Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Samuel Called By God Craft

This was a craft my elementary-aged Sunday School class had fun with when we did the story of Samuel. All you need is foil, mini-marshmallows (we used multicolored) and a mini-gingerbread boy or other human-shaped cookies (we used Keebler elves).  On a piece of foil, line up the marshmallows in a rectangle pattern (we did 6 rows of 4; adjust depending on the size of your cookie.)  Place on cookie sheet and heat in a 350 degree oven for 2-3 minutes; watch carefully so they don't brown.  Marshmallows will puff up and stick together, creating a patchwork quilt-like effect.  Cool, and you have an edible "bed" for Samuel to sleep in and hear the voice of God. After they act out the story, they can eat the bed and cookie for a snack.

Monday, December 8, 2008

English Christmas Crackers

I've always wanted to try these, so I made some for my Cadette Girl Scout troop for our last meeting before Christmas break. I found them not hard to make at all; following the directions here, I assembled and filled five in less than an hour. The only supplies I bought online were the cracker snaps, which were reasonably priced and arrived promptly. I got cheap shiny paper and curling ribbon from the Dollar Tree and recycled toliet paper rolls for the tubes. My Scouts got their Cadet Challenge pin and a patch for our holiday service project, along with a mini-Sharpie marker, a Bonne Belle Lip Smacker, a traditional bad joke (I found lots online, most clean enough to use!) and some candy. I have extra supplies and some candy and Dollar Store trinkets for them to make their own to give to family and friends. I don't know yet how well the things actually "crack" but they certainly look festive. I could imagine throwing a big dinner party and having one at every place setting. If the Scouts have as much fun making them as I did, it will be a good meeting.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Squash Casserole

The same prep school dietician who supplied the wonderful Turkey Divan used this recipe for squash. For you, Pop-tart.
  • 1 pound squash
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pimento
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
Cook, drain and mash squash, add rest of ingredients. Mix bread crumbs and butter for topping, sprinkle over all. Cook in casserole dish for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lemon Poppyseed Slice and Bake Cookies

Slice and bake cookies are the way to go for cookie exchanges, when you want a lot, quickly. These are great.
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar.  Mix in eggs, lemon juice, lemon rind and poppy seeds. Mix flour, soda and salt, add and mix until dough forms. Divide into three parts and roll into 15 inch logs on wax paper. Wrap and chill overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice logs into 1/2 inch slices, place on cookie sheet at bake 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

These can be made as chocolate-and-vanilla or chocolate-and-mint, your choice!
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 square unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)
  • Green food coloring (optional)
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in milk, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and stir into dough. Divide in half. Add melted chocolate to half; if desired, add peppermint extract and green food coloring to other half. Roll on waxed paper into two large rectangles, stack chocolate dough on the other half. Roll up jellyroll style, wrap and chill several hours. Slice into 1/4 inch slices and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies

A favorite for Christmas cookie exchanges.
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Red food coloring
Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and peppermint extract. Combine dry ingredients and mix in until blended.  Divide dough in half and tint half red.
Roll out on wax paper in two large rectangles, stack white dough on top of red. Roll up jellyroll style, wrap in waxed paper and chill overnight. Cut log into 1/4 inch slices, place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with red sugar or crushed candy cane pieces, if desired. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Bitter Chocolate Cookies

I love to bake cookies, especially around the holidays, but plain sugar cookies get old quick. These chocolate ones are great.
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar, beat in salt, egg and vanilla. Melt chocolate and blend in.  Stir in flour. Chill dough, then roll on floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness thencut with cookie cutters.  Bake at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bird's nest in our Christmas Tree!

A break from the usual recipes. I wanted to share the pictures of the robin's nest that we found in the Christmas tree we purchased this year

Natural decorations are awesome!