Thursday, January 8, 2015

Leader Enterprise - December 17, 2014 - Quick holiday treats

I wanted to share that I was happy to recently tour the Jiffy Mix plant in Chelsea, Michigan. The hour-long tour is free and you can purchase half cases or full cases of assorted or same mix products,for only 50 cents per box. A lovely cookbook was included in one of the boxes. It wasn't that far away and it was very enjoyable.Take a group of friends for an outing. You'll be so glad you did.
                 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

I also enjoyed an awesome time in Charlotte, NC, the first full week of December, at the Operation Christmas Child processing center. It was a joy to serve and the fellowship was so sweet. Nearly 2 million boxes have been processed already and there are still volunteers manning the 10 facilities across the country. I was blessed beyond measure.

I hope you've enjoyed reading the staff's stories about childhood Christmas memories, as much as I have.One of my own favorites is when I was about 5, with a younger brother barely a year's difference in our ages (Actually, brother Alan and I are the same age for six days). We had visited friends on Christmas Eve (as we did often during the year), so when we got home late that evening,I clearly remember my mom walking to the window, looking out and exclaiming that she could see Santa and the reindeer in the sky. My brother and I could not get up the stairs to bed fast enough because we knew if we weren't in bed when Santa came, he would not leave presents.(Oh my clever mama!) I think I did this a time or two with my own children. 

Mini Brownie Treats 

As I browsed my Country Woman Christmas 1998 Cookbook recently, I came across this lovely poem and wanted to share.

CHRISTMAS PAST by Ruth Fiori Poynor

I remember a long-ago Christmas
And the candles that lit up the tree,
Strung with popcorn and cranberry garlands,
It was dressed up so elegantly.

We would gather around the piano,
Singing carols with faces aglow;
Then we would steal away for a moment
With our beaus 'neath the mistletoe. 

In the twilight we'd hitch up the horses
For a sleigh ride on snow-covered ground;
Soon harness bells jingling merrily
filled the air with a holiday sound. 

Christmas Day we would gather together
At the tiny white church on the hill
To honor the birth of the Savior--
In my mind,I envision it still.

Then surrounded by all of our loved ones,
We would open the gifts we received--
Simple presents tied up with bright ribbon..
But worth riches,everybody believed. 

Though my heart may be filled with nostalgia,
Like a child I look forward with glee
To the holiday season that's coming...
And the magic of Christmas-to-be. 

I thought I'd share some fast and easy recipes to consider making if you need something quick to share-maybe with a neighbor? How can you go wrong making recipes with only two ingredients? You're welcome.

CHOCOLATE-PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIES 

1(15 ozs)roll refrigerated ready-to-slice peanut butter cookie dough
48 miniature peanut butter cup candies

Preheat oven to 350. Slice cookie dough into 3/4-inch slices. Cut each slice into quarters. Place each quarter into ungreased mini muffin pans. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press an unwrapped peanut butter cup gently and evenly into cookie (right side up). Cool before removing from pan.Refrigerate until firm. Yield: 4 dozen cookies. 

MINI BROWNIE TREATS  
1 pkg.(9" X 13" pan size) fudge brownie mix
48 striped chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for fudge-like brownies. Fill paper-lined miniature muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool about 30 seconds, then top each with a chocolate candy kiss. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 4 dozen yummy little treats

HOMEMADE KIT KAT BARS

1 bag vanilla cream sugar wafers
12 ozs. chocolate, melted according to directions
(almond bark works nicely too)

Dip each cookie into chocolate until coated completely. I remove them with a fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan to remove any excess chocolate (if there is such a thing! (wink). Set on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill until set. May be stored in fridge or at room temp. 

Extending warmest wishes to each of you for a very Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year! Always remember: Life is short; Eat dessert first. I am anticipating good times ahead for us in the new year as I get to share more delicious dishes being created in my kitchen.

A quote from Edith Lovejoy Pierce seems appropriate as we look ahead. "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day". Have a Happy Happy Happy 2015!