Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Chalk Board

I want to share with you readers one of my new favourite pass times!  Yes chalk board art :)  I got this little chalk from my dad to go along with the desk that he made for him and after reading this awesome tutorial I have really been enjoying changing it for the seasons. 

This is the one I did yesterday for the Christmas season. 

I think I will get some coloured chalk and start incorporating that into my designs but for now I will enjoy my simple black and white. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December Photo Challenge

Here is my part 2 of the December photo challenge.  I am very impressed that this week I was able to capture all the moments in the challenge!

 9th: Decorated
10th: Stripes (candy cane on mug)
11th: On the shelf
12: Sweet (Ebens cookie or the whip cream on his lips)
13th: Tis the season (our school room chalk board)
14th: Black and white (ornaments I made
15th: Something Yum (chocolate covered pretzels) 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Cookies

Every year our family enjoys making Christmas cookies together.  This is usually an all day process starting with mama mixing the dough, letting it chill out in the fridge, daddy rolling out the dough when he gets home from work,  the kids cutting out the shapes, decorating them and of course eating them!!!  

This year with the kids getting older and with their love for helping out in the kitchen we did a BIG chunk of the work yesterday morning...but we saved some for daddy to do when he got home from work as well. 

This year I bought the kids new Christmas aprons to wear in the kitchen with me while they did some Christmas baking. 

The first thing they did was mix the dough.  I love the kitchen aid for baking with kids.  Seriously just add the ingredients and turn it on. 

Peterson Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

1.  Beat first 5 ingredients together until creamy.
2. Blend together the dry ingredients and add to mixer. 
3. With hands form the dough into two dough balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
4. Roll the dough out on a well floured surface. 
5. Cut with cookie cutters.
6. Bake in pre heated oven (350) for 7-8 minutes.
7.  Let cool on a cooling rack before decorating. 

Of course baking with kids (or anyone who LOVES eating cookie dough) can be a challenge but we have a rule when we are baking if they keep their hands away from their mouths they will always be rewarded for it at the end with a little bit of the dough.  

When we finished making our dough into balls for the fridge I caught lady J getting her little sample. 

As we waited for the dough to chill in the fridge I thought it was a great opportunity to have a cookies and milk party with them.  They each got to choose a Christmas treat to enjoy with their chocolate milk. 

I love how they think they are so funny!

Next was time to roll out the dough and bake some cookies. 

Eben was brave enough to learn how to put the cookie pans into the oven and take them out all by himself.  Here they are happy with the out come of their cookies. 

After work when daddy got home it was time to decorate.  This year I decided to try out Royal Icing.  I am not sure that I am fan of it or not yet.  Maybe I will need to try different recipes to find one that I really like. 

We let each of the kids decorate 5 cookies...cause really who can eat cookies with that much icing and sprinkles??? 

Abraham really wanted to get in on the action so we let him have his own container of icing and just one cookie to decorate.  He was so happy to be at the table with his siblings taking part in what we were doing almost as much as he enjoyed eating the goods. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas playdough

Last week we had a blast playing with this great Christmas playdough!  The kids played for a long time using my rolling pin and all our Christmas cookie cutters.

The recipe was so easy to make and the playdough is staying fresh in the zip lock bags we have stored them in.  I only scented the red one (peppermint) but I don't think I used enough of the extract cause it doesn't smell anymore.  

What kind of fun things have you been doing with the kids this holiday season? 

Monday, December 9, 2013

December Photo Challenge

This December I want to be sure to take lots of great pictures of our family traditions so I decided to keep me accountable that I would take part in a December photo challenge.

I found this challenge on pinterest and decided to give it a try.

The first week I did great I just missed one day; but other than that here is my first week of pictures. 

1. Me
2. Elf
3. What we are reading (lots of Christmas stories)
4. No picture
5. Someone I love (yeah that handsome man is my favorite!!!) 
6. Burst of red (photo booth props)
7. The view from here...the kids laughing their heads off at daddy.
8.  Shopping (Christmas tree shopping) 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

DIY Christmas card

Every year I try to find a new template to use for our family Christmas card.  This year I really wanted to have a news letter card after seeing some pretty cool looking ones like this on pinterest.

I happen to come across this awesome template (which can be downloaded here). Now all I needed was a friend with photoshop; which I happen to have so I headed over there one afternoon to create our 2013 Year End Review Christmas Card.

This card was so much fun to do.  We asked each other what were some of our favorite memories from the year to come up with our "awesome things" and we asked them where they loved visiting to come up with our "memorable trips".  We had a lot of fun looking back at our year.  Also the two older kids got to tell me what they really loved right now and then we all laughed as we knew what to write for Abraham. 

In school the kids have been learning and memorizing scripture.  We love the verse from Ephesians 2:8 ~ For it is by grace you have been saved through faith~  and feel this is a good verse for our family and the season we are in right now. 

The pictures along the bottom are from some our trips, adventures and moments at home.   

So for all you great readers Merry Christmas from the Peterson Gang!!!  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Salt Dough Ornaments

This classic recipe is so easy to do and I just love how they turned out.  I used this recipe which I found on pinterest.  I did not add the cinnamon to mine this time cause I already have these awesome cinnamon ornaments made. 

When the dough was rolled out I used biscuit cutters to cut out the round shapes.  Then using my scrapbooking stamps I stamped some of them with just the plain stamps and then I used ink to stamp some of the other ones. 

To bake them I put them onto parchment paper and cooked them for the afternoon.  I would recommend if you put a design on the ornaments then put that face side down instead of face side up like I have in the picture.  I think they might turn out clearer if they are faced down.   And don't forget to use a straw to poke a hole in the top for string to go through so you can hang them. 

The inked ones stayed vibrant which I was happy about.  

We will use these as gift tags on treat bags this year along with tree ornaments. 

This morning we are doing another batch using Christmas cookie cutters and I will let the kids paint them once they are dry to give away as gifts! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snowman hand print ornaments

So last year we decided to make some ornaments with the kids and I really liked this idea from pinterest. 

For these ornaments I purchased a container of plastic red ornaments from Super Store (on clearance the year before).   

To make the hand print I held the ornament by the top and practiced placing it into the kids hands (I only did Eben and Jaelyn's hand print.  Abraham was too little last year) and told them to close their hands (wait 2-3) and then open them.  I wanted them to know what they were doing before we ended up getting paint everywhere!!!

When they got the idea I painted their little hands and placed the ornament down on their palm.  I said close (wait 2-3) and open slowly.  To dry the ornaments we placed them onto an empty toilet paper roll.   When they were dry we decorated them with sharpie markers. 

I really love how they turned out and can't wait to see them up on the tree again this year!!!  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Coaster Christmas Ornaments

I am so excited to be sharing these DIY Christmas ornaments with all of you.  They turned out terrific and I can't wait to see them on my Christmas tree in just a couple of short weeks. 

Materials needed:
1.  Coasters
2.  Pictures
3.  Mod Podge
4. Christmas card stock
5. Drill
6. Ribbon

I started with these pretty patterned coaster that I got on a clearance rack from Micheal's.  They are circle coasters with a pattern on one side and cork on the other side.   I went through our family pictures that we had taken last year (by my very talented friend Mason Photography) and picked out some great black and white photos that I just LOVE and 1 coloured photo of each of the kids. 

Spread the Mod Podge onto the coaster then position your picture where you want it.  Make sure the heads are not too close to the top cause you will still need to drill a hole up there to be able to hang these ornaments.  When the picture side is dry, cut off the extra paper with a pair of scissors.  On the back side of the coster I chose some pretty Christmas paper.  Spread the Mod Podge on that side and place your paper onto the coaster.  Let dry and cut around the coaster. 

The fun part comes next...drilling!!!   Choose a bit size big enough to put string through but not too big that the coaster will break.

Finally choose some pretty ribbon so your ornaments can hang up on the tree.   Thats it your done!  Can you believe it was that easy.  These took less then half a morning to make.  Hope you enjoy creating your own family ornaments this year. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Meal Plan

Happy Movember!!! 

Here we are another November has come and I got a delicious meal plan for you readers!  The colder weather is here so there are lots of soups, stews and biscuits. 

Hope you all enjoy.

1. Away
2. Left overs
3. Pulled pork sandwiches with home fries
4. Lasagne soup and bread sticks

5. Waffles and fruit
6. Veggie Tetrazzini

8. Out for supper
12. Roast beef supper
13. Beef and barley soup
14. Butter chicken with rice
15. Baked ham and scallop potatoes
16.  Around the Globe Potluck

20. Skillet chili mac and cheese
22. Pork Fajitas
23. Baked Beans with mac and cheese
24. Garlic fingers
25. Turkey Soup with homemade buns

29. Tidy Joes with fries

30. Beef stew with biscuits

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cha Siu Bao

This cooking project was so much fun. Probably cause I got to do it with my friend Jessica...oh and the help of our two cute daughters :)  These are a very popular Asian food.  We ate a lot of them when we went to China last year and let me tell you we nailed the recipe and they tasted so authentic. 

Jessica did make the meat mixture before our afternoon project to allow the flavours of the meat to be enhanced.  We made the dough in an afternoon and put all the buns together that same day. 

Once all the buns were filled we put them onto cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and we did an egg wash over the buns.  This helps them to get a nice brown colour while cooking. 

Now they are ready to hit the oven. 

They come out looking deliciously golden brown on top :) 

What a fun day of cooking! 

Pork Filling

1.5 pound piece pork belly

1/2 teaspoon 5 spice powder
2 tablespoons  honey
2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine (or sherry)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon thai chili sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon kiwi, pureed
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 cloves garlic, grated

Mix the ingredients for the marinade together in a Ziploc bag. The maltose is a little tough to incorporate but it’s okay if there are some lumps as these will eventually dissolve, just make sure there are no big clumps.

If your pork belly has skin, use a sharp knife to remove it. Add the pork belly to the marinade and push out as much air as possible so the meat is completely surrounded by marinade. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 days, flipping the bag over every to ensure it’s evenly marinated.

To roast your char siu, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F and move the rack to the upper middle position. Set an elevated wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and lay the marinated pork belly on the rack, saving the marinade for later. Put the pan in the oven and let it roast for 1 hour or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Remove the pan from the oven, then move the oven rack to the top position and turn the heat up to “broil”.

Baste the pork with the reserved marinade, then broil it until dark and glossy with the edges just slightly charred. Flip the meat over and baste again, allowing the second side to color and char as well.

Slice your finished char siu.

Jany Lou's Buns
Note: This recipe makes quite a bit of dough, serving size ~40-50 buns
-3 cups water
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 pkg instant (quick rise) yeast
Add above ingredients together and let sit for 10 minutes (Dissolve sugar in water).
-7 tbsp olive oil
-2.5 tsp salt
-2 eggs (beaten)
Add above to first mixture and stir.
Add 7-8 cups flour, stir mixture together and knead until dough is smooth and not sticky

Let dough rise for 1 hour and punch down once.
Tear off a small ball of dough from the batch (size of a mandarin orange/lime -smaller buns OR size of orange -bigger buns)
Flatten the ball in your hands and gently stretch it out (leave the middle a bit thicker than the edges)
Put a spoonful of filling in the middle of the flattened dough
Pinch together the ends in a circular fashion to seal the dough around the filling. Give the ends a little twist to seal it. (This makes the bun shape)
Turn the bun over and put pinched side down on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper on top of the baking sheet)
Before baking the buns, brush a little egg wash on top of the buns. This will make them brown nicely and shiny (I beat a whole egg)
Bake at 350F for ~20 min until the buns are nicely browned. Don't over bake, since the bottom of the buns can get hard/burn.
Cool on rack if not going to be served immediately (otherwise bottom will get soggy)

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