Friday, January 22, 2016

Christmas Cooking

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This year I have been really motivated to do more with other people than just myself. I mean, I can have lots of fun myself; it doesn't take much to keep me busy, but what good is it really to keep everything to yourself!?  What's the benefit from anything if you are the only one enjoying it?  That's something I've tried to apply over the years since I heard Mark Hall of Casting Crowns say at one of their concerts, "We're not blessed so we can have; we're blessed so we can give."  I've tried to work that into every part of what I do. God has graciously given me so much that I don't deserve, and I should not be selfish with it. I make good grades, so I should share how I work for school. I have lots of pretty notepads and stickers that make me smile, so I shouldn't keep them all for my own crafts and notes, but use them to leave others happy notes, too!  I know lots of Bible verses and songs to go with various situations, so I should encourage others when it's relevant to their lives. The list goes on. You see what I'm getting at?

Here is something that I added to my "to-do" list for Christmas Break: cook with some friends!

I have a collection of recipes on my laptop and in a binder along with a list of new ones to try and the ones in the "archive." There are just so many that I want to make that there's no way I could eat it all!  Mom and dad won't eat my food either. Occasionally we will make a new dinner, but usually it's just for me. To spread the love, cost, and food, mom let me invite friends over to cook with me!  That made it more fun, affordable, and manageable for the kitchen and fridge. 
Mom is always worried about the messed I make on the kitchen, but with Chantal and Cherie, and I, there was nothing to fear!  We are the master chefs!
These chocolate peanut butter balls turned out even better than I expected!  They also helped me win another Instagram contest, #FestiveFoodie by Nature's Path. We used their Panda Puffs cereal and one of their recipes as a guide.
Rolling out the dough!
I had saved up my mini cupcake cups for a ball or truffle recipe.

Finished product: success!

This is the spicy pumpkin bisque we made that afternoon as our "food food."  The night I ate it, I added in some corn and beans to pack an extra punch!
My second round of cooking with friends was with Katlyn and Emma for another soup and dessert!
The onion was so strong Katlyn was crying. The chopper also amused her.
Teamwork!  Cake in the oven and soup on the eye.
This soup we made was tomato sqaush!  The night I warmed it up I added peas and corn for it's extra umph.
 
Silk Nog Pumpkin Spice Cake with pumpkin maple drizzle. Here I also added ice cream and cool whip!

Of course I still whipped up concoctions of #KenziesCreations, too. 
The seasonal Clif Bars are my favorite, #1 being gingerbread, so when I saw them at Food City I bought three. Good thing, because by the next day when Chantal and Chérie went to get some, they were already gone. 
This delicious desser was cool whip and vanilla frozen yogurt flavored with "marshmallow gingerbread snickerdoodle" peanut butter powder from myoatmeal.com to create a matching ice cream for my bar!
Dark chocolate and mint are a seasonal staple, too.
Another recipe that had been on my list for years was sweet potato bald I could in a really old Christmas cookbook. Finally baked, they went great with my Bart & Judy's sweet potato cranberry cookies. 
So simple, too!
All you need is sweet potatoes, cinnamon, and marshmallows!  Then coconut, powdered sugar, or whatever you want to roll them in.
My new pancake mix I ordered from the feed is so pretty!  It was inspiration for pumpkin pancakes of course. I'm also hooked on this Silk pumpkin spice almond nog. I got one to try, found a coupon and bought two more!  I use it in everything from pancakes to coffee to oatmeal, cereal, dessert blends, etc.
Christmas parties are the most popular time for finger food buffets, and I love getting to try little bits of everything. This also gives me a excuse to cook and share more!  For our sun Deb party, I made Mediterranean chicken meatballs and a southwest bean dip.

The ninja has become my best friend. I use him every day. Some days, even multiple times and for multiple meals. It makes things so much easier.
 

 

I wanted to make a cute little treat for the class that I peer tutor, so I got this idea for sweet snowmen!  They are really easy, too. Oreos, marshmallows, icing, and mini Resee cups
Another simple gift idea: flavored hot drink spoons!  These are dark chocolate and marshmallow, obviously.
For the church Christmas party I made mocha mousse!
Days off from school are my favor when I get to do my morning run or workout then make a tasty breakfast with coffee.
I got crafty with mom and dads gifts because I wanted to get them more stuff, but just didn't know what to get!  I know mom loves her oatmeal packs that she takes for lunch, so I made some in cute jars with punny names.

Mom and Dad got punny named fudge made with some of their diet staples, including Cheerios, Wheaties, Yorks, and chocolate.
Another delicious dessert bowl featuring friends gifts. Chantal and Chérie got me the coffee thins and mom got me the complete cookies!
 I've also been on a bit more of a pumpkin/apple/carrot/sweet potato kick for desserts lately, partly because of all the seasonal items that I've just happened to accumulate!  They also make the best dessert blends.  This Oikos pumpkin pie is one of the best!  However, I think mom bought the last one available at our nearest Walmart just today.  Sorry guys.
 Look at all the pumpkin spice!  Enough to keep me going all day long.
I do love my spicy food.  Stole this from an instagram or snapchat account.  I always find relevant things on there.

Winter is just now getting started as we've had 3 snow days in a row now!  That leaves plenty of time to get cooking!