Saturday, December 7, 2013

Craft Show + Lots of Christmas Baking - Countdown to Christmas - Day 7

On the seventh day of the Countdown to Christmas, we would have enjoyed staying indoors in the early morning. We woke to -20 degrees below zero...the temperature - not the windchill (which was even colder).

By the time we were ready to leave around 7:45 a.m., it had warmed up a few degrees to -16 degrees. It hovered there for much of the morning.

When the car temperature gauge reads -16 degrees, 
it's one of those days that staying inside looks very good.


Today was the Student Christmas Boutique at the homeschool co-op. Sophia and her friend Talia sold jewelry and other beaded items they made.

Sophia just learned to make beaded jewelry this year, and has enjoyed doing a variety of patterns.

This is the same pattern, but it has two different looks 
because of the types of beads that Sophia used.

She does  a lot with seed beads and other tiny beads versus the larger-size beads.

This is another bracelet Sophia made.

That being said, she also tried her hand at necklaces using larger beads.

This is a necklace Sophia made.

She also taught herself how to make earrings.

These are earrings that Sophia made.

Sophia also made some beaded key chains.

This is a key chain that Sophia made.

 In the afternoon, I made a variety of cookies for the Christmas play and fundraiser tomorrow.

Christmas pinwheels filled with raspberry jam.

I made a new recipe that I  used to create the pinwheels and cut-out cookies.

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
about 1/3 cup raspberry jam

Mix sugar, shortening, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Roll about 1/3 of the dough at a time into a 10-inch square on a lightly floured board. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Cut squares diagonally from each corner almost to the  center. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam on the center of each square. Fold every other point to the center to make a pinwheel. 

Place pinwheels on an ungreased cookie sheet. (Note: I sprayed the cookie sheet lightly.) Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 6 minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies. (Note: I made the squares smaller, but would be surprised if that many cookies could be made. Maybe the dough needs to be rolled out very thin.). 

Cut out cookies with sprinkles.

Found a recipe for peanut butter cookies that requires no cooking - just mix the filling and dip in melted almond bark.

No-cook peanut butter snowballs.

No-Cook Peanut Snowballs:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 pound white almond bark

In a bowl combine sugar, peanut butter, and butter. chill. Shape into balls. Place balls on cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Chill until firm. Melt almond bark according to instructions on package. Dip balls into melted almond bark and place them on wax paper until hardened.

Since the peanut butter cookies didn't use a lot of almond bark, I wanted to find another recipe that would the rest of it up. So, I made another recipe that used Spanish peanuts and pretzels covered in the almond bark.

Almond bark with pretzels and Spanish peanuts.

White Chocolate Pretzel Candy

1 pound white chocolate
1 cup Spanish peanuts
2-3 cups thin pretzel sticks, broken into pieces (I used 3 cups)

Melt chocolate in microwave or in double boiler. Mix the melted chocolate, the peanuts, and pretzels together. Spread mixture on greased cookie sheet. Refrigerate for two hours and break into pieces.

Another new recipe I tried was a four-layer fudge. Layer one is chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. The green layer is white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, food coloring, and mint extract. The third layer is chocolate chips and a bit of shortening. The top layer are Andes mint chips. Needless to say, the fudge is delicious.

Andes mint fudge.

2.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk, divided
1.5 cups white chocolate baking chips
1 teaspoons peppermint extract (or more, go by your taste preference)
2 drops green food coloring
1 teaspoon shortening
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and/or Andes Creme De Menth Baking Chips (I used the latter)

Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. Spray paper with non-stick spray and set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 1.5 cups chocolate chips with 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, stirring occasionally. Spread melted chocolate mixture into pan and chill for 5-10 minutes.

In another saucepan, melt white baking chips and remaining condensed milk, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and add peppermint extract and food coloring. Spread mint layer over chilled chocolate layer. Chill for 5-10 minutes as you make the final layer.

Melt remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips with 1 tsp shortening in the microwave in 30 second increments. Stir until completely smooth. Spread over chilled mint layer. Top with mini chocolate chips and/or Andes baking chips. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until fudge is completely set (could take up to 4 hours).

Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Fudge will freeze and thaw well.

I also made a caramel popcorn recipe using the fake popcorn which turned out well. Found out that this "popcorn' is good for people who have diverticulitis and can't have seeds, nuts, or popcorn. Someone we know has it, and she can only have this type of "popcorn."

Caramel corn, Andes mint fudge, and 
almond bark with pretzels and Spanish peanuts.

Old Dutch Caramel Corn

1 (9 ounce) bag of Old Dutch Puffcorn Curls
1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda

Place puffcorn curls in a large roaster pan. In a two-quart saucepan cook together for two minutes the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda. The baking soda will cause the mixture to foam, so a two-quart saucepan is necessary.

Pour the caramel mixture over the curls and stir until mixed. Place in a 250 degree oven for 45 minutes. Stir at least every 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, pour on wax paper, and break apart.

On the sixth day of Chalica, we focused on the Unitarian Universalist principle of world peace, liberty and justice for all. One of the ways we can do this is through environmental justice. We talked quite about about clean, accessible water for personal and domestic use. We all decided that it is something that we want to explore and potentially support during 2014.


Advent Reading

Luke 1:24-25 - After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”


Christmas Joke

What’s the difference between Santa’s reindeer and a knight?

(One slays the dragon, and the other’s draggin’ the sleigh.)


Christmas Fact

Today we learned about poinsettias:

A mass of poinsettias. The only place we can enjoy these is 
when they are displayed somewhere else. Poinsettias are toxic to cats.
With five cats, we don't want to take a risk of
having these beautiful plants in our home.

America’s first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, is the namesake for this native Mexican plant which he brought to America in 1828. The plant was likely used by Mexican Franciscans in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. Mexicans thought the plants symbolized the Star of Bethlehem, leading to its association with Christmas.

1 comment:

breakmydreams said...

Wow...yeah I would so stay in if it was that cold out :/

Love the jewelry :) If they sell any online one day let me/us know so that I can buy some if I have the money to do so at that time.

The cookies and holiday treats you made look really good :)

I love the fact and joke for Christmas :)