A family dessert favorite: Scotcharoos

One dessert that is always on my December planning list to make is Scotcharoos. The recipe comes from my mom’s side of the family, the Larsens. Not the healthiest thing to make by any means, which means that this recipe is a once a year treat for us to enjoy. This year I made a batch of these to share with the family that invited us to share Christmas Eve dinner.

Scotcharoos: A Larsen Family Tradition

1 cup karo syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup peanut butter

6 cups rice krispies cereal

8-9 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

8-9 oz. butterscotch chips

Bring to a boil the karo syrup and sugar on medium heat. Be careful to stir frequently  and not to let it boil very long. Add peanut butter. Mix well. Add rice krispies. Press into buttered 9×13 pan. Melt on low the chocolate and butterscotch chips. Spread on top. Cool 3 hours before serving.

A New Year’s Menu

We are enjoying our Christmas vacation, and a little break from the usual routine. It is nice to sleep in and spend most of the day playing and relaxing with the children. Most of our time has been spent building Lego’s, reading books, watching movies, and spending time outside in the gorgeous Florida weather (walking or hiking while the children ride rollerblades or bikes).

Sometime during the holiday break I usually get a little itch to have some friends over for an evening of good food and games. Hosting an event is a good reason to clean the house, and the children are usually more motivated to help! We worked hard yesterday cleaning and prepping food, then rewarded ourselves with a nice evening with one of our favorite neighbor families.

New Year’s Eve makes me want to eat appetizer type dishes (foods that my normally picky eaters usually don’t like). This is what the menu looked like:

Sweet and Sour Meatballs: I have been wanting to make these for years, and they were so easy and delicious. Just three ingredients in the crockpot!

Cheeseball: This is a repeat of a favorite we discovered last year. Served with crackers and carrots, celery, and bell peppers on the side.

A green salad: nothing too difficult here, just green lettuce with tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and a little bit of peppers. I mixed up a bottle of Zesty Italian dressing to serve with it.

French bread: easy store bought bread. Some pieces were cut and served plain with butter, while the other half of the loaf was topped with Garlic Bread Seasoning and toasted.

Hmmmm, I am noticing a theme here–all of my recipes come from Our Best Bites! If you haven’t checked out that site, you really should. They are always my go-to source for any recipe (so much that I have two of their cookbooks!).

For dessert we had our Fried Ice Cream Balls. I had planned to serve these on Christmas Eve, but our good friends ended up inviting us over for dinner that night. Happy day! So that means I just adjusted our menu a bit, and we get to have our Chinese food menu for dinner on New Year’s Eve.

Peppermint Pretzel Cookies

2-DSC_0004For a lot of people, baking is a big part of their Christmas holiday celebrations.  Baking isn’t a big tradition that I grew up with, but I enjoy involving my children in the kitchen with me when I can. These cookies are my favorite thing to make at Christmas time because the recipe is very kid friendly!

You only need three ingredients: pretzels, peppermint flavored Hershey’s Kisses (the kind with red and white stripes), and red and green M&Ms.1-DSC_0002Set your oven to 200 degrees.

On a large baking sheet, lay out the pretzels. Top each pretzel with a Hershey’s Kiss.


Place in the oven and WATCH THEM CLOSELY. You want to soften the Kiss, not melt it too much and turn into a gooey mess. It will only take 5-8 minutes. When it is soft you can drop an M&M on top. Chill until set.

4-DSC_0006Enjoy and share some with your friends!

Our Christmas Menu

For most of our married life, we have lived far away from our extended family. Since traveling at this season can be difficult and expensive, we have opted to make the most of Christmas celebrating with our own little family in our own little home. Over the years we have developed a holiday menu that we really look forward to!

Christmas Eve the theme is Chinese Food. You can follow the links to view the recipes. This year I am planning to serve:

Sweet Sriracha Chicken-purchased from Sam’s Club

Egg Rolls-purchased from Sam’s Club

One pot wonder Chicken Lo Mein

A couple of other items I am considering: Chow Mein, General Tso’s Chicken, or these Thai Peanut Noodles.

Fried Rice: my recipe is mostly of the make-it-up as you go along variety, and it varies overtime. Take a guess at the proportions! Saute sliced onion and garlic. Add sliced carrots and bell peppers, then frozen peas. Or you can just use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Scramble 2-3 eggs. Add prepared white rice (2-3 cups, cooled). Toss in some soy sauce until it tastes good. If you want a real recipe, try this one.

For dessert we always have Fried Ice Cream balls. Not actually fried, so at our house we call these Cruncy Ice Cream balls. These are especially good with peppermint flavored ice cream, but with the picky eaters at my house we will stick to vanilla ice cream this year.

Christmas Day breakfast is Butterscotch Caramel Pull-Aparts (made by my husband). We also have hard-boiled eggs, and the oranges that are in everyone’s stockings. Perhaps this year I will try this Bacon & Egg Breakfast Casserole.

Dinner on Christmas Day is the traditional ham and potatoes. I am going to try the Orange and Brown Sugar glazed ham posted by Our Best Bites, as well as Funeral Potatoes. Most likely green beans for a side.

Ever since we moved to Florida I have been trying to learn how to make rolls. My husband’s family makes fabulous rolls, which I have been trying to replicate with moderate success. I think the elevation and humidity have something to do with my failures, but let me just say that bread making is not really my thing. Last January my good friend kindly gave me a one-on-one lesson on roll making. I made them for Thanksgiving this year and they were my best ever. So this is my roll recipe for this Christmas.

Dinner Rolls from Stacey

Proof yeast:

1 Tbs. yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 Tbs. sugar

Mix the first four ingredients in Bosch (I use my Kitchenaid)

2 cups milk (or 1/4 cup powdered milk and 2 cups hot water)

1 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt


2 beaten eggs

8-9 cups bread flour

1/4 cup melted butter

Heat butter, milk, sugar, and salt until warm. Combine beaten eggs with milk mixture then add yeast mixture (make sure liquid is not too hot before you add the yeast mixture). Gradually add the flour until dough leaves the side of the bowl. Cover and let rise until double. Punch down. Knead and spread out onto a floured surface to make a circle (actually rectangle shape works better for me) and spread with melted butter. Using a pizza cutter, cut 24 even wedges. Roll each wedge beginning at the wide end. Place on a cookie sheet and bend slightly to make a curved roll. Cover and let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Butter tops while hot.

What do you think? Anyone want to join us for a meal?