Recipe

Christmas Craft Round-up

I did try a few Pinterest crafts with the kids this year for Christmas.  Cute enough, but not the best I’ve ever done.  The children had fun, though, so worthwhile.  Here’s how my versions stack up to the Pinterest versions:

First up is the Christmas Tree Cone.  Here is where the idea came from and what it was supposed to look like:

From Free-n-Fun Christmas

And here’s mine:

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Perhaps not as pretty, but I let the kids do most of it. You could spruce up the bottom with “presents” from Starburst Candies, or Teddy Grahams..that’d be cute!

Next up:

This is the picture I found on Pinterest.  A large marshmallow with peppermint sticks jammed down in them, dipped in melted white chocolate and sprinkled with sugar.  These were easy enough, though I couldn’t find peppermint sticks.  Thanks, Lincolnton Walmart.

Theirs

Theirs
Theirs

Mine:

Mine
Mine

And the last project: Homemade BBQ Sauce YUMMM!

This one I got out of a magazine and gave it a go.  Absolutely my favorite sauce for BBQ..and I even had a couple of calls from people I’d given it to for the recipe.  So here it is for the world to see 🙂

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Spicy Barbecue Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar (or white distilled)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dry rub seasonings, mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Stir well. Over medium heat, bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 60 minutes. Stir occasionally as it cooks. Store in refrigerator. Keeps for several weeks.

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Recipe

Cooked Custard Eggnog

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So, eggnog isn’t everyone’s bag, baby.  I never experienced this dairy-licious delight until I married a good Midwestern born man.  It’s sweet, creamy…and pretty thick.  If you think that will turn you off, you might wanna move along.

Still here?  Then, enjoy.  We certainly did.

Cooked Custard Eggnog

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 quart milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat milk in a large saucepan, don’t boil.
  • Beat eggs and salt in a large bowl; gradually add sugar, mixing well.
  • Gradually stir about 1/4 of hot milk into egg mixture; add to remaining hot milk, stirring constantly.
  • Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until misture thickens and reaches 160 degrees.
  • Stir in 1/4 tsp nutmeg and vanilla.
  • Set saucepan in larger pan of ice for 10 minutes to rapidly cool mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate up to 48 hours.
  • When ready to serve, fold in whipping cream and sprinkle with nutmeg.
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Recipe

Almost-Famous Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Almost-Famous Spinach-Artichoke Dip

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Our Christmas Eve tradition is to gather the family for a night of appetizers and punch. Our grandparents always cooked a large Christmas Dinner on this night, much like a Thanksgiving feast, which we had to suffer through (and the cleaning of the dishes!) before we were able to get to the much awaited gift exchange. My family developed this appetizer idea as a way to avoid the formality, just a grab and go while we get to the good stuff. This however, has morphed into fancier appetizers and complex desserts as we grew up and had children and realized the value of making them wait! It is excruciating for them, and thus, much fun for us. 🙂

This is from Food Network, and it is a dip, but I think of it almost as a fondue. It was runnier than I expected. The flavor was good, but I encourage you to spice it up to you taste!

Almost-Famous Spinach-Artichoke Dip

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INGREDIENTS

2 (10 ounce) bags spinach, stems removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup frozen artichoke heart, thawed, squeezed dry and roughly chopped
tortilla chips and salsa, for serving

DIRECTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the spinach and cook until bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water; squeeze out the excess moisture, then finely chop.

2.Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan and sour cream.

3. Return the pot to medium heat. Add the spinach, cheddar and artichokes and stir until the cheese melts and the dip is heated through. Serve warm with tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream.

Recipe

Eggnog Thumbprints

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Every year I have such grand dreams of baking these fabulous cookies, these intricate creations that are beautifully decorated and look really fancy…but I always fall back on the old favorites.  These, however, I tried for the first time this Christmas, and they were delicious!

Eggnog Thumbprints

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rum *

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large mixer bowl beat 3/4 cup butter till softened. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat til fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Add flour and beat til well mixed. Cover and chill about 1 hour or till easy to handle.
  • Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down centers with thumb. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 12 minutes or till done. Remove and cool.
  • For filling, in a small mixer bowl beat 1/4 cup butter til softened. Add powdered sugar and beat till fluffy. Add rum and beat well. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon filling into center of each cookie. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Chill till filling is firm.
  • *You may substitute 1 tablespoon milk and 1/4 teaspoon rum extract for the rum.

Follow this link to Pin or Print: Eggnog Thumbprints

I got the recipe here:  Grumpy’s Honey Bunch

Recipe

Hot Cocoa Reindeer

The kids always love to do these simple Christmas crafts, and this one was the most fun for my sweetie.  I have to tell you, if you aren’t a crafty person, getting all of these items at once may be a little costly, but my little chick had fun using the leftovers for various craft projects later.

Hot Cocoa Reindeer

You’ll need:

  • Hot Cocoa Mix or make your own: Dad’s Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles
  • Disposable Pastry Bags
  • Red pom poms (or black, I guess)
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Brown pipe cleaners

Add enough cocoa in each bag to make 2 cups of cocoa.  Top with marshmallows, chocolate chips and sprinkles.  Seal with pipe cleaners.  Glue on googly eyes and pom pom noses.  Give to your buddies!

I got this idea at Little Wonders’ Days

Recipe

Christmas Ornament Cupcakes

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I feel bad putting this under the “recipe” column, but sometimes you just need an “easy” fun thing to do with the kids during Christmas.  Believe me, you better enjoy it while your children “want” to do it, because the day will come all too quickly when they get bored with these simple projects 😦 

MATERIALS:

  • Cake Mix (any flavor)
  • oil and eggs for cake mix
  • 2 containers white frosting
  • food coloring
  • decorating gels, dragees, edible confetti, etc.
  • bag of mini Reese’s cups
  • mini pretzels

So, here’s what we did.  Bake some cupcakes (I freely admit to using a mix).  I’d fill them a little more than you normally might so they’ll hump up more when baked.  While they cool, take a few containers of store-bought white frosting and dye it the colors you desire.  Frost and decorate.  Top with mini Reese’s cups with a pretzel “hook” jammed in.  As you can see, mine look weird.  The only pretzels I found were football shaped and I couldn’t get a good “hook” out of it, but a regular shaped pretzel would work amazingly. 

I got the idea from: Homemaking Fun

Recipe

Peppermint Popcorn Bark

Peppermint Popcorn Bark

Adorable and delicious for Christmas!

ingredients

  • 2 bags microwave popcorn, popped (18-20 cups)
  • 1 6oz box candy canes, crushed
  • 1 package Almond Bark
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract or a few drops of peppermint oil

directions

Place popcorn in a very large bowl – the biggest one you have. Pour crushed candy canes on top of the popcorn. (I crush my candy canes in the food processor – it is quick and it pulverizes the candy canes!) Melt almond bark according to instructions on the package. Add the peppermint extract or oil to the almond bark and pour over popcorn. Stir until all the popcorn is coated. Pour popcorn on wax paper and allow to harden. Once the popcorn has hardened, break into pieces and enjoy!

I found this idea at Plain Chicken