This week's column is dedicated to "Bubba" and all the other new friends I made while visiting South Carolina during Thanksgiving. Even though I'm a born and breed "Maineiac", I've found that every part of our wonderful country has very special people and customs.

Santa Snacks

12 mini bagels

marinara sauce (see recipe following)

2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 pound sliced deli ham, chipped

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Slice each bagel in half horizontally. Spread about 1 tablespoon marinara sauce on each bagel half. Evenly divide mozzarella cheese, ham, and Parmesan cheese on top of each bagel. Place on prepared baking sheets; bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Marinara Sauce

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, combine tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Heavenly Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars


Non-stick cooking spray

2 (7.4 ounce) chocolate chip muffin mix

6 tablespoons, butter, softened


1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons milk


1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom of 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Stir muffin mix and 6 tablespoons butter together in large bowl until crumbly. Lightly press into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly brown around edges. Cool completely. Beat 1/2 cup butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk in medium bowl at low speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Spread over crust.

Microwave chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter in uncovered microwave-safe bowl on medium high for 45 seconds. Stir until smooth. If necessary, microwave at 15 seconds intervals until chocolate is melted. Cool 10 minutes. Spread over peanut butter filling. Chill 30 minutes or until set.


Our thought for the week: "It's one thing to feel that you are on the right, path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path." — Paul Coelho