Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Things: Kiehl's for Him

Are you still wondering what to get for the man who has everything? My man is getting some Kiehl's love this year. Their products are fresh, just manly enough, and well priced. Check out the selections for him. And while you are at it, add in some Grapefruit bath gel or Lip Balm #1 for yourself.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cheap and Cheerful Cooking: Paula Deen's Gingerbread Cookies


For the cookies:
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 stick salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Red and green food coloring, as desired
Assorted sprinkles, as desired

Using a mixer on low speed, cream the brown sugar and butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Mix in the eggs and molasses.

Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix with a spoon. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap; place in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable. Line 1 or more cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take about 1/2 cup dough at a time and roll on a floured surface until - to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out shapes with 5-by-3-inch gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters. (Re-roll the scraps.)
Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets, leaving space between them. Refrigerate the cookies for 20 minutes, then bake until they just begin to brown at the edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the icing: Combine the confectioners' sugar and milk in a bowl. Leave white or divide among bowls and add food coloring. Decorate cookies with icing; use a pastry bag to pipe eyes, mouths, buttons and bow ties. Top with sprinkles.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Favorite Things: The Christmas Gift by Francisco Jimenez

Centered on the struggles of a poor family, this beautifully written and illustrated book speaks to the true meaning of Christmas. I highly recommend this book as a way to talk to your children about what it means to really give and receive a gift. The full text is presented in both Spanish and English. It is available from many online booksellers or call your local bookstore. It will be a Christmas gift you won't soon forget.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cheap and Cheerful Cooking: "Homemade" Iced Sugar Cookies

Want to know a fun and easy shortcut? Grab a Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix, a tub of vanilla frosting, some festive sprinkles and you're in business. I "doctor" up the store bought icing a bit with powdered sugar or even with peppermint extract and these cookies pass as totally homemade. Shhhhh, the secret recipe is out. I won't tell if you don't.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Favorite Things: Stella & Dot Jewelry

Madge showed me this super duper jewelry website this weekend. Such cute items in a wide variety of price points. And just in time for that last minute shopping for a little gift "from you to you". Go ahead. Window shopping doesn't cost anything. Also, last time I checked Santa was still accepting lists and I believe you can link your Santa quite easily to this page.


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