December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Image from Jenna Marie Studios...more on her later:)  But I will say...AMAZING:)



MERRY CHRISTMAS!  
I hope you all enjoy your holiday and enjoy spending time with your family!  That is my favorite part of Christmas...well, that and eating!!  I will see you next week...10 pounds heavier! This video reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas. I hope you enjoy it as well.


December 15, 2010

Cream Puffs

How is everyone doing on their Christmas shopping?  Are you having as much fun as I am with all the traffic, and rude people?  Just kidding...I guess I should say are you having fun with all the decorations, the Christmas  music and spending tons of money?  Hows THAT for Christmas Spirit??

These are just your standard Cream Puff recipe that I'm sure you ALL have...HOWEVER...you don't have the cream recipe...with some added ganache to the top which just makes them THAT much better:)  I could have eaten a million of these bad boys, which is why I gave them away to people.  That's what I do friends...I bake and give away.  If you live by me...just stop by, I'm sure I will have something to give you!  Make them small and then you can eat as many as you want!!


Cream Puffs

Boil well in a medium saucepan:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. water

Add quickly to above mixture:
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Stir until it forms a ball and doesn't stick to the pan.

4 eggs
Add one egg at a time and mix well with an electric beater before adding the next egg.  Place on a greased cookie sheet, whatever size and shape you want.  Pun in an oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce to 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool.

Cream:  recipe from Get Off Your Butt and Bake!

1 small box INSTANT vanilla pudding
1 1/3 c. cold water
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Mix above ingredients together with a wire wisk.  Set in fridge to set up, for 15-20 minutes.  This will set up and be quite firm.

Fold in:
2 1/2 c. Cool Whip
Keep in well sealed container in the fridge...this will keep for several days.

Cut off tops of cream puffs, scoop out the eggy stuff, spoon in the cream.  Put in fridge for several hours to set up.

Ganache:

1/2 c. chocolate chips
2 1/2 TBS heavy cream

Put chocolate chips in small bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate is smooth.  Add the heavy cream and stir until smooth.  Microwave again for about 10 seconds, so it is even smoother.  Put in zip lock baggie, cut the tip and drizzle all over the cream puffs.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

December 14, 2010

Reindeer Tile

 I know that school is going to be out soon and that means CLASSROOM PARTIES!  Which are always fun:)  As you know, there is always a cute craft that the little ones get to do...this is what we are doing for my Son's Kindergarten class.  I saw this at my cousin Jennie's house and flipped out over it!  Who wouldn't want this cuteness from their child??  The best part is...its pretty cheap when you have around 22 kids to work with!
 First thing you need to hunt down is this...Full Sheet Labels from Avery.  Make sure they are clear!  Very important!!  You can find these at Office Max, Staples, etc...They only thing is, is they are about $12.  HOWEVER, you can always split the cost with another class!!  You can get 60 of these out of a package.
The rest of the supplies...
White Tiles, they are shiny...Home Depot....16-.18 cents each!!  SWEET!
Brown Acrylic paint
Clear Acrylic Matte Coating Spray...Hobby Lobby...about $6 (don't forget your coupon!!)
Assorted Sharpies.  Red, brown, black and green.  A pink nose would be cute for the girls:)

Print off the wordage...
Happy Holidays from your little "dear"
School Name
Kindergarten 2010

I am trying to get it so you can just print it off from my blog...but in the meantime, just email me if you want me to send it to you so you don't have to make it up!!  You can get 6 per sheet!!

Next, cut out the labels to fit the tile.
Have some brown paint and your kids thumbs all ready!  Have them dip their thumb in the paint, not too much, and then help them put their 2 thumb prints on the tile, in the middle.

Have them get the sharpie and put the nose, antlers, legs and tail on their deer.  Then add Love, and their name.

When they are done, take the tiles outside and spray them with the Acrylic Spray.  It is SMELLY!  Don't forget the newspaper;)  When it is dried, give them to the child!  Your all done!  You could add some felt on the bottom of each one, if you have time.

December 13, 2010

Teacher Gift Ideas

Hello Friends!   I have had so many people ask me for ideas on what to give teachers for Christmas.  I thought that I would put together a few ideas for you!  I know that you may be tempted to just go run out to Wal-Mart and get a candle...but let me tell you...they will get a million candles!  So be different and do something special and meaningful for your fabulous teacher!

Now I know that one of my sons teachers reads this blog...so I'm not going to tell you what I'm making:)  It needs to be a surprise!!  I hope this will help you!  Oh...gift cards aren't too shabby either:)

 Here is the first one...and my personal favorite.  It is from Shanty 2 Chic.  Those girls have some talent!!  So beautiful!  What teacher wouldn't want this!
 Here is an easier version if you are running out of time!  From the same fabulous girls at Shanty 2 Chic.
 I have been making these coasters for quite awhile now, and everyone always loves them!  You can personalize them for anything!  If you need to, you can even have a stamp made!  Love that!  Here is where you get the details!
 This would be fun to get this all cute and Christmas-y with some fabulous paper and a fun ornament!  Make sure to add a fun little gift card under the chocolates:)  Here are the details!
 The girls at Eighteen 25 designed this, and I love it!  When you open the box it has all sorts of fun goodies inside!  You could put some lip gloss, hand sanitizer, chocolate, lotion, etc..
This is a quick, easy one to do for you teacher...or neighbor, friend, etc...this is just a can (like pineapple), you use the clean edge can opener and open the bottom, clean it out and add some yummy candy!  Then you glue the bottom back on with some E600 glue.  Add a gift card and you will be loved for the rest of the year! Here are the details.
 Ok, I know that this isn't a teacher gift...HOWEVER, I know we all have classroom parties coming up and I HAD to share this!  I am so making this for my boys classes.  This came from Gourmet Mom On the Go.  Its a Snowman snack!  All the little things you need to make a snowman...here is what is inside:
Isn't that fabulous!  I know...where do people come up with this!!  So creative!  OH!  Did I mention she gives  a free printable template!  Yeah!!

I hope that this helps you all on your way to a fabulous teacher gift!  Do something special for them...they do so much for your child!  And I am so putting my foot down on getting them anything with apples or candles (Scentsy does NOT fall under the candle category...Scentsy is the COOLEST gift EVER!), unless that is their thing:)

So what are you getting your teacher??

December 10, 2010

Raspberry Almond Thumbprints

 Good morning Everyone!  Well...today is the LAST day of my cookie week!  I saved the best for last:)  I had a million to choose from, and that I still want to make, but my Behind is BEGGING me to quite eating and making cookies...for now.  I think it has grown:) 

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Wendy...I LOVE this cookie!  Once you eat one, you just can't stop eating them!  Since there are RASPBERRIES in the jam, it makes them healthy...right?  I hope you enjoy these...perfect for a cookie exchange!

Raspberry Almond Thumbprints

1 cup butter

2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Frosting:
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon milk or more

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 340 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a small hole in the center of each ball (a chapstick lid works great). Fill the hole with jam. Great tip: Put some jam in a zip-lock baggie, cut a small corner off and it pipes in very easily.

Stick in the fridge for 20 min or the freezer for about 10 to help the cookies firm up and keep their shape while baking.

Bake for 13 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Let cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet.

In a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle lightly over warm cookies using the ziplock baggie method.

December 9, 2010

Chocolate Thin Mints

 Hello Blogging Friends!  Boy have I got a treat for you!!  This may be one of my FAVORITE minty cookie EVER!  (I know I say that this one is my favorite in every post...but hey...what can I say??)

You see that yummy white center?  That would be a York Peppermint Pattie!  Oh yes, I went there!!  Now imagine it nice and warm with an amazing buttercream frosting melting in your mouth.  SO GOOD!  Go ahead, run to the store, buy some Yorks and get baking!  Oh, and your welcome:)

Jennie...thanks again for another amazing recipe!! (My cousin gave this to me like 10 years ago!)
 

Chocolate Thin Mints

1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 pkg York Peppermint Patties

Combine the first four ingredients in bowl.  In separate bowl, beat sugar and butter until well blended.  Add vanilla and egg.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  Mix.  Chill dough for 30 minutes if it's too soft.  Shape dough around peppermint pattie.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Top with powdered sugar or your favorite Buttercream frosting.  They taste the best really warm.  So when you eat them, and they are cold, put in the microwave for 8 seconds...just a tip:)

December 8, 2010

White Chocolate Chip Lemon Cookies


Day #3 is here!!  I know you have been so excited to see what I put up today:) I have posted this cookie before, but it is just too good to not remind you about them.  I got this recipe at a cookie exchange one year and I can't get enough of them!  Its a good cookie to break up all the mint and chocolate that you may tend to do every year.  A little lemon is ALWAYS good!!  I hope you enjoy them!  I have already eaten like half of them!!


White Chocolate Chip Lemon Cookies


1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 TBS milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla 
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla, mix well.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture; mix well.  Stir in white chocolate chips, lemon zest and pecans.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown.  Cool 3 minutes on sheet; remove and cool completely on cooling rack.

December 7, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Surprise Cookies

Now for Day #2 on our Cookie Week!   I'm not going to lie to you, these Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies taste BETTER than they look. They are sooo rich and tasty and gooey and peanut buttery, the list goes on. What's not to love when you have a Reeses Peanut Butter cup, marshmallows, chocolate ganache and M&M's? Try these, you won't be disappointed! The cookie part came from my cousin, Sharlyn who got it from Dinners Ready. The marshmallows, ganache and M&M's came from none other than the Picky Palate! I didn't use Picky Palates cookie part because it only made 12...I need alot more than that for all the Christmas cookie plates I need to make:)





Peanut Butter Cup Surprise Cookies
aka...my butt just got bigger cookies


1/2 cup margarine (I used butter)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
about 24 miniature peanut butter cups (mine made about 32 cookies)

36 mini marshmallows
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
2-3 TBS heavy cream
1/4 c. mini M&M's

Cream margarine and peanut butter. Add sugars and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, salt and soda. Chill one hour, shape into 1 inch balls. Spray mini-muffin pans with Pam. Put balls into pans and bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Remove and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into the middle of the cookies. Top each cookie with 3 mini marshmallows and return to oven for 2-3 more minutes or until marshmallows are puffed. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted smooth. Stir in 2-3 TBS heavy cream until silky and smooth. You can return back to microwave for 15 seconds to get a thinner consistency. Spoon chocolate over top of puffed marshmallows and sprinkle with mini M&M's.

December 6, 2010

Thin Mint Cookies

 This week I am posting a cookie recipe EVERYDAY!!!  I know...I'm excited too!  So tell all your friends to come over and introduce them to Swanky Pear!!  I need more followers:)  I figured that many of you have been invited to a Cookie Swap and you are wondering WHAT COOKIE SHOULD I BRING??  Hopefully this week will help you decide.

So this first cookie is kind of embarrassing to even post because they are so simple.  But let me tell you.  These will be a favorite to all who bite into them!  I brought these to a cookie swap one year and everyone loved them!  Even if you drop them off as a neighbor gift...make them look all pretty...its all about the packaging people!  
This is just an old formula can that I decorated with paper, put the cookies in a cute bag and tie with ribbon.  A 5 minute project!

Thin Mint Cookies

Ritz Crackers
Andes Mints (you can get them in the baking isle next to chocolate chips)
Crushed Candy Canes

Lay some parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Then melt your Andes Mints.  The amount is up to you, depending on how many you are going to make.  I use the whole bag.  Start with 30 seconds, stir, and then do 15 seconds after that until they are melted.  Start dipping your Ritz Crackers in the chocolate, scrap off extra on bottom and lay on parchment paper.  Sprinkle with candy cane BEFORE it dries.  Let them set in the fridge until set up.  Enjoy!