Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's Time To Go

The putting away of the Christmas decorations has come and I dread this every year.  It takes forever to put all this out, and forever to put it all away.  I'm procrastinating, doing a little bit, having a fun day of lunch and Christmas clearance shopping with my sister, just what I need more Christmas decorations!  I took another day off to try and psych myself up to do this huge job.  Did a little more putting away and took a power nap,  see what I mean!  I feel like I am never going to get this done.  I am always so excited about setting it all up, because it looks so pretty, and don't like taking it all down, why do I do this to myself? 

You got it right Santa, hangin' out at the wine and liquor table!  It's going to be a long week.
Every year, I put all my "undecorating" decorations in the dining room, they get separated and piled everywhere.  It's the only room in the house that we use a couple times a year.  Then I go in at my leisure and pack things away.  The hubby will bring all of my containers up from storage and then he will carry them all down and put them away, he's a sweetie!
I gather things from each room in large laundry baskets and other large containers, keeps them safe from me dropping and breaking them.
 Table is piled high, but it's organized chaos.  All the greens with the greens, bows with bows, glass objects together, wreaths with wreaths, pictures with pictures and so on.
And my sister bless her heart, already started buying things for next year. I think I'm gonna need a bigger house!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Something Sweet Coming Your Way!

Christmas morning came and went so quickly this year, I guess it's because I spend most of my day in the kitchen.  Our kitchen really is the heart of our home.  Everyone who comes in, gathers around the counter and the kitchen table to snack on a variety of food items I put out before the big meal. We do have comfy couches and chairs in both the living room and family room, but everyone always chooses to gather in the kitchen, go figure. It's a busy day for everyone, and some do not eat breakfast because of all the running around they have to do that day.  I always try to have a breakfast item on the snack table to have with coffee or juice when they come in, it wakes them up!

So, every Christmas Eve I make a pan of my old fashion sticky buns, cover them and let them rise overnight.  I then bake them off in the morning, they're a special treat.  They only take about a half hour for piping hot, cinnamony, sticky, gooey, nut and raisin encrusted buns, you get the picture.  

This year I changed it up a bit to try something new, cinnamon buns on a smaller scale - Mini Cinnamon Buns made with puff pastry, they are so good we couldn't stop eating them!
Recipe below.
To print recipe, click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

I used a 24 cup mini muffin pan for two bite buns.
Sometimes you have to buy the the best brand to make something good, and sometimes you don't.  I used this packaged puff pastry that I found in the dairy section at GIANT.  It worked perfectly for the rolls,  I got exactly 24 mini rolls from one package for about $2.39, pretty inexpensive for something so good!
 You don't even have to roll the pastry dough out, just unfold it, brush with some melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and raisins, if you like them, we do! These are so easy to make, you will make them all the time.
 Pop those babies in the oven and watch them turn into something totally delicious.
 In about 30 minutes........
 AWESOMENESS, right there folks.
Perfect little cinny rolls coming right out of the oven, no frosting or glaze required, they are that good!
 And yea, the family kept eating them before everyone got here.  I think I said they were good already didn't I?
These are my old fashioned sticky buns, that I usually make on Christmas morning, check out that recipe on this blog (8/6/2013), they're great too.

Ingredients For The Topping
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans, or other nut you like

Directions For Topping
Preheat 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, with a fork or back of wooden spoon, mash the butter and the brown sugar together until all is combined.  Drop about a tablespoonful of filling into each cup of the muffin pan, then top each of the cups with chopped nuts, set aside.

Ingredients For The Filling
1 - 13.2 oz pkg WEWALKA Puff Pastry, GIANT dairy section
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins

Directions For The Rolls
Unfold pastry dough onto a floured board or other flat surface.  Brush the dough with the melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins.  Starting with the longest end of the dough, roll up tightly, tucking all the filling in as you roll. Make sure you finish rolling with the seam side down at the end.  Lightly pull on the dough at each end, to stretch just a little without tearing it.  Tuck the uneven ends under on each side.  For better measurement of the size of the rolls, cut the roll in half and then each half into twelve 1 inch pieces. You should have twenty-four 1 inch pieces when you are done cutting.

Place one of the rolls, cut side up, in each cup of the prepared muffin pan.  Brush each top with any remaining melted butter.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown and bubbly on top. Remove from oven, let stand for about 5 minutes. Flip the rolls out of the pan onto a parchment lined baking sheet larger than your muffin pan. Scoop out any remaining nuts from the pan and place on top of the muffins.  Serve warm or cold, they are great both ways.  Makes 24 buns.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

All Strength Comes From The Stomach....

So, I had to feed all 15 of the hungry elves making cookies at the cookie party on Saturday,  had to keep them strong.  I was always told, all strength comes from the stomach.  If you are fed, your body is capable of doing many things, like standing for 14.5 hours!   I made all the elves a nice sit down lunch with a variety of things to choose from, as well as dessert.  I had to keep them moving and baking!  Check out our lunch and my tablescape below.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

I started the girls off with two appetizers one was a "Pinecone" Cheese, Almond and Bacon Spread with Baguette Slices, and the other was Little Smokies Wrapped in Puff Pasty with Brown Sugar, Walnuts and Butter.
I tried to keep my food in theme with the party decor, rustic, so it was a chili bar, chock full of homemade chili and all the fixins'.
I made a no-mayo chicken salad, looked like wood chips!
 Spinach, cranberry, almond and feta cheese salad with a brown sugar vinaigrette or a sweet and sour dressing.
And Italian Wraps, they looked like logs!
However, dessert was not cookies! I served Homemade cheesecake with cherry topping and a pumpkin roll with orange cream cheese filling, it was delicious.
My party tablescape - Plaid fabric tablecloth covered the table, and burlap pinecone printed runner, two red trucks with decorated trees in the beds, two pine and pinecone garlands with deer antlers, rusty bells and thick twine rope, glitter deer heads, birch candles, birch logs and snow sprinkled on the trucks, went down the center of the table.  Each chair had a burlap printed "Merry Christmas" printed bow, with a galvanized initial of each guest attached to it, tied to their chair so they knew which chair and gifts were theirs.  The place setting consisted of a black charger, white holly rimmed dinner plates, a plaid deer or tree embossed salad plate, Ball jars with birch paper straws for drinks, flatware was wrapped in a birch printed paper napkin and tied with bakers twine, printed plaid water bottle wraps and deer printed party crackers completed the look. Almost all the decor was purchased at Hobby Lobby, The Christmas Tree Shop and Big Lots.
The Junior Elves had their own little nook in the dining room!
In the first gift bag......
 Everyone got a special Baking Babes Christmas Cookie Co. T-shirt so they didn't dirty their clothes.  The Junior Elves had one especially printed for them, it says JUNIOR ELF on it.
Second Gift Bag was loaded with Wolferman's English Muffins and Bonne Maman Jam - two of my favorite breakfast items.  Also in the bag was a boxed, Red Truck Vanilla Scented Christmas Candle with a timer, part of the continuing theme, a wood slice tree ornament and an enameled and glittered mixer/baking utensil tree ornament to remember Cookie Baking Party 2016.  
Party games were also played with gifts for the most answers to Christmas trivia questions.  I also had a raffle gift for all to take a chance of winning - an Ice Cream Sundae Tower, it included all the fixings for your own homemade sundaes with old fashion paper bowls and wood spoons.
The special drink of the day - White and Red Sangria made by my son's girlfriend, it was awesome!
CHEERS and a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, whatever holiday you are celebrating make it a good one!