Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Please won't you be my neighbor

Where there is nothing like the holidays to try to get in good with the neighbors. So this year we made some goodie baskets for our immediate neighbors and some Old New Friends

Here is what was included:

Cranberry-Orange Bread with Grand Marnier Glaze

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups powdered sugar
7 to 8 tbsp. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

1. Preheat oven to 330°. Butter two 6-cup-capacity loaf pans (or, if making the mini loaves, butter six 2-cup-capacity pans).

2. With an electric or standing mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add orange juice, sour cream, orange zest, and vanilla; mix until blended.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture and cranberries to wet ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are absorbed; do not overmix.

4. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers of breads comes out clean, 70 to 75 minutes for large loaves and 60 minutes for mini loaves.

5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 7 tbsp. Grand Marnier. Glaze should have consistency of thick maple syrup or corn syrup. If it is too thick, thin with an additional tbsp. of liqueur.

6. Let loaves cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a cooling rack set over a large baking sheet. With a thin skewer or long toothpick, poke deep holes in tops of loaves. Drizzle with Grand Marnier glaze so that it coats the top, runs down the sides, and seeps through the holes.

7. Let loaves cool completely, then slice and serve, or wrap and freeze.

Spicy Pecans

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 pound pecan halves

PREHEAT the oven to 325

MELT the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the honey, salt, and cayenne pepper, bring mixture to a boil, and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat, and add the pecans to the honey mixture. Stir to mix well. Spread the coated pecans on a sheet pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, possibly more often toward then end. Serve when cooled, first separating any pecans that stuck together.


2 cups milk chocolate and 1 cup semisweet chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Place chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter or margarine in large microwaveable bowl. Zap in microwave on medium until chips are melted, about 3-5 minute, stirring once or twice during cooking. Stir in nuts, if desired.

Pour into well-greased 8x8-inch glass baking dish. Refrigerate until set.

I picked up the baskets at the dollar store (Shhhh) They cost a dollar.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Lights

Girl of My Dreams - Jonas Brothers from Scott Reinhold on Vimeo.

This is a house near where we live. Just a street over.

Here is their web site:

Cooper loves going over to watch the show.

Monday, December 8, 2008

like ta-mater, but without the ta

At our last pack meeting they gave each den a box. Not a lot of instructions to go with it, except that we were going to have a cardboard box derby. It was the day I picked up Val from the airport and right before Thanksgiving.

Well, our pack meeting is this coming Thursday, so we had to come up with some kind of design for our car. It is not quite finished yet, it needs some wheels and maybe some lettering on the side, but here is what Cooper and I came up with from the box we were given and garbage around the house.

We did buy some spray paint and some duct tape. Everything else was stuff we had.

It may be Lincoln's halloween costume next year (if it last that long) because he loves it.