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Ready or not, here comes Christmas!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Christmas Pinterest Challenge Results ... with Photos

Success! 



The second recipe I chose for my challenge, Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes, has to be the best thing I ever baked! And I will most definitely be baking and freezing more, which I will thaw, finish, and serve during the Christmas holidays.

Having favored quick mixes over scratch baking for years, I had forgotten how scrumptious cakes made from scratch can be. These chocolate with cola cupcakes came out of the oven with rounded tops that stayed rounded. I ate one plain and was delighted with the texture and flavor.

A day or so later, I removed the centers and added cherry pie filling, followed by a powdered sugar-and-cola glaze. Then, of course, I ate one. Wow, so very good!

The next day, I beat heavy cream and powdered sugar together and then piped it onto the cupcakes. I have never in my life made frosting like that, and I was a little bit scared that it would be a flop. I usually just get my frosting in a can. Oh my, it was so good! I added a maraschino cherry on top of two cupcakes. My daughter and I each ate a cupcake and were very excited. Then I put the rest of the frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator to see how long the frosting would stay good.

I thought perhaps the frosting would “melt” down the sides after sitting for a while, but five days later, when we polished off the last of the cupcakes, it still looked and tasted fresh! So now I know that I can prepared these cupcakes in advance of a party and not worry about something going wrong. And that’s the purpose of experimenting year round—or at least a couple of months early.

The most time-consuming part of this dessert is mixing and baking it. So that is what I will do again soon and then freeze. Then, a few days before the party I’m planning, I will thaw them out, fill them with cherries, glaze, and frost them.

Now, as for the other part of the challenge. I didn’t quite make it. This time, my plan to do a craft with my daughter was run off course by a fender-bender that she had with my car. Instead of a fun evening, I had to calm her down, talk her through what she was supposed to do (which meant I had to look it up), call my insurance company, find a ride to the scene of the accident, and so forth. The process still isn’t over.

Life happens, every day. Plans get thwarted. That’s another reason for preparing early! Christmas is less than two months away. Even though I haven’t been able to make the decorations as planned, I still have time. I still have time to make and freeze cupcakes and cookies. I have time to experiment with a few more recipes. I am in the middle of planning a Christmas mystery party. I will be prepared for December before it arrives. And then, if an illness or accident or something else unforeseen happens, it won’t throw me into a tailspin. I will be ready, not rushed.  All because I planned ahead!

How are your plans coming?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Update on the Christmas Pinterest Challenge

Have you taken the challenge? Care to share the results?

As for me, my weekend plans ended up keeping me away from home and the challenge, for the most part. I went to the store and got the ingredients I didn’t already have so that I could bake the cherry coke float cupcakes but ran out of time to make them, so I switched plans and went for a crockpot recipe of potatoes with bacon and cheese. It seemed like a no-fail recipe since I love potatoes AND bacon AND cheese, but in the end, I was not impressed with the results. My daughter liked it well enough, so we’ll eat the leftovers, and I may try it again sometime and see if I can do better, but not for Christmas.

My daughter has the next two days off work, so we are going to devote some time to the Pinterest challenge, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

As for my weekend busyness, here’s what happened: Friday, I had to take my car to the shop because it was skipping badly. While it was being worked on, my daughter and I walked downtown and had lunch, wandered around and took pictures, stopped for dessert, and walked some more. We ended up walking more than two miles!

Saturday we both worked. Then I made a batch of chili and took it to a friend’s house for a chili cookoff. I had never entered a cookoff before. I tied for 3rd place and was awarded with a small chili-shaped dish. That was fun! The best fun was tasting all the different chilis. I loves me some chili!

Sunday after church and lunch, we traveled to a popular cornfield maze and enjoyed wandering lost among the corn stalks, talking about growing our own maze out of sunflowers. Wouldn’t that be pretty? Anyway, when we got home, I had to get some paywork done.

So, this week I plan to continue the challenge and do better. I can’t wait to try a cherry coke float cupcake! That recipe had better not let me down! I’ll post a photo of it and of the craft I end up making. (I have a bag of pinecones begging to be made into a window decoration...)

If you haven’t tried the challenge yet, it’s not too late! Simply pick a recipe and a craft or activity that you pinned to your Pinterest boards and do it! You have a week. What are you waiting for?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

You really should check this out!

While not exactly related to Christmas, this link will take you to a blog interview about me: Brenda's Interview. So, it’s about the person who blogs about Christmas All Year Long. :-)  My new friend Toi Thomas is responsible for the fun, so check it out! Get to know some fun facts about me and why I blog about preparing for Christmas! Consider it my early Christmas gift to you. ;-)  Teehee

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Christmas Pinterest Challenge!

Greetings to my Christmas-loving friends!

This week I’ve got a challenge for you, and I’m calling it The Christmas Pinterest Challenge. You know all those ideas you’ve pinned to your Pinterest boards—recipes, craft ideas, decorating ideas, gift ideas, etc.? They do you no good as long as they remain confined to that space on Pinterest.

Brenda’s Pinterest Boards

My challenge to you is to choose one recipe and idea for Christmas off those boards and try them this week. Then come back here and share the results!

Do the same with a new recipe and another idea next week. Do that for the next three to four weeks, and you may end up with some new holiday favorites and be that much closer to being prepared for a special Christmas season. (Note: eliciting help from family members IS allowed.)

Take the Christmas Pinterest Challenge now, before holiday preparations start to overwhelm you! And have fun!