Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shop, make, bake...

The holidays crept up SUPER FAST this year. I can't believe there are only 10 days left until Christmas. People are almost starting to panic that their holiday shopping is not done. I am CLOSE to being done. There are just so many people to remember....Teachers, Aunts & Uncles, 2nd Cousins twice removed, your sister-in-law's boyfriend (is he even COMING to Christmas). It's overwhelming when you make a list of everyone to buy for.

If you are around the Peoria area and shopping for your mom, girlfriend, sister, friend, or other lady in your life, you have to go into my favorite shop, Relics. It is one of Peoria's best kept secrets, on Adams across from Hardees, next to Cracked Pepper. I tell everyone to go there if they like adorable housewares, vintage conversation pieces, affordable jewelry, books, and funky stuff. Crossing my fingers that my husband will go there and pick out Christmas gifts for me. Absolutely anything will do, but I love the jewelry...hint hint honey.

Homemade presents are cheaper (most of the time) and go over pretty well. I am crocheting my fingers to the bone to try and get gifts done. This site, The Crafty Crow, has great ideas for handmade ornaments and other gifts. I love the ideas for gifts that kids can make. Next week the kids are off school, and we always make some handmade ornaments to handout to relatives. I think we are going to make the bell flower ornament.  Although I really love the little owl ornament from that artist woman blog. So I might have just showed some of you your presents...whoops.

 Last year I made treat bags with Chocolate Chip Biscotti, a few fancy Tea Bags, and some candy, to pass out to extended family, friends, teachers, and people I worked with.
Here is the yummy Biscotti recipe I used. It was super easy, if you are good at burning chocolate chip cookies then you can make these! They are also vegetarian!
  • 2 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, semisweet or milk chocolate
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 squares of semisweet bakers chocolate
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together dry ingredients and chocolate chips. Add eggs and vanilla. Knead dough on a floured surface a dozen times or so. Form the dough into a long log 2 inches wide and 15-16 inches thick. Place long on baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and let cool. Cut diagonally with a serrated knife, into 1/2" slices.  Change heat to 325 a d bake for 10 more minutes, then flip the slices over and cook for 10 more minutes or until golden and crunchy. The centers may look a little soft, but will harden as they cool.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, following directions on the package. Allow chocolate to cool but not harden before dipping one side of the biscotti into it. Place cookies on wire racks, chocolate side up, until cool. Place in airtight container to store. Dip in your tea or coffee and enjoy!

Good luck with finishing your holiday shopping, making and baking!