Friday, December 27, 2013

Memorial Globe Ornaments

We lost a very dear member of our family last week. Any loss so close to the holidays is difficult, and considering the time, I wanted to do something special in honor of our beloved family member.

I took a rose from the casket after the funeral. A friend gave me a box of empty globe ornaments, and I proceeded to pick the petals off one-by-one and filled the globes with them. They were a beautiful pink color.
 I wanted to complete the globes in time to give them to other family members, so to hasten the drying process, I placed them on a towel in a pan, and put them in the oven COLD. I turned the oven on (so the glass would heat slowly with the oven) and kept it very low, at *150, overnight. Until I went to bed, I shook the globes about every 30 minutes to keep the petals from sticking to each other.
 The next morning, I took the pan out of the oven and found the petals had changed in color, but were completely dried. There was no longer any concern for them molding in the globes.
 Syd went with me to the store to pick out ribbon. He also saw the ladybug buttons and really wanted to  buy them for the ornaments. We got home, and he slowly divided the buttons by the three globes we were preparing.
 After tying ribbons on the top to make a loop with which to hang the globes, I tied a ribbon around the neck of the globes. I also used superglue on the knots to make sure they didn't come undone. Once the glue was dried, I wrote "In Memory of " in puffy paint, including the family member's name.
These turned out beautifully. We have ours hanging on our Christmas tree at the moment, but I want to keep the Memorial Globe out year-round. My only concern, now, is finding a suitable place to house the globe throughout the year.

We'll miss you, Nannette. You will always be in our thoughts.

Rice Crispy "Coal" Snacks

My son is 4. And as much as we try to teach him the true meaning behind the holidays, and assert what we find to be most important, there is still plenty of room for fun not only as a family, but also because...well, he's 4. What a fun age for nearly every endeavor! 

That being said, I found a version of this recipe online and tweaked it (of course) and fell in love with it. It is really quite simple and the results are hilarious as well as delicious.

Rice Crispy "Coal" Treats

Begin with your standard recipe for rice cereal treats:

  • 6 cups of mini-marshmallows
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp black food coloring
  • 5 cups rice cereal
  • Approx 6 mega-stuff Oreos, crushed (around 1 cup)
-Melt the butter in a large pot. When it is melted, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and food coloring. 
-Swirl the combination until the food coloring has melted throughout the butter.
-Add the marshmallows and turn down the heat - allow to melt into the butter folding regularly.

-While the marshmallows take their dirty bath, crush the Oreos as much as possible (the mega-stuff prevents this somewhat) and mix into the rice cereal.
-Keep stirring the marshmallow mixture. I tried to squish the remaining lumps to help them melt faster. Try to ensure that the black is spread throughout the mixture.
-Toss everything together while the marshmallows are still warm. Be sure to fold gently. Spread parchment paper on your pan and drop by spoonfuls onto the pan so they look more like coal. Place in the refrigerator (or outside, depending on where you live!) until hardened.
-Eat and enjoy! They were truly yummy - the extra cream filling adds an interesting flavor to the standard crispy treat, enhancing the vanilla and subtly sweeter. And the cinnamon adds just a hint of spice that warms you on the cold nights.
Fair warning, though - the black food coloring does have its repercussions. We had a LOT of fun determining who was affected the most. No worries, though - as the night progressed and we continued to munch on chips, cookies, etc., the color wore off. I did look a little Goth for awhile with dark lips, though.

Fun times - especially if you can keep the black mouths a secret until everyone looks around and realizes what happened! I hope you enjoy and have someone "deserving" of coal!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Roasted Apple Crisp - Waste Not, Want Not

How often have you remembered you've some sad, lonely fruit or vegetable sitting around? I was yearning something sweet, and I knew I shouldn't let these sit any longer, so I decided to make my own version of quick Roasted Apple Crisp - with the crisp inside the apples!

Roasted Apple Crisp

  • Start with thoroughly cleaning the apples. I love this organic Veggie Wash - it just helps me feel I'm doing something good for my family, especially when we're unable to always obtain organic vegetables or fruits.

  •  Using a melon baller, scoop out the core. Make sure you leave part of the bottom intact so the juices and butter don't all escape. :-)

  • I mixed about a tablespoon of butter with 1/4 oatmeal, a tablespoon of brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves and cinnamon as well as a dash of salt. Mix the stuffing until it is crumbly.
  • Spoon the mixture into the apple cavities and place the tray in the toaster oven/oven. I used our toaster oven and set the temperature to around 375*. I would say the apples took about 20 minutes to roast.
They were so yummy! What a perfect way to curl up and read a book - with a cute little apple crisp topped with a dollop of whipped cream. I can see myself doing this on the nights that Steve and I curl up with our hot cocoa and just enjoy the tree lights and fireplace. The only thing missing is a gentle snowfall outside our windows.

What do you have lying around you'd like to repurpose? What methods do you use for cleaning out the cupboards and the fridge?

    Sunday, December 1, 2013

    Pumpkin Pie Surprise - Waste Not, Want Not

    I have a 4 year old. The result of having a small child is that there are often temperamental changes of mind on anything - clothing, activities, and most especially, food. Sydney accompanied me on our most recent grocery trip. He saw a box of chocolate graham crackers and promised promised promised he would love them and eat them and be a good boy.

    He didn't like them.

    Confession: I didn't like them when I tried them, exasperated that he wouldn't eat them.

    But I refuse to let decent food go to waste.

    So, I made miniature Pumpkin Pies out of them. I used a muffin tin so I could freeze them and eat them more slowly.

    Pumpkin Pie Surprise

    1. The first thing I did was crush up all 3 sleeves of grahams in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Sydney had a lot of fun helping Mommy punch the baggie to break up the crackers. I added a few teaspoons of cinnamon after the pieces were fairly small, just for fun and a little kick.
    2. Spray a 6 & 12 tin muffin tin with olive oil. You could probably use just the 12 but the cups would be very full.
    3. I melted a stick of butter, poured it into the baggie, and smooshed everything until it was fairly well-mixed.
    4. Add a spoonful of the crumbs to each tin and tamp it down.

    5. I beat 2 eggs really well and added 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg (the selling point! Smells so delectable!)
    6. Beat in about 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Beat in a 30 oz can of pumpkin pie filling (I usually buy just canned pumpkin, but had grabbed this one by mistake).
    7. Fill each cup to about 3/4 full and bake on 350* for about 20 minutes, or until the cups are firm in the center.Allow them to cool in the cups, then remove. 
    8. Store in a container in the fridge, or freeze individually.

    These were delicious! I know there are many variations of pie out there, but the chocolate crumb crust added a nice touch. Please let me know if you try this or something like it! I hope you enjoy!