Season’s Greetings

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Hope everyone had a joyful and blessed holiday. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend the day with family. Our day was filled with the laughter of young and old, good conversation, and delicious food. Of course, I ate too much. Started out with good intentions and small servings, but went back for more of my favorites.

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Shadow “hanging” out in our Christmas tree. One of her favorite places.

Our Christmas dinner was a pot luck with the hosts providing a glorious prime rib, mashed potatoes, gravy and au jus. Contributed sides included a twist on the classic green bean casserole – prepared in a crocked pot, maple glazed carrots with dill, and baked beans with bacon.

A holiday feast is not complete without dessert – – we had two of my favorites – – apple crumb pie and sweet potato pie. How could I possibly choose just one!  Had to have some of each.

After dinner, we unwrapped gifts while sitting around the fire. Because our family has grown so large, adults pick names at Thanksgiving for a Secret Santa exchange.  I brought “goodie bags” for everyone filled with Salty Chocolate Chip cookies (with coconut and caramel bits added to make them EXTRA yummy), Fig Walnut balls, and Coconut Chocolate Haystacks.

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Making Coconut Chocolate Haystacks at Christmas time is becoming a holiday tradition. Best of all they are super easy to make!

Ingredients and Supplies:

12 ounce bag of dark chocolate chips (I like to use Ghiradelli)

14 ounce bag of sweetened coconut

Glass batter bowl – 2 quart size

Small Scoop – Tablespoon Size (I use Pampered Chef Small Scoop)

Waxed Paper

Directions:

Pour chips into a glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir chips. Return and microwave for 30 seconds. Take out and stir well. Once more for 30 seconds, stir well until all chips are melted . If necessary return to microwave for 15 more seconds.

Slowly add coconut, breaking up clumps and stirring well after each addition. Keeping adding coconut and stirring until you have used all of the coconut. You will have a stiff mixture.

Use scoop and press against side of bowl to compress. Dispense onto wax paper and let the haystacks set until firm. Stored in an airtight container. Makes lots! About 4 to 5 dozen.

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Share, eat and enjoy!

Need a glass bowl or a small scoop? Check out the following links – –

The Pampered Chef Small Scoop #2530

Anchor Hocking 2 Quart Ovenproof Glass Batter Bowl

Barbara’s Art Quilts

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Barbara’s Art Quilts was recently featured on bayartisans.com; a site that recognizes the work of artists local to the Chesapeake Bay area.

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I have been fortunate enough to take several classes that were taught by Barbara Dahlberg, including the leaf bowl project which I featured in an earlier post. I am looking forward to taking more classes and expanding my quilting skills and techniques. Lately, there have been lots of ideas rolling around in my head (now to find the time to execute them all – LOL!). There is no doubt that many of these ideas were inspired by the classes I have taken. To me, there is nothing better then to be able to work with your art medium with other artists and share and collaborate on pieces. What a great way to be inspired by others and to stretch your boundaries!

Take a moment out of your busy day – – especially during this Holiday Season – – and click on the link below to read the article about Barbara’s art works.

Barbara’s Art Quilts.

Me Want Cookies!

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It’s cookie baking time! I’ve been baking cookies all week for the Christmas holiday and for a Cookie Walk bake sale at the church I attend. Already made are English Toffee Brickle Drops, Spiced Shortbread, and White Chip Macadamia Nut. Today’s baking menu is for Loaded Chocolate Chip cookies and Gingerbread Thumbprint cookies.

I was searching for an existing Loaded Chocolate Chip cookie recipe, but didn’t find one that I liked. So, being a creative cook, I took a traditional chocolate chip recipe and made modifications. The end result was a cookie that was crisp on the outside, yet soft and chewy on the inside. Best of all, they are not overly sweet. Here’s what I did –

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

 

Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 5 dozen

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 cup unsweetened butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 cup regular rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar – packed
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar – packed
  • 1 – 1/2 cups good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3/4 cup caramel bits
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars until creamy and combined well. Medium speed about 2 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix on medium low speed until well mixed.  Tip: crack eggs into a separate bowl first to avoid shell chips in your batter.
  4. In a separate bowl combine flour, oats, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Slowly add dry mixture to the creamed butter and sugar and mix until incorporated.
  6. Use a mixing spoon to stir in the chips, coconut, cranberries, and caramel bits.
  7. Drop batter onto prepared baking sheets using a one inch scoop or teaspoon.
  8. Bake 11 – 12 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Cool 5 minutes on sheets and transfer to cooling rack.
  10. Eat and enjoy!
Baked Cookies

Baked Cookies Ready to Eat – – Yum!!!

I hope you give these cookies a try and let me know what you think. Just transferred the last batch to the cooling rack, now it’s time for a clean-up and then onto the Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies (using apricot preserves instead of the blueberry jam).

Happy Baking!