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Holiday Activity Sheets & Recipes from The Boxtrolls on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD 1/20/15

 

311193K3_Boxtrolls_BDOring_3DShot

If you read my blog on a regular basis you have probably read a few posts about the film The Boxtrolls. The movie will soon be released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download on January 20, 2015.

Quirky, mischievous and good-hearted, the Boxtrolls are unique creatures who have lovingly raised a human boy named Eggs in a fantastical charming cavern below the bustling streets of Cheesebridge. But when the evil Archibald Snatcher schemes to capture Eggs’ family, it’s up to Eggs and his feisty new friend Winnie to save the Boxtrolls.

Based upon the book Here Be Monsters! The Boxtrolls voice cast also includes Academy Award® nominee Toni Collette, Jared Harris (Mad Men), Nick Frost (The World’s End), Richard Ayoade (The Watch), Tracy Morgan (30 Rock), and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead).

The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and Blu-ray™ 3D Combo Pack include a Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD with UltraViolet™.

  • Blu-ray™ unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6x the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
  • DVD offers the flexibility and convenience of playing movies in more places, both at home and away.
  • DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet™ lets you watch movies anywhere, on any device. Users can instantly stream or download movies to watch on iPad®, iPhone®, Android™, smart TVs, connected Blu-ray™ players, game consoles and more. 

Bonus Features Exclusive to Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & Blu-ray 3D™ Combo Pack 

  • PRELIMINARY ANIMATIC SEQUENCES
    • Play with Commentary by Directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable
    • Baby In The Trash
    • Eggs In The Underworld
    • Man On A Horse
    • Trubshaw’s Inventorium
    • Cheese Shop
    • Tea And Cheese 

Bonus Features on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D™ Combo Pack and DVD

  • DARE TO BE SQUARE: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE BOXTROLLS
  • VOICING THE BOXTROLLS

The tremendously talented cast members of The Boxtrolls discuss what it’s like to voice an animated puppet, what each actor brought to his/her role, whether their personalities were similar to their characters, and more.

  • INSIDE THE BOX

The directors, producers, and creative supervisor of character fabrication Georgina Hayns share the challenges of crafting characters who are inside a box.

  • THE BIG CHEESE: ALLERGY SNATCHER

The directors and producers are joined by Brian McLean, director of Rapid Prototyping, to discuss how the animation studio LAIKA creates the faces for their puppets.   The big story here – literally! – is how Snatcher’s face changes shape due to his cheese allergy.

  • DECONSTRUCTING THE DANCE

Discover how LAIKA combined traditional stop-motion animation with visual effects in order to create the beautiful ballroom dance sequence – and  how costume designer Deborah Cook met the challenge of creating costumes that could flow during a dance scene.

  • THINK BIG: THE MECHA DRILL

Standing 5 feet tall and weighing over 75 pounds, the Mecha-Drill is the largest stop motion puppet/prop ever created by LAIKA.  Follow its creation from design to completion. 

  • FEATURETTES
  • THE NATURE OF CREATION
  • TROLLS RIGHT OFF THE TONGUE
  • ALLERGIC TO EASY
  • LET’S DANCE
  • ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS 
  • FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTORS Anthony Stacchi AND GRAHAM ANNABLE

To get you excited about the film’s release here are some activities and recipes for you to download and enjoy. Simply click on each graphic to download the content.

Enjoy!

Click Communications: BLOGGER BUTTONS &emdash;
Click Communications: BLOGGER BUTTONS &emdash;
Click Communications: BLOGGER BUTTONS &emdash;
Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. 

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Last minute gift ideas and stocking stuffers

 

Stocking

We’re coming down to the wire. Christmas is NEXT WEEK! Can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday the kids were going back to school.

Are you done with your holiday shopping yet? Thankfully we finally are. Normally I’m done by November but this year we cut it pretty close. I’m just glad we’re done shopping. Now we just have to wrap.

I do have to pick up some stocking stuffers for my kids. They are older now so I usually get them an orange, some candy and a few small items for their stockings (earphones, lip gloss, gift card…).

This year my kids are going to find some holiday PEEPS® in their stockings.

PEEPS

There are so many holiday themed PEEPS® to choose from.

  • PEEPS® Milk Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookie Flavored Chicks (3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Gingerbread-Flavored Marshmallow Gingerbread Men (6 ct and 3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored Chicks (3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Milk Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Mint Flavored Trees (individually wrapped)
  • PEEPS® Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Reindeer (6 ct)
  • PEEPS® Marshmallow Trees (3 and 9 ct)
  • PEEPS® Marshmallow Snowmen (3 and 9 ct)
  • PEEPS® Holiday Rainbow POP (4 ct)

This year PEEPS has a few new marshmallow treats to choose from.

  • NEW PEEPS® Marshmallow Minions (6ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Hot Cocoa & Cream Flavored Marshmallow Dipped Chicks in White Fudge (3 ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallow Chicks (10 ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Large Marshmallow Snowmen (1 ct and 3 ct)

I LOVE the PEEPS® Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored Chicks! They are like potato chips – it’s hard to stop at just one. They are the perfect combination of marshmallow, peppermint and chocolate. Mmm… I wish I had more. Now I’m craving them.

PEEPS® was kind enough to send me some holiday PEEPS® to try out.

The PEEPS® Large Marshmallow Snowmen are HUGE. I love marshmallows in my hot chocolate so I put one in a mug of hot chocolate. It was way too big. :-) It was like drinking a mug of marshmallow topped with hot chocolate. That’s OK. It was still good.

The large PEEP was a bit too big for my mug of hot chocolate - but it was still yummy!

The large PEEP was a bit too big for my mug of hot chocolate – but it was still yummy!

Recently my kids and I made “cookies” out of graham crackers. We dipped/smeared melted chocolate on graham crackers and topped them with nuts, sprinkles, candy canes and PEEPS®. In a way it was like eating a S’more because it had a graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow.

PEEPS® make great stocking stuffers AND additions to you holiday baking and treat making.

Cookies-2

My son even put one of the treats we made into the microwave for 15 seconds to malt the PEEP so that it was mroe like a S’more.

Smore

I wanted to do something “crafty” with the PEEPS® too. Since it’s the holiday season my first thought was an ornament. PEEPS® get hard (stale) when left out in the air. I thought I could put an ornament “hanger” into a PEEP, let it go stale and hang it from the tree.

The idea was interesting… but not such a good idea when you have a dog and cats. It’s just one more temptation for them to want to get into the tree. So I nixed that idea. Maybe some day I’ll try it.

My next thought was a bouquet/centerpiece made out PEEPS®, but I wanted to keep them in the packages so they wouldn’t go stale.

It took me a bit to get it to work but I finally did it. If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the photo already.

Peeps Basket

I thought something like this would be fun to set out at a holiday party (for adults or children) so that people can “pick” one of the packages of PEEPS® out of the bouquet and enjoy (either at the party or when they go home). It also makes a cute centerpiece.

Even our cat Bella liked the PEEPS® bouquet/centerpiece I made. So much so she was chewing on the packages trying to get them to open.

PEEP BELLA

This year PEEPS® has Minion shaped PEEPS®. I love the Minions! I had heard of the Minion PEEPS® but couldn’t find them in the store. I am thrilled that PEEPS® sent me some. They are so cute! These would make a cute gift addition for the Minion fan in your life.

Minion PEEPS

Too cute! The Minion PEEPS® are big too.

As you can see, PEEPS® can make a fun addition to your holiday, whether it’s for stocking stuffers, hot cocoa or even thinking outside of the box and creating something fun with them.

For more creative ideas using these fun and flavorful marshmallow treats visit www.MarshmallowPeeps.com. You can also check out the brand’s site, www.PeepsandCompany.com. You can also find them on social media.

Do you enjoy PEEPS®? What is your favorite flavor/shape? Have you ever used PEEPS® in a recipe or craft?

Peeps logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Ho-Ho-Honey Maid for the Holidays

 

Graham Crackers

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is NEXT WEEK. Have you finished your holiday shopping and decorating yet? What about baking? I know a lot of people look forward to this time of year so they can bake up all their favorite recipes to share with family and friends.

Sadly baking is not my strong point. I might not be a great baker but I’m always happy to give a recipe a try. I love sweet treats.

I wish I could be more “crafty” in the kitchen and think “outside of the box” more often.

I have partnered up with Honey Maid Graham Crackers to try out some delicious holiday recipes using their popular graham crackers.

I grew up on Honey Maid Graham Crackers. My mom always sent them to school with me as a snack. Sometime she’s spread a little peanut butter on them too. Yummy!

Honey Maid Graham Crackers and milk were the snack of choice at my elementary school. My Kindergarten teacher gave them to us every day.

I grew up on Honey Maid Graham Crackers as did my kids. It’s rare not to find a package or two in our pantry. They make a great snack. Did you know that they can also be incorporated into holiday recipes (and year round recipes) too?

Gift Basket

 

Honey Maid sent me a wonderful gift basket and asked me to create something fun with my family.

The gift basket came with a recipe I really wanted to try but my husband and son wouldn’t eat it (they don’t like cheesecake) and my teen daughter would only pick at it (she’s always watching her figure). I wouldn’t trust myself with them. I would gobble them all up myself. LOL!

I thought I would share the recipe with readers because it looks so easy to make and the end result is perfect for the holiday season.

Honey Maid Cheesecake Presents

Holiday Cheesecake Presents

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours and 10 minutes

Makes 32 servings

Ingredients:

  • 10 Honey Maid Graham Crackers, finely crushed (about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs)
  • 1/3 cup of butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp of sugar
  • 3 packages (8 ounce each) brick cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of Vanilla
  • 3 Eggs
  • Decorating gels, colored sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix graham crumbs, butter and 3 Tbsp. sugar; press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. *Line pan with foil before pressing crumb mixture onto bottom of pan (it will make them easier to remove)
  3. Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended. Pour over crust.
  4. Bake 30 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours. Cut into bars. Decorate with gels and sprinkles to resemble presents.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 150 calories, 10g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 55mg cholesterol, 130mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 0g dietary fiber, 9g sugars, 2g protein

I wanted to make “Gingerbread Houses” with the Honey Maid Grahams. My kids used to make them in elementary school. They are in high school now so it’s been a long time since we made them.

Back in the day we used small milk cartons as a “base”. Then we used frosting to stick graham crackers around it to form a house. Then we’d use the remaining frosting and assorted candies to decorate it, just as you would with a gingerbread house. My kids LOVED making these.

My “game plan” was to make them again with my kids, but that is easier said than done when it comes to teens. I’m hoping that maybe over the holiday break they will want to make some.

I tried to think “outside” the Honey Maid box (LOL). Since my kids love decorating cookies I thought it would be fun to decorate the grahams. Instead of using frosting I opted for chocolate.

grahams

My kids and I melted chocolate in the microwave, taking care not to burn it. Then we dipped, drizzled and spread the chocolate onto squares of Honey Maid Grahams. We each had our own way of adding the chocolate to our grahams.

I offered my family an assortment of topping including marshmallows, sprinkles, nuts, candy canes, colored sugar and more and let them design their own treats. I think they turned out pretty good.

Cookies 1

Cookies 2

My son had the great idea of popping one of the marshmallow topped graham crackers in the microwave for a few seconds. Ta Da! Instant S’mores!

It's hard to tell from the photo but the marshmallow is melted.

It’s hard to tell from the photo but the marshmallow is melted.

There are so many wonderful recipes you can use Honey Maid Grahams with. Check out this yummy recipe video for some inspiration.

 

There is going to be a recipe and prize filled Twitter party on December 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM (EST), just in time for the holiday. To participate please RSVP here – http://www.rolemommy.com/role-mommy-recipes/join-us-for-a-holiday-baking-t.php.

You’ll also need to use the hashtags #ThisIsWholesome and #HoneyMaid in your tweets to be eligible for the prizes. I hope you can join in on the conversation (and win great prizes too!).

For more information about Honey Maid products visit www.HoneyMaid.com. You can also find the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out the recipe section too for more great recipes.

How do YOU and your family enjoy Honey Maid Graham Crackers? Do you use them in your recipes? Do you enjoy them as a snack? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

KRAFT FOODS LOGO

Kimberly

*I received a free gift basket in exchange for my participation. Although compensated the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes – Great side dishes and main meals (giveaway ends 12/22/14)

 

Potatoes 2

I grew up in a home where my mom made every meal from scratch. She would never even entertain the thought of anything “instant” or something you need to toss in a microwave to warm up. Of course, we’re going back a million years ago – back in the Stone Age (ha ha). I’m sure if my mom was still alive she would take advantage of the many wonderful convenience foods available to us to help make meal planning quicker and easier.

One thing my mom would do that I couldn’t imagine doing is making mashed potatoes from scratch. She would painstakingly peel the potatoes, boil them, and then mash them with a potato masher with bit of milk and butter. I LOVED my moms mashed potatoes. She would mash them so much there wouldn’t be any lumps in them. When she’d make them for my brother in law she’d make a lumpy batch for him. He loved the lumpy kind.

I miss my mom’s mashed potatoes. I’m sure I could re-create my beloved mashed potatoes, but I honestly don’t have the time (or the patience). There are days I’m on the go-go-go that I don’t even know what I am making for dinner, let alone make something from scratch.

My family and I have been enjoying Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes for years. They are so easy to make (just boil water, add the potatoes, mix and enjoy!) and come in flavors my family loves. Best of all, they taste like real mashed potatoes.

Some instant mashed potatoes taste watery and very “light.” They don’t give you the thick and creamy mashed potatoes our moms and grandmas used to make. That is why we love Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes. They are close to the home made taste I grew up with.

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Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes are available in several different flavor varieties.

  • Idahoan Buttery Homestyle
  • Idahoan Four Cheese
  • Idahoan Loaded Baked
  • Idahoan Baby Reds
  • Idahoan Roasted Garlic

We had the Roasted Garlic this evening with dinner.

I love that Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes are now available in larger, family sized pouches. My husband and son have huge appetites and LOVE mashed potatoes so I usually have to make two packages. I don’t mind. Sometimes I even mix/match the flavors.

Here is a little more information about the Idahoan brand.

Idahoan is a grower-owned company in Eastern Idaho which began over 50 years ago. Idahoan uses 100% Idaho potatoes in all of its products. The rich, volcanic soil, warm days, cool nights and mountain water from the area offer the perfect conditions for growing high-quality potatoes.  Idahoan uses a proprietary one-pass process in dehydrating these potatoes which allows them to retain the authentic, homemade taste and texture without the hassle of washing, peeling, boiling and mashing. In fact, families can enjoy our mashed potatoes in as little as 4 minutes. Simply put, Idahoan is in the business of making lives easier.

Today, Idahoan offers a full range of products including flavored mashed, original mashed and casserole style dishes such as Scalloped and Au Gratin.  Flavored mashed options range from traditional tastes such as Buttery Homestyle and Loaded Baked to more adventuresome varieties such as Bacon Cheddar Chipotle and White Cheese.  Idahoan also offers its top varieties in convenient microwaveable cups which are ready in 90 seconds and perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle.

It’s nice to learn a little background for the brands that you use often. I think it makes you appreciate them even more.

I mostly use Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes as side dishes to my main meals (mashed potatoes are a MUST with meatloaf). Did you know that Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes also make great main meals too?

There are a lot of mouth-watering recipes found on the Idahoan website. You can find the Idahoan-inspired recipes on their website.

Here are just a few of the recipes you’ll find in the Idahoan recipe section.

Mashed Potato Topped Green Bean Casserole

Chevre Mashed Potatoes with Peas and Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Garlic Horseradish Mashed

Loaded Baked Bean Soup

Buffalo Chicken Layered Mashed

Idahoan Potato Crusted Rib Roast

I wanted to try one of the recipes. I had a few favorites but my teenage daughter asked if she could make something. I do love that she is learning to cook, which is a skill she’ll need when she’s on her own (she graduates in June!). However she tends NOT to follow directions. She likes to “wing it” and do things her own way – which is fine, and I admire that – but sometimes it’s important to follow the directions in order to ensure that you do things properly.

My daughter chose Idahoan Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes.

Ingredients

Recipe Card

The recipe called for Panko breadcrumbs, which I didn’t have. My daughter felt that regular breadcrumbs would work OK (they didn’t).

No one like Colby cheese but me, so my daughter wanted to use either cheddar, smoked cheddar or American cheese. My husband and son won out (they only like American cheese).

My family doesn’t like chives (except me) or sour cream.

It makes you wonder WHY she chose this recipe? I guess it’s because it looked easy enough to do for a novice cook like my daughter.

The recipe calls for you to mix just the mashed potatoes and chives in a bowl. Actually you need to mix ALL the ingredients in a bowl, except the sour cream and bacon. Those go on last after it’s cooked.

I had her add a little water because they seemed a bit dry and wouldn’t form into patties (they were crumbly).

Patties

The patties looked pretty good, although she made them look more like meatballs. Half way through I told her to flatted them a bit so they would cook better.

They cooked for a bit (and she even set off the smoke alarm – Ha Ha). Soon we had Idahoan Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes.

patties 2

We also topped them with some bacon pieces (although I would have loved to use sour cream – I think it would have been an amazing combination).

Bacon

They were good. Maybe a wee bit dry, but I think with practice (and perhaps following the recipe exactly) they would turn out a lot better.

I plan on trying one of the potato soup recipes I found (and bookmarked) from the Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potato website. I love potato soup. I’ve only made it from a can. I never gave instant mashed potatoes a thought. Know that I know you can use them for soup I plan on making it – a lot.

If you would like to learn more about Idahoan potatoes visit Idahoan.com. You can also check them out on Facebook.

For information about their flavored mashed potato products you can click here.

For more Idahoan inspired recipe visit the Idahoan recipe section.

Idahoan

Idahoan would love to give a lucky reader a fabulous prize package which consists of the following; 

  • 4 pouches Idahoan Buttery Homestyle
  • 4 pouches Idahoan Four Cheese
  • 4 pouches Idahoan Loaded Baked
  • 4 pouches Idahoan Baby Reds
  • 4 pouches Idahoan Roasted Garlic
  • 1 deck custom Idahoan playing cards
  • 1 Idahoan branded premium soup bowl/cup

 The total retail value is $50.00.  Awesome!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place. One winner per household, email address, or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me what your favorite flavor of mashed potatoes – OR – your favorite way to enjoy mashed potatoes (as a side? as part of a main meal?).

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I participated in this event on behalf of Wendy’s Bloggers for Idahoan Foods. I received Idahoan products to facilitate my review

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Celebrating the Season with adorable recipes from Women’s Day magazine

 

WD Dec '14 Cover

It’s that time of year again. Time to plan out whose house it hosting the holiday gathering, who is bring what dish the family table and what cookies to bake for family and friends this year.

I LOVE HOMEMADE COOKIES! Well, to be honest, I love cookies in general.

It’s on my “Bucket List” to attend a cookie swap. The sad thing is that my friends mostly all life upstate AND I can’t really bake. I’m a decent cook but baking is something I haven’t mastered yet. I wish I was a talented baker.

The other day I was at the grocery store picking up a couple of things when I saw the December issue of Women’s Day on display (pictured above). My eyes were instantly drawn to the adorable snowman cupcake predominantly featured on the front cover. How cute!

I thought to myself that the snowman cupcake would make an adorable treat for a holiday get together. I think it would be fun to put them all on a large tray and sprinkle shredded coconut around them to make it resemble snowmen in the yards. Maybe even adorn the tray with other holiday themed candies. It would make for an adorable centerpiece AND dessert all in one.

Our friends at Women’s Day magazine were kind enough to provide the recipe for these darling snowman so you can make them yourselves. They also provided other adorable cookie recipes.

Get ready for the most delicious time of year – the December issue of Woman’s Day magazine features 25 festive sweets that the whole family is sure to enjoy. Go ahead, indulge! Featuring goodies like merry snowman cupcakes, cheerful Oreo penguins and decorative elf cookies, these confections will spread the holiday joy among everyone on your list.

WDY120114_134

Snowman Cupcakes:

  • Total time – 2 hours and 10 minutes
  • Make 8 snowmen
  • Cost per snowman – .41 cents

Instructions

  1. Make 1 batch basic gingerbread cupcakes (see below) as directed.
  2. Line 8 holes of the muffin pan with red paper liners and lightly coat the remaining holes with cooking spray.
  3. Make 1 batch vanilla buttercream (see below) as directed.
  4. When the baked cupcakes have cooled completely, in a food processor, pulse the 4 unwrapped cupcakes into fine crumbs.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the crumbs and 6 Tbsp buttercream, then roll into 8 balls (1. in. each; about 1. Tbsp).
  6. Frost the remaining cupcakes with buttercream (about 2 Tbsp each) and coat with finely shredded coconut (about 1 tsp each).
  7. Use toothpicks to secure the cake balls to the cupcakes, then frost each ball with ½ Tbsp buttercream and coat with finely shredded coconut (about 1 tsp each).
  8. Decorate using mini chocolate chips for eyes and buttons, orange Tic Tacs for noses, sour candy strips for scarves and melted chocolate for the mouth.
  9. Make hats using chocolate jelly rings, buttercream and mini chocolate chips.

Gingerbread Cupcake:

  • Total time – 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Makes 12 cupcakes
  • Cost per cupcake – .36 cents

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1½ tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg and ¼ tsp kosher salt.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the ½ cup vegetable oil, ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap), ¼ cup water and ½ tsp pure vanilla extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix until fully incorporated (the batter will be thin).
  6. Divide the batter among the lined muffin cups (about 3 Tbsp each) and bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes.
  7. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • Total time – 10 minutes
  • Make 3 1/4 cups
  • Cost $4.15

Instructions

  1. Sift 1 lb confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce the mixer to low and gradually add the sugar, alternating with the 2 Tbsp heavy cream.
  4. Mix in 2 tsp pure vanilla extract.
  5. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

WDY120114_080

Oreo Penguins:

  • Total time – 1 hour
  • Makes 12 cookies
  • Cost per cookie – .12 cents

Instructions

  1. Separate 12 standard Oreos.
  2. Press ½ tsp shredded coconut onto each cream piece (discard plain pieces).
  3. Separate 12 mini Oreos; scrape off and discard the cream.
  4. Cut 12 of the mini pieces in half.
  5. Using royal icing (see below), stick candy eyes and the cut side of half a banana Runt on one mini piece (for the face).
  6. Attach 2 half pieces to the body (for the wings).
  7. Stick the cut sides of 2 banana Runt halves into the cream for the feet.
  8. Repeat to create 12 penguins.

Royal Icing:

  • Total time – 12 minutes
  • Makes 2 cups
  • Cost – $1.40

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat 3 large egg whites and ½ tsp cream of tartar on medium-high speed until foamy, about 1 minute.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add 1 lb confectioners’ sugar, beating until just incorporated.
  3. Increase the speed to high and beat until medium-stiff glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.

WDY120114_133_133

Elf Cookies:

  • Total Time – 2 hours
  • Cost per cookie – .26 cents

Instructions

  1. Make 1 batch royal icing (see above) as directed and tint using gel food color as desired.
  2. Transfer 1/3 of each color to a separate pastry bag fitted with a fine tip.
  3. Use a few drops of water to thing the icing remaining in the bowls; place in separate pastry bags fitted with small round tips.
  4. Using the thicker icing, outline the hats, clothes, beards and faces of the elves on 24 Nutter Butter cookies.
  5. Fill the hats and clothes using the thinner icing.
  6. Let dry between colors.
  7. Use finely shredded coconut for Santa’s beard (while icing is wet) and use icing to attach sliced almonds for the elves’ ears.

These are adorable! Whether you are a talented baker or someone like me who is not a great baker but could certainly decorate some cookies with icing, these recipes are a “must have” for your holiday cookbooks.

Look for the December issue of Women’s Day where ever magazines are sold. You can also visit WomensDay.com to subscribe or to learn more about the publication. The magazine is also found on all the social media sites (the links are found on their home page).

WDY120114_079_079

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted these recipes and photos with permission for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Celebrate “Friendsgiving” with these Dynamic Duos

 

Thanksgiving Turkey

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is almost here? Oh my goodness! Wasn’t it JUST summer yesterday? It sure seems that way. Before you know it our kids will be making out Valentine’s Day cards for their friends. Sigh… time flies way too quickly.

This is the first year we’ll actually be making Thanksgiving dinner in about 17 years. We used to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s mother and occasionally my family over the years. Sadly after my parents passed away and my mother in law too, our relatives seemed to scatter and Thanksgivings as we came to know and love were over and done with. :-(

For the past several years it’s just been me, my husband and our two kids. My kids are not big on turkey so we’ve been purchasing a pre-made meal and just adding a few extras for the kids so everyone has plenty to eat. It’s worked out OK so far.

This year we have a turkey in our freezer so we are going to attempt to make dinner this year. Wish us luck!

With it just being me and my husband and out kids at Thanksgiving it can be kind of sad and lonely. My husband is from a large family and my family consisted of cousins and even my ex-sister in law. So we are used to being around a lot of people.

Sadly people pass away, move away or for ridiculous reasons just don’t associate with family anymore. We’ll never have a Thanksgiving like we used to.

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to invite friends over for Thanksgiving. We have a lot of friends, both near and far. I would LOVE to have Thanksgiving with them, however our home is not big enough. So to have Thanksgiving with friends we’d need to go to a friend’s house.

Two of my childhood friends (circa 86'). I'm the one in the red sunglasses.

Two of my childhood friends (circa 86′). I’m the one in the red sunglasses.

Sharing Thanksgiving with your friends – “Friendsgiving” – is a wonderful thing. After all, many friends are considered a part of your family so it only makes sense to have them join you in this special holiday.

Thanksgiving is all about being “thankful” and “grateful”.I for one am very thankful and grateful for my friends. My friends ARE my family. I love them as much as I do my own family members.

It’s great to have friends, especially a best friend. My husband is my best friend but I also have best friends that I grew up with and are still friends with today (even though we don’t see each other much due to distance – thank goodness for Facebook).

Speaking of friends, on January 1, 2015 all ten seasons of Friends will be available on Netflix!

Netflix has a lot of movies and programming that showcase best friends – or you could say “Dynamic Duos”. I’m sure these duos are thankful for their friendships and probably would have a “Friendsgiving” if they were real. LOL!

Check out these great suggestions fro Netflix that highlight friendship and the specials bonds friends have with one another.

For the little ones…

Kids

1. Bob and Larry: VeggieTales in the House
2. Bert and Ernie: Sesame Street: Elmo and Friends
3. Bo and Dezzy: Bo on the Go!
4. Justin and Olive: Justin Time
5. Tod and Copper: The Fox and the Hound 2
6. Clifford and Elizabeth: Clifford

For the bigger kids…

Big Kids

1. Phineas and Ferb
2. Shaggy and Scooby: Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
3. Vada and Thomas: My Girl
4. Martin and Chris: Wild Kratts
5. Finn and Jake: Adventure Time
6. Mario and Luigi: The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
7. Charlotte and Wilbur: Charlotte’s Web

Suggestions for grown ups…

Adults

1. Rory and Lorelai: Gilmore Girls
2. Schmidt and Nick: New Girl
3. Ted and Barney: How I Met Your Mother
4. Liz and Jack: 30 Rock
5. Walter and Jesse: Breaking Bad
6. Mulder and Scully: The X-Files
7. Wayne and Garth: Wayne’s World

Can you think of other shows or movies that highlight special friendships? Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section.

For more information about Netflix, or to check out other available movies, television series and more, visit Netflix.com. You can also find them on the various social media sites.

While we are on the subject of Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving), it’s a good idea to have some arts and crafts available for the little ones to keep them busy while dinner is cooking. Coloring books, crayons, and even Netflix are great ideas for keeping little ones entertained and busy.

Bob and Larry (Veggie Tales) are made out of veggies often seen at holiday tables (usually in salad – LOL). Check out this super cute craft that would be a lot of fun to make on Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving.

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While you’re prepping Friendsgiving dinner, give the kids a few extra veggies, paint and paper to see what fun designs they can make. Click here to learn how to make your own veggie stamps, including instructions for making our favorite veggie friends, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber.

Check out this yummy appetizer idea, also inspired by Veggie Tales.

I’ve made a similar recipe in the past with pickles (which are actually cucumbers). I spread cream cheese on ham and then wrap it around a pickle spear. I’ll have to try this recipe one day.

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Celebrate the launch of VeggieTales (or just enjoy a pre-Friendsgiving snack) with cucumber roll-ups stuffed with veggie cream cheese. Anything can go into cucumber rolls, but for this version we’re sticking to sun-dried tomatoes for Bob the Tomato, a celery stalk for Frankencelery and baby carrots for Laura Carrot. Click here to see how to make your own.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Do you have any special recipes or traditions that you enjoy each year? What about a “Friendsgiving”? Have you ever had one?

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Kimberly

*I am a brand ambassasdor for Netflix. I received free membership and a gift in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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