Christmas Traditions!

Well here we are the day after Christmas… It feels like last week has been a blur! That is partially because Peanut had surgery last Monday to have tubes put in. She has battled 4 sets of double ear infections since October! The first two nights of the week were sleepless.  She was in a lot of pain (not from the tubes but from have 2 terrible infections going on!), and was up nearly every hour. I haven’t slept that poor since Munchkin was a baby!

Needless to say, this week came an went even faster  than it would normally!

We were still able to do a few of our favorite Christmas traditions. We made a gingerbread house, baked and ‘painted’ sugar cookies, made a few more types of cookies,  went to Church on Christmas Eve, went for a drive around our town to see lights, and listened to carols!

Here are two of my favorite cookie recipes!

Secret Kiss Cookies

Ingredients:

1 Cup Butter        1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar       1 cup ground pecans

2 cups flour           1 1lb bag of Hershey Kisses

Powdered Sugar

Directions:

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour and nuts.

Chill dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven @ 350.

Wrap each kiss in dough (a little goes a long way!) Making little balls. Bake for 6-8 minutes. You can place many cookies on the tray I leave about an inch apart. They do not spread when baking. 🙂

Cool and then coat in powdered sugar. Be very gentle these are delicate! 🙂

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Butter                            2 1/2 cups  flour

1 1/2 Cups brown sugar               1 1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tablespoons water                    1/2 tsp salt

2 cups of semi-sweet choc chips  2  (4.5 ounce) packages of Andes Mints

2 eggs

Directions: 

In a sauce pan over medium heat, cook sugar, butter, and water, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips  until melted set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl, and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven, be careful not to over bake. When cookies come out of the oven, press one mint (sometimes a 1/2 is more than enough!) and swirl with a toothpicks. Let them set (or don’t!) before eating!

Store cookies in an airtight container!

Christmas Bark!

So I have been so busy with Holiday stuff I have been neglecting the blog some… so I am so sorry! I am going to do my best to post a few over the next couple days. Most of them will be holiday ideas.

This recipe I found on …. you guessed it… PINTEREST! Seriously, I might go broke or save money with all my pins!

Anyway, I made this great Halloween Bark back in October and thought, why not try a Christmas one. It is so simple and even the Non-baker types can make this with NO issues!

Christmas Bark

adapted from Cooking with K

32 Oz. Almond Bark Vanilla (2 Packages)
1 Box of Kellogg’s Crispix Cereal
4 cups Christmas shaped pretzels (or really any small ones will do!)
2 16oz. Bags of M&M’S (any variety will work-Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies, or Peanut Chocolate Candies, or Plain Chocolate Candies- I used Peanut  Butter and Pretzel) in Christmas Colors

Holiday Sprinkles **Optional

In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave for 2-4 minutes at 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. While it is melting you can mi In a large bowl, mix the cereal, pretzels, and M&Ms (you should steal an M&M or two to make sure they are good enough to serve!)

Pour melted chocolate over the cereal mixture. Using a large spatula to fold all together. Try not to mash the cereal too much while doing this.

Once all the mixture is coated completely with the chocolate, pour out onto a table lined with waxed paper (I used baking trays lined with wax paper and set it outside because it cooled REALLY fast!).

Shake some holiday sprinkles on them for extra color!

Once cooled, break up into pieces and store in an air tight container-Ziplocks work well!

Christmas Bark!

Mae’s Got This is not responsible for any diets this recipe might ruin. ENJOY!!!

Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce Review and Giveaway!!

A fellow Blogging Mom sent me an email  that Country Bob was looking for bloggers to do a review and giveaway! I sent in a request not sure if I would  get selected… but I DID! Needless to say, I was super bummed because the package arrived right before I went away for a weekend.

So you know as soon as we got back I made something with it! Now I didn’t get too wild and crazy and there are TONS of recipes on their site, we just had some chicken breasts marinated in Country Bob’s  All Purpose sauce.  Now let me tell you, we eat a lot of chicken at our house but these had some of the BEST flavor.

1/2 the Chicken Breast was eaten prior to the photo! Oops... we were SOO excited to try it!

I did nothing to the chicken breasts but do a drizzle of the All Purpose Sauce on each, and bake covered in foil. We ALL loved them. Of course Munchkin had to dip hers in Ketchup (Sorry Country Bob!), Peanut was impressed, and Rand McNally and I dipped into MORE Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce. A family pleasing sauce.

This really is an All Purpose Sauce, we were discussing what we want to try it on next.  I want to try it on a Burger and Rand McNally wants to make some ribs and use this!  Really it would be awesome on ANY meat!

The flavor is definitely intense. We both loved the smoky flavor. We are going to be buying more and I can’t wait until the spring to get this on the grill!

OK… are you drooling yet? I am and I have some of my bottle in my fridge! Do you want a bottle of your own for free?!?!

Here’s How:

You get an entry for each of the following you do… Giveaway Ends on 12/24

  1. Leave a comment telling me what you want to try Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce on.
  2. Like Mae’s Got This on Facebook
  3. Like Country Bob’s on Facebook
  4. Follow Mae’s Got This on Twitter
  5. Follow Country Bob’s on Twitter
  6. Share this on your Twitter
  7. Share this on your Facebook!

Disclosure: I received the above product for review purposes only. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Merry ‘Pinterest’!!

What a very busy time of year it is!

I found a couple fun ‘Christmas-y’ things to do on Pinterest.

First a very simple way to display all the beautiful cards sent out by friends and family. RIBBON!

Now the next is a SUPER easy way to make your house smell like the holidays! We used to make these amazing cinnamon ornaments for Christmas when I was a girl scout.  So when I came across them online I had to make them with the girls!

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Original Directions

Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup ground cinnamon (1 standard container is exactly 1 cup!)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (give or take)
  • glue (the standard size container is about 1/2)
  • Rolling pin
  •  cookie cutters
  • One straw
  • Wire rack
  • Paper towels
  • Baking sheet
  •  ribbon for each ornament or a hook
In a bowl, mix together 1 cup ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup applesauce using a rubber spatula.  Stir in 1/2 cup craft glue.  Okay, I will not lie I used my mixer, maybe over kill but it worked! I also had to add a smidge more applesauce to get a good rollable consistency.

Roll out the dough on either a silpat type baking mat or wax paper for easier clean up and less need for dusting when rolling.

Roll the ball out to about a 1/4 in thick. Then grab your  holiday cutters and place them into the dough. Grab your straw and poke a hole in each to use later for attaching your hook or ribbon.

Now you have 2 options:

If you like to see things you make come to fruition ASAP: Bake at 200 degrees for about an hour (or 2) flip half way through.

OR

Dry them on paper towels on drying racks for 3-4 days flipping and replacing towels when the dry.

Voila… I wish you could smell these… they are just the perfect addition to any tree! My husband was SUPER bummed because he thought I said I was making Cinnamon Rolls… and realized he misheard me when I started pouring a bottle of glue into mixer!!

You can make about 12-15 for VERY little money! I got 2 bottles of cinnamon at Aldi for .99 each, some cinnamon apple sauce for just over a $1, and some craft glue for $1.47 for a 2 pack at Hobby Lobby.

Three is such a … ‘Magical’ Age

Ahh.. where to begin…. this is going to be a very random post of all the things I have learned about so far in the past 5 months or so since Munchkin has turned 3.  I will come out and say both girls are in bed and I am sipping on a well deserved glass of Moscato as I compose this.

First, I will start by saying Munchkin really is a great kid, and I know this is a phase (it is right?!?!). I constantly repeat (sometimes in my head and other times out loud) it will be better to fight her on  this at 3 than at 7 (there will be different battles at 7).

I was watching Parenthood a few weeks ago and I swear the scene could have been from my house! Parenthood is this amazing show on NBC about a great family (all the adult brothers and sisters and their kids). One of the girls was throwing a fit in her room and the mother was sitting outside the door with a bottle of wine. All I could think of was “why haven’t I done this!?!” I would probably be less angry about the whole ordeal!

Anyway, I have learned a few things here are a couple. I am sure I will do another post of things in the future. So here are three ideas I have had recently with Munchkin.

1. It is amazing that any 3 year old hasn’t been poisoned by dinner. Honestly, everything is inedible. From plain pancakes, to pasta with ‘spicy’ spaghetti sauce, or maybe there might be things that touch on the same PLATE! I am not from the school of thought that you have to clean your plate but you do have to make a sincere attempt at eating. I never make things that I know Munchkin won’t eat  (OK I do see “Buffalo Chicken” but I always make her an option on those nights that she has liked at one point in her life!). I am now reserving dinner for breakfast. Amazingly enough she is eating it!

Dinner conversation tonight.

Munchkin: I don’t think I want to eat this roast. I am SOOO full.

Me: That is fine you can have it for breakfast when you will be REALLY hungry since you skipped dinner.

Munchkin: That is fine.

Me: Okay!

No tears… no fighting. Her roast, potatoes, and carrots are currently in the fridge awaiting their return for breakfast! She told me she couldn’t eat it because there wasn’t Parmesan cheese on it.  Sigh…

2. Why is it that the child will cry out and say “I want my Mommy/Daddy!” As soon as  that parent leaves from putting them in time out.  🙂

3. Munchkin is going to be a lawyer. I am ok with this… because she is going to be a GOOD lawyer. Her skills at finding the loophole, reading the fine print- with only knowing her letters and sounds (she is that GOOD people), and coming up with a diversion tactic are AMAZING! She is so good that often times I have to remember that I asked was please put away your baby doll and her blankets.

Me: Munchkin, please put away your Danielle baby and her blankets so we can head out.

Munchkin: Okay Mom, but first I need to finish feeding Danielle (proceeds to sit and nurse her)

Me: Munchkin, great job she is so full, let’s put her away so we can get our shoes on. 

Munchkin: I will Mom, but I need to get her to sleep, she is SOOO fussy.

Me: Munchkin… we need to go… 

This is a normal conversation with her…

I love her dearly, her imagination and intelligence are phenomenal. I know that in 3  years I will be dealing with the same stuff from Peanut. I just pray that some how this ‘Magical’ Age really turns off at 4.

Off to go drink my neglected glass of wine!

By the way, I will post the Roast that almost poisoned my daughter (but the other 3 of us LOVED) Tomorrow!

If you love anything Buffalo Flavored…

you MUST read this!

I have always loved a good buffalo chicken sandwich… but when I was pregnant with Peanut, I CRAVED Buffalo wings ( I blame this on Rand McNally). I craved them so much that I would beg him to take me out to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings (again not a typical ‘Mae’ place).

Here I am with a 10 month old (this week… how did this happen) still craving Buffalo (no, I am NOT pregnant).

Sidenote: I also still hate broccoli (thank you Munchkin).

Okay, back to the recipe at hand… this is the easiest and tastiest (not too terrible unhealthy for you) buffalo chicken recipe.

I found something similar online but this is really altered. Oh and how is it that I am this far into the post and I am just now mentioning you make this in the crock-pot!

Crock-Pot Buffalo Chicken 

  • Hot Sauce (your favorite variety Frank’s works!)
  • 3-4 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • Packet of Ranch Dressing

Place chicken in the crock-pot. Dump the package of ranch dressing over the chicken. Now, here is the tricky part determining the hot sauce amount. I have found more is less because you can’t take back hot sauce! So I did 3/4 cup over the chicken and ranch dressing.  It was just enough bite, but allowed me to continue to taste my food… if you get my drift. Cook on low for 4-6 hours (your house smells amazing and you are VERY welcome!). Don’t be tempted to check it before 4 hours the moisture inside is helpful for the chicken.

When the 4 hours are up check, you know the chicken is done when you can easily shred it with two forks. If it is still too difficult give it an hour and check again. Once the chicken is cooked shred it and add the butter.  Let that mix in a the chicken soak up all the yummy sauce for about 15 mins. Then eat… mmmm yes EAT! Oh and add more hot sauce if you need a deeper KICK!

You can make sandwiches, put it on salad, make a buffalo chicken grilled cheese… the ideas could go on and ON!

Enjoy! I am really excited for you… this is so easy and YUMMY!

 

Vegetable Tortellini Soup

This soup is amazing. Seriously, jam packed with veggies and easy to make! I am blessed with kids  that love to eat their veggies. In fact, Munchkin would prefer vegetables over meat and even over candy! Peanut is still in the phase where she will eat ANYTHING you put in front of her. (I now know that this will mean NOTHING when she is 18 months-3 years old.)

Now the girls are great veggie eaters, Rand McNally… Not so much! Usually, when I ask him to chop up something for a soup it is soo tiny you can barely recognize what it is. Even HE liked this soup!

It was another Pinterest inspired recipe. Sorry Google, I am finding more things there and searching often!

If you are anything like me, you are probably still enjoying plates full of mashed potatoes and stuffing. However, in a few days when you are completely over those leftovers this is a quick and perfect meal for a family on these soon to be cold nights!

Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Adated from Family Fun

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 small zucchini  diced (think  the size of an inch)
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (more if fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 9 ounces fresh or frozen tortellini (cheese or meat)
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (as desired)
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot or the one I usually boil pasta in. Add the  garlic, onion, zucchini, and carrots. Saute over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, spinach and tomatoes. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce and simmer for about 15 minutes.  If you like super mushy veggies cook it for longer.

Add the tortellini and bring the soup back to a low boil. Cook it for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for another 5 minutes longer. (Tortellini will float when they are cooked!)

This would be VERY tasty with some garlic bread. Like I said, we  all enjoyed this!