Tuesday, December 30

Molasses (Hush Sound)

How about a simple cookie recipe to bring to that New Year's Eve party?  These will help you kick off the New Year with healthy intent....

Oatmeal Molasses Cookies

  • 2 c. all purpose wheat flour
  • 2 c. oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • mini chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Stir together flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt.
  3. In another bowl, mix sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and molasses.
  4. Mix in dry ingredients.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes.  Cool on baking rack.
These healthy cookies are so good that Cookie Monster is chasing them!

Monday, December 29

Christmas Wish (She & Him)

In the church pageant, one son played Santa Claus.  The other played Joseph.  I thought the character assignments were a good fit!  Santa learned all about the true meaning of Christmas from the Holy Family.  My mother used to have a book and statue, called Santa and the Christ Child, which was my favorite holiday decoration....so I loved the ending of this pageant.

Tuesday, December 23

Hard Candy Christmas (Dolly Parton)

When we were kids, it was a winter tradition to make Daddy's infamous Red Hot Candy.  This stuff would burn your mouth, but it was oh-so-delicious!  He would always make two batches....one with just a little bit of cinnamon oil, and one to "put hair on your chest."  Think mild and hot salsa...  Nowaways, when the freezing temperatures come around, the first thing I want to do is make some of daddy's hot candy.  I'm bringing this from my house to your's....it's not just for Christmas, but the whole winter through. 

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups light caro syrup
  • 1 tsp food coloring (we use red...your choice)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon oil OR 20 drops Young Living cinnamon oil
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
**You're also going to need a candy thermometer...nothing fancy, just something simple.**

  1. Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. pan with foil; spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine water, sugar, corn syrup and food coloring. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar crystals. 
  2. Uncover; cook on medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300° (hard-crack stage), about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in cinnamon oil (keep face away from mixture as oil is very strong). Immediately pour onto prepared pan. Cool completely, about 45 minutes. We typically do this on a VERY cold night, and leave the pans outside to harden in the freezing temperatures. 
  3. Break the candy into pieces using a hammer (pound lightly). Sprinkle both sides of candy with confectioners' sugar. Store in airtight container.
My dad and I....circa 1984.  This is at the very same spot that I recently took my own children...

Friday, December 19

The Merriest (June Christy)

Yesterday, we brought you some quick & easy treats to whip up with the kids.  Today, we're featuring a sneaky cookie....they're good for you and won't make your kids have a sugar crash.  Plus, they taste like a cookie should!
But don't take our word for it...try them out!

Apple Ginger Snaps

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup flax meal
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (for topping)
Grating fresh ginger
  1. Mix sugar, oil, molasses and applesauce.
  2. In another bowl, mix all dry ingredients except oats.
  3. Combine the two bowls, and thoroughly mix.
  4. Pinch of pieces of dough and roll into balls.
  5. Once all the balls are on the pan, use your palm to flatten them.
  6. Sprinkle with rolled oats.
  7. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
We used the leftover dough to make a mini-pie.  It was delicious!

Thursday, December 18

Baby, It's Cold Outside (Pearl Bailey)

Looking for a kid-friendly cooking project to warm up the kitchen on a cold day?  We've got two of them for you today!

Easy-Peasy Snickerdoodles

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cinnamon
  1. Dump the first four ingredients in a bowl together.  Mix well.
  2. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl.
  3. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into a ball.  Roll in cinnamon sugar, then place onto pan.
  4. Repeat until all of the dough is gone.  
  5. Using your palm, flatten out each ball.
  6. Bake 10 min at 375 degrees.

Quick Apple Dumplings

  • 2 tubes - crescent rolls
  • 2 apples (cored & cubed)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Unroll crescents, and spoon a tablespoon of apple into each.  
  2. Fold the corners in to close the dumpling.  
  3. Arrange each dumpling into a 9x13 pan.  
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon.  
  5. Mix butter, sugar, and orange juice in a medium pan and bring to boil.  
  6. Stir in vanilla.  
  7. our mixture over dumplings.  
  8. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until crust is brown and juices are bubbly.  
  9. Extra tasty when served with ice cream!

Mini Cherry Pies

We had a bit of extra dough leftover, and the oldest used some jelly tins to make itty-bitty cherry pies.  He got this idea from a book we used to read, many years ago, and has been doing it since.  Pop some dough in the tin, chop up a maraschino cherry, cover it up, and bake for just a couple of minutes!

Friday, December 12

Incense & Peppermint (Strawberry Alarm Clock)

Chocolate Peppermint Krispies

Winter came much too early this year!  The kids and I were digging through the house, trying to find a baking project to pass the time, when we created these treats.  We pulled out various ingredients and decided to try our hand at a new dessert...and it turned out to be excellent!!  We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do...


  • We used a double boiler to melt down two bars of chocolate....it works better if you break the chocolate into smaller bits before putting it into the boiler.
  • Once it was good and melted, we added ten to fifteen drops of peppermint oil.  This made a pretty strong, but delicious, coating.  Vary the number of drops based on preference.
  • After laying out each of the pre-packaged treats on wax paper, we dipped each one into the melted chocolate.  We kept stirring the chocolate occasionally to keep it flowing.
  • After getting a first dip, covering one entire end of each treat, we went back and spooned chocolate all over the top of each of the treats.  Then we left them on the wax paper to cool.
  • Dust with powdered sugar to give it a snow effect -OR- garnish with peppermint crumbles!
  • We still had chocolate left, though, and it'd be a shame to waste perfectly good chocolate!!!  We scrambled through the house and found a bag of pretzels, and made up some chocolate covered pretzels right there.
I will say...with the peppermint, the pretzels weren't so good.  Maybe it was the combination of salt with the other flavors.  The krispies were delicious, though!  My youngest took some to his speech teacher, and she was inclined to agree...  

Bon Appetit! 

Tuesday, December 9

When You Trim Your Tree (Les Brown)

Each year, we make these fun and easy applesauce ornaments with the kids.  It gives them an opportunity to make their own gifts, which they hand out to friends and loved ones.  We also save a few each year to commemorate their current likes and interests.  This year, we're featuring Lego Ninjago and Southwest Airlines...

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Supplies (we doubled our recipe)

  • Preheat oven to 200°F. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. (You may need use your hands to incorporate all of the cinnamon.) 
  • Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. 
    • If you can't find a rolling pin, you can use a quart-sized mason jar in a pinch.
  • Cut dough into desired shapes with 2- to 3-inch cookie cutters.  Pull away extra dough, then carefully transfer cutout to waxed baking sheet with a spatula.
  • Using the spatula, straighten up any sloppy edges around the cutout.
  • Make a hole at top of ornament with drinking straw, toothpick, or skewer. 
  • Bake 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on wire rack. 
  • Decorate with paint, if desired.  Add magazine cutouts with glue.  Allow to dry.

  • Using a clear spray paint or gloss paint, varnish the ornaments.  This is optional, and will make them last longer.  If you want that cinnamon smell, skip this step.  They won't last as long, but they'll smell heavenly!
  • Insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang.

  • Saturday, December 6

    Born to Fly (Sara Evans)

    Wednesday : Air Museum
    Just down the road lies the Air Force base where a family member is currently stationed.  Part of that base is the March Field Air Museum, covering aircraft history from the birth of flight through the future space program.  They have a fabulous collection of retired and restored planes!
    If you've followed us for any length of time, then you know that just like the oldest craves the beach, the youngest lives and breathes for airplanes.  We passed this one on the way from the airport to the house on Monday...and knew immediately that we would be coming back.
    Plus one cousin, the boys tore off into the museum to check out all the cool airplanes!  And when they got out of hand, we stuck them in a German WWII POW camp...it was only for pilots.
    After exhausting the inside of the museum, we headed out into the desert heat.  It was eye-opening to see the temperature swings out here!  So cold during the night...blisteringly hot during the day!  But all the best stuff was outside...
    Waiting for the tram to arrive, the boys played around a little bit, trying on that 'Top Gun' cockiness for a bit.  They were adorable in the way that only little boys can be!
    The 45-minute tram ride was both entertaining and educational.  We learned about World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and current conflicts, as well as the development of the military flight technology to back them.  The kids were interested in the aircraft and had lots of questions...they picked up a few history lessons along the way, too.
    We saw the bomber that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, an Alaskan Coast Guard rescue plane, the Tomcats from 'Top Gun,' and many more.
    This bomb was neat...it's a replica, about a quarter-scale, that was made by a local Boy Scout troop.  The kids are in scouts and asked several questions about how you get the privilege of building a bomb and being praised for it............scary!  (Laughing)  It was pretty neat, though.
    Further on, in the Vietnam area, we had a history lesson all of it's own.  Grandpa spent many years, and a couple of tours, in Vietnam.  The boys learned about that war, the environment and things that Grandpa may have experienced, and his job during the war (conflict?).   They took some time to explore the Cobra and other helicopters used during this time.
    All in all, a good little side trip.  If you're in the Riverside area, we definitely recommend a stop...especially if you're traveling with boys!

    Thursday : Thanksgiving

     Thanksgiving dinner, family photos, and time to catch up with friends!

    Friday : Travel

    No photos from today.....it was a long travel day that saw us getting back home after midnight....and man was it COLD!!!   Home again, home again, jiggity jig!