Sunday, December 25, 2011

Personalized Christmas Cookies such a cute gift idea!

Oh my word, oh so late but yet still worth it :-)
I'm the one who makes all these incredible lists...about %10 of all things on the lists get done. These cookies were one of the projects that got done before Christmas.
I got the idea from one of my favorite blogs "The sweet adventures of sugarbelle"
who had featured these lovely cookies on Glorious treats I love both these blogs, the ideas they come up with are amazing and the cookies just ooze with charm...
These were so cute I couldn't resist! the little faces with the Christmas hats were adorable!
they were fairly easy to make, just took a butt load of time. I didn't post the step by step pictures but Sugarbelle gives a step by step walk through on how to decorate these cuties. Click here for step by step tutorial.

I had mistaken the rum extract in my cupboard for the almond extract (don't worry I caught myself before adding it to the cookie dough lol) but the cookies are so much better with it. Also add some clear almond extract to the royal icing, it makes all the difference. I also found that the ideal thickness for the cookies was 1/4 inch thick. I used my regular rolling pin, but I know that the fondant roller works really great with the added rubber-bands. You can buy the rolling pin here  and the bands here or you can buy the set in walmart.
This time round I used sugar-belle's recipe for sugar cookies and her recipe for royal icing.

Royal Icing


  • 2lbs (1bag) confectioner's sugar 
  • 1/3 c. plus 1Tbsp meringue powder 
  • About 3/4 cup water

  1. Add the dry ingredients first. Use your mixer’s whisk attachment to incorporate the sugar and meringue powder. 
  2. Add the extract to the water and slowly add it to the dry ingredients while mixing. At first the icing will be very liquid-like. 
  3. Continue to mix it at medium-high speed until it is fluffy and stiff peaks form, about 7-10 minutes. Mixing times are approximate, keep your eye it icing and stop mixing as soon as it becomes stiff. Over mixing and oil-containing extracts can keep the icing from setting up, so keep this in mind as you work.
  4. This recipe makes enough icing to decorate at least 9-10 dozen cookies. Royal icing will keep at least a month. I prefer refrigerating it, but it can also be left at room temperature.

Sugar cookies

  • 1 c. {two sticks} of REAL unsalted BUTTER, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scrapped vanilla bean
  • 2-3 tsp flavoring {pick what you like, I prefer almond}
  • 2 1/2-2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
Cream together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Crack the egg into a separate bowl, and add the flavoring and the vanilla bean.  I use emulsions, but extract also works well. Add that to the butter sugar mixture and mix until the egg is thoroughly incorporated.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add little by little to the mixture.
I can tell the dough is ready when most of it sticks to the paddle.When I touch it, it has a little give, but does not stick to my fingers.
Roll out on parchment to about 1/4 an inch thick, use flour for dusting as necessary.  Then, cut and bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  This version makes 2-2 1/2 dozen, doubled, it makes 4-5 dozen.
When they are cool, they are ready to decorate.

A few notes about sugarbelle's recipe…
  • The dough DOES not need to be refrigerated.  That’s why I liked it she is truly a genius  
  • The dough needs to rest a little after mixing, it will firm up a little bit after a minute or two
  • The recipe doubles well
  • Baking times are approximate.  You must KNOW your oven.  Watch them the first few times you bake them. Get a thermometer, and do not over bake.  If the cookies are browning you have gone too far.
  • This dough can be flavored any way you like.
  • The cookies freeze well
  • There is a lot of leavener in these cookies.  This is not a typo.  The general rule is less leavener so they don’t spead, but I’ve never been one to follow the rules.
  • This recipe does spread a little.  If you don’t like that add a little flour.
  • Speaking of flour, start with 2 1/2 cups.  Add another 1/4 of a cup if the dough seems to sticky.
  • If you don’t like salt, leave it out altogether.
  • If you only have salted butter, use that and reduce the salt.
  • I prefer decorating day-old cookies.  They are less likely to leach oil back into your icing if they have had a day or two to “dry out”.  They are still soft, however.
Again these recipes were adapted from "The sweet adventures of sugarbelle"


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!, vrolijke kerstfeest!, Joyeux noel!,

The Evans family wish you the fairest, happiest and most blessed Christmas ever! God has blessed us with extraordinary families. And we don't intend to let that go to waste :-) we are enjoying this precious time with both our families! A lot of Christmas carols, sugar cookie nibbling and tons of giggles from young to old! What a blessed time!
Take a moment of silence to just thank God for at least one thing in your life (even if that might seem hard) and remember the reason for this season...God have His son to die for us, so that if we choose we can spend an eternity with Him! That is the best gift EVER! Thank you father!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Layered Peppermint Bark

 Peppermint bark is one my favorite holiday treat! I love the creamy chocolate and crunch the candy canes produce. These make great gifts and the ingredients are really easy to come by.
You can find all sorts of packaged peppermint bark in the stores but if you, like I have noticed the price. it's far from fair. It's a pretty easy recipe to make and seems simple enough. The only problem I had was with the white chocolate; specifically while pouring the white chocolate onto the cooled dark chocolate. The dark chocolate melted slightly and started to swirl in with the white chocolate . I'm not sure what I did wrong, if anyone has some idea on how to fix this please let me know ;-) all in all the recipe was a success.
This recipe uses a peppermint ganache in the middle it really is good (In the pictures I omitted the ganache)
But you should really try it! also make sure you use good chocolate like ghirardelli.

These can be made as gifts...make a couple batches and wrap them up pretty in some cute boxes (Target has some pretty Chinese take-out boxes in the dollar section), add a little encouraging note and pack up your courage and go knock on your neighbors doors. You will be surprised how easy it is to get to know your neighbors and I'm sure they will appreciate the gesture...and who knows you might find some awesome gifts at your door step ;-)

 ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 
 Mark 12:31

Layered Peppermint Bark


  • 20 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 30 peppermint candies, crushed, divided (don't use the food processor, make sure you use a zip-lock bag and your rolling pin)
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract


  1. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Melt half of the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. Spread the white chocolate into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1/4 of the crushed peppermints evenly over white chocolate. Chill until firm, about 15-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate, heavy cream, and peppermint extract together in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently, until just melted. Quickly pour the chocolate layer over the chilled white chocolate layer; spread evenly. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently, until just melted. Spread quickly over the chilled bark. Sprinkle with the remaining peppermint pieces; chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut or break into small pieces to serve.
Courtesy of allrecipes


Creamy Leftover Turkey And Rice Soup

I know this might seem a little late to post about left over turkey recipes ;-) but my family and I had a somewhat later thanksgiving then normal! My husband graduated from his police academy this past week. I couldn't be more proud of him ;-). Because of his graduation we postponed thanksgiving until the the graduation so that my family could be with us. I successfully roasted my first turkey (hurray!!! I feel so accomplished, more on that latter). of course with a big turkey comes loads of leftovers...sigh! all the possibilities!
I love soup especially chicken soup, it's a warm soup that warms both the body and soul. it's comfort at it's best!
This one does require you to save the carcass (isn't that just a horrid word...yuck) of the turkey. I'm one to believe it is a sore loss if you throw away the carcass it has such great flavor.

This soup is a meal in itself and definitely does not disappoint in the flavor department ;-) it's very filling
The recipe makes quite a big amount but this freezes very well and actually tastes so much better the day after.
Why not make the soup and send some to a friend who is fighting a cold? Hospitality is something I really miss and sadly it seems to be disappearing. Have some friends over, it doesn't need to be fancy just open up your home. Send some baked goods out and share the joy of cooking and baking with others this holiday season ;-)

" Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen"  1 Peter 4:7-11

Leftover Turkey and Rice Soup


  • 1 leftover turkey carcass
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon granules (I ended up putting 2 cubes chicken bouillon in the soup)
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Place turkey carcass in a soup pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove carcass; cool. Set aside 3 qt. broth. Remove turkey from bones and cut into bite-size pieces; set aside.
  2. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, saute the onions, carrots and celery in butter until tender. Reduce heat; stir in flour until blended. Gradually add 1 qt. of reserved broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Add cream, rice, salt, bouillon, pepper, remaining broth and reserved turkey. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree...

I absolutely am addicted to twinkle lights! especially on a Christmas tree...I love Christmas decorations and could sit in front of the tree all night...oh wait I have lol
My dad loves the Christmas tree and I can remember him sitting in front of it just gazing at it with his coffee in his hand and bible on his knee ;-)

we recently set up our Christmas tree, I love it! here are some pictures of my tree up close.
I read this awesome idea and decided that next year we will try it. Set up your Christmas tree, but instead of filling it up with ornaments, leave the tree bare. For every blessing you receive or give put one ornament on the will be amazed at how quickly the tree runs out of room!

Hope you have a blessed Christmas! May you feel God's love surround you and know that He is the true reason for celebration! Be a blessing and accept the blessing!

God Bless!

Cinnamon Bun Wafffles...Ingenious!!!

Ingenious idea really!  I was wondering what to do with the pre-packaged ready to use cinnamon buns I had in the fridge that needed to be used ASAP! This was when my oven wasn't working and I was not about to nuke them (yuck to the thought alone). What to do, what to do...
Pinterest came to my rescue and this idea popped up! Ingenious simple perfect! I could use my waffle iron to cook the round circles of cinnamon goodness!

The first batch I did stuck pretty bad to the grill but once I got the hang of it and after using the pam spray this idea worked wonderfully and made for an awesome change in our breakfast!
It's really easy and actually is faster than the oven.
Give it a try...just remember to spray both sided of the waffle iron well before cooking the waffles.

Unwrap the package and separate the circles

Make sure you let the waffle iron get good and hot, spray both sides generously with pam cooking spray and then place one circle on each waffle iron

let it cook until done, be careful not to scratch the grill when taking the waffles out. Top them off with a frosting glaze...yummy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So Proud Of My Man!

YES!!! My husband has finished his training and passed his test! I couldn't be more proud of him! he has done so much for this family! I'm glad he is able to do a job he loves and pray he continues to love it! God has been on to the next step...can't wait!

Pictures to follow! but while you wait I couldn't help but post this one of my cutie patootie :-)

Oh the many messy joys of fall leaved lol

Monday, December 5, 2011

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...Courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference. - Kristone

"A well-used Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to a person who isn't..."

Turn that quote around and you have me...

I once again am not able to sleep (I haven't been able to for a good 4 nights now) My mind starts going into overdrive at night, most of my best ideas are born at midnight, problems are solved and books are written (yeah right! :-s)
One of the struggles I've had this past week has been insignificance...pretty intense feelings too.
I often wonder what I'm called to do and if I'm even anywhere close to doing it. I feel very frustrated, that I'm in a place right now in life, where I'm the one who seems to be in need all the time. But somehow never gets the chance to help others out as much I see them helping me. Hence the feelings of insignificance and major mooching...ugh...sigh
I often ask God why he can't give us a little extra so we can help others out too. And I can go on about all the negative feelings that come from that including anger...oh how I can dwell on the oh so very insignificant details lol If I over think I even start throwing myself a pity party and depression follows close behind.

I can go on like this for hours even days before I finally can see somewhat clearly...sad isn't confirms my human nature (at it's best!) "I fall apart"
So that of course brings me to my beginning part of this blog...

"A well-used Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to a person who isn't..."

exactly!!! read it again...yep you got problem is solved! all this moping for this simple but yet so frustratingly hard solution...I don't really like the word solution in this context since a solution is mostly a temporary fix, this however is to be grasped as a life altering change. but I have the hardest time breaking my worst habits and to find the time to open this wondrous book that holds the key to my failing relationship with my savior. yes failing due to my "lack" of time and honestly...discipline...I have become as flavorless as old salt..and you know what the bible says about that right? will be cast out.
I don't want to be cast out and honestly want to serve with all my heart.
It all lies in my reach and it's my decision, God has made it clear what He wants me to do...and that is spending time with Him in His word. I can't expect Him to give me everything when I can't even take the time of day to open His word. The pastor gave this story in his sermon and it stuck with me...he said "I told my kids to have the lawn mowed by Friday afternoon, I explained what needed to be done they nodded their heads in understanding. Friday came around and the boys had not even started yet. I approached them and asked why the lawn had not yet been mowed...the boys responded that they had just absolutely Loved hearing me ask and were just touched by the way they heard me ask them to mow the lawn, they just were touched by my choice of words and were even brought the the brink of tears...And they told me they just loved that I took the time to tell them what to do. I stopped them and looked at them astonished and asked them again WHY they hadn't mowed the lawn?" we are like that when we talk to God and spend time at church...we hear what God has to say and are even touched and sometimes brought to tears because of the message yet never get around to actually doing it. That is a hard lesson I am learning now...
Before i can even help anyone else I need to get right myself and i can do that by picking up my bible and spending time with god otherwise I am just flying with a blindfold and am not much of a help to anybody...

Another thing that bothered me was:
Things have become more important than people, Americans spent close to 74million dollars on buying gum alone in one year yet missions throughout all the protestant churches in the states only raised less than half of that in a year...sad...and i am one to blame...Do I care about people or just about what stuff I need for the house?

This compelled me to make a change this Christmas
This Christmas we are dropping presents and instead of us getting things we are going to give things...we have decided to support a military unit in Afghanistan this Christmas, the unit consist of 4 marines and they are based out of North Carolina. they are overseas now and will be during the holidays as well. We are going to start a box for them soon and hopefully get it sent out in time for Christmas!

If you are interested in doing something like this please visit this site and start a box for a soldier ;-)
Pray for the box before you send it and make sure that God speaks to thru you ;-)

This is my soldier!!! so proud of him and I love him he has been the reason behind my smile ;-)

So my advice to myself and others is always start your day with Him, talk to Him and take the time to listen to what He wants you to do, always read and spend time getting to know your Savior! He gave everything up for's the least you can do!!!

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

God Bless