Sunday, December 30, 2012

Homemade Christmas Part 2

So I'm a little late here. I feel like a major slacker but the last two weeks before Christmas included sick kids, exhausted husband and kinks getting thrown my way. The last 4 days before Christmas I came down with the plague. I almost cancelled Christmas morning brunch at my house but I just kept trucking along and made it through. I made it until December 26th and then I deflated like a popped balloon! So my head is all swimmy and things that are stationary seems to be moving, in fact the computer seems to be giving motion sickness. I felt worse this time last year but I had come down with morning sickness that time. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that is not this case this time! Wow! this year has been CRAZY!!!! Anywhoooo, I'm rambling, maybe its the cold medicine  These are a few of the handmade gifts we made but I plan to show you more. While wrapping the gifts at 2:00 AM Christmas morning I realized I never did take proper pictures of my work. So I'll have to borrow a couple of things back to take some shots and remake some of the food items.

Christmas Morning with my men!!!!

Apple Butter

This is seriously one of the easiest things I've ever made. Luckily I have a Pampered Chef apple slicer so the hardest work was the clean up. I started it at 1:30 am, went to bed got up at 8:00 am stirred it a few times and it was done by 11:30 am I blended it and it was ready to can. I have a timer on my slow cooker so I didn't have to worry about checking it. I may have stopped around eight hours but I wanted the flavors to be a deep and rich as possible.
What it should look like at each stage

Slow Cooker Apple Butter
7-8 lbs of apple (I used Gala and Red Delicious but a tart apple would be good also)
1 1/4 cups raw sugar (adjust according to the sweetness of you apples)
3 TBSP molasses
1-2 TBSP cinnamon (I like mine with alot)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
(I didn't use them this time)

Peel, slice and core your apples. Place them into your crock along with the remaining ingredients cook on low for 8-10 hours. Stir occasionally. Once they are done either mash with potato masher or use an immersion blender to smooth. (If you like it with more of a chunky texture use the potato masher) You can either can or freeze. It will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Bacon Bark

This may be the ugliest thing I've ever made but it may also get me a "BEST BIG SISTER IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE" award. My little brother may just be obsessed with bacon. So I remixed peppermint bark, tossed out the normal ingredients and Davidified it. 

Peanut Butter Bacon Bark
1 pack of bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cinnamon

12 oz Reese's peanut butter chips
6 oz white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F. Start by layering bacon onto a broiler pan. In a small bowl combine sugar, cinnamon and chili powder. Top the bacon with sugar mixture and pat down so that all the bacon is covered. Bake 15-20 minutes. Watch carefully the sugar will burn easily. Pull out and let cool. Once bacon has come to room temperature, chop bacon into fairly small pieces. Cover a baking sheet with wither wax paper. Pour peanut butter chips into a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until chips are melted. (My microwave takes 1:00 to 1:30 minutes) Pour melted peanut butter chips onto wax paper smooth out into a flat rectangle shape. Top with your chopped bacon. While that cools melt your white chocolate chips in the same manner as peanut butter chips. Drizzle melted white chocolate over and let cool. Refrigerate until cool and hardened. Once hardened break into bite sized pieces. 

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix
(I made a double recipe which makes between 14-16 cups)

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix
5 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons salt
26 oz box of powdered milk
32 oz powdered creamer
2 cups cocoa
16 oz instant chocolate pudding
2 cups brown sugar
12 oz semisweet morsels
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. In a large heavy bottom skillet heat sugar over medium heat stirring often. Cook until sugar has liquefied and turned a dark amber. Pour onto baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and let cool and set until hardened. Once hard break into chunks and place into a food processor. Pulse into a powder. (I had to do it in batches) Combine all ingredients in a huge bowl and process in food processor in batches until all ingredients are combined and a fine powder. ( I used a medium plastic box with a lid to hold it all until ready to bottle) I poured mine into 16 oz powdered creamer containers that had been washed and cleaned with the label removed.

I also made this Praline SauceCoconut Lime Sugar Scrub and these Oatmeal Fudge Bars I did change a couple of things for the recipient, I added chopped macadamia nuts to the crust and swapped white chocolate for the dark. I have made the bars a couple of time by the recipe and I love, love, love them! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Morning Muffins!!!!

We are hosting out Christmas Morning Brunch again this year and I plan on scaling back the food... well I planned on it but it doesn't seem to be happening... Last year I made this granola and laid everything out for granola parfaits and they were DELICIOUS!!!! However, I wanted to change it up this year. My Mom and I have a tried and true muffin recipe so I'm remixing it with these two lovely flavors and a third yet to be determined flavor. I know you're all like Strawberry Pina Colada at Christmas!?!?! Well, that is how I roll, stank you very much. I like to mix it up and get CRAZYYYYYYY y'all!  Okay, maybe I'm just sleep deprived. I probably shouldn't write these when I haven't been sleeping often or while I'm listening to a playlist made of mostly Prince, Michael Buble and Outkast. Whatevs. 

For Basic Muffins:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
Raw sugar for topping*

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease and flour muffin cups or toss in liners if you too cool to bother with all of that nonsense. (As you can see I am!) Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine  Make a well in center and set aside. In another bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Add all of the liquid to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened and still lumpy. Add mix ins making sure not to over work. Spoon into cups approx 2/3 way full. Top with raw sugar and bake for 18-20 minutes.
* Optional but needed

For White Chocolate Pomegranate:
Prepare as above except
omit oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup white chocolate
seeds from one pomegranate

For Strawberry Pina Colada:
Prepare as above except
omit oil
swap milk for coconut milk
1/4 cup diced strawberry (if using frozen no need to thaw mix in still frozen)
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup shredded coconut

You can see my sous chef admiring his work ready to dig in. 
and in other cuteness....
♥♥♥♥ Liam's new happy spot is staring up at the tree. ♥♥♥♥