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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas Week

Hello! Hope everyone’s holidays are gearing up! My Christmas week got a very solid start.  I went back to my mom and dad’s house this weekend for my Dad’s side Christmas party with his family on Sunday.  It was so laid back, little kids opening presents, TONS of amazing food.  It really got us all in the mood for what I hope will be an amazing week leading up to Christmas.  However, the way my family celebrates Christmas is to cook, bake and eat.  So to keep with tradition that just what I did all weekend at home.

Two glorious desserts were on the menu for the Christmas party.  They both included two of my all time loves.  Chocolate Christmas candy, and Sugary kid Cereal. 

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The first dessert I tackled is a play of an all time classic Candy, which I only get to enjoy during the holidays.  I’m not sure if it’s a midwest thing or not but one of my families favorite Christmas desserts is the Buckeye.  Peanut Butter covered in chocolate?  You can not really go wrong with that combo. 

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However with my passion for the kitchen I wanted to put my own spin on this dessert and made these “Buckeye Bars” from Gooseberry Patch

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 Buckeye Brownies, from Almost Homemade cookbook, submit by Heather Prentice

19-1/2 oz. pkg. brownie mix
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. plus 6 T. butter, softened and divided
8-oz. jar creamy peanut butter
6-oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Prepare and bake brownie mix in a greased 13″x9″ baking pan according to package directions. Let cool. Mix powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and peanut butter. Mix well and spread over cooled brownies. Chill for one hour. Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Spread over brownies. Let cool; cut into squares. Makes 2 to 3 dozen, depending on how big your sweet tooth is Winking smile 

They were VERY good and tasted like a buckeye for sure.  However, next time I may add a thinner layer of chocolate to the top.  With a fat layer of brownie on top, and thick layer of chocolate gnash on top made it awful rich. 

 

The second recipe I knocked out was a hit as well.  Let me preface by saying.  As a child I long for each morning to wake up and indulge in one three bowls of huge sugary cereal. 

This was my sister and I back in the day

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My favorite cereal to mow down in the morning was this stuff.  I think we went through two boxes a week….

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Thus, what Christmas party is not complete with a snack mix and found this one from Betty Crocker.  However, it calls for Chex Mix and Coco Puffs.  While I love chocolate. Coco puffs do not make me jump up and down, and the Chex cereal, well its just a bit plain.  So.  I knew I had the rest of the ingredients cover but needed two cereals to replace the Coco puffs and Chex.  So when I saw the recipe that combined WHITE chocolate and cereal I knew we had a winner!

I ran to the store to the Cereal aisle to see what I have been missing in the world of sugary cereal lately.  I want to say….WHERE have I been.  I found these two amazing cereals yesterday!

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Wow.  Cinnabon may be may new favorite snack.  While it may be loaded with sugar.  It really does give you a sense that you are eating a cinnamon roll! And the Reese’s Puff are also loaded with sugar but the Peanut Butter puffs are amazing.  How is it that no one turned me one to these!

Thus I pick up both new cereals and set out to finish my mix! Let me say.  The recipe does not call for ALL of the cereals, but between mom, dad, and I eating sampling the cereal, both boxes were gone by the end of this process. 

 

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Throw all your candy, cereal, pretzels, nuts, ect into a big bowl and melt your WHITE Chocolate 

 

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Add you melted butter and chocolate to the bowl and stir until coated

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Then throw it all into a bag, add a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and then lay out flat on a sheet trey to cool, and then just put it all back into the bag to bring to the party! Easy as that.  I will say I went threw and ate the M&M’s and Cinnabons first.  Both desserts were hits and fairly easy! Great way to start off the week of Christmas.

Holiday Party Mix

4 cups Cinnabon® cereal

2 cups Reese Puff® cereal

2 cups thin pretzel sticks (2 1/4 inch)

1 cup candy-coated candies (Plain M&M’s)

1 cup dry-roasted peanuts

10 oz white chocolate baking bars or squares, chopped

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 In large bowl, mix cereals, pretzels, plain candies and peanuts; set aside.
  • 2 In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave white chocolate and butter uncovered on High about 1 minute, stirring once, until melted and chocolate can be stirred smooth. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.
  • In large resealable food-storage plastic bag, toss half of the cereal mixture with 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar until evenly coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Repeat with remaining cereal mixture and remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
  • Lay flat on sheet pan to dry and cool
  • Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Hope everyone Holidays are going very well! I know my family and I have been blessed this year already and its only due to get better!

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Christmas Ornaments

Christmas has many different meanings to all walks of life.  But as Linus reminds us the true meaning of Christmas.

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Christmas holds a special place to me. It means being with family, friends, and great food.  But also means using some superficial items to help get my family in the holiday spirit!  Decorating the tree each year was a HUGE night for my family when I was younger and to this day putting up our tree still means alot.

Every year since my sister and I have been kids, we ALWAYS opened Christmas presents on Christmas morning.  However, my family would ALWAYS go to a Christmas Church Service on Christmas eve, come home, change, eat a ton of snacks, and then gorge ourselves with a huge feast. We would each get to open ONE or two gifts/stocking stuffers.

As we got older we realized this “stocking stuffer” would include the same thing each year….a Christmas ornament.  At the time, we were kinda bummed since we knew what it was going to be, and just laughed as we opened it.  It was still fun and got us stoked for what was coming in the morning, but as kids, an ornament was far from a desired gift.  It was not until the last few years when I moved out of my parents house and started decorating our own tree with the ornaments my parents handed down to me, helped me realize why my parents gave us an ornaments as gifts each year.  Going though my box, and placing each one on the tree honesty brought some great memoires and I can NOT thank my parents enough for giving the as gifts, and allowing me to have and keep to this day.

If you noticed, we decorated our tree, last week.  And these are just some of the ornaments we put on our tree that really got us into the Christmas mood!

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Baseball is one of the greatest games created and reminds us we are all kids at heart

And the Rescuers Bernard and Sebastian ornaments were from McDonalds sold in a set, and can still remember my parents buying them for me and my sister without even asking!

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Go Hoosiers.  The IU stocking is the only one I felt we needed but Brittni disagreed.

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The Camouflage Snowman reminds me of the great time in the woods with my Pops, teaching me WAY more then hunting.

And what cooks home wouldn’t be complete without a gingerbread man making cookies!

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Family of the Year?  I think so Winking smile

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And last, and the one that means most, is one in which my family had made from the rose petals off my Grandfathers coffin and grave site….So many great warm memories of sitting in the living room talking about sports and life.

These are just a few of the most memorable ornaments and I have MANY more.  Christmas is not about gifts and decorations, but it still is great to use some of them to get you in the spirit and really gives me so many warm memories of Christmas time as a child.

Question of the Day

Do you or or family have one or two rituals that get them into the Holiday Spirit?  

Mine for sure is decorating the tree, and making Christmas cookies with my mother!

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Its Beginning To Look a lot Like Christmas

Its Beginning To Look a lot Like Christmas.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Its Beginning To Look a lot Like Christmas

Hope everyone is enjoying the start of the holiday season.  I know we we are.  What better way to kick things off by making our little apartment feel a little more homey?

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and drum roll please…..Our Tree

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I can’t take any credit for the layout of the decorations, that’s all Brittni, and I must say she does some nice work! But I my parents gave me MANY of my old ornaments I have collected over the years, and its always a great time putting up each one as they bring back some of my fondest memories.  (Ill have a post later with some individual ornaments and why they mean so much to me)

We slowly put everything together starting Monday and by Wednesday night we had it all done.

To cap it off I surprised Brittni with part of her Christmas gift….Dinner and a Concert over the weekend.  I made reservations at one of our favorite restaurants downtown at The Rathskeller.  It’s a classy, highend German restaurant, and pride themselves on top German beer and classic scratch made comfort German food.  They are know for their Pretzels with hot horseradish mustard they bring each table before each meal, and when I say “hot” I mean the spicy hot that burns so good, and you know its spicy, but go back in for seconds just to make sure the second bite was as hot as the first.  However, if you have never had top shelf German food, this is your place, and the Sauerkraut and Red Cabbage are soo on point.  After eating our way through Germany, and a few cocktails, we wandered across the street to the Murat Center to catch Straight No Chaser’s Christmas Show! For those of you whom don’t know.  The group a cappella men’s singing groups. The Indiana University (Go Hoosiers) group is composed of 10 to 12 undergraduate men whose lineup changes every year. The professional group, known simply as Straight No Chaser, is composed of former members, mostly original members, of the college group.

Going into the show, I was a little worried I wouldn’t like the show, but after hearing my sister and Brittni talk about them all the tie I took Britt and I was NOT disappointed.  The Christmas song were good, but the cover sooo many bands and artists such as Michael Jackson, Beach Boys, The Temptations, and so many more.  It was a blast and would highly recommend seeing them live!

They played for an hour, had in intermission, just long enough to grab another round of cocktails, and then sang for another hour, however they are really know for their song, 12 Days of Christmas!, and they  ended the show with singing that song.  (Its my sister favorite)

We had a blast and was a perfect way to get into the spirit.

The rest of the weekend was spent at the farmers market and I finished my Christmas shopping! Feels so good to have 99% of it done already!

But what better way to round out a perfect holiday weekend?  Yep.  Baking.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Milk and Mans best friend.  I under baked them on purpose to make sure they were pretty chewy, which made them a bit more flat, but still taste unbelievably good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.)
Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKEfor 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Next time Ill add some Peppermint Chocolate chips, along with some White Chocolate Chips to add a little more Christmassy feel.  But Britt was napping in the afternoon and wanted to surprise her with her favorite classic cookie and didn’t want to disappoint her, and disappointed she was not!

It was a great way to end a great weekend here in the big city, along with Indiana’s big win of Stetson.  Go Hoosiers!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! And only 20!! more day until Christmas.

Question of the day

What your Favorite Holiday dessert to make or eat?

Mine would be my moms Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas morning!

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized