Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DIY Felt Elf-Yourself Ornament

Every once in a while I see something that tickles me so much I want to share it with everyone... These DIY Felt Elf-Yourself Ornaments are just too cute! They'd be a great activity for the kids at Thanksgiving, starting with a fun little photo shoot. My suggestion would be to have all the felt pieces cut out ahead of time-actually, that's probably key... Fill a baggie for each child and maybe have a few extras just in case... I also suggest putting the year on it somehow, even if it's just written on the back with a Sharpie. Oh and, a little glitter around the edge never hurt anything either:@)
Instructions can be found HERE.

Happy Holidays Everyone-have fun:@)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

DIY Team Ornaments

As time goes on I'm finding more people setting up theme'd trees, whether for each holiday, a favorite sports team or a special event and I love it! I just made these Home Town Team Ornaments as a little extra gift and thought they might be a fun idea for the sports lovers in your life. It's also a great kids craft! Simply push beads onto pipe cleaners (you do have to make sure the holes in the beads are big enough tough), then twist the pipe cleaner at the top and wrap the extra back down the sides to the beads and snip off the excess pipe cleaner. Work it a little so it's round and the beads look neat-done!
These square beads came from Dollar Tree and unfortunately they did not have a red P or H... So the Phillies got left out this time, although I think "just win" sums up how we feel about them nicely:@) (This was literally a last minute idea so I used what I had on-hand. If I had planned it out I would have picked up a pack of beads at JoAnn Fabric that had baseballs and basketballs too.) To make things easier I'd suggest using black lettered beads and adding team colors as the embellishing beads.

You can see more team ornament ideas HERE.

...and HERE.

Have a happy day:@)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner, from the archives

I thought it might be fun to put together a Thanksgiving Feast using nothing but previous posts. While this might be a little... eclectic, I'd love to have some of these things on my dinner plate! So "welcome" and I hope you find something you'd like to try in these suggestions.

Oh and, Earl says every table needs a centerpiece:@)

Appys-We'll start with meatballs, they're easy to make ahead and folks can serve themselves.

Stovetop Stuffing Meatballs-easy if you're new to cooking or short on time!

Main Dish-Great if you're cooking for a small group and want to try something new:

Sides-Here's a nice twist on some classics:

Corn and Chile Casserole-Wonderful flavors!

Amish Schnitzel Green Beans-my boys love them.

Cranberry Tangerine Chutney-amazing, a new tradition for me!

Relish Tray-Gotta have one! How about:
Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles (make them this weekend, can sub bell pepper for jalapenos)

And my funny bloggy blooper-Deviled Egg Turkeys

Dessert-Whether you prefer pie or cake...

Party Favors/Hostess Gifts-
Maple Walnut Fudge, with or without dried cranberries

I hope your Thanksgiving plans have fallen into place and that your favorite team wins on Thursday...
As long as that's the Eagles this year:@)

Have a happy day!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cranberry Tangerine Chutney

I bookmarked this amazing Cranberry Tangerine Chutney recipe the second I saw it on Wives With Knives! I knew it would make perfect little Thanksgiving party favors for everyone to take home. There are so many fun things happening with this chutney, the spices are wonderfully pronounced, it's sweet yet has a little pucker power, the base is jellied but there is a chewy element with the raisins... This is very nice folks, truly a special holiday treat!
So far I spooned some over cream cheese and served it with crackers, the kids loved it! I've also mixed this half and half with spicy mustard for kielbasa and it's great on a bagel with cream cheese! Oh, and it's really good by the spoonful too:@) Cathy has a few other serving suggestions on her blog.

The only thing I'll do differently next time is (and yes, I'll be making this at Thanksgiving from now on), for my own peace of mind I'm going to process them for 15 minutes in a water bath (Ball recommends 15 minutes for cranberry items). I did have one jar that didn't seal at all and I'd just be more comfortable processing them. Another thought I had was... adding jalapenos! Yep, I think adding a little heat would be a beautiful thing too.

Since this is a very special family recipe I won't reproduce it, but ask that you stop by Wives With Knives HERE where it's published.  Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe Cathy!

Eat well and have a happy day:@)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Salty Sweet Magic Cookie Bars with Pretzel Crust

Growing up cookies were chocolate chip and at the holidays spritz and rolled out sugar cookies. I only really discovered bar cookies once I started blogging and have to say, I likey! These Salty Sweet Magic Cookie Bars with Pretzel Crust couldn't be easier so if you're new to cookie baking or have had a few, um, bloopers in the kitchen... I think you'll like giving any of the "magic" cookies a try.
There are two very similar recipes out there, Magic Bars (or Seven Layer Magic Bars) and Hello Dollies. It seems the difference between the two is the Magic ones get the sweetened condensed milk poured over the crust and the Dollies call for pouring the milk over all the toppings. I poured it over everything, baked them and then pushed colored candy into the top. When you bake the candy (M&M's or Sixlets) it tends to crack, I think it's just prettier adding it at the end.
There's no limit to what you could add to these cookies folks. Let's see, salty... What else is salty... 
Oh yea, bacon:@) 
Since we were a house divided...
I didn't add it but did see where others have and that would make the cookies true football food- 
just add candy in your team colors!

Salty Sweet Magic Cookie Bars with Pretzel Crust
3 C mini pretzels-I didn't have graham crackers
2 Tblsp sugar
1/2 C butter, melted
1 C chocolate chips-I mixed chocolate and white chocolate, colored chips would be good too
1 C shredded coconut
1 C nuts: peanuts, walnuts or pecans-I used roasted salted peanuts
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
candy toppers in holiday or team colors
  1. Crush pretzels (I used a food processor). 
  2. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spritz with spray (I used Reynolds Release). Pour pretzel crumbs, sugar and melted butter on top of foil. Mix well and press down firmly to create the bottom crust. Fingers work well:@)
  3. Layer topping ingredients, all recipes seem to start with the chocolate chips though... 
  4. Slowly pour sweetened condensed milk over everything, cover the whole pan with milk and make sure some gets drizzled into the sides of the pan too.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees (325 if using a glass baking dish) for about 25 minutes. You'll begin to smell the nuts and the sides get nice and golden brown.
  6. As soon as it's out of the oven push seasonal/holiday colored candies into the top. 
  7. Completely cool in the pan, pull the cookies out of the pan by the foil, cut and enjoy!
Let's do some holiday baking (Reese's Pieces are good for Thanksgiving) and have a happy day:@)

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Whole Pumpkin Soup-and bloggy mojo...

Recently I was treated to something I never would have dreamed I'd be trying, a Whole Pumpkin Soup. Rachel used the last pumpkin from my son's garden and Alton Brown's Recipe and made a very nice seasonal soup! An added bonus, it has goat cheese melted into it so technically... I can cross goat cheese off of my new foods list too! The soup is adaptable to use what you have on hand, Rachel subbed a little sour cream for the heavy cream and she does recommend adding extra garlic. I did pick up some sweetness and a little tang and found this to be a very nice meal.
The addition of turkey sausage, peas and pasta turned the little bit leftover into a nice lunch too.
Alton's recipe can be found HERE.

And Um, I seem to have lost my Bloggy MoJo... Case in point, this pie that's truly a bad hair day if I ever saw one...
So, until things start working out in the kitchen again-I'll see ya when I see ya:@)

Eat well and have a happy day!

My New Foods List:
(If my sons happen to read this... relax! I still promise fairly "normal" Sunday dinners...)
hominy ~ artichokes ~ fish sauce (I'm scared) ~ leeks ~ almond paste ~ oyster sauce (scared again) ~ gorgonzola ~ dates ~ brisket ~ parsnips ~ adobo ~ meringue powder ~ fennel ~ goat cheese (I'm told to be scared) ~ souffle ~ red velvet anything ~ curry ~ capers ~ chow chow ~ pot stickers ~pho ~ ponzu sauce ~ fondant ~ fire roasted tomatoes ~ Gruyere ~ Quinoa ~ Tetrazzini any kind ~ Divinity ~ Meyer lemon ~ lemon curd ~ shallots ~turkey tenderloin and Chipotle Powder ~ Smoked Turkey Sausage

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Maple, Walnut and Cranberry Fudge

A few years ago I posted a very good, yet very easy, Maple Walnut Fudge. This year I decided to change it up a bit and make a Maple, Walnut and Cranberry Fudge. That turned out to be a good idea:@) The creamy fudge coupled with bites of walnut and chewy cranberries was a great combination. I love the idea of a maple treat at Thanksgiving and fudge would be something different to bring to a gathering.
I don't think you'll be disappointed if you try this folks!
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Maple, Walnut and Cranberry Fudge
3 C white chocolate chips-I use Ghirardelli, that's a tad less than two 11oz bags
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C butter
1 tsp pure maple extract
3/4 C broken walnut pieces, toasted
3/4 C dried cranberries
  1. Grease an 8x8 baking dish and line with parchment paper, leave edges hanging over the side of dish. I just use Reynolds Rlease Foil.
  2. Melt chips, milk and butter in a microwavable bowl at 30 second intervals. Mix between each melting, do not over heat it or the chocolate will scorch.
  3. When melted, add extract and mix until incorporated, then stir in walnuts and cranberries (work quickly).
  4. Pour into prepared pan and smooth top, chill at least one hour in fridge. Remove from pan, slice and enjoy!
My thoughts:
  • Be careful with the microwaving, mine is super strong so I used a lot less than 30 second intervals.
  • It's always a good idea to toast the walnuts for a few minutes, and don't be afraid to leave some of them bigger.
  • I found pure maple extract at TJ Maxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods.
  • This is a very good fudge, especially for how super easy it is. 
  • Great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or, um... today... 
Have a sticky sweet happy day:@)

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