Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Last Thing, Then Goodbye 2011

I've mentioned before that I collect dated ornaments each Christmas.  This was the very first one.  I received it as a gift in 1977, the year I moved out of my parent's house.  I've gotten one every year since. 


Now here we are, 35 years later, with my 2011 ornament.


Happy New Year - Welcome 2012!

Something New and Finishing Up

It seems like everyone on the Internet is doing a retrospective of the 2011 to celebrate the New Year.  Since I have only had this blog up and running a few months, that doesn't really work for me.  I do have a few stray things I have meant to post about though, so I thought I would tie up these loose holidays ends before 2012 hits.

Over the last several weeks we have made a number of Christmas goodies and treats, some of which I have shared with you.  One of the things I made was something new.

New Stuff!

I took Nilla Wafers, laid them out on a baking sheet, and topped them with Rolos.

I put them in the oven at 200 degrees, for 5 minutes, to soften the candy.

Then I topped each one with another Nilla Wafer.

You have to be really careful when you place
the top cookie or it squishes out the side.

When I got them all put together, I put them in the fridge for 10 minutes to help them start setting up.  After I took them out, I let them sit for several hours, until they were completely firm.

Next, I melted a package of vanilla almond bark.

In my spotlessly clean microwave...

Apparently I didn't get any pictures of the dipping, but here they are all laid out.

Tasting.  Yummmmmmmmm.

All packaged up.

Here are a few other things I made.

Pretzels dipped in almond bark.  We had chocolate,
drizzled with vanilla; and vanilla, drizzled with chocolate.
 I also made almond bark crispies, in both chocolate and vanilla. 
These are reeeeally tough to make.  Melt almond bark, stir in Rice
Krispies, spread out to cool.  Once it's cool, break into small pieces.

We have several family cookie recipes that I love, but it just wasn't coming together this year to fool with scratch, so slice and bake it was!  I did dress some of them up by adding M&Ms and such.  One of the best was chopping Butterfinger up and adding it to peanut butter cookie dough.  That was seriously good!

Peanut butter cookie with M&Ms.

Here's the assortment.
Almond Bark Crispies, Dipped Pretzels, White Trash
Candy, Dipped Nilla Wafers, and M&M Pretzel Treats.

The White Trash is easy peasy too, just mix up Crispix, pretzels, M&Ms, and vanilla almond bark.  I got the recipe from Cooking With K.  It's pretty yummy.

We had lots of cookies too.

Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter with M&Ms, Peanut Butter with Butterfinger, Chocolate
Chip, Chocolate Chip with M&Ms,  Sugar Cookies, and Peppermint Sugar Cookies.

Last but not least, Chex Mix!

I've lost track of how much I have made this year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


As I mentioned before, we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah in our family.  Tuesday was the 8th night of Hanukkah, so my daughter, Ashley, made us a nice big batch of latkes.  They were so good!

Crispy and wonderful!

Latkes are fried potato pancakes.  They, and other fried foods, are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of the oil.  Ashley's recipe is delicious and she's allowing me to share it with you.

Ashley's 8th Night Latkes

1 large bag of Ore-Ida's frozen hash browns, thawed in the refrigerator
3 onions, peeled
1 Red Delicious apple, peeled and cored
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
8 eggs
Vegetable oil for frying

Crack the 8 eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them with a fork.  When they are blended, stir in the entire bag of thawed hash browns.

Place the 3 onions and the apple in a food processor and puree them until they are smooth.  Squeeze the excess juice from puree with cheesecloth or a dish towel, then add the mixture to the egg and potatoes.  Add the salt and pepper, then stir well until combined.

Most of the mix had already gone in the
oil by this point, but you get the idea.

Heat about 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil in a deep skillet.  When the oil is hot enough for a bread crumb to fry, drop spoonfuls of the latke mix (about 1/4 cup each) into the hot oil. 

Let each latke fry until it is golden brown on one side, then flip it using a slotted spatula.  When each side is golden brown, remove it from the oil and place on paper towels to drain.

Pile 'o latkes!

Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce, or ketchup if you prefer.  Enjoy!

I'm a ketchup girl myself.

Happy (after) Hanukkah and happy latke-ing!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Kathy's Crispy Mix

My fave!
We are big fans of Chex Mix at our house.  I always make a bunch of it at Christmas time.  I have tried various spices over the years, but our favorite is my personal spin on the Original Chex Mix recipe. 

Chex's version:
3 cups of Corn Chex
3 cups of Rice Chex
3 cups of Wheat Chex
1 cup of mixed nuts
1 cup of bite-sized pretzels
1 cup of garlic flavor bite size bagel chips or regular size bagel chips, broken into 1 inch pieces
6 tablespoons of butter or margarine
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Bake for one hour at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes.

My version:
I make several modifications to that basic idea though.  I use 12 cups of cereal and similar ingredients, as Chex recommends, but I modify them to our preferences.  My favorite combination is:

2 cups of Corn Chex
2 cups of Rice Chex
2 cups of Crispex
1 cup of Cheerios
1 cup of Fritos
1 cup of Goldfish
1 cup of Cheese Nips
1 cup of bagel chips, broken up
1 cup of Gardetto's Rye Chips

These ingredients may vary, depending on what I have available.

Today I have Walmart brand Rice "Chex," Crispex,
Cheerios, Fritos, Goldfish, Cheez-Its, and Bagel Chips.

I also use:
1 cup of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of Lowry's Season Salt
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

I put the 12 cups of cereal (etc.) into a large bowl and stir them to mix them up. 

Goldfish and Rice "Chex"

Cheerios, Bagel Chips, and Cheez-Its

I almost forgot the Fritos!  So, we'll
have a little more than 12 cups this time;
hey, this is not rocket science here.

Mix it all up!

I put the butter spray, garlic powder, onion powder, Lowry's, and Worcestershire sauce in a large roasting pan (I use a disposable one) and mix them up. 

Lowry's Season Salt, Worcestershire
sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and one
cup of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray,

Appetizing, isn't it?

It does look much better once it's mixed up though.

I add the cereal and other stuff to the butter mixture.

Ooooo, I got a motion shot!

  Stir until everything is well coated.
Stir, stir, stir, nibble, nibble, stir, stir, stir...

 I put the pan in a 250 degree oven and bake it for 2 hours, stirring well every 30 minutes.

Into the oven.
Stir it every 30 minutes.

When it is done, stir it a few times while it cools completely.

Store it in an air tight container.

Move it into the big tin, but...
... we still have a good way to go to fill 'er up - so ... repeat!

We're getting there.

Now we're talking.  The big tin with the puppies on it?  Full.  :)
Now we're ready to go.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Adventures in Monetizing

It's just a beginning, but I decided a little while back that I would check out the monetizing thing when I reached 25 followers.  I hit that first little milestone yesterday, so here we goooooo.  (For some unknown reason, the sidebar doesn't always show all 25 of you, but you are all there and I am so excited to have each and every one of you!)

So I have now signed up with Google Adsense.  This is my first experience with them, but I am giving it a try.  It's a work in progress.  I have already been playing with the layout a bit and we will see how it all goes.

I would love to hear feedback from anyone on what you think about it.  Please feel free to let me know if you like it, if you hate it, if you think it adds to or detracts from my site, etc.  Of course, it would be great if you clicked on something.  ;)

I don't plan on particularly changing the way I blog, although I may mention the brand name more often on products I am discussing anyway.  (You already know I love my Pam and my I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray.)  I don't think you will be too surprised to find out the cream of mushroom soup I use is Campbell's or that the onion rings I put on my green bean casserole are French's.  Especially since I already posted pictures of the cans.  Anyway, if, at some point, I do anything like product reviews, I promise the opinions will be all mine, and all that good stuff.

Oh, I see the first ad is up and it's for hotels in Hawaii.  Huh, I didn't expect that.  Sounds fun though!  I think I mentioned Hawaiian Punch the other day; I wonder if that was it.  :D  This may be fun to see just what they pick up on.  Hmmmm, what interesting things could I mention...?  Now I am tempted to throw out random odd stuff and see if they post ads for it.  (Rolos, Rolos, Rolos - send samples please, oh great and mighty Adsense!)

They also put a political ad up, but thankfully, it disappeared when I rearranged things.  If I can figure out how, I plan to request  they not put up political ads.  I do have political opinions that I am passionate about, but politics are not the purpose of this blog and I would prefer not to get into them here.

So, if anyone heads to Hawaii, post pictures, I want to hear all about it!

Note: It just brought up another political ad.  Until I can figure out if I can stop that, please know, that any political ads do not necessarily reflect my opinions.  And just to throw a few monkey wrenches into that system, I just google searched several various political things, in hopes that if it persists, it will bring up a variety of opinions and positions. 

Here is my heartfelt political opinion for you:  I urge you to check out the issues and the candidates and make decisions about who and what you support, according to your own personal beliefs and values.  I urge you to get involved with the issue/ party/candidate/etc. of your choice and to make your voice heard.  Most of all, I urge you to vote, whichever way you choose to do it.   

According to my stats, not nearly all of my readers are in the United States, but for those of you that are, as we gear up to major elections in the coming year, I just urge you to participate, in whatever way is right for you.  To those of my readers in other countries, I urge the same, for you to know what the issues are in your communities and in your countries and support the things that are important to you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  (Stepping off my soap box...)

Rolos, Rolos, Rolos!  And Hawaiian Punch!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

M&M Pretzel Treats

I made a couple of batches of M&M Pretzel treats yesterday.

Pretzels, Rolos, Kisses, and M&Ms
I made a batch with Snyder's of Hanover pretzels, Hershey's Kisses, and M&Ms and a batch with the pretzels, Rolos, and M&Ms.  We had made them with Hugs or Kisses before, but I had never heard of using Rolos, until I saw that Miss Charming from Charming Zebra had made them that way.  Needless to say, I liked the idea, because, well {{{Rolos}}}.

Making a mess.
The process is simple, but oh, it was tedious.  We have made these for several years, but I don't think I had ever actually been the one to make them before; apparently my daughter has always been the one to do it.  Unwrapping - every - little - candy is just a pain.

 Other than that, there really is not much to doing them though.  I just spread the little pretzels out on baking sheets, then I put a Kiss or a Rolo on top of each one.  I placed them in a 200 degree oven for 5 minutes, just long enough to get the candy soft.

Then you take them out and place an M&M on top of each one, pressing down slightly.  It is a little tricky to get the M&Ms on neatly, but I got the hang of it fairly quickly.

Let them cool a few minutes, then pop the tray in the fridge for about 10 minutes to help them set.


Let them re-harden thoroughly before trying to handle them.

After they are completely firm, you can move them to a storage container.


I would have liked to have made the Hershey's ones out of Hugs, rather than Kisses; it would have been much easier to tell them apart from the Rolos.  The store was out of Hugs though, so Kisses it was. 

I also thought, too late, that I could have color coded them, using red M&Ms on one type and green M&Ms on the other, but I had already already mixed the colors by the time I thought of that.

You could tell which was which if you looked carefully, but at a casual glance, they were pretty similar. 

As it turned out, I decided that the Kisses came out prettier than the Rolos, but, personally, I liked the taste of the Rolos better.  The final decision was that the Kisses would be put up to be gifts, but the Rolos were fair game to snack on.  A good deal all the way around, I think.

Linking up to:
Whatever Goes Wednesday
The Shabby Creek Cottage
A Round Tuit