Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nanaimo Bars Recipe, Rich Chocolate and Butter Cream

A friend at work introduced me to the sinfully delicious chocolate Nanaimo bars. She brought them in to work to share at Christmas and we all went into transports of joy as we tasted them.
There is chocolate and butter and sugar galore in these treats, which originated in the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.
The recommended size for the pan is 8 inches by 8 inches, sprayed with vegetable oil or covered with parchment paper. The recommended custard powder is Bird's, which you can find online or in specialty shops, or you can substitute vanilla pudding powder. I bring the butter to room temperature before beginning. I don't have a double boiler, so instead I use a larger saucepan with water in it, and a smaller saucepan which sets on top, leaning in to the larger pan.
Ingredients for bottom layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 cup white sugar, 5 TB cocoa powder, 1 egg beaten, 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans, 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut.
Melt first three ingredients in double boiler, gently whisk in egg, stir in rest of ingredients, and press in to greased pan. Refrigerate for about an hour.
Ingredients for second layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, 2 TB cream or milk, 2 TB vanilla custard powder, 2 cups confectioners sugar.
Cream together 1st three ingredients, then add sugar and when mixture is smooth spread over bottom layer.
Top layer:
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (one ounce each), 2 TB unsalted butter.
Melt these slowly and when a bit cooled pour on top of middle layer and chill in refrigerator.
To prevent the top layer of chocolate from cracking when cutting, use a sharp knife and bring to room temperature before cutting.
This recipe gives about 16 servings and I read that they are about 300 calories, but I don't know for sure about the calories.
Prepare to be very popular when you share these Nanaimo Bars.
Recipe posted by Terra Hangen.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rudy Day

The 25th of each month is designated by Christmas devotees as Rudolph Day, affectionately called Rudy Day.

The idea is that on the 25th of each month you pause and think about organizing for Christmas. You might want to buy a gift on sale, make gifts or make home decorations, or anything else you like to do ahead. Here on our blog, every day is Rudy Day, since we give Christmas celebrating tips from July to January. So enjoy your own Rudy Days in the months to come, as you prepare to celebrate the day Jesus was born.
Do any of you use Rudolph Day to help organize for the holidays?
Posted by Terra Hangen

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Embrace Frugal Gift Gathering

I should have changed my middle name to Tightwad a long time ago. I not only come from a long line of penny-pinchers (Can you say rinsing out store brand plastic zipper bags?), but the reality of a more challenging economy has boosted my resolve.

That being said, my frugality extends to Christmas gift as well. My family has adopted several creative themes throughout the years to relieve the financial burden:
• Exchanging gifts bought at a garage sale or flea market—nothing new allowed!
• Shopping resale stores and Goodwill for designer clothing. Find out what days they stock their shelves and be there when the store opens.
• Recycling gifts (We’ve all been given a great gift that just wasn’t us. Pass it along to a family member who could really give that item a good home.)
• Shopping at the dollar store (We did this a lot when our kids were small. I’d give each of them $10 and let them go crazy. The cool thing was, they worked hard to find gifts that fit the recipient. For example, duct tape for my husband who loves to do projects around the house.)

If I absolutely, can’t-possibly-get-out-of-it, must shop retail, I peruse flyers and slick inserts and clip coupons. Some places (even besides Wal-Mart) will accept other stores coupons on identical items. I’m excited that my kids (19, 16, and 15) have come on board with our family’s frugality. (Earning their own income and saving for cars and college might have spurred them on a little!) An added bonus? Good stewardship never goes out of style.

Now it’s your turn to brag. What great deals have you found? Where do you shop for bargains?

Leslie Porter Wilson

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nutmeg Logs

This is my mother-in-law's recipe, and we love the sweet, rum flavor.

Nutmeg Logs

1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon rum flavoring
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream softened butter with the flavorings. Beat in the sugar, then mix in the egg. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, nutmeg, and salt. Mix with the butter/sugar mixture. Shape the resulting dough into snakes about 1/2 inch in diameter, and cut the pieces to 3 inches in length. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Frost with rum frosting. Make grooves in the frosting with a fork, and sprinkle ground nutmeg on the logs while the frosting is still moist.

Rum Frosting
1/3 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon rum flavoring
2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Written by Trish Berg

Monday, October 14, 2013

Presentation and Making Sugar Frosted Strawberries

If you have followed my posts, you'll find that I am not the cook/baker among the Word Quilters. My best recipe for chocolate chip cookies comes from the refrigerated section of the grocery store and has a little dough boy on the label. I do make a mean cake at Christmas and Easter though. I have a daughter-in-law who likes a white cake with fresh strawberries as the filling between layers. Of course my cake is from a mix, my icing from a can, and the coconut topping from a bag. I slice up the strawberries and place them between the layers as I'm icing the cake. If it will be consumed quickly--which is usually the case, I place fresh strawberries on top as well.

In trying to be crafty (it is Crafty Saturday) I came up with this alternative that I think I'll try out myself this year--sugar frosted fruit. After all, presentation is as important as taste. Most of you are probably ahead of me on this but if not, here's how it goes:

You'll need a beaten egg white in a small bowl, extra fine sugar in another small bowl, a paint brush used only for food, and your fresh fruit--strawberries or grapes or raspberries or blackberries. Wash and dry the fruit on a paper towel. Set out another paper towel for the finished project to dry on. Now take the paint brush and coat the piece of fruit with the egg white. Then either dip it in the sugar or use a teaspoon to shake sugar over the top of the fruit. I would think the later would work best to keep the sugar dry.

Use as a garnish on your cake top or other desserts for Christmas dinner.

Now, if you get to this before I do, let me know how it went and if you have any other helpful hints I can use, pass them along.

Happy delicious crafting!
Post by Karen Robbins

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sour Cream Cheescake Recipe

Sour cream cheesecake is delicious, I promise. To save time you can buy a graham cracker crust, preferably a nine inch crust that is two inches deep, or any size crust.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
With an electric beater mix 2 eggs, 12 ounces cream cheese, one half cup sugar, one tsp. lemon juice and one half tsp. salt
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon and let it cool to room temperature.
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix one and one half cups sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, one half teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt. Pour this over the first layer and bake for 5 minutes, then refrigerate it for 6 or more hours before serving.
The layers with different tastes make it very tasty.
What is your family's favorite dessert at holiday time?
Recipe from Terra Hangen

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chocolate Cream Pie, Easy

1 Keebler graham cracker ready crust pie crust
1 (4 serving size) pkg. Jello chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
1 c. cold milk
2 sqs. Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3 c. thawed Cool Whip whipped topping

Prepare pudding with 1 cup milk as directed on package with electric mixer. Gradually blend in chocolate at low speed until smooth. Then fold in whipped topping. Spoon into pie crust. Freeze until, firm about 4 hours. Garnish with additional whipped topping and chocolate curls, if desired.
Posted by Trish Berg

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review of "Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts", delightful, creative

Susanne Lakin posted this insightful review of our book on Amazon, and I want to share it with you here. Susanne writes Christian fairy tales / fantasy under the name C.S. Lakin.
Here is the review of "Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts" she posted.

"This delightful, creative gift book is chock full of personal memories, thoughts about Christmas, recipes, anecdotes, traditions, and Scripture. Some of the simple stories and verses brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart. I read this book in August--as far from the Christmas holiday as could be, yet I found it worked a wonderful magic in my heart, centering me in reminder that the spirit of Christ is something we need to consider and let live in us each day of the year.

This is a terrific book to give as a gift to just about anyone. The scrapbook theme and layout makes it perfect for picking up and reading just a few pages at a time. Every home should have a copy sitting out on their coffee table year-round!"
Posted by Terra Hangen
On sale on Amazon at this link only 13.49.