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skittles vodka

I’ve been playing around with infused vodkas as little lately… citrus is what we use the most… I made it REALLY citrussy and honestly you could drink it straight, although we use it to make all kinds of cocktails… more on that later. Skittles vodka is a lot more exciting and pretty! I made these this fall to use as Christmas presents… I mean, who doesn’t want neon suggery alchohol?

Makting it is easy, and actually pretty quick for infused alcohol… heres how you do it:

You need:

a bunch of skittles- I bought the big family sized bag, and only ate a few :)

empty/clean water bottles or jars (one for each color you plan on making)

cheap vodka- I’m went with Svedka… any cheaper just reminded me too much of freshman year of college- not in a good way

12 oz measuring cup with pour spout

coffee filters

large funnel

bottles or jars for packaging (I found ming at World Market)

 

Start by separating out the skittles by color. Decide how many ounces of each color you want… Then collect 8-10 skittles per ounce of vodka, so for an example I did 8 ounces of each and used about 80 skittles of each color.

Next put the skittles with the correct amount of vodka in each water bottle/jar and shake a bunch.

Let them sit over night… I shook them each time I walked through the kitchen to help them out :)

Once everything is desolved and it looks kinda murky/thick but nothing big still floating, it is time to start filtering. This part gets MESSY so do this in an easy to clean location. After giving a bottle one last good shake, put the funnel into the measuring cup and line it with a few coffee filters. Pour the vodka through the filter… I had to scoop out goop every once in a while so that it would actually drain… this process takes patience and gets easier as you figure it out a little. once it is all through transfer the funnel to the decorative bottle and line it with one filter. Pour the vodka through again and fill the bottle. Cork the bottle, clean out the funnel and measuring cup and repeat with all of the colors. I choose to freeze mine and mix it with sprite or club soda (less sweet). enjoy!

Comments { 2 }

cake pops

I took my first stab at cake pops the other day… and honestly it wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone made them out to be.  Don’t get me wrong, they take a lot more time to make then cupcakes… and they make a MESS… but really they aren’t as awful as I had heard they are to make. Not to mention EVERYONE loves them… it is like instant popularity! ha

Here are a few of my tips:

-       punch holes in one side of a cardboard box (like a cereal box) to let them dry in after you are done. I didn’t want to buy foam to have more stuff around my house, and this way I could care less if they get all messy.

-       The freezer is your best friend. I kept the pops in there and only took about three at a time out for dipping… the harder the better.

-       I melted the chocolate and then kept it warm in a croc pot. That way I could take my time dipping and it would keep melted. Just make sure to keep it on low, and if it is taking a while I would turn it off once in a while… if it gets too hot it will melt the cold (hard) balls and create a mess!

- I only dipped the top of the pop and then spooned the chocolate onto the bottom. Slowly spin it over the pot to smooth it out and let the excess drip off.

-       Last but not least I wasn’t a perfectionist… once you stress out about making them perfect they get worse… I think so at least. They are home made… so it is ok it they are a little crooked, and they look much better once they cool anyway.

- if all else fails… cover it up with sprinkles :)

* there are a million tutorials online on how to make these… so I will let you find the best tutorial for you.

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birthday carrot cake

my dad is a health freak… because of that he rarely eats desert. This year i took the challenge on to make a sugar free, low calorie cake… knowing that carrot cake is his favorite. I researched a lot of recipes on line and muddled some together by testing them out… here is the recipe I came up with. Fresh, hearty, and not too sweet… but very good!

Cake:

Ingredients-  12 oz shreaded carrots, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup butter milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup vegtable oil, 2 Tbs orange zest, 2 Tbs orange juice, 3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon

- preheat oven to 350 degrees

- grease 2 9 inch round pans

- mix together carrots, buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and orange juice.

- in a sepparate bowl sift together dry ingredients

-fold together wet and dry ingredients thouroghly

- split the batter evenly into the two pans- use a spatulla or spoon to flatten the batter our as well as you can in each pan

- bake for 25 mins (if you  want to make cupecakes bake for 20 mins)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients-  1/4 cup +2 Tbs sugar free apple juice concentrate, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 pound (2 packs) cream cheese, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin

- in a blender or food processor mix together 1/4 cups apple juice, orange juice, cream cheese, and vanilla

- mix gelatin in the 2 Tbs apple juice and let sit for a few minutes

- in a small sauce pan heat juice and gelatin mixture until it begins to boil and quickly mix it into the creamcheese mixture.

- cool until ready to frost

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pizzelle

I saved the best for last… I LOVE these cookies, like no will power eat TONS of these every Christmas and don’t let myself make them the rest of the year! My mom has made these for Christmas as long as I can remember and a few years ago I got my own Pizzelle press and started making my own (she has the old fashion kind too where you heat it on the stove like this). I know not everyone has a pizzelle maker at home, so I am sorry for sharing this recipe, but for those who do this is a great recipe… those who don’t you might wanna keep your eyes peeled for them on sale or at thrift stores… or you know splurge on a new one- they really are that good!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

3 eggs

2 jiggers (I straight use shot glasses) milk

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups flour

3 Tbs anise seed

-       cream together butter and sugar

-       mix in eggs, milk, vanilla, and anise

-       slowly mix in flour

-       chill for about 30 mins

-       roll into 1 inch balls and press in pizzelle iron/press/machine

Comments { 2 }

jam thumb prints

These are another that I have been making for a few years now… and man are they good. Buttery, and a little hit of Jam (this year I used home made raspberry rhubarb) yum!  My advice for this, and all other shortbread style cookie is make sure the butter is soft enough… especially if you are mixing it by hand like I do. I seriously microwave the butter a little before mixing and then make sure everything is mixed REALLY well… if the butter isn’t mixed in all of the way not only are these a pain to roll out, but they taste dry and not buttery… and lets be honest that’s the best part of them!

Ingredients:

3 sticks butter (room temp)

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 ½ cups flour

¼ tsp salt

1 eggs beaten with 1 Tbs water

sweetened coconut flakes

jam

preheat oven to 350 degrees

-cream together butter and sugar

-add vanilla

- in a separate bowl sift together flour and salt

- slowly combine wet and dry ingredients- combine VERY well

- cover in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins

- roll into 1 ½ “ balls, then into the egg wash and finally through the coconut flakes

- place on cookie sheet and press a thumbprint into the middle… then fill with jam

bake for 20- 25 mins or until they are lightly golden brown (they really don’t get too brown)

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Vegan thin mints

I’m not going to lie, these did not turn out very well… They spread out into one huge cookie in the oven, so instead of dipping the entire thing in the chocolate, I just covered the top of them. So they are ugly, and honestly… they don’t taste so great… whomp whomp. I wouldn’t say they are awful, or that I wouldn’t eat them… but I am probably never going to make this again.

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Vegan Orange shortbread

I followed this recipe I found on Pinterest… and man am I glad I did! These were VERY good, and I don’t mean these are good for vegan cookies; these are just straight delicious cookies! Once again I did not make these pretty…. I smudged chocolate on top quickly rather then drizzling it over all pretty like the recipe shows. Also if you aren’t vegan, you could easily make these with regular butter, which is the only thing that actually makes these vegan. And like I said on this recipe, make sure to mix the butter in REALLY well.

Note: I cut the orange peel into a little smaller then ¼” chunks…. I will be cutting them much smaller next time, not because of taste or anything, but because it will make the dough cut much easier and in the end look a little nicer.

To make these you have to make candied orange rind in advance. I had never made these before, not sure why they were easy and tasty… so I made a second bigger batch just to snack on. For those I followed the same directions only I used three orange peels, 2 cups sugar, and 1.5 cups water. They taste great, plus they are so pretty!

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Soda Cracker Candy

This is a staple at Christmas time for my family, and I have now gotten my boyfriend and his mom hooked too… so I make a double batch every year… yeah its that good. And bonus: they are SUPER easy to make… as in I think this is probably the easiest of all of the recipes I made this year… and also one of the favorites.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line 2 cookie sheets (or one large one if you are like my mom) with foil. Grease it with butter or spray, whatever you are into. Then line them with a single layer of soda crackers (saltines as we are more used to calling them) salt side up- I break some up to fill in the edges so that the entire cookie sheet is covered.

Next melt 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup butter in a sauce pan on the stove until it starts to bubble. Pour the mixture evenly over the two sheets of crackers and put them in the oven for 5 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel and turn off the oven and put the tray back in for 3 minutes. When you take them out the chocolate will be all melted so spread if out with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon so that the crackers and caramel are completely covered. Then Sprinkle the top with sliced almonds (optional).

Let them cool (I put them in the freezer for like a half an hour) and them crack the big blocks into pieces by hand. Done. (keep them in the fridge so they don’t all stick together!)

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Cookie time

This year I set a new personal record for number of cookie recipes completed for the holidays. I love baking-  turn up the Christmas music, adorn yourself in an aapron, and make a huge mess… not to mention it is great to have cookies to share with friends and family. So, for the next little while I am going to share what I have made… some will have links to recipes with my review, and some are recipes I have been making for years that I will share with you… either way you have just enough time to try a few of these out before the jolly man makes his appearance and requires cookies!

Peanut butter balls

This was CRAZY easy… but not super fast or clean (considering you have to dip each ball in chocolate).  I didn’t worry about making them pretty, because in all honestly I rarely do when it comes to baking, I like things to look homemade :) .

Note: I made them WAY too big… they were probably 1 inch balls. Don’t make the same mistake, they don’t fit in the little foil cups, and they are kinda hard to eat.

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home made jam

talk about easy-plan-ahead Christmas gifts! I plowed through a few batches of jam the other day (I would give you recipes, but I really didn’t follow one… oops! instead google it!) in an effort to make the Holiday season easier! in just a few hours I was done with a few dozen home made, delicious, inexpensive gifts that make great hostess gifts, coworkers gifts, teacher gifts… best part is I am done months in advance! Jam is one of those things that people always appreciate getting and think it is so hard to make, in reality washing the dishes is the hardest part!

Comments { 2 }