Category Archives: Baking and Cooking

Advent {Day 24}: Hot Cocoa Recipe

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Today I want to focus on mail carriers. They have one of the hardest jobs this holiday season:
Amist the lousy cold weather that produces horrible driving conditions and makes you want to do nothing but snuggle on the couch with a good movie, They make sure we all get our:

  1. Christmas cards to friends and family on time
  2. packages with the must-have Christmas toy to your house before the big day
  3. not to mention all those silly story fliers so we can find the best deals.

Today I’m sharing my last gift idea that fit perfectly into those adorably miniscule formula containers at minimal cost! Something WARM to help those carriers make it through their days a little cozier.

Wanna know How-To Decorating Cans? Click over HERE for step by step instructions.

Filling Cans

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix:

  1. Make homemade hot cocoa mix
    Today I am sharing my mother-in-love’s AWESOME homemade Cocoa Recipe over at the
    homemaker’s challenge dot com!
    Go grab it!
  2. Add cocoa mix
  3. Use the formula scoop as a cute touch for serving up the dry cocoa mix
  4. Place bow on top of the lid or printable tag (click  Cocoa Printables for free printable)

These people who serve us weekly can feel your appreciation through these simple gifts! Wouldn’t you? Homemade adds that special touch as well.

I would like to challenge you to think of those who make your life  you’re thankful for this season and recognize them with a simple gift to warm their spirits!

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Advent {Day 16}: Donner DooDoo (No Bake Cookies) Recipe

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Here is a simple and inexpensive gift. This would be great for a large group of people where you would like to give gifts to everyone.

Donner DooDoo {non bake cookies}

2 cups of Sugar
1/2 cup Coco
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Peanut Butter {I choose not to add this bc I want anyone to be able to eat them even if they have allergies}
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 cups Oatmeal
pinch of Salt

Mix sugar, coco, mil, and butter in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring often! Remove from heat and add peanut butter (optional), vanilla, and oatmeal. Stir well until all is blended and oatmeal is completely coated.

After you have your ‘batter’ ready, grab a mellon baller and about 2 feet of wax paper. Then measure out your cookies using the baller so they will be tiny balls/blobs using the larger end of the tool. If you have trouble getting the gooie cookies out, use a toothpick to poke them out through the itsy bitsy whole on the back side of the tool.

If they are too mooshy for your taste, pull your wax paper onto a cookie sheet and put them in the fridge until they are a little more set up.

Woops…have some left. Not enough room on your strategically too small wax paper??? Suggestion:

Yep! Eat it!!! ;o)

My suggestion for distributing these lil doo doos are baby food jars! Divy them up about 6 per jar. To decorate grab this FREE printable {Donner DooDoo Tag} to mod podge to the top of the jar and add a little curling ribbon. Yay!!! Easy enough, right?

Good luck and have FUN! Let me know if I need to add some explanation…ran through that kinda fast.

What has been your favorite diy gift idea this season?

To read more Rothacher’s Advent Days click—>
Advent {Day 1}: Cookie Swap

Advent {Day 2}: Dizzie Izzie’s
Advent {Day 3}: Giving Christmas Away
Advent {Day 4}: Homemade Gifts
Advent {Day 5}: HIPPY Christmas Party
Advent {Day 6}: The Fridge 
Advent {Day 7}: Sprinkle Joy @ Home
Advent {Day 8}: UpCycle Gift Wrap
Advent {Day 9}: Sugar Cookies (Gift Ideas Series)
Advent {Day 10}: Snack Mix (Gift Idea Series)
Advent {Day 11}: Relentless Christmas Party
Advent {Day 12}: eBook for ANY Woman! (Gift Idea Series)
Advent {Day 13}: A Rock’n Angel Tree Gift
Advent {Day 14}: Packing with Littles
Advent {Day 15}: Cubbie’s Christmas Party

Advent {Day 10}: Snack Mix (Gift Idea Series)

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Today I’d like to focus on waste management employees {I don’t know the PC term for trashman…sorry!}.

These people serve me in unimaginable ways! I can’t thank them enough for taking care of all the TRASH I don’t want to deal with. Really!
A few years ago when I was asking some friends how to make sure they knew I’d left a gift so it didn’t accidentally get thrown away they said, “You know our trashmen are prisoners, right?” {NOT all are} and I my reply was, and still is, “YEP! Even more of a reason I want to show them extra love especially around Christ birthday!!!” Let give them something to crunch and munch on while they travel around town.

Wanna know How-To Decorating Cans? Click over HERE for step by step instructions.!

Filling Cans

Snack Mix:

  1. Make snack mix (my favorites are chex mix or muddy buddies) {recipe link(s)}
  2. Place desired colored tissue paper inside
  3. Add snack mix
  4. Place bow on top of the lid or printable tag (click  Girly Lid Tag for free printable)
  5. To be sure they recognize their gift, tie some balloons on the can and place it on top of your trashcan the day of your neighborhood trash pick up. {You don’t want it to accidentally get trashed ;o) } —> not necessarily birthday ones though…

Happy Birthday TrashcanNot too many people remember those who serve them silently {well…as silent as you can be in that noisy truck} so take the time to show your gratitude with a simple gift that will show the love of Christ and make someone feel appreciated.

Do you have any other tints for making sure these early rising, quick workers recognize their gift?

To read more Rothacher’s Advent Days click—>
Advent {Day 1}: Cookie Swap

Advent {Day 2}: Dizzie Izzie’s
Advent {Day 3}: Giving Christmas Away
Advent {Day 4}: Homemade Gifts
Advent {Day 5}: HIPPY Christmas Party
Advent {Day 6}: The Fridge 
Advent {Day 7}: Sprinkle Joy @ Home
Advent {Day 8}: UpCycle Gift Wrap
Advent {Day 9}: Sugar Cookies (Gift Ideas Series)

Advent {Day 2}: Dizzie Izzies

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As part of Advent we are doing MORE baking:

Hi! My name is Isabella Ruth. Some people Call me Izzie Ru, Izziebella, Iz but most call me Izzie. I will be 2 in January!

I have 2 siblings, a sister 18 months older than me and a brother 2 days shy of being 1 year younger. I love my family! Today was a fun day. Maggie, my big sister, went to our Nanna’s house for her “Nanna Day”. YAY! That means me and Mommie get to hang out. Shortly after Mags left, J went down for a nap and we started our fun.

Today we decided to make cookies for tonight’s cookie swap! We searched through lots of recipes and landed on these:
{we had all the ingredients at home and didn’t have to go out to the grocery store}

1st picture is where the recipe we used and the 2nd is the look we were going for.
If you know anything about my mom you know…it didn’t turn out exactly like we planned ;o)

Holiday Icebox Cookies: {Renamed “Dizzie Izzie’s” by my Mommie}

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, plus an extra egg white for “glue”
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 cups flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Food coloring, in various colors

~~~~~I SUGGEST READING THE DIRECTIONS IN THEIR ENTIRETY FOR BETTER TURN OUTS THAN US~~~~~

Directions
Using the electric mixer, mix the butter and the sugar until creamy. Add the eggs
{we made the mistake of adding the extra egg white–> DO NOT do that! Save it for later.} and the salt, and mix well.
Beat in milk and vanilla.
Add flour a little at a time, mixing it in until all of it has been incorporated.
Let it mix well. Don’t be in a rush. Don’t forget to scrap the sides of your bowl to incorporate everything.
Grab a drink. Just watch it until it’s well blended.

If you’re like me, it will get a little messy. Have a towel nearby for cleaning up counter and you will want to wear an apron as well.
{Since we messed up by adding the egg white we tried to make the recipe less sticky by adding an extra cup of flour. If helped but didn’t totally fix it. The reviews at the bottom of the recipe says it turned out sticky for some people who hadn’t make our mistake so maybe our attempt at fixing it will help you if your dough is a bit sticky}
*We ended up chilled the dough for a long time! {over night to be exact} while we made our back-up cookies for the cookie swap. Find those here.
While {IF} you are waiting for you dough to thicken up by chilling it you can always take care of those babes or other chores you have.
Catch up on your emailing or blog reading!
Go get a pedicure!
When your dough is ready…
Divide the dough into balls, one for each color. We only colored 1/2 with red. But you can do lots of colors or even for chocolate dough, add cocoa (1/4 cup is enough to flavor half a batch). Mix well with electric mixer. For colored dough, start with 1/4 teaspoon food coloring, and mix well. Add more in tiny amounts for darker colors. Gel-paste coloring can be intense, so add it gradually.
Wrap each ball of dough in its own sheet of plastic wrap; pat flat into a rectangle. Refrigerate at least one hour or until ready to use.
Parchment or waxed paper makes a good work surface. Sprinkle generously with flour, then roll out each piece of dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick to make the swirls; you can use thicker layers for the bull’s-eyes.
Have no idea what this thing was but they suggest using “The bench scraper”. They say it “is a good tool for trimming dough’s edges to make them even.”
We just rolled our 2 colors out when painted on {yet another} egg white as glue. The egg white, brushed on with a pastry brush, will act as a glue, making the layers stick together.
{Sorry, we didn’t picture the next few steps. It got a lil crazy. We needed both hands}
The recipe says, “For center, with your hands, roll chocolate dough into a 1/2- to 1 1/2- inch-thick rod; chill 20 minutes. Place rod on edge of rolled-out dough that’s been brushed with egg white.
Roll rod inside sheet of dough. Cut the dough where it meets up. Seal by pinching and pressing gently. Chill 20 minutes, then repeat to add other layers. To decorate, go to step 7, or jump to step 8 for plain.
For spirals, measure and trim two or more colors of dough to same size. Brush on egg white, then stack layers. Brush top with egg white. Starting at one end, roll up the dough.
Smooth and straighten the layers as you roll them so there are no gaps, then gently pinch and press the edge of the roll to seal it. Now the dough is ready to decorate.”
{We didn’t have a “1/2-1 1/2 inch-thick rod and failed to read about how you should chill {again} before laying}
DON’T HAVE A ROD???
After they were rolled out, we picked up the entire red layer and plopped it on top of the entire white layer, attempting to make them as even as we could.
We then trimmed any edges that didn’t have a layer of each color.
Now that we had a double-Decker block, we scooped one end up off the counter using a Rachel Ray scrape shovel tool. We used some flour between the scrape shovel and the dough as we scooped it off the counter as we rolled.
We we had one weird looking roll we chopped it into 3 sections {the middle looking the best as opposed to the sprawling end pieces}
Each roll as wrapped in some parchment paper and frozen for a few hours. While you wait you can of course go read a good book or some relaxing activity you enjoy.
When the dough was set we were so ready to bake and eat them we almost forgot to add some toppings.
The original recipe says, “Add your favorite toppings (try coconut, colored sanding sugar, chopped nuts, or chocolate sprinkles): Spread topping in baking sheet, brush dough with egg white, and roll the log in topping.”
but if you haven’t learned anything about our baking skills, we don’t always follow along well.
We started chopping cookies off the logs using the ____ before rolling in sprinkles and we definitely forgot the egg glue.
After quickly dabbing the edges and the tops of the cookies in sprinkles off of a cookie sheet before chunking them on a sprayed pan and baking for about 10min @ 350′.
Here is our cookie turn out:
Not too shabby.
What did you do with those pieces you cut off at the beginning you ask?
Chop them up!!! Yep, chop them and then bake them for ~10min @ 350′ as well. This is the cookie version of chips and dip!
You could hand out little bags of these with a can of frosting to friends or just have a bowl of them out at your party with a bowl of frosting next to it! The more colors you have the more festive!
Other helpful hints to help your cookies turn out better than our from the original recipe are: “Roll each log in parchment or waxed paper; twist the ends of the paper closed. To help the logs keep their round shape, set each in a cardboard paper-towel roll that you have sliced open lengthwise.
To remember what colors you have already used, with crayons, draw the designs onto key tags; tie the tags onto the paper covering the logs. Chill logs until they are solid, about 1 1/2 hours.
Cut 15 inches of dental floss (or double thickness of thread). Let log soften for about 10 minutes. Remove parchment. Wrap floss around log and pull through. Make the slices thin: 1/4 inch or less.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place slices on an ungreased baking sheet (lined with parchment paper). A grown-up should bake the cookies 12 to 15 minutes, until firm but not browned. Let cool on baking sheet for several minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.”
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Thanks for reading my, Izzie’s, 1st baking adventure. Share your failures, successes, or redeemable baking adventures!
To read more Rothacher’s Advent Days click—>Advent {Day 1}: Cookie Swap

Advent {Day 1}: Cookie Swap

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Advent: a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas.Today was December 1st! This year, as family, we will be doing something  special to celebrate everyday leading up to Christmas day in expectancy of celebrating the ultimate day. The day our redeeming Savior enter our world.

Day 1: Celebrate good friends and yummy food:
Our church has an annual cookie swap hosted by the women’s ministry. Those who want to participate are encouraged to make a batch of cookies to bring to the party to exchange. In my hurried attempted to prepare some goodies using the ingredients already in my pantry I ran to Pinterest where I found some adorable yet simple cookies to make.

1st Attempt:
Dizzies Izzie’s {named for the baker, my Izzie Ru}

Since this week’s Nanna day was Maggie’s turn this left me and Izzie to do the fun task of working together to prepare the perfect creation. I found super cute pinwheel cookies to make. She did such a great job assisting me (minus wanting to stick her fingers in the moving mixer). We ran into 2 problems. 1st, I misunderstood the directions and our cookies would not set up correctly. 2nd, the reviews on the bottom of this online recipe were horrible. Maybe the sticky cookies weren’t entirely my fault… Oh well, Iz didn’t mind. She got a taste and lunch before nap. {A post in itself}

Since our 1st attempt was an utter failure it left me less than 6 hours to find a new recipe.

Hello Pinterest. Since you were already open…

This ended up being a success! Although the route I took for display and distribution was a bit more time-consuming than just my cookie tray.

2nd Attempt:
Eat It Up Cookie Dough {Safe-to-eat Cookie Dough}

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yields: about 1 1/2-2 cups cookie dough

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons water

Directions:
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until light, fluffy, and pale yellow. Mix in flour and vanilla. Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each, until you reach cookie dough consistency.

We had fun and ate entirely too much sugar!

*future post with printables for labels and recipes ;o)

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What are you doing in anticipation of Christmas?
Do you know Christ and why it’s a big deal? If not, PLEASE talk to me so I can share with you more about the life change that is Jesus!

6 Reasons to Fill Your Freezer

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6 reasons you should make freezer meals:

  1. Its Monday and the “What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know…What do you want for dinner?” Conversations can be ended.
  2. If you’re going to all the trouble to dirty up that many pots and pans and have the oven on it should be worth it (Twice!)
  3. Friends have babies and need quick meals (before your church has time to “plan” a line-up of women and casserole dishes- although that’s awesome as well).
  4. Kids still need to eat healthy on Mommy’s night out (and you might run out of  frozen pizza’s).
  5. Friends loose loved ones and need quick meals (before your church has time to “plan” a line-up of women and casserole dishes- although that’s awesome as well).
  6. Some times you NEED an emergency date night and {again} your kids need a healthy meal … without the babysitter having to burn down your house.

Click around the The Ones about Cooking (11) category for yummy freezer meal ideas I use! {More coming soon}

What are some good reasons YOU make freezer meals?

Monkeybread Breakfast

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Totally unhealthy but yum-scrum-diddly-umpsious!

I found this amazingness on Pinterest but adjusted the recipe a little.
I don’t think there’s a meal I haven’t ‘adapted’ for our family… Anyways; feel free to adjust my recipe:
 
1 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits (I use ‘cheap brand’)
1.5 Tbsp. margarine, melted
1/4 C. syrup
4 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
 
Spray a pan with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 375′
Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top.
Tare the biscuits 4ths (ball them up if ya want) and make a layer on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together)
Top with syrup and sugar mixtures. Then make another layer of balled biscuits, syrup and sugar mixtures.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!
You really need to try these soon!! Maybe for Christmas breakfast??? It’s a good excuse to eat completely unhealthy. Enjoy!
 
What is your family’s traditional Christmas Breakfast?

Hot Chocolate

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These are for Real the “Preparation Instructions” on my Great Value Milk Chocolate Flavored Hot Cocoa Mix with Marshmallows:

1. Empty 1/4 cup of cocoa mix into a cup {Mom, the “one spoon full of mix” rule—> Bogus!}

2. Add 1 cup of hot water {That’s right my friends 1/4 cup mix per 1 cup water!}

3. Stir and enjoy. {I think the punctuation here behind ENJOY is and understatement!!!}
     *I added large marshmallows and a dab of milk (3/4 water 1/4 mild) to mine as well ;o)

Go make some awesomeness! You know you want to now that the back of the can has given you permission to go overboard on the chocolatey goodness!

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What kind of favorite wintery treats to you enjoy?

Biscuit Pizzas

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Need a simple meal that won’t stress you out (too badly) when you let your babes help out?

If you have:

1 Can of simple biscuits
~1 Cup spaghetti Sauce
~1 Cup Shredded Cheese
(we like mixed)
1/4 Pkg of pepperoni
(we like mini!)
Then add whatever other toppings your family enjoys
Some times we add olives (green and/or black)

Of course, each of these measurements can be played with depending on your taste. You can use the biscuits in their plump form (for “thick crust”) or use a rolling-pin to roll them a little flatter (“thin crust”). You’re littles can use the rolling-pin, a teaspoon to scoop spaghetti sauce onto each ‘crust’, pinch cheese for each pizza, and add other toppings as well!
Of course you can make your own biscuits, grate your own cheese, and use your own mixture of meats and fresh veggies. Just think about what kinds of pizza you’d order from the local joint have a delivered and serve it up.
Hope you enjoy them as much as we do! These are fast, easy for little ones to help with, and fun finger food!

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Let me know what kind of pizza you like! Got any great combos or simple/fast recipes yourself? *Comments are apprieciated

Mix-n-Chop

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I usually don’t do expensive kitchen stuff…or anything for that matter…but my mom-in-love gave me a Pampered Chef Mix and Chop and I use it at least 4 times a week.

I love this tool. I use it to chop ground beef. It makes it quick and easy. Without must effort at all it help you ground your beef into tiny bits. A few of the meals I use this tool for are: Baked Ziti, Taco Soup, spaghetti, enchiladas, Beefy Cheese Dip, and Mexican Trifold.

I have bought one of these (and the other pampered chef tools I love) off eBay for my mom. Love’m

*Note: I am not being paid for these recommendations/reviews but if you know how I can- bring it!