Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Earmuffs for Mr. Snowman

This is such a cute sugar cookie idea. Simple enough for the kids to actually do all by themselves!
You will need sugar cookie dough, white frosting, licorice (Pull n Peel), mini chocolate chips, m&ms, orange gum drops, and life savers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Morning Sticky Buns

If you make these sweet rolls on Christmas eve, you can put them in the refrigerator overnight and they will be perfect to bake and eat warm on Christmas morning!

3/4 c. buttermilk, warm
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1/4 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled until warm
3 large eggs
4 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt

1. Combine yeast and sugar in mixing bowly, add warm buttermilk, stir and let sit for 15 minutes or until yeast is bubbly. Add eggs, salt, melted butter and two cups of flour and m ix until smooth. Addremaining flour and mix until dough leaves the sides of the mixer but still sticks to the bottom of the mixer. If dough isn't doing this, add more flour 1 Tbsp. at a time until dough leaves sides. Mix until smooth. Place dough in an oiled blow and raise until doubled in size, about two hours.

1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
4 Tbsp. butter
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. pecans, toasted and chopped coarse

3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves (optional)
pinch of salt
flour for the counter
2 Tbsp. melted butter, plus extra for the pan

1. (The nut topping goes in the bottom of your 13x9 pan first. You will add the rolls on top, bake it, and then flip it onto a platter, so the yummy carmel/nuts is on top.) For the nut topping, bring the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. Spread the mixture in the bottom of your greased 13 x 9 pan.

2. For the filling, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a small bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and roll or press into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter. Sprinkle the filling over the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border along the top edge. Press on the filling to adhere it to the dough. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Roll the cylinder over so that it is seam side down. Pat the ends to even out.

3. Slice the cylinder into 12 evenly sized buns, using a serrated knife. Arrange the buns cut side down on top of the nut topping in the baking dish. Let rise in a warm place until rolls have doubled in size, 1 1/2 or more hours. (If you want to eat these in the morning, make them at night, and stick in refrigerator overnight. They will be perfect for baking in the morning! The cold slows down the yeast.)

4. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until the buns are golden and puffed, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the buns cool in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping out onto platter. (Put platter or cookie sheet on top of pan, firmly hold edges of both pans, and flip them so the hot one is on top. Careful, it is hot!) Scrape any leftover filling onto the top of the buns.

Simple Christmas Kid Crafts

Here are a few simple Christmas crafts for kids. I always love the things they make with their handprints, and both of these use hands/feet. For the reindeer, trace both of your child's hands and one of his/her feet on a paper bag cut them out. The foot becomes the reindeer's head and the hands become the antlers. Glue them together, and add a red pom pom for the nose and googlie eyes. Or, let them color and decorate it. You could also turn this into an ornament by adding ribbon.

We made this for playgroup a few weeks ago and we made them again for the kids' Christmas cards. Use a sponge or stipple brush to put green paint on your child's hand and help them make a handprint. We also painted a small wooden star yellow and glued it on, but you could use a pipe cleaner, or simply yellow paper for the star. We cut a stem out of dark brown paper, and then the kids added sequins for the ornaments. We cut the tree out and glued it on a larger card. This was the girls' favorite one- "so sparkly and bootiful!"

Ambrosia Crunch

This is about the best sweet snack mix I've ever had. It is simple to prepare and sure to please the palate. Wrap it in cellophane bags with pretty ribbon for a great presentation.

3 c. rice chex
3 c. corn chex
3 c. cheerios
2 c. stick pretzels
2 c. peanuts
12 oz. plain M&Ms
12 oz. peanut M&Ms
12 oz. white chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients, except for white chocolate in a large bowl. Melt white chocolate slowly in microwave, one minute at a time at half power, stirring after each minute. Pour over mix and stir thoroughly. Pour onto waxed paper and let cool. Break apart and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ocean Cake

OK, my fellow cake-loving friends will laugh because they know how excited I get about making cool cakes for my kids' birthdays! This one was seriously so extremely easy and it turned out better than I had imagined. I found it (and many other fantastic cake ideas on one of our favorite sites, Perfect for any type of ocean or Hawaiian themed party.Simply use speckled Jelly Bellies for the rocks, Fruit By The Foot for the seaweed, and different gummy fish for the fish. The cheesy Ariel candle is to appease my sweet three year old, but I have to say it looked much cooler without it.

Pinecone Turkeys

We made these adorable turkeys at playgroup last week. Each turkey only requires a pinecone, a pom pom (fuzzy ball), a few pipe cleaners, some googlie eyes, small pieces of red and yellow felt, and some craft glue. (Martha Stewart had some great ideas this month on creating bird and mice ornaments out of pinecones too.)