Friday, December 31, 2010

Aunt Betty's Chocolate Pie

Every year at Christmas, my sweet Aunt Betty would make the most amazing chocolate pie. My cousin, Sarah, and I would get our slice of pie first to make sure that we got a piece. Over the years, Aunt Betty stopped making our beloved chocolate pie. Now my Aunt Betty is suffering in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. Sarah asked her last week for the recipe. Aunt Betty delivered. So without further ado, I give you "Aunt Betty's Chocolate Pie."

1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
dash of salt
4-6 egg yolks
4 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 tablespoons sugar

In heavy sauce pan, comping sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt. Beat egg yolks and add small amount of milk. Pour into sugar mixture. Pour in rest of milk. Cook over medium heat until thick. This may appear to be lumpy. Add butter and vanilla. Pour into baked pie shell. To with meringue. Bake 375 until brown.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Easy Pretzel Kisses

I love simple. I love tasty.

These are both.

Great for gifts, parties and just general holiday munching. Merry Christmas!

Holiday Pretzel Kisses
1 bag buttersnap pretzels (square kind)
1 bag Hershey kisses
1 bag Holiday M&Ms (there will be lots leftover)

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line pretzels on cookie sheet. Unwrap kisses and place one on each pretzel. Heat in oven for 5 minutes to soften kisses, but not completely melt. Remove from oven and immediately press one M&M in center of each kiss. Put in fridge to harden. Share or keep them all to yourself!

These would make a great gift for a teacher, neighbor, babysitter, get the idea.

Now go get the kids and make some!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homemade Hot Cocoa

My husband began making me homemade hot chocolate when we first were married. I had grown up with the instant packet stuff with the hard marshmallows and was reluctant to try his stove-top concoction. Now I only drink the mix stuff in a pinch (and usually the gourmet kind...I know, I know).
I think the most important part is to use milk, not water. You can't get a rich flavor with just water.
I usually just pour milk in the pot until it looks right, add in some cocoa powder and sugar and stir, tasting along the way and making adjustments. When I made it last night, I measured everything out so I could pass the recipe along. Feel free to taste along the way too and adjust to your likings.

Homemade Hot Cocoa
Makes 2-3 servings

2 1/2 c milk (any type you like, the fattier the richer)
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghirardelli makes it even more delicious)
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Toppings, optional: marshmallows, whipped cream, cinnamon
Stir all ingredients together with a whisk in a medium pot until combined. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly {it will burn if left unstirred for too long} until hot. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

EASY and fun holiday treats to make with your kids!

If you’re looking for something fun to do with your children over the holiday break or need an idea for their Christmas party, hopefully this will get you started! At my monthly MOPS meeting last week, we made all sorts of fun, and very easy, treats. These are perfect for you to make with your kids, and they will love them! Thanks Lindsey for all of the great ideas!

Nutter Butter Reindeer Cookies
*You could use a Vienna Finger cookie if your child has a peanut allergy.

1. Lay out 1 nutter butter on your plate.

2. Take 1 pretzel and very gently break the bottom (round part) of the pretzel off. You will be left with the 2 loopy parts.

3. Using white cookie icing (found in the cake decorating section) or regular icing, “glue” the pretzel antlers to the top of the cookie.

4. Use the frosting to glue either 2 chocolate chips or 2 brown (or green or blue) M&M’s for the eyes.

5. Use the frosting to glue 1 red M&M for the nose.

Edible Wreaths
1. Spread ½ of a mini bagel with cream cheese (green food coloring was added to the cream cheese and was beat with the hand mixer)

2. Add raisins and craisins to the bagel to create berries.

3. Tear apart a string from a  twizzler stick (Use the kind you can peel) and do your best to create a bow and stick it to your edible wreath.

Candy Airplane
1. Use 1 package of smarties (this will be the body of your airplane)

2. Use one 5 stick package of gum. (these are your wings). Place the gum perpendicular to the smarties…. On top of the smarties, forming a “T”

3. Get 2 lifesavers (wheels) and 1 rubber band.

4. Put the rubber band through the holes of the lifesavers.

5. Pull the rubber band ends around the ends of the gum package to hold the gum into place.

Magic Reindeer Food
Mix the following in a plastic bag:
½ cup bird seed
½ cup cheerios
½ cup oatmeal
A good shake of colored sugar (at least 1 tsp)

Tie closed with red ribbon. Your children will be so excited to sprinkle this “animal-friendly” reindeer food in your yard or driveway on Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Easy and Healthy Blueberry Muffins

I have tried many versions of homemade blueberry muffins.  I can say that these are my absolute go-to recipe.  Not only are they easy to make, they are flavorful, healthy and my kids devour them!   {Oh, and they freeze well too!}

Hope you enjoy them!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Passionate Homemaking)

Yield: 12 regular muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sucanat or granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 TBSP butter or coconut oil, melted
3/4 c + 3 TBSP unsweetened applesauce
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1-2 tsp raw sugar (optional, but adds nice texture)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or use paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together applesauce, sucanat/granulated sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.

3. Evenly sprinkle raw sugar over each muffin. Just need a little, it gives them a nice sweet, crunch.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. These can be frozen for up to 1 month.