December 31, 2008

It Puts Itself Away

I love this system for keeping ornaments safe and secure. The really fragile ones get wrapped in tissue paper, but most are pretty safe ensconced in cardboard. Cheap, easy and perfect!

December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.  This is our traditional European Christmas Breakfast: cheeses, meats, smoked salmon, yogurt and museli, fruit, breads, jams and spreads, coffee and juice and mom's famous homemade eggnog.

December 20, 2008

Even Mistakes can Taste Good

I have so many flops with things that I make, I thought I'd share one, because I do take photos of the flops too. This was a beautiful cake recipe from Martha Stewart for a Chocolate Cake with Snowy Meringue that I thought I'd make for my family's Christmas Eve celebration. My version...not so beautiful.

The cake was rich and over the top chocolate, but apparently I did not wait for the ganache to cool to the correct temperature because it just flowed right off.  Then I didn't get the meringue to set correctly, so it just slid off too!  Ugghhh.  It was ugly, but at least it tasted wonderful and the decorations were super cute.  I just melted green candles on wax paper and then cut the trees out with a warm sharp knife.

December 6, 2008

Brownie Bites

This is a wonderful recipe from Taste of Home that I made for a cookie exchange. The recipe makes the brownies from scratch, but you could also use your favorite box mix. The over the top fun part was coating the brownies with more chocolate!  Then decorate as you like: red and green m&m's, crushed candy canes, icing, gumdrops, sprinkles, choc chunks, and my personal favorite - a coffee bean.

Chocolate Coating
3 c choc chips
2 Tbsp shortening
Melt in glass bowl in microwave (or in double boiler on stove) until it stirs smooth. Dip each brownie bite in melted choc using a fork to lift it out and gently tap off excess.  Put on wax paper or cooling rack.  Sprinkle with topping while still soft and then let stand until set.

December 5, 2008

Wrapping Up Organizing

Getting ready for Christmas wrapping each year I set up a folding table downstairs and roll out my Container Store wire cart with all my wrapping supplies like bows, ribbons, tape, scissors, tags and tissue paper (this stuff is in all colors, so it works for gift wrapping birthday presents too).  Then I have a rubbermaid container that has boxes of all sizes (you can just barely see it underneath the table). The cart, the table, the container and lastly a gift wrap container gets me all ready for wrapping in small doses as time permits.  Of course, having a roaring fire in the background and Christmas carols going really brings out the joy.

December 1, 2008

Gingerbread Houses

I come by my organizational skills honestly.  This is a photo of how my mom arranges the candy for my kids to make gingerbread houses each year. She puts a small amout in each muffin section. Now, why didn't I think of that??


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