Saturday, November 28, 2015

#Cookielicious Tipsy Cherry Chocolate Cookies

I love Christmas cookies.  Making them is one of my first memories of cooking with my mom.  She baked several kinds of cookies and we always got to get in the way help.  We made cut out sugar cookies, Russian teacakes, peanut butter balls, chocolate chip cookies and usually some cookie that mom had seen in a magazine that she just had to try.

I host an annual Cookie Exchange each year and like my mom, I have several cookies that I do each year and I am always on the look out for a new cookie to try.  This year I found these delightful cookies and they are so delicious.  Full of cherries and chewy chocolaty goodness!

To get started, you have to make the Tipsy Cherries:

First, drain a small jar of maraschino cherries.  Replace the juice with cherry vodka.  Reseal and store in the refrig for a minimum of a week, but up to two months is fine too.  ;)

When the cherries have soaked long enough, drain the vodka off the cherries and pat dry.  Chop into fourths.  Set aside.
Combine the following:

1/2 c cocoa
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 c oats
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 chocolate chips 

Combine the following:
3/4 c oil (not olive oil) 
2 eggs
1 T milk

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients with a mixer until combined.  Fold in chopped cherries.  Scoop 1 T batter onto cookie sheets.  Bake 14 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet and cool thoroughly.  Cookies will be light brown and chewy.

These cookies are so good with a glass of cold milk.  Santa would be very happy if these were left out for him!

Join us on Tuesday, December 1 at 7:00 for a Twitter chat on cookies!  Look for the hashtag #Cookielicious and join us as we discuss all things cookie!

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Christmas Pocket Letter Swap

Deb from Garage Sale Gal hosted a Christmas Pocket Letter swap this year for her readers.  What is a pocket letter?  I had to ask, too!

A pocket letter is a penpal letter using a sleeve from a baseball trading card collector page.  Each of the nine sleeves are filled with little goodies and one of them has a letter!  These sleeves are collected and stored in a three ring binder, usually.

I received my pocket letter from Pam at Virginia Retro.  She is new to pocket letters, too, but you'd never know it by looking at this cute letter!

You can see the cute ornament that is hanging on the left.  Each pocket is decorated with stickers and cute papers, about the size of a playing card.  Each pocket held little stickers.  There are buttons inside some of the pockets.  See the washi tape on the left?  

Inside my package were these cute bags of tea.  I am glad they are caffeine free.  I have enough trouble falling asleep at night!

I also got this cute little book of women's wisdom, a bookmark (already in my bible marking the birth of Christ) and the adorable antique quilt square!  I love poinsettias.  Can't wait to do something with it!

I forgot to take pictures of the one I made.  I hope that Pam likes it as much as I like hers!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#HandcraftedEdibles2015 Crockpot Spiced Nuts

I love this spiced nut mix for multiple occasions, for tailgating, snacking around the house, and now, for gift giving!  It is a super simple recipe that allows the crockpot to do most of the work while you get other, more important, holiday things done (like shopping for my gift)!  Hehehe.

Here's what you need:

1 pound of nuts, all of one kind or, mixed
2 T grapeseed oil, you can use olive oil
2-3 t chili powder (or for spicy fun, use 1/2 t Berbere powder)
2 t cumin
2 t garlic powder
2 T worcestershire sauce
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t salt

Here's what you do:

Combine all the ingredients except for the salt.  Mix well.   Cook, uncovered, in the crockpot, on high, for two hours.  Did you see the uncovered part?  It's important.  Stir in the salt after two hours and then let cool.  Store in airtight containers, in the refridge.  Serve them at room temperature.  Easy peasy.

Raw almonds, ready to start cooking!

After cooking, remove from crockpot, spread on cookie sheet and cool completely before storing.
So good, actually not too bad for you, and fun to give!

In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones, or things to serve at holiday parties. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule: here.

This week, we are "going nuts" and sharing all sorts of recipes with nuts. Think spiced nuts or nutty fruit cake or whatever floats your nutty boat!

Here's what we're posting this week...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Top Ten Christmas Oreo Cookies for Kids

This month's Top Ten is all about Christmas and Holidays!  You will love the line up, it's mostly for kids!

All these cookies are already premade, all you have to do is put these cuties together!  Such a fun project to do with your kids!

1.  Oreos covered in white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed peppermint!

2.  The Grinch oreos:  white chocolate tinted with green and heart shaped candies.

3.  Oreos dipped in white chocolate tinted green.  Place in the shape of a tree, then decorate the cookies one by one.

4.  Oreos dipped in white chocolate, then dipped 1/4 of the way in white chocolate tinted blue.  Add a snowman face and a carrot nose!

5.  Oreos dipped in white chocolate and given a mini Reese's cup as the ornament topper.  Decorate with candies for a sweet look!

6.  Dip oreos in chocolate.  Decorate with candies to make a face.  Slip into clear cellophane bags, and tie with a brown chenille pipe cleaner.  Cute reindeer!

7.  These gifts are sure to please!  Dip oreos into white chocolate tinted red.  Decorate using white icing to make bows.

 8.  Another reindeer oreo, this time using broken pretzels as antlers!  Insert a lollipop stick or don't!  It is up to you!

9.  Snowmen oreos!  Dip Christmas oreos in white chocolate and decorate with a snowman face using icing.  Too cute!

and 10!  Dip oreos in white chocolate, and decorate one for a face, and two with m & m buttons.  Slip into a clear cellophane bag and tie off with holiday ribbon!

You can see all the original pins on my pin board at Christmas Oreo Cookies.  Follow it to get more ideas on how to make your cookie giving fun for the whole family!  

Check out these other great Top Ten Lists by visiting these fine bloggers:

Top 10 MUST DO Christmas Crafts from Powerful Mothering
Top 10 Christmas Games to Play from Play & Learn Everyday
Top 10 Nativity Crafts for Kids from Something 2 Offer
Top 10 Christmas Cards for Kids  from Crafty Kids at Home

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#HandcraftedEdibles2015: How to Set Up a Cheese Platter

My husband and I have been hosting open houses for his staff for over twenty years, and we've learned a thing or two about how to set up a cheese platter!  When we were younger, we used to pick out cheese by the most exotic sounding name in the deli, now we've learned to ask the advice of a cheese sommelier when we can. We've learned so much about cheese and their appropriate accompaniments by doing this.

There are lots of things to consider when creating a cheese platter.  Probably first and foremost is your budget.  Cheese platters can get pretty expensive if you aren't careful when selecting cheese.  Next, consider the number of people you are serving (that will determine the amount of cheese you need) and how you are serving it (as an appetizer or a dessert.)

Typically you can plan on 2-4 oz per person if you are serving it as an appetizer.  We consider it a heavy hors d'oveurs so have plenty on hand.  If you are serving it as a dessert, 1-2 oz per person is plenty.

Something else to conisder:  how many cheeses should I serve?  There are lots of thoughts about this.  Some say to serve one, fantastic cheese.  Make it a conversation piece.  Find something bold and unusual.  Traditionally 3-5 cheeses are excellent for an appetizer.  For dessert, one or two cheeses are appropriate.

When you choose your cheese, consider having cheese from the three major milks: cow, goat and sheep.  For dessert choose a triple creme cheese.  You can also theme your platter with cheese from your state, different regions of the USA or world, all one type of milk or all in the same family, such as 3-4 brie, bleus or cheddars.

Arranging the cheese is so important as your guests will be "eating" visually first.  No overcrowding the cheese.  Artfully arrange fruit and crackers within the cheese.  Use one knife per cheese so that guests don't have to wait for the knife.  Serve cheeses at room temperature.  I enjoy added a little label to each cheese with its name and a few adjectives describing it.  

Choose your sides to go with the cheese.  For an appetizer platter, consider walnuts, dried fruit or fresh fruit, spicy mustards, artichokes, carmelized onions and cured meats.  I will throw in a chutney or jam to balance the flavors.

For dessert platters, don't be afraid to use jams, honey, toasted nuts, dried cherries, pears, fresh fruit and slivers of good dark chocolate.  Use simple cookies as the crackers for the cheese.

Here are some of my favorite pairings:

Aged cheddar with pear chutney
Bleu cheese with honeycomb and crusty bread
Homemade pimento with Ritz crackers (really!)
Goat cheese with jalapeno peach jam

In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule: here.

This week, we are sharing recipes about one of my favorite holiday appetizers: the cheese tray.

Here's what we're posting this week...

Next week, check back for our recipes to inspire you to go nutty. Think spiced nuts, nutty fruitcake, or whatever floats your nutty boat! Don't forget to check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.
Next week, check back for our recipes to inspire you to go nutty. Think spiced nuts, nutty fruitcake, or whatever floats your nutty boat! Don't forget to check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cash for Christmas Giveaway!

Bloggers from all over have come together to create a cash giveaway for four lucky blog readers!  If you don't enter, though, you can't win!

I’m so excited about this giveaway!
Are you getting geared up for the shopping season?  Do you need extra cash for Christmas??  Don’t we all!
We are so excited to be giving away $225 in cash prizes for you to use starting Thanksgiving weekend.  Here are the prizes:
1 – $100 Amazon Gift Card
1 – $75 Target Gift Card
1 – $25 Walmart Gift Card
1 – $25 Kohls Gift Card
There will be four winners in this giveaway. Each winner will receive a gift card code to use on the online store or in the actual store.
Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.
Grateful {Printable} + $225 Cash for Christmas Giveaway
Starting at the top row we have:
Kim – The Resourceful Mama | Christine – Christine Luken Financial Lifeguard | Audrey – That Recipe & Munofore | Tricia – The Good Mama | Christie – Sparkles of Sunshine | Barb – A Life in Balance | Tammy – Creative K Kids | Melissa – How Does Your Garden Grow? | Deanna – Play Dough & Popsicles | Aliza – Home Crafts by Ali | Trish – By Trish Sutton | Laci – Sequins in the South | Holly – Keeping Life Sane | Kelly – Typically Simple | Angie – God’s Growing Garden | Whitney – Beauty And a Budget by whitjxoxo | Jen – JVKom Chronicles | Terri – Christmas Tree Lane | Kim – Shopping Kim | Stacey – A Moment in Our World | Tammy – My Life Abundant
Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful ladies and their blogs.
The giveaway will end midnight on Wednesday, November 25th, the night before Thanksgiving.  You will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming the prize.  If you respond right away, we will get you the gift card code promptly so that you can shop with it on Black Friday!  If we don’t hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cookie Exchange: Russian Tea Cakes, AKA Snowballs!

I promised to participate in a Christmas Cookie Exchange round up this week, however, in my disorganized state (sinus infection) I failed to note where the cookie exchange was happening, so I don't know where to direct you to to find more delicious cookies.  I am in great hope that THEY will find ME and set me on the straight course.

My mother made these cookies for us when we were little, but I have to say, we weren't extremely fond of them as kids.  I love them now, and I know it is because they are less sweet, and more nutty than I would have liked as a kid.

Russian Tea Cakes AKA Snowballs

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes per batch

Ingredients (36 cookies)
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened, but not too much!
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1/8 c brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c ground pecans (I get mine from Aldi's)
  • 2 c flour
  • powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugars and then add vanilla. Add in pecans and flour just until the dough comes together. It might be a bit crumbly. That's ok. Roll tablespoon sized balls and place them about an inch apart on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Balls should be light brown. Cool for 10 minutes, then roll the cookies in powdered sugar. Place the cookies on a rack to cool completely, then roll a second layer of powdered sugar on the cookie.
Store in an airtight container.
Cookies can be dipped in white coating for a snowball effect. These are delicious, too!
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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

#HandcraftedEdibles2015: Refrigerated Pickled Brussels Sprouts

I love these pickles so much!  They are good by themselves, but they are extra special used as a garnish for bloody marys!  So unique and they pack a nice punch, too!

2 lbs Brussels Sprouts
5 whole cloves of peeled garlic
red pepper flakes
5 c water
5 c white vinegar
pickling salt

Soak the vegetables in salt water for 10 minutes.

Divide brussels sprouts between clean and dry jars.  Put in one clove of garlic and 1/3 t red pepper flakes per jar.

Boil vinegar, water and 1 T pickling salt.  Pour into jars, within 1/4 inch from the top.  Remove extra air.  Seal with lids and rings.  Store in the refrigerator up to 30 days.  Let sit at least 24 hours before eating.

In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule: here.

Here are our pickles...

  • Amy's Cooking Adventures jarred her Refrigerator Dill Pickles

  • Making Miracles made Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles

  • Christmas Tree Lane shared Refrigerator Pickled Brussels Sprouts

  • A Day in the Life on the Farm posted Spiced Apples

  • Next week, check back for our recipes to inspire your holiday cheese trays. Think homemade cheese and charcuterie...or anything that would go well on a cheese platter. Don't forget to check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2015

    #HandcraftedEdibles2015: Lavender Blueberry Butter

    This amazing fruit butter is made in the crockpot, so all you have to do is... pretty much nothing!  I make it a couple of days before I want to give it, and I don't process in the waterbath.  I just make sure everyone knows that it will last about three weeks.  I was inspired by this blueberry lavender butter found here at 52 Kitchen Adventures.

    Lavender Blueberry Butter

    8 c pureed blueberries (fresh)
    1 T dried culinary lavender
    1 lemon, zested
    2 c sugar
    cheesecloth to tie up the lavender

    Place pureed blueberries in slow cooker. turn to low. Place lavender in some cheesecloth and tie shut. After 1 hour stir blueberry puree. Add lavender. Prop open lid and continue cooking on low, stirring occasionally. After 4 more hours, add lemon zest and sugar to taste. Remove lid and cook on high for 1 hour. Remove  lavender. Place fruit in food processor and process to desired consistency. Pour into clean jars and refrigerate until ready to give.

    Doesn't it just sound lovely?  I think it would be a perfect gift for a favorite aunt or grandmother.  What a delightful treat on cream cheese biscuits!


    You can get these killer labels for free by heading to The Paper Mama blog.  Darling stuff she has!  If you'd like my simple labels, you can get them, here.  My labels fit the wide mouth jars.

    In an effort to make all of her holiday gifts this year, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla invited some of her favorite foodie bloggers to share recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes for all your homemade holiday gifts. Hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule: here.

    This week, we're sharing recipes for delicious jams and jellies.

    Thanks to these inspiring gals for these jam and jelly treats:

  • Amy at Amy's Cooking Adventures  shared Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Jam

  • Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes made TomatoBacon Jam

  • Nichole, the Cookaholic Wife, posted her Honey Lemon Apple Jam

  • Lauren at Sew You Think You Can Cook cooked up Concord Grape Jelly

  • Terri of Christmas Tree Lane created Blueberry Lavender Butter

  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm made Jalapeno Jelly

  • Camilla, Culinary Adventures with Camilla, shared a spicy jar of Apple Jalapeño Jam
  • Next week, check back for our recipes for pickles. Or check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

    Sunday, November 1, 2015

    Pinterventures 2015 Ornament Exchange!

    Welcome to the first day of the 2015 Ornament Exchange! Erlene at My Pinterventures partnered 80+ bloggers to exchange ornaments and we want to share our creations or special finds with you! Over the next 14 days, a group of ladies will be sharing our ornament tutorials or shopping trips to give you lots of holiday inspiration

    Today, I'm excited to be kicking off the first day of Ornament Exchange, along with four other great ladies:
    I was paired with a lovely gal from New York.  She doesn't celebrate Christmas so the ornament I sent can be used year round.  I especially love it because it represents the Midwest, where I am from! The ornament was not made by me, but I asked for a tutorial for this post!

    This ornament was made by slicing 1/2" rounds from a pine tree.  The wood was treated with stain and then left to dry.

    The next step was to dry Queen Ann's lace by flattening it in a book between layers of waxed paper for about five days.  When it was good and dry, the flower was spray painted lightly with green.  The flower was then  coated with several layers of poly and left to dry.  A tiny hole was drilled to run the ribbon through.

    As you can see, some of the outer bark was left on the wood to give it more visual appeal.  The wood and the flower were "found" items in the woods.

    Please go and check out the other ladies and their ornaments!  I hope you like them as much as I do!