Cheerio Bird Ornaments

I have my bird cookies stashed in the freezer and we decided to go with something easier this time around.

I chose Cheerio bird feeders from Happy Hooligans (and yes, everyone in this house is old enough to drive, your point?)

I told we opted for easy.

Basically you need pipe cleaners and cheerios.

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You just make a loop on one end so the cereal doesn’t slide off…

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nd start threading those little buggers on there!

Make sure to leave enough pipe cleaner un-threaded so that you can make a hook or loop to hang the ornament!

We had a great deal of fun making these.

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This was one of my favorites…

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So that’s it. Told you it was easy.

Tomorrow I am going to make another type of bird feeder and then we decorate the tree. Honestly I am hoping it will be warmer then, we had a high of 12F today (and don’t worry the birds already have food).

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Bird Food Cookies

One of our family traditions is that when we take our tree down we put it in the yad and decorated it for the birds. In the past that has consisted mostly of suet and those peanut butter and bird seed covered pine cones with a few hanging fruit slices and maybe a popcorn and dried fruit garland.

This year we decided to branch out a little.

I have tried in the past to make bird food ornaments for the tree but they always fell apart. I hit Pinterest and found out what I was missing…gelatin.

I used the instructions A Day in First Grade for Bird Feeeder Ornaments.

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This calls for:

-a packet of gelatin
-bird seed
-cookie cutters
-boiling water
– waxed paper on a cookie sheet

I ran into trouble right away because I only had lime jello…and no waxed paper.

Since it was freezing and snowing out, I went with it.

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I boiled my water and added 1/4C to the packet of Jello, then poured in the 3/4 C of bird seed. It looked soupy to me so I added 1/4 C more.

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t still looked a little soupy but I thought “what the hell” and continued.

At this point you are supposed to put your cookie cutters on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet and fill them in with the gelatin coated bird seed. When I did this a strange thing happened.

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here was a little seepage…

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K…a lot of seepage.

At this point I put it in the fridge and hoped for the best.

After about 1/2 an hour I pulled them out and checked to see if they were setting at all.

When I picked them them up, this is what I saw.

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And one of the cutters came off, leaving the formed ornament behind.

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Which I was then able to pick up with a spatula…

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and stick a pipe cleaner in it to hang it up.

However, when I tried to do the same with one of the other ornaments we had a little collateral damage…

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We can rebuild him, we have the technology!

In the end I just stuck them as is on a clean piece of tin foil and put them on the porch.

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Since it’s currently -2 F and dropping I’m betting that they were frozen before I finished this post, but I’m too cold to go check.

Christmas Cookies-Cheater Edition

Sorry I haven’t been posting much but, you know…CHRISTMAS.

I haven’t been crafting much but I have been shopping and wrapping and baking.

A LOT.

Even though I love baking, I’m totally down with cheating.

I make many recipes based around cake mixes (these work with both regular and gluten free cake mixes), cookie mixes and canned frosting. I also like making candy in the microwave. Heck, I don’t even OWN  a candy thermometer!

Everyone loves them so shhhhh! Don’t tell…OK?

Anyway…here is a little sampling of some of the stuff I usually make…

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tarting at 12 o’clock and going clockwise…cranberry bars, microwave cashew brittle and lemon crinkles.

The cashew brittle recipe came from Taste of Home and I have been using it for years. The only caveat I have is too make sure you cook it enough after you add the nuts and butter. It says 20-50sec but when I did it that long the brittle didn’t…brittle. I learned I had to cook it more like 1:30 but do it 30 sec at a time and watch for the color.

The lemon crinkles are a variation of cake mix cookies, which are soooo simple! I add 2 eggs and 1/3 C oil to a lemon cake mix and combine. Then roll into walnut sized balls, roll in powdered sugar and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Once they are cooled melt 1/2 of a can of lemon frosting and drizzle over the cookies and let cool again.

The cranberry bars are a take on Lazy Cake Cookies from I’m a Lazy Mom. I add white chocolate chips and dried cranberries to the bars. Then I used canned cream cheese frosting and add chopped up dried cranberries and orange zest to it.

Here is another example of what I have been baking…

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Again starting at noon we have rice krispie treats with Christmas sprinkles, chocolate lazy cake cookies with white and semi sweet chocolate chips, vanilla lazy cake cookies with semi sweet chocolate chips and red velvet sandwich cookies.

I think they are all pretty self explanatory except the red velvet. There I used red velvet cake mix and made them the same way as the lemon, minus the rolling in sugar and the frosting glaze. Then I used canned cream cheese frosting as filling and rolled the edges in Christmas sprinkles.

These I made for friends, which is why they are packed up like that)…

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his time we will start in the upper right. We have peppermint chocolate rice krispie treats, molasses crinkles and Christmas Lazy Cake cookies.

For the rice krispie treats you just use peppermint marshmallows and then top with melted dark chocolate chips (in the microwave-30 sec at a time until melted) that you drizzle over the top before cutting.

What makes the Cake Cookies “Christmas” is a bag of these suckers:

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That’s it. They are basically a mix of colored white chocolate chips and chocolate chips and they look so festive! My oldest looks forward to these every year…she even claims they taste better then regular chips. I don’t know about that but they are pretty great!

Lastly there are these babies.

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They aren’t terribly Christmassy but they are easy! They are made from Bisquick and you can find the recipe here. Like the other recipes they work with either regular Bisquick and the gluten free version. I haven’t tested the healthy kind, but who wants healthy cookies?


What about the molasses crinkles you ask? Now those are made from scratch. From a family recipe. Which I can’t share under penalty of death…well, maybe not death, but it wouldn’t go over well so…sorry.

I think I’ve given you plenty to work with though.

And remember, the mixes are our little secret!

Nancy Drew Themed Cookies

The oldest and I are big fans of the Nancy Drew PC games.  We just love them! Every now and again Her Interactive has a contest and we love to enter them. This time it was to make Nancy Drew theme cookies. After much debate we decided to make Sinclair’s Oaxacan cookies from Secret of the Scarlet Hand and a cookie that looked like the necklace from The Captive Curse.

Here is what they should look like:

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We decided to make the first using a cake mix cookies recipe I have adapted and the second by making a bagged sugar cookie mix. After submitting I think we may be disqualified for this but oh well. We will see what happens.

Anyway…

I knew we would want to do a stained glass cookie sort of thing to make the “jewel” in the necklace. We crushed up some life savers for that purpose. Then we made the dough, chilled it, and started cutting out the shapes…

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The trial cookie we made was left a little too long in the oven (7min) which caused the life saver bits to bubble and turn black.  Also stick to the pan.

We only put the second batch in for 5min and they came out looking much better but they still stuck a bit. We were able to get most of them loose but not without trauma.

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And that’s not the worst of it. One of them was sticking until suddenly it wasn’t and it went flying  into air and landed behind the microwave.

But at least three survived and we decorated them. The green one was our decoration test cookies and it got eaten before we could really get a picture of it but here are the other two, modeled by the oldest!

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Next up were the Oaxaca cookies. It’s hard to see, but the cookies had a sort of face on them and were filled sandwich cookies.

We mixed up the cake mix cookies..

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and formed them into balls, onto which daughter tried to carve features. Once we baked them you couldn’t really see them so we pressed them in while the cookies were still hot. That worked pretty well.

I didn’t get very many (well any really) pictures of the process because by then everyone was pretty silly. And sticky. And I was a little afraid to ruin my camera.

I did get a picture of the finished product though!

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They are looking a little too happy if you ask me but nobody did 😉 In the game they are poisonous so…

Not sure how authentic these are but we had a blast making them (and are still giggling about the flying cookies) so I consider the experience a success!

Shortbread Bites

I have been doing my Christmas baking this week and was looking for another cookie to fill in the spaces in some tins I was putting together.

These little lovelies looked perfect!

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Santa’s Shortbread Bites from Baked Perfection

Aren’t they adorable? I even had all the ingredients!

I think my first mistake was not using a food processor. I wasn’t sure if a “knife blade” was the same as the regular blade so I decided to do it by hand. I measured and mixed flour and sugar. I cubed up the butter and started combining. After a ridiculous amount of time it finally formed a ball. A crumbly ball, but a ball none the less!

My next mistake was not taking the hint when it was nearly impossible to “flatten the dough” at all, never mind into a 8″ x 5″ rectangle. I persevered and managed to cut a sheet full of 1/2″-ish cubes and stuck them in the oven. They were inherently unstable though, and just bumping the cookie sheet on the way into the oven made them crumble a bit.

At this point I was feeling a bit frustrated so I decided to wrap up the rest of the dough and put it in the fridge to see if that helped it hold together better.

20 minutes late I removed the cookies from the oven…

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Um…not quite.

They tasted good though so I thought “maybe the rest of the dough in the fridge set up!” and I went and got it and unwrapped it.

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Nope.

At this point I gave up.

Shortbread Bites?

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Waste of butter 😦

Foodie Pen Pal November Reveal!

This was the first time I participated in the Foodie Pen Pals  program and it was really fun! FPP is run by Lindsey at the The Lean Green Bean and she does a great job.  Basically you get paired with someone and agree to send them a package of food items. You have to ship by the 15th of the month and post a reveal at the end of the month. I was paired with Millie from Georgia. Millie contacted me because I was a loser and took too long, and after a few e-mails back and forth I sent her a package.

If you are interested I list what was in Millie’s box at the bottom of the post.

I don’t believe that Millie blogs, but she did send me this lovely note!

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I was so excited to get my box in the mail and Millie did an awesome job!

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Just look at all this yum!

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Angus is intrigued.

All these were new to me, except of course for the Lara Bar. I was very excited to try all these snacks!

Snapea Crisps:
Honestly these weren’t my favorite (I have a bit of a pea aversion) but the kids loved them! As in, I had rip them away from my son so my daughter could try them. Anything that can get my extremely picky…er…particular 15yo son to eat veggies is a very good thing!

Zico Coconut Water:
This was chocolate flavored which I wasn’t sure about but it was yummy! I poured a bit for the kids and it got the thumbs up from my oldest, who said it tasted like YooHoo. The boy didn’t like it but that didn’t surprise me. The youngest daughter refused to try which also didn’t surprise me.

Kind Bar in  pomegranate blueberry pistachio:
We fought over this, it was awesome! Will definitely be buying more of these!

Lara Bar in Cashew Cookie:
My fav! This one went on my trip with me 🙂

Crunchmaster Multi Seed crackers:
The youngest daughter enjoyed these a bunch! She took these on our road trip 🙂 The other s liked them too, and so did I but we let her have most of them. I did steal a few for my pub cheese though, and they were delicious!

Justin’s Nut Butters in Maple Almond and Chocolate Hazelnut:
These were yummy! I had never had them before and am glad I got to try them! Oldest was happy because hazelnut/chocolate and youngest was happy because gluten and dairy free. Son wouldn’t try them. He was being a wet rag about trying new things, except for the Snapea Crisps. I don’t understand that kid sometimes! But hey, more for the rest of us!

Thank you so much Millie! We had a blast with the box you sent!!

Now the deets:

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-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

Millie’s box contained the following:

Bar Harbor Soldier Beans
Wicked Whoopie Pie (mint flavor)
Lara Bars in cashew cookie and apple pie flavor
Moxie
Annie’s Kettle Corn
Maple Candies similar to these
Walker’s Shortbread

(I forgot to take a picture…oops!)