Christmas Day Food Ideas Friday, Dec 14 2012 

Christmas Day is a day I like to have as relaxed as possible, to enjoy the day with my family.

On Christmas morning, I like to have this Sour Cream Wheat Coffee Cake, as we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. It’s a yummy treat for Christmas morning, yet still healthy!

A salad I love making for Christmas dinner is the Make-Ahead Layered Salad, as it can be make the day before, looks so pretty, and tastes delicious!

You can make homemade buns using this 100% whole wheat bread recipe, and freeze them. Christmas morning, you just need to take them out and they will be thawed by dinner. You could warm them up, if you would like. Fancy it up by twisting them into a knot like a Kaiser Bun, or Tear-Apart Bread.

A few other Christmas day ideas are:

Cinnamon Orange Monkey Bread

Caramel Sticky Cinnamon Rolls

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pie (YUM!)

Lemon Cranberry Oatmeal Pancakes

Romen Noodle Cabbage Salad

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Tourtière (French Canadian Meat Pie) Wednesday, Dec 5 2012 

 

 

Tourtière is the French word for meat pie. Tourtière is a very French-Canadian Christmas dish. Christmas would not be Christmas without eating this!! To me, it’s much more important than a turkey. 🙂 Every year, I make several tourtière, freeze them, and we enjoy many meals of it in December.

Here is the recipe I use. Scroll below for pictures of the progress! 🙂

Tourtière

1lb ground pork/beef*
1 onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp all spice
1/4 cup dried mashed potatoes, approximately
2 pie crusts (top and bottom crusts)

Place ground meat and onion in a pot. Add water until it covers 3/4 of meat mixture. Simmer an hour. Place in the fridge overnight to cool off (which hardens the fat), then skim off the fat. Reheat meat mixture. Add seasonings. Stir in dried mashed potatoes to thicken the meat mixture. Spoon into pie crusts, cover with additional crust. Cook at 350F for 45min to 1hr, or until crust is golden brown.

Cook before freezing.

To reheat: place frozen tourtière in a pre-warmed 350F oven. Cook for one hour until warmed all the way through. To prevent the crust from getting darker, you can place a piece of foil on top.

*Traditionally you would use all ground pork. Personally, we don’t eat a lot of pork, so we use ground beef. Just as yummy! 🙂

 

Big pot full ground beef, minced garlic, and chopped onions! This will make several pies (multiple times the recipe!)

 

 

Add water to the ground beef/onion/garlic mix. (I sometimes add grated potatoes to my mix…)

 

Simmer meat mixture for an hour.

 

 

Refrigerate overnight, skim off fat, reheat mixture, and pour into unbaked pie crusts.

 

 

 

Put top crust, then bake according to directions above. Freezes well (once baked) to reheat later!

Christmas Baking Monday, Dec 3 2012 

It’s that time of the year! Time to start your Christmas baking. 🙂  With lots of festivities, and get-togethers, it saves a lot of time and money to make a variety of baking ahead of time and put them in the freezer. This way, when invited somewhere or having people over, it’s quick and easy to make a beautiful platter of Christmas baking in a jiffy!

Another good way of getting a variety of Christmas baking is hosting a baking swap! Invite 4-6 friends, each bring 1-2 items, and swap. Easy way to get a good variety, and a fun night too. 🙂

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas desserts to bake (most pictured in the tray above):

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

World’s Easiest Christmas Candy

Raspberry Bars

Peppernuts

Lemon Squares

Puppy Chow

Buckeye Candy

Peanut Butter Mocha Checkerboards

Chocolate Mint Things (Shortbread)

Midnight Mint Bars

Nanaimo Bars

Homemade marshmallows

Date Squares

White Cream Fudge

Crispy Peanut Squares

Gingerbread Cookies

Coconut Chocolate Bars

White Creme Fudge Wednesday, Feb 8 2012 

This is not the typical recipe for my blog. Why? Because it requires ingredients that I don’t usually keep on hand! I tend to only do recipes that use basic ingredients, as I’m not one to like running to the grocery store for unique ingredients. Nonetheless, we did enjoy this white creme fudge! (Sorry for the blurry picture…)

Recipe from Company’s Coming Gifts from the Kitchen.

White Creme Fudge

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup half and half cream (or evaporated milk)
1/4 cup hard margarine or butter
1 Tbsp corn syrup
8 white chocolate baking squares (1 oz/28g each) cut up
7oz jar of marshmallow creme
1/4 cup glazed cherries, quartered

Combine sugar, cream, butter and corn syrup in large heavy saucepan. Heat and stir on medium-low until mixture comes to a boil. Boil slowly for about 30 minutes, without stirring, until mixture reaches soft ball stage (234 to 240F, 112-116C) on candy thermometer or until small amount dropped into very cold water forms a soft ball that flattens of its own accord when removed. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and marshmallow creme. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Stir in cherries. Pour into greased 8×8″ pan.* Chill until firm. Makes about 36 pieces.

* Tip: Line your dish with foil paper (overlapping the sides) before putting your layers in. Then, once cooled, it is easy to lift the entire square of bars out and cuts much easier than trying to cut and lift each little square out of the dish.

Merry Christmas! Sunday, Dec 25 2011 

 

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

May you be blessed today, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus!

Puppy Chow Wednesday, Dec 21 2011 

Isn’t this pretty? A very easy, yummy, and cute Christmas gift for a teacher, neighbours, or friends. My friend Parla made this beautiful jar for a Christmas bake exchange I hosted. Simply take a mason jar, fill it with puppy chow, top the lid with a brown coffee filter, tied with a ribbon! I think even *I* could manage something simple like this. 🙂

 

Puppy Chow

1/8 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/8 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups cereal (Crispix, Chex, Cocoa puffs, etc)
1 cup powdered sugar

Melt butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips on low. Stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in large bowl and stir until coated. Put powdered sugar in large bag. Spoon cereal in bag of powdered sugar. Close bag, leave some air in the bag. Shake to coat. When thoroughly coated, open bag and let cool – shaking occasionally for the next 30 minutes to prevent large chunks.

Buckeye Candy Tuesday, Dec 20 2011 

I was introduced to these homemade candies when I moved to my current town, 6 years ago. Now? Christmas isn’t Christmas without them!! They taste soooo good, look so pretty, and, well, I love these. 🙂  They’re sure to be a hit wherever you bring them! How could they not with peanut butter and chocolate combined?!

Buckeye Candy

1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
12 oz chocolate chips
2 Tbsp butter or margarin
1 cup rice krispies (optional)

Cream together peanut butter and 1st amount of butter (1/4 cup). Mic in vanilla and icing sugar (and the optional rice krispies if you want). Shape into 1″ balls. Freeze them on a cookie sheet.

Melt chocolate chips and 2nd amount of butter (2 Tbsp). Stick a toothpick in a buckeye and dip into chocolate, leaving top undipped. Place on waxed paper to cool. Repeat with each ball you made!

Tip: when removing toothpick from buckeye, use you finger to hide the hole made by the toothpick.

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies Monday, Dec 19 2011 

My friend and I made these for a Christmas baking exchange I hosted at the end of November. Aren’t they pretty and festive?!

This recipe is from the Christmas Cookies magazine by Better Homes and Garden, with a few slight changes in the thumbprint ideas below the recipe. These are fun to make with children!

Christmas Thumbprint Cookies

2/3 cups butter, softened (I used stick margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour

In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Bet in egg yolks and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill for about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease cookie sheets. Shape dough into 1″ balls. Roll balls in whatever “topping” you desire (see below for suggestions). Using your thumb, make an indentation in each dough ball.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. If cookie centers puff during baking, re-press centers with the rounded side of a measuring teaspoon. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely. Just before serving, fill centers with your choice (see below for ideas).

Thumbprint Ideas

Festive Thumbprint (first picture above):
Roll balls in coarse red, green or any other type of sugar. Bake as directed, on un-greased cookie sheets. You can fill the indentation with icing!
Optional: reduce vanilla to 1/2 tsp, and add 1/2 tsp mint extract.

Candy Cane Thumbprint (second picture above):
Roll balls in crushed candy canes. Bake as directed, on un-greased cookie sheets. You can fill the indentation with icing!
Optional: reduce vanilla to 1/2 tsp, and add 1/2 tsp mint extract.

Choco-Loco Thumbprint:
Reduce flour to 1 1/4 cups. Add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder with flour. Roll balls in 2 lightly beaten egg whites and then in 1 cup chocolate-flavor sprinkles. Bake as directed. Immediately after removing cookies from oven, press a Hershey kiss milk chocolate with caramel into each indentation.

Peanut Butter and Jam Thumbprint:
Roll balls in 2 lightly beaten egg whites and then in 1 cup finely chopped peanuts. Bake as directed. Cool. Spoon 1/2 tsp creamy peanut butter into each thumbprint indentation. Top the peanut butter in each indentation with about 1/2 tsp grape or strawberry jelly.

Linzer Thumbprint:
Bake cookies as directed, cool. Place 2/3 cup powdered sugar in a large plastic bag. Add cooled cookies; shake to coat. Remove cookies from bag, shaking off excess powdered sugar. Fill each thumbprint with about 1/2 tsp raspberry jam. Top jam with toasted sliced almonds.

Lemon-Coconut Thumbprint:
Add 1 tsp finely shredded lemon, lime, or orange peel to dough. Roll dough balls in 2 lightly beaten egg whites and then in cup toasted shredded coconut. Bake as directed. Fill each indentation with 1/2 tsp lemon curd or lime curd.

Almond-Cherry Thumbprint:
Reduce vanilla to 1/2 tsp, and add 1/2 tsp almond extract. Roll balls in 2 lightly beaten egg whites and then in 1 cup finely chopped slivered almonds. Bake as directed, cool. Fill each indentation with a heaping teaspoon of cherry pie filling, place a pie-filling cherry on each cookie.

Shared at Secret Recipe Club’s cookie party!

Coconut Chocolate Bars Sunday, Dec 18 2011 

I first made these last year and OH. MY. GOODNESS! These little babies are like a chocolate bar from the store… but homemade. And SO. GOOD! Yum! They’re a bit of a pain to make, but well worth the effort!

This year, I decorated the tops of half of them. Leave it to me to forgot to take a picture though! I melted white chocolate and made stripes on the top of these. Pretty!

If you like chocolate. And coconut. You’ll want to make these!

Recipe is from Tea Time Magazine, issue 2010. Recipe is also available online.

(Picture from Tea Time Magazine’s website)

Coconut Chocolate Bars

14 oz shredded coconut (1 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup corn syrup
24 whole roasted almonds (optional)
18 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp oil

In large bowl, combine coconut and corn syrup. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, knead until coconut is saturated. Place in refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Line a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Remove coconut from refrigerator, and shape into bite-size rectangles. Top each rectangle with an almond (if desired). Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate on low heat until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly, and stir in oil. Using a fork, dip each coconut rectangle in chocolate, tapping off excess. Refrigerate on prepared cookie sheet until chocolate is set. Once cooled completely, decorate with melted chocolate, if desired.

Store in an airtight container with waxed or parchment paper between layers.

World’s Easiest Christmas Candy Friday, Dec 16 2011 

Crystal, from Money Saving Mom, has this recipe on her website: World’s Easiest Christmas Candy. And you know what? Is IS! Super easy, super yummy, and super quick. What else do you need to hear before you make these? 🙂 Head over to her website if you want a tutorial with lots of pictures. 🙂

I added some crushed candy canes on top for a more festive look, and minty flavor. Delicious! I made it for a Christmas baking swap with friends, as a snack, and made sure that they took the rest of this home so that I wouldn’t eat it all. 😉

World’s Easiest Christmas Candy

Optional: sprinkle crushed candy canes on top before cooling.

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