Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions & Reality

As the year 2012 draws to an end I suppose it is time to make some resolutions.  Here goes......

I will work out every morning at 5:30.
I will keep my house cleaner.
I will sweep daily.
I will vaccuum & dust daily.
I will walk the dog daily.
I will clean my glasses.
I will write all my  friends.  Everyone loves mail.
I will eat less junk food.
I will listen.
I will drink less Diet Dr. Pepper.
I will drink more water.
I will cook a good meal every day.
I will eat more salads & vegetables.
I will vaccuum & wash my car on Sunday Afternoons.
I will recycle more.
I will watch less television.
I will finish projects.
I will buy a lotto ticket.
I will win the lottery?
I will take more pictures.
I will budget more and spend less money on crap.
I will volunteer more.
I will stop wasting time on stupid time-wasters.
I will run a marathon.
I will blog daily.
I will try new things.
I will pray.
I will pray without ceasing.
I will take long breaths and relax more.
I will smile more.
I will give up all my bad habits.
I will make new friends.
I will forget & forgive.
I will read my Bible more.
I will read my Bible daily.
I will be more helpful to others.
I will learn a new skill.
I will make something from pinterest weekly.
I will hug my children more often.
I will stay more organized.
I will clip coupons.
I will give blood.
I will use up all the food in my pantry and freezer before I shop for groceries.
I will be a better person.
I will floss my teeth after every meal.
I will fold all the laundry and put it away immediately.
I will clean out my closets.
I will lose weight.
I will
I will
I will
I will
I will
I will
I will be thankful for my reality.

Many friends of mine  have been hit hard with reality this year.  Some have lost family members.  Some have been hit hardest with the word..."Cancer."  Other friends have gone through divorce, addictions, job loss or various other horrible-life-changing reality checks....all of which suck.

My challenge to all this year is to be thankful.  There is always someone around the corner who may have it worse.  Go out there friends and be Thankful.  Go out there and make the best out of every situation you are in.  Whatever it it.  Go out there.  Find some way to improve yourself.  Find some way to be thankful.

Take a class.
Learn a skill.
Join a Bible Study.
Stop complaining.
I will.

Happy New Year Friends! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies

It seems only fitting that I should make gingerbread cookies at Christmas.  Any girl whose last name is Ginger and her classroom of children believes their teacher's name is Mrs. Gingerbread should be baking gingerbread cookies.  I have never made them until this year and have never really thought of it.   What a colossal mistake I have been making!  My 3 kids loved taking over with the decorating.  It was hysterical seeing what they tried with the icing.  I only had one jar of food coloring, green.  At least it was a Christmas color.  I bought a bag of M&M minis and a jar of sparkly crystal sprinkles.  The icing in the jar was good for flooding the cookies.  That's about it.

I found the recipe in the current reader's digest.  I hate name dropping but this one is Martha Stewart's favorite gingerbread recipe.  Well, it was her recipe.  Now, it is mine.

3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all that.

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons peeled & grated fresh ginger
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Combine all that and add the dry stuff.  Blend until it looks like cookie dough.
Divide it up into about 2 or 3 dough balls.  Refrigerate it or roll it out on a floured surface.
Cut with cookie cutters or a glass.  (I couldn't find my cutters.)

After you cut them....refrigerate them until they are firm.
Bake at 350* for about 12-15 minutes.  It all depends on how crispy you want them.  If I were doing a gingerbread house........I think I would bake them at least 15 minutes.  They will get really crispy.  I think that would hold the candy on the house better.

Surprisingly, enough...this was really easy.  I will do these again next year and forever after that.   Someday, with my Grandchildren.  Any cool grandma would plan something this extraordinary.   I may even get a house pattern and make a house next year.

The royal icing was way easier than I expected.  Meringue powder can be found at Hobby Lobby in the cake decorating section.

Royal Icing....2 cups of confectioners sugar
                      2 Tablespoons of Meringue Powder
                      3 Tablespoons of water.

Beat until soft peaks form and add more water if necessary.  It should be stiff enough to form soft peaks.  It should take about 10 minutes.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tiger Butter!!

Doesn't this look yummy?   Well, if you like the PB & Chocolate combination....ABSOLUTELY!  This stuff is amazingly easy and it looks like you might have slaved over a stovetop with a candy thermometer in hand.

This recipe come through my email the other day and I knew it would be worth trying to see just what "Tiger Butter" tasted like.  I have seen it at all the theme park fudge factories and have never wanted to pay the 29 dollars for about 3 servings.   This entire recipe was less than $3.50 to make!  It also took less than 3 minutes & 50 seconds to make.

Run (or drive) to Wal-Mart or wherever and buy a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, a brick of White Almond Bark and a jar of peanut butter.  I used the creamy peanut butter.

Simply microwave the bricks of almond bark according to the directions.
Scoop about a cup of peanut butter into it when it is all melty and stir together.
Pour it onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet pan.
Melt a cup of the chocolate chips (30 seconds).   Stir & swirl it into the melted peanut butter stuff.

It needs to firm up which might take a few minutes or so...Or just simply chill in the refrigerator.
Break it apart and give it to the neighbors....!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Christmas Card.

Ah, the painful process of making teenagers sit still to take a decent picture.  I still have painful memories about the incident of 2011.  This year proved to be just a little better.  
The window of opportunity with a teenager is about as long as a commercial on television.   You better have a good idea of what you want and run with that.  Throw in all three of them, a husband & a dog......count on a complete breakdown before the commercial is over.
 I got pretty lucky with this one shot.  
They were all looking at the camera & smiling.  
The lighting was horrible. 
The colors weren't exciting. 
The location was decent.
The wind wasn't blowing.
It fit into the photoshop template I had.
Black & White.....the only option.

Merry Christmas, Anyway........ From all of us.

The coolest people you know.

outtake pictures..............

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Peanut Butter, oh my!

Yea, it is that time of the year again.  Cookie Swap time.  You know it.  You love it.  This year, I went the traditional route.  The basic & boring route.  Honestly speaking, I just didn't want to do a grocery store run..... which I ended up having to anyway when I ran out of flour.  That being said...these guys are a staple.   They taste amazing with a big old glass of milk!

The dough balls can have a fork pressed into them before baking if you feel the desire.  I have been known to dip the fork in sparkling sugar or just a bit of flour.  It really makes them look fun.  This year, I had two bags of Hershey Kisses laying around the bottom of the freezer.  Chocolate & peanut butter....always a good combination.

The recipe card is what I whipped up to take to the swap.  I just couldn't see myself writing down a recipe a dozen times...  Whipping up a template & running to Costco for processing is way more fun!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Better than EVER Christmas Cake

Friends....  Let me just say that when December 1 rolls around I start dreaming in peppermint.  It really doesn't matter what form it is in.  I prefer it paired with chocolate.  I will drink it.  I will eat it.  I will snack on it.  It doesn't matter.......I just want it.  When I saw this recipe I knew immediately that it was a keeper.  It tastes like a Girl Scout Thin Mint.  YUM!  It tastes like a York Peppermint Patty.  YUM!  It tastes like those crazy good mints at Olive Garden.  YUM! YUM! Yum!

I think the oreos could be swapped for Girl Scout Cookies.  I think a few crushed soft peppermints would be good crumbled on top also.  

  • 1 chocolate cake mix, prepared and baked according to the directions on the box.
  • 1 cup peppermint dairy creamer
  • 14.5 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 jar Smuckers hot fudge sundae sauce
  • 1/4 cup peppermint dairy creamer
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • Andes Peppermint Chips for topping (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
  • Crushed Oreos for topping (approximately 1 cup)

  1. Once the cake has cool, use the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke 20+ holes in the cake.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup of the peppermint dairy creamer. Pour over the cake, trying to fill in the holes.
  3. In the same bowl, whisk together the hot fudge sundae sauce and 1/4 cup peppermint dairy creamer. Mix in 1 cup crushed Oreos.
  4. Pour and spread the fudge mixture over the cake as evenly as possible.
  5. Spread the cool whip over the fudge. Sprinkle on the Andes candy bits and crushed Oreos (as much or as little as you want).
  6. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, until the sweetened condensed mixture has soaked into the cake and it's thoroughly chilled. Cut and serve.