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Dec 21 / Amy

Christmas Crafting and Baking

When B and I went to Target the other day, one of the MANY things we picked up was this adorable foam Christmas tree.

$5 for Christmas fun!

$5 for Christmas fun!

I pulled it out this weekend, since we’ve been lazy bums due to the cold, gross, wet, and overcast weather we’re having.  At first B wasn’t sure about the tree, but once he realized there were stickers, he was really excited.

Decorating the tree turned into a family affair, with lots of chatter from the little man: “Tank too, Daddy”, “Tank too, Mama”, “Good job, B”, “Good job, Daddy”, and so on.  We realized a few stickers in that he liked grouping similar things together, he gets that honestly!

The stars together, and the Santas go together

The stars together, and the Santas go together

We had fun, and B is definitely proud of his tree! We put it up on the mantle for display. It might be my new favorite Christmas decoration, and if I can find a similar tree next year, a new family tradition. :)

 

The finished tree!

The finished tree!

After the tree was finished, I cut new ribbons to setup our card display.  Since we moved into the house, we’ve put all the Christmas cards we’ve received on the entry closet door.  It’s a nice setup.

Love from friends and family!

Love from friends and family!

But apparently, over the past couple years, I’ve lost a few clothes pins OR we’ve received more cards than we have in the past…because I ran out of things to pin up the rest of the cards we have so far.  Guess I should have looked for more clothes pins today while I was at Target (again…), totally forgot!  I’m hoping to get some before the holiday though, I love looking at our cards!

And while I’m here, I’ve had a few folks ask for recipes for my “go-to” holiday desserts, so I figured, why not blog them? :)

 

Rolo Pretzel Delights

I’ve been making these for years, and everyone seems to LOVE them.  I mean, who can go wrong with Rolos and Pretzels??

I originally started making them according to Hershey’s recipe, with pretzels, Rolos and walnuts, but once Josh came into the picture, I will either make two batches one with walnuts and one without (Josh can’t eat tree nuts without an itchy throat) or just do a batch, turning them into Rolo Pretzel sandwiches instead.

While Hershey claims they only take 3 minutes to make, I call bull crap on that!  Do you know how long it takes to remove the foil from the individually wrapped Rolo’s?  When there are approximately 65 in one bag?  More than three minutes – that’s for sure!

So turn the oven on and pre-heat to 350 degrees, and get to unwrapping each and every Rolo.  Once you’re done with that task, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the pretzels, then place a Rolo on each pretzel.

Lined up and almost ready to go!

Lined up and almost ready to go!

Once the oven has reached 350 degrees, put the pairings into the oven for 3 minutes, which is just long enough to get the chocolate to a perfect, slightly melted consistency.

Their recipe calls for placing walnuts on top, pressing down on the chocolate to fill out the bottom pretzel layer, and that’s really good – it almost tastes like a turtle!  I’ve also seen people try different candies such a M&M’s.  And as I mentioned, I’ll use another pretzel.  Note: If you do another pretzel, flip the top pretzel to be the opposite direction of the bottom pretzel (it helps spread the chocolate out – without getting it all over your fingers!).

Let cool, remove from parchment paper, and store (and try not to eat them all at once)!

The finished treat

The finished treat

 

Chocolate Eclair “Cake”

This recipe is a favorite, that went over really well at the office potluck (and anywhere else I’ve ever made it).  It’s SUPER easy, in fact, I’d say it’s easier than the Rolo Pretzels…again, those darn foil wrappers!

Since I can’t take full credit for the recipe, I’ll give credit to Kraft, even though I’m not sure that’s where I first found it (it’s where I’ve most recently found the recipe to share with others).

I think this is one of my favorites because there really isn’t any baking.

5 ingredients!  That's it!

5 ingredients! That’s it!

All you need are the above ingredients (milk, 3.4 oz. instant vanilla pudding, graham crackers, cool whip, and chocolate frosting).  I accidentally picked up too large of a packet of pudding, so I guestimated 3.4 oz of the 5.4 oz in the packet.

First, you mix the milk and the instant pudding together.  Then you put the entire tub of Cool Whip in, and mix the pudding and Cool Whip together.  Once that’s done, line a pan with the graham crackers, put half of the pudding/Cool Whip mix, layer with more graham crackers, put the remainder of the pudding/Cool Whip mix, and finish off with one more layer of graham crackers.

Layered up and waiting for the chocolate frosting!

Layered up and waiting for the chocolate frosting!

 

I put the mix/graham crackers in the fridge for about 20 minutes, then pulled it back out to put the chocolate frosting on.  Once the frosting is on, put it back in the fridge overnight and keep chilled until you’re ready to serve.

I promise you, it’s a hit, and once you realize how easy it is to make it, it’ll become one of your go-to desserts, too!

 

Do you have any family decorating traditions? Or favorite recipes that you like to make around the holidays?  If so, please share! Or if you plan to start some traditions, or just found a new recipe to try, I’d love to hear about them!

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