Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Very Merry Christmas


From my house to yours I am wishing you a very safe and Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Craziness!

Well, I hope your all doing well this holiday season!  I can definitely say it has been an interesting one. As you are reading this I am currently sitting in Panera Bread in the plaza next to my work.  Why may you ask? That's easy because our family is down to one car right now and my truck is not fixable. Well, that's not exactly true it can be fixed just not for the money I am willing to pay for it to be fixed. Seriously I can get a used car at this point.  My beast has served me well and I honestly miss driving my suburban but at times you have to make decisions and my decision is to do what's best for my family.

But on the upside, my first book "Ghost Stories For The Chicken At Heart Volume 1" is fully running on Nook Press and was just submitted for Kindle Publishing as of ten minutes ago. So all in all a very productive day if I do say so myself.  I myself and extremely excited about all the changes going on and will be going on in the next year.

Did you finish your Christmas shopping yet?  I will admit I am almost finished but not 100% done just yet.  I know I have usually finished already but what can I do with my surgery and stuff I got a bit behind.  I do have a few thoughts on the whole Christmas shopping thing, though.  It bothers me when I am helping parents with these insane Christmas lists from their kids and a lot of it is a very big ticket items.  I mean I had one mom that had on one list that four of the items listed were well over a grand.  I was like wow which one are you getting him?  Her reply was like oh I bought all four for him.....  W.T.F.  Now don't get me wrong I am all up for spoiling my kids but a grand on four gifts.  I don't spend a grand over the course of the year shopping for my entire family most of the time, To me, Christmas is about a little more then what's under the tree.

But anyway I lost my train of thought a little bit. As I sit here in Panera I like to eavesdrop a bit, I know its wrong but give me grief later.  I am hearing parents who are figuring out the gifts they bought and still need to buy.  I Hear parents realizing the bought too much.  Then I hear Grandparents wondering what to get the Grand-babies since this is the only time of year they see or hear from the Grand-kids.  That is just wrong.  My Grandmother always wanted to know her Grandchildren better but unfortunately was unable to.  During the holidays she was saddened that she couldn't send gifts to all her Grandkids to which I always told her to send to the kids that you actually talk to and contacted you.  It is the Grandchild who is older responsibility to have contact with the Grandparent when they get older just as it is the Grandparents responsibility to keep contact when they are younger.  I know people might get upset with that but it's true.

So as the stores are crowded with holiday shoppers and people are driving crazy on the road remember that the holidays are an insane time of year.  Be the person who says Merry Christmas and smiles at people.  Take a moment to listen to someone.  Bake an extra batch of cookies and hand them out.  But most of all remember what Christmas is really about!!

I am sure I will be seeing you all again before Christmas Day but until then be safe and have a blessed week!

-Angie

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Did you ever wonder what Santa's House Looks?

I was doing my normal and checking my email when I got a email from Zillow about what Santa's house actually looks like.  Check out the link here for Zillows preview of what Santa's property actually looks like here.

Christmas Cookies 2016!!!

It's that magical time of year when even the most scared bakers in the world take to their kitchens to start their holiday baking.  Some people have power lists of what they bake every year and some make brand new lists off of Pinterest's to make some new spectacular kinds of cookies.  I admit fall in the middle and do a bit of both. But I am a baker who tries to make new and different things all year round.  Since I have a family full of taste testers who don't mind trying my baked goods I am all set because they will always be very blunt and honest with me.

But seriously I learned long ago a very important lesson from my Grams about this time of year.  This time of year brings out the good and bad in people.  So always have a treat in the house to share! By doing this you could solidify the good day they are having and make it great or a sweet treat and a concerned listening ear can make someone's horrible day a better one.

 For the people who say baking is so time-consuming or expensive your right it can be.  However, for me, I always have baking items in my home and I always try to put a few pennies away during the year so I can do this by the first week in December.  I work retail and my kids and husband have events in December so having it done now means saving time later!  Shall we begin!!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 egg
1 cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Mix  till incorporated. Scoop out on a pan (if your pans are older like mine use parchment paper or spray some cooking spray so they don't stick).  Now you can be fancy or not. I will usually use a fork. You just press the fork line across the top and bam pretty fancy cookies.  Cook 10-13 minutes depending on how your oven runs.
Peanut Butter Cookies

PB&J Cookies

The next type you can do is PB&J Cookies.  To make these use the peanut butter cookie recipe above!!  When you scoop on the pan use your clean finger. (BTW this is a great job for the kiddies to do) and poke a small hole in the top.  Fill with your favorite jelly or jam.  Be aware when these come out the jelly is super hot so contain yourself just for a few extra minutes.

PB&J Cookies
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Last but not least for the cooked peanut butter cookies are the traditional peanut butter with a Hershey kiss in middle.  Again just use the recipe above and use a Hershey kiss.  Beware my kids eat all the kisses before they make it to my cookies so a great trick is just to stick 4 regular chocolate chips in the middle after you flatten them a bit.  My sister in law Pam loved these and when she moved away from home but came back to visit she always used my oven to make these with the kids. I make them now once a month in honor of her.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
A great no bake cookies/candy recipe is peanut butter cereal ba11s.  I love this recipe because there is no cooking involved.

Peanut Butter Cereal Balls

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup nut butter of your choice
(If you use crunchy use a few tsp of creamy so it mixes well)
1 1/2 Cups cereal of your choice (crushed up a bit)
1 cup chocolate chips

In a mixer blend peanut butter and powdered sugar.  After blending add cereal and chocolate chips.
Make into balls by scooping out some and rolling in your hand.
You can go one step further by covering in chocolate after making the balls or drizzling them with chocolate.  I like them just plain. Store in an airtight container.

Peanut Butter Balls
I love sugar cookies and this is the most basic as you can come!  Best thing is sugar cookies can be decorated easily with just colored sprinkles.  I myself love just plopping my uncooked dough into plain white sugar and baking you can't beat that and they look so pretty on a plate for presentation.

Basic Sugar Cookies

1 egg
1 tsp Baking Powder
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter

Now preheat your oven to 350 degrees I scoop up the dough and roll in sprinkles, sugar or mini crushed candies.  Bake at 350 until golden brown 10-12 minutes.  These are meant to be a soft cookie.

Basic Sugar Cookie

Next are a sweet treat called thumbprint cookies.  These are a great cookie filled in the center with a little dab of jelly.

Thumb Print Cookies

2 egg
2 tsp Baking Powder
4 Cups Flour
2 Cup Sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
assorted jellies

Blend together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter.  Add in all dry ingredients.
Scoop into 1 inch balls and place on pan.  Take your finger and poke a hole in the middle. Fill with the jelly of your choice. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven.

Thumb Print Cookies

Then everyone's favorite our traditional chocolate chip Cookies.Who does not like warm chocolate chip cookies?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 bag chocolate chips
6 tbsp of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter

Blend together egg, sugar, vanilla, and butter.  Once the wet ingredients are blended add the dry.  Cook for 13 minutes at 350 degrees.  I also do this with fudge chips, mint chips etc.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The next cookie is a favorite of mine and my daughter Megan.


Peppermint Crunch Cookies

3 egg
4 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 of sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered cocoa
1/2 cup of crushed candy canes

Blend all wet ingredients together, then add all dry. Scoop onto a pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min depending on your stove.  If you want super peppermint you can add 1 tsp of peppermint extract.

Peppermint Crunch Cookies

Then last but certainly not least is Oatmeal Cookies!!  These were my sister in laws favorite cookies.  I had to make them for her all the time. In my cookbook, they were renamed Pams.

Pams Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 2/3  cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup quick oats

Mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Once combined mix in all dry ingredients in as well. Scoop and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes depending on your stove.

Pam's Oatmeal Cookies

So guys and gals these are my Christmas 2016 cookie list!!  Baking is a joy to me a way to relax and forget about my problems.  I hope everyone has an amazing holiday.  Remember the holiday time is not what you can get but what you can give.