Friday, December 8, 2017

Scrabble Elf on the Shelf

 Buddy is Back!

This time with a Scrabble Message Board.

Buddy is older now (and so are my kids), so he only makes an appearance when he's not too busy doing other fun things.  This year there will be messages of love, offers of service opportunities and of course a little mischievous behavior.

I found the Scrabble Board at Rod Works.  The letters come in this handy drawstring bag.  

Love it!  And love the holiday fun.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Almond Joy Bars

My friend Jan V. gave me this recipe.  It is so super easy, yet so good.  Very similar to the Magic Bars (easy, right) but with a little more decadent chocolate taste.  The sliced almonds on top offered a toasted, caramel flavor.  I would never have guessed that the crust was made from a cake mix.  It tasted very much like shortbread.  This was a definite crowd pleaser at our last gathering.  

Almond Joy Bars  

1 yellow cake mix
1 stick of melted butter
Slivered almonds
Shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Grease or butter a 9x13 inch pan.  
1st layer-Mix the cake mix and butter in bowl and then press the mixture as the first layer (press with fork). 
2nd layer-chocolate chips 
3rd layer-shredded coconut. 
4th layer-slivered/sliced almonds. 

Then pour sweetened condensed milk over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees until light golden brown. Be careful not to overbake. I bake this for about 20 minutes but check the bars often so as not to over brown the bars. Enjoy!! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Mini-Super Saturday

Ever been to a Super Saturday?  If you have, you know how much fun they can be.  Our time and resources allowed us to plan and pull off a Mini Super Saturday this year.  And I think it was better than the SUPER, SUPER Saturday!

We delivered personal invites to every woman in our neighborhood.

And they were attached to a yummy chocolate dipped pretzel rod.

We decided that having this M-SS would be nice in someone's home, rather than a large cultural hall.  And it was...roaring fires with the smell of hot cider and cocoa on the stove was perfect.

To make the bag just a bit more festive I added these Pretzel Crisps (just a few) to the bottom of the invite bag.

We planned a few projects and sent around sign up sheets.  This was a favorite project. 

Another favorite was a Christmas Tamale making class.  Wow, were they good!

We also offered a display class with many, many ideas of inexpensive Christmas gift ideas and family traditions.

Fudge recipes, creative advent calendars, teacher gift ideas, holiday hand soaps and bath bombs, Christmas wish jars (complete with wishes!), cocoa cupcake bulbs and so much more. 

Cocoa Cupcake Bulbs.  Cocoa powder is funneled into clear bulb ornament, then miniature layered toppings.  Be careful to set bulb in a cupcake liner and cup so the bulb does not roll over and mess up your layers!  Package in cello, bow and candy cane.  So clever!

An elementary school teacher makes this tasty treat for each of her students as a Christmas gift.  Hamburgers and French Fries!  Lucky students!

Mini Hamburgers:
Vanilla Wafer Cookies (Mini)
Sesame Seeds to sprinkle top of buns (moisten wafer slightly)
Peppermint Patties
red and yellow frosting
Potato Stix (@Walmart)

To encourage attendance we offered this little teaser...
"For all those that come to the activity there will be a special gift.  Something that all will appreciate and some have even coveted in the past!"

The gifts were presented in this plush Santa bag.

The "gift" was a special recipe from a certain person in our ward that gave us permission to share it with those that attended.  The treat is a favorite at many of our neighborhood functions and had never before been shared.  Lucky us!

As projects and classes were winding down we started serving warms soups, appetizers and Christmas desserts.  

Watch for future posts...some of these recipes will be shared!

Like this Almond Joy Bar!  So good!

Lots of time to chat, eat, create and get excited about the upcoming holidays.  

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

I tried a new recipe!  

We had breakfast for dinner (a favorite at my house) last night and I tried this recipe from Lil Luna.  I've had many a Hash Brown Casserole over the years and this one beats all of them.  I think it's the addition of the Swiss Cheese, which I love.  Almost gave it that quiche type taste and texture.  Again, which I love!

Thanks Lil Luna for sharing your yummy recipes.  I'm thinking this would make an excellent Christmas morning breakfast.

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
An egg and potato casserole made with 3 different cheeses and is perfect for any weekend or holiday breakfast! 

Breakfast Serves: 10-12 Ingredients 
1 pound sliced bacon, diced 
4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed 
9 eggs, lightly beaten 
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 
1½ cups cottage cheese 
1¼ cups shredded Swiss cheese 
Salt & pepper Instructions 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. 
2. Cook bacon in a skillet until browned and pour into large bowl. 
3. Stir in potatoes, eggs, cheeses and salt & pepper. Pour mixture into greased baking dish. 
4. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Chandler Christmas Cinema

Loved this Christmas activity idea!  And from what I understand this has been a holiday tradition for several years in the Chandler home.

In lieu of Christmas gifts to friends and neighbors, Amy and her family invite (kids only!) to a Christmas Cinema held in their home.  

As a family they plan and prepare a fun filled evening complete with Christmas movies (age appropriate), popcorn and treats.  They ask kids to come in jammies and bring a blanket to cuddle.  Amy said that they have had as many as 60 children gathered in their cinema seats!

Everyone in her family takes part.  Christmas stories are read, treats are dispersed, movies watched and lots of Christmas care is given.

Parents of children are greatly appreciative of time to shop, wrap, and relax...kid free!

December is here and I can't think of a better way to kick off the spirit of giving than with the... 

Chandler Christmas Cinema.

Friday, December 1, 2017

White Toasted Almond Bark with Sea Salt

I attended a gathering a couple of weeks ago and was invited to lead a discussion and present a gift display of ideas for INEXPENSIVE CHRISTMAS GIFTS.  One of my talented friends who is known far and wide for her bread making abilities brought this yummy gift to share.  

Dawn often gives warm loaves of bread at Christmas time to her neighbors and friends.  She said she worries about her friends that cannot have gluten or are on low carb diets and decided to come up with a gift that was just for them.  She's always thoughtful like that.   

Well...I think this Almond Bark is good for anyone and everyone, including me!  It's delicious!
The toasted taste of the almonds and the white chocolate, with a hint of sea salt gets my taste buds dancing!  Dawn says this is a quick and easy holiday treat. 

White Toasted Almond Bark with Sea Salt 

1 cup whole raw almonds, skin on
2 10 oz bags of white chocolate chips or 20 oz of any good white chocolate, chopped in pieces 
sea salt, ground fairly fine

Set oven to 350F
  1. Put the nuts on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Give the pan a shake from time to time, and watch carefully for the last 5 minutes. You want the almonds to get dark roasted, but not burnt. Set the pan aside and let the nuts cool on the pan.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat, parchment paper, or non stick foil.
  3. Put the white chocolate in a glass microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for a minute. Keep heating, checking, and stirring until the chocolate is melted. If you are using chips they won't look melted until you stir them.
  4. When the chocolate is melted and smooth, add in the almonds and quickly spread out the mixture on the lined baking sheet.
  5. Dust the warm chocolate with sea salt, being careful to get it evenly distributed across the bark.
  6. Set the pan in the refrigerator to cool until fully set, at least an hour.
  7. Break apart the bark into whatever size pieces you choose.
  8. Try not to eat it all before you can give some of it away.
If you have trouble melting chocolate in the microwave, you can always do it in a double boiler. Set a bowl or pan over another pan of gently simmering water and slowly melt the chocolate while stirring.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Grad Money Card

Tis the season for lots of Graduation Announcements in the mailbox.  This year I needed ONE idea for the masses.  This was it!  

Every graduate appreciates dollar bills rolled up on a clever card, right?

Skip to My Lou created this one for 2017.  

I personalized it just a bit and turned out perfect!
Just print, punch a few small holes for the money diploma, add the cash and tie it up.  Quick and Easy.  

And the Adventure begins now!