Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Plan

Cannot believe it is Christmas Eve's Eve tonight. Our tradition for Christmas eve is to have my husband's parents and visiting grandparents over for dinner and candlelight church service. The grandparents won't be here this year as one grandmother isn't up for it and the others came for Thanksgiving. This year it will be my family of four and my in laws. We're going to church earlier, this year and cooking after. We're doing our own version of Chopped. I have the dessert course four secret ingredients bought, and my husband will do an appetizer and main course ingredients. Then he will have to cook dessert with his partner. We will draw partners, which will be three pairs. Then we will draw courses, except for my husband and his partner, who will do dessert, as I mentioned. Then we will make our course with our four surprise ingredients.

Our Christmas Eve tradition is to make something different than we have before. We've done fondues, appetizers, monte cristo sandwiches, roast beef, among other things. My husband and I enjoy watching food network channel shows together in the evening. Chopped is one of the shows we like to watch together, and as they reveal ingredients, decide if we have ideas for what we would cook with them... I usually have an idea to make with two of the ingredients... but then the third or fourth I am sure I would crack under the timed pressure! :) Just in case, my mother-in-law is bringing a basic salad. :)

As we get closer to the holiday, I wish my parents lived closer, so we could have them over to do fun things like this.

We made several goodies over the last few days. We covered pretzels with white chocolate, and melted Andes chocolate mints, we made peppermint patty brownies (brownie batter on the bottom of the pan, then patties, then more batter, basically) frosted sugar cookie cut-outs, peanut blossom cookies-some with chocolate kisses and some with peanut butter cups-, no bake cookies, and some peppermint/chocolate cookies we had premade dough for. We didn't make our traditional peanut butter pinwheels, peppermint candy cane cookies, jingle jammin bars or haystacks. We took a break this year (although peanut butter pinwheels are my favorite. :))

May you and yours have a wonderful, safe, blessed holiday season!! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

One Little Word

I have, once again, been revisiting my "one little word". Here are some posts about my previous words: here and here.
My words in the past have been faith, peace, grace and this year I'm thinking Read.
I have forgone book reading for tv watching or computer/online reading, so I want to read more books, again.
I have forgone reading the scale as the numbers continue to climb.
I have not been reading the news or newspaper (except the comics) since I dislike news that makes me sad inside, but I do need to be more informed on our government-national and local-as well as other issues and things I can do about them.
I also need to get back to reading my Bible. I go in streaks. It's always something I want to do, and feel I need to do, but I haven't been picking it up lately. It would be such a good example for my girls, too.
I need to "read" pictures to get back to retelling a story-in my scrapbooking; it's a tremendous gift of memories to give my family.
I need to write down and read my goals, to become the person I want to be-the example, good wife, mother and teacher I want to be.

Have you given any thought to your one little word? Hope all is well, Dear Reader. :)

Hot Chocolate

Hello! It's been far too long since I posted. I haven't been sitting around, melancholy since my last post, just busy trying to finish up the last few days of school, and of course, getting ready for the holidays. I still have gifts to buy and to wrap... with less than a week to go! So, this post will be short, then hopefully I will get to add another later today. It's on my to-do list so it will get done, right? :) Saw this on another blog from Katie at the Daily Digi and loved the ideas! Which ones will you try? I thought some of the ingredients with a plain hot cocoa mix would be a nice hostess (or other) holiday gift, too! Enjoy, Dear Reader and Happy Holidays! :)

"This is the time of year when I (Katie) love to drink hot chocolate. My daughter and I often enjoy a cup at breakfast or as a late afternoon pick-me-up. One of our favorite parts of this routine has been to create new flavors by adding various mix-ins or combining more than one type of cocoa mix. Why not have a little fun?!

Here are some of our favorite mix-ins and mashups:

*Add a scoop of ice cream to a cup of steaming hot chocolate. It cools it right off and makes it extra creamy.
*Use sundae toppings to add a little flavor. We like a spoonful of caramel topping added into plain hot chocolate.
*Stir a spoonful of seedless raspberry or strawberry jam into a cup of hot cocoa. Raspberry is especially good with a darker chocolate.
*Squirt whipped cream (from a can) on top of the hot cocoa and add festive sprinkles.
*Add chocolate orange candy sticks (or a chocolate orange candy wedge) to a cup of warm cocoa and stir to melt.
*Cherry cordial Hershey kisses (only available at Christmas and Valentine’s Day) are also good stirred in and melted to either milk or dark hot chocolate.
*Mint chocolate chips are another great add-in.
*If a flavored cocoa mix is too strong, combine it with another flavor – such as Belgian dark chocolate mixed with French vanilla.
*Use flavored coffee creamers to mix in with hot cocoa.
*Cinnamon powder can be added to hot cocoa for a little extra flavor
*Chili powder or a shot of hot sauce can be added for an extra kick!
*Make hot cocoa with milk instead of water for a creamier treat.
*Buy seasonal marshmallow Peeps (we like snowmen) and float one on top of your hot chocolate.
*Use flavored marshmallows like strawberry or toasted coconut ones to add to a cup of cocoa.
*Experiment with a few drops of extracts like almond, orange, or raspberry.
*Add Andes mints or a York peppermint patty to a cup of hot chocolate and stir to melt.
*Stir your hot cocoa with a candy cane or add crushed candy cane pieces.
*Use a chocolate dipped spoon to stir hot chocolate.
*Garnish your hot cocoa with chocolate shavings and whipped cream.
*Buy some Mexican hot chocolate at a Mexican market or specialty grocery store. It’s delicious!
*If you are looking for a great recipe for homemade hot chocolate, Janet posted one last year so be sure to check it out.

Oh, and if you are wondering what the difference is between “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa”, I found this tweet from Foodimentary – Did you know that “hot Cocoa” is cocoa powder and hot water while “hot Chocolate” has added milk or cream? I had no idea – Both are yummy in my book!"