Food Gifts #1~ Mema’s Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly has long been a staple at holiday celebrations at my Mema’s house for as long as I can remember. What is so funny to me is I don’t even really care for peppers! But this luminescent green jelly poured over cream cheese and served with butter crackers is just yummy! This is a great stand-by if you have unexpected guest. There are a few things you may want to consider before making this:

1. It is EASY!!
2. Your family & possibly the neighbors may think you are whipping up Mustard Gas as the smell of boiling vinegar will knock you out!
3. It makes quit A LOT! I made mine in 4 oz mason jars and filled almost a dozen.
4. You can totally control the heat by the amount of jalapeno or hot pepper you use. If you and your people love heat, add more, if you are like me and don’t like to much use less! 

Mema’a Pepper Jelly

3/4 c green peppers, pureed in food processor 3-5 peppers
1/4 c hot pepper, pureed (jalapenos, from the garden) 
2 c cider vinegar
5 c sugar
6 oz liquid fruit pectin

Blitz peppers in food processor. Add all ingredients except pectin,bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat and let stand 5 mins, all the “gunk” will rise to top, skim off and discard. Add pectin, mix well and add to hot jars. Delish!!

Party Pecans

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Talk about a crowd pleaser! These little gems are just perfect for any party! Great for any gathering! And they are quick and easy to make!! Even better, right?

1 12oz bag halved pecans

3 T butter

1/3 c brown sugar

1/2 t each ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt

Melt butter, stir in all ingedients toss with nuts, stir well. Dump on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast at 350 tossing nuts around every 5 mins. DO NOT OVER COOK! Mine were done in about 12 mins.

ENJOY!! Mama Bird

Powerocks ROCK!!

Have you seen this? POWEROCKS Well. let me tell you THIS is going to be the gift I give all my girls this Christmas!! It’s the size of your lipstick and can give your phone a full charge! How handy would this be since I left my charger in the hotel room this weekend! UGH… not that I am the most important person,but it is my primary mode of communication! Yikes! This little gem couldn’t get here soon enough! Check them out Powerocks really do rock!!!

How about this!!! Coupon code Powerblog to get 20% OFF!!!

a few of MY favorite things {party}

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The”favorite things” party has quickly become my favorite kind of “exchange”party out there! We brought 5 of our fav things under $6. I brought my all time fav, go to wine Vinho Verde from Trader Joes.

Favorite Things 2013

Vinho Verde Trader Joe’s

room spray (I got one last year and it last forever!!)

opi nail polish (x2)

lottery tickets (most creative!)

lotion

eso chapstick (my fav)

socks, I got these & oh my they are heavenly!

Allegro marinade, I love this on pork!

Wind & Willow Bruschetta dip mix

dish towel

beer

 

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And then the FOOD! Everyone brought their Fav App to share!

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This dip rocks! SUPER EASY!!

It’s been flying around pintrest so I had to give it a shot! I mean anything that has is attached to Neimans (the best shopping in the world!) has got to be good!  I added tish bit of  sugar & lemon juice! I always make it my own! ENJOY!!

Neiman Marcus Dip 

2 c mayo

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 bag bacon bits

1/2 c almonds

1 bunch scallions, sliced

1 t sugar

splash of lemon juice

 

 

Tina’s Holiday Pie

2 – 8oz cream cheese

1 – 8oz sour cream

1 jar 4.5oz chipped beef

1/2 onion chopped

1/2 green pepper chopped

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Mix first 5 ingredients and spread in a dish.  Next melt a little butter and pour over pecans.  Place them on a cookie sheet and roast for 5 minutes on 350.  Remove pecans and sprinkle them over mixture and bake on 350 for approximately 20 minutes until bubbly.  Serve with crackers.

 

Erin’s Peppermint Fudge

1 7oz jar marshmallow creme

1 12oz bag semi sweet morsels

1 tsp peppermint extract

3 cups sugar

3/4 c butter ( 1 & 1/2 sticks)

1 5 oz can evaporated milk

1 cup Andes peppermint chunks

Line 13×9 pan with foil and grease. Sprinkle 1/2 the peppermint chunks on bottom of pan.

In a large bowl combine marshmallow creme, morsels and extract. Combining these ingredients now simplifies the process.

In saucepan combine butter and evaporated milk on medium heat until mixed well. Then add sugar to butter/milk mixture. Be sure to keep your spatula on the bottom of the pan as much as possible. Once combined stir constantly.

Bring mixture to a full and rolling boil and set your timer for 5 minutes.

Very carefully pour your mixture into the large bowl of other ingredients. Stir ingredients together.

Pour into your prepared pan.  Smooth well and top with remaining peppermint chunks.

Refrigerate until firm.

Lift the foil from pan and cut into squares 

 

ENJOY!!

Kate’s Christmas Cheese Tree & Snowman

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Last week I shared a Favorite Things Christmas Party! Each girl brought a favorite app or sweet as well and Kate brought, what looked to cute to eat, a Christmas Cheese ball in the shape of a CHRISTMAS TREE & a SNOWMAN!! The pic is Kate’s handiwork and I will have to reference it as I try and make mine!

They were freaking adorbs and I immediately had to snap a pic! When I finally tasted, as I was honestly afraid to ruin the look! I was so glad I did! BEST ever! So different, so fresh tasting, so YUMMY!!!

Yeah! just in time for menu & party planning Kate is sharing her yum-o recipe!! Thanks girl!!

Kate’s Cheese Ball

6 packages of 8oz cream cheese
8 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese ( I always grate mine off the block, it tastes soooo much better)
4 tablespoons pesto

1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
3/4 cup chopped pine nuts and 4 tablespoons whole pine nuts
4 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
1 lemon
1 baby carrot (buy a bag and use them to eat the cheese ball)
Fresh thyme
1 Cucumber
Pretzel sticks

Olives

Directions:

Let cream cheese come to room temp. before trying to mix or your arm will fall off trying to get the cheese incorporated. Place the cream cheese, shredded cheddar and pesto in a large bowl and mix it together. After mixing, cover the bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm enough to shape.

When the mixture is firm divide it in half. Place half of the mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap and cover the cheese mixture. When it is covered shape it into a cone shape for the Christmas tree( You can also leave out the plastic wrap step and just use your hands, but I find it more appealing to eat something that has not had someone’s hands all over it). After you have shaped your cone roll it in the chopped parsley or cilantro and set on a serving platter.

Take the other half of the mixture and divide it into 2 parts making one larger than the other. This is to make the head and body of the snowman so just use the amount you want for the size you are going for. I used plastic wrap again for shaping the balls. After shaping the balls roll them in the chopped pine nuts. When they are done place the larger ball on the platter and the smaller ball on top of the larger ball and press together.

At this point you can start to decorate the tree. Cut off a slice of lemon peel and shape it into a star. I just free handed mine but if you have a small star cookie cutter that should work too. Use the whole pine nuts as garland on the tree and the chopped red bell pepper for ornaments.

For the snowman, wrap the thyme leaves around the head like a scarf, use a carrot for the nose, 2 pretzel sticks for the arms, pieces of olive for the eyes and buttons, red bell pepper for the mouth and cucumber ends for the hat. Serve with veggies and crackers.

It ROCKS!!!

Totally making this for my family Christmas party!

xoxo, Mama Bird

these are a few of my favorite things!

I am going to a Favorite Things Christmas Party on Thursday and it has got me thinking about MY FAVORITES so here are a few!
Stocking stuffer edition!

Under $5

Lemon flavored Ice Cubes, seriously yum-o and I don’t even like gum!
EOS lip balm (and hottie Ed Westwick loves it too!)

                          

coke zero best drink ever!
under $10
Tyler Candle Company
diva & fig scent are my favs! Buy the small one it will make your whole house smell amazing!!
Favorite Cleaning product ever!
Mrs. Myers in lavender & lemon verbena


Trader Joe’s Salted Caramels
Here is the loot from the Fav Things Christmas Party
fav things
Bath & Body Works was a big hitter at the party! Room spray, antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer.
Almay eye make-up remover wipes (non oily!) these have been on my walmart shopping list for years and I was out! yea!!
Handmade Christmas coasters were ADORBS!! So cute, that I had to make some over the weekend.
an airplane bottle of some interesting spirits came from a much younger attendee, I am more the wine, diet coke kind of Mama now, but a shot? Why not?
xoxo, Mama Bird 

Look who’s back!

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Henry the Elf flew in from the North Pole last night to make his yearly debut and to say HI! Like tradition he shows up the night after Thanksgiving, the same day we go to the mountains to pick out the “perfect” Christmas tree!  I can’t wait to see all the adventures Henry takes this Christmas season.

Henry was so sweet! He sat the table for breakfast!

henry table

xoxo, mama bird

Sweet Potato Goodness

Let me start by saying that I know that you have seen boo-koos of sweet potato casseroles over this years but, if you are like me and don’t like a bunch of “stuff” added to it you will love this! It is so freaking yummy! It makes ahead beautifully.

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Sweet Potato Goodness:

6 sweet potatoes, baked & skinned

1 1/4  c sugar

2 t vanilla

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t fresh nutmeg

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 c milk

1 stick butter, melted

Bake & skin potatoes; Place in large bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix in Cuisinart or with a hand mixer until smooth & creamy.

Topping:

1 c brown sugar

1/3 c flour

1/3 c butter, melted

pecans halves

Mix sugar, flour & butter sprinkle 1/2 of mix lightly on top of potato mix. Place pecan halves on top of that and sprinkle remaining mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 25-35 mins until hot & bubbly! Enjoy!!

xoxo, Mama Bird

Reindeer Cookies

It’s beginning to smell like Christmas! The fresh tree mixed with the smells of yummy sweet treats baking in the oven make for a amazing aroma!

Cookies are not my favorite thing to bake, however with this dump recipe that you can really switch it around to fit whatever you have in your pantry which makes for an interesting and a little different cookie each time! Have fun, the possibilities are endless!!

This recipe makes a ton, is perfect for a cookie swap and is easy enough fir the kids to do it!!

Reindeer Cookies
3 eggs
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt

2 t baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 jar Nutella  (you can use peanut butter, almond butter)
1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 c m&m’s (holiday mix)
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c craisins

*basically 2 cups of whatever you like. I have used dried apricots, apples, butterscotch chips, anything you like!!

4 c oatmeal (quick cooking)

Preheat oven to 350. In a very large bowl combine eggs & sugars then add each ingredient and mix.  Slowly add the oatmeal, it will get REALLY thick!! I suggest using a mini ice cream scoop to keep the cookies all the same size!  Bake 8-10 mins. Yummy!!

xoxo, Mama Bird

Don’t forget you have until midnight to enter the Shabby Apple dress GIVEAWAY!!

Merry Christmas from Mama Bird

If you have read my blog for awhile know how in love I am with ribbon, bows, fabric… obsessed! I care this obsession into my Christmas Decorating and today I thought I would share the wreath I made new this year!Fantab, if I do say so myself I love the whimsy of it all!! what you think!!

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How to: I bought the grapevine wreath at Michaels, use left over Christmas ribbon for the bows, recycled the G that I gave a coat of white paint and red & white polka dot ribbon from my 4th of July wreath! Added some fun Christmas balls and voila!

xoxo. Mama Bird