Monday, 12 December 2011

Twelve Days Til Christmas Fa La La La La !!!!!

So many people wander aimlessly through life simply go for whatever small thing they want moment by moment. Instead, decide what your perfect life consists of and begin to put the steps in motion to reach that place. The most satisfying thing in the world (yes, better than sex, much better) is overcoming a challenge and reaching a goal. We are the happiest when we are growing and working towards something better.
My goals and dreams have changed from younger years, now that I am hopefully (sometimes) more mature and wiser about such things.  Goals and dreams are now for security in family and home, not so much material things as they once had been.  My dreams have been extended to include our children and grandchildren with hopes for them to learn the values of family and friends, rather then it all being about a material life.  This is a very difficult thing to do in times of our present day situations and technology, is it not?  We can still pray, hope and dream for them as I believe all hope is not lost for them in such an unsettled future at times.....Oh my sweet yesterday.  Sweet it was.  I am sure I played "catch up" after being put down for one day with the Flu Bug, with hopes I will not pay too dearly today and tomorrow.  Although it seemed never ending at some parts of the day, it was very rewarding in the end leaving me with a feeling of great accomplishment.This day started not long after I had spoken with my Auntie in the morning, wherein the telephone conversation she had asked if I would like to come to her place to do up the dishes.  Well, "let me tell the World", by the end of my yesterday I am sure I had done the whole town of Wiarton's dishes and then some !!!!After the usual get the "pack" attended to and a load of laundry in the washing machine, it was a glance at a recipe then time to get at it.  I "chuckled" to myself somewhere along the way about all the food blogs and recipe websites I have visited from time to time, with their photos of the perfect kitchen and foods.  I certainly do not know how they manage to keep everything so perfect, as there are most times I find myself wearing the flour !The perfect kitchen I am sure has been in some of my dreams and goals, but never my reality .....

 "..... and perfectly organized and clean when I have been cooking or baking?  It just ain't going to be happening in my kitchen !"

"Should Kitchen Kats, such as IKE & ICE, were ever to speak, I would be scared for people to hear their tales of what goes on and has gone on in my kitchen at times ..... lol."

It all began with .....

 "The making of the Milk 2012 Calendar's "Gooey Chocolate Cranberry Squares".  I love chocolate & cranberries, so this was my new to do Christmas square this year, and I was not disappointed. I could have came up the sides a bit more with the crust, however it did not affect the taste one bit ! "

Crust:1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
1/4 cup (50 mL) milk


1-2/3 cups (400 mL) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour

1 cup (250 mL) milk

3 eggs

1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, melted

2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla

1 cup (250 mL) dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 13 x 9-inch (3 L) metal baking pan with foil, leaving 2 inches (5 cm) overhang at each end; lightly butter foil.

Crust: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter; using your fingers or a pastry blender, work butter into flour until butter is well blended and mixture starts to clump. Add milk and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms. Gather handfuls of dough and drop over bottom of prepared pan. With floured fingers, press dough evenly into bottom of pan and 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) up sides. Bake for about 15 min or until edges are golden and top is firm.

Topping: In another bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa and flour; gradually whisk in milk. Whisk in eggs, butter and vanilla until blended; stir in dried cranberries. Pour over hot crust, spreading evenly.

Bake for about 30 min until topping is evenly puffed and centre jiggles just slightly when pan is moved. Let cool completely in pan on rack. Using foil overhang as handles, remove from pan and transfer to cutting board; cut into squares or bars.
 — at Cindy's Kitchen.
It carried on from there to making some ....

 "Yummy, yum, yum, Lemon Bars.  Who can resist the taste of refreshing lemon, and a recipe that is so easy to make.....not I !"

Recipe Compliments of the Masterson Family Cookbook 2005 ~ Glady Eby's Recipe

2 cups flour 4 eggs

1/2 cup icing sugar 2 cups sugar

1 cup butter 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup lemon juice 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Mix together flour, icing sugar and butter. Press into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350* F for 20 minutes (depending on oven).

Beat eggs, sugar and lemon juice; add 1/4 cup of flour and baking powder. Pour over crust. Bake for 25 minutes.

 — at Cindy's Kitchen.
Somewhere inbetween these two items, I put together a Cabbage Roll Casserole for our Supper.

Recipe Compliments of the Masterson Family Cookbook 2005 ~ Gladys Eby's Recipe

1 lb ground beef 1 chopped onion1 tbsp oil 1 tsp salt

3 tbsp raw long grain rice 1/8 tsp pepper1-10oz can tomato soup 1 soup can of water
3 cups coarsely shredded cabbage (packed)

In large pan stir & break up ground beef in oil for 1 min.; add onion, salt, pepper & rice. Saute for 2-3 min.; add soup & water mix. Turn cabbage into greased baking dish. Pour meat mixture over. Do NOT Stir. Bake covered @ 325* for 1 1/2 hours. This reheats well & can be chilled & stored for 3-4 days, reheating at 325*F for 1 hour.
I had a 1/2 quart of stewed tomatoes in my fridge, which I substituted the can of water for.  This change to the recipe I will continue with as the stewed tomatoes really added to the casserole.  Rob and I both loved this dish, and I am sure I will be adding it to our favorites.
Also inbetween all of this, I put together a canner of chicken stock to simmering on the stove top for 8 hours. I was so happy to go out to the Herb garden to find .....

"There was still fresh Thyme and Parsley to be had in the cold -0 C temperatures (32*F).  I should be out there today snipping some more to put in the freezer for a later use."

Alas if it had only all stopped here, but after about the 8th sink full  of dishes had been washed, I carried on to making another batch of .....
"Holiday Pretzel Treats"

Recipe Compliments of Disney's Family Fun ~ Holiday Pretzel Treats
Salty pretzels combine with sweet chocolate for these fun treats that make a yummy gift few can resist. (In fact, you may want to make some extras for yourself!)

IngredientsBite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels

Hershey's Kiss or Hershey's Hug
M&M's candy


Heat the oven to 170F. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss or Hershey's Hug.
Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M's candy into the center of each Kiss.
Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons
 — at Cindy's Kitchen.
I believe by the time these were done, the Chicken Stock had been strained and transferred to other containers, I was on at least the tenth sink full of dishes before I sat down at around 9:30 pm to a cup of coffee while I did some updates to Cindy's Recipe Exchange on Facebook.  
*Phew* what a "catch-up" day that was !  What has to be done, has to be done, as you do realize .....
....according to the Christmas Clock, even less now as I sit here typing away !  So the Countdown is finally down to the .....

As I go towards the sunshine as predicted in the day ahead by my most favorite Wiarton Airport weatherman guy.....

.... realizing I now only have Twelve more days before Christmas, I must be off and running to see what new adventure I can find for myself, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".

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How nice of you to drop around to have a wee visit with me to see what I have been up to from time to time. I look forward to your comments as they add much brightness to my each and every day to know there are such wonderful people out there.

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