Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas cookies, crafts and cocktails (or mocktails)

What's better than cooking/crafting and cocktails with a Christmas theme? That basically sums up alot of my loves (and erin was there so that's all of them!). When erin and I were invited to a day of Christmas fun in Peekskill, NY not even a three hour car ride could stop this Rudolph mobile from heading there! Our friends Terra and Scott were gracious enough to host this extravaganza and our friend Katie joined us with her sewing machine in tow!

As the title suggests Katie and Terra had planned out a day full of baking and christmas crafts. I definitely stuck to the baking, but erin took the day to hand paint everyone individual ornaments. She also took a break to help decorate some sugar cookies...which is where my baking day begins. Terra had picked up a table full of goodness to create goodies with. We had a long laundry list of baking to do so after a quick trip to Micheal's (for crafting supplies) Terra and I began the baking. She swears by the packaged Sugar cookie mix and instead of using butter she substitutes a 1/3 cup of oil and a tablespoon of water. Because we were doing roll-out cookies I had to add alot of flour to the mix while rolling them out (thanks katie!). The first attempt at rolling out was quite frustrating because the mix was way too sticky, but after katie's tip I just kept adding flour until i got the consistency needed to keep a nice cookie shape. we had picked up a large tin of Christmas cut outs so we had alot to choose from!

I made two batches of these suckers and we all took a break to decorate them in all of ways :). I'm not going to lie some were kinda scary, who knew that snowmen look frightening with red sprinkle eyes? haha. And you know when you are sick of decorating when you start just adding sprinkles to everything. Oh another katie tip: if you want to make brown reindeer, red and green frosting make a nice 'reindeer brown'!

While I was making these Terra stirred up some tasty, and easy fudge using the recipe on the back of the Fluff container. who knew?! We didn't add the nuts to this and almost added twice the chocolate needed but Terra rescued it just in time. But i do wonder...could there ever be too much chocolate?

The next baking, or should I say making, task was No-Bake Cookies! I added the ! point to emphasis how much I was looking forward to helping out with this one. I might have asked Terra about five times when we were going to start these. They were so easy to make, and so easy to eat too! For some reason i always thought that no-bakes had to sit for awhile to solidify but we sampled these after only about 1/2 hour of sitting. The nice part about this too is that you can make them as large, or as small as you want. This is NO baking involved so these are good to work on while you have something else going in the oven. YUM.

After baking all these recipes I thought I would share one of my own with the group. I sorta figured that we had plenty of goodies to eat, but what about something to drink? Over breakfast i confirmed that we were all egg nog lovers, so naturally I wanted to make my
HG Egg Nog. The ingredients are pretty simple and its A-MAZE-ING. You basically just combine all of these in a blender:

5 cups Light Vanilla Soymilk ; 1 small (4-serving) package Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Pudding mix, Vanilla ; 6 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda) ; tsp. rum extract or imitation rum extract ; 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

I doubled this recipe and I also DO NOT add the rum extract. I don't partically like the flavor of rum so that was a no brainer. I also eyeball the nutmeg and always end up adding wayyyy more. It's just so flavorful! Obviously you could add real rum to this recipe. **one important step is to let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. This allows the pudding to make the mix a bit thicker giving it that authentic egg nog creaminess.

Couldn't you just drink the whole pitcher?:

We had an amazing day! festive and fun.
We all vowed to make this a new Christmas tradition.