The Best Holiday Classic Cheese Ball Recipe

The Best Holiday Classic Cheese Ball Recipe

Need a really tasty classic cheese ball for this holiday season?  You need to look no further!  Searching for a good cheese ball recipe, I came across this winner on Pinterest.  Lauren from Tastes Better From Scratch shared her recipe for a classic cheese ball.  

The ingredients listed seemed to assure a flavorful appetizer.  Cheddar, Worcestershire, Garlic Powder, oregano, green onions, and hot sauce made this recipe sound like a winner.   In the last couple of years, I have made the cheese ball from another recipe and ended up adding more garlic and some other seasonings because the original recipe was too bland for our taste.  This one doesn’t need that!

The Best Holiday Classic Cheese Ball Recipe on


In the past, for Thanksgiving, I also formed the cheese balls into a pumpkin shape.  Each was wrapped in plastic wrap and manipulated into a round shape and pumpkin – like gores were formed with my fingers and the help of a rounded chopstick.  Thin slices of cheese accentuated the gore lines.  A thick pretzel was used as the pumpkin stem.  I also got this idea from Pinterest.Follow me here!

Last year, I saw where someone had wrapped the cheese ball in plastic wrap and used large rubber bands to make the indentations in the pumpkin shape!  Brilliant!  I have been anxious to try this new method and it worked perfectly!  I love the results!

The Best Holiday Classic Cheese Ball Recipe on



So, here, you can compare the two.  I definitely like the newer version better.   Shaping the cheese ball with the plastic wrap, some of the pecans got smashed into the cheeses but it still looks much better.  Don’t you think?

Instead of the pretzel, a piece of celery was used for the stem.  I’ve seen bell pepper stems used as stems, but I didn’t have any of those.  We were fresh out of pretzels, too.  Brainstorming, I came up with the celery.   

I’ve also seen the cheese squares served on a wreath of rosemary and decided to combine the two, with the cheese ball in the center surrounded by the rosemary and the cheese squares.  These were placed on a clear glass platter.  The colorful tablecloth shows through the clear glass.  Be aware that the cheese squares actually pick up some of the rosemary flavor, which is not a problem for me.  I love rosemary.

An assortment of crackers was displayed on a Wilton Armetale platter next to the cheeses. (We are an Amazon affiliate and may receive a small percentage of any sales through this link at no cost to you.  Thanks for supporting this website!)  We have several pieces of Wilton Armetale and I love them all.  

We had fresh parsley on hand and instead of the teaspoon of dried parsley in Lauren’s recipe, a tablespoon of fresh parsley was used.  The bright fresh green of the parsley and the green onion added color as well as flavor.  Oh, and I doubled the recipe.  Here it is!


Classic Cheese Ball

2 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp.Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

With a spoon, blend the softened cream cheese and the cheddar cheese together well.  Add the chopped green onion, the Worcestershire, the hot pepper sauce, fresh parsley, garlic powder, oregano, and black pepper.  Mix well.  Shape into a ball with your hands.

Roll the ball into the chopped pecans, covering the entire ball.  Then, place on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Pull the plastic wrap up and around the ball.  Use large rubber bands wrapped around the ball to create the pumpkin – like indentations. The Best Holiday Classic Cheese Ball Recipe on

Refrigerate overnight or for several hours.  Then, remove the plastic wrap and insert a piece of celery for a stem.

Yes, I think this will be a great addition to our yearly Thanksgiving menu.  But, hey!  Christmas is coming and we always have appetizers all day Christmas Eve.  This holiday classic cheese ball will, undoubtedly, be on the menu then, too.

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Velvet Pumpkins – How To Make

Velvet Pumpkins – How To Make

‘Velvet Pumpkins – How To Make”  If you sew at all, these little velvet pumpkins will be easy to make and they look so pretty!  There are at least two ways to stuff them using poly fiber fill or, my favorite, using the little plastic pellets and the patterns below.  (We are an Amazon affiliate and will receive a small percentage of any sale from these links at no cost to you.  Thanks for supporting this website!)

Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on


pumpkin pattern download  ►pumpkin stem pattern download

Sewing The Pumpkin

Cut 6 pumpkin pieces of one size from velvet or velour fabric.  Place two of the cut pieces, right sides together, matching the edges on one side and pinning.  Sew a 1/4″ seam leaving 3/4″ open at the top.  Trim threads.

Place another pumpkin piece, right sides together, matching an edge to one of the pieces you have just sewn together.   Pin together and sew, leaving 3/4″ open at the top.  back-stitch one or two stitches.  (This helps hold the seam together when the piece is being filled or stuffed.)

Continue sewing the remaining sections together in the same way, until all 6 sections have been sewn together.  Then, match the 2 loose edges together, pin, and sew a 1/4″ seam, being sure the bottom end is completely closed.  (You don’t want the pellets slipping out of the pumpkin!)

When all the pieces have been sewn together, you should have a shape that looks like this.

Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

Filling With Plastic Pellets

Turn the velvet pumpkin right side out and fill with poly fiber fill or plastic pellets.  I tried a few different ways to fill the pumpkin with these pellets, straight from the bag, using a funnel, but found the easiest and less messy way was to fill a small glass and pour into the pumpkin shape.





When your pumpkin has been filled to the top,  hand stitch the 3/4″ opening at the top of the seam and knot the thread.  Repeat for each section.  Before finishing the last section, be sure you have extra thread to sew a gathering stitch around the top, which will be used to pull the pumpkin closed.  (The easier way to do that follows.)

Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

Then, tie the knot, run a gathering stitch through each section, about 1/4″ from the top.  Pull that section up tight and hold with your thumb and forefinger.  Run the needle through the fabric where your gathering stitch is and pull tight.  Take a couple of stitches to securely hold this section.  Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

Repeat this process until the top is completely closed.  (I figured this one out after wrestling with it for awhile!  It is much easier this way!)Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

At this point, you can glue a dried stem, or attach any stem you can dream up, but I decided to make a stem from felt for this little pellet filled pumpkin. 




The Stem

 I knew what I wanted the end product to look like and after a while, I came up with this hand stitched felt stem.  Embroidery floss was used to stitch the three sections together.  The seams are supposed to mimic the lines and indentations in real pumpkin stems.  Using the pattern at the top of this post, you can make your own, too.   Making the pumpkin with the plastic pellets and the felt stem, it is virtually childproof!Velvet Pumpkins - How To Make on

The downloadable pattern explains how to sew the felt stem together.  It is then, just stitched to the top of the velvet pumpkins.  

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Love Pumpkin Pie? This Pumpkin Cheesecake Will Blow Your Mind!

Love Pumpkin Pie? This Pumpkin Cheesecake Will Blow Your Mind!

Love Pumpkin Pie? This Pumpkin Cheesecake Will Blow Your Mind!

November 25, 2016

    Do you Love Pumpkin Pie?  If you do, This Pumpkin Cheesecake Will Blow Your Mind!  Serve it with homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream for a dessert that will be impossible to resist!


  Cheesecake is probably my favorite dessert to make.   It has to be one of the most loved desserts of all time.  Surprisingly, my mother and grandmothers did not attempt these delicious perfect endings to a meal.

   In, or around, 1975, I came across a cheesecake recipe in a magazine, bought a springform pan, and began making cheesecakes.  They are surprisingly easy to make.  Personally, I believe they are easier than cakes!  Who would think that?  There is a misconception that they are difficult!

     When I worked at the local bank, we all brought food in for birthdays, holidays, etc.  Most of the time, my offering was cheesecake because no one else made them!  You can find tips and some of my favorites here ►Cheesecakes.

    Without a doubt, I prefer this pumpkin cheesecake over pumpkin pie any day! While this cheesecake is unbelievably flavorful, the homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream take this dessert over the top!

Pumpkin Cheesecake


 Preheat oven to 325°

2 cups Gingersnap Cookie crumbs (about 8-ounces)
1/2 cup finely chopped Pecans
4 Tblsp. melted unsalted Butter
2 Tblsp. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. ground Cinnamon


3 Tblsp. all-purpose Flour
1-1/2 tsp. ground Ginger
1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. grated Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 (8-ounce) pkg. Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1-1/2 cups Sugar
1 (15-ounce) can Pumpkin Puree
3 Tblsp. Bourbon
2 Tblsp. Vanilla Extract
4 large Eggs (room temperature)

**For Serving, You’ll Also Want:

   Whipped Cream

   Caramel Sauce (I made Ree Drummond’s Caramel Sauce.  It takes about 10 minutes to make this sauce.  Quick, easy, and the BEST Tasting Caramel Sauce I have ever had!)    You’ll need brown sugar, half-and-half, butter, salt, and vanilla extract.


Crust – 

Process gingersnaps in the bowl of food processor until finely ground.  Add the pecans, the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Process until combined and the mixture holds together.

Transfer mixture to a 10″ springform pan. *With a heavy-bottomed glass, press mixture onto the bottom and about 1″ up the sides of the 10″ springform pan.  (Amazon is an affiliate. If you purchase from this link, we will make a small percentage of the sale at no cost to you.  Thanks for supporting this blog.)

*You don’t have to, but I use parchment paper on the bottom so there is no possibility of the crust sticking to the pan.  After the cheesecake has been baked and cooled, slide the cheesecake off of the removable bottom onto your palm, peel off the parchment and set on serving plate.

   Bake the crust until lightly set, about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Filling –

Mix the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Best Pumpkin Cheesecake on

Love Pumpkin Pie? This Pumpkin Cheesecake Will Blow Your Mind! on


 Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, and sugar in the bowl for a couple of minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.


Love Pumpkin Pie? This Pumpkin Cheesecake Will Blow Your Mind! on


 Add pumpkin, bourbon, vanilla, and the flour – spice mixture to the batter and mix well.


   Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.


   Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan, set in a bain-marie, or hot water bath,

and bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes.


  Prop the oven door open slightly and allow to cool for an hour.  Remove from the oven and the hot water bath, cover and refrigerate overnight.

   Remove from the refrigerator and transfer to a serving plate.  Serve with caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.  Yum!

    Seriously Love Pumpkin Pie? This Pumpkin Cheesecake Will Blow Your Mind!


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Plan For A Stress-Free Thanksgiving Like An Expert

Plan For A Stress-Free Thanksgiving Like An Expert

November 19, 2016

   After preparing Thanksgiving meals for over forty years, how to Plan For A Stress-Free Thanksgiving Like An Expert has evolved!   Of course, you can buy prepared dishes, but if you want to have homemade food, one of the keys is preparing side dishes that can be assembled a day or two before, to be baked, and or, served Thanksgiving Day.

                                   Thanksgiving Meal Plan Breakdown

►Three days before Thanksgiving

Place the turkey in the refrigerator to thaw, if you’re using a frozen bird.

►Two days before Thanksgiving

Prepare a Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Prepare the Mini Cheese Balls, (love these), or the Pumpkin-shaped Cheese Ball. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  (This year, I have found another way of shaping the cheese ball and it looks even better!  You wrap the ball in plastic wrap and use rubber bands to wrap around the ball to create the pumpkin-like indentations and refrigerate overnight. Genius!)

►The day before Thanksgiving

Prepare the Creole Green Beans. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Prepare the Sour Cream Potatoes.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare the Cranberry Sauce.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 Prepare the vegetables for the vegetable tray and store in Ziploc bags and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare the Ranch Dip, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Thanksgiving Day

At least 3 – 3-1/2 hours before the meal for a 12-16 lb. turkey.  Depending on the size of the turkey, you may have to adjust the time.  

(Check here for cooking times and instructions using Reynolds Oven Bags.)

   Bake the turkey.  We don’t stuff the bird.  We also use the Reynolds turkey oven bags, which make a moist turkey.  It takes less time to bake it without the stuffing.


   Place the giblets from the turkey, (not the liver), into a saucepan with water.  Add a teaspoon of salt, 8 – 10 peppercorns, a bay leaf, a quartered onion, celery tops, and parsley.  Heat to a boil, turn down the heat, cover, and simmer until cooked through.  Use the liquid and chopped giblets to make your favorite dressing.

   The bread maker is usually started at this time and in two hours, dough is ready to make into buns and proof for a half hour before baking for 8-minutes in the oven.  To make it easy on yourself, you can make rolls the day before or simply buy them from the bakery.

One hour before the meal.

   Place the prepared Sour Cream Potatoes in the 350° oven.  

   Prepare the Kentucky Spoon Bread.  Place in the 350° oven after the potatoes have baked for 15 minutes.

   Place the Stuffing and the Creole Green Beans in the 350° oven after the spoon bread has baked for 5-10 minutes.

      While the potatoes, green beans, and spoon bread bake, assemble the cheese ball appetizer and the vegetable tray.  


      Remove the Sour Cream Potatoes, Creole Green Beans, the stuffing, and the Kentucky Spoon Bread from the oven.  If you stagger the times you put each into the oven correctly, all should be done at the same time.


   You can use these recipes or your own, but try to find side dishes that can be prepared the day ahead, refrigerated, and baked at the same temperature on Thanksgiving Day.

Need To Enlarge The Kitchen Or Dining Room Table?

 Dixie Carter, who played Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women, had so much class.  A magazine, I don’t remember which one, published an article on her and her home.  She revealed that underneath her beautiful tablecloth and all the beautiful dishes and decor was a sheet of plywood!

   She needed her table to be larger, so she placed the plywood on top of the table and no one was the wiser!

   That is where I got the idea to do that very thing.  As our family expands, we need more space at the table. A few years ago, my oldest son helped me buy a 4′  X  8′ sheet of plywood and bring it home in his pickup truck.  (It clearly would not fit in my Mustang.) 

   Wanting the corners rounded, I placed a bowl upside down in each of the corners and drew around the bowl from where it met one edge to the other.  Then, a jigsaw was used to cut the rounded corners. 

   Before placing the plywood on the table, four silicone pot holders are placed on each corner.  This helps protect the table and it also helps keep it from sliding.  Don’t you love the silicone pot holders?

   Now, cover the board with a big beautiful tablecloth or tablecloths and no one will be the wiser.  I have three banquet tablecloths.  Two are used to overlap slightly covering the board, and also drape down the ends and sides of the table.  The third is centered on the table over top of the first two.

   If possible, add your centerpiece to the tables and set the tables the night before.  Serving dishes are not added to the tables.  To make it easier for our big gathering, the food is served on the kitchen island.

   Using the easy to make cardboard lifts and levels, the island is covered with a pretty tablecloth or two.  Use a variety of heights and sizes to display platters of food.  It adds interest and sometimes it makes serving more convenient!

    Pulling out the platters that the food will be displayed on and placing a little note with what each platter will hold help remind you of what needs to be served!  Have you ever forgotten something?  Yes, I have only to remember halfway through the meal!

   Maybe you don’t want to use the recipes my family has come to love and expect at Thanksgiving, but using this same idea, you can Plan For A Stress-Free Thanksgiving Like An Expert!


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Last Minute Thanksgiving Decorations

Last Minute Thanksgiving Decorations

November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Decorations

    This year we will be having around twenty family members at our annual Thanksgiving dinner and I have been trying to finish those last minute Thanksgiving decorations.   The sideboard has a display of silver and faux pumpkins and a gourd. The silver pieces are pieces I already had, but the pumpkins and gourd were found at Hobby Lobby for eighty percent off the regular price!


   A table runner of burlap spans the length of the kitchen table and another runner is centered on the dining room table.  The added texture of the burlap adds interest.  The silver pumpkin on the kitchen table was a steal at Target at the end of the season last year and a candle is nestled inside of it.   Of course, the little velvet pumpkins were made this year.  The pattern for them can be found here ► pumpkin pattern #pumpkin stem pattern.


   Two clear glass vases have been used to display a candle wrapped in gold surrounded by hazelnuts.  A few fall leaves were gathered from the backyard. I love this earthy, yet elegant look!  How simple is this?Last Minute Thanksgiving Decorations on

    In the kitchen, we have a bay window and French door combination.  When we built the house, we had an extra four feet added to the width of the family room, which butts up to the wall where the chalkboard is.  Since those four extra feet are on the other side of this opening, it is just a mock window.  At one time, I had a curtain over it so it appeared to be a window.  

Last Minute Thanksgiving Decorations on


   One day I decided to frame the mock window and using chalkboard paint, created a blackboard!  I love it!  It is big.  The grandchildren write on it all the time.  It is great for making lists and notes to remind me of things.  Sometimes it sports a calendar with specific dates marked.  It does come in handy when trying to keep track of daily duties.

    The dining room table is set with chargers and a tablescape with more of the clear vases,  candles wrapped in gold, and a variety of nuts.  The velvet pumpkins I made earlier this year,  with the real dried pumpkin stems from last year, are placed down the center of another burlap runner.  The same velvet pumpkin pattern was used for these, but a real dried stem was hot glued on the top.  I held this in place for a couple of minutes to be sure the glue was set and holding the stem securely.

    The painted pumpkins from last year sit atop the crystal candle holders.  Sophia actually put two of these on the candle holders because I had not placed the candles in them yet.  I liked her idea and so they stayed where she placed them.

The directions for painting the faux pumpkins are in an earlier post from last year. The directions are here ►Painted pumpkins!


 The fireplace mantel remains the same except for the omission of the black crows from Halloween.  I really love this look, the combination of the blue, the rusts, and the oranges.  The wooden pumpkin on the fireplace hearth is the backside of the Halloween “Trick or Treat” pumpkin.  Usually, one of the grandkids turns it around to the “Trick or Treat” side when they come over.    I just turn it back after they leave.


   Today I begin cooking and baking for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  Hope you enjoyed and perhaps are inspired by our last minute Thanksgiving decorations!Last Minute Thanksgiving Decorations on


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