Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rum Balls and Family News

Rum Balls, yum....Don't they look amazing? They are so delicious. The recipe is so simple but makes the most moist and flavorful bites of goodness. 

Rum Balls


11 ounce box of Vanilla Wafers, crushed 
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, if you prefer)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup rum
powdered sugar for rolling

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except powdered sugar. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to mix well. 
Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I left mine a couple of hours.
Roll in to 1" balls and then roll in powdered sugar. 
Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. The best flavor is after 24 hours. 
Yielded 36 but this photo is one short! ;)
Then enjoy!

The biggest family news of the holiday season: 
Rob and Hanna are engaged! 
(Hanna, our daughter)
Isn't her ring just beautiful? We couldn't be happier for them!

 My daughter has wonderful taste! ;) 
And now all the planning begins! Woohoo!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Hot Ham & Cheese Croissant

Our family loves this quick and easy sandwich. We eat it for breakfast plain or with strawberry jam. We eat it at lunch or for an appetizer with honey mustard. The taste of the buttery croissant with the warm melty Swiss cheese and the flavorful ham that just zings your taste buds. The addition of strawberry jam or honey mustard compliments and melds all those delicious flavors. 

This morning I made them for a quick breakfast in our toaster oven. When I am making for a crowd, I use a large cookie sheet in the regular oven. 

My daughter, who is a vegetarian, eats the croissant and cheese or adds a scrambled egg.
I start with Croissants from the bakery. The ones I used today are cocktail size but if I am making lunch, I buy the full-size. You can use any ham you want. I like Sara Lee Honey Ham but I have also used left-over spiral ham from home or ham from the deli. The custom slices cheese work great for the smaller croissants. One slice broken in half and then one half broken again covers the entire croissant. I use three to four slices of ham. If using honey mustard, smear on to the croissant top and close. If using strawberry jam, I add that after it is warm. 

I bake in a 400 degrees, pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the croissant is golden brown. The croissant will be a little crisp on top but still soft on the inside. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas - Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Nuts

Baked Bree has a wonderful recipe for Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Nuts. I decided to give them a try last week. The nuts were so delicious. I did add a few sprinkles of Cayenne for that little bit of heat. The Cayenne just made the nuts. The maple syrup, honey and cinnamon were delicious. I think the fresh ground nutmeg made an impact for such a small amount. I loved using the slow cooker. It made the nuts easy to stir, no leaning in to the oven! And I didn't have to worry about burning the nuts. If you love making nuts at Christmas, this is the recipe for you! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hope Hearts - My Experience

I want to thank Leslie from Leslie's Art and Sew for sharing her Hope Hearts yesterday. I first saw Leslie's blog a few months ago and knew I wanted to make a set of Hope Hearts for a dear friend who has battled breast cancer. She is currently cancer free! But she is facing several more reconstructive surgeries. If I could give Janet Hope on a day that may feel hopeless, that would be a gift that could brighten an otherwise bleak day and encourage her heart to keep believing. 

I ordered Leslie's Hope Heart kit. The kit is COMPLETELY FREE! I sent an email offering to reimburse her for the kit and the postage. I was graciously turned down and encouraged to just pass on a kindness. Isn't that wonderful? I received my kit and immediately started planning.

I contacted several mutual friends and we organized a time to get together. We decided 52 hearts would be our number to stitch. Janet will have a new heart each week for an entire year. We are all believers and I decided to incorporate an encouraging Bible promise on each of our hearts. This will point Janet back to the Giver Of All Hope. We also tried to incorporate a touch of pink in each of our hearts.

Connie and I had a prep day before we all got together. We chose our fabrics and cut out our hearts.

The night we stitched was tons of fun. We not only stitched but shared our lives, catching up with one another. A friend that couldn't be with us provided the basket. 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 

One of my favorite promises. 

I encourage you to head over to Leslie's site and order your own kit. Most of us know someone who could use a little Hope. 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Leslie Shares Hope Hearts

Hi!  I'm Leslie from Leslie's Art and Sew.  Pam invited me here today to tell you a little about who I am and what I do, and especially to tell you about the project I started this year called Hope Hearts.

I'm a wife, mother, and craft blogger; I spend time every day making things (usually sewing them) and interacting with other crafters online at Craftster.  I've always liked hearts--I like the shape, and what they symbolize--and they show up frequently in my work.  In fact, this year I accepted a challenge from my friend Susan to sew a heart for every day of the year!  It started out slowly, but things have really snowballed in the last couple of months, and I went far beyond the 365 hearts I needed to complete the challenge!  You can read all about it on my other blog, 365 Sewn Hearts. The Hope Hearts project is one of the reasons I exceeded my goal, and it is what brought me to Pam's attention. I want to share that story with you now.

About a year ago, when someone at Craftster suggested a heart craft swap, I jumped right in!  We all made different sorts of hearts and exchanged them, with the idea of displaying them in our homes in a jar.  Towards the end of the swap, I learned that one of the participants, Amanda, had some devastating news:  her husband was just diagnosed with advanced cancer.  She comment on a heart in the swap gallery--a heart with the word "hope" on it--she said she liked it because the word "hope" had suddenly taken on special meaning for her.

I decided right away to organize a few of my crafty friends to make similar hearts for her, because I know two things:  one, that hand-made gifts are a very meaningful way to show that you care; and two, that the journey through cancer treatment is long and hard, and people going through it need the emotional support that small acts of kindness can give. (I went on that journey when my husband had cancer.  I know all about it.)

Amanda was deeply touched when she received our hearts, and she wrote a lovely post about it on Craftster that you can read by clicking here. Below are the hearts we sent her:

After that positive experience, I was asked twice, during the next few months, to contribute hearts for people who needed to feel loving support as they went through a difficult illness.  After the second one, I realized that there are a lot of people who are sick and need emotional support, and I wanted to help other crafters provide that support, so I began making a Hope Heart kit available to anyone who asks.  The kit is free. It contains information on how to make the hearts, templates, and three finished hearts. (Just visit my blog if you wish to request a kit.)

 I've sent out nearly one hundred kits so far, and Pam is one of the people who requested one.  She will soon be telling you about her experience of making hearts with her friends.

Creating the Hope Hearts kits is the most meaningful thing I've done as a crafter and blogger.  I'm so glad I accepted the 365 heart challenge that led me to it! Many thanks to you, Pam, for letting me share my story with your readers, and I can't wait to hear more about the hearts you and your friends made.