Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Foodie Friends

The best source of good recipes are your foodie friends (and Tasty Kitchen). Gola has passed along a few of my favorite holiday standbys. The haystack recipe I posted earlier and the ham and cheese cheeseball were both given to my by Gola.

I met Gola my first year in Alberta. We have been great friends since. We have spent Christmas Eve together every year. This year, Gola and Al hosted and we ate and ate and ate. And played Wii. I brought her cheeseball and Newfie hors d'oeuvres. Newfie Hors d'Oeuvres are not my cup of tea. A slice of Vienna sausage, a chunk of cheddar cheese and a piece of sweet mix pickle. Blech! But Lee and Nik had no problem polishing them off.

So if you are looking for an appetizer for an upcoming New Year's get together, give the cheeseball a try.

Gola's Ham and Cheese Cheeseball

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 cup sharp cheddar, grated

3/4 cup Miracle Whip

2 Tbs sweet pickle relish

1 can Flakes of Ham

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with stand or hand mixer until combined. Line a small bowl with plastic wrap and add the mixture, pressing it down. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

When ready to serve, invert bowl on plate or serving platter and remove plastic wrap. Use finely grated cheddar to coat the outside. Serve with Ritz crackers.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! We spent the morning at home, with the furbabies, enjoying breakfast and opening our gifts. We always have help with opening gifts.

Daisy loves the empty boxes!

We went to Tina and Ian's for turkey dinner. It was very tasty!! It was frosty fog out yesterday, and Lee snapped this picture of our weeping birch tree.

As much as I hate and despise every aspect of the winter season, I must say that when the trees get frosty like that, it is a beautiful sight. Today, it is sunny so I took a couple extra pictures of the same tree.

Very pretty out there today.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Time Flies!

Wow! It has been a while since I have posted!! We haven't been up to much. Lee is working in Fort McMurray on turnaround. I have been working, and working on a few homemade gifts. I'd like to tell you all about them, but I haven't given them yet, so mum's the word!
This weekend, I have been making Christmas treats. I made haystacks, which is a recipe I got a few years ago from a friend. They quickly turned into a Christmas staple. Until last year. Mackintosh toffee bars were no where to be found!! According to there website, there was a fire at the factory. But they can make individually wrapped toffee pieces. I think this is some kind of conspiracy!

To start, get a bag of large marshmallows and cut them in half width wise with clean scissors. Dump some Rice Krispies in a bowl. Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk in a small saucepan. Add 35-40 unwrapped Mackintosh toffee pieces and two tablespoons of butter. I used 40 unwrapped pieces, but found it a bit thick and next time I will go with 35. Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. I leave my burner on low as you will need to reheat the toffee if it starts to harden up.
Here's my assembly line. Note my beautiful china pattern. I believe it's called Royal Chinet.

It helps to have a helper. One person dipping, one person coating. But I was all one my own this weekend. I like to use my nut picks that came with my nutcracker for the dipping because you can tap them on the side of the saucepan to remove excess toffee. But you could use a toothpick or skewer.
Dip the marshmallow half into the melted toffee, tapping to remove excess.

Drop into the cereal and cover. I use a spoon cause it's faster. And when you are doing this alone, faster is better.

Drop on parchment to firm up. Repeat another 50 or 60 times. Eventually, you get to a point where there is toffee left, but it is too difficult to dip the marshmallows. This is where you reward yourself for all your hard work.

I don't think I need to explain any further.
I also tried to make truffles. But I am still scarred from that experience so I don't want to discuss it right now. When I have healed, we'll chat.
But I have had some requests to see my tree. Before I show you, I must remind you we put the tree up on Lee's last set of days off, around the 3rd or so. I generally don't put it up that early, but it was the 3rd or the 23rd, and I wasn't willing to do that deed on the 23rd. So up it went. And I have cats.
So just look at the top two thirds and we're good.

Look what they do when I am not looking!!

I have given up on fixing it. That is simply a waste of my time.

I hope your tree is fairing better than mine!