Thursday, December 31, 2009

A dog's New Year's resolutions and you are the worst customer service person I have ever delt with!

It's time for the Writer's Workshop over at  Mama's Losin' It!! This week I chose prompt 1 and prompt 4. 
 Here's the post from Holly our 12 month old lab mix.
1.) Your pet wants to guest post on your blog.
Dear Family, 
It's almost January first and I have been giving lots of thought to my New Year's resolutions for 2010 and here they are:
  • I promise not to roll in the mud when we go to the dog park.
  • I'll do my best to quit smoking cigars.



  •  I'll bring my fetch items back to you if you throw them for me.



  •  I will play in the snow as often as possible.

  • I'll try my hardest NOT to chew up any shoes.
I'll do these things for you,  ONLY IF you never ever dress me up in a stupid squirrel costume again!




  Hope we have a great year!  Love, Holly



 Prompt #4. ) Write a letter to someone you received poor customer service from. (inspired by Lynsey from Sassy & Southern)

Dear computer customer service lady,
      
 After half an hour on the phone with you and you not being able to help me, I have a few questions for you that I would like answered.
  1. Why did you pretend to know how to solve my problem when it was obvious that I knew more than you did and we both knew you didn't have a chance at helping me?
  2. When I was overly polite to you, OK perhaps a bit sarcastic after the first 15 minutes, why did you get very condescending and  treat me like I was an idiot, especially when you were the one without a clue?
  3. When you obviously had no clue about how to solve my problem,  why did you refuse over 20 times, to pass me off to someone who could actually help me?
  4. Why did you continue to ask me questions that you didn't even know the correct answer to? 
  5. Why is it that after 30 minutes of dealing with you, in frustration, I hung up, called back and got a different customer service rep. who immediately, within 3 minutes, could see that I needed more help than they could give me and passed me off to a higher level of technical support who, by the way, solved my issue in under 5 minutes??????????????????????!!!!!
I look forward to your answers to these questions. Hopefully you can do a better job with these than you did with my questions on the phone.
                                                                                                Sincerely,
                                                                           A very unhappy customer


PS. Thank you so much for graciously giving me your name and id number at the beginning of our phone call. I later used the information to report your hideous service. 



Here are the rest of this weeks Prompts:
1.) Your pet wants to guest post on your blog.
(inspired by Matthew at Child’s Play x2)
2.) You wake up one day with an unusual super power that seems pretty worthless—until you are caught in a situation that requires that specific “talent.”
(inspired by Writer’s Digest)
3.) Write about a speech you gave at a wedding.
4.) Write a letter to someone you received poor customer service from.
(inspired by Lynsey from Sassy & Southern)
5.) This time I really MEAN it! It’s time to list your New Year’s resolutions for 2010.
(inspired by Margaret from Nanny Goats In Panties)
Head over and pick a prompt to write about and link up!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random Tuesday- We finally had Christmas!

OK, this is so late because we've been celebrating Christmas. We just had Christmas tonight. It was supposed to be last night but one of the kid's flights last night was delayed  90 minutes so we had to push back the present opening until tonight! So fun and such great gifts.

I love having all my kids home at the same time. It's so special since it only happens a couple of times a year. Watching them laugh, play games and talk about the stupid things that they used to do is a blast.

It's been a busy week and it's not over. My birthday is on Friday and a couple's wedding shower for my daughter and her fiance is being held on Saturday!

Facebook has really messed up their calendar. It notified everyone that all Jan 1st birthdays are on Thursday. WRONG- the first is on Friday. I've had quite a few Happy Birthday messages because of it. 2 other people with Jan 1st birthdays that I know had the same thing happen. Really is it that tough to get the dates correct?

I really am ready for Christmas to be over and to put everything away. I will admit that my daughter's fiance's family is coming on the first for the shower and will be staying here. I've organized cupboards and closets for the last two weeks in anticipation on people coming. I'm so weird!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Secret Santa Spin Cycle!!!

Over at Sprite's Keeper, she assigned us to be a Secret Santa to another blogger and I was so excited to be paired up with Blue Violet over at A Nut in a Nutshell
She is one talented lady! She's a really funny writer, takes beautiful photos for her Wordless Wednesday posts and really has all the scoop on great give a ways in the blog world. Her blog is one I make sure to check on many times a week. I love her sense of humor and she always gives me a laugh or two. She has 2 gorgeous kids and is a mom that I can only aspire to be.

I discovered her blog through the Ramdon Tuesdays by the Unmom. I'm so glad that I found her!!!!!!!

Every Saturday she has bloggers link up with their Give-A-Ways so her blog is a wonderful resource. You need to check her out and let her know her secret Santa sent you!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shortcut recipes for this busy week. Peppermint layered brownies and a Creampuff Christmas Tree tower!

I had to make some food for an event on very short notice this past week and came up with a couple of shortcut recipes you might want to try out yourself.

First, I love the 3 layer Peppermint Brownies I make every Christmas but I knew that I would be too busy to get a batch made up with only a couple of hours notice so I did the next best thing. I ran to Sam's club and bought some premade brownies and them added the layer of peppermint frosting and the chocolate on top. They took about 40 minutes with 25 of that being a quick chill in the freezer and cutting! Not bad. The great thing is that they tasted just as good a homemade. Just go to the recipe and skip the brownie part.

The other thing I came up with was for a party I had forgotten about and I needed to bring a dessert. I grabbed some frozen cream puffs out of the freezer and made a Christmas tree with them.

Here's how I did it.
Take a box of frozen cream puffs- about 48
3/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips melted- use only if you need to transport the tree to a party. If you're serving it at home you won't need this. I'll fess up and admit that I used the melted sugar as the glue. Not one of my better ideas, first of all, I burned the crud out of my fingers more than once, melted sugar is HOT. Second of all, the dang sugar is such great HARD glue that we had to pry the puffs apart, breaking some of them. Not the dainty pickup a creampuff picture I had in my head!!!
  1. Melt the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips in a small bowl. Again- if you're serving these at home, just stack the creampuffs and skip to step 4.
  2. Make a base of cream puffs in the shape of a circle. Us a tiny drop of the melted chocolate between them to act as glue.
  3. For the next layers, put a small drop of the melted chocolate on the bottom of each creampuff and stack them up into a tree shape.
  4. Into a small sauce pan, place the 3/4 cup of sugar. Turn the heat to medium high and watch carefully as the sugar melts- DON'T stir- just watch, when the suger begins to get medium brown, you can swirl the pan GENTLY to get any unmelted sugar to mix in. When all of the sugar is melted and a medium golden brown. Immediately remove from the heat. 

  • Dip a fork or a tined whisk into the melted sugar and wave back and forth over the pan until the sugar starts to create threads/ Once you begin to get threads, dip and wave over the top of the tower of creampuffs. I'm no expert so I ended up with dropletts and the intended threads of sugar. It still looked and tasted great.
  • Continue doing this until you have the coverage you want. If the sugar gets to thick put it back on the stove for a few seconds to warm it up a touch.
  • Serve!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Checklist- The Stockings are hung by the chimney with care...

I can't believe that Christmas is in 4 days. Today is the day to make sure you are all ready. Here are the things to do today to help make this week less frantic. OK, it's still going to be crazy but at least you won't be caught off guard by the insanity.
  1. Write out your menus for every single meal you will be serving this week and make sure you have all of the ingredients that you will need for each menu item. 
  2. Go grocery shopping and get the things you'll need. Do that no later that Tuesday because the stores will be way to busy to handle shopping later. 
  3. Double check your gift lists and make sure you have the gifts that you need. If you have been shopping for the past few months, dig out the gifts from the hiding places and make sure you can find them all. If you are like my friend Gina and have kept a color coded Excel spreadsheet with each gift purchase, where it has been put and whether or not it is gift wrapped yet, you can skip this one. Yes, she really does keep one- It's password protected to keep prying eyes from seeing the list. She's Santa, I swear!
  4. In our house, we only do one or two gifts but do really big stockings, lots of gadgets and gift cards and good stuff like that. Whether or not you do big or little stockings, get a grocery bag for each family member, put their name on it and divide out the stocking items into each person's bag, this way on Christmas Eve, you'll have already done all the work, just carry the bags down and stuff the stockings.



  5. Wrap those presents, if you haven't done so already.  If your paper is too small see this post from last year.  To keep kids from prying into the packages, see this post.
  6. Take some time this week to just sit back and be thankful for the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas isn't about all of the presents and the "stuff", it is about the gift that God gave to each of us, His son Jesus and LOVE!!! It's about the love of God and the love of our family and friends. I am SO guilty of getting frantic and stressed over all that needs to be done and I neglect to show the kind of Love to those around me the way that God so graciously and mercifully shows me every day. I am praying that I will step back and keep that in mind all this week. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snowballs, Russian Tea Balls, Swedish Tea Balls, or Mexican Wedding Cookies, by any of these names- Delicious!



Swedish Tea Balls
Also called Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Balls, or Snowballs

This is my husband's great-grandmother's recipe and a favorite at Christmas and showers.
Makes 32 cookies

1 cup butter softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of finely chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup of powdered sugar to roll baked cookies in after baking

Preheat oven to 350°

Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Place walnuts into a food processor and pulse until they are in very small pieces. Take care not to over process into paste.

Add nuts to dry ingredients and stir to blend.
Cream together the butter and powdered sugar, on medium high speed, until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and beat until incorporated.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour into the butter mixture in 3 batches,
mixing each addition until just combined and scraping down sides.

If batter does not hold together add water 1 Tbs at a time until dough
holds together when rolled into a ball. Do not over beat as that will make them tough.


Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet or onto parchment paper. They don't spread but do get larger as they bake.


Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are set and just golden brown on the bottom.
Remove from cookies from oven and immediately roll cookies into the powdered sugar until coated on all sides.


Place cookies onto a sheet of waxed paper to cool.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature, 2 weeks in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Swedish Spritz Cookies- Buttery and Delicious


Spritz cookies are a family tradition that go all the way back to my husband's great grandmother. The original recipe called for 1/2 a teacup of sugar and and a ball of butter the size of a man's fist.

Tools: You will need something called a cookie press to make these cookies. A cookie press extrudes cookie dough through unique shaped steel disks. These disks create the shape of the cookies. Most cookie presses also come with decorating tips to use for frosting and decorating. There are 4 major kinds of cookie presses on the market. In the left hand picture from left to right; an old fashioned crank press, a top trigger press and an electric press. The right hand picture shows a regular trigger press with the disks. I would highly recommend either a regular trigger press or an electric press. I personally like the electric presses or the regular trigger presses. A good press will cost between $15- $25.
Ingredients:
1 cup of room temperature butter

2/3 cup white sugar

3 egg yolks

1 tsp almond extract

2 1/2 cups of flour

Directions:
Cream the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy.


Add the egg yolks one at a time and beat until they are completely mixed in.

Add the flour and the almond extract. Mix just until the flour is incorporated.

Divide dough if you want to add coloring to any of it. Many people like the buttery cream color for all of their shapes. I like green trees and wreaths and red and white flowers. so I tint 1/2 the batch green and then the other half I tint 2/3 of it red and leave the other 1/3 white.

Load the dough into the cookie press. Squeeze the trigger until the dough begins to come out the bottom through the disk. Now hold the press with the disk end resting on the UNGREASED cookie sheet, making sure that the press rests on the cookie sheet Then squeeze the trigger until the dough appears at the edge of the mold. Then lift the press. To make the wreaths, I use the star disk and just press out long zig zag lines of dough on the baking sheet. I then break it into smaller pieces and form by hand into a circle. I press the 2 ends together and then place a red hot on the seam to hide it. As you can see from the photograph at the top, I am not a perfectionist when it comes to making perfect circles.


There will be a bit of trial and error to figure out how many squeezes or how long to press the button to make the perfect shape. If it is too big then scrape it off and put it into the next batch to press. Once you have the shape you want move the press over 1" and press again. One tube of dough will make about 30 cookies. It is much easier to press cookies out onto a cool cookie sheet. If the dough is too soft when using a cookie press, refrigerate the dough or add a small amount (1 to 2 tablespoons) of flour. If it is too stiff, add 1 egg yolk.

I decorate my Christmas trees with one gold or silver dragee at the top and my wreathes and my flowers with one cinnamon red hot candy before baking.
Bake at 400° for 8-9 minutes until just barely golden on the bottom.

These cookie freeze beautifully.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Glowing spots in the yard and other randomness.

Hey, do yourself a favor and head on over to The Unmom and link up your own randomness. You'll thank me later, you really will!!!

How can Christmas be a week from this Friday?!! We aren't celebrating until the 29th this year, that's when all the kids can be home, but I keep thinking I have plenty of time and I really don't. I've been so busy that I haven't even been here very much- SORRY!!!

A more puzzling question- how can I be turning 49 the week after that. When did this happen?  I swear, I still feel like I'm 30 or something. When you were a kid didn't you think that 49 was ANCIENT?!!! I did, and now I'm that old lady.  I will admit that occasionally I look in the mirror and am surprised. I don't look the way I feel. I keep expecting to see that younger face and it just isn't there any more. I know it sounds weird but really am I this old?



Last night I went outside with my dog, she's scared to go out at night by herself. Too many coyotes for her.  I looked out on the grass and could see these glowing spots in the yard. At first I thought that it was spots of snow reflecting the light but then I realized that something was truly glowing out there. I went down to investigate and as I got closer I realized what had happened. WARNING_ GRAPHIC COMMENT FOLLOWING!!  STOP IF YOU ARE EASILY GROSSED OUT! Think about it..............OK here it is.........She'd eaten part of a glow in the dark frisbee and yep- glow in the dark poo!  My yellow lab loves Frisbees- chasing them, tossing them, catching them and EATING them and you can tell which ones she's gotten hold of by the colored chunks in her poo.  I'd bought a set of 4 at Ross 2 months ago and the last one is now gone, consumed. I try to keep them inside the grill so that she can't get to them but sometimes I'll throw one and she'll be done with the game and won't bring it back and frankly, sometimes, I'm too lazy to climb the stairs down to the yard to find it. Yes, I stand on the deck and throw it down to her. I figure that the stairs are good exercise for her. Better her than me! So she occasionally keeps them  and then when she's outside alone, eats them. I sure had a good laugh over the glowing spots.

Last night was out street Christmas party. It is the one time of the year that we all get together and visit. There are only 11 houses on our street and 2 of them are empty right now. But 7 families out of the remaining 9 was a good showing.  I'm so glad that we take the time to get together. When we all had out kids at home we talked outside while the kids played but now they've all grown up and it is all adults. We don't play the candy bar game any more but we do still have a Yankee Swap for white elephant gifts. There's this one orange satin picture frame with a hot pink peace sign on it that has been a  gift every year since 2003. We take a photo of the giver and the new recipient and place it in the frame to be given the following year. We keep all the old photos in the frame and last night, took them all out and looked through them. It was so funny. We all try so hard not to get that stupid frame. I, thankfully, have never received it!!!! It was a really fun evening, chatting and catching up with everyone for longer than the "morning, how are you" interactions on trash days. I love our street. We moved to this street from a house 4 streets away and it is amazing how different 2 streets can be. On our old street, no one ever came out of their houses and we hardly knew out neighbors I like knowing my neighbors!

I'm sad that Monk is over for ever but I can't wait for Psych & Chuck to come back. Those are 2 shows worth looking forward to.

Today Gina and I will be wrapping all of the teacher gifts for the staff at the high school. OK, no way in heaven we're gift wrapping 300 gifts but we will be tying the 2 items together with ribbon. Tomorrow we'll get to go stuff the mailboxes at school with them. Isn't my life glamorous????

The stockings WILL be hung by the chimney with care. I'll finish Mike's stocking today. Yahoo!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Almond Lace Cookies

Click Here For a Printable Version of This Recipe

Almond Lace Cookies
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole unblanched almonds, ground medium fine
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375°
In a food processor grind 1 cup of almonds until they are a medium fine texture.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

In a small saucepan combine butter and cream over medium heat.
When butter has melted, stir in the flour, ground almonds and the sugar. Cook until gently bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

Place 4-6 teaspoons of batter 3 inches apart on the parchment paper covered baking sheet.
Do not put more than 6 because you will not be able to roll any more before they harden. If you are leaving them as flat wafers then you can get 8.
Bake until lightly browned and crisp, 6 to 7 minutes.


Remove from oven, and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Working quickly, flip the cookie upside down and then roll up into a cylinder. You can also lay over a rolling pin for a curved cookie or leave flat. Continue baking and forming cookies until batter is used up. Place cookies on a wire rack to cool. If you like chocolate you can drizzle melted chocolate over the cookies to decorate.

You can also make larger circles with a tablespoon of batter and place into a small bowl shaping carefully to form an edible cookie bowl for ice cream or chocolate mousse.

Makes 20 smaller cookies.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The wreath is on the car!

It's Tuesday and thankfully, I'm out of bed and feeling better. I was sick all last week and now am so far behind that all I want to do is climb back in bed and hide. Since that's not going to happen, I guess I'll just buckle down and get it all done.

Want to get random, go over to The Unmom and link up your own randomness.

Why didn't I put the outside lights up the day after Thanksgiving when it was 68 degrees out? It's 4 degrees right now and it's supposed to get up to 8 degrees today. We are supposed to get a warm up into the 40's this weekend so I'll have to wait until then. I just want my garland and red bows up-----NOW!!!!!!

I did get the wreath on my car today though! I'm a Christmas freak.

I really don't mind at all when my hubby gives me a list of things to take care of, especially when he is going to be out of town. I'll gladly run errands and take care of things....on my schedule.  Give me a list, but I don't like the timing to be dictated. I know he wants it done, but I'm fitting it into the things I need to do so it might not get done until Friday at 3pm but by golly, it'll be done before he gets home. I hate the phone calls on Monday night asking if I got them done. Nope sure didn't. I know it stresses him out so today I'll get it all done so I can alleviate his stress level but really. Can you tell I'm grumpy today!!! LOL

The baking has barely begun and Christmas is 17 days away. UGHHHHHH. I lost a week and I can't get it back. Every time I open my pantry the 35 pounds of flour and 30 pounds of sugar taunts me to get to it. The fridge holds 24 pounds of butter that's doing the same.  I can't wait to start but there are so many things that need to be done. Like the 300 ice scrapers and 300 pairs of gloves that are sitting in my garage waiting to be wrapped and delivered to the teachers some time in the next week and a half.

I will say that yesterday afternoon, I got home and was so tired that I sat down to eat an early dinner, began knitting and didn't move from the chair until it was time for bed. I have to get my son-in-law to be's stocking done so that it can be hanging on the mantle when they get here in 3 weeks.  I really did need to be knitting, but it did feel a bit like slacking off, knitting in front of a crackling fire, snow falling outside, my Christmas tree lights turned on, a cup of cocoa (yes, with homemade marshmallows) and some Bing on the stereo. OK, maybe it was a bit of both but it's a beautiful thing when needs and wants can be the same thing.

I hope that your needs and wants come together this week for you, too!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sangria for the Holidays







Sorry only had my cell phone camera with me so this picture is not very good!!!

Last night I went to a Christmas Party with a group of friends. Everyone brings an appetizer and we all talk until we're hoarse. The hostess with the mostess made this amazing sangria for the party and it was delicious. This recipe is fast, easy and doesn't contain the hard liqueur the many sangrias have.
Sangria is basically a combination of fruits, fruit juices and wine. There are thousands of recipes out there and it's fun to play with the different combinations. Many people think of Sangria as a summertime drink but I think that it's festive and perfect for winter holiday parties, especially when made with red wine. The site Wine Intro.com has over 80 Sangria Recipes if you want to try a few out.
Sangria is also a great money saver for a large party because you can use an inexpensive wine, I usually use a $5 to $8 range wine in sangria. I've even used 2 buck Chuck in a spiced sangria for a huge crowd.

Here's how my friend made it.
                   1/3 C sugar
                   1/3 C lemon juice
                   1/3 C orange juice
                   1 Bottle of red wine, 750ml size
                   1 orange, thinly sliced
                   1 lemon, thinly sliced
  1. In a large pitcher, add the 1/3 C sugar, 1/3 C lemon juice, and 1/3 C orange juice 
  2. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  
  3. Add one bottle red wine.  
  4. Thinly slice oranges and lemons and place into the pitcher with the wine mixture.
  5. Chill and serve.
That's it, you are good to go and ready for a party. You can make this a few days in advance and stick in the fridge until you're ready to serve it. The sangria was the hit of the party.

Here is the recipe for a spice sangria that I got years ago from a friend in Houston who served it at a Christmas party as well. It has a warmer flavor because of the spices.
         1 cup of cranberry juice
         1/2 cup sugar
         4 whole cloves
         1 cinnamon stick
         2 lemon slices
         3 orange slices
         1 750ml bottle of red wine
         2 to 4 tablespoons of brandy or triple sec depending on how orange flavor you want.
         1 orange (unpeeled), washed and thinly sliced
         1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
         1 cup club soda
  1. In a small saucepan, place the juice, sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, lemon slices and orange slices. 
  2. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. 
  3. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove from the heat and let sit for at least an hour to cool. 
  5. When it's cooled completely, strain it (or just scoop out the chunks) into a large sealed container and add the bottle of wine and the liquor.
  6. Place in the fridge to chill. You can do this up to 3 days before serving.
When it's party time, pour the sangria into your serving container. Add the club soda, the orange slices and the fresh cranberries to the sangria. To keep it chilled, you can freeze cubes of oranges and use them as ice cubes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Homemade marshmallows and cocoa mix make great teacher gifts or neighbor gifts!


Here is an easy gift to make for teachers, neighbors or friends. Marshmallows and cocoa mix. If you've never made marshmallows, I hate to be the one to tell you that they are super simple and very impressive. I love making peppermint marshmallows to put in cocoa but you can make plain or if you just want them to eat, then try rolling them in toasted coconut or even chopped nuts.


Homemade Marshmallows:

* 3 packages unflavored gelatin
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
* Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Sprinkle powdered sugar into 2 8"x8" pans or one 9"x13" until bottom is completely coated.
Pour the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with your whisk attachment and allow this mixture to sit while you make the syrup.

In a large saucepan, preferably one that has a spout, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Place the lid on the pan for 1 minute to wash down the sides of the pan. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you live at higher altitudes, reduce the final temp by 2 degrees for every 1000 feet in altitude. I live at 6000 feet so I only cook my mixture to 228 degrees. Remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer onto low speed, while mixer is going, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. The gelatin will be all chunky when you turn on the mixer. Once all of the syrup is poured in turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.





Pour the marshmallow batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or whatever topping you are using.

For the peppermint, I removed half the marshmallows for the plain pan and then stirred in 2 drops of red food coloring and 1/2 tsp of peppermint flavoring into the remaining half. After placing this into the second pan I sprinkled crushed peppermints over the top.

Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.

Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. I dip a knife into very hot water before each cut then roll each strip in powdered sugar before cutting into squares. Roll the sides of each square carefully in confectioners' sugar.
 

Once they have dried for a few hours and aren't sticky, they  can be bagged up for gifts or stored in a  sealed container or sealed baggies.

Creamy Cocoa Mix
This makes 20 cups of mix or about 60 servings. I make a big batch at the beginning or the winter and we use it all season.

  • 13 cups dry milk powder
  • 6 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer (1- 15oz jar of powdered creamer)
Sift together all these ingredients into a large bowl. 
For extra chocolaty goodness I  add-
  • 2- 12 oz package of mini chocolate chips 
stir to combine the scoop into jars for gifts or store sealed in a container for storage.

Variations- You can use flavored creamer if you want flavored cocoa or try adding some cayenne pepper to the mix for a bit of spicy heat. 

To use this cocoa mix; Scoop 1/3 cup of mixture into mug and add boiling water. Stir and enjoy.

Alton Brown has a Recipe for Cocoa mix that I haven't tried just because I love the creaminess of my recipe but for those who don't want to use powdered creamer here is his recipe.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight container.


Don't forget to post your Holiday recipes and your Christmas cookie recipes for the 25 days of Christmas Recipe Exchange by clicking these links here or the buttons at the top of the page.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Random Tuesday

Random is feeling fine all morning yesterday and in 20 minutes going from feeling great to feeling like a truck hit me. I haven't been this sick in years. UGHHHH My daughter started getting sick today. This had better be a short virus because I'm supposed to decorate someone's house for Christmas on Friday. I love the money but why wouldn't you want to decorate for Christmas? It's the best time of the year.

How is it already December?

What would I have done last night without my good friends? They brought over ginger ale and Gatorade. I love my friends. They're the best!!!

Ok my head is going to explode and it's time for bed again.

For far better Random posts, head over to the Unmom for some hilarious bits of her randomness.

Don't forget to post your holiday recipes and your Christmas cookie recipes for the 25 days of Christmas Virtual recipe exchange.