Saturday, December 31, 2011

Giveaway: McCormick's Big Cookie Share and "The Treats Truck Baking Book"

Using to choose my winner, comment #5 was chosen as the winner!  Congrats to TCC!!!

I enjoy trying new recipes and I enjoy eating a tasty cookie from time to time!  So, I was really excited when my friends from McCormick contacted me to see if I wanted to participate in trying out some new cookies recipes created by them and Kim Ima.  McCormick sent me Kim Ima's new book, "The Treats Truck Baking Book" as well as three new recipes that I could choose from.  Although these recipes are not in her book, the recipes that are found in her book are recipes that Kim sells on her "Treats Truck" in New York City.

I decided to try the Little Peppermint Crispy Rice Squares, and I was not disappointed with the recipe.  This new recipe is a minty twist on a classic crispy treat recipe...and I liked it better!  If you have leftover candy canes from the holidays, you will want to try this recipe!

Little Peppermint Crispy Rice Squares
Prep Time: 25 minutes

4 tablespoons butter
10 ounces mini marshmallows
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Peppermint Extract
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
3 coarsely crushed candy canes

1.      Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease an 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch pan. 
2.      Melt the 3 tablespoons butter in a big pot over low heat. When the butter has melted enough to coat the bottom of the pot, add the marshmallows. Stir often until melted, then remove from the heat. Add peppermint extract and stir well. 
3.      Pour the rice cereal, white chocolate chips and 2 crushed candy canes into the pot and stir until the marshmallows and other ingredients are mixed together. 
4.      Use a bowl scraper or spatula to get the mixture into the greased pan. Pat into place. Use buttered hands or buttered spatula to press into the pan. 
5.      Garnish with 1 crushed candy cane to create a festive look. 
6.      Let mixture set for at least 15 minutes. Cut into five rows of five, and once removing from the pan, also slice the pieces to half the thickness to make little peppermint squares the ideal size for including in holiday cookie gift baskets or boxes. (I liked them "thin" - such a great idea!)
 Makes 50 servings.

McCormick's Big Cookie Share (EDIT - the "Big Cookie Share" is no longer taking place as of 1/3/12)
You can also participate in McCormick's "Big Cookie Share" on Facebook.  You can create a delicious cookie and then spread the love to family and friends!  It is simple to do - simply follow these steps:
2. CLICK  on “The Big Cookie Share” tab, then choose a McCormick virtual cookie and frost it with a personalized message.  
3. ADD flavor to the McCormick Kitchens recipe with additions like cranberries, nuts or almond extract.  
4. SHARE your e-cookie and its recipe with a special someone or all your Facebook friends

If you like to make cookies (and pies, cakes, etc.), then you would LOVE this book!  I am so excited to try all of the recipes that are in this book!  Would you like to win "The Treats Truck Baking Book" by Kim Ima?  McCormick will be giving away a book to one of my lucky readers!  All you have to do is enter the giveaway!

To Enter:
1. Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite cookie is = 1st entry
2. Go to Kim Ima's website, look at the treats that are offered on her menu and leave a comment telling me which one(s) you would order and eat! = 2nd entry
3. Participate in McCormick's "Big Cookie Share" on Facebook.  After you send your cookie(s), leave a comment here = 3rd entry. (EDIT - the "Big Cookie Share" is no longer taking place as of 1/3/12)
4. This giveaway is open to all those living in the US.
5. This giveaway will end on January 5th at 9pm.  I will choose a winner randomly and will notify the winner.  Please be sure that I have a way to contact you if you do win!

I am looking forward to an amazing 2012!  Happy New Year to you!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Countdown

As I mentioned in this post, we are celebrating the advent season with learning more about the Names and God and also having some fun family activities!  Yesterday was fun, but I am going to revamp how I present the information to my boys.  They were so excited to get to the activity that it took longer than I thought to discuss the name of God and read in the Bible.  I will keep trying to do it a little differently until I see what works best for my 3 and 5 year old!

I also made a paper chain countdown for each of my boys...which inspired my sons to make paper chains of their own!  Their creations are hanging above our front door!  I found the paper chain countdown idea that I made here on Make and Takes.
Can you tell that it is a Christmas tree?

I probably will make the loops a little shorter and wider next time.  I would suggest a 1 1/2 in width...and maybe play with the length a little bit.  I am not sure about that!  I thought that it came out cute! I added the numbers on each loop, because I thought it would be a great way to determine which chain to tear off.  My 3 year old did NOT want to tear off the first chain!  I had to help him.  I think that he is upset that we will be taking it least that is the way it was last night!  I am sure that he will have fun with it as the month continues!

I need to finish prepping for tonight's activities!  More on that later!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Advent Plans for 2011

Today marks the first day of the beginning of our Advent season.  As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus, Dawson and I wanted our family to learn more about God and also have some family fun.  As I prayed about it and searched the Internet, I came up with the following ideas that we will do each day:

1. The Names and/or Attributes of God.  Each day, the boys will open up a box and will find an ornament (made from chipboard - real simple) with a name or attribute of God.  We will read scriptures from the Bible that mentions that attribute and then we will do a craft or activity that surrounds the meaning of that name.  The information that I used, I found here, however I did change some of the crafts a little bit.

Today, we will focus on "Almighty" God, we will read Gen 17:1-3; Gen. 15:5; Gen. 35:11 and Ps. 90:1-2.  For our craft, I glued yellow popsicle sticks together to form a star - and the kids will decorate it with glitter glue.

2. Fun Family Activities.  After we learn about a name or attribute of God, the boys will then take out a slip of paper that lists a fun family activity that we will do together.  I first found this idea on Simple Mom's blog.  She posted a Christmas Countdown, and I thought it was a great idea.  I have changed the activities a little bit to suit what we will be doing this month, but her list was a great place to begin thinking about what I wanted our family to do!

So what will our family be doing today?  We will be decorating the Christmas tree (which the boys have been looking forward to doing) while listening to Christmas music!  It will be followed by sipping some hot chocolate!

I will be sharing more of what we are going to be doing this month in another post!  I hope that you are having a wonderful time with your family!