Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas! I love this time of year! I love decorating the house while listening to Christmas music. I love the smell and taste of fresh baked Christmas cookies. I love burning candles around the house. I love taking cookies to the neighbors.... I DO NOT LOVE trying to take a family picture. Usually it it chaos! I don't think I have many pictures where all the children are actually smiling and happy! This year I was determined there had to be a better way!!!!! So, one night before bedtime, I told them we are going to have some fun after they all get showers, baths and pj's on. After they were ready for bed, I got my camera and told them we are going to take a Christmas picture to send out. But, I am not going to tell them how to pose! They had to come up with that. IT WORKED!!!! I must have snapped at least 15 pictures and they were all smiling and having FUN!! I couldn't believe it! I am definitely going to be doing this again. After about the 20th pose, I had to put a stop to it. I think they would have kept going for another hour! Here are some of the results=)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Helping Hands

I am enjoying bonding with my youngest child while the rest are at school.  She has grown up so much these past few months. She is a very busy, determined, strong willed 3 year old. She loves to help me with things around the house. She was begging me the other day to help me bake some pies. I decided to make some apple pies to take to church for a baked goods exchange at our women's Christmas banquet. When I was finished with the crust I gave her the leftover to make her own pie. This year I canned a bunch of apple pie filling from the apples from our two trees. We had an overabundance of apples. She had so much fun rolling out the dough and making her own little apple pie. She was so proud of it when she was done that she could hardly wait to show the others as soon as they walked through the door.

Tonight I tried something new. I am supposed to take snacks to our Sunday School class in the morning, so I decided to try to make some Bubble Bread. It was actually fun to make and I can't wait to try it! It made the whole house smell delicious!

Bubble Bread
*1 pkg(1 Tbs.) dry yeast
*1 1/2 Cups warm water
*2 Tbs. sugar
*1 tsp. salt
*1 Tbs. shortening
*4 Cups flour
*1 stick butter
*1 Cup sugar
*2 Tbs. cinnamon
~Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt and shortening. Gradually add flour. Mix well. Let rise until double. Punch down and divide into fourths, then divide each fourth into 7 balls, making 28 all together. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Dip balls into melted butter and roll into cinnamon-sugar mixture. Stack lightly into an angel food cake pan. Let rise till double again. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Let it Snow!

What is it about snow that makes the children so excitable? Even I get a tinge of extra energy when the first snow falls. These past few days since the first snow of the season has come to rest on the ground, I have gotten a lot more done than normal. I got in the mood to bake cookies, which hasn't happened much this past year. So I decided to try making the Candy Cane Cookies that I remember making as a child. Vicki needed to take cookies for her class party and she stated that she wanted me to make something neat like the watermelon cookies we made a long time ago...I convinced her that it might be better to make something that goes with Christmas. That is when I remembered making these.

Candy Cane Cookies
*3/4 Cup butter, softened
*1 Cup sugar
*1 large egg
*1 tsp. peppermint extract
*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 1/4 Cups flour
*Red food coloring

>In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in the extracts. Gradually mix in the flour.
>Divide the dough in half. Color on half with red food coloring and leave the other half plain. Roll out a Tbs. or so of red dough and an equal amount of plain until they are each around 6 inches long. Twist them into a candy cane, pinching the ends. Repeat.
>Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes at 375, or until set but not brown. Makes about 25.

If you don't have peppermint, spearamint works too but won't be as strong. Add an extra tsp.
You can make them as big or little as you like. The smaller ones tend to break easier when getting them off the cookie sheet.

My oldest daughter had fun helping me with these. Even the others got in on it too, although it was a bit too complicated for the younger girls.

Another new cookie I tried this year is another version of the Kiss cookies. Everyone who tried these have loved them. They are different because they have coffee in them.

Coffee Chip Drops
*1 1/4 Cups light brown sugar
*3/4 Cups Butter Flavored Crisco
*2 Tbs. cold coffee
*1 tsp. vanilla
*1 egg
*1 3/4 Cups flou
*1 Tbs finely ground French roast or espresso coffee beans
*1 tsp. salt
*3/4 tsp Baking soda
*1/2 Cup semisweet choc. chips
*1/2 Cup milk choc. chips
*1/2 Cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I ommitted these)
*30 to 40 Hershey Kisses (unwrapped=)

>Mix sugar, shortening, coffee and vanilla at med. speed until well blended. Add egg; beat well.
>Combine flour, ground coffee, salt and baking soda. Add to shortening mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in choc. chips and walnuts.
>Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfulls unto ungreased cookie sheets.
>Bake 8-10 minutes at 375 or until cookies are lightly browned. Do not overbake. Place 1 candy in center of each cookie. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet.