Happy New Year 2016!

best-and-top-happy-new-year-2016-wallpaper

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”

– T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Wishing you a beautiful New Year’s Eve and a blessed 2016!

Kristin

Christmas Wreath Cookies

wp-1450917409879.jpg

Okay, Friends! If you don’t have any cookies baked yet, you’re either not going to or you don’t have any quick, easy ideas. I can’t help you with the former, but here is a great recipe for the latter. My boys and I whipped these up today (for Santa and Mrs. Claus).

wp-1450917414775.jpg

They are rich with butter, crumbly in the best kind of way, and packed with vanilla and almond flavors.  I can almost guarantee that you have all the ingredients already (don’t quote me on that).

wp-1450917418413.jpg

Wreath Cookies

1 C butter, softened

1/2 C sugar

2 1/4 C APF

1/4 t salt

1 egg

1/4 t almond extract

1/4 t vanilla bean paste (or extract)

5-7 drops of green food coloring

sprinkles

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt, egg, almond extract, vanilla bean paste (or extract), and food coloring. Roll the dough into little balls and form a hole in the center (I used an icing tip). Put on the sprinkles.  and place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or just before the cookies turn brown. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. 

My boys also made these little masterpieces:

wp-1450917421963.jpg

I let them go nuts with M&Ms, sprinkles, marshmallows, and icing. I think Santa will both enjoy them and go into a cookie coma!

wp-1450917426324.jpg

Memories were made and that’s all that matters. <3

The Merriest of Christmases to you and your families! May you feel God’s love and know the real reason behind this special season.

God bless!

Kristin

Ornament Themed Kindergarten School Lunch

wp-1450133575892.jpg

I only have one more special school lunch to make for this year, after today. I don’t even know where the time has gone!

**Red Dye #40 alert…below**

For tomorrow’s lunch, I made an ornament shaped sunbutter and apple butter sandwich. I used lots of colors to make it festive. I also packed pita chips, red grapes, colby jack cheese, a mandarin orange, and two little peppermint meringues that I made yesterday.

Kristin

Gingerbread Boy Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

Gingerbread is my absolute FAVORITE. I could eat it errday. Forrealz.

In honor of that, here’s my boys’ lunches for tomorrow:

wp-1449184049331.jpg

I made gingerbread boy shaped apple butter sandwiches. I added details with Food Writers and chocolate covered sunflower seeds (which I also threw in the lunchbox, as well). I also packed snap pea crisps, red grapes, carrots (Smalls), corn (Bigs), yogurt with gingerbread boy sprinkles, and Trader Joe’s gingerbread boy cookies.

Gingerbread 4 life.

Kristin

Star of Bethlehem Kindergarten School Lunch

wp-1449093430414.jpg

In his Kindergarten class, my son is studying Jesus’ special birth and all the events that led up to it. This season is so very important to our Christian faith and he’s so excited to be immersed in such a beautiful story each day in class. For tomorrow’s lunch, I made a ham and cheese Star of Bethlehem (lolz). That star (the real one, not the hammy version) is so symbolic of the birth of the baby who would go on to save us all, for all time, no matter the cost. The star shone so bright in the night sky, leading the Wise Men and others to the humble stable where our Savior was born.

I made a star shaped ham and cheese sandwich and I sprayed it gold with a bit of food safe spray. I also packed dried cranberries, pita chips, a mandarin orange, red grapes, a shortbread cookie, and a few red/green/white chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

May the light of the Lord shine brightly during this special season for all of you,

Kristin

Happy December! (And a Snowflaked Themed Lunch)

Happy Happy December! Is it cold where you are? Are you wearing boots and scarves? Making snowmen? Dancing in the falling snow?

Welp. I’m in shorts. With my A/C on. Dreaming about a cold winter. It’s a pipe dream, really, for us Florida folks.

So, I’m pretending it’s cold. My house is DECKED out in Christmas, I drink hot chocolate, I wear Christmas themed t-shirts. I’m trying, people.

I wanted to make a special December 1st lunch for my big boy for today, but I had a horrible migraine. So, I am made some today for both my boys for tomorrow.

A chilly, wintry themed one.

wp-1449005992036.jpg

 I made snowflake shaped jam sandwiches and added details with my Food Writers. I also packed goldfish crackers, colby jack cheese, dried cranberries, a mandarin orange (Bigs), a Go-Gurt (Bigs), grapes (Smalls), and a snowball donut (that was leftover from the special breakfast our elf Duncan [Donuts] brought the boys this morning).

“Silently, like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall, each one a gem.”

-William Hamilton Gibson

Blessings!

Kristin

Happy Thanksgiving Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

Well, here it is – my last Thanksgiving themed lunches for this year.

wpid-wp-1447969192502.jpg

I made turkey shaped sunbutter and apple butter sandwiches [again]. I added feathers, gobblers, beaks, eyes, and turkey toes. Gobble. I also packed yogurt covered raisins, honey mustard pretzels, corn, raspberries (Bigs), red grapes (Smalls), and Linzer cookies.

School’s out forrrrrr Thanksgiving!!!

Stay rad.

Kristin

Easy Pie Crust

wpid-wp-1447849826166.jpg

I have never been one to make pies. I love eating them, but making them scared me. Getting the dough ratio just right, rolling it out, and transferring it to the pie tin seemed very daunting to me. That is…until my Mom shared her foolproof pie crust recipe with me. She’s been using it since 1970, where she got it from a gal who also lived in her dormitory. She’s also submitted it to several church cookbooks over the years; it’s ease and popularity always proven. Because cold fat (butter) and ice water are not part of this recipe, it’s easier to make and use. At least for scaredy cats like me! It yields a nice, flaky crust and comes out perfect every time.

wpid-wp-1447849829461.jpg
Okaaaay, so I have a lot to learn about transferring the dough [evenly] and making it pretty!

Easy Pie Crust

Makes enough for one bottom crust

1 1/4 C flour

1/2 C shortening

1/2 C boiling water

1/4 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

Combine all the ingredients. Stir well, until completely mixed. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll out, as desired. Add your filling and bake in a 350F oven (time depends on filling). You can place tin foil on the crust if it starts getting too brown.

THAT’S IT! How easy is that?

wpid-wp-1447849822848.jpg

I hope you enjoy this family recipe! (I used the Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe right off the back of the can)

Peace ‘n’ Blessins’!

Kristin

Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole (and another squirrel themed lunch)

It is THAT time of year again! I adore Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Not just for the food, although that’s a huge part of it. I love the tradition, the memories I have of Thanksgivings past, the new memories made with family, the way people become so introspective about thankfulness. I love the traditional food that I make each year, and the new recipes I come up with. I love the crafts. I love every part of it. It makes me happy.

wpid-wp-1447724141592.jpg

I always seem to make mini Thanksgiving meals in the weeks prior to the Big Day, in hungry anticipation. Last week, I made a turkey and cranberry meatloaf which I paired with my traditional macaroni and cheese casserole, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole (#casseroleallthethings). This week, I paired a new sweet potato casserole with a honey and dijon mustard glazed ham. And this SPC was SO dang good, that I just had to share the recipe with you. It also happens to be dairy and gluten free, which for my family, is a bonus!

wpid-wp-1447724135550.jpg

It’s creamy on the inside, studded with little jewels of dried fruit, and topped with two kinds of marshmallow, which have been toasted just the perfect amount.

**Caveat** This recipe has raisins in it. I know for a fact that many people do not like raisins. I don’t care for them in cookies. They ruin cookies for me. But in this? They added a chewy, lovely texture.

Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole

Recipe serves 2 adults and 2 kids, with leftovers

3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 T melted coconut oil

splash of coconut milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

3/4 C dried cranberries

2/3 C golden raisins

1/2 small jar marshmallow fluff

1/2 bag of mini marshmallows

Boil the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes until they are tender. Using a hand mixer, blend together the next three ingredients, until creamy and smooth. Fold in the dried fruit. Pour into a greased pan (I used a 9×9) and bake in a 350F oven for about 25 minutes. Melt the marshmallow fluff in the microwave. Pull the casserole out and spread the fluff over the top. Sprinkle the mini marshmallows over that and place back in the oven, with the broiler on high. Make sure not to burn the marshmallows, but see that they get nice and brown!

wpid-wp-1447724138104.jpg

It is dang good. ENJOY!

Also. I made yet another squirrel themed lunch. This is my last week of fall and Thanksgiving themed lunches, so I am doing repeats allll day.

wpid-wp-1447801817235.jpg

I made squirrel shaped sunbutter and grape jelly sandwiches. I cut acorn shapes out of fruit leather for the little tree rats to snack on. I also packed goldfish crackers, dried cranberries, more dried fruit, colby jack cheese (Bigs), a mandarin orange (Bigs), green grapes (Smalls), and a Linzer cookie for each.

Peace ‘n’ Blessins’,

Kristin