Category Archives: Holiday

Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow) – The Not So Messy Way

Muddy Buddies

We’ve been making Muddy Buddies for as long as I can remember. I can’t even remember where I got the recipe but I sure am thankful for it! Holidays are not the same in our family with this sugar-coated yumminess. I made it for years and dreaded making it until I finally figured out a way to keep it from being so messy.

Plan to double the recipe. Making a double batch takes the same amount of time and it’s something you’ll want to share.

P.S. This is not calorie free but it is gluten free. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 12 oz. pkg (2 cups) semi sweet chocolate chips

1 stick butter

1 cup creamy peanut butter

9 cups (21 oz. box) rice chex cereal

3 lbs powdered sugar

Melt chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter in a microwaveable bowl. 30 seconds at a time and stir until melted.

Put the cereal in a very large bowl and pour the chocolate mixture over it. Stir gently until all cereal is coated with chocolate mixture.

A little unconventional but brilliant…  this keeps this from being incredibly messy… Pour the coated cereal in a clean, unscented trash bag. Then pour the powdered sugar in over the cereal mixture. Twist up the bag tight and carefully toss the cereal inside back and forth. You can peek inside to make sure you have enough powdered sugar to coat and add more if needed. When you’re tossing, feel around for any large clumps from the outside of the bag and break them apart. Toss a little more to make sure they get coated.

Then cut a hole in the corner of the bag and pour into your storage container(s).

Throw away the messy bag.

Enjoy! And of course, share!!

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Cranberry Butter

There are lots of recipes out there for Cranberry Butter. I read a few and did my own thing. Shocker, I know…

I’m using this to give as gifts to our neighbors this Christmas. And of course saving some back for me. 🙂 Here is what I’m printing out to add with the gift.

Cranberry Butter
Enjoy this on toast, biscuits, scones, or add it to a cheese plate. Use it as a glaze for grilled chicken or pork, or on sandwiches. Or just eat a spoonful of it. Merry Christmas from the ***** family!

P.S. It will be good kept in the refrigerator for up to a month – if it lasts that long.

Cranberry Butter, Andrea Stunz

Yields 4 half pint jars (ok to double to recipe)

  • 2 12-oz bags of fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar or coconut sugar/crystals (palm sugar)
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups organic apple cider

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put all the ingredients in a crockpot and stir to combine well. Turn on high. Let it cook for about 2 hours or until the cranberries are soft.
  2. Remove the cinnamon sticks and puree until creamy using the emersion blender.
  3. Replace the cinnamon sticks and cook with lid ajar until thickened, approximately another 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Using a large strainer and ladle (like a really large tea strainer) or straining cloth, strain out the stringy bits.
  5. Put the cranberry butter into clean jars with tight fitting lids and let cool. Store in the refrigerator and use within a month.

cranberry butter

My Wassail

This is called “My Wassail” because when the kids need the recipe they always ask me, “What’s the recipe for your wassail?”

So here’s the recipe for My Wassail…

I use organic sugar, cider and anything else I can to make me feel a little bit better about this sugar fest. 🙂

In a large stock pot or slow cooker, combine:

1.5 cups of white granulated sugar
3 cups of water
8 whole cloves
3-4 cinnamon sticks (depends on the size)
1.5 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 gallon apple cider (apple juice is ok just not as rich as cider)
1 sliced orange
1 sliced lemon

*The rind from the lemon and oranges give a good balance of tart to the sweet.

Stove top: Bring to a low boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so.

Crockpot: Put all ingredients in a large crockpot and cook on high until sugar is dissolved. Then simmer on low for at least an hour but you can leave it in your slow cooker for much longer and serve from it.

This is one of those recipes where you taste and add. So start with less of something if you’re unsure and you can always add more.

I like to keep a dish of red hots beside the mugs when serving. The red hots give it a stronger cinnamon flavor and make it a pretty red color.

Be sure to serve the liquid only. Downing a whole clove is not enjoyable or tasty.

Refrigerate leftovers (liquid only) and reheat. Leaving the cloves and cinnamon and other bits in the liquid for too long will make the flavors too strong.

We love to make mulled wine the real way but if you want a cheater version of mulled wine, add a bit of red wine (whatever kind you like) to your mug before adding the wassail. Maybe about 1 part wine, 2 parts wassail. Drink responsibly.

Now “My Wassail” is your wassail too!

Enjoy!!

Festive Cranberry Poppers

IMG_2338
(This is a picture of the “in progress” cranberries before the powdered sugar. I’ll track down a picture of the finished product soon and update.)

I don’t know when or why I started making these but it’s been many years. Every time I make them people are fascinated by them. They ask what it is. I smile and say, “try it”. They say, “Is that a cranberry?” And then, “Oh my goodness! These are SO good!” And then, “How did you make these?!?!” And then again, “Are these FRESH cranberries???”  I hear all the time, “I didn’t know you could eat fresh cranberries.” The thing is, who would want to? haha! They are so tart they have to be in something…. or coated with sugar. 🙂 The antioxidant goodness outweighs the sugar badness, right?

So here is how I make these. They make a huge impact treat with very minimal effort.

Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1 bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries
1 2lb bag of powdered sugar

Prep: wash the cranberries ahead of time and give them plenty of time to dry completely. If they are wet the egg whites won’t stick.

1. Beat your egg whites with a whisk or electric beater until they are light and fluffy, not too stiff.

2. Carefully fold the fresh cranberries into the egg whites just enough to coat.

3. Place half of the bag of powdered sugar in the bottom of a gallon sized ziploc.

4. Give the cranberries one last quick fold in the eggs whites and then spoon them on top of the powdered sugar in the ziploc. Leave any excess egg whites in the bowl.

5. Put the rest of the powdered sugar on top of the cranberries.

6. Seal up the ziploc really well and gently toss the berries around. Carefully try to break up any clumps. You might need ot open the bag to find clumps by hand and break them up. Then reseal the bag and gently toss some more. Repeat this until they are all individually coated. You’ll end up leaving a decent amount of powdered sugar in your ziploc to throw out. Does that make you feel any better about the sugar part? 🙂

7. Put them in cute holiday dish and serve and enjoy the smiles as these little sweet and sour surprised pop in your mouth.

They will be nice and pretty for about a day before getting soggy. Don’t put them in the refrigerator as they will get soggy as they get back to room temperature.

Candied Yams (Sweet Potatoes)

Candied Yams (Sweet Potatoes)

Submitted by Andrea Stunz, recipe from Anita Stunz

This is definitely the easiest thing I make for our Thanksgiving dinner. It’s one of those dishes where you either like it or you dislike it but I happen to like it. A lot! Only you can’t eat a lot and you’ll see why when you read the ingredients, so I don’t make too much of it.

Ingredients:

About 8 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 sticks (1 cup) or 250grams of butter/margarine, cut up in chunks

A ton of brown sugar J – about 2-3 cups

3 or so cups of miniature marshmallows

*Place peeled/cubed sweet potatoes in a saucepan, large enough to leave a little room for the butter and sugar.

*Cube up the butter and put on top of the sweet potatoes.

*Pile in the brown sugar and stir as best you can just to get a little bit of it down to the bottom.

*Put the lid on the pan and simmer on low to medium, stirring occasionally, for about 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are cooked soft.

*Mash with either a fork or a potato masher.

*At this point you can either leave in the saucepan or put into a baking dish.

*Place miniature marshmallows on top to generously cover.

If you put into a baking dish put it in the oven until the marshmallows brown. If you’re leaving it in the saucepan, the marshmallows will just melt.

This is a typical part of our meal but it’s sweet enough to be a dessert.

Now eat and enjoy!

I think it’s funny that the categories for this are both vegetable and dessert. 🙂

Spice Cookies and Pumpkin Dip

These are definitely one our of family’s holiday favorites! One batch of the dough makes like a billion bite-sized cookies so you will have plenty in your holiday cookie jar and plenty to share.

Note: This recipe can be made gluten-free by simply substituting the flour with all-purpose gluten free flour.

Spice Cookies and Pumpkin Dip
submitted by Andrea Stunz (recipe from a friend, Teresa W.)

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine (softened) – conversion chart if you need it for grams

2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup molasses

4 cups all-purpose flour (or substitute all-purpose gluten-free flour)

4 teaspoons baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp each ground ginger and cloves

1 tsp salt

additional sugar

PUMPKIN DIP (I don’t advise doubling. Even though it’s delicious, the cookies always disappear faster than the dip)

1 pkg 8 oz Cream Cheese (softened)

1 can pumpkin pie mix (18 oz)

2 cups conf. sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses and other ingredients; mix well. Chill overnight. Shape into 1/4 inch balls; roll in sugar or cinnamon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Celsius) for about 6 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack.

For dip, beat softened cream cheese till smooth. Add pumpkin pie mix; beat well with electric mixer. Add sugar, cinnamon, and ginger; beat till smooth. Serve with cookies. Store leftover dip in the refrigerator.

Makes about 20 dozen cookies and 3 cups dip.

ENJOY!!!!!

 

Note: These amazing little dough balls can be made ahead and frozen or kept in the fridge for a while until you need them for a party or gathering.

Chinese New Year Treats

Update: I added the American conversions to the recipe. I did make these cookies and they were good. By American cookie standards, they weren’t very sweet and they were sort of dry but that is mostly what we find in Asian desserts. They’re not as big on sweets as we Americans are and they aren’t as “big” in general as we Americans are either. 🙂 I also added a tiny bit of Almond Extract. The recipe didn’t make 90 cookies and I made them small but probably not small enough. CNY treats are very petite. This is my picture. Clearly you can see that hers are better or at least her camera is. 🙂 And mine are on a paper plate and hers are on a cute little China plate. They didn’t last long with my son’s friends over so it wasn’t worth washing a dish.

In Singapore right now, everything is Chinese New Year. Red lidded plastic containers with red and gold labels filled with traditional pineapple tarts, prawn rolls and other things that I don’t know the names of. We did buy some peanut pastries yesterday, fried little pastry dumpling looking cookies with crushed peanuts in the middle. Kind of bland for my taste but quite delish with a dab of Nutella! 🙂 World Nutella Day is on CNY weekend so I thought it would be ok to combine the two.

Anyway, I have this blog (that I really like) in my Blog Reader, Mrs. Multitasker, and she posted a recipe for Chinese Cornflake Cookies. Apparently it’s a traditional CNY treat that is not sold widely like the others are so I hadn’t heard of it. But they look yummy. I’m going to Cedele’s to get some and then I will try the recipe for myself. And I might add a dab of Nutella. 🙂 I have to mention that I LOVE that this is a Chinese cookie made with American cereal. Makes my heart smile to unite these two cultures in one bite. Then add Nutella and it’s a mouthful of cultural bonding.

She mentions a few other cool things in her blog post as well so go take a look. I will be ordering pineapple tarts next year from The Hiding Place. I love to support a ministry and get goodies in the process!

Now back to Chinese Cornflake Cookies…

Chinese Cornflake Cookies
Click here for printable recipe.

Ingredients:
(Makes about 90 small cookies. You can make the cookies even smaller than I did and get a larger quantity.)

  • 150g icing sugar (2/3 cup)
  • 220g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces (1 cup)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 280g cake flour (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 160g Kellogg’s Cornflakes  (3/4 cup)

Directions:

1. Sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl, then drop the pieces of butter into the bowl on top of the sugar. Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment, then beat the butter and icing sugar on low speed for about 10 seconds (to prevent your icing sugar from flying all over your kitchen) before increasing the speed to medium and beating for another 20 seconds or so. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2. Add the egg yolks and vanilla essence and beat for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Sift the cake flour into the mixing bowl, add the salt, and beat for another 30 seconds.

3. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degC. Prepare your cornflakes by putting them into a ziploc bag, then using your fist to pound on the bag gently so the cornflakes are roughly crushed. Pour the cornflakes into a medium-sized bowl.

4. Use a teaspoon to scoop up half a teaspoon of batter, and use another teaspoon to release the batter into the bowl of cornflakes. Use your fingertips to roll the ball of batter around till it is covered in cornflakes. Place the coated batter onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and repeat with the remaining batter.

5. Bake cookies for 22-24 min.