Archive | December, 2011

Happy New Year!

31 Dec

Happy New Year everyone!  Whatever your plans are, I hope that you have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve celebration!  FabHubby and I just put our daughter to bed.  We are staying in and celebrating by watching movies and drinking champagne.  I’m excited for our low-key festivities:-)

I have a lot of things I’m looking forward to in 2012.  First, I will be receiving the Master of Business Administration degree in May, providing that I get through the last two courses I’m taking.  It’s been a long road with working full-time and going to school part-time at night   I’m very proud that I’ve made it this far (and with good grades)!  My awesome parents are taking FabHubby, FabDaughter and I on a super fantastic vacation to celebrate!  I’m definitely looking forward to some R&R and family time!

Next, my BFF, will be having twins in the spring!  Yes, TWINS!  (I’ll have to start referring to her as FabMomSB.) I’m so excited for her to experience all the joy and love that babies bring and she gets to experience it times TWO.  Lucky gal!  What an amazing miracle!!  I can’t wait to meet them.

Finally, my brother-in-law is getting married!  I’m definitely excited to have a sister-in-law!  It will be the wedding of the decade.  FabHubby, FabDaughter and I are all in the wedding party too.

What are some things in 2012 that you are looking forward to?

Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

16 Dec

This week FabDaughter and I made salt dough Christmas ornaments for the first time together.  It was so much fun that I think we will turn this into a yearly tradition!  The ornaments were very easy to make, and FabDaughter absolutely LOVED helping.

FabDaughter Hard at Work on Her Ornaments

We made three different kinds of ornaments out of one batch of dough.  First, we made six circles that have FabDaughter’s handprint in them.  Then we made a heart shape that has FabHubby, FabDaughter and my thumbprint in it.  Lastly, we made 6 tiny flower shaped ornaments and we still had a little bit of dough left over that I ended up tossing.  Here is what you need:

Ingredients

1 cup salt

2 cups flour

1 cup luke warm water

1 straw

Acrylic paints and paintbrushes

Clear glaze or varnish

Ribbon

Salt Dough Ornaments

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine salt and flour.
  2. Gradually stir in warm water and mix together until a doughy consistency is formed.
  3. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and knead it for 5-10 minutes.  I broke it into pieces and let FabDaughter squeeze some of it to help knead.
  4. Roll out dough and cut out shapes using cookie cutters.  Or if you are making hand print ornaments, press hand into the center of cut out circles.
  5. Using a straw, make a small hole in the top of the ornament to use as the hanger.
  6. Transfer ornaments to a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 300F for 30 – 60 minutes, or until golden.  Baking time will depend on the thickness of your ornaments.
  8. Paint ornaments with acrylic paints and let dry. We used red and green metallic acrylic paints that I bought at Michael’s.  I painted the backs of each ornament and when the paint was dry I used a paint pen to write FabDaughter’s name on the back with the year.
  9. Seal ornaments with varnish or a glaze spray.  I used Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze.  It worked really well and made the ornaments look shiny.  Let dry.
  10. Tie ribbon through hole and hang on your Christmas tree.  I used Martha Stewart gold ribbon that I purchased at JoAnn Fabrics.  You can use any color ribbon, rope or ornament hooks.

Finished Ornaments

Ornament on Tree

Christmas Treat & Gift Tag Labels

11 Dec

Ever since my Aunt Peggy shared her secret peanut brittle recipe with me, I’ve been making peanut brittle every year at Christmas.  This year, I decided to try to make a cute label in Photoshop Elements to put on the bags of peanut brittle.

Peanut Brittle with Christmas Treat Label

Below are the labels in case you would like to use them.  One set features a redhead baker, one set features a brunette baker, one set features a blonde baker and one set features a baker with black hair.  You can either print the image out on a sheet of labels and stick them to your candy bags, mason jars or candy boxes or print them out on cardstock and attach with tape or glue.  I prefer to use labels as opposed to using the cardstock.  I use the Inkjet white full sheet labels from Office Max.

Christmas Treat Labels Redhead

Christmas Treat Labels Brunette

Christmas Treat Labels Blonde

Christmas Treat Labels Black Hair

After I made the treat labels, I thought I would modify the design a bit and make gift tag labels.  Here is the image for those if you would like to use them.  Enjoy!

Christmas Gift Tags

Baking Treats for a Girls Night In

3 Dec

In preparation for a girls’ night in with some of my very best friends, I decided to try out a new recipe for Cake Batter Truffles.  I also decided to make an old favorite, chocolate covered Oreos, with a new twist…I added a zebra print decoration.  Here is a picture of how they came out.

First the Cake Batter Truffles, I found the recipe on a blog,  but I changed a couple of things.  Here is the link to the original recipe:

http://www.landeeseelandeedo.com/2011/04/truffle-round-up.html?showComment=1304654687859

Cake Batter Truffle Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup white cake mix
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8  teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • A lot of sprinkles…I probably used almost ¼ cup
  • Vanilla & Milk Chocolate Merckens wafers

Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined.  Beat in cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Slowly beat in milk slowly to make a dough consistency.  Mix in sprinkles by hand.  Roll dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill balls in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to firm up.

When you are ready to dip your dough balls, melt your chocolate wafers.

Melting Chocolate

You can use the microwave or a double broiler.  I use the microwave and I also use Wilton Stay Warm Candy Meting bowls, but you can use disposable candy melting bowls too.  Microwave the wafers in 30-45 second intervals at a reduced power level, stirring after each time, until the chocolate is thoroughly melted and smooth.

Use a chocolate dipping fork to dip each dough ball into the chocolate.  (I dipped half of my dough balls into milk chocolate and the other half into red colored white chocolate.)  Tap off extra chocolate on the side of the bowl, and then transfer coated dough ball to a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  You can top the dipped dough ball with sprinkles or sanding sugar while the chocolate is still wet, or you can melt a different color of chocolate wafers and drizzle that over the truffles.  Refrigerate truffles until serving.

Batch yields around 30 truffles.

Chocolate Covered Oreo Ingredients

  • 1 Package of Oreos
  • Vanilla & Milk Chocolate Merckens wafers
  • Decorations (Wilton Sugar Sheets, or sprinkles, or sanding sugar)

Now onto the chocolate covered Oreos.  I used Wilton Sugar Sheets in zebra print for the decoration.  Cut  out circles using a fondant circle cutter or Wilton punch and set circles aside.  Follow the instructions above for melting chocolate wafers, and dip your Oreos.  While Oreos are still wet, place your decorative circle on top of the Oreo and press lightly.  Voila, yummy (and sassy) treats perfect for a girls night in!