table.

Kathleen Bourret, Seminole
November 2005 Holiday Gift Guide
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