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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 12/13/12

Thursday, December 13, 2012

HERE'S SOMETHING FOR YOUR FURRY BEST FRIEND! EVEN THEY NEED A LITTLE LOVING! THE BEST OF BREED DOG COOKIES (SOUNDS BETTER THAN BISCUIT)!!


   This recipe comes from www.kingarthurflour.com .  There's always something good coming out of their kitchen.  Stop on by their site and check it out!  Happy barking, I mean baking!!



Best of breed dog cookies






   Whether or not you have a vegetarian dog, these non-meat biscuits will be snapped up — literally! The recipe comes courtesy of King Arthur friend Elaine Aukstikalnis, who works in a veterinary office; Elaine regularly bakes these biscuits (which have been "vetted by the vet") to bring to work for "the patients."


Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets, or line them with parchment.













Put the following in a mixing bowl:

2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup rolled oats, regular or quick
1 tablespoon dried parsley or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup 
Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon salt


Stir to combine.













Add 2 large eggs and 1 cup (9 1/4 ounces) peanut butter, crunchy or plain.












Stir to combine; the mixture will be crumbly.













Add 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon cold water, or enough to make a cohesive dough. Depending on the season, you may need to add a bit more (winter), or a bit less (summer).













To make dog cookies, drop the dough in walnut-sized balls onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten to about 1/4” thick.













I’ve used the pusher tool from a Cuisinart food processor, which makes a nice imprint on top.













To cut out dogbone biscuits, roll the dough about 1/4” thick. No, it’s not pretty; it’ll develop cracks all over, and very ragged edges. No worries; trust me, your dog won’t care about looks.















Cut with a 3 1/2” cutter (or the size of your choice). Gather and re-roll the scraps, and continue to cut biscuits until you’ve used all the dough.













Lay the biscuits close together on the prepared baking sheets. Since the biscuits don’t include any leavening (baking powder, yeast, etc.), they won’t spread much.















Bake the biscuits for about 40 to 60 minutes, baking the smaller cookies for the shorter amount of time, the larger biscuits for the longer amount of time.














When finished, the biscuits will be dark golden brown, and will be dry and crisp all the way through.


And yes, it’s OK to break one open and taste it. If it’s good enough for Man’s Best Friend, it’s good enough for you!












I only baked the round cookies in the center for about 25 minutes; they should have baked longer. They were somewhat soft inside. No worries; if you find your biscuits are soft, just store them in the fridge, and use them up sooner.

PEPPERMINT STICKS AND WHITE CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS!


   This simple, tastey treat comes to us from www.icingdesignsonline.blogspot.com.  Sometimes the simplest of thing give us the greatest pleasure.

 

Peppermint Stick White Chocolate Marshmallows!


   Marshmallows are so versatile! There is always something you can do with them. Each year I love to make cookie platters for Christmas and I always include our marshmallow snowmen and another kind of dipped marshmallow! This year we tried something new and stuck a marshmallow on a peppermint stick and then dipped it in white chocolate and sprinkled with course sugar! This is actually extra tasty because as the peppermint stick sits in the marshmallow it infuses the peppermint taste into it! These would be really cute for a Christmas or holiday dessert table, all lined up! Hope you enjoy!









HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS CRACKERS AND HOW TO MAKE THEM!


   


The childhood magic of anticipation comes rushing back with one of these treasures packs of promise! 

   Christmas crackers or bon-bons are an integral part of Christmas celebrations in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. They are also popular in Ireland. A cracker consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, making it resemble an oversized sweet-wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, and, much in the manner of a wishbone, the cracker splits unevenly. The split is accompanied by a small bang or snapping sound produced by the effect of friction on a chemically impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun).
   Crackers are typically pulled at the Christmas dinner table or at parties. In one version of the cracker tradition, the person with the larger portion of cracker empties the contents from the tube and keeps them. In another each person will have their own cracker and will keep its contents regardless of whose end they were in. Typically these contents are a coloured paper hat or crown; a small toy, small plastic model or other trinket and a motto, a joke or piece of trivia on a small strip of paper.









   Assembled crackers are typically sold in boxes of three to twelve. These typically have different designs usually with red, green and gold colors. Making crackers from scratch using the tubes from used toilet rolls and tissue paper is a common Commonwealth activity for children. Kits to make crackers can also be purchased.
   Crackers are also a part of New Year celebrations in Russia (where they are called хлопушка - khlopushka) and some countries of the former Soviet Union. Those are however more similar to pyrotechnical devices, normally used outdoors, activated by one person, and produce a stronger bang accompanied by fire and smoke.

 History

The Oxford English Dictionary records the use of cracker bonbons and the pulling of crackers from the early 1840s.  Tradition tells of how Thomas J. Smith of London invented crackers in 1847.   He created the crackers as a development of his bon-bon sweets, which he sold in a twist of paper (the origins of the traditional sweet-wrapper). As sales of bon-bons slumped, Smith began to come up with new promotional ideas. His first tactic was to insert mottos into the wrappers of the sweets ( fortune cookies), but this had only limited success.
   Smith added the "crackle" element when he heard the crackle of a log he had just put on a fire. The size of the paper wrapper had to be increased to incorporate the banger mechanism, and the sweet itself was eventually dropped, to be replaced by a small gift. The new product was initially marketed as the Cosaque (i.e., Cossack), but the onomatopoeic "cracker" soon became the commonly used name, as rival varieties came on the market. The other elements of the modern cracker, the gifts, paper hats and varied designs, were all introduced by Tom Smith's son, Walter Smith, to differentiate his product from the rival cracker manufacturers which had suddenly sprung up.









   However, the OED may well be in error as they appear to have been available in France in 1817. Lt. Colonel Felton Hervey states in a letter dated 7 November 1817 The night before last Arthur Hill desired me to give a letter to the Duchess of R[ichmon]d, which I did very innocently. It contained one of these crackers, called Cossacks, which are sold in the fair here. It went off, and the duchess also, into one of the most violent fits of laughing hysterics ever witnessed. I am happy to say she does not think me guilty. I wonder it did not kill the old woman.



Make Your Own Christmas Crackers

Required Supplies and Equipment
  • Wrapping paper (cut to 7.5 x 12 inches) -- crackers made with lighter weight papers will tear apart easier when pulled.
  • Stiffener ends (cut into 2.25 x 7 inches -- use 60-70 weight white card stock, such as 67# Exact Vellum Bristol.
  • Fortunes, jokes or riddles.
  • Cracker snaps.
  • Paper hats.
  • Small gifts or novelty items (at least one per cracker).
  • Cracker rollers (1 pair).
  • Cardboard tubes (2 x 4 inches).
  • Low temperature glue gun.
  • Scissors.
  • Curling ribbon.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker


Step by Step Directions
1 -- Insert rollers into ends of cardboard tube (if fit between tube and roller is not snug enough, add a little masking tape to smaller (red) end of roller).
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
2 -- Lay roller-tube assembly on back of wrapping paper                          making certain tube is centered across length of paper.                          Apply a small drop of glue from glue gun to bottom middle edge of paper and roll tube back over glue.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
3 -- Place snap under front (leading) edge of roller-tube assembly, making certain snap is centered across length of paper.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
4 -- Roll paper onto roller-tube assembly to within a half inch or so of paper's end. Make certain paper rolls evenly (straight) onto tube.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
5 -- With glue gun, run a narrow bead of glue along back                          of paper about a quarter inch in from top edge. Roll paper over glue keeping glued seam pressed against work surface for several seconds to allow glue to harden                          (placement of glue bead may have to be adjusted slightly inward if glue flows out of seam onto outer surface of wrapping paper).
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
6 -- While holding paper cylinder in middle (one hand grasping cardboard tube), remove roller from each end of cylinder.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
7 -- Roll stiffener end into slightly smaller diameter cylinder than cracker and insert into end of cracker until even with outer edge. Do not cover snap during this procedure -- it must remain free in end of cracker.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
8 -- Spread stiffener out firmly against inside wall of cracker end and glue into place with glue gun.

9 -- Repeat step 8 on other end of cracker.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
10 -- Using thumb and forefinger, crimp (gather) one end of cracker between tube and reinforced (stiffened) end.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
11 -- Securely tie a 10 - 12 inch length of curling ribbon onto the gather of the cracker using a double knot. Then clip off the loose ribbon ends.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
12 -- Insert gifts/messages into open end of the cracker.                          The fillable central part of the cracker measures 2 inches in diameter by 4 inches in length. Your items must fit comfortably into this space in order for the cracker to be closed and finished. When filling your crackers, make certain you do not push the cracker snap into the center of the cracker.
13 -- Repeat steps 11 and 12 for open end of cracker.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
14 -- Check the finished end of the cracker to make certain the snap is located near the outer rim of the cracker and not too far down into the cylinder. Reposition with fingers as necessary.

Your cracker is now finished and ready to be shared with your party guests.
Make Your Own Christmas Cracker
Some practice is usually required to make a consistently well-wrapped and formed cracker. Techniques such as the one described above using solid core centers, rollers, and stiffened ends have been found by many people to be among the easiest methods for making nice looking crackers. Other techniques and directions for making your own party crackers can be found at the following web addresses:

A WHOLE LOT OF ORNAMENTS TO MAKE FOR THAT VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS TREE!


Christmas Ornaments to Make


Are any of you as addicted to Pinterest as I am? It’s impossible to look away from. I have been seeing some absolutely awesome Christmas ornament DIY’s on there,  just click through to read the tutorial for each.


Music Sphere Christmas Ornament
Music Sphere Ornament - 7layerstudio.typepad.com
cookie cutter ornaments
Cookie Cutter Ornaments - marthastewart.com/
vintage thread spool Christmas ornament
Thread Spool Ornament - bhg.com
Winter Wonderland Christmas Ornament
Winter Wonderland Ornament - spoonful.com

ornaments made from vintage necklaces
ornaments made from necklaces - diynetwork.om
scrabble ornaments
scrabble ornaments - christmas.yourway.net
button Christmas tree ornaments
button Christmas tree ornaments - uklassinus.blogspot
pearl wreath ornament
pearl wreath ornament - bhg.com
pea pod ornaments

pea pod ornaments - blog.betzwhite.com
decoupaged newsprint ornaments
decoupaged newsprint ornaments - fleamarketstylemag.blogspot.com
chipboard bird ornament
chipboard bird ornament - bhg.com

paper medallion ornament
paper medallion ornament - icraftdaily.com
painted winter scene ornament
painted winter scene ornament - bhg.com
wishing spool ornament
wishing spool ornament - spoonful.com
photo christmas ornament
photo Christmas ornament - scrappergirl.typepad.com
white swirl ornament
white swirl ornament - bhg.com

candy cane ornament
candy cane ornament - parents.com
quilled glitter snowflake ornament
quilled snowflake ornament - bhg.com
lollipop ornaments
lollipop ornaments - brownpaperpackagesep.blogspot.com
paper tree ornaments
paper tree ornaments - itsastampthing-vicki.blogspot.com
And a very, very favorite…simply gorgeous:
snow scene ornament
snow scene ornament - http://www.craftberrybush.com