Browsing Category: christmas

Christmas Jello

Jello is just one of those desserts that makes me feel like a kid.  It’s fun, it feels good to eat, and it is always delicious.  My wife likes to pour a little 1/2 and 1/2 on top of hers.  It ads a little bit of creamy goodness to the fruity jello.  So, when I saw this Christmas jello, I thought of her.  It is made with sweetened condensed milk to make the white creamy base of the dessert, and filled with chunks of colorful fruity regular jello!  Plus, I think it looks really nice.  This recipe and photo comes from larecetadelafelicidad.

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes (make 1 liter jello each) of Jell-O or store brand “gelatin dessert” in red and green colors. (in my case, strawberry and lemon, I had to add a few drops of green coloring).
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (740 g)
  • 12 unflavored gelatin sheets
  • some vegetable oil to grease the molds for optimal unmolding

Directions

  1. For each gelatine flavor, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In my case, I had to dissolve one box (two sachets) of jello into two cups of boiling water, and then add another two cups of cold water and stir until dissolved.
  2. Pour the jello into a tupper container or a foil disposable mold (grease it for better unmolding) and chill (overnight is best, but 3 hours is enough).
  3. After chilling the two flavors, cut them into small blocks, and mix them.
  4. Oil lightly a bundt mold, and place the mixed blocks on it.
  5. In a separate bowl, place 12 sheets unflavored gelatin into 1 cup cold water. After the gelatin blooms (5 minutes), add 1 cup boiling water and dissolve. Add the can of condensed milk. Stir and cool for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Pour cooled milk mixture over jello and chill overnight. Unmold and enjoy!

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 16-18

DIY Christmas Packaging

If you’re going to all the trouble of baking and preparing holiday goodie bags why not go one step further and create your own packaging?  Not only does it give a more personal touch but buying individual gift bags can get quite expensive.  Here is a creative and inexpensive idea for DIY Christmas packaging found on Tikkido.com.  Click here for details.

Edible Gift Tags

I got so excited when I saw this post on EricasSweetTooth!  What a fun way to take gift giving to the next level.  Plus, who wouldn’t want a little cookie with their gift, or a little gift with their cookie for that matter?  I’d also like to mention that the cookies themselves sound absolutely delicious.  Here is how Erica describes them “…this recipe is great because it yields the slightest crunch and a really soft center. The sweet royal icing on top is a great complement and helps balance the earthy flavors of the gingerbread, plus the contrast between the deep brown cookie and bright white icing went great with my graphic red paper and burlap adorned gifts!”

Two things to take note of when making these gift tag cookies.  To make the shape of the cookie, she simply rolled out the dough, and made a “stencil” out of cardboard.  Then she just placed the stencil on the dough, and cut around it with a paring knife.  Then to make the hole for the ribbon, she uses a straw!  She says that this particular recipe doesn’t rise or spread much, so the holes didn’t fill in.  She also uses edible markers to write on the cookies.  Ok, here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

for the gingerbread cookies:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 cup dark molasses
2 eggs
6 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground nutmeg

for the royal icing:
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup water
Few drops vanilla extract

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter, shortening, and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the molasses and eggs and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour until just combined. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate dough for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface roll out half the dough to a ½ to ¼ inch thick and use your pre-cut gift tag stencil (I made mine using the cardboard of an empty butter box) and a sharp paring knife to cut out the shapes. Use a straw to punch out a hole in each tag. Transfer cookies to Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheets about an inch apart, and bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges are just slightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the royal icing, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, water, and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix ingredients with mixer on medium-low for 1 minute, then increase speed to medium high and beat for 2-3 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water and if icing gets too runny, add more powdered sugar. You want a dollop of icing to “melt” back into the rest of the icing in about 20 seconds. Transfer the royal icing to a piping bag fit with a small round tip or a plastic squeeze bottle and cover all of the cookies. I chose to just use 20-second icing for everything, but you could also do stiffer icing as a border and fill in the rest with flooding icing. Allow the royal icing to set for at least 24 hours. When ready, decorate with edible ink markers and adorn your gifts as desired!

Peppermint Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

I was on the lookout for some new additions to my usual Christmas cookie recipes when I came across this recipe for Peppermint Candy Cane Kiss Cookies found on Gonna Want Seconds.  One of my typical recipes for peanut butter cookies calls for a regular chocolate kiss on top but I hadn’t thought to use one of the peppermint kisses atop a buttery sugar cookie….it sounds delightful!  For the full recipe click here.

Natural Christmas Decorations

Here is 2 ideas to decorate for Christmas using free natural objects you can grab from outside!  These are also really easy to make, and the kids will love gathering supplies from the woods or yard!

Mini Wreaths

Supplies:

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Red Ribbon or Seem Binding
  • Sprigs of fresh greenery

From Martha Stewart: Turn a few snippings from your backyard evergreens or Christmas tree into a cheery display. The beauty of these mini wreaths is tied to their simplicity (and tied up with basic, bright red ribbon). To make, cut sprigs of greenery (we used spruce, cedar, and juniper) and hot glue around an embroidery hoop. Repeat to cover the front and back of the rings, and adhere smaller pieces to the inside of the hoops as needed. Loop a length of ribbon or seam binding around each wreath, and hang.

 

Glass Ornaments:

Supplies:

  • 100MM Clear Glass Ball Ornaments
  • Ribbon
  • small pieces of greenery

From Martha Stewart: It has the charm of a ship in a bottle but is far more festive: winter greenery contained in a delicate glass ornament. Crafts editor Hannah Milman fills glass-ball ornaments with sprigs of holly, bayberry, and evergreens. Remove the cap from an ornament, and carefully place a small piece of trimmed greenery inside. To prevent condensation from forming, leave the cap off for 24 hours before replacing it. Thread ribbon through the top loop, knot, and hang from the tree.

Birch Bark Candles

Supplies:

  • Clear glass candles
  • Birch Bark
  • Twine
  • Sprigs of Greenery

From Luluto: Birch bark peels easily and is fairly simple to generate. There is naturally curved shape. Cut a piece of sufficient size, wrap it around the jar and wrap it several times with string. Can bind and dry twigs, dried fruit or whatever else you have in mind.

Pomegranate, Pistachio and Pine Nut Couscous

Pomegranates are in season and have been on sale at our local market.  I can’t even begin to count how many of them I’ve cracked open and eaten for breakfast and now I’m on the hunt for some creative recipes to use them in.  I love couscous and thought this recipe for Pomegranate, Pistachio & Pin Nut Couscous from Veggieful would be a tasty and healthy dish to try out.  To make it even a bit healthier you could use whole wheat couscous.  Click here for the recipe.

Custom Wine Labels

I like to bring a bottle of something when I go to a Holiday party, and who doesn’t like a nice bottle of wine?  This site is awesome, they let you create your own custom labels to go on your bottle for free!  They have tons of templates to choose from, then you can ad your own text, and photographs.  No matter if you make them funny, make them sweet, or make them cool, you are guarenteed to make an impression!  What a great keepsake too!  Check out Windsor Vineyards here.  Here are a couple of examples of the many templates you can choose from.