​Marshmallow of Delicious Death

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Marshmallow of Delicious Death


I make so many different holiday treat gifts that require time for the chocolate to set up, that results in some downtime. Downtime leaves me alone with my thoughts. Never a good thing. So during those downtimes I play around with goodies I have on hand. During one such playtime I made (deep voice echo) THE MARSHMALLOW OF DELICIOUS DEATH !
You will need: jumbo marshmallows, candy coat, chocolate chips, caramel pieces or bits, and pecan pieces.
I use Kraft caramel bits. If you prefer some other type of caramel, go for it. If you use caramel bits. Don’t forget to add a little water before melting. Unless you want to break a tooth. Milk will probably work in place of water. I forgot the water on my first batch. Even as I was stirring my melted caramel it didn’t even occur to me to be concerned about how thick it was. The marshmallows were beautiful. I took a bite, well I tried. I’ve never bitten a rock but I imagine it must be like my marshmallow. Lesson learned.
Okay let me quit rambling and get down to THE  MARSHMALLOW OF DELICIOUS DEATH! Melt your caramel. On wax paper have the marshmallows sitting there, just hanging out waiting on their shower of caramel. Once the caramel is melted spoon it over the marshmallows. Let the caramel set.

Then melt your chocolate. I use a 3:1 ratio of chocolate candy coat to semi-sweet chocolate chips. If mixture is too thick just thin it out with a tad of coconut oil. Spoon chocolate over the marshmallows. Let set a few moments then sprinkle on the pecan pieces.

Now impatiently wait for the whole thing to set up. Take photos and send to the people on your naughty list so they can see what they will be missing out on. Or skip the photos and just throw down on THE MARSHMALLOWS OF DELICIOUS DEATH!

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Hot Chocolate Spoons 

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​Hot Chocolate Spoons 
These guys are great to stir your hot chocolate or coffee. I make these every year for Christmas gifts and every year they are the most requested treat I make.
For the single and child free in the family they get 4 spoons per person. Families with children I give them A LOT. Kiddos love these spoons. I used to give a packet of hot cocoa  per spoon but now that I make 200 plus of these every year only people new to the  spoon of happiness get packets.

What you need:
8 oz light cocoa candy melts
Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. Sprinkles or Ghirardelli white melting wafers. Plastic or wooden spoons. Cheap plastic will melt, get the heavy duty plastic spoons.
Wax paper.

How to:
Take the whole bag of candy melts. Small handful of the chocolate chips. Melt using double boiler method or microwave. If microwave follow directions on candy melts bag. Remember half power or defrost setting.
Once melted just dip spoons in chocolate, set on wax paper. If chocolate is too thick add just a dab of coconut oil. Add more if needed but stir well and test on a spoon before adding more. You can go from too thick to too runny easily.
If adding sprinkles, sprinkle on now before chocolate sets up. If drizzling white chocolate let spoons set up for atleast 30 minutes. I melt small batches of white chocolate for the drizzle. A little goes a long way. If you coat any of the spoons in white chocolate it’s best to double coat. Dip once. Set up. Dip again.

Learn from my mistake people. One year I had two crockpots going making candy, the oven on all day making candied nuts, and my dryer running most of day. All this in kitchen where I was making the spoons. The room was so toasty my chocolate could not set up. Now I do all my chocolate coating on a day by itself.

 Gift giving: I use 4×6 plastic treat bags. Two spoons per bag. I cross them corner to corner. Then twist tie at the cross section. I then tie on some curling ribbon. Now put them in a gift bag or a Christmas theme coffee mug. Throw on a ribbon and name tag. Done.

If it’s a big family getting a good bit I tin them. Use wax paper between layers instead of bagging. Saves time and makes it convenient for the receiver.
At my family gatherings there’s always unexpected guest. Usually a family or person new to area that have no one to celebrate the holidays with. So I make several extra candy gift sets.

  

Oven Roasted Candied Nuts

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​Candied Peanuts 
Want to be a rockstar to your family and friends this Christmas? Give the gift of candied peanuts. This recipe can

Also 

be used on Pecans and Almonds.

Ingredients:
Two 16 oz jars of peanuts. Salted or unsalted.
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet. Make sure it’s got raised edges. If you use the flat sheets with no edges you will have regrets. So many regrets…
Line the pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl mix sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl whisk together egg whites and vanilla extract. Pour in sugar mixture. Stir.
Add one jar of peanuts, mix until they are well coated. Add second jar, stir till coated.
Pour out onto parchment paper. Spread out nuts.

Bake for 1 hour. Stirring every 15 minutes.  This ensures candied mixture cooks completely.

Once cool. Store your nuts in an airtight container. I line gift tins with wax paper and fill them with the peanuts. Stick on a gift tag. Give as gifts. BAM! Rockstar!

Pirate Gypsy Skirt 

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Pirate/Gypsy Skirt

As mother of the pirate bride I of course needed to dress like a pirate for the wedding. Easy, I thought. Black skirt, black top and a head bandana.
Wrong. I looked like I was going to a funeral. My outfit needed something to break up the black. So I threw on a white shaw. Wrong again. I looked like a little old lady going to mass
I had to rethink the whole pirate outfit. After some thought I decided on dressing as a gypsy pirate. That opened up a whole new world of options.
I went with a different black shirt. Made and bought a ton of tacky jewelry. Got a wig, made some pirate beads for wig. Ta-da!
Still wasn’t right. Gypsies are colorful and bright. I was going to ditch the white shaw. As I went to hang it in closet things clicked. I had so many beads left from the hair and beard beads projects. The shaw had all those long tassels hanging.
I added beads. It looked beautiful. I tried it on and everything tangled. Tangled badly. So I trimmed and redid all the bead work. I didn’t want to loose the flowing tassels. So I left the ones on ends long. To add more color I used some cross stitch thread and added onto tassels.

I tried on my outfit. It still needed more color. I bought a multi color pack of juggling scarves from amazon.

I attached those to a strand of lace trim that I could tie around waist.
I bought a belt from the rennasaince festival and added a variety of items to it. Gemstones, pouches, a fan, copper mug and a small anchor.

You Gotha Try This Banana Pudding, Pt. 3 of a Family Food Saga

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banana pudding 4

Banana Pudding. There’s a hundred recipes out there, each one claiming to be the best. How do you determine which is the best? Easy, it’s the one you grew up on. See, it is not about the taste when it comes to banana pudding (unless you find yourself face to face with a bowl made by someone who doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing), banana pudding is about memories.

I come from a big family. BIG. Not only do we breed like bunnies but once you become friends with someone in the family, you become family. There’s no getting out either. Kind of like the mafia but with less violence.

With a big family and the merging with other families comes many variations of banana pudding. To me each one is good. One does stand out above the rest but for the sake of family peace I will not name names. Over the years I have learned these recipes and have combined the best of each one to make…‘You Gotha Taste This Banana Pudding’. I’m sure the name won’t catch on but I think once you try this banana pudding recipe you just might be hooked.

You Gotha Taste this Banana Pudding

Ingredients:

Bananas

Vanilla Wafers

Vanilla instant pudding, 2 small boxes

2 ½ cups milk

1 small tub of cool whip, thawed

½ small can of condensed milk about 7 ounces.

2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl mix the 2 boxes of pudding with 2 ½ cups milk. I use a hand mixer. Once mixed add condensed milk (you can use the whole can but your banana pudding will be way to sweet) along with the vanilla extract. Beat until it has a smooth pudding consistency and has started to thicken up slightly. Gently fold on the cool whip. I put my pudding mixture in fridge until I’m ready to assemble.

Just the pudding and milk

Just the pudding and milk

With cool whip added

With cool whip added

While you’re pudding mixture is chilling out in the fridge, take a handful of vanilla wafers, place them into a Ziploc bag, and seal it.

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Find a weapon, I use a hammer with a dishrag or small hand towel laid over the bag (this prevents the hammer from tearing open the bag). Now beat the wafers. Beat them until they are vanilla crumbs. This will be the topping.

Beating the wafers. Ignore my chipped nail polish

Beat the wafers. Chipped nail polish is optional.

wafers to crumbs

wafers to crumbs

Slice your bananas. The amount depends pretty much on what you have on hand. I usually have a lot since my dad is always coming by with a bag of bananas he found on sale. I swear that man has not met a banana he didn’t like.

I just toss the banana slices into the cool whip bowl. No need to dirty extra dishes.

I just toss the banana slices into the cool whip bowl. No need to dirty extra dishes.

Once the bananas are sliced it’s time to get assembling. A pretty bowl or casserole dish is what you need.

Line the bottom of your bowl/dish with vanilla wafers. Spoon half of your pudding mixture over wafers. Add a layer of bananas. Repeat.

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Wafers, pudding mixture and banana.

Wafers, pudding mixture and banana.

Now the top is up to you. Some people line the top with whole wafers while others sprinkle the top with wafers crumbs. There are even those who lay down another layer of wafers, cover with a layer of just plain cool whip then sprinkle wafer crumbs. No wrong choice here. Cover with foil and allow to sit in the fridge a few hours.

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An important note: if you are making this dish for a get together you must make a small bowl of banana pudding and put in fridge. Why? Because if it’s like my family gatherings you’re not going to get any of it unless you do this.

Cover with foil and let chill in fridge for a few hours.

Bowl I made for myself as I was assembling the banana pudding

Bowl I made for myself as I was assembling the banana pudding

banana pudding 3

banana pudding 2

banana pudding 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Need a Little Cheese Ball part 2 of a Family Food Saga

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Today I am trying out my Aunt Anita Little’s cheese ball recipe. She has been making this for as long as I can remember. Every family gathering has to have this. No exceptions. She was happy to share her recipe with me.

This recipe makes one decent sized cheese ball:

Anita Little Cheese Ball Ingredients:

1 small box of Velveeta cheese block
1 8 oz block of cream cheese
1 tbsp garlic powder
Crushed pecans or crushed Ritz crackers (enough to roll ball in)

Cube your Velveeta cheese and place in bowl to soften. Lay out cream cheese to soften also. This will take a few hours.
Once softened. Put cream cheese in bowl with cheese. Take a fork and begin mashing the two ingredients together along with the garlic powder. Anita Little (because you can say Anita without the Little) informed me that I could try using a hand mixer but it won’t work to well, the beaters will just get seized up in cheese. She said work those arm muscles, work them long and work them hard. (okay she didn’t say that part, just something like it)
After working up a sweat and your ingredients are now one with each other. Shape your mixture into a ball. Anita Little suggests wearing a pair of non-powdered gloves for this step. Once the ball has taken shape roll it in the pecans or crackers until ball is coated well. Set in fridge to chill.

Serve with crackers.

Great for any gatherings or functions. Or after tasting this cheese ball you may want to just hoard it for yourself. Hoarding it is totally acceptable, I won’t judge.
cheeseball 5

Yes there are many different cheese ball recipes on Pinterest, I could try them but why? This to me is the perfect cheese ball.

Okay now that I have shared the recipe with you I will share my experience of making one.
cheese ball 1
I cubed my Velveeta which turned out to be pretty easy and painless.
cheeseball 2
cheeseball 3
Then the wait for the items to soften began. Tick tock, one hour, tick tock, two hours. FYI: this is not something you can throw together last minute.
With my trusty fork I began mashing everything together. It was a workout you might just want to throw in the towel but don’t after you work it several tough minutes mixing gets easier.
cheeseball 4
Once I had my cheese mixture done I put on a pair of plastic gloves and jumped right in. I saw immediately why Anita Little suggested gloves. Oh what a mess it could have been without them. There was a lot of cheese mixture, instead of 1 huge cheese ball I made 3 smaller ones. The first two I rolled in crushed pecans the third in crushed Ritz crackers. Into the fridge it went to chill out.
cheeseball 6
cheeseball 7

It was great. Too great. Now I’m sitting here typing this with some serious heartburn. It was worth it though. Oh so worth it.

Mother’s Day Cake and Skeletons

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Strawberry Cloud Cake in a canning jar

Strawberry Cloud Cake in a canning jar

Happy Mother’s Day! Just spent time with the family. I must confess I did get a little jealous while they were here. The girls gave all their attention to Skelly. It still was a great mother’s day.

Miss K wanted to sit on Skelly's lap. it was funny and oh so cute. Miss S was content to lay her head on his shoulder.

Miss K wanted to sit on Skelly’s lap. it was funny and oh so cute. Miss S was content to lay her head on his shoulder.

I did have to bake my own cake. The husband nor the daughter bake so it was up to me to bake the cake. I decided to make a cake I saw on Pinterest. This cake is usually made with blueberry pie filling but I wanted to try strawberry pie filling. It is an easy cake to make. You can use a Bundt pan or a 9×13 pan. I used my Bundt pan. Not one of the pins gave a name to this cake so I named mine Strawberry Cloud.

Strawberry Cloud Cake

1 box of Angel Food cake mix
1 22 oz. can strawberry pie filling (any flavor pie filling will work)

In a large bowl mix by hand the two ingredients. That’s it. No water, no eggs, nothing else.

Pour into your greased pan. Now some pins say ungreased pan. First I’m not sure that is an actual word, second I have bake an angel food cake in a pan that wasn’t greased. Trust me you don’t want to clean out that pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch on top.

I was in a experimental mood so I also baked some of the batter in a small canning jar and a ramekin. I have been wanting to try baking a cake in a canning jar. Plus I wanted to see how well this would bake up in a ramekin incase I ever wanted to make this as one serving dessert for parties.

Cake ingredients

All three baked up nicely. I did worry about the glass shattering but it was a okay. This is a damn good cake. I had me a piece with some whip cream. Yummy. I did not share this with Skelly, he hogged my time with the girls so he wasn’t getting any of my cake.

I hope this day that we honor mothers was a good one for you.

single strawberry cloud

Yes there is a big piece cut out of the back. I couldn't wait.

Yes there is a big piece cut out of the back. I couldn’t wait.