Favorite Recipes of 2009

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While reading my favorite blogs this week, I’ve been inspired to share with you a look back at 2009.

I started writing Hoosier Homemade at the end of February, so I don’t have a whole year under my belt yet, but I still wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

And since the majority of my posts are food related, what better way to share the best with you.

March

S’More Cupcakes

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April

Snakes and Bugs Dinner for April Fool’s Day

April Fools Dinner-snake

May

Black Forest Cupcakes

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June

Twix Bars

July

Candy Land Cake

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August

A Round-up of Zucchini Recipes 

Chocolate Zucc Cake

September

Party Cupcakes ~ First Cupcake Tuesday Carnival

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October

Pumpkin Cookies

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November

Thanksgiving Cupcakes and Turkey Cupcakes

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December

12 Days of Cookies

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These are just some of my favorites, you can find lots of other recipes on the Mixing Spoons page and 43 different cupcakes on the Cupcake Heaven page.

Thank you so much to all my readers for making 2009 fantastic! :)

Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy New Year!

This post linked to:

~Tasty Tuesday hosted by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

~Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed with Grace

~Tuesdays at the Table hosted by All the Small Stuff

 

 

 

 

Cupcake Tuesday ~ Celebrating the New Year

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Cupcake Tuesday at HoosierHomemade.com

Wow! Can it really be? 2010? How exciting! I’m really looking forward to the New Year. I have always enjoyed starting fresh and being renewed.

And, of course, I couldn’t let the New Year arrive without a fun cupcake (or 2) to share with you.

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I decorated these with Airheads, soften them in the microwave for about 15 seconds then mold them into glasses, champaigne bottle and cut a small strip and curl it for the streamer. These were very easy to make, I’m not much of an artist, but you get the idea.

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The countdown…

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These cupcakes were frosted with white buttercream and sprinkled with silver colored sugar. I placed them on a round tray and simply piped on the numbers for the clock. Added one in the middle and cut the hands of the clock out of cardstock.

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Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy New Year!

I don’t usually link up my Cupcake Tuesday carnival to others, but I just couldn’t resist today:)

Please visit:

~Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed with Grace

~Tasty Tuesday hosted by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

~DIY Day hosted by A Soft Place to Land

 Now it’s your turn! Please share your cupcake or muffin recipe! For the guidelines, you can visit Cupcake Tuesday. Be sure to link back to this post and visit some (or all) of the other participants.

 

Meals ~ December 28 – Jan. 2

MPM Christmas

MPM Christmas

I hope you all had a glorious Christmas! We are very thankful for the many blessings that God has given us this year. We had a quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and we enjoyed some time with Doug’s family this weekend.

We will be visiting with friends on New Year’s Eve this year, so I thought I would share with you what I plan on taking.

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Cheese Ball

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Cheesy Chili Dip

And I will also take some dessert; Homemade Peanut Butter Cups (sharing the recipe soon), Cookies and of course, Cupcakes; some fun New Year’s Cupcakes that I will be sharing tomorrow for Cupcake Tuesday.

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The menu for this week:

Monday ~  Ham & Scalloped Potatoes (leftover ham)

Tuesday ~  Breakfast

Wednesday ~  Fettucini Alfredo, Garlic Bread and Salad

Thursday ~  New Year’s Eve

Friday ~  Happy New Year!  Probably a pot of soup or leftovers

Saturday ~ Lasagne (didn’t make from last week)

For more great menu plans, please visit:

~Ultimate Recipe Swap hosted by Life As Mom

~I’m An Organizing Junkie

~Chive Talkin’

Meals ~ December 21 – 27

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Our meals at the beginning of the week are simple. I’m thankful with all the hustle and bustle of the season to have my meals planned and some in the freezer.

Here’s what we will be eating this week…

Monday ~ Turkey Pot Pie (freezer)

Tuesday ~ Chili

Wednesday ~ Marinated Chicken (freezer) and Rice

Thursday ~ Christmas Eve ~ Appetizers

Friday ~ Christmas Day ~ Ham and all the fixins’

Saturday ~ Leftovers

Sunday ~ Lasagne, Garlic Bread, Salad

Friday Favorites ~ Holiday Help ~ Week 3

Welcome to Friday Favorites! My co-host Monica over at Daily Dwelling and I bring you some of our favorites from the week. (Monica is offline right now, setting up her home from their move from Germany) You can check out her list from last week.

Time is going quickly, only 1 week until Christmas! Are you ready?

To help, I’m sharing some more Holiday favorites. If you missed Week 1 or Week 2, head on over and check out what great ideas fellow bloggers have.

Baking:

~Candy Cane Cheesecake made by Feels Like Home

~Christmas Goodies baked by Many Little Blessings

~Chocolate Nutella Turnovers baked by Bake at 350

~Candy Making Round-up from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

~Sugar and Spice Almonds made by goodLife {eats}

Cooking:

~Hashbrown Casserole made by The Frugal Girls

~German Chocolate Mousse made by Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

~Homemade Pierogi made by Cooking During Stolen Moments

 Decorating:

~Front Door Wreath made by Organize and Decorate Everything

~Christmas Apothecaries made by Shanty 2 Chic

~Christmas Decorating from Cherry Hill Cottage (an old favorite of mine)

~Amazing Advent Calendar from A Feathered Nest

 Gifting:

~Thrifted Gift Wrap made by Creature Comforts

 DIY Projects:

~Ornament Wreath made by Sweet Pea

~Holiday Countdown Felt Tree made by Scrumdilly-do

~Sewing a Stocking made by Blah, Blah, Blah

~Snowflake Button Ornament made by Shanty 2 Chic

~Gumdrop Tree made by The Long Thread

For more fabulous ideas, here are some of the  parties that I linked to this week…

~Virtual Cookie Exchange hosted by The Hillbilly Housewife

~Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash organized by Simply Sweet Home

~Cookie Exchange hosted by Yours Truly (me)

 And one last shout out to Domino Sugar and Challenge Butter, thanks for sending me goodies.

 Now it’s your turn to share your list of favorites! Please link up your post and include a link back to this post! Thanks for joining in the fun!

Chocolate Meringue Pie~How to Make Meringue

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One of our favorite Holiday desserts, is Chocolate Meringue Pie. We all love it and it’s always gone before anything else.

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I’m not really sure why I only make it for special Holidays or occasions, because it’s not really that difficult. It does take a little time, but it’s well worth the time.

I usually make Chocolate filling, that’s what we like the most, but you can certainly use lemon, butterscotch or any other flavor your family likes. I use 1 large box of Chocolate pudding (cooking, not instant) and make my own crust.

Ingredients for Meringue:

  • 4 Large Eggs Whites, I use 4 eggs so that the meringue is tall and thick
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 1/2 t. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 c. Sugar

Directions:

Because I wanted to show you step by step pictures, I’ve combined them so that the post isn’t too long.

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  1. Place eggs in bowl and let warm up to room temperature, this step is very important
  2. Seperate egg whites into bowl, let warm up a little more if needed
  3. Beat egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar at medium speed…
  4. Until soft peaks form
  5. Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition on high speed, until stiff peaks form
  6. Begin spooning meringue at the edge of the pie, this seals the edge and helps prevent shrinkage 
  7. Fill in the middle
  8. Use a small spatula or the back of a spoon to form peaks

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Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, watching closely so the peaks won’t burn.

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Today is the last day of the Holiday Food Fest. I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as we have! A big Thank You to Amy from Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free for organizing the Food Fest.

FishMama over at Life As Mom is hosting the Food Fest and Ultimate Recipe Swap. And The Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash hosted by Simply Sweet Home has lots of great recipes for the Holidays.

This post also linked to:

~Foodie Friday hosted by Design by Gollum

~Food on Fridays hosted by Ann Kroeker

~Finer Things Friday hosted by The Finer Things in Life

~Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash hosted by Tidy Mom

DIY Christmas Projects ~ Candy Cane and Cookie Cutters

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Crafting and creating decorations for our home is something we all enjoy doing. The to-do list is never ending here, just ask Doug :)

Today I’d like to share 2 projects with you, one of them is from this year and one that I made last year.

We moved into our new home a little over a year ago, and have not had the opportunity to finish the landscaping in front. There is an old pole that used to have a light on it, there is no longer electricity going to it and we plan on cutting it down, but it hasn’t been done yet (another thing for the to-do list)

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While outside putting up the garland and decorating the porch and window boxes, I mentioned to my middle son that I was thinking of making the pole into a candy cane. My thought was to simply wrap red ribbon around it and make it look like a stick of peppermint. Well, in great “Latham” fashion, my son said, let’s just look for something to fit on the top to make it curved, paint it and then put the ribbon on. And so, another DIY Christmas Project was created.

We bought an electrical service conduit elbow (picture above) at Lowe’s for about $3, then Nick painted it with white spray paint from Walmart, $1.

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I had the red ribbon in my stash, and he used the hot glue gun to attach it to the pole.

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Now we have a 7 foot Candy Cane

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The second project is one that I made last year. I love Cookie Cutters, I have a collection of them (157), mostly I enjoy the antique or unusual ones. I have them in a large basket on top of my cabinets, and some in an antique metal pie pan on my counter near the Kitchen Christmas Tree.

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To add to my kitchen, I made these wreathes out of the extra cookie cutters that I had. I laid them out, making sure they would fit together well and then used my hot glue gun to attach them to each other. I backed them with red construction paper so they weren’t see through hanging in the window, and hung them with a red ribbon.

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If you missed them, please take a peak at my 10 Themed Trees and my son’s Pez Tree.

This post linked to:

~Frugal Holiday Linky hosted by The Shabby Nest

~Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom

~Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash hosted by Blue Eyes Blessings

Christmas Tree Decorating with Pez Dispensers

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One of the things I enjoy most about Christmas time is the traditions that we have. Among many, are the Trees that we put up and decorate. Many, many years ago, we started a collection of Pez dispensers for my oldest son (18), Andrew.  He now has around 500 of them. After we started his collection, we quickly found out that there are many different Pez items, not just the candy dispensers. He has pants, banks, cars, and of course, Christmas ornaments. As his collection grew and he got a little older, we started putting up a special Christmas tree with the dispensers on it.

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Andrew has many different Santas, they make them with different faces, eyes open, eyes shut, smile, etc.

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We use a bank for the topper.

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Among Andrew’s favorites are the Nintendo set

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So what if you or your children don’t have a Pez collection? There are many other items that you can use…Happy Meal Toys, small stuffed animals like Beanie Babies, Matchbox Toy Cars and Trucks, just to name a few. These are fun for the children, how about a special Tree for you? Decorating with nature has always been top on my list, like my Hydrangea Tree, or use a collection you have, like my Snowmen or my Kitchen Tree with Antique Utensils and Cookie Cutters.

Many of my trees that we have in our home, cost me nothing or very little to decorate. I think that’s one of the fun things about decorating, thinking outside the box, coming up with decorations that you have around your home.

I hope I have inspired you. Do you decorate with a theme in mind? I’d love to hear about it.

This post linked to:

~Frugal Holiday Linky hosted by The Shabby Nest

~Christmas Traditions hosted by Tidy Mom

~Works For Me Wednesday hosted by We Are THAT Family

Asparagus with Dill Butter and Dill Biscuits

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Recently I was contacted by Challenge Butter and asked to whip up a new Side Dish recipe with some of the ingredients that they sent me. Among the ingredients, were butter, of course and dill.

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After some looking around and talking to several friends and fellow bloggers, I decided to make Asparagus with Dill Butter, and Dill Biscuits. I didn’t want the butter to be plain though, so I whipped 1/2 cup of the butter and added 1 teaspoon dill weed.

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Then I put the Dill Butter in my decorator bag and piped rosettes onto wax paper and chilled it for about 2 hours.

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I steamed the asparagus and served the butter on the side.

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I also made some Dill Biscuits

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Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Flour
  • 3 t. Baking Powder
  • 2 t. Dill Weed
  • 3/4 t. Salt
  • 1/4 t. Pepper
  • 1/2 c. Challenge Butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 2 Eggs, slightly beaten
  • 9 T. half-and-half cream or milk, divided

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With a fork, stir in eggs and 1/2 of the cream just until moistened. Drop by large spoon onto greased cookie sheet and brush with remaining cream. Bake 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

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Thanks to Challenge Butter for the other goodies they sent me. Be sure to head on over to their website and enter for a chance to win a 7-day/6-night trip for 4 people to the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana’s Paradise Valley, just North of Yellowstone National Park.

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This post linked to:

~Slightly Indulgent Tuesday hosted by Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

~Mouthwatering Mondays hosted by A Southern Fairytale

 

O’ Christmas Tree

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Many years ago, I started decorating our trees with a theme. To say that I enjoy decorating for Christmas is an understatement. I hope you enjoy my trees and maybe get an idea or two for your own home. Please follow the links for the different trees to see more decorations or instructions on how I made them.

 Our Family Tree

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Snowman Tree

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Cupcake Tree

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Kitchen Tree

Decorated with Antique Kitchen Utensils and Cookie Cutters

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Pez Tree

Decorated with some of my son’s Pez Collection, topped with a Pez Bank 

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Baseball Tree

Blue lights, orange & black balls for school colors, baseball ornaments and hat for a topper

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Bedroom Tree

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Bathroom Tree

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Hydrangea Tree in the Foyer 

Decorated with dried hydrangeas to match the wallpaper

(the chair is supposed to be broken :) )

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Advent Tree with Edible Ornaments

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This post linked to:

~Holiday Linky hosted by The Inspired Room

~DIY Day hosted by A Soft Place to Land

~Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash hosted by A Baby Changes Everthing

~Tackle It Tuesday hosted by 5 Minutes For Mom

Edible Ornaments ~ Cookie Exchange

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Well, this is it…Day 12 of the Cookie Series…and for the Grand Finale…

Edible Ornaments

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These Edible Ornaments were such fun to create. For the Gingerbread cookies, I started with the recipe I used for the Gingerbread Men I made on Day 8. And for the Sugar Cookies, I headed on over to Domino Sugar website, where they have lots of fun ideas for gift giving, among my favorites were these Edible Ornaments.

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After baking the cookies, I used a straw to make the hole in the top for the hanger. Be sure to make the hole immediately after they come out of the oven, it’s easier that way. I used the Royal Icing recipe that I found from Bake at 350, she has amazing cookies.

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I chilled them for awhile to set the icing, then strung ribbon through the hole for a hanger.

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Now, I suppose you are wondering why I have numbers on them. My very creative son, Andrew, came up with the idea of making them into Advent Cookies, and eating one each day before Christmas. I know Advent has already started, but this would be a fun idea to stash away for next year. I printed the numbers off the computer onto scrapbook paper, used a quarter for a pattern for the circle and tied them on with embroidery floss. And for this year, you can still make the cookies and ornaments to share with friends and family. They would be especially cute with a picture of your children, it would make a great grandparents gift.

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A special Thank You to Domino Sugar for sending me a $20 Gift Card to buy the supplies for these adorable Edible Ornaments.

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Now comes the time for you to share your cookies. Here is a list of all the cookies I shared in the last 11 Days…

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Day 4 ~ Mint Thins

Day 5 ~ Favorites

Day 6 ~ Peanut Butter Layer Bars

Day 7 ~ Sugar Cut-Outs (Drop-In & Decorate Donation)

Day 8 ~ Gingerbread Men

Day 9 ~ Jam Cake

Day 10 ~ Cranberry Crunch

Day 11 ~ Whoopie Pies with Peppermint Filling

Please link up with your cookie recipe post, not to your homepage. Feel free to link up as many recipes as you like. And include a link back to this post :) Thanks so much for joining in the fun!

Meals~Dec. 14-20~Meal Prep

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As the holidays grow closer, I am especially grateful for my menu plan. Our dinner time last week went well, after participating in Once A Month Freezer Cooking, and discovering just how great it is to have some meals prepared and ready to cook, I decided to try and do some or all of my meal prep for each week, in one day. This past week while the Jam Cake was baking, I put Honey Hoisin Chicken in the crockpot (it was great!) and cut up the other chicken breasts, one for Fajitas and one I marinated with Soy Sauce, then placed them in freezer bags. I cooked sausage and 3 pounds of hamburger, using one pound in Spaghetti Sauce (I put that in the frig for the following night), one pound was prepared for Taco Bake and the last pound I put in a bag for future use.

So, in a matter of about 90 minutes here is what I had…

  • dinner in the crockpot, added rice at meal time, 10 minutes ready
  • Spaghetti Sauce cooked and ready, the following night I put it in the crockpot at about 2:30 p.m. on low, boiled noodles, 15 minutes ready, enough leftover for Mostacolli this week
  • Taco Bake hamburger cooked and in freezer, used it on Sun night, 10 minutes ready and in the oven
  • Chicken cut for Fajitas
  • Chicken cut and marinated in Soy Sauce
  • Hamburger cooked for Mostacolli for this week
  • Sausage cooked for Bubble Pizza, 15 minutes ready for oven
  • And of course, 7 mini loaves of Jam Cake baked and ready to enjoy

Here is what ‘s on the menu for this week

Monday:  Mostacolli, Parmesan Knots and Salad (using leftover Spaghetti Sauce from last week)

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Tuesday:  Chicken N’ Noodles, Mashed Potatoes

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Wednesday:  Breakfast

Breakfast Taco Mix

Thursday:  Tuna Casserole

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Friday:  Chicken Fajitas, Spanish Rice

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Saturday:  Oriental Noodles and Egg Rolls

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Sunday:  Chili, Cornbread

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Be sure to visit my Cookie Exchange, link up your recipe or just visit some of the others. And don’t forget about  Cupcake Tuesday, I’ll be sharing another fun Christmas Cupcake.

For more great menu plans, please visit:

~I’m An Organizing Junkie

~Chive Talkin’

Christmas Cookies~Whoopie Pies~Day 11

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Well, only 1 more day in the 12 Days of Cookies series. Today’s cookies are another new recipe. I have made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, but not ever Chocolate Whoopie Pies.

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And I will have to say, they turned out amazing :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 6 T. Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 c. Flour
  • 1/2 c. Baking Cocoa
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 4 T. Milk

Directions:

In large bowl, combine sugar and oil, beat until crumbly

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Add eggs and milk

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Sift together dry ingredients, gradually add to sugar mixture. Chill dough, overnight is best.

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Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

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Note: You can roll into balls so they have a smooth surface, or drop by teaspoons like I did. The dough is very sticky, I could only roll 4-5 cookies, without having my hands too sticky to roll any more. Using 2 teaspoons was easy, I just dipped with one and used the other to scoop it onto the paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

While cookies are cooling, beat filling.

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 1/2 c. Butter
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar (Confectioners)
  • 1/2 t. Vanilla
  • 1/8 t. Mint Extract (optional)
  • Green food coloring (optional)

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I mixed some with mint flavoring and left some plain, because my boys don’t like mint. I thought the mint filling was really good though.

Note: When spreading filling onto cookie, push filling to edge so that it’s a little thicker than the middle. Or put a large amount of filling on each cookie. Top with another cookie and press edge gently so that filling is exposed a little. I was only able to fill about 6 cookies with this recipe, so doubling or tripling would be a good idea.

Dip edge of cookie into crushed peppermint candies

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Or use sprinkles on the edge. I placed a piece of wax paper on the counter and just shook the sprinkles over the Whoopie Pie.

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It’s the Leaning Tower of Whoopie Pies! :)

If you missed the last 10 days

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Day 4 ~ Mint Thins

Day 5 ~ Favorites

Day 6 ~ Peanut Butter Layer Bars

Day 7 ~ Sugar Cut-Outs (Drop-In & Decorate Donation)

Day 8 ~ Gingerbread Men

Day 9 ~ Jam Cake

Day 10 ~ Cranberry Crunch

Update~ I’m updating this post to include Day 12~  Edible Ornaments.

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This post linked to:

~Flavor of the Month hosted by  Bake at 350

~Cookie Exchange hosted by The Krazy Kitchen

~12 Days of Cookies hosted by I Am Blissfully Domestic

~Virtual Cookie Exchange hosted by The Hillbilly Housewife

~Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed with Grace

~Tasty Tuesday hosted by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

~Christmas Goodies hosted by Sweet Jeanette

~Tuesdays at the Table hosted by All the Small Stuff

~Merry Merry Munchies hosted by Dining with Debbie

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Friday Favorites ~ More Holiday Help

 

Welcome to Friday Favorites! My co-host Monica over at Daily Dwelling and I bring you some of our favorites from the week. You can share yours too, head on over to Daily Dwelling and share your favorites.

Last week I shared some Holiday Help with you, as the blogsphere is overflowing with great help this, I decided to share some more.

Baking:

~Cookie Exchange hosted by Mom’s Creative (over 50 links)

~Santa Cupcakes made by Hallee the Homemaker

~Cranberry Almond Bars made by Bake at 350

~Eggnog Cupcakes made by Monster Mama

~Gingerbread Houses and Santa Cookies made by Scooterblu’s Whimsy

~Orange Infused Snowball Cookies made by Cooking During Stolen Moments

Cooking:

~Easy Cheddar Potatoes made by Marvelous Recipes

~Chicken Enchilada Soup made by Lovely In Pink

~Christmas Punch made by Frugal Homekeeping

~Sweet and Sour Meatballs made by A High and Noble Calling

Decorating:

~Home for the Holidays shared by Southern Hospitality (she also has a Holiday Linky with over 150 links)

~Gingerbread Tree shared by Ribbonwood Cottage

Gifting:

~Traditions (gifting of sorts) shared by The Happy Housewife

~Inexpensive Gift Ideas shared by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

~Drop In & Decorate Cookie Donations shared by Tidy Mom

DIY Projects:

~Gift Tags made by Mulberry Spot

~Free Printable Gift Tags shared by Living Locurto

~Christmas Wreath made by MomAdvice

And a few Bloggy Carnivals going on this week…

~Christmas Cookies hosted by HoosierHomemade (Dec. 13)

~Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash hosted by Simply Sweet Home (Dec. 14-18)

~Christmas Goodies hosted by Sweet Jeanette (Dec. 15)

~Holiday Cupcakes on Cupcake Tuesday hosted by HoosierHomemade (Every Tues in Dec)

~Holiday Linky hosted by The Inspired Room (Every Friday in Dec)

~Frugal Holiday Linky hosted by The Shabby Nest (Dec. 18)

If I missed any, please let me know.

Christmas Cookies~Cranberry Crunch~Day 10

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Wow, the last 10 days sure have flown by. I can’t believe this 12 Days of Cookie series is almost over.

I have had such fun sharing with you some older recipes that are standbys, and also a few new ones I’ve tried.

Today, is one of those new recipes. Many moons ago, I made a Chocolate Chip Cookie that was loaded with goodies, I think it was a Mrs. Field’s recipe, this cookie remind me a bit of those.

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These I think, have to be my favorite so far. One of the things I like most about these cookies is how you can change up the extra ingredients to whatever your family likes. Different chocolate, nuts, raisins, etc. I used White Chocolate Chips, Cranberries and Pecans.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Butter Flavor Crisco (or butter), softened
  • 1 c. Sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 1 T. Milk
  • 2 1/4 c. Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Cranberries, chopped
  • 1 c. Pecans, chopped

Directions:

Cream Butter and Sugars.

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Add Eggs, Vanilla and Milk.

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Sift together dry ingredients. Gradually add to creamed mixture.

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Fold in Chips, Cranberries and Pecans, or any combination of goodies you like.

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Drop by teaspoon or cookie dough scoop onto a Parchment paper lined cookie sheet and Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes depending on if you like your cookies soft or crunchy.

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If you missed the last 9 days

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Day 4 ~ Mint Thins

Day 5 ~ Favorites

Day 6 ~ Peanut Butter Layer Bars

Day 7 ~ Sugar Cut-Outs (Drop-In & Decorate Donation)

Day 8 ~ Gingerbread Men

Day 9 ~ Jam Cake

Be sure to mark your calendars and stop back on December 13th to link up your favorite Christmas Cookies, or just visit to get some great recipes!

This post linked to:

~Cookie Exchange over at The Farm Chicks

~Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum

~Food On Fridays hosted by Ann Kroeker

~What Did You Bake Today hosted by The Krazy Kitchen

Frugal Gift Giving

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‘Tis the Season ~ Decorating, Baking, Cooking and Gift Giving

Even though it’s always great if you can craft or bake for your Gift Giving. But, sometimes, it just is impossible, whether your time is limited or you just aren’t able.

Although these gifts are not homemade, I still wanted to share them with you and give you some ideas for Frugal Gift Giving.

On a recent trip to Walmart, heading to get some dog bones, I came across these gifts, and couldn’t help but take a few pictures. (Sorry, for the quality, they were taken with my cell phone) All of these gifts are under $10. I’ve combined the pictures, so that the post isn’t quite so long.

First up are the gifts for the chef or baker…

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  1. Ceramic bread pans, 2 packaged together ~ $9
  2. Ceramic mixing bowl with a whisk ~ $9
  3. Silver bread dish, it says “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” and it’s packaged with a bread mix ~ $5
  4. White dishes, plates, bowls, etc. 4 in a box ~ $5 (I bought some of these last year and use them for everyday, they are heavy and well made, a great price)

Next are all from the $1 section, they would be great as stocking stuffers or gift exchange, even as gifts for your children to give their friends

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  1. Lollipop Soap
  2. Lip Gloss
  3. Christmas Shaped Soap
  4. More Lip Gloss

And last are some Bath & Body Sets

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  1. Cupcake lotion and assessories ~ $9
  2. Lip Gloss ~ $1
  3. More cupcake lotion ~ $9
  4. Lotion and Body Spray ~ I actually bought these at CVS, they were $4.99 each with $4 ECB (Extra Care Bucks) back, so I spent $2 on both

I hope this gives you a few ideas for Frugal Gift Giving, for more ideas, visit Life As Mom for Frugal Friday.

Deck The Halls ~ Snowman Tree

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Having a collection, is something that I treasure. I have several, cookie cutters, tea pots, and Snowmen are top on my list. We won’t talk about the “collection” of fabric I have :)

Last week I shared my Santa collection and today I’d like to show you my Snowmen decorations. I started collecting Snowmen many years ago. Living in Northern Indiana, we have quite a long winter, and after all the Christmas decorations are down and put away, it’s nice to still have the Snowmen out throughout the house.

The Snowman Tree (#3 Tree, 5 more to share)

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The Hoosier Cabinet

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Another Antique Sled

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Above the window

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~Our Family Tree

~Cupcake Tree

Be sure to visit Southern Hospitality, she is hosting a Home for the Holidays Party.

Also linked to ~ Holiday Linky over at The Inspired Room and  Finer Things Friday.

Christmas Cookies~Jam Cake~Day 9

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Today I’m sharing my Mother-In-Law’s recipe for Jam Cake.  She made this treat for Christmas for many years, in fact, the recipe I have says that she received the recipe in 1957.

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Last weekend, after my husband received a call from his brother, I realized just how important traditions and baking go together. You see, he was searching the internet for a recipe for Graham Cracker Log, my Mother-In-Law made it for years also. And, what to his surprise (and mine :) ) in a Google search, up pops HoosierHomemade. Unfortunately, my husband’s family does not live near us. His brother, who just retired from the Air Force after 25 years of service, lives out West. So, how fun it will be for family to be able to head to their computer and have some traditional family recipes. And, how great it will be when my boys grow up and get married, they will have all my recipes.

Jam Cake (not sure why it’s called cake, because I made it in bread pans)

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Oil
  • 2 c. Buttermilk  (I put 2 T. vinegar in a measuring cup and added enough milk to make 2 cups, and let it set a few minutes)
  • 1 c. Jam (Strawberry is best)
  • 4 c. Flour
  • 2 t. Baking Soda  (that’s teaspoons Dave :) )
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 t. Ground Allspice
  • 1 t. Nutmeg
  • 2 t. Cinnamon
  • 1 c. Raisins
  • 1/2 c. Nuts, chopped

Directions:

Whisk together sugar, oil and buttermilk.

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Add jam.

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Combine dry ingredients, gradually add to liquid mixture.

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Stir in raisins and nuts. When I add raisins to bake goods, I always add a pinch of flour and use my fingers to mix it in, breaking up any raisins that are stuck together, then they distribute throughout the bake good better and don’t fall to the bottom.

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Bake at 400 degrees, for about 40 minutes for small bread pans. You can also bake this in a large bread pan or Angel Food Cake pan. I got 7 small loaves out of 1 batch.

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If you missed the last 8 days

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Day 4 ~ Mint Thins

Day 5 ~ Favorites

Day 6 ~ Peanut Butter Layer Bars

Day 7 ~ Sugar Cut-Outs (Drop-In & Decorate Donation)

Day 8 ~ Gingerbread Men

Be sure to mark your calendars and stop back on December 13th to link up your favorite Christmas Cookies, or just visit to get some great recipes!

It’s time to share our Holiday Dishes on Holiday Food Fest, be sure to head on over to Gluten Free Easily for lots of great recipes!

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And there is the First Annual Cookie Exchange over at The Mom Creative that I couldn’t miss.

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Cupcake Tree

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As the Holidays were growing closer, I started getting excited about sharing my Christmas decorating with you. In the past, I have put up 7 trees (different sizes/3 full size) but this year, since starting my blog and being known as “The Cupcake Lady,” I just had to add another tree for my office.

My Cupcake Tree!

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But, how was I going to decorate it on a very tight budget? So, the wheels started turning in my brain for a few weeks and I came up with these cupcakes. My son, Nick, printed them for me, they are the same cupcake that I have in my header (Thanks, Joy :) ) I cut them out, and Nick’s girlfriend glued them onto pink cardstock for me. I always put extra kids to work in my house :)

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Then they threaded a needle with pink embroidery floss and strung it through the top of the cardstock. After hunting all over the Christmas section at Hobby Lobby and not finding pink bead garland, we headed to the craft section. We found these adorable pink beads in the party section, they were necklaces for a little girls party. We just snapped them together to make a long string of garland.

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I set my tree up on a side table, added a pink gingham piece of fabric and a scrap of cupcake fabric.

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Total cost for my Adorable Cupcake Tree = $3 for garland

I spent a little on ink to print out the cupcakes and a little on paper, but I had everything on hand, including the cardstock in my stash.

Hopefully, after Christmas, I will have time to make some of the Cupcake Ornaments that I made for the Ornament Exchange.

If you missed our Family Tree and our Living Room decorations, please take a peek. I will be sharing the rest of my home and all my trees soon, so stay tuned. And if you aren’t a subscriber yet, please help me out and sign up, I’d really appreciate it. :)

This post linked to:

~Works For Me Wednesday hosted by We Are THAT Family

Cupcake Tuesday ~ Gingerbread Cupcakes

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I hope you are enjoying all the Christmas goodies I am sharing with you. I know my family is enjoying eating them all :) If you missed them, last week on Cupcake Tuesday, I shared Holly Cupcakes.

One of my favorite books, is Martha Stewart’s Cupcake Book, today I’m sharing my version of her Gingerbread Cupcakes.

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 I baked the Gingerbread Cookies and decided to share them in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies that I have been posting everyday, so that this post wasn’t super long.

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Ingredients for Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 c. Flour
  • 2 T. Ground Ginger
  • 2 t. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. Nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. Ground Cloves
  • 1 1/2 c. Butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 3 T. Molasses
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 t. Vanilla

Directions:

Sift together dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add molasses until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time. beating until each is incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beat just until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I frosted them with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting and decorated them with a small Gingerbread Cookie.

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Now it’s your turn! Please share your cupcake or muffin recipe! For the guidelines, you can visit Cupcake Tuesday. Be sure to link back to this post and visit some (or all) of the other participants.

Christmas Cookies~Gingerbread Men~Day 8

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What’s more fun than Gingerbread Men Cookies at Christmas time?

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I have never made Gingerbread before, but wanted to give it a try so that I could add the cookies to my Gingerbread Cupcakes. The dough went together very easily and it rolled out very smooth.

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 c. Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1 T. + 1 t. Ground Ginger
  • 1 T. + 1 t. Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 t. Ground Cloves
  • 1 t. Nutmeg
  • 1 c. Butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. Molasses

Directions:

Whisk together dry ingredients.

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Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy.

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Add eggs and molasses, beat to combine.

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Gradually add flour mixture. beat just until combined.

Divide dough into thirds, flatten each piece and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

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Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes.

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 Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Kitchen Tip: I measured the molasses in one of my favorite kitchen tools, the Pampered Chef Measure All. When measuring, Peanut Butter, Butter, Corn Syrup etc, the ingredients come out clean and you can see through the container to make sure that the ingredients don’t have any holes (air pockets).

I decorated the Gingerbread Men with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting and Mini M&M’s.

Ingredients for Fluffy Vanilla Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 c. Butter, room temperature
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 t. Vanilla 
  • a splash of Milk  (the recipe didn’t call for this, but I thought it made the frosting smoother and easier to work with

Directions:

Cream Butter, gradually add sugar, then vanilla and a little milk.

If you missed the last 7 days

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Day 4 ~ Mint Thins

Day 5 ~ Favorites

Day 6 ~ Peanut Butter Layer Bars

Day 7 ~ Sugar Cut-Outs

Be sure to mark your calendars and stop back on December 13th to link up your favorite Christmas Cookies, or just visit to get some great recipes!

This post linked to:

~Save Room for Dessert hosted by The Krazy Kitchen

~DIY Day hosted by A Soft Place to Land

~Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed with Grace

~Tasty Tuesday hosted by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

~Tuesdays at the Table hosted by All the Small Stuff

~Tackle It Tuesday hosted by 5 Minutes For Mom

~Cookie Exchange hosted by The Short Stop

Christmas Cookies~Cut outs~Day 7

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Even though I have already shared my Sugar Cookie recipe with you, I thought it was worth repeating for the Christmas Cookie series. Yesterday, I hosted a Drop-In and Decorate.  Last month when I was visiting Bake at 350 blog, she invited bloggers to participate in a virtual Drop-In and Decorate, decorate Christmas cookies and donate them to a local charity.

We had fun baking and decorating the cookies. Here are some pictures from our day.

Cutting out the cookies

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Some of the cookies on parchment paper ready to be baked

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Decorating time

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Decorating the Pearl Sugar Cookies

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Nick just couldn’t resist sampling

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Cookies ready to be packaged for donation

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We will heading out to make our delivery later today, I will post pictures after we are done.

Update: I took our cookies to the Salvation Army today and they were thrilled. Here are a couple pictures.

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And yes, it was snowing, you can see the snow in the picture above.

If you missed the last 6 days

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Day 4 ~ Mint Thins

Day 5 ~ Favorites

Day 6 ~ Peanut Butter Layer Bars

Be sure to mark your calendars and stop back on December 13th to link up your favorite Christmas Cookies, or just visit to get some great recipes!

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Meals~Dec. 7-13~Deep Dish Turkey PotPie

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Wow, what a great we had last week, very, very busy, but lots of fun! I baked, baked and baked some more :) my favorite thing to do, of course. If you missed some of my baking creations, you can catch up here. I also participated in the Once a month freezer cooking day, even though I didn’t get everything done that was on my list (mostly because I was busy baking) and I didn’t freeze enough meals for the month, I did get several meals prepared or frozen. And let me tell you, in all of the craziness that surrounds this month, it was so nice just to be able to go to the freezer in the morning and pull dinner out. I’m going to try to do this on a weekly basis.

This week I’m sharing my recipe, and I say that vaguely, because I really didn’t use a recipe, but the Pot Pie turned out great.

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I started with leftovers actually, on Monday night we had creamed Turkey over biscuits, I used 3 cans of soup when I mixed it, so that I would have leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • Turkey (leftovers are great)
  • 2-3 cans of Cream of Chicken soup and/or Cream of Celery soup
  • 1-2 cans of Milk
  • 1/2 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2-3 handfuls of shredded cheese (I used Monterey/Colby blend)
  • 1 Pie Crust (rolled out large enough to fit in a 13×9 pan)
  • 1 box of Turkey Stove-Top Stuffing  (I used the Aldi’s brand)

Directions:

Make (or buy) the Pie Crust, roll it out so that it fits in a 13×9 pan, covering the sides also. On the stove, heat Turkey, Soup, Milk, Veggies and Cheese until bubbling. Pour into crust. Make Stuffing according to directions on box (or you can use leftover stuffing if you have any) Spread stuffing on top of Turkey mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes, or until stuffing is brown and filling is bubbling.

This Deep Dish Turkey Pot Pie was really good, it’s definately a dish I will make again. My oldest son, Andrew, gave it a thumbs up and he’s a very picky eater, so anytime I can please him, is good.

Now, onto our menu for the week…

Monday ~  Tacos and Nacho Bar

Tuesday ~  Marinated Chicken with Rice

Wednesday ~  Spaghetti and Meatballs, Red Lobster Biscuits (I’ve had a request for this recipe, I will be sharing it soon) and Salad

Thursday ~  Soup & Sandwich

Friday ~  Bubble Pizza

Saturday ~  Taco Bake (recipe from The Finer Things in Life)

Sunday ~  Chicken, Potatoes and Veggie

For more great menu plans, please visit:

~I’m An Organizing Junkie

~Chive Talkin’

Christmas Cookies~Peanut Butter Bars~Day 6

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Welcome to Day 6 of my Christmas Cookie series. There has been lots of great baking going on at our house this week. Today I’m sharing these Peanut Butter Bars, making bar cookies are a great time saver.

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I apoligize for not having step-by-step pictures, but my middle and youngest boys put the middle layer and frosting on these bars while I was outside working on the decorating. I will sacrifice a few photos anyday for the great help.

I also need to share with you that I have never made these before, but they have been on my list to try for quite awhile. As I was taking the pictures of the finished bars, my youngest had one and his response with big eyes “Oh My Goodness!!!” “These are amazing Mom!”  Then while typing this, my husband came into the office and said “Incredible!” He also said that these would give my Twix Bars, that I have made hundreds of times and placed 2nd. at the Indiana State Fair, a run…:)  I guess they’re a keeper! He said they tasted just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Ingredients:

Cookie Base

Filling

  • 1/2 c. Butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. Creamy or Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 2 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Milk

Frosting

  • 1 C. Chocolate Chips (I like Milk Chocolate Chips best)
  • 1/4 c. Butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, make Peanut Butter cookies. With floured fingers, press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

In small bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth. Spread evenly over cookie base.

In microwave bowl, melt frosting ingredients, stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes, spread over filling. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. Cut into bars.

Notes: The filling is very sticky, you want to add a tiny bit more milk to make it easier to spread. Also, the frosting is great, it could be used on any cookie or even cupcakes as a ganache.

If you missed the last 5 days

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Day 4 ~ Mint Thins

Day 5 ~ Favorites

Be sure to mark your calendars and stop back on December 13th to link up your favorite Christmas Cookies, or just visit to get some great recipes!

This post linked to:

~Sunday Potluck hosted by Mommy’s Kitchen

Christmas Cookies ~ Favorites ~ Day 5

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Even though I have already posted these cookie recipes, they are some that I make all the time and are family favorites. I couldn’t let the series go by without mentioning them.

Twix Bars

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Sorry, I guess I need to make another batch of Twix Bars so I can have a better picture to share with you.

No Bake Peanut Butter Mounds

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Oatmeal Cookies

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Snickerdoodles

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If you missed the last 4 days

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Day 4 ~ Mint Thins

Be sure to mark your calendars and stop back on December 13th to link up your favorite Christmas Cookies, or just visit to get some great recipes!

 

 

Friday Favorites ~ Holiday Help

Welcome to another addition of Friday Favorites. Monica from Daily Dwelling and I co-host. We are all very excited to have Monica and her family back in the United States from their stay in Germany. WELCOME HOME!!!!

We usually take turns hosting Friday Favorites, but with her  huge move and all, she asked if I could host again, of course, it’s not a problem.

I thought it would be fun in the upcoming weeks to share with you some Holiday Help. A little bit of baking, cooking, gift giving, decorating and maybe even a DIY project or two.

Baking:

~Clementine Spice Cake made by goodLife {eats}

~Spiced Nuts made by Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

~Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies made by Joy the Baker

~Caramel Pecan Cheesecake made by The Finer Things in Life

Cooking:

~Turkey Gravy made by Heavenly Homemakers (I made this for Thanksgiving and it was great!)

~Cheese Ball Igloo with Penguins made by Smockity Frocks

~Chocolate Coffee Martini made by Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

~Sweet Potato Casserole made by The Happy Housewife

Decorating:

~Home for the Holidays decorated by Red Door Home

~Bedroom Christmas Decorating by Girls in the Garden

~Christmas in Chicago shown by J Selep

~Christmas Ornaments shown by The Newlyweds

Gifting:

~Budget Friendly Gifts for Men from MomAdvice

~Frugal Stocking Stuffers from Life As Mom

DIY Projects:

~Gift tags made by Tales of a Golf Gal

~Homemade Bath Salts from Cents to Get Debt-Free

~Holiday Felt Projects made by The Long Thread

~Gift tag download made by The Graphics Fairy

~Pinecone Flower Wreath made by Remodeling This Life

I also wanted to highlight some upcoming Bloggy Carnivals, in case you didn’t know about them… (if I missed any, please let me know)

~Christmas Cookies hosted by HoosierHomemade (Dec. 13)

~Holiday Food Fest ~ Holiday Dishes hosted by Gluten Free Easily (Dec. 10)

~Holly Bloggy Christmas Bash hosted by Simply Sweet Home (Dec. 14-18)

~Home for the Holidays hosted by Southern Hospitality(Dec. 10) 

~Holiday Cupcakes on Cupcake Tuesday hosted by HoosierHomemade (Every Tuesday in Dec)

~Holiday Linky hosted by The Inspired Room (Every Friday in Dec)

 Now it’s your turn to share your list of favorites! Please link up your post and include a link back to this post! Thanks for joining in the fun!

 

 

Christmas Cookies~Mint Thins~Day 4

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The cookie that I am sharing with you today, is quick, easy and no bake. I’m not really sure that they qualify as a cookie, but they are very festive. And there are many possibilities with these Mint Thins.

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Ingredients:

  • Ritz Crackers
  • Almond Bark
  • Red and/or Green Candies, crushed
  • Sprinkles
  • And other decorations that you like

Directions:

Melt Almond Bark, dip Ritz cracker in melted chocolate, covering both sides, place on wax paper. Immediately top with crushed peppermint candy or sprinkles.

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I forgot to get a picture of the Chocolate Almond Bark before I melted it, so I took a picture of the Vanilla that I had. You could use either, or even both would be very good.

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These are called Mint Thins because of the mint candy on top. But, because my boys don’t really like mint, I decided to try some with sprinkles.

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If you missed the last 3 days

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

Day 3 ~ Chocolate Crinkles

Be sure to mark your calendars and stop back on December 13th to link up your favorite Christmas Cookies, or just visit to get some great recipes!

This post linked to:

~Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum

~Food on Friday hosted by Ann Kroeker

~What Did You Bake Today hosted by The Krazy Kitchen

~2nd Annual Bloggy Progressive Dinner

 

Deck The Halls ~ Part 1

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Christmas is my all time favorite holiday. I love everything about Christmas, the baking, cooking, gift giving and especially the decorating. I started my decorating, which usually takes me about a week to finish, last weekend.

We usually start with our Family Tree (I do 7 trees), we have all the ornaments that the boys have received and made over the years. We have plenty of traditions while putting the tree up. The very first is the assembly of the tree. Many years ago, when my husband and I were in our first few years of marriage, we switched from a live tree to an artifical tree. While I love the smell of the fresh trees, they really bother our allergies.

When we assemble the tree, Doug puts in the branches in one layer at a time, after the layer is in, my job is to “fluff” the branches.

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Then Doug puts the lights all the way around that layer, so that the lights are inside of the tree as well.

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And after the tree is all put together, you can see how putting the lights inside make it beautiful.

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After the lights are on, I decorate with the gold beads. Then the ornament decorating begins, I sit on the couch and open the ornaments, telling the boys who the ornament was from and when they received it. I have each of the ornament boxes marked with names, dates and who gave them the ornament. The boys have fun hanging their ornaments on the tree.

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After the tree is done, I begin on all the other decorations.  I have lots and lots of decorations, in fact, like Melissa from The Inspired Room said earlier this week, the Christmas Bomb went off in our home. (this is just one little corner)

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I have lots of Santas and a huge collection of Snowmen. I decided this year, to keep most of the Santas in the Living Room, I started with the Mantle.

Before…

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And after…

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Then I moved onto the Entertainment Center. I start with an antique sled, and added the garland and Santas.

Before…

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And after…

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Stay tuned, while I complete my decorating, I’ll be sharing it with you.

This post linked to:

~The Inspired Room

 

Holiday Food Fest~Cheese Ball and Sangria

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Welcome back to the Holiday Food Fest! We didn’t post last week, with the Thanksgiving Holiday. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday, I know we did.

Today’s theme ~Cocktails, Mocktails and Appetizers! That’s a mouth full! :)

Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free is our hostess for today. She also is offering a great give-away from Honeywell Grains.

I couldn’t let this theme go by without filling all three catergories for you. First for the Appetizer…my Cheese Ball. This is a very basic Cheese Ball, but very delicious and can be made at least 2 days ahead, making it an easy dish to take with you.

Cheese Ball

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Ingredients:

  • 2 pkgs. 8 oz. each Cream Cheese
  • 2 pkgs. Thin Sliced Pastrami, chopped small (I use the Beef from Aldi’s, the kind that comes in a small bag for .45 each)
  • 2 t. Accent Salt  (this is important, don’t use regular salt) *Note: it’s been brought to my attention that Accent Salt has MSG in it, if you can’t eat it, substitute regular salt or seasoning of your choice
  • 2 t. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3-4 chopped Green Onions

Directions:

Mix all ingredients and roll into a ball, using Wax Paper to make it easier. You may also roll the Cheese Ball in chopped pecans or walnuts. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with crackers of your choice.

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Next for the Cocktails…White Sangria

The Sangria that I make is very light, sweet and flavorful. I made it for a small get together recently, and everyone loved it so much, we had to mix up some more. It looks so pretty served in my Glass Punch Bowl.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Bottle Dry White Wine or Champagne
  • 1 c. Thawed Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 1/3 c. Thawed Lemonade Concentrate
  • 1/2 c. Thawed Limeade Concentrate
  • 1 Navel Orange, sliced
  • 1 Lemon, sliced
  • 1 Lime, sliced
  • 2 c. Club Soda, chilled

Directions:

Mix together first 4 ingredients. Stir in half of the fruit slices. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Stir in Club Soda just before serving. Serve over ice with remaining fruit slices.

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If you don’t drink alcohol, would like a fun drink for the children, or simply a refreshing drink for yourself, here’s a great Mocktail.  I served these with our Thanksgiving meal, and shared them with you last week.

Cranberry Spritzer

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This post linked to:

~Tasty Tuesday hosted by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam 

Christmas Cookies~Chocolate Crinkles~Day 3

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Another family favorite on our cookie list this year, are these Chocolate Crinkles. This recipe comes from my sister, Jayne.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. Oil
  • 4 squares Unsweetened Chocolate (melted in microwave)
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 t. Vanilla
  • 2 c. Flour
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1 c. Confectioners Sugar (powdered sugar)

Directions:

Melt chocolate in microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until completely melted.

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Mix Oil, Sugar and melted Chocolate.

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Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition

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Add vanilla. Stir in Flour, Baking Powder and Salt.

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Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator, over night is best. Roll in Confectioners Sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.

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If you missed them…

Day 1 ~ Graham Cracker Log

Day 2 ~ Pearl Sugar Cookies

This post linked to:

~Ultimate Recipe Swap ~ Food gifts

Farmhouse Biscuits from Susan Branch

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Farmhouse Biscuits.fixed.1

Susan Branch is my all time favorite author. Whether she is sharing a great recipe or a cute craft, her whimsical style is such a pleasure to read. I have several of her books and I especially enjoy pouring over the Christmas books that I have, this time of year.

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Back in October (I think it was) I was lucky enough to win a copy of her Autumn book from FishMama at Life As Mom.

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While there are tons of recipes that I have marked to try, today I’d like to share with you the Farmhouse Biscuits that my youngest son, Casey and I made. These biscuits were a little bite of heaven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. Flour
  • 2 1/2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1 c. Sour Cream

Directions:

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Grease (butter) a baking sheet and flour a work surface. Combine first 4 ingredients. Mix in the sour cream with your fingers just until blended. (this step was very messy, but well worth it)

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Pat dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut with a round cookie cutter.

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Casey helped cut the biscuits out.

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Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown

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In the book Susan suggests spreading her Bee Butter on the biscuits, or serving them as Turkey Sandwiches with gravy. I served mine with my Apple Butter. And here’s a little peak for you of her wonderful work.

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Isn’t her work just great? I’m looking forward to sharing the Christmas books with you too.

Notes: Please excuse the differences in photos, the biscuits were made before I started using my new camera. Susan Branch did not pay me or provide me with any product to write this post.

This post linked to:

~2nd Annual Bloggy Progessive Dinner

Cupcake Ornament

OExchange09

OExchange09

When I signed up last month for the Bloggers Ornament Exchange hosted by Pampering Beki, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do.  I knew I wanted to make an ornament, it had to be “homemade” and from the “hoosier” :)

So, after much thought, what better way to say, “it’s from Hoosier Homemade” than to make a cupcake. But how, oh, how am I going to sew a cupcake. For my first attempt, I filled white material with fiber-fil stuffing and try to glue it into a silicone cupcake liner. Well, that didn’t pan out too well, so I moved onto a flat version, made from felt. And it worked out beautifully.

I had my son help me draw a template (I’m not much of an artist), then I traced the pieces onto copy paper and cut them out. Using the pattern pieces, I cut out 4 pieces, a top, a bottom, and 2 large pieces to sandwich everything together with.

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I hand sewed the beads on the top to look like sprinkles and sewed lines in the bottom to give it definition (sorry no individual picture, just the one above)

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I glued on a string for a hanger, and glued all the layers together

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I’m not going to spoil the surprise and tell you who I sent it to, because she probably didn’t receive it yet. But if you did receive it, I love to hear from you in the comments. :) I sure hope she likes it and thinks of me every year when she puts it on her tree.

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Over the years, many of my gifts have been handmade. I enjoy giving handmade items, whether I sew, craft or bake them.

If you follow my blog, you may or may not remember that I put up 7 Christmas trees, and they all have a theme. After making this cute ornament, I’ve decided to make a Cupcake Tree (#8) this year for my office. Stay tuned to see what I come up with.

Be sure to head on over to Works For Me Wednesday, where they are sharing gifts today.

This post also linked to:

~Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom

~Holiday Linky at The Inspired Room

~Handmade Holidays at Kathy’s Cottage

Christmas Cookies~Pearl Sugar Cookies~Day 2

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Pearl Sugar Cookies.fixed.5

Welcome to Day 2 of my Christmas Cookie collection! If you missed them, yesterday I shared my recipe for Graham Cracker Log.

Today I’m sharing Pearl Sugar Cookies with you. This recipe comes from my sister, Jayne, many years ago. This recipe has lots of margarine, sugars and flour, but it also makes lots. I will be freezing some to save for Sunday, when I will be hosting the Drop In & Decorate get together with some friends.

Pearl Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks Margarine
  • 1 c. Oil
  • 1 c. Confectioners Sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 c. Flour
  • 1 t. Cream of Tartar
  • 1 t. Soda
  • 2 t. Vanilla

Directions:

Cream margarine, oil, and sugars.

Pearl Sugar Cookies.fixed.1

Add eggs.

 Pearl Sugar Cookies.fixed.2

Add flour, cream of tartar, soda and vanilla.

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Mix and chill. (dough should chill quite awhile to make handling easier, even over night is good)

Roll into balls, flatten with the bottom of a glass that’s dipped in water and sprinkle with red and/or green sugar.

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

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This post linked to:

~Save Room For Dessert hosted by The Krazy Kitchen

Cupcake Tuesday ~ Christmas Cupcakes

Holly Cupcakes.fixed.2

Cupcake Tuesday at HoosierHomemade.com

Welcome to the first week in my Christmas series on Cupcake Tuesday. All month long, I will be sharing some cute, easy and very festive Christmas Cupcakes.

While I love to decorate cupcakes, I also want to make sure that they are quick and easy, especially at this time of year.

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Today, I’m sharing some easy candy decorations. Start with any cupcake flavor you and your family enjoy. This is also a great project for the kids, keeping them busy for quite awhile.

I used green spearmint leaves, sour cherry balls, and large chewy Nerds.

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For the Holly Cupcakes, I cut a leaf in half and placed them toward the back of the cupcake, and then simply place 3 cherry balls in front to look like Holly.

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And for the rest of the cupcakes, I just added the red and green Nerds to the top. Very quick~ very easy :)

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Most anywhere you shop, you can find candy in red and green. Buy several kinds and your kids will have tons of fun decorating.

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Now it’s your turn! Please share your cupcake or muffin recipe! For the guidelines, you can visit Cupcake Tuesday. Be sure to link back to this post and visit some (or all) of the other participants.

Christmas Cookies~Graham Cracker Log~Day 1

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Graham Crackers Logs.fixed.4

Beginning today, I will be posting my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes for 12 Days. And on December 13th, I will host a Blog Carnival for all of you to share your recipes.

In our family, we have several Holiday traditions, and like most families, Cookies are toward the top of the list.  However, the Cookies that I bake are not fancy, but tried and true family recipes.

Today, I thought I would start the series with a recipe that my Mother-In-Law baked for many, many years. And according to my husband, it just wasn’t Christmas without them.

Graham Cracker Log

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. Graham Cracker crumbs, crushed fine
  • 1 c. Evaporated Milk
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet)
  • 1/4 c. Butter or Margarine, softened
  • 1/2 c. Nuts, broken into pieces
  • 1 t. Vanilla

Directions:

Crush Graham Crackers in food processor.

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Put all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl

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Mix in Evaporated Milk, Margarine and Vanilla until well blended.

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Spread mixture in a well greased 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, most ovens vary in time.

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Linking to…

$5 Dinners

Freezer Cooking Day Plan

bakingdaybutton

bakingdaybutton

With the busiest month upon us, what better way to get ahead a little, than to prep and freeze some meals. And since I have my meals all planned for this month, it will be a little easier.

On Tuesday, Twitter will be all a buzz using hashtag #oamc, Once A Month Cooking. FishMama and Money Saving Mom are hosting this great event. I have a bit of a plan this time around. Last time there was a Baking Day, I didn’t really have much of a plan. But as the days grow closer to the Christmas Holiday, my list gets longer and longer. (just ask my husband :) )

Here is what I plan on tackling…

  1. Make Turkey Stock   got 24 muffin cups full of stock to flash freeze
  2. Mix and freeze 2 batches of meatballs
  3. Mix and freeze Meatloaf
  4. Slice and marinate Chicken for Stir-Fry  Chicken is much easier to cut when it is partially frozen
  5. Bake cookies for 12 Days of Cookies series  (baked 2 batches)
  6. Mix Taco Seasoning, Onion Soup Mix for Meatloaf and Baking Mix
  7. Prepare Pancake Mix
  8. Make 2 Turkey Pot Pies, 1 for dinner and 1 to freeze
  9. Mix Sugar Cookies for Drop In & Decorate on Sunday
  10. Dice remaining turkey and put in freeze (Turkey all gone :( )
  11. Chop cranberries for bread (bought 5 bags at Aldi’s for .39 each)
  12. Chop nuts for baking

December Menu Plan

December Food collage

December Food collage

Well here we are again, another month gone by. Is it really Christmas time? We put up the first of our 7 trees this past weekend, and I just kept saying I couldn’t believe it’s Christmas already.

And since this month is super busy, as it is for everyone, I’ve planned some quick and easy meals. FishMama and Money Saving Mom are planning another freezer cooking day. Last month we had so much fun on Baking Day, they decided to make it a Once A Month Freezer Cooking Day. If you are on Twitter, you can follow along using #oamc. I will be playing along and trying to get ahead a little for this busy month. I will also be using up some of the Turkey I had leftover from Thanksgiving, making some Pot Pies and stock and freezing them.

Now, on with the menu…

1 ~ Turkey Pot Pie

2 ~ Chicken Stir-Fry and Rice

3 ~ Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

4 ~ BBQ Meatballs, Oven Fries (and some Swedish Meatballs for Doug)

5 ~ Baked Potato Bar & Appetizers

6 ~ Roast with veggies

7 ~ Marinated Chicken & Rice

8 ~ Tacos, Nachos

9 ~ Spaghetti & Meatballs

10 ~ Soup & Sandwich

11 ~ Bubble Pizza

12 ~  Taco Bake

13 ~ Oven Baked Chicken

14 ~ Mostacolli, Parmesan Knots, Salad

15 ~ Chicken N’ Noodles, Mashed Potatoes

16 ~ Breakfast

17 ~ Tuna Casserole

18 ~ Chicken & Beef Fajitas

19 ~ Oriental Noodles & Egg Rolls

20 ~ Chili, Cornbread

21 ~ Turkey Pot Pie

22 ~ Enchilidas or Quesadillas

23 ~ Italian Veggie Soup

24 ~ Christmas Eve ~ Appetizers

25 ~ Merry Christmas ~ Ham and all the fixins’

26 ~ Leftovers

27 ~ Lasagne, Parmesan Knots, Salad

28 ~ Ham & Scalloped Potatoes

29 ~ Breakfast

30 ~ Fettucini Alfredo

31 ~ New Years Eve

1 ~ Happy New Year

Stay tuned right here for some great upcoming events this week as the Holiday season gets underway…

~All week long is the 2nd Annual Bloggy Progressive Dinner, with Drinks, Appetizers, Salads, Main Dishes and of  course, Desserts.

~Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, is my 12 Days of Cookies series with a linky for you to share your cookies on December 13th.

~This Thursday, is another edition in the Holiday Food Fest, hosted by Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, featuring Cocktails, Mocktails and Appetizers.

~And you aren’t gonna wanna miss Cupcake Tuesday, each week this month, I will be sharing some cute and easy Christmas Cupcakes!

 For more great meal plans, please visit:

~I’m An Organizing Junkie

~Mommy’s Kitchen

 

Cranberry Spritzer

Cranberry Spritzer.fixed.2

Cranberry Spritzer.fixed.2

For this years Thanksgiving Dinner, I wanted to have a special drink. These Cranberry Spritzers were very festive, easy and flavorful.

Fill your glass half full with cranberry juice and add lemon-lime soda. I bought the juice at Aldi’s and used Walmart brand of soda, also making them a frugal drink.

For garnish I added a sliced lime. You could also add some cranberries on a toothpick or skewer.

I saw on Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade, she used a zester to peel a lime and make a curling garnish. I will have to admit either, I had the wrong tool, it was alot harder than she made it look or I simply couldn’t do it. :) But if you are handy with a zester, give it a try.

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Update: I’m updating this post to include my Grandmothers Cranberry Bread recipe and joining in the fun at Flavor of the Month ~ Traditions at Bake at 350, because it wouldn’t be the Holidays at our home without Cranberry Bread.

Cranberry Bread baked.fixed.2.

This post linked to:

~Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays hosted by Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

~2nd Annual Bloggy Progressive Dinner hosted by Parenting the Tinest of Miracles

Friday Favorites~Thanksgiving Leftovers

turkey divan

What’s the next best thing to Thanksgiving Dinner, and sharing it with family and friends? The leftovers of course! :)

Monica from Daily Dwelling is my co-host for Friday Favorites. But, this week we are changing it up a little. I’m writing this post for both of us. You see, we are all very excited that Monica and her family are returning to the United States! They live in Germany, while her husband is stationed there with the Army.  So, we decided since she is swamped with moving (I can’t even imagine) we would just combine our Friday Favorites.

One of the leftover dishes that I have made over the years, is Turkey Divan.

turkey divan

(picture from All Recipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Turkey, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 c. broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 can of Cream of Celery Soup
  • 1 c. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • Leftover stuffing

Directions:

Place Turkey and Broccoli in a casserole dish. Mix soup, milk and cheese, pour over turkey, top with stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbling.

Now, on with the yummy links…

~Linda from The Gluten-Free Homemaker has a Turkey Pot Pie

~A High and Noble Calling made a Casserole

~The Zepf Life made a Turkey Pie

~I Love My 5 Kids has a Thanksgiving Stromboli

~The Frugal Girls made a Stuffed Turkey Sandwich

~Vanderbilt Wife made Turkey Soup

 Now it’s your turn to share your list of favorites! Please link up your post and include a link back to this post! Thanks for joining in the fun! :)  And if you have a leftover post, please feel free to share it in the comments.

 

Sugar Cookies

Turkey Cookies.almond bark.fixed

Turkey Cookies.fixed.4

A few weeks back, I participated in Baking Day, during those 2 days of baking, one of the cookies I made were the Cut Out Sugar Cookies that my boys love, especially my oldest. And at the time, with Thanksgiving being so close, I decided to cut out some Turkeys, put them in the freezer and save them for Thanksgiving. Yesterday, I pulled them out and was pleasantly surprised, they tasted like I just baked them.

This recipe is a little different than most Sugar Cookie recipes, as it has Sour Cream, Cinnamon and Nutmeg in them. They are very soft with just the right amount of spice. They are delicious! :)

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 c. Flour
  • 1/2 t.  Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1/2 t. Nutmeg
  • 1-2 t. Cinnamon
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 1 c. Butter – real
  • 1 2/3 c. Sugar
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs

Directions:

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Cream in eggs. Mix dry ingredients. Alternate dry ingredients with sour cream, ending with sour cream.

Chill dough. Roll out thick and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Many years ago I received a Cookie Board from a good friend, it is covered by a cloth, and it’s designed so that you don’t have to use as much flour when rolling your cookies out. Too much flour = tough cookies

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And when I cut out the cookies, I lay the cutters as close as I possibly can, so that I don’t have to re-roll the dough very many times. Re-rolling dough = tough cookies

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It’s the Tiny Turkey March :)

Sugar Cookies.Turkeys.fixed

I baked these on my stone, that’s why it looks so dark

I have been wanting to try a different technique for frosting the cookies. And since I didn’t have tons to frost, and not a lot of time with all the other Thanksgiving goodies I was baking, it was good timing.

I melted Almond Bark

Turkey Cookies.almond bark.fixed

Then dipped the cookies in the melted chocolate

Turkey Cookies.fixed.1

And then smoothed the chocolate out with a spatula (sorry you can’t see it very well, it’s in the lower left hand corner)

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I did frost some with Buttercream Frosting, and added some decorations

Turkey Cookies.fixed.3

Stay tuned right here for lots more cookies. Beginning next Tuesday, December 1st, I will be sharing 12 days with a different cookie recipe each day and on December 13th, I will be hosting a Cookie Party Exchange Carnival and you can link up your cookie recipes.

In the meantime, please visit Bridget over at Bake at 350, she has all the details for Drop In & Decorate, a cookie donation program, and she also has the most amazing cookies you will ever see.

DID_logo

This post linked to:

~Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum

~Food on Friday hosted by Ann Kroeker

~What Did I Bake Today hosted by The Krazy Kitchen

~Ultimate Recipe Swap hosted by Life As Mom

Thanksgiving ~ Centerpieces

Centerpieces.fixed.1

Last week I shared some frugal but beautiful place settings with you.  Today, I’m sharing a few centerpieces, that are easy, fun and once again frugal. I spent a total of a little less than $5 and that included all the fruit and nuts that we will eat.  Some of these centerpieces are for Thanksgiving, but you can most certainly change them up for Christmas or any other Holiday.

The Cornucopia filled with fruit and nuts

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Centerpieces.fixed.2

A smaller cornucopia with gourds and small pumpkins

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A festive dish with mixed nuts, be sure to add a nut cracker so your guests can have a snack

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Glass bowl with fruit and nuts

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And for the kiddie table, the ever popular Pumpkin Turkey

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And if you don’t have room on your table for a centerpiece, you can always add some decorations to the Buffet

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Thanksgiving Buffet.fixed.2

Here is the same Cornucopia, with a little different set up, I mixed the fruit and gourds and added a little ivy to soften it

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And at the other end of the Buffet I added a wooden pumpkin and some gourds. And in the middle, I placed some candles surrounded by acorns, and some ivy.

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May you and your family have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

This post linked to:

~Holiday Linky Friday hosted by The Inspired Room

~Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom

~DIY Day hosted by A Soft Place to Land

 

Dessert Shots

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Recently I catered a small dinner for 20, and I made these Dessert Shots. They went over really well, and I could hardly wait to share them with you.

Dessert Shots.fixed.6

 I made 3 different kinds, Chocolate Mousse and the very fun, Candy Corn for the dinner and for our family I made Black Forest Shots.

 Dessert Shots.fixed.5

For the Chocolate Mousse Shots:

Dessert Shots.fixed.3

I used Chocolate Pudding and mixed in the whipped topping, layering the pudding with crushed oreo cookies and topping them with whipped topping and a few chocolate sprinkles.

For the Candy Corn Shots, you will need:

Dessert Shots.fixed.4

  • 1 Small Box Butterscotch Pudding, instant
  • 4 c. Milk
  • 20 drops red food color
  • 45 drops yellow food color
  • 1 Small Box Banana Cream Pudding, instant
  • Whipped Topping
  • Candy Corn for decorating the top

Make butterscotch pudding as directed on box, using 2 c. milk. Stir in 20 drops red food coloring and 25 drops yellow food coloring. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Make banana cream pudding as directed on box, using the remaining milk, stir in 20 drops of yellow food coloring. Refrigerate.

To assemble, spoon banana cream pudding, then butterscotch and top with whipped topping. Decorate with a candy corn.

Cooks Note: If you or your family doesn’t like butterscotch or banana cream, like my family(I loved it) you could certainly use vanilla pudding and color it.

Dessert Shots-Black Forest.fixed.1

For the Black Forest Shots:

I used Chocolate Fudge Pudding and Cherry Pie Filling, layering the pudding and cherries, topped with some whipped topping and a little cherry juice.

Dessert Shots-Black Forest.fixed.2

Another cook’s note: These little treats are very quick, I made 6 in less than 5 minutes. They are also versatile, you could change the pudding and toppings, lots of different ways. I bought the plastic shot glasses at Gordon Food Service, a discount warehouse, 50 in a package for $3.99, adding pudding and a topping, makes them a frugal dessert. You could most certainly use any small glass or plastic container. These were also surprising quite satisfying.

And the healthy version, because I’m linking to Slightly Indulgent Mondays, and she has healthy alternatives, you could easily use Sugar Free Pudding and Whipped Topping for these.

This post linked to:

~Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed with Grace

~Tasty Tuesday hosted by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

~Tuesday at the Table hosted by All the Small Stuff

~Slightly Indulgent Mondays hosted by Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

~Mouthwatering Mondays hosted by Southern Fairytale

~Monday Munchies hosted by The Krazy Kitchen

 

Meals ~ Nov 23-29 ~ Thanksgiving Menu

mpmfall1

 Well, the holidays are upon us. I can hardly believe it, wasn’t it just Fourth of July? I have been having a blast visiting all the great Thanksgiving Day posts around blogsphere. I’ve put on 5 pounds just from surfing and reading all the great recipes. :)

Cheesy Potatoe Casserole.fixed.1

Today, I ‘m sharing my Cheesy Potato Casserole recipe with you. I’m not sure why, but I only make this dish on the holidays. My husband absolutely loves it, and I probably should make it more often for him. The rest of the family does not like it as well, so I decided to divide the mixture in half, I cooked half on Sunday for dinner, so that I could have a picture to share with you (I haven’t made it since I’ve been blogging) and I froze the other half to have on Thanksgiving.

Ingredients:

  • 32 oz. pkg of Hash Browns (I use the little square kind)
  • 1/2 c. Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 (16 oz) Container of Sour Cream
  • 1/4 c. Butter, melted
  • 5 c. Corn Flakes, crushed  (I usually use a little less)

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients except Butter and Corn Flakes. Place Hash Brown mixture into 9 x 13 baking pan or casserole dish. Mix crushed Corn Flakes and butter, sprinkle on top of Hash Browns. Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 90 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cheesy Potatoe Casserole.fixed.2

To freeze:  I put half the mixture into a plastic whipped topping container and wrapped in foil, and labeled.

Cheesy Potatoe Casserole.fixed.3

 Our Thanksgiving Menu ~ Nothing Fancy just Traditional

Turkey  (will get a extra big one for lots of leftovers)

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Cheesy Potato Casserole  (recipe above)

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

Stuffing

Corn (in the freezer from summer’s harvest)

Green Bean Casserole

Salad (probably Watergate Salad)

Cranberries

Rolls (gonna try a recipe my Mom made for years)

And our other meals this week

Monday ~  Beef Stew

Tuesday ~  Hamburgers, Oven Fries, Applesauce

Wednesday ~  Leftover Chicken N’ Noodles

Thursday ~  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday ~  Quesadillas

Saturday ~  Turkey Divan

Sunday ~  Taco Soup

If you need some Place Setting inspiration for your Thanksgiving Table, check out my post. And be sure to stop back tomorrow for some Centerpieces and really fun Thanksgiving Cupcakes for Cupcake Tuesday, you won’t want to miss these! :)

For more great menus, please visit:

~I’m an Organizing Junkie

~Chive Talkin’

Why Do I Love To Blog

Nenos Award

I’m so excited to announce that I have received another great blogging award. Joy of Desserts awarded me this lovely award for being a friendly blogger. Thanks so much!

As part of receiving this award, I need to answer the question, “Why Do I Love To Blog?” Although I am pretty new to the blogging world (Feb 09), I quickly became addicted. I think I am a teacher at heart and love to teach my readers how to make their house a home, whether I am baking cupcakes or decorating. The other thing I love about blogging, is the friends that I have made, my online friendships have grown by leaps and bounds.

Now to pass this award along to some very special bloggers, who make the blogging world a better place to be! :)

Amy at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

Lisa at Blessed with Grace

Brandy at Nutmeg Nanny  (she’s the best commenter of all time)

Allyson at Musings of Allyson

Lauren at Celiac Teen

The Unfinished Mom

Bridget at Bake at 350

Monica at Daily Dwelling

Erin at Closing Time

Charlene at Secrets of a Southern Kitchen

And the Rules:

Neno’s Award—-Rules and Regulations

1. As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.

2. To seek the reasons why we all love blogging.

3. Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.

4. Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.

5. Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.

6. Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.

7. Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

Thanksgiving ~ Frugal Place Settings

Place settings supplies.fixed

Thanksgiving-on-a-Budget-1

My fellow bloggers Amy, FishMama, Crystal and Erin are talking turkey this week. That is, Thanksgiving on a Budget.

Quite often we forget that using what nature has given us, is one of the most frugal ways to make our home beautiful. Whether it’s decorating my Mantle, Dining Room table or even the little chair I have tucked in the corner, I love decorating with nature.

As I was thinking about setting my Thanksgiving table, I wanted to come up with some beautiful decorations and not spend any money. So, I headed outside and did some gathering.

I decided to use pears, some acorns, sweet gum balls, ivy and some Fall ribbon that I had in my stash.

Place settings supplies.fixed

Then I set out to make some place cards, I combined the pictures a little for you, so that the post won’t be too long.

Place setting collage

  1. Gather some shapes to trace, cookie cutters are great
  2. Trace onto scrapbook or construction paper
  3. Cut the shapes out
  4. Gather some writing tools, I found that the brown fine tip Crayola marker worked best

Place settings.14

Then write your guest names on each shape.

I have used several different napkins to give you an idea of color and material, you could most certainly use paper napkins like the orange napkins, some fabric cut like the acorn napkin or a cloth napkin.

Here I used the cloth napkin and simply tied it loosely with a ribbon and tucked in the name card

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This one I used some acorn fabric that I had, some acorns and an acorn top to hold the name card

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And here is a red pear, some ivy and the name card simply tied to the stem of the pear with embroidery floss

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And a name card tied to the stem of a sweet gum ball

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A simple green pear and a name card

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Since not everyone has access to gathering natural items, I’ve found a few ideas for you…

~Thanksgiving Printables from Parents.com

~Pilgrim Hat Place cards from About.com

~Turkey Place cards from About.com

~And for the “little people” table, Max & Ruby Printables

Update: I’m updating this post to include a few more links for Friday Favorites hosted at Daily Dwelling, be sure to head on over and check out her great list of favorites.

~Thanksgiving Garland made by Simply Modern Mom

~Give Thanks Garland made by The Charmed Home

~Napkin Rings made by The Graphics Fairy

This post linked to:

~DIY Day hosted by A Soft Place to Land

~Tackle It Tuesday hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom

~Thanksgiving on a Budget hosted by Money Saving Mom

~Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom

~Finer Things Fridays hosted by The Finer Things in Life

~The Shabby Nest

~The Inspired Room

Holiday Food Fest ~ Banana Bread

holiday-food-fest

Welcome to our third week of the  Holiday Food Fest! If you missed the last two weeks, I shared my Pumpkin Mousse Pie and Veggie Twist.

Today, we are sharing Gifts of Good Taste over at Cents to Get Debt Free. Do you bake or make your own gifts for the Holidays? Since I bake every week, and often share with friends, I haven’t, in the past, done alot of baking for the Holidays. But this year, I have some great motivation, my blog and my fellow bloggers.

My plan for family this year is to bake and create several homemade items and assemble them in a basket. Today I’m sharing several Quick Bread recipes with you, including this yummy Banana Bread.

Banana Bread New.fixed.1

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. less 2 T. Flour
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • 1/2 c. Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 Very Ripe Bananas
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 1/2 c. Nuts (optional)

Directions:

Sift and mix together dry ingredients. Add oil and eggs, one at a time. Beat after each addition. Add mashed bananas (I put my bananas in the food processor) and vanilla. Fold in nuts , if desired. Pour into pans, bake at 350 degrees, 1 hour for large loaf and about 40 minutes for mini loaves.

Some other great quick breads that you may like

~Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread baked.fixed.2. 

~Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread.fixed 

~Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread.fixed 

Some other goodies that I plan on including in their baskets are

~Apple Butter and Homemade (Bread Machine) Bread

Apple Butter Jar.fixed.1. 

Homemade Bread.fixed.1.

~Pretzel Rods dipped in chocolate  (with Christmas sprinkles though)

Halloween Pretzel Rods.fixed 

I am also planning on starting a new tradition this year, I will be delivering Cinnamon Rolls and Hot Cocoa Mix, on Christmas Eve, to our friends, so they can enjoy a yummy Christmas morning treat. I will be sharing those recipes soon. But here’s a picture to tempt you of the Cinnamon Rolls I made using The Finer Things in Life recipe.

Cinnamon Rolls.fixed

Need some more ideas for Gifts of Good Taste Giving? Head on over Cents to Get Debt Free.

Update: I’m updating this post to include my Edible Ornaments and join in the fun at the Christmas Bash hosted by TaterTots and Jello.

Edible Ornaments.fixed.4 

Edible Ornaments.fixed.3 

Holiday and Party Prep

cleaning_tools

cleaning_tools

One of my favorite sayings that I heard my Mom say, alot, was, “if you want something done, have a party.”

Well, I have alot that needs to be done and what perfect timing, because I needed to have a party for my son’s birthday and the holidays are coming.

If you are planning a party or a holiday get-together, here are some tips for getting things done ahead of time.

to do list

5-7 days ahead

~Plan your menu

~Make a grocery list

~Make a list of accessories if needed (plates, napkins, etc)

~Make a list of everything that needs to be done (I’m a big list maker, can you tell? :) )

3-4 days ahead

~Buy groceries

~Prep and pre-cook any ingredients that you can

2-3 days ahead

~Clean oven/stove (I have stainless appliances, I used baby oil to shine them, I just had to share with you how nice the stove came out)

Stove.fixed

~Clean out frig

~Do any “deep” cleaning that needs to be done, I cleaned finger prints on doors, stairway and walls

~Wash windows, not all of them, but the entry doors really needed it

~Get extra leaves for table and extra chairs

The day before

~Bake the cake, cupcakes or dessert

~Put leaves in table

~Get out serving dishes

~Deep clean bathroom, be sure this room is well stocked and ready for lots of traffic

~Dust and sweep

Holiday or Party Day

~Cook food

~Get plates, etc ready

~Pick up house

~Swish and swipe bathrooms

Another thing that I find helpful, is to make a time-line of when food needs to be done. I start by working backwards. Say you are eating at 5 p.m., then plan your dishes according to how much time they need to cook, write it down and even set a timer if you need to.

Don’t forget tomorrow is Holiday Food Fest! Edible gifts hosted by Cents to Get Debt Free!

This post linked to:

~Works For Me Wednesday hosted by We Are THAT Family

Meals ~ Nov 16 – 22 ~ Taco Ring

Taco Ring.fixed.4

Well, we finished up our Birthdays this week. My middle son turned 16, he wanted Stir-Fry and Egg Rolls, so I switched that meal from Sunday to his birthday. And on Sunday I made Amy’s Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy for my husband’s birthday dinner. Saturday was Doug’s birthday, but the older boys had Fall Ball, so we had a nice dinner on Sunday instead.

 

Today I’m sharing the Taco Ring recipe with you. This recipe can be changed to fit your taste very easily. You can make it into a simple, quick weeknight meal, or even a appetizer, of sorts, to have at a party. Most of the time I make one large ring, but I have also made them into individual pieces, by placing the taco meat into each crescent roll and rolling it up.

Taco Ring

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Hamburger, cooked and drained
  • Seasoning for tacos (whether you make you own or buy a mix)
  • 2 tubes of Crescent Rolls
  • Toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, taco sauce, etc)

Directions:

  1. Place crescent rolls (similiar to the Veggie Twist I shared last week) in a ring on a cookie sheet or round stone (that’s what I use, that’s why it looks dark, it’s well seasoned)
  2. Place taco meat on top of crescent rolls
  3. And fold over crescent rolls to form a ring
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  5. Serve with toppings of your choice. I have also served rice or chips and salsa with the Taco Ring.

 

Meals for this week

Monday ~  Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday ~  Breakfast Tacos, Fruit, Muffins

Wednesday ~  Stromboli

Thursday ~  Tuna Casserole

Friday ~  Taco Ring  (recipe above)

Saturday ~  Clean out the frig – leftovers

Sunday ~  Chicken Nuggets and Fries

Linking to…Ultimate Recipe Swap