Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Favorite Gift Wraps

For some reason I was in the Christmas spirit around September.  I found wrapping paper and ribbon for cheap.  Some very pretty plaid wall paper was less than $1 at the local Habitat store and I found a roll of tulle decorating ribbon on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  I dont remember if I had a specific project in mind.  I liked the subtle gold sparkle and it has been useful for other projects too.

The wrapping has begun.  Even a clutz like me can make a bow from wire edged ribbon. You dont need a tutorial for these if you can tie your shoes.  A simple bow looks pretty if you add curling ribbon of different colors.   I find the curling ribbon is easier to secure to the package than the organdy ribbons.  I pull a few strings to the back of the wire edged ribbon bow and tape securely to the package.  If the ribbon gets crushed before Christmas you can easily reshape it. If you are on a tight budget you can even reuse the wire edge ribbon next year.   Just retie the bow and add new curling ribbon .  You can staple the bows to the top of a gift bag but be sure there are no sharp edges to the staple.  I decided to tie mine around the bag handle after cutting my finger on one.

I cant put these under my tree before Christmas because my cats manage to tear off the bows .  :)  Look for different colored ribbons on clearance racks and start a collection to decorate your packages year round.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Home Cooking and Common Sense

I always thought it was 'cheating' to buy store bought foods to take to family gatherings.  Being from the South, the Land of Home Cookin, I felt it was necessary to knock myself out cooking all week before Christmas or Thanksgiving.  The house had to be clean. The decorations had to be done a certain way.  blah blah  Now the reality is shortcuts are necessary.  Shopping trips are shortened and I dont have the patience for crowds.  MS and Fibromyalgia can take the fun out of a lot of events if you or others expect too much.  Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered the 'poke cakes'.  Today I am making Coconut Cakes.  They will be divided into 2 disposable cake pans with lids and.....put into the freezer!  Freezing ahead of time is something I never did because fresh is always better but this recipe is great for freezing.  I did a test run.  It was as good as fresh baked when taken from the freezer a month later. 

Coconut Poke Cake

Mix your favorite yellow cake mix , I like Ginger Evans brand, following directions on the box. If the mix only calls for 2 eggs add an extra one.  Pour into 2, 8" disposable cake pans.  Bake as directed.
Remove from oven when done and immediately poke it full of holes. I used the handle of a large spoon.

Mix one regular size box of instant vanilla pudding according to the directions. Add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut flavoring.  I used Watkins brand.  Only mix the pudding until it is slightly thickening.  Pour immediately into the 2 cakes. Tap the bottom of the pans lightly so the pudding will sink into the holes.

Sprinkle with sweetened flake coconut.  Spread whipped topping over the top and finish with lots more coconut.  About 1  1/2 cups for the 2 cakes.

Add the plastic tops and dont forget to label. Pop in the freezer. Thaw a day ahead in the fridge.  2, 8" cakes will travel better than one large cake in these aluminum pans.  Use your imagination for other flavors.  My family has been impressed with these cakes and so easy to make.