Thursday, November 24, 2011

Peppermint Paradise...

So... today is actually Thanksgiving and I DO hope you are having a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends and rejoicing over the MANY things we DO have to be thankful for. I am thankful for my hard-working (at work, at home, and with me!) husband, my sweet kids, my precious family both near and far, dear friends, good health, and the many basic needs that the Lord provides daily for us. And... I am thankful for this time of year. The Christmas Season where we have extra opportunities to love on others, teach our kids about the world near and far, bless those who have little or a lot with our words and actions, a chance to create memories with our Advent Calendar, and some time to relish in the deliciousness of "Peppermint Paradise!" 
 Thanks to my good friends at Trader Joe's (that's actually true, I DO have some really sweet friends there thanks to my frequent visits and their sweet hearts!) they supply me with plenty of peppermint to get my fill for the whole year. I DO love me some peppermint - and if there is chocolate involved, consider it a done deal!

 Here are some of my favorite Peppermint Treats I think you ought to take a peek at if you are a lover of the Christmas Flavor...

Introducing the new and scrumptious "Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies"... they are bits of waffle cookie covered in a rich chocolate sprinkled with peppermint crumbs...oh, they are dangerous!

Don't forget about the ever-delicious Peppermint Joe-Joe's...

If you want to make your own home made version of peppermint cookies, try these!

Did you know that they make a Peppermint Joe-Joe ice cream now?? Don't buy it if you don't want to eat the whole thing in 5 minutes... it's beautiful!
Also, on a healthier (non-chocolate note!) Trader Joe's has refreshing Peppermint Candy Cane Tea that is fabulous- a flavorful peppermint followed by a hint of sweet vanilla. It's Green tea and it's decaf!

And just for fun... look at these darling treats from here and here...

Don't you just want to put it out for decoration?? The cake stand alone is to die for!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kick off the Holidays...

Here's a little plug for the coolest gig ever.... Kick off your holiday season right by loving on others. This is a really practical, hands-on way to help, bless, love and care for those who don't have much. Check out this ministry called Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan's Purse. It's a great thing to do with your kids, it's a very tangible way for them to see and experience loving others in a real way. We get a (big) shoe box from the closet, then we head off to find treasures and trinkets we think these kids would like. Everything from dolls and cars, to toothpaste, brushes, hair ties, games, cards, and snacks. When the shoe box is full to the brim, we take it to a church drop off point, they include a bible and some stories about Jesus in the child's language, then they ship them all over the world- even the most remote parts!

 Gather your kids around the computer and show them some videos and pictures so they can really SEE where these goodies are going. They will love it. You will love it. And more importantly, the kids who receive the gift will be blessed beyond belief... with just a little shoe box of LOVE.

Samaritans Purse Videos: (Check out "Joy in the Farthest Reaches of the World")

Samaritans Purse Photos:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Harvest Morning Oatmeal

 I love that Fall is here! It's time to change up our morning oatmeal from fresh berries and peaches, to something with a little bit more crunch! How about pomegranate seeds???

We cook Steel Cut Oats at least 3 times a week around here, and while they are cooking we always add a little cinnamon... feeling like a little more Fall-ish flavors?? Add a dash of Nutmeg and top with Pomegranate Seeds. Don't be afraid of Pomegranates, they are so easy to prepare (see "Tip" below), I usually do 4-5 at a time in a cool bowl of water in the kitchen sink and then store them in a Ziplock bag, which makes them a perfect topping for this Harvest Morning Oatmeal! Enjoy!

Quick Tip to De-Seed your Pomegranates: Fill up a large bowl in your sink with cool water. Take your pomegranate and slice it in half with a sharp knife. Submerge one half of the pomegranate in the water and peel back the skin like you are turning it inside out. All the seeds will pop out and because it's under water there will be no spraying or staining of your clothes! Plus, all the seeds will sink to the bottom and all the excess stuff from the inside of the pomegranate will float to the top. Then you can skim off the top of the bowl with you hand and strain the seeds out for eating. I usually do a bunch at a time and store them in a ziplock bag in the fridge to snack on!

Do you have extra Pomegranates, try this delicious salad, one of my favorites for sure!!!