Thursday, December 23, 2010

That last minute holiday rush!

Good Thursday to All!

I hope you are surviving the last few days of frantic activity before you head into overdrive full force and at warp speed to prepare the holiday feast.  I know that I am exhausted and I am only baking and entertaining.  The actual holiday feast is a group effort with each of us bringing our special dish, one that we each know that we can make with our eyes half closed and it will turn out and be welcomed with rave reviews. 

For the past few nights, I have entertained friends that I may only see a few times during the year or possibly once a year due to their travel plans and distance away from where I am.  So, there has been a lot of tears (happy ones), reminiscing and stories that seem to grow from year to year in that the actual story has long since been exaggerated to the point where there is only a vague resemblance to the original story as it really unfolded.  That is the way the holiday visits should be when you are with old friends.  You know, the ones that you truly love and care about.  These are the ones who are there for you when you are feeling down, are ill and unable to go out and shop, or just seem to know when to show up, send an e-mail, or ring you up unexpectedly just to say that they care. 

All these attributes fit the three guests that were here last night.  Two gentlemen, each named Chris (just to be confusing I am certain!) and a lovely young lady, Jess.  Jess was the surprise visitor that none of us knew was coming.  She came along with the Chris's, but I somehow knew ahead of time that she would be here.
I have know this trio for over ten years and we all seem to be linked telepathically in that we know when one of the group is about to show up at one of our doors.  It is amazing how close you can become and how much you care about people like this.  This post is dedicated to Jess and the two Chris's, their spontaneity and love of life.  Oh, and did I mention, they really enjoy holiday sweets!

So, in their honour, I am posting two easy recipes that you are welcome to use to make those last minute batches of goodies to fill a tray to put out for guests.  They also make great little hostess gifts when packaged up in cellophane bags and tied up with a festive piece of ribbon.  Enjoy!  But, I will not take responsibility for the sugar high that follows indulging in these treats.  Moderation is key here, to over indulge will really have you flying across the room in a sugar induced frenzy only to crash land, hopefully not on the Christmas tree or in the cat's litter box.  LOL

Easy Busy Day Cookies

1 package any flavour cake mix
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or any other flavour that you enjoy
1 cup oatmeal
1/2  cup oil
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional but nice)

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, blending well.  Drop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons on a cookie sheet, about two inches apart.  The cookie sheets should be ungreased.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Cool for a minute or two before removing from the cookie sheets.  This will make about 30 cookies depending on how large you make them. 
Recipe courtesy of

Mum's Chocolate Fudge Cookies (really easy and quick!)

2 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons of a good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt
Mix above ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot, place on burner and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from burner and add:
1 cup coconut
3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla ( almond is a nice change)
Mix thoroughly, incorporating all the ingredients quickly while the chocolate mixture is still hot.  I have the coconut and oats mixed together in a bowl and ready to add into the pot when the time comes.  Add the vanilla first to the chocolate mixture and be prepared for the mixture to go into a molten frenzy.  Truly, it really bubbles up quickly, so do take the pot off of the burner before adding these last ingredients.  Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto waxed paper and allow to harden.  Watch out for cookie monsters grabbing these before they have cooled sufficiently.  This will make about 30 to 36 cookies. 
I am not sure where mum got this recipe from, but there seems to be a multitude of versions in every one's recipe trove!

This last recipe was such a hit that I will need to make another batch or two before the end of the holiday season!

Eagle Brand Butterscotch Squares

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1 can Regular or Low Fat Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk.

Using a wooden spoon, stir all ingredients together in a bowl.  Spread into an 8 inch square parchment paper lined pan.  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheet and then cut into 2 inch squares.  Store at room temperature, well wrapped.
Recipe courtesy of Eagle Brand/Smucker Foods of Canada Corp. or its affiliates.

As you can see, my collection of recipes comes from all over. One being my mum's, the other two found on the internet when in idle moments I look for new recipes to try when friends drop by.  My criteria is that the recipe has to be quick, easy and allow for a quick clean up.  All of these three fit the criteria wonderfully.  I hope you get a chance to try one or all.  I highly recommend the Butterscotch Squares or should I say that one of the Chris's highly recommends them.  There's more coming Chris!  I am guessing I will see you early in the New Year and I promise to have a batch for nibbling on and one to go home with you.

Since I am posting the holiday treat recipes today, Thursday, December 23, I will hold off on the holiday story until tomorrow, Friday, December 24.  I think that this is appropriate as it is a holiday story, one to tell on Christmas Eve to all the little one's eagerly awaiting a certain visitor, dressed in red.  But, I think the young at heart will enjoy the story as well and maybe for a moment or two, remember what it was like to be so young and waiting impatiently for the holidays.

Sincerely,  Rutheemac

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