Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Countdown

Brie Kisses come to the rescue when you need a quick appetizer. They are made using frozen mini phyllo tarts or puff pastry.  And the best part they require only three ingredients.
                
These appetizers can be made ahead and then popped into the oven when you're ready to serve.
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 lb. brie cheese
  • 2 boxes phyllo mini shells or Puff Pastry Sheets
  • hot pepper jelly
Phyllo Shells Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut small pieces of brie and place them into frozen phyllo mini shells. Top with a small scoop of pepper jelly. Place on rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake  5 to 7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and shells are golden.
  • Tip: Fill shells in their trays with brie and pepper jelly, and then slide them back into the boxes. They can be placed back into the freezer until ready to bake,
Puff Pastry Shells Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Lightly roll pastry sheet out on parchment floured paper 10 x 10
  • Measure out 4 strips each 2-1/2 wide and cut lengthwise
  • Then cut diagonally 4 strips each 2-1/2 wide with a total of 16 squares
  • Press square into greased mini-muffin tins and make a indentation in center and bake 5 minutes.
  • Place cube in center of each pastry and bake 8 minutes more or until edges are golden.
  • Remove from oven and immediately top with pepper jelly.  

Snowman Cupcake

Cook's notes:  Looking for a kid-friendly kitchen activity for school vacation?

This snowman cupcake would be easy to create. Use your favorite cake mix and prepared frosting, add two marshmallows for body, two pretzels for arms and top with a piece of chocolate candy. 

Pesto Cheese Tarts
makes 15 appetizers
Ingredients:

  • 1 package (2.1 oz.) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells (Athens brand)
  • 2/3 cup diced tomatoes, drained on a paper towel
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or Swiss
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4-5 TB. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. prepared pesto in a jar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • chopped fresh basil
Directions:
  • In a small bowl combine all ingredients except shells
  • Spoon heaping teaspoon into each tart shells
  • Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake @ 350 for 8 minutes or until lightly browned 
  • Garnish with minced basil
Need a gift idea?
The Giving Tree is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein in 1964. It is a tender story of unconditional love but also one of uncomfortable truths. 
As its name suggests, the story is a tale about giving. The tree gives the boy her branches to hang from when he longs to play, apples to sell when he needs money, her branches to build with when he asks for a home, her trunk to carve a boat out of when he wants to get away, and a stump to sit on when he must rest his weary bones.
But the book is also a parable about the beauty of generosity, and the power of giving to forge connection between two people.
I have read the book many times over the years. I have come to see the book less and less as an endorsement of giving, but more about the way love and tragedy are irrevocably intertwined, and how our giving to others inevitably detracts from how much we can give ourselves
.
I see this book as a bridge between parent and child to have conversations about what it means to take and to give too much.


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