Saturday, December 24, 2011

O Night Divine

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night
of our dear Savior's birth.

...there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

...the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

...This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

....the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

...they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Glory to God in the highest, 
   and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

...Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 

For God so loved the world, he gave....

Joy to the world, the LORD is come!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peanut Butter Balls

This recipe has surely been around for ages and with good reason!! They really are fabulous!! But you know me! I like to make things a little healthier, if I can, and lately, I've had to make things free of wheat, dairy and yeast.  So, I revamped an old favorite using natural peanut butter - containing no hydrogenated oils, added oils or sugar - and ingredients that do not contain dairy or wheat.

If you have made these before, you know there is actually butter mixed in with the peanut butter. Ew!! I also find that my sweet tooth likes things less sweet, so I decreased the sugar and I use a high cocoa content chocolate (60-70%) for taste and to avoid dairy.  With all these mature changes, I like to think of these as Grown Up Peanut Butter Balls! (Now I suppose if you added a splash of Bailey's, you could call them Silly Grown Up Peanut Butter Balls!!!  Somebody do that and let me know how they turn out!!) And finally, I like a good crunch, so I increased the krispies. 

So, does this mean these Grown Up PB Balls are good for you?! No, but with the lack of hydrogenated oil and butter, along with less sugar, and a purer chocolate with a higher content of antioxidants, this recipe is just as tasty and less likely to do as much damage!  

3 cups peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 cups krispy rice cereal
2 cups dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix the peanut butter and sugar. Slowly to start so you don't whirl all the sugar out of the bowl!

Oops! I get a little sloppy! I should take my own advice!

Once combined, add the krispy rice.  I start with 2 cups and then add more to my preference. If you add too much, your mix is too dry and won't stick together! So go gently.  I find somewhere between 3 and 4 cups is nirvana! Blend slowly to prevent mashing the cereal until totally combined. 

Set aside.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler - or if you don't have such a fancy gadget, do what I do.  Place a big bowl over a bigger pot with a few inches of water in the pot.  Set the water to boil.  As the water boils, it heats the bowl and melts the chocolate without scorching it!

Mmmmm.... melting chocolate!

While the chocolate is melting, work on making balls from the peanut butter mixture.  You can make them as big or small as you want.  I usually shoot for a ball one inch in diameter, give or take a little.

Be sure to lay down wax paper on a cookie sheet for easy release. 

They look like little soldiers all in a row!

I also looove to have help! And this is a project my kids actually like to help with!!! It's a win/win!

Just be sure they wash their hands!!! ;0)

Remember our chocolate! It should be melted by now!!
Ahhh!! A nice pool of chocolate!! Time for skinny dippin!!

As far as I know, you cannot buy a fork like this one! BUT you can create one, just like we did!! All you need is a flimsy fork and some muscle!

Once dipped, I like to roll the ball gently up the side of the bowl, catching it each time, to release some of the chocolate.  You don't want the chocolate too thick or your sweet little bonbon will have feet!  

Put the now-lightly-covered peanut butter ball back on the wax covered cookie sheet. 

Let them cool on the pan awhile or freeze them a bit before you pack them into delicious Christmas treats for family and friends!  

I know! You can't help yourself! Just give in and try one!!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And the old becomes new...

There is something precious about making the old, new again.

When I was just a wee thing, my mom took old Coke bottles and created three regal wise men presenting gifts to their King in flowing, shimmering robes.  

I'm sure in the early 70's this was the best way to recycle glass! However, with today's methods, I'm not so sure!  Regardless, I'm thrilled my mom created these guys! They hold a special place in my heart.  So when she was about to do the unthinkable, I pounced and gave them a new home!  Since then, these guys have come out every year in their spectacular glory to help me celebrate the holidays!

Old bottle, new life.

Discarded and forgotten
A couple years ago, it was time for my sweet grandparents to make "The Move" from their home of many years, dressed from top to bottom with heart-warming memories, into a smaller place with little upkeep required.  Imagine the treasures found in the basement and attic as they prepared to downsize!! My favorite treasure...?  Two boxes of old glass ornaments!

These are the real deal!! They are gorgeous!!! They hung on my grandma's tree for years before she packed them away to be replaced by the newer and shinier versions. But now they have a new home, displayed in a new way as the jewel of my mantel, the piece de resistance, in all their old grace and simple charm.

Old ornaments, new life.

Old to new
And this is the will of Him Who sent Me, that I should not lose any of all that He has given Me, but that I should give new life and raise them all up at the last day.  ~John 6:39

Why wait for that last day!?  New life lies just a decision away! 

Look closer! What's your trash? It can be recycled!  Just put it in the hand's of the master creator. 

Have you been discarded and forgotten? Run into the arms of the one who loves you to death.  There is an empty spot on His "mantel" awaiting your arrival as the piece de resistance! 

This is the hope and joy in the season! This is why we celebrate Christmas! This is the reason for His birth!  

Old cross, new life.