Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Smell A Lot Like Christmas!

Mmmmmmmmmmm.  At our house it has been looking like Christmas and sounding like Christmas for a few days, but today it began to smell like Christmas too!  Yep, that means I checked Make Christmas Goodies (#16) and Try A New Christmas Recipe ( #17) off my list today!
Make Christmas Goodies & Try A New Christmas Recipe
Like many others, there are several yummy treats I usually make only at Christmas time.  Hubby asked if I would be willing to make a couple of his favorites to give out to people at his work.  It was such a sweet request.  How could I say no? 
So I gathered the supplies, turned on the Christmas music, and started out by whipping up my recipe for Spiced Pecans.  I made them our very first Christmas as Hubby & Wifey.  They were such a hit, that I've been making them ever since. 

They are yummy and easy to make, but the best part about making them is -while they are baking they make the whole house smell like Christmas!  I just love that smell.
While they were filling the house with the smell of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, I layered potatoes, mushrooms, chicken, and artichokes in the slow cooker for Christmas Chicken.  This is a recipe I found in a slow cooker cookbook and decided it would be fun to try today.  Soon the smells of this dish were filling the house as well.

While the pecans cooled on the counter and the chicken simmered away in the slow cooker, I did some school with the Engineer.  Once we finished up for the day, I returned to the kitchen to make "those yummy peanut butter chocolate Christmas things". 

I've been making these peanut-buttery-chocolatey goodies for years, but I don't really have a name for them.  We were introduced to these wonders of tasty goodness several years ago when a wonderful neighbor made them for us for Christmas.  Since each one of us loves chocolate and peanut together, it quickly became a family favorite. 

They are super easy to make: spread some peanut butter between two Ritz crackers, dip that in melted chocolate, and enjoy!  So easy, right?  Well, normally yes, but today that usually quick project, took hours, and resulted in me making not one, not two, not even three, or four, but FIVE batches of chocolate. 

I won't bore you with all the details, but I think some of my chocolate was old, one batch wouldn't harden, one batch was too thick, and then when I finally got it right, it wasn't enough and I needed to make one more batch. 

In the end, I finished the project, but... 
I. had. chocolate. everywhere. 
It was all over the kitchen and me.  It was a mess.  I was a mess.  

Here's where the Cherish Christmas part really comes in.  While this was all going on, a younger, more dramatic Rosie (if you can even imagine...) might have melted when the chocolate wouldn't and ended up in tears.  But I'm older and (hopefully) less dramatic about such things now.

And to be honest, I think all those hours spent watching reality cooking shows paid off.  I just took a deep breath and thought like a "Chopped" champion, "Ok, how do I make this work with the ingredients I have in my pantry?"  Then after finding my inner "Top Chef", I tried making another batch.  And in the end - it worked out.

I think I was in the middle of making that last batch when I realized that while it was a bit frustrating, I wasn't letting these setbacks ruin my fun of making Christmas goodies. 

Thankfully, I had put dinner in the slow cooker earlier in the day, which took a lot of work and stress off the table as I dealt with my chocolate mess.  Even better - it was a successful recipe and we enjoyed a lovely dinner of Christmas Chicken.

After enjoying our meal,  Hubby jumped in and helped clean up while I finished working on those "chocolate peanut butter things".  They are currently sitting on wax paper, waiting to be boxed up and handed out tomorrow. 

And if there are enough left over...I might even be able to check another item off my Cherish Christmas List tomorrow.

Sometimes it's about letting the frustrations of the moment go so that the rest of the day isn't ruined.  We add so much to our plates at Christmas time that little things can easily turn into big things. 

Thankfully, my focus on cherishing Christmas really helped me to enjoy the entire day - even the part that was one big chocolate mess. 

And really, if you have to have a big mess...having a chocolate one isn't so bad.

14 days to go...

Have a Blessed Christmas!

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