Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Ideas and Recipes, con't.

Well I have finally finished decorating at my house, and I love it! I even wrapped a few presents and put them under the tree today - the childrens faces lit up when they got home from school and they dove under the tree to check them out! Only 22 more days of torture until they can open them!

With only 21 shoppings days left, I need to get moving! I have done some of my shopping, and am actually more ahead this year than I have been in years past, but still have many gifts to buy, including teacher gifts!

My three kids used to have only one teacher each, so buying a decent gift for each of them at Christmas was not a big deal, but now they have anywhere from two to six teachers each, and that really adds up! So, several years ago, my children and I begin making goodie bags, and a new tradition began.

Each year at Christmas, we make teacher gifts instead of buying some cheap little knick-knack or apple notepad that says "worlds greatest teacher". My sister used to be a teacher, and she finally threw away the boxes and boxes of little gifts that she received over years of Christmas holidays, because honestly, what do you with all that useless stuff? (I know that it is the thought that counts, but seriously, its just useless stuff usually!) So instead of gifts, we always give goodies!

This is also a great way to save some money during the holidays. If are on a tight budget this year, as most of us are, consider giving tasty treats instead of store bought gifts. Two of the main things that we always put in our teacher bags that are always a big hit, are the two recipes below. They look holiday-ish, and we wrap each goodie in cellophane, with curly ribbons on them, plus a few other goodies and put them all in a gift bag with pretty paper.

Today I want to share with you a great quick and easy, yet impressive and delicious, candy recipe that I discovered years ago, and it has become a family tradition for us. The girls start asking me around thanksgiving when we are going to make our pretzel candies. And caramel popcorn.... all I can say is... yummy! One of my alltime favorite snacks. Below is a great recipe passed down by my grandmother. Enjoy!

Pretzel Caramel Goodies
Bag of miniature loop pretzels
Bag of Rolos candy
Bag of pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place as many pretzels as you can flat on your ungreased cookie sheet. Unwrap the rolos, and place one rolo in the center of each pretzel. Put them in the oven for three or four minutes, until they are soft, but not completed melted. Remove from oven, and place one pecan half on top of each rolo, and gently press down until the rolo spreads out across the pretzel and the pecan is secure.

Caramel Popcorn ( I usually double or triple the recipe depending on how much I need)
3 3/4 quarts of popped corn (about 1/2 cup unpopped, you can also use bag popcorn if desired)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 white Karo syrup
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Soda

Preheat over to 200 degrees. Pop your popcorn and put it all on a large cookie sheet. Try to keep it to one or two layers of popcorn, so you can spread the caramel easily. Heat the sugar, margarine, syrup, and salt stirring constantly (watch it carefully, it can burn easily). Boil for 3 minutes, just until sugar is dissolved, and remove from heat. Stir in the baking soda until it is foamy and well mixed. Pour the mixture over the popped corn evenly, and stir until all the popcorn seems to be coated. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let it cool and munch away!

Tune in tomorrow for a great cheesy dip appetizor and a cool Christmas idea.

Merry Christmas!

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Angie said...

I have been married 22 years and Christmas has always been a time of traditions. Even after our daughter was born, Christmas morning we got up very early and headed to Bristol, TN where all of my husbands family was. We spent several days with family, eating of course, and just enjoying our time together. My 18 yr. old daughter now tells me she always felt like she had Christmas twice. The short time that she had on Christmas morning to play with her toys then returning home days later with everything still under the tree waiting for her. Spending time with family is such an important part of our Christmas. May God bless you and your family during this holiday!

B His Girl said...

Thanks for the recipes Tracie. I want to try the pretzel one. It sounds easy and good. I have a recipe for hot chocolate(dry mix) if you need one. Perfect for gifts or to drink listening to your Christmas music. Keep the ideas and recipes coming! B