Category Archives: holidays

Candy Cane Ice Cream Sauce

Candy Cane Ice Cream Sauce
Welcome to Day #5 of Christmas Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen from Juanita’s Cocina! Each day we will be celebrating the holidays with a different set of Christmas-themed treats, as well as a fabulous Christmas giveaway. We hope you enjoy this fabulous event. Tune in each day starting today, Monday, December 9th and ending Saturday, December 14th.

I have had this recipe written in my recipe journal since the early 1990s, waiting to be made.  I am shocked that I waited so long to make it because this stuff is seriously amazing.  I have been doling it out to my friends by the spoonful.  It’s been like, “Oh, you have come by to visit me?  Open your mouth, taste this.”  No one has been disappointed. Continue reading

Peanut Brittle

Homemade Peanut Brittle Candy
Welcome to Day #3 of Christmas Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen from Juanita’s Cocina! Each day we will be celebrating the holidays with a different set of Christmas-themed treats, as well as a fabulous Christmas giveaway. We hope you enjoy this fabulous event. Tune in each day starting today, Monday, December 9th and ending Saturday, December 14th.

I am back with more candy, because December seems to require it.  Although this stuff is as wonderful as it gets, no one seems to make homemade candy any other time of year.    If grocery stores put sugar, extracts and other baking supplies on sale in June, maybe the story would be different, but our waistlines can heave a sigh of relief.  December is the only homemade sweet month. ..for now.  Continue reading

Chocolate Covered Biscoff Filled Ritz Sandwiches

chocolate covered biscoff ritz

I get tired just thinking about the holiday rush.  We add so many things to our schedules: gift giving, buying, wrapping; decorating the inside and outside of our homes; parties at school, work, church and home; concerts or other musical festivals, recitals, etc.  As we pile more and more into our already busy lives, we also feel guilt because we aren’t extra loving, charitable or kind 24/7 as we try to get everything done.  Songs about good cheer simply add fuel to the fire. Continue reading

My Mother-In-Law’s Fudge

My mother-in-law's fudge recipe
Welcome to Christmas Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen from Juanita’s Cocina! Each day we will be celebrating the holidays with a different set of Christmas-themed treats, as well as a fabulous Christmas giveaway. We hope you enjoy this fabulous event. Tune in each day starting today, Monday, December 9th and ending Saturday, December 14th. Continue reading

English Toffee and Holiday Favorite Ingredients from Dollar General

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dollar General for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Every year I make up treats for neighbors and friends.  What I make changes a little every year, but the fun is in the planning and delivery of the plates.  My kids get involved, arguing over who gets to take which plate to which family.   We take an evening early in the month of December and instead of sitting in front of the television, we give.  It may be wishful thinking on my part, but  I like to think that that evening of sharing sweets with friends sets the tone for the month.

This year, I did my ingredient shopping at Dollar General, which has lower prices than most of my local stores.  They have a full line up of ingredients for all of my holiday baking needs. I find that their Clover Valley brand is just as good as most name brands.  They had a great big section all set up specifially for making treats.

I was able to get plates, candies, sugars, chocolate chips, nuts, crackers, and many other ingredients for less than $25.  I came home and fired up my stove and microwave.  I made homemade caramels, peanut brittle, fudge, chocolate covered Ritz sandwiches and English toffee and then filled 16 plates.

English Toffee has been a family favorite since I was a little girl when my mom started making it.  It is really simple to make.  I am not very good at making dipped candies, but because this recipe is broken into randomly sized pieces on purpose, there isn’t a lot of stress over whether it looks right or not.

English Toffee and Holiday Favorite Ingredients from Dollar General
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Add sugar, water and corn syrup to the pan.
  3. Cook over low heat to 290 degrees F, about 20 minutes.
  4. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil.
  5. Pour hot mixture over foil.
  6. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  7. Wait a few minutes and then spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee.
  8. When cool, break into bite sized pieces.

 

The Dollar General Holiday holiday section can serve all of your needs.  Not only are there foods and supplies for favorite holiday recipes, but there are decorations, lights, present wrapping supplies, stocking stuffers, and great ideas for presents from toys to electronics.

 

White Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cream Candies

White Chocolate covered Peanut Butter Cream CandyI have always wanted to learn to dip chocolates and make homemade candies.  When we lived in the Seattle area, I had a friend who had mastered the art as a home cook.  I looked forward each year to receiving a holiday plate filled with her creations.  It takes skill and lots of patience to make candy and I am sadly, pitifully lacking in the patience department.  Lucky for me, there are things like jars of marshmallow cream, peanut butter and quality dipping wafers like those from Ghirardelli. Continue reading

Frozen Pumpkin Pie

Frozen Pumpkin PieThis pie is the reason my pumpkinpalooza fell flat on its face.  My “keep it simple, don’t change anything” husband rebelled at the thought of frozen pumpkin pie.  I should have called it something else like “frozen autumn pie” or maybe “it’s too hot to cook and yes it’s pumpkin in July pie.”  But I was foolish.  I called it pumpkin and as a result, everything hit the fan. Continue reading

Mint Hot Chocolate Mix: An Easy Christmas Gift

Mint Hot Chocolate Mix - a great homemade holiday gift

One of my standby gifts to make (probably every 2 or 3 years) is Mint Hot Chocolate Mix. I rename it every so often just like any manufacturer to make it seem new (i.e. Mint Truffle Cocoa, Candy Cane Chocolate etc). I usually put 2 cups of mix in a quart size bag and put that bag in a Holiday fabric bag that I have sewn & tied with a ribbon with a direction tag attached. It is really easy and not too expensive. Continue reading

Homemade Edible Christmas Gifts: Make Your Own Monday #43

 

bean soup

Well, here it is.  November.  Already.  The holidays are just weeks away.  For me, it is definitely time to start making lists; a list of what I will be giving, a list of what I will be cooking, and maybe even a list of what I might want.   The list of what I will be giving is always two-fold.  There are the presents that I give to family and then there are the gifts for neighbors, friends, teachers, etc.

The gifts we give our neighbors and friends are homemade treats from the kitchen.  They range from cookies and candies to home canned jams and chutneys.  For this Make Your Own Monday, I thought I’d share some of our favorite gifts, so you can, in turn, have time to plan and make your own.

9 Bean Soup: (this is a delicious soup)
1 pound barley pearls
1 pound dried red beans
1 pound dried navy beans
1 pound dried lentils
1 pound dried black beans
1 pound dried black eyed peas
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 pound dried great Northern beans
1 pound dried split peas
Mix all the legumes and divide them into 10 pint jars.
Attach a tag with the following recipe and directions:
2 cups 9 Bean Soup Mix
2 quarts water
1 pound ham, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
Wash beans and place in a large pot.  Cover with water to 2 inches above the beans.  Cover and bring to boil reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours or until beans are tender.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Makes 8 cups soup.

Other yummy gift ideas include:
Mint Hot Chocolate Mix (with a tag, “to our friends who are so dear, we wish you all a cup of cheer!”
Hot Fudge Sauce (with a tag “fudge a little on the calories and enjoy the holiday season!”)
Homemade Wassail Mix (tag “Orange you glad it’s Christmas?”)
Popcorn Balls (tag, “hope you have a ball this holiday season”)
Sweetened Chex Mix with Almonds (remember Santa always “chex” his list twice, so be good!”)

Some non homemade, easy, and fun ideas:
Give a 2 liter bottle of Sprite with a tag saying “May your days be Merry and Sprite!”
Give a wire whisk filled with Hershey kisses with a tag saying, “We whisk you a Merry Kiss-mas!”
Give a bottle of sparkling cider with tag saying, “Wishing you a sparkling holiday season”
Give a log of cookie dough (uncooked) with a tag saying, “Rolling out a batch of Christmas cheer”
Give measuring cups or spoons with a tag saying, “Wishing you joy beyond measure!”

If you make homemade gifts, do you have a signature homemade treat you make every year or do you vary what you make?

 

Holiday Snack: Sweet Chex Mix with Almonds

We were given a bag of this from a neighbor years ago. I fell in love with the first bite. I did not, however, find the recipe for years. It was a burr in my shoe that I couldn’t find it. Then, one day, I was reading through a cookbook and Shazaam! I found myself reading this very recipe. I made it for all of my friends that following Christmas. We were given another bag of these goodies this year. It was gone in half an hour.Sweet Chex Mix with Coconut and Nuts (also called Who Hash or Christmas Crack) @frugalantics Continue reading

Holiday Gift Idea: Popcorn Balls

This is a super popular recipe.  I make it all year round, but the balls are fun to make for goodie plates during the holidays, especially if you add coloring to the marshmallow mix!

Easy Homemade Popcorn Balls (no candy thermometer needed!)

 

Holiday Gift Idea: Popcorn Balls
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 quarts popped popcorn (you can use microwave popcorn, but it's cheaper to make up bulk)
  • 4 sticks butter
  • 1 16 oz bag mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 2⅔ cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • food color, if desired
Instructions
  1. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter.
  2. Add the sugar and corn syrup.
  3. Stir constantly until it boils and then continue for 3 minutes more.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and coloring if desired.
  5. In a huge, mega sized bowl, combine the popped corn and the mini marshmallows.
  6. Pour the hot butter mixture over the popcorn and stir until completely covered.
  7. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
  8. Butter your hands and form into balls, about the size of racquet balls.
  9. Place the popcorn balls onto waxed paper lined baking sheets.
  10. Wrap in plastic wrap when cooled.

Easy Homemade Popcorn Balls (no candy thermometer needed!)

 

Tools used in this recipe:

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Christmas Cookies (the official recipe)

Christmas Cut Out Cookies

These cutout cookies came into our family during my grandmother’s reign.  Every Christmas she made these delectable goodies.  Mom carried on the tradition and soon these cookies were simply known as “Christmas Cookies.”  Sure, we had other varieties, but these were special.  When I got married and made these for The Good Guy, he was assured that he had made a good choice in helpmeets.  We got greedy, however, and I started making them all through the year. Continue reading