Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To All

May you have a very special, Christmas,
full of precious memories.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Minute Easy-to-Make Gifts from 1963

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr. Seuss

Today I'm sharing some neat ideas from a pamphlet my dad gave me entitled "Easy-to-make gifts for the small budget" put out by Johnson's Wax in the 1960's.

For a cheese lover: Decorate a dime store bread board with stencils and then add an expensive look by waxing. Put on it a small box of crackers and a selection of foil-wrapped cheeses-also a cheese spreader. Wrap in cellophane or Saran Wrap. Tie with holiday ribbon and trim with holly or small Christmas tree ornaments.

Pine Cones: Dip Pine Cones in self-polishing floor finish and sprinkle with artificial snow while the polish is wet. Wonderful to hang on your tree.

A Candle Centerpiece: Spray a muffin tin with gold paint. Fill the cups with votive candles-dime stores have them. Trim with shiny green leaves and a tiny crepe paper butterfly here and there. Tie a big satin ribbon bow at each end of the tin.

To A Little Lady: There's nothing like a "big lady" jewel box filled with junk jewelry. Buy a plastic tackle or utility box at the dime store. Use household cement to attach pearls, beads, flat rhinestone buttons and other glitter.

Note: You can use a glue gun instead of cement. These ideas are very basic, I really like the simplicity and all of them would be neat to make with kids.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

No Fail Cookies to Make This Week

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

I made a big batch of cookies that I call Cupboard Cookies last night for a friend that is delivering cookies to the Veteran's Home, and today I'll make another batch for my kids to take to school. I've been making these for 20 years now, and they are a "no fail" recipe that never fails to please people.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute for many of the ingredients as long as the quantities remain the same. You can substitute finely chopped nuts for the coconut, or use white, butterscotch,or peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips. The cup of cereal can be any variety such as frosted flakes, crispy rice, corn flakes, or bran flakes. The key is to crush whatever kind of cereal you use before measuring out the one cup. Also, as far as the oatmeal, I use whatever I have on hand. This time I opened packets of instant that no one was finishing until I get one cup or you can use old fashioned oats. This cookie is crispy yet chewy. I give them in tins with circles of wax paper between layers.

You'll notice it has oil and margarine, which is not a typo. They are not a low fat or low calorie cookie:)

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup oatmeal, old fashioned or instant
1 cup crushed cereal, flakes, crispy types; anything crunchy
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars with a mixer. Add egg, oil, and vanilla; beat well. Stir in next 5 ingredients with a wooden spoon. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into the mixture. Stir until all the dry ingredients are mixed in.

Shape into 1 1/2 inch loose balls. Flatten the cookies with a fork dipped in granulated sugar.

Place on an ungreased cookie or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes or until VERY lightly browned around edges. These are better when not browned too much unless you want them to be extra crispy. Cool on sheets before removing to wire racks. Makes about 8 dozen.

Enjoy! ~Brenda