Nov 30

Double Decker Peanut Butter Fudge

Double your delight with peanut butter and chocolate fudge

Double Decker Peanut Butter Fudge

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Refrigeration time: 3 hours

Makes: 36 pieces

Ingredients:

• 2 cans sweetened condensed milk (each 1 1/4 cup/300 mL)

• 1 cup (250 mL) peanut butter, preferably smooth

• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

• 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla

• 10 oz (300 g) milk chocolate chips

• 10 oz (300 g) peanut butter chips

• 3 tbsp (45 mL) peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

1. Line an 8×8-inch (2L) square baking pan with aluminum foil so the edges overhang the sides. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 can of condensed milk, 1/2 cup (125 mL) peanut butter, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Stir continuously just until bubbly. Remove from heat and immediately stir in chocolate chips and 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla. Scrape into prepared pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate while making peanut butter layer.

2. In a clean medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining condensed milk, peanut butter, and salt, stirring continuously just until bubbly. Remove from heat and immediately stir in peanut butter chips and remaining vanilla. Scrape onto chocolate layer, spreading to cover. Sprinkle with peanuts, pressing gently into fudge.

3. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm. Lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into small squares.

Find more recipes at www.peanutbureau.ca.

www.newscanada.com

Nov 29

Spread Holiday Cheer with Gingerbread Butter

Gingerbread Butter

Gingerbread Butter

‘Tis the season of baking delicious desserts and pastries filled with festive flavours. For many of us, it’s a time to bake and fill our cookie tins with the traditional holiday taste of gingerbread.

This year, try experimenting the flavours of gingerbread in more than just cookies. Follow this recipe to purée the perfect gingerbread spread. Made in less than 10 minutes, spread the sweetness of gingerbread butter on your homemade or store-bought cookies, toast, pancakes, and more.

Gingerbread Butter

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 2 minutes

Makes: 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) or 24 (1 tbsp/15 mL) servings

Ingredients:

• 225 g gingerbread cookies, about 8 cookies

• 1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar

• 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut oil

• 1/4 cup (50 mL) water

• 2 tsp (10 mL) Club House pure vanilla extract

• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) Club House organic ground cinnamon

• 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground ginger

Directions:

1. Pulse cookies in food processor until resembles fine crumbs. Add sugar; pulse until just blended.

2. Heat oil and water in small saucepan on low heat until oil is melted. Slowly add oil mixture to processor while pulsing. Add vanilla and spices; pulse until just blended and refrigerate.

For more tips on preparing festive flavours and holiday feasts head to flavour.ca.

www.newscanada.com

Nov 29

Top 5 Gender Neutral Toys For Every Kid

Traditional gender roles are becoming a thing of the past as barriers continue to crumble for boys and girls. Today’s parents are looking for toys that offer kids the freedom to be who they want to be and play however they want to play. Give the little ones on your list the perfect present this holiday using this list of trending gender-neutral toys.

Lego Adventure Camp Tree House

Lego Adventure Camp Tree House

1. Lego Adventure Camp Tree House:

A favourite brand with both girls and boys since the 1940s, this Lego collection nurtures a child’s sense of creativity while developing basic building skills.

Fisher Price record player

Fisher Price record player

2. Fisher Price record player:

Parents will get a nostalgia kick with this blast from the past and children will love it for the classic nursery rhyme songs it plays.

Outer Edge Minions sled

Outer Edge Minions sled

3. Outer Edge Minions sled:

This simple sled creates a wild ride on any neighbourhood hill, ideal for the budding thrill seeker in your family.

Playgo My Carry Along Medical Centre

Playgo My Carry Along Medical Centre

4. Playgo My Carry Along Medical Centre:

Living with an aspiring doctor? Jump start your child’s career with a full doctor set complete with stethoscope. Let them learn about the tools of their future trade and have fun diagnosing every member of the family.

My First Craftsman/MD Deluxe Workbench

My First Craftsman/MD Deluxe Workbench

5. My First Craftsman/MD Deluxe Workbench:

Play tools are an early opportunity to explore and interact with craftsmanship on a child’s own terms. It’s an empowering feeling being able to build things by hand at any young age.

Find more toys at www.sears.ca.

www.newscanada.com

Nov 28

Christmas Waves a Magic Wand

cupcakes-and-squirrel-in-the-snow-forest

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

-Norman Vincent Peale

Nov 27

Christmas Plants Rooted in Centuries-old Histories and Traditions

Winter Holly

Winter Holly

Each Christmas decorated trees, twinkling lights and familiar carols take center stage in creating a festive holiday atmosphere. Certain plants play key roles as well: church altars banked with poinsettias, mistletoe hung over doorways, and holly adorning floral arrangements. Ironically, the histories of most Christmas plants have pagan roots (pardon the pun!), some dating back to the druids in the 13th and 14th centuries. Yet over the centuries they evolved into beloved Christian symbols.

Dr. Charles Aling, professor of history at Northwestern College, St. Paul, Minn., explains that Christmas plants such as holly, ivy, mistletoe and poinsettia became Christmas favorites due in part to their bright colors and evergreen properties. “Their coloration did a lot for the drab, cold and dark time of year when other plants had died and the landscape was colorless. Both the pagans and Christians saw these plants as bringing light and color into the season.”

Holly

Holly

Holly — Holly’s ability to look good in both winter and summer certainly helped its position in folklore, Aling explains. Representing immortality and seen as a good omen, holly was considered sacred by the ancient Romans and used as a gift during the festival of Saturnalia. Holly was brought into homes when winter began to shelter the elves and faeries.

During the early years of Christianity in Rome, many Christians continued to deck their homes with holly to avoid detection and persecution. Gradually, holly became a Christmas symbol as Christianity became the dominant religion. Because the holly leaf has sharp, pointy edges, Christians see the holly representing Jesus’ crown of thorns and the red berries representing the blood He shed on the cross.

Ivy — Aside from the familiar carol, “The Holly and the Ivy,” the ivy vine doesn’t have quite the Christmas tradition as mistletoe and holly, Aling says. It was associated with Bacchus the Roman god and thought to bring good luck, fun and ecstatic happiness. Growing the plant on the outside walls of a house was believed to be a deterrent against misfortune. However, if it died, it was thought that financial trouble was approaching. Like evergreens, ivy was also seen as a symbol of eternal life.

Because ivy symbolized prosperity and charity, it became associated with Christmas, a time to celebrate the rich rewards of life yet remember the less fortunate. Christian symbolists also consider the ivy’s need to cling to a support emblematic of man’s need for divine support, explains Aling.

Mistletoe

Mistletoe

Mistletoe — Legend explains that the tears of Scandinavian goddess Frigga saved her son after he was shot with an arrow made of mistletoe. When she ordered mistletoe never again be used to harm others, she made it a symbol of peace and love. It was also hung over doorways to ward off evil and bring happiness, health and good luck, and kissing under the mistletoe was thought to increase the possibility of marriage in the upcoming year.

When Christianity took a foothold in northern Europe, mistletoe was one of the pagan casualties. For centuries it was forbidden on Christian altars. Eventually, mistletoe found its way back into acceptance when the Victorians revived the ancient ritual of kissing under the mistletoe as a sign of love, romance and good luck.

Poinsettias — “While most Christmas plants date back several hundred years to Europe and the Mediterranean,” Aling points out, “the poinsettia is a relatively recent Christmas symbol based in the Western world.” Native to Mexico and cultivated by the Aztec Indians, the poinsettia is named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, who imported it from Mexico in 1828. After the Spanish conquest and the introduction of Christianity, the poinsettia found a place in Christmas rituals.

Poinsettia Flowers

Poinsettia Flowers

The legend of the poinsettia tells of a poor village boy in Mexico who wanted to give the Holy Child a gift, but had no money. In desperation, he picked some weeds on his way to church to leave as his gift. He prayed to God to help him show his love and God answered by turning the weeds into a beautiful star-shaped flower with bright red leaves. The poinsettia has been a Christmas symbol ever since signifying how Jesus meets the needs of His believers.

Even though most Christmas plants are short-lived, basic care helps them last through the holiday season.

“Holly is actually a shade shrub that is quite plentiful in England. The shrub should be planted in the spring,” explains Dr. Jerry Beilby, professor of biology at Northwestern College. “Cut holly lasts longer indoors if treated like cut flowers, placed in cool water, and kept away from excessive heat.”

Ivy is more of an English Christmas green than an American one, he says. “It’s a very popular houseplant in the United States since it’s relatively easy to grow. It takes low water, either direct or indirect sun and even thrives in the shade.”

Mistletoe is actually a parasite that feeds off trees and shrubs, Beilby says. “Plants bloom in the summer and produce white berries during the winter. Mistletoe is often hung upside down and dried during the holidays.” The berries are poisonous, so keep the sprigs out of the reach of children. Many commercial firms now market mistletoe with artificial berries for safety.

A poinsettia can last for weeks beyond the holidays when placed in indirect sunlight at least six hours a day,” he explains. “Keep it away from cold drafts and excessive heat. Water when it feels dry, and after the blooming season use an all-purpose fertilizer once a month.”

Beilby adds that the belief that poinsettias are poisonous is a misconception. Scientific evidence of the plant’s safety is ample and well documented. Poinsettias are actually helpful in removing pollutants from indoor air.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Nov 27

Peppermint Bars

The right recipe for your cookie exchange

Peppermint Bars

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Makes: 36 servings

Ingredients:

• 1 pkg (440 g) fudge brownie mix

• 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) icing sugar

• 7 tbsp (105 mL) melted butter

• 1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) whipping (35%) cream

• 1 tsp (5 mL) Club House pure mint & peppermint extract

• 12 oz (360 g) semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

• 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter

• Crushed peppermint candies (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare brownie mix as directed on package. Spread in greased foil-lined 15×10 inch (38×25 cm) baking pan.

2. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, beat sugar, melted butter, cream, and extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled brownie. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

4. Microwave chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter in large microwavable bowl on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over top of chilled brownie. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies, if desired. Cut into bars.

Find more tips on preparing festive flavours and holiday feasts online at flavour.ca.

www.newscanada.com

Nov 06

Anything Goes Cookie Dough Cranberry Chocolate Oatmeal Granola Cookie

Try better-for-you baking this holiday season

Anything Goes Cookie Dough Cranberry Chocolate Oatmeal Granola Cookie

Anything Goes Cookie Dough Cranberry Chocolate Oatmeal Granola Cookie

When it comes to baking your own treats at home, incorporating a soft, non-hydrogenated margarine can help make cookies soft and chewy. Becel Buttery Taste margarine is made with a blend of oils, including canola and sunflower oils, and contains 80 per cent less saturated fat than butter. It also has no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives.

This holiday season, try this simple and delicious cookie recipe as your first step towards better-for-you baking:

Anything Goes Cookie Dough Cranberry Chocolate Oatmeal Granola Cookie

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Makes: 84 cookies

Ingredients:

• 2 1/4 cups (550 mL) all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

• 1 cup (250 mL) Becel Buttery Taste margarine

• 1 cup (250 mL) firmly packed light brown sugar

• 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

• 2 large eggs

• 1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla extract

• 1 cup (250 mL) rolled oats

• 1 cup (250 mL) dried cranberries

• 1/2 cup (125 mL) flax seeds

• 1/2 cup (125 mL) raw sunflower seeds

• 1 tbsp (15 mL) ground cinnamon

• 1/2 cup (125 mL) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190° C). Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Beat margarine with sugars in large bowl. Mix eggs and vanilla until blended.

3. Gradually add in flour mixture; beat just until blended. Add oats, cranberries, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and mini chips.

4. Drop mixture by the tablespoon on ungreased baking sheets, 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Slightly press each cookie down before baking. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are golden.

5. Cool 2 minutes on wire rack; remove cookies from sheets and cool completely.

Nutrition information and more recipe ideas can be found at Becel.ca.

www.newscanada.com

Nov 06

Anything Goes Cookie Dough Chocolate Peppermint Spiral Cookie

Bake homemade holiday goodies

Gift with love this holiday season by giving a homemade DIY gift to the special people in your lives. According to a recent survey, 63 per cent of Canadians say they would like to receive a DIY gift this holiday season. Furthermore, 45 per cent report homemade baked goods as a gift they’d like to receive, compared to the 19 who want store-bought baked goods.

Try this expert-tested and easy to make recipe that will ensure soft and chewy cookies, every time.

Anything Goes Cookie Dough Chocolate Peppermint Spiral Cookie

Prep time: 14 minutes

Freeze time: 24 hours

Cook time: 8 minutes

Makes: 36 cookies

Ingredients:

• 2 1/2 cups (610 mL) all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

• 1 cup (250 mL) Becel Buttery Taste margarine

• 1 cup (250 mL) firmly packed light brown sugar

• 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

• 2 large eggs

• 1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla extract

• 1/4 cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp. (5 mL) peppermint extract

• 2 tbsp cocoa

• 20 hard peppermint candies, crushed

Directions:

1. Combine 2 1/2 cups (610 mL) flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract until blended.

3. Gradually add in flour mixture; mix just until blended. Stir in additional 1/4 cup (60 mL) flour and peppermint extract.

4. Divide dough in half (about 1 2/3 cups). Stir cocoa powder into half and candies into the other half. Roll out cream dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper into 10 x 16 inch rectangle. Repeat with cocoa dough.

5. Using parchment paper, place cream dough on top of cocoa dough, trimming excess so dough is even. Gently roll dough lengthwise into log, using the parchment paper to assist (dough will be soft). Make sure to not leave in any paper.

6. Carefully roll log into peppermint candies, using parchment paper to assist. Wrap log in parchment paper then plastic wrap. Place on cookie sheet and freeze 24 hours.

7. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Unwrap log and slice into 1/4 inch rounds, rotating the log 1/4 turn after each slice to maintain shape. Put dough back into freezer between batches. Place on ungreased cookie sheet — cookies might need to be reshaped into circles at this point.

8. Bake 7 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool cookies on sheets 2 minutes on wire rack; remove cookies from sheets and cool completely.

www.newscanada.com

Aug 29

Quick and Easy Kids Christmas Craft Ideas

Christmas CraftsTis the season for holiday fun and joyous cheers and kids Christmas crafts are the perfect activity. Make this a fun family time or even a classroom project and keep the little ones entertained while they explore their creative side. With all the holiday shopping, wrapping presents and running around time and money are short for just about everyone. With this in mind we have gathered up some quick, easy and inexpensive Xmas project ideas that your kids will love to make.

There is a fun handprint Xmas tree, a candy cane reindeer and a paper plate Santa card holder. Each of these are made from simple and inexpensive supplies such as paper products, paint and even candy. Add some fun decorations using glitter glue, ribbon and other accessories. Kids of all ages can get in on the fun with these holiday craft ideas. So gather up some supplies, schedule the time and grab the kids and let’s get crafting.

Kids Christmas Craft Idea #1

Handprint Tree

This one requires no cutting and no gluing but can be a messy project (which kids love). From the smallest to the biggest, all children love to paint their hands and get messy (even us adults get in on the fun sometimes).

Supplies

  • Construction Paper
  • Green Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Glitter Glue or Stickers

Directions

  1. Lay down some newspaper over your work area as this can get a little messy. Make sure the children are wearing old clothes and not their Sunday best.
  2. Place a piece of construction paper in front of the child. Use any color except green.
  3. Have your child completely paint one hand with the green paint. Starting at the top of the paper (which will become the bottom of the tree) have them place their hand with the pinky close to the edge of the paper. Place 3 or 4 more handprints right next to the other until they have reached the other side of the paper. If you want, they can use both hands so that the pinky is always facing the edge on the sides of the tree. You can also just use the one hand and have the thumb facing out on one side of the tree.
  4. Keep having them press handprints above this first row but make the second row smaller so the tree gets thinner as it gets near the top. The top of the tree should be just one handprint.
  5. Now let the paint dry. Once the paint is dry they can decorate it with glitter glue, paint or even stickers. You can even have them glue on beads and ribbon.

Kids Christmas Craft Idea #2Candy Cane Reindeer

These cute reindeer will look great hanging on your Xmas tree. On the big day the kids can take these off the tree and enjoy eating the candy cane. So remember to keep the paper wrapped around the candy cane so you can enjoy this later.

Supplies

  • 1 Candy Cane (per reindeer)
  • Wiggle Eyes
  • Small Red or Brown Pom Pom
  • 1 Brown Pipe Cleaners
  • Green Paper or Felt
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Directions

  1. Holding the candy cane with the curved section facing up and towards you, glue on a pom pom near the end of the curved section. This is his nose.
  2. Now glue on two wiggle eyes on either side of the candy just above the nose.
  3. Take a pipe cleaner and bend and shape into antlers. Twist this around the candy cane right at the curve section. Now cut off smaller sections of the pipe cleaner and twist these around the antlers for some points.
  4. Finish this off by cutting out a bow tie with the green paper and glue this on the straight section where the neck would be.
  5. To hang this adorable decoration just tie some string in a loop around the antlers. Then use your ornament hangers to place it on your tree.

Kids Christmas Craft Idea #3Santa Card Holder

With so many holiday cards it is hard to find a spot for all of them. This cute Santa card holder will help you find space and make a great addition to your decorations.

Supplies

  • 2 Sturdy Paper Plates
  • Red Paint
  • Black and Red Marker
  • Cotton Balls
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Directions

  1. Paint the front of a paper plate red and let it dry.
  2. Cut the other paper plate in half. Save the other half for another project.
  3. Once the paint is dry, place the half plate on top of the full plate to where both the bottoms of the plates are facing outward. Glue the rims together the hold in place. Make sure the glue is dry before moving onto the next step.
  4. With the black marker draw eyes on the half paper plate near the top. With the red marker draw on a mouth.
  5. Take cotton balls and cover the edges of the half plate for a beard and hair. Glue on a couple cotton balls on the red plate on the top and slightly to one side to make it look like a Santa hat.
  6. Now glue on some string or yarn on the back to hang on the wall. Now simply fill it up with your holiday greeting cards.

These are just a few of many kids Christmas craft ideas that you can try. Use your creative side and imagination and make these unique and special. You can use them for decorations or give them as gifts. So happy crafting and Happy Holidays.

 

Author Julie Barros is the creator of Cool Kids Craft Ideas where you will find lots of crafting ideas including more kids Christmas Crafts.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Aug 03

Kids Soap Making – Guaranteed to Keep Little Ones Amused During the Holidays!

Snowflake Soap

Snowflake Soap

Homemade soap making is fun for any age and for kids, soap making allows them to be creative, have fun and end up with a usable product. I know when my kids were small, they absolutely loved making their own soaps, and what better way to get them into the tub!

Now, I’m going to give you a couple of different recipe ideas, the first one being very simple and suitable for quite tiny children. The second one can still be made by kids but definitely needs constant adult supervision because a microwave and sharp knife is needed.

Right, lets get the kids soap making and creating lovely bubbles!

Recipe 1

Ingredients:

  • Soap Flakes (or some bars of pure soap grated finely into a powder)
  • Liquid Food coloring
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Bowl
  • String (if the kids want to make soap on a rope)

How to make it:

  1.  Pour about 3 cups of soap flakes into a large bowl
  2.  Add 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of water with a few drops of food coloring added to it.
  3.  Mix the ingredients with your hands until it forms a consistency like play dough
  4. To shape it, take a drop or two of vegetable oil and rub it between the palm of your hands – now shape anyway you wish.
  5.  To make a soap on a rope, cut a piece of string and tie the ends together. Push the knotted end gently into the finished shape.
  6.  Let the completed soap stand to set over night

If you are using grated soap, you may not need as much water to mix to a dough like consistency.
Alternatively, let the kids roll out the dough to the required thickness and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Another soap on a rope idea is to cut out two shapes of different colored dough and sandwich the string between the two shapes.

Recipe 2

Items that you will need:

  • Sharp knife
  • Scented oil
  • Sparkles or glitter (optional)
  • Colored glycerin soap
  • Soap molds
  • Spray vegetable oil
  • Glass measuring jug
  • Toothpicks
  • Cutting board
  • Decorative packaging (optional)

How to make it:

  1. Lightly spray the soap mould with vegetable oil to prevent the soap from sticking alternatively grease the mold with a little vaseline
  2. Cut the glycerin soap into small cubes
  3. Place the cubes into a glass measuring jug
  4. Put the glass jug into the microwave and heat on high until the soap has melted. This can take about a minute.
  5. It’s important to do this next step quickly because melted glycerin soap soon hardens. Add a couple of drops of your chosen fragrance. Bubblegum fragrance is a great choice because it smells so yummy! Also at this stage, if you want, add a few sparkles or glitter and stir around using the toothpick.
  6. Carefully pour the melted soap into your moulds and leave for at least half an hour
  7. When the soap has cooled and hardened, carefully pop it out of the mold
  8. The soap is now ready to be wrapped in your choice of packaging, or, if making a special gift for someone several soaps could be put into a small wicker basket.

Take care to supervise kids soap making in the kitchen at all times and ensure they wear aprons and use an oven cloth when handling hot pans and ingredients.

 

Whether you are looking for fresh ideas for a hobby or looking to generate a much needed second income, then I have just the product for you. I have written an informative e-book which contains all the information you need to be successful at selling your products, plus it contains over 80 different and original recipe ideas. So if you want to encourage your kids soap making and learn to make spa quality products plus find out how to start your business from home, then visit my website at www.homemadeskinproducts.com.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com