Fudge

This is my mom’s famous fudge recipe.   She made it every year at Christmas time growing up and it was by far my favorite.  I finally got around to making this over Christmas and it was so easy and great tasting just like I remembered.  Seriously, I think I might make this more often it’s that addicting.

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1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups (9 oz.)Semi-sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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square baking pan with foil.  That way, when the fudge has hardened, you can lift it straight up out of the baking dish, and makes for easier cutting.

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Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy-duty saucepan.  Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes.

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Remove from heat.  Stir in marshmallows, morsels, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted.

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Pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces.

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Try crushing peppermint candy canes  sprinkled on top for a fancy finish, tasty too!

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Whole Chicken in Crock Pot

If you haven’t roasted a chicken in your crock-pot yet… you’ve got to try it!  Not only is it frugal, it’s also the easiest way I’ve found to make chicken.   Plus you can get a couple quarts of chicken broth from it too!   It seems like this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the busiest days of the year and who doesn’t need a quick go to meal right?  This is the perfect recipe that keeps on giving.  Season a whole chicken with just about anything you’ve got in the spice cupboard then throw it in a crock pot and let it cook for a few hours on high, or low and slow all day. The result is perfectly cooked chicken that’s ready to eat whenever you are.

Turn the leftover chicken into a few other great dishes below!

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
Creamy Chicken Primavera Bake
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes
Freezer Friendly Creamy Chicken Casserole
Copycat Corner Bakery Chicken

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Ingredients:

2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs. roasting or fryer chicken
1 cup chopped onion, approx. 1 medium to large onion
4-5 carrots, scrubbed, no need to peel, chopped in halves or thirds
4 celery stalks, cut in thirds ( I didn’t have celery so I used 1/2 tsp. celery salt)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 lemon quartered

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Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl.  Remove chicken from packaging and remove neck and pouch with organs. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Rub garlic all over outside of the chicken. Put garlic inside the chicken. Rub the rub all over the outside and inside the chicken. Add quartered lemon to the inside of the chicken.  Place onions, carrots and celery inside the slow cooker. Place chicken on top of the vegetables. Cover slow cooker and cook chicken on low for 4-8 hours or until the chicken is very tender and the thigh bone easily twists off.

Remove chicken and place in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Place baking dish in the oven under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes. Allow chicken to rest after removing it from the broiler for 5-10 minutes.   20131215-224243.jpg

DIY Christmas Scent Potpourri

I made these cute simmering scent jars for the girls teachers last year for Christmas and they were a huge hit.  The cost (depending on what supplies you already have at home) is pretty inexpensive.  If your looking for a creative gift at a frugal price, this might be it!

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Items needed:
1 pint jar
2 lemon wedges
1 lime
2 orange slices
3 cinnamon sticks
2-3 tbsps. whole cloves
3 bay leaves
small fabric or scrap paper
small piece of twine/jute/ribbon.

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Directions:  Place ingredients in pint jar and fill with water.  Top with small piece of fabric or glue scrapbook paper secured by tying ribbon or twine around lid.  Attach tag (I hot glued tag to jar)  .

To be written on tag and attached to jar:
Pour contents into saucepan on stovetop and simmer
on low heat, add water as needed.
Refrigerate to keep fresh.

Sugar Cookie Dough

We’re recovering from a major winter ice storm here in Dallas and the kids and I are getting cabin fever.  I’m beginning to believe that hell can freeze over :).  It’s gotten so bad even our dog is refusing to go outside. But, it looks like today we’re finally going to see temperatures get above freezing long enough to melt the layers of ice on the roads. Yippee!  It’s been quite the adventure but I will be happy to see the sun!  The kiddos and I made these fun Mickey & Minnie sugar cookies to help pass the time this morning.  You can click here for the Minnie recipe.

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 What you’ll need: 

2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
11 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, and then set the mixture aside.

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In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and well combined.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well.

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Stir in the flour a third at a time. After the last addition, knead the dough
briefly if needed to incorporate all of the flour. The finished dough should be
smooth and stiff.

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 Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Set the dough on a flour-dusted sheet of waxed paper and roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out the cookies and bake them on a baking sheet until the edges just start to turn a light golden brown (about 6 to 9 minutes, depending on the size).  Let the cookies cool briefly on the baking sheet and then transfer them to a
wire rack to finish cooling.

Tater Tot Casserole

If you’re looking for an inexpensive kid friendly meal you will love this.  I’ve come across several different versions but this one still remains my favorite. Note: if you don’t have cornflakes on hand it’s perfectly fine without.  You can also make this with ground beef.

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1 (2 pound) package tater tot potatoes
1/2 cup melted butter
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups crushed cornflakes cereal
1/4 cup melted butter

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine tater tots, 1/2 cup melted butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chopped onion, Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.

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Place mixture in a 3 quart casserole dish.

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In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté cornflakes in 1/4 cup melted butter.

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 Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole. Bake covered in preheated oven for 40 minutes and 20 minutes uncovered.

 

Bacon And Eggs Candy

If your looking for a super cute and easy snack, check out these delicious treats.  All you need is white chocolate, yellow M&Ms and pretzel sticks.  A side note: this actually takes less effort to make than real bacon and eggs!

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The extra bonus:  you get to eat all the M&Ms that aren’t yellow!  Yum!

 

Advent Calendar (Baby Food Jars)

This will be the third year we’ve used this Advent calendar and it’s one of our favorite Christmas pieces.  I had somehow collected a ton of baby food jars and came across a super cute idea on Nap Time Crafters. Each jar holds candy or an activity for each day of Advent.  In our family, we write a Christmas activity on a small piece of paper and place it each jar.  Activities range from decorating the Christmas tree and Cocoa Cruising (looking at Christmas lights) to helping others in need like adopting an angel or delivering food to the local food pantry…you get the idea.  The whole family looks forward to opening a jar each day to see what type of fun surprise we’ll be doing as a family!   We’ve found that it’s a great addition to our celebration of the Christmas season as we anticipate the coming of our Lord and Savior.

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Materials:
Baby food jars (25)
Assorted Christmas Scrapbook paper
Assorted number decals
Round Heavy Strength Magnets (50)
Hot glue gun
Metal Serving Tray (found mine at Hobby Lobby super cheap!)
Plate holder stand (sturdy enough to hold the tray)
Red tissue paper (enough to fill the inside of the jars)

Trace the top of your baby food jar onto the back of your scrapbook paper.  Once you have 25 traced, cut and hot glue the circles to the top of the lids. Add the assorted number decals to the lids and set them aside to dry.  Next, hot glue one magnet to the bottom of each jar so they will “stick” to the serving tray (Note:  if you find that your jars with magnets are not “sticking” to your serving tray, hot glue a second magnet to the tray itself and allow the magnets to stick together for added support).

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Next, stuff the insides of the jars with the red tissue paper and you’re ready to fill your advent jars with goodies or activities!

Merry Christmas and Happy Crafting!

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