Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are you Ready for a Cooking Challenge?

I've been challenged by one of my new accountability partners to take part in her Christmas Baking Challenge - well she didn't actually challenge me, I just saw this on her blog and said to myself "Hey - you should do this!"  I thought I would share this with you as well - if you want link up - click on the "button" on the left side of my blog and it will lead you to the post where you fill in the "linky" info and be part of the whole deal!  Here's the basics (copied from her site):

Here are the finalized (and revised) details of the 12 Cookies of Christmas Baking Challenge. This is where the button will bring you if/when you post it on your blog.

To participate, please add yourself to the linky below (all the way below the post) with your post about the challenge and what level/goal you are setting for yourself. Be sure to steal my picture above to put on your blog post. And also add the button to your blog so we can get more participants! The more the merrier!

The challenge will run from December 1-December 31st, 2010. The challenge is to bake a variety of types of Christmas cookies, choosing from the categories listed. You may join at the "Baker" level, or the "Pastry Chef" level.

Baker Level: 6 varieties of cookies, 1/2 (3 varieties) that you have never baked before.
Pastry Chef Level: 12 varieties of cookies, 1/2 ( 6 varieties) that you have never baked before.

Here are the Christmas Cookie Categories!
1. Classic
(1 freebie that doesn't fit the other categories)
2. Chocolate or fudgy based cookies
3. Spicy cookies
4. Bar Cookies
5. Red and Green Cookies
6. Minty Cookies
7.Cookies with a Story
(an heirloom recipe, or a cookies that are a tradition in another country)
8. Cut-Out Cookies
9. Difficult to make cookies
(involves several steps, mixes, processes, or complicated decorations)
10. Made by kids
(you only assist in dangerous steps, no cracking the eggs!)
11. Fruity cookies
12. No bake cookies

Everyone completing their goal will be entered into a drawing for a giveaway. Separate giveaway for Baker and Pastry Chef level participants.
Tune in December 1st for information on how to post your blogs detailing (recipes, photos) your creations for the Challenge. Your blog posts MUST be linked/posted by midnight on New Year's Eve in order to count for your entry for the giveaway.

Each week will have a different set of themes for cookies (taken from the list). Extra entries if your cookies for the week match the pre-picked themes.

This means that I will be completing the Pastry Chef level..baking all the categories.
Of course, as host, I will not be a part of the giveaway, but I will enjoy seeing all the cookies you guys come up with!
And, I'm afraid I would just embarrass everyone with my cookie awesomeness if I were just a regular participant...I mean, I DID make THESE cookies one year. *yawn* ha ha! Don't hate, it's all in fun!

Now it's time to start perusing recipes and gathering those one of kind ingredients!

If you have a website for resources you would like to share, please post it in the comments (not the linky) section of this post.

Happy Baking!

So - I haven't completly decided what level - I'm leaning toward the Pastry Chef level just because I bake cookies every week anyway and I had already planned to bake lots of Christmas cookies this year.  Feel free to link up or just watch my blog and you can "steal" my recipes and see pictures of what I bake!

And if you are thinking that it is too early to think about this . .. think again :-)  This give you lots of time to plan, grocery shop, and get ready!

Homemade Birthday Card

Here's my first "crafty" post.  This is really not that original but it's an idea that came to me a few weeks back when I needed to get my husband an anniversary card.  Instead of running to the store, I decide to create one and in doing so I decided that I would start getting a little more creative with cards.  Plus I found that I was seeing the same cards over and over again and probably bought someone the same card a few times in a row! 

1 package blank cards/envelopes
(or card stock cut to size and envelopes)
Stickers or other decor items
1 picture of that person
(or if it is a wedding card, sympathy card, an appropriate picture)

1.) Cut the picture to size and mat it, if you want, than attach it to the front of the card.

 2) Than decorate  - I just included the date of the picture since it was recent.

3) On the inside of the card, write a note or choose a saying and decorate as you wish. 

And yes, it is that simple!!
I found a website that has some inspiration if you have trouble thinking of things to write (like me!)
I'm sure there are a million other resources out there to use too but this is the one I've used recently.

For this card (which was for my niece's recent birthday) I used a very current picture but you can also use old photos (how fun!) or use a photo from an event or some special time and include the story either on the front of the card or on the inside.  What a great memory!
And, as always, don't forget to fill the card with confetti before you mail it :-)

The cost of this is awesome:  I purchased a 25 pack of cards/envelopes for $5.00 which is only $0.20 a card plus the cost of getting the picture printed which is normally less than $0.20.  So $0.40 for a card is pretty good!

I personally tried doing stamping and could not make those creative cards like others send me - I don't know how they make them so beautiful with all those layers!  So I had to come up with something that worked for me!