Monthly Archives: November 2018

Christmas Cookies – Peanut Butter Balls

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls – These are a simple and easy dessert to take to a Christmas party. We normally make these and get them in the fridge and make cookies in the oven while these are chilling.
 
Ingredients
 
    • 2 cups peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
    • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 package of Chocolate bark or 2 cups of chocolate chips (our preference)

 

Instructions
 
  1. Mix the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl. I use my kitchen aid mixer. 🙂 Mix well. 
  2. Add in the powdered sugar, a little at a time. You may need to add a bit more or a bit less powdered sugar. You have enough powdered sugar when the mixture holds together well in one giant ball in your mixing bowl.
  3. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or until th
    ey firm up. 
  4. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Cover and refrigerate again, for about 15 minutes. 
  5. Melt the chocolate according to the package directions.
  6. Dip the peanut butter balls one at a time into the melted chocolate. Place the dipped peanut butter chocolate ball onto wax paper.
  7. Let the chocolate harden.
  8.  
  9. If you are not serving right away, you can chill until ready to serve.

Christmas Cookies – Chocolate topped Toffee

KrisandLarry.com presents 6 different Christmas cookies/desserts for your cookie exchanges – Chocolate topped Toffee

Another tasty treat in our house, Although we do not make it terribly often as it is very rich.

It is a GREAT gift wrapped up in a bag with a bow for a last minute gift for someone this Christmas. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/4 Cups  (2-1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1-1/4 Cups  granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • 2 Cups  semisweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: 1 Cup  toasted chopped almonds, pecans or peanuts (or a mixture – )
  • Pink Himalayan or Flaky sea salt, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

 
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Do not skip this step or you will be stuck to everything!!!!
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Let butter melt and sugar dissolve and bring to a boil, then cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, so the butter and sugar don’t separate, until mixture turns a medium amber and is thick, 12 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Pour toffee mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and immediately top all over with chocolate chips. Let sit 2 minutes so chocolate begins to melt, then spread chocolate all over with a spatula to create a layer on top of toffee.
  4. Sprinkle all over with almonds and pecans (use chopped crumbs too for nice texture!) and salt.
  5. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour, then cut or break into pieces and serve.

Christmas Cookies & Desserts – Missouri (No Bake) Cookies

KrisandLarry.com presents 6 different Christmas cookies/desserts for your cookie exchanges – Missouri Cookies (No Bake)

This is my favorite childhood cookie. My grandmother always made these and even would make and bring during visits into my adulthood. This is the recipe that she gave me on my wedding day. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3T Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 1t Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Milk

Stir together above ingredients in a pot on the stove. Cook on high for exactly 5 minutes. Stir constantly. 

At 5 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the following: 

  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 3 Cups instant or quick cook Oatmeal

Stir until mixed well. Spoon into “cookie-sized” bites onto wax paper and let cool and set. 

 

 

Discovering Education – Grand Canyon

Discovering Education – Grand Canyon

We love to take field trips and learn about new (and old) places. This week on Discovering Education, we took a trip up to the Grand Canyon. 

 

Meet me on the homestead – Kunekune pigs

Our baby “War Pigs” have grown up and that includes Haka, the littlest runt from the litter of December 2017.

 If you were at the Heights Church for the Christmas Eve services in 2017, you were able to see a litter of 3 day old baby kunekunes. (I added a few photos below)

So here is a picture of Haka, Our “little War Pig. ” And guess what? His first book children’s will be out soon. We will keep you updated!

Kunekunes are an AMAZING breed of pigs that we have had on our homestead for over 5 years now. We use them often when people request us to come and share our animals as part of a “petting zoo program.” Mama Pumpkin is one of our most requested animals to share. 

Our family jokes that they are called “War Pigs” because they were (extra buffed out via CGI) in the war scene for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. See the clip below that we found on youtube.

 

Kunes are a very docile and gentle pig, making them a great addition to a homestead. They are more like having big hairy dogs than having pigs.
 

Originally from New Zealand, the pigs have made a comeback here in the US as well as the UK. Their name means “fat and round” in the Maori language. They come in a variety of colors including black and white, brown and white, solid ginger, solid cream/fawn, solid brown, solid black, and ginger and black. 

These hairy pigs can reach 300 pounds or more however, making them the largest of the miniature breeds or the smallest of the meat breeds. They are a pasture pig that eats primarily grasses and fresh fruits and veggies. We do not feed our kunes any commercial pig feeds and we have rescued a few of our kunes who were being fed dog food. Not a great choice for these gentle giants.  Being that they are pasture pigs, ours like to graze in the same field as our horses. And they love tomatoes, strawberries and other fresh goodies. 

Turkey Leftovers – Thanksgiving Eggrolls

I love that I can gather ingredients and make something completely new with items that I have already cooked.  And I love having leftovers after the holidays. 

We love our air-fryer and like to make items in it for a quick lunch. PB&J gets old when you homeschool. But PB&J egg rolls are fun and different.

The best part is that you can use any combination of left overs.

For ours, we spread our hot spinach artichoke dip on the egg roll wrapper and layered turkey, potatoes and green bean casserole. *Note: use less than you think for each layer or your eggrolls will overflow and not be able to close up.

Roll these and either oil or air fry. Our air fryer cooks a pan of these in 6 minutes. We roll them over at 3 minutes.

For the dipping sauce, I mixed together cranberry sauce, some cracked black pepperand a few tablespoons of apple juice. Stir in a pan over low heat. 

Decorating Sugar Cookies

So many of my homeschooling moms amaze me with all of their talents, one of them being my friend JenB. She has been professionally decorating cookies for a while and I CAN SAY WOWWIE! I love looking at her work. They are mini-pieces of art on a glorious little morsel of cookie. Some of them are almost too beautiful to eat. 

I had been researching and researching (not wanting to disturb JenB and her work) on getting the perfect recipe for Cookie Royal Icing. Here is the one that we finally came up with for us to work with. And YES! It worked GREAT! 

We did dye ours with some natural dyes because of El’s allergies… (and why would I want to put those yucky artificial dyes in my body anyway?) We used the Natural Dyes here: https://amzn.to/2KnFpSZ And although they worked, we only added enough to make a “pastel” colored Turkey. 🙂

Our next dilemma was the fact that my turkey cookie cutter was M.I.A. What to do, What to do? I have a large daisy cookie cutter and We made it into a turkey.  

When using your royal icing, outline and then fill. We started with an icing bag and that made a mess. Once we switched to an icing bottle, the designed flowed much better. (ignore the crazy, weird lumps in the start of the icing – it was from the bag – and user error)

*tip – one color at a time and let dry in between

Royal icing

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces, fluid Warm Water
  • 5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 2-¼ pounds (or 1 Kilogram) Icing Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar

Preparation

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Have fun decorating!

(*Recipe courtesy of Antonia74 at www.cakecentral.com)

I already had my favorite buttery sugar cookie recipe. It is one that we have been using for years. 

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Instructions

  1. Mix together the flour(minus 1 cup), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla, then mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir together until you have a thick mixture.
  5. Add the last cup of flour slowly until you get the right consistency, about that of peanut butter. If you add it all at once, yours might be too dry. If it does get too dry, I have found that you can add 1T of milk. 
  6. Wrap the mixture with clear plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Roll out half of the dough.
  8. Cut with cutters, then bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottom JUST begins to brown.

Using Freeze-Dried Chicken

I love having my freeze dryer. My favorite item that I love to freeze dry is not Ice cream (Although “Astronaut Ice Cream is Delicious – Remember Astronaut Ice Cream from the 1980’s?? check out this link if you have a minute: https://amzn.to/2OU33ai Yes, I literally make this now with my Harvest Right Freeze Dryer and my kids love freeze-dried ice cream).

Fruit is not my favorite either, although the kids go GAGA over the fruit snacks that we make.

And it isn’t the leftovers that I freeze-dry for Larry and Shelby to take to work for their lunches. These are SO convenient and don’t take up any freezer space because these are SHELF SAFE!!

Here is my affiliate link to My Harvest Right Freeze Dryer  – https://affiliates.harvestright.com/377.html. They are pricey but so worth it. I have no waste coming out of my kitchen.

I have freeze dried green bean casserole, lunch meat (yes, lunch meat when I can get it on a SUPER SALE), veggies out of my garden. We have made homemade “cup of noodles” with organic healthy ingredients and a lot less salt.  Soups and stews have been dried and later eaten as well as Alfredo! I even freeze-dried beef liver sliced up for my doggies for treats! We have even freeze-dried excess eggs, (Raw and whisked) and goats milk right off of our homestead. 

Of all of the things that I have used my freeze dryer for, I think that freeze-dried baked chicken has been the best item that I have made (you can purchase canned freeze dried chicken as well).  When I can pick up boneless skinless chicken for less than $1.50 a pound in my area, you can bet that I am buying extra and cooking in my crockpot or roaster oven for later. 

 

So what do you make with freeze-dried chicken? ANYTHING that you make with fresh baked chicken – Fajitas, alfredo, chicken with sauce, casseroles, tacos, chicken salad sandwiches…. literally ANYTHING!

So, HOW does this work?

This is very simple. Depending on the item, you can either choose to reconstitute with hot water by submersion (Either in water or thrown into soups), you can use a spray bottle to reconstitute (I use this method for things like kale or spinach that I am not added into a soup), you can wrap an item in a wet paper towel (think tomatoes) or you can leave as is and use on items or eat it CRUNCHY THe kids LOVE to eat strawberries like this and I have found that if I crumble up guacamole – yes, I did make and freeze-dry this as an experiment – it tastes GREAT on salads. 

 

OK, My friends here is the down low – This is EASY! Do not be intimidated by freeze-dried foods!!

 

 

 

Discovering Education – Geocaching

Getting your homeschooled kids up and active can sometimes be a  daunting task. We discovered geocaching almost 10 years ago and are still having fun. Now that the kids are bigger (and some are driving), they like to go out and some of them have created their own geocaching profiles too.

Geocaching is basically a GPS “treasure-hunt”. You are looking for a container where you sign your name and put it back for the next person. There is a website at www.geocaching.com. You can also download an app at the google play store.