December 23, 2011

New Honey Bunches of Oats Coupon - $1.00/off a box

There is a new coupon out today for $1.00/off a box of Honey Bunches of Oats - which will score you a pretty cheap box of cereal, especially if you wait til they go on sale!


December 22, 2011

My Christmas Food Timeline

Just as I did for Thanksgiving, I have done my Christmas food timeline as well. With Thanksgiving, I just had to the one meal - but for Christmas, we have a few more food traditions than that.  This timeline doesn't even go into the things like Christmas cookies, sausage balls, etc - but it keeps me sane, and keeps me organized!

  • Christmas Stocking Snack (to eat while opening stockings) - Crockpot Hot Cocoa & Grandma Millie's Oatmeal Cookies

Friday, December 23rd

Saturday, December 24 

Sunday - Christmas!  December 25

  • As soon as we get up, brew some coffee, preheat the oven, get the breakfast casserole in the oven, and throw a pile of trash bags in the living room to keep the unwrapping of presents trash at bay 
  • Turn on A Christmas Story on the TV, and get to opening up the Christmas presents!
  • Breakfast Casserole should be done by the time all the presents are opened - so time to pull that fruit salad out of the fridge & get to eating!
  • Set the table
  • Prep the green beans & bacon
  • Get the prime rib in the oven
  • Pop all the sides from the fridge in the oven an hour before time to eat
  • Make the macaroni & cheese
  • Make the biscuit dough, and pop them in the oven the minute the sides come out

My little timelines really make everything so much easier because I know what needs to be done at what time - and everything comes off without a hitch.  

Are you doing any sort of timeline this year?


Peppermint Candy Trays - and fluted bowls too!

Ok, so I am pretty happy with the outcome of this project I did. I made a tray and a bowl out of peppermint candies!  It is SO easy!  I know I'm going to make more, it's addictive.  But, I just had to show you this neat little craft.

All you need is peppermint candies of your color choice, and parchment paper.  I used both green and red - you could also use the same color.

Just line up the candies in whatever pattern and shape of your choosing on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Separate them just a tad, as shown.  

Bake it in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 7-10 minutes.  Remove and set it on a wire baking rack to cool for a few minutes.

Make sure you watch that time!!  You do not want it to over cook it. Refer to the photo below & don't repeat my mistake!

After a few minutes, carefully remove the parchment paper.  Remember, these are fragile.  Don't get upset if all of it doesn't come off - you aren't going to be looking at the backside.  Let the tray cool at room temperature for a couple hours.  Do NOT place in the fridge to get it to cool faster - it will crack. I learned this the hard way.

When it has cooled for several hours, it is ready to use.  It should not be sticky - it should dry to be smooth & glossy.  Do not use it to serve hot substances on.  Stick with things like fudge, cookies, candy, and such.  There should not be any flavor of the candies on the food.

You can also try your hand at making a bowl.  I made a small fluted edge candy dish.  My ends were just starting to cook for too long, but since it had just started, it kind of gave the edges a stained glass look.  

Or so I tell myself. 

To make a bowl, after it has cooled for a few minutes - set the candy inside of a bowl with the parchment paper still attached.  Using a dishtowel, press down very gently to form the shape of a bowl.  If it hangs off the edge of the bowl a little, it will form a fluted edge.  Remember now - gentle!

This is a great little craft to make with the kiddos too.  If at first you don't succeed, try again - and remember, timing & gentleness is everything!  


Check out all the wonderful blog parties that I link up with!

December 21, 2011

Tide Free and Gentle - 50oz (Pack of 2) $9.67 shipped!

List Price - $31.29
Sale Price + Subscribe & Save - $10.17
Clip the $0.50 coupon on the product page (scroll down a little)
Total - $9.67 shipped  
Shipping is always free with subscribe & save!

After the item has shipped, you can cancel the subscribe & save at any time!


Stretch Island Fruit Leather - Only $0.36 each!

Amazon is having a bunch of year end deals on groceries, and the Stretch Island Original Fruit Leather are among them.  My kiddos love these, and these are the only fruit snacks that I really do feel good about giving them.  Read the description on the product page and see what I mean.  


Authentic Tamales - with your crockpot's help!

Every year for Christmas Eve dinner, I make homemade tamales - and I have done so for many years.  It took me quite some time to come up with that 'perfect' recipe.  I made different recipes I found in cookbooks & online, and even though they were quite good, they just weren't the one.

These, however....this little gems are by far the one.  The best recipes come from trial & error - and baby, I had many errors before these came about. From a dry tamale to a tamale that the masa wasn't cooked through on - heck, I've even ran people out of my house with tears pouring down their face with the bright idea of boiling dried peppers to add to the mix.  

My apologies to that poor cable man.

Now, these do take some work - but they make a lot, and once you taste them you will know that the time and effort that goes into these is well worth it.  If you have leftovers, please send them to me they freeze beautifully.  Making the meat in the crockpot takes away a lot of that work though. 

 Gotta love the slow cooker! 

Chicken Tamales - Just swap out the beef for chicken & use chicken broth

I like to make the meat the day before I assemble the tamales.  You can sub out the beef for chicken too.  The meat is SO GOOD, and it is great used in a variety of Mexican recipes - like tacos & enchiladas.  Don't just limit the meat recipe to these tamales.  I don't.

The Mrs's Homemade Tamales


For the The Meat Filling:
  • 1 (4 pound) beef chuck roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 (7oz) cans diced green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 (5oz) bottles hot sauce (I like Franks)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • *water & 1 beef bouillon cube

For the Masa Dough:
  • 3 cups lard (or vegetable shortening, although it won't be as moist)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 9 cups masa harina
  • 5 cups beef broth
For the wrapping:
  • 3 (8oz) packages corn husks


Salt & pepper the chuck roast on each side.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and brown the roast on each side.  Place the roast in a slowcooker & top with the onion, green chiles, chili powder, garlic powder, & hot sauce.  Pour in enough water to cover 1/3 of the roast & toss in the beef bouillon cube.

Cover & cook on high for 6 hours, checking to be sure there is always at least a small amount of liquid in the bottom.  Reduce heat to low & continue cooking for another 2 hours.

Shred the meat, and let it cool.  Taste it, and add more hot sauce if you want it spicier.  I like mine plenty spicy.  I refrigerate mine overnight & assemble the tamales the next day.

Soak the corn husks in a large container full of warm water & allow to soak for 3 hours.

Now, for the masa.  Place the lard & salt in a large mixing bowl & beat on high speed until fluffy.  Add masa harina & beat at a low speed until combined. Pour in beef broth a little at a time while mixing until the masa is the consistency of soft cookie dough.

Drain water from husks.  One at a time, flatten out each husk, with the narrow end facing you, and spread about 2 tablespoons of prepared masa mixture onto the top 2/3 of the husk.  Spread about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture down the middle of the masa.  Roll up the corn husk starting at one of the long sides.  Fold the narrow end of the husk onto the rolled tamale & tied with a piece of cooking twice or a small strip of corn husk.

Place tamales in a steamer basket in a stockpot.  Steam over boiling water for 1 hour, or until masa is firm & holds it shape.

Make sure the pot doesn't run out of water!  


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December 20, 2011

Breakfast Casserole - A Christmas Tradition

Breakfast Casserole has definitely become a Christmas morning tradition for our family.  It's so easy that it could definitely be made throughout the year, but Christmas is the one time that it has to be on the table.  I prep it the night before, and pop it in the fridge.  Then, when we get up in the morning - I pop it in the oven & it is ready by the time we have finished unwrapping the presents.  

Now, you have to excuse my pictures here, both the quality & the amount.  I wanted to share this recipe with you, but since I only make it on Christmas morning - I haven't made it since last year.  I guess I'm lucky I even have pictures of it, but they certainly weren't taken with the intentions of putting it on the Mrs.  They were just part of normal picture taking on Christmas, capturing every memory that I can - with an old point & shoot camera, that is!

This recipe is a must-try though.  It is so very yummy!

Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 slices white bread, toasted & cut into cubes
  • 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded


Crumble sausage in a skillet & cook ever medium heat until evenly browned.  Drain.

In a medium bowl, mix together mustard powder, salt, eggs, & milk.  Add the sausage, bread cubes, & cheese - stir to coat evenly.  Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Cover, & chill in refrigerator for 8 hours - or overnight.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Cover, & bake 50 - 60 minutes.  Uncover, & reduce reduce temperature to 325 degrees.  Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until set.


December 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 12/19/2011

Christmas is this weekend - it's crazy how fast it has snuck up on me this year.  So, this week our menu consists of Christmas dinner, along with our Christmas Eve tradition of homemade tamales.  Yum.  

  • Tamales (scroll down to the first review which is mine to see how I do mine up) & Horchatta (Christmas Eve)


Check out many other menu plans over at OrgJunkie!

December 18, 2011

Makin' You Crave Monday

Welcome to another edition of Makin' You Crave Monday.  Can you believe that Christmas is this weekend?  It got here so fast this year for me!  

This week, I am sharing my newest cookie creation - Praline Chocolate Toffee Cookies with the party 'cus you can't do Christmas without cookies.  Right?

Here are my favorites from last week's party.

Mint Chocolate Christmas Tree Brownies from What's Cooking Love

Candy Cane Blossoms from With Love and Chevrons

Rocky Road Fudge from Pam's Party Planning

Grab a featured button if you like for those who were featured - and a big round of thanks to everyone who shared!  I am looking forward to seeing what treats are brought this week!

The rules are simple:
  1.  Link up your actual blog post url, not your homepage.
  2. You must follow this blog on at least one network (i.e. Google,FacebookTwitter, etc)
  3. A link must be made back here from your blog post or you can grab the button to display on your page from the sidebar.
  4. Leave a comment after linking.
  5. You may link up as many recipes as you like
  6. Visit other links in the blog party & leave a comment.


December 17, 2011

Praline Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Coming up with new recipes is a favorite pastime for me.  Seriously.  I have a notebook on my nightstand for those 'ah-ha' moments that come to me as I'm laying in bed at night.  

I don't eat to live - I live to eat.

These cookies was one of those 'ah-ha' moments, although they didn't come at night like most of mine do.  This one came as I was looking through my baking cabinet - craving something sweet, but not wanting to go to the grocery store either.  

I pulled out some toffee chips, pecans, chocolate chips, brown sugar - and I thought, 'Hey why not put a praline spin on a cookie? Oooh...with chocolate....and toffee!'

Sometimes these little cooking adventures work out, and sometimes they don't.  This one though - worked out very much.  Does that make sense?  I don't really care.  I want another cookie.

Praline Chocolate Toffee Cookies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 (11.5oz) bag of toffee baking bits
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time; stir in the vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt - stir into the creamed mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips, toffee bits, and pecans.  Drop by tablespoon fulls onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven.  Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


Check out all the blog parties that I link up with!


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