Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa's Favorite Christmas Crunch Cookies!

This is a re-posted idea I did this year for my family, friends, and co-workers. Thank you Blue-Eyed Bakers!  I love this idea and think it's an excellent, economical gift that appeals to most people. Cookie mix in a Christmas jar! It's not a new idea but it's something that a lot of people just don't seem to take the time to do.  If you just take a little time, this gift is a fun item to add to anyone's Christmas present bag.  It gives your gift an extra something that people really appreciate and love.  Making these jars is definitely worth your while, and here is how I made mine:

P.S. Don't forget the carrots for the reindeer!

Layer Ingredients in a 1 quart jar in this order:

For the jar:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup Rice Krispies
1/2 cup red and green M&M’s ( I used green and red colored white chocolate)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

***NOTE: I mixed the white chocolate chips in with the red and green white chocolate, and layered that at the top.  I feel it looks better.

To make the cookies recipients will add:

Jar contents plus:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

***NOTE: Cookie mix might seem a little dry at first, but keep working the dough and they turn out just fine.

In a jar layer the "jar ingredients" in the order listed.  Using a spoon or something with a flat bottom  pack each layer down as much as possible before adding the next.

To decorate, and finish off the jars you will need to: take Christmas fabric and cut out fabric rounds just slightly bigger than the jar lids. Place and position prepared fabric round on top of the lid, and screw the band over top of it. The band should be screwed on tightly.  Next attach a recipe card, with directions, to a piece of Christmas ribbon, using an ornament hook ( you can also put a jingle-bell on the hook).  Lastly, tie the ribbon around the jar making it into a bow.  

To make the cookies, preheat oven to 350.  Beat together the butter, vanilla extract and egg in a large bowl. Add the contents of the jar and stir until well mixed (dough will be crumbly). Drop rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until puffed and golden.  Enjoy with a large glass of milk or hot cocoa.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Weather Outside Is Frightful, Especially If You Are Sleeping Outside...

Imagine being homeless at this time of year...

The weather outside is frightful, especially if you are sleeping outside.  I can't fathom being so cold for so long.  And hungry, hunger is also something they face on a daily basis. Imagine all winter long feeling the tightness of hunger pains, being chilled to the bone, and feeling isolated, day in and day out.

Family is such a huge focus during the holiday season, and to know that most of them are estranged from their own is heart wrenching.  Everyone longs to be with people, no matter who they are, it is part of what makes us human beings.  People want to belong.  In our society the homeless are like the "misfit toys" in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  No one wants them, they go through life being ignored, ridiculed, and looked down upon by the masses. 

Let them know they are not alone, we are all people, we all connected.  Have a heart this holiday and show them you care.  There are many, many ways to do this: share a friendly chat, offer your support, give a gift, volunteer at homeless facilities, etc.

My favorite idea is to keep a couple dozen, ready-made gift bags in the car to give to each homeless person you see.  Here is a list of what I would suggest including in the bags:

Cute Reusable Gift Bag

My Gift Bag Supply List:

Hand Warmers
A pair of Sturdy Gloves
Pack of Thick Winter Socks
Healthy Packaged Food
Toiletries: Soaps, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Lotion, Chapstick, etc.
Hand Written Card, That Tells Them They Are Important

...God be with them this season...