Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ultimate Party Meatballs

Appetizers: my favorite food group.
What? Not a food group, you say?
Shut it.

If there was a way to do it without seeming a total freak, I'd eat appetizers for every dinner. Little bits of 20 different things...heaven.

Got this recipe from Mom Central to try out a new way to make party meatballs. Yeah, those ones you stab with the fancy toothpicks that everyone has had before.

My MIL makes them with chili sauce and grape jelly. So when I told her I was bringing some for Christmas Eve that were slightly different, she seemed a bit skeptical.

You see, at my inlaws, Christmas Eve is a ton of appetizers and soups. We just graze and open gifts, and then go fill up the plates again, open more gifts, eat more. It's a vicious cycle of gluttony and greed.

I made the Ultimate Party Meatballs hoping they would live up to MIL's incredibly high standards.

The recipe:
1 16-oz. can Ocean Spray jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 12-oz. bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1 2-pound bag frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail size meatballs

They were really good.
And, the review from MIL was that she liked them much better than her own version because, with the cranberry flavor there was a little more kick and less sweet (which she is not a person who likes things sweet) than using the grape jelly. (And ignore the fact that in the photo it's not all cookbook pretty looking...stuff in a crockpot in my world is messy)

So, we all know that New Years and bowl games are all about parties and appetizers.
This is the cheapest and easiest appetizer you could possibly make.

Yum and tasty.

And the Ultimate Party Meatballs website has a bunch of party ideas, so you could be hungover and still plan a party.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Christmas Cookies

I make a few varieties of cookies for Christmas each year, a couple standbys and then I try something different to keep it interesting.

This year, a few pictures and recipes for you to check out!

Dipped Gingersnaps
(got this out of Taste of Home years ago)
2 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 C. molasses
4 C. flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1 T. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Additional sugar
2 packages vanilla baking chips
1/4 C. shortening

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in molasses. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 3/4 inch balls and roll in sugar. (I use a cookie scoop for this so that the cookie will be uniform in size). Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until cookie springs back when touched lightly. Remove to wire racks to cool. Melt chips with shortening in a small sauce pan over low heat. (I use the double boiler method or have found sometimes this can scorch. I don't have a double boiler, I just use a bowl that is slightly bigger than the sauce pan and get that going with a rolling boil of water and that melts everything nicely for dipping). Dip the cookies halfway; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper to harden.

Cream Cheese Finger Cookies - (this is the exact recipe, I always double it)
(another winner from Taste of Home)
1/2 C. butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 C. flour
1 T. sugar
dash salt
1 C. finely chopped pecans
Powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, sugar and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans (dough will be crumbly). **I have found if the dough is just a bit to dry/crumbly to shape, I will keep the mixer going on low and add a bit of water until the consistency seems right.**
Shape tablespoonfuls into 2-inch logs. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire racks.

Best-Ever Turtles
(from Gooseberry Patch Christmas book 6)
2 1/2 C. pecan halves, toasted
1 C. sugar
3/4 C. corn syrup
1 C. whipping cream, divided
4 T. butter
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips, melted

On a baking sheet, arrange pecans in sets of 3; set aside. Combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup whipping cream in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches full boil. Slowly add remaining cream and butter; heat, stirring, until mixture reaches soft-ball stage or 236° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; still until caramel is creamy (about 5 minutes). Spoon about 1 tablespoon caramel over each set of pecans; cool. Spoon 1 teaspoon chocolate over each; let stand to harden.

Also did some sugar cookie cutouts the kids decorated - I think they do great work!!

Hope your Christmas is also this sweet!

Friday, December 12, 2008

MS Slippers

My pal Andy has MS. And instead of getting that bit of news and running out and feeling super sorry for herself, she did something else instead.
She started knitting. And the money she makes from her endeavors online goes to support other artists living with the disease.

She has slippers and baby legwarmers. And she just fired up an Etsy store as well to multi-promote herself.

Check out her main site at MS Slippers and also her new Etsy store.

Food Porn

I can't believe I haven't posted any of the photos from Thanksgiving on here yet. OMG!!