Friday, December 19, 2014

A new-to-me Christmas candy -- Chocolate Dipped Orange Slices


photo pinned from Christmas Tree Lane
Awhile ago, I spied the above photo on my blog friend Terri's site, Christmas Tree Lane.  Terri had labeled it as a candy recipe she wanted to try in 2014.  I pinned it to my Kitchen Gifts Pinterest board and temporarily forgot about it until I noticed that a real-life friend of mine had repinned it.  That's when I thought, "Oh, yes -- I need to try making those."  So last Saturday, when we were out and about with some of the grandkids, I picked up a bag of the orange slice candy at Family Dollar.

I didn't see a recipe on Terri's site, though I may have missed it.  I did a very brief Google search and came up with this recipe: chocolate dipped orange smiles at Heritage Recipes.
Photo from Heritage Recipes
 The other morning before heading to an appointment, I tried the recipe using the bag of candy I had bought.

Oh, my, were those good!  Everyone who's recently been at my house and has tried this candy has enjoyed it very much indeed.  After trying these last Tuesday morning, I had another appointment in the afternoon.  You can be sure that on the way home, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up two more bags of orange slice candy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Baking progress


We have made a little progress on the baking front.  Mr. T is baking more gingersnaps as we speak, having eaten up all of the gingersnap coconut creams he made earlier.  He has also made whipped shortbread, eggnog logs,  and a second double batch of chocolate spritz.

I've made some date casserole cookies and some sacher torte cookies, plus have helped with some of his baking.  And yesterday I made some delicious candies, which I hope to share on one of the blogs tomorrow.

And, as you can see, our list keeps growing!

What sorts of Christmas cookies are being baked at your house?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My "Christmas Cookie Exchange" Pinterest board, part 2


A page from one of my vintage Christmas magazines
Yesterday, over on my regular blog, I posted about my Christmas Cookie Exchange! Pinterest board and shared a few of the recipe pictures and links for recipes I want to try.  Today, I am sharing a few more here.  All three of these are from bhg.com.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies look different and very delicious.
Photo from bhg.com
Then there are these cute Chocolaty Melting Snowmen.

Photo from bhg.com
 And these Mini Raspberry White Chocolate Whoopie Pies look wonderful, though perhaps a bit fussy to make.


Photo from bhg.com
There are many more recipes on my Cookie Exchange board, as well as on both blogs.  Happy baking!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Christmas quote and this week's goal list

The inside of one of my small vintage cards
 Here is a lovely quote (probably from a greeting card originally) by Emily Matthews:

"From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another
The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other."

Lovely, isn't it?

Now, my Christmas-related goals list for this week:
* Finish crafting two gifts
* Put up Christmas tree in our bedroom
* Wrap some gifts
* Possibly attend a Christmas party
*  Send some Christmas cards
* Bake some more Christmas cookies
* Make gifts for the names we drew at church
* Plan and put together a gift for Mr. T's boss and family
* Mail our gifts to faraway family


And here is how last week went:
* Finish crafting two gifts -- not quite finished, though I'm very close
* Put up Christmas tree in our bedroom -- not done
* Wrap some gifts -- not done
* Attend a couple of Christmas parties -- went to one; the other was rescheduled
*  Send some Christmas cards -- not done
* Bake some more Christmas cookies -- baked a couple more varieties
* Plan gifts for the names we drew at church -- done!
* Do a few cleaning tasks in the kitchen and bedroom so I can decorate those areas -- pretty much done
* Hopefully mail out some of our gifts to faraway family -- not done
* Do a special Christmas activity with three of our grandchildren -- done!

Obviously, I must have a more productive week this week!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Lord, Bless the Cards We've Written"

Vintage card from my collection
In browsing through a used Christmas book given to me by a friend, I came across a very timely poem reminding me how all of our Christmas preparations should be done with an eye to pointing others to the Lord.  Have you ever prayed and asked God to use your Christmas cards in the lives of others?  Here's the poem:

LORD, BLESS THE CARDS WE'VE WRITTEN
 Myrtle Beeler Day

Lord, bless the cards we've written;
May they bear a joyous greeting.
Bless the gifts we've wrapped and tied;
May they radiate Thy love.
Bless the wreaths that we have hung
In doorway, stair, and hall;
May they speak of life eternal.
Thy dominion over all.
Bless the lovely candle
Shining forth into the night;
May it carry far and wide
The wondrous message of Thy light.
Bless all the sweet traditions of Thy dear, holy birth;
May they lead us in the worship of
The Savior, Lord of earth.

There are some wonderful thoughts there and some timely prayer requests!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Making every day merry in little ways


A&P coffee ad from my collection
I just love December and the Christmas season, as you might guess since you are reading my Christmas blog.  One thing I like to do is give every day during December a little bit of a festive feel.  This is especially helpful if, like me, you happen to be an empty-nester, or if you are single -- or even if you are a mom in a busy household.  If you don't make things festive for yourself, no one else is likely to.  So here are some of the things I do.
* Use festively flavored coffee as your everyday coffee during this month.  What we do is to buy Christmas coffee at the after-Christmas sales.  Places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx often have it for 75% off.  (They often have regular coffee in Christmas packaging on clearance, too.  We snap it up.  Coffee is coffee!)

* Or use unflavored coffee and a festive flavored creamer.  Sometimes I use fat-free half & half along with just a splash of the flavored creamer.

* If you enjoy tea, stock up on the holiday teas as you have opportunity and sip a mug daily.  Sometimes these are reduced after Christmas and sometimes not.  Some of my favorites are Christmas Tea by Twining's, Candy Cane Lane by Celestial Seasonings, and White Christmas by Stash.

a tea wallet I made as a gift
* If you frequently use lotion or cream on your hands, feet, etc., switch to a holiday scented one for the season.  My daughter found me some Candy Cane Lane lotion (with green tea actually in it) by Jason.  I have also used a sugar cookie scented cream and a cranberry one.  I use it on my feet, and when I take off my boots there is this lovely cheering scent.

* Some people use their Christmas dishes all through the month of December, and I think this is a great idea.  Setting the table with Christmasy colored placemats is a nice idea too. At the very least, using Christmas mugs or teacups for your coffee or tea is fun.

* Listen to Christmas music as you go about your daily work.

*  Do an Advent Bible study for your devotions.  I'm a bit late suggesting this, but it does help keep one focused on the true meaning of Christmas.  If you jumped into one now, it probably wouldn't be too late; you could double up on a day or two here and there.  Or, refresh your memory on some verses from Luke 2 or Scripture passages where the Savior's birth is predicted or described.

* Take time to do some fun things like attend a Christmas concert, watch a Christmas DVD, bake some goodies or craft some simple ornaments.  Set up an Advent calendar or a Christmas countdown. 

* Decorate with fresh greens or festively scented candles for an energizing scent.

*  In fact, put something small and Christmasy in every room of your house.  It will make you smile every time you see it.

There are a few ideas!  I'm sure you will think of more.  We have so much to celebrate -- the coming of our Savior to earth, to be born as a Baby in a humble stable, to grow up and die, then rise again, so we would have a way of salvation.  No, Jesus was almost certainly not born on December 25, but this is one time of year when the focus is on Him.  Let's go about each day with a merry heart, ready to share His love with others at this festive time!




Friday, December 12, 2014

My "Kitchen Gifts" Pinterest board


Some gifts from my own Christmas Kitchen
I tried to write this post several days ago.  I thought it would be nice to share some of the pins from my Kitchen Gifts Pinterest board.  I had the post all written, links in place and working, pictures added -- then something went wrong and the entire post disappeared completely while iPhoto popped up in its place.  I still don't know what happened; I've never had an occurrence like that before.

Anyhow, I am going to try and reconstruct the post.  I was planning to do one post concerning my Kitchen Gifts board here in my Christmas kitchen, and another on my regular blog, Across my Kitchen Table.
Blogger has been giving me fits with my links lately, so every time I add a link I must go into the HTML and take out stuff that Blogger has put in there extraneously.  It's very frustrating and makes doing posts with links quite the adventure.  Here goes:
To start with something sweet, this Smooth as Silk Fudge from Mandy's Recipe Box sounds delicious!
Photo by Mandy's Recipe Box
It's made with Symphony candy bars!

Reindeer Chow, from This Silly Girl's Life, is a fun variation on puppy chow or muddy buddies.
photo from This Silly Girl's Life
Or how about this Copycat Cowboy Bark from Averie Cooks?  It sounds loaded!
photo from Averie Cooks
This Warm Wishes cocoa mix from bhg is packaged in such a nifty way!  When I followed the link, though, I had some difficulty in accessing this project.  When I finally did get there, I found that specific instructions were not given.  One was instructed to put a bag of hot cocoa mix in the center of a far and add marshmallows and peppermints on the sides, then add a tag and bow.  Sounds fairly simple, though I think I might bag the marshmallows too to keep them soft.

photo from bhg.com
I can think of a couple of people I might give these to.

Lastly, a couple of sweet packaging ideas!   If you follow the links to bhg.com, you will also find links to the recipes pictured with the packaging.
The doily-wrapped foil pan is perfect for giving a family an entire 13x9 pan of goodies.
photo from bhg.com
And last of all for this post (I will quit while I'm ahead) is a way to give one or several cookies as individually bagged cookies.  I have a few people in mind to give these to as well!
photo by bhg.com
So there you have it!  Lord willing, there will be a similar post at Across my Kitchen table, with different pins featured, so you will want to check them both out along with visiting my Pinterest board!