Day 11: The Gift of Printables and Creative Food for Kids

 Written By Amy

As these last days wind down to Christmas, I wanted to share a few activities to keep your kids busy before the big day.   My rule of thumb is they have to be easy, especially this time of year when everything is so busy!   The first two ideas are printables that hopefully have a little more of the true Christ-mas spirit than you might find out there.    I made them in hopes that they would be fun, yet educational as well.    They are geared for 1st grade and up (but can be done with an adult or with an older sibling for younger children).

                                             A True Christmas Word Search

                                         The Shepherds and the Angels Fill In The Blank

The next two are very simple yet creative food items for your kids to make.  The first is an appetizer that a child would be proud to bring to Grandma’s or serve to company.  It is for a little older children.  The second is a yummy treat that younger children can do with very little help.  Both of these ideas came from Family Fun online.

                 Christmas Package Cream Cheese and Herb Spread

 

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Scallion
  • Red bell pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix the dried dill, garlic powder, and salt into the softened cream
    cheese.
  2. Pack the mixture into a rectangular container lined with plastic wrap (you
    can reuse the cream cheese box).
  3. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. Before serving time, set the unwrapped
    block of cheese on a platter and decorate it with a scallion bow and red pepper
    polka dots and gift tag.

                                                   Holiday Pretzel Treats

Salty pretzels combine with sweet chocolate for these fun treats that make a yummy gift few can resist. (In fact, you may want to make some extras for yourself!)

Ingredients
  • Bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels
  • Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug
  • M&M’s candy
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 170F. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper,then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug.
  2. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M’s candy into the center of each Kiss.
  3. Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear
    plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons.

 

Only one gift to go before we celebrate the greatest gift of all time, the birth of Jesus!

 

 

Recipe : Grandma’s Toffee from Hilary

Grandma’s Toffee from Hilary Whiton
1 lb. Unsalted butter at room temperature
1 lb. Sugar (2 Cups)
1 lb. Almonds (3 Cups)
9oz. chocolate (I use more!)
Chopped Almonds

Put two cookie sheets into a 200 degree oven to warm.  In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium high to high heat.  Add sugar and almonds.  Stir occasionally.  It will be boiling.  After 10 minutes or so you should begin to hear the almonds “pop”.  It is usually ready at this point.  I use a candy thermometer and remove the candy from the heat at 302 degrees, which is “hard crack”.  Pour the toffee onto the heated cookie sheets and spread it as quickly as you can.  (TIP:  I put my cookie sheets over the sink, because the butter will pour off and make a mess of your counter.)  After the toffee cools completely, melt chocolate and spread it on top.  Sprinkle with the chopped almonds while the chocolate is still sticky.  Cool completely and break into pieces. 

Hilary Whiton

Recipe : A Great Fudge Recipe

Amy
Hey Friends! I wanted to share with you a fudge recipe that has been in our family.  It is passed down from my aunt’s mother-in-law, Pat Graham, a wonderful woman who we spent many holidays with growing up.  My daughter, Hannah, has perfected the recipe and now is the family fudge maker!
Here it is:
4 Cups sugar                                                 
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk                 
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter                              
2 (7oz) bars Hershey’s milk chocolate broken into pieces           
1 (12oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 (7oz.) jar marshmallow creme
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Cups chopped walnuts (optional)
Spray 9×13 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In large heavy pot over high heat combine sugar, evaporated milk and butter.  Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly with wooden spoon.
Boil and stir 4 minutes.  Transfer to bowl and mix in by hand all the chocolate (milk, semi-sweet and unsweetened).  Mix until chocolate is melted and looks smooth and shiny.
Add marshmallow creme, vanilla, salt and nuts if preferred (I usually make half with and half without).  Mix ingredients in well.  Transfer mixture to sprayed pan.  Let fudge cool at room temperature until completely set, 4 to 6 hours (or refrigerate fudge to set, 2 hours).  
This fudge becomes soft at room temperature, so I usually keep mine refrigerated….it freezes well too!
Enjoy!

Recipe : The Perfect Pretzel

These are amazing.  Another recipe I am hooked on from Stacey.  Thanks for sharing friend!

1 bag Snyder’s Butter Snaps pretzels, square or round
Large bag of Rolo’s
About 55 M&M’s (holiday colors are always festive)  
Preheat oven to 215 degrees. Place a Rolo on top of a pretzel. Place on a cookie sheet lined w/foil. Bake 5 min. Take out of oven, top Rolo w/M&M, push down on M&M until Rolo spreads slightly.  Cool in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Variations:  The same basic recipe but you can change up the toppings. 
Candy Cane Kisses (instead of Rolo).  Only bake for 3 minutes. Top with M&M’s.
Rolo topped with Pecan (tastes like chocolate turtles)
Rolo topped with Almonds (the nut of choice for me)
Hershey’s Hugs (instead of Rolo). Only bake for 3 minutes.  Topped with M&M’s.
The original is my favorite, but the Candy Cane Kisses are YUMMY and very Festive!  The nut variation is great for nut lovers too!  Why not mix it up?
Hey everyone.  Don’t forget about our baking giveaway.  You have until Tuesday night to send your favorite holiday treat recipe to gracefullhome@yahoo.com.  We will be drawing on Wednesday morning!  So far we have received some GREAT recipes we can’t wait to share with you.

Recipe : Snowflake Crunch

Snowflake Crunch
You just can’t stop reaching for another bite of this!  It’s a great Christmas time gift!  The recipe’s from Stacey Mahaffee, who I got to know while waiting at our childrens’ Elementary for our girls to be dropped off or picked up from Kindergarten.  Thanks for sharing Stacey!  You are always generous!
1 lb. white almond bark
3 cups Cheerios
2 1/2 Cups rice Chex
2 1/2 Cups Corn Chex
2 Cups Pretzel Sticks
2 Cups dry-roasted peanuts
2 Cups M&M’s (I always choose the holiday colors)
Mix cereal, pretzel sticks, nuts and M&M’s in a very large bowl.  Melt almond bark according to directions.  (I melt mine for 3 minutes at half power and it seems to be great, but all microwaves are different).  Pour over mixture of cereal, pretzels sticks, nuts and M&M’s.  Mix to coat well.  Spread on Waxed paper.  Let stand until cool.  Break into small pieces.  Store in an airtight container.
Makes 15 cups
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