Friday, December 31, 2010

I Must be Doing Something Right...

This is how I found the kids watching morning cartoons:

Now, who could be mad about them raiding the food???

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

I love mushrooms. I just love them. Brian doesn't, but he supports my indulging. :-) These are the best stuffed mushrooms I have ever had. Absolutely wonderful!

Stuffed Mushrooms
1 1/2 lbs mushrooms
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 TB flour
1/4 c. finely chopped onions
2 TB freshly chopped parsley
1 TB yellow mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
5 "shakes" cayenne pepper
1 c. heavy whipping cream (approximately)

Stem the mushrooms, saving the stems. Set the caps aside and dice the stems, putting them into a bowl. To the stems add all the ingredients except whipping cream. Mix well. Fill the mushroom caps and place them into a 9" x 13", stuffed side up.
Drizzle the whipping cream over the mushrooms.
Bake at 375˚ for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gingerbread Houses

I love family traditions!! Each year we have been getting together with some friends and decorating gingerbread houses. They are a bit of work to make, cut out, glue together, etc. But oh so worth it!!
I use my gingerbread men recipe- because it's awesome.

Gingerbread Men
1/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 c. molasses
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar
*Red Hots* (for buttons)
Frosting (for gingerbread men- not the houses)
Melt butter in boiling water. Add all the other ingredients. Then chill the dough for 2 hours. Roll out and cut into shapes. Push red hots (buttons) into the men before baking. Bake at 350 degree for 8-10 minutes. Cool and decorate with frosting. Makes 24 cookies.

I had to make 2 double batches for 2 gingerbread houses- My houses were pretty big though.

Make a pattern out of paper- so cut out 4 walls, 2 roof parts, 4 chimney parts, tape it all together to make sure it fits well. Cut or remove the tape and use the paper pieces to cut out all the pieces.
I used Jolly Ranchers for the windows- breaking them to pieces in the food processor. Put the walls on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet and pile some broken clear candy pieces in the windows. Bake as directed.

The gingerbread house pieces need to sit out and "cure" for at least a day- I find that several days work best. They need to be hard and stiff.

"Gluing" takes another day or so.

Glue Frosting
3 Egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3 1/2- 4 c. powdered sugar

Beat egg whites till they are stiff, continue beating and sprinkle in the cream of tartar, then mix in the powdered sugar slowly until it reaches the consistency that you need.

Put the frosting in a piping bag. "Glue" the walls to a foil covered cardboard and to each other. You can see how I did it step-by-step here.

You will need to do the floors/walls first, use jars or glasses to hold them while they dry and then do to roof/chimney after a few hours. After the glue is dry and the house feels sturdy it is ready to decorate! It's all edible... but we've never wanted to eat it, we let it sit out on display for the month of December.

Other Gingerbread we've done:
Gingerbread Hobbit Hole
Pictures of gingerbread men

Friday, December 17, 2010

Clove Orange Ornaments

Have you made these before? I remember seeing them when I was a kid, but we never made them. I decided to try it with Titus and Naomi- it was alot of fun!

Clove Orange Ornaments
Whole Cloves
Straight pins

I cut 2 lengths of ribbon, made an "X", placed the orange over it and wrapped the ribbon up around it and stuck a straight pin in to hold the ribbon in place on the bottom of the orange. Then I used a meat thermometer, (because that's the only pointed thing I had!) to poke holes in the orange. The kids pushed the cloves into the holes. I tied a ribbon bow and then cut a large piece of ribbon and looped it for a hanger. criss-crossing all the ribbon/bows on the top I stuck in a couple more straight pins at an angle so it wouldn't pull out just by being hung.


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