With only a couple of days to spare, I am finally feeling somewhat caught up!
I hope some of my little mishaps can help you to avoid them.
I tried a new recipe using miniature marshmallows (I usually make the old fashioned), and it did NOT set up properly! This was probably due to not using a candy thermometer and heating to the proper temperature for the proper time.
Here is what you can do with gooey fudge:
1. Use as fudge topping for ice cream.
2. Mix in more powdered sugar for cake frosting
3. Drizzle on cheesecake or pastries
4. Try reheating for fifteen minutes.
5. If it is thick enough, coat hands in vegetable oil, and roll into small balls. Coat in chocolate for homemade bon-bons. (This is what I did.)
Hot cocoa gifts in a jar
These turned out pretty well, however, for better dissolving quality, run a few cups at a time in your food processor.
6 ½ cups powdered milk
1 cup chocolate drink mix
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup powdered sugar
1/3 powdered coffee creamer (Pick desired flavor.)
Makes 2 quart jars.
I used cleaned iced tea containers, mayo jars, and older wide-mouthed canning jars. To prepare hot chocolate, fill cup 1/3 with cocoa mix and add boiling water.
Lots of great recipes online, but for extra moist and chewy brownies, add ¼ cup real mayo. It sounds strange, but it works…for cakes as well! You cannot taste the mayonnaise.
Original toll-house chocolate chip cookies
Substitute ½ the butter that is called for in the recipe with vegetable shortening. This will make your cookies chewy, bendable, and super delicious!
Old fashioned Oatmeal Raison
Take cookies out of the over 3-5 minutes earlier than recipe calls for. Allow to cool completely. I think they are better this way, because it makes them very soft and super yummy.
Rice crispy treats
Make wreaths, Christmas trees, stockings, boxed gifts, etc. out of the treats. I did wreaths using green food coloring and mini m & m’s.
Vanilla almond cupcakes
I used the recipe for firm cake on Wilton’s site. They are super good, and very firm for decorating. I made the marshmallow fondant from that site as well. It’s pretty easy to work with, and tastes better than gum paste fondant.
Just use original toll-house recipe (Substituting ½ shortening for butter), and add mint chips.
Other tips & discoveries
Contrary to popular belief, they are not really poisonous. They may cause stomach irritation if your pet ingests them, but usually that is about it. Humans may develop an itchy rash if they are sensitive to milk weed. To care for them, keep in a warm, humid, area with no drafts! Remember they are a tropical plant!
According to ancient Christmas custom, a man and a woman who meet under a hanging of mistletoe were obliged to kiss. The custom may be of Scandinavian origin. It was described in 1820 by American author Washington Irving in his “The sketch book of Geoffrey Crayon.”
These fleece winter shirts are becoming an obsession in my family. Unfortunately they run about $45 a piece! I found a few at local upscale thrift stores for a fraction of that. I simply boxed them with a few new items like matching socks, nail polish, or scarves.
I have only recently began exploring the photo-shop capabilities, and other useful applications of this program. (I used to think it was just something for the kids to fool around on.) I have made e-book covers, cd covers, dvd cases, recipe booklets, and more using paint lately! Lots of tutorials available on the net.
We did our run-down country porch for only $10. That included the lights, wreath, and poinsettias. More thrift store finds, and homemade items!
Power outage preparedness:
We were without power all evening on Thursday night due to the winter storm. I was able to cook dinner on our wood stove using my cast iron cookware. My family ate a skillet-supper of potatoes, eggs, ham, and cheese. Candles adorned the table and it was actually sort of nice! Also, LED lights are a lot brighter than typical flashlights, and last much, much longer. Also, keep hand sanitizer on hand, and a five gallon bucket of water for flushing the toilet!
Wishing you all a very safe and very Merry Christmas!