Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bourbon Balls

For those of you who like a little (or maybe even a lot) of alcohol in your  Christmas confections, I have a delightful bourbon ball recipe to share!

Every year at Christmas time, a lady who lives in my parents' neighborhood has made them/us bourbon balls.  Her bourbon balls are delicious, and we always look forward to them! This year, since I am so far away and was not sure if I'd get to taste them, I asked my mom to get the recipe from her so I could try my hand at making them.  I got the recipe, and I made some myself.  I'll share what I did here and some changes I found that I'll need to make.

First of all, here's the recipe.

Bourbon Balls Recipe:

24 oz. of vanilla wafers- finely crushed till it is a powder consistency.
2 c. finely chopped pecans
4 heaping Tablespoons of Hershey’s cocoa
1 ½ cups honey
2/3 cup bourbon

Mix all ingredients together and roll into balls. Roll each ball in confectioner’s  sugar
Place in a covered container for 3 days in the refrigerator. Then enjoy!!

I chose to use Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon
This was actually one of the milder bourgeons.  I may be trying another kind the next time I make these.

1.)  24 oz. of vanilla wafers crushed to a powdery consistency.  I debated getting the food processor out for this, but decided against it as I really didn't feel like cleaning up my food processor just to get crushed vanilla wafers.  Instead, I got out a plastic Ziploc bag and manually crushed them.

I think I am going to use my food processor next time.  It probably took me just as long to do this as it would have been to get out the food processor and clean it out later.  I finished crushing them in the bowl.

2.) 2 cups finely chopped pecans...I just bought these already crushed up.  They were cheaper that way and the bag itself was exactly 2 cups!

3.) 4 heaping tablespoons of Hershey's cocoa.  I actually bought both kinds of cocoa but used the dark chocolate kind in this recipe because I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate.

4.) 1 and 1/2 cups of honey.  I didn't take a picture of this.  This was a messy step. :) You need a big jar of honey for this! I'll be buying from Sam's Club next time.

5.) 2/3 cups of bourbon.  Next time I am scaling back on the bourbon.  I think I will try 1/3 cup instead of 2/3.  

Mix all ingredients together and it looks kind of like molasses with cookie crumbles and nuts in it.  It is a VERY sticky and messy substance.  So be prepared to get very messy when making it.  Thankfully, the little man was taking a nice long nap when I made these.
Then you roll them in confectioners sugar. I put it out on some parchment paper.  This also gets quite messy.  And, personally, I'd recommend rolling them into balls and refrigerating for a few hours.  Then, I'd get them back out and roll them in the confectioner's sugar.  It didn't hold well to them at first, but after being refrigerated, I tried it again and the sugar stuck better.

This is what mine looked like! I ended up making them big because I started out small and there was so much mixture I felt like it was taking way too long.  I layered them in a tin with parchment paper.

They turned out pretty good, but even after well over 3 days in the refrigerator, they were strong! I don't remember the ones I tried being this strong.  I followed the recipe closely. So,  even though I've mentioned things I'm going to try differently next time, here's a list of all of the things I'd rethink or try differently the next time I make them.
-When crushing wafers, use a food processor.
-Try a lighter bourbon or scale back
-The dark chocolate was good, but I want to see if it is much different with the other kind of cocoa
-Refrigerate balls and THEN roll them in the sugar
-Cut this recipe in half! It makes A LOT.  I'd only follow this recipe as is if I wanted to make bourbon balls for a lot of people (which may be why she had it that way as she made them for the neighborhood).
- Buy a very large jar of honey.  I had to use every last bit of my honey and then even use a little bit of a honey substitute.

All in all, though, they were good! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

One Small Child

Another favorite Christmas song of mine is "One Small Child." And that is all I have to say :)

One small child in a land of a thousand 
One small dream of a Savior tonight 
One small hand reaching out to the starlight 
One small Savior of life 
One king bringing his gold and his riches 
One king ruling an army of might 
One king kneeling with incense and candlelight 
One King bringing us life 
See him lying, a cradle beneath Him 
See Him smiling in the stall 
See His mother praising His Father 
See His tiny eyelids fall.
See the shepherds kneeling before Him 
See the kings on bended knee 
See the mother praising the Father 
See the Blessed Infant sleep
One small child in a land of a thousand 
One small dream of a Savior tonight 
One small hand reaching out to the starlight 
One small Savior of life 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Robot for Christmas??

My mother is a very creative person.  Anyone who knows her is probably well aware of this.  Intermingled with her creativity (part of what I think drives it) is her perpetual optimism.  She is a glass-half-full kind of person.  It's not surprising that her favorite color is yellow.  Anyway, these are all just pieces of background information for one memorable Christmas.

One year, there was one present in particular that I recall my mom getting very excited about.  She was itching to tell me what it was but wanted to wait until Christmas.  With her eyes gleaming, I could tell she was just bursting at the seems.  She said she couldn't tell me what the present was, but if I asked questions, she would answer them.

Me: Is it big?
Mama: Yes! It is too big to wrap.
Me: (getting pretty excited here) it colorful?
Mama: Oh yes, it is very colorful
My 10 year old brain thought...colorful=good! Hmmm...what could it be? It HAS to be exciting because she is excited about it and it is really big and colorful.
Me: (thinking it must be some cool toy) Does it move?
Mama: Yes, it moves
Me: (Yes! Even better! A moving toy!) Does it move on its own?
Mama: It can!
Me: (Wow! My brain is headed in the direction of the COOLEST toy) Can it carry things?
Mama: Yes! It can carry whatever you want it to!

I was very excited after this! I couldn't think of ANY other thing that I could be getting other than some really cool robot! This would be awesome! I'd have a robot to carry things to me and a colorful one too!
Now, I have no idea how my brain came up with this vision.  I hadn't seen any robots anywhere.  But I was convinced after our little Q&A that the only possible thing it could be was a robot.

I couldn't wait! I went bounding down the stairs ready to meet my robot....HALT....all I see is a lumpy looking thing covered in black trash bags. didn't look anything like a robot.  

When it was finally my turn to open my present, I quickly removed the black trash bag to uncover a.....

suitcase! (Pictured suitcase is not the one..that's just the suitcase I have now but it was a purple one at the time)  A suitcase? Bbbut..but...It HAD to be a robot?
-Is it colorful? Well..yes, it is....
-It's definitely too big to wrap
-Does it move? Okay, yes, yes, it does!
-Does it move on its own? She said "it can" Yes, yes..small can if I push it and let it roll
-And can it carry things? Yeah yeah it sure can

Oh Mama, you got me! I don't think I've ever seen anyone get so excited about a suitcase! And my mom's excitement in her description of this thing made it seem like something out of this world.  

She is a creative one..she is..and I think a suitcase was probably a much more useful Christmas present than some imaginary robot ever would have been.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

LEAST favorite Christmas Song!

I'm not sure if everyone has a least favorite Christmas song, but I know I have one.  My dad and sister each have one as well.  My sister's least favorite song is Silver Bells.  I think she just doesn't like all the words that start or end with the letter S in it.  I actually like that song, though.  My dad's least favorite is Away in a Manger because he feels it downplays the birth of Christ.

My least favorite song is actually a tie between two.  I can't decide which song is more annoying or depressing to me.  I get just as annoyed with both of them and can't sit through either one.  Sadly, both songs get lodged in my brain after only a few seconds of hearing them.

First one is...
Blue Christmas

I like Elvis Presley, but I do not like this song at all.  It is so depressing to me! 
"I'll have a blue Christmas without you
I'll be so blue just thinking about you"
That's enough to divert my attention from Christmas altogether to somebody's heartache, which really isn't what Christmas is about at all.

The second one is...
Last Christmas
I think this one might be SLIGHTLY more annoying to me than Blue Christmas because  I can't stand the way they say "SPECIAL." 

"Last Christmas I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away" - OUCH!
"This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special." -Okay, so why are we still fixated on this obvious jerk from last year?

Anyway, I think what it is is that both songs require the actions of one other person in order for Christmas to be a happy time! And this is why both of these songs are my least favorite!  I thought about not sharing the videos...but what the hey..just in case anyone was wondering, I figured I'd share them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

To Tree or Not To Tree?

Initially, I had no intentions of putting up a tree this year.  We are scheduled to move on February 1st, and there is A LOT that needs to be done before we move.  So, we basically have to start packing up to move as soon as we get back here in January from visiting relatives.  I was really pretty fine with this as the tree is pretty cumbersome, and I'd rather just let it be in the garage this year.

I didn't want to go totally without decorating, so I put some things up that would be easy to put back away.  This is the extent of my Christmas decorating.
A church and a school atop fake snow.  Behind this is a string of musical Christmas lights strung over the window.
Little Man's stocking held up by a JOY sign my mother sent me.  I didn't want to put  a nail in the mantle.

I was PERFECTLY fine with just these decorations! They felt festive enough to me! Until...

My husband brought his toy train in and set it up.
Now, it is staring me in the face saying, "I need a tree in the middle to go around!" Every time I walk past it all I can think is, "I should go out and get the tree and put it up." The poor train looks like a lost little child without a tree to me.  

Even though I can hardly resist the urge to get that tree and place it in the sad-looking empty space, I also know what all I have to do between now and February.  So, that stops me.

But I'm considering my options.  I could....
1.) Just put the tree up without extra decorations.  It is pre lit. 
2.) Put the tree up and a FEW decorations.  It would probably be nice to put a star on top.
3.) Go all in! It is Christmas after all! Plus, a good friend of mine just sent us a box of Christmas ornaments! 
4.) Just keep the decorations I have knowing I don't really want to create a lot of work for myself in January.

Oh decisions decisions :) Ha! What would YOU do?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Favorite Christmas Song 1

I plan on sharing my favorite Christmas songs under a variety of genres.  I have too many favorites to narrow it down to one.  However, my first favorite Christmas song that I never tire of hearing is "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Said the night wind to the little lamb

Do you see what I see
Way up in the sky little lamb
Do you see what I see
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepard boy
Do you hear what I hear
(Do You Hear What I Hear)
Ringing through the sky shepard boy
Do you hear what I hear
(Do hear What i hear)
A song, a song
High above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the shepard boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know
(Do You Know What I Know)
In your palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know
(Do You Know What I Know)
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold

Said the king to the people everywhere
Listen to what I say
( Listen to what I say)
Pray for peace people everywhere
Listen to what I say
(Listen to what I Say)
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Christmas "Candy"

Today, I am going to share yet another Christmas memory.  I had become accustomed to my dad bringing home interesting gifts for us any time he went on a business trip.  He had just returned from a business trip when I entered the kitchen and eyed a delicious-looking Christmas candy sitting on the countertop!

It looked like a big, soft peppermint with little chocolate streaks in it.  I picked it up and it smelled so delicious! The peppermint filled my senses and I was ready to partake of this new deliciousness! I wasn't sure if he brought it home for me or not, but I didn't care at that point.  I was so fixated on trying this new candy that I had never seen before!

I excitedly unwrapped it, disposed of the outer plastic wrap without looking, and took a nice BIG bite right into it! BLECH!  This is nasty! It tastes like wax! Simultanesouly, my mother enters the kitchen only to see me standing there with my mouth stuffed with a giant peppermint.  "WHAT are you doing?" She asks in complete shock. "Mama," I respond, "this candy tastes disgusting!" "That is not a candy! That is a candle!" I took it out of my mouth and turned it over to discover a wick on the other side.  Oh the humiliation!

"Well, I guess we have to burn it now," my mother said.  So, she placed it in a bowl with some water as it was a floating candle made to look like a peppermint candy.  My teeth marks remained in it as it melted away.

Moral of the story? Do NOT make candles disguised as candy...especially disguised as candy with chocolate in it! That's just a mean trick!