Thursday, December 16, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas Recap

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me
12 Drummers Drumming

I hope you guys enjoyed my take on the 12 days <3

Coming up next?

My take on Favourite Things!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Twelve Drummers Drumming!

So this is it - the last day of the 12 Days of Christmas posts. *phew*

I was thinking about whittling a drumming Nutcracker from a unicorn horn... but that posed a series of problems. Such as not knowing how to whittle...

So... drumming.... drums... drummers... drumsticks. Ding ding ding! Chicken drumsticks!
Not a fan of drumsticks... bleh. But  I do love chicken wings! You know what that part attached to the wing that looks like a tiny drumstick is called? A drumette! Drumettes it is!

So never having cooked a chicken wing in my life I consulted the expert, Alton Brown, for his method.

So easy you want to cry. Totally party friendly as it can be made ahead and they are baked crispy... and do not stink up your house with oil. Win-win!

So first you must remove the wing tips and cut the wing apart to separate the drumette from the... other part. Then you steam them... (warning, terrible looking steamed chicken ahead)

Then you kind of question Mr Brown's method. This doesn't look good. At all. But - trust me, keep going. Put them on the rack to drain onto paper towels and refrigerate for a couple hours.

Then you replace the paper towels with foil and set the entire thing in the oven and wait for the magic to happen.  Then you take them out - poke them... burn yourself - and put them back in for a few more minutes if yours are not quite crisp enough. OR - you cover them in sauce and THEN put them back in. Delish.

Now - see how I was all stingy on the foil? Don't do that. Cover the entire pan... easy clean up. OR - you can be like me and once you pull up the stuck on foil - you can soak and wash the pan. Less fun, right?

Serve these babies up with some veggies and dips - yum!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eleven Pipers Piping...

Admit it.... you saw this one coming, right?

Well, then there were sadly not eleven pipers piping icing onto 50 cookies. Nope. Only two.

The small mister and I packed up the cookies, the icing sugar, the handy tubes of pre-made and purchased icing, the candy and the millions and millions of sprinkles and headed to Grandma's house! (Sorry mom... ) Oh, and the red and green ensemble - while festive, not planned. I mean really, who thinks... "I know! I'm going to post on my blog - for the public - a picture of myself dressed in my grubbies... I should coordinate this in a festive manner with my son!".  No. Though I do wish I had the forethought to at least coordinate... something. A little lip gloss wouldn't kill me.

Moving on. Who has time for lip gloss when we are creating masterpieces!!

I will not tell you which are mine and which belong to the five year old who has limited piping experience.

Because.... sadly... It's kind of hard to tell.

But look how much fun we had!! Note the cookie pan? Well - brilliantly I thought this was the perfect answer to corralling all the wayward sprinkles. The many... many wayward sprinkles. Brilliant! Well only brilliant if each and every... or any full on sprinkle spills actually happened on the tray. *sigh*. I apologized to my mother right? The best part is, my mom is not exactly the sprinkles and icing kind of gal... she admits this... and yet, somehow, I thought it would be "fun" to do this to her at her house. Good times. I'm sure she is still sweeping up the millions of sprinkles.

Love you mom!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ten Lords a Leaping...

Gingerbread Lords a leaping!

I used a pretty standard recipe I found on Canadian Parents website and adapted slightly... no cloves in the cupboard. No biggie, I used a little bit more ginger and cinnamon.

The best part (I think) about this recipe is that it's kind of hard to mess it up... so it's kid friendly without having a stroke about folding and whipping and egg shells. There is some sifting... which is a great way to keep small people busy while you do all the fun messy parts... like measuring molasses.  Then they can add all the dry ingredients to the wet... more or less.  (Hint: plan this activity on a day you really needed to wash the floor.)

Then you have to wait for the dough to chill. Which is great. I find that the small mister here, has little interest in long projects. So we put on a movie, I call in the dog wash the floor, and clean up the dishes. When the movie is done you can pretty much start rolling out the dough. If they last more than one section of dough - bravo to you!

Then you bake them.... and more waiting for them to cool.

This recipe made WAY more than 10 Gingerbread men Lords.  I think in the end I had about 50 shapes cut out.
That's an entire afternoon... so step two is to be continued!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nine ladies dancing...

Oh you guys... this one stumped me.  I had many ideas, many were time consuming, and some were vulgar. Just kidding, it's not that kind of blog people!  My mind kept going back to shoes, and girls night out, and New Years Eve... then I tossed a few ideas around with friends and we all kind of agreed on a foot scrub.

Well after a very bad experience with making my own bath salts I opted to not make a foot scrub. Especially when I knew what I wanted already exists, and is fabulous. (Would make a neat stocking stuffer too...  oh - does the hubby read the blog?? We shall soon find out!)  I love Burt's Bees. I love the way everything they make smells and feels. My two favourite things are the Ginger Body Wash and the Peppermint Foot Lotion. I am not a fan of most bath products, I don't frequent make up counters... I try everything people give me, but if I am buying for myself it's these two Burt's Bees products.

So if I have danced all night feet, there is nothing more soothing than this stuff:

Treat yourself people... this is the answer to tired feet.

*I was not paid for this, or given a free sample. If the people from Burt's Bees ever come across my little blog... you are welcome. Love you long time.


Monday, December 6, 2010

It's a marshmallow world in the winter...

That's right! Homemade marshmallows!

I used this recipe from the Joy of Baking website. It was the easiest thing I have ever made, and let me tell you I was nervous! I read the instructions and got to "candy thermometer" and thought to myself "oh well... I'll have to find something else". But I sucked it up and forged ahead... because what is the worst thing that could happen? I burn the crap out of it? Meh... it's not like it was calling for anything exotic and expensive - no big loss!

So I made the sugar syrup and clipped in my candy thermometer - oh funny story. Turns out the clip on the side of the thermometer slides up and down so you can clip it to any pot. I was highly annoyed that my thermometer was stupid long and I did not have deep enough pot to clip it to. I seriously had out the biggest pot I had when I realized the clip moved. Marshmallow one... Amy - zip.

So I stirred it around a bit... and then when it was at about 235F it started almost bubbling over the pot!! Oh heck no. I am NOT cleaning sugar syrup off my stove. No. It was done enough.

So I put the sugar syrup in the mixing bowl "slowly" with the gelatin that had been sitting for a bit. I had the mixer set to low until I got all that hot hot syrup IN the bowl. Who wants to get splashed by hot candy? Not I. Marshmallow 1 - Amy 2. (Because I am counting winning the boiling over battle...)

So you turn up the mixer and let her fly. Walk away... clean your candy pot... and check in after 5 minutes and the above is what you get. So go prepare your dish and really all you need to do is spray a little cooking spray into a dish, line it with plastic wrap, and sprinkle on some icing sugar.

Then go and check your mixer again... it's been about 10 minutes...

Look.... it's fluffy and whippy.... and shiny! Now you can stare at it for a few more minutes, and doubt the size of your bowl... and grab the vanilla (or whatever flavor you are using... imagine using almond in a hazelnut fancy coffee? Or peppermint in a dark hot chocolate... mmm) Oh time is up!

It's HUGE! Dump it into the pan... then swirl red food coloring into it like it says on the queen of Good Things website... yeah right. Once you make this, then read that, you will realize that cannot be possible. They are robots I think. Definitely maybe robots.

So what you are supposed to do here is spray the back of the spoon, off set spatula or whatever you want to use to smooth out the top, with cooking spray so it doesn't stick. So I tried that. Eh... kind of works.
So then I picked up the pan, shook it, whacked in on the counter, shook it some more... and decided that the beauty of homemade marshmallows is that they are not perfect. That is what makes them look homemade! Then when people say "oh weird! Where did you get the squarish blobs of marshmallow?" You can say proudly "I MADE them!"  Then smile like a crazy person, because, hello... who makes marshmallows??

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eight Maids a-Milking...

Well, on a chilly winter evening I can't think of anything better to do with said milk, than heat it up and melt chocolate in it.

These are main ingredients...

Milk.... and the closest to whole milk, the creamier the hot chocolate. Really, you're already melting a pile of chocolate.... to drink, I don't think skim milk will ease your conscience any! It's like ordering diet coke with a Big Mac nonsense.
Moving on!  You need milk, semi-sweet chocolate, and a really good, smooth milk chocolate bar.

For 2 big mugs of heaven:

3 cups of milk
3 squares of semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 of a milk chocolate bar (about 4 squares...)

Now there are a few other items in this hot chocolate but this is where it comes down to preferences. I also added a pinch of salt, 2 tbsp of sugar and about 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.

By the way, if you don't have a mini food chopper put it on your Christmas list! I use mine at least once a week. It's great for cheese in casseroles, mixing dips, and of course, chopping chocolate... Also it has a tiny footprint in the cabinet space department, and the thing fits in the top rack of the dishwasher easy peasy. Love it.

Back to the hot chocolate!

Put the milk in a saucepan and slowly heat it up, you don't want it to boil... you just want it to melt t chocolate.  When it starts to heat up, add in the chocolate and other ingredients about 1/4 at a time and whisk it around until it melts.  When you can't see the chocolate bits anymore turn up the heat a little and give it a few good stirs to heat it through.

Easy! Takes less than 10 minutes I would say, and it is velvety, smooth, and decadent.

See those pillowy clouds of heaven on top?

Stay tuned!