Friday, December 24, 2010


Erica had something planned for you today, but she ended up getting really sick. Poor gal. So today you get me wishing you a very Merry Christmas. We'll be taking next week off and will start off fresh with a New Year. So, have a wonderful New Year too. Enjoy family and make some memories. Loves!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Digi Day

With Christmas, I kind of lost my scrapping mojo, but with deadlines looming (always a good motivator) I was able to whip out some fun layouts using some fun product. Both of these layouts are done using templates. When you need to get something done quickly, templates are the way to go! They are so versatile and even though the basic design is done for you, you can change things and add things to suit your photos. It's always a good thing to get a little scrapping done, memories documented, and photos actually displayed to share.

 This is a template by The Queen of Quirk. I love her templates and designs. I also used her You are Here Kit. Full Credits Here.

This is a template by Slendid Fiins. A great design to showcase a year of events. Full Credits Here.

So are you ready? Christmas is two days away. These last two weeks have been a whirlwind. Next year I'm going to re-think this whole traveling and cramming thing. I didn't even start my Christmas shopping and projects until we got to Utah. Two weeks, is just not enough time. I'm thinking a little more internet shopping next year? Anyway, I hope you are a little more relaxed than I am. May your Christmas be wonderful! Can't wait!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eggnog Bread

I'm sorry...but you can't have Christmas without Eggnog.  Mmmm...I just love the stuff!  Whoever thought of making a bread taste like it is amazing!!!  It took me 2 go rounds at this bread to make it just right.  My first batch stuck so bad to the pan that it didn't have a bottom, and I couldn't take a picture of that.  It depressed me.  I get frustrated pretty easy when my cooking doesn't turn out right.  So...I tried again yesterday and...and I had a few mishaps, but the end result was pretty good...I think...  For some reason, i'm just not on top of my game!  I'm nervous to try my next recipe!  Anyhoo...enough of my babbling.  Try this bread.  It will make you and your belly happy.  It did mine!
Eggnog Bread
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. rum extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beat
1 1/2 c. eggnog
2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 small box vanilla pudding

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the CRAP out of 9x5 bread pan.  (I'm serious about the greasing part)  Blend the softened butter til nice and smooth and add sugar.  Blend til light and fluffy.  Add your extracts, eggs, and eggnog.  Blend until well combined.  In a seperate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and stir in vanilla pudding.  Add to eggnog mixture and stir just enough to moisten.  Bake for 40-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool.  Wrap tight and store in refridgerator.  :o) 

I had to cover the tops of mine with foil so the tops didn't get too brown.  I think this would be fun to make into mini muffins for Christmas morning.  I think I might do that.

Hope you are having a fantastic week!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Now that's a name! Right?! Here is a quick and easy cookie recipe for your holiday parties. This makes a big chewy cookie with lots of yummy goodness through out. I love new cookie recipes and it's fun to change things up to fit the time of year. Red cranberries just say Christmas to me. The tartness of the cranberries and the chocolate together make a really yummy cookie. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 (4-ounce) 60 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
Special equipment: a 4-ounce (1/2 cup) ice cream or cookie scoop

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the flour mixture. Add the oats, cranberries and chocolate chunks. Mix until just incorporated (dough will be stiff). Using a 4-ounce cookie scoop, scoop slightly rounded mounds of the dough into 12 (2-inch-diameter) balls. Arrange 6 balls of dough, spaced evenly apart, on each baking sheet. Using the back of a spoon, flatten the tops slightly and bake until the cookies are slightly golden on the edges, about 13 to 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes before serving.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Side note:
I doubled the recipe and used a Pampered Chef medium scoop. I'm not sure how many ounces it is. I got 33 large cookies. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake

This is kind of a Monday Match-Up.  Monica made a chocolate sheet cake back in July.  You can find it HERE.  I personally didn't try it, because I have my own favorite.  I made it this weekend while Monica was here visiting.  It's the perfect thing to make when you know your gonna have a crowd.  I got this recipe from my Mother in law a few years ago.  It's become a family favorite.  Especially for my Justy.  It's what she asks for on her birthday and other occasions.  She was pretty excited to see me making this for really no reason at all.  The icing to me is what makes it perfection.  It's got the best subtle almond flavor that goes perfectly with the chocolate cake.  Yum!  Hope you try it out.

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 c. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together.  Add oil, buttermilk, eggs and stir together til well combined.  Add boiling water last.  Mix well.  Pour into big sheet pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.


1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 c. half and half

Beat butter until nice and soft and add vanilla, and almond extract.  Add powdered sugar slowly, scraping sides of bowl.  Add half and half last.  Ice cake when it's nice and cool

Have a great week getting ready for the big day.  I know i'm gonna be busy!  See you tomorrow!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mama's Flan

Since I was little one of my favorite desserts was flan. My mom being from Peru would occasionally make a flan for special occasions, Christmas dinner being one of them. I think I would put this in the custard/pudding department and you know how I feel about pudding. I would marry it if I could. So, with that being said, if you've never tried flan this is a pretty simple (and delicious) recipe for a special occasion. Your sophisticated friends will be super impressed and your sweet tooth will thank you generously.

Mama's Flan

1 Condensed Milk
1 Evaporated Milk
1 Cup of 2% Milk (you can use whole for a richer flan)
1 slice of White Bread
4 to 6 eggs (mom uses 5 large)
1/4 tsp of Rum extract
1 tsp. of Vanilla
6 tsp. of Sugar
1 cup of Sugar

Blend all ingredients but the 1 cup of sugar. In a pan dissolve the 1 cup of Sugar till it turns light brown.

In a 9X12 glass baking dish pour the melted sugar which will become like hard caramel once you pour it.. so when you pour it make sure you spread it around the dish. Put this dish in a bigger one filled with water... about half full.

Then pour the blended ingredients on top of the caramel.

Bake at 350ยบ for 1 hour. When you take it out of the oven get it off the bottom pan with water and let it cool for a few minutes, then you may put it in the fridge covered if you like it cold or just leave it out till ready to eat at room temperature. It will become firm and ready to eat.

To serve: while placing on a plate, turn upside down so the sugary syrup is on top. Top the flan with additional syrup from the pan.

You could also make this in a large round cake pan and invert it on a serving dish for a beautiful presentation. Since being home, I have struggled to keep up with my bloggerly duties. Thanks to Erica for picking up my slack and thanks to my mom for making my favorite Peruvian dessert. It's nice when I get to enjoy without having to bake. :)

Have a wonderful weekend and get a lot done! Time is ticking people!!! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Nothing better than homemade waffles on a cold winter morning.  I crave these a lot.  I make them all the time for my family too.  I've been known to whip them out for lunch and dinner too.  They are THAT good.  I served these to my sister and her husband once and this is the only recipe they use now.  They are seriously the best!  They are so light and fluffy, yet only a couple will fill you right up.  Top them with your favorite toppings.  Mine is either homemade raspberry jam or just plain ole' syrup.  Ask the hubs and my dear daughter what they want on top of theirs...well...peanut butter, and syrup?!  Ick!  I guess I should try it once, but it just doesn't sound that great to me.  Anyway...try these out.  You'll be so happy you did!

2 eggs
2 c. milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 heaping tsp. baking powder
2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter, melted

Mix your milk and eggs.  Pour over dry ingredients, mix.  Add butter last.  Use whatever waffle iron you have.  We like to use our belgian waffle iron.

Now I want to know what your favorite topping is?  And what do you serve on Christmas morning?  Hope your all having a great week!  See you tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bacon Onion Cheese Ball

A cheese ball for a cheese ball!  ;o)  Oh baby!  This cheese ball was amazing!  I had to put it away or I would have eaten the entire thing.  It will definately be on my list to make for Christmas and New Years parties.  I wanted to make a crab cheese ball, but you can't get that kind of stuff here in my small town, so maybe on my next trip out of town i'll have to get the stuff to make it.  This one has the best flavor.  I wanted to add a lot more green onions, but the hubs is not a huge fan of onions.  So I added enough to give it the onion flavor.  Go and make yourself a cheese ball for your holiday party...don't buy those big ole' bricks in the deli section.

Here's the EASY recipe~
2-8oz packages cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp mayonaise
16 oz. bacon, fried and crumbled
4-5 green onions, chopped
chopped pecans, to roll your ball in  (optional) 

Mix everything together.  It will be pretty creamy.  Shape it into a ball and refridgerate for 3-4 hours our overnight.  Roll in crushed pecans before serving.  Serve with your favorite cracker.  I used Ritz and it was awesome!!  ENJOY!

I didn't roll ours in pecans, because my husband doesn't like nuts.  Man...he sounds like a picky eater, but really he's not.

Hope you are having a fabulous week and getting things all wrapped up for the BIG day.  I'm finishing up my homemade projects.  It's so fun!  I love this time of the year.  And guess what?!  I get to see my sweet sis, Moni, on Friday!  Haven't seen her in months!  I can't wait!!!!  It's been awhile since I had a partner to dance with in the kitchen.  :o)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gingerbread Cake

I love the spicy flavors of Christmas. My sister-in-law Jamie has a fabulous Molasses Cookie recipe that I love. That is one cookie I just can't eat one. Hopefully I can get that recipe to you this season. Another good one is Gingerbread Cake. Yum. :) I got the idea from Jamie and thought I would attempt one today. If you like a spicy Christmas cake, then you'll enjoy this. I love it topped with fresh bananas and whipped cream. You could also top it with a lemon sauce or a caramel sauce. Yum!

Gingerbread Cake
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter (2 cubes)
2 eggs
2 cups molasses
1 cup applesauce
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot water

Cream the sugar and softened butter till light and fluffy. Blend in eggs then molasses then add your applesauce. In a separate bowl combine the flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Mix your dry ingredients with the creamed mixture. Then add the hot water. Pour into a prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

A couple side notes:
1. This is an adapted recipe from here. I actually doubled the recipe. This is more than enough batter to fill an 8 1/2 x 11 inch pan. Only fill the pan about 2/3 full. You will have some excess.

2. I was thinking that if I thoroughly screwed this cake up that it would make a tasty trifle. Just an idea. ;)

Oh I love this time of year. Hope your Season has been merry and bright. Don't blink, it will be over. That's always so disappointing. Enjoy every minute. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

My cousin's wife kept talking about these cookies she makes for her family and I had to try them.  They sounded like something my little family would enjoy, and I was right.  They gobbled them right up.  They tasted like a brownie with a little ooey gooey goodness in the center.  My husband even liked these.  He's not a big sweet fan, but he LOVES brownies.  So these were perfect. 

Here's the recipe~

3 c. flour
1 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
12 oz. mini chocolate chips
10 oz. bag of mini marshmallows, frozen  (You won't use the entire bag)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Keep marshmallows in freezer until you are ready to put the cookies together.  They are easier to work with when they are hard.

In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  Set aside.  Cream butter in mixer and then add both sugars, scraping sides.  Add eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add flour mix and chocolate chips and blend on low speed.  Dough will be stiff.  Gather 4-5 frozen marshmallows in the palm of your hand and cover with a heaping Tbsp of cookie dough.  Wrap dough around marshmallows, completely covering them.  Makes about a 2" ball.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool on pan for a minute then transfer to cooling rack.

I had a hard time telling when these cookies were done.  My first batch was over done and then I figured out that you don't want the marshmallows flowing out the sides and not be white anymore.  You want a little puddle of white gooeyness in the middle.  My oven had them perfect at 8 minutes. 

Are you all ready for Christmas?  What kind of cookies do you make during the holidays?  I hope you all have a fun and safe week.  See you tomorrow!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Favorite

I love Love LOVE this blog.  It's called This Week For Dinner.  She posts a new menu weekly and encourages others to post their menus, so she and everyone else can get ideas for their weekly menus!  It's great for ideas, and she's always posting awesome pictures, ideas, and recipes.  She started the blog because she is like most Mother's and Wives who just don't know what to cook for dinner, unless you have a menu or are told what to cook. 

Here's a few pictures of yumminess!!!

I need to make these Stuffed Shells soon.  They look heavenly!!
 Copyright 2010-This Week For Dinner

This looks so healthy and tasty.
Copyright 2010-This Week For Dinner

And this pie!  This is the one that got me craving pumpkin pie like crazy yesterday. 
Copyright 2010-This Week For Dinner

Aren't her pictures gorgeous?  Go visit This Week For Dinner.  You will be so happy you did!!!

Hope you all had a wonderful week, and here's to a fun and safe weekend!  See you Monday!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Candy Wrap-up

This is not exactly how I pictured wrapping up my candy, but my digital creations don't really work when my printer won't print color. So, I had to actually dig out my stamps, inks, scissors, and paper. It is nice sit and touch real crafty stuff. Makes me happy. Anyhoo, homemade tags on gifts are so pretty and give that special touch to the people you love. These were super easy and fun to make.


Dig out your crafty stuff and make some tags for all those gifts. You really can make them as elaborate or as simple as you would like. My sister-in-law is a stamper and she makes gorgeous tags. I'm a lot more simple but I still think it's better than slapping on a sticker from the store. Anything handmade feels more special to me.

Yay for Christmas! I love this time of year. The kids and I are heading home for the holidays and I can't wait to spend the Holidays with those we love! Next week when I post, I'll be home. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Fabric Garland

Erica?  Doing something crafty?  Ha!  I said the same thing, and YES, I did.  And it was super easy, anyone could do it.  Even me.  I seen a picture of some garland in a magazine, and thought to myself, "Hey!  I could do that!"  I went to my local store that sells fabric and with the help of and Aunt who works there, we picked out some festive fabrics that all went great together.  I picked some of the cheaper stuff to stay in budget and I have tons of extra to make more than one string of garland.  I was so happy with the end results, and I have even got a few compliments on it from people stopping by.  Makes me happy to get comments on things that I made.  :o)
Heres what you need to make your own~

Several yards of assorted fabric
Pretty ribbon

Measure out several feet of twine.  Using a few inches at the ends, fold it over into a loop and tie a knot so you have loops for easy hanging.

Prepare fabric by making small snips along the bottom of the fabric every 2-3", and tearing into strips atleast 6" in length.  If you don't want the ripped look then use scissors or pinking sheers.

Simply knot your fabric strips onto the twine.  Alternate fabric types and colors, or do it however you want.  If you want, throw in some bells or beads.  Use your imagination.
If you make one link us to your pictures.  We'd love to see what you come up with.  Hope you are all having a fabulous week!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday Match-up Part 2

Okay, okay so I procrastinated. I really wanted to attempt homemade caramels this year and I waited a little long to get started. Who knew caramels were so time consuming AND tempermental! I am new to the world of caramel making and let me tell you. When you are making caramels you must do nothing else but make caramels because if you decide to lets say read your child a book then you might suddenly realize by the pluming smoke from your kitchen that you really screwed up. And then you might realize that burnt sugar is almost impossible to clean up.

So, take 2 of my caramel mission was touch and go, but overall a success. And I will say that all the hard work and patience that goes into caramel making is well worth it. They turned out delicious and I'm excited to give them away.

Adapted from Our Best Bites

Apple Cider Caramels
2 c. high-quality apple cider (like Simply Apple)

1 c. heavy cream or whipping cream
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. light corn syrup
up to 1/4 cup hot water
1 stick (1/2 c.) real butter, cubed

First put your apple cider in a saucepan and boil on high until it is reduced to 1/3 cup. This takes about 20 minutes. (Just so you know, this is where I decided to read Maggie a story. Don't do that. Ha ha!) Keep a liquid measuring cup right there so you can pour your liquid back and forth to check it. Remove from heat. In a small bowl mix the cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and reduced apple cider. In a large heavy bottomed pan mix the sugar, corn syrup, and water. I used about 2/3 of a 1/4 cup. The original recipe didn't have the water and my big clump of sugar wasn't doing much till I added it. You need some liquid in there.

Cook the sugar on medium low heat. When the sugar is looking dissolved add a candy thermometer and heat until the syrup measures 234 degrees. Remove from heat and add your cream mixture and butter. Stir until your butter is melted and everything is incorporated. Return to heat and replace your thermometer. Continue cooking until your thermometer reaches 248 degrees stirring gently but frequently. (Just so you know, because I didn't, this takes time. About 30 minutes.) Keep an eye on it, you don't want to cook it too long or your caramels will be hard. And if you don't cook it enough they will be super soft.

While your caramel is cooking line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper so it hangs out on both ends. Lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. When your caramel has reached 248 degrees, remove from heat and pour into your prepared pan. BE CAREFUL! This is very very hot. Keep the kiddos away. Put your caramel in the fridge and let it set up. It should be set in an hour.

When you are ready, take the carmel out and use the parchment paper that was hanging out to pop out the caramel. Place on a cutting board and use a sprayed pizza cutter to cut your caramels. I cut mine 1 inch by 1.5 inches. Now the fun part (not really)! Cut wax paper into squares, place one caramel in the center and wrap up twisting the ends to seal.

I wanted to show you how I wrapped these, but my printer has started to act up. Nothing seems to be going my way this week. Hopefully I'll have a picture for you later.

Hope everyone is doing well. We would love a link to your recipe or neighbor gift ideas. Please share! Have a good day!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Favorites

Where did this week go? I intended to get more done but with heat out (and now thankfully working again) my motivation went out the window. I have a laundry pile and a messy craft table to prove it. So I will be featuring my advent calendar garland next week.

Today you get a Friday Favorite. As you may know, I love baking. One of the things that I have envied is some bakers' ability to decorate sugar cookies like this...

and like this...

I have decorated once like this before. I wish I had a picture and they did turn out cute. They were a basic daisy shape with yellow centers and colored petals. Anyhoo, what I learned from them was how incredibly time consuming they were! I bet with practice and a more streamlined approach it could have gone quicker. But I loved them and I got really good responses from them. But since then I've just envied those that did it.

I was blog hopping the other day and stumbled upon Bake at 350. She does lots of different baking but her main deal are these fabulous cookies. I was in awe and a bit jealous of her mad skills. Anyway, check out her blog. You will be amazed too.

Hope everyone had a wonderful WARM week. Everyday is one day closer to Christmas! Yay! See ya Monday with a couple neighbor or teacher gift ideas. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Something Funny...

Have you ever had a recipe go REALLY wrong, and you swore you followed the recipe exactly?  I made this banana bread back in March and just thought I'd share it with you.  I'm not perfect in the kitchen.  I have a lot go wrong and I just laugh...or cry and try again.  I laughed my butt off with this one, because it is identical to a maxi pad!  Am I right?   Have you had something go terribly wrong in the kitchen?  Do tell!  :o) 
Hope you are having an awesome week!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Digi Day

Today is a good scrappin' day. One of the things you don't really appreciate until it's gone is HEAT. Our heater went out last night and with space heaters and lots of blankets we fared well. But today while waiting for it to get fixed I think I may sit under a few blankets and scrap. I can't imagine getting anything done freezing my buns off. Okay, maybe a little laundry.

Anyway, I did get a chance to scrap last week. I have two layouts for you today. This layout is done using a new template by In the Making Design. Templates are a great way to get your scrapping done quickly. The design is already done for you, you just have to add your paper, photos, and any additional elements you would like. You can get templates at any digi scrap store. Find this one here.

Full Credits Here.

This one is from the first lesson in Jessica's Digi in Deep class. This is her advanced photoshop class. It is much more in depth and teaches more advanced skills. I love this class. I took it once before, but this is the updated version. Seriously, give a gift to yourself and sign up for one of her classes.

This layout is done from scratch. We made the photo block, the circular frame, the scalloped edges, transparent journaling block, the wrapped string around the frame, and much more. My idea of some good alone time! That and watching a good chick flik. This is what I do when the kids are in bed and Aaron is studying. Fun, fun!

Okay, just a reminder that there is a 20% off sale at Even the classes are on sale! Check it out. Plus if you spend $20.00 you get a free winter collab kit. It's huge! Can't beat that. I have a fun little project to show you on Friday. Can't wait!
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