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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Charley Brown Christmas Tree

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My daughter and granddaughter have put up the craftiest, cutest, Christmas tree ever.

CThey gathered twigs from the yard and wired them together to create a Charley Brown tree.

Lots of white lights and a sparse amount of just very special ornaments completed one of the cleverest trees I’ve ever seen.

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Cookies

Yesterday my sisters baked multitudes of the best ever chocolate chip cookies.  She packaged them up into bags of 4 or so each and while they were still warm, I joined them in driving the streets of Myrtle Beach and passing them out to the homeless.

What a rewarding and heartwarming feeling.

God Bless all of you, and very merry and blessed Christmas.

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Another Christmas, Friend

don’t get your tinsel in a tangle,
and your knuckles in a knot
it’s just another Christmas, friend
no reason to be distraught

set ye in a rocking chair
and just watch the crazy commotion
while this friend does the same
as she stares out at the ocean

We’ve been thru holidays together
and we’ve been thru them apart
you would think that at our age
we’d know the drill by heart

This friend in South Carolina
is wishing you calm and peace
it’s just another Christmas, friend
and we’ll meet down on the beach

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centerpiece 014Christmas decorating all weekend, inside and out. The older I get, the more color I want, maybe something to do with the grey/white hair and skin just a few shades off. This is an antique family heirloom I never get to use. It looks so pretty on my coffee table. The tea candles will be lit on Christmas Eve.centerpiece 006
I filled it with all the red christmas balls in my house along with a few silver. Some old wired tinsel finished the bowl, then I added tea candles to the 10 punch cups.

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I swear, I can’t seem to do anything in moderation! What started out to be a gifty (is that a word?) thought for my Gluten-free granddaughters, has grown into marshmallow dreams. I had planned on getting my home ready for Christmas decorating this weekend with festive greenery and glitter and colored lights. Marshmallows, a snow-scene complete with drifts was not quite what I had in mind. But everyone, this is so much fun. It reminds me of playing in the snow as a little girl ohhhh so many years ago. My kitchen is white from one end to the other with powdered sugar and cornstarch. With trepidation I approached my first batch. Dealing with candy thermometers and blistering hot sugar was daunting. It was not nearly as difficult as it seemed and such fun watching that hot sugar syrup being beaten in billowing drifts. The visions of sugar plums set my head jitterbugging. Can I make a life out of this, I’m asking myself. I mean, I love marshmallows but there are just so many cups of cocoa to garnish. Just so many s-mores and sweet-potato casseroles, what will I do with these hundreds of gooey, ethereal, lighter-than-air puffs?
shall I become a puffy, fluffy grandma or..Gifts of course, gift baskets of this summer’s jelly, biscotti and homemade marshmallows.
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My first batch was peppermint, I snitched the recipe out of Southern Living magazine. They are wonderful One warning though, if they will not be served within a day or two, fore-go the crushed candy cane and maybe just swirl some red paste food coloring through the mix in the pan with a toothpick. The candy softened quite a bit after storing, but still givable and delicious.

Batch two was chocolate, nice heavy dark chocolate flavor. No complaints. Perfect for a cup of hot chocolate.020

Now batch three was interesting. I decided to make Dulce de Leche marshmallows, following my basic recipe from Southern Living and working in some Dulce de Leche I made (used loosely) by simmering a can of condensed milk for several hours.
Directions coming. I let it cool while I prepared my simple vanilla marshmallows. When the marshmallows had fluffed up their stuff, I whipped 5 egg whites to soft peaks and folded in half the can of cooled Dulce de Leche.026
I swirled the remainder into my marshmallow mixture. That step was NOT a good idea. The caramel cream sank to the bottom of my pan. 025All was not lost, when I cut the marshmallows, I trimmed the bottom gooey caramel off and put it in a bowl for dessert. Yummy! 030037That left the marshmallows intact. These were luscious flavored but they stay very moist and weepy. Best to serve immediately or the whole doggone pan make for a terrific, rich dessert.

Basic Marshmallows

Spray shortening
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 envelopes plain gelatin
1 cup water, divided
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
flavoring (1 tsp vanilla, or peppermint, or lemon, etc)
1 egg white beaten until stiff peaks form
pinch salt

Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with Pam, line with parchment and spray again. Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Sift half of the cornstarch/sugar mixture into prepared dish, coating well. In mixer bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup sugar. In a deep flat-bottomed pan, stir together granulated sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. Turn heat up to medium-high and insert candy thermometer. Cook without stirring until temperature is 240 degrees. Remove from heat. Beat gelatin mixture briefly, add salt. Slowly pour hot sugar mixture into mixing bowl, drizzling down the side of the bowl (I don’t know why, but the recipe said to do this way). Beat at high-speed about 10-12 minutes or until mixture is tripled in volume and is fluffy and white. Mix in flavoring. Fold egg white into beaten sugar mixture. Turn mixture into prepared pan, sift remaining cornstarch/sugar over top. Set in a cool place uncovered for 4 hours or more. To cut, turn onto board that has been sprinkled with more cornstarch and or powdered sugar. I cut mine with a long serrated bread knife, pressing down in a straight cut rather than sawing at it and had no problems with sticking. Some recipes say to coat the knife with Pam or cornstarch or even hot water, but I didn’t need to. Toss cubes in a bit more powdered sugar to coat all sides.

Dulce de Leche

1 can condensed milk (not evaporated)

Place UNOPENED can in pan, cover with water. Bring water to a boil, turn down heat and simmer can for at least 2 hours. Allow can to cool before trying to open, as it can explode when very hot. This makes a terrific sauce poured over ice cream.

Chocolate Variation
When mixing powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture, add 2 Tbl unsweetened cocoa. This will coat your chocolate marshmallows with brown instead of white.
Mix 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa with water until it forms a thick paste. When sugar has been beaten until almost tripled, drop cocoa mixture into sugar by the teaspoon, beating well after each addition.

Other variations are endless. Coming up at my house will be cinnamon, hazelnut, cherry, and lavender. If there is an extract for it, I’ll try it. I wonder how Bailey’s would work, huh? Maybe I can make a life out of this.

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