Thursday, December 22, 2016

Stila Perfect Me Tutorial ~ Makeup to Enhance Blue and Green Eyes

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, I like to unwind by watching Hallmark Christmas movies (even though I've seen them all at least 2-3 times ;-) or by watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

In case you are looking for an excuse to take a little break and relax, here's a quick and easy tutorial I did using the Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Palette.  This is a great eye and cheek palette that I just love! 
It's great for travel and would make the perfect gift in case any of you still have some shopping to do :-)  Check it out here (affiliate link):  Ulta ~ Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Palette (Medium/Tan) 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this tutorial.  Thanks so much for watching!
 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tried and True Christmas Recipes

In case you didn't know this about me, I love to bake and I have a major sweet tooth!  In order to keep my weight in check, I usually try only to bake when I know I'll be sharing my baked goods with others.

Several years ago, I decided as part of my Christmas gift to family and friends, I would bake goodies for them.  This has become a yearly tradition now and I've added several more recipients to the list (55 in all!).  When I posted these pictures on Facebook....


....I had some requests to share my recipes.  Now, each year I try a couple new recipes to keep my goodie bag recipients guessing ;-)  However, I always include 6 items because they are tried and true and have become favorites among my recipients.  Pictured below (Wintertime Spice Tea is not pictured) are the goodies that result from the recipes that I'm sharing with you today.  I've created a separate blog post for each recipe to keep this post from being a mile long :-)

As a disclaimer, none of these recipes are original to me.  They have all either been given to me by friends or I've found them in magazines or cook books, as you will see when you click on each recipe.  I have, however, tweaked the original recipes for a few of these goodies and have included those tweaks in the recipes.

Now, without further delay, here are the links to each one of these recipes (Click on the photo of each one to view the recipe):
http://www.sharaleesboxofchocolates.com/2016/12/almond-bars.html

http://www.sharaleesboxofchocolates.com/2012/12/caramel-dream-bars.html

http://www.sharaleesboxofchocolates.com/2016/12/kickin-cayenne-pretzels.html

http://www.sharaleesboxofchocolates.com/2016/12/ginger-spice-cookies.html

http://www.sharaleesboxofchocolates.com/2016/12/spiced-pecans.html

http://www.sharaleesboxofchocolates.com/2010/11/ah-winter-weather.html

Happy Baking!!

Spiced Pecans

One of my favorite snacks anytime of year are nuts.  Add a sugary, spiced coating and I'm in heaven!  This recipe was given to me by another good friend, Patsy W.  She is a wonderful cook and baker and loves easy recipes.  When I told her I was looking for an easy nut mix recipe, she gave this one to me, promising it would not let me down.  And she was right!  The amazing thing is there is no oil or butter in this recipe!  And, if you don't like pecans, it works great with other nuts too.
Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups raw pecans (or nut of your choice)
3/4 - 1 cup sugar (I use a full cup as I like my nuts on the sweeter side :-)
3 T water
1 egg white
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions:
*Combine all ingredients except pecans in a large bowl; mix well.  Add the pecans and stir well to coat. Spread on greased baking sheet.

*Bake at 250 degrees F for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool on waxed paper.  Store in airtight container.

Ginger Spice Cookies

There is nothing like a good, spicy, chewy ginger cookie to put me in the mood for Christmas!  This recipe was given to me many years ago by a friend at church, Donna S.  These were an instant hit and have been included in the Christmas goodie bags/boxes ever since!
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (unsulfured kind is best!)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (a must if you want puffy, chewy cookies)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild flavored molasses
Sugar for coating cookies (about 1/2-1 cup)

Directions:
*Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.  Mix in crystallized ginger.  Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, shortening and butter in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add egg and molasses; beat until blended.  Add flour mixture and mix just until blended.  Cover and chill 1 hour.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly butter 2 baking sheets.  Spoon sugar in a thick layer onto small plate.  Using 1" cookie scoop or a spoon, form dough into 1 to 1-1/4 inch balls; roll dough balls in sugar to coat completely.  Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

*Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 8-12 minutes.  Cool on sheets 1 minute.  Carefully transfer to racks and cool. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Kickin' Cayenne Pretzels

This salty and slightly spicy snack is one of my favorites to throw in my Christmas goodie bags/boxes.  It gives you a little reprieve from the sugar rush :-)

From Taste of Home Magazine....I have no idea which issue but many years ago :-)

Ingredients:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix (you can use Hidden Valley or a natural one like Simply without MSG)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-16 oz bag of pretzel sticks

Directions:
*In a large bowl, combine the oil, dressing mix, garlic salt and cayenne.  Add 1/2 bag of pretzels and stir to coat; then add remaining pretzels and carefully stir to coat.  Divide between 2 ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans.

*Bake at 200 degrees for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Almond Bars

One of my all-time FAVORITES, these Almond Bars are moist and chewy and SO DELICIOUS!!
Contributed by Cheryl Newendorp and published in the Taste of Home Fall Baking Cookbook 2010

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 pkg almond paste (about 1 cup)
2-1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Optional:  1/2 cup slivered almonds (I never add these)

Directions:
*In a large bowl, cream butter, almond paste and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and extract.  Gradually add the flour just until moistened.

*Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining sugar; top with almonds (if using).

*Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.  Don't overbake!!  Cool on a wire rack.  Cut into squares.