Special Holiday Recipes from the Advising Team!

December 18, 2018

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Toby's Cranberry Centerpeice

Create a conversation holiday centerpiece for under $10 (Toby)

Cranberry sauces and relishes are always appreciated on a holiday table. But what about fresh cranberries? They float in water! Add some floating candles in the bowl or vase. And - voila - you have a very festive centerpiece!

I read this trick in a magazine many years ago. To this day, guests comment positively whenever it is displayed. There is usually some utterance about floating fruit, fire, and looking pretty.


  • A glass bowl/vase
  • Water
  • Bag of fresh cranberries
  • Floating Candles

Fill a clear, glass bowl or vase with water. Add a bag of cranberries to cover the top of the water line. Add candles. To ensure proper lighting, be mindful the candle wick does not get wet.  Candles can float among the cranberries. Or, for a more dramatic effect, cover the candles with additional cranberries to see only the flames peak through the cranberries.

Fresh cranberries are sold in grocery store produce aisles in 8 oz, 12 oz, and 16 oz bags. Find a 6 pack of floating candles in Walmart or Yankee Candle.

Marva's Potato Stuffing—Virgin Islands Style

Potato Stuffing—Virgin Islands Style! (Marva)

A delicacy of the Virgin Islands is a dish that resembles in appearance something like a sweet potato or yam dish but is made with white potatoes.  I started making it for my family when I would visit them in the islands for the Christmas holiday (another Virgin Islander taught me the recipe as it was not part of my family tradition. It now firmly is and I had the pleasure of teaching my niece how to make it when she was stationed at the Patuxent Naval base.


  • One large Onion, chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks, chopped
  • One green, one red pepper, chopped
  • 3 gloves of garlic, chopped or minced (to taste)
  • 2 tables spoons of Oil or butter (your taste) each
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 2 pounds of white (Irish) potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/3 cup of raisins
  • 2 teaspoons of Olives or capers
  • 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar (can add more to your taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)

Wash, peel and cut the potatoes in to chunks and bring to a boil in a pan of water (make sure the water covers the potatoes). Cook (10-15 minutes) until a knife or folks can easily prick this vegetable.

Drain and mash!

Heat oil and butter in a saucepan, add celery and cook for about 20 seconds, add onions, garlic and peppers. Cook until soft!

Add tomato paste and sauce—cook until all ingredients are combined, then add sugar, thyme and raisins

Fold mixture in to the mashed potato-carefully working the veggie sauce in.

Transfer to a baking dish (can coat with oil spray) and bake for 45-50 minutes until there is a crust on the top. Cut in squares to serve when slightly cooled and enjoy!!!

Spinach and artichoke dip

Spinach & Artichoke Dip (Kathy)


  • 1 pkg creamed spinach. Frozen
  • 1 can artichokes in water not oil chop it
  • About 4 garlic pieces chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • About 2/3 cup each shredded Monterrray jack cheese and Parmesan cheese
  • About 2/3 cup mayonnaise

Defrost spinach and mix all together. Put in a pie pan and then put some more shredded cheese on top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees about 28 minutes.

Kathy's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars (Kathy)


  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups quick oats

Put in a greased long pan and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes.