Monday, December 13, 2010

Birthdays, Cookie Parties and Fun

My daughter has a really good friend who has a daughter (Kailey) that was having a birthday!  This is the cake that I made for her.  It was pretty fun to make.

Kailey had a princess party, so here is Princess Carlee and Princess Kailey.  They had tons of fun!


Earlier this month was the Festival of Trees in Arco.  The elementary school children all sing on the first day of the Festival.  Here is Collin's second grade class singing their Christmas songs.  He's in the middle with the red and white stripped shirt.  They were all so cute and sang very well!!

Carlee had a great time listening to all the singing.  Of course she was dancing all over the place!


Well looky here!!  Collin has finally lost his first tooth!!  WooHoo!!!


Kami hosted a Cookie Exchange Party at her house.

This is the table of all the cookies and candies that were brought!!  What a fun time!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deliciously Fun, Flavored Popcorn

Well...I can't make this anymore!!  I loved it so much, that I ate most all of it!  It's so easy to make and the flavors are many!

Here is all you need to make Jello Popcorn:

8 cups popped popcorn
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons corn syrup or honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 3oz box jello, any flavor (don't use sugar-free)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and spray lightly with a non-stick spray and set aside.  Place popcorn in a very large mixing bowl.

Place the butter and corn syrup in a sauce pan on medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted.

Add the sugar....

...and jello and stir to combine.

Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat so it just simmers.  Continue simmering for 5 minutes.  The mixture will start out thick and will stay somewhat thick although will become a little more liquid.  

After the sugar mixture cimmers for 5 minutes, immediately pour over the popcorn, being careful to not touch the hot syrup!!  It's very hot!  Mix right away, stirring so that all the popcorn gets well coated.

Spread out the popcorn evenly onto the prepared pan.  Put it in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Some jello flavors have more mix in them then other, so if one flavor is more liquid, it may need another minute or two in the oven.  Remove the pan and let cool.  Break the mixture into pieces and store in an airtight container.  

You could also leave them soft and gooey and you could make them into balls, but if you are going to pack them up for giving it's better if it's been baked to give it that crunch!

Here are lime, raspberry, orange and lemon flavors.  I want to try some more flavors, but I know that I would eat them all!!! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

My First Cheesecake!!

I have to admit that this recipe came out really scrumptious!!!  Even my very picky son-in-law loved it.  Now I just need to learn how to cut it.  It stuck to the knife, so please add your thoughts on this!

I'll give you two different crust recipes.  I had to use the graham cracker crust because we have too many nut allergies and haters in this family.

Crust recipe 1:

1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
3/4 cup finely crushed vanilla wafers
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix all the nuts and wafers with melted butter and press into buttered 10" springform pan, trying to line sides as much as possible, about 1 1/2" up the sides of the pan.  Place in freezer until filling is done.

Crust Recipe 2:

1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Mix in butter.

Press the crumbs into a 10" springform pan.  You can line the bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper, but I found it tedious and only lined the bottom.  Use a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side.  Put into the freezer until the filling is done.

Filling ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
16 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice

All of the filling ingredients should be at room temperature.  Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy with an electric mixer set on low. 

With the mixer still set to low, add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.

Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg.  Add flour, vanilla and lemon juice, mixing well.  Add the sour cream and beat well again.

Pour cream cheese mixture into the springform pan.

Place on cookie sheet in the middle of a 325 degree preheated oven.  Pour some water into the cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  I forgot to add foil around the outside bottom of the springform pan! 

When the timer goes off, turn off oven and prop the oven door and let cheesecake set for one more hour.

Remove from the oven and let cool.  Refrigerate for 24 hours to season the flavors.  It is so worth it!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Cranberries

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored and diced 
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 rounded tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine and stir all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Cook on full power in the microwave for 8 -10 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.  If needed, continue to microwave at 30 second intervals.  Allow to stand for 1 minute before handling.  Carefully remove and serve.

Makes 4 very delicious servings.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gobble, Gobble...Turkey Cupcakes

Here's a quick, cute way to make some turkey cupcakes.  We enjoyed these at our Thanksgiving dinner this year.

To make the cupcakes, I used a simple, quick, eggless recipe so that Carlee can eat these instead of pumpkin pies. 

Just mix one spice cake mix and one 15 ounce can of pumpkin together.

If the batter is too thick, you can add 1/4 cup milk.

I used a large cookie scoop to fill the cupcake lines.  If you put the scoop in and leave it, this is how the cupcakes will turn out.

If you use the back of a spoon to move the batter to the sides.....

...the cupcakes will come out more uniform.

Now...using red icing, I used cream cheese icing, make ruffles with a #104 petal tip most of the way around the outer part of the cupcake.

Again with a #104 tip and orange icing, make a ruffle inside the red ruffle.

With yellow icing, use a #103 tip to make the final ruffle.

Tip #7 and brown icing was used to make the turkey neck.  Start at the bottom, letting the icing build up and then move the tip up through the yellow icing. 

Using orange and tip #3, make a beak.  With another #3 tip make the waddle.

White and a #3 tip was also used to make the eyes.

Add brown dots in the center of the white with a tip #2.

Here's my sweet girl enjoying something that she can eat from the dessert table at Thanksgiving.
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