Holidays · New Favorite

Fireside Coffee Mix

Curling up by the fire with a good cup of coffee or hot chocolate is one of the things I look forward to as we approach the holidays and cold, snowy weather.

Last year, my daughter, Megan, introduced me to Fireside Coffee and I was a big fan. I kept a container ready all of last winter and will do the same this year.  I made my Fireside Coffee with decafinated coffee so I could enjoy it day or evening.

What a wonderful gift this would be for neighbors and friends.

FIRESIDE COFFEE MIX

2 cups powdered cocoa mix (15 packets of Swiss Miss individual servings)
2 cups powdered coffee creamer
1 cup instant coffee (I used decaffinated)
1.5 cups sugar (I used 1.5 tablespoons of Stevia instead)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Mix ingredients well.  Store in tins, jars, or plastic bags.
  • Mix 2 heaping tablespoons mix with 2/3 cup very hot water.  Stir and enjoy!
Family Favorites · Holidays

Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods

There is something decadent about chocolate with something salty. Chocolate dipped pretzels are a favorite of mine and last Christmas I made Chocolate Dipped Pretzels Rods in white chocolate and with dark chocolate to give as gifts. Ahem…except for those that didn’t make it past my mouth!

CHOCOLATE DIPPED PRETZEL RODS

White Chocolate Chips
Dark Chocolate Chips
Pretzel Rods
Sugars and Sprinkles

  • Spread waxed paper on cookie sheets.
  • Melt chocolate  per instructions in microwave and pour melted chocolate into cup for dipping (makes about the right depth on the pretzel rods).
  • Over a separate plate or bowl, sprinkle the pretzel rods with sugar or sprinkles and place on waxed paper to harden.
  • Place pretzel rods in pretty tin or cello bag to give as gifts.

 

Family Favorites

Cranberry Bread…tart, sweet and warm from the oven!

Cranberry Bread was a favorite of mine back in the day.  I would make several loaves to give as gifts for the holidays when I young, single and fancy-free in St. Joe, MO.  I’m glad to have this recipe back on my radar screen.  The kids loved it.  The tartness of the cranberries complimented by the sweet dough is wonderfully delicious warm from the oven with butter.

The bread freezes well to make ahead for holiday gifts.

CRANBERRY BREAD

2 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
3/4 cup orange juice
1 beaten egg
1 cup raw cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, soda and sugar. Add the orange juice, melted butter, then add beaten egg.
  • Mix well and add the chopped cranberries. Put into greased loaf pan and fill half full of batter.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool for 10 minutes and then run knife around the pan to remove loaf.

 

My Roots

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle was a Christmas tradition for my Mother. As a matter of fact, she would make so many candies to share with the neighbors, family and friends. Her home-made candy traditions included the peanut brittle, divinity, chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, and caramels. I’ve gained 10 pounds just thinking about it…and this doesn’t even include the list of cookies and breads she would make! She would decorate a box and include a sampling of all of her wonderful goodies.

While I wish I could do the same, I know that I would be sampling everything a little too much so only make a few of my favorites this year. Peanut Brittle is a favorite and at least it has ‘some’ protein, right?

Whatever your traditions, continue and share the memories or your childhood with your children and encourage them to create their own traditions.

PEANUT BRITTLE

1 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cups raw peanuts
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (added after candy has cooked)

  • Combine everything but peanuts and baking soda, and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add raw peanuts. Boil and stir constantly with wooden spoon about 15-20 minutes.
  • Cook to hard crack stage (300 degrees). Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Don’t stir much after you add the baking soda.
  • Pour in large buttered cookie sheet and spread out to corners fast with hands while hot and place quickly on cold table, cement or surface until foam disappears and candy hardens.
  • When cool, break into pieces.