Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How To Make A Wax Face

How to make a wax mold of your face, according to Peter:

1. Have your mom smash a bunch of black Play-Doh on your face.
2. Use an old hair dryer to try to dry the Play-Doh out. This doesn't work.
3. Put the Play-Doh face mold into a bowl lined with crumpled newspaper and foil. Melt wax on your mom's stove. Get it so hot that it starts to smoke and your mom freaks out. Pour melted wax into face mold. Put it outside on the back porch to harden in the freezing cold.
4. Pop wax mold out of Play-Doh mold. Peel off the Play-Doh that sticks.
5. Now it's ready to wrap for your siblings for Christmas!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Day In The Morning

We had an extra fun Christmas morning! The family got a new game that I had never played- Settlers of Catan. Now that we've played it 3 nights in a row, I'm sure this game is of the devil.
 Lindsey led the fashion parade in her safari hat:
 Peter's gift to his siblings was a was mold of his face. Yes, you read that right. I'll be showing you how he did that next week. It was quite a popular gift.
 Gus was in cat heaven with all the ribbon and paper to play with, crawl in and lounge on:
 Ben and Shannon gave Bruce a remote control helicopter. Gus' good day was over.
 He spent the rest of the day with this look on his face:
 Poor little guy.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Food, The Fun

I'm sure your families have Christmas Eve traditions- one of ours is our Christmas Eve feast. Everyone has to prepare something for our potluck dinner. This year's offerings were diverse and varied. And delicious!
Lindsey made Grinch kebabs and White Lightning slush.
The kebabs looked like Grinch heads!

Brian made a ham and cheese stuffed Stromboli. He really goes for hot pocket-type foods.
 Shannon brought these Loaded Potato slices. Lots of cheese, lots of bacon. Perfection!
 Ben made Parmesan Garlic Rolls. Mmmmm.
Here's Bruce watching the Food Network video of how to make Chateaubriand with Bearnaise Sauce. Ambitious? Yes. But it's Christmas Eve and we have to go all-out! I did have to step in and tell him the difference between a clove of garlic and a whole garlic head. He bought 7 heads of garlic at the store and I didn't want us all to die. If you need garlic, let me know.
 I was in charge of the Christmas Eve Corn Dogs. It wouldn't be Christmas without 'em.
I also made a really good onion dip with onions from my new BIL's farm up in Corinne. Recipe to come. Then I had to try these Cream Cheese Sausage Meatballs with Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce. These were delicious and I'll be passing this recipe on too.
Peter outdid himself with this Crepe Cake! He's dating a girl who really knows how to cook and he's picking up vocabulary words like "ganache" and "frittata." This cake had 17 layers! Very impressive.
When our bellies were full, we read the Christmas story and played our traditional game of Christmas Eve Condiments. Then, somehow, the evening deteriorated into a hamstring stretching contest. Bruce has notoriously tight hamstrings and can't touch his toes. Now we know that Brian does too! The winners of the night: Lindsey took these pictures with her phone:

Peter, standing on 3 books, still touching the floor.
But Shannon, standing on 4 books, won when she could put her palms flat on the ground. Now that's freaky.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Arm Knitter

During Christmas Eve day, while the guys were off skiing, Lindsey arm-knitted a scarf. Yes, arm-knitted. Like her arms are big knitting needles. These scarves are so cute! I have a cream colored scarf and a blanket in my den. When your DIL arm knits, things like that happen!
As you can see, Gus was fascinated by the process.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Very Bieber Christmas

So, I've been riding this cute little horse at the barn whose name is Snoopy. Back when I was just getting to know him I mentioned to a girl at the barn that he reminded me of Justin Bieber- he was cute, he might have a case of Little Man syndrome, and he was cute. The girl ran to our trainer and said, "Guess who Barbara thinks Snoopy is like!!?" And my trainer, without hesitating, said, "Justin Bieber." Weird.

I was on the right track. Fast forward to now. Every year we have a wreath decorating contest at the barn. This year's theme for Snoopy was a no-brainer:
Sparkly with ribbons and battery powered lights- and Justin Bieber. I think I'm a shoe-in to win this year!
Shannon made a wreath for our missionary friend's horse, Gary. I thought it had that nice missionary touch:
I doubt anyone will take a pass-along card, but you never know! We took this picture and made a special Christmas card to send to Sister Price. She will be excited!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Girl From Spain- In The Snow

You might remember the exchange student from Spain who is living with our trainer out at the barn for the school year. After her photo shoot in the leaves, we decided to do a few more shots in the snow. Her hometown in Spain is by the beach and hardly ever gets even a dusting of snow, so this was fun.
 When I showed her with my hand how high the snow might get during a regular Utah winter she was shocked. And I was being kind in my estimation. She might be in for a long winter.
 I've been wanting to try the "snow blow" pictures for a while and I'm glad I did. Cute stuff.
 I bet we knocked off this shoot in about 15 minutes. It was cold!
Such a cute girl...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Porch Pillow Slipcovers- The Christmas Edition

Here they are! My Christmas porch pillow slipcovers, paired with that cute Santa pillow I made decades ago.
Ok, maybe I didn't make him decades ago, but he's been around a long time. Gotta say, I'm really loving those pillows!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"SODA"- lightful YW Gifty

Here's what my partner and I are giving to our Young Women for their birthdays this year. Saw it on Pinterest, thought it was cute.
The mug and bath salts I got at the dollar store. The loofah I found at the Walmarts. I had to order the red bath beads because apparently, bath beads aren't widely available anymore. Who knew? The girls seemed to like these...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Not The Vet!

It was time to take Gus in for his yearly exam and vaccinations. He was not happy to see the cat carrier.
Knowing the kind of punk cat that he is and his penchant to beat up anyone that strikes his fancy, I was afraid he would tear the vet's office apart.

Surprisingly, he found his good manners and didn't hurt anyone. He was not happy to be there but he held it together.  Then he came home, crawled under the kitchen table and hid from the world for the rest of the day.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snowy Super Mickey

Bruce will sometimes get the urge to drive my Jeep in the snow, something I try to avoid. This happened last Saturday and the Jeep was parked overnight outside. During a snowstorm. This is what it looked like in the morning:
There's almost a foot of snow on my poor baby! But even worse, look at Super Mickey:
Yikes! Time to tuck the Jeep back in the barn!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Baking Week! Rosemary-Onion Quick Bread

I thought we'd end Baking Week with something savory. Let me just tell you that this bread is amazingly delicious. It's a quick bread. so there's no tricky yeast to worry about, and it ends up with a muffin-like texture. Please find fresh rosemary when you make this! Perfect with soups or stews, and best fresh from the oven.

Rosemary-Onion Quick Bread from An Edible Mosaic

  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more to grease the loaf pan
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (slightly heaping) teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, plus a few leaves more for topping if desired
  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350F; grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with butter.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat; once melted, add the onion and cook until softened but not browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, black pepper, and rosemary in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Whisk together the milk, vegetable oil (or melted butter), and eggs in a large bowl.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just to combine; stir in the onion.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Cool 15 minutes in the loaf pan, then remove the bread from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Baking Week! Peanut Mallow Bars

Do you have peanut butter lovers at your house? I do! These layer bars are sooo good. I love the squishy marshmallow layer!

Peanut Mallow Bars  makes a 9x13 pan
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
4 cups miniature marshmallows
 2 cups peanut butter chips
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups salted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, butter, and egg until well blended. Spread into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the marshmallows over the top. Return to the oven for about 2 minutes, just to melt the marshmallows together. Remove from the oven, and place pan on a wire rack to cool. In a saucepan, combine the peanut butter chips, corn syrup, and butter. Stir over medium-low heat until melted and well blended. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla, rice cereal and peanuts. Spread in an even layer over the marshmallows. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baking Week! Peppermint Bark Rice Krispy Treats

 Who doesn't love Rice Krispy Treats? (And they're gluten free- I'm keeping track of these things, now that I'm in YW's and one of the girls is just intolerant.) Anywho, these are festive! I found this recipe on the Our Best Bites blog.
Peppermint Bark Rice Krispy Treats
1 10.5 ounce bag peppermint mini marshmallows* ( I found these at the local Walmarts.)
4 tablespoons real butter, plus extra to butter pan
5-6 cups rice krispy style cereal (I like mine a little more marshmallowy)
3 tablespoons semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
a few drops (about 1/8 teaspoon) peppermint extract
2-3 medium sized candy canes, crushed

*In place of the peppermint marshmallows, use regular marshmallows and add about 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract to melted marshmallow mixture.  Or more to taste, I’m guessing on the amount.

Line a 9×13 pan with foil and lightly butter bottom and about 1 inch up sides.

Melt butter in a very large bowl in the microwave.  Add marshmallows and stir to coat.  Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.  (You can do that whole process on the stovetop as well.)   Add rice krispie cereal and stir to evenly combine.  With buttered hands, press mixture into prepared pan.

Place white chocolate chips and 1/4 teaspoon oil in a small bowl.  Heat in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.  Repeat same process with semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips and add a few drops of peppermint extract.  Drizzle both chocolates on top of rice krispie treats and sprinkle candy canes on top.  Let sit until chocolate is set, place pan in fridge to speed process along. Cut into squares and eat up.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Baking Week! Almond Brownies

Mmmm. Almonds and chocolate. Delicious! These bars have a decadent homemade brownie layer topped by a creamy almond-flavored frosting. I think I'll snitch one right now!

Almond Brownies - 3 dozen

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
16 oz. chocolate syrup
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 c. plus 1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp salt

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 (8oz.) carton Cool Whip, thawed, divided
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. chopped almonds

In a large bowl,, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate syrup and extract. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture. Pour into a greased 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (brownies may appear moist). Cool on wire rack. For frosting, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and 1 cup Cool Whip; stir until smooth. Cool. Fold in extract and remaining Cool Whip. Spread over cooled brownies. Sprinkle with almonds. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Baking Week! Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Here's the perfect quick, easy and yummy holiday munchy snack: Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels. In one word- addicting. The smell when they are baking is probably going to kill you.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
1 16oz. bag pretzels- I found these holiday shaped pretzels at the local Walmarts.
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour pretzels into a roasting pan. In a medium size bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and cinnamon. Pour over pretzels and stir to coat. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, removing twice to stir.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Baking Week! Cherry Pie Cookies

Seeing as how I'm actually baking this year, I thought I would share a week's worth of Christmas goodies with you. We'll start with these Cherry Pie Cookies!
Bruce is a huge fan of cherry pie so these are right down his alley. Note to self: These are delicate little cookies and driving them to Sacramento is asking a lot of them. They should probably stay home next time. :)

Cherry Pie Cookies
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup margarine, softened
2 cups flour
Water, as needed
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
21 ounce Cherry Pie Filling
½ cup white chocolate baking chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer beat together butter, and margarine until fluffy. Add flour powdered sugar, and vanilla just until combined and a soft dough is formed. I ended up adding almost 1/4 c. of water to this dough because it was pretty crumbly.
Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. about 2 inches apart. Make an indentation in the center of each ball. Scoop 1-2 cherries into each center indentation in the cookie.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool. Melt the ½ cup white chocolate in the microwave stirring 30 seconds at a time in a microwave safe dish until smooth and be careful not to let it burn.
Once chocolate is melted scoop into a ziplock blog. Snip the corner with scissors and drizzle the chocolate over each cookie.
If you want to add a little bit of nutty flavor to the butter cookie, add ¼ cup finely ground walnuts or pecans.
I found this on The Recipe Critic blog.