Monday, January 7, 2013

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

These were very good.  The first bite was a little weird but they quickly became addicting.  And the toddler LOVED them.  She even started saying "cookie".  Well, it actually comes out "kie" but it's still a new word.  One note though, make sure the butter is soft enough.  It makes a huge difference in the taste and texture of the cookies.

2 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. corn-free vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine the flour and salt.  In a mixer, add butter and sugar and beat until fluffy and light.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly throughout the mixing process.  Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined.  Add flour mix and carefully mix until combined, without over-mixing   The dough should stick together when clumped with fingers.  Put dough on a sheet of wax paper and roll out until about ¼ inch thick.  (I actually liked it better just a little thicker than this.)  Line baking sheets with wax paper and preheat oven to 325°F.  Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter or just using a pizza cutter/knife to make small squares/rectangles.  I used some Christmas cookie cutters this time.  Place cookies onto pan with about and inch of space between.  Bake until firm and edges are starting to turn golden, about 10 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook.  Let cool then serve.

Note:  This recipe was modified from HERE.

Christmas Crack

NOTE:  This is not corn-free as is.  I may work on a corn free version later.

This is a great candy for the holidays.  Everyone who tried it liked it.  It didn't stay as hard as most toffee type candies so I left it in the fridge most of the time.  My mom left hers in a bag on the counter though and loved it just like that.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 sleeve saltines
1½-2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (the original recipe was for 2 cups but I prefer a little less chocolate) 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and combine with brown sugar.  Bring to a boil.
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil.  Line the pan with saltines.  Pour the butter and brown sugar syrup over the saltines.  Some of the crackers will float so you will have to line them back up and make sure they are covered by the syrup.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and pour chocolate chips over the top.  When chips are softened, use a spatula to spread it evenly across the candy.  If you need this to harden very fast, you can put it in the freezer.  I put it in the fridge over night.  Freezing might actually help with the hardening problem I had.  When it is hard enough, dump out of the pan and remove the foil.  Break into pieces and enjoy.

This was eaten up before I could get a picture of the broken pieces.  Obviously everyone liked this stuff.  Next time I will make sure and get a picture of it broken into pieces.

Friday, January 4, 2013


It seems silly to put a recipe for regular ol' rice on here but my group is very picky and I've finally perfected my method so that we can all eat rice.  So here is my method and recipe for the rest of you.  Maybe it will help some who also have to please picky eaters.

1 cup rice (I prefer Basmati but this will work for any rice.  I've used several.)
1 Tbsp. onion powder
3 cups water
salt and pepper

In an appropriate sized pot, stir together all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a low boil/high simmer until most liquid is gone.  Serve.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ornament Wreath

Here is one of my many Christmas crafts. They are all over Pinterest and the blogosphere and now it is here too.  Part of keeping a blog is to just keep everything together in one place along with sharing it with others.  I like to share my experience if it could help others but I also like the fact that all of my projects and recipes are in one place for me to go find.  I know exactly how my blog is organized and how to find everything.

Materials (with cost):
wire clothes hanger (Free!  They come with my husbands clean uniform shirts.  We send most back because I hate wire hangers in the closet but I kept a few for projects.)
wire cutters (Free!  My husband is so handy.  He always has the tools I need in the garage.)
duct tape (I can't remember exact cost.  Approximately $2-$3 I used a red duct tape.  Did you know they have a million colors of this stuff now?)
tons of cheap Christmas ornament balls  (I used about 60 and it ended up smaller than I originally planned.  I bought them at the dollar store but by the time I realized I needed more, they were out of every color except gold.  Yuck!  So I made do with what I had.  Originally I spent $6 and had 6 tubes of 10-12 ornaments.  So all in all this is a cheap project.)
big festive bow ($2 at Walmart)
hot glue gun with extra sticks of glue (Free!  I already have a bunch in the drawer at home.)

1. Cut off the hook of the wire hanger with the wire hangers.
2. Hot glue the tops on the top of the ornaments.  Trust me, do not skip this step.  I went through and if it was easy to pull the tops off, I hot glued.  But I thought the rest would be okay.  Boy was I wrong.  Every time someone opened the door, an ornament fell.  Most of them ended up hot glued after the fact and I still have 2 ornaments I found while cleaning up decorations.
3. Start stringing the ornaments on the wire hanger.  You will have to move them around to get it to look full. Pack the ornaments on there tight so they don't move and it all looks even.
4. Duct tape the ends of the hanger together to make it a wreath.
5. Attach the big pretty bow to hide the ends and the duct tape.


I'm pretty sure I will try this again next year with more ornaments to make it bigger.  But I was pretty happy with how it looked hanging on my door.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins

I have a bunch of chocolate chips left over after Christmas.  Yes, they keep well in the freezer, but I thought I would go ahead and use some.  I get sugar cravings sometimes, as most women do, but I've tried to start making something semi-healthy to satisfy the cravings.  Even if there is sugar in it, the recipe is mostly unprocessed.  All of my guinea pigs raved about this recipe.  It was our New Year's Eve treat.  We taste tested these muffins, various teas my sister bought to try and a bottle of Yellow Tail Moscato.  It was a great night!  

1½ cups old fashioned oats
2 and 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder (corn free)
½ tsp. salt 
1-2 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1½ cups canned coconut milk
1 stick (½ cup) butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips (I am still looking for chocolate chips with acceptable ingredients)

Combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix in the eggs, milk, and butter.  Stir until the flour is moistened. Mix the chocolate chips in.  Fix greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full with the batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until tops are light golden.  Makes approximately 18 muffins.
Note:  I have a picture of the muffins but it is on my phone at the moment.  I will update with the picture when I can.