Category Archives: Christmas

Easy Peppermint Bark–A Cheater’s Recipe

I’m not much of a baker or much of a cook and my only real food skills involve slapping together cheese platters and charcuterie.

SO! My one holiday baking concession is making Chocolate and Peppermint Bark. Of course, it’s a total cheat! So here’s what I do:

ingredients1

Ingredients:

Step1-Canes

Step 1: Put a bunch of candy canes in a plastic ziplock bag and smash them to bits with a meat tenderizer. My father-in-law likes the pieces to be small. So I smash like mad.

Step2--ChocolateMelts

Once I’m done pulverizing the candy, I start in with the melting. I heat in 30-second increments until the melts get melty!Step3-PourMelted

I pour the melted chocolate onto a cookie pan lined with either parchment or wax paper. Step4-Spread

I use a silicone spatula to spread it out toward the edges of the pan.

Step5-TapOut

I tap the pan on the counter to level out the chocolate. Then I leave it to set. You’ll know the candy is set when it’s no longer shiny.

Step6-WhiteChocolate

Once it’s dry, I turn to the white candy melts. These take a little bit longer to melt, in my experience. Step7-PourWhiteChocandSpread

Once the white is melted, I pour it right onto the Dark Cocoa.

Step8--spread

Using a spatula, I spread the white over the dark chocolate, leaving a little dark chocolate border. Step9-SPRINKLES

Next up: SPRINKLES. These are optional! But I like the texture and color they add. Immediately after I spread the white chocolate I tap the pan a couple of times and then add sprinkles. Step10-CandyCaneSprinkles

After the sprinkles, I take a big spoon and sprinkle the peppermint shards onto the still-wet white chocolate.

Step11-done

Voila! I also tap the pan a couple of times and use the back of the spoon to push down any pieces that look like they are not taking to the white chocolate. Step12-packaged

I let the white chocolate firm up a little and then use a pizza cutter to slice it into strips. Once it’s set, I put it in the containers. This year, I put the slices between wax paper and stacked them into a plastic holiday-themed take-out container. Because candy melts can go, well, melty, you need to have parchment or wax paper between the layers.

That’s it!

Building Snoopy’s Dog House for Christmas

Last year, Dale joked that once we were settled into our house we’d start working on creating our own kind of Griswold Christmas Spectacle by making an over-sized decorate doghouse like Snoopy had in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Snoopy’s Dog House

Dale’s mom came to visit last week and she’s been asking when we were going to have this cute little dog house set up (she’s a dog person but she loves her grandkitties with the best of them).

So Dale told her he was going to put her to work when she came to visit. Sure enough he picked her up at the train station and headed straight for the hardware store.

When I cam home I found from work I found this in the garage:

Raw Materials

Needless to say I was excited!

mominlaw

So was Jackie, Dale’s mom! The little opening is about 20 inches. I went back upstairs and let them make some progress. By the following day they had gotten the thing put together, primed and had even started gathering the proper accessories!

Coming Together

I was amazed! We went to the store and acquired the proper flood lights, the chains, and (my big contribution) the “1st Prize” award. Dale set about making the star and the weathervane out of scrap pieces of wood.

I brought some glitter. Obviously. For the star! And the red Christmas bulb.

Dale made the house so it’s very sturdy but can be disassembled reasonably quickly. So he and his mom set about setting it up on the front yard!

Working TogetherThis is them, adorably carrying the spotlights out into the yard!

the frame

Dale brought the frame out!

The StarThe roof and handmade star were up next. In this pic, Dale and Jackie are adding the weathervane that Dale made.

Final

And how cute is this!? Jackie felt we needed a little Snoopy and she was totally right! We picked up that little 18-inch Snoopy at the hardware store. I love how much it matches the cartoon! We even added a little red bulb. Snoopy

He’s adorable!SNOWAnd, like clockwork? It started to snow! We’ve had a few gawkers stop as they drive by and we even had someone trudge through the snow to get a pic with Snoopy. It’s been a fun conversation piece for the neighbors.

Winter 2011–Worst Blogger Ever, As I said!

Dale’s mom, Jackie, came to visit in December. We took her to some fun, traditional Chicago Christmas events! This is us (as seen reflected in a mirror) picking out ornaments at one of my favorite Chicago traditions–the Christkindle market.

Who doesn’t love an outdoor winter market?

We also took her to lunch at the Walnut Room at Macy’s–Marshall Fields!–downtown.

We took the quickest of trips back to Flint for Christmas. We were there barely 48 hours.

Like any good parents, we were excited to get home and give Molly her presents! She was excited, obviously.

Dale had so much fun taking these pictures that I have to post the whole series. Molly removes the bow…

What is it!?

Ooh, new glasses! A gift from Grandma Jackie!

Already wearing her new glasses…

And onto the next present.

And what could it be?

It was a whole new outfit! This pic is hilarious creepy. Dale LOVED setting it up. Ha!

Christmas Kitties

Bela is not amused with his reindeer cap!

"I hate you for doing this to me."

"Seriously? Another photo?"

Surly Santa.

Drunken Sailor Santa

Deer Sidney

So, yeah, I took a few photos of the kitties with their Christmas costumes on. And they really liked, it obviously. I took these back on December 5 so Sidney was under the weather but still kicking. I didn’t bother him too much–and he was always the best sport when it comes to my ridiculous antics.

O, Christmas Tree!

We went to Richardson’s Tree Farm the day after Thanksgiving (we went to Trish & Rudy’s for dinner and it was fabulous–thanks for the invite!). It’s a super cute tree farm. And on the tractor ride to the back 40 we saw a guy who was taking his task a little too seriously–he had a generator and an electric saw. A bit of overkill, yes?

Dale was hunting the old-fashioned way: with a saw.

Here’s a video of Dale taking down his tree! Hee! That’s me yelling, “Timber!”

Dale with his kill!

Mounting his kill on the car.

Once we got home we put the decorations up. This included the silver tinsel tree that we put up in the dining room. Sidney quickly curled up under it.

I put up my mom’s hand-painted Christmas village. I love it!

Monty and Sidney pretty much set up shop under the fake tree. Not sure why. I guess they like to get hair on my cross stitch handiwork.

And finally! The Main Event! It’s our Christmas tree for 2010! She’s a cutie.