Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sugar Plums

MERRY CHRISTMAS! To get in the spirit, I made sugar plums for today and tomorrow! Now I have always heard of sugar in "sugar plum fairies danced in my head", but I never gave them a second thought as to what they were. The other day I was watching 'The Chew'. I had never seen this show before, but it had 2 things that made me not change the channel. 1) Clinton Kelly from 'What Not to Wear' (love that show!) and 2) Carla Hall from Season 5 of Top Chef (loooove that show!) And the fact that Carla was oddly dressed as a ballerina definitely gave it some "huh??" factor to make me stick around and find out why she was clad in tutu and leotard.

On this show, it turns out Carla was dressed as a sugar plum fairy and was guessed it! Sugar plums! They turn out to be basically dried fruit delights! She used dried figs in her recipe, but since the mere idea of figs grosses me out, I used raisins in my mix. It seemed easy enough so I thought I'd give it a go!

You'll need:
2 cup almond, 2 teaspoon orange zest, 2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup dried apricots (finely chopped), 1 cup raisins (finely chopped), 1/4 - 1/2 cup honey, powder sugar (for dusting)

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put almonds on baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Once they are cooled, finely chop them.
 2) Combine honey, both zests, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Add chopped nuts, apricots and raisins.
 Stir until everything is well mixed. (I started out with 1/4 cup honey, and I added a little more until the mix was able to be molded into a ball)
 3. Start making balls out of the mixture (about teaspoon size). Then roll each ball in powdered sugar and then place in an airtight container lined with wax paper. You can serve immediately or store in the fridge until needed.
These reminded me of a sweet energy snack. Yummy, & very sweet! Definitely one for the sweet-tooth!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fire Crackers

Needing a little heat this winter? Here is my recipe for Fire Crackers.

 You'll need:
3 sleeves of saltine crackers
1 cup SunFlower Seed Oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 tablespoons of red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it)

Throw everything EXCEPT the saltines in a large Ziploc bag. (I used the one gallon size and it worked fine.) Seal the bag and smoosh everything around with your hands to mix the spices and oil well.
Then place the saltines in the bag and seal. Turn the bag over to let the oil mix cover the crackers. Repeat several times to make sure all the crackers are coated thoroughly.
Remove crackers and store in an air-tight container. You can serve these as an appetizer or with some chili! Super yummy and super easy to make!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ornament Cascade

Let's face it - without our mothers walking around to point out our minor day-to-day imperfections, we'd be all walking around with hair in our faces, pants too long, and wearing a bit too much blush.
Okay, so we know mothers are always so helpful when it comes to voicing their opinion on what you can do differently, and mine is no exception. So far with my decorations, it's been my tree and my staircase railing (that had already been decorated with garland and lights). But I took the motherly advice and did two things about it.

1) Bought some more ornaments and fillers for my tree; however my now beautiful tree is sadly no longer...... due to living with a one year old. (see below)    *teardrop*

2) I added a finishing touch to the end of our staircase railing.
With just a few ribbons and some non-shatter ornaments later (BEST INVENTION EVER by the way!-refer again to first picture for why), my finishing touch was done!

One out of two ain't bad, right??? ;) I love it and I must admit it looks a lot better than before! So thanks to my mom and to all the mothers out there who elicit the random awesome stuff that their children do which would otherwise be left undone!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Glitzy Pinecones

I'm baaaaack! After being out of town, and dealing with a one year old's molars coming in, I've been MIA. But good news is that during the Great Nap of December 2011 at our house, I was able to get the pinecone project done! Yea.
Okay, it's super simple and only took a couple minutes. BUT what a difference it made. It definitely changed the atmosphere of my dining room.
If you remember last month, C and I went pinecone picking and then made a November centerpiece with the pinecones we found. All I did was take those same pinecones and spray painted them silver!
After letting them dry for a few hours (one good coat was enough), I refilled the pillars and added a red table runner, and woh-lah! I was done!

TOTAL = $3 (the cost of the spray paint)!