Merry Christmas!

I hope YOU don't mind, but I decided to take the day off from POSTING. However,  I still wanted to WISH you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope your holiday is filled with as much YUMMY food and LOVE as mine! :)


Grinch Cookies (A Christmas Tradition!)

Every year as a family we make these yummy MINTY cookies from the Six Sisters Stuff blog. Once they are done BAKING, we sit down and enjoy them while we WATCH How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Our kids love it! Hopefully your FAMILY can start the tradition this year.

(Photo from Six Sisters Stuff

Grinch Cookies
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon mint extract
15 to 20 drops green food coloring
1 box Andes mints, unwrapped and chopped

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside. 
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and mint extract. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients and add the green food coloring. Mix until even colored. Last fold in the chopped Andes mints. (They also added some milk chocolate chips!) Put in the refrigerator until the dough is cool.
Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. To make them more rounded when they come out, flatten the balls as you place them onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before moving them to wire racks to cool.

Read more at http://www.sixsistersstuff.com


Perfect Cherry Pie

My sister-in-law makes a fabulous CHERRY pie for Thanksgiving, but since we aren't always together for the HOLIDAY she shared her recipe with me several years ago. It's so good, I've decided I better SHARE it with all of you! I have to start by saying I've never liked cherry pie. Ever. Until I had one little BITE of my husband's slice years ago. I've been hooked ever since! It's a beautiful pie and is perfect for CHRISTMAS dessert.

Perfect Cherry Pie
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
6 to 7 tablespoons ice water

3 cans tart red cherries, drained with 1 cup juice reserved
1 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup cornstartch
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
10 drops red food coloring (optional, but it makes it really pretty!)

For the crust, combine the flour, salt, and shortening with a pastry blender until you have pea-size crumbs. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the crust comes together. Divide dough into two portions, one for the bottom of the pie, one for the top. (The bottom needs to cover the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides, so I always do more for the bottom.) Refrigerate until ready to use, or for at least 30 minutes.

Over medium heat, stir the cherries, 3/4 cup sugar, and cornstarch together with a flat-bottom whisk until smooth and clear. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool.

Poor filling into rolled out pie crust dough and top with remaining pie crust dough. Press top and bottom dough together all around the pie and cut an excess off. (You can also crimp the edges to make it pretty!) Cut a few slits in the top for venting and sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon and sugar over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes and golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream of course!

TIP: We love this crust recipe and usually do 1 1/2 of the recipe for a thicker crust. I totally recommend it, but if you like less crust, this way is totally fine!


Banana Sheet Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

If your kids are like my kids, then you go through BANANA phases at your house. Sometimes I can't stock up with enough because the KIDDOS are eating them like crazy. Other times I have bunches that are brown because nobody has even given them a GLANCE. I can't keep up! I don't usually mind having the EXTRA ripe ones around though because I get to make nummy things like this oh-so-wonderful cake. It is seriously one of THE BEST things you can do with bananas. Period. (Wish I had a better picture to do it the justice it deserves. My new camera is being shipped as we speak though, so hooray!)

Banana Sheet Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 box white cake mix (yellow would work too)
Ingredients called for on box
1/3 cup sour cream
1 small box instant banana cream pudding mix

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup salted butter, room temp
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 cup Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the bananas, cake mix, and ingredients called for on box and mix until smooth. Stir in the sour cream and dry pudding mix. Pour onto a cookie sheet with sides  (roughly 11 x 17 in) that has been prepared with nonstick spray. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. When thoroughly combined, gently fold in the Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

TIP: Drizzling caramel ice cream topping over individual slices would make this extra luxurious. Ooooh, and maybe some sort of chopped nut. You pick.


Orange Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These soft little cookies are such a TREAT! It's a chocolate chip cookie, but with a touch of orange and HOLIDAY spice. They are perfect for any get TOGETHER you might be hosting or attending this time of year. Of course, they are extremely EASY to make and your house will smell unbelievable!

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour (I used about 2 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (slightly heaping!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the orange zest and chocolate. (Dough will be pretty stiff, especially if you stir it by hand like I do, so feel free to do this all with your stand mixer!).

Use a teaspoon to scoop your dough and roll into balls. Place on a cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Bake for 10 or so minutes and slightly brown around the edges. (I did about 10 1/2 minutes and they were perfect!) Let cool for 2 minutes on the pan and then completely on a wire rack.

TIP: I think using a really dark, indulgent chocolate would be fabulous in these, or if you prefer a milk chocolate that would be lovely too!


Crockpot Chicken Curry

We love all sorts of CROCKPOT meals, and this one is definitely a TASTY one. So over the next few weeks as you are BUSY preparing for the holidays, throw this in the crockpot in the morning and by DINNER your house will smell pretty fab.

Crockpot Chicken Curry
10 to 12 chicken tenders
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/3 cup water
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream

Spray a 3- to 5-quart crockpot with nonstick spray. Place the chicken tenders in the bottom and sprinkle the curry powder over the top. Pour in the water and salsa and then cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, or on high heat for 3 to 4 hours. When ready to serve, stir around to break up the chicken and then stir in the sour cream. Serve warm over rice.

TIP: I love the sweetness coconut adds to curries, so feel free to stir some coconut in towards the end of your total cook time for another variation.