Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookies


Hubby and I are both oatmeal cookie lovers. Therefore I make them a lot.  I'm always in search for different kinds, especially around the holiday season.  For me, oatmeal with some sort of chocolate is the perfect combination.  For hubs, oatmeal and peanut butter is what he loves.  I picked these cookies out for me.  I knew I would love them, not only was there chocolate but also cinnamon. Yum!
 The cookies were delicious. I love them and hubs did as well. The cranberries, chocolate and cinnamon gave a perfect blend of sweet and spice. I used a medium scoop to make them and they took about 12 minutes to bake.  Next time I make them I'll add a little more cinnamon for a little more spice.  Enjoy!

                                                                                                                     
Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookies
Courtesy of I Am Baker
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole oats
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

Instructions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and all spice. In separate large bowl, cream together shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine well.
  3. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Then add oats, cranberries, and chocolate if you so desire.
  4. Use 1/4 cup and scoop onto cookie sheet, you should get about 6 per sheet.
  5. Bake for at least 8 minutes, but most likely will bake for 12.
  6. If you chose to not add the chocolate chips directly to the dough, you can melt chips in the microwave and drizzle or dip the cookies after they have cooled.
  7. This would also be excellent with white chocolate!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

5 minute fudge

My mom made this recipe last weekend for her work Christmas party and recommended it to me.  I decided to make it for hubs to take to work.  I've been sending in something special everyday this week for his team to enjoy. I've made my fair share of cookies, so this was the perfect "something different" to make. This recipe may be titled five minute fudge, but it took me about 15 minutes to make. Unfortunately, the little one has a milk protein allergy, so I couldn't enjoy this treat.  
My official taste tester (hubs) gave this two thumbs up.  


Five-Minute Fudge Wreath

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 9 ounces (3/4 of a 12-ounce bag) butterscotch morsels
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) can walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) currants
  • 8-inch cake pan, lightly greased with softened butter
  • Candied cherries, red and green, for garnish, optional

Directions

Place a heavy pot on the stove and preheat it over low heat. Add chips and milk and stir until chips are melted and milk combined. Save the empty condensed milk can. Stir in vanilla and remove fudge from heat. Add nuts and currants and stir in immediately.
Cover empty condensed milk can with plastic food wrap and center it in the greased cake pan. Spoon fudge into pan around can, making sure to recenter can if it drifts.
The fudge will set up almost immediately. Garnish can only be added in the first minute or 2 the fudge is in the pan, so work quickly. Decorate your wreath with "holly" made from cut candied red and green cherries. A wreath left plain can be garnished with a pretty fabric bow when serving. Chill covered in the refrigerator and slice fudge very thin when ready to serve, a little goes a long way

.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Kisses


I chose these cookies to make for my 2nd annual cookie exchange this year. I didn't put as much time into searching for the perfect cookie this year like I did last year.  I came across this recipe from one of those "The Best Christmas Cookie" pins.  I loved the cherry cookies I made last year, so I decided to stick with them again this year.  Loved the cherry pieces in this cookie but I didn't love my red fingers after chopping them.  There isn't anything I would change about this recipe.  They were delicious and not your typical Christmas cookie. 



Cherry Chocolate Kisses
Courtesy of The Curvy Carrot


Cherry Chocolate Kisses
Servings: approximately 36 cookies

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, but still cool*****very important!
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons maraschino cherry “juice”
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling the cookies
36 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
3. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and slowly add the powdered sugar and salt.
4. Add the cherry juice and the almond extract until combined.
5. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the cherries.
7. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and place the balls on a baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.
8.  Using your thumb, gently press each cookie in its center until the cookie is about 1/2-inch thick.
9.  Sprinkle each cookie with a little granulated sugar.
10.  Bake the cookies until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 14 minutes.
11. Once removed from the oven, immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie’s center.
12.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Baby Reindeer Footprint Craft


Of course, this craft was inspired by Pinterest! 
This craft took no time to create and will be a cherished decoration for years to come. 


Done on a small canvas using acrylic paint and Sharpie paint pens.  

Christmas Popcorn

This popcorn is the perfect party snack.  


Christmas Popcorn

Ingredients: 
3 bags of popcorn (kettle corn or lightly buttered)
1 bag of white chocolate chips or almond bark 
red and green candy chips for decoration
sprinkles for decoration

Directions:
Pop the popcorn and place it in a large bowl
Melt the chocolate chips or almond bark 
Pour over the popcorn and toss to coat
After it's coated, place a large amount of wax paper on a flat surface
Pour the popcorn on the wax paper to set
This is the time to decorate it how you wish. 
I melted green and red candy chips and poured it over the popcorn and topped with sprinkles 



*I make it the day before serving and store it in an airtight container*
Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Easy Lemon Crinkle Cookies

First, I have to say this picture is horrible.  I will be replacing soon, but I had to share this recipe. 

 I know a lot of you are baking away and I definitely think you should add this is cookie to your Christmas cookie list.  I always make a lemon cookie for Christmas.  I like to have a variety of cookies to share.  I'm not a huge lemon fan, but my mom and best friend's dad are.  Mom gave this recipe two thumbs up. This recipe took no time to make and were actually really good.  They were soft and chewy which is how I like my cookies.  Enjoy!

My inspiration for this recipe was my red velvet crinkle cookies



Ingredients:                                                                                  Directions:  

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter; set aside to cool. Place powdered sugar and cornstarch in shallow dish. Mix with a fork to blend.
  2. Place cake mix, cooled butter, eggs and lemon zest in large mixing bowl. Mix by hand until well blended and a dough forms.
  3. Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on cool, ungreased baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in center of oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Store in airtight container with wax paper or parchment separating layers.



Apple, Cranberry & Pecan Stuffing


This recipe was from Thanksgiving.  I just found it in my draft section.  OPPS! What I loved most about this recipe was how quick and easy it was. The only change I'll make to it is adding dried cranberries instead of fresh.  The fresh cranberries were a little tart for me (and hubs too).  But, I think the apple/ cranberry/ nut combination is perfect.  I will definitely make this recipe again.
Looking for a Christmas dinner stuffing?  Try it!



Apple, Cranberry & Pecan Stuffing
Courtesy of Kraft Foods 


what you need


1-1/2
cups  apple juice

2
Tbsp.  butter or margarine

1
pkg.  (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken

1
small  apple, chopped

1/2
cup  cranberries

1/4
cup  chopped PLANTERS Pecans, toasted

make it


BRING juice and butter to boil in medium saucepan on high heat.
ADD stuffing mix and fruit; mix lightly. Cover. Remove from heat.
LET stand 5 min. Stir in nuts.

Mrs. Sigg's Snickerdoodles

This is hands down, the best Snickerdoodle recipe I've made.  This will be one of my signature Christmas cookie recipes from here on out.  Make these today!


*picture to come*

You can find the recipe from All Recipes here
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
3.Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
4.Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gift Bow Wreath Tutorial






Thank you to the Today Show for this DIY idea.  I was watching last week when they showcased it on one of their segments.  I made a note to pick up the supplies so I could make it for my front door.  Because, believe it or I don't have a Christmas wreath for my door.  This wreath took me 20 minutes to make and cost $6.  When I look at my front door, it makes me smile.  I love it.  


Materials:
Cardboard 
Glue Gun
Bows
Ribbon


Directions: 
Find something to make a large circle on your cardboard.  I traced a large plate for the outside.  Using a good pair of scissors, cut our the circle.  

Find another item to trace for the center, I used a candle shade.  Trace it and cut out the center.  

Next, glue on the bows.  I bought 2 bags from Target and used about 45 bows.  There was no rhyme or reason to the placement of the bows.  I just started with clusters until the entire wreath was filled.  

Last, I glued a piece of festive ribbon on the back to give me a bow to hang from my door hook.  

It's as simple as that...enjoy!















Monday, November 26, 2012

Snickers Cake

This year, I was in search of a chocolate dessert to add to our Thanksgiving table.  We were already having the traditional pies, so I wanted to make something different.  I started my search on my SWEET TREATS Pinterest board and didn't have to look any further.  This recipe was about half way down the page and I knew it would be perfect.  I have to admit that I didn't actually make this dessert.  I sent my mom the recipe to get the ingredients for me to make on Thanksgiving but she made it the day before. I'm glad she did because it was nice not having to make it on Thanksgiving Day after spending all morning in the kitchen.  This dessert was very rich.  All you need is a little tiny piece and your sweet tooth will be satisfied.  We all agreed that if we make it again we will cut down on the amount of chocolate chips and caramel in it.  If you enjoy the chocolate caramel combination, you will love this dessert.  Enjoy!


 Even miss Avery Grace wanted a bite! 
Snickers Cake
Courtesy of Six Sisters Stuff

Ingredients:
1 German Chocolate Cake Mix

Ingredients called for on cake mix (oil, eggs, water)
1 (14 oz) bag of Kraft Caramels (or any other caramels you like)
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter (which is about 3/4 of a cube)
1-2 cups chocolate chips (however many you like)
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Mix together cake mix as directed on the box. Pour half of the batter into a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
While it bakes, unwrap all the caramels (don't have your husband help- he will eat half of them. I am totally speaking from experience). Put the caramels, milk, and butter in a sauce pan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly until caramel is melted and smooth. 
Pour the caramel on the cake as soon as it is finished baking. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans on top of the caramel. Spread the remaining half of the prepared cake mix batter on top. Bake for 20 more minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mini Pumpkin Pies

I made these sweet treats for the hubs to take with him to work before Thanksgiving.  I love sending him in with treats and knew these bite sized sweets would be a hit.  I didn't use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter.  I had the exact one she used but felt like it was too much work getting the crust into the pumpkin shape.  I just made sure to fill the mini muffin tin with enough crust to hold pumpkin pie filling inside. I ended up using the lid to a spice mix to cut the crust into circles.  It worked out fine.  After the dough was into the mini cups, the recipe was a cinch.  I filled the crusts, put them in the oven, and when I took them out I had mini pumpkin pies! I decided to drizzle a little melted chocolate over the top to finish them off.  From what hubs told me, they were a hit at work and gone in minutes.  Success! 


Pumpkin Pie Bites
Courtesy of Bakerella

Pumpkin Pie Bites
2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter
Optional
1/2 cup chocolate morsels
vegetable oil
re-sealable plastic bags
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.
Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)
Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use.
Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.
To decorate, melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave on medium. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Add a little vegetable oil to make the chocolate more fluid. Transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag and cut the corner off. Drizzle or draw faces on pies.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cornflake, Pecan and Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole


I have a feeling this sweet potato casserole was served in many homes this Thanksgiving, thanks to Pinterest. 

I followed all of the directions and didn't make any changes to the recipe.  My family said it was the best sweet potato casserole recipe we've made to date.  I loved that it had the sweet and fluffy marshmallows along with crunch of the pecans and cornflakes.  I know I will be asked to make this one from here on out and have no desire to search for another sweet potato recipe. Enjoy!



Sweet Potato Casserole

Recipe Courtesy of Kraft Foods 


Ingredients:

SWEET POTATO FILLING:
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • CORNFLAKE, PECAN, AND MARSHMALLOW TOPPING:
  • 1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups miniature marshmallows

Preparation

1. Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 400°. Bake sweet potatoes on a baking sheet 1 hour or until tender. 
Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Let potatoes stand until cool to touch (about 20 minutes); 
peel and mash with a potato masher.
2. Beat mashed sweet potatoes, 2 Tbsp. softened butter, and next 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer
 until smooth. Spoon mixture into an 11- x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
3. Prepare topping: Stir together crushed cornflakes cereal and next 3 ingredients. 
Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture in diagonal rows 2 inches apart.
4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
 Sprinkle miniature marshmallows in alternate rows between cornflake mixture, and bake 10 more minutes

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pecan Pie Muffins

If you have these few ingredients in your pantry & fridge now, take my advice and make these immediately. I'm not sure whether to call these muffins or mini pies. I guess I would say they are the perfect muffin/ pie combination with a soft center and crispy edges.  Honestly, they taste like mini pecan pies.  YUM!

Pecan Pie Muffins 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease mini or regular muffin cups generously. Grease them well or they will stick. In medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and pecans. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and eggs together. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined.
  2. Spoon batter into muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 12-13 minutes for mini muffins or 15-17 minutes for regular size muffins. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin and pop it out.




Monday, November 19, 2012

Turkey Wreath


How cute is this turkey wreath?  I pinned it a few weeks back and couldn't wait to make it.  You can find the original tutorial over at Baby Rabies.  I'm not going to reinvent the wheel because her tutorial is fabulous.  
But, I will tell you a few things I did to save money and a trip to the store....

1.  Instead of using a styrofoam cone, I used yellow card stock.  I folded it to make a cone and hot glued the back to the wreath. 
2.  I didn't use styrofoam balls for the eyes.  Again, I used card stock.  I cut 2 white circles, then two black.  I glued them together for the eyes.  Then, I glued a toothpick onto the back of the eyes and stuck it into the wreath.  
3.  I didn't have yellow tulle so I used white instead.  
4.  I used red felt for the waddle instead of foam.  

I just love how it looks on my door!



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

DIY Post It Holders

I remember seeing this little gift a while back on Pinterest.  I had them on my to make list for over 6 months!  I even bought he materials to make them months ago, I just ran out of time or another project took precedence.  Last month, I had a few gifts that I wanted to add a personal touch to.  I remembered this project and being that both recipients are teachers, I thought this would be a great addition to their gifts.  They are so easy to make and come out super cute.  These would be a great teacher appreciation gift or gift for a coworker.  We all use post its, this is a cute way to display them.  Enjoy!

Materials:
Clear Frame (about $1-2 at Walmart or Target) 
Scrapbook Paper
Post Its
Hot Glue
Stickers
Ribbon 
Any other embellishments you would like to use


Directions:
Cut the paper to the size of the frame. 
Put it in the frame. 
Hot glue the post it notes to the frame.
  I glued mine towards the bottom so that I could decorate the top more.  
From there, just decorate.  I used hot glue to glue ribbon to the top and glued stickers on top of them.  
You can decorate them however you would like.  




*After the post its run out, the recipient just has to hot glue another pad onto the back*

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pumpkin Bars

Hands down one of the best pumpkin recipes I've ever made.  I made these for Halloween and my neighbors kept coming back for more.  Mine came out a little thicker than bars, more like a cake. Next time I'll make them into cupcakes so that you can eat them with your hands in a few bites. Enjoy!! 


Pumpkin Bars

Courtesy of I Heart Naptime 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until fluffy. In a medium sized bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, soda, and spices. Add to pumpkin mixture. Spread in greased 15x10 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool.
  2. For frosting cream together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy. Frost on pumpkin bars.


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