Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa Suit Candy Bar Wrapper

Santa Suit Candy Bar Wrapper   This is a fun gift to give at Christmas! Who doesn't like chocolate? And lots of it when you give this Giant Hershey bar all dressed up for Christmas!
   All my measurements are for a Giant Hershey bar, but you can adjust them for any size Hershey bar.

Giant Hershey bar dressed up for Christmas
Items needed:
  • Giant Hershey bar
  • Red, black, yellow, & white paper
  • Glue pen
  • ⅝” circle punch
  • Button hole paper punch
  • 1⅛” square paper punch
  • Paper cutter with scalloped & straight blades

Cut the following:
  • red paper (1) - use straight blade 9⅝" x 7⅛"
  • white vertical (1) - use scallop blade 1⅜" x straight blade 7⅛"
  • white horizontal (1) - 1⅝" wide one side straight one side scalloped x 9⅝" with straight blade
  • black belt (1) - 1" x 9⅝"
  • yellow square (1) - 1⅝" strip of yellow paper; use 1⅛" square punch to cut out center of belt buckle and then cut belt buckle 1⅝" square
  • black buttons (3) - ⅝" circle punch; use button hole punch twice to make 4 holes

Cut pieces used to decorate Santa suitTake the brown, outside wrapper off the Hershey bar. Re-wrap it using the red paper that you cut. Use a glue pen to adhere the wrapper in the back of the candy bar.

On the center front of the candy bar, glue the white vertical piece with scalloped edges.

On the bottom edge with straight sides together, place the white horizontal piece and wrap all the way around candy bar. Adhere with glue pen in front as well as in back.

Next glue belt buckle onto center of black strip.

With glue pen, adhere belt above bottom white piece with belt buckle centered on vertical white piece. Wrap belt around candy bar and adhere in back as well.

Now glue the three buttons on the white vertical piece above the belt.

Your Santa Suit is done!! Now don't you wish this gift was for you?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frankenstein Fingers

Frankenstein Fingers   We have one Halloween tradition in our home... We make lots of Frankenstein Fingers! These really are the easiest cookies to make, and the "Wow" factor is up there! My kids love to help "paint" the finger nails.
My daugher painting fingernails in her gothic costume.My son helping with to paint fingernails.Frankenstein Fingers
   1 cup butter, softened
   1 cup confectioners’ sugar
   1 egg
   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
   1 teaspoon almond extract
   green food coloring
   2¾ cups flour
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1 teaspoon salt
   ½ cup confectioners' sugar
   1 tablespoon milk
   black food coloring

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, extracts, and green food coloring.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.
Green cookie dough ready for fridgeCover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
Use a small (1 tablespoon) cookie scoop to form dough into balls.
Form dough into ballsShape balls into 3"x½" long fingers by rolling out logs between your palms. Your logs should be slightly tapered to be smaller at one end... like a finger is.
Roll balls into fingersPlace about 1½" apart on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet.

Using the flat tip of a table knife, make an indentation on the smaller end of each finger for the fingernail bed.
Use flate end of knife to make fingernail bedFingernail bed completeUsing the same table knife, make three indentations in the middle of each finger for the knuckle. The more random, the better, so don't make them parallel!
Use tip of knife to make knuckle indentationsCookie is ready to bakeBake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before moving to cooling rack.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
Now we need the black glaze!
Black glazeTo make glaze, mix ½ cup powder sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and black food coloring in a small bowl. Be sure to mix until smooth.
Use a small paint brush to "paint nails."
Finished cookieOnce fingernails are dry, these tasty fingers are ready to eat!

   You can make many variations of these. Just play with different colors! My kids and I like the green/black combination because they look like Frankenstein or alien fingers which are great for Halloween! They also keep in the cookie jar quite nicely... although they are never there for very long.

   If you are into blood and gore for Halloween, try making Frightening Fingers!
Frightening FingersThis was the original "Finger Cookie" that inspired my Frankenstein version. It is from Taste of Home. I revised it mostly because these were not practical to store in a cookie jar. You will need red decorating food gel and about ½ cup sliced almonds to make these.
Make the cookies as above, but omit the green food coloring.
Before the cookies cool and are removed from the baking sheet, squeeze a small amount of red food gel on each nail bed and press a sliced almond over the gel for the fingernail, allowing the gel to ooze around the fingernail.
Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool. You do have to be careful when plating these, so that you don't break all the fingernails. Storing them in a cookie jar is not a good idea either, as the nails break.

   You could also make "pretty fingers" for a girl themed party. Just make the cookies as above, but omitting the green food coloring. Then make a pretty colored glaze (e.g. red, pink, etc.) and "paint" the fingernails. You could even add a licorice ring or use frosting to pipe a pretty ring on each finger!

   I hope you will have as much fun with these as my family does!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Perfectly Baked Potatoes

Perfectly Baked Potato   I don't know about you, but I love potatoes! I like potatoes cooked just about any way possible. But when it comes to baked potatoes... I love a crispy, salty skin and a soft fluffy inside. I finally figured out how to make the perfect baked potato.

Perfectly Baked Potato
   1 large russet potato
   olive (or canola) oil
   Kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You can bake directly on your oven rack, but I learned very quickly that I don't like to clean the oven racks when they have baked on oil. So for me... I take an old baking sheet and cover it with foil (makes clean up a breeze), and then I place a rack on top of the baking sheet. You do need the potatoes to be on a rack to get the crispy skins.

Once your rack is ready, wash the potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Using a standard metal fork, poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud, so that moisture can escape during cooking. Dry the potato (or potatoes) well.

Place about 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Rub oil onto the skin of each potato until it is throughly, but lightly coated.

Sprinkle each potato with kosher salt, and place each potato directly on the rack in the middle of the oven or on the rack that is on your baking sheet. If you place your potatoes directly on the oven rack, place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings. If your potatoes are on a baking sheet with a rack, place the baking sheet in the middle of your oven.

Bake 1 hour or until the potato skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. I usually poke my potatoes with a fork to see if the inside is done.
Baked potatoesTo serve, create a dotted line from end to end with your fork.
Create a dotted line with your fork.Then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another.
Squeeze the potato from both ends.Your potato will pop right open. But watch out for steam.
The potato will pop open.Add a ball (or scoop) of butter and serve while piping hot!
Add a scoop of butter.Note: If you are cooking more than 4 potatoes, you’ll need to extend the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Munchies

Peanut Butter Munchies   I discovered these awesome cookies at a church potluck yesterday! I saw chocolate and thought yum, but then I took a bite and much to my surprise, I discovered a yummy peanut butter filling inside my cookie! They were so good, I went on a mission to find out who made them to get the recipe. Luckily, Cathy, who made the cookies, brought the recipe with her and left it in the kitchen. So I actually found the recipe before I found out who made the wonderful cookies!
   I loved them so much, I came home and baked a batch so my husband could taste them, too.
   I did make a couple of modifications. I decreased the cocoa powder and increased the amount of peanut butter filling. So here is my take on Cathy's awesome cookies! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Munchies
   ½ cup butter, softened
   ½ cup sugar
   ½ cup brown sugar, packed
   ¼ cup peanut butter
   1 egg
   1 Tablespoon milk
   1 teaspoon vanilla
   1½ cups flour
   ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
   ½ teaspoon baking soda
PB filling:
   1 cup powdered sugar
   ¾ cup peanut butter

   ¼ cup sugar (for rolling balls)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, and ¼ cup peanut butter. Add egg, milk, and vanilla beating well. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and soda. Gradually, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Use a small (1 Tbsp) cookie scoop to form chocolate balls. Set balls aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and ¾ cup of peanut butter. Continue beating until smooth. To form into balls, use the small (1 Tbsp) cookie scoop to get dough, but then half this scoop of dough to form 2 balls. (i.e., Each small scoop makes 2 balls.)
Roll ballsOn a plate, slightly flatten a chocolate dough ball.
Flatten chocolate dough with palm of handPlace a peanut butter ball in the center of the chocolate dough.
Place PB ball in center of chocolate doughShape the chocolate dough over the peanut butter ball.
Begin shaping chocolate dough around PB ballCover the peanut butter ball completely with the chocolate dough.
Completely cover PB ballRoll the dough into a ball.
Roll into a smooth ballRepeat with all the balls. You may have more chocolate balls than peanut butter balls. This is OK. Eat them or just bake them without the filling.
Roll each finished ball in granulated sugar.
Roll ball in sugarPlace balls on a baking stone (or sheet) about 2 inches apart.
Place balls on baking stoneUse the bottom of a glass to slightly flatten each ball.
Flatten balls slightly with bottom of glassBake for 8-10 minutes or until surface of cookies is slightly cracked. Let cookies stand for 1 minute and then transfer to wire racks or plates to cool. Makes about 40 cookies.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership

   If you are a mom like me, there are some days that don't quite go like you planned. In fact, some days can be very discouraging. If you are having one of those days, check out this video entitled Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership.
   This video reminds me that being a mom, while sometimes hard, is the most important job I will ever do, and the rewards are so much greater than the few disappointments!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scripture Story Kits

   I wish I could take credit for this fun kit, but the idea came off of I did, however, take the idea and put it to paper... literally. I am including the downloadable files that I created to make the kit. This is a great idea to aid in scripture study as a family!
   Each kit contains two cards. The cards contain a list of items found in your bag, i.e. kit. One person picks an item out of the bag, and then finds it on the card. Next to the item is a story or event from the scriptures along with the scripture references to read about it.
   My children had so much fun looking for the items on the list to include in the bag. I was surprised at how many items they found! For those they couldn't find, we just used clipart printed onto cardstock, cut each item out, laminated them, and cut each item out again.
   These are very inexpensive to make and make wonderful gifts for families with little ones. They are even great for grandparents to have when the grandkids come to visit!
   I do plan to include some pictures soon with more detailed instructions for making the drawstring bags to hold the cards and items. There are brief instructions included in the kit files for making the bags. Be sure to read the instructions in the kit file about printing!

    Clipart for Scripture Story Kits
    Bible Story Kit
    Scripture Story Kit - LDS Edition

   We already had one family night activity using our Scripture Kit and it was a huge success! We had some great teaching moments with our children. I hope you will find this beneficial for those special children in your life as well.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Taco Ring

Taco Ring   So this is another family favorite! This was inspired by a Pampered Chef show a while back. My kids love tacos and rolls, so it just made sense to put the two together in a fun way.
   These are great leftover and a fun, different thing for the kids lunches for school!
   You can use 2 cans of store bought crescent rolls for this, but it is way better if you use my 60 Minute Dinner Rolls recipe. I always double the recipe of rolls to make this ring.

Taco Ring
   2 Recipes of 60 Minute Dinner Rolls
   1 pound of ground beef, browned and drained
   1 packet of Taco seasoning
   ¾ cup of water
   1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Prepare 2 batches of 60 Minute Dinner Rolls.
While dough is rising, prepare beef and drain. Add taco seasoning packet and ¾ cup of water and simmer on low.
Beef mixture simmeringOnce dough has risen, half dough and then continue following instructions for making rolls, but do not brush with butter. After cutting first half of dough into 12 wedges, place the first roll on a round baking stone (I use a 15" stone) so that it is partially off the stone and the point of the wedge is hanging off the stone.
Place first roll on the stoneContinue to place rolls on the stone around the edge, but overlap them slightly, and press down where they overlap to join them together a little better.
Continue overlapping rolls around stoneWhen you run out of wedges, roll out the other half of the dough and repeat until your circle is complete. I never use all the rolls. It usually takes about 18 rolls to make a circle, but it will depend on your stone size and how much you overlap them.
Complete circle of rollsAfter your circle of rolls is complete, remove beef from heat and add cheese.
Add cheese to beefWork quickly after adding the cheese to the meat.
Mix cheese & meat together quicklyUse a small cookie scoop (1 tablespoon), to measure beef mixture. I usually scoop it up the side of the pan to really press the meat together to hold it's shape.Use a small cookie scoop to measure beefPlace one scoop of meat onto each roll. I usually have more meat left, so I go back around the circle filling in any bare looking spots.
Place a scoop of meat on each rollNow grab the pointed end of a roll and wrap it around the beef.
Wrap roll around beefTuck the pointed end under the inside of your ring.
Tuck point of roll under inside of ringContinue until all rolls are wrapped and tucked.
Repeat for all the rollsAs I said earlier, I usually have a few extra rolls, so I just roll them up (without butter) and place them in the center of the ring to bake.
Extra rolls are put in the centerNow cover the entire ring with a towel and place in a warm place to rise (about 10 minutes). Also, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Cover and let riseOnce rolls are about doubled in size, they are ready to bake.
Risen ringBake for about 20 minutes until the ring is a nice golden brown.
Baked ringSlice between each roll.
Slice between rollsAnd serve!
ServeI hope your family enjoys this one as much as mine does!