Saturday, January 12, 2013

Holiday Hits

My grandchildren's day care closes when public schools are shut down so I HAVE to go babysit. And for the last two years I have taken care of the Goober and Sweet Baby Girl the week before Christmas. This year I planned ahead for those down times. You know, when they don't want to watch General Hospital with you. What's with that? So, I thought I would share with you some of the projects and some of the recipes that were a hit over the holidays at the The Jardin Encantado. Some of them may be one hit wonders.

Pumpkin Cookies
1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter
½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange gel icing (if you can’t find this use red and yellow food coloring)
4 cups powdered sugar
Mini pretzel sticks
Cream together peanut butter, butter, vanilla and gel icing color. Add the powdered sugar a small amount at a time. The mixture will become very stiff and difficult to mix. Use a spatula to combine any of the mix that clings to the side of the bowl. Roll 1 tbsp of the dough into a ball and make creases with the back of a butter knife on each cookie. The finishing touch is the pretzel stem. Refrigerate pumpkins until ready to serve. #1 son finished these off in 2 days.

Reindeer Cookies
One package Nutter Butter cookies
one large bag of M&Ms – this should have the right amount of brown M&Ms and red M&Ms (unless you are okay with other color eyes)
tiny twist pretzels
white frosting, in a tube or put some in a pastry bag.
Lay out the Nutter Butters on a tray. Take the pretzels and use the white frosting to “glue” the pretzel “antlers” onto the top of the Nutter Butter. While you are doing this, get your grandchildren to sort out the brown M&Ms and red M&Ms into separate bowls for the eyes and nose.  This may or may not go well.  Our large bag of M&Ms had EXACTLY enough brown ones for one bag of Nutter Butter cookies. I don't know how many M&Ms the kids ate. Use the frosting to glue down the M&Ms. Be sure to put the M side down. Ta, da!

Gardeners hand scrub

I used some small canning jars and filled them 3/4 full of sugar. I then added Dawn dish washing soap (the pink kind with Olay Beauty Hand Renewal in it) until it reached just below the bottom of the mouth of the jar. Stir the sugar and soap together….adding sugar a little at a time until it is a paste-like consistency. You don’t want it to be too runny! The light pink color looks so pretty. Add a ribbon or twine and a cutsie wootsie label. My friend, Lenore, wants me to make more.

Feet print reindeer
Card stock
Brown paint (I used finger paint. Next time I think I will use Tempra.)
2 googly eyes
1 small red pom pom
black fine point felt tip pen
Dip your grandkidlette’s feet into the paint and gently place them on the card stock being careful not to move them - the kids or the feet. Let dry - the paper. Wash the children's feet. Glue two googly eyes on the ball of the foot and the pom pom on the heel. Draw in black antlers. I was so hoping my DIL wouldn't notice the brown paint on the kids feet.

Santa ornament
The infamous salt dough ornament is resurrected for this project.
½ cup flour
½ cup salt
¼ water (a little more or less)
Knead until a stiff dough forms. Make an impression of your grandkiddo’s hand and using a knife cut around the shape. Be sure to poke a hole (for hanging) at top. I used a skewer. Bake at 200 degrees for 3 hours. Paint, seal and hang. The grands gave these to their parent for Christmas presents. Just what they wanted!

Christmas Simmer
3 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg - or one whole nutmeg
1 tbsp star anise - or two whole star anise 
1 tsp ginger
1 qt. water
Simply raid your kitchen cupboard to make this household potpourri. Stir all together and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Then simmer on lowest heat. Add water as needed. Christmas fragrance - it is a good thing!

Disclaimer: I am not a chef or trained cook but I do know how to boil water. Two of these recipes contain peanuts. If you are allergic to peanuts, do not eat them or the cookies. Please note that results may vary. If you dislike any recipe on this blog, you have obviously messed it up somehow.


  1. Love the feet reindeer.

  2. The hand cream looks great!

  3. You're so smart! And with so much creative talent.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Yep...that hand scrub is a winner!!!!