Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Recap

After all the preparation, it's hard to believe the holidays are almost over.  Our two younger children have come and gone and our oldest daughter and son-in-law have just left to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends in Grand Rapids.  My husband is napping and I'm enjoying the peace and quiet.

The past week has been a whirlwind.  It was great having the kids home. Here are a few pictures of our holiday.

Annie opening the last door on the advent calendar.  
It's always a race to see who can get there first on Christmas morning.

 Katie opening a gift while Peter (her boyfriend) looks on.
It was great to finally meet him.

Annie and husband Jason admiring her Nook.

 My sister-in-law with her sweet grand daughter, Makinley.

 The dinner table.

 Do we really have to take another picture?

 Katie and Peter just before leaving for the airport.
We obviously had a green Christmas.

 We met up with Dave's girlfriend and her parents in East Lansing
the day after Christmas.

We had my extended family over on the 27th.
My niece's little boy, George, Jr.

 My nephew's daughter, Makinley.

 My other nephew's little girl, Ava.

My nephew's wife, Amy and their little guy, Ryan.

I love spending time with my family at Christmas.  It's truly what makes the holiday so special.  
Happy New Year to everyone.  May it be filled with blessings.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Homemade Christmas Gift

I stumbled onto this recipe a number of years ago and then altered it to fit my taste.  It is soooo good.  My kids love it.  If fact, when I talked to my daughter on the phone today, she asked if I was making this.  (She's bringing her boyfriend home to meet the fam and this delectable treat will hopefully make up for any oddities in our clan.)  

White Chocolate Crunch

1 pound white chocolate
6 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Honey Nut Cheerios cereal
2 cups pretzels
2 cups cashews
1 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces plain M&M's (Christmas colored for the holidays)

Melt white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.  Mix together dry ingredients (except M&M's) in large roasting pan.

Pour chocolate over dry mixture and gently mix.  Add M&M's.  Pour mixture onto wax paper and let cool.

Break into bite-sized pieces and store in airtight container.

I like to package this up in Christmas food bags to give away as gifts.  I usually double the recipe as it tends to disappear quickly.  Also, feel free to change the ingredients to whatever cereals and nuts that you like best.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Mayhem

Why do we put ourselves through this every year?  Decorating for days, spending hours wrapping gifts, writing in and addressing Christmas cards, and baking endless treats that make our clothes too tight.  Basically, because it's tradition.  Unfortunately, it takes our focus off the real reason for the season--the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Every year, I say I'm going to make everything more simple so I'm not so frazzled.  I was going to get our Christmas cards done last summer.  We took our picture when everyone was home for Christmas last year.  I even had the cards to put the picture in so I could address them in July.  Of course, it didn't happen.  So once again, I'm getting them out at the eleventh hour.  Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men.....

Next year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Festive Lowfat Torte

One of my go-to recipes for the holidays is a white chocolate torte served with a raspberry sauce.  You can't beat it for the Christmas colors.  It can be dolled up for company with some greenery.  I originally got the recipe from a cooking class, but changed it up to make it more heart healthy.  When buying an Angel Food cake mix, go for the plain white cake.  I must have been in a catatonic state when I went to the store.  I thought I bought the plain mix, but when I got home, I had the funfetti flavor in my bag.  It must be perimentalpause perimenopause .

White Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Sauce

1 box Angel Food cake mix
1 large container Cool Whip
4 ounces White Chocolate
12 ounces frozen raspberries
Sugar or sweetener to taste

Mix angel food cake according to package directions.  Line a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool in pan on wire rack.

Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in top of double boiler over low heat.  Mix into Cool Whip.

Loosen edges of cake from pan with a knife.  Cut cake into thirds with a serrated knife.  Invert one layer onto serving platter.  Spread layer with Cool Whip mixture.  Repeat procedure with remaining layers.  Frost top and sides of cake with remaining Cool Whip mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.

For raspberry sauce, puree raspberries in a food processor.  Strain raspberries to remove seeds.  Add sugar to taste.  Serve sauce with cake.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Workout

Aaah!  The decorating is finally done.  The tree is decorated, the garland is up and the stockings are hung.

I have to say, men have it made this time of year.  Women do all the decorating, all the shopping, all the wrapping, all the cooking, and all of the cards.  Men just show up.  On the positive side, we burn off all those extra calories from the goodies we've consumed by doing all the work.  I wish I knew how many trips up and down the stairs I've made, retrieving all the decorations from the basement--hundreds, at least.  I've probably done the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest....well, maybe not, but close.  No wonder my glutes are feeling a little sore.  We women will be fitter than ever by the time January rolls around, while the men in our lives will be nothing but a gelatinous mass.  Kudos to being a woman!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Crafting

My daughter showed me this card wreath from the Martha Stewart web sight.  It looked pretty easy, so I decided to give it a try.  I wasn't crazy about the natural wood look, so I bought some spray paint to jazz it up a bit.  Aside from the painting, you can make this in about ten minutes.

14 inch embroidery hoop
1.5 - 2 inch clothes pins
2 inch wide ribbon
Hot glue gun

Glue clothes pins to hoop, alternating directions.  Add ribbon and hang.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lights, Please!

I'm so thankful to have a husband who's a good sport.  Every year, I ask him to climb into the attic and get the wreath down for my car.  Then he gets out the wire ties and attaches it to the grill (of my car) for me.  He never complains or makes a fuss about it.  His reward--chocolate chip cookies.  (See post from 2/7/11 for recipe.)

I've done the wreath on my car since the kids were in middle school.  I remember that because they complained about how embarrassing it was when I would pick them up.  I've never figured out why they would be embarrassed about it.  A wreath is way more classy than reindeer antlers and a Rudolph nose.

The only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to light it.  Last year, I saw a pick-up truck with a lit wreath.  Now that would be the ultimate.