Thursday, December 31, 2009

Simple New Year's Eve Fun

Image from Martha Stewart

In Spain there is a custom of eating 12 grapes at midnight for good luck all year long.     Fill a cute cup with 12 grapes and eat one for every chime as the clock strikes midnight.

I have some leftover ice cream cones from Christmas.    Why?  We decorated them with green icing and red hots and called them Christmas trees.     Anyway, since I had them left I thought these New Year's hats from Family Fun are soooo cute!

Found this photo and cute idea at Simply Creative Insanity

Aren't these the cutest?      A cookie.   A CD sleeve.   A little tag.    Ta Da!    Your friends will think you are awesome!  

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Caramel Covered Cheetos

Note: The boys were watching the Mythbuster marathon the other night so I was watching the Twitter feed. People were talking about caramel covered cheetos. WHAT?!? Have you ever heard of such a thing? Someone finally posted a link which led me here. A recipe this crazy? I have to try it.

Caramel Covered Cheetos

2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup margarine - yes, for this one you must use margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 - 21 oz. pkg. Cheetos® - crunchy kind


Mix sugar, margarine and corn syrup in pan. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and add soda. Stir until light in color and foamy. Spray a roasting pan (deep 10 x 14) with Pam. Put Cheetos® in pan. Pour the mixture over Cheetos® and stir, coating each piece. Place in oven at 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Immediately, pour onto wax paper, or cookie sheets, sprayed with Pam. (This is the hard part.) VERY QUICKLY spread out as thin as possible. If not quick and spread out as thin as possible, you will get a big hard glob. After about 5 minutes, pull/break these apart even more and loosen them from the wax paper. If you don't, you'll have wax paper stuck to them when you go to eat them.

Quick & Easy Hopping John

Note: This is a traditional Southern recipe for New Year's Day, but it is so good that I can eat it any time of the year!

Quick & Easy Hopping John


* 1/2 cup green onion, chopped fine
* 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
* 2 cans (about 16 ounces each) black-eyed peas, slightly drained, or about 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
* 1 cup chopped cooked ham
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper OR Louisiana Hot Sauce
* 3 cups hot cooked rice (I like to cook my rice in chicken broth to give it extra flavor.)
* 1 tomato chopped fine (optional)
* salt to taste

In a large saucepan sauté chopped onion in bacon drippings until tender. Stir in black-eyed peas, ham, and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes; stir in hot cooked rice, tomato and salt.

Variations: Lots of people love to eat Hopping John with fresh slices of red onion. Definitely serve this with cornbread!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Toffee Coffee

Note: I found this delicious coffee recipe over at the Domino Sugar recipe site. They twitter recipes every once in a while and after following their link I looked through their coffees and found this one. YUM!

Toffee Coffee Mix


1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. - Domino® Granulated Sugar

1 cup - instant coffee granules

1 1/2 cup - Domino® Dark Brown Sugar

1 1/2 cup - coffee creamer


In a quart jar, layer each ingredient in the order listed above. Tightly close jar lid to store coffee mix. Decorate lid by cutting fabric into a 7-inch wide square or circle. Secure with a rubber band and tie with a decorative ribbon and accents.

To Use

To reconstitute, pour out contents into a mixing bowl, mix ingredients well and then return to jar. For a single serving, add 8 oz freshly boiled water to 3 rounded teaspoons of coffee mix in mug. Stir until completely dissolved

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sand Art Brownies

Note: I found a ton of wide mouth quart canning jars in my hobby shop during my clean out for our garage sale. My intention was to let the boys do these cute sand art brownies before Christmas, but we just never squeezed it in. These are so pretty in the jar and really delicious when you make them. And who says you can't give New Year's gifts to friends?

Sand Art Brownies


2/3 t. salt (scant 3/4t.)
1/2 C. plus 2 T. flour
1/3 C. cocoa
1/2 C. flour
2/3 C. brown sugar
2/3 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. vanilla flavored baking chips
chopped walnuts or pecans to fill (approx. ½ C.)


Layer the dry ingredients in a wide mouth quart canning jar. Take a second and tamp down between the layers.

Print out and attach directions to each jar: Combine contents of jar with 1 t. vanilla, 2/3 C. vegetable oil & 3 eggs. Pour into greased 9 x 9 pan and bake at 350 degrees.

To do 12 jars you will need about...
12 oz. Cocoa
42 oz. Each chocolate & vanilla chips
32 oz. Nuts
50 oz. Brown sugar
5 lbs. Flour
5 lbs. Granulated sugar

Looking for a great way to end this year and start 2010? Let's head over to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. There are always delicious recipes and it is hosted by the two sweetest friends, Lisa and Lana. What are you waiting for?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Candy Cane Cookies

Note: Little Guy discovered the food coloring when we were working on cookies last week. He has been planning and thinking of ways to use it. I suggested us making this simple cookie using a packaged sugar cookie mix and he was NOT impressed. Luckily, he seemed thrilled with the finished results. This is a lot of fun to do with your kids because they love rolling the "snakes".

Candy Cane Cookies

2 sugar cookie mixes
red food coloring

Prepare each sugar cookie mix in a separate bowl. Leave one bowl plain and color the other bowl with red food coloring. Once you have fully incorporated the red food coloring into your cookie mix. Cover both bowls with wrap and put into the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.

To prepare candy canes: Take bowls out of the refrigerator, pull off about a teaspoon of dough from each bowl. Roll them into "snakes". Wrap them around each other. Lightly sprinkle with sugar (we used red sugar and it turned out pretty). Curve to make the candy cane shape and place on a well greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. You want the bottom edges to be golden, but you definitely don't want brown candy canes. Let cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monkey Muffins

Note: I have been making bread with my bread machine. Today as I was making some bread dough I ran across this recipe at Pioneer Woman's blog. Come to Mama! My boys were just drooling as I was rolling the dough into little balls of potential monkey muffin deliciousness. Thank you, Pioneer Woman.

Monkey Muffins

bread dough
ground cinnamon
sweetened condensed milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to muffin tins. Sprinkle in sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Place three into each muffin tin.

Top with 1/2 teaspoon butter. Sprinkle on more sugar and cinnamon.

If needed, allow dough to rise. Otherwise just go ahead and bake until golden and bubbly.

While the muffins were baking, I opened my sweetened condensed milk and poured into a microwave safe bowl and added one tsp. vanilla. Warm slightly in the microwave.

When muffins are done, remove from oven and immediately drizzle plenty of sweetened condensed milk over the top of each one. Allow rolls to sit for a little while to absorb sweet, sticky milk.

From Our Family to Yours

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fireside Coffee

Note: It is just a few days before Christmas. We have been spending a lot of time making gifts for our family and friends these last days. Painting, creating, laughing and just sitting around the table talking. One of the things that we will be making before going home to my parent's house is this fireside coffee. It is a Christmas favorite in my family.

Fireside Coffee

2 cups powdered creamer
1 1/2 cup cocoa mix
1 1/2 cup instant coffee
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix above ingredients together in a large bowl. Put approximately 2 tablespoons mix in a mug of hot water. Make a cup for yourself and a cup for someone you love. Enjoy!

I wish I lived close enough to share a cup of this fireside coffee with my two sweet blogger friends, Lisa and Lana. They host Tempt My Tummy Tuesday each week. I love this wonderful recipe link-up each week. Great ladies and great food.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

There are always just a few last minute gifts. The mailman, the wonderful UPS man, your hairdresser, neighbors, that sweet lady at the bank, those firefighters and police officers.... oh my! You just need something to say "Thank you and Merry Christmas!"

Soup or soup mix - Wishing you a "Souper" Holiday Season!!

M&M's - "Have a Merry and Most wonderful Christmas!!"

Frozen or ready to bake pizza - "Warm up to a wonderful Holiday Season "Topped" with Christmas cheer!"

Apples and Hershey's Hugs - A doctor can't live by apples alone...he needs "Hugs" too!!

Popcorn Balls - Hoping you have a "Ball" this Holiday Season!

Loaf of Bread - For being there when you were "Kneaded", for "Rising" to the occasion, large or small, for never "Loafing" on the job, for helping others to "Heel" with TLC; no matter how you "Slice it", you do a terrific job of loving others. Merry Christmas!!

Jolly Ranchers - Have a Holly "Jolly" Christmas!!

Rootbeer - We're "Root"ing for you to have a Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!!

Chex Party Mix - Remember Santa "Chex'd" his list twice to see who's been naughty or be good for goodness sake!! Merry Christmas!!

Box of Hostess Ho-Ho's - Hope a merry "HO - HO - HO" fills your heart the whole year through! (Put a Santa sticker on the label)

Wire Wisk - (Filled with Chocolate kisses) "We WHISK you a Merry KISSmas!!"

Jar of Jelly - Jelly is like love - you can't spread it around without getting some on yourself! Merry Christmas!!

Nuts - "We're nuts about you!" Merry Christmas!

Lifesavers - " You've been a life saver!" Have a great Christmas!

A juice pitcher filled with candy canes- "We pitcher you raising a little "cane" during the holidays!" Have a merry Christmas!!

Cinnamon Sprinkles - (Cinnamon & Sugar, or cookie sprinkles) "May your Christmas be sprinkled with laughter and love!" Merry Christmas!

Hershey's Hugs - "A friend always knows when you need a little hug!"

Christmas music.. CD or Tape - "May the sweet song of Christmas make your heart rejoice!" Or "May the merry sounds of Christmas bring a Joyful Melody to your holiday season" Merry Christmas!!

Filled Basket - "Wishing you a basket full of Christmas blessings"

Salsa - "Add a little Spice to your Holidays!" Merry Christmas!

Stocking or filled Jar - "Have a fun filled Christmas this year!"

Shaped Sugar Cookies - "Rolling out a batch of Christmas Cheer, for Someone we think is very dear!!"

Cherry 7-up - "Just a Little Christmas Cheer from Happy Hearts this time of year!! Merry Christmas!!"

Sparkling Cider - "Wishing you a Sparkling Holiday Season!"

Warm Casserole or Bread -"Bundled up with warm wishes!!"

Popcorn or Carmel Corn - "Just "Popping" by with a Holiday Hi!" Or "May your Holidays be Poppin'!"

Seasoning Mix - "Seasoned with Love" Merry Christmas!!

Hersheys Hugs and Kisses - "Christmas Hugs and Kisses to You " Or "Holiday Hugs and Kisses to you!"

Apple Pie or Apple Crisp - "Wishing you a Scrumptious Christmas!"

Fruit Basket - "May your New Year be Festive and Fruitful!!"

Any Sweet Treat - "Wishing you a season filled with sweetness!"

Oranges - " Orange" you glad we're Friends!?" Merry Christmas!!

Chocolate Orange - "Orange" you glad it's Christmas? Hope your Christmas is a Sweet one!

Sprite - " May your Christmas be Merry and Sprite!"

Ice Cream Snowballs and Hot Fudge - " Here's some packaged "snowball" treats - Just Drizzle Hot Fudge and its ready to eat!...Enjoy!!"

Snicker Bar - "Don't "Snicker", just be glad you got something!!"

Mints -"Friends like you are worth a Mint!!" Merry Christmas!!

Bubble Gum or Bubble Bath - "May your holidays "Bubble" over with fun!!

Jar of Pickles - "Just in brine, our wish for a merry Christmas!!"

Grater and Cheese - " To a Grate Neighbor! Merry Christmas!"

Gingerbread House - "Nibble, nibble like a mouse, we hope you'll nibble at this house!" Merry Christmas!!

Mugs with Hot Chocolate Mix - "To our special friends who are so Dear, We wish you all a cup of Cheer!" One mug would be a special gift for a Teacher. "To a Special Teacher dear, wishing you a "Cup of Cheer"!"

Cocoa Mix - "Wishing you a warm and wonderful Christmas!"

Muffins or Muffin mix - " You're getting "Muffin" for Christmas!!"

Gum - "By Gum! You're a great neighbor!! Have a Merry Christmas"

Veggies and Dip - "Dip into a wonderful Holiday season and a Healthy New Year!"

Christmas Shaped pasta - (Or any Pasta and a bottle of Sauce )"Have a Pasta-tively Happy Holiday!"

Jar of Jam - "Hoping you have a Holiday "Jammed" packed with fun!!" "Have a "Berry" nice holiday season!!" Or "Hoping your Christmas is "Jam- packed" with Christmas Cheer!!"

Cookie Dough - "Here's a little extra "Dough" for Christmas! Or "Everyone needs a little extra "Dough" for Christmas!!"

Homemade Frozen Rolls - "Here's a little holiday treat. Rise and bake, it can't be beat! Warm fresh rolls just for you. Top with butter that's all you do! Warm Holiday Greetings to you"

Brownie Mix - (Or any Mix) "Whip up this mix for a wonderful holiday fix! Wishing you a "rich" Holiday Season!!" (Be sure to attach the recipe!)

Homemade caramels - Hoping you have a "Rich" and "wonderful" Holiday!!"

Pie - "Just a "Holiday Hi" and a tasty Pie!! Happy Holidays!!"

Divinity - "May your Christmas be "Divine" and your Holidays so Fine! Sweet Christmas Wishes!"

Rice Krispie Treats - "Snap, Crackle, Pop" We think you're really Tops! "

Toffee or Brittle - "Any way you break it, we think you're the greatest!"

Fudge - "Fudge" a little on the calories and enjoy the Holiday Season!"

Cheese Ball and Crackers - "We don't mean to sound "Cheesy", we just hope you have a "Ball" this Holiday Season! Or "Spread a little Christmas Cheer this Holiday Season!"

Apple Anything - (Pie, Cobbler, crisp, muffins etc.) "Sending you a "Bushel" of love this holiday Season!!" Or " You are the apple of my eye, Teacher!"

Banana Bread - "Banana Bread just for you, because you have so much to do... We also love you a whole "Bunch" too! Merry Christmas!"

Cinnamon Rolls - "Here's a sweet treat "Rolled" up with warm Holiday Wishes! Merry Christmas!"

Homemade Chocolates - " You're so Sweet...having you as neighbors is really a treat! Have a Heavenly Holiday Season!"

Cake or Cupcakes - "You take the "Cake" neighbor, We think you're first rate! Happy Holidays to you!!"

Cornbread or Mix - "We're not trying to be "Corny" we just want you to have a Merry Christmas!"

Carrot Cake - " I Really "Carrot" a lot about you!! Merry Christmas"

Spiced Drink Mixes - " Hoping your Holidays are "Spiced" Just right!"

Homemade Ice cream of a Frozen Treat - "Here's the Scoop: Hoping your Holidays are a "Blizzard" of fun!"

Recipe - "Just like you,'s tried and true, just for you! Happy Holiday Baking or Merry Christmas Cooking!"

Pizza - "Hope your Holiday has a touch of "Pizza - z!!" Merry Christmas!!"