Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Elf fun

Elf on the Shelf is such a sweet idea! I first learned about this while working my day job and building websites. This was years ago when it was not really popular. I design and build websites for a living. I wish I could remember the lady to mention her site I just remember she was from New York I think!

The concept of Elf on the Shelf is simple. He watches the kids to make sure they are behaving before Christmas. He comes alive each night and usually gets into something. Our elf Buddy is on vacation it seems most nights. He does fun things and makes messes, but then he sometimes cleans things! 🙂

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Buddy sometimes likes to hide and scare the crap out of me. This morning he was hiding in the cupboard.

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Found Buddy and Barbie on a date this morning..he was wearing a dress too and the animals were eating teddy grahams.

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On this morning buddy and the animals made a shoe shoe train lol. Oh the imaginations of Buddy.

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Good thing I didn’t have plans for cookies, Buddy was craving chocolate apparently.
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Monopoly time!
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This morning Buddy was reading the bible, the Christmas story.

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Buddy the elf looking up Barbie pictures, he’s crushing hard!

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Buddy napping with Zippy the chipmunk.

Over all I loved Buddy visiting. He made me laugh and made Christmas just that much more special.

Flour Tortilla Recipe and Quesidillas

This is not the healthiest food, however, there us a few things you can do to make it better.  I make the tortillas from scratch. Here is the recipe and method.

Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening. Mix and knead in hot water. Might not need it all so use water slowly.

After dough is made, wrap in plastic and let rest for 10-30min. Divide into balls and cover. Roll them out to paper thin.

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After rolling one out, fry it immediately in a med high heat pan with no oil. These should cook quick and some will blow up.

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I fold and let cool for a while then fry up pieces of fresh chicken breast, other cuts will not work, fake chicken will not work, day old roasted chicken will not work. It changes the taste drastically.

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When making the quesadilla’s I use low fat cheese and chicken breast pieces cut up tiny with diced green peppers fried in a bit of olive oil.  I have found that 1 lg chicken breast will do 4 quesadilla half’s. Lightly butter the outside of the tortilla and stuff with cooked chicken and peppers and some shredded marble or cheddar and fry.

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Serve with salsa and sour cream. I make my own salsa, the recipe I use I can every fall. Its much better then store bought and so so much cheaper. I found this recipe the closest too the tostitos salsa.

Originally I used this recipe http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/175547/rockin-salsa but it was way too much sugar.

Salsa Recipe
6 lbs tomato
3 green peppers
Continue reading “Flour Tortilla Recipe and Quesidillas”

Easy Scone Recipe | Apple Cinnamon

This is my easy scone recipe!  Mike and the kids love these. I love going to the Saturday market and getting fresh scones! I love the different flavors and the smell is amazing! They are awesome! However I cannot buy scones premade forever, I must learn to make them myself, after 7ish attempts I have finally perfected the recipe, taste and texture that I like!

Easy Scone Recipe

2 cups of flour
1/3 -1/2 cup of butter
4 tbsp of sugar
1tbsp of cinnamon
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of sour crème
1/2 cup of canned milk
1 and a half, baking type apples peeled and chopped into flat thin pieces.

Directions
1. Mix all dry ingredients loosely.  Cut up cold butter in long chunks and then cut into the flour and dry ingredients until butter is the size of tiny peas or smaller. Maybe large peas:)
2.Add the rest of the ingredients and mix, I have tired buttermilk in my scones, and this mix, I find this one seems to have a better turn out rate. The dough should be VERY sticky, use your hands as little as possible and get all the pieces stuck together, flour surface of counter and flatten to about an inch and a quarter thick, very thick.
3. Get a bit of sugar, brown or white and with the left over sour creme/milk baste the top of the scones to just wet them, sprinkle sugar on them and cut into 8 wedges.

4. Temperature should be 425 degrees & baked for 20 minutes give or take, look for a bit of browning on the top, note your rack should be in the middle ideally and each scone should be separated to give it room to expand. Baking sheet usually does not need to be greased, however, parchment paper is the best option if you are worried about sticking.


Tips
1. Use the right flour.  You want soft, tender scones and too much protein leads to too much gluten which makes your scones chewy. Pastry flour is a great option.

2.  Keep your ingredients cold. Temperature is critical to buttery, flakey scones. Start with very cold butter—it should chip when you cut it into chunks and your liquids should be ice cold. Consider putting your wet ingredients in the freezer 10 min before baking. Consider chilling your mixing bowl before mixing.

For a quick make in the morning try mixing the dry ingredients and chopping in butter and then freezing it over night and add wet ingredients in the morning, quick and easy!

Why do your ingredients need to be cold? The objective is to keep the butter a solid and not let it melt into a liquid. If your dough is kept cold, it will have little bits of dispersed butter. In the heat of the oven, that butter melts into the dough but leaves pockets and layers in the scones.

Work with the dough quickly to keep it cool.

3. Don’t work your dough too much. Mix only until the ingredients come together into a combined mass.

4.  Leave the cut edges of the scones alone. Patting the edges with your fingers melds the edges so that the scone will not rise as nicely or have a flakey, layered structure.

5. Don’t over-bake your scones. Over-baking for even a minute or two will dry your scones out. As soon as the edges begin to turn brown, remove them from the oven. Immediately, place the scones on a wire rack—the hot pan will continue to dry the scones.

6. Storage after the scones have cooled is usually best just covered with a cloth, a container sealed will give you soggy scones, and leaving them out too long will cause dry scones. Scones are best eaten same day, so share! 🙂

7. Do not store in a container, in a basket or wrapped in a dish cloth after cooled, best when fresh or later in day, loses quality after that.

Sweet Scones
Lemon Blueberry Scones- instead of cinnamon and apples, add 3/4 cup of blue berries preferably frozen and a bit of lemon zest if available.

Pineapple Coconut Scones- instead of cinnamon and apples add 3/4 cup of canned pineapple tidbits or fresh pineapple small tidbits, no juice.

Espresso Scones- instead of cinnamon and apples add 1 tbsp of instant coffee to the milk to dissolve and add 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.

Non Sweet Scones
Pizza Scones- instead of 4 tbsp of sugar, only one, in place of cinnamon and apples add 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni,1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 tbsp pizza spice.

Ham and Cheese Scones- instead of 4 tbsp of sugar, only one, in place of cinnamon and apples add 3/4 cup chopped cubed  ham,1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

Brown Bread Recipe | Oatmeal Molasses | Heavy Dense Bread

This recipe was given to me by my mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from an elderly lady who was in her 70`s, so this recipe is over  100 years old. This recipe is actually a very good recipe if you like dense moist brown bread. Some people refer to it as oatmeal molasses bread which is what it is made out of however; I’ve always just refer to it as brown bread. This is my favorite brown bread recipe. The pictures show how it turns out, it was awesome.

 

Molasses Brown Bread Recipe Very Old
Molasses Brown Bread Recipe Very Old

Recipe:

1.  1 and 1/2 cups of rolled oats(I used quick oats)
2.  2 cups of boiling water
3.  1/2 tblsp of salt
4.  1 tblsp shortening or lard, I used tenderflake and also fluffy before
5.  1 tblsp of yeast (quick acting)
6.  1/2 cup of warm water
7.  1 tsp of sugar
8.  3/4 cup molasses

4-5 cups of flour

Steps:

A. Mix item 1,2,3 and 4 and let stand until luke warm this is the oat mixture.
B. In  a seperate bowl gently stir 5,6,and 7 and let sit, this is the yeast mixture.
C. When  the oat mixture is warm-cool, add the molasses (item 8) and mix well. Do not add when mixture is too hot or it will change the texture and require more flour.
D. Add yeast mixture and stir and one cup of flour and beat well.
E. Keep adding flour in one cup intervals up to 4 or 5 cups. As you get near the end you may need to use your hands to work flour in.
F. Kneed bread for 10 minutes dusting surface with flour if needed. My judgement for when its done, the dough is no longer sticking to my hands. If using a Kitchenaid mixer I knead for 10 min after all flour is in, it should pull away from the sides of the bowl some.
G.  Place bread in a greased bowl and grease the all of dough. Let this rise until it doubles in size (60 min), MAKE SURE YOUR house is WARM if it is not, open your oven door and sit it near that. Or turn the over on 350 for about 1 min and turn it off, the semi warm airless environment is perfect for rising bread just make sure it’s not too close to the top and DON’T leave the oven on.

H. After risen, split into 4 pieces and form into balls and place them in the greased pans. and again let them rise to double the size.( 30-60min)

I. Bake them at 350○ for about 30 -40 minutes.
J. To tell they are done, they should be browned well on top and they should slide out of the pans, use over mitts and take them out of the pans right away to cool.

Sweet Potato Crisps Healthy, Easy Recipe | Best Christmas Gift Ever.

Over the holidays I had a bout of gallbladder issues, sweet potato’s are one of the foods that are good for your gallbladder(who knew), yet I hated them with a passion. I had tried sweet potato fries a few times and ick, against my past judgement, I decided to try them again.. OH MY YUM. These are addictive, just a warning.. But really not that bad for you:)

Sweet Potato Crisps Recipe

Ingredients
1 sweet potato
1 tsp olive oil(cold pressed)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp marjoram(sweet if available)
However, I have also used a table spoon of herb and garlic dip spice from Epicure instead, but I have tried both as I ran out of Epicure.

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Wash the potato’s but leave the skins on! Slice potato thin about 2-3 mm, put all slice in a plastic bag, dump oil and spices in and shake or rub the pieces around, just enough to coat them a little.     You can do this way before you need them as I find letting them sit a bit longer enhances the spices, so doing the up even the day before is fine! Just leave them in the bag until you are ready.

Baking: I use parchment paper, I find it helps greatly for sticking.  Arrange the slices on the sheet bake for about 20-25 minutes and check them!

 

On a side but awesome note, my step-daughter or should I say  my daughter:) gave me a surprise Christmas present we me and Mike picked the kids up on Christmas Day, Maddy is 8, and has a huge heart. She gave me an envelope with the note below, (I am now labeled a mom hehe) an 30 cents, she later tells me, she would have given me more, but she didn’t have very much money. 🙂 Needless to say, the 30 cents is tucked away in my treasure box and in my heart. I loved that gift:)

The gifts that money can’t buy 🙂 Another awesome gift, was being able to spend time with my family. We cooked and baked, made pretzel’s like from the mall or movies(recipe and post coming soon), watched movies, went for drives and just spent great time together.