Monday, December 27, 2010

4 Days of Christmas

Christmas lasted 4 days for us. It began last Thursday with a trip up to Grammie & Bumpy's for the day, then it was traditional Christmas Eve at Auntie D's with the whole gang, then Saturday was Christmas day here at home and Sunday the big kids come down to celebrate. Whew! It was a lot...of FUN!!! :)

Then the Blizzard of 2010 showed up last night and we've spent most of today shoveling/snowblowing/playing/warming up/recovering.

I'll post LOTS of pictures very soon!!!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 12

Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

Hubby has claimed that these are his favorite, mainly because they're good but not too sweet (kind of like me!).
And, I must agree....YUM!
They're basically a butter cookie rolled out and covered with dried cranberries that have been plumped in orange juice and sugar....rolled up jelly roll style and sliced.

Done :)
Stay tuned for photos of all (except the gingerbread men and reindeer cookies - we already shared all of those) the cookies together and, if I remember, photos of family and friends enjoying them!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 11

Sweet Lemon Bars

Mixing things up with some fruity goodies today and tomorrow to balance all the heavy chocolate stuff I've made.
Should make for a nice platter to bring to Auntie D's tomorrow night :)

1 more day!!!! Yippee :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 10

Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies

Auntie D found this recipe and gave it to me....she's not a big cookie/sweets fan but you'd have to be crazy not to think that these are yummy.


A brownie cookie with chocolate frosting :)

Then a yummy peanut buttery surprise when you bite in :)
Hubby declared these very rich and dangerous (kind of how I like my men, but I married Hubby instead LOL!)

Here's the recipe:

19.5 oz package Chocolate Fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 container Chocolate Fudge frosting

1.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat brownie mix, melted butter, cream cheese and egg in medium bowl 50 strokes with spoon until well blended (dough will be sticky).
2.) Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets to make 24 cookies; smooth edge of each to form round cookie.
3.) Mix powdered sugar and peanut butter in small bowl with spoon until mixture forms a ball. With hands, roll rounded teaspoonfuls of peanut butter mixture into 24 balls. Lightly press 1 ball into center of each ball of dough.
4.) Bake 10-14 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on cookie sheets at least 30 minutes.
5.) Spread thin layer of frosting over peanut butter portion of each cooled cookie.


2 more days...and then I won't be talking about cookies for a LOOOOOOONG time!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 9

Peppermint Pinwheels

I had aspirations to put these on sticks so they would be Peppermint Swirl Lollipops but, alas, I couldn't find oven proof lollipop sticks.... :(
Find the recipe HERE.

Big thanks to Mel who supplied the TEASPOON of peppermint extract I needed for these so I wouldn't have to go out and buy an entire bottle that would never get used....
THANKS MEL :)

When I came up with the idea to do 12 Days of Cookies I thought to myself "This will be fun! I love to bake!" but, now that I'm 9 days into it, I have to admit that I can't wait for it to be over. 12 days is A LOT of baking...to bake EVERY day for the 12 days leading to Christmas is an even bigger undertaking than I thought it would be. 3 more days :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 8

Espresso Shots
(find the recipe HERE)

Like most of the cookies we've been making this was a new recipe for us. I'm not sure how I feel about these, though. They're a nice crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside cookie/tart with a gooey center, which reminds me of half cooked brownies (yum!), and then topped with a chocolate ganache. All three elements contain some sort of coffee flavoring (espresso powder and/or coffee liquor) and the result is almost a little too much coffee. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE coffee...but it almost overpowers the chocolate and that is never a good thing. I'm bringing a few with me tomorrow so I'll get a second opinion from my fellow ballet moms but I'm pretty certain that if I ever make these again I'll omit the coffee from one or two elements.

Anyhoo...4 more days :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 7

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

These are famous....seriously :) If you ask pretty much anyone I worked with from 1996-2006 they would know (and LOVE) these cookies :) They are a super yummy, rich, creamy butter cookie with a dollop of raspberry jam baked into the middle. As if that wasn't enough, I stripe them with milk chocolate after they cool to make them extra good.


I made 4 dozen total but, to be nice,
I did 1 dozen with blueberry jam for WW who doesn't like raspberry.
What a nice seester I am :)

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer

After looking back through my archives and discovering THIS little gem from last year I persuaded Iz to do another video Christmas Greeting...Enjoy :)

video


Sorry the quality is not as good as I had hoped :( but, you get the gist, right?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 6

Iced Spritz

My favorite cookie so far...they look SO pretty and taste SO good :)


Here's the recipe, from Parents Magazine

Iced Spritz
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
red, blue, green and white tube frosting
(I had half a can of vanilla frosting left over so I split it 3 ways - red, green and white - then used ziplock bags with the corner snipped off to stripe the cookies)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined.
2.) Spoon cookie dough into a cookie press fitted with a wreath plate. Press dough about 2" apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cool on a wire rack. Squirt thin lines of frosting on each and let dry.
Makes about 40 cookies (I said I like tiny cookies - so this batch made about 78 cookies :) with my press!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 5

Eggnog-Frosted Nutmeg Sugar Cookies

Today was another rough one, folks! Preschool, a visit from SK & DK and their kiddos then Mel & her boys came over to exchange Christmas gifts with Iz. By the time everyone cleared out it was time for me to start on dinner and THEN I started on the cookies. But, they're made and they're YUMMY :)

Can you see the nutmeg flecked throughout the dough? Mmmmm....

The recipe said to use 3" fluted cookie cutters but I opted to go with my little one since
A) I prefer a cute little cookie to a big bulky one and
B) there's 2-1/2 STICKS of butter in these ... less is DEFINITELY more :)

Cookies cooling outside on the grill!

A cute little cookie complete with eggnog frosting...Hubby gave these a thumbs up!
I'm not a big eggnog fan myself but there's just a hint of it in here so it's perfect.

5 days down, 7 to go...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 4

Between school and ballet Iz and I are on-the-go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday so, on Thursdays, we tend to hunker down and stay home (except last week when Auntie D and I went shopping - BY OURSELVES - and out to lunch!) and we usually spend the day in our jammies. This morning we we got up it was 15 degrees out! Winter has definitely hit here in Western Maine and it is C.O.L.D. So, with a whole day at home AND the advantages of running the oven for hours on end (more heat please!) I decided today was as good a day as any to make TWO kinds of cookies :)


Nana's Ice Box Cookies
These are super simple to make and actually quite a plain cookie in the grand scheme of cookies but, when made correctly (the key is to slice them VERY VERY THIN!) they are sooooooo good! And, as far as I'm concerned, the only way to eat them is like potato chips - grab a handful and have at it :) That mentality is made very easy by the fact that one batch makes about 5 to 6 DOZEN cookies!

Reindeer Cookies
Again, VERY simple - peanut butter cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate chips, red m&m's & white frosting. Grab YOUR best helper (and if you don't have one, you can borrow mine!) and HAVE FUN!



So cute!
I love how this Rudolph looks a little cross-eyed - it's adorable :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 3

Chocolate Chippers

I followed this recipe word for word and these meringue cookies came out PERFECT :) They have a wonderful crunch and just melt in your mouth. However, no matter how many pictures I took of one, it always came out looking a bit like a turd...

See?

So, here's the picture from the Better Homes & Gardens website so you can see how YUMMY these actually look!

I guess if I had a pretty goblet, beautiful background colors and ideal lighting, MY cookies would look that good too but all I have is a napkin, our kitchen island and a couple overhead lights :) My cookies look good in real life though and, even more importantly, they're DELICIOUS!!!

Iz and I will be home all day tomorrow and we have something pretty fancy up our sleeves for the 4th Day of Cookies! Here's a hint:
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen.... :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Days of Cookies: Day 2

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

I deviated a bit from the original recipe - replacing the chocolate in the cookie with finely chopped almonds and forgoing the sprinkles on the edge - but, these cookies are delish! and oh-so pretty!

Not a lot of pictures of the cookies, though :( My helper wasn't available and I got a late start so I only have snaps of the final product. I'm actually pretty impressed with myself that they actually got MADE! It's been a rough one, people :)

Anyhoo....here are the cookies!

Just a few of the FOUR dozen the recipe made!

A close-up of the best looking cookie in the bunch...YUM!

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 days of Cookies: Day 1

Gingerbread Rice Krispie Men


See these cute little guys?

They're gingerbread-flavored MARSHMALLOWS! Yum! and...incidentally, they're excellent in hot chocolate too!

Iz and I used the gingerbread marshmallows to make rice krispie squares. When they were cooled, instead of cutting them into squares, we grabbed these:


Voila!

That wasn't enough though so I grabbed the "World's BEST Helper" and we spruced them up a bit.


This finished product :)

We're hoping the gel frosting hardens enough overnight to package them up in the morning because I know 4 little ballerinas that we would LOVE to share these with!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: It's a Rough Life


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Grammie!!!


WE LOVE YOU!!!




no pic - sorry Grammy :(

Monday, December 6, 2010

34 Things...Update #4

Here's the original list plus updates :)

So, I'm not really prepared to do a complete update but I HAD to post this today -
#23 . . . DONE :)

Out of everything on my list, repainting the living room/kitchen was the one thing I really thought wouldn't get done but, it did!!! I rearranged the living room last week to accommodate the Christmas tree but the wall was a mess. I figured we could just touch it up but Hubby admitted he wasn't really all that crazy about the pale yellow walls we had. Soooo....we spent a couple hours online looking at colors and I bought paint while I was out on Thursday.
Then Hubby and I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday painting and Iz and I put up Christmas decorations yesterday.

Two whole rooms plus a hallway and the CEILING painted just to put up a tree...but it's worth it. It looks fantastic!

Take a look!

"Silver Birch" Living Room and Ceiling
It's a pale gray but Hubby swears it's pretty much white!


"Wood Smoke" accent wall over the wood stove
(it IS darker than the other walls but it's hard to tell in this pic)


"Luscious Mango" Kitchen :)
I wish I could convey the true Velveeta-ness of my kitchen wall in a photo but I just couldn't do it. But, that's the color - Velveeta, Kraft mac n cheese...super orangey/yellow and BRIGHT! I LOVE IT!!!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

O Christmas Tree

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!!!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Counting Down

The official countdown to Christmas has begun!!!!

Chocolate anyone?

Iz seems pretty happy about it :)

C is for Cookie!

Well folks, here we are. It's December 1st. I'm not entirely sure where the time has gone. Wasn't it just Iz's 4th Birthday? Mother's Day? 4th of July? Halloween? It's amazing how some days can feel so looooooong but you blink and an entire year has gone by.

We're putting up our Christmas decorations tomorrow. Stringing up the lights (one goes out, they ALL go out!) and all that :) We'll have Christmas music playing in the background and hot cocoa ready to sip when we're done.

Iz will open her advent calendar today and start counting down with a little chocolate each night after dinner.

I still need to order Christmas cards and pick up a couple more odds and ends but, really, these next 24 days will be all about spending time together and having FUN!


One of the yummiest ways we'll be having fun is with our

*drum roll please*

12 Days of Christmas (Cookies)

Starting on December 13th, Iz and I will be making cookies or other holiday treats EVERY day through Christmas Eve! Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats, Thumbprint Cookies, Sugar Cookies and MORE!!! What will we do with all the goodies, you ask? We'll be enjoying some ourselves, freezing some to bring to Auntie D's on Christmas Eve and, most importantly, GIVING some!!! We'll be bringing cookies to share at school, the library and the nursing home Papa stayed at last year.


 

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