Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Melting Peppermints

I saw on Cooking Light peppermint topped brownies and I thought it would be a lot of fun to make mini "gingerbread" houses out of brownies with peppermint roofs to put at each place for the kids - but brownies do not work for this.  And since it was last minute anyway I scrapped the idea and just went with their original idea.  But next year I plan to try this again using a chocolate cake.  I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime - melting peppermints is a breeze.
Heat oven to 300 F.
Line a pan with parchment paper and mark out 1.5 - 1.75 in squares on the back side (you don't really need to do this and if your peppermints seem bigger go farther apart, smaller go closer together.  Since mine didn't melt perfectly together I swirled them with a toothpick.)
Wait 10-15min.
When them come out score with a pizza cutter along your lines.  Once cool they'll break right apart.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cookie Boxes

This year I used little white boxes (from Michaels-they're actually mug boxes) to package our cookies for friends and neighbors.
I bought a huge thing of red and white twine awhile back and have used it for lots of things - but this might be my favorite!  It looks so festive for Christmas! A "ho ho ho" stamp on some labels and ... done! Simple and easy! Asa enjoyed the packaging too - I'd turn around to find a few cookies missing and a small trail of crumbs to wherever he was.

I got the twine from Amazon - should last awhile...!  Other places like Divine Twine sell it in other colors.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Can't Find Your Phone?

I gotta say - this came in really handy today!  I saw it on my friend, Ashley's, blog awhile back and it stuck in my head soo when I misplaced my cell phone today (with it on vibrate!) this came to my rescue!

Anthropologie Gifts!

I got this butter dish from Anthropologie for a friend of mine - but I'm really tempted to keep it!  (And hopefully she doesn't take a look here before I give it to her...)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tinsel and Glitter

Some centerpieces for a work party - I used tinsel in the bottom to reflect off the candles and glittered boughs in the vases. (I'm still finding glitter everywhere!)
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TRG Prints Giveaway

Don't forget to go enter the second week of Advent Giveaways at TRG Prints!
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gingerbread Houses

Back in highschool my sister and I started doing gingerbread houses.  Nothing extravagant - just classic houses for fun!  Over the years I've gone through a lot of gingerbread recipes, interesting patterns (which resulted in the use of a glue gun on multiple years), and various icing recipes. (Side Note: muffin pans work great for holding all the various kinds of candy.)

Last year I was fed up with trying to get the shape just right so that it would hold together - when it bakes it inevitably spreads! - and purchased this gingerbread house mold.
This works great although a little time consuming.  One side creates a brick house (see below) and the other creates a log one (see bottom).  I bake the dough directly in the pan, lightly greased, to maintain shape.  No question of bad fits and pretty easy.  This is actually my brother and sister-in-laws' house.  (Mine is at the bottom.)  They tend to take a lot of time decorating theirs...
Here's the recipe I used this year.  I added 1 tsp cinnamon, some cloves and nutmeg and used a little less flour.  It wasn't great tasting but I wanted to do a recipe with shortening rather than butter because most people tend to eat the candy, if anything, and not the house.  Why waste the butter!?

This year I tried out a Fluffy Meringue Icing from the Wilton recipe that's included in the can.  This worked great!  It doesn't dry rock hard like royal icing, has a great sheen and is pure white.  Just a tad sticky to work with!  (Make sure to keep plastic wrap over the bowl while you're going along.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Personalizing Bouquets and Boutonnieres

I love tiny personal details - especially on flowers! There are a lot of unique options you can do to add a special extra touch or your "something old" to your bouquets. Notice the batman pin hiding in the background up there? You could also use an antique broach, pins, rings, necklaces, handkerchiefs, lace doilies... the list goes on and on! So be creative with your flowers - I'm sure your florist will love the unique detail and extra thought.

all images from Style Me Pretty
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