22 December 2011

cinnamon oatmeal pancake mix [gift idea + recipe]

This year for neighbor gifts, we wanted to do something that would be useful and not contribute to the sugar overload that usually happens this time of year. So, we made {cinnamon oatmeal pancake mix} and packaged it up all cute. Thanks to my cousins for the great recipe!

It's a win-win. Easy for us. Convenient for the busiest time of the year. And cute. Not to mention they are so yummy! Here is how they turned out...


Here is the recipe:

Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancake Mix

ingredients: 
4 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup non-fat dry milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

directions: 
mix all together. place in airtight container. store in a cool,dry place. use within 6 months. the entire batch will make 4 batches of pancakes. each batch makes 16-20 pancakes. 

to make pancakes:
in medium bowl, beat 2 eggs. beat in 3 Tbsp. oil gradually. alternately stir in 2 cups of mix and 1 cup of water. drop onto lightly greased skillet. when batter starts to bubble, turn pancakes over. cook about 2 to 3 minutes.

20 December 2011

chocolate covered spoons + hot chocolate [gift idea]

I'm sending my little sister in Arizona a package so she can have a "White Christmas".
One of the things I included was chocolate covered stirring spoons. 
They were simple and fun to make! 

What you'll need: melting chocolate (or chocolate chips), crushed candy cane, and plastic spoons


Melt the chocolate for about 30 seconds or until it is completely melted. 
Then dip the spoon in the chocolate and sprinkle with peppermint before it cools.
Let it cool on wax paper for about 15 minutes. 

Package in cellophane and bundle with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

19 December 2011

christmas sundaes

We made these festive sundaes for a dinner we hosted. It was a hit! 
Never underestimate what using a cookie cutter to shape your brownies can do!
Sprinkle shaved candy canes on top for extra festiveness.

16 December 2011

festive nachos

If you want a quick and festive snack, make some festive nachos.


All you need:

red and green tortilla chips
cheese

Melt in the microwave for 30 seconds or for crispy nachos, use a toaster oven.

14 December 2011

holiday muddy buddies

The dollar aisle at Target always has some great little treat bags. For a quick gift, consider snatching some up and filling them with chex muddy buddies.

Chex Muddy Buddies

9 cups corn or rice chex cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal into large bowl and set aside. Microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter or melt on stove. Add soon as it is melted, stir in vanilla. Pour this mixture over the cereal. Stir until evenly coated.

Pour into large ziploc bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag and shake until cereal is all coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.



12 December 2011

12 days of christmas

The 12 days of Christmas starts tomorrow! 
I posted this simple12 days of Christmas idea a few years ago in case you need a quick idea. 

***
Last year, I did 12 Dates of Christmas for my husband. 
This year, I'll be doing 12 days of Christm"US" 
with little gifts that are pertinent to just US 
since it will be our last Christmas before we become 3.

08 December 2011

christmas stocking hangers [on a dime]


Back in June, I found these stocking holders at a thrift store for $1 each.  I definitely didn't like the colors, but I knew that could be fixed. For $1 I couldn't pass them up.  And yes, I know there are only 2 of us for now, but I had to pick up enough for when we have a bigger family.

I already had some silver spray paint from another project. I sprayed a few coats on all of them.

And now, they sit so prettily on our mantle. That's what I call festive on a dime.

05 December 2011

winner announced and don't forget st. nicholas day!

Just a friendly little reminder to put out your shoes tonight.
St.Nicholas day is tomorrow and he just might leave a little gift in your shoe!
If you are new to this blog and aren't sure what St. Nicholas day is, this post might help. 

And now for the winner of the fun Christmas embellishments.

Congrats to...BECKY! Contact me at sofestive@gmail.com to claim your prize!

For the rest of you...stay tuned because there might just be another giveaway coming really soon.

01 December 2011

happy 2 year anniversary! and giveaway!!

It has been exactly 2 years since this little blog started. It started out as a way for me to document all the festive ideas I come across. It still is that, but I have to say it has been fun to gather some readers along the way to share the festiveness with.

So to kick off the Christmas season, how about a giveaway  to help you get in the holiday spirit? The lucky winner will receive the following:

Cupcake Toppers from ML Paper Creations. 
They have such cute things. Check out all the other fun ideas here

AND these snowflake die cuts from PamCreates that would be perfect for a million things
AND these cute gift tags from Champagne Press

If you want to win these all these prizes, simply become a follower and leave a comment with your favorite holiday tradition by Friday, December 2nd at midnight. The winner will be announced Monday!

29 November 2011

happy christmas season!

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! 
Around here, we are excited that the Christmas season has started!
We've been putting up decorations and listening to Christmas music.
Can't wait to show you some fun things soon...

15 November 2011

simple thanksgiving table decor

I was asked to teach a class on "Simple Thanksgiving Decor". The lady that introduced me said, "I once heard that as long as the table looks good, everyone will remember the food tasting good as well." Talk about no pressure to present some good ideas. 

My focus was on simple and cheap ways to decorate the table for Thanksgiving. Here are some of the ideas I presented.


Some simple place setting ideas...




And here is the handout I gave out with even more ideas! 


Elements of a Good Table Set-Up
-Table covering
-Place cards
-Centerpiece
-Correct Set-Up = BMW: Bread, Main Dish, Water. Remember knife blade should face plate.

Table Covering Ideas
-          Festive tablecloth
-          Burlap tablecloth or placemats
-          Brown butcher paper
-          Scrapbook paper placemats
-          Placemats or table cloth that you use every year. Write what you are thankful. Each year you’ll get to reminisce what you were thankful for.  


Place Card Ideas
-          Mini cellophane bags with festive candy. Leaf name tag.
-          Pear or pumpkin or fruit with name attached.
-          Mini Cornucopias. Steam sugar cones for a few minutes. Curl end up and fill with nuts or candy.
-          Scrapbook paper. Cut small pieces and write names on it.

Centerpiece Ideas
-          Try and use things you have around the house
-          Use things from outside like nuts or twigs
-          Candle in hurricane with leaves

For Kids
-          Cover table in brown butcher paper. Let them draw on it


Other Table D├ęcor Ideas
-          Mini pumpkins
-          Candles
-          Fake leaves
-          Things around your house!

4 Simple Things to Do with a $1 Bag of Leaves
-          Leaf garland: staple or use clothes pins to attach leaves to a piece of brown craft string
-          Place settings: use a leaf as a tag to attach to place settings
-          Attach leaves to branches. Use a centerpiece
-          Scatter leaves on table for instant burst of festiveness

03 November 2011

DIY turkey craft

My cousins and sister made this festive Turkey a few weeks ago. 
I'm so excited to finally be able to put it out. 
It was pretty simple to make and only took common items to make.
For the full intstructions, visit U-Create

01 November 2011

11.11.11

Celebrate 11.11.11 with a party!

We'll be having an ice cream bar with these 11 toppings...

1. Homemade hot fudge
2. Caramel
3. Strawberries
4. Gummy bears
5. Crushed oreos
6. Nuts
7. M&Ms
8. Cookie dough
9. Sprinkles
10. Whipped topping
11. Crushed snickers

31 October 2011

halloween dinner + happy halloween!

My sister planned a super festive dinner for our Halloween party on Saturday. We ate chicken chowder in pumpkin bread bowls and had a black and orange dessert of vanilla ice cream dyed + hot fudge + brownies.

Happy Halloween! I hope you have a safe and festive one!



Who would have thought that dyed ice cream could taste so good?

28 October 2011

Spudnuts [recipe]

I have had a few people ask for our Spudnut recipe. I posted it last year, but here it is again in case you are wanting to make some of your own! I have also included more detailed instructions this time around so it is not confusing! Enjoy! This is one of my favorite things about Fall!



Spudnuts
1 quart (4 cups) milk, scalded
1 Tbsp. yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1 cup sugar
8 Tbsp. shortening
4 eggs, beaten
12-13 cups flour
2 Tbsp. salt

Glaze
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar

Mix together.

Directions: 
Make 2 cups of mashed potatoes. (I like to do this the day before to cut down on dough time)
Scald milk and let it cool enough so that it doesn't kill the yeast. While the milk is cooling, put yeast and sugar into the hot water to let rise. (Make sure the water isn't too hot that it kills the yeast.) Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.

Meanwhile, cream sugar and shortening together. Add in beaten eggs and mix. Then add yeast mixture and milk. Slowly add in flour and salt. (You will probably need a few extra cups of flour so it isn't sticky). Once it is mixed well and smooth, let it rise in a large bowl with a clean towel over top. Let rise for 1-3 hours.

To roll out and cut, flour a surface well. Roll out dough into 1/2 inch thick. Use a donut cutter or a cup with water bottle lid to make donut shapes. Let them rise again another 1/2 hour to 1 hour before frying. Fry in vegetable oil.

After they have been fried, let them sit on a paper towel to let some of the grease drain. Then dip them in glaze and eat warm!

27 October 2011

mini mummies

what you'll need:

prepared pie crust + little smokies


let the dough sit out for 15 minutes to thaw. then cut into 1/8th inch strips.
wrap the strips of dough around each smokie starting from one end to the other.
leave a little space for the face that you can make with ketchup or mustard.
lay on a pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.


a fun and easy Halloween appetizer! 

25 October 2011

ghost pretzels

Simply dip pretzel rods in white chocolate or almond bark and then add a cute little ghost face with some milk chocolate.  Easy, cute, and delicious!

17 October 2011

creepy food game

In preparation for our ward Halloween carnival, the youth I'm over decorated these boxes. There will be a "creepy" food in each one. The idea of the game is to put your hand inside and try to guess what Halloweenish item the food represents.




the flap reveals the right answer
This is a list of the food that will be in each box and what it represents:

peeled grapes= eyeballs
frozen water in plastic glove= rotting hand
head of cauliflower= brain
wet noodles= worms
popcorn kernels= teeth
Bugles= witches' nails
raisins= warts
dried apricots= ears
banana peel= tongue

Try it out at one of your Halloween parties!

14 October 2011

Sugar Cookies [recipe]


We love decorating sugar cookies for holidays. This is my mom's sugar cookie recipe and it's a winner! Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies
1 lb. margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
6 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix eggs, butter, and sugar first. Add remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

10 October 2011

free halloween decor for you!

I'm loving a new site called Brejer. You should check out all their cute stuff!
And while you are at it, get some free Halloween decor!
Isn't this so festive? You can download your free one here.

07 October 2011

Ghost Treats

This is probably the oldest Halloween treat in the book, but I like how simple and festive they are. The possibilities are endless with what you can do with them...gifts, decorate, etc etc

To make your own Ghosts, all you need is:
  • Tootsie roll suckers (I think they work best, but other suckers could be used)
  • White tissues
  • String or ribbon
  • Black marker
Simply fold the tissue over the sucker. Tie your string around the bottom of it to keep it secure. Then draw a ghost face. That's it. I told you it was simple.

03 October 2011

FOAD: Fall Dinner


Looking for a cheap way to spruce up your fall table setting? Pick up a bag of fake leaves from the dollar store. Scatter them across the table for a instant burst of festiveness.

30 September 2011

1/2 birthday party

I threw my husband a surprise half birthday party. 
He got 1/2 a cake, 1/2 a birthday card, 1/2 the presents and 1/2 working party hats.
Just another reason to celebrate! 

29 September 2011

Frozen Fruit Salad [recipe]

My final fruit recipe is a favorite from my childhood. I have such vivid memories of eating frozen fruit salad in white china bowls for Sunday dinner. I love this stuff. I recently made it with all the peaches we had. I am so excited to have a nice stash of it to last us through the winter.

This is what you'll need: 

And this is what you will end up with...


Frozen Fruit Salad
6 cups fresh peaches, chopped
6 cups fresh pears, chopped
1 2/3 cup crushed pineapple
1 lb. grapes
up to 2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cup orange juice

Mix all the fruit together and then pour sugar over top. Mix well, let sit for about 20 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Then add juices and stir well. Freeze in ziploc bags or freezer containers. Makes 16 cups.

To eat, defrost for just a few minutes. You still want it chunky and frozen.

28 September 2011

fruit pizza

Next up...fruit pizza!

Before summer is officially over, I've got to share this fruity treat with you. It's called fruit pizza and it's delightful. It's not just for summer, but since fruit is always better in the summer, I suggest you making it before fruit is out of season.

Fruit Pizza (makes 2 cookie sheets)
1 lb. margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
6 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

Cream margarine, sugar, and eggs together. Then add the rest of the ingredients. (This recipe makes a lot--2 cookie sheets worth. If you don't want that much, divide the recipe in half). Spread the dough on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350. Let cool and then spread the cream cheese topping.

Fruit Pizza Frosting
2, 8 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together. Top with different fruits like kiwi, strawberries, purple grapes, bananas, mandarin oranges, pineapple.

*If you want it to look like a real pizza, just bake it in a round pan.

27 September 2011

peach torte

(don't forget to enter the giveaway here)

 Before summer is too far past, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite festive 
ways to use up that fruit. First up... Peach Torte.

I first tried peach torte back when I was dating my husband. My future sister-in-law made it for us and ever since that day, I have been endlessly waiting to make it myself. I've been waiting for the perfect reason to make it, but I finally just decided that the fact the summer is practically over is a good enough reason. And, we had fresh peaches to use. I'm salivating just thinking about it. And confession, my husband actually made it. So it is a recipe that is easy enough a man can make it!

Peach Torte
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups oats
10 fresh peaches, sliced
1 1/2 cup milk
1 large box  instant vanilla pudding
8 oz whipped cream or cool whip


Melt butter. Add brown sugar and oats. Mix and put in a greased 9x13 pan. (Do not bake). Put sliced peaches on top of crust. Mix milk and pudding together until smooth. Then add cool whip to pudding. Mix well and then spread on top of peaches. Refrigerate until you eat it.

26 September 2011

giveaway!!

The news is out...our first baby is on it's way! To celebrate, let's do a giveaway shall we?

My cousin makes the cutest headbands and bows for little girls. I kind of hope ours is a girl so I can have her wear cute hair accessories. (But, if not, I'll still be happy.) This cute one is up for grabs! 

To enter:  (one entry for each thing you do)
1. leave a comment with a piece of baby advice. I will need all the help I can get!
2. visit Bloom Creations and say which is your favorite headband in a separate comment

Winner will be announced Friday, so you have until Thursday at midnight to enter.

23 September 2011

Happy Fall!

Happy First Day of Fall! 
Are you as excited as I am?
I can barely wait for the crisp night air, carving pumpkins,
decorating with black and orange, picking out Halloween costumes,
making spudnuts, and all the other festive things Fall brings!

Happy Fall!!

19 September 2011

BYU Brownies

It's a shame that BYU had such an embarrassing performance last week against the U. Perhaps the only sweet thing of the evening were the Y brownies I made.


My mom always made brownies from scratch. It wasn't until college that I realized they could be made from a box. But now I know why she made them homemade. This recipe is a winner. And it's easy to make them festive.



Marilyn's Brownies
1 cup melted margarine
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
dash of salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

Cream melted margarine, sugar, and eggs together. Add dry ingredients one at a time. Mix well. Pour in greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Top with frosting or powdered sugar.

Brownie Frosting
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup milk
3/4 lb. powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

Beat all ingredients until creamy. Spread on brownies once they are cool.

*To cut into shapes, use a cookie cutter before the brownies are cool all the way.

09 September 2011

Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

I learned a few things from the Chocolate Chip Cookie contest.

1. Bake on the top rack of the oven
2. Dough that has been refrigerated usually bakes better
3. When it says "cream butter and sugar", really cream them until they are light and fluffy. It will take patience, but it makes a difference.
4. Don't over bake. Over baking cookies will change the flavor. When in doubt, take them out earlier than later.
5. Picking the best recipe is hard, especially when each recipe is good for different reasons.

PS. Do you want all the recipes that were submitted? 

07 September 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest Winner

So a year ago, I started a search for the best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. If you don't remember it, this post will refresh your memory.

I am sorry it has taken so long to complete. But with all the other holidays and festive things going on, it took me this long to make all of them. THANK YOU to everyone who sent in a recipe. We have enjoyed making and eating all of them.

I am sure you are all anxious to find out who the winner is, but before I announce it, I have to give you a few disclaimers. First, remember that my husband was the judge of ALL the recipes. He did not know whose recipe it was, to ensure there was no bias. Second, he had a hard time judging them because they were all so different and good in different ways. There was not one of them that was awful. So...his scores, and the overall winner comes from his preference and OVERALL taste, texture, flavor, etc. But, keep in mind, he had likes and dislikes about each recipe.

Even though there is on overall winner, we will be using many recipes in the future according to what we need them for. Seriously, take a look at all of these cookies. Don't they all look amazing?




And now what you have waited for. In order of lowest score to highest...(if there are 2 or more people on the same place, that is because they received the same score.)

8. Cheri Peacock
7. Courtney Astle
6. Annette Bailey and Lynette Sunday and Jenny Flom
5. Amanda Garlock
4. Annette Bailey and Caroline O'Brien
3. Emily Pearson
2. Emily Poll
and the 1st place winnner is...

 Andrea Nelson!!


CONGRATULATIONS! I'll be contacting the winner to send her prize. Come back on Friday to get the inside scoop on what I've learned from all this chocolate chip cookie making. And just in case you don't want to wait that long until you make some of your own, here is the winning recipe.

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 cubes butter (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp.salt
2 tsp. baking soda
4 cups flour
12 oz chocolate chips

Directions:
Blend butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs. Then add salt, soda, and flour. Then add chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes, or until desired doneness.

I'll be posting the other recipes too!

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