Jan 072015

sweet new years treats

I made homemade caramels and marshmallows for holiday gifts and they turned out so delicious that I really needed to come up with some pretty packaging to compliment them. I started out with some cardboard boxes that are usually used as disposable baking pans. Next I added some decorative cupcake liners and nestled the caramels and marshmallows into them.

super sweet new years treats

I happened to have some pre-cut parchment paper (which is the best thing ever by the way) which I folded down so that it fit the size of the box and had a decorative band in the middle, and I trimmed the edges with pinking shears for a cute little touch.

super sweet new years treats

Next I used a long strand of bakers twine to wrap around the package and tie off to secure it. Finally the boxes needed a something else – a label! I made up a label using PicMonkey, printed out a bunch on cardstock, cut them out and slipped them under the baker’s twine.

super sweet new years treats


Happy New Year!

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Jan 022013

As I like to do on most New Year’s Days, I’ve made black eyed peas and collard greens for dinner. Folklore says that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck in the coming year, and eating collard greens brings money – hopefully that’s true on both counts!

I put the beans in water to soak last night so they were ready to go this afternoon. I’m sure there are a million recipes for beans and greens on New Year’s, but I just made it up as I went along this year. Beans are pretty easy to make, especially with a pre-soaking overnight.

I took some smoked ham hocks and browned them/rendered some of the fat in a dutch oven, then I took them out and sauted some diced red onion in the rendered fat.

After the onion softened and started to brown I added the (drained, rinsed) beans and the hocks back into the pot and covered the whole mess with water. I simmered the beans for a few hours, skimming the scum from the top of the pot occasionally, then added the collards (cut into chunks) and let those cook down for a bit.

At the same time I pulled the hocks out and cut the meat off the bones, returning the meat to the pot. Finally I finished the whole dish off with a cup of rice and let it cook for a half hour more, seasoning it with salt, pepper and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce.

Yum! It was great and the kiddos ate it, so success!