Teresa Hatchell 2005

I thank God that I have a very large, loving family and extended family, a wonderful church family and so many caring friends. I am not ashamed to say that God is the mainstay of my life, so I do not hesitate to thank Him.

Take a moment to think back to when you were taught to “say grace” or to "give thanks." I recall Mom telling us, “Always give God thanks for your home, family, food, friends and other blessings.” She also taught us to not be ashamed to “ask” a blessing before every meal wherever we ate. Because of my upbringing, I taught my own sons to pray. I feel that prayer is an essential part of life that should be passed on from one generation to the next. And I’m asking you all to make – on this upcoming Thanksgiving Day -- a lifelong resolution to take time to thank God for His provisions for your needs. After all, God truly is "GREAT" and gracious to give us many blessings beyond what we deserve. Below are three recipes for variations on holiday season desserts that are easy and fun to make, as well as delicious.

Six layer bars

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

6 ounces of chocolate chips

6 ounces of butterscotch chips

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter in a 9x13 baking pan and put it in the oven to melt. Remove the pan from the oven. In a medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and sugar. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the melted butter. Use a fork to mix the ingredients together. Press this mixture firmly to make a crust. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Top the chocolate chips with butterscotch chips, then flaked coconut, then chopped pecans in layers. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and allow the pan to cool completely. Cut the dessert/snack into small bars. Store them in an airtight container to retain their freshness.

Yummy chewies

1 stick of Land O’Lakes Sweet Cream ‘N Salted Butter, melted

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 box Dixie Crystal light brown sugar (no other brand)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (“extract,” not flavoring)

1 cup chopped pecans

2-1/4 cups White Lily self-rising flour

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. While the oven is preheating, place the stick of butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and turn it on about 40 seconds  -- enough to melt the butter. Allow the butter three or four minutes to cool. Beat in the three large eggs. Then, stir in the brown sugar, vanilla extract and pecans. Stir until everything is evenly combined. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring to make a smooth, thick batter. Spoon the batter into a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 325 for about 40 to 45 minutes. Allow the chewies to cool before you cut them. Store them in an airtight container or on a plate, tightly covered with plastic wrap.

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Cherry winks

1 cup butter or margarine

3-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

2-1/2 cups self-rising flour

1-1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Candied cherries, halved

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter or margarine and cream cheese. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract. Beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture. Beat well. Chill this mixture about an hour. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the chopped pecans. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press a cherry half into the center of each ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. This recipe makes several dozen “winks.”

Contact writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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