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Saturday, December 31, 2011

{ New Year Rising Mocktail }

I don’t drink, so I’m pretty cocktail dumb.

I found several cocktail recipes that called for Grenadine. I had to google that to see if it had alcohol in it.

Um.. it doesn’t. This is good news for me.

Then I couldn’t find it in the alcohol aisle at the grocery store.

And I totally felt too stupid to ask at customer service.

So, 20+ minutes later, I found it. It’s with the drink mixes for those who are as booze slow as me.

ANYWAY, Long story… uh…long, I wanted to make a cocktail (ya know, without alcohol) for New Year’s Eve.

I totally planned on making Mock Champagne, but I also had the ingredients for Shirley Temple on my grocery list.

Wouldn’t ya know it, I bought the wrong stuff.

So… Shirley it is.

Only, how NOT cool is that name?

All respect to The Dimpled One, but I’m thinking my houseful of teenagers are not going to approve.
So, rename time!

I’ve dubbed this New Year Rising because of the way that the Grenadine sits at the bottom of the glass & the orange stays on top. It looks like a sunrise.

Dontcha think?

Anyhoo, this pup is easy.


 New Year Rising Cocktail
(aka Shirley Temple)

1 Can of Frozen Orange Pineapple Juice Concentrate
 1/2  2-liter of Lemon Lime Soda OR Ginger Ale (chilled)
maraschino cherries
**note, if you like more fizziness, add more soda

Mix Orange Pineapple concentrate with only TWO cans of water (instead of the 3 it calls for) in a punch bowl.

Add 1/2 of the 2 liter
stir together.

In clear glasses, fill 3/4 of the way with the orange mix. Then pour in a bit (like a Tablespoon) of Grenadine.

Drop in a cherry.

Serve with umbrella for extra festiveness!


So, enjoy a cuppa ‘New Year Rising’ while 2012 makes it’s appearance!

All the best to you in the new year, thanks so much for reading my blog!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

{ 2011 Most Popular Posts }




Here’s a post of my most popular recipes (by page views) of 2011, in order of popularity:


Caramel Apples

Pumpkin Juice & Apple Pie Cupcakes

These Cupcakes Have a Secret (Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes)

Strawberry Filled Goodness (Strawberry Filled Cupcakes)

Holy Moses Dip

Fun With Girl Scout Cookies (Thin Mint Cupcakes)

Warm Apple Pie Dessert Drink

Ice Cream Cone Cake Balls- Made Easy

Candy Corn Cupcakes

And there you have it!

Lots of cupcakes… you’d think they were popular right now or something.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{ Black & White Latte }



For a while now, I’ve been wanting to try Mommy’s Kitchen’s White Chocolate Mocha.

Problem? I don’t really like white chocolate.

Hey, don’t throw things at me, we all have our opinions.

My opinion of white chocolate? Not a good one. It’s just too sweet for me.

So, making this coffee seems silly right? Why make something you don’t like?

Yeah, true, but I can’t leave things alone.

I WANT to make it, but I won’t want to drink it, right?


Well, here’s what I decided to do.

1/2 white chocolate + 1/2 chocolate= Black & White Latte

Actually, it started out black (chocolate chips), white (milk and white chocolate chips), but it comes out all brown, and I totally wanted to call it Okapi Coffee.

See, I love the Okapi. I think they are adorable.

Okapi picture nicked from Wikipedia

I wasn’t sure that coffee named after a wild beast would be all that appetizing.


So, Black & White Latte it is.


Black & White Latte (aka Okapi Coffee):

2/3 Cup Milk

3 Tablespoons White Chocolate Chips

3 Tablespoons Chocolate Chips (I used semi sweet, you can use dark or milk as well)

Strongly brewed coffee

Dash of vanilla

Whipped topping



Warm milk in a double boiler, or make one out of a pan and dish that you have.

That’s what Mommy’s Kitchen (see her recipe for a better photo) did, and what I did as well.

While milk is heating, make your coffee.


Add chips in and stir until melted.

I, as always, added in a dash of vanilla. I can’t help it. I have a vanilla obsession. I’m not ashamed.


Then add 1/2 of your milk mixture to your mug, finishing with enough coffee to fill, but allowing room for whipped cream.

Garnish as desired!

There you have it, Okapi Coffee,  ahem, Black & White Latte!


Yields 2 (regular sized) Mugs… of love.

And Okapi-ness.



Mommy’s Kitchen’s original Copy Cat Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Recipe

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{ New Year’s Eve Tree }

When the Bean was little, I was addicted to Family Fun Magazine. I subscribed for YEARS and I even bought some of their hardcover books.

I was flipping through an old book (Family Fun Homemade Holidays) recently when I came across "O New Year's Tree".

Great idea, right?

It's an idea I stored away until The Bean was old enough to appreciate it.

Then... of course... I totally forgot about it. FOR. YEARS.

 Until I found the book again :)

Tonight I have taken every decoration in my house down, except for the tree, which now looks like this:

I had the hats & leis already, I save them from year to year, but if you don't and won't have time to rush out and buy them, I found this hat template.

As soon as guests arrive (which is mostly going to be teenagers), they can nab the hat/mask/noise maker they like off the tree, but the balloons stay put til midnight.

I stuffed my balloons with fortunes and cheesy jokes.

 Find cheesy jokes  here, and  the“fortunes” that I found here.

I also added cash dollars or coins, and confetti.

As for the confetti:
Yes, I do realize that confetti makes a horrific mess, but hey, it’s tradition here to make a horrific mess on New Year’s Eve.

I’m cool with that.

If you are not, leave out the confetti.

At the stroke of midnight, pop away my friends, pop away!

And yes, the confetti, if you dared to use it, goes everrrrrrrrrrrrywhere.

Good times.

The Bean and I are total Christmas addicts, so this is a good way to wean us off the holiday high. Decorations are put away, but the tree still stays, and with a purpose.

I can see this being our New Year’s Eve tradition from now on.


I plan to be back before New Year’s but if I don’t make it back, may you have a happy and blessed 2012.


Be careful about putting paper close to lights & do NOT use any 'poppers' on your tree!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

{ Candy Cane Crinkle Cookies }

Ok, I mean it people.


And yes, I said that last night.

I had to share this one though, because it was my hubster's idea.

See, he doesn't really like Snickerdoodles! FOR SHAME, I know!

Last night, he picked one up and ate it, however, and said, "this would be really good with peppermints".

Um... ok, that should be easy enough.

What I did was take the basic Snickerdoodle recipe, and instead of rolling in cinnamon and sugar, I rolled in crushed peppermint and sugar.

Yeah, that easy.

Here's the link to the Snickerdoodle recipe.

After making into balls, simply roll in FINELY crushed peppermints/candy canes and sugar, then bake according to directions.

And while I'm not a huge fan of peppermint cookies, I must admit, these are pretty deelish!!!

Score one for the hubster!

And score one for Santa who will be getting these tonight...

along with my note professing my good behavior & my wishes for a new toaster oven and a second mixing bowl for my Kitchenaid.

Seriously people, I've been good!!!

Merry Christmas to all!

Much love, Tina

{ Christmas Eve Eve Baking & Making }

By the time I hit "publish" on this, it will no longer be Christmas Eve Eve, it will be Christmas Eve! 
Was that hard to follow? Sorry.

In the last minute baking and merry making catagory, I have this...

Today, I made 120 "Baby Jesus Cakes" or "Birthday Cakes for Jesus". Whatever you wish to call them.
I quite enjoy the term Baby Jesus Cakes, so we will stick with that. You know, cuz it's my blog and all that.

These will be given out on Sunday to the families at my church. My minister asked if I was up for the job. How can you say no to your minister asking you to make birthday cakes for Jesus? The answer is this...
You can't. :)

These photos are from my phone, I totally forgot my big girl camera. My mom and I spent a few hours at the church today making and packaging these. I'm pretty sure packaging them took longer than baking!

The packaging is a rather cool idea, yes?

I wish I could take credit, but I totally found the idea on Pinterest, which is pinned from this site, Cookie Madness.  

Oh, Cookie Madness, you so clever!

After that, it was a run to the grocery for Christmas brekkie food . We are just having pancakes & bacon... homemade pancake syrup you say?

Why, yes, yes, I do have a recipe for that.

Also, I had to get supplies for the Bean's Christmas get together tonight.

He invited his girlfriend, his cousins, one cousin's boyfriend, and our friends Stephanie and Bobby.

I ended up making sloppy joes/sloppy nachos and

We played Dirty Santa (in which the Bean won a Justin Bieber poster and was quite unamused, the rest of us however, enjoyed this greatly), video games, and Apples to Apples... all in all a good night :)

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so that means I will be making the Bean's favorite cake, from the Pioneer Woman.

It's been tradition for a few years now, and this kid is more about tradition than your 85 year old grandmother, I guarantee it! He is the reason we are still using the craft foam star on top the tree that he made at 2 and a half years old, the reason why we are still hanging the same stockings that we've hung since he was born, the reason why he opens a gift every Christmas Eve, and so much more. He's a stickler for it.

But honestly, you've gotta love that in a 14 year old boy. I know I do.

I've said this before, but this time I'm reasonably certain that this WILL be my last post before Christmas.

I wish you many happy moments, memories captured, much joy, and traditions relived.

May it be magical.

And filled with sugar.

Merry Christmas, much love...


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

{ Chocolate Chip Cheeseball }

My mom first made this several years ago.

I'm not sure where she found the recipe, honestly.

This takes the traditional savory cheeseball and turns it on it’s head.

Dessert cheeseball? Oh, yes.

This only takes a few basic ingredients, I’d guess you have them in your house already, and about 10 minutes
(plus chilling time, I mean for the cheeseball, but you can chill while it does as well).

I didn’t do step by step photos because this is so simple.

Oh, and as for the mini chocolate chips, use ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, but I have made this many times with full sized chocolate chips.

Believe me when I say no one complained about said chip size.

You know, because their mouths were full.

Merry Chocolate, I mean.. Christmas! Yeah, Merry Christmas!


Chocolate Chip Cheeseball
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Beat your cream cheese, butter and vanilla in mixer until fluffy.

Add your sugars until well mixed.

Stir in chocolate chips nuts, if desired.

Cover and chill for 2 hours, then form into ball.

(This is not actually necessary. I mean, if you feel the need and aren’t worried about firmness, just plunge right in. You know you want to. Who needs it in ball form anyway?)

Serve with graham crackers or vanilla wafers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

{ Pure Stinkin' Genius (icing bag tip) }

Watch this video. It is total genius for taking the mess out of icing bags.

I wish I'd seen this video about, you know, 10 years ago.

Wait, was YouTube around 10 years ago?

Thank you, Karen's Cookies! You are one smart cookie (ha, see what I did there?? ).

Perfect for holiday baking & decorating.

Click HERE for her website!


Friday, December 16, 2011

{ Christmas Recipe Roundup }

I’m going to take a little time here and round up my favorite recipes for Christmas both from my blog… and from some of my favorite blogs.
Heres ya goes…

There’s my most recent post about the Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Ice Cream linked here.

My 1.2.3. Cheeseball here.
Caramel Corn- great for Holiday Snacking or for Gifting! Linked here.
Caramel Apples, also good for eating or gifting. Find the link here.

Always a hit- Holy Moses Dip! Link is here.

Great for Christmas Eve, Christmas Parties, and after Christmas Caroling is my Warm Apple Pie Dessert Drink- find it here.
This Cinnamon Sugar Butter would be great on your Christmas Breakfast Table.
Also a great compliment to rolls at Christmas Dinner.
Mix up and put into cute containers, and you have an inexpensive and delicious gift! Link is here.
You can also drizzle this butter onto popcorn for a salty but sweet treat.
If you dare, you can make these huge, sugar overloaded marshmallow pretzel treats. Great for gifts! Link is here.
Peanut Butter Patties, great for gifting as well, found here.
I love, love, love this Saltine Toffee. A tin of this will add you to anyone’s nice list. Find out how to make it here.
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies are always in fashion and Christmas is no exception. Find the Bean’s favorite here.
The hubster’s favorite cookie is this oatmeal, linked here.
My personal favorite cookie is the Snickerdoodle. Here is that recipe.
Now on to other sites
From Confessions of a Cook Book Queen we have these super fun cocoa stirrers

The Bean’s FAVORITE Cake from The Pioneer Woman. We make it sans pecans, of course!

From Bakerella, I give you the hit of our Thanksgiving, the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, link here.
photo property of Bakerella

Since I’m always having issues with Sugar Cookies, under the ‘have to try in the next week’ category, we have these from Peppermint Plum.
photo property of Peppermint Plum

I can’t forget my pooches, Jingle and Luna
So, I’ll be making these, from Bakingdom (who has TONS of great human food & Harry Potter goodness too! check her out),
sometime in the next week as well! Link here.
photo property of Bakingdom
If I have time, I’ll come back and link more.. if not, have a beautiful Holiday Season!



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