Blessings Jar for 2013

Happy New Year to all my faithful readers!! I hope you all enjoyed time with your families and friends over the holiday season.  Did you try any new recipes?  My family loved the macaroni pie!  It didn’t last long enough for me to get a picture of it!  We enjoyed playing games, watching football games, and just hanging around the house with each other. The boys each had friends over on New Year’s Eve…except for Ben, who went over to the home of one of his friends.

This Blessings Jar idea is not original with me. My friend Joanie has been talking about it on her Facebook page.  I think that it is such a good idea that I want to share it with you all.  It is not a kitchen tip, recipe, or meal idea, but it is still something great that you can do on your own, with your family as a whole, or with each of your children. It is a great way to help children see the blessings in life!

Take a one-quart canning jar and decorate it with a nice ribbon or some such thing and label it “Blessings, 2013.”    Make a stack of small pieces of paper…sticky note size will work…you could even use sticky notes…just fold each piece when done.  Each evening before going to bed, think back through your day.  Did something special happen? Did the Lord answer a specific prayer?  Did you begin to pray for something specific? Write down one thought or blessing on the paper and add the date.  Drop it in your jar.  You can do this each evening, a few nights a week, or just once a week.  By the time the holidays roll around next year and we are once again on the eve of a new year, you will have lots of reminders of how the Lord blessed you during 2013.   Letting each of your children have his own jar to keep on his nightstand will help him to see how God can bless even the littlest ones in our families!  Mom, Dad or older siblings can help the small children by writing down what they want.  If you choose to do the Blessings Jar as a family, keep the jar on the kitchen counter or where you might have your family worship time.  If the jar is visible, it won’t get forgotten!

 

More Traditional Sweet Treats!

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you are like me, you are hurrying here, there, and everywhere trying to get ready for the big day.  Holiday baking is a tradition for most people, and I am no exception!  I have a few items that I have made at Christmas time for nearly 23 years.  The kids and Tim say that it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.  I have been making these first 2 recipes since I was just out of college.  The last one I created just last year, and have already made it twice this season!  Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS

4 c. powdered sugar

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. peanut butter (can use crunchy)

12 oz. chocolate chips

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 block paraffin

Mix sugar, butter, and peanut butter with mixer until well-blended.  Shape into balls and chill on foil-covered cookie sheet. Melt chocolate chips, butter, and paraffin in double boiler.  Dip the chilled balls into the chocolate mixture. Return each dipped ball to foil-covered cookie sheet and chill to fully harden the chocolate.  Store in cool place.  Makes about 50, depending on how large you make each one!

CHERRY NUT BREAD

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. buttermilk

1 c. chopped pecans

1 (10oz) jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped

Grease standard loaf pan. Stir together dry ingredients in medium bowl.  In a large bowl, cream sugar and margarine. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, mixing well after each addition. Bake in prepared pan at 350 degrees for about an hour or until toothpick comes out clean.   This recipe also makes about 6 small loaves which are great to give as gifts.  Reduce baking time to about 30 minutes.  Make sure toothpick comes out clean.

CRANBERRY-WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

1 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/4 c. milk

2 tbsp. orange juice

1 egg

3 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1-1/2 c. fresh cranberries, chopped (dried cranberries also work)

1 c. white chocolate chips

Mix sugars and butter.  Stir in milk, orange juice, and egg.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Add to sugar mixture. Stir in cranberries and chips.  Drop by spoonfuls on to cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 for 12-13 minutes.  Makes about 60 cookies.

These are great just like this, but also taste great with a thin layer of icing.

Thanksgiving Desserts!

Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cranberries. . .the menu items at our Thanksgiving Day dinner remain the same from year to year.  Yours probably do as well!  We enjoyed Thanksgiving Day this year with Tim’s brother and his family for the first time in 8 years!  With four parents, 8 kids ages 12-21, and one girlfriend, we knew we needed plenty of food. . .and plenty of food we had!  Two turkeys, two types of cranberries, and two types of dressing, plus lots and lots of other side dishes and desserts made for quite a feast.   Here are a few recipes for desserts that we enjoyed this  year.

PECAN PIE  This is my mom’s recipe with just one tweek. . .chocolate chips!

1 c. light corn syrup

3 eggs

2/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. chopped pecans

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 (9-inch) pie shell

Preheat oven to 350. Combine corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl; mix well.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips; pour into pie shell.  Place pie on baking sheet. Bake 50-55 minutes or until filling is set about 3 inches from the edge.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Serve each piece topped with whipped cream.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

5 large apples, peeled and sliced

2 c. fresh cranberries

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 c water

3/4 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 stick butter, softened

Spray bottom/sides of 13×9 pan.  Layer apple slices, cranberries, and pecans in pan.  Pour water over all.  Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbs.  Spread over fruits and nuts.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is browned.

Rolled Cold

In case we didn’t mention this earlier, we live in South Carolina. Hot, muggy, humidified, sticky South Carolina. The temp will not fall below 85 until sometime in September, so we have a lot of hotness to look forward to! Living here requires a bit of creativity regarding cold meals and desserts. Any oven-baked dish is just not as appealing when you are already drenched in sweat, but avoiding the oven entirely is pretty much impossible.
“Ice cream” were the first two words off the tip of my tongue when Mom asked if I had thought about this week’s dessert. It’s cold, it’s sweet, and it’s simple. Unfortunately, throwing ice cream in bowls does not make for an interesting recipe. So I dug around a little and found this fantastic idea.

Barbi CANNOT cook without Pandora.
Jan started wondering about the lack of butter or oil.
Warning: not for the weak-wristed!
Make sure the cake is completely cool. We chilled it for 30 mins.

Rolling the cake with the ice cream inside was a fun challenge and the whole thing looked so artistic that I waited a full three seconds before digging in! The guys, of course, had no such inhibitions…

Squished out some at the overlap, but pretty sure no one noticed!