Monday, 24 December 2012

Homemade Chocolate Liqueur

Merry Christmas!  I'm raising a virtual toast to everyone with this recipe for homemade chocolate liqueur.  Let me tell you, it's divine.  I based my version off of a recipe found here and made a few slight variations of my own.  So here it is!

Chocolate Liqueur 

2 1/2 cups Half and Half
2 cups of Whiskey (I used Jack Daniels, but use whichever brand you fancy)
3 300ml cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp Instant Espresso Powder
1/8 cup of good quality melted chocolate (I used Bernard Callebaut)
2 Tbsp shaved chocolate

Combine all of the above in a large bowl and mix using an immersion blender or a hand mixer on the lowest speed.  Note: It will not fit in a blender unless you have a gargantuan one, and it will also not fit in a 12 cup food processor.  Store in airtight glass jars and consume within 1 week.  Makes 2 wine bottles full and a a few extra glasses so you can taste test.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Advent Calendar Activities

It's been a busy few weeks trying to keep up with Advent Calendar activities, Christmas baking, crafts, gifts, and remembering to move our house elf, Bob. So I thought I would do one big post about some of the highlights of the last few weeks.  Here it goes:

Bob has gotten into a few crazy things, but mostly he just moves around the house now.  While he hasn't really improved toddler behaviour, my little guy loves looking for him each day and talks to him a lot.

Christmas donuts from Tim's were a huge hit.  This weekend I'm going to try my hand at making my own baked chocolate candy cane donuts.  Recipe to follow!  :)

We went to see the CP Rail Holiday Train when it pulled into town on a freezing cold Friday night.  Lots of fun despite the cold and a great way to help those in need this holiday season.  For any shuterbugs out there, I shot this with my Canon 5D (on a tripod) f/9 ISO 100 with an 8 sec exposure.

More giving by supporting our local Santa's Anonymous.  My little guy had fun picking out toys for other kids.

Snowman pizza!  A cute idea I saw on Pinterest that I had to try.  It was a hit!

Elf punch!  I saw an idea on Pinterest (where else!?) for Grinch Punch while you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and thought it was a great idea.  I modified the recipe slightly since I don't give my little guy's my version:

Elf Punch

Lime Sherbet
Lime Perrier
red and green sprinkles to trim the rim of the glass (I also added green sprinkles in the glass since my lime sherbet was not green)
"Mom, it's so good"!  Direct quote from my little dude.

We've also made cookies, looked at Christmas lights, watched a few holiday movies, had hot chocolate, and other fun activities.  It would take forever to post about each one, but I am planning on documenting all the fun in my December Daily scrapbook mini album.  So far I have the front cover done...but I have everything documented in my journal book (otherwise the old mommy brain will not remember) and the plan is to finish it over the Christmas brake when the hubs is home and I can spend more time in my crafty space.

That's it for now...thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas Decor - Merry Christmas Banner

I'm really digging the banner trend going on right far I've made an Easter one and some Birthday ones, and I just finished making myself a Christmas one!  This one took much longer than I had anticipated, but I'm really happy with the results.  I think it looks pretty snazzy in my entrance, don't you!?

Materials used:
American Crafts Kraft cardstock - for the base
My Mind's Eye Holly Jolly
Twinery Cappuccino twine
Teresa Collins washi tape
October Afternoon Sprinklers and Mr Hueys

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Treats

Amidst the crafty projects I need to get done before the 25th, there's a bunch of holiday baking that I also need to get done.  Chocolate Crunch and Nuts and Bolts are complete (only 5 other things left to make now!)  Here are the recipes for both in case you need a little baking inspiration.

Chocolate Crunch - aka Cracker Toffee - This stuff is Ah-Mazing.  Let's hope it lasts til Christmas.

1 cup margarine
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers (approximately...depends on pan size)
1 package milk chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325 F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet (or Jelly Roll pan) with aluminum foil.  Arrange saltines to cover the entire pan.  You may need to get creative and break some in half so that the entire pan surface is covered.  

Place margarine and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and cook on medium heat.  Do NOT turn your heat up any higher than medium or your mixture will burn.  Be patient...this is a somewhat slow process.  As the mixture starts to heat up, the margarine and sugar will slowly start to come together and bubbles will start to form.  Keep cooking until it starts to thicken up and bubble nicely.  Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the crackers and spread with an angled spatula until all crackers are covered.  Place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes.

When there's about 2 minutes left, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave.  Remove pan from oven after 10 minutes and pour the melted chocolate over top.  Spread it evenly over the crackers.  Add festive sprinkles if desired.  Place pan in freezer until hardened.  Break into pieces and enjoy!

This stuff gets gooey if left out, so store it in the freezer until serving time.

Nuts and Bolts (aka Chex Mix)

1lb Butter
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
4 cups Cheerios
4 cups Rice Chex
4 cups Shreddies
4 cups pretzel sticks
1 box Cheese Bits crackers
4 cups Praline peanuts

Place dry ingredients (except the peanuts) in a large roaster or large bowl.  Melt butter in saucepan.  Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, onion powder and celery salt.  Stir to combine.  Pour over dry ingredients.  Bake at 250 F for 1.5 hours stirring every 20 minutes or so.  Add peanuts after baking.

Store in an airtight container.  I like to store mine in the freezer if I'm making it in advance.


Monday, 3 December 2012

Handmade Christmas - Husband Gifts

It's a good thing the Hubs doesn't read my blog...because today's post is all about the gifts I've made (and still have to make) him for Christmas.  He's kind of hard to buy for sometimes because he's a big shopper, and when he finds something that he wants, he buys it.  So, this year I wanted to make him some cool things that he can't buy himself.

First up, his very own "dream" blanket.  I love Aden and Anais blankets...and so do my kids.  They're so soft and snuggly.  But, they don't come in adult size.  The Hubs loves them too.  So, my first project was to make him his own adult size dream blanket.  I'd heard that JoAnn's carried a cotton gauze fabric, so last time I was in the US I stopped in to check it out.  Totally not the same thing.  Drat.  So I did a little searching online and found some cotton bubble gauze from Dharma Trading Company.  The reviews said it was amazingly soft so I ordered 10 yards.  The reviews were right.  This stuff is luxurious!  Since I needed 4 layers for his blanket, I cut the fabric into 2.5 yard pieces.  Then, all I did was fold the edges over a 1/4" then another 1/4" and sewed as close to the edge as I could.  The fabric is a tad tricky to work with so my edges are not even close to being professional or straight for that matter, but that's gives it character right?  In about an hour, my "dream" blanket was finished!

The cotton bubble gauze only comes in white, so I decided to dye it green since we are all big Rider fans in this house.  My favorite dye to work with is Dylan Dye.  It creates beautiful colors and is really easy to work with.  1 package is good for 250 gm of fabric.  I had significantly more than that but I decided to use just the one package...I was too cheap to buy the 10 packages I probably needed and wanted a subtler colour.  Here are the results:

I didn't have anyone to hold it up so you could see how long it is, but after shrinkage it's about 45"x80".

Project #2:  I saw this cute shirt on Pinterest and thought it would make a perfect stocking stuffer.  I knew I could make it myself for cheaper, so I played around in my Silhouette software and made one very similar to the one I pinned.  I also learned a few new tricks while making this...curving text and modifying a shape.  (The original shape had shirt cuffs underneath that I didn't want in my design).  Here is the finished result:

Next, I'll be working on a scrappy photo frame for his office and a scrappy desk calendar using my Cinch.

Thanks for stopping by!