Happy New Year!
It has literally just become 2017, so it is time for resolutions, goals and introspection. I have decided to look over my posts from this past year and see just what everyone liked the most. Maybe you would like to check those pages out is you missed them! Here goes!
Coming in at #10: I wrote a tutorial on how to bind a piece of carpet into an area rug! This one was pinned lots of times. It is really pretty easy to do and you can find the post here.
#9 Is about us! This is our original post that tells about how we invented Hot Cocoa Bombs and why we started blogging!
#8 goes hand-in-hand with #9: This is the Hot Cocoa Bomb tutorial that shows you how to make these delicious treats!
#7 is a recent post! It is a recipe for Jan D'Atri's Stinky Pretzels. (She recently told me that she has changed the name to gourmet pretzels because some people just couldn't get past the name.)
A long time family favorite comes in at #6! Be sure to grab the recipe for South of the Border Casserole here!
I hope that my mom is happy when she sees that her pie crust recipe made it to the #5 spot! We did an entire pie series that went with this crust!
#4 is Pizza Pot Pie! This looks so good, I may make it again soon.
We knew this one would be high on the list! #3 is Florida Fudge! Go get the recipe, you won't regret it!
#2 is hard to resist! It isChicken Enchilada Casserole in a Crock Pot!
And now, Dum Da Da Dum, #1 Kudos go to my friend and guest poster Tina for her Artisan Bread in a Crock Pot!
Well, that is it for 2016! We are all looking forward to new posts and ideas in this New Year. I hope you will all follow along because we are having a lot of fun so far and hope you are, too, as well as gleaning some new ideas and information. Thank you for all of your support!
Madalynn and I came up with an idea to use colored marshmallows and Funfetti Candy Melts for our Hot Cocoa Bombs to make them more festive for New Year's Eve. Click on the pictures for more info.
Then, I added sprinkles, but I wanted something with a little more pizzazz! So, Alicia and I decided to try some sugar decorations. We had never made them before and they didn't turn out quite the way we imagined, but they do give the Cocoa Bombs an artsy look, which seems appropriate for New Year's Eve. This is what we did:
We just stuck the designs on while the Candy Melts were still soft. (Work quickly!)
When you put the Bombs into your hot milk, the sugar design just melts! Then, you get the nice fruity flavor of the marshmallows combined with the chocolate and it is a fun, new way to enjoy your Hot Cocoa Bombs!
If you have any good tips on working with the sugar, let us know! It was hard to peel of the waxed paper without breaking it. I was out of parchment paper. Also, you have to be very careful with the melted sugar because it is super hot (I got the tip of one finger). It was fun working with Alicia while she is in town for the holidays!
So, go on, check out the full Cocoa Bomb tutorial here and give it a try!
Now that Christmas is over, I wanted to get away from the sweets that we have been eating to excess. Since I got a fabulous new KitchenAid this year for Christmas, I decided a nice loaf of whole wheat bread would be the first thing I would make with it.
I had a bag of King Arthur Sprouted Wheat Flour that I wanted to use. So, I went to their website and found a whole wheat recipe that I adapted to use with my KitchenAid.
Why use sprouted flour?
I did a little research and found out the wonders of baking with sprouted flour. The folks at Cultures for Health and One Green Planet tell us some good information. When grains are sprouted, they become living things that our bodies digest like vegetables rather than a starch. Vegetables are much easier to digest because the grain's starches are broken down into simple sugars in the sprouting process. Those simple sugars are used by our bodies as energy, rather than stored as fat. Sprouted flour also is better for management of weight and type 2 diabetes.
I also learned that when you bake with sprouted flour, you will probably need to add a little more liquid to your recipe. I found this out by myself as I mixed up my bread yesterday. My discovery was confirmed on Cultures for Health. Their suggestion is 3 T. more liquid for less than 4 cups of flour, and 1/4 cup for 4-5 cups of flour.
Click the button for my version of this recipe.
There were only 2 problems with my loaf:
My friend Rhonda has been sprouting her own wheat for flour for a long time. I may have to take some lessons!
We sure hope your Christmas was wonderful and happy and full of fun! Ours was, and we are still enjoying it as family is here with us, although we are missing others.
I found as I was editing the pictures from the photos we took on Christmas Eve of my grandsons, that I had such a huge grin on my face just looking at them, in spite of the fact that we never got the "perfect picture" ! They are all so special and perfect to me. Here is a slideshow of them:
Having Christmas on Sunday was so special. It made our normal Christmas morning routine very different, but I loved feeling the true Spirit and reason for the season. My son-in-law Adrian joined my husband, Jacob and me in singing with the choir at church. It was such a great feeling to be up there all together singing praises, and to see our dear friends at church and wish them Merry Christmas. There was such a feeling of love there. Tyler, Lindsey and Madalynn also sang and/or played in their respective wards. Christmas hymns bring so much joy to the season.
Because of our varied schedules, gift opening began on Christmas Eve and continued into late in the day on Christmas. It was a lot of fun! Look what my husband and kids pitched in to get me!
So, between these two gifts, I was pretty spoiled this year. If you missed out on of picking up these beauties, you can still get them here and here! We used the Cocoa Grande machine on Christmas Eve with our Hot Cocoa Bombs. I made bread in the KitchenAid this morning. I will show you the results tomorrow! It is rising as I write.
I always love seeing what everyone else gets for Christmas and how happy it makes them. My son got my daughter-in-law a gift that I found so clever! My 7 month old grandson is teething a lot now. He is always chewing on everything. Tyler found her this teething necklace that looks so cute for her to wear, but when she is holding Spencer, he can grab it and safely chew on it. Here it is in action:
My daughter received an excellent stylus set that will help her to do great art work on her tablet. She got her husband shower speakers so he can listen to music while showering, and sing along!
My mom sent everyone beautiful handmade pillows, pillowcases and quilts. Those are great things to start making now to prepare for next year! I have a couple of tutorials for pillowcases here and here. Also for pillows and quilts (and here) if you want to check out some ideas.
Well, I can't even begin to continue to list the nice and thoughtful and beautiful gifts we each received. But, of course, the best part has been the time we have spent together, the goofy laughter and jokes and the love we have all felt.
I am so thankful for being able to talk face to face with loved ones far away! What a blessing technology can be. I am so thankful for my family, from my own nuclear family to my extended one. Last night we all went over to the Mesa LDS Temple together and took in the Christmas lights there and saw the Nativity Display. In a quiet moment, I looked around and felt the Spirit of Peace touch my heart and I realized again just how thankful I am for my Savior Jesus Christ. Somehow, this year, that feeling has been stronger than ever and I want to express to all of you that I know He lives and I love Him and He love me and He loves you. If you want to know more, click here!
So, that is just a glimpse of our Christmas this year. Now can see why I have a Pinterest board labeled I Love Christmas!
Now it is time to get ready for the New Year! Talk to you tomorrow!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!