Thursday, December 18, 2014

sparkly sugared cranberries










This photo doesn't do these sparkly sugared cranberries justice.  That's because I didn't want to make a scene photographing these at my friend Julie's party.  She hosted an amazing party in her amazingly decorated home.  Every square inch of her home screamed Christmas and in a beautiful way.  Our friend Nicole brought these and they are so pretty.  The perfect addition to any holiday party.  And delicious too!
P.S.  Don't feel bad if you weren't invited to the party.  There were two qualifications: Your spouse had to work with our husbands and have a church connection.

sparkly sugared cranberries (Nicole W. got the recipe from Our Best Bites)
12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
additional sugar for rolling
note: You can use regular granulated sugar for this recipe but Best Bites suggests first rolling in a slightly course sugar then rolling in regular granulated sugar that has been pulsed several times in a food processor to create a slightly finer sugar.

Wash cranberries and discard any damaged ones.  Place in a bowl.  Combine sugar and water in a pot and heat until simmering.  Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool for a few minutes until warm (not hot).  Pour over cranberries and let sit in fridge, covered, overnight.
Use a slotted spoon to remove berries from syrup.  Set berries on a cooling rack that is placed over foil to collect drips.  Spread berries out so they are not touching each other.  Let dry for 1 hour.  Roll berries a handful at a time in sugar.  Place sugared berries on a baking sheet and let dry for an hour or two.  Store in a container at room temperature.  Try not to stack them too deep if possible.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

store bought favorite: stir fry kit from Costco




















I was happily surprised to see all four of my kids happily eating this stir fry kit that I decided to throw into my cart while at Costco.  It looked WAY too healthy for my kids to like but I figured I may as well try; I figured I would like it and sometimes that's enough for me.  It turns out that the gourmet sauce that was provided is too sweet for me (I bet you didn't know this about me- I don't eat added sugar) but my kids loved the sauce.  My oldest stood over the wok after dinner and continued to eat the "leftovers" with her fingers while I continued to tell her to put the rest in a bowl and eat it like a lady.  She never did.  We don't, however, have any leftovers anymore.

kale & red chard stir fry kit (from Costco)
includes: broccoli florets, red chard, kale, snow peas, carrots and stir fry sauce
if you want to make it a chicken stir fry, you'll need a pound of fresh raw chicken breast, thinly sliced


Friday, December 12, 2014

tomato basil swiss quiche









I made an enormous quantity of this quiche for tomorrow's ward Christmas brunch.  I made this recipe EIGHT times!  And there are others making just as much as I did.  My friend Lindsey made it easy- she delivered all the ingredients along with the recipe.  I can tell you one thing- this recipe is going to be to-die-for.  I just know it.  One of my favorite salad recipes came from Lindsey- Rockey Mountain Salad.  Look it up on this blog.  You'll love it.

tomato basil swiss quiche (my friend Lindsey M.)
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
4 teaspoons dried basil

Mix above ingredients well then stir in carefully:
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup chopped tomato

Pour into greased glass pie dish or 9x9 pan.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until set.  Sprinkle with Swiss cheese and serve hot.

What I have to say- If you want to make it eight times, simply 4x the recipe twice and bake in really large pans- they looked like double 9x13 although I didn't measure them. You can mix everything up the day before and bake the next morning.  If baking a larger quantity, bake 45-50 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

eggnog fudge









I've made all kinds of fudge- chocolate, rocky road, peanut butter, pumpkin but I hadn't heard of eggnog fudge until my friend Rachel mentioned she had made it.  I knew I was in for a real treat with this one.  I can't wait until my husband tries it- he loves eggnog.  Terrific recipe.

eggnog fudge (Brown Eyed Baker)
2 cups  granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup eggnog
pinch of salt
12 ounces white chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg plus more for dusting the top of the fudge
7 ounce jar of marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon rum extract

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and let it hang over the side.  Spray lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, eggnog and salt over medium heat.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Continue boiling 8 to 10 minutes, until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  Remove from heat.
Using a wooden spoon, work quickly to stir in white chocolate chips and nutmeg until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in marshmallow creme and rum extract.  Beat until well blended and then pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle a little ground nutmeg on top.  Let stand at room temperature until cooled, then refrigerate overnight until firm.
When completely cool, cut into squares.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator or better yet share with all your friends!




Friday, December 5, 2014

homemade snowglobes









Obviously you wouldn't want to eat these but my kids loved making them using old chicken bouillon jars that I'd been saving all year for this project and a few other items that are easy to find.  We made six snowglobes with the amount of glycerin you see above.

homemade snowglobes
a jar you'd like to recycle
figurines- easy to find at the dollar store!
1-2 teaspoons glycerine (found in the cake decorating part of the craft store)
a couple teaspoons glitter
water
hot glue

Glue your figurines into the bottom of a lid that tightly fits onto the coordinating jar, making sure to leave plenty of room for the jar to be screwed onto the lid.   While that cools, pour 1-2 teaspoons glycerine into the jar.  Add water until the jar is 1/4" from full.  Add glitter, as much as you'd like!  Screw the lid onto the jar as tightly as possible.  Shake and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

lighter chicken cajun pasta with bacon












My family went CRAZY over this meal.  Hall of Fame!  This is the kind of meal I love but I am not a teenager anymore so I can't get away with it very often.  I made guilt-free so I don't feel guilty.  Quite the contrary- I feel fantastic!!

lighter chicken cajun pasta with bacon (pass the peas, please)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts freshly grilled then sliced (seasoned with Pappy's)
1 bottle light alfredo sauce (I use Classico)
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon real bacon bits
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
hot, cooked pasta (I cook whole wheat for myself and tri-colored for the rest of the fam)

Pour sauce into a pan (I used a wok- I use mine for almost everything!), add everything listed except pasta.  Warm until nice and bubbly.  You might want to thin it down with a little milk.  Serve over hot, cooked pasta.  Serve with a salad or seamed veggies.
YOU'LL LOVE IT!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

i am blessed, grateful and thankful










The other day I stopped by my friend Shonda's house and she gave me these beautiful kitchen utensils that express exactly how I feel.  I am very blessed, very grateful and very thankful for endless reasons.  I saw these utensils online a while back and wanted them but I hadn't ever attempted such a project.  THANK goodness I am so BLESSED to have such talented friends.
I re-found this great craft idea HERE.
Happy Thanksgiving!