Friday, December 27, 2013

Minty Mallow Cupcakes

Yes, I saw these on pinterest.  I modified these by using cake mixes.  Here is how I made them.

Start out with:  1 white cake mix, 1 chocolate cake mix, crushed candy canes, chocolate mint chips, peppermint extract and instant coffee.

1.  Mix up the white cake mix according to the box.  Add 1 tsp. peppermint extract and some crushed candy canes.  Set aside.  It will be pink.

2.  Mix up the chocolate cake mix according to the directions add 1 tsp. instant coffee to the water.  Coffee enhances the flavor of Chocolate.  Stir in 1/2 the bag of the mint chips.

3.  Fill the cupcake liners with 1/2 pink and 1/2 chocolate mixture.  Do not stir together.  Bake according to the directions.  

Mix up marshmallow frosting.  Here is how I did it. Recipe from:

Start with 8 egg whites
  • 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Place the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the clean bowl of a stand mixer and whisk by hand to combine. Nest the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Heat the egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (about 120°F on an instant-read thermometer), about 6 minutes.
  3. Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer to medium and whisk for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes more. Add the vanilla and whisk until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 hours

 When cupcakes are cool, frost them.  I added sprinkles and a small candy cane to make it look like a handle on a cup.

I had a lot of compliments.  They were really good.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Creating New Traditions

Merry Christmas!  

This will be the first time in 47 years, that I haven't spent my Christmas with my Mom.  Well, she will be here in my heart.  Growing up our tradition was to have the whole family over for Christmas Eve.  Lots of food, lots of family and lots of love.  Once my sibling's families grew with their own grandchildren, some decided to have their own Christmas Eve traditions.  I still celebrated with my Mom and Dad.  After my Mom had her stroke, I took over the role of hosting the Christmas Eve meal at my parent's house.  I enjoyed it.  

This year, will be the last year for Alan and I to have children at home.  Both of our daughter's will be getting married in 2014.  I know we will gain 2 sons-in-law and they will come home and visit, but my role will change.   

So, I think this is a good year to create new Christmas traditions.  I told our children that I understand that once they are married they will have commitments to their other "side" as well.  I don't want to make any demands on their time, rather celebrate and enjoy them whatever day they decide to come visit.  This year, they will all be here tonight and I am making glazed salmon, wild and brown rice and other treats.   I hope we can adopt the tradition of a Christmas Eve meal here at our little farm.

As I reflect on years past, look forward to the future, I find my heart if full of peace.  I am at peace with the hope and promise we have in the true meaning of the season - Jesus.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lasagna Roll Ups

Lasagna Roll Ups.

I made two pans - one for us and one for a young mother who just had a baby.  However, I would do this again and put one pan in the freezer.  

Brown hamburger (3 1/2 lbs.)  add diced onion, garlic, salt & pepper, oregano (2 tsp.) and sweet basil (1 tsp.).

drain off the fat and add 1 15 oz. size spaghetti sauce.

In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley - stir together.

Boil noodles till al dente.  Put a piece of parchment paper on your counter, spray with "pam".  Pour some sauce in the bottom of your pan.  Lay the noodles out on the parchment and fill them up with the fillings.   Roll up and put in pan.  Pour more sauce on top of your rolls, sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 45 min. or until hot and bubbly.  

This is the first time I have made lasagna this way, but I will do it like this from now on.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Recycled Christmas Ideas

Thrifty Thursday - Recycled Christmas Cards.

I started writing this post on Thursday, however the cards took over.  Literally, I wanted to make one example to share, but I just kept thinking of more things I could make.  I have more ideas to share, but that will have to be another post.

In my definition, thrifty means resourceful.  One of my 4-H dads, is self employed as a "handy man."  He "picks" the sites that he works, oftentimes sharing some of these finds with me.  One such place was a local printing shop.  After Christmas, they were throwing out their sample books and he asked if he could have them.  He then gave them to me for projects.   So, these past few days....I have made some examples of what you can do with your old Christmas cards. 
1.  Save them - recycle and reuse.  Some of the cards I receive are homemade and are like little pieces of art.

2.  Make gift tags - I try to use the smaller images that are tag size that my note be used for something else.

3.  Make ornaments - use jar ring for pattern and form.  

Trace out the circles and cut.  I made a made a triangle pattern piece to guide my folding them - look in the picture.

Glue the tabs together at folds as shown.  Don't forget to make a string for a hanger and tape it on the inside.  Glue the 2 halves together.

Take some of the other circles and fold them in half.

Glue the the sides together with each other to make this ornament - you can use as many circles as you like it - depending on how full you want it.

4.  Make jar lids for your home made gifts.  Don't forget to use the lid as an ornament as well.  I just wrapped some yarn around a ring and tied the end up like a loop for an ornament hanger.  Cut out a circle from a card and a piece of card board.  

Two gifts in one.

5.  Cut index card size - make Christmas recipe cards.  Keep in a special recipe box of your favorite Christmas recipes or give along with your home made gift.

6.  Cut post card size - resend as your Christmas post card.

7.  Make a banner or garland - cut out words and images and string together with yarn.

8.  Make picture frames.  I bought these cute copper edged glass frames at a flea market this past summer.  They are neat because you can remove the image and reuse.  

9.  Keep some of the ones that have openings for picture frames and ornaments with your photos inside.  

  10.  Ball ornaments.  Cut the card into strips and fasten them together at the top and bottom.  Tie on a string for hanging.  

11.  Ultimate recycle Christmas card project - make a Christmas card box to hold the cards you get this year.  I made mine by cutting 8 cards the same size.  Glue them together in pairs.  Measure out for punching holes.

I just started by crocheting a chain from one hole to the next.  Pull up the yarn and crochet around each hole.

You could stop here and just make an ornament too.  Otherwise do the same to the other 3 pieces.  The bottom should be a square - do the same steps and then crochet the pieces together.  I'm not an expert at crocheting, but this turned out good.

It was at this point I decided to stop.  My daughter Anna said, "Mom, why are you making all of these things?"  I said, "it's therapy, some people drink, some gamble, some shop....I craft."  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Merry Craftmas!

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