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Showing posts from December, 2013

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa

(printable label at the bottom of this post)
This is easier than it sounds.  Trust me.  The post is really long only because I typed out the steps the way I actually do this - placing ingredients in the right areas so I do not forget anything (I once forgot the vanilla) and so that I'm not wandering to the pantry and getting sidetracked, then forgetting what I have already added and what I still need to do.  (Sadly, this has been known to happen on many occasions, with many recipes, in my kitchen...)

Ingredients Needed: 5 C sugar  6 T vanilla  3 C cocoa powder
4 T  sea salt 
2 C dry milk 
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
2.5 C chocolate chips

Materials Needed: Baking sheet with sides (not a flat cookie sheet) parchment paper food processor or blender Large pan (I used a nonstick dutch oven) whisk (I sprayed mine with non stick baking spray)

Step One: -Measure out sugar, placing in a saucepan.   - Measure out vanilla - leave in a measuring cup or cup to the side of your stove - Line a cookie sheet or bakin…

Chocolate Pretzel Reindeer Rods

Last week-end we went to Bethlehem Pa for our anniversary.  In one of the chocolate shops downtown, they had these adorable reindeer "peeps" on chocolate covered pretzel rods.  They were not cheap.
The next day we stopped at the Peeps store - did you know Marshmallow Peeps are made in Bethlehem PA?  I did not know that before last week-end!  They had the reindeer heads, so I bought a few packs.
The chocolate covered pretzels are simple - melt chocolate (I like the wafers from AC Moore best - the ones at Michaels are waxier, and chocolate chips never work as well for me) swirl the pretzel rods in it, then place on wax paper to dry. I sprinkled them with colored sprinkles before they dried.
To attach the marshmallow reindeer heads, I spread some chocolate on the back of the marshmallows, then set them on top of the pretzels.
Once dry, I wrapped them in saran wrap and tied a ribbon around them.
Quick and simple!  I'm going to put 2 in each gift bag with the jar of salted caramel…

Memory Ornaments

For our sons first Christmas away from home, I made him an official "Get The Tree Day" box & shipped it out to him on base.  We wanted to make him ornaments with family photos from over the years, so when I went into JoAnns with my 40% off coupon and saw these, I was inspired,
 25 Wedding Favor Tins


I simply cut out photos and glued them in, then added some glitter for "snow".  Placed the top on them, glued a ribbon around the edge and a tie on the back.  I used the labels meant to be used on the front, on the back to write descriptions of the photos.
These would be great for small vacation mementos like sea shells from the beach, beach sand, pebbles...

Our sons first tree on his own, with the memory ornaments on it.

To see more  24 Days Of Simple Christmas Projects
http://fieldsofhether.blogspot.com/2013/11/24-days-of-simple-christmas-crafts.html


Christmas Reads 2013

I like to read seasonally, when I can.  In November I read Thanksgiving themed  books, and starting December 1st I switched to Christmas stories.  So many of the Christmas stories are overly sappy, or over the top ridiculous cozy mysteries, but I've really enjoyed some of the stories I have read so far this year.

My 2013 Christmas Reading List:

My Favorites:


Letters From Father Christmas by JRR Tolkein.  This is a charming book of letters written by Tolkein to his children each Christmas.  The photos are beautiful.  Although I read almost exclusively ebooks, for their convenience (they are always with me when I am waiting in carpool lines, and easy to read in bed) I think I want to own the "real" copy of this book.

Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah This one was hard for me to place.  I didn't love it.  But it stuck with me in the oddest way - keeping me from putting it on the Not My Favorites list.  It's a short story, so if you pick it up, don't quit on it wh…