Category Archives: Christmas

Weekly Rewind~Christmas & Birthday Edition

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It’s been a busy week in my house! On Monday we went to my mother-in-law’s house to celebrate Christmas with that side of the family. The kids were super excited and surprised to find out that we are going to Disney World in August 2013!

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On Tuesday morning the five of us celebrated our own Christmas before my side of the family arrived around lunch time. Rachel got the nook color tablet she’s been wishing for…

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Dylan was ecstatic when he opened his new tablet!

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Grace adores anything and everything Hello Kitty and was happy to find a coin purse in her stocking.

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I cooked and baked a lot of delicious food, but I think my favorite was the raspberry pie!

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Then on Thursday my Princess turned 6! I can’t believe my youngest child is 6 already. Craziness. She got a new recliner from me as well as a blanket that I knitted her.

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I always let my kids choose dinner on their birthday and Grace picked; macaroni and cheese with wiener wings and broccoli. We made a funfetti cake with funfetti frosting for dessert.

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Dark Chocolate Mint Muddy Buddies aka Puppy Chow

This is the stuff dreams are made of.

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I’m pretty sure that almost everyone has eaten Muddy Buddies aka Puppy Chow at some point in their lives. It’s a popular treat, especially around the holidays. The traditional recipe is right on the back of a Chex cereal box. I’ve seen countless variations on Pinterest.

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Although I am a huge fan of the original version, I wanted to change things up a bit. I was inspired by Sally’s Peppermint version.

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I also wanted to omit the peanut butter since I planned on using candy canes and don’t really think mint and peanut butter go together.

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When I went to the store to buy the ingredients I could not find peppermint candy canes anywhere! I went to FOUR different stores and every single store only had fruity flavored candy canes. Not at all what I wanted!

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However, at the last store I went to I found Hershey’s Chocolate Mint Candy Canes, perfect!

Dark Chocolate Mint Muddy Buddies aka Puppy Chow

Ingredients:

  • Hershey’s Chocolate Mint Candy Canes, crushed (I used 5 candy canes)
  • 12 oz. Hershey’s Semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 cups Chex cereal (I used rice)

Method:

Pour 5 cups of Chex rice cereal into a large bowl. Crush candy canes; I put them in a bag and used my kitchen mallet to crush them. Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Add melted chocolate chips to bowl with cereal and mix until all pieces are well-coated. Next, fold in crushed candy canes.

In a large zip-top bag pour in 1 cup powdered sugar. Add cereal/chocolate/candy cane mix to the bag. Make sure bag is sealed tightly and shake, shake, shake!

Muddy Buddies DiptychEnjoy!

Eggnog Chai Pancakes {vegan}

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‘Tis the season for eggnog! My kids are eggnog addicts as well as chai lovers. I usually make them pancakes on Saturday mornings, so thought why not combine the two flavors in pancake form?

Ingredients:
Makes about 12 pancakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur Brand)
  • 1 cup Silk Soy Nog
  • 3 T sugar
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 flax egg (1 T flax + 2 T water)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • pinch of cloves

Method:

Heat up your griddle or cast iron skillet while you prepare the batter. You want it nice and hot!

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Spray your griddle with oil, or use butter if you prefer. Drop batter by 1/4 cup at a time. When the tops start to look dry and form small bubbles, flip your pancake over to cook the other side. These suckers puff right up and have a tendency to under-cook in the middle, so use your spatula to push down on the tops and make sure they cook all the way through.

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Serve with syrup and a glass of nog!

What’s your favorite kind of pancakes? Do you like eggnog?

Weekly Rewind~Appreciating My Kids Edition

AA034600In the wake of last week’s horrific tragedy in Connecticut, I’ve made a conscious effort to be more patient with my kids and appreciate every minute I get to spend with them. There’s been extra snuggles, more kisses, and frequent I love you’s. It’s easy to take these years for granted and I know I will miss them dearly when my kids are all grown.

This weekend we made Swedish Pepparkakor, a yearly Christmas tradition in our house. The kids’ favorite part is eating the dough raw, just like I did at their age! We made white chocolate peppermint bark gift bags for their teachers, appreciating them even more than usual, remembering the brave teachers who tried to protect and save their students.

We did a few science experiments including making oobleck and the naked egg experiment. I attended the annual Christmas program at the elementary school, my oldest daughter’s holiday choir concert, took my son to a bowling party with friends, gone ice skating, made hot chocolate, and went to my kindergartner’s Christmas sing-a-long.

We’ve cuddled on the couch, watching our favorite Christmas movies, including Elf, The Santa Clause and National Lampoon Christmas Vacation. We had fun making silly videos with ElfYourself and laughed until our sides hurt. We turned on Christmas music and looked at pictures from past holiday celebrations.

It’s been bittersweet for me, getting to do all these things with my kids this week and knowing that there are 20 moms in Connecticut who will never get to hold their child again. My baby turns 6 this month, hitting close to my heart knowing the children killed in Connecticut were the same age. It breaks my heart knowing that there are twenty 6 year old kids who won’t be unwrapping Christmas gifts next Tuesday morning. So please, cherish your kids, no matter how old they are, and tell them you love them often.

In my house, after everyone is tucked snuggly into their beds, we end the night with, “I love you to the moon and back!”  And I do.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Gift Bags

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I like to have my kids give their teachers and coaches a small gift at the holidays. These wonderful people spend a lot of time with my kids and I want them to know how much I appreciate them and all that they do for my kids.

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It’s always hard for me to decide exactly what to get everyone and the cost can quickly add up, so this year I decided to give something homemade. After searching the web and browsing Pinterest and asking for my kids’ input, we came up with White Chocolate Peppermint Bark. After purchasing the white chocolate chips ($1.99), candy canes ($0.99) and cute little snowman gift bags ($0.97 for 20 bags) at Wal-Mart, I had quick, easy, cheap and cute gifts for all the teachers, coaches, and dance instructors.

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White Chocolate Peppermint Bark 
Recipe from A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 16oz white chocolate chips, divided
  • 5 candy canes

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Method:
Place the candy canes in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag and pound with a rolling pin or kitchen mallet (kids love this job!) breaking the candy into pieces. Set aside.

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Place half of the chocolate chips into a large bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir the chips. Repeat this process until the chocolate is thoroughly melted (it should take about 90 seconds of cooking time). Once the chocolate is melted, add the rest of the chocolate chips and stir until everything is melted through. This will temper the chocolate, which prevents it from looking white or moldy when it’s set up.

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Pour the chocolate into a pan lined with aluminum foil and spread into an even layer. I used a small baking sheet and covered the whole sheet. If you use a half sheet it should cover approx. ½ of the sheet.

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Sprinkle the broken candies over the melted chocolate and allow it to cool, about 1 hour.

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Break into pieces and place equal amounts into gift bags. Voila!

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Christmas Traditions~Swedish Pepparkakor Edition

As a young girl living in Sweden, pepparkakor was a Christmas tradition.  Mom would make the delicious dough, I would eat most of it raw instead of rolling out and cutting into shapes, but some would survive the process and become crispy yumminess.

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A few years ago for my birthday my mom got me a Swedish cookbook.  I leafed through it, fondly remembering the Swedish dishes I loved as a kid.

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This weekend, as part of our Swedish Christmas Tradition, the kids and I made Pepparkakor.

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Just as I remembered, the dough is the best part!

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 tbsp ginger
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg

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Method:
Mix flour, soda and spices.  Heat syrup.  Melt butter and sugar in syrup.  Add egg.  Add dry ingredients to this mixture.  Put in cool place over night.  Roll out on board and cut into desired shapes.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 10 minutes.

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Once cookies are cooled, decorate if desired.

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Have you ever made Swedish Pepparkakor? What are some of your Christmas Traditions?