a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Nine Quick, Easy + Budget-Friendly Non-Chocolate Goodies for . . .

Serving, Giving and Eating !!! 

Did you notice my last two posts --- yummy chocolate overkill !!!

Today I am going to share my favorite other-than-chocolate treats ---also yummy + quick and budget friendly !!!  Including a couple that are also mail-friendly!

Image result for white cookies
Mexican Wedding Cakes made from  Bisquick
OOPS, sorry about the formatting. I don't know how I did it and I can't find a way to undo it!

  • 1 cup powdered sugar + additional for covering
  • 1 cup softened margarine
  • 4 cups Bisquick baking mix*
  • 1 cup very finely chopped walnuts or other nuts
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (or vanilla)
  • 4 Tablespoons water

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and margarine. Mix in Bisquick. Add nuts, extract and water. (if not moist enough, add a tiny bit more water. ) Shape into balls.  Place on ungreased baking sheet  and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • When slightly cool, roll in confectioners' sugar, then roll again. Makes approximately 6 dozen.
* I often use my home made bisquick-type baking mix---find in my cookbook section along the right side of the blog under Master Mixes. 

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Meringue Kisses

These meringue kisses were always in demand. Our children and all of the
many brides who asked for them for their receptions referred to them as
Grandma Jennie's white cookies.

3 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup "filling" of your choice -- crushed peppermint sticks, chopped nuts, chips, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover large cookie sheet with foil and set aside. With electric mixer on high spead, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add sugar 1/4 cup at a time beating after each addition until sugar dissolves (mixture will feel smooth). Continue beating until high peaks form. Fold in vanilla and chosen ingredients. Drop by teaspoon full onto foil. TURN OFF OVEN. Place cookie sheet in oven and let set until oven is completely cool, about 45 minutes.  They should be dry to the touch. Let cool. Peel off paper.
Food coloring can be added if desired.
Note: They will stay sticky (but still good) if made during times of high humidity.

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Dipped Peanut Butter-filled Ritz-type Crackers

Simply  spread peanut butter between two Ritz-type crackers or mini-cracker sandwich style. . Dip each sandwich into melted white almond bark or other candy coating. Place on foil or waxed-paper covered try.
Dip a second time if more coating is desired.

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Quick Easy-Peasy Peanut Butter Pinwheels
Combine one stick melted margarine with about 2-3 cups powdered sugar. Place between two squares of waxed-paper. Roll with rolling pin until you have a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Remove top paper and spread surfce with creamy peanut butter. Starting at long side, gently roll up jelly roll fashion, Cut into slices. Chill.

Glasss Candy
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Very Pretty and Very Yummy

3-3/4 cups granulated white sugar
1-1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup water
1 teaspoon oil flavoring*  (cannot use regular cooking flavors)
food coloring to compliment flavoring
powdered sugar

Cover large cookie sheeet with heavy alumunum foil. Lightly dust with powdered sugar. Set aside.

In  large, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil, with out stirring until temperature reaches 300 to 310 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in oil and coloring. Pour evenly over prepared foil. Let cool. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

Cooking this makes your home smell wonderful!

This makes a great gift which stores and ships well.

*Oil flavorings are available in small bottles (that makes a lot) where craft and cake and candy making/decorating supplies are sold. Lorain is the most common brand.  It comes in zillions of flavors!!

You may also want to check out
Peppermint Bark and More under Candy in my cookbook column on the right. 

Mailing treats didn't use to be a bank-breaking experience. But alas, now it is. If  you have a loved one that is away from home and craving homemade goodies, here are a couple that travel well and relatively cheaply.

Popcorn Cake
One 6-ounce can of  cocktail peanuts
One 12-15 ounce package plain M&M's or other small candy pieces
One 16-ounce package miniature marshmallows 
1 stick margarine
Approximately 1 cup unpopped corn (enough to fill a bundt pan or an angel food-type tube pan when popped)

Melt margarine and marshmallows over low heat. Mix peanuts and M&M's into marshmallow mixture. Pour over popped corn and mix well. Butter hands generously and press mixture into well-buttered pan. Let cool in freezer to make it easier to remove from pan. Wrap tightly in clear plastic wrap. Pack in additional plain popped corn to mail.

  • This also makes great popcorn balls!
  • You can form the popcorn balls around peppermint candy sticks to make popcorn pops.
  • Or, unwrap lollipops or suckers and form small popcorn balls around the lollipop, letting the stick handle protrude.
This recipe, or the forever popular crispy rice cereal with marshmallows treat recipe, can be formed into many shapes to fit special occasions. We've made a "plaster" cast with protruding toes. Years ago, our daughter Heidi made a giant tooth and a surprise visit to the dental college on her husband's birthday. Both the plaster for the cast and the tooth enamel were made with melted white almond bark. We tinted the almond bark pink to cover the toes. 

White Chocolate Popcorn   Image result for white chocolate popcornImage result for white chocolate popcorn

The simplest way is to buy a large bag of already buttered popcorn. Melt white almond bark over very low heat or in microwave, stirring until smooth. Pour over popcorn, stirring well as you go. Spread out on waxed paper to dry. Can add peanuts if desired.

Some of our grand kids call this next one "Sugar Shrimp" and others call it "Pirates Booty"  I call it by its description: Sweet & Salty Corn Pop Stuff!

We ALL call it great!                                               
Image result for corn pops
This type of corn pops,
not the cereal type.

1 entire stick  plus 1/3 of a second stick of butter or margarine
2/3 cups white sugar
2 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 
1 very large package of Barrel O' Fun Corn Pops (about 15 ounces)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Melt butter in large sauce pan. Bring to a fast boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour over corn pops, stirring as you go. Spread on cookie sheets or in a large roaster-type pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and pour onto flat surface to cool. Break up as needed. 

Handy Hint: Cut open the empty Barrel 'O Fun bag and spread it flat on a counter or table. Pour the finished snack onto the bag to cool.  (Our dog loves it when a few overshoot the area and fall on the floor!)

Cheapskate Hint:  Watch the weight of the mailing boxes themselves!!! When mailing unbreakable items, I often mail in large cereal boxes or soda cracker boxes or similar. 

'til we eat again,

I am Simply, Gail

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