Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Easy-to-Make Gingerbread House

This is the easiest gingerbread house you will EVER make!  And so cute, don't you agree???! :)

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Graduation Tassel Ornament

I'm showing you this idea before I have it finished, but wanted to share this cute idea I saw somewhere.  It's a graduation tassel ornament. 

I bought the biggest plastic clear ornament I could find. I took off the 13 charm (below) and will attach it when I get the ribbon on the ornament.  Just stuff the tassel into the ornament, and use the big loop to create the hanger for it. I could cut it off, but may just leave it long.  It will be fun to do this with each child when they graduate.  I have a blingy 2013 that I may put on the front if I can find it.  It's MIA at the moment :).  But, the boys wouldn't want bling on theirs, so I may leave it plain, since the charm will hang from there, anyway.
What fun things are you making for Christmas this year?  I haven't had time to do much, but have had fun doing things for other events. I'll show some of those tomorrow.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Defrosty the Snowman

One of my blog readers sent me this recipe for "Defrosty the Snowman", originally from Family Fun Magazine.  It's such a 
CUTE and FUN recipe!  Thanks, Marsha!

This wistful snowman appears to be going the way of winter, and we have a feeling he'll soon disappear altogether. He's made from a puddle of white candy melts.

What you'll need

  • Meltable candy wafers (one 14-ounce package makes 16 snowmen)
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Light cocoa candy melts
  • Rolos
  • Candy corn

How to make it

  1. For each snowman, you'll need 6 mini chocolate chips, a light cocoa meltable candy wafer, and a Rolo. To make the nose, cut the orange section from a candy corn, then slice it in half lengthwise. Roll the piece between your fingers to form a carrot shape.
  2. To assemble your snowman, melt the white candy in a bowl according to the package instructions, then scoop a rounded tablespoon onto a sheet of wax paper. With the back of a spoon, smear the candy into a puddle. Working quickly, stick on the light cocoa meltable candy wafer, add a dot of white melted candy, then place the Rolo on top. Finally, add the candy corn nose and mini chocolate chip eyes and mouth.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Antics of Buddy the Elf

Buddy the Elf showed up again this Christmas!  He's always up to something!
He made a Christmas list......jumped in one of our stockings.....
...hung out in the ice dispenser on the fridge.....
.....presented Tyler's birthday crown.....
......jumped into the lantern with the snowman......
....hung upside down in the Christmas decorations.....
...and stowed away in the candy cane filled stockings!  Oh, he's a mess, that elf!  But, he sure is fun to watch!

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Memories Wall Plaque

Last week, I was so excited to find these Christmas Memories wall plaques at Kirkland's. I bought one, then had a sister-in-law pick me up another one the next day.
Several years ago, while eating at Zio's around Christmas, each family member drew a Christmas scene on the brown butcher paper tablecloth. Even my husband drew something.  I've always wanted a fun way to display them, but wasn't sure what it would be.  These plaques are perfect!  I added a few other treasure to those butcher paper ones, too.

Yesterday morning, after posting a picture of one of the plaques on Twitter and Instagram the day before, I had a message that the actual Kirkland's store had retweeted the post!  How neat!  

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Snickers Cheesecake

 Snicker's Cheesecake

I made this for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately, didn't follow my own recipe correctly, and left out the whipping cream!  It totally messed up the whole thing, but looked pretty when it was finished!  I think I'll make it again for Christmas, since the Thanksgiving one got thrown out soon.  That's the second cheesecake I've messed up on in the past few weeks. I think I need to get my mind focused on what I'm doing when I'm cooking!! :)

Chocolate Cookie Crust:
2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I used a World Table brand from Walmart)
2 tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons butter, melted

Directions for crust: Prepare the springform pan so that no water leaks into it while cooking. Place a large 18-inch by 18-inch square of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the springform pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the sides of the foil around the pan. Make sure to do this gently so that you don't create any holes in the foil. If there are any holes, water will get into the pan and ruin the crust. Press the foil around the edges of the pan. Place a second large square of foil underneath the pan, and repeat, gently folding up the sides of the foil around the pan and pressing the foil against the pan. Gently crimp the top of the foil sheets around the top edge of the pan. Preheat oven to 350°F, with rack in lower third of oven. Crush the cookie crumbs in a food processor or blender until finely ground. In small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter. With clean hands, pat into buttered springform pan and up the sides a little. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (not low or reduced fat), at room temperature
1 and 2/3 cups sugar (can used part brown sugar for a richer taste)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs (if you only have large, just use part of one more egg)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 package Snickers bites (plus more Snickers for top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter the bottom and sides of one 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Place one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy for several minues, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each. Beat in the cream just until blended. Mix in bag of Snicker's bites. Be careful not to overmix. Spread the cheesecake batter on top of the cookie crust.  Place the pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. (I recommend using an old or disposable pan because the wet aluminum foil will discolor your pan.) Bake the cake at 350 degrees until the edges are light golden brown and the top of the cake is slightly golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours (don't worry if it seems a little too browned. Mine is sometimes and it's still fine.. The top will soften up with the added toppings.) 

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and cool in the pan for 2 hours. (Just walk away. Don't move it.) Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours. Transfer to freezer for 1 hour.

To remove cheesecake from bottom of spring form pan, set on stove burner and turn it on - just barely enough to melt the butter on the bottom. Use a large flat icing spatula or knife and turn around to loose from bottom. Slide it onto serving platter.

Decorate with caramel ice cream topping, whipped cream frosting (recipe below), and chopped Snickers (or another bag of bite sized Snickers). Don't pipe the Whipped Cream Frosting to the edge like I did if you put caramel across the whole top. The whipped cream will slide off the top!  (Mine did eventually, but maybe because it was angled in the fridge.)

Whipped Cream Frosting
This recipe makes 5 cups of whipped cream frosting. (You won't need it all.)

1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat (I used regular fat) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (Since I was using it on this Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake, I didn't use the almond extract, only vanilla)
2 cups of heavy cream

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your mixer. Once all in the bowl, mix on medium speed until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a few times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak. Pipe as desired onto dessert. Refrigerate leftovers for another use.
Decorate with chopped Snickers, as desired.
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