Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kick Back and Enjoy!

I was beginning to feel like the holiday season was running away with me. I was stressed, busy, and felt behind on work, housework, shopping, baking, visiting, wrapping, gifting, and so on. And then came our Winter storm. Here in Grand Rapids we got 10+ inches of snow on Friday, grounding most things to a halt.

Travis and I are lucky to have flexible enough work schedules that allowed us to work from home that day, and not have to travel. I had a really productive day of work finishing up in the early afternoon and allowing myself some much-needed catch up around the house. I cleaned, did some laundry, wrapped some gifts, and BAKED. Now you must understand that I generally don't like to cook - and do very little of it year-round (Trav is 100% the better cook AND baker in this family). I don't think I have the patience for it most of the time, and I certainly don't like doing clean up afterward! But I DO really like to make cookies at Christmas time. Fun!

So, while the snowy weekend (we're supposed to get more tonight and Monday!) has been inconvenient for some, it's truly been a blessing for me. It's allowed me to unwind, and take some valuable time to remember why I love this time of year so much!

I thought I'd share some of my baking results, and their recipes. Just click on each picture to link to their recipes online! I hope you'll share them with your family this holiday season, or in years to come!

Lemon Star Cookies
(I can't find this recipe online any more, so drop me a line if you'd like the recipe)

Vanilla Bean Snowmen
(A new recipe this year - I substituted the vanilla bean pod for a little extra vanilla extract - who has a vanilla bean handy?! - and they turned out great all the same.)

Five-Minute Fudge
(Seriously... the easiest and quickest thing in the world to make!)

Rum Balls

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
(Another new recipe this year - they taste just like the Girl Scout chocolate thin mints!)

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
(I got this recipe from the Hornsby family years ago, and it's so simple to make. You essentially just melt the chocolate and add the peppermint pieces, pour into a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze. Then break it up into pieces! The key is finding the ingredients. I've always got my chocolate and peppermint from "The Candy Lady" in Kalamazoo, MI. It's a small, mom and pop shop, with the nicest staff.)

I love to package cookies in these cute origami boxes that are easy to fold, and relatively quick to make. I use 12x12 scrapbook paper and line the boxes with tissue paper, then tie with ribbon and a gift tag. I found the instructions for making these boxes at a kids site while working in child care at the YMCA. You can get the same how-to be clicking on the photo below and, once on the site, clicking "Origami Box Instructions."


No comments: