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As a child, my mother was big on baking a collection of different cookies for Christmas.  She would allocate our Saturday’s from late November through early December to the baking process. We had a big old deep freezer and she would pop those bad boys out Christmas Week.  Apparently my mother wasn’t down with the whole cookie swap concept. Cookie Swap…..a group of friends and family come together, decide their cookie of choice, make several dozen, and then “swap’m out”…genius I say! It’s like mid-season free agent trading. Well not really, but this could be a gold mine for you if your not a great baker. Even though I didn’t participate in a cookie swap this year, I did make these really cute cookies for my daughters and their friends 🙂

Snowman Cookies…..

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Easy….marshmallows covered in melted candy..Go to your local craft store for the Wilton brand candy melts. It makes things easy. Wilton also sells disposable piping bags as well. Very convenient

Nuts were also another big deal at my house around the holidays…..

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These yummy peanuts are sweet and spicy…. a waffle cone is a cool way to serve them at a party 🙂

Ingredients

– 4 cups roasted peanuts (salted)

– 1 large egg white

-2/3 cup sugar

– 1 tsp of cinnamon

-1 tsp of cayenne pepper

Directions

1. In medium sized bowl, whisk egg white to a foam.

2. Put nuts in a large zip lock bag. Pour egg white over nuts. Close bag and shake to coat the nuts. Add all other ingredients to bag shake to coat all nuts.

3. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Spread nuts on parchment paper  in a single layer.

6. Bake nuts at 275 degrees for 45 minutes. At 25 minutes, scrape the peanuts to make sure they are not sticking.

Crab Balls…..perfect finger food 

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You’ll be the “bees knees” with your guests if you whip up some delicious crab ball for any holiday gathering…trust me 🙂 

Ingredients

-1 lb lump crab meat

– 3/4 to 1  cup ground saltine crackers

– 1 egg

– 1/3 mayonnaise

– 2 tsp old bay seasoning

– a dash of Worcestershire sauce

– vegetable oil for frying

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Measure out balls with a 1/4 measuring cup. Roll into balls.

2. Fry in 350 degree vegetable oil until golden brown

3. Drain on a paper towel and salt lightly.

4. Serve with tartar sauce

 Italian Style Grilled Cheese and Creamy Tomato Soup Shooters 

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A cool appetizer for any get together are grilled cheese bites and soup shooters.

Italian Grilled Cheese

Ingredients 

1 lb thinly sliced provolone

1 lb thinly slice mozzarella cheese

– basil pesto (I prepare my own)

– white Italian bread

– butter

Directions

1. Butter both slices of bread and place on griddle pre-heated to a medium temperature.

2. On one slice of bread spread a layer of pesto, then add a slice of mozzarella and provolone cheese. Grill bread to a golden brown and then assemble the sandwich. Flip sandwich twice so cheeses will melt together.

3.  Allow sandwich to rest before cutting or your cheese will go everywhere..

4. Cut into bites size pieces for your guests…

Creamy Tomato Soup

Ingredients

– 1 large white onion diced

– 2 cloves of garlic minced

– olive oil

– salt

– 1 tbsp dried oregano

– 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

– 1 28 oz can of tomato puree

-2/3 cup heavy cream

-1 1/2 chicken stock

– 2 tbsp sugar

– 2 tbsp tomato paste concentrate

Directions

1. In dutch oven over medium temperature, heat olive oil and saute onions to a clear color and then add garlic.

2. After garlic is sautéed, add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium low heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

3. Using an emergent blender or standard blender, puree the soup. Serve with some chopped basil.

As the holidays approach, I wanted to reflect on the Best Sports Toys Ever…..

Evil Kenevil and the fire ring…..

 

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I wound up the little motorcycle for hours….I loved this toy

Rock em Sock em Robots…..

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You’d be hard pressed to find a kid from the 70’s and 80’s that didn’t want Rock Em Sock Em Robots…

My brother’s Joel and Jon loved this game….

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Saving the best for last

Digital Derby…….My All-Time favorite game

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Outside of my Franco Harris jersey and ice skates, this was the best gift I ever received…..Christmas is magical 🙂

Remember..Who Do You Want In Your Kitchen On Game Day…..

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