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Megans Cookin: December 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Countdown: Top 10 Posts

What a wonderful year it has been as I reflect back to the last year. When I started this blog, I had no idea the warm and inviting community I was entering and the wonderful people I was about to meet. Thanks to all of you, my readers and friends, for making this adventure a thrilling and fun ride. To celebrate the dawn of a new year, I thought we would take a look back. Back to the top 10 posts.

Sooo... let's begin with...


My tried and true chocolate chip biscotti
This recipe came from a Bed and breakfast and has been a family favorite for 10 years. You can substitute the chocolate chips for whatever you like or mix a few favorites. White chocolate chip and macadamia nuts are good too!

Mock Hostess Cupcakes: These bite size cupcakes look just like a miniature Hostess Cupcake. Chocolate cake, cream center, an a chocolate glaze under a white chocolate Hostess swirl. Perfect for a Valentine picnic.

Coconut Truffles: Moist coconut center that reminds me of a Mounds candy bar. These made a perfect Christmas gift.

Chili Verde This made for a very tasty dinner. Think Cinco de Mayo of anytime the Mexican urge hits!

Coconut Layer Cake Pastry cream in the middle of this 3 layer cake makes it perfect for any occasion.

Cinna-spin cookie This award winning cookie starts with a package of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix. Sometimes you need a head start and this is the cookie for those late nights when the kid says (at 7 o'clock) that they have to bring treats to class or scouts.

Ricotta Pound Cake This cake took me by surprise and I loved it. It's melt in your mouth texture is perfect with a cup of fresh brewed coffee.

How to make a checkered cake without a special pan. This cake is always a show stopper and really quite easy to make. A great alternative to a marble cake, my daughters favorite.


Mexican Breakfast Casserole: A lot of ingredients, an easy dish. Make this casserole the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning. Delicious!


for the #1 post...

Olive Penguins: Even though this was my last post, these little guys have created quite a ripple. Four easy to find ingredients, these cute little appetizers are perfect for Christmas or to ring in a new year.

I hope you enjoyed this reflection of the past as much as I have. I pray the new year is joyous, prosperous, and healthy. God Bless!

Happy New Year!

If you like these recipes, please click on the link below and cast your vote!


Monday, December 29, 2008

In Praise Of Penquins

In Praise of Penguins

These funny birds in fancy clothes
may waddle in the snow,
but when they reach the icy sea
just watch how fast they go!

Their song sounds like a donkey's bray,
they cannot soar or fly,
yet penguins manage very well,
and let me tell you why…

Their feathers keep out water,
their blubber keeps out cold,
their wings make perfect paddles
because they do not fold!

Their tails are good for steering,
they brake with both their feet—
So tell me now, from all you've heard…
Aren't penguins NEAT?

by Robin Bernard


18 jumbo ripe Black olives

18 small ripe Black olives

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

1 carrot (about 6 inches long and 1 inch wide)

18 long fresh chives

18 frill toothpicks (I used plain)

Cut a slit lengthwise from top to bottom in each jumbo olive

Fill each cavity of the jumbo olives with about a teaspoon of cream cheese
(I piped it in using a #12 tip)

This makes the the white stripe in penguins chest. Cut carrot into 1/4 inch slices,then out of each slice cut a small pie shaped piece. This makes the feet, save the piece you cut out, this will be the beak

In the x slit in the center of each small olive (where the pit was removed) press the small piece of carrot into the hole with the pointed end out.

Using a frill toothpick,stack head ( small olive ), body (large olive) and feet (carrot slice), adjusting so that beak, cream cheese breast and notch in carrot line up.

Tie chive around neck for the scarf.

Check out these other penguins:

Once Upon A Plate:
My Own Sweet Thyme
The Artful Crafter
Broken Yolks


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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vegan Cupcakes for Christmas!

I was one of the lucky winners that got to try a vegan cake mix and a can of vegan frosting from Cherrybrook Kitchen and I'm here to say I want more!

If I hadn't known they were vegan, I would of never guessed. I made these for a couple of our employees that are vegan and the word on them were, "They're the bomb." That would be a good review. They were not saying that they were horrible but that they were killer.
And I have to agree!!!

This was an ultra chocolate treat using imported cocoa from Belgium and chocolate chips. Peanut free, dairy free, egg free, and nut free, it will satisfy even the most picky palate.
Perfect for those with food allergies, or the vegan,
or me!

There are many products to choose from including yellow cake and chocolate chip cookies. they even have some breakfast mixes like pancakes and muffins.

Thank you Blake from Blake Makes for giving me the opportunity to try these.
I was not disappointed!

If you have food allergies or if you are a vegan, or if you just want a great cake mix, head on over to Cherrybrook Kitchens. You will be delighted. I can guarantee it! :)


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all warm hugs, candy canes,
Peace, Love, and Joy.
Merry Christmas to you all!

If you like this recipe, please click on the link below!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

I got my Hershey Chocolate basket that I won from Marye today. It was delivered bright and early and a great way to start the day.

This was an awesome basket filled with flour, sugar, cocoa, peanut butter and a brownie mix. There was also two bags of Hershey Kisses, an oven mitt and a rubber spatula, all in a big bowl. Thank you Hershey and thank you Marye!

Then I started putting together Christmas baskets. First I gathered my supplies. I used my Chocolate Strawberry Jam and my Vanilla Spiced Peach jam that I made last summer. I also had some plum syrup that I had put up. They were all decorated and ready to go.

Then I bottled up some of my vanilla extract that I've had brewing since last May. I put it in some pretty bottles and added a vanilla bean for decoration.
Turned out pretty nice if I do say so myself!

I found these really cute labels at the Dollartree. There was 4 different designs. I used these two on a couple bottles of sparkling cider.
How festive you say? I agree!

Here is basket #1.
This basket included the book The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado. Then of course you need to add a Christmas candle. Two jars of jam and a bottle of vanilla extract rounds out this gift. Sooo... what do you think of basket #1?

Here is basket #2. It has some Elf Nog dressed up as a snowman, two jars of jam, vanilla extract and a tea towel tied up with a Christmas decoration that looks like a sugar cookie.

Basket #3: Mistletoe tonic decked out as Santa's boot sticking out of the chimney. A Christmas candle, egg nog tea bread, jam and a bottle of vanilla extract.
I like all the baskets because they are all just a little bit different.
Tell me, which is your favorite? 1, 2, or #3?

Now look at these balls! Zinfandel Port balls! These are so good with a glass of red wine, or of course a glass of port! I saw these over at Cathy's blog, Noble Pig and knew I had to try these. They were so simple to make, just a few pulses in the food processor. I used a scooper to form the balls saving my hands from the messy work. A little roll in the sweet stuff (powdered sugar) and that's it. Ready for giving.

Want a closer look?

Packaged up and looking pretty, these were given to coworkers as a little token of
friendship and Christmas cheer.

So... what do you think? You gonna try them? You know you want to!

Zinfandel Port Balls
courtesy of Noble Pig
Adapted from Sunset

1 package (12 oz.) vanilla sandwich cookies
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup pecans, whole
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup Zinfandel Port or other Port
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a food processor, whirl vanilla wafers, cocoa powder and 1 cup whole pecans until fine crumbs form.

Add Port and corn syrup to the crumb mixture and whirl again until blended. Scoop out the sticky mixture into a bowl and add 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans. Mix in pecans with a spoon until fully incorporated.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on parchment paper.

Roll each ball in powdered sugar


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chai Spiced Butter Cookies!

It's almost time to hang your stockings by the chimney with care!
The Big Day is only 3 days away.

Instead of being out in the mist of the the crowds, I'm inside nice and cozy.

While the weather outside is frightful, I whipped up a batch of these tender little cookies. I found this recipe over at Teresa's blog. She had taken a simple butter dough and turned it into
4 different cookies.

Right away, I knew this cookie recipe had to be had. With my spin.

Chai spiced butter cookies.

With a cup of tea and a roaring fire,
( the fire isn't roaring, YET!)
I was ready to settle in for a long winters nap!

Chai Spiced Butter Cookies
by Teresa's mom

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon chai spice
1-teaspoon vanilla
2 to 2½ cups flour
Sanding sugar

Cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla. Slowly, add flour and knead to combine well. Roll into a log and chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll in sanding sugar. Cut, bake, and enjoy!

If you like this recipe, please click on the link below!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trim The Tree Thurday!

Due to technical difficulties which was resolved by switching browsers, I can now post pictures and I'm back in business. Thursdays Fridays post is hosted by Britt, the Southern Hostess. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Christmas things.

Every morning, the first thing I do is head into the kitchen. I open the window blinds next to the coffee pot and I'm greeted by my favorite Santa. It's like he's waiting for me to share that first cup of coffee in the morning. I'm a morning person but I need that first cup to start my engine!

Here is my elf shelf sitter. He is sitting by one of my favorite photos. It's of the kid posing as an angel. She was only 2 years old in that photo and I have a whole series of them. If we ever had a fire, these photos would be some of the first things I would grab!

I love this snowman wine bottle holder. I have him nestled among some pine cone candles with a teddy bear for company.

This picture does not do this Santa justice. He's really quite sparkly and has sequins all over him. I bought one for an ornament exchange at work and had to go back and get another one for me. I bought it at Safeway of all places and I'm hoping I can get more on sale after Christmas

This little guy hanging on the chocolate dipped spoon was given to me the year I first made truffles. I was up to my elbows in chocolate that year and this was perfect!

Two little mice sharing a cup of cocoa.

I saved my very favorite ones for last. Grandma will appreciate these pictures. This one is marked 1998. It was from her preschool days. Look at that precious face!

This one is from 1st grade. The ornaments I cherish most!

O.K. Bad picture. A little bit more rustic of an ornament. This one was made at a Girl Scout Christmas workshop. Seems like yesterday.

One of my favorite things is the cellophane bag. It can take a little thing and make it into a cute gift. Example. Take a package of cocoa mix. Alone it's not much.

Put it in a cellophane bag and add a chocolate dipped candy cane and a pretty bow and you'll have a small little gift for the teacher, the neighbor, or all of the kid's many friends.

This year the gift of choice is beaney babies. I got these on sale for buy one get one free. That was 2 for $2.99. A candy cane and a few pieces of chocolate and I got an inexpensive gift that the kids will love!

Isn't he cute?

Thanks for joining me on my little tour of my favorite things. Today is my last day of work before Christmas vacation and I hope to get caught up on my blog surfing. Stay tuned because I have lots coming up. Like Port Balls, Toffee Crisps, Rice Pudding and a Buche de Noel. And for Christmas, I'm thinking of an easy Caramel Bourbon spice cake.
So stay tuned my Internet friends and thanks for joining me!