Peppermint Bark

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I don’t typically “re-do” posts for better pictures, but this recipe is such a favorite and requested by all each and every year, that I felt a better picture was needed to do the recipe justice and bring it back into the forefront since I originally posted this back in 2009. Granted, it’s still not amazing, but this stuff just doesn’t last long in my house! As I said way back when, I first made peppermint bark a many years ago when I first met my husband. I put it out at a party and no one would touch it. Finally, a cousin ate some and now it’s a requested favorite during the holidays. My husband , who doesn’t like white chocolate, even requests it for his July birthday! This recipe is so easy and I prefer it to others that combine chocolate with white chocolate. It makes it so easy to make, it stands apart from all of the other chocolates that are already present this time of year, and it just looks prettier when you prepare it with just white chocolate. This is one of the staples in my candy and cookie tins that we hand out for the holidays. Give it a try, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it too!

Since we make this recipe several times in the month of December, we’ve gotten it down to a science. My daughter crushes the candy canes, I melted the chocolate, and then she helps smooth out the mixture. I will say that I don’t typically cover the entire baking sheet, just smoothing out until I reach a thickness I prefer. Some like a thick bite, but I prefer it to be a little thinner.

Peppermint Bark

  • 2 pounds white chocolate, chopped into half-inch pieces (or white choc. chips will work)
  • 12 large candy canes
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Line an 11 x 17 inch cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the top of a double boiler, melt white chocolate, stirring often.

Place candy canes into a plastic bag and crushed with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Stir pieces of candy cane and peppermint extract into the melted chocolate. Remove from heat and pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly. Refrigerate until firm, about 25 to 30 minutes, and break into pieces and serve. Best if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but it is totally fine left in cookie tins, etc. for gifts.

Makes 2.5 pounds

Create My Cookbook Giveaway

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The holiday season is upon us and if you’re like me, you’re scrambling for gift ideas for some. I always want to do something that the recipient will actually enjoy and use. You don’t want to go too practical though and lose that personal touch. Well, I’ve got a great idea for you! Create a professionally printed cookbook using all of your, or their, favorite recipes. If you know they love to cook and you’re not so into it, maybe simply give them a gift certificate and let them create their own cookbook.

Create My Cookbook is giving two lucky readers $45 gift certificates to create their own cookbook, soft or hardback, in time for the holidays. I wanted to get this giveaway to you so that you’d have time to get your cookbook completed so I haven’t even started on my own, but I am so excited about receiving this offer from Create My Cookbook. I honestly can’t decide if I’ll be making one for my own (I’d love to create a small book of our go-to recipes for quick reference for me, my husband, and now my daughter!) or create something special for a friend. Decisions, decisions! You have the easy part right now though, simply enter below! Give someone the gift of having their very own cookbook, including a page for a dedication and your own pictures. You could do something straightforward or have silly pictures from the past that remind you of that particular recipe!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Create My Cookbook is providing me with a gift certificate and are sponsoring this giveaway, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. This giveaway is for residents of the contingent United States and will end on December 5th, 12:00pm EST. Winners will need to respond within 48 hours or forfeit the prize. Good luck!

Honey Yeast Rolls

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Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I know that most everyone has their menu planned out, but I also know that some are reviewing their grand plans and realizing that maybe, just maybe they bit off more than they could chew. The most important part of pulling off a great dinner is having a schedule, or a mise en place. The second most important thing you can do? Do as much in advance as you possibly can! It’s your Thanksgiving too and you shouldn’t be slaving away in the kitchen while everyone else enjoys the company and the food!

We all have family favorites that must be on the table and recipes we’ve been dying to try out. For my family, the fundamentals are obviously the turkey, then mashed potatoes, stuffing, a variety of vegetables, and bread. Fresh, homemade bread is a must. There is no room for store bought on Thanksgiving. The bread must be warm and made with love. There are so many ways you can take the easy road, but I think if you serve fresh bread to your family, they’d appreciate it too. Bread really is so easy to make and something to always be thankful for :)

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I speak to so many people who say that they are afraid of yeast. Why is that? Now pie crust, I get that. But yeast? It’s your friend. It does what you need it to do, give it a little sugar and it’s a happy little thing and give it some salt and it will stop. It’s pretty simple. There’s no doubt that yeast makes bread so much better. Before you’ve even tasted it, you can smell it cooking and just start to taste it. Have no fear, I’ve got such an easy recipe below for you. These Honey Yeast Rolls are easy, delicious, are beautiful to set on your table, and you can make them the day before! Yup, it’s that easy!

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Bread is what gets everyone in my kitchen, even more so than cookies and frosting. Whether you want to make these rolls or try some other great recipes from Breadworld by Fleischmann’s, do your Thanksgiving meal a favor and make it from scratch.

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This post is sponsored by Fleischmann’s and Karo Syrup and I was compensated for my time, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. Take a look at some great recipes for your holiday dinner and desserts from Fleischmann’s and Karo Syrup that are beginner friendly and will have your guests asking for seconds!

Looking for some more great recipes that are easy for Thanksgiving? Another family favorite that has to be on our table for every holiday are these Clover Rolls. Looking for a nice crunchy loaf? Try this Super Easy Crusty Bread. Our Thanksgiving and holiday prep wouldn’t be much without Karo corn syrup without that perfect pecan pie. Or how about these soft caramels or marshmallows?

Honey Yeast Rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 tsp Rapid Rise Fleischmann’s yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105 – 115F)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp honey

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast and warm water, let it sit for a few minutes. Add honey, oil, salt, and egg and mix to combine. Add 3 cups of flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together in a sticky mass. Switch to a dough hook and turn mixer on low speed. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup of flour in. Continue kneading dough on low speed for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, approximately 2 hours.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Punch the dough down and divide into 12 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball and place evenly into a lightly greased 9 or 10-inch pie dish. Cover with towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 20 to 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Mix the melted butter and honey together and brush the tops of the rolls. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Cover loosely with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the center of the rolls registers 190 F. Let cool slightly before serving.

To make the rolls a day ahead of time, prepare rolls up to the point of shaping. Do not allow another rise. Instead, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours. Then, transfer to the refrigerator and leave overnight to slowly rise. The following day, bake as directed but allow for additional baking time, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Source: Annie’s Eats

George’s 1st Birthday

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It’s been a few days out and I havent’ taken down those dots. They add a bit of color to the otherwise drab, leafless trees outside my window!

My little guy turned one this week and over the weekend we had a small party to celebrate the special occasion. When thinking of what “theme” I wanted to do for his party, I knew I didn’t want to do anything that we’ll no doubt do in the future. No trucks, planes, or dinosaurs here. I wanted it to be fun and cheerful, just like him. I also wanted it to be relatively simple. I wanted to spend more time with my kids before and during the day of the celebration, and not crafting up a storm.

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I am so happy with the end results of his party. It was so much fun. The food was simple and I brought back some favorites. The decorations were vibrant, yet not over the top. The cake was a lot of fun to make and I opted for a new recipe that I’ll be sharing soon. The most important thing was that I got to enjoy this sweet milestone with my little man. *Sigh* My little man is growing up. This year went by so fast and we adjusted to being a family of four. My kids keeping me on my toes, but for his party and on his birthday, I made sure to slow things down a little and soak in every precious moment.

So, here’s my George’s birthday party. I hope you enjoy browsing. I have the details below, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. I opted for some heavy, warm appetizers and snacks to keep things easy. Since it’s a week out from Thanksgiving, I made sure not to have anything that would also be served at that gathering.

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The Food

Crab Rangoon Tartlettes

Black Forest Ham & Gruyere Palmiers

Stuffed Mini Sweet Bell Peppers

Apple Jalapeno Cocktail Meatballs

Queso & Chips

Crudites & Ranch Dressing

Chips & Pan Fried Onion Dip

Ice Cream ~ Vanilla Bean, Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate

Cake ~ Funfetti Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream and Marshmallow Fondant

 

Extras

Invitations from Petite Lemon, Thank you cards from Garner Studios

Polka dots made by me with a 3″ hole punch, string, and tacky glue

Happy Birthday sign from Target