Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Very Merry Jadite Christmas to me!

The day after Christmas we celebrated with Brian's family. His sister and family hosted. One of his brothers and his wife, his parents, and his Aunt and her husband were all in attendance. There were 18 of us in all. Brian's mom made ham and a delicious Italian casserole and everyone else brought a dish to share. The kids played and the adults talked around the tree. Then it was present time. There are a lot of kids so, this is a big deal. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera, but trust me there were plenty of smiles! Ian said to me today "Mom, Grandma always gets me what I like for Christmas." Then it was time for the adults to open gifts, which is always fun. Without even discussing it the siblings all had made homemade gifts for one another. I always enjoy those types of gifts! We have lots of goodies to enjoy! And much to my surprise...Brian's Mom and Aunt remembered my Obsession. Look what I got.

Isn't pretty! I just love all of it. Ruth and Kathy you two are such treasures. Thank you so much! Every time I use a piece (which I have used pretty much everything already) I will think of both of you, and how you thought of me this Christmas.
Have a safe and fun New Year's eve friends! In all seriousness, if you are unable to drive please ask someone to drive you home. Your friends truly care!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bits of Encouragement

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Galatians 5:22-23



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Day

Jen and I survived Haleigh's sleepover. I'm so glad that I have her in my life! Our whole crew dropped my Mom off this afternoon. Please pray that she would have a safe trip! It is a very long flight with layovers and time changes. It is pretty hard, and she is by herself. Although she has done it many times, it is exhausting!

Now on to Christmas. I woke up on Christmas day very excited. My family was coming over and we always have such a great time! We had planned out the menu. Our home was clean. The tableware was ready to be set and the candles to be lit. Then I looked out the window, and I felt like my head was going to explode! One of our neighbors had friends over the previous evening, and they had left their car parked right next to our driveway. You see they had plowed the night before, and because their car was in front of the driveway. There was a huge pile of snow in front of our driveway. Great! Just great! This was the last thing I wanted to deal with. So I quickly changed, and Brian asked what I was up to. I told him I was going to go clean up the mess. He said he would take care of it, but I knew he needed to get started on dinner. So out I went. At this point slush was falling from the sky. I decided to tackle the walk and such first, before the mountain. The snow was heavy, and I was getting drenched Brian kept telling me to come inside and get warmed up. I wasn't cold though, I was so hot! I went onto the front porch and took off my sweater and went back outside. Then I started to tackle the mountain. I was mad and cursing under my breath. Who would do such a thing?! How thoughtless and selfish! I feel like going and banging on their front door "Why don't you go and clean up the mess that you made in the front of my driveway!" Don't they know I have people coming over! I was so frustrated. It's Christmas I don't want to feel this way! I was about 2/3's of the way done when I decided I should get a drink of water. I started to head to the door. When another one of our neighbor's came out. She said "Merry Christmas, I thought I would come help you with this pile of snow." I told her don't worry about it. She insisted and I thanked her over and over. We chatted and finished tackling the mountain in no time. What a thoughtful gesture. It really helped change my attitude, and put everything in perspective.

Here are some photos of our day together.

Raspberry Royales, place one tsp. of chambord into each glass and fill with sparkling white wine. Everyone loved these!

Tyler, Katie, Mira, and Ian

Ron, Susie, Tyler, and Mira

Brian, Elizabeth, Harry, and Stella

Stella resting her head on Mira's pillows.

Ian and Harry snuggling.

I'm just realizing now that we forgot to put out the crystal water goblets...oh well!

Presents. The lady in the argyle sweater is my mom...she really was there.

Here are the recipes if you are interested

Beef Bourguignon (This is Brian's speciality for Christmas. He doesn't use the tomato paste or the pearl onions.)

Mashed potatoes with olive oil and garlic (Barefoot in Paris, Ina Garten)

Rosemary roasted cashews

Cafe Latte's Turtle cake

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Eve

Last week was a busy, but fun filled week. What a blessing to spend time with family and friends celebrating our Savior's birth!

The fun just keeps on going this week. Katie and are going to Haleigh's (Jen's daughter) slumber party today. She is turning 13...I can hardly believe it! Tomorrow we drop off my Mom at the airport. Then New Year's eve and most of New Year's day will be spent with the Buckman's at their home.

This week will be a recap of last weeks festivities. I hope to post lots of photos and recipes as well.

Christmas eve was a nice relaxing day for us. We were hoping to go to the Christmas eve service, but with all of the snow we got and the weather conditions we decided not to. I was a little disappointed. I love the singing and the scripture reading. The church is always decorated so beautifully. The service always ends with a candle light is so beautiful! It always focuses me. But alas it was not meant to be this year, and I wasn't going to let it get me down. So instead I focused on the blessing of my sweet family and how much I love them.

We sent the kids outside to play. Our intentions were not so innocent...we wrapped their gifts.

We made gift tags for all of our gifts.

For dinner we had sparkling cranberry juice, potstickers, Brian made Kung Pao chicken, and for dessert we had gingerbread cookies that we had made the day before.

Brian read to us from the book of Luke.

We give the children three the Wise men brought to Jesus. The gifts fall under these categories: fun, practical, and spiritual. The fun gift this year will be our family vacation.

Ian's spiritual gift, a snow globe with a nativity scene.

Katie's spiritual gift, a wild olive tee.

Ian's practical, Alvin and the chipmunk's tee.

Katie's practical, fashion boots.

Don't forget the stockings! Ornaments, little toys, games, socks.

Brian got a 6-inch Wustoff chef's knife, to add to his collection

I didn't take any photos of myself opening gifts. I did get some fun Nick and Nora jammies, Origins ginger perfume, and a fun Christmas CD. We had a really great day, just the four of us!

Kung Pao Chicken

Brian got this recipe off the internet a few years ago. We are unsure what site it was.

1 lb. Boneless, skinless, chicken breast cubed

2 tsps. cornstarch

3 tbs. soy sauce


1 egg white lightly beaten

1 tbs. ginger root minced

3 dried red Chile peppers

1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch squares

1 small onion cut into 1-inch squares

1 cup celery chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbs Chinese rice wine

2 tsps. sugar

1 tsp vinegar

3 tbs. peanuts (we omit these if we are making it for the kids)

In a small bowl, combine cubed chicken, 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1 tbs. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp. salt, egg white, and ginger. Set aside for 20-30 minutes. On a platter arrange chilies, red pepper, onion, and garlic. Set aside. In a bowl, combine 1 tsp. cornstarch, wine, 2 tbs. soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Set aside. Have peanuts, salt, water and oil at hand. Heat pan and add 1 tbs. oil. Swirl the oil around to coat sides of pan and heat until oil just begins to smoke. Add garlic and stir-fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the red bell pepper, and a pinch of salt; stir -fry for about 1 minute. Add onion, another pinch of salt and sprinkle with 1 tbs. water. Continue to stir-fry until crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. To the pan add 3 tbs. oil and heat until the oil begins to smoke. Add the dried chilies and stir-fry until they turn dark brown. Remove chilies from oil and discard. Add chicken to the pan, spreading it in a single layer, and stir-fry until all pink color disappears, about 2-3 minutes. Return vegetables to wok and stir-fry to combine. Make a well and add wine mixture, stir-frying to combine. Remove to serving platter and garnish with peanuts. Serve immediately with rice.



Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The Birth

Luke 2:1-7

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah. David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

The Shepherds and Angels Came

Luke 2:8-20

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, world wide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:

"Glory to God in the heavenly heights,

Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!

The Message of Christmas

Eugene H. Peterson

Merry Christmas!

Brian, Rachel, Katie, and Ian

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Baking

Hello Friends! This will be my last holiday baking post. I hope you have enjoyed them, and gotten some new ideas.

Melting Moments
I received this recipe at my annual neighborhood cookie exchange a few years ago. These are an almond flavored cookie with a light and crumbly texture. Everyone in my family loves them. If you like the flavor of white wedding cake...this is a cookie you must try!


1 cup butter, room temp.
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup flour
1 tsp. almond extract

2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tbsp. milk or half and half

Cream butter until light, gradually add sugar&salt. Beat thoroughly, about 3 min. Gradually add cornstarch and flour; blend well. Form dough into walnut sized balls, chill in fridge for 1 hour. Transfer balls to ungreased cookie sheet, & let stand 20 min. Then make a thumbprint on top of each. Bake 15-16 mins. at 350. Cool.
Icing: Combine ingredients until creamy. Tint the icing if you desire. Fill the cookies with icing when they are completely cool.

Cream wafers

This recipe has been a Varghese family favorite since I was in high school. The recipe came from a friend of my mom's who she worked with and who we went to church with. These cookies are light, flaky, and have a buttery taste. They are excellent!

1 cup soft butter

1/3 whipping cream

2 cups all purpose flour

Granulated sugar

Creamy filling (see below)

Mix thoroughly butter, cream, and flour. Cover and chill until you can roll it out. Heat oven to 375. Roll about 1/3 of the dough at a time 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Keep the remaining dough in the fridge until ready to roll. Cut into 1 1/2 inch circles. Transfer rounds with spatula to a piece of waxed paper that is heavily covered with sugar. Turn each side so that both sides are coated with sugar. Place on un-greased baking sheet. Prick rounds with a fork about 4 times. Bake 7-9 minutes or until just set but not brown, cool. Put cookies together in pairs with creamy filling. Creamy filling: Cream 1/4 cup soft butter, 3/4 cup confectioners sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Tint with a few drops of food coloring.

Orange-Chocolate Cookies

This is another recipe that I got from the cookie exchange. The original recipe is the 2007 Star Tribune Holiday cookie winner. I made the recipe for the first time last year, and I loved it. If you like the flavors of orange and chocolate, make this cookie.

1 cup of butter, room temp

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tsp. finely grated orange zest

2 cups flour

1/4 cup orange marmalade

dipping chocolate

Pre heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk and orange zest. Reduce speed to low and add flour until just combined. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into rounds, re-rolling and re-cutting until all is used. Place rounds on prepared baking sheets. Using your thumb, make a slight indentation in center of cookie and fill with 1/4 tsp. orange marmalade. Bake approximately 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt dipping chocolate. Dip each cookie about a 1/3 in the chocolate and place on waxed paper until the chocolate sets.

Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark
If you love peppermint bark...make this!! It is so good and easy!! I have been making this recipe for's Katie's favorite!

French Chocolate Bark
I made this for the first time tonight. The kids will not go near it. That's o.k. this is a treat that Brian and I don't want to share. I used 1/2 cup dried apricots and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. I used all semi-sweet chocolate. This was delicious the flavors blend so well together, plus you have the chewiness of the fruit and crunch of the cashews. Very easy, but impressive.
It's been fun!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Season of Giving

I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend!! Ours was great! Brian took the kids sledding, we put our gingerbread house together, and we had a great date night.

Our festivities start on Wednesday this year. "Uncle Shaney" and Jen will be in town, so they are coming for dinner. Thursday we will attend the Christmas Eve. service, and then have a special dinner just the four of us. Friday we are hosting my family for Christmas, and then Saturday we will be with Brian's family. Then I think we will take a long nap on Sunday.

This will be my last post for Christmas gift giving...only four days left!!! I hope these suggestions have been helpful. Here are a few last minute ideas.

1) i tunes gift card

2) wine

3) gift card to a restaurant (some place local for the receiver)

4)gift card to a Bed & Breakfast (offer to watch the kids too)

5) Harry and David gourmet gifts

6) TARGET ( you can always find something for everyone there)


Friday, December 18, 2009

Reflections on my marriage

I love Fridays! I suppose everyone does, but I have my reasons. I always make the kids eggs on Friday mornings (they get cocoa now too). They really look forward to this tradition. I think it makes them feel extra special, and I like making them feel special. It is the end of the business week, and I look forward to spending time with my family and being at home.

My favorite part of Friday is spending the evening with Brian (date night). The fall has been rather crazy around here. We went weeks literally without having a date night. We were both so sad about this. December has been pretty quite so far, and we have been able to have date night for the past few weeks. What a treat!

I always seem to pause and reflect over my life during this time of year. I have been thinking a lot about our marriage lately. It seems impossible that Brian and I will have been married 17 years this summer. I don't even feel old enough to be married that long, and where has the time gone. We have created so many memories together, some bad, and some good. I think about the silly, skinny boy that I fell in love with, so many years ago. He has turned into such an amazing husband and father. Life has many twists and turns, ups and downs. It certainly has been an adventure. I feel humbled that God has blessed me with such a wonderful man. One that loves me completely, who encourages me, respects me, he's my best friend.

I know that it has been forever since I have shared any of our "secrets". So here goes the next one. Compliment each other often. This morning after Brian dropped off the kids, he came into the guest room and said "there she is...Miss. America." What a nut! I'm sure I looked the part to... in my jammies typing away. I think most wives want to feel beautiful. They still want their husband to be attracted to them. Brian is always saying things like this, and I usually blow it off. Whatever sweetie! As I think about it though, I love it when he tells me that I look nice, or that he liked my outfit, or that I smell good. It makes me feel like I'm someone special to him.

The same goes for husbands. I think we all know ladies that these guys need their egos stroked, it's just the way they are. I think it's important to do this with a sincere heart. They also need to feel loved and appreciated. They need to feel like they are an important member of the family. As you know Brian can't stand dressing up for work. So, I shower him with a few compliments before he heads out the door. I hope by doing so he knows that I think he is the most handsome man in the world, and I am proud to be his wife. I am not very good at it but I try to let him know that I appreciate his acts of service around our home. Whether it is making dinner, washing the dishes, putting his clothes away or working on some project around the house. So here is my shout out to you Brian. You're the best!!!!
Have a great weekend friends...and compliment the one you love!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Namesake

My Ammachi (Dad's Mom), Rachel Varghese 2009.

I have many fond memories of my Ammachi. She lived with us for a number of years when I was young. I remember when one time the three of us girls sitting in the family room with her playing around and giggling. She was wearing white and sitting on the sofa. The sunlight filled the room with it's rays. I could feel the love she had for her eldest son's daughters. My Ammachi is a very petite woman. She is under five feet, and probably does not weigh 100 pounds. Even though she is small in stature, she is a ROCK!! I have a memory of her when she was in her seventies. We were visiting India and staying in my parent's home. The property is very lush. I tell Brian that the backyard is a jungle. It was a very hot and sunny day. I was in the backyard looking around. In the distance, I could see a small women pulling a cow through the "jungle." As she got closer, I noticed it was Ammachi! I couldn't believe that this small woman, my Ammachi was pulling this cow around the backyard! The greatest gift that she and my Appachen have given us is our Christian heritage. This is a gift that I do not take lightly. India is a Hindu nation. I am sure that my Grandparents had many hardships to overcome to bring their children up in Christ. My Ammachi is in her 90's now. She still visits the sick and prays with them. She still wakes up at the crack of dawn (literally) every day to worship and pray. She still attends church every Sunday. What an amazing faith she has. Talk about a Proverbs 31 woman! I asked my Mom if some day when she is gone if I could have her Bible. Not that I will be able to read it, but somehow having it will make me feel close to feel her faith in Christ.

Thank you Ammachi for giving your family such an amazing gift. The gift of Christ's endless love for us. A gift that will pass on through the generations.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bits of Encouragement for Advent

The Birth
Matthew 1:18-25
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn't know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream: "Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married. Mary's pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God's Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus-'God saves"-because he will save his people from their sins." This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term:
"Watch for this-a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Emmanuel" (Hebrew for "God is with us").
Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God's angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.
The Message of Christmas
Eugene H. Peterson
This week when you get stressed and feel weighed down with burdens...remember "God is with us."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Baking

This is the first year I made this cookie and my family loved them! They are a spin on the classic Russian tea cake. I got the recipe off the bag of the Nestle swirled holiday morsels. I'm sure these are going to be a new family favorite in our home.

Holiday Snowball Cookies

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups white chocolate chips (or whatever your favorite is)

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove form oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Season of Giving

Brian and I had the most perfect day on Friday. After he dropped off the kids, we had planned to do a little shopping. We headed over to Grand Ave. and visited some of our favorite stores. We both got a little rumbly in our tummy so we decided to have lunch at Salut. I had lobster bisque and a chicken salad sandwich. Brian had the french onion soup burger. I decided I wanted a cup of hot chocolate. It ended up being a bowl of hot chocolate. It was so good though...warmed me up! What a day. It was so nice, so perfect. Just spending time with him makes my day. So if you have some more shopping to do head over to Grand Avenue, and while you are there grab a bite to eat too! Here is a list of some of our favorite stores and restaurants:

Picky Girl
Penzey's Spices
Cooks of Crocus Hill
The Red Balloon book shop
Stems and Vines
Golden Fig
Saint Paul Cheese shop
Gold N' Treasures
Baby Grand
Bead Monkey
Creative Kids stuff
Garden of Eden
Bread and Chocolate
Cafe Latte
Dixies on Grand
Grand ole Creamery
Green Mill
Salut Bar America

Click on the Grand Ave link above and click on business. You can get further information on each store there. Have fun!!!



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Welcome to my herb garden

I hope you guys are staying warm! Did I tell you that I am in the process of reviewing a cookbook? My dear friend Colleen who was one of my roommates in college asked me if I would be interested in doing so. I said I would love to (although I am a little intimidated). Her husband Nicko owns a website called . The website is filled with great information for people who love to cook! There are great recipes, articles related to cooking equipment, cookbook reviews and much more. Go check it out, you will really enjoy it. I still have to finish making some of the recipes that are on my list, and then write the review. Once I'm finished I will let you know. It has been really enjoyable so far!
Now on to my indoor herb garden. I've always dreamed about having a herb garden in my kitchen. During the summer, I enjoy adding fresh herbs to dishes from our herb garden outside. Whether it's basil for a salad or mint in our iced tea, it makes my palette smile. I asked Brian if he would be able to make me a "shelf." Basically he took a piece of wood and cut it to fit over our radiator in the kitchen and stained it. We decided to try transplanting all the herbs from the garden to pots. So, Brian scrounged around for spare pots, and planted the herbs in them. They have done good so far. They don't seem to be growing, but just maintaining themselves. We did lose the large basil plant, that was the one we were worried about. I do have tarragon, sage, oregano, rosemary, and thyme though. I have put them in soups, pasta sauces, and on roasted meats. It has been a fun taste of summer in the kitchen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bits of Encourgagement~For Advent

Elizabeth and Mary
Luke 1:39-56
Mary didn't waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah's house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,
"You're so blessed among women,
and the babe in your womb,
also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
the mother of my Lord visits me?
The moment the sound of your
greeting entered my ears,
The babe in my womb
skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
believed every word would come true!"
And Mary said,
I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look
what happened-
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be
the God whose very name is holy, set apart
from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered and bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies,
piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.
The Message of Christmas
Eugene H. Peterson

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Baking

Off the top of my head, I believe this is the one cookie that I make for the holiday's that has nuts. Katie and Ian are not fans of the "evil n" as one of my college roommates referred to them. Brian on the other hand loves these cookies, because well he loves nuts!

Thumbprint Cookies

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly, packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs whites, lightly beaten
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
Seedless raspberry jam

Heat oven to 350 F. Beat butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and salt until well mixed. Shape into 1-inch balls. Dip in egg white; roll in walnuts. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each ball.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. You may need to indent the cookies gently. Remove from cookie sheets. Cool on wire racks. Put as much jam as you will think you need in a small bowl and stir. Fill each cookie with jam.

Variations: Instead of jam use your favorite frosting or chocolate as the filling. Another idea to try, replace the walnuts with almonds. Use almond extract, instead of vanilla. Fill with cherry jam or chocolate that has been spiked with a little cherry liquor.

This recipe is a twist on an old classic...buckeyes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups peanut butter
1 pound confectioners' sugar
12 ounces milk chocolate

Melt butter and peanut butter over low heat. Stir in confectioners' sugar. Pat into a 9x13-inch pan. Melt chocolate in double boiler and pour over top. Chill until firm, remove from the refrigerator. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Susie and I get together after Thanksgiving to do our annual pretzel and cracker dipping. After all the work is done, our families have dinner together. It's a fun tradition.

Dipped pretzels

1 bag of large pretzel rods
1 pound of vanilla almond bark
Red and green sugar/sprinkles

Melt half of the almond bark in a double boiler. Place the melted almond bark in a tall glass. Take your pretzel and dip into the glass, tipping the glass and moving the pretzel so you are covering all but the bottom inch of the pretzel. Place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper and sprinkle with sugar immediately.

I'm not sure what these cookies are called, but they are my brother-in-law Ron's favorite!

Ritz cracker cookies

1 box of Ritz crackers
1 pound vanilla almond bark
Peanut butter
Red and green colored sugar/sprinkles

Spread peanut butter on half of the crackers, place the remaining crackers on top to make a sandwich. Melt the almond bark in a double boiler. Place the almond bark in a bowl. Dip each sandwich in the bowl using a fork to help coat it completely. Remove with the fork, tapping off the excessive almond bark. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugars immediately.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Season for Giving

We have 18 days my friends...not to worry! I couldn't give you gift ideas and not mention PICKY GIRL.

New location 949 Grand AVE
I just love this beautiful skirt!

What a pretty holiday dress!!

Perfect. Desk to Dinner.

Beautiful bags.

Gorgeous Jewels.

Elizabeth also carrys shoes, boots, belts, candles, and much more. Go visit her store, trust me you'll fall in love!
I blogged twice tonight. We have a small cookie crisis. See the previous post.

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