Lisa's Homemaking Corner

Lisa's Homemaking Corner

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Peanut butter blossoms

These are another popular favorite at our home.

1/2 cup shortening (I use half butter, half shortening)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 T milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Milk chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds.  Add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  Beat till combined, scraping the sides of bowl.  Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla till combined.  Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in remaining flour.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll the balls in the 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes or till edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned.  Immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie's center.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.  Makes about 54 cookies.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Spumoni cookies

This is probably the recipe I get asked for the most.  These cookies are delicious, and they look nice, too!

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped pistachios or almonds
6 drops green food coloring
1-2 T cocoa powder
2 T finely chopped maraschino cherries, drained

Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg.  Stir in flour and salt.   Divide dough into 3 equal parts.

Mix nuts and food coloring into one part; mix cocoa into one part; mix cherries into remaining part.

Line bottom and ends of loaf pan with aluminum foil, allowing ends of foil to extend 5 inches over each end of pan.  Press nut dough evenly and firmly into bottom of pan.

Press chocolate dough on top of nut dough.

Finally, press cherry dough on top of chocolate dough.

Cover dough with extended ends of foil.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours, but no longer than 6 weeks.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Remove foil from dough.  Cut dough crosswise into 1/4 inch slices.

Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake cookies until set, about 10 minutes.  Immediately remove from cookie sheet.

Yummy!  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Menu

Tomorrow, I will post about some of the cookies I made over the weekend!  But real quick, I wanted to post our Christmas menu, so here it is:

Mexican meatballs
Tortilla wraps
Mexican tortilla wraps (this will be new this year, dh wanted to try them.)
Chips & dip/salsa
Deviled eggs

Main Meal:Turkey made with wild rice stuffing
Sweet potato casserole
Mashed potatoes & gravy
Cranberry sauce
Green bean casserole

Goodies :
Spritz cookies
Decorated sugar cookies
Spumoni cookies
Mexican wedding cake cookies
Peanut butter blossom cookies
Shortbread bites
Caramel brownies
Chocolate & peanut butter bars
Lemon bars
Holiday bark
Mint meringues
Peanut brittle
Popcorn balls
Pumpkin pie
Butterscotch pie
Peppermint pie
Upside down apple gingerbread

Sound like a lot?  LOL!  Believe it or not, the goodie list is actually pared down quite a bit from year's past.  My work is definitely cut out for me, but I DO have all the cookies done, and the chocolate PB bars.  Now all I have to do is candies and bars, and the pies I will do a couple days before we have everyone over.  Except for the Mexican tortilla wraps, the appetizers and main meal are almost exactly the same every year.  We don't eat pork here, so we don't do the traditional ham.  As I said before about the cookies, I will try and get some of these recipes posted.  Let me know if there's anything in particular that catches your eye, and I will get to that!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Christmas Baking

I love Christmas baking!  I have been a busy bee the last couple of days.  In the past, I have usually gotten all my cookies baked by the end of October, but since this year's been just a wee bit on the busy side, that hasn't happened.  I am on a roll, though, as I got the two "worst" cookies out of the way...sugar cookies and spritz.  Those, I think, are the most time-consuming, so I always do those first.  Yesterday and today I baked all plain sugar cookies...(I know, the first batch always comes out a little on the "done" side LOL)

...then I iced and sprinkled them.

Sorry, I had another picture of my stovetop covered with done sugar cookies, too, but somehow lost it .  I didn't get a picture of the spritz, either, but they are already in the freezer.  Must keep them safe LOL.  As a project on the TeachingMom's Advent Calendar, Vincent and I also made these cinnamon roll trees yesterday.

Here is a link to the direct recipe.  Yummy!  One of the trees has already mysteriously disappeared LOL.

Tomorrow, I think I will make Mexican wedding cakes.  I also need to tackle my front porch for de-cluttering.  I decided I just can't follow a weekly system for now...I am just going to start at the front of my house and work my way around.  As long as I keep up on basics which are laundry, dishes, keeping the bathroom wiped down, keeping the house picked up and swept, and making my bed every morning.  It has been about a week, and things have been kept up pretty well!  Hopefully, it keeps up as I add more baking and the occasional de-clutter project.  I do NOT want to be scrambling around the few days before Christmas trying to get everything together.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Baked Beef Stew

Here's what we're having for supper tonight!

First, set your oven to 375*F, and spray or grease your pan.  This is really a big enough recipe for a roasting pan.

Next, assemble the ingredients...

2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups water
6 T quick-cooking tapioca (I didn't have any, so I use 1/2 amount in cornstarch)
4 tsp sugar
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 lbs beef stew meat (already in pan)
8 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (I just cut into chunks, quarters seem too big)
4 celery ribs cut into chunks (which I didn't have on hand, oh well...)
2 slices bread, cubed

Toss everything into the pan and stir it around really good.

Cover and bake at 375*F for 2 hours or until meat and veggies are tender.

And that's plenty of time to get those dishes done, right?


It's done!

I have finally gotten through our upstairs porch!  Now, it's not perfect, as Nick still needs to go through all the hunting/camping stuff to organize it better, but I got what I could into bins for now and you can actually walk through the room!  I put the carpet down, too, although not tacked or anything yet...needs to be flattened out anyway.

And here's all the toys, completely sorted out!  Whew...

I am so proud of Vincent, as he's been keeping them that way, too!  I still think we need to pare down, but at least everything's organized now.  And they are NOT going back into his bedroom...been there, done that!  I let him take out a small bucket of cars at a time, or 1 set of something (such as army guys or construction workers), or just plain 2 toys at a time now.  Everything gets put back in it's place before something else comes out.  This has been working out quite well over the last week.

Oh, and I filled the garage sale bag the rest of the way (left) and another whole kitchen bag full of garbage that I am on my way to haul out right now as soon as I get a nice tall glass of cold water .

Whew!!!!  Now that that's all done, I can finally get on to de-cluttering some other things...preferrably something that won't take quite so long !  Time for a break...I'll try to be back later to show you what's up for dinner!