These are my "famous" holiday sweet potatoes that have become a tradition in our house, since our very first Thanksgiving as a couple. We make them for any special "big-meal" occasion. I thought I'd share the recipe for any of you who would like to try them at your winter-holiday dinner this year (whether that is Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, etc).
Well, the Halloween Party was a smash. Thought I would share a few of my favorite bits and pieces!
I've been busy prepping for the Halloween party and that means that I
have been cooking and doing some kitchen prep. One of my favorite
Halloween party foods is Smores on a Stick. Ready? Here we go!
* Big Marshmallows
* Chocolate Chips
* Graham Crackers
The first thing you'll do is stick two big marshmallows on to a stick. You can do one, or three... but I like two. Two is my lucky number. Two it is.
Go ahead and make them all. I used 3 bags of marshmallows, but you don't have to use that much. You want to do this assembly line style so this is key. Go ahead... admire. And maybe snag one. Why is it anything on a stick looks more appealing??
Next, absolutely pulverize the graham crackers. Start with just one package of crackers. You don't want to pulverize them all if you aren't going to need them! I used my food processor ot make crumbs. (psst... its okay to snack on the bigger chunks nom nom nom)
Next, set up your double-boiler. I don't have a double boiler, so I did it old school, and just filled the bottom pot half way with water and put the chocolate in the pot on top of it. I put in about 1 to 1 + 1/2 cups, but bear in mind you may have to add more as you go. Go ahead and turn the heat on med to med-hi. You want the water to just reach boiling, and then turn it down to a simmer on medium or med-lo.
Here is what your assembly line should look like. You don't have to have gorgeous flowers on your counter like I do... I'm just cool like that. It should go marshmallow sticks, chocolate with spatula, graham crackers, pan with wax paper.
Okay so by now you should have things set up and your double-boiler should be heating up. As it does, stir your chocolate. When it looks like this, I add about 1/4 cup milk just to help it melt better. For our purposes, it doesn't affect the chocolate at all, and will still harden just as well.
Here is the consistency it should be before you begin. Try not to drool in the chocolate. If you do, I won't tell anyone. It will be our secret.
Using your spatula, put chocolate onto the top and sides of your marshmallows. It does not have to be perfect in any way, just try to cover the area you need to cover, and consider yourself good. If you have goopy chocolate on one side, will anybody really be all that disappointed? If so, you can give their smores to me. Now, note the decadent imperfection below:
While it is still all melty-goodness, roll in the graham cracker crumbs until it is well coated. You would think this would make the little tray of crumbs all chocolatey, but sadly no. I had great visions of having to "somehow dispose of" all those little nuggets of chocolate-graham-cracker carnage but alas, there was no need. Just wanted to prepare you.
Just keep going with this until you have a vast array of smore-y goodness. I am sad to say that several of these beauties suffered casualties so severe that they could not make it to the halloween party. I'm not at all sorry.
Let them harden while on the sheet, and then store them in an air-tight container. I just shoved them in baggies since they are going to be handed out at a buffet on an open tray. If you want them individually wrapped, check your party supply store for candy or treat bags.
Sit back and enjoy the "MMMMM"s and "OOOOOOOOH"s and tell them that you slaved all day over the stove, even though in all reality it will take less than 2 hours to do 3 bags worth.
Before I get into the fun Halloween talk, I thought I'd give you all a
quick update on how things are going with us since I've been gone for
so long taking care of general lifey things.
* The portraits at the Autism school went better than I could have imagined. I have such a passion for my job and especially in this venue, I feel like I've found my place. I couldn't be more inspired or encouraged, and the feedback so far from administration and parents has all been exceedingly positive.
* Abbi is doing AMAZINGLY well with her communication device! It is looking like the powers that be are feeling the same way and are ready to sign off on her receiving her own, for free. We have until Nov. 16th to use this one (during the 1 month trial) and hopefully hers will be on order very very soon.
* The Halloween party is fully planned and is in the process of being executed. Be watching for some really fun recipes I will share in the next 24 hours for really delicious themed foods!
Other than that, we have been busy celebrating birthdays, snuggling under covers, going for long drives, and otherwise living our busy lives. I've had trainings and classes, and Kevin has been working a lot as usual.
Of course, the big thing on our mind this weekend is Halloween. Anna seems to really "get" a lot of things this year about holidays, and one thing we really wanted to institute as a tradition is carving pumpkins. I picked up two beautiful ones at the market the other day and Kevin took her out back so that they could do it together. Abbi had no interest at all, but thinks the finished product is pretty amazing and likes to look at the light!
Anna got to draw on her pumpkin, while daddy carved the other one. I will be working with her tonight to carve out the little faces she drew on her pumpkin. :)
Here they both are together, so proud of their creation! There's nothing like messy, creative fun.
And of course, I had to throw in a gratuitous "glowing pumpkin face" picture. I love the exchange between the two of them in this shot.
Kevin celebrated his 29th birthday. Here's to a wonderful, happy year ahead of us!
Valentines Day is upon us and do I have a special gift of love for you all! My lovely friend Rachel over at Simply Abundant has offered to send these gorgeous vintage valentines to the winner of a drawing here at Reclaiming The Home!
Aren't they absolutely gorgeous??
If you're interested in joining in on the fun, and entering your name for the drawing, leave a comment on this post and I will announce a winner 24 hours from now (1pm CST on Valentines Day)!
For our own valentines celebrations, I have been playing with different ideas for yummy cakes and goodies. This is one that I whipped up last night, thanks to some prodding and motivation by one very hungry little girl with cake mix in hand.
To make this super-decadent chocolate cake for two I prepared the cake mix as described on the package, and then poured into 4 mini bundt cake pans (it probably could have made 6, no problem). If you dont have mini bundt cake pans, cupcake pans will work also for single servings - just fill them halfway with mix so that they dont form a big cusp at the top). When the cakes were finished baking according to package directions, I flipped them upside down onto dessert plates. Then I used a little bit of whipped cream in the can, and made a small whipped cream border, and filling in the center cavity. Then I sprinkled semi-sweet chocolate chunks on the whipped cream and called it done.
For variations you could drizzle melted chocolate, crushed nuts, cherry pie filling, or melted frosting over the top. You could also top with one marachino cherry or a slice of fresh strawberry for a tasty and colorful touch without much added work.
Enjoy! And dont forget to comment to be entered for the drawing! :)
Reclaiming the home is partially about the ways we bring joy and beauty into our homes with our own two hands. In celebration of this act of love, I have redecorated the blog! The color scheme and banner are both based upon our first Reclaiming The Club Kit!
The kit will give you enough fabric to make a mini or doll sized quilt in the pattern of your choosing. It will include 18 strips of fabric 9x2", backing fabric, quilt binding, and batting! The only thing you will need to provide is a needle, thread, and a quiet corner to sit and stitch.
I decided to go with a very simple patchwork design using this
month's kit, but you could use any number of patterns, or even just
create something totally unique and your own! I will include
instructions on how to create a patchwork quilt like this one with the
kit! Also with the pattern instructions, I will include tips for those
who may be new to quilting and want to try it out. A mini quilt is
a great starter project, and also so much fun for those with more
The kit will be available in The Shop within the week, so be watching for an announcement! A surprise contest will also be posted that day for those who receive Reclaiming Club Kit, so there will be lots of fun ahead!
Drop a line sometime, and leave a comment if you like! I always love to hear what you all think, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have too! :)
The holidays are upon us and the gift making rush is a big part of that for me (and a part that I love, I might add). Our family is coming to stay with us this Christmas, and they have two lovely little doggies they're bringing with them as well. I say little, but one of them weighs more than my husband! Anyhow, all this means that we will have four dogs, one cat, four adults and two kids here for Christmas! My goals are to do something handmade for everyone! I'm going to share what I've been doing for the doggies and the kiddos since they are slightly less likely to read the blog!
I have been really trying to find a good doggy treat recipe that both of my boys love. I tried a new recipe the other day, called Mutt Muffins. As usual, I made a few changes based on what I had on hand. Instead of honey, I used sweetened cinnamon applesauce in place of plain to make up for the sugar. This also substituted the spices since the applesauce was already spiced! They turned out wonderfully, and I wound up with about 4 dozen small Mutt Muffins.
I would recommend using only one heaping tablespoon per muffin cup, like I did with these. Even with these smaller muffins my Golden Retriever, Buddy found them to be a bit chewy (which he liked) and quite the mouth full! We got two-paws-up from Buddy, though Jack (our Terrier) was not nearly as impressed with my baking today!
I have also been working hard on some unique gifts for the kidlets! I have really been looking forward to making them each a set of Crayon Cookies (called such not because they are edible, but because of their shape and size)!
Many of you know that my oldest daughter has developmental delays and Autism. She has a hard time with her fine motor skills so its hard for her to hold a crayon correctly. These will hopefully help that, as they are bigger and easier to get a grip on! Here is how you make them!
STEP 1: Find yourself a lot of crayons!! I got my bag at Good Will for $2.99. There are enough in there to make at least a dozen crayon cookies! Probably a few more. What you see here is what is left after making one batch of 6 crayon cookies. The crayons do not have to be new, and actually, it is usually better if they are not, since I love to look at this as a way of recycling and reusing as well!
STEP 2: Peel the paper! To do this you will have to follow two steps. One might ask, "What is so hard about peeling crayon paper?" Let me tell you - after the fourth or fifth one, I could tell you exactly what was so hard about it! Some of the crayons were very tightly wrapped, others seemed almost glued on (most likely from heat melting the wax of the crayons to their papers). I have also learned that Crayola crayons are the most difficult to unwrap. I still managed however, and its okay if there is a little bit of residue. It does not have to be perfect. The easiest way to get past this is to A) Cut down the side of the crayon, very carefully with a knife or pair of scissors (adults only please - no kiddo injuries!). B) Peel away the paper from the slit that you cut down the side of the crayon.
STEP 3: Put It In the Pan! BUT! Before you put the crayons in the pan, you will want to spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray. It is also important to choose a pan that you don't mind using solely for crafts. I chose one that I have been using for crafts for a long time (and looks pretty pathetic, so please excuse its condition - it works for this purpose LOL!).
Then you will need to decide how you want your crayon cookies to look. Do you want them to be a big jumbled bunch of colors, showing every color in the box? Would you like them to be sorted by color exclusively? Do you want a few hints of like colors together? (i personally chose to put like colors together. So for example, my yellow crayon cookie has some orange and some green in it. my blue crayon cookie has some purple and some green in it. My red crayon cookie has some purple and some orange in it, and so on!)
STEP 4: Bake it Baby! Set your oven to 400* and immediately put the crayon cookies in (do not preheat). Let it bake for 10 minutes and remove immediately. It is totally fine if they don't melt completely. Let cool until they are no longer runny. Here are what mine looked like as they cooled:
STEP 5: Freeze It! Put the entire pan in the freezer. DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE THEM WHILE WARM! I made the mistake of trying to remove the crayon cookies while they were warm, thinking they would be easier to get out. FALSE! They fell apart. I put the remaining 3 in the freezer and went back to them 2 hours later. They popped out VERY easily, by just tipping the pan upside down. If you DO get some that break, don't fret! spray your pan again with non-stick spray, and re-bake them to melt together once again in the proper shape, and freeze.
Here are some photos of what they look like in their finished sizes! Notice how they nest in one another and stack so well! Imagine the wrapping possibilities! You could also probably store them in a reclaimed and decorated Pringles container!
Have fun reclaiming, and do let me know if you try either of these crafts! :)