Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Advertisements

Sriracha Brussel Sprouts!

20131230-202527.jpg

So, I found this amazing recipe. Rather, it’s creator found this blog via WordPress. I, then, found the Nerdsteak.com site and this recipe for Sriracha Brussel Sprouts. Readers, I don’t know if you know or not, but WordPress is its own neat community these days! When I first started blogging a year and a half ago, I always felt like I was talking to myself, but finding other blogs to read and realizing that others find this blog is pretty cool, now!

As soon as I saw his recipe, I knew I had to make it! I couldn’t find the exact spice blend that he uses at my local grocery store (I’ll look into buying it online; it looks like a cool brand of spice products), so I used what we, in this house, refer to as “Rooster Sauce.” It is the Huy Fong Foods SRIRACHA. The results were incredible!! AND, it was super easy to make!!

Directions:
Cut Brussel sprouts into halves or quarters
Coat in olive oil, tossing in a bowl
Drizzle and coat in Sriracha in the same bowl (1/2 cup or so)
Spread onto baking sheet and add s&p, to taste
Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes
Stir in more Sriracha and coconut (1/2 cup or so) and almond slivers (1/2 cup)
Return to oven for an additional 5-8 minutes!

Sooooo good!
Pics: (click on photos to enlarge)

20131230-202636.jpg

20131230-202648.jpg

20131230-202702.jpg

20131230-202713.jpg

I served lamb meatballs with these Sriracha Brussel Sprouts tonight and LOVED it!

Thanks, Nerdsteak.com!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

20131230-202826.jpg

20131230-202527.jpg

PS
This post will link! Please, visit the links at your leisure:
arkansaswomenbloggers’ sunday-link-up

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll “Lasagna”

20131229-190925.jpg

Somedays, it just nice to put together something quickly and easily that you know the kids will eat. When you can let just a few easily accessible ingredients do the heavy lifting, it is even better! Days that I make a meal using only one frying pan and an 8″x8″ dish without messing up a cutting board, a bajillion mixing bowls and measuring cups, then I have time to actually spend with my girls! Love!

Tonight, I layered crescent rolls, chicken in Buffalo sauce, shredded cheese, repeat, repeat, repeat. “Lasagna” style! So easy!

Here are the ingredients:

2 pounds of Tyson ground chicken (cook in pan, until done)
1 cup of Frank’s buffalo sauce (add into pan after chicken is done)
2 tubes of Pillsbury crescent roll dough
3 cups shredded cheese blend (I used WalMart’s Great Value “Fiesta Cheese”)

Preheat oven to 350F
Grease an 8″x8″ glass baking dish
Layer dough, cooked chicken/sauce, cheese,
Repeat. Repeat. Ending with dough on top, covered in cheese.
Cover with foil, Bake 40-45 minutes at 350F
Turn on broiler to brown cheese on top for 2-3 minutes, if desired.

20131229-191021.jpg

See!
Easy!
No muss, no fuss!
The kids say, “YUM!”
They even ate their brocolli, in order to be granted rights to get a second serving of the Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll “Lasagna”!

🙂

~Amber Hamilton Henson

20131229-190925.jpg

Cinnamon Monkey Bread

20131228-160559.jpg

Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Yum! For as long as I can remember, cinnamon Monkey Bread with a buttery, brown sugar glaze has always been served on Christmas morning.

As a newlywed, years ago, my grandmother and former stepmom each filled out a bunch of recipe cards with favorite family recipes. Knowing that I always loved Monkey Bread, and it was something they both made, the Monkey Bread recipe was included!

It is pretty easy to make, but makes a great presentation! I make it for our kids several times a year; it always a big hit with the girls in the morning after sleep-over parties! 🙂

To make the Monkey Bread:

1.
Start with 28-30 oz of canned biscuits
(I use a generic 4 pack of buttermilk biscuits that work great!)
Tear or cut each biscuit into 4 pieces and toss the pieces into a cinnamon/sugar mix a few pieces at time, tossing with your hands; I use a bowl with about 2 cups of sugar and 4 Tablespoons of cinnamon.

2.
Heavily coat the inside of a Bundt pan with Crisco. Loosely pile the coated pieces into the pan.

3.
In a saucepan, melt 1.5 sticks of butter and 1.5 cups of brown sugar. When it is bubbly and “fluffy”, pour over the coated biscuits in the bundt pan.

4.
Bake at 350F for 40 minutes, then immediately flip onto a plate when removed from oven.

20131228-160655.jpg

Do you make Monkey Bread? Is your recipe similar? I’ve heard of people adding sweetened cream cheese into the Bundt with the biscuits, but I’ve not yet tried making it that way. If I do, I’ll let you know, but for now, this classic version works for us every time! My goal is to get more of my favorite recipes photographed and organized onto my recipes page slowly, but surely!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

20131228-160559.jpg

PS.
This post will link with other blogs and be updated with links to blog parties at the bottom of this post:
arkansaswomenbloggers sunday-link-up

Hershey’s Special Dark Tiger Cookies

20131227-185440.jpg

Hershey’s Special Dark Tiger Cookies

Ingredients:
1.5 cups granulated sugar
0.5 cup vegetable oil
0.5 cup Hershey’s brand Special Dark cocoa or Hershey’s cocoa
3 eggs
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.75 cups all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar
48 Hershey’s Kisses

1. Stir together granulated sugar and oil in large bowl; add cocoa, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to cocoa mixture, beating well.

2. Cover; refrigerated until dough is firm enough to handle, at least 6 hours.

3. Heat oven to 350F. Grease cookie sheet. Shape dough into 1″ balls (dough will be sticky); roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place balls about 2″ apart on prepared (greased) cookie sheet.

4. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched lightly and tops are cracked. Immediately press chocolate Hershey’s kiss into the center of each cookie, if desired. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheet.

Enjoy! (yields about 4 dozen)

20131227-185538.jpg

20131227-185440.jpg

The backstory: I was recently asked where I get my recipes. Well, I am an avid cookbook collector and Pinterest user, as well as the granddaughter of two women that are both fabulous cooks, and in addition to this blog with a recipes page, I maintain my own handwritten “cookbook” notebook of recipes that I’ve modified and like. I usually try to include the source(s) of my recipes on this blog, unless it is something from my own notebook or shared from a relative. For the most part, I include a link or cite a specific cookbook if I follow a recipe precisely; all photos included with recipes are 100% mine and taken in my own kitchen, though. For example, this is a recipe that is a household favorite around here. It is from a HERSHEY’S 3-in-1 cookbook, and my 11 year old daughter made this batch of cookies! I have a few cookbooks specifically about cookies and baking. Do you have one that you recommend that I try? I’m always looking for the next tried, tested, and truly great cookbook! Here is a photo of a few cookie and baking cookbooks in my collection that I recommend!

20131227-185645.jpg

When you view this post, specifically by clicking on the title of the post, at the bottom of the post, please find the Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and other options to share these photos and link! Please, feel free to share! Thanks for the blog love!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

Cookies for Santa!

20131224-194204.jpg

20131224-194236.jpg

20131224-194250.jpg

20131224-194306.jpg

🙂

We’ll update with recipes for these cookies tomorrow, if Santa likes them!

Love!

Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

Your Friends,
~The Hensons

ARWB handmade ornament swap!

ARWB handmade ornament swap!

This year I’m participating in Arkansas Women Bloggers (ARWB) handmade ornament swap! The rules were simple: all registered Arkansas Women Bloggers were invited to register, then we were each emailed contact information for the recipient of an ornament we were to make and send by December 16th. Then came the hard part: waiting until December 24th to share the experience on our blogs! (The original ARWB invitation with full text can be seen, here.)

I found the entire process exciting!

I absolutely LOVE the “Vintage Chic” ornament that we received, cutely packaged in crinkled paper with goodies including chocolate and a dip mix from an Arkansas company, the Resident Chef, from ARWB member, Brittney Lee of www.RazorbackBritt.blogspot.com! We’ve never met, but she took the time to visit my blog and design an ornament that coordinates beautifully in our home and included a kind, very complimentary fun note with the ornament! Awesome, right? Her blog is super cute, full of her fun adventures, and worth a visit! Find Brittney, here.

Here is the beautiful “Vintage Chic” ornament from RazorbackBritt that we’ve added to our tree!

20131224-091724.jpg

The hollow glass ornament is adorned with a red velvet bow and ivory colored cameo, then filled with assortment of various size pearls! Vintage Chic, indeed! LOVE it!!

20131224-091808.jpg

20131224-091819.jpg
Thank You, Thank You, Britt!

For the ornament that I was to send, Rebekah of www.OhBeloved.blogspot.com was to be my recipient! I’ve never met Rebekah, so I looked around her lovely blog of Christian devotionals, and decided to make a cross ornament for her. In its construction, for rigidity, I cut pieces of coat hanger. Then, I used wood beads to represent the wood of the cross, and added leaded, glass crystal beads from Argenta Bead Company at all four ends of the cross for an Arkansas connection! I hope she and her family enjoy the ornament as much as we’re enjoying the new addition to our tree!

20131224-091903.jpg

Thank you, ARWB, for hosting this wonderful, festive swap event!!
I’m so inspired by the two blogs I’ve discovered through this event! I’m looking forward to seeing and reading about the ornament experience from other ARWomenBloggers at the handmade ornament swap link-up!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

Visit the ARWB handmade ornament swap 2012, here.
Visit the ARWB handmade ornament swap, 2013, here. <–will update, tomorrow, the 24th, when the linkup begins!

PS.
This post will link with other blogs and be updated with links to blog parties at the bottom of this post:
arkansaswomenbloggers sunday-link-up

PINEAPPLE CAKE

20131222-171503.jpg

PINEAPPLE CAKE
. . . with cream cheese icing!

Ingredients

CAKE:
2 c all purpose flour
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 – 20 oz can of crushed pineapple in heavy syrup ( undrained )

CREAM CHEESE ICING:
1 stick butter
1 – 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar

1 .
Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Mix cake ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Pour into a greased 9X13 inch glass pan and bake at 350 for 35 minutes (until top is golden brown).

2.
Icing: Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until creamy. Gradually mix in powdered sugar.

3.
Frost cake with cream cheese icing while still warm. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired. (Shown with pecan pieces! Yum!)

4.
Enjoy!

20131222-171528.jpg

20131222-171503.jpg

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
This post will link with other blogs:

20131222-220401.jpg

RUSSIAN TEA CAKES

20131220-113015.jpg

RUSSIAN TEA CAKES
(jelly filled shortbread cookies)

INGREDIENTS:

cookies: 1 cup salted butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
toppings:
1/2 cup fruit preserves/jam/jelly*
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Yield: 2 dozen

DIRECTIONS:

1.
preheat oven to 325 degrees F

2.
in large bowl cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer. add vanilla, scraping down bowl as needed. blend in flour and salt, mixing until thoroughly combined.

3.
roll tablespoonfuls of dough into small balls about 1 in. in diameter. place dough balls on lightly greased cookie sheets about 1 in. apart. press down the center of each ball with a spoon, forming a depression. fill each with a tsp. of preserves or nuts.

4.
bake 15-20 min. or until golden brown. transfer cookies immediately to a cool, flat surface. when cookies are completely cool, dust them lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

*in the photo, you’ll see I used strawberry preserves, fig preseves, and black raspberry-jalapeno jam for variety!

~Amber D. Hamilton Henson

20131220-113121.jpg

20131220-113015.jpg

PS: Linking
ArkansasWomenBloggers’ sunday-link-up

Holiday Decor!

Happy Holidays! We hope you had a fabulous Thansgiving and are ready for a Merry Christmas!

Here is quick look at what we’ve been doing in and around our home, here in Little Rock, Arkansas:

We had a great Thanksgiving!

20131217-095047.jpg
We hung hundreds of ornaments on our Christmas tree! Our favorites are the handmade ornaments, and we sure have A LOT of them! Love!!

20131217-095314.jpg

Here is a close-up photo of one of my favorites handmade ornaments! It is a “love bird!” It was made by tracing our daughters hands and one foot. Just hot glue the pieces together and add a circle to each side for the head and rhinestone eyes! Love!!

20131217-095612.jpg
Here is another favorite handmade ornament: Hand and Foot Reindeer! Using foam sheets from the craft store, a few rhinestones, and a pipe cleaner as a hanger, this project is quick and easy for kids!

20131217-095902.jpg

So, then we put up garland, lights, a pair smaller trees, and our Candy and Gingerbread wreath on the exterior of our home!

20131217-100049.jpg
Here is a close-up of the wreath I made a few years ago that we enjoy displaying each year: There is a plush gingerbread to represent each member of our family, and lots of candy, cookie, berry, and gingerbread ornaments! SWEET, right? 🙂

20131217-100324.jpg

Not long after getting our Christmas decor setup, an ice storm hit Arkansas! It was beautiful, and our kids sure enjoyed sledding the hill in front of our house!

20131217-100511.jpg

As the snow and ice dripped from our roofline onto the little Christmas trees near out front door during the days that followed, gorgeous icicles were formed almost completely coating the little trees! LOVE IT!!

20131217-100704.jpg
Perhaps later this evening or tomorrow I’ll share a few of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes! Also, I can hardly wait to share with you about the Arkansas Women Bloggers’ Handmade Ornament Swap! I’m participating this year!! We already received our beautiful handmade ornament and have mailed the one we made to another blogger! The Swap rules ask that we not share the details about the ornaments until Dec. 24th, so stay tuned to see the Handmade Ornament Swap post!!

See you in the blogosphere later!
Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

20131217-101538.jpg
PS This post will link with other blogs! Find the links as they are updated at the bottom of this page:
ArkansasWomenBloggers’ sunday-link-up

This post is also published in the internationally distributed HAT TRICK MAGAZINE. To read the online version of the magazine, please click on the magazine cover below this text.(pg. 96)

20131222-175012.jpg