Great Ideas For The Holidays!
Written by: Pearl Sanborn
Web Site: Heart & Home

Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar Brown sugar is easy to make! For each 1/2 of brown sugar that you need, mix 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses.

Cheap Cake Mix Cookies - 3 Ingredients, a Few Minutes & You're Done!

To a cheap boxed cake mix, add 2 large eggs, & 1/2 cup oil. Drop onto cookie sheet & bake at 350 7-9 minutes.

* Add any extras that you'd like - chocolate chips, nuts, m&ms, etc.

Skip The Expensive Condensed Milk - Make Your Own!

During this biggest baking season of the year, sweetened condensed milk is called for in lots of favorite recipes. Usually costing more than $1.30 each, cans of condensed milk can quickly break the grocery budget - until now!

Here's how to make your own cheap & easy sweetened condensed milk.

2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
1/4 cup Margarine
4 cups Instant Powdered Milk
1 tablespoon Vanilla

In saucepan, bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add sugar & margarine, then stir until dissolved. Pour hot mixture into blender. Add milk and vanilla, then blend until smooth. Makes 1 quart. Stores well in refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Don't Have Time to Bake Those Apple Pies? Don't Fret! Make This Delicious Dump Cake With a Thanksgiving Twist!

Not only is dump cake one of the easiest desserts in the world to make, but it is also a favorite of many! Although I usually use cherries for this recipe, apple pie filling will work just as well.

This is a great replacement for apple pies, or a dessert to bring to a covered dish dinner.

No mixing!

In a large baking pan, dump 2 cans of apple pie filling. On top of that, sprinkle a box of dry yellow cake mix. Then, cut a stick of butter into thin slices & put on top of the dry cake mix. Bake until bubbly!

* You can also add coconut & nuts before the butter if you'd like. This recipe is also great with cherries, pineapple, or other types of pie filling instead of the apples.

Warm Yourself With a Cup of Special Holiday Cheer - Great Recipes and Presentation Ideas!

These special holiday beverages are both quick & easy to prepare! And because we're using a crock pot, you won't have to sit near the beverage area all night! You will be free to mingle among your guests

If you're having an outdoor sledding or caroling party, this is also a great way to great guests as they come in from the cold. The best part? Now you don't have to stay behind to keep drinks warm!

Prepare an hour or so in advance, and as soon as your guests open the front door, the aroma alone will be enough to provide the holiday atmosphere!

Here are a few special touches that you might want to use!

* Have a pretty container filled with cinnamon sticks, so guests can use them to stir their drinks.

* Because we can't top the drink with the usual cold toppings like decorative ice cubes or sherbet, top your pots with things like orange or lemon slices. For an even bigger pizzazz, stud the slices with whole cloves.

* Decorate around the pot with things that will give a hint about it's contents. If you're using cinnamon inside, decorate with a few bundles (tie with raffia) of cinnamon sticks and some oranges. If you're using lemons, maybe you could stud a few lemons with whole cloves.

Set your crock pot on low, fill with one of the following recipes, and serve with a ladle.

Holiday Cider
Fill your crock pot with apple cider & add 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

Wrap some of your favorite spices in a coffee filter & use a twist tie to close it. * My favorites are whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, and orange peel.

Drop the closed filter into the crock pot with cider & and allow to simmer.

Top with orange slices!

Pour in more cider as needed & your wonderful drink is kept warm all evening long!

Chilly Day Punch
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups cranberry juice
1 3/4 cups water (can add more to taste)
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar

Then add the same coffee filter & spices as above & simmer in crock pot.

Holiday Wassail
Equal parts cranberry juice cocktail & apple juice
(enough to fill crock pot)
The juice from one orange
1/4 teaspoon Ground nutmeg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (more or less to taste)
1 Cinnamon stick
8 Whole cloves
Add orange slices to top

Spicy Lemon Tea
For every gallon of water, use 8 tea bags (more or less to taste), 1 cup sugar or 1 1/2 cup honey, and the juice from one half a lemon. Cut the other half into slices to float on top, and add a few cinnamon sticks for added flavor.

Here's a wonderful candy bar recipe to make ahead & put in the freezer. It's always good to have some things prepared ahead of time, so you can pop them out of the freezer & onto a beautiful platter as folks walk in the door

Almond Candy Bars

2 cups powdered sugar
14 oz. shredded coconut
5 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
24 oz. milk chocolate chips
1 cup whole roasted almonds

Mix milk & vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar to milk mixture, stir until smooth. Stir in coconut - the mixture should be firm. Pat the mix firmly into a greased 9x13 pan, and chill until firm. Melt chocolate, stirring often in a double boiler or microwave. Cut coconut mix into 2 inch bars, and put 2 whole almonds on top of each bar. Using a fork, dip each bar into melted chocolate. Tap
to remove any excess chocolate, then dry at room temperature or in the fridge.

How to pack & ship your holiday goodies!

Protect your cookies, and keep them from breaking while being shipped in the mail! Fill ziplock bags with popcorn, and surround the cookies on all sides as you would packing peanuts.

* You can use different flavors (butter, caramel, cheese)
for an added touch.