Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Balls

This is basically a smore (with lots of additional goodies) that has been squished together to form a ball, and for whatever reason it is one of those rare delights that is only made at Christmas time... at least in my family.
This is a great addition to your plethora of holiday treats, even if it is too late for Christmas Day.

Christmas Balls
Recipe from Sandy Bishop

1 lb. mini marshmallows
2 1/2 c. chopped nuts
2 1/2 c. coconut
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 c. chopped dates
2 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

Pour all ingredients except graham cracker crumbs into a large bowl.
Wet your hands and mix thoroughly.
Roll into small balls and then roll each ball in crumbs, coating the outside (be sure and keep your hands wet through the process).
Store in an airtight container.
These will store for quiet some time - the longer they sit, the better they are!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sugar Cookie Candy Cane Cookies

These festive cookies are a great addition to your Christmas treat arsenal.  The lack of frosting makes this a lighter alternative, which we love, but you'll still get a punch of peppermint flavor from the actual cookie and candies sprinkled on top.
You can use whatever sugar cookie recipe you like the best, including store bought, but I love the one included here.
Sugar Cookie Candy Cane Cookies
Recipe idea from Country Living

2/3 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1/4 tsp. salt
4 c. flour
pink food coloring
crushed candy canes

Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and mix between each.
Dissolve baking soda in the milk and add to the creamed mixture.
Add peppermint.
Slowly add flour and salt while mixing.

Divide dough into 2 equal halves.  
Set one half aside and return remaining half to the mixer.
Add 5 drops of food coloring and mix to combine - you may need more or less depending on desired color.

Place dough balls in a bowl and cover.
Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove from fridge and knead each half individually until dough softens.
Form several 1-2" balls from both colors.
Take individual balls and roll them out into long ropes of equal length.

Take one rope of each color and twist them together.
Wrap one end over to make a candy cane shape.
Place cookies on a greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until just browned on the bottom.
While still hot, sprinkle crushed candy cane pieces on cookies and press down lightly to indent.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dry Taco Soup Mix {Meal in a Jar}

Aside from the convenience of having these lining your pantry shelves for a quick and delicious dinner any time, recipes like these also make for the perfect gift, as well as for camping / backpacking / 72 hour kit food options.  Just switch out the glass jar for a ziplock bag if you plan to hit the hills.

Shelf life on these jars are 1 year.  If you have a food saver with the ability to seal a mason jar lid on dry goods, it will last much longer (upwards of 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place).

You can use any brand of freeze dried or dehydrated food here, but I've included links to the products that I use personally.  Click here to find out more about how you can earn these products for free or half off.

Dry Taco Soup Mix {Meal in a Jar}
3 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. tomato powder

In each quart mason jar, add the ingredients in the order listed.

To make the soup:
Add 7 cups of water to a pot and turn on high heat.
Dump entire contents of jar into the water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, or until beans are fully cooked.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream, if desired.
Makes about 10 cups of soup.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pretzel Buttons

These cute mini treats are easy to make, taste scrumptious, and are cute and festive.  You can swap out the colors of M&M's to make them more appropriate for any holiday; pink and red for Valentines day, pastels for Easter, red and blue for the 4th of July, or use chocolate kisses with orange candies for Halloween.

Pretzel Buttons
Recipe from g*rated

Square Pretzels
Hershey's Hugs (or Kisses)

Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat and line the sheet with pretzels.
Place a Hershey's on top of each pretzel.
Bake for 4-5 minutes at 200 degrees to soften the chocolate - they should look shiny and soft, but still hold their shape.  You do not want them to melt, so watch closely.
Press one M&M in the center of each hug, pressing down to spread out the chocolate.
Allow to cool completely before serving.