Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas out - New Years in

Well, it is the day after Christmas. I am kind of glad it is over. We had a really good Christmas this year, even though I fretted through most of December because I was late doing everything. All of my cookies did not get baked, I did not fully decorate my house, and I was not really in the mood for the shopping. After all of the worrying, we had plenty of treats, the house was festive enough and the kids received a lot of great presents.

December started out with us going to Walt Disney World in Florida. We went the day after Thanksgiving and stayed for five days. The weather was great and the Hotel we stayed in was nice. We had a two bedroom suite at the Lake Buena Vista Spa and Resort. We will stay there again.

Our family went with my husband's sister. She has two adorable little boys that really enjoyed Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Gabe, who is four, really liked the "parts" ride (Backlot Tour). My family really liked the Soaring ride at Epcot.

We went to my mom's house for Christmas eve appetizers and when we came back home the girls were all hyper running around. I was exhausted and finally told them to leave the first floor so Santa could come. Usually they open PJs on Christmas Eve but I did not know which boxes contained the PJs, so they had nothing to open.

Baylee decided they would wake up at 6:10 a.m. to open their presents. I am not sure why ten after the hour was chosen, but sure enough they were up at 6:10 and ready to open presents. Half way through opening presents, it hit me the flash was off on my camera and most of my pics were dark. oops! I still had quite a few that turned out. All of the girls received clothes, scarfs, gloves, fancy tights, over the knee socks, and an assortment of gift cards. Baylee got some Wii games, Chelsea got a camera, and Lauren got two pairs of boots. They older girls also got steamers for their clothes since neither like to iron. I got my cast iron dutch oven, a ceramic casserole pan and pie plate, and two scarves. T J got shoes, t-shirts, NCIS and Seinfeld videos.

My family came over on Christmas day for brunch. We had ham, french toast, raspberry muffins, fruit salad and spinach casserole. Later in the day we had left over ham, and my mom had brought over stuff to make a salad. I also made a broccoli salad and Pioneer Woman's Fancy Macaroni. I did not really get any decent pictures of the food or the gathering. I guess I was busy socializing.

This is really good. I have never had goat cheese before and was hesitant, but this was really good. I did take her advice and only add macaroni a little at a time to ensure the casserole would not be dry. The 4 cups of macaroni is probably a little to much. I used elbow macaroni and I had a small bowl of noodles that I did not use. This was yummy and I will make this again. I will probably adapt this to my family and chop the onions up smaller and add cheddar to the top.

We don't have plans for New Year's Eve yet but I am looking forward to the new year. I am hoping that next year goes a little easier on my finances! I think everyone wants that! I am not much for new years resolutions so I am not sure if I will have one.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and they have a safe and happy new year!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oreo Balls and Peppermint Bark

Over the past week I have been trying to catch up on making my cookies and candies. I am very late this year so I am only making small batches to last now until New Year's Eve, then I am back to salads!

I think everyone makes Oreo Balls. They are simple to mix up and quite good. I cannot remember where I got the recipe, it seems to be on every website and blog. The person that dreamed these up is genius. I tend to only make them at Christmas but they can be made throughout the year and decorated according to the occassion.

Oreo Balls
Crush 1 package of Oreos in a food processor. Add one 8 oz brick of cream cheese. Form 1 inch balls and refrigerate til hard. Dip each ball in melted chocolate using 2 forks and place on wax paper. Decorate with sprinkles or drizzle with colored choclate.

This is my first year making Peppermint Bark. Lesson learned, get really good chocolate when you make these. I did not and although these are good, they would be better with a really good white chocolate. I did a mixture of starlight candies and candy canes. The starlight mints mostly break up into white pieces so they are good for adding into the chocolate but you need the candy canes to decorate the top.
Peppermint Bark
8 oz white chocolate
8 oz chocolate
1/2 tsp mint extract
20 crushed peppermint candies
Prepare 8x8 dish by lining with foil and spray with cooking spray. Melt chocolate in microwave. It usually takes under a minute. Stir in 1/4 tsp of mint extract and then spread in pan. Place in refrigerator while you melt white chocolate in microwave. Stir in 1/4 tsp of mint extract and most of the crushed candies. Spread over chocolate layer and then decorate with remaining crushed candies.

The 2009 Gingerbread House

My daughter Baylee started making gingerbread houses in elementary school and every year she works hard to make a house loaded with as much candy as possible! I guess I am a horrible mom because this is the first year I have actually taken a picture of her creation.

This house was made over the weekend and now that it is Thursday, a large chunk of the candy has been eaten off the house. Yes, that beautiful roof no longer has a chimney or colored decor! She makes them for fun but I think she has even more fun eating it.

This year she started out with the deluxe Wilton Gingerbread kit and I also bought her the Candy Trimmings kit and the display board. The trimmings kit has candy molds and chocolate. This added some nice features to the house.

I promise I will photograph these yummy masterpieces every year!!

Great job Baylee!! You are the best!!

Merry Christmas!

A Delicious Cream Wafer Cookie

This is an old recipe from Betty Crocker. The wafer is light and flaky and not very sweet, so don't nibble on the dough or the unfilled cookies. Oh, but once you add the icing......yummy good!! These can be made into any shape, for any occasion. Make sure the size of the cookie is small; no bigger than an inch and a half.

The dough will be VERY sticky so make sure you chill it until it hardens. Since the dough will be pretty hard once it is chill, you have to work with it to roll it down to 1/8 inch thick. Do not try to knead it or add extra flour. Work your rolling pin back and forth on the hard dough, it will warm up and roll thin. Do not let it get too warm, if the dough get too soft, put it back in the fridge to get cold. They do puff up when you bake them so make sure they are thin.

Pastel Cream Wafers
1 cup butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Food coloring

Measure flour by spooning into measuring cup and leveling off with a knife. Sift the flour into the bowl with the butter. Beat these together thoroughly and slowly add the heavy cream. Dough will be sticky. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll dough to 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured board. Cut into 1 1/2 inch shapes. Toss each shape in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Prick with a fork. Bake for 7-9 minutes.

To make the icing, blend 1/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. A little milk can be added it icing is dry. If the icing is too wet, add more confectioners' sugar. Add the coloring of your choice and then place a little icing between two cookies.

Print Recipe


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yummy Fudge!!!

I am not sure where I got this recipe, but this fudge is delicious!

Peanut Butter Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 c evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz package semi sweet chocolate pieces
7 oz jar Marshmallow Creme
1/2 cup peanut butter

Prepare 13x9 by either greasing the pan or lining with foil and spray with cooking spray. I like using the foil so I can lift the fudge out of the pan to cut the squares.

Chocolate fudge layer:
Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons margarine, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a sauce pan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and continue boiling for minutes while continually stirring so it does not scorch.

Remove from heat and stir in chocolate pieces, 1/2 jar of marshmallow creme and 1/2 tsp vanilla.

Peanut butter fudge layer:
Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons margarine, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a sauce pan. Bring to a fill rolling boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and continue boiling for minutes while continually stirring so it does not scorch.

Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, 1/2 jar of marshmallow creme and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Spread over chocolate layer. Cool and then cut into squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Print Recipe

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Cookie Planning

Last year my sister and mom came to my house every couple of days and we baked cookies and candies. We had fun bonding and had lots of great cookies and candies to share.

Christmas 2008

We are planning to gather later this week and make cookies for this year. We are a little late this year, so I will probably make some candies over the next couple of days. I have been working on my cookie and candy list for this year. Here are my favorites.

Oreo Balls
Peanut Butter Fudge
Chocolate Fudge
Peppermint Bark

Wafer Cookies
Raspberry Poppyseed kolacky
Brownie Peppermint Bites

Holidays Treats
Pumpkin Roll
Spiced Pretzels
Spiced Oyster Crackers
Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I will post some pictures and recipes later this week.

Shopping for Christmas

Well, I started my Christmas shopping today. Yeah, I know it is late, but I have not really been in the mood. I went out today with my two oldest daughters. Our goal was to try to get as many gifts as possible and find two New Year's Eve dresses.

New Year's Eve dresses √

As many gifts as possible.......
Ok, that did not happen.
We just did not find everything easily. The christmas lists still have plenty on them!

This year I am trying to concentrate on just getting presents. You know what happens every year. You go to a store to pick up PJs for the kids but you end up with $50.00 of needless items in your cart. Last year, I bought blankets, sweaters, measuring spoon, hangers, 5 or 6 Christmas pins, and a bunch of other stuff. They were not presents, just things I thought I needed at the time.

Today I was good. The only extra purchase I made was this......

I have not purchased any Christmas decorations, besides lights, in the past two years, so this was due. He is so cute!! He is a night light and he is like a snow globe. As he heats, the glitter floats around in his cute little head! I love him!

Happy shopping to everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Getting Started

WOW, I am finally working on a blog.

I really thought I could just sign on, add some text, a picture, and wallah a blog. Well, my picture was really LARGE and I have not figured out how to make it smaller. Ok, it has not been so simple, but I will figure it out!

I am looking forward to regular posts about food, cooking, family, and home life. I hope everyone will enjoy my little slice of life!