You can have your decorated Christmas tree – and eat it, too.
Aiken resident Elizabeth Rinder made this so with her cooking creation – a tree-shaped veggie pizza with all the trimmings.
Once she completed it, she took a picture and shared it with almost 3,000 people.
Those thousands are members to one online group – The Facebook Dinner Club.
This Facebook page is the concoction of Rinder and her husband Josh.
“I love food ... I could sit and just read recipes,” Elizabeth said.
Rinder's friend Angela Farr also assisted her with the page's early days.
“The page actually grew much quicker than I expected, and it took some time to be active and reply to people,” Rinder said.
More than 780 people joined within the first couple of months.
Some post pictures of dishes they've made or of meals they want to try. Others ask questions and for recommendations.
Rinder gets out once and awhile from behind the website-keeping scenes to ask members questions and to post recipes.
“I don't go a day without posting something,” she said.
Some of those posts have included her helper – her young daughter Audrey.
“She wants to help (me in the kitchen almost daily),” Rinder said.
Earlier this month, Rinder put up a photo of green-dyed dough.
This dough wasn't for a cake or cookies but rather to play with.
“My 3˝-year-old daughter and I made some homemade Play-Doh,” Rinder wrote on the page. “Although it's not food, it's definitely cooking in the kitchen.”
Most of the other items range “from appetizers to crockpot meals to dessert,” she said.
Rinder prefers to fix dinner.
“I've gained confidence through the Dinner Club page's friends to take a hand at some homemade recipes, cookies and such, and it's not as bad as I used to think it was,” she said.
Rinder leads three different dinner clubs.
About seven to 10 different people make up each group.
Each group meets once a month, and members bring meals from their own imaginations or from a Dinner Club post.
“When someone says they'll make macaroni and cheese, we all know that could be a different version than what we grew up on,” Rinder said.
Once everyone has arrived, the feast can begin.
Rinder suggests others have this experience at their own homes.
“You can meet new people, as well as learn something new in the kitchen,” she said.
With so many members, Rinder admits she hasn't properly met everyone.
“One day, it may be fun to meet up over dinner,” she said. “I feel like after a couple years of talking through the page, I've gained friendships.”
The Dinner Club page is not the only cooking webpage Rinder maintains. Her cooking blog – another idea from Josh – helps her organize her recipes.
“When people get on the (Dinner Club) page and ask for a particular recipe, I just look through the catalog on the blog and give it to them,” she said.
Anybody can join the Facebook Dinner Club page or have a friend who is already a member add them, Elizabeth said.
Josh is even a member. However, “(he) enjoys eating but isn't a cook,” Elizabeth said.
For more information or to join, visit the Facebook Dinner Club page on Facebook.
Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.
Submitted Photo Pictured are chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Mint Oreos, left, and Double Stuf Oreos. To recreate, purchase a package of Oreos and a package of chocolate chip cookie dough with 24 precut squares. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take one dough square and form it around one side of the Oreo cookie; repeat for the other side. Repeat this step 11 more times. Place the covered Oreo cookies in a greased muffin tin. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with caution.×
Submitted Photo Pictured are sausage cheese balls. To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use your hands to mix together 1 pound of Jimmy Dean sausage, 2 cups of Bisquick, 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of water. Form 1-inch balls. Place them on a greased and foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven with caution.×
Submitted Photo Pictured is a veggie pizza shaped into a Christmas tree. To recreate, lay out two cans of Pillsbury Place ‘N Bake Crescent Rounds into a Christmas tree shape. One way to form the shape is to lay out five rounds. Then place a row of four rounds above it. Continue this pattern until you have one round in a row; this will be the tree’s tip. Take your remaining round, and place it on the other side of the bottom layer; this will be the tree’s trunk. Bake this shape according to the oven settings and cook time on the Pillsbury package. The shape will turn golden when its complete. Be cautious when you remove it. The “pizza sauce” can be made with mixing together cream cheese, dressing mix and mayonnaise. Toppings can include vegetables, meat or cheese.×
Submitted Photo Elizabeth Rinder with her daughter and baking partner Audrey.×
Submitted Photo Pictured are garlic cheese biscuits. To make, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix 2/3 cup milk, 2 cups of Bisquick, 1 tablespoon of garlic salt and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sharp shredded cheddar cheese. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in another bowl. Add in 1/2 tsp. of parsley and 1 tsp. of salt. Stir the butter and spices together. Use 1/3 of the butter mix to coat the biscuits. Bake for 4 minutes. Coat the biscuits with 1/3 more of the butter mix. Place back in the oven for 4 extra minutes, or until the biscuits turn brown. Remove cautiously. Add the remaining butter mix.×
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