Candy Cane Snowballs

Okay...funny story...

So when Trace and I do our Christmas baking weekend, we each will just grab a recipe and work on it.  Sometimes we end up starting what the other finished, sometimes we work together...etc.

Well...this one was all Tracey.

She started it and part way through I hear an "oh crap!"  maybe could have even been more explicit, but I'm not sure.  The part of the recipe that says "3 cups powdered sugar, divided"....Tracey didn't read completely.  She just added 3 cups icing sugar to the mix.  Wellllllll....there's only one way to fix it.  Actually...2 ways, but who wants to throw out a bowl full of ingredients?  Her only real option....bring the rest of the ingredients up to the same amount as the icing sugar she added....yes...that is 4x the recipe.

At that point we were just hoping and praying these cookies would turn out to be the greatest thing on earth, since we were about to have enough to feed a small country.

They were pretty delicious and everyone loves them so far.  They are a melt in your mouth kind of cookie.  You might even find the recipe easy if you follow it instead of quadrupling it.

Check out Cooking During Stolen Moments for the recipe.

Peppermint Marshmallows

I've always wanted to try home made marshmallows, but was totally intimidated by the candy thermometer.  Well folks, I am here to tell you...no need to be afraid.  It is an easy little tool to use.

These were easy to make, but took wayyyy longer than the recipe said.

As far as the taste factor...yes...obviously better than your standard store bought ones, but in my world, nothing mind blowing about these.  Maybe they'd be fun to put in hot chocolate, or some gourmet s'mores...maybe even cut them more like a cube, put them on a stick and dip them in chocolate?  I dunno.  Creative folk will know what to do with it.

Betty Crocker gave me this recipe.  Yup....personally.  She gave it to me.  Betty and I go way back...old friends.

Okay...that was a lie.  I don't know her....but I did get the recipe from the website.

Let me know what you do with it...if you try it.  Or give me some suggestions what I'm suppose to do with all these marshmallows I have.

Marshmallow Christmas Squares

Thank you, thank you, thank you Dishin with Didi.  Oh my.  Way too easy, way too delicious, way too quick.  When I find recipes like this....all seems right in the world.

Only change...we didn't have maraschino cherries so we used candied cherries.  I think I would love it even more...maybe even marry it, if we had maraschino cherries, but that's just me and my love of maraschino....candied worked fine.

I used sweetened coconut...it doesn't specify in the recipe, so maybe you could use unsweetened too?  But why would you want less sweet?  I dunno.  That's just weird ....but whatever floats your boat.

Also...if you are just reading the recipe and not looking at her handy pictures, you might get confused on one thing. ...at least I did, but then again...I'm more of a pretty face than a smart one.  It says to add all ingredients except the sweetened condensed milk, however, you shouldn't add the coconut either.  Leave both out.  The coconut gets sprinkled on the bottom of the pan, then the mixture that has all ingredients, then more coconut...then press.  Read the recipe and look at her pics....you'll get it.

Everyone loved this one.  Well...except my nephew...but he doesn't like sweet things.  What?!  I didn't even know those people existed.

Check out the recipe....Dishin with Didi  and add it to your baking list.


Candy Cane Chocolate Swirl Fudge


I loved this!  LOVED IT!  Everyone seemed to like this one.  Our taste testers (aka...family who hover over us while we bake) definitely gave it the thumbs up.    Oh and it was easy.  EASY!!  EASY PEASY!  Seriously...don't have time for Christmas baking, but want to whip up something fast?  This is it.

Check out Sally's Baking Addiction for the recipe.

We cut them into small small bite size pieces since it is rather rich.  I have a feeling this one will be a repeat for next year.  Too quick and easy not to.

Eggnog Biscotti

I don't really like biscotti.  So why did I include it in my Christmas baking?  Good question.  A couple of reasons...I wanted to see what it's like to make and I wanted to see if homemade tastes better...oh and I know others who like it, so this can my my gift to them.

First I have a disclosure to make.  Technically...I didn't make this....Tracey did.  Every year we get together and do a Christmas baking weekend.  We help each other with recipes, we both work on a recipe or we do one all on our own, start to finish.  This one was all Tracey.

From what I observed, it's easy enough to make.  I think the hardest part was shaping the dough on the cookie sheet....we couldn't quite figure out the correct way to do it.  It does rise a bit while it's baking, so count on that.  We used a large cookie sheet and shaped it in a rectangle but sort of rounded on top.  Oh and when I say we, I actually mean Tracey.

We used Shugary Sweets recipe for the biscotti and food.com's recipe for the glaze.  Next time I would make a lot more glaze so we'd have more to drizzle or dip...but that's just me and my sweet tooth talking.

They definitely taste better than any bought ones I've had, but still not something I love.

Try it.  Lemme know what you think.

Chocolate Cherry Snowballs


Okay...so I'm not a fan of shortbread cookies and this sort of reminded me of them, so I was not in love.  However, those who like shortbread cookies,  did love these.  I didn't really change anything and followed the recipe.  They were quite easy and do look nice when done, so they would make a good addition to your Christmas baking plate.  

Check out Betty Crocker, try them and let me know what you think.


Tomato Soup Mac n Cheese


Ah pinterest...I am in love with it.  If I could only have one link to look at for the rest of my life on a deserted island, it would be Pinterest.  

I needed a quick and easy dinner tonight.  I wasn't all too concerned about healthy...I just wanted delicious.  This pretty much rocked my world.  I love tomato soup and I love cheese, so when those worlds collide...all is right in my world.    

Thank you A Local Choice for sharing your deliciousness with Pinterest.

I didn't measure anything and when I added the cheese at the end for broiling, I also added crispy onions.  It was perfect.  All of it.  Perfection in a casserole dish.  



Avocado with Feta, Cucumber, Tomato Sandwich

click picture for source

Okay so this was way too easy.  I was in a lazy mood today and did not feel like making anything.  Normally this results in a run for fast food that is far too convenient, however, I am trying to make better eating choices, so I scanned pinterest for some easy inspiration.

This was it.  Exactly what I was looking for.  There wasn't a website recipe or anything, but the picture caption summed up how to make it and that was that.  

It was quick for my desire to eat immediately and it was light and refreshing so I didn't feel weighed down or gross after eating.  Another example of how eating right doesn't have to be eating bland and boring.  

I mashed avocado with feta.  Toasted some whole grain artisan bread (thin sliced).  Sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.

Spread the avocado mixture on the toast.
Top with cucumbers and tomatoes
Salt and Pepper




Drunk Cherries

lost the source...sorry.

Another absolutely delightful little snack when fresh...you don't want these to sit for too many days after being dipped in chocolate...they don't look very pretty.

No recipe.  

Just cherries marinated in booze, dipped in melted chocolate.

I marinated mine in apricot and cherry brandy.  I've also seen recipes that suggest Amaretto.  Marinate overnight then dip.  I loved dipping these because of the stems...they made my life a million times easier.  After dipping, chill until chocolate is set...serve.


Marinated Grapes

source same as recipe

These were AWESOME freshly coated in sugar.  Mmmmm...such a good little snack.  

These were not so awesome after freezing or a few days later.  Make them the day you want them and have them eaten that day or the next.

I marinated my grapes overnight.  Seriously...delicious fresh, so marinate them the day before you want to serve them and then just coat them in the sugar the day of.  

Wonderfully easy grown up snack.  

Check out Epicurious for the recipe.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Another fan favorite.  These were a huge hit.  Lots of little steps, but easy and still worth it.  

Pixelated Crumb rocked our world with this recipe!  

We didn't crush our pecans small enough...in my opinion...I think that's the only complaint about ours.  We followed the recipe on this one and we were rewarded with delicious turtle cookies.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2013:  this year we bought ground pecans...worked much better!  We also had lots of melted chocolate leftover from other baking, so we drizzled it on top of these for a pretty little addition.  

Marshmallow Truffles

source same as recipe

These were my other favorite out of all my Christmas baking.  Messy to make, but worth it...soooo worth it. These aren't just marshmallows dipped in chocolate...they are so much more.  People who don't like marshmallows, liked these.

Better Homes and Gardens...I owe you.  This one is a definite must next year.

We used dried cherries in ours, I'm not sure if I would do that again...the textures didn't match.  I'm not sure whether I would leave them plain or think of another filling.  We dipped half in white chocolate and half in chocolate...you don't have to do that, it's just what we had left.  We sprinkled toasted coconut ontop of ours.

Did I mention I love these??

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2013:  We didn't add a filling...much better in my opinion...

Orange Creamsicle Truffles

source same as recipe

Out of all my Christmas baking, I had 2 favorites....this was one of them.  I love all things orange creamsicle flavored so I knew I would love these.  They did not disappoint....they tasted exactly how I pictured.

I'd like to thank Cooking Classy for this one.  I'm pretty sure I will want it in my regular Christmas baking rotation now.  We doubled the recipe, but that still wasn't enough....I'd increase it even more next time.

Creamy Peppermint Punch

source same as recipe

I'm in love.  I want to drink this everyday, all day...

My stomach would hate me.  Good thing it has some common sense, because I sure don't.

Taste Of Home does it again with another wonderful recipe.  I love Taste of Home.

I made mine kid friendly, but want to make it for adult fun....omit ice cream and add peppermint schnapps....mmmmm..  

Oh...and I wasn't fancy enough to rim my glasses and serve with a candy cane.  They got cups.  Just plain cups.

Eggnog Truffles

source same as recipe

Oh eggnog...how I love you.  I love your Christmas flavor.  I love you in everything I could possibly get you in.  

These were good, except I did make a mistake.  I added too much white chocolate to the truffle part which took away from some of the eggnog flavor.  Don't do that.  Just follow the recipe....which I can't believe I just said...when do I ever say that?

Visit McCormick's website for the recipe.  

Tips:  You don't have to use their branded ingredients...use what you have/want.  Also...FREEZE them before dipping.  You won't hate your life quite as much.  Also...use the stove top double boiler method for melting chocolate....easier than microwave...keeps the chocolate warm.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Sweet and salty....yum!

I realize Christmas is over and posting Christmas baking recipes is a little late, but you can bookmark it for next year, right?  

The changes we made was only in the melting and dipping chocolate part.  I like to melt it in a glass bowl over a boiling pot of water.  I also just add some vegetable oil to it instead of shortening.  I prefer doing it that way because it keeps the chocolate warm the whole time, where microwaving it doesn't.

Very important tip with making truffles....freeze them before dipping them in chocolate.  Your life will be a million times easier.

These were perfection.  Loved the pretzel crunch in it!  

We can thank Brown Eyed Baker for this recipe.

Veggies and Dip in Wine Glasses

Please do not go searching for a recipe.  I'm just posting this as an idea.  I tried it for the first time on Christmas Eve...lots of good feedback.  Who wouldn't love individual servings of veggies and dip?  You don't have to worry about double dipping, you don't have to worry about cold dip running into your other warm appies on the plate...it's really just a win win.

I bought veggie dip because I had so much other things to do, making dip from scratch wasn't my concern.  Put it in wine glasses and added the cut up veggies.  I did celery sticks, carrot sticks and red peppers....nice colour variety.

Boom.  Done.  

And so pretty looking on your buffet table...who doesn't love pretty?

Caprese Skewers

There is no recipe for this.  Well...there probably is, but you don't need one.  Actually...please don't go looking for one.

Cherry Tomatoes
Basil Leaves
Small Bocconcini (fresh mozzarella)

To add some extra flavor there are so many options,

Salt and Pepper
Drizzle with Balsamic
Brush mozza with pesto

and so on.

Super easy, perfectly bite size, so much flavor....not to mention really pretty to serve up.

Toasted Ravioli

source same as recipe

I made these a few years ago, loved them but forgot about them.  When I made them the first time I did make the sauce too and it was delicious.  This time when I made them, I got lazy and just bought a jar of marinara.

I would quite possibly say these were the favorite of the night.  Everybody loved them.

I used a cheese stuffed ravioli...you don't have to use what the recipe says....use whatever kind you want.  

You can always count on Rachael Ray!  Go to Food Network to get the printable recipe.

Avocado, Cream Cheese and Salsa Stuffed Pastries

source same as recipe

Avocados make my heart sing.  I love them.  I'm pretty sure I could eat them daily.  The night I made these, I thought...hm...they're okay.

Then I had them for leftovers.  Oh my....now...I must make them again.  I must make them, not eat them fresh, and then eat them day after day as leftovers.  I loved them.

I didn't do squares.  I used a cup as a cutter and just cut rounds.  I didn't measure the filling part of it.  I forgot to season with salt and pepper and I think I should have...that was missing.

And DO NOT forget them in the oven...not that I would ever do that, but I'm just saying...it could happen.

Go check out Averie Cooks for the recipe.

Twice Baked New Potatoes

source same as recipe

Time consuming.  Tedious.  But....oh soooo delicious and another huge hit!  It was worth slaving in my kitchen for.  The best part is they can be made ahead of time and just put in the oven before serving.  

Perfect little bite size potatoes.  

They made my heart sing.

The only thing I didn't follow was the red potatoes...I used white skinned new potatoes.  Red might have looked prettier, but other than that...doesn't really matter.  Use what you have/want.

You can get this one at Taste of Home.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

source same as recipe

Another Christmas Eve appetizer I served up ....and it was a huge hit!  The best part...easy peasy!! They were so much better than those frozen food aisle versions.

I followed the recipe.....except for the cheese brand.  I just got Kraft ones, but did make sure they were reduced fat or partly skim whatever.  Also...listen to her when she says freeze them....it's important to freeze before breading and after breading them....you don't want a gooey cheesy mess on your cookie sheet.

I just bought a jar of marinara to serve up with mine.  

Thank you, Skinny Taste for making me look so good!

Bloomin Onion Bread

source same as recipe

My sister has been making a version of this for a couple of years now.  It's always been a huge hit with no leftovers.  I decided to give it a whirl, since I was hosting Christmas Eve.  

I followed the recipe, didn't make any changes.  It really is too easy, but your guests will love it.

Check out The Girl Who Ate Everything for the recipe and make sure you include it in your next appetizer based party!