Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Peppermint Oreos

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Another quick and easy holiday cookie and with Christmas less than a week away I need all the quick and easy I can get!

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My daughter made these and is going to give them to some of her friends all dressed up in some cute candy cane bags. 

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  Here is all you need to make them:

1.  A box of White Oreo Fudge Covered Cookies

2.  Some white chocolate chips ( you don’t need a whole bag, we used about 1/3 of a cup

3.  A couple of fresh candy canes. 

Melt your white chocolate chips in a heat proof dish and microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir, and then microwave them again in 20 second increments being sure to stir in between each time you heat them until they are smooth and melted. 

Unwrap your candy canes and put them in a zip-loc bag sandwich bag and crush them.  We used a rolling pin.

Spoon a small amount of the melted chocolate on top of a cookie and spread it evenly around.  Then immediately sprinkle with the crushed candy canes.  Turn any of the candy cane pieces over to show the color red.  Set aside to cool.   I suggest you do one cookie at a time so that your chocolate does not harden before you have a chance to add the candy canes.    That’s it!

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Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tour of Trees

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   On Friday night,  it was our turn to host part of the Tour of Trees.  Every year about 24 of our neighbors get together and do a progressive Christmas tour of 3 houses.  We started with appetizers and drinks at the first house, dinner this year was at our house, and the night ended at house number 3 for dessert and after dinner drinks.  It was a very fun night and I am glad my turn is done!  We don’t have to host again for 3 more years. :)

I served a lasagna and was biting my fingernails worrying if it was going to be enough to feed 24 people but in the end it was big enough and we even had some leftovers.   That lasagna was in the oven for two and a half hours and thankfully it was perfect when it was time to serve.  I had visions of  it being cold in the middle but it was nice and hot and I didn’t burn it!   Alongside the lasagna I served a big Caesar salad, lots of bread with olive oil for dipping or garlic butter, a big bowl of my Cranberry Pecan Orzo Salad, and a tray of Rosemary Ham with some salami and mozzarella pinwheels.  Beer, wine, and Pellegrino sparkling water and all was good.

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I decorated three trees.  Too much!!  Anyway, the tree in the sunroom was fun to do.  I had picked up a bunch of aqua blue and silver Christmas bulbs at Good will last year and saved them not sure what to do with them.  When I saw the giant snowflakes at the dollar store the idea came to me to do the sunroom tree in aqua and silver with the icy snowflakes.  It turned out cuter than I expected and was VERY inexpensive to do. 

The next tree was in my dining room.  Not a great photo but that is my favorite tree.  It’s a skinny tree and I collect ornaments that look like food and candy and that is what I decorate that tree with.  And then we got a real tree from our friends who have a Christmas tree farm.  If you live in the Greensboro area the real trees you can get from Bruce Wagoner’s Nursery are beautiful and fresh.  They run the tree lot at The Friendly Center outside of the Sears and soon to open Whole Foods and they have a new location at the corner of Church Street and Highway 150 in the Summerfield/Brown’s Summit area across from the new Lowe’s Foods.    They sell Fraser Firs and the smell of their fresh trees will put you right  in the Christmas spirit.

Now for that tree I needed a topper.  I decided to make a snowman hat topper for it and added an old red plaid scarf.  The hat was easy to do.  For Halloween this year, I dressed as Mr. Peanut and decided to give my Mr. Peanut hat a new life as a snowman hat. If you want to make one for yourself, I found the plain black hat at Party City.   I cut out a red band out of a sparkly red felt and glued it around the base.  Then I cut out two holly leaves out of green felt and glued them on along with three bright red pom poms.  Easy and cute.

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And this is one of my favorite new decorations that I did this year.  I told you I had a lot of aqua and silver bulbs compliments of the Goodwill.  I added them to my terrarium and I love it.

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More silver bulbs added to a tray in the dining room.  You can’t get any easier than that. 

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And finally, my very small Santa collection.  My Dad carved out four of the Santa’s and I love to put them out grouped together each year.  C’est tout!  It was a wee bit stressful getting decorated and entertaining so early in the season this year especially since I did something weird to my back and I have been trying to clean and cook and work  and not feeling all that great.  Back trouble is new to me and not much fun.  Anyway, whoa is me…it’s nice now to have it all done!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cranberry Cashew Clusters

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Tis the season for all things cranberry.  These might be the ticket if you are looking for something quick, sweet, easy, crunchy, and chewy.  And they were very easy to make.

Cranberry Cashew Clusters

12 oz. bag of white chocolate chips or vanilla-flavor candy coating, chopped.

3/4 cup dry-roasted cashews

3/4 cup dried cranberries

You can either melt your chips or candy coating in a double boiler or in the microwave like I did.   I placed 1 bag of white chocolate chip in a heat proof bowl and micro-waved them in 30 second intervals being sure to stir them in between each interval until they melted.  Then mix in your chopped cranberries and cashews.  You can either chop your cashews or leave them in big pieces.  I left mine in big pieces.  And I also saved a few chopped cranberries to add to the top for more color while the clusters were still wet.  Drop them on a cookie sheet lined with either wax paper or I used a silcone non-stick mat.  Let them cool.  Store at room temperature for up to 1 week, or freeze up to 3 months.

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These are very sweet and great to make ahead of time.  If you freeze them, pull them out about 30 minutes before you want to serve them. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick and Easy Snowflake Pillow

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This Christmas Snowflake Pillow was a happy accident. Yesterday, I posted my Père Noël Pillow so I must have Christmas pillows on the brain but anyway, I was shopping in Pier One Imports today, (and wow did they have a lot of cute things for the holidays!) and I came across this felt snowflake cutout placemat. Pier One is selling them for $2.95 each. I was looking at it and I thought that I might take it home and try to use it as a stencil. My plan was to take some red spray paint and lay it on a pillow cover and then paint it. Well, of course, I could still do that but after I got it home and I placed it on my pillow, I thought it looked beautiful just the way it was and thought why not just glue it on???????

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A little bit of fabric glue is all it took and WOW! I think it looks great. YOU can do this! You can either make your own cover for a pillow out of Painter’s Cloth like I did or simply add it to any other decorative pillow you might have. I like the simplicity of the red on the plain canvas background. And the red felt placemat already had the sparkly rhinestone embellishments on them. This could not have been any easier!!

I am linking this post up to Funky Junk Interiors. Lot's to see over there!!