Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Snowman Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day with friends and family.  With Christmas falling midweek, no travel for us.  We're enjoying a quiet Christmas at home.

When we cleaned out my Dad's house earlier this year, I brought home this white Christmas tree.  I love the ideas you find on Pinterest.  A perfect use for my little white tree.  This snowman was easy and fun to put together.  Here's what you need:

7 or 8" Styrofoam ball 
Dowel the height of the tree
Buttons for the eyes, nose and mouth
Top Hat
Twigs for his arms
Ornaments for his buttons
Boots for his feet (I'm still searching for these)

Insert the ball into the dowel.  Using a twist tie, secure to the tree.  Glue the eyes, nose and mouth to the head.  Top with the hat and wrap his neck with the scarf.  Using a twist tie, secure the button ornaments.  My tree was already lit but if you have one that is not, add lights.  Plug in and enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

Are you ready for Christmas?  My shopping has been done for several weeks but the last minute things crept up on me.  The mailing deadline to get packages to California for my son and his girlfriend came and went.  Now before you think I am awful, we did have their big gift shipped.  What didn't get in the mail was a couple of smaller gifts.  We'll call them New Year's gifts, although I don't think they'll be there by New Year's either, since I haven't shipped them yet.  I decided to go homemade for my associates at work this year.  A cute mug, cocoa mix and homemade marshmallows.   If you've made homemade marshmallows, please share your recipe with me because mine were an EPIC FAIL.  Needless to say, they're getting cocoa and mini marshmallows instead.

Last week for my neighborhood holiday BUNCO, I made these pinwheels.  Fortunately, they were not a FAIL.  Everyone loved them, they were gone in a flash.  These are easy and beautiful for a holiday party!

 Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

1 carton (8 ounces) whipped PHILADELPHIA® Cream Cheese, softened
 1 cup (8 ounces) crumbled feta cheese (I only used 4 ounces)
 1/4 cup chopped green onions
 1 package (5 ounces) dried cranberries
4 flour tortillas (10 inches)
 Directions In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, feta cheese and onions. Stir in cranberries. Spread about 1/2 cup mixture over each tortilla and roll up tightly. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut each roll-up into 10 slices. Yield: 40 appetizers.

Next time, I will sprinkle on the cranberries after I spread the cream cheese mixture on the tortilla.  It was hard to spread the cream cheese with the cranberries already mixed in.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pumpkin Chip Bars - Secret Recipe Club

Hard to believe it's our final Secret Recipe Club of 2014.  This year has just flown by for me.  Seems I say that every year any more!!  Group B of SRC will be taking a break for the month of January!  Perfect for me because we're going on a cruise!  Warm weather vacations are the only thing that helps me get through these cold Nebraska winters!

I was lucky this month to be assigned the blog From Grandma Loy's Kitchen.  It was so hard to decide what to make.  She has an outstanding variety of recipes to choose from.  My recipe choice ended up coming down to a recipe to use that partial can of pumpkin in my fridge, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars!  Have you tried pumpkin with chocolate chips?  It's one of my favorite new flavor combinations! Nice this recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of oil and makes a delicious, moist bar. 

Pumpkin Chip Cookies
Recipe Courtesy of Grandma Loy's Kitchen

4 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate or other flavor baking chips
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon

Place eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Beat well.  Add pumpkin, oil, and sugar.  Mix thoroughly.  Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix until just moistened.  Stir in chips.  Spread in an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.  Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over batter.  Bake at 350 degrees 25 to 30 minutes or till done.  Cool.  Cut into bars.  The recipe says 36 cookies, but I easily got 48.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

We had our first neighborhood dinner group a few weeks ago at my house.  I am envious of those bloggers who are members of dinner groups and mange to find the time to take photos of their dishes.  Needless to say, that wasn't me.  I made  Butternut Squash Lasagna.   Between trying to make sure the lasagna was the right temperature to cut and  the wine was on the table, no pictures were taken.

Whenever I make lasagne, I never seem to have the proportions the recipe says I should have.  I made a full recipe and a half recipe.  After assembling an oversized 9 x 13 pan, I had leftover noodles and squash mixture. What to do with the leftover squash mixture?  How about a mac and cheese?  I added a little Monterey Jack cheese and topped with bread crumbs.  It came out perfectly and makes a delicious and healthy mac and cheese.