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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Every year I post about the Christmas tree fight that my husband and I have every year, whether it be the size & shape of the tree, getting the trunk into the stand, or my personal favorite:  untangling the lights.
I am happy to report that there was no fight this year – I just did it myself.
Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays

ES

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Traditions

We didn’t have a Christmas tree fight this year – We left Hubby at home.
We left him at home sorting thru the Christmas lights. 
Never fear though, we had a Christmas tree lights fight instead.
After 3 hours of growling, complaining and the occassional curse – he finally decided to go out and buy “fresh lights.”
It may not be “green” but I think that tree lights should just expire after one use – some of ours were going on 20 years old.

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Looking for a place to hide a Christmas present fast?
Remember the bread machine that you got for Christmas  – the one you’ve never used? 
Granted it does make you look very domestic while it sits on the kitchen counter. 
Just open the top and hide the gift inside the machine.  You might want to make a list of those crazy hiding places – just in case you forget where you cleverly hid that gift. 
This is also an excellent place to hide those bags of Rollo’s that you just smuggled into the house for your special Rolo Brownie recipe.
Are you hoping that I’ll share that too? 

Rolo Brownie Tartlets

One bag Rolo chocolate candies
One box of your favorite brownie mix
Tiny muffin cups
Tiny muffin pan

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions
Put one muffin cup liner in each muffin cup
Unwrap the Rolo’s – this is very important

With a tablespoon fill the liners about 1/2 full
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for approximately 15 – 20 min
Don’t let them bake too long. 

Remove from oven and push one Rolo candy into each brownie – the smaller side down. 
Cool for a few minutes and then carefully remove tartlets from pan

Once these are cool a great hiding place is inside your bread machine. 
Feel free to let people think you slaved for hours making these – I do!

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Never before at Christmas time have I ever had the gifts wrapped before midnight on Christmas morning.   Often hubby and I  were both bleary-eyed when our three boys woke up to open presents.  Where is the coffee? 
This afternoon my youngest went out with one of his brothers and I had over six hours to my self.
 
I thought I could clean the tub and take a hot bath without expecting someone to come bursting to ask if I had seen this or that.  And then, I heard an angel chorus….I could get all the Christmas presents wrapped!  I could even use the big table and not have to hide in our bedroom.  I wouldn’t have to lean over the bed, wrapping on top of the comforter; having to be careful not to cut fabric when I cut the wrapping paper. 

After about 3 hours, Pete and Sam called to say they were on their way home…”Did I need anything?”  “Yes,” I shouted, “I need you to stay gone two more hours!”  Sam wanted to know if I was wrapping stuff for him…he wants a razor scooter…the kind that sparks.  “No,” I said, “I don’t think there’s anything here for you yet.” 
Five hours later, I had everything wrapped…including the skooter….buried behind the tree.  Stocking stuffers are in five separate bags, ready to go when my family is down for the night.  I have a  new bottle of cough syrup to go in my stocking.  The kitty treats and toys are in their own gift bags.  

When hubby got home from work and the boys returned from the movies we had bowls of Superbowl Soup (shameless plug for past post) and corn bread.  I still haven’t asked what movie they saw, (maybe I don’t want to know) while enjoyed two more hours of wrapping in peace. 

This evening I walked past the tree.  There, hiding underneath was AJ, with her face buried in her gift bag. 
Even she can’t wait for Christmas.

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     It must have been in the mid 1980’s when this famous fudge recipe was published in the local paper.  I remember wanting a new fudge recipe and since this was from my favorite candy store, I was excited to try it for the holidays. 

     This candy store is in the Western United States…as far as Texas…I believe…a very familiar white and black box….to walk in any of their stores and take a deep breath is pure heaven.  That’s how my kitchen smells when I make it, so it’s worth the effort. 

     It is very satisfying when this recipe works for another reason.

     I LOVE the look on family and friend’s faces when they take that first bite.  I suppose it’s close to voyeurism but….I’ve even come up with a new lexicon for it….

“Fudge Porn”…  The look on someone’s face when biting into fudge I made for Christmas.  “The look on her face as she inhaled the piece of fudge was *%!#^*&#. “   (This is a family show.)

     This is a tricky recipe.  I am sure that seasoned candy makers will read the following recipe and say, “That’s easy!”  There’s nothing to it!”  But one of the first years I made it, all did not go according to plan. 

     Money was tight and candy ingredients were expensive, at least it seemed that way to me.  We had planned to give this famous fudge as Christmas gifts.  I bought all the ingredients; I had purchased cute holiday pans.  Everything was assembled; even my husband was willing to help. 

     I was at the stove stirring, and stirring.  I followed the recipe to the letter.  The mixture had come to a boil, maybe it had boiled too long before the temperature was lowered.  Maybe it was because it was raining outside….but even after it went through the mixing cycle, it never got dull or thick.  It went into the refrigerator to chill and harden, and it never did. 

Seriously.  It. NEVER.  Hardened.  Viagra & Cialis wouldn’t have helped. 

There was no way that I was going to waste all that chocolate and butter. 

     What did I do, you ask?  We incurred the additional expense of canning jars; we slapped fancy homemade labels on the jars and we presented gifts of Gourmet Hot Fudge Sauce to our friends and family.  I don’t think they knew before this very moment that the recipe went haywire and that’s why I could never duplicate it again. 

     I am sure that someone out there would disagree, but my advice?  Don’t make this fudge recipe when it’s raining. 

Famous Fudge: 

1/2 cup real butter

1 cup Nestle Semi – Sweet Morsels

1 teaspoon Watkins vanilla, or your favorite brand. 

2 cups C & H pure cane sugar

5  and 3/4 ounces of a cup Carnation Evaporated Milk

10 large Jet Puffed Marshmallows (no more, no less)

     Combine butter, chocolate, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.  Place sugar, milk and marshmallows in a HEAVY medium saucepan.  Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 6 minutes stirring constantly.  Pour the hot ingredients over the ingredients in the mixer bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer until fudge is thick and dull.  This should not take very long.  Pour into a 8 inch baking pan. Refrigerate several hours or over night.  Makes 36 squares.

Cooks Notes: 

     Now honestly, are you really going to take all this time and then just make an 8 inch pan of fudge?  No, I thought not.  You are going to double the recipe.  You will be using a 13×9 pan, lightly sprayed with Baker’s Joy or similar product.

    Proceed with the recipe, but double the ingredients.  When you reach the evaporated milk, you are going to use the 12 oz standard size can.  However, you will NOT be using a full can.  Instead, measure out approximately 1/2 oz of the milk and discard, or pour in your coffee.  You want to add 11 and 1/2 ounces. 

     As far as the marshmallows go….20 total….yes, I know I thought it would be fine to add more too…but those were the times when I had to go out and buy canning jars.  By-the-way, that’s happened, twice. 

     While you are cooking the milk, sugar and marshmallows, you are going to notice that there will be/ might be a streak of “brown” in the milk/sugar/marshmallow mixture that will make you think that it is burning on the bottom.  I lift the pan off the heat, lower the heat and return the pan to the stove all while still stirring.  (I was multi-tasking before it was popular or even had a name.)   

     When the mixture comes to a boil, I watch for 8 – 10 bubbles of boiling, lift the pan from the heat, lower the temp and continue to stir for 6 minutes.  Be sure that you set the timer. 

     Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate, vanilla and butter.  As you begin the mixer, be careful as the sticks of butter are going to “shoot” through the moving beaters.  Butter, that has been softened, NOT melted, is a good idea.  As you scrape the batter bowl, you will start to notice that the chocolate mixture is no longer shiny.  I generally blend in the mixer bowl for about 5 minutes.

     Pour into the prepared pan and place in the lower part of your refrigerator.  In about an hour, check the pan.  If it doesn’t move when you tip it in either direction….Houston!  We have fudge.  If it doesn’t?

     You too will be schlepping off to the store to buy canning jars.

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christmas_tree     For those of my fans…..I think there are two of you….who have been following the saga of the heritage albums that were being created as Christmas gifts for my in-laws….our tale continues…

     When we last heard from our heroine, it was the 11th hour and the albums were still not finished.  On the 23rd, I was up until 2 am and the same for Christmas Eve, or should I say Christmas Day?  They were finally complete at 10 am Christmas morning.  Once again I said to my husband as I wrapped his family’s gifts….”Do you really think they will like them?”  “Yes dear, I think they will love them!” 

     Later Christmas Day, after dinner was eaten, tables were cleared, left overs were divvied up…it was time for exchanging gifts. Perhaps it was the turkey/ham/tamale high that led to the assorted “oooh’s and ahhh’s” as each gift was opened.  This year, someone had the grand idea to switch the tradition from going from youngest to oldest, leaving Sam to wait, surprisingly patiently, for his turn to open his gifts.

     When all the gifts were opened, some of us were contemplating tackling the dirty dishes before Round Two….dessert….I said, “Oops! I forgot two gifts.”  I brought out two huge, brightly wrapped boxes and placed them in front of their recipients.  I also grabbed the tissue box from the kitchen.

     Before long, the tears were falling and the “ooh’s” were quite sincere. When I was asked how I found this invitation or that photo, I just smiled.  “It’s a secret,”  I said.  They had a different answer…”You’re awesome!  This is the best gift I have ever received!”

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Okay – It’s the eleventh hour…..
The fabulous gifts for my in-laws are still not finished. They are with-in hours though…..I hope.
I really should have realized that making two albums for lives over 7 + decades long was going to take me more than a month…..no thanks to the photo developer in my area…who will remain nameless…..
I had big plans to share special recipes on my blog….doesn’t look like that is happening…

The last time a pulled an “all-nighter” was when I was in college…and no, I’m not sharing how long ago that was. 
I have managed not to get the latest bug that is going around…knock on wood, Formica, and Prego flooring…..Where is my Emergen-C?

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